America held hostage

Published in The Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom, January 15, 2016.

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The Ayatollahs see Obama as a supplicant, not a superpower. They understand this, alas correctly, as license to run wild. The “zhobour” meted out to American seamen reflects rising Iranian imperial cockiness.


Not since the hasty helicopter evacuation of the US embassy in Saigon on April 30, 1975 or the crushing Iranian takeover of the US embassy in Teheran with 60 hostages on November 4, 1979 has America been faced with more humiliating photos.

There they are: Ten American naval officers, kneeling submissively with their hands on their bowed heads, some with blindfolds, on an American military ship. With armed Iranian Revolutionary Guards standing over them; nay, lording it over them. In the Persian Gulf. With reams of confiscated American weapons and equipment demonstratively laid out for all to mockingly see. With a video voiceover from an IRGC general who ridicules and threatens America.

Oy, how America has been humbled. How America has gone flaccid.

Neither US President Barack Hussein Obama nor US Secretary of State John Kerry had any reaction to the degrading photos and videos triumphantly publicized by the Iranians.

Worse still, the Iranians say that Washington “apologized” for straying into Iranian waters. US Vice President Joe Biden denies that there was any apology, but Kerry profusely “thanked” Teheran for releasing the sailors.

Talk about groveling.

In fact, Obama didn’t even mention the telling confrontation in his State of the Union speech this week. Instead, he lauded himself for “rolling back” Iran’s nuclear program and “avoiding another war.”

Which of course explains Washington’s equanimity, even its obsequiousness, in non-responding to the “zhubour” (Arabic for “humiliating rite”) that the Ayatollahs meted out to the American sailors. It’s a piece with the non-response of Washington to dozens of other Iranian provocations and accord violations in recent weeks and months.

Why the American meekness? Because Washington is being hostage by the Iranians to the deal of nuclear surrender that Obama shamefully signed. More specifically, Obama has willfully made himself hostage to the implementation of the nuclear accord. He won’t say or do anything that might slight or anger the Iranians, lest they formally walk away from the pretense of scaling-back their nuclear weapons program.

The Ayatollahs understand that Obama has chained himself to the nuclear accord and the docility that is concomitantly required of America. They see Obama as a supplicant, not a superpower. They understand this, alas correctly, as license to run wild.

Thus, ever since the July 14, 2015 Vienna accord (the JCPOA), Iran has taken two more Americans hostage (– there are now four Americans held incommunicado in Iranian jails); launched a massive cyberattack on the US government, especially the State Department’s Office of Iranian Affairs; unveiled new underground intercontinental ballistic missile silos; twice test-launched some of their illegal (under UN Security Council resolution 1929) missiles; and fired a rocket within 1,500 yards of an American aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran also has increased its genocidal rhetoric against Israel; stepped-up its supply of sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houtis in Yemen; intensified its involvement in the Syrian civil war on Assad’s side; sought to become more deeply entrenched on Israel’s Golan and Gaza borders; and torched the embassy in Teheran of an American ally (Saudi Arabia).

Obama’s response to all this? Well, he assured Teheran that he would waive new visa restrictions passed by Congress, after Tehran objected. He has indefinitely delayed imposing sanctions on Iran in response to its tests of ballistic missiles in violation of United Nations sanctions. He has threatened to veto any new Congressional sanctions. He also criticized Saudi Arabia for executing a subversive Saudi Shiite cleric, while saying little about the retaliatory embassy ransacking by the Iranians.

And Obama stood mutely and limply aside as Iran boarded US warships in the Gulf and made a propaganda spectacle of them.

A US leader with more spine; one who was not held hostage to a dreadful deal with the Iranian devil, would warn the IRGC and the Ayatollahs that should they ever again touch a US warship or sailor, the US Navy will neutralize the offending force and beyond.

But with Obama, anything that falls outside the precise and narrow four corners of the nuclear agreement – goes by without a whimper. Iran is free to aggressively throw its hegemonic weight around the region with abandon. And all this, before Iran gets tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief, beginning this weekend.

So is America and the world more safe and secure because of Obama’s signature diplomatic accord with Iran, or less so?

David M. Weinberg is a think tank director, columnist and lobbyist who is a sharp critic of Israel’s detractors and of post-Zionist trends in Israel. Read more »
A passionate speaker, David M. Weinberg lectures widely in Israel, the U.S. and Canada to Jewish and non-Jewish audiences. He speaks on international politics and Middle East strategic affairs, Israeli diplomacy and defense strategy, intelligence matters and more. Click here to book David Weinberg as a speaker

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