iran

Call Your Senators This Week And Tell Them: Don't Iraq Iran!

This week marks the tenth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. Yet, it seems that a majority of the Senate hasn't learned its lesson: S. Res. 65, AIPAC/Lindsey Graham's "backdoor to war" with Iran bill, now has 65 co-sponsors. [1] Even Senators who opposed the Iraq war, such as Sens. Boxer and Durbin, have signed on to the bill.

But allies are popping up in unexpected places. The New York Times recently came out in support of negotiations—and slammed S. Res. 65. [2]

We've defeated AIPAC before—and with enough pressure, we can do it again. Over 20,000 Just Foreign Policy members have emailed their Senators on S. Res. 65. But AIPAC supporters have been working hard as well. That's why we need to scale up our opposition.

This week, Just Foreign Policy is joining with the Friends Committee on National Legislation, the National Iranian American Council, and Peace Action West for a national call-in to the Senate opposing Graham's "backdoor to war" with Iran bill. Could you follow up your email with a phone call to your Senator? Here's what you do:

  1. Check to see if your Senator has co-sponsored the bill here:
    http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/sres65-call-in
  2. Call the Capital Switchboard using this toll-free number provided by FCNL: 1-855-68-NO WAR (1-855-686-6927)
  3. Ask to be connected to your Senator's office.
  4. When you are connected to your Senator's office:
    1. If your Senator hasn't co-sponsored the bill, thank them for staying off, and urge them to resist pressure to sign the bill, noting that the bill
      1. tries to "pre-approve" US participation in an Israeli attack on Iran; and
      2. tries to move up the "red line" for war

New York Times Calls Out AIPAC Warmongering, Slams Graham's S. Res. 65, House's H.R. 850

The New York Times editorial board has come a long way since its days of upholding the false dichotomy of sanctions versus war as the only options for US-Iran relations. It was less than two years ago that the Times published an editorial assessing the potential paths for addressing the US-Iran impasse—and completely neglected to mention diplomacy or negotiations.

But a Saturday editorial shows that the Times's vocabulary and outlook on the subject has since undergone a significant expansion:

If there is any hope for a peaceful resolution of the nuclear dispute with Iran, President Obama needs Congress to support negotiations. But negotiations and compromise are largely anathema in Washington, with many lawmakers insisting that any deal with Iran would be unacceptable — a stance that would make military action by Israel and the United States far more likely.

Not only did the editorial board recognize that "the best way to avert military conflict is by negotiating a credible, verifiable agreement," but it also slammed two new AIPAC-sponsored Congressional initiatives aimed at sabotaging negotiations. On Sens. Lindsay Graham and Robert Menendez's "backdoor to war" resolution, S. Res. 65, the Times wrote that

Call Your Senators on S. Res. 65!

Call your Senators today to express your opposition to S. Res. 65, the AIPAC/Lindsey Graham bill that tries to "pre-approve" US participation in an Israeli attack on Iran and tries to move the "red line" for war from "preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon" to "preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability"—whatever that means.

Here's what you do:

  1. Check whether your Senator is a co-sponsor. Below is a list of current co-signers and the date that they co-signed:

    Sen Ayotte, Kelly [NH] - 2/28/2013
    Sen Barrasso, John [WY] - 3/6/2013
    Sen Baucus, Max [MT] - 3/5/2013
    Sen Begich, Mark [AK] - 2/28/2013
    Sen Bennet, Michael F. [CO] - 3/5/2013
    Sen Blumenthal, Richard [CT] - 2/28/2013
    Sen Blunt, Roy [MO] - 2/28/2013
    Sen Boozman, John [AR] - 3/5/2013
    Sen Boxer, Barbara [CA] - 2/28/2013
    Sen Brown, Sherrod [OH] - 2/28/2013
    Sen Burr, Richard [NC] - 3/5/2013
    Sen Cantwell, Maria [WA] - 3/18/2013
    Sen Cardin, Benjamin L. [MD] - 2/28/2013
    Sen Casey, Robert P., Jr. [PA] - 2/28/2013
    Sen Chambliss, Saxby [GA] - 3/5/2013
    Sen Coats, Daniel [IN] - 3/18/2013
    Sen Coburn, Tom [OK] - 3/12/2013
    Sen Cochran, Thad [MS] - 3/18/2013
    Sen Collins, Susan M. [ME] - 2/28/2013
    Sen Coons, Christopher A. [DE] - 3/6/2013
    Sen Cornyn, John [TX] - 2/28/2013
    Sen Crapo, Mike [ID] - 2/28/2013
    Sen Cruz, Ted [TX] - 3/5/2013
    Sen Donnelly, Joe [IN] - 3/5/2013
    Sen Durbin, Richard [IL] - 3/13/2013
    Sen Feinstein, Dianne [CA] - 3/12/2013
    Sen Fischer, Deb [NE] - 3/5/2013
    Sen Flake, Jeff [AZ] - 3/11/2013
    Sen Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [NY] - 2/28/2013
    Sen Grassley, Chuck [IA] - 3/5/2013
    Sen Hagan, Kay [NC] - 3/5/2013
    Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [UT] - 3/14/2013
    Sen Heitkamp, Heidi [ND] - 3/11/2013
    Sen Heller, Dean [NV] - 3/5/2013
    Sen Hirono, Mazie K. [HI] - 3/5/2013
    Sen Hoeven, John [ND] - 2/28/2013
    Sen Inhofe, James M. [OK] - 3/6/2013
    Sen Isakson, Johnny [GA] - 3/5/2013

Here Comes AIPAC, Lobbying For War

On Tuesday, after overcoming months of smears, hysterical rhetoric, and procedural obstruction, Chuck Hagel was confirmed as our next Secretary of Defense. We hope Secretary Hagel will help speed the withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan, help avoid war with Iran, and help cut the Pentagon budget, as groups who supported his nomination expect.

But one thing is in the bag: we showed that in Congress we could beat the Likud Lobby—the group of people in Washington that drove the opposition to Hagel's nomination. [1] This faction says that "unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you're anti-Israel," as Barack Obama characterized their claims in 2008. [2]

Now the Likud Lobby is pressing the Senate to endorse an Israeli military attack on Iran. If the U.S. were to support such an attack, it would likely draw us into war.

If we could beat the Likud Lobby on Hagel, we can beat them on this.

Urge your Senators to oppose the AIPAC "backdoor to war" bill and to take steps towards peace with Iran and Palestine.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/aipac-2013

AIPAC is holding its annual policy conference next week, during which hundreds of pro-Likud activists will descend on Congress to push your representatives to support war with Iran and a continuation of the status-quo between Israel and Palestine. Here are three things you can ask your reps to do to promote peace instead:

  1. Urge your Senators to oppose the Graham bill endorsing an Israeli attack on Iran. Senator Lindsey Graham is introducing a bill that says that if Israel attacks Iran, the U.S. should support Israel militarily and diplomatically. [3] JTA reports that winning Congressional support for this bill will be a focus of AIPAC's policy conference next week. [4] Urge your Senators to oppose this bill and to insist that the language endorsing an Israeli attack on Iran be removed.

AIPAC's "Backdoor to War" bill endorses Israeli attack on Iran

Senator Lindsey Graham is introducing a bill that would endorse an Israeli military attack on Iran.

JTA reports that winning Congressional support for this bill will be a focus of AIPAC's upcoming policy conference.

The JTA article is here.

The Lindsey Graham bill is here.

Don't Let Neocons "Swift Boat" Obama's War-Skeptic Pick for Defense Secretary

The Obama-hating Neocon Right is trying to "Swift Boat" the expected nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense by making up a fantasy scare story that Hagel—a former U.S. Senator from Nebraska, long-respected moderate and thoughtful voice on foreign policy, and decorated Vietnam combat veteran—is "anti-Israel."

The real reason the neocons hate Hagel is that he's a war-skeptic and a diplomacy advocate. As a Senator, he voted for the Iraq war. But then he became an early and harsh critic of the war and called for it to end. Hagel was an early advocate of diplomatic engagement with Iran, has criticized discussion of a military strike by either the U.S. or Israel against Iran, and has also backed efforts to bring Iran to the table for talks on future peace in Afghanistan. Hagel has described the Pentagon as "bloated" and has said "the Pentagon needs to be pared down."

We deserve a war-skeptic and diplomacy advocate as Defense Secretary. Americans voted against the foreign policy of the neocons in 2008 and 2012. But the neocons are still using their insider influence and slander tactics to try to dominate policy.

We cannot stand idly by as the neocons stage a coup of our foreign policy. All of us opposed to these tactics, including the President's support base of liberal Democrats, must make our voices heard. That's why we've set up a petition on MoveOn's community petition site, SignOn, against the Swift Boat campaign on Chuck Hagel. Will you help us move this petition forward, so more MoveOn members will see it? You can sign and share the petition here:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/hagel-nomination

Just Foreign Policy's Policy Director Robert Naiman explained what's at stake in this fight in his blog on Huffington Post. You can read and share that here:

J Street Pushes Back on Neocon Bid to "Swift Boat" Chuck Hagel Nomination as Defense Secretary
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/j-street-chuck-hagel_b_23329...

Utter Hypocrisy of US Response to Iran Drone Shooting Incident

Yesterday, US media began reporting that Iranian fighter jets had shot at—but did not hit— an unarmed US drone off the coast of Iran last week. Pentagon Press Secretary George Little claimed that the unmanned military plane was over international waters 16 nautical miles off the coast of Iran, and that the drone had never been in Iranian airspace. In response, the US protested the shooting and warned Iran that it has "a wide range of options, from diplomatic to military," available to protect its assets. According to a CNN report, the incident has "raised fresh concerns within the Obama administration about Iranian military aggression in crucial Gulf oil shipping lanes."

Congress Joins Bibi Assault on Obama's Iran 'Red Line'

Hey, remember a few weeks ago when our old friend Bibi Netanyahu came to town and made a hullabaloo over Iran and "red lines"? Admittedly, much of what the Bibster said to the US media was bluster, but the gist of the "red line" issue was that the "red line" President Obama has set for Iran—meaning, the point at which the military option would become a real option, which Obama set at developing a nuclear weapon—isn't motivation enough for Iran's leaders to bring about a resolution to the conflict over Iran's nuclear program. Nevermind the fact that Netanyahu's analysis of the issue is incredibly flawed—why believe that "red lines" have any bearing on Iran's actions, or that they are what is preventing a diplomatic accord from being struck, when the West has yet to take diplomacy seriously? What the Israeli prime minister wants our president to do is shift his "red line" a bit further down in the timeline, to when Iran is nuclear capable, a term which the PM left conveniently vague. No matter the precise definition, though, under Bibi's "red line", Iran could be bombed even if it has no intention of actually building a nuclear weapon. And that's just plain stupid.

Delisting MEK: Really Not Helpful

If the Obama administration is at all serious about a diplomatic solution to the strife with Iran, it's really good at acting like it's not. The Washington Post is reporting that the State Department is about to remove the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) from the its list of designated terrorist organizations. The move to delist the MEK will most certainly not help advance the trust necessary to reach a diplomatic accord.

The MEK was formed in the 1960's as a Marxist-Islamist student organization to counter the US-backed Shah's ruling regime. The organization assassinated three US citizens and three US Army officers in the 1970's and supported a number of other anti-US operations, including the 1979 embassy seizure. After a confrontation with the Khomeini regime int he early '80's, the Islamic Republic became the MEK's primary target. The group claims to have renounced terrorist in 2001, and according to the Washington Post piece, the administration's decision to delist the MEK came about because the organization "should be rewarded for renouncing violence and providing intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program." But a 2009 report from RAND suggested that the MEK did not give up violence. Furthermore, reports in NBC News in February and the New Yorker in April suggest that the MEK has been involved in the recent assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists.

Oh SNAP! NYT Mentions Israeli Nukes in Bibi Iran Piece

When I sat down to take in the headlines yesterday on the New York Times website, I was not altogether pleased with the paper of record. Admittedly, I am in an almost constant state of perturbance when it comes to the Times; however, their particularly heinous reporting on the Bibi "red line" hullabaloo Friday got my blood up, propelling me to dash off a long letter to the new Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan, from whom I have yet to receive a response. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting posted an excellent write-up of the affair, so I won't bother doing so here. Suffice it to say that my exasperation level was unusually high.

So imagine my mirth when I came upon the following excerpt in the piece "Israeli leader makes case against Iran on US TV":

Mr. Netanyahu, who also appeared on the CNN program "State of the Union" on Sunday, sought to link the violence [at US embassies in the Middle East] with Iran's nuclear ambitions, arguing that Iran's leaders were driven by the same fanaticism that enraged the protesters. Israel has its own nuclear arsenal, though it has never publicly acknowledged it.

WHAT? Did the New York Times just mention the fact that Israel has nukes!? Oh SNAP! Day-um, hear that, Bibi? Bet that BURNS!

But what could have possibly gotten into the Times to allow such a tawdry fact into their Iran reporting? It's not like a mention was called for by the information preceding it. I think that my reaction to its inclusion was so marked precisely because there doesn't seem to be a compelling reason for the Times to mention the Israeli arsenal at this particular point in the piece.