March 05/15

Bible Quotation For Today/Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it
Luke 17/20-37: "Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, "Look, here it is!" or "There it is!" For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.’ Then he said to the disciples, ‘The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. They will say to you, "Look there!" or "Look here!" Do not go, do not set off in pursuit. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must endure much suffering and be rejected by this generation. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so too it will be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking, and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed all of them. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and sulphur from heaven and destroyed all of them it will be like that on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, anyone on the housetop who has belongings in the house must not come down to take them away; and likewise anyone in the field must not turn back.
Remember Lot’s wife. Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it. I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken and the other left.’Then they asked him, ‘Where, Lord?’ He said to them, ‘Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.’

Bible Quotation For Today/ Even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed, let that one be accursed!
Letter to the Galatians 1,1-10: "Paul an apostle sent neither by human commission nor from human authorities, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead and all the members of God’s family who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen. I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed! Am I now seeking human approval, or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ."

Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on March 04-05/15
US challenges Israel to sharpen alternative path on Iranian nuclear negotiations/J.Post/March 05/15
Despite Netanyahu's efforts in DC, Iran's Zarif says nuclear deal could be close/J.Post/March 05/15
Republicans forge ahead against Iran deal, risking Democratic support/J.Post/March 05/15

Obama’s Iranian-nuclear strategy brings dividend: Rev Guards lead military assault on Tikrit/DEBKAfile/March 04/15
Dealing with a Bad Iranian Nuclear Agreement/James F. Jeffrey/Washington Institute/March 04/15

Lebanese Related News published on March 04-05/15
Geagea Described Presidential Crisis as 'Misery,' Blames Vacuum on Iran
U.N.'s Kaag to call for additional aid for Army
Kaag Meets Moqbel, Praises Army, Security Forces' Fight against Extremists
Lebanese Army detains suspect in Bader Eid killing
Lebanon PM meets UN humanitarian chief over refugee crisis
Hizbullah-Bkirki Committee Meets in Dahiyeh, Talks Focus on Presidential Vacuum
Ibrahim: No Regions Impenetrable against Entry of State Security Forces
Army: Total of 945 Suspects Arrested in February on Terror, Criminal Charges
Rifaat Eid Stresses: No Intention to Escalate Situation in Lebanon
Berri Compares Lebanon to Atom: If Split, Region Will Explode
Netanyahu speech 'violated all political taboos': Berri
Netanyahu speech 'violated all political taboos': Berri
Report: Emmanuel Bonne to be Appointed French Ambassador to Beirut
Illegal beauty centers in Beirut ordered shut
Hizbullah-Bkirki Committee Meets in Dahiyeh, Talks Focus on Presidential Vacuum
French scholar blames deportation on Hezbollah
Report: Lebanon to Hand Norway's Petroleum Commission the North's Offshore Geological Data
Lavrov Meets Bassil, Voices Opposition to Foreign Meddling in Lebanese Affairs

Miscellaneous Reports And News published on March 04-05/15
67 Members of Congress Send Message to Saudi King: Improve Religious Freedom
Argentina seeks deal with Iran to solve 1994 attack
Mines, bombs slow advance on ISIS-held Tikrit
Kerry says significant gaps remain in Iran talks
Kerry says demanding Iran's 'capitulation' is no way to secure nuclear deal
Obama spurns Netanyahu’s anti-Iran tirade'
Despite U.S. Rift, Experts See Poll Boost for Netanyahu
Syria Rebel Defeat Deals Blow to U.S. Hopes against IS
Coalition forms in Lesotho after no clear winner
UN envoy to Yemen disappointed by Houthis' stance
German police detain nine over newspaper arson attack
Tsarnaev goes on trial in Boston Marathon bombing
Ukraine security weighs down economic reforms: IMF
Blatter wants points deductions for racial incidents
Microsoft co-founder finds sunken Japan WWII warship
Abbas calls Israel a 'gangster'
Abbas Says Talks with Israel still on Table
Israel to "double" water supplies to Gaza

Jihad Watch Site Latest Reports
State Dept tweets speech by Muslim cleric who blames Mideast unrest on “world Zionism”

Robert Spencer in Vive Charlie: Why a Muhammad Cartoon Contest?
Russian Council of Muftis: Don’t refer to Islamic State as Islamic
Canada: 4 high schools pull out of cheerleading competition over jihad threat
Boston jihad murderer’s widow under investigation, could face charges
Russia jails Muslim for fund-raising for the Islamic State
Nigeria lesbian fleeing Sharia death sentence asks UK judge to save her life
NYU prof admits MESA’s anti-Israel stance, rails against “Israel Lobby”
UK: Jihad murderer & family on dole 20 years, cost taxpayers $600,000
Pelosi, Democrats fume at Netanyahu “condescension”

Lebanon PM meets UN humanitarian chief over refugee crisis
The Daily Star/Mar. 04, 2015
BEIRUT: Prime Minister Tammam Salam discussed with a visiting U.N. official Wednesday an upcoming donor conference designed to ease the burden on countries hosting large numbers of Syrian refugees. Humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, who was accompanied by Ross Mountain, the U.N. resident Coordinator in Lebanon, told reporters after the meeting that talks focused on the third Syria donors’ conference which will be held in Kuwait at the end of March. Amos noted that the conference will collect funds and aid for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and neighboring countries to help support their economic stability. At least 1.13 million Syrian refugees have registered with the U.N. in Lebanon, but officials believe the actual number is much higher. According to a statement released by Salam’s media office, the Amos hailed the Lebanese government for allowing the large number of Syrian refugees into the country, while acknowledging the economic and social impact their heavy presence has had on the country. The meeting also delved into the situation in the region, especially the instability resulting from the expansion of ISIS.  Later in the day, Amosm who arrived to Lebanon Tuesday evening, met with Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas. They also discussed the plight of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Following the meeting, Derbas expressed his gratitude towards Amos’s acknowledgment of the heavy toll the mass influx of refugees has had on Lebanon, saying that talks focused on the economic and social challenges faced by the country.  When asked by reporters’ whether he had asked for additional aid for Assyrians coming into Lebanon, the social affairs minister said that their low numbers do not necessitate special aid. Derbas said that Lebanon was handling the Assyrian plight according to humanitarian standards and has consequently opened its borders to the refugees in an attempt to preserve the region's diverse social fabric. Last week the Interior Ministry announced it would instruct General Security to facilitate the entry of Assyrians fleeing an ISIS onslaught in Hassakeh, after an activist group reported that at least 220 Assyrian Christians were abducted from their homes along the Khabur River by the militant group. The National News Agency reported Tuesday that 17 Assyrian Christians crossed at Lebanon’s Masnaa, but whether those permitted entry were asylum seekers from Hassakeh province, northeast Syria, or coming to Lebanon for short-stay purposes was unclear.

Netanyahu speech 'violated all political taboos': Berri
The Daily Star/Mar. 04, 2015 /BEIRUT: Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri denounced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the U.S. Congress as a “political invasion,” warning that Washington’s failure to reach a nuclear agreement with Tehran would have bad repercussions globally. Berri was quoted by MPs who visited him Wednesday as saying that Netanyahu “violated all political taboos” and affronted the U.S. administration by lambasting the emerging agreement which is being discussed by the U.S. and Iranian foreign ministers in Geneva. “The U.S.-Iranian nuclear agreement will have a big impact in case it is signed, but the repercussions will be even bigger if it is not signed,” Berri said. Netanyahu claimed to U.S. lawmakers in a speech Tuesday that a nuclear deal would all but guarantee that Tehran obtains nuclear weapons.Moving to local issues, the speaker revealed his intention to summon a plenary parliamentary session soon to discuss and enact several pending draft laws he deemed urgent. Berri said he hoped the government would resume its work in a more effective way, stressing that the country is facing many pressing issued that need to be tackled. On the long-delayed laws for organizing Lebanon’s untapped oil and gas sector, Berri said there were no more obstacles hindering the endorsement of the two oil decrees by the Council of Ministers. Prime Minister Tammam Salam has suspended Cabinet meetings for two weeks citing the row over a decision-making system that has stalled government productivity. However, the Cabinet will resume its sessions Thursday, after factions had agreed to facilitate the running of the country’s pressing affairs in a spirit of consensus.

Lebanese Army detains suspect in Bader Eid killing
The Daily Star/Mar. 04, 2015/BEIRUT: The Lebanese Army has detained a suspect in the assassination of Bader Eid, brother of Arab Democratic Party founder Ali Eid, security sources said. The suspect, identified as Khaled M. Q., was detained by Military Intelligence near the scene of the crime hours after Eid was shot dead in his car in the northern district of Akkar late-Monday. He died hours after gunmen opened fire on his vehicle on the highway linking the Akkar towns of Haysa and Kouweikhat. Charges have yet to be leveled against the individual. The sources could not say what role, if any, the suspect may have played in the assassination. He was apprehended as a suspected based on the fact that he was in close proximity of the crime scene when the shooting occurred, the sources said. The attack was claimed by a group calling itself the “Kouweikhat group.”In a statement released after the attack, the group called on Ali Eid to leave Akkar by Monday 10 p.m. Eid is currently residing in a border village in Akkar known as Khat al-Petrol. It said the request was because members of the Eid family and residents of the predominantly Alawite Akkar neighborhood of Haysa “put up pictures of Syrian President Bashar Assad...and assaulted the land.”The group warned that if the Eid did not leave,he would be met with “fire and metal.”

Geagea Described Presidential Crisis as 'Misery,' Blames Vacuum on Iran
Naharnet/Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea described the presidential deadlock as a “misery,” laying blame on Hizbullah-backer Iran and saying no solution was currently lying on the horizon . “More than any other time Iran does not want a president for Lebanon unless he belonged to its camp,” Geagea told journalists who visited him in Maarab on Tuesday. “This is a misery and brings sadness,” he said. “At the moment I don't see any solution” to the problem, Geagea, a presidential candidate, added.
The LF chief said that Tehran had called for the mediation of French official Jean-François Girault. But Iranian officials later informed him that Hizbullah will not give up its support to the candidacy of Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun. Girault, a French presidential envoy, has met with Lebanese officials during recent visits to Beirut. He has also traveled to Riyadh, Tehran and the Vatican to resolve Lebanon's presidential crisis, which erupted after MPs failed to elect a successor to Michel Suleiman, whose term ended in May last year. The rivalry between Aoun and Geagea and their camps is one of the major reasons for the vacuum at Baabda Palace. But the LF chief insisted that he was committed to “the dialogue with Aoun no matter what.”He said his expected talks with Aoun would help end their rivalry. Officials from both parties are currently preparing a document to agree on several issues. The signing of the document would be followed by talks between Geagea and Aoun. Al-Liwaa daily on Wednesday quoted high-ranking officials as saying that the dialogue would limit tension.But the sources refused to reveal whether the talks are focusing on the presidential deadlock.

Berri Compares Lebanon to Atom: If Split, Region Will Explode
Naharnet/Speaker Nabih Berri warned on Wednesday against plans to fragment the region, including Lebanon. He said during his weekly meeting with lawmakers at his Ain el-Tineh residence: “Lebanon is like the atom. If it is split, then it will explode, as will the region around it.”In addition, he noted that a deal between the United States and Iran over the Islamic republic's nuclear program will have repercussions on the region. The speaker therefore called on the Lebanese to demonstrate more unity to fortify the country. Berri also hoped that government work would resume “because we are in need of tackling several problems and files.”A cabinet session has been scheduled for Thursday. Addressing the dialogue between the Mustaqbal Movement and Hizbullah, the speaker said: “The talks and the outcomes they are producing have become a factor in easing tensions in Lebanon.” The two sides had held the seventh round of their dialogue on Monday. They announced, after meeting at Ain el-Tineh, that they made "serious progress" regarding the security and political issues in Lebanon. Dialogue between the two parties had kicked off on December 23, 2014.

Rifaat Eid Stresses: No Intention to Escalate Situation in Lebanon
Naharnet/A leading member of the Arab Democratic Party, Rifaat Eid, stressed on Wednesday that the party has no intention to escalate the situation in Lebanon, pointing out that political settlements are always held “on our blood.”“There is no political interest for any Lebanese side to escalate the security situation,” Eid said in comments published in the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat. He criticized “allies” that asked them to flee the northern city of Tripoli, saying: “Political settlements are always struck on our blood because we are the weakest, but I don't want to embarrass anyone.”“We received phone calls from several sides to express condolences, urging us not to escalate on the pretext of safeguarding the country,” Eid revealed. On Tuesday, residents of the Syrian side of the border town of Hikr al-Daheri held a funeral for Bader Eid, the brother of Arab Democratic Party leader Ali Eid – who was shot dead Monday in the Akkar town of al-Kuweikhat. Ali Eid and his son Rifaat, who are both wanted by Lebanese authorities on terror offenses, took part in the funeral procession. Asked about the arrest warrants against him and his father Ali, Rifaat said: “Everyone knows our whereabouts... There are no life time convictions in Lebanon... All sentences against politicians and officials didn't take their legal way.”Eid accused those who carried out the August 2013 mosque bombings in Tripoli of being behind the murder of his uncle. Rifaat has been sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment with hard labor over incitement of violence between the rival Tripoli neighborhoods of Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh. He was also convicted of distributing arms and inciting murder. Eid has had several arrest warrants issued against him over the fighting between the two neighborhoods. His father Ali is also accused of helping fugitives behind the suicide bombings that targeted the Tripoli mosques.

Hizbullah-Bkirki Committee Meets in Dahiyeh, Talks Focus on Presidential Vacuum
Naharnet /The members of the committee tasked with following up on the dialogue between Bkirki and Hizbullah met again in Beirut's southern suburbs – Dahiyeh to follow up their latest meeting in February. According to al-Joumhouria newspaper published on Wednesday, talks focused on the importance of electing a new head of state and fears of the ongoing vacuum. Bkirki representatives reportedly warned of further delay, which violates the Constitution and consensus, expressing concern that vacuum would impact the remaining state institutions. Lebanon has been without a head state since May when the term of President Michel Suleiman ended without the election of his successor. Ongoing disputes between the rival March 8 and 14 camps have thwarted the elections. The daily said that Bkirki officials also highlighted the importance of electing a strong president, who is capable of gathering the Lebanese. However, Hizbullah representatives stressed that the presidential vacuum is being thoroughly discussed by the rival political parties.
The committee's members Bishop Samir Mazloum, Hizbullah official Hareth Shehab, Hajj Mahmoud Qmati, Abou Zainab and Hajj Moustapha al-Hajj Ali attended the talks. Hizbullah and al-Mustaqbal recently kicked off dialogue at Ain el-Tineh under the sponsorship of Speaker Nabih Berri as representatives of the Lebanese Forces and the Free Patriotic Movement began preparing for a similar dialogue to take part between LF chief Samir Geagea and FPM leader Michel Aoun. In February, the committee resumed its meetings for the first time since Hizbullah politburo member Qmati assumed the tasks of his predecessor Ghaleb Abou Zaynab. The meeting was held at the seat of the Maronite church in Bkirki.

Mustaqbal: Hizbullah Pushing Country to Danger, Trying to Impose Presidential Candidate
Naharnet/Al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc accused Hizbullah on Tuesday of seeking to “impose its presidential candidate as a sole nominee,” blaming it for the ongoing presidential vacuum. Criticizing remarks by Hizbullah politburo chief Sayyed Ibrahim Amin al-Sayyed, the bloc said his statements “clearly show who is obstructing the election of a new president.” Dialogue over the presidential crisis “must occur in the right place … and the serious way to discuss the electoral issue should be through dialogue with MP Michel Aoun,” al-Sayyed said following a visit to the headquarters of the the Tashnag party on Monday. Mustaqbal warned that his remarks “maintain the presidential vacuum in the country and consequently expose the Lebanese state to reckless bets and all kinds of dangers.”
It accused Hizbullah of “taking the country hostage” with the aim of “securing the election of a certain candidate, without respecting the democratic mechanism for the election of presidents.”The bloc also held the party responsible for “pushing the country to a higher level of danger, after it subjected Lebanon to enormous threats through its unilateral decision to take part in a regional axis and in the fighting in Syria alongside a tyrant regime.”
“Hizbullah has chosen its candidate for the president and this is its right, but it is now trying to impose him as a sole nominee on which all Lebanese must agree,” Mustaqbal lamented, urging the party to “leave the freedom of choice to the Lebanese people and its lawmakers.”
Turning to the issue of the controversy over the mechanism of cabinet's work in the absence of a president, Mustaqbal called for “abiding by the stipulations of the Lebanese Constitution in a strict manner, without inventing precedents or norms that violate the Constitution.”
Lebanon has been without a president since May when the term of Michel Suleiman ended without the election of a successor. The vacuum has created a debate on whether to change the mechanism at cabinet.
The differences between the ministers on the amendment of the mechanism prompted Prime Minister Tammam Salam to suspend sessions in the past two weeks giving way for the cabinet members to reach an agreement on the formula, which he wants it to be based on Article 65 of the Constitution. The current mechanism, which was adopted after the cabinet assumed the prerogative of the president in accordance with the constitution, states that ministers should give unanimous support to the government's decisions.
But it proved to be troublesome after some ministers resorted to veto power. Earlier on Tuesday, Salam called on cabinet to convene on Thursday.

Report: Emmanuel Bonne to be Appointed French Ambassador to Beirut
Naharnet/French President Francois Hollande and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius decided to appoint one of the Elysee Palace advisers as ambassador to Beirut, pan-Arab daily al-Hayat reported on Wednesday. Informed sources told al-Hayat that the diplomat is Emmanuel Bonne, Hollande's adviser for North Africa, the Middle East and the United Nations.Bonne will head the mission in Beirut next summer after Ambassador Patrice Paoli's term expires, the sources said. Bonne last visited Beirut in January 2014 for talks with Lebanese officials.

Ibrahim: No Regions Impenetrable against Entry of State Security Forces
Naharnet/General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim said that no political factions have opposed the implementation of the government-approved security plan in the eastern Bekaa region. He told the General Security magazine in its latest issue: “No region in Lebanon is impenetrable against the entry of the state's security forces.” “There can be no going back against the decision of the implementation of the security plan,” he added. “It will be executed in full in order to impose legitimacy on all Lebanese territories without exception,” Ibrahim said. The army kicked off in February a security plan in the eastern Bekaa region, which has resulted in the arrest of over 150 suspects wanted on various charges, such as terrorism, shooting, and drug offenses.Ibrahim added however that several suspects are still at large, “but they are being pursued and they will eventually be arrested.”He hailed the servicemen who have “carried out their duties in spite of the snowy weather conditions earlier in February.” Moreover, he said that officials “are firm in their stand of supporting the military and security forces in completing the implementation of the security plan.” “We have not faced any opposition against our measures on the ground,” he stressed to the magazine in its latest issue that will be published on Thursday.

Lavrov Meets Bassil, Voices Opposition to Foreign Meddling in Lebanese Affairs
Naharnet/Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil held talks on Wednesday with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the latest developments in Lebanon and the region. The Russian official stressed during the talks his country's support for Lebanon and its “opposition to meddling in its internal affairs.”Bassil, of the Free Patriotic Movement, and Lavrov met in Geneva on the margins of the 28th United Nations Human Rights Council meeting. Lavrov also voiced Russia's constant support in backing “Lebanon's sovereignty, unity, and regional safety.”
The foreign ministers also expressed their concern over terrorist threats to Lebanon's stability “through ethnic and religious incitement.” For his part, Bassil had declared during his speech before the Human Rights Council on Tuesday that “Lebanon is facing unprecedented political, security, economic, and humanitarian challenges, starting with the threat of terrorism.”“This terrorism is the product of erroneous policies and conflicting interests in the region,” he remarked. “Lebanon has found itself at the heart of the global war against terror and it has chosen to be a spearhead in it, whereby it is waging a battle against the Islamic State group and its affiliates,” he added. “It is presenting the prime of its youth at the alter of martyrdom and it is protecting the entire world from this takfiri ebola that is threatening humanitarian values,” Bassil continued. A delegation of bishops visited FPM chief MP Michel Aoun in Rabieh on Tuesday to discuss with him the conditions of Christians in the Orient. There are fears among religious minorities in both Syria and Iraq, who have been repeatedly targeted by the Islamic State group. During the militants' bloody campaign in both countries, where they have declared a self-styled caliphate, minorities, including Christians, have been repeatedly targeted and killed, driven from their homes, had their women enslaved and places of worship destroyed. The abductions of more than 220 Christian Assyrians by the IS in northeastern Syria last week have added to the existing fears. IS and al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front are entrenched on Lebanon's eastern border region. The army has waged sporadic clashes with these groups over the past few months in an attempt to thwart their infiltration of the country.

67 Members of Congress Send Message to Saudi King: Improve Religious Freedom
International Christian Concern
2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW #241, Washington, D.C. 20006 | E-mail:
67 Members of Congress Send Message to Saudi King: Improve Religious Freedom
ICC Endorsed Congressional Letter Highlights "Intimidation, Harassment, and Threats" Faced by Religious Minorities, Women, and Political Reformers in Saudi Arabia
02/27/2015 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) - In a new letter endorsed by International Christian Concern and Amnesty International, 63 Members of Congress today called upon King Salman of Saudi Arabia to make significant reforms in the area of human rights and religious freedom. The letter, led by Congressmen Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Peter Roskam (R-IL), is the first of its kind sent to the newly installed monarch and sends a strong message to a nation widely considered one of the most restrictive on earth.
The letter, after expressing condolences at the death of the King's brother, includes a list of recommendations for human rights improvements. "In this moment of have an historic strengthen education and initiate judicial reform, by ending the ban on women driving...lifting restrictions on public gatherings and social media; reforming "anti-terror" laws that have criminalized some who peacefully express criticism; ensuring due process in criminal proceedings and ending the use of torture; and allowing religious minorities to exercise their faiths..." the letter reads.
In addition to Members of Congress, the letter was also endorsed by a broad coalition of 15 non-governmental organizations (NGO's), including International Christian Concern, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Equality Now. The unusually broad coalition of NGO's, and the bi-partisan make-up of the letter, is indicative of the widespread concern for human rights abuses taking place in Saudi Arabia.
On September 5th, 28 Christians were arrested by Saudi authorities after Saudi "religious police" raided a suspected underground church. While the Christians were released the next day, raids on illegal places of worship remain common, and Christians and other religious minorities in the past have been held for extensive periods of time or been deported from the country. In January of 2014, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life ranked Saudi Arabia as the 4th most restrictive nation worldwide in terms of government regulation on religion. In the first line of its most recent report on the issue, the State Department's International Religious Freedom Office noted "Freedom of religion [in Saudi Arabia] is neither recognized nor protected under the law and the government severely restricted it in practice."
ICC's Advocacy Director, Isaac Six, said, "There are few nations on earth more emphatically determined to suppress religious freedom than the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, yet few people around the world understand just how repressive the regime actually is. This letter is significant for two reasons. First, it sends a clear message to the Saudi leadership that they must very carefully consider their policies on religious freedom and human rights in the calculus of the U.S.-Saudi bilateral relationship. This in and of itself could alleviate some of the suffering of religious and other minorities in the country. Secondly, it reminds the world that these restrictions are not a joke, that they deeply impact the lives of millions of men, women, and children who deserve to be treated with the same respect that many of us enjoy on a daily basis, and that a significant number of our elected representatives have and will continue to make removing these restrictions a high priority of our nation's foreign policy. ICC is honored to have been a contributor to this initiative, and we must express our sincere gratitude to our other NGO partners as well as Members of Congress who took the time to endorse this important letter."

Kerry says demanding Iran's 'capitulation' is no way to secure nuclear deal
Arshad Mohammed/Reuters/Mar. 04, 2015/MONTREUX, Switzerland: Simply demanding Iran's capitulation is no way to get a nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday as he wrapped up three days of talks with a veiled dig at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Kerry said he and Iranian counterpart Mohammad Jawad Zarif made some progress in their negotiations in the Swiss lakeside town of Montreux and would resume them on March 15. Kerry aides said many obstacles remained before a late March deadline for an outline accord between Iran and six world powers. "There are still significant gaps and important choices that need to be made," Kerry told reporters after more than 10 hours of talks all told with Zarif. On Tuesday, Netanyahu said in a speech in the U.S. Congress that Washington was negotiating a bad deal with Iran that could spark a "nuclear nightmare," drawing a rebuke from President Barack Obama and exposing a deepening U.S.-Israeli rift.
Kerry said politics and external factors would not distract from the talks, which aim to constrain Iran with intrusive U.N. access and verification of its nuclear activity and lengthen the "break-out" time needed for it to build any nuclear weapon. "No one has presented a more viable, lasting alternative for how you actually prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. So folks, simply demanding that Iran capitulate is not a plan. And nor would any of our P5+1 partners support us in that position." The other P5+1 countries are Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, who would all have to sign off on any deal.
Netanyahu has called for the powers to insist Iran dismantle its nuclear infrastructure and change what he described as its "aggressive" regional posture - an idea swiftly rejected by the Obama administration as tantamount to seeking "regime change" in Tehran. Israel and Iran have been arch-enemies since 1979. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, elected in 2013 on a platform of easing Iran's isolation abroad through diplomacy and a removal of sanctions imposed on it, said Tehran was prepared to accept greater nuclear scrutiny as part of a deal.
"If the basis of these negotiations is for increased transparency, we will accept greater transparency," he said in a statement. "But if the negotiations are trying to prevent the people of Iran from [enjoying] their inalienable right, in other words advancement in science and technology, it is very natural that Iran will not accept such an understanding or agreement."
Kerry also sought to address the concerns of Arab nations who fear that a nuclear deal may simply leave Iran with more cash and energy to pursue its regional agenda, including supporting Shiite Muslim groups in Yemen, Syria and Hezbollah. "For all the objections that any country has to Iranian activities in the region, and believe me, we have objections and others in the world have objections, the first step is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," Kerry said. Asked if he thought they had made progress, Zarif told reporters: "We have, but a lot of work remains."
The six powers' foreign ministry political directors will meet Iranian negotiators in Switzerland Thursday ahead if the next round between the two pivotal players, Kerry and Zarif. Kerry will fly to Riyadh later Wednesday and plans to meet the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany in Paris on Saturday, a senior U.S. State Department official said. U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman will brief Israel soon, the same official said. Netanyahu's speech to Congress, in which he blasted the current diplomatic approach to resolving the dispute, may make it harder for the Obama administration to sell the potential deal back home. Netanyahu argued that rather than preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear arms, a deal would "all but guarantee" that it would one day get the atomic bomb, putting Israel, the wider region and U.S. interests at risk. Obama responded within hours saying Netanyahu had offered no "viable alternatives" to the current course of negotiations. Netanyahu responded on arrival back in Israel Wednesday by saying he had offered a "practical alternative" with his proposals for the powers' negotiating approach. Iran and world powers are trying to put a framework agreement in place by the end of the month, despite the misgivings of Israel, U.S. congressional Republicans and some Gulf Arab states. Such an accord would be followed by a comprehensive agreement to be completed by the end of June. The aim of the negotiations is to persuade Iran to restrain its nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions that have crippled the major oil exporter's economy. Iran wants sanctions scrapped swiftly, the powers only in phases.
The United States and some of its allies, notably Israel, suspect Iran of using its civil nuclear program as a cover to develop a nuclear weapons capability. Iran denies this, saying it is for peaceful purposes such as generating electricity.

Obama’s Iranian-nuclear strategy brings dividend: Rev Guards lead military assault on Tikrit
DEBKAfile Special Report March 4, 2015
US President Barack Obama’s plans for Iran, which were spectacularly challenged by Binyamin Netanyahu in his Congress speech Tuesday, March 3, weres manifested 10,000 kilometers from Washington in the firestorm over Tikrit, the important Sunni town north of Baghdad. There, Iranian-led Iraqi troops are on the offensive against the Islamic State in the biggest ground battle fought in Iraq since the Iraqi army fell apart and scattered last June against the conquering Islamist march through western and central Iraq.
For four reasons, this battle is loaded with ramifications for Obama’s Iran policy and the Islamic Republic’s drive for recognition as the leading Middle East power:
1. For Tehran it is a high-stake gamble for prestige, Its top military strategist, Al Qods Brigades chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, was thrown into the Tikrit operation, to become the first high-ranking general Iran has ever placed publicly up front in direct command of a key battle as a guarantee of its success.
2. However, three days after the offensive was launched on Sunday, March 1, the 25,000 Iranian and Iraqi troops, backed by Iraqi Shiite militias, were still fighting outside its gates, upsetting the high hopes of a swift victory and breakthrough into the city.
Islamist forces slowed their advance by strewing hundreds of mines and roadside bombs on all the roads leading to Tikrit, while teams of suicide bombers jumped out and blew themselves up amidst the invading army – a tactic seen before in the battle for the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani.
ISIS boasted that one of the suicide bombers was an American citizen whom they dubbed “Abu Dawoud al-Amriki.”
3. The United States has no military input in the battle - neither US advisers on the ground nor aerial bombardment. On Tuesday, March 3, while Netanyahu was advising Congress in reference to the relative merits of radical Iran and ISIS that “the enemy of your enemy is the enemy,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, revealed some of the Obama administration’s thinking on the subject.
He said Iran and its allies (Iraqi Shiite militias) had taken part in the Iraq war ever since 2004. “But the Tikrit campaign signals a new level of involvement,” he said. “This is the most overt conduct of Iranian support in the form of artillery and other things” and “…could turn out to be a positive thing.”
These comments corroborated debkafile’s disclosures on the US-led war on ISIS, which defined America as confining itself to air strikes over Iraq and Syria and assigning the brunt of the ground war to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards forces – a division of labor, which Israeli military chiefs watch with increasing concern as it brings the Iranian peril closer than ever to Israel, debkafile’s military sources report.
The Iraq format is replicated in southern Syria, where the same Gen. Soleimani, joined by a group of fellow Iranian generals, is leading an operation to seize that part of the country from Syrian rebel hands, including the Golan town of Quneitra .
4. The role Obama has assigned Iran in the two embattled Middle East countries bears directly on the scope of his concessions in the bargaining for a comprehensive nuclear deal.

Republicans forge ahead against Iran deal, risking Democratic support
By MICHAEL WILNER/03/05/2015/J.Post
WASHINGTON -- After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's forceful address to a joint meeting earned him 23 standing ovations from across the aisle, Republican leadership in the Senate unexpectedly expedited Iran legislation on Tuesday, to the shock and frustration of Democrats. The move to schedule floor debate for the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, a bill written by Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) and introduced with co-equal Democratic support, came swiftly after Netanyahu's address warned of a dangerous, nuclearized Middle East should the deal go ahead in its current form. The legislation would require congressional oversight, hearings and review of any comprehensive deal concerning Iran's nuclear program, currently under discussion in Switzerland among world powers. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) chose to schedule the floor debate and bypass the committee process. But ten Democratic senators had declared their intention to support new Iran legislation after March 24, and not before, as negotiations continue toward a political framework agreement on the nuclear program by that week. Several of those penned a letter to McConnell on Wednesday, condemning the move.
"On a day defined by serious discourse about Iran's illicit nuclear weapons program, at a moment when legislators are contemplating the most serious national security issue of our time, we are disappointed that you have proceeded outside of regular order which suggests that the goal of this maneuver is to score partisan political points," the letter reads. "We will only vote for this bill after it has gone through the regular mark-up process in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee," they continue, "and after the March 24th deadline for the political framework agreement." Notably, the ten Democratic signatories commit their support after the March deadline, bringing support for the bill at that point up to 64 senators— assuming the Republican caucus votes en masse in favor.
While the bill would allow members of Congress to vote in favor or against an agreement, getting to "no" will be a challenging process. The initial vote to pass this current bill will ultimately require the support of two out of three members of Congress, since US President Barack Obama has vowed to veto it. Should supporters of the bill succeed, a second vote against the deal itself would require a similar coalition.
That support will be impossible to achieve should the process be handled in a partisan way, says Senator Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), who staunchly opposes the president's proposal to Iran and favors Netanyahu's position.
“I am more than disappointed. I’m outraged," Menendez said on the Senate floor, upon learning of McConnell's move. "I said just last night – and again this morning – that I have joined Chairman Corker and Senators [Lindsey] Graham and [Tim] Kaine – along with Senators [Joe] Donnelly, [Heidi] Heitkamp, [Angus] King, [Bill] Nelson, [Kelly] Ayotte, [Marco] Rubio, [John] McCain, and [James] Risch – in introducing bipartisan oversight legislation to ensure that Congress has a chance to review the deal before it goes into effect and to oversee its compliance after it goes into effect."
"And now," he continued, "putting any bipartisanship aside, we are back to politics as usual. The only way to make this work is to work together." Corker also expressed hope that the committee process would proceed as planned, and suggested a markup next week— far sooner than anyone expected. But the tenets of the bill itself should invite bipartisan support, he said. “I would think anybody who ran for the United States Senate and cares about the big issues facing our nation would want to support this piece of legislation,” said Corker. “I think everyone in America should want the House and the Senate to weigh in on this most important agreement that may be reached, and I’m glad we’re going to have the opportunity to do so.”
Following up on the developments, Corker added that he looks "forward to working through the committee process to build additional support, so that Congress has the ability to weigh in on behalf of the American people on one of the greatest national security issues of our time."Democrats in agreement with the principles of the bill may nevertheless stand in opposition, in fear of breaking with the White House, which considers a deal with Iran its primary foreign policy goal.
Speaking with The Jerusalem Post after Netanyahu's address, former House speaker Newt Gingrich said he believed the speech had the effect of consolidating bipartisan support against the deal in its current form. But one of his successors, Nancy Pelosi (D-California), disagreed. "As one who values the US–Israel relationship," she said, "I was near tears throughout the prime minister’s speech– saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States as part of the P5+1 nations, and saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran."

US challenges Israel to sharpen alternative path on Iranian nuclear negotiations
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal to Congress on a holistic approach in talks with Iran over its aggressive behavior is “not in any way a realistic alternative,” the Obama administration said on Wednesday.
Iran changing “everything under the sun in an ideal world” cannot be the negotiating position of the United States, State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said, questioned by The Jerusalem Post.
Harf was responding to the prime minister’s assertion to the contrary once he landed back in Israel. His address on Tuesday was his third to a joint meeting of the US legislature.
“After my short visit to the United States, I return to Israel knowing that many around the world heard what Israel has to say about the impending deal with Iran,” he said in a statement messaged to reporters who were traveling on his airplane.
“In my speech before the Congress, I presented a practical alternative, which would impose tougher restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program, extending Iran’s breakout time by years,” he said.
In the speech, Netanyahu said world powers should not treat Iran “like a normal country” until it “acts like a normal country,” listing its support for terrorism around the world, its aggression against its neighbors and its many calls for Israel’s annihilation.
But “that’s a wholly unrealistic and, frankly, simplistic argument,” Harf said.
While Netanyahu challenged the US to extend the “breakout” time Iran would require to acquire enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon, he did not specify how much time would satisfy his government.
“I would love for him to [do so],” Harf said.
She also said specific, “point-by-point” concerns have been addressed in a classified setting.
In his statement, Netanyahu said that he heard “encouraging responses from both Democrats and Republicans. They understood that the current proposal would lead to a bad deal and that the alternative is a better deal.”
Before leaving Washington on Tuesday afternoon, and immediately after his address to Congress, the prime minister held a meeting with a group of Senate leaders, including some Democrats – such as Illinois’s Richard Durbin and California’s Dianne Feinstein – who were very critical of his decision to address Congress.
For instance, Feinstein took strong issue with Netanyahu saying before heading for the US that he felt like an emissary for the Jewish people. She said that was a “rather arrogant statement.”
Netanyahu thanked both sides of the aisle for giving him the opportunity to articulate Israel’s concern about what may be “the most important issues of our days.”
He said that he was very moved by the attention and the response to his speech from members of both parties, and that it was clear to him and everyone in the hall that there is strong bipartisan support for Israel.
Netanyahu said that it is likely that Congress will influence, and perhaps determine, the fate of the agreement with Iran.
Meanwhile, in the Twitter- sphere, Netanyahu’s speech with the hashtag #Netanyahu- Speech generated 6,800 tweets a minute toward the end of the 45-minute address. When he entered the House of Representatives to begin speaking, the same hashtag generated some 1,700 tweets a minute.

Despite Netanyahu's efforts in DC, Iran's Zarif says nuclear deal could be close
By MICHAEL WILNER/03/05/2015
WASHINGTON – Negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program forged ahead this week in Montreux, Switzerland, despite a plea from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for Western diplomats to change course.
In an interview with NBC News on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said negotiators "are very close" to a comprehensive nuclear agreement. Iran is negotiating with the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany toward a March 31 deadline for a political framework agreement on the nuclear issue.
But Zarif also cautioned his interviewer, Ann Curry, that key details still remain unresolved.
"We believe that we are very close, very close, and we could be very far," Zarif said. "We are very close if the political decision can be made to get to yes, as President Obama said."
Zarif held some 10 hours of meetings with his US counterpart, Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday.
Officials in Washington broke slightly from Zarif’s assessment: “I think there are a lot of sticking points in the talks,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said on Wednesday.
“There are still significant gaps and important choices that need to be made,” Kerry told reporters.
While neither the secretary of state nor the foreign minister said he watched Netanyahu’s address to Congress on Tuesday, Kerry nevertheless spoke to essential points of the speech, in which the prime minister warned against a deal that would guarantee the normalization of Iran as a nuclear-capable state.
“For all the objections that any country has to Iranian activities in the region – and believe me, we have objections and others in the world have objections – the first step is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Kerry said.
He said politics and external factors would not distract from the talks, in which the Western parties aim to constrain Iran with intrusive UN access and verification of its nuclear activity and lengthen the “breakout” time needed for it to build a nuclear weapon.
“No one has presented a more viable, lasting alternative for how you actually prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” Kerry continued. “So folks, simply demanding that Iran capitulate is not a plan.
And nor would any of our P5+1 partners support us in that position.”
In a daily briefing with reporters, Harf said that reaching a nuclear deal would not automatically remove use of force from the array of Washington’s options in handling the nuclear issue.
“If there is noncompliance of any kind... we reserve every option to act at that point,” she said. “All options remain on the table.”
Speaking in response to Netanyahu's speech to Congress, Zarif repeated in the interview to NBC his assertion that Iran does not seek nuclear weapons.
"Once we reach that understanding, once this hysteria is out, once this fearmongering is out, then we can have a deal, and a deal that is not going to hurt anybody," he said.
Reuters contributed to this report.

Dealing with a Bad Iranian Nuclear Agreement
James F. Jeffrey/Washington Institute
March 4, 2015
Whether by advocating careful congressional action or simply waiting until a new administration is in place, those who question the president's apparent Iran strategy will have several means of correcting course once an agreement is signed.
The Obama administration and the rest of the P5+1 will likely agree soon on a limited-duration agreement with Iran that aims to provide around one year of warning time before any breakout to nuclear weapons capability -- a deal that Israel and many other regional states would view as a victory for the Islamic Republic and an eventual danger to all. In that case, the administration would likely face a multifaceted crisis with Israel and other allies, with Congress, and with an Iran whose intentions remain opaque. Despite the inevitable rhetorical fireworks on all sides, however, the situation is too serious for partisanship -- it requires serious thought about what to do and not do. Two components require particular attention: the consequences of a nuclear agreement whose details have been sufficiently leaked to provide considerable clarity, and the consequences of possible White House and Iranian interest in a better bilateral relationship, which the administration may see as a potential stabilizer for the region even if no one else does.
If the administration signs an agreement with Iran, Congress or regional allies can do little to force it to back down. Nor should anyone try. The United States depends on a modicum of international law and smooth relations with key international players to run the global security system that protects us all. Once any administration enters into an international agreement -- particularly with important states such as P5+1 partners Britain, China, France, Russia, and Germany -- there are compelling arguments to stick with it absent breach of faith.
While Congress must be consulted on any agreement, the administration and the P5+1 states can lift UN sanctions against Iran on their own authority, while the president can invoke the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to waive or suspend the most important U.S. sanctions -- those penalizing third-country purchases of Iranian oil -- on national security grounds. Sanctions relief will apparently be step-by-step in the proposed deal, so a presidential waiver rather than final congressional cancellation would presumably be sufficient for Iran at first. Other U.S. sanctions, mainly involving bilateral trade, require congressional approval to lift and are unlikely to be suspended anytime soon, since they were imposed due to Iran's support of terrorism as much as its nuclear activities. Yet these measures are not particularly damaging to Iran, so the regime may well accept their being deferred. In short, active congressional support would not be required to sign and implement a nuclear agreement, at least during the Obama administration.
Of course Congress could take action to torpedo an agreement, either with new sanctions or by stripping the president of waiver authority. That would be a terrible mistake, however. Although the president could veto these actions or, if overruled, fudge compliance, such a scenario would raise doubts about whether the agreement would survive under the next president. Even if said impasse were resolved, it would devastate the foreign policy authority essential for every president. Furthermore, if Congress seeks to hurt Iran with new sanctions, it would have to target the regime's third-country trade and finances. The willingness of those countries to support extraterritorial U.S. law was stretched with the NDAA, and they would almost certainly resist new sanctions when Iran is seen as complying.
What then can the United States do to generate faith in such an agreement, both at home and abroad? In a recent Washington Post article, Dennis Ross laid out sensible steps to enhance confidence. The problem is that this administration may not follow them. But Congress can take steps of its own which, given the not-too-distant U.S. presidential election, will be taken seriously.
First, it can review the agreement once reached, and it can keep suspended/waived sanctions in place until it is satisfied with the terms or Iran's compliance.
Second, it can closely study the question of military action against Iran. Although keeping all options on the table is the White House's stated policy, it has little credibility because the administration constantly describes any U.S. military action as "war," deliberately conjuring up fears of a new Iraq-like quagmire. Obviously any attack on Iran would be more dangerous today than the last conflict in 1987-1988. But it almost certainly would not involve U.S. ground troops, the prime generator of casualties, costs, and risks. And while the administration tends to emphasize Iran's formidable asymmetrical capabilities in any conflict scenario, including terrorism and missile attacks on Israel, this focus ignores America's significant "escalation dominance" and consequent ability to retaliate against the very sinews of Iran's command and infrastructure. Also open to question is the argument that attacking Iran's nuclear facilities is all but useless because the regime would supposedly rebuild quickly and then be even more motivated to achieve nuclear weapons status -- during the Saddam Hussein era, for example, the United States and Israel repeatedly struck Iraq until he eventually gave up his quest for weapons of mass destruction. The result of all this is that the U.S. military "stick" has thus far been deterring the United States instead of Iran.
Third, as Dennis Ross suggests, Congress could provide advance authorization for the administration to use force if Iran races to a weapons capability. This would enhance U.S. credibility and give Tehran a clear reason for sticking to the agreement.
A great deal of circumstantial evidence has emerged indicating that the administration hopes to use a nuclear agreement as leverage for "flipping" Iran into a "status quo" state or even a partner in promoting stability. Unlike with a nuclear agreement, there is no stated administration commitment here, and the just-released National Security Strategy does not address the possibility. But the administration has been hinting strongly at this intent, as former U.S. official Michael Doran described in a February 2 article in Mosaic.
Such an approach would of course dramatically shift the regional security architecture: for the better if Iran supports international order, and dramatically for the worse if an unleashed Iran pursues hegemony without a U.S. counter. Smart betting should be on the latter. In his 2012 book Iranian Nuclear Crisis, Hossein Mousavian -- a moderate Iranian close to President Hassan Rouhani -- argued that any detente with Washington should include U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Persian Gulf, an end to U.S. weapons deliveries to Gulf states, "weakening" of Israel, and a regional security arrangement tantamount to Iranian dominance. Such views are hardly surprising given that Tehran is currently pursuing this very approach around the region.
The recent history of other would-be regional hegemons tells the same story, from Putin's Russia to Saddam's Iraq to Milosevic's Serbia. Even China, the supposed paragon of "flipping" success, unfortunately falls into this category. President Nixon's gambit to shore up America and China against a resurgent Soviet Union was tactically brilliant, but from a strategic standpoint the results are sobering -- China has not been won over to a liberal, status quo role, a fact that becomes ever more apparent as its power grows.
Ironically, the arguments of many experts pushing for detente with Iran sound similar to those of the "China Hands" that ring hollow today. According to this line of thinking, if Iran is China, then the "Islamic States"/ISIS is the Soviet Union that Washington hopes to partner against. This is absurd -- ISIS is not a threat comparable to the USSR, and apart from encouraging the Iraqi government, Iran cannot make any contribution to the fight against the jihadist group. For one thing, the regime's theological principles resemble those of the terrorists it would fight, as Henry Kissinger noted in his 2014 book World Order. Second, any Iranian bid to take on Sunni militants in their own lands would split the anti-ISIS coalition and likely spark a Sunni-Shiite regional conflagration.
What then to do about this apparent administration desire for condominium with Iran? If this is not the president's intent, he can put concerns to rest by more forceful containment of Iran regionally -- which would also strengthen support for a nuclear agreement. Fortunately, even if condominium with Tehran is his intent, he will have little opportunity to carry it out in the short time he has left in office. Unlike outreach to China, there is little popular or political enthusiasm for such an arrangement with Iran, and the administration has not even begun to convince the public of Tehran's alleged potential as a stabilizer. Even usually reliable Obama supporters have evinced skepticism on this front, such as Eugene Robinson in a February 26 Washington Post op-ed.
If the president is somehow right about Iran, then the next administration will presumably recognize this and reinforce his efforts. If, however, Iran continues its destabilizing ways, the next administration will still have the tools to contain it once again, despite damaged U.S. credibility. The latter approach might not be the most heroic route for opponents of the administration's policy, but it has the benefit of relying on democracy and the "strategic patience" President Obama often extols to rectify grievous errors.
**James Jeffrey is the Philip Solondz Distinguished Visiting Fellow at The Washington Institute.