A decade ago, while the borders of the Middle East were relatively secure, Iran's ambition to be the dominant power in the Middle East was perhaps best served by obtaining a nuclear weapon. Today, Iran has troops in Iraq, its long-time foe. It has sent troops and aid to support rebels in Yemen allied with Iran.
That's why the deal is great for Iran--and a bad deal for everyone else. An ascendant Iran on the ground in the Middle East threatens all of its neighbors in ways well beyond the threat of a nuclear weapon. Each country will now have to enter a conventional arms race in addition to considering acquiring nuclear weapons.
Today, there is quite a different story. Iraq is a war zone with fungible borders. The same can be said of Yemen and Syria. All three countries may still appear on the map, but full control within their historic borders does not belong to their governments. Of course, we cannot forget that the Islamic State, or ISIS, has militarily created its own state within the region at the expense of some of those other states--and the ISIS state borders also are ill-defined and changing.
As Iran continues to negotiate a final agreement with the P5+1 over their nuclear program, we must be vigilant in ensuring that Iran does not use these talks as a tool to stall for time as progress continues with their enrichment process. Only when economic sanctions are both broadened and enforced, coupled with a credible military option, will an environment exist where negotiations can succeed. I support new sanctions that would go into effect if an acceptable final agreement is not reached, or if the Iranians violate the interim agreement. America must do everything possible to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.
Although Israel faces many threats today--from Hamas to Hezbollah to chaos in Syria and Egypt--the single gravest threat to both Israel's and America's security is an Iran with a nuclear weapon. Congress must remain in the process of detailing what a final solution would be, and strong sanctions need to continue should talks fail. A nuclear capable Iran must never happen.
While Sen. Lieu supports diplomacy, it must never be based on "trust." We cannot trust the current Iranian regime, which is controlled by an oppressive, theocratic, authoritarian government that continues to fund terrorists. All diplomacy with Iran on the nuclear issue must be based on verifiable, achievable objectives.
Q: Do you support a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan?
A: Yes. That "timetable" should be immediately! I believe the only legitimate mission in Afghanistan ended long ago and there is nothing to be gained - but much to lose - by delaying the withdrawal of our troops.
"It's time to bring our investments back home," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles said as he assumed the presidency of the mayors conference at its annual gathering, held in Baltimore. "We can't be building roads and bridges in Baghdad and Kandahar, and not in Baltimore and Kansas City."
The resolution could hardly be considered flamingly radical, not with its call to end the wars "as soon as strategically possible" and to withdraw American forces "in a measured way that does not destabilize the region." That's a far cry from, "Out--now!"
Indeed, "it reflects in large part what the president believes," Villaraigosa said.
"Tonight, Americans can be grateful that President Obama brought bin Laden to justice. Our friends as well as our adversaries throughout the world can be assured of America's resolve in combating terrorism and protecting the values of democracy and freedom."
He also talked about going to Israel and feeling so comfortable he could speak to his Israeli counterparts in “short-hand, the kind that develops among close and dear friends.” He traced this relationship to the basis of the alliance’s “democratic cooperation...a cooperation based on rules of law and democracy.”
Those were his most extensive public remarks on the Middle East. As Joint Chiefs chairman, Powell had a role in the growth of strategic cooperation between the United States and Israel, but he was not a catalyst.
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