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Posts tagged ‘Iran’

Police Nationwide Are Using Secret Cell Phone Intercept Device Called Stingray.


Police nationwide may be listening in on phone calls or reading text messages to find suspects thanks to a device called Stingray – but they’re refusing to reveal details about its use.

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Law enforcement officials say Stingray, a suitcase-size device that pretends it’s a cell tower, is useful for catching criminals, but that’s about all they’ll say.

For example, they won’t disclose details about contracts with the device’s top manufacturer, Harris Corp., insisting they are protecting both police tactics and commercial secrets.

The secrecy — at times imposed by non-disclosure agreements signed by police — is pitting obligations under private contracts against government transparency laws.

Even in states with strong open records laws, including Florida and Arizona, little is known about police use of Stingray and any rules governing it.

A Stingray device tricks all cellphones in an area into electronically identifying themselves and transmitting data to police rather than the nearest phone company’s tower.

Because documents about Stingrays are regularly censored, it’s not immediately clear what information the devices could capture, such as the contents of phone conversations and text messages, what they routinely do capture based on how they’re configured or how often they might be used. source – Daily Mail UK

by NTEB News Desk

Obama’s NSA Has A ‘Time Machine’ Voice Interception Program Called MYSTIC.


Washington Post: The National Security Agency has built a surveillance system capable of recording “100 percent” of a foreign country’s telephone calls, enabling the agency to rewind and review conversations as long as a month after they take place, according to people with direct knowledge of the effort and documents supplied by former contractor Edward Snowden.

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A senior manager for the program compares it to a time machine — one that can replay the voices from any call without requiring that a person be identified in advance for surveillance.

The voice interception program, called MYSTIC, began in 2009. Its RETRO tool, short for “retrospective retrieval,” and related projects reached full capacity against the first target nation in 2011. Planning documents two years later anticipated similar operations elsewhere.

In the initial deployment, collection systems are recording “every single” conversation nationwide, storing billions of them in a 30-day rolling buffer that clears the oldest calls as new ones arrive, according to a classified summary.

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Bulk methods capture massive data flows “without the use of discriminants,” as President Obama put it in January. By design, they vacuum up all the data they touch — meaning that most of the conversations collected by RETRO would be irrelevant to U.S. national security interests.

The call buffer opens a door “into the past,” the summary says, enabling users to “retrieve audio of interest that was not tasked at the time of the original call.” Analysts listen to only a fraction of 1 percent of the calls, but the absolute numbers are high. Each month, they send millions of voice clippings, or “cuts,” for processing and long-term storage. source – Washington Post.

by NTEB News Desk

Morale Problems Plague CIA’s Iran Division.


The CIA division responsible for tracking Iranian affairs has been in disarray due to clashes between analysts and their chief, the Los Angeles Times reported. The agency has suspended the chief with pay over what are characterized as workplace issues.

Jonathan Bank, head of Iran operations, and a former Islamabad station chief, was told to stay home in the wake of an internal investigation, which established that his managerial approach had created an intimidating and inhospitable work environment, the Times reported.

Bank is a senior intelligence operative responsible for coordinating espionage on Iran, including its nuclear program. The Iran division has reportedly been torn apart by acrimony over Bank’s managerial methods. Some essential analysts have asked to be transferred.

“Iran is one of [our] most important targets, and the place was not functioning,” a former official told the Times.

In 2010, Pakistani intelligence reportedly leaked Bank’s name while he was CIA station chief in Islamabad. Among his previous assignments, Bank held a senior position in the agency’s clandestine service.

CIA spokesman Dean Boyd, while not commenting specifically on the Bank case, said,  “As a general matter, the CIA expects managers at all levels to demonstrate leadership skills and foster an environment that helps their employees perform at the highest levels to achieve agency objectives. Whenever that doesn’t happen, we examine the situation carefully and take appropriate action.”

Management issues have recently been a chronic problem at the agency.

In July 2013, the Times reported that while the CIA has a generally low turnover, management issues had driven accomplished CIA personnel from the agency.

Related Stories:

 

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Elliot Jager

5 Tips for Dads to Lead and Equip Your Kids in a Sexualized Culture.


Dan Martin

The cold and blustery conditions outside this morning as I write this post remind me of one of the most memorable and precious times I’ve had as a father. It was 14 years ago when my now 21-year-old son was 7. We were living in Springfield, Missouri in a house that sat perched on a hill with a long driveway leading up to it. 12 inches of snow had fallen the night before preceded by rain, leaving a thick layer of ice underneath the snow.

Our job that day, and for the two days after that, was to clear our driveway. Schools and businesses were closed so we had a rare and unique opportunity to hang out together for hours. I felt this was the perfect time to introduce my son to the wonderful and mysterious subject of sex. My own father had neglected to have these types of conversations with me and I was determined to take this initiative with my kids; not a one-time talk, but rather, an on-going dialogue for the rest of their lives. So, as we embarked on the long and tiring task of clearing that driveway, I began to unfold the story, the wonder, and the biology of sex to my son.

I explained to him that God speaks about sex positively and frequently from Genesis to Revelation beginning with our creation as sexual beings (Genesis 1:27), and that God blessed the sexual union between a husband and wife from the outset (Genesis 1:28; 2:24). AtpureHOPE, we sum up the meaning of sex as “The Four P’s” which may help guide your conversations. I would also encourage you to study these and other verses related to sexuality.

Pleasure – Yes, we need to inform our kids that God intended sex to be pleasurable (Song of Solomon 7:6-10).

Procreation – God blessed the sexual union of a husband and wife and instructed them to be fruitful and increase in number (Genesis 1:28).

Protection – Ongoing sexual intimacy between a husband and wife strengthens their relationship and guards against temptations outside of the marriage (1 Corinthians 7:3-5).

Proclamation – Fidelity in marriage proclaims the faithfulness and steadfast love of Jesus for his Church (Ephesians 5:25-32). The story of sex is ultimately the story of God’s love for his people.

It is always fascinating to me as I tell that story of my conversation with my 7 year old the reactions that I get. Some are appalled that I would start so young. Others, as if to acknowledge their identification with my story of not having had these conversations with their Dad, affirm that they wish someone had talked to them that early.

I do not claim to know the best age for you to begin having these conversations with your kids, I just know that too many of us either wait too long to start or never start at all. So, I would like to suggest some helpful tips to inspire you to jump into this topic:

1. Be Proactive. Ask yourself this question: “When does our culture begin talking to our kids about sex?” Sex education is happening today with my kids and with your kids. We can either make the choice to join in on the conversation or let the culture do all the talking.

2. Be Intentional. These conversations rarely just happen. These conversations are rarely comfortable. We must make a plan and be willing to engage with our kids purposefully when it comes to their sexuality and God’s “better story” of sex.

3. Be Available. We need to become our kids’ go-to person when it comes to questions about sex. Kids are curious and they will get the answers they are looking for – would you rather be that person or leave it to their friends, the media, or Hollywood? Let your kids know that they can always ask you any question, that they will never be in trouble for asking you questions, and that you will always be honest with them.

4. Be Vulnerable. So many Dads hesitate to talk with their kids about this issue because of shame or guilt over their own past sexual mistakes. Many Dads fear this question from their kids: “How did you do, Dad?” It has been helpful to share with my kids that I made some mistakes. There are some things that I did that were wrong and led to consequences and pain in my life that I want to help them avoid. I also serve a Redeemer, who forgives me and restores me. Our love for our kids motivates us to guide them to learn from our mistakes and to let them know that if and when they make mistakes that God is a God of forgiveness and grace and that he redeems and restores! 1 John 3:3 tells us that he (Jesus) is the one who is purifying us. If we have a relationship with him then it is he who will make us pure.

5. Be Persuasive. Our culture tells a story of sex to our kids. It is estimated that our kids are subjected to 14,000 sexualized messages every year from various media sources. Our culture is loud and persuasive when it comes to telling their story. We must counter that story with God’s better story: his story of sex.

Dads, be encouraged! You have what it takes because God has given us his Holy Spirit who will help us have these conversations. You have the better story to tell. Tell it loudly, tell it often and tell it with confidence. We need this generation to embrace God’s story of sex and it will only happen if we step up and engage our kids in these conversations.

Check out purehope.net for more ideas or to download a free copy of our booklet: Parenting in a Sexualized Culture.

Dan Martin is the Director of Parenting for pureHOPE and speaks to thousands of parents every year on the topic of biblical sexuality and how to equip kids to pursue purity amidst a sexualized culture. Dan and his wife, Kathie, live in the Dallas area and have three children.

 

 

Pete Hoekstra: What Happens in Ukraine Doesn’t Stay in Ukraine.


Russia has invaded Ukraine militarily and electronically. Already strained, P5 plus 1 negotiations over Iran’s nuclear weapons programs are breaking down.

Examined in isolation they would appear to be international outliers existing separately in their own vacuums. But are they really?

Not at all. What happens in Ukraine doesn’t stay in Ukraine.

What happens in Iran doesn’t stay in Iran. Events in the two countries are in fact closely intertwined.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has always resented the collapse of the Soviet Union and harbors ambitions in which he absorbs the breakaway sovereign satellite states – such as Ukraine – to once again become a global superpower.

At the same time, a defiant Iran continues to advance its nuclear weapons programs, expand its sphere of influence, extend its support of global terror, build its ballistic missile stockpile, and grow its cyber capabilities.

Both Russia and Iran have significant global aspirations and view the United States as the biggest obstacle to achieving their goals. Recent events have pushed Russia and Iran closer together, which will result in dangerous consequences for the United States.

Russia always had very few reasons to support the West during negotiations over lifting sanctions on Iran in exchange for halting its nuclear weapons program. It now has no reason to support the coalition given its aggression in Ukraine against strong Western opposition.

The nuclear talks with Iran will now inevitably fail without Russian support, and there will be no hope of re-imposing sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Events in Ukraine will provide Iran with a significant amount of time to further work on its nuclear weapons program and build upon an already well-developed cyber capability.

The cyber capability may be the most troubling. Cyber reaches globally and crosses borders effortlessly. It can cause massive damage and is difficult to attribute.

Only a few years ago most experts rated Iran at tier two or tier three in its cyber capabilities. Today, with Russian assistance, Iran has closed the gap significantly and ranks closely behind tier one cyber powers such as the United States, China, and Israel. Experts are not only surprised, but they are perplexed at how Iran could have made up so much ground so quickly.

Iran’s cyber warfare program is now sophisticated enough to have carried out attacks on major U.S. financial institutions and penetrate into an unclassified U.S. Navy computer network that reportedly took four months to resolve.

Russia will continue its support for Iran’s aspirations of having a world class cyber warfare capability, both offensive and defensive.

Russia will also continue to extend its own global sphere of influence by antagonizing its neighbors and by moving into a perceived vacuum in Middle Eastern affairs created in part by Syria’s brutal civil war. Russia and Iran have long been suspected of sending weapons and other support to the Bashar al-Assad as the civilian death toll mounts.

The national security calculus for the United States is changing dramatically. It has at its core a developing relationship between Russia and Iran, an Iran with its nuclear program, terrorism support competencies intact, and a tier one cyber capability: none of which bodes well for the United States or the West.

Recent events should teach us that we cannot view any development in isolation, that it would be wise to consider the unintended consequences of any action or inaction.

What happens in Ukraine doesn’t stay in Ukraine. It can have ripple effects that alter the national security map around the world.

Pete Hoekstra is the former Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and the Shillman Senior Fellow with the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Pete Hoekstra

Praying For His Ever Transforming Power Of Change Upon Our Lives.


O Lord, Our God, I join my brothers and sisters in agreement and we call upon You to show us every strong places in our minds, where satan has kept us from seeing the truth of Your revelation and Father, we beseech Thee to tear these strongholds down and destroy everything that hinders us from being just like You, we ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen, Amen and Amen.

Lord Jesus, we praise You for the abudant lives You have giving us, we long to hear Your Voice and seek Your Face for the rest of our days in Jesus Name. Amen and we call upon Holy Spirit to lead us into lifestyles of abudant and kingdom living, we pray in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.

Great Teacher, King Jesus, we call upon You to take away from us every inaccurate and distorted images of You and Great Revealer, reveal  the truth of Your holiness to us, give us grace to embrace and live by it for the rest of our days in Jesus Victorious Name, we pray. Amen, Amen and Amen.

Giver of Guaranteed and Longlasting Change, God of Jacob, You made everythings new for him, do same for us, make us new creation by the power of Your Spirit, destroy every old things out of our lives and make everything new for us and  we declear that by Your grace upon our lives, we will always seek You with all our hearts, refusing to let go until we have been forever changed in every aspects of our lives to Your glory, we ask this, receive and claim it over our lives in Jesus Transforming Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.

 

Syrian Muslims Force Christians To Sign Covenant, Convert To Islam Or Face Death.


 

In case you were wondering, these Syrian Islamists who are terrorizing, torturing and murdering Syria’s Christians are the very same Muslim “freedom fighters” that Obama says we stand behind and support. How you like them apples?

Haaretz: For the first time in many generations, a dhimma (protection agreement) was signed between the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) – an Islamist branch of Al-Qaida – and leaders of Raqqa’s several thousand Christians. Members of ISIS gave the latter three options: accepting the agreement, converting to Islam, or risking death.

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The Syrian Muslims who are torturing Syria’s Christians are the Obama-support “freedom fighters”. Now you know why he supports them. Click image to see more from Obama’s buddies.

 

According to the 12 clauses in the accord, the Christians will commit to pay a twice-yearly poll tax of “four gold dinars” – which at today’s rate, comes to about $500 per person – with the exception that members of the middle class will pay half this amount, and the poor will pay a quarter of it, on condition they do not conceal their true financial situation.

The agreement permits the Christians to follow their religious practices, but they are prohibited from building new churches or rebuilding destroyed ones.

Furthermore, the accord states that Christians may not prevent members of their community from embracing Islam if they so desire. They are forbidden from bearing arms, from engaging in commerce involving pork with Muslims, and from acting against Muslim interests – for example, by giving shelter to spies or persons wanted by ISIS. Moreover, if Christians learn of a plot against the Islamic State, they must report it.

In return, the Christians are to be granted protection of life and property, but should they violate the terms presented, this protection is revoked.

The agreement is based on and accompanied by citations from Koranic texts and Islamic religious rulings, and includes threats and warnings which make it abundantly clear that ISIS is the dominant force to reckon with.

This is a model that the radical organizations seek to impose on all of Syria – a concept that strikes fear not just among Syrian Christians, but even among Sunni Muslim organizations not known for their ideological moderation. source – Haaretz.

by NTEB News Desk

Netanyahu Rouses Supporters as Obama Presses for Compromise.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will rally thousands of his country’s most passionate U.S. advocates today after President Barack Obama coaxed him at the White House to compromise with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu addresses the annual Washington conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee as a deadline looms on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s nine-month Middle East peace campaign. Kerry is pressing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Netanyahu to accept by April 29 a structure that would guide further negotiations.

At yesterday’s meeting in the Oval Office, Netanyahu, 64, told Obama he will “stand strong against criticism, against pressure, stand strong to secure the future of the one and only Jewish state.”

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

Obama, 52, who visited Netanyahu and Abbas on a Middle East tour a year ago, is inserting himself more directly into the peace talks as Kerry hits resistance from both sides. Abbas has been invited for his own White House meeting March 17. A week later, Obama is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia, which has leverage over the Palestinians.

“It’s my belief that ultimately it is still possible to create two states, a Jewish state of Israel and a state of Palestine in which people are living side by side in peace and security,” Obama said. “But it’s difficult and it requires compromise on all sides.”

Netanyahu’s Response

Netanyahu responded that “Israel has been doing its part and I regret to say that the Palestinians have not.”

Kerry, who attended the White House meeting, later spoke at the AIPAC conference, where he pledged U.S. military expertise and technology to protect Israel against any threats.

“We can deliver to Israel the security that Israel needs to make peace,” Kerry said.

If Kerry’s peace effort fails, it won’t be “the end of the world,” Palestinian official Nabil Shaath said yesterday in a speech at Tel Aviv University, broadcast on Israel Radio. Shaath said that talks could continue with Kerry’s framework agreement if Israel agrees to free more Palestinian prisoners and freeze building in settlements.

‘Seize the Moment’

Obama said in a Feb. 27 interview with Bloomberg View columnist Jeffrey Goldberg that time is running out to reach an Israeli-Palestinian agreement. He urged Netanyahu to “seize the moment.”

If Netanyahu “does not believe that a peace deal with the Palestinians is the right thing to do for Israel, then he needs to articulate an alternative approach,” Obama said. “It’s hard to come up with one that’s plausible.”

For Israel, the more pressing concern is Iran’s nuclear program, which was the other topic dominating their discussion. The U.S. and five other world powers have a six-month agreement with Iran, to end in July, during which the Islamic Republic is supposed to freeze some of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from some sanctions.

“Iran calls openly for Israel’s destruction, so I’m sure you’ll appreciate that Israel cannot permit such a state to have the ability to make atomic bombs to achieve that goal,” Netanyahu said to reporters at the White House during his appearance with Obama.

Israel has expressed skepticism about the negotiations, and warned against the U.S. getting played by the Iranians. Netanyahu may have limited ability to enlist the U.S. Congress in keeping pressure on Iran.

A senior Palestinian official said differences with Israel have widened in the latest round of peace talks.

Israeli Skepticism

“It isn’t narrowing,” Mohammad Shtayyeh, who negotiated on behalf of Abbas until November, said Feb. 27 at his office in Ramallah.

Obama’s decision to engage in the peace process a year after he delegated the work to Kerry suggests both that Kerry got further than the White House initially predicted in restarting peace talks and that the top U.S. diplomat has run into enough obstacles that his April deadline may be in trouble.

“This framework is more than a speed bump, it is a critical piece,” said Aaron David Miller, a former Mideast peace negotiator now at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. “Why not strategically deploy the president?”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, has blocked efforts by some lawmakers to bring new sanctions legislation up for consideration, and Obama has said he would veto any such measure should it get through Congress.

Ahead of the policy conference at AIPAC, the biggest pro- Israel lobbying group, Senate Republicans on Feb. 26 announced a new effort to try to force votes on new sanctions legislation by attaching language to popular legislation for veterans’ benefits. While AIPAC earlier called for new sanctions, it has backed away from that position.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

VIDEO: Muslims Set Police Station On Fire In Jerusalem, Burn Star Of David Near Temple Mount.


Jerusalem Arabs set ablaze a police station next to the Lions’ Gate in the capital’s Old City on Wednesday. Aryeh King, nationalist Jerusalem city councilman and member of the municipality’s Emergency and Security Committee, was present at the attack and managed to document it. According to King, police officers fled the scene.

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CLICK IMAGE TO WATCH THIS VIDEO NOW

“Unfortunately the prime minister is instructing the authorities to avoid eastern Jerusalem, and these are the results,” charged King. “Last night the funeral of a terrorist was held there, they marched from the Mount of Olives towards the Lions’ Gate attacking everything in their path and didn’t let Jews pass,” reported King. He adds that once the group arrived at Lions’ Gate they burned the police station.

King, who lives in Maaleh Zeitim on the Mount of Olives, noted that the incident merely highlights an endemic failure of the capital’s security. “The security in eastern Jerusalem is abandoned, women don’t dare go to the mikveh (ritual bath) in Armon Hanatziv, in Park Hamesilah next to Beit Tzafafa people are robbed in broad daylight,” commented King. The Jerusalem councilman added that Arab residents “build wherever they want,” without enforcement of the building laws. source – PamelaGeller.com

Obama Threatens Netanyahu, Demands Israel Make Peace Or Face Isolation.


When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the White House tomorrow, President Barack Obama will tell him that his country could face a bleak future — one of international isolation and demographic disaster — if he refuses to endorse a U.S.-drafted framework agreement for peace with the Palestinians. Obama will warn Netanyahu that time is running out for Israel as a Jewish-majority democracy. And the president will make the case that Netanyahu, alone among Israelis, has the strength and political credibility to lead his people away from the precipice.

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In an hourlong interview Thursday in the Oval Office, Obama, borrowing from the Jewish sage Rabbi Hillel, told me that his message to Netanyahu will be this: “If not now, when? And if not you, Mr. Prime Minister, then who?” He then took a sharper tone, saying that if Netanyahu “does not believe that a peace deal with the Palestinians is the right thing to do for Israel, then he needs to articulate an alternative approach.” He added, “It’s hard to come up with one that’s plausible.”

Unlike Netanyahu, Obama will not address the annual convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group, this week — the administration is upset with Aipac for, in its view, trying to subvert American-led nuclear negotiations with Iran. In our interview, the president, while broadly supportive of Israel and a close U.S.-Israel relationship, made statements that would be met at an Aipac convention with cold silence.

Obama was blunter about Israel’s future than I’ve ever heard himHis language was striking, but of a piece with observations made in recent months by his secretary of state, John Kerry, who until this interview, had taken the lead in pressuring both Netanyahu and the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, to agree to a framework deal. Obama made it clear that he views Abbas as the most politically moderate leader the Palestinians may ever have. It seemed obvious to me that the president believes that the next move is Netanyahu’s.

There comes a point where you can’t manage this anymore, and then you start having to make very difficult choices,” Obama said. “Do you resign yourself to what amounts to a permanent occupation of the West Bank? Is that the character of Israel as a state for a long period of time? Do you perpetuate, over the course of a decade or two decades, more and more restrictive policies in terms of Palestinian movement? Do you place restrictions on Arab-Israelis in ways that run counter to Israel’s traditions?”

During the interview, which took place a day before the Russian military incursion into Ukraine, Obama argued that American adversaries, such as Iran, Syria and Russia itself, still believe that he is capable of using force to advance American interests, despite his reluctance to strike Syria last year after President Bashar al-Assad crossed Obama’s chemical-weapons red line.

“We’ve now seen 15 to 20 percent of those chemical weapons on their way out of Syria with a very concrete schedule to get rid of the rest,” Obama told me. “That would not have happened had the Iranians said, ‘Obama’s bluffing, he’s not actually really willing to take a strike.’ If the Russians had said, ‘Ehh, don’t worry about it, all those submarines that are floating around your coastline, that’s all just for show.’ Of course they took it seriously! That’s why they engaged in the policy they did.”

I returned to this particularly sensitive subject. “Just to be clear,” I asked, “You don’t believe the Iranian leadership now thinks that your ‘all options are on the table’ threat as it relates to their nuclear program — you don’t think that they have stopped taking that seriously?”

Obama answered: “I know they take it seriously.”

How do you know? I asked. “We have a high degree of confidence that when they look at 35,000 U.S. military personnel in the region that are engaged in constant training exercises under the direction of a president who already has shown himself willing to take military action in the past, that they should take my statements seriously,” he replied. “And the American people should as well, and the Israelis should as well, and the Saudis should as well.”

I asked the president if, in retrospect, he should have provided more help to Syria’s rebels earlier in their struggle. “I think those who believe that two years ago, or three years ago, there was some swift resolution to this thing had we acted more forcefully, fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the conflict in Syria and the conditions on the ground there,” Obama said. “When you have a professional army that is well-armed and sponsored by two large states who have huge stakes in this, and they are fighting against a farmer, a carpenter, an engineer who started out as protesters and suddenly now see themselves in the midst of a civil conflict — the notion that we could have, in a clean way that didn’t commit U.S. military forces, changed the equation on the ground there was never true.”

He portrayed his reluctance to involve the U.S. in the Syrian civil war as a direct consequence of what he sees as America’s overly militarized engagement in the Muslim world: “There was the possibility that we would have made the situation worse rather than better on the ground, precisely because of U.S. involvement, which would have meant that we would have had the third, or, if you count Libya, the fourth war in a Muslim country in the span of a decade.”

Obama was adamant that he was correct to fight a congressional effort to impose more time-delayed sanctions on Iran just as nuclear negotiations were commencing: “There’s never been a negotiation in which at some point there isn’t some pause, some mechanism to indicate possible good faith,” he said. “Even in the old Westerns or gangster movies, right, everyone puts their gun down just for a second. You sit down, you have a conversation; if the conversation doesn’t go well, you leave the room and everybody knows what’s going to happen and everybody gets ready. But you don’t start shooting in the middle of the room during the course of negotiations.” He said he remains committed to keeping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and seemed unworried by reports that Iran’s economy is improving.

On the subject of Middle East peace, Obama told me that the U.S.’s friendship with Israel is undying, but he also issued what I took to be a veiled threat: The U.S., though willing to defend an isolated Israel at the United Nations and in other international bodies, might soon be unable to do so effectively.

“If you see no peace deal and continued aggressive settlement construction — and we have seen more aggressive settlement construction over the last couple years than we’ve seen in a very long time,” Obama said. “If Palestinians come to believe that the possibility of a contiguous sovereign Palestinian state is no longer within reach, then our ability to manage the international fallout is going to be limited.”

We also spent a good deal of time talking about the unease the U.S.’s Sunni Arab allies feel about his approach to Iran, their traditional adversary. I asked the president, “What is more dangerous: Sunni extremism or Shia extremism?”

I found his answer revelatory. He did not address the issue of Sunni extremism. Instead he argued in essence that the Shiite Iranian regime is susceptible to logic, appeals to self-interest and incentives.

“I’m not big on extremism generally,” Obama said. “I don’t think you’ll get me to choose on those two issues. What I’ll say is that if you look at Iranian behavior, they are strategic, and they’re not impulsive. They have a worldview, and they see their interests, and they respond to costs and benefits. And that isn’t to say that they aren’t a theocracy that embraces all kinds of ideas that I find abhorrent, but they’re not North Korea. They are a large, powerful country that sees itself as an important player on the world stage, and I do not think has a suicide wish, and can respond to incentives.”

This view puts him at odds with Netanyahu’s understanding of Iran. In an interview after he won the premiership, the Israeli leader described the Iranian leadership to me as “a messianic apocalyptic cult.”

I asked Obama if he understood why his policies make the leaders of Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries nervous: “I think that there are shifts that are taking place in the region that have caught a lot of them off guard,” he said. “I think change is always scary.” source – Bloomberg.

by NTEB News Desk

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