February 20, 2009
Is there a sanctions shift coming toward Iran?By Ed Lasky
Barack Obama has extended an open hand to Iran. The hand was swatted away. Plan B? The candidate who at one time promised no preconditions to negotiating with Iran may very well be on the verge of applying a precondition on America that Iran would welcome: a shift on our sanctions policy toward that nation.
For many years, America has had in place sanctions that applied to various nations. These can be waived by the President or by the Commerce Department. The sanctioned nations have included Libya, Syria, and Iran. The Libyan sanctions were dropped as part of our rapprochement with Libya. Just two weeks ago, the Commerce Department ignored the sanctions on Syria and allowed Boeing to go ahead on a major overhaul of two 747 jetliners belonging to that nation's state-owned airline. Spare parts for airplanes have been an Achilles heel for nations that own American-made planes. They often depend on American manufacturers to supply them. They are crucial and a huge bargaining chip. Not anymore, apparently.
Now we have Hillary Clinton announcing that sanctions on Burma may be dropped:
Now an exercise in logic:
Replace the word "Burma" with "Iran". The same reasoning justifying the dropping of sanctions on Burma might also apply to the ending of sanctions-or certainly the loosening of sanctions-on Iran.
The Washington Post identified one group as being responsible for advocating the ending of sanctions.
That group would be the International Crisis Group (ICG).
Regular readers of American Thinker might recall that we have written about this group before. The group seems a very congenial think tank for anti-American, anti-Israel, pro-Iranian and pro-Hamas/Hezbollah foreign policy "experts".
As well it should be since George Soros is a major funder of the Brussels-based group (it has offices in Syria, Washington, D.C. and other "hot spots"). Soros has long been a critic of the America-Israel relationship and has sought to weaken the ties between the two nations. He was also a generous supporter of Barack Obama's campaign.
The ICG gave Soros a -- who sits on its Executive Board -- a Founders Award. When he accepted the award he praised the group's work on the Palestinian question. No surprise that he would be happy with his investment. The group is chock full of "experts" who favor outreach towards regimes such as Iran and terror group such as Hezbollah and Hamas. The ICG has been critical of America and Israel.
The roster of people involved with the ICG gives some insight about why these views are promoted by the group. Zbigniew Brzezinski serves on the board of the ICG. He was an early foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama. Brzezinski (Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser) has a history replete with anti-Israel advocacy.
Robert Malley plays a key role at the ICG. Malley is controversial for his views towards the region (he seems to enjoy currying favor with Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran, while criticizing Israel.
Who else is involved in the International Crisis group? None other than Samantha Power, who during the campaign was Barack Obama closest foreign policy adviser. She sits on the board of the ICG.
Her ties with Barack Obama extend back years (they are Blackberry and basketball buddies). She is also a harsh critic of Israel and has compiled quite a record of anti-Israel statements (for good measure, she can engage in some rhetoric that is not exactly philo-Semitic; when she commented about scrutiny of Obama's foreign policy views she complained that it all came down to "What is good for the Jews").
Now Power serves on the National Security Council. She is nominally in charge of dealing with multilateral groups.
Was Samantha Power behind the move to reconsider sanctions on Burma? Was she responsible for Barack Obama's decision to participate in the UN Conference Against Racism (Durban II) despite its anti-Israel agenda and despite the fact that she participated in the first conference that became an anti-Semitic hate-fest?
Will she fire up the Blackberry and suggest the dropping of sanctions on Iran?
Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker.