It's my understanding that Hokm is the most popular game in Iran. Among other things the Hokm (commander or leader) of each hand gets dealt the first card and has the privilege of deciding which suit will be the trump cards. While it looks like the English word "hokum", something untrue, false, designed to elicit a certain response from the viewer, it is pronounced otherwise. Still it rather well describes the diplomatic and domestic game being played by Rouhani and Obama: Persian-American applesauce in which Obama is giving Iran the right to call the trump card and make the first move.
As Tom Maguire put it succinctly:
With the Syria imbroglio Obama demonstrated that he has no plan, no resolve, no domestic support, no international support, and is desperate for something he can spin as a win. Of course people want to negotiate with him now.
He's referring to reports that Rouhani, Iran's leader, and Obama have agreed to speed up talks. The Times, long a prime member of the appease the Islamists and dump Israel school, reports excitedly:
In a hurriedly arranged telephone call, Mr. Obama reached Mr. Rouhani as the Iranian leader was headed to the airport to leave New York after a whirlwind news media and diplomatic blitz. The two agreed to accelerate talks aimed at defusing the dispute over Iran's nuclear program and afterward expressed optimism at the prospect of a rapprochement that would transform the Middle East.
"Resolving this issue, obviously, could also serve as a major step forward in a new relationship between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran, one based on mutual interests and mutual respect," Mr. Obama, referring to Tehran's nuclear program, told reporters at the White House after the 15-minute phone call. "It would also help facilitate a better relationship between Iran and the international community, as well as others in the region."
NBC revealed what purports to be Rouhani's tweeted recollection of the discussion, an account far less sunny that the Times' version. Like me, the folks at Lucianne found in the exchange less to be optimistic about than the Times:
● "Obama's call to departing Iranian big the
diplomatic equal of running after his limo
screaming, "But, I didn't kiss you goodbye."
If the climate was so congenial to discussions, why did Obama have to wait until Rouhani was driving to the airport -- when his aides could not intercept the call and provide an excuse for his not taking it? It's like a swain who fails to perceive he's been rejected, cornering you and going through the entire year's calendar to see if you're free at any time in the year for a date.
But the song and dance game is being played by Iran, too. The Times of Israel reports that Rouhani received a vicious response at home for this "outreach":
Iranian protesters threw shoes, eggs and stones on Saturday at the car of President Hasan Rouhani, back from a five-day trip to New York to speak at the UN General Assembly.
The president got a mixed reception at the airport, as several dozen hardline Islamists chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" as his motorcade drew away. Others attempted to obstruct the road by praying on the pavement, the New York Times reported.
New York Times reporter Thomas Erdbrink, who is based in Tehran, described the airport scene as chaotic, with one person almost being run over by the convoy.
The hardline protesters were outnumbered by several hundred supporters of the president who shouted: "Thank you Rouhani," AFP reported Saturday.
I don't believe for a second that Iran, home these days of assembly-line hangings of regime opponents, was unable to stop this. I don't believe for one second this was a spontaneous outpouring. It was designed to show Rouhani as a man under pressure from hardliners to resist Obama's peace initiative. It's the Gulf version of good cop-bad cop.
As for where Obama and his allies stand on the issue of peace with Iran at the expense of Israeli security, the answer is clear from the doings of the odious J Street gang, left-wing Jews more in love with Obama and the Democrat crazies than they are with the survival of their own co-religionists.
As the Washington Free Beacon reports of J Street, the organization meeting this weekend in DC:
The self-described "pro-Israel, pro-peace" lobbying group J Street has spent the majority of its recent time on Capitol Hill lobbying in favor of pro-Iran and pro-Palestinian measures, according to the liberal group's lobbying disclosure forms.
The group spent $100,000 lobbying lawmakers to tone down their rhetoric on Iran and pushed for greater ties with the "Palestinian Diplomatic Mission to the United States," according to the latest 2012 disclosure forms filed with the House of Representatives.
"Because Congress is an obstacle to presidential pressure [on Israel], J-Street wants to neutralize AIPAC's influence, to free the president to impose Palestinian concessions on Israel," Rosen said. "At root, J-Street is profoundly hostile to the core principle of Zionism, which is the right of the Jewish people to decide their own destiny in a state of their own."
J Street and the pro-Iran National Iranian American Council (NIAC) launched a full court press in Congress earlier this year in a failed effort to convince lawmakers that Iran is a friendly nation that can be negotiated with.
While Iran and its newly installed president, Hassan Rowhani, have continued to promote violence against America and Israel, J Street and NIAC urged lawmakers and President Obama to stop "engaging in actions that delegitimize the newly elected [Iranian] president and weaken his standing," according to the congressional letter they lobbied on.
NIAC has been scolded by at least one member of Congress for pushing Iranian "propaganda." It often finds itself at odds with AIPAC and large swaths of the organized Jewish community.
"On the single issue that impacts Israel's security the most -- a nuclear-armed Iran -- their advocacy efforts and lobbying is virtually non existent," said the aide. "And when they do speak up or lobby it's to weaken sanctions on Iran."
NIAC and J Street also receive money from the progressive anti-nuke group Ploughshares Fund, which has awarded the groups thousands of dollars to lobby against sanctions and a credible military threat on Iran.
Ploughshares enlisted NIAC and J Street to lobby on behalf of controversial Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during his contested nomination, which was opposed by many pro-Israel organizations.
Harry Truman once said, "It's plain hokum. If you can't convince 'em, confuse 'em. It's an old political trick. But this time it won't work." From Truman's mouth to God's ears.