One hundred and ninety former senior U.S. military officers released a letter on Wednesday addressed to both the Senate and the House of Representatives, arguing that the final deal poses a threat to U.S. national security and fails to prevent the Islamic Republic from obtaining nuclear weapons. In a direct rebuttal to the White House’s claim that the deal prevents Iran from developing nuclear weapons , the military officers write that, in fact, the agreement “does not ‘cut off every pathway’ for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.” They explain that Iran can acquire the nuclear capability “simply by abiding by the deal.” The former officials then list the most egregious failures of the final agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached on July 14: 1) the deal is not verifiable, 2) Iran’s nuclear infrastructure will remain intact, instead of being dismantled, and 3) the ultimate enforcement mechanism—re-imposition of sanctions—is not credible. The signatories of the letter also warned lawmakers about granting sanctions relief to Iran, the world’s largest state-sponsor of terror. The letter characterizes the decision to provide Iran with a windfall of cash estimated at $150 billion as “unconscionable.”
The letter concludes that the JCPOA, “far from being an alternative to war…makes it likely that the war the Iranian regime has waged against us since 1979 will continue, with far higher risks to our national security interests.” The Washington Post reported that a number of those on the letter “served in the White House, under Democratic administrations as well as Republican.”
Congress will vote on a motion of disapproval in mid-September. In the latest news, on Thursday, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) declared her opposition to the deal stating that she is “concerned that, even if Iran complies with the restraints spelled out throughout the life of the agreement, the deal does not block Iran from eventually acquiring nuclear weapons.” She is the seventh Democrat from New York to oppose the JCPOA.
A recently released propaganda video by Hamas unveils the Islamist terrorist group’s newly rebuilt tunnel infrastructure and showcases its extensive investments in military training and weapons, Ynet reported today.
The video shows terrorists brandishing new weapons while practicing combat and ambush techniques against simulated Israeli “targets” at sophisticated training facilities. At one point, the terrorists are filmed relaxing in a reinforced tunnel before emerging and launching a mock attack.
Hamas’ efforts to rearm and rebuild its terror infrastructure have taken precedence over the reconstruction of Gaza’s homes and civilian facilities, which continues to lag. Gaza’s minister of housing and public works, as well as other Palestinian officials and UN representatives, agreed that Israel had carried out its responsibilities in the reconstruction process “in reasonable time and had allowed cement into Gaza,” according to a recent article in The New York Times. Instead, the Palestinian leaders blamed the delays on “[e]mpty coffers.” The Times further reported:
Israeli, Palestinian and United Nations officials acknowledge that cement has flooded Gaza’s black market, with some undoubtedly ending up in the militants’ underground tunnel network — the very thing the monitoring system was set up to prevent.
“We know and believe that some of it goes to the wrong places,” said Maj. Adam Avidan, Israel’s point person on the mechanism. At one point, 18 of 30 beneficiaries bought their full allotment of cement and “went the same day and sold it on the black market,” he said. “They didn’t build their houses.”
About 37,000 tons of cement sits unused in Gaza warehouses, nearing or past its expiration date for load-bearing projects.
Israel permitted the transfer of 44,317 truckloads of goods into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing between January and July, and allowed 1,000 tons of cement into the territory in March. Last December, Palestinian sources in Gaza told Ynet that Hamas was restocking its rocket arsenal and confiscating materials intended for civilian reconstruction in order to rebuild its tunnel network. A month earlier, Egyptian authorities estimated that Hamas was spending $140 million annually to dig its tunnels, including by the use of child labor.
Last year, Neri Zilber observed that, while Fatah and Hamas fight over control of Gaza’s reconstruction, “Israel, of all the parties involved, has shown the greatest degree of flexibility towards a Gaza Strip still ruled by Hamas.” (via TheTower.org)