Congress Should Insist on Its Say in Any Iran Deal

In a letter to Ayatollah Khamenei, 47 senators explained that unless Congress approves whatever agreement is made between President Obama and Iran, the next presidential administration is free to revoke it. Critics have responded with outrage, and even accusations of treason. But, writes Elliott Abrams, Congress has both a right and a duty to exercise a role here, especially if it can prevent the president from making a bad bargain:

Iran is likely to cheat on any deal. Its nuclear record is one of lying and obfuscation, developing secret facilities that are only discovered years later, and violating the promises it has made and the Security Council resolutions that are supposed to be binding.

It may well be that if this deal is done, a year or two or three down the road there will be evidence that Iran is cheating—and moving ever closer to a bomb. Our nation will then need to make a difficult decision about Iran policy, including consideration of possible military action. We ought to arrive at that moment, and that decision, as united as we can be, including the executive branch and the Congress.

As the old saying goes, if Congress is going to have a role in the crash landing, it should have a role in the takeoff. The Constitution grants it that role, and so does any sense of how our national security should be protected.

Read more at New York Daily News

More about: Barack Obama, Constitution, Iran, Iranian nuclear program, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy

 

Israel’s Retaliation against the Houthis Sends a Message to the U.S., and to Its Arab Allies

The drone that struck a Tel Aviv high-rise on Thursday night is believed to have traveled over 2,000 kilometers, flying from Yemen over Egypt and then above the Mediterranean before veering eastward toward the Israeli coast. Since October, the Houthis have launched over 200 drones at Israel. Nor is this the first attempt to strike Tel Aviv, only the first successful one. Noah Rothman observes that the Houthis’ persistent attacks on Israel and on international shipping are largely the result of the U.S.-led coalition’s anemic response:

Had the Biden administration taken a more proactive and vigorous approach to neutralizing the Houthis’ capabilities, Israel would not be obliged to expand to Yemen the theater of operations in the war Hamas inaugurated on October 7. The prospects of a regional war grow larger by the day, not because Israel cannot “take the win,” as President Biden reportedly told Benjamin Netanyahu following a full-scale direct Iranian attack on the Jewish state, but because hostile foreign actors are killing its citizens. Jerusalem is obliged to defend them and the sovereignty of Israel’s borders.

Biden’s hesitancy was fueled by his apprehension over the prospect of a “wider war” in the Middle East. But his hesitancy is what is going to give him the war he so cravenly sought to avoid.

In this context, the nature of the Israeli response is significant: rather than follow the American strategy of striking isolated weapons depots and the like, IDF jets struck the port city of Hodeida—the sort of major target the U.S. has shied away from. The mission was likely the furthest-ever carried out by the Israel Air Force, hitting a site 200 kilometers further from Israel than Tehran. Yoel Guzansky and Ilan Zalayat comment:

The message that Israel sent was intended to reach the moderate Arab countries, the West, and especially the United States. . . . The message to the coalition countries is that “the containment” had failed and the Houthis must be hit harder. The Hodeida port is the lifeline of the Houthi economy and continued damage to it will make it extremely difficult for this economy, which is also facing significant American sanctions.

Read more at National Review

More about: Houthis, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy