Unlike the Obama Administration's dealing with the United Arab Emirates concerning the designation of the Council on America-Islamic Relations as a terrorist organization, the administration has rather quietly removed Iran and Hezbollah as terrorist threats to the United States.
According to the Times of Israel:
An annual report delivered recently to the US Senate by James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, removed Iran and Hezbollah from its list of terrorism threats, after years in which they featured in similar reports.
The unclassified version of the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Communities, dated February 26, 2015 (PDF), noted Iran's efforts to combat Sunni extremists, including those of the ultra-radical Islamic State group, who were perceived to constitute the preeminent terrorist threat to American interests worldwide.
A January 2014 report from Clapper listed both Hezbollah and Iran in the "Terrorism" section, stating that both "continue to directly threaten the interests of U.S. allies. Hizballah [sic] has increased its global terrorist activity in recent years to a level that we have not seen since the 1990s." In fact, in 2011, 2012 and 2013, Iran was given its own "Regional Threats" subheading in the section of "Terrorism."
Though Iran has been removed from being considered a "threat assessment," it is still listed by the State Department as a state-supporter of terrorism. How exactly does that work?
Yet in the latest report, Clapper omits both Iran and Hezbollah from this section, only mentioning the Shiite Muslim militant group once in reference to the threat it faces from radical Sunni groups - such as ISIS and the al-Nusra Front - on Lebanon's borders. In regard to Iran, the report names it as both a cyber and regional threat to the U.S. because of its support for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
However, the report speaks of Tehran's assistance in preventing "ISIL [another term for ISIS] from gaining large swaths of additional territory" in Iraq. It adds that the Islamic Republic has "intentions to dampen sectarianism, build responsive partners, and deescalate tensions with Saudi Arabia".
The report fails to mention that Hezbollah is labelled as a terrorist organisation by both the U.S. and the European Union, while it receives the majority of its funding from Tehran. The omission comes as Washington and other world powers continue to negotiate with Iran to strike a deal over its nuclear program and capabilities.
The assessment adds that Iran has "overarching strategic goals of enhancing its security, prestige, and regional influence [that] have led it to pursue capabilities to meet its civilian goals and give it the ability to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons, if it chooses to do so."
What's going on here? According to professor of political science at Northeastern University and member at the Council of Foreign Relations Max Abrahms, the administration is involving itself in a "quid pro quo."
"I think that we are looking at a quid pro quo, where Iran helps us with counter-terrorism and we facilitate their nuclear ambitions and cut down on our labelling of them as terrorists," said Abrahms. "The world has changed. The Sunni threat has gotten worse, the Islamic State is a greater danger than al-Qaeda ever was, and the Iranians have really come up big in terms of helping us out in combating the Islamic State."
So, let's get this straight: An Islamic nation, who engages in jihad, calls America "The Great Satan," has threatened our allies and mocks us want to trade counter-terrorism information with us in exchange for our assistance in facilitating their nuclear program by not labeling them terrorist? After all, they are fighting the Islamic State, too, right? On top of that we are to trust the leadership of an alleged member of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose eligibility to hold the office of the president of the United States is incredibly questionable, whose brother is a known financier of the Muslim Brotherhood and whose close personal adviser in everything he does is an Iranian born woman, who was raised by parents and grandparents with deep Communist ties? I think not.
Forget Sunni and Shia here. Their foundations are in Islam, found in the teachings of Koran, and part of that teaching in taqiyyah. America would have done well to head the words of George Washington:
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The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.
Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government. the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.
Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?
It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.
Taking care always to keep ourselves by suitable establishments on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.
Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing (with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them) conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.
In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will controul the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.