Hard to believe executive amnesty might not be the worst move Obama makes in his last two years. But it’s increasingly believable, isn’t it?
As a special bonus, if you believe the WSJ, our allies weren’t told that O was reaching out to their mortal Shiite enemy behind their backs. Imagine the reaction in the Saudi, Jordanian, Turkish — and Israeli — embassies today, knowing that stopping Iran’s nuclear program with an air attack is now impossible. Thanks to the White House, of course.
The letter appeared aimed both at buttressing the Islamic State campaign and nudging Iran’s religious leader closer to a nuclear deal.
Mr. Obama stressed to Mr. Khamenei that any cooperation on Islamic State was largely contingent on Iran reaching a comprehensive agreement with global powers on the future of Tehran’s nuclear program by a Nov. 24 diplomatic deadline, the same people say.
The October letter marked at least the fourth time Mr. Obama has written Iran’s most powerful political and religious leader since taking office in 2009 and pledging to engage with Tehran’s Islamist government…
The Obama administration launched secret talks with Iran in the Omani capital of Muscat in mid-2012, but didn’t notify Washington’s Mideast allies about this covert diplomatic channel until late 2013.
The timing makes sense. Not only is the November 24th deadline for a nuclear deal bearing down, but by the time O wrote Khamenei last month, a GOP Senate takeover was already looking likely. The Journal doesn’t say what Obama told Khamenei but you can guess — something along the lines of “this is your last chance before my hands are tied.” In that sense, ironically, the Republican takeover may have helped him by putting new pressure on Iran to take the deal. Per the Free Beacon, Tehran was watching the midterm elections closely, knowing that a more hawkish GOP Senate will try to add sanctions once it’s seated in January. And what did Khamenei say to O in reply, you ask? As far as we know, nothing. Either the White House has kept his responses to Obama’s letters a closely guarded secret or he’s never bothered to respond at all, an insulting but predictable show of disdain for the Great Satan.
Riddle me this, though. Why would Khamenei care about formal U.S. cooperation against ISIS? Western airstrikes appear to be making headway against the group, slowing its advance if not quite reversing its gains (yet). Americans support the anti-ISIS campaign heavily so Obama’s going to keep it up whether Khamenei will take his calls or not. The main virtue of formal cooperation, I would think, is the propaganda value in it. Having the U.S. coordinate with Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s sworn enemy would be a humiliation to both allies. Maybe there’s something in that for Khamenei, but to get it he’d have to step back (a little) from the anti-Americanism that helped birth Khomeinism. How do you go from “Death to America” to “Let’s fight ISIS with America” overnight?
As you mull that, here’s a stroll down memory lane. Obama’s adopted a lot of Bush’s counterterrorism playbook, but when it comes to talking to terrorists, he’s kept his promise to his base.