I haven’t seen Penny Lane’s new documentary, “Hail Satan?” It’ll be at least two weeks before it reaches any theater within a hundred miles of here. I’ve only seen the trailer. There’s plenty there, though — enough to know that I’ve seen enough. That’s in spite of — or because of — the film’s overwhelmingly glowing reviews since its premiere at Sundance earlier this year.
Its subject is the Salem, Massachusetts-based Satanic Temple group, famous for erecting a statue of Baphomet in front of the Oklahoma capitol. They don’t believe in Satan, they say, but they sure do hate Christianity. And they’re hardly alone in that, judging from the reviews.
“Basic Human Rights” or “A Poke in the Eye”?
Blake Edwards, writing for The Humanist, says the group’s efforts “are responses to Christian indoctrination and monopoly over public spaces.” He stands firmly in agreement with them: “Shoulder to shoulder against traditionally religious conservatives in America, the Satanist and the humanist are not just reluctant allies but enthusiastic comrades in rebellion against the Christian notion of a deity.”
Humanists and Satanists, enthusiastic comrades? I could stop right there. Except it gets worse. The Satanists have plenty more allies.
The Hollywood Reportergushes over both the film and the Satanists: “Wickedly funny, fascinating and niftily made, this crowd-pleaser will reign at festivals.” It will “prove, yet again, that the devil always has the best tunes.” The group itself, says the review, is “a religious organization dedicated to protecting basic human rights in modern America.”
NPRinforms us the Satanic Temple is “a fully sincere spiritual movement itself, one advocating principles of nonviolence, religious pluralism, scientific inquiry, individual liberty and Dungeons & Dragons garb.” Gush, gush.
But which rights are we talking about? They call it religious freedom. In reality, they’ve aimed their horns straight at one group: believing Christians. NPR calls it “a poke in the eye of religious conservatism.” I just love getting poked in the eye, don’t you? Sure, it’s a metaphor. I can roll with it. But there’s more.
Entertainment Weeklyminces no words, speaking of the group’s opposition to “the increased presence of Christian theocracy in America’s public spaces,” which “they see as contra to the foundational ideals of a country that offers not just freedom of religion, but freedom from it.”
Still, Come On, They’re Really Nice!
That’s the Satanic Temple’s view. Here’s EntertainmentWeekly’s own opinion: “The group has a lot on its side; the Constitution, for one.” The Temple’s leader, Lucian Greaves, is driven only by the purest motivations, they say: “Justice — along with science, reason, and the right to reject the adjudicating of public life in the name of Jesus Christ.” It makes me wonder if that writer is heading off to join the Satanic Temple this weekend.
The Washington Post loves them, too. They are “A brave, idealistic band of misfits and rebels dedicated to such values as reason, personal liberty, bodily autonomy and secularism in the public square.” And if that’s not good enough, they’re also “a collection of thoughtful, creative, passionate people.” Possibly the nicest people in the world, even: Their “core tenets,” says The Post, “include compassion, empathy, rectification of harm and respect for scientific understanding.” And to cap that off, a masterpiece of misunderstanding: Those tenets “coexist happily with the most humanistic impulses of traditional religions.”
The NY Times’ take on the group’s tenets is that they’re “well, pretty nice.”
Did I say they were nice, though? I’ll have to admit I borrowed the word. From The NY Times, whose take on the group’s tenets is that they’re “well, pretty nice.”
So it seems if you’re writing for any of the country’s major media, you think it’s a great film. And it’s about a really nice group of people. They must be: a lot of them are animal lovers! Even if they’re not so happy working together with other humans (5:12 here).
Maybe human cooperation doesn’t matter that much, though, for “trolling the culture wars” (per Reason.com). They don’t need it, apparently, in order to be “more than just a middle finger to the evangelical right,” as Greaves put it.
Taking Direct and Hateful Aim at Christianity
They’re freedom fighters, says The Washington Post, “waging front-line battles on behalf of free expression and the separation of church and state.” Their method is clear: “to present Satanism as a religion that deserves equal time with Christianity, in order to call attention to the un-Constitutionality of Christianity in public spaces” (The Wrap).
They do wrap their story in constitutional language. But there’s more to it than that, and it gets a lot uglier than you’d gather from the reviews. You do get a hint of it in their warnings (in the trailer) of “Christian theocracy creeping its way into our government … it is our duty to stand up to this.”
The subtext is clear enough: the media love this.
What that word means in the wider conversation is that the Christian right is a Handmaid’s Tale world, an “American Taliban” currently led by at least one “ anti-science, anti-women, anti-LGBT, radical religious extremist, a cold, cruel, Christian extremist.”
Nice? This sounds a lot more like their admitted inability to play well together with others, if you ask me.
Far more so, however, does their including the Hallelujah Chorus, in their movie trailer. Worse yet, it’s playing while men and women on screen are intoning “Hail, Satan!” Honestly, it’s one of the most hateful things anyone could do to a fellow human who believes in Jesus Christ. Short of physical violence, I have trouble thinking of anything to match it.
But there is tragedy here. It applies to more than the Satanists; for the subtext is clear enough: the media love this.
Jesus —Not Satan! — Is the One Who Cares
But I refuse to take offense without grieving for them at the same time. For one of the key voices in the trailer says, “Satanism is looking out for the other, because we are the other.” I’m sorry, but no. That’s just prettifying a sentiment that’s actually quite self-centered: “Satanism is looking out for people like us — people who don’t like Christianity.” Not so other-oriented after all, is it?
Meanwhile there is one person who stands out among all the rest for His care and concern for others. He is the one Person in all history — and even all of literature! — whose entire recorded life is focused entirely on giving to others. Bonhoeffer rightly called him the “man for others.”
They’ve chosen Jesus’ enemy as their symbol, not knowing he’s their enemy, too.
Granted, we Christians have come nowhere near to living up to the standard He set. Still, if looking out for others were this group’s true goal, they would never set up Jesus’ chief adversary as their symbol. They’d be looking to Jesus instead as their guide and model. He came to give His life for them, too. He died for them, just as He did for us all. Even though they’ve made themselves as “other” from Him as they know how to be.
They’ve chosen Jesus’ enemy as their symbol, not knowing he’s their enemy, too. May they come to know the true Jesus for who He is.
The closing arguments for the Obama years are arriving, and they aren’t helping the outgoing president. A case in point is a new book published this week, one that acknowledges “Obama’s supporters have experienced [his presidency] as a continuous disappointment.”
Those supporters, and others, must have noticed that “for most of Obama’s term, wage gains were largely confined to the rich.” Or that “The administration’s planning in Libya clearly failed” or “It is certain that the actual outcome [of Obama’s Syria policy] was disastrous.”
Even many of President Obama’s proudest achievements look about as enduring as April snow: “If there was a single aspect of Obama’s legacy most vulnerable to reversal, it was his achievements on climate change,” the book says, and “Obama’s regulatory offensive is, of course, vulnerable to reversal by Donald Trump or the Supreme Court, since it rested upon executive action.” The longest chapter is titled “The Inevitability of Disappointment.”
Sustained coherence seems to elude the author. On Page 99 we hear about those “overblown or even false claims that the new law [ObamaCare] was raising premiums,” but three pages later we learn, “Big insurers like Aetna pulled out of the exchanges, reducing options, and insurers in most markets raised their premiums.” Oh. Republican opposition, which boils down to wariness of new spending while Obama is racking up more debt than the previous 43 presidents combined, doesn’t earn a rational counter-argument.
No, the GOP simply means “rage.” “Republican terror,” Chait writes, is “berserk” with a “fierce and even crazed tone” (this last describes Paul Ryan).
On Page 31, Chait declares “the simplistic initial hope of Obama’s giddy supporters that the symbolism of a black president could help heal, if not eliminate, racial prejudice turned out to have a real basis in fact.” But 20 pages back, he comes to the opposite conclusion: “racism continues to lurk deep in the American psyche,” “Americans had split once again into mutually uncomprehending racial camps,” “the continued existence of racism in American life has been confirmed by a library of social-science research.”
Only an Obama fanboy would argue, just as a fire is going out, that the whole forest is about to burn down.
Meanwhile, current polling on the matter is clear. American worries about race relations, which had been stable for nearly 20 years, increased markedly in Obama’s second term, reaching a new high last spring, while the president’s approval rating on race issues, which was very high when his first term began, has ranged from 48 percent to a low of 26 percent for the last seven years or so, according to Gallup.
Chait grouses that the 2009 stimulus was dismally small and admits that the Republican critique of it as funding “a wish list of long-standing Democratic policies” had “an element of truth.”
Yet he also celebrates it as saving us from depression. Really? The downturn actually ended in June 2009 as the first stimulus checks were being signed. Only an Obama fanboy would argue, just as a fire is going out, that the whole forest is about to burn down.
Moreover, deep recessions (such as the 1981-82 one) that cause people to cut way back are generally followed by booming rebounds. This one wasn’t. Far from turbo-charging the economy, the stimulus was such a dud that five years after the recovery began, 72 percent of Americans said in a poll that they thought we were still in a recession. “The stimulus ultimately failed to do what America expected it to do — bring about a strong, sustainable recovery,” wrote Michael Grabell of ProPublica.
That’s hard to dispute given the sluggishness of the recovery — economic growth has been by far the weakest of any post-recession period since World War II. But Chait has zilch to say about that. Nor does Chait mention that Obama is the first president since Herbert Hoover to fail to preside over a single year of 3 percent growth. But hey, Obama fans, stay in your bubble. It’s cozy there.
Sealing himself off certainly didn’t work for the Bubble President, though. President Obama entered office thinking: “They love me! So they’ll love everything I do!” No. He had no backup plan for what to do if Congress became less than generous with the rubber stamp. Virtually every president has to negotiate with Capitol Hill — Ronald Reagan faced hostile Democrats in the House for his entire presidency — but Obama thought horse-trading was beneath him.
So he contented himself giving speeches and signing executive orders that Donald Trump is about to feed into the shredder. It looks like Obama’s chapter in the history books is going to be much like his résumé when he was elected president: thin.
According to the leader of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Muslims living in America should not be bound by U.S. law. “If we are practicing Muslims, we are above the law of the land,” said Herman Mustafa Carroll, executive director of the Dallas-Fort Worth CAIR branch.
I suppose at the very least, Carroll is being honest about what practicing Muslims believe. This is what we’ve been telling people all along. Now CAIR is becoming a bit more vocal about what they are really about.
Carroll made the statement at a rally in Austin, Texas as part of a nationwide effort to hold “Muslim Capitol Day” events. According to the event website Muslims came to the Texas capitol to “promote civic and political activism throughout the wider Muslim community.”
It appears to me that they are promoting jihad and lawlessness. “We tried to downplay Sharia, because we didn’t want to give the other side any excitement for being here,” he said.
He then attempted to dismiss his critics as “anti-foreign.” I wonder if we should just out him now as “anti-American,” since he thinks he is above the laws of America.
“When you even say the word Sharia, people get nervous. We are not advocating for Sharia. We are not trying to make Sharia the law of the land,” he said.
While saying that Muslims only want the right to practice their faith, Carroll also included this little tidbit. “If you understand Sharia, the foundation of our faith … how we treat our neighbor, how we treat our parents … how we participate in society, all of that is part of Sharia.”
He must have intentionally left out the parts about jihad, honor killings and treating women and infidels as chattel, while seemingly speaking about harmless treatment of neighbors and parents.
They discussed “the recent House and Senate bill proposals involving the implementation of ‘anti-Sharia’ legislation, where the First Amendment rights and freedoms of Muslims would ultimately be hindered.”
Carroll attempted to downplay Sharia law, despite joining with the ACLU to oppose the anti-Sharia legislation in Texas.
I told you about how the federal government was seeking to close the mouths of free speech in regards to Islam back in June. I don’t recall Mr. Carroll standing up and opposing that. In fact, his organization didn’t make a peep about that, which simply means they are complicit in it.
The event even included a speech by a representative of Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, who declared that Texas was an awful place and that Islam was the answer.
“Why did Muhammad say that he would not rest until the Koran was the law of the land?”
“Islam does not have Texas in the current condition, the current socio-political condition that Texas is in. What is this condition that Texas is in? Why is Texas on the brink, when you look at Texas in comparison to 50 states, education, percent of population graduating from high school is 46, high school completion rate is 46, the scholastic assessment rate, the SAT score in Texas is 47, the percentage of population with no health insurance in Texas is first, those without health insurance Texas is first. When you look at the state of a child in Texas, the percentage of uninsured children, Texas is first… etc etc
You shouldn’t be filing legislation against Islam, when you look at Texas, Islam is not the problem. Islam is the solution. Allah Akbar.”
Well I suppose if you consider a means to illiteracy and poverty as your goals, then perhaps Islam is the answer. If you consider the merciless killing and degradation of women as what you are out to achieve, then yes, I suppose Islam is the answer. If you are considering an eternity in Hell, then yes Islam would provide that answer.
However, Carroll has also defended terrorists on the same grounds as his statement above; Muslims are above the law of the land.
“I think you can only blame Hamas for so long. It takes two to tango. And I think, you know, that what we’ve heard for a number of years is this terrorist, terrorist, terrorist, terrorist, Hamas, Hamas, Hamas, was not just Hamas.”
“Look at the true cause of the terrorism. It’s not somebody is reading a book, reading a Qur’an, and then go out and say, ‘Well, the Qur’an told me to blow this up. I’m gonna blow it up.’ The cause, the root cause of terrorism is oppression. The root cause of terrorism is oppression.”
Now ask yourself, those that read the Qur’an believe they are above the law of the land and some even go so far as to obey the words of the Qur’an and murder infidels. They both share a common core: The teachings of a demon-possessed pedophile, murdering thief named Mohammed.
Back in 2003, CAIR founder Omar Ahmad sought to bully a newspaper that quoted him saying:
“Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith but to become dominant.”
For my friends who think Islam is not a threat to our society, let that one sink in.
For years Ahmad has been trying to seek a retraction from the newspaper, but to no avail as the paper stands by the article. I applaud their courage to do so and expose the attempts at taqiyya being put forth by Ahmad and his Muslim Brotherhood front group.
Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.
After the Islamic terrorist attacks of September 11, Americans became fearful of Islamic terrorists. And terrorists, and their supporters, became fearful of Americans.
The media insists that we empathize, not with the fears of the former, but of the latter.
Americans may be killed by the thousands, but we are never allowed to be victims. Much like the Christians of Sri Lanka, a day will pass and the media will switch its attention to the “backlash fear” group.
Washington D.C. has a sizable Muslim population. And while Rep. Ilhan Omar has gotten a lot of attention, there are more Muslim aides and staffers than ever before.
Some of them would like D.C. restaurants to open at 4 AM.
Katherine Ashworth Brandt, a former congressional aide now studying political management at George Washington University who founded the campaign late last year, is urging Washington restaurants to expand their hours next month to accommodate Muslims celebrating Ramadan, the 30 days of fasting that begins May 5 this year for most Muslims.
“I want this to be a common business practice,” said Brandt, 34. “I want customers to be able to expect that places will be open when they need them during Ramadan.”
Restaurateurs participating in Dine After Dark would open around 4 a.m., to give Muslims two hours before sunup to eat before abstaining from food and drink for the rest of the day, or close around 10:30 p.m., about two hours after sunset, when observant Muslims break their fast.
For an eatery to open at 4 AM, the employees have to start work anywhere from 1 AM to 2 AM.
Making this Ramadan accommodation a common business practice would be expensive for employers and miserable for employees.
But, as usual a convenience issue for Muslims seems to trump the comfort and welfare of non-Muslims.
As an Orthodox Jew, we keep fasts certain times of the year. Some of them begin very early in the morning. We don’t expect places to open at 4 AM for our convenience. There’s a great deal of entitlement embodied in such an attitude.
Muslims in Washington D.C. don’t need to go out in the morning. They can prepare their own food ahead of time. Microwaves and toaster ovens make it easy to have a meal without expecting businesses to accommodate you or workers to go without sleep.
But instead, also as usual, an Islamic entitlement is portrayed as a civil rights issue.
Depending on their business models, some restaurants would expand both morning and evening hours. Two extra hours may not be enough to serve all Muslims’ needs, Brandt acknowledged, but it’s a start.
It’s never enough. Everything you give is only a starting point.
“All of us need to be more considerate of other people’s traditions and holidays and know that these are important no matter what religion you subscribe to,” she said
How about being considerate of employees earning minimum wage and having little enough time to spend with their children?
Consideration is never given to infidels. Only demanded from them.
Texas Teen Convicted for Jihadi Plot at Local Mall
UTT Matin Azizi-Yarand, a muslim jihadi from Plano, Texas, pled guilty this week and received a concurrent sentence of 20 years for the Solicitation of Capital Murder, and 10 years for Terrorist Threats for plotting an attack at the Stonebriar Centre Mall in Frisco, Texas.
Matin was arrested May 1st, 2018 for threats to commit mass shootings under Texas statue 22.07 (1), (3), (4), (5), (6).
Azizi-Yarand, thinking he was speaking to an ally but was actually snared in an FBI undercover operation, said his plan was inspired by ISIS (now called the “Islamic State”), and had been actively soliciting other individuals to assist him in the attack, which he planned to execute during Ramadan to insure fewer muslims would be injured.
Azizi-Yarand, a muslim, said, “I swear I want to achieve Allah’s pleasure and kill the kuffar.”
Azizi-Yarand said he had “been reading ISIS magazine guides for performing operations and making bombs.” He told an online FBI source he wanted to make hijrah or conduct a terrorist attack in the United States, and “It’s not about the numbers, it’s about getting the message across.”
Azizi-Yarand explained to an FBI source, “In their magazines they have claimed it is not about how many you kill but how much money you will make these countries spend in security just for a simple attack, although having a high number (of casualties) will get their attention. The two agreed there needed to be a plan B. Azizi-Yarand advised he, “Played some scenarios in my head…Yes, I want to put America in the state that Europe is in which is to have soldiers deployed on the streets.”
Magazines published by the Islamic State and Al Qaeda are available on-line to everyone who wants to read them, and are often cited as operational guides for such attacks.
On 12/16/17, Azizi-Yarand sent the FBI source an image of the ISIS flag and a firearm, and text beneath the photo states “Jihad…NO negotiations, NO conferences and NO dialogue.”
A few weeks later, Azizi-Yarand told the FBI source, “ I read article from ISIS…speaking on matters of civilians. They say its better to attack them here and make them scared so it disgraces them.”
Azizi-Yarand later told an FBI source his ISIS contact said they should attack America even thought they have not had training.
“Guns are simple, just open fire…Paris attackers had no experience….how hard can it be to spray down a big crowd of people…Las Vegas the dude was just blind firing…and got 100.”
Azizi-Yarand also told the FBI source he wanted to stay in Texas and attack, and decided on Stonebriar Centre Mall.
He reminded the FBI source to “make sure you pay off any personal debts…I’m not getting martyred without you.”
Azizi-Yarand explained to the FBI source he did not want to kill muslims, “that’s why I said Ramadan…iftar time. No Muslims are going to be at a mall when its time to be breaking your fast.”
Azizi-Yarand prepared a statement before the planned attack stating, in part, “We target your people as revenge for ours who were slaughtered…you can move to another county that is not fighting the muslims but of course you want your easy lives in America so we will cast terror into your hearts as Allah commanded us. We will spill your blood as you have spilled ours more believers like us will answer the call to that which gives them life which is Jihad.”
“Only glory and returning of honor for Islam, this is surely the only way and best thing we can do as our situation is…and ultimately it will make kuffar wonder why these things happen. And will point their fingers at their government…they promised to keep them safe from terrorism but they will fail once again Inshallah.”Azizi-Yarand
“God revealed His will to the angels, saying: ‘I shall be with you. Give courage to the believers. I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, strike off the very tips of their fingers.’” (Koran 8:12)
Matin Azizi-Yarand has read the Koran and is following what Allah has commanded him. He planned a mass killing because he believed he would in favor with Allah since the Koran also says, “When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield strike off their heads.” (Koran 47:4)
Anywhere you have a muslim community you have sharia.
Where there is sharia you have jihad.
Where you have jihad, you have a danger to the community.
Learn the threat and know the threat.
Understanding the Threat (UTT) is the ONLY organization in America: (1) training citizens and local police how to identify and map out the jihadi network at the local level; (2) giving police aggressive investigative techniques to go after the jihadis and their network; and (3) giving state leaders a strategy to dismantle the jihadi network at the state level.
UTT has a long record of success. Bring UTT to your town and get your community energized to be educated, trained, and prepared to take the fight to the enemy, expose collaborators, and win this war.
Houston’s Terrorist Islamic Education Center Untouched by Authorities
UTTThe Alavi Foundation was set up by the Iranian government and claims its goal is to promote harmony. In reality, Alavi’s role is to funnel money to Bank Melli, an institution which has been designated for its role in funding terrorism and nuclear proliferation by providing direct monetary support for Irans nuclear program.
The Alavi foundation owns multiple properties in the United States and four Islamic Education Centers which are located in; Potomac (Maryland), Queens (New York), Carmichael (California), and Houston (Texas).
On November 12, 2009, the Justice Department filed an amended civil forfeiture complaint against the Alavi foundation. The lawsuit claimed forfeiture of more than $500 million in assets including the Islamic Center of Houston in Texas and the Alavi-owned Islamic Education Center of Houston.
The Alavi foundation has funded and hundreds of grants to mosques, Islamic schools and education systems, including colleges; Harvard, the Catholic University of America, the University of Wisconsin and Columbia.
Retired FBI counter-terrorism chief Oliver “Buck” Revell said the bureau has long believed Alavi is “a front organization for the Iranian regime that is engaged in covert intelligence activity on the part of a hostile foreign government.”
On March 28, 2014, Judge Katherine B. Forrest ruled several properties and bank accounts linked to the Alavi Foundation were subject to forfeiture, to include the Islamic Education Center of Houston, which was used for religious and educational purposes without merit.
But on July 20, 2016 the 2nd US Circuit Court ofAppeals in New York City reversed the lower court’s ruling that had ordered forfeiture of Iranian assets in the US. They determined the buildings do not qualify as being owned by Iran under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act: “Given the lack of evidence demonstrating Iran’s day-to-day control of Alavi, we conclude, as a matter of law, that defendants cannot be deemed Iran’s alter egos.”
On February 20, 2019, the Islamic Education Center of Houston, Texas uploaded to its YouTube channel a video of a February 17 ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. In this video, a tenth grader said the United States continues to sanction Iran because it is scared of it, and that America’s two goals in the Middle East are to support Israel and Saudi Arabia. The crowd chanted: “Away with the humiliation… Allah Akbar! Khamenei is our Leader!”
In Houston, Texas, as in all of America, President Trump is actually our leader.
In the video students sang, “We are your followers, you are our Leader… We are your soldiers, and together we can all be your power… May Allah always keep your hand upon us…A warrior just like Battle of Khaybar… May you always be the light to our guidance.“
The Children sang: Allah Akbar! Khamenei is our Leader! A little later in the video a tenth grader said, ”America and its allies decided that they had enough of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. They continued to place harsh sanctions on the country and deemed it as a terrorism state. But my question to you, brothers and sisters, is would you put sanctions on a country that you are not fearful of? Would you not put sanctions on a country that you are not fearful of? Because in the end of the day, what this message of sanctions on the country of Iran is, is the idea that it continues to remain as an enemy towards America and all of its allies. Because America has two end games in the whole Middle East region: to support Israel and to support Saudi Arabia.”
The reference to Khaybar at the Islamic Education Center of Houston, as in the above photo, references the surprise raid by Islam’s prohet Mohammad in which muslims eradicated Jews from the Arabian peninsula.
To jihadi’s, Khaybar means the destruction of the Jews and the seizure of their property, and they are openly chanting about it in Houston, Texas.
The evidence and the behavior of those attending clearly reveals there are significant and bold jihadi (read “terrorist) mosques in Houston. What will the mayor, police, and citizens do.
UTT has a solution if the people of Houston are willing to address this threat.
When even the New York Times and its house Never-Trumper Bret Stephens are applauding Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, you know that the results have been decisively in Trump’s favor. I detail just how bad the Iran nuclear deal really was in The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran. That many, if not all, the Democrat presidential candidates want to reenter it should be regarded as suicidal and treasonous if we had a sane public discourse today, which, of course, we do not.
“The Foreign Policy Fiasco That Wasn’t: Withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal has paid dividends,” by Bret Stephens, New York Times, March 29, 2019:
It’s been nearly a year since Donald Trump made the decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, to loud cries that it would bring nothing but woe to the United States and our interests in the Middle East.
So far, the result has been closer to the opposite.
That much was further made clear thanks to excellent reporting this week by The Times’s Ben Hubbard. “Iran’s financial crisis, exacerbated by American sanctions,” he writes from Lebanon, “appears to be undermining its support for militant groups and political allies who bolster Iranian influence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere.”
Well, heavens to Betsy. When the Obama administration negotiated the nuclear deal, the president acknowledged that sanctions relief for Tehran would inevitably mean more money for groups like Hezbollah. But he also insisted it wouldn’t make much of a difference in terms of Iran’s capacity to make mischief in the Middle East.
Hubbard’s reporting suggests otherwise. Iran can no longer finance civilian projects or credit lines in Syria. Hezbollah fighters and Palestinian militants aren’t being paid, and their families are losing subsidized housing. Even Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has complained publicly about the effects of U.S. sanctions.
Nor are those the only benefits of withdrawal. The U.S. is no longer looking the other way at Hezbollah’s criminal enterprises, including drug smuggling and money laundering, the way it did during the Obama administration in order to engage Iran diplomatically. Iran’s protest movement, quashed in 2009, has shown signs of renewed life, not least because of public fury that the regime spends money on foreign adventures while economic conditions worsen at home.
Most importantly, Iran has not used the U.S. withdrawal from the deal to restart its nuclear programs, despite its threats to do so. Part of this has to do with Tehran’s belief that it can wait Trump out, especially since Democrats like Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris have promised to re-enter the deal if elected….
god who is the first principle of all things, may be compared to things created as the architect is to things designed. - st. Thomas Aquinas (God the Architect of Creation -- Frontispiece of la Bible Moralisée - Codex Vindobonensis, circa 1220-1230)
god who is the first principle of all things, may be compared to things created as the architect is to things designed. - st. Thomas Aquinas (God the Architect of Creation -- Frontispiece of la Bible Moralisée - Codex Vindobonensis, circa 1220-1230)