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In a major reversal, the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC is now supporting President Obama's position and is urging the Senate wait to vote on the Iran sanctions bill until after seeing if the Presidents efforts at negotiating a diplomatic solution can succeed. Last night, former President Bill Clinton also urged the Senate to wait until to give the diplomatic efforts a chance to succeed.

The AIPAC announcement came after a speech by Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J) that "now is not the time to move forward on a sanctions bill that both Iran and Obama have said would disrupt fragile diplomatic negotiations."

 In Bill Clinton, AIPAC urge delay on Iran sanctions, Politico reports:

“We agree with the Chairman that stopping the Iranian nuclear program should rest on bipartisan support and that there should not be a vote at this time on the measure. We remain committed to working with the Administration and the bipartisan leadership in Congress to ensure that the Iran nuclear program is dismantled,” AIPAC said in a statement.

Menendez did not explicitly say on the Senate floor that he did not want an immediate vote, though he did warn against the Senate’s posture toward Iran becoming a “partisan process trying to force a vote on a national security matter before its appropriate time,” referring to a fresh Republican push for a vote on Menendez’s bill on Thursday.

Making this reversal even more dramatic it comes just after 42 GOP Senator delivered a letter to Senator Majority Leader Harry Leader demanding that a vote be held on the Iran sanctions bill:

“Now we have come to a crossroads,” the Republicans wrote in the letter spearheaded by Kirk. “Will the Senate allow Iran to keep its illicit nuclear infrastructure in place, rebuild its teetering economy and ultimately develop nuclear weapons at some point in the future — or will the Senate stand firm on behalf of the American people and insist that any final agreement with Iran must dismantle the regime’s illicit nuclear infrastructure and preclude the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism from ever producing nuclear weapons?”

Senator Reid lashed back at the GOP letter accusing them of making this a "totally partisan letter" which was "wrong."

Former President Clinton attended a private Democratic retreat for Senators last night and urged Senators to allow President Obama's negotiations to play out before voting on this bill. The dozen or so Democratic Senators that had crossed over to join the GOP attempt to push this bill through have backed down and now are apparently supporting our President.

I wish I could be a fly on the wall to hear what the GOP is saying in response to the major change.

This is great news indeed. I totally support this new direction for AIPAC, and have always fully supporting President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry in the leadership of American national security and foreign policy in this matter. They both deserve great praise for their courage to stand up for their diplomatic strategy despite enormous pressure, even from many Democrats.

Progressive democrats, the many progressive American pro-Israel Jewish leaders, and others who have fought back against this Iran sanctions bill that our President claimed would undermine his efforts for peace can also be proud and happy these efforts have succeeded.  

6:32 PM PT: I added an extra line to highlight my happiness and pride at President Obama's and Secretary of State Kerry's courage and persistence in this matter despite much pressure. This is real leadership at work and a substantial accomplish that is far more important than it may first appear.  We may have just avoided a major new war by the courage of our President.

6:53 PM PT: The Jerusalem Post seems to be portraying this as a victory for AIPAC in AIPAC demonstrates muscle, then partially retreats on Iran.

On Monday, the New York Times declared a victory for US President Barack Obama over AIPAC, the largest pro-Israel lobby in the United States. AIPAC has aggressively pushed for legislation in Congress that holds diplomats in Geneva accountable— by AIPAC's standards— in their efforts to negotiate a settlement to the longstanding nuclear crisis with Iran.

Progress has been slow— "blunted," according to the Times report. But with a strongly-worded letter from the Republican Senate caucus, and with a forceful speech from Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez on the chamber floor on Thursday, AIPAC is pushing back, and reasserting its influence on Capitol Hill. ...

“The American people - Democrats and Republicans alike – overwhelmingly support this legislation,” the letter reads. “We should not allow the administration to turn one of the most bipartisan issues in America into a partisan one.”

Gak! I will leave it to readers to comment on this one. And more proof that this battle will continue:

Senor Republican Senate aides told The Jerusalem Post that Reid should expect them to exercise the gamut of subterfuge strategies in their effort to give the bill, formally known as the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013, a vote on the floor.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Someone just tweeted... (31+ / 0-)

    "Funny how AIPAC came out against a sanctions vote the minute they learned...there wouldn't be a sanctions vote."

    I ♥ President Barack Obama.

    by ericlewis0 on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 06:28:11 PM PST

  •  Gee, anyone doubt Hillary is running? (6+ / 0-)

    Americans want another war in the Middle East like they want a hole in the head.

    "Bob Johnson doesn't have special privileges, because really, why would I entrust that guy with ANYTHING?" - kos, November 9, 2013

    by Bob Johnson on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 06:46:23 PM PST

    •  Yes, there is doubt. (0+ / 0-)

      She has worked hard as SecState, and now is taking a breather. But, let's face facts. She will be 67 in several months, the 1.5 years spent in running for president will take its toll, and all it takes is one tiny health problem and the easiest thing to say is, "Fuck it."

      I am not saying that this will happen for certain, but we need to be realistic.

      Also, watch the anti-Hilary Koch-based reptiles start coming out now. Hilary was wrong. There was no vast right wing conspiracy. The conspiracy was actually concentrated in the hands of several dozen people, many of them committed reichwingers, all of whom hate her with a passion.

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 10:45:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Something big happened behind the scenes. (9+ / 0-)

    Have you ever seen such a reversal from AIPAC ??!!  We're talking about one of the most aggressive lobbies in Washington !!

    What I would give to see who has so much power on AIPAC. What was done to them, or what was promised to them.

    •  No I haven't but I suspect part of what (9+ / 0-)

      happened was an unprecedented push back by the President of the United States and a number of progressive Democrats and progressive pro-Israel Jews who pulled the stops and lit into the right wing "extremists" of Israel and AIPAC for trying to interfere and undermine the President of the United States in his execution of the the American intelligence, State Department, and Department of Defense has determined is the national security interests of our country and our best foreign policy.

      Prime Minister Netanyahu has been going around saying he had the President and the U.S. wrapped around his little finger. He may be a little surprised. Two night ago, a moderate Israeli commentator from Haaretz unleashed a scathing attack on some of he right-wing zealots who accused Secretary of State of antisemitism for his efforts for a two state solution.

      Some of our progressive "feedback" seems to have caught the attention of more level heads.  

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 07:06:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think that this time AIPAC (6+ / 0-)

      I think that this time (quite unusually), AIPAC has come to the conclusion that they might get more political negatives than positives if their pet sanctions bill passes than if it gets sidelined for the near-future. Especially as President Obama would simply veto it: and despite the supposed near-unanimity over tough-talking Iran (the Republican letter about "overwhelming support" for Kirk-Menendez is probably, like most GOP claims, full of fecal matter), it's doubtful whether it would be overridden. Even less so know that the opposition has pretty much solidified.

      I've always thought the Iran-sanctions push was mostly a dick-swinging contest by AIPAC, its enablers, and the neocon ex-Bush war crowd to show That One In The White House who really runs the show regarding US Middle East policy. Fortunately, President Obama and his Administration have hung tough, and the war-floggers have now had to beat a measured retreat.  Good.


  •  It all (10+ / 0-)

    goes to show what happens when we speak up. There was a serous push back from citizens saying no more wars  Obama held his ground and for some reason the press did it's job this time by calling out the senators that signed on for sabotage. We did not allow them to spin it any other way but a vote for war.

    •  I wish I could highlight and underline (5+ / 0-)

      this excellent comment, Oyibowomen. I totally agree.

      We can learn a great deal by reading your comment over and over with. You boiled down what I was trying to say to a few powerful and poetic sentences, which is probably worth a whole post just as it is. Thanks I envy your gift with words.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 07:11:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  But wait, what's Rand Paul doing now? (6+ / 0-)

    Rand Paul presses Barack Obama on Iran

    Rand Paul wants President Barack Obama to seek congressional approval of any further nuclear deal with Iran.

    While Paul is a rare Senate Republican that has declined to antagonize the president legislatively on the issue, the Kentucky lawmaker wrote Obama on Thursday seeking answers on what Congress’s role will be as diplomatic negotiations continue with Iran.

    “On a foreign policy issue of this magnitude, it is my strong belief that any further agreement – be it interim or final – that lifts statutory sanctions on Iran should require approval by the Congress before taking effect. Please let me know if it is your intent to seek this approval for any subsequent interim or final deal,” Paul said in the letter, which was also addressed to Secretary of State John Kerry as well as the leadership of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

    Paul was following up on questions he posed to one of Obama’s point people on Iran negotiations, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman. He sought information about Obama’s authority to relax existing economic restrictions on Iran as a result of the country’s compliance with an interim, six-month deal that winds down some of Iran’s nuclear ambitions in returning for an easing of some sanctions.

    “The intent of Congress was not simply to allow the President to waive all the sanctions in perpetuity at his behest,” Paul said in the letter. “Like you, I am hopeful a peaceful resolution can be reached. However, in the course of those negotiations, it is both my hope and expectation that the Congress will continue its role as an integral participant in our foreign policy toward Iran.”

    This may sound good on the surface, but wait a minute, any deal must be approved of by the Tea Party-controlled House??  That's basically Rand Paul trying to make SURE any deal fails, without him having to do so, because he can then claim he's against going to war with Iran because he would've supported a deal, but oh geez, too bad, the House killed the deal.
    •  Yikes, perhaps, I called for celebrations too (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, elwior, eztempo, unfangus

      early, (as usual.)  I'm reminded of this sentence from the JP in my update:

      Senor Republican Senate aides told The Jerusalem Post that Reid should expect them to exercise the gamut of subterfuge strategies in their effort to give the bill, formally known as the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013, a vote on the floor.
      It didn't take long did it?

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 07:13:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What ever happened to a bipartisan foreign policy? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell, unfangus

        Used to be absolute canon that "politics stops at the water's edge."  This Netanyahu/AIPAC manipulation of the Senate is a fine case study -- how close they came to finagling an American war against Iran -- when certain cynical parties here saw some political hay to be made by showing up the president as "weak" in war & peace.

        Well, this president isn't weak, and the politics turned on 'em when reasonable people outside Washington came to understand just how dangerous a game they were playing.  (You get that, Mitch McConnell?)

      •  They will never tire of saber-rattling (0+ / 0-)

        If for no other reason, it keeps the donations flowing.

        Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Egalitare on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 03:58:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  a breakthrough on Iran (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare, unfangus

      would be Obama's major second-term accomplishment, comparable in importance and long-term impact to the ACA. The Republicans are scared shitless of this scenario, not least because of what it would mean for the 2016 presidential election.

      Progress is confusion at a higher level. - John Boyd.

      by Berliner2 on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 02:44:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Senate ratifies treaties. The House passes (0+ / 0-)

      The President and Pentagon should put together a contingency spending bill to appropriate trillions of dollars for war with Iran should the need arise, with taxes raised and offsets in other MIC projects.,etc.
      That would shut them up.
      Paul is doing exactly what one would expect him to do.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:36:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good, calmer heads prevailed (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, elwior, HoundDog, eztempo

    "Wars of nations are fought to change maps. But wars of poverty are fought to map change." Muhammad Ali

    by blueoregon on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 07:15:50 PM PST

  •  Thanks, HoundDog! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northerntier, elwior, HoundDog

    This is a pleasant surprise in so many ways, and I'm eager to hear the back-story.

    My DINO senator, Mark Pryor, was initially a co-sponsor. I've held my nose and voted for him, but that made me very seriously consider sitting-out that 2014 vote, mostly because I'm old enough to remember the hundreds of thousands of children and millions of innocents we've killed just in my lifetime. I checked the letter, and he apparently wasn't one of the signatories. I'm glad because his tea-bag looney opponent is a bit ahead in the polls. Maybe his fellow Arkansans, the Clintons, influenced that.

    Was Menendez influenced by the DOJ probe of his campaign finances? Were multiple quid pro quos in play here? Or who finally figured out it was outrageous to intervene in super-fragile diplomacy?

    No doubt the Clintons have many AIPAC connections, so good on them for using them for peace. With so much fighting already in the Middle East, it seems to me that this would certainly be in Israel's best interests.

    Again, thanks for the excellent news!

    "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

    by cotterperson on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 07:24:57 PM PST

  •  Wonder How Many Settlements Were Agreed Upon... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, elwior

    for AIPAC to back off?

  •  What was that, Act 3? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 07:43:55 PM PST

  •  While you're all patting yourselves on the back (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    consider this. With all the promises in the world, Syria has turned over only 4% of the poison gas against the much larger amount they promised to surrender. What's that you say? Not a parallel situation? In both instances we have promises by two despotic countries; Syria has reneged, world security rests on Iran keeping her promise.
    Increased sanctions  are a valid security measure.

    Good luck, world.

    •  Pfffft! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lepanto, Lefty Coaster, elwior

      Struggle with dignity against injustice. IS there anything more honorable that a person can do?

      by Celtic Merlin on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 08:21:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No world security does not (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell, unfangus

      rest on whether Iran becomes a nuclear power or not just as the world didn't get destroyed when Pakistan became a nuclear power or North Korea.  An irritant and potential problem sure but the possession of nuclear weapons by a country with completely insane leadership (and Iran is certainly not the most insane around) does not pose nearly the threat the fear-mongers want us to believe.  In fact, if anything, history has shown that as soon as a country ends up with those weapons, it takes some power away from their most militant and warlike extremists because they no longer can play the victim role.   They also know that a huge target is placed on their country by the superpowers.  The counterstrike once that threshold is reached is no longer conventional.  It is complete annihilation.

      In addition, there is clear evidence that these leaders we demonize and act as if they have this rash suicidal streak that makes them unpredictable, are far from that.  They all engulf themselves in wealth and toys, surround themselves with a huge array of bodyguards, are constantly paranoid about their own security.  Idiot minions below them do their dirty work.  They don't strap on explosives and blow themselves up in crowds - EVER.  They all know their palaces and hiding spots are within the first targets of a nuclear counterstrike.  

      When each country good or bad has joined the nuclear good ole boys club, there is this visit by responsible major representatives of the club which lays out the scenario if nukes that are developed by the country are ever used against any other member.  The message is this.  An act of immediate and disproportional reprisal is unleashed upon them.  They get one shot.  The next can't come from a country that has been turned into a desert of glass.

    •  I don't care (0+ / 0-)

      Got nothing to do with the security of Minnesota.  Let me know when the Canadians are ready to attack.

  •  Mazel Tov! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, HoundDog
  •  facing defeat, AIPAC beats a strategic advance to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    New Minas, elwior, HoundDog

    the rear

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 08:32:35 PM PST

  •  Fuck AIPAC (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, sidnora

    they are a conservative neocon bunch of fucktards who represent the interests of the Likud faction of Israeli politics and work diligently to move u.s. jews to the right.

    They can all go to hell as far as I am concerned.  They are bad for Israel, bad for the Israeli people and bad for America and Americans as well.

  •  Maybe the whole "new sanctions" thing was (0+ / 0-)

    Kabuki, and part of the negotiation strategy to make sure the Iranians were serious. Just one thought that I had.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:31:23 AM PST

  •  I still think the whole thing was a head fake (0+ / 0-)

    from the begining.

    none of these democratic senators wanted to own the collapse of these negotiations and eventual war with Iran. but that doesn't mean they weren't above making a show of supporting such a step in order to placate AIPAC and get some fund raising. and it wouldn't surprise me if the whole thing was timed to fizzle after the SOTU when Obama had a high profile opportunity to wrap the consequences around their necks.

    Congress deserves its reputation for doing nothing, but one thing it does all the time is take both sides of an issue for its own benefit.

  •  Aipac didn't want to lose, so they deferred (0+ / 0-)

    if a legislative leader is going to lose a whip count
    they will pull a bill rather then lose "face".

    Here Aipac is hoping some other incident, a
    mine in the persian gulf, a ship gun fight,
    a plane bombing, something
    will let them change the dynamic.

    now i wouldn't suggest someone would be so low
    as to actually do a false flag operation, but,
    it has happened before.

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