A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
May 17, 2010- Ahmadinejad Out Smarts Obama, Charedim Suffer Rare Setbacks
You have to give to Ahmadinejad credit. He knows how to push the envelope to the very edge, and then make a meaningless concession, just in time to avoid any sanctions. Just when the US was beginning-- almost a year late-- to be getting close to imposing some additional sanctions on Iran, Ahmadinejad, together with two willing co-conspirators, President Lula of Brazil and Prime Minister Erodgwan of Brazil, came to a meaningless agreement. In effect, Iran agreed to part of what it had agreed to over six months, the removal of some of its enriched Uranium, while France would provide it with more enhanced Uranium for use in medical research. The problem with the current agreement, is that it does not call for Iran to transfer all of its enhanced Uranium only some of its supply. Furthermore, Iran has not agreed to stop further enrichment of the Uranium it has on hand. In addition, the agreement has a provision for Turkey to return the fuel, at any time, if Iran feels the agreement is being violated by the West. Thus, the agreement does nothing to slow the Iranian Nuclear development plan. This agreement only serves to out maneuver President Obama’s effort to impose sanctions on Iran.
It should also be clear, that over the last two years, Turkey has been on a steady path from a Western leaning nation to one who is steadily embracing the most anti- western nations in the Muslim world. It really should not be a surprise that a leader who, before coming to power, made anti-western and Israeli statements, should act any differently today. Erodwan, as the head of an Islamic party that successfully stared down the army, now feels free to move Turkey into a near alliance with Syria and Iran, almost joining the rejectionist front. Lula of Brazil likes the role of being the American spoiler and has chosen to just joined in.
The Obama Administration has now been out maneuvered on both the tactical and strategic level visa-via Iran. Tactically, the administration agreed to the October fuel swap, as a first step towards building confidence and slowing decrease the Iranian developments. When Iran backed out, the US and their partners should have taken the plan off the table. Instead, they have been caught flat-footed, now that Iran seemingly is accepting a modified version of the plan.
On a strategic level, this agreement has underscored the total failure of Obama's policy toward Iran. Obama's premise was that if he outreached to Iran, either he could reach an agreement with the regime, or if the Iranians failed to respond, the world would realize it was not the US but Iran who was at fault. However, the world never thought America was at fault. Every nation has been acting in their own self interest. Nobody but the US, several European countries, the gulf states, and of course, Israel, were ever interested in taking action against the Iranains. So 16 months after Obama took office, the only thing that has happened is that the Iranians are now 16 months closer to having the bomb.
The Charedim have a had a number of l set backs in the last few days. First, the government has gone ahead and moved the graves that were stopping the building of a new emergency room at Ashkelon’s hospital. The extreme elements of the Charedi community continue to oppose the move, even though the graves are Philistine. They threatened massive demonstrations. The government ignored the Charedim, forged ahead to move the graves. A small number of Charidim have been rioting in Jerusalem causing 1 million shekel in damages.
On another front, members of a Charedi community of Emmanuel have been threatened with a daily fine of 400 shekel per family, if they do not integrate their school that has separate Sephardic and Ashkenazic students. This fight has been going on for two years. Today, the court lost patience with the failure of the community to heed its earlier orders.
Finally, a secular group has begun to take actions that might hurt the most extreme of the Charedi community where they are most vulnerable... in their pocketbook. They have begun to organize a boycott of any Israeli company that agrees to obtain a Kashrut certificate from the extreme Charedi’s communities Kashrut organization.