By Cheryl Pellerin, AFPS, WASHINGTON, March 6, 2012 - President Barack Obama took questions from reporters at a press conference this afternoon on his administration's policies and intentions on situations in Iran, Syria and Afghanistan.
"When I came into office, Iran was unified, on the move, had made substantial progress on its nuclear program, and the world was divided in terms of how to deal with it," the president said.
[WOTN Editor comments: In 2009, hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the streets to protest the continued rule of Ahdimnijihadist, while Obama refused to even utter harsh words of the regime. Those Iranians were murdered, raped, and beaten by the Islamist government of Iran, and still came back, knowing that their demonstrations would be met by violence. They risked their lives for the hope of Freedom. CNN obeyed the orders of the Islamist government to NOT report from Iran and Obama remained mute. Iran was hardly unified in 2009. It was at the closest point in its 30 year history of regaining Freedom from its tyrannical dictators.]
[Since 2009, Egypt, Tunisia, & Libya have been overturned, with the help of the Obama Administration. In the aftermath, Elements of Al-Qaeda have influence in Libya, 75% of the Egyptian Parliament is controlled by Islamists as they write the new Egyptian Constitution, and thousands of Tunisians have fled their country as the Islamists took over and began writing their Constitution. For the first time since 1979, Iranian ships were given passage through the Suez Canal. And the leader of the all powerful Guardian Council of Iran now says that Islamists (al-Maliki, Moqtada al-Sadr, et.al.) are in charge of Iraq. Iran's influence in the Middle East has reached its post 1979 peak.]
Obama said the United States will not countenance Iran getting a nuclear weapon.
"My policy is not containment. My policy is to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon because ... that could trigger an arms race in the region or give terrorists access to such a weapon," Obama said, adding that the United States has been in close consultation with its allies on the strategy, including Israel.
[Containment has not worked in North Korea, but Clinton also said he would prevent the NoRK's from getting Nukes. He also favored "negotiations" which continued right up to the point the NoRKs detonated their first bomb. Iran is likely to see the path to Nuclear Weapons include the same type of negotiations that made a mockery of Carter's diplomacy in 1979 and their ally NoRK's negotiations with Clinton. In their culture, negotiations are a stalling tactic, by the weak, to rebuild, or build their strength. Islamist Rulers of Iran continue to state that the conflict with the United States is the very core of their regime, and that Israel must be wiped off the map.]
Obama met yesterday at the White House with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss Iran and other issues.
"The argument that we've made to the Israelis is that we have made an unprecedented commitment to their security. There is an unbreakable bond between our two countries," the president said.
"But one of the functions of friends is to make sure that we provide honest and unvarnished advice in terms of what is the best approach to achieve a common goal, particularly one in which we have a stake," he added.
If action is taken prematurely against Iran, Obama said, there will be consequences for Israel, for the United States and for the region.
[If action is delayed, until they have a Nuke, there will be no turning back, just as nothing was or could be done, short of all out war, when North Korea got their Nuke.]
"I do think that any time we consider military action, the American people understand that there is going to be a price to pay," Obama said. "Sometimes it's necessary, but we don't do it casually."
Sanctions are starting to have a significant effect inside Iran, the president added, " ... and because the sanctions are going to be even tougher in the coming months, because they're now starting to affect [Iran's] oil industry [and] their central bank, and because we're now seeing noises about them returning to the negotiating table ... it is deeply in everybody's interests -- the United States, Israel and the world's -- to see if this can be resolved in a peaceful fashion."
The United States will continue to apply pressure, he told reporters.
[32 years of sanctions have hurt the Iranian workers, but not the Iranian tyrants. Sanctions work in conjunction with war, but not as a means by itself, unless dealing with a rational actor that cares more about its people, than its own power. Sanctions did not work for Carter when he was attempting to pressure the Soviet Union to abandon its invasion of Afghanistan, and they were far more rational. 50 years of sanctions have not worked against Cuba. Neither sanctions nor free food worked to deter North Korea from Nukes.]
"To resolve this issue will require Iran to come to the table and discuss in a clear and forthright way how to prove to the international community that the intentions of their nuclear program are peaceful," the president said. "They know how to do that. This is not a mystery."
On the topic of Syria, where the government is killing its own people in an attempt to quell a year-long popular uprising of citizens who call for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad, Obama called the violence there "heartbreaking and outrageous."
[Syria is Iran's biggest ally in the region.]
The international community has mobilized against the Assad regime, he added, and it's not a question of if Assad leaves, but when.
For the United States "to take military action unilaterally, as some have suggested, or to think that somehow there is some simple solution, I think is a mistake," the president said.
"What we've done is to work with key Arab states, key international partners -- [Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton was in Tunisia [recently] -- to come together and to mobilize and plan" how to support the opposition, provide humanitarian assistance, and continue the political and economic isolation, Obama said.
[How much planning is needed? 2 Months? 6 Months? A year? It has been a year since the Syrians took to the streets, and the slaughter began. It has been more than 40 years that Syria has been a state supporter of terrorism, including their support of Iranian ran Hezbollah in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, and elsewhere, and including the Hezbollah attacks on the US Embassy, US Marines, and French Peacekeepers in Lebanon in 1983. This is not a secret and it is not new. Syria is the 2nd biggest supporter of terrorists, after Iran. During the last 10 years, they routinely gave safe passage to Al-Qaeda terrorists traveling to Iraq to kill US Troops & Iraqi supporters of Democracy.]
"We are going to continue to work on this project with other countries," he added, "and it is my belief that ultimately this dictator will fall, as dictators in the past have fallen."
[Perhaps of old age, like Fidel, Stalin, the Ayatollah Khomeni?]
The notion that the way to solve every problem is to deploy the U.S. military is incorrect, the president said.
"We've got to think through what we do through the lens of what's going to be effective," he added, "but also what's critical for U.S. security interests."
Taking a question about the inadvertent Quran-burning incident by U.S. troops in Kabul on Feb. 20, Obama said the situation concerns him.
"I think that it is an indication of the challenges in that environment, and it's an indication that now is the time for us to transition," he said.
[The political decision to order a mass recruitment of Afghans into the ANA/ANP without vetting is directly responsible for the Taliban infiltrations. It is because of the political decision to "transition" that Taliban infiltrators are murdering the US and International Troops attempting to train Afghan Troops. More US Troops have been killed by these infiltrators alone under Obama than ALL US Troop KIA's in Afghanistan from 2001-2003.]
The violence directed at International Security Assistance Force service members is unacceptable, Obama said, and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, who is nonetheless eager for more responsibility on the Afghan side, acknowledged that.
"We're going to be able to find a mechanism whereby Afghans understand their sovereignty is being respected and that they're going to be taking a greater and greater role in their own security," Obama said.
"That, I think, is in the interests of Afghans. It's also in our interests. And I'm confident that we can execute [that], but it's not going to be a smooth path. There are going to be bumps along the road, just as there were in Iraq," he added.
[The path to successes in Iraq was paved by listening to the Generals, by supporting them, by sending them more Troops when things were at their worst, not by pulling Troops out when violence peaked. 2010 was the deadliest year EVER in Afghanistan. 2009 was the 3rd deadliest. 2011 was the 2nd deadliest. 75% of the violence in Afghanistan, in this century has occured since Obama was sworn in.]
None of this is easy, he said, and it never has been.
"I think that President Karzai understands that we are interested in a strategic partnership with the Afghan people and the Afghan government," Obama said.
"We are not interested in staying there any longer than is necessary to assure that al-Qaida is not operating there," he added, "and that there's sufficient stability that it doesn't end up being a free-for-all after ISAF has left."
[Afghanistan is far less stable than it has been at any time since 9/11, and that is a DIRECT result of this Administration's policies.]
Afghanistan and the United States "share interests here," the president said. "It will require negotiations, and there will be times where things don't look as smooth as I'd like. That's kind of the deal internationally on a whole range of these issues."