In a recent report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) challenged the impact of U.S. sanctions against Iran, noting Iran's ability to negotiate $20 billion in contracts with foreign firms since 2003 to develop its energy resources. The GAO correctly recognizes that "Iran's overall trade with the world has grown since the U.S. imposed sanctions." What the GAO fails to recognize is that the most important provisions of the cornerstone of America's sanction against Iran, the Iran Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) of 1995, have not been implemented, and it is precisely these provisions that sought to cripple Iran's ability to trade with the rest of the world.
The release last week of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran's nuclear ambitions stunned the nation's capital. After being buried for a year, the NIE has deflated the Bush administration's case on Iran by stating that Iran halted its program to develop a nuclear weapon in 2003.
Fascinating, isn't it, to watch professors Stephen Walt (Harvard University) and John Mearsheimer (University of Chicago) attain near rock star status by resurrecting the tired and discredited canard that U.S. foreign policy is dictated by a devious, dangerous and disloyal cabal known as the pro-Israel lobby -- sort of a Protocols of the Middle-Agers of Zion. Of course, the good professors are convinced that any policies advocated by the cabal are anathema to the interests of this country.
The tone of the U.S.-Israel relationship remains the same whoever controls Congress, but Democratic pledges to stringently oversee the Iraq war could affect how the United States confronts Iran. Democrats won control of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in Nov. 7 elections, the latter conclusively decided with Sen. George Allen's concession of the Virginia race on Nov. 9.Bipartisan support for Israel would be constant, Jewish and Israeli officials said, defying a pre-election barrage of Republic Jewish Coalition ads that insisted that the Democratic Party's support for Israel was eroding.