Daily Archives: January 9, 2012

SHELDON ADELSON GIVES $5 MILLION TO PRO-GINGRICH GROUP

American billionaire and close ally of Israeli PM Netanyahu makes contribution to super PAC named ‘Winning Our Future’; has previously supported Gingrich’s claim that Palestinians are ‘invented people.’

Haaretz

American billionaire Sheldon Adelson, close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and owner of the Israeli daily Israel Hayom, has given $5 million to an independent group backing Newt Gingrich’s presidential bid.

A person familiar with the situation said Adelson — founder and majority owner of Las Vegas-based company that owns Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem — made the contribution Friday to Winning Our Future, a pro-Gingrich super PAC. The person said Adelson would spend heavily to assist whichever candidate wins the Republican nomination.

Adelson is a longtime supporter of GOP candidates and has been a friend and backer of former House Speaker Gingrich for many years. Gingrich’s campaign has struggled since a super PAC supporting Mitt Romney spent $3 million on ads attacking him in Iowa.

Last month, Adelson said he agreed with Gingrich’s controversial remarks that the Palestinians are an invented people.

Gingrich’s “invented Palestinians” remarks to the Jewish Channel, a U.S. cable TV network, earlier this month were met with widespread criticism.

Addressing a Hanukkah celebration for hundreds of youths visiting Israel as part of the Taglit Birthright program on Sunday, Adelson said, “Read the history of those who call themselves Palestinians, and you will hear why [Newt] Gingrich said recently that the Palestinians are an invented people. There are a number of Palestinians who will recognize the truth of this statement.”

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PERRY: “I WOULD SEND TROOPS BACK INTO IRAQ”

cbsnews.com

Rick Perry said he would send U.S. troops back to Iraq at a Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire on Saturday.

“The idea that we allow the Iranians to come back into Iraq and take over that country, with all of the treasures, both in blood and money, that we have spent in Iraq- because this president wants to kowtow to his liberal leftist base, and move out those men and women. He could have renegotiated that time frame. I think it is a huge error for us,” Perry said at the debate, sponsored by ABC News/Yahoo!/WMUR-TV.

This is the not the first time that the Texas governor has been critical of President Obama’s foreign policy in Iraq, but it is the first that he has suggested sending troops back after their withdrawal last month.

At a campaign stop in Iowa in December, Perry said on Iraq, “Giving your enemy is a timeline of which you’re going to withdraw is really bad tactics.”

Perry was bolder at the ABC News/Yahoo GOP presidential debate Saturday, citing Iran as a potential problem in Iraq.

“We’re going to see Iran, in my opinion, move back in at literally the speed of light. They’re going to move back in, and all of the work we’ve done — every young man that has lost his life in that country will have been for nothing. Because we’ve got a president that does not understand what’s going on in that region,” Perry said.

After a disappointing fifth place finish in the Iowa caucuses Tuesday, Perry hinted he might end his campaign, but said the next day he would remain in the race. Perry has essentially written off New Hampshire, which holds the first in the nation primary Tuesday, and is instead focusing on the January 21 primary in South Carolina, where voters are more likely to be receptive to his social conservative message.

Still, Perry faces a tough road forward and after a surging in the polls several months ago, Perry has steadily declined.

His argument for sending troops back to Iraq may not help. In a recent CBS News poll, three out of four American supported Mr. Obama’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.

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PANETTA: U.S. WILL NOT ALLOW IRAN TO DEVELOP NUCLEAR BOMB, BLOCK STRAIT OF HORMUZ

U.S. Defense Secretary says Iran laying groundwork for making nuclear weapons, but is not yet building bomb; army chief Dempsey says U.S. would take military action to reopen waterway if Iran closes it.

Haaretz

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Sunday that the U.S. would act if Iran were to develop a nuclear weapon or close the Strait of Hormuz.

Panetta, speaking to CBS’ Face the Nation, said that if Iran started developing a weapon, the U.S. would act. “I think they need to know that — that if they take that step — that they’re going to get stopped.”

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, appearing with the defense secretary, said that he wanted the Iranians to believe that a U.S. military strike could wipe out their nuclear program.

“I absolutely want them to believe that’s the case,” he said.

Panetta did not rule out launching a pre-emptive strike.

“But the responsible thing to do right now is to keep putting diplomatic and economic pressure on them to force them to do the right thing,” he said. “And to make sure that they do not make the decision to proceed with the development of a nuclear weapon.”

Dempsey also said that Iran has the military power to block the Strait of Hormuz “for a period of time” if it decides to do so, but that the U.S. would take action to reopen waterway. “We can defeat that,” he said.

Panetta said closing the strait would draw a U.S. military response. “We made very clear that the United States will not tolerate the blocking of the Strait of Hormuz,” he said. “That’s another red line for us and … we will respond to them.”

A number of experts say Iran is unlikely to close the strait, through which Gulf oil flows, because the action could hurt Iran as much as the West.

But an Iranian newspaper, the Khorasan daily, on Sunday quoted a senior commander of the powerful Revolutionary Guard force as saying Tehran’s leadership has decided to order the closure of the strategic oil route if the country’s petroleum exports are blocked.

Iranian politicians have issued similar threats in the past, but this is the strongest statement yet by a top commander in the security establishment.

In a talk at a Brookings Institution forum in December, Panetta said an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would “at best” delay Iran’s nuclear program by one or two years. Among the unintended consequences, he said, would be an increase in international support for Iran and the likelihood of Iranian retaliation against U.S. forces and bases in the Mideast.

Panetta also said Sunday that Iran is laying the groundwork for making nuclear weapons someday, but is not yet building a bomb.

As he has previously, Panetta cautioned against a unilateral strike by Israel against Iran’s nuclear facilities, saying the action could trigger Iranian retaliation against U.S. forces in the region.

“We have common cause here” with Israel, he said. “And the better approach is for us to work together.”

Panetta’s remarks on Face the Nation, which were taped Friday and aired Sunday, reflect the long-held view of the Obama administration that Iran is not yet committed to building a nuclear arsenal, only to creating the industrial and scientific capacity to allow one if its leaders to decide to take that final step.

The comments suggest the White House’s assessment of Iran’s nuclear strategy has not changed in recent months, despite warnings from advocates of military action that time is running out to prevent Tehran from becoming a nuclear-armed state.

Iran says its nuclear program is only for energy and medical research, and refuses to halt uranium enrichment

Iran has opened two dozen of its facilities to international inspectors, but has refused in defiance of the UN Security Council to suspend its uranium enrichment.

A leading hardline Iranian newspaper reported Sunday that Iran has begun uranium enrichment at a new underground site well protected from possible airstrikes.

Kayhan daily, which is close to Iran’s ruling clerics, said scientists have begun injecting uranium gas into sophisticated centrifuges at the Fordo facility near the holy city of Qom.

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