Secretary of State John Kerry has had quite a week recently.
On March 1, he admitted that while there may be alleged violations to the Syrian “ceasefire” that he negotiated, which should be tracked down, “there was currently no evidence to suggest it would destabilize the fragile peace.” The Syrian opposition begged to differ with Kerry, and considering that the “ceasefire” that was agreed to by the Russians, who are currently doing most of the bombing in the country, does not actually require them to cease their firing against Syrian groups, including ISIS, al-Nusra and other Syrian opposition militias, they seem to have the better argument.
That same day, Secretary Kerry was reported to be undecided about whether to include Christians when the Administration formally announces that the Islamic State is committing “genocide” against Yazidis. ISIS has killed thousands of Christians, sometimes by crucifixion; enslaved Christian women for sex; assassinated Church leaders; tortured Christians; destroyed churches, monasteries, cemeteries, and Christian artifacts; routinely made public statements taking “credit” for mass murder of Christians and expressing intent to eliminate Christian communities from the “Islamic State;” and even sent in trained killers disguised as refugees into UN refugee camps to kill Christians, including “in their beds.” Hundreds of thousands of Christians have fled their original lands in Iraq and Syria as refugees. But this is apparently not yet enough to meet Secretary Kerry’s definition of genocide. However, it does seem to meet the Genocide Convention definition of genocide, which is defined as killing and certain other acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”
On February 25, Kerry was questioned on Capitol Hill during a hearing about the amount of frozen funding released by the West to Iran in January because of the Iran nuclear agreement. He reiterated, “Our estimates are it’s somewhere in the vicinity of $50 to $55 billion at some point in time but it’s way below that right now.” He added, “And in fact, they are complaining about the slowness with which there has been a process of repatriation.” Of course, Iran has already crowed that it received $100 billion, and Marie Harf, senior advisor for strategic communications to Secretary Kerry, has already conceded the point, blaming the U.S. Treasury Department’s bad math for the $50-55 billion figure.
During that same hearing, the Secretary bragged that the nuclear deal with Iran was key to the speedy release of the ten American sailors who were illegally seized as hostages by the Iranians. “If we hadn’t done this agreement and I didn’t have a relationship with (Iran’s) foreign minister, then they probably would have been hostages and they might still be there,” Kerry said of the sailors. This is not the first time Kerry has made this claim. Secretary Kerry has things backward here. Because the Iranians have seen the great lengths this Administration has gone to appease them – including the Iran deal and the Administration’s unwillingness to confront Iranian aggression against the U.S. and Western allies – they do not fear breaking international law by seizing American hostages and humiliating them.
Also during that same hearing, Kerry appealed to lawmakers to hold off for the moment on renewing the long-standing Iran Sanctions Act — which maintains a broad range of financial and other penalties on Tehran that are unrelated to the nuclear program. Of course, the Administration had originally promised that sanctions unrelated to the nuclear program would not be impacted by the deal, and thus, the U.S. could raise them if it so chose. Apparently, that promise is no longer operative now.
Kerry also claimed that Iran has fulfilled its commitments under the Iran agreement so far. This may be news to some, since Iran has refused to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency investigating its Possible Military Dimensions; violated the conventional weapons ban by purchasing Russian fighter jets; violated UNSCR 2231 by testing multiple ballistic missiles; and announced that it plans to conduct a rocket test in violation of the deal. Regarding the ballistic missile tests, Kerry had originally claimed that Iran was required to refrain from such missile testing. However, he later changed his tune. Luckily for Iran, their defense is simple – they can justifiably claim that they never endorsed this deal or the UN Resolution that enshrined it, and therefore they have committed no violations of anything that binds them at all.
Cataloguing Secretary Kerry’s misstatements and poor judgment is getting to be a regular job. One expects much more from a would be “messiah.”