While Israelis were celebrating 47 years since the liberation of Jerusalem and Judea & Samaria, US President Obama gave a much-anticipated foreign policy speech to the 2014 graduates of the West Point Military Academy. When addressing the Iranian nuclear program, Obama downplayed the use of force and emphasized America’s focus on international cooperation. He argued, “The odds of success are still long, and we reserve all options to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. But for the first time in a decade, we have a very real chance of achieving a breakthrough agreement – one that is more effective and durable than what would be achieved through the use of force.”
Hours after Obama’s speech ended, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who recently visited Israel and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, stood firmly by Israel’s side. Cruz’s father, Rafael, is an Evangelical pastor and Cruz is often mentioned as a possible Presidential candidate. According to the Times of Israel, Cruz spoke to reporters in Poland and warned that Obama’s approach to Iran was reminiscent of Clinton’s mistakes in North Korea, “Perhaps the most striking aspect of my entire time in Israel was the unanimity of opinions on the gravity of the threat that Iran presents…even in the best case scenario, this deal would leave Iran on the threshold of a nuclear breakout…that sets the stage for the next movement in which there is trouble across the globe for Iran to pull the trigger, develop the nuclear weapons and announce it as a fait accompli.”
Meanwhile, the shadow war between Iran and the West doesn’t stop for US Presidents. According to the Jerusalem Post, a US cyber intelligence firm revealed a complex three year espionage campaign by Iranian hackers. In what was named “Newscaster”, the hackers targeted a number of high-profile Israeli and American politicians, diplomatic personnel, lobbyists, and journalists. They created elaborate personas and social media accounts establishing credibility by first forming ties with the victims’ friends, classmates, colleagues, and relatives. The hackers appeared to work for NewsOnAir.org, a fake news site populated by content from AP, BBC and Reuters
Thankfully, there was no evidence that the hackers obtained sensitive information but perhaps the one of the most elaborate cyber campaigns is a sign of more to come.