Friday, 6 March 2015

Lockerbie analogy drawn about Obama-Netanyahu spat

[The following are excerpts from an article by Allan Gerson (a former US Deputy Assistant Attorney General) headlined The Guts of the Netanyahu-Obama Flare-Up: The White House Versus Congress which was published yesterday in the US edition of the Huffington Post:]

President Obama may be violating Congressional prerogatives in making deals with foreign governments that are unprepared to renounce their allegiance to terrorism. (...)

Congress has a special constitutional interest in this matter. In fulfillment of its prerogatives as the legislative branch it duly passed laws calling on the State Department to assist it in listing foreign governments considered sponsors of terrorism, and it has repeatedly designated Iran as the world's key supporter and sponsor of terrorism, resulting in the death of thousands of Americans as well as huge numbers of foreign nationals. Dealing with any country designated as a state sponsor of terrorism, absent special exemptions, is subject to stringent criminal penalties. This is not to say that the Executive Branch cannot secretly engage in negotiations with states so designated, but it does mean that no deal can be struck with those states that eliminates their subjection to US sanctions unless they are prepared to renounce allegiance to terrorism as an instrument of state policy. Otherwise, it is the Executive Branch that is trampling on the Legislative Branch's legitimate powers.

For example in dealing with Libya, successive US administrations made clear that Libya would first have to renounce terrorism as an instrument of state policy before any agreement could be effectuated that would eliminate US sanctions against Libya imposed after the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988. (...)

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