Military Aid to Israel, Enforcement of Iran Sanctions Harmed by GOP Shutdown

Passing along a few more impacts of the government shutdown that Republicans caused over the Affordable Care Act: risking military aid to Israel, and ability to enforce sanctions on Iran. Nothing else has compelled Republicans to reopen government, but maybe this will.  

Jerusalem Post: State Department: US government shutdown could threaten military aid to Israel

“The US federal government shutdown could have direct repercussions on the transfer of US aid to Israel, US State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday.”

“‘The impact of the shutdown could threaten our ability to provide foreign military financing to Israel and other important allies,’ Harf said. ‘Security assistance funding for Israel is typically provided in early- to mid-November, and an extended shutdown has the potential to disrupt this critical military assistance program,’ she stated.”

“‘Without a continuing resolution or a full-year appropriation,’ Harf added, ‘fiscal year 2014 security assistance funding for Israel will be delayed.’”

Government Shutdown Empties Offices Enforcing Sanctions on Iran

“With the government shut down, most U.S. officials enforcing sanctions on Iran are not at work, potentially undermining pressure on Tehran as U.S.-Iran negotiations recommence, according to administration officials, lawmakers, and experts.”

“The Treasury Department has furloughed approximately 90 percent of the employees in its Office of Terrorist Financing and Intelligence (TFI), which is responsible for the monitoring of illicit activities and enforcement of sanctions related to several countries, including Iran, Syria, and North Korea, Treasury officials told The Daily Beast. The drastic scaling down of personnel working on those activities comes just as the Obama administration is engaging in its first set of diplomatic negotiations with the new Iranian government, led by President Hassan Rouhani.”

“A subsection of TFI, the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), which implements the U.S. government’s financial sanctions, has been forced to furlough nearly all its staff due to the lapse in congressional funding, said a Treasury Department spokesman.”

“‘As a result, OFAC is unable to sustain its core functions of: issuing new sanctions designations against those enabling the governments of Iran and Syria as well as terrorist organizations, WMD proliferators, narcotics cartels, and transnational organized crime groups; investigating and penalizing sanctions violations; issuing licenses to authorize humanitarian and other important activities that might otherwise be barred by sanctions; and issuing new sanctions prohibitions and guidance,’ the spokesman said. ‘This massively reduced staffing not only impairs OFAC’s ability to execute its mission, it also undermines TFI’s broader efforts to combat money laundering and illicit finance, protect the integrity of the U.S. financial system, and disrupt the financial underpinnings of our adversaries.’”