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Archive for November, 2013

Nuclear War, Obama’s Legacy tends to Leave for our Children

November 29, 2013 Leave a comment

To be fair, the document signed in Geneva is not meant to neutralize the threat posed by those 218324who rule Iran. It is meant only to be a “confidence building” measure, a first step toward the “comprehensive solution” that President Obama envisions – or at least hopes for.

It’s not a treaty, just a “plan of action,” though its purpose, at least from the Western perspective, is to induce inaction – to persuade Iran’s rulers to halt their development of nuclear weapons. In exchange, America and the West are to stop economically ostracizing Iran. In this first phase, however, the centrifuges will continue to spin, while sanctions pressure is reduced. Small wonder Iran’s rulers have been celebrating.

The preamble to the plan states: “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek or develop any nuclear weapons.” President Obama reads that as a significant concession. But it is a claim that Iran’s rulers have repeated many times in the past. We know beyond any reasonable doubt that they have not been telling the truth. Read more…

Iran, North Korea Secretly Developing New Long-Range Rocket Booster for ICBMs

November 28, 2013 Leave a comment

Iranian missile group delegation visited Pyongyang as Geneva nuclear talks were underway. Hasan Rouhani, Kim Yong Nam

Iranian missile technicians secretly visited North Korea as part of joint development of a new rocket booster for long-range missiles or space launchers at the same time nuclear talks took place in Geneva, according to U.S. officials.

Several groups of technicians from the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG), a unit in charge of building Iran’s liquid-fueled missiles, traveled to Pyongyang during the past several months, including as recently as late October, to work on the new, 80-ton rocket booster being developed by the North Koreans, according to officials familiar with intelligence reports.

The booster is believed by U.S. intelligence agencies to be intended for a new long-range missile or space launch vehicle that could be used to carry nuclear warheads, and could be exported to Iran in the future. Read more…

Thanksgiving – Remember those not home with family

November 28, 2013 Leave a comment

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Remembering those who faithfully serve us with honor and valor, our United States Military.

No One in the Middle East Will Sleep

November 27, 2013 Leave a comment

So, how are the Saudis reacting to the nuclear deal with Iran?U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah in Riyadh

That’s the question on many people’s lips now that world powers have arrived at a nuclear deal with Iran. The simple answer is that they are probably as confused as the rest of us as they work out what the parties have agreed to and what they have conceded. But when you’re sitting across the Persian Gulf from Iran—a divide that mirrors the division between Sunni and Shiite Islam in the region—things look different than when you’re discussing the talks around a coffee machine here in the United States. The Saudis see the negotiations as power politics played as a zero-sum game. A perceived victory for Iran, even a reprieve from tougher action, is to the disadvantage of the kingdom.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is likely exasperated by the agreement and the Obama administration’s celebrations of it. How do I know? Because the king left Riyadh on Monday for the desert oasis of Rawdhat Khuraim. Read more…

Let’s Call for the Peaceful End of Iran’s Dangerous and Illegitimate Regime

November 26, 2013 Leave a comment

March of freedom would leave the tyrannical Islamic regime on history’s ash heap. [DID]

khamenei_iran__s_serial_killer_by_arasch

The Obama administration’s deal with Tehranbrings the world closer to two profoundly undesirable events: an Iranian nuclear breakout capability or a possible Iranian retaliation in the wake of an Israeli strike to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program. Such is the implication of the Geneva agreement that U.S. diplomats call a nuclear “freeze,” but which allows Tehran to proceed merrily with uranium enrichment.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu—representing those caught playing the role of canary in a coal mine, who may presumably fall first to Iran—has made no secret of his distaste for what he called yesterday “a historic mistake.” He has also lamented the approximately $7 billion in sanctions relief sanctions relief given to Tehran for the deal—money that will alleviate domestic pressure on Iran’s government and allow it to augment its nuclear program.

Netanyahu is not alone. Over the past month, Washington has gotten an earful from other U.S. allies as well, including Saudi Arabia and several Persian Gulf states that must contend with Tehran’s terrorism and political subversion efforts. This loss of confidence in America will have real consequences. Read more…

What about Neda Agha Soltan?

November 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Mr. President Obama, you don’t negotiate with a regime that commits act of atrocities and genocide against its own people, maintains policyNeda of apartheid inside the country, sponsors terrorism across the globe, throws threats at the regional states, interferes in the affairs of neighboring countries, attacks U.S. interests anywhere in the world, kills the best men of United States Armed Forces, and has a long history of evading the international nuclear observers toward acquiring  a nuclear arsenal. The outcome of such negotiations and diplomacy would only help to strengthen and passively legitimize the actions of the leading State sponsor of terrorism, the IRI. [DID]

Not that long ago, it seemed the world would never forget Neda Agha Soltan.

On June 20, 2009, a government thug fired a bullet through the 26-year-old’s heart as she stood watching protests against the blatant election fraud that had secured victory for a presidential candidate backed by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Video of her dying moments went viral, and Neda became a global symbol of the upraised movement, as the Iranian people called their movement to topple a regime capable of such bloody deeds. “I think that anybody who sees it knows that there’s something fundamentally unjust about that,” President Obama said that week. Read more…

An Early Look at the Iran-EU-5+1 Joint Action Plan

November 25, 2013 Leave a comment

The P5+1 (the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China, facilitated by the European Union) agreed with Iran on IranNovember 24, 2013 in Geneva on a six-month Joint Action Plan. The agreement is supposed to serve as an interim deal, setting the stage for negotiations over a longer term, comprehensive agreement. Below are three sets of observations related to the interim agreement, the forthcoming negotiations over a potential long term deal, and the less –discussed period after such a long term deal would have run its course.

The short term:

The provisions on the known parts of the Iran program are sufficient and likely worth the apparent price of sanctions relief, probably buying several months of respite from an Iranian move to a bomb (how much exactly depends in part on your estimate of how much of installed but not currently running centrifuges Iran would have activated in the meantime). This is true even if this is a solution we could have had 8-10 years ago if the Bush administration had been willing to engage with the EU negotiations at that time. Read more…

A Bad and Morally Indefensible Deal

November 25, 2013 Leave a comment

The announcement that the P5+1 (the five U.N. Security Council members plus Germany) reached a nuclear deal with Iran has just been made. A few details of the deal p-51-and-iran-netotiators-11-2013have been announced and there likely will be others. But what has been reported so far is sufficient to conclude, as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said of the draft deal reported two weeks ago, that “this is a very, very bad deal.”

The Iranian “concessions” thus far announced are unimpressive: Iran will stop enriching uranium beyond 5 percent; it will install no additional centrifuges; it will convert the 100 pounds or so of 20 ​percent–enriched uranium which quickly can be converted to weapons-grade uranium to something harder to convert to weapons-grade uranium. Iran has not agreed to send any of its 20 percent–enriched uranium out of the country; to close the nuclear facilities which will soon provide it with plutonium with which to make nuclear weapons; to stop its testing of long-range missiles; or to cease its support of terrorist activities by Hezbollah and others. Read more…

When the Mullahs Play 3-D Chess and Obama Plays Checkers

November 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Based on this “sucker’s deal” Mullahs’ regime has not agreed to dismantle any of the thousands of centrifuges it has installed. Given MullahsU.S. Secretary of State Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif after a ceremony at the United Nations in Geneva have a long history of defying its obligations regarding its nuclear program and a history of preventing IAEA inspectors to do their jobs, they can cleverly evade the inspectors from their clandestine facilities, in where they can easily continue enriching uranium beyond 5% toward making a nuclear bomb. The worry agitates when (and not if) Obama starts loosening some more of the constraints on Mullahs, such as easing the inspection process as a goodwill gesture. Also based on this deal Mullahs’ regime has not agreed to close the heavy water reactor in Arak that uses Plutonium to make nuclear weapons, Go FIGURE! [DID]

After years of false starts, mutual recriminations and steadily escalating pressure, Iran has finally agreed to accept real limits on its nuclear program. In his statement Saturday night announcing the agreement, U.S. President Barack Obama called it an “important first step” and declared that diplomacy had “opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure.”

If this interim deal leads to a final accord that mothballs Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and keeps it that way, it will be worth the heartburn it’s causing Israel, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. Congress, too. But we’re still a very long way from Tipperary on this one. And we should be careful about putting on the party hats and breaking out the champagne—at least for now, anyway. And here are five reasons why. Read more…

KEY PLAYERS IN US, IRAN SECRET TALKS

November 24, 2013 Leave a comment
Iran Secret Talks

From left, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, chief U.S. nuclear negotiator Wendy Sherman and Vice President Joe Biden’s top foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan

Key figures in the secret U.S.-Iranian nuclear talks:

UNITED STATES

-President Barack Obama: Making good on a promise in his first inaugural to “extend a hand” to countries like Iran, Obama authorizes secret, one-on-one contacts between American and Iranian officials after the release of two American hikers from an Iranian prison in September 2011. He steps up the effort in March of this year, dispatching two top foreign policy aides to Oman for discussions with Iran on everything from the nuclear program to the Syrian civil war and the fate of three Americans believed to be in Iranian custody. Nuclear talks accelerate after Iran’s moderate President Hassan Rouhani takes office in August. Obama and Rouhani speak by telephone in September, the first direct contact between U.S. and Iranian leaders in more than three decades. Read more…

Our ‘Sucker’s Deal’ with Mullahs

November 24, 2013 Leave a comment

president desperate to change the subject and a secretary of state desperate to make a name for himself are reportedly on the verge of an “interim” nuclear agreement pic_giant_112113_SM_Our-Suckers-Deal-with-Iranwith Iran. France called it a “sucker’s deal.” France was being charitable.

The only reason Iran has come to the table after a decade of contemptuous stonewalling is that economic sanctions have cut so deeply — its currency has collapsedinflation is rampant — that the regime fears a threat to its very survival.

Nothing else could move it to negotiate. Regime survival is the only thing the mullahs value above nuclear weapons. And yet precisely at the point of maximum leverage, President Obama is offering relief in a deal that is absurdly asymmetric: The West would weaken sanctions in exchange for cosmetic changes that do absolutely nothing to weaken Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Read more…

America’s Dummy Diplomacy

November 23, 2013 Leave a comment

I know of no occupation other than diplomat in which a practitioner who consistently and embarrassingly fails at his job is rewarded with a pat on the back and many John Kerrymore attempts to cock things up. A surgeon who admits that he’s yet to save a patient on the slab will soon find himself seeking other means of employment. A certified public accountant whose clients are annually audited will eventually choose to pursue that lifelong dream of stand-up comedy. A web designer who can’t program a functioning website will go to work for the White House. But diplomacy, especially as conducted by the United States of late, seems to be a field in which competence and sapience are retrograde and one gets all the points simply for trying.

Right now a woman called Wendy Sherman is leading American efforts to get the mullahs of Iran to halt or slow their nuclear program in exchange for international sanctions relief. In October, Sherman told the Senate, “No deal is better than a bad deal.” Read more…