Archive for Nuclear Proliferation

Must-See TV

Democrats may boycott the Israeli Prime Minister’s speech before Congress, but there’ll be another demographic bloc who will be all eyes and ears:

Arab governments have been privately expressing their concern to Washington about the emerging terms of a potential nuclear deal with Iran, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing Arab and U.S. officials involved in the deliberations.

According to the report, the direction of American diplomacy with Tehran has added fuel to fears in some Arab states of a nuclear-arms race in the region, as well as reviving talk about possibly extending a U.S. nuclear umbrella to Middle East allies to counter any Iranian threat.

The major Sunni states, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, have said that a final agreement could allow Shiite-dominated Iran, their regional rival, to keep the technologies needed to produce nuclear weapons, according to these officials, while removing many of the sanctions that have crippled its economy in recent years.

Arab officials said a deal would likely drive Saudi Arabia, for one, to try to quickly match Iran’s nuclear capabilities, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“At this stage, we prefer a collapse of the diplomatic process to a bad deal,” an Arab official who has discussed Iran with the Obama administration and Saudi Arabia in recent weeks told the newspaper.

Arab governments have steered clear of aligning their statements with Israel, but share many of that country’s fears, U.S. and Arab diplomats said.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has been perhaps the most vocal critic of the deal with Iran, said last week that Israel knows the details of the planned nuclear deal with Iran and warned that it is a bad one.

“I think this is a bad agreement that is dangerous for the state of Israel, and not just for it,” said Netanyahu, adding, “If anyone thinks otherwise what is there to hide here?”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki later questioned whether Netanyahu indeed knows “more than the negotiators” about the talks, saying “there is no deal yet.”

Many years ago, Mrs. BTL and I were in discussions with our school system about the proper education of the heirs to the Bloodthirstani throne. We were at loggerheads. The school psychologist asked, with pain and exasperation, “Why don’t you trust us?” The sirens and flashing lights that followed were not from a school fire drill, but from the BS alert system hardwired into our brains. The question was either irrelevant or it answered itself. Either we had a disagreement over the facts of the case—in which case trust did not apply—or the facts were not in dispute—in which case something else explained the disagreement.

But mostly it was the manipulative nature of the question that so pi**ed us off. It’s not about you, we answered.

It’s the same tone I hear from Jen Space Cadet. She implies that we should trust the regime. But it’s not about the regime, or not just. It’s about the Islamic Republic of Iran that has compared the “Zionist entity” to a “filthy microbe” and has sworn to wipe it off the map. Israel is not a disinterested party in these negotiations.

And who is Jen Psaki that we should trust?

Psaki began her career in 2001 with the re-election campaigns of Iowa Democrats Tom Harkin and Tom Vilsack. Psaki then became deputy press secretary for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. From 2005 to 2006, Psaki served as communications director to U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley and regional press secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.[7]

Throughout the 2008 presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Barack Obama, Psaki served as traveling press secretary.[7] After Obama won the election, Psaki followed Obama to the White House as Deputy Press Secretary and was promoted to Deputy Communications Director on December 19, 2009.[8][9] On September 22, 2011, Psaki left that position to become senior vice president and managing director at the Washington, D.C. office of public relations firm Global Strategy Group.[10][11]

In 2012, Psaki returned to political communications as press secretary for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.[12] On February 11, 2013, Psaki became spokesperson for the United States Department of State.[12]

She’s a Democrat political flack—which is fine; she’s obviously successful. But when one’s very existence hangs in the balance, as Israel’s does, does she inspire trust? She—and trust—are irrelevant.

Oh yeah, what about her second in command, Marie “Jobs for Jihadis” Harf?

Harf began her career at the Directorate of Intelligence at the Central Intelligence Agency as an analyst focusing on Middle Eastern leadership issues. She later became the media spokesperson of the CIA.[3]

During the 2012 presidential election, Harf helped craft President Obama’s national security and communications strategy, and also served as campaign spokeswoman on national security issues.[2][3]

In June 2013, Harf was appointed Deputy Spokesperson for the US State Department, where she currently serves as deputy under Jen Psaki.[2][3]

Better: she at least earned a job in the field of her expertise. But she too exists largely as a mouthpiece for others. And I seriously doubt her former colleagues at the CIA who have studied ISIS and its ideology agree that all we need to do to defeat it is find them positions as stock clerks at Walmart. At least I pray not.

Why don’t we trust you? The question answers itself.

Comments (2)

Importing Churchill

Great as he was for the British in WWII, we were pretty well fixed ourselves with FDR.

But now is different. Israel has their Churchill in Netanyahu (if the parallel seems labored, remember Churchill was ejected from office shortly after the war); all we can answer with is Neville Hussain Chamberlain:

Five of the six world powers negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program have stepped back, leaving Washington to hammer out a deal with Tehran, a key US lawmaker said Tuesday.

“It’s evident that these negotiations are really not P5+1 negotiations any more,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said as he emerged from a closed-door briefing by Obama administration officials on the status of nuclear talks with Iran.

“It’s really more of a bilateral negotiation between the United States and Iran.”

Corker and the Democrat he replaced as committee chairman, Senator Robert Menendez, left the latest briefing expressing concern about the administration basing negotiations on the need to maintain Iran’s potential nuclear weapons “breakout” time to at least one year.

“One of my major concerns all along that is becoming more crystal clear to me, is that we are, instead of preventing proliferation, we are managing proliferation,” Menendez said.

Doesn’t that last line echo in your brain? It does in mine. That’s why I think Netanyahu has to go through with his speech to Congress. Let the Democrats stage their boycott. When Iran tests their first bomb—more realistically, when Israel bunker-busts their reactor sites—let’s all remember who didn’t show up to hear the truth, however unwelcome it may have been.

Comments

Nuclear Deal Reached With I…India??

With all due respect to our chutney chums, who gives a crap?

U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said they made progress on a range of issues, including moving toward an agreement on civil nuclear trade, cooperating on defense and addressing climate change.

After extended talks Sunday, Messrs. Obama and Modi said they had resolved some of the issues that have prevented U.S. firms from investing in nuclear power plants in India but left unclear what sticking points remained.

Mr. Modi said a civil-nuclear agreement would be the centerpiece of a transformed U.S.-India relationship.

“Six years after we signed our bilateral agreement, we are moving toward commercial cooperation, consistent with our law, our international legal obligations, and technical and commercial viability,” Mr. Modi said.

I’m delighted, seriously. Except for their abuse of women (by everything from rape to sex-selective abortions), Indians are great. But it’s easy to reach nuclear deals with countries that don’t think you’re the Great Satan.

Now try reaching one with a country that does.

Comments

Thots’n’Prayrs

As the Curies were the first to learn, atomic work is dangerous work:

Unknown assailants killed five nuclear engineers on Sunday while they were on a bus just north of Damascus near the research center where they worked, AFP reported on Sunday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of sources on the ground for its reports, later told AFP four of the engineers were Syrian, while one was Iranian.

“Unidentified attackers murdered five nuclear energy engineers who worked in the scientific research centre near the neighborhood of Barzeh, northern Damascus,” said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman, according to the report.

He later said, “Four of the engineers were Syrian, and one was Iranian. Their bus was ambushed while they were on their way to the research centre. Their assailants shot them dead.”

Ouch. We condemn such violence.

Comments

Meanwhile…

You know who loves ISIS? You know who sends amorous epistles to Putin? You know who thinks Hamass is just the dreamiest? You know who I bet is behind all the chaos, conflict, and cacophony in the world today, including ebola?

Iran:

Iran has failed to address concerns about suspected atomic bomb research by an agreed deadline, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Friday, a setback to hopes for an end to an international stand-off over Tehran’s atomic activity.

The Islamic Republic has implemented just three of five nuclear transparency steps that it was supposed to by Aug. 25 under a confidence-building deal it reached with the IAEA in November, according to the quarterly report.

Crucially, it has not provided information on the two issues that are part of the IAEA’s investigation: alleged experiments on explosives that could be used for an atomic device, and studies related to calculating nuclear explosive yields.

And Iran wonders why nobody believes them. But as a rational actor, Iran is John Gielgud. Who or what is going to stop them? The UN? Not worth discussing. NATO? What NATO country is threatened? Obama? Any worries Iran might have harbored about Obama have been swept away like a morning fog. In the clear light of day, they see the field is theirs. Now they’re just having fun:

The report said Iran, where a president seen as pragmatic took office in 2013 and revived diplomacy with the West, told the IAEA last week that most suspicions over its program were “mere allegations and do not merit consideration”.

A Vienna-based diplomat called that statement “worrying”.

The way a captured mouse is “worried” by the cat who has him at her mercy.

As Henry Kissinger just put it:

There has come into being a kind of a Shia belt from Tehran through Baghdad to Beirut. And this gives Iran the opportunity to reconstruct the ancient Persian Empire — this time under the Shia label.

From a geo-strategic point of view, I consider Iran a bigger problem than ISIS. ISIS is a group of adventurers with a very aggressive ideology. But they have to conquer more and more territory before they can became a geo-strategic, permanent reality. I think a conflict with ISIS — important as it is — is more manageable than a confrontation with Iran.

Not sure I’d have used that word “manageable”—didn’t do Obama any good—but of course he’s right. Iran has decades of crimes to its rap sheet. The only difference between the mad mullahs of Tehran and the criminally insane sh*ts of ISIS is that the former leave the heads on when they execute innocents. Can’t hang a person by the neck until dead if they’ve got no neck. Otherwise, Iran is ISIS with nukes, or soon will be.

Comments

The Next Foreign Policy Success Will Be Obama’s First

Syria a humanitarian nightmare; Egypt back to a military dictatorship (thank God); Iran as resistant and recalcitrant as ever: what’s a “transformational president” to do if the others won’t transform?

The recent positions by the White House officials on certain issues are “not acceptable,” said Mohammad Hassan Asafari, who sits on Iran’s Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, on Thursday.

“They should remember that Iran’s missile issues are not part of the negotiations in the Geneva agreement and are by no means negotiable; and the P5+1 [group] (the five parties to the nuclear talks with Iran) cannot launch such a scenario,” he said.

Earlier, Wendy Sherman, the US top nuclear negotiator at the talks with Iran, said during a Senate hearing last week that the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program would be addressed as part of a comprehensive nuclear deal.

However, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi said on Sunday that Tehran had no intention of discussing its ballistic missile program with major powers.

“The subject of the talks with the P5+1 group is only the nuclear issue; and we will not discuss any other issues,” he said, adding that the country’s defense issues “are not negotiable and are our red line.”

“Red line” as it is commonly meant, non-negotiable, a deal breaker? Or “red line” as Obama means it, a policy as easily cast off as a dirty sock? Something tells me Iran means what it says it more than Obama ever did.

Thank goodness these fiascos don’t actually hurt anybody. Just good for a laugh, right Syria?

Comments

Sensational Headline Watch

Sorry, no mass graves or decapitations this time.

But give it time:

A truck carrying a dangerous radioactive source used in medical treatment has been stolen in Mexico, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday.

Mexican authorities told the IAEA that the truck, which was transporting the cobalt-60 teletherapy source from a hospital in Tijuana to a radioactive waste storage center, was stolen Monday in Tepojaco, near Mexico City.

“At the time the truck was stolen, the source was properly shielded,” the IAEA said. “However, the source could be extremely dangerous to a person if removed from the shielding, or if it was damaged.”

I should be obsessing about a hijacked truckload of radioactive material tooling around the lawless land on our southern border, but it’s the “hospital in Tijuana” that haunts my imagination.

My God, what must that look like?

Comments

They Are the Bomb!

Sorry if this blog gets a little Saudi-centric (three of the last four posts?), but there’s a method to our madness:

The US Pentagon said on Thursday it plans a large arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates worth $10.8 billion.

The weapons include bunker-buster bombs and air-launched cruise missiles that can hit targets from a long distance, AFP reported. The missiles can hit air defense systems from a safe distance, out of range of anti-aircraft systems.

The weapons will be used on US-made F- 15 and F-16 fighter jets, according to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

The Gulf states are very concerned about Iran and its mission to extend its influence throughout the region. This worry has only increased as Iran gets ever closer to attaining nuclear weapons.

Hmmm.

Hmmm.

And again, hmmm.

We don’t want to bomb Iran to kingdom come. We’ve ordered Israel not to bomb Iran to kingdom come. But there is a very interested party that has been practically begging for Iran to be bombed to kingdom come. And now has the means.

[T]he Kingdom of Saudi Arabia believes that the manner, the mechanisms of action and double standards existing in the Security Council prevent it from performing its duties and assuming its responsibilities towards preserving international peace and security as required, leading to the continued disruption of peace and security, the expansion of the injustices against the peoples, the violation of rights and the spread of conflicts and wars around the world.

The failure of the Security Council to make the Middle East a free zone of all weapons of mass destruction, whether because of its inability to subdue the nuclear programs of all countries in the region, without exception, to the international control and inspection or to prevent any country in the region from possessing nuclear weapons, is another irrefutable evidence and proof of its inability to carry out its duties and hold its responsibilities.

Here ya go, SA. You want to “subdue the nuclear programs of all countries in the region, without exception,” here’s your big chance.

Comments

Your Show of Shoes

Or: When the rubber (sole) meets the Rouhani:

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s arrival in Tehran Saturday was marked by an incident during which a shoe was thrown by a protester in his direction, Iran’s semi-official Fararu news agency said.

A group of Iranian protesters, opposed to dialog with the United States, were at Tehran’s airport where Rouhani supporters had also gathered to welcome the president home, Fararu said.

Rouhani left the airport with his entourage without any further incident, and was accompanied by his supporters shouting, “Rouhani, Rouhani we support you,” according to Fararu.

Shoe throwing is seen as highly offensive in the Middle East for cultural and religious reasons.

If President Obama had had the wisdom to drop a payload of loafers over Damascus, he would have made his point infinitely stronger than his empty threats to fire off a battery of cruise missiles. He had no such wisdom, obviously.

Comments

A Pragmatic Nazi

Same sh*t:

Who is Mr. Rohani? If all you did over the weekend was read headlines, you would have gleaned that he is a “moderate” (Financial Times), a “pragmatic victor” (New York Times) and a “reformist” (Bloomberg). Reading a little further, you would also learn that his election is being welcomed by the White House as a “potentially hopeful sign” that Iran is ready to strike a nuclear bargain.

All this for a man who, as my colleague Sohrab Ahmari noted in these pages Monday, called on the regime’s basij militia to suppress the student protests of July 1999 “mercilessly and monumentally.” More than a dozen students were killed in those protests, more than 1,000 were arrested, hundreds were tortured, and 70 simply “disappeared.” In 2004 Mr. Rohani defended Iran’s human-rights record, insisting there was “not one person in prison in Iran except when there is a judgment by a judge following a trial.”

Just like there are no gays in Iran, right?

Mr. Rohani is also the man who chaired Iran’s National Security Council between 1989 and 2005, meaning he was at the top table when Iran masterminded the 1994 bombing of the Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people, and of the Khobar Towers in 1996, killing 19 U.S. airmen. He would also have been intimately familiar with the secret construction of Iran’s illicit nuclear facilities in Arak, Natanz and Isfahan, which weren’t publicly exposed until 2002.

The West looks on this mullah differently because he seemed so reasonable during nuclear negotiations. Seemed:

Now the West is supposed to be grateful that Mr. Ahmadinejad’s scowling face will be replaced by Mr. Rohani’s smiling one—a bad-cop, good-cop routine that Iran has played before. Western concessions will no doubt follow if Mr. Rohani can convince his boss, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, to play along. It shouldn’t be a hard sell: Iran is now just a head-fake away from becoming a nuclear state and Mr. Khamenei has shown he’s not averse to pragmatism when it suits him.

He’s just Ayatollah Khomeini with a smiling face.

Even Nazis smiled.

Comments

“Highly Inappropriate”

But equally hilarious!

Iran will chair a United Nations conference on disarmament in Geneva this month, raising eyebrows from Western powers skeptical of Iran’s own nuclear ambitions.

The UN conference addresses not only nuclear proliferation but policies concerning the race to weaponize space, the production of radiological weapons and the stockpiling or use of other weapons of mass destruction.

In a statement issued Monday afternoon, the United States said it would withdraw ambassadorial representation at the conference in protest so long as Iran retained its chair. Calling Iran’s chairmanship “highly inappropriate,” the statement from the US mission to the UN noted that the Islamic Republic was under UN Chapter VII sanctions for weapons proliferation and human-rights abuses.

“While the presidency of the CD is largely ceremonial and involves no substantive responsibilities, allowing Iran–a country that is in flagrant violation of its obligations under multiple UN Security Council Resolutions and to the IAEA Board of Governors–to hold such a position runs counter to the goals and objectives of the Conference on Disarmament itself,” the statement read.

I won’t waste my breath railing against the UN. They do it so well themselves.

Comments

Good News, Good News

When two politicians change their minds to my way of thinking, I suppose I should celebrate.

Maybe some other blogger would, but not this one.

Still, I celebrate this news:

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman gave his only on-camera interview about the change in his position on same-sex marriage to CNN’s Dana Bash on Thursday. He also discussed it with a few print reporters from Ohio and wrote an editorial explaining the change that appeared Friday in The Columbus Dispatch.

“I’m announcing today a change of heart on an issue that a lot of people feel strongly about that has to do with gay couples’ opportunity to marry,” Portman told CNN.

It has to do with another revelation, one deeply personal. His 21-year-old son, Will, is gay.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, personally, I think this is something that we should allow people to do, to get married, and to have the joy and stability of marriage that I’ve had for over 26 years. That I want all of my children to have, including our son, who is gay,” said Portman.

Will Portman told his father and mother he is gay two years ago, when he was a freshman at Yale University.

“My son came to Jane, my wife, and I, told us that he was gay, and that it was not a choice, and that it’s just part of who he is, and that’s who he’d been that way for as long as he could remember,” said Portman.

What was the Republican senator’s reaction?

“Love. Support,” responded Portman.

I guess I can see how this is news, even if (especially if) it’s personal. Certainly Portman treated it as news.

I just don’t understand how it pushes this news story—also good news—off the front page:

“I have been crystal clear about my position on Iran possessing a nuclear weapon. That is a red line for us. It is not only something that would be dangerous for Israel. It would be dangerous for the world,” Obama told CNN affiliate Israeli Channel 2 TV before a scheduled visit next week to the country.

“…I’ve also said there is a window — not an infinite period time, but a window of time — where we can resolve this diplomatically.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly called on Obama to establish a clear line that Iran cannot cross with its nuclear program, if it wants to avoid war.

Obama has resisted such a move, and Netanyahu has shown growing impatience with what he has previously called a lack of clarity by the Obama administration on articulating red lines over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

U.S. intelligence officials have said they do not believe Iran has decided to develop a nuclear weapon, even as evidence continues to mount that the country is improving its ability to do so.

When pushed during the interview to define those options, the president responded: “When I say all options are on the table, all options are on the table. The United States obviously has significant capabilities.”

Translation: we’re going to bomb the shiite out of you. Again, glad to hear it. Welcome to Planet Reality, sir.

But what took so long? Wasn’t it mere moths ago that Vice President Bite Me ridiculed the very idea of employing such “significant capabilities”?

The media has played the Obama administration tune all along. Keeping the truth of Benghazi under cover, leaving Biden’s misstatements and evasions unchallenged. Now, President Obama confesses that the sanctions have left Iran perhaps a year away from possessing a nuclear weapon.

Yet again, I’m glad Obama and Biden have swung around to the Bush/Cheney position in the war on terror: drones a-swarming, Gitmo open for business, extrajudicial executions, red lines on Iran. But if they had been a little more honest, and the media a little more responsible, we might have actually elected Republicans in 2008 and 2012, and not just Republican policies.

PS: Maybe this poll helped convince the president. Most polls do:

Americans’ sympathies for Israel matched an all time high according to a Gallup poll released Friday, just five days before US President Barack Obama was scheduled to visit Israel for the first time as president.

According to the poll, Americans’ sympathies lean heavily toward the Israelis over the Palestinians, 64 percent vs. 12%.

Republicans (78%) were much more likely to sympathize with Israel than Democrats (55%), according to the poll. Democratic support for Israel has increased by four percent since 2001, while Republican support for the Jewish state has jumped 18 percentage points in the same period.

The percentage of respondents favoring the Palestinians increases with formal education, ranging from 8% of those with no college experience to 20% of postgraduates.

“Palestinians receive the highest sympathy from Democrats, liberals, and postgraduates, but even among these, support tops off at 24%,” according to Gallup.

Pretty much what we’ve been saying.

Comments

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »