Archive for Nuclear Proliferation

Unclear on the Concept

Someone has to tell Obama that nuclear proliferation is a bad thing:

In a development that has largely been missed by mainstream media, the Pentagon early last month quietly declassified a Department of Defense top-secret document detailing Israel’s nuclear program, a highly covert topic that Israel has never formally announced to avoid a regional nuclear arms race, and which the US until now has respected by remaining silent.

But by publishing the declassified document from 1987, the US reportedly breached the silent agreement to keep quiet on Israel’s nuclear powers for the first time ever, detailing the nuclear program in great depth.

The timing of the revelation is highly suspect, given that it came as tensions spiraled out of control between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama ahead of Netanyahu’s March 3 address in Congress, in which he warned against the dangers of Iran’s nuclear program and how the deal being formed on that program leaves the Islamic regime with nuclear breakout capabilities.

Another highly suspicious aspect of the document is that while the Pentagon saw fit to declassify sections on Israel’s sensitive nuclear program, it kept sections on Italy, France, West Germany and other NATO countries classified, with those sections blocked out in the document.

Classified for 28 years—only to be declassified in revenge for Netanyahu “disrespecting” Obama. Who thereby earned every measure of disrespect imaginable.

The report also notes research laboratories in Israel “are equivalent to our Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National Laboratories,” the key labs in developing America’s nuclear arsenal.

Israel’s nuclear infrastructure is “an almost exact parallel of the capability currently existing at our National Laboratories,” it adds.

Aside from nuclear capabilities, the report revealed Israel at the time had “a totally integrated effort in systems development throughout the nation,” with electronic combat all in one “integrated system, not separated systems for the Army, Navy and Air Force.” It even acknowledged that in some cases, Israeli military technology “is more advanced than in the U.S.”

What, you didn’t expect Jewish scientists to figure this [bleep] out? Oppenheimer ring a bell? Feynman?

Declassifying the report comes at a sensitive timing as noted above, and given that the process to have it published was started three years ago, that timing is seen as having been the choice of the American government.

Answering ambiguously on the subject, or not answering at all, has kept Israel safe(ish) for decades. The president is dangerous; someone is going to get hurt.

POTUS is also a penis, it must be said.

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All the Nowruz That’s Fit to Print

You know what ticked off Obama no end: Netanyahu making his case directly to the American people. Just couldn’t stand it. Flipped out like a madman.

Of all the nerve of that guy, Bibi!

For the multicultural president, this is a natural time to bid those celebrating the festival of Nowruz a happy new year.

But President Obama on Thursday night also used the Iranian new year festival, Nowruz, to urge the people and leaders of Iran to support a deal limiting the country’s nuclear program. Obama urged them to follow a path that would bring “a brighter future” of trade, ties, investment, jobs and cultural exchanges.

It is, Obama said, “the best opportunity in decades to pursue a different future between our countries.” And he invoked a famous Iranian poet, Hafez, quoting him as saying “many a flower will bloom while you will be in clay.”

First of all, he’s a slam-dunk winner of our new award, the Chutzpie, for sheer gall. Heck, it’s practically named after him.

But a word of warning to our Persian pals: beware when he starts quoting your poets to you. Serious BS alert. The Mexicans are still croaking at alarming rates almost two years after he flattered them by citing the wit and wisdom of Octavio Paz and Frida Kahlo. He forgets this crap as soon as it leaves his mouth. As a blogger, I know best how you can make up pretty much any barnyard waste with a Google search or two. “Iranian poet” and “floral imagery” would get the job done.

But he was BS-ing us too:

“Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons, and President Rouhani has said that Iran would never develop a nuclear weapon.”

May we see that in print, chief?

Of course, the existence of Khamenei’s alleged fatwa is hotly disputed. If the president is so confident it exists, then his administration should be able to produce a copy of the fatwa, revealing when it was written and what it says. The Washington Post’s fact checker went looking for the fatwa in November 2013, as administration officials were citing it at the time, and couldn’t find it.

It’s always in the last place you look. Try next to my keys.

Anyway, if Iran pinkie-swears that it will never build an A-bomb, what’s the problem? Don’t you believe them, Mr. President? What did Hafez write about lying through one’s teeth?

Don’t those madly spinning centrifuges argue otherwise?

In a sharia state, particularly the one in Iran that is actually run by the country’s top sharia jurists, fatwas are important statements of governing law, like statutes are in the U.S. Yet despite repeated requests, Iran has never produced the purported anti-nuclear weapons fatwa from Khamenei.

Indeed, as MEMRI elaborates, Khamenei was directly asked about the purported fatwa in a 2012 Facebook exchange:

[I]s it also forbidden to obtain nuclear weapons, as per your ruling that their use is prohibited?

He refused to answer the question:

Your question has no jurisprudential aspect. When it has a jurisprudent [sic] position, then it will be possible to answer it.

The notion that Khamenei actually believes nuclear weapons violate Islamic law and would issue a credible fatwa to that effect should be seen as absurd on its face. Put aside that Pakistan, which incorporates sharia in its law, has long had nuclear weapons.

Why don’t you just make nuclear weapons mandatory, sir? It would be a lot easier.

A happy Nowruz to all our Farsi friends. Let’s see if we can make it till the next one. Don’t waste what time you have left listening to this shyster.

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Saudis Listening to Bibi, Not ‘Bama

And their answer is al-phooey:

As U.S. and Iranian diplomats inched toward progress on Tehran’s nuclear program last week, Saudi Arabia quietly signed its own nuclear-cooperation agreement with South Korea.

That agreement, along with recent comments from Saudi officials and royals, is raising concerns on Capitol Hill and among U.S. allies that a deal with Iran, rather than stanching the spread of nuclear technologies, risks fueling it.

Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal, a member of the royal family, has publicly warned in recent months that Riyadh will seek to match the nuclear capabilities Iran is allowed to maintain as part of any final agreement reached with world powers. This could include the ability to enrich uranium and to harvest the weapons-grade plutonium discharged in a nuclear reactor’s spent fuel.

The memorandum of understanding between Saudi Arabia and South Korea includes a plan to study the feasibility of building two nuclear reactors worth $2 billion in the Arab country over the next 20 years, according to Saudi state media.

Current and former U.S. officials said there is particular concern about Saudi Arabia’s decadeslong military alliance with Pakistan, a nuclear-armed state with a history of proliferating military technologies.

A number of senior Arab officials have warned the White House in recent months the Saudi government could seek Pakistan’s aid in developing nuclear technologies—or even buy an atomic bomb—if it sees an agreement with Iran as too weak. Saudi officials have told successive U.S. administrations they expect to have Pakistan’s support in the nuclear field, if called upon, because of the kingdom’s massive financial support for the South Asian country.

This isn’t about just Israel. In fact, it’s probably about Israel least of all. No offense, Tom Leherer, but the Shias may hate the Sunnis most of all. And the Sunnis return the compliment. And they can pay cash.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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.

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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.

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