Archive for the ‘Iranian EMPs’ category

Can Israel’s new missile shield help it avoid an EMP attack?

January 23, 2017

Can Israel’s new missile shield help it avoid an EMP attack? Center for Security PolicyJakub Gorski, January 23, 2017

Arrow-3 interceptors have exo-atmospheric strike capabilities allowing it to shoot down ICBMs from space. This would allow Arrow-3 to shoot down the Safir. So with Arrow-3 Israel should be able to safeguard itself from an ICBM based EMP attack.

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On January 18 Israel launched the Arrow-3 interceptor, which gives the Israeli Air Force the capability to shoot down missiles from space. Arrow-3 joins Arrow-2, David’s Sling, and Iron Dome as part of the country’s multi-layered anti-ballistic missile shield.

Israel’s new anti-ballistic missile shield is designed to protect the country from Hamas and Hezbollah’s mid-range missiles as well as Iran’s long-range missiles. This upgraded missile defense shield should also be able to protect Israel from an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.

An EMP is a burst of electromagnetic energy that comes in three waves. The initial burst from an EMP wave is known as E1. It is faster than lighting and will damage control systems necessary for operations of things such as the electric grid. It essentially fries some components of small electric circuitry. The second wave (E2) is as fast and strong as lighting so it can be stopped with lighting protection, but many homes and businesses lack lightning protection. An E3 wave is the slowest, but also has the most energy and is capable of causing high-voltage transformers to melt. HV transformers are a necessary component of sub-stations and enable electricity to be carried across large areas.

An EMP strike can be achieved by detonating a nuclear weapon between 30 and 400 kilometers above the Earth’s surface, according to the Congressional Report on EMP attacks. This is high enough to avoid any physical or radiological damage to people and infrastructure, but low enough for an EMP burst that will shut down electronics in a radius of 600 to 2,000 km.

This is a realistic scenario based on intelligence community projections of Iran’s weapons capabilities. If Iran was to detonate a nuclear bomb in the atmosphere the resulting EMP would cover the whole of Israel. The resulting bursts would shut-down Israel’s vital infrastructure and render technology-dependent army largely inoperable leaving the country open to invasion.

There are thousands of Iranian fighters in Syria and Iraq, including members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, helping to prop-up their governments. A posture of provocative weakness for Israel under these conditions is definitely a driver of destabilization.

The U.S. cannot guarantee that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon. Right now Iran could place such a nuclear weapon on ballistic missiles, but those can be shot down using Israel’s Arrow-2. The system cannot intercept ICBMs, which leaves Israel to an EMP attack from an ICBM missile.

Iran has already demonstrated the ability to fire satellites into space with the Safir rocket. For the Safir to be used as an ICBM its second stage has to be heavily modified and have a reentry vehicle. If Safir were to be used for an EMP attack it would not require a reentry vehicle.

All that would be necessary is for the Safir to have its second stage modified and then fired towards US and Israel.

However, Arrow-3 interceptors have exo-atmospheric strike capabilities allowing it to shoot down ICBMs from space. This would allow Arrow-3 to shoot down the Safir. So with Arrow-3 Israel should be able to safeguard itself from an ICBM based EMP attack.

Recent Iranian disclosures highlight the perversity of the Iran “deal”

August 13, 2015

Recent Iranian disclosures highlight the perversity of the Iran “deal,” Dan Miller’s Blog, August 13, 2015

(The views expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of Warsclerotic or its other editors. — DM)

In 2011, well before the multilateral P5+1 “negotiations” with Iran began in February of 2013, Obama put Senator John Kerry in charge of  “secret bilateral negotiations on the [Iranian] nuclear dossier.” Kerry then advised Iranian officials that “we are definitely and sincerely willing, and we can resolve the issues” — including Uranium enrichment and the Possible Military Dimensions (PMDs) of Iran’s nuclear program. Iran’s nuclear weaponization and missile development programs have been substantially ignored ever since.

Ernest Moniz, who was to become Kerry’s technical adviser, was brought into the P5+1 negotiations at the specific request of the Iranian official — Moniz’ former MIT classmate — who was to be his counterpart. 

The Iran – North Korea nuclear axis, through which the rogue nations cooperate on nuke and missile development, continues to be ignored.

In earlier articles, beginning shortly after the Joint Plan of Action was published in November of 2013, I attempted to show that the focus was on pretending to curtail Iran’s Uranium enrichment programs as they expanded and then granting sanctions relief, while substantially ignoring the program’s “possible military dimensions” (PMDs). Followup articles are here, here and elsewhere. The PMDs have yet to be explored seriously and evidently will not be under the current “comprehensive” joint plan and the secret side deals between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran.

Any pretense that the IAEA will have “any time, anywhere” access to Iran’s military sites was mere rhetoric, as acknowledged by US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on July 16th

“I think this is one of those circumstances where we have all been rhetorical from time to time,” Sherman said in a conference call with Israeli diplomatic reporters. “That phrase, anytime, anywhere, is something that became popular rhetoric, but I think people understood that if the IAEA felt it had to have access, and had a justification for that access, that it would be guaranteed, and that is what happened.” [Emphasis added.]

Ms. Sherman was right about the rhetorical nature of administration assertions, but wrong about IAEA access, of which there will apparently be little or none pursuant to the secret deals between Iran and the IAEA.

I. Here’s some background on Kerry

Reporting for duty

Reporting for duty with Iran

During his 2004 campaign for president, Kerry said if he were the president he would

have “offered the opportunity to provide the nuclear fuel” to Iran, to “test them, see whether or not they were actually looking for it for peaceful purposes.” Mr. Kerry’s words brought comfort to Tehran’s top mullahs, who have been seeking to buy time from the international community for the past two years while they continue perfecting their nuclear weapons capabilities. [Emphasis added.]

. . . .

Top among the pro-regime fund-raisers who have contributed to the Kerry campaign is a recent Iranian immigrant in California named Susan Akbarpour.

. . . .

The Kerry campaign credits Miss Akbarpour and her new husband, Faraj Aalaie, with each raising $50,000 to $100,000 for the presidential campaign. Mr. Aalaie is president of Centillium Communications, a Nasdaq-listed software firm.

These contributions continue . . . even though Miss Akbarpour was not a permanent U.S. resident when she made her initial contribution to Mr. Kerry on June 17, 2002, as this reporter first revealed in March. (To be legal, campaign cash must come from U.S. citizens or permanent residents).

On August 10th of this year, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) published a lengthy article quoting Iranian officials on their dealings with Senator Kerry. Obama had put Senator John Kerry in charge of “secret bilateral negotiations on the [Iranian] nuclear dossier” well before the multilateral P5+1 “negotiations” with Iran began in February of 2013.

The MEMRI article states that Kerry had representatives of The Sultanate of Oman deliver a letter he had written to Iranian officials recognizing Iran’s Uranium enrichment rights and suggesting secret negotiations. Omani officials discussed the letter with Iranian officials and, when the Iranians appeared skeptical, the Omani official suggested,

Go tell them that these are our demands. Deliver [the note] during your next visit to Oman.’ On a piece of paper I wrote down four clearly-stated points, one of which was [the demand for] official recognition of the right to enrich uranium. I thought that, if the Americans were sincere in their proposal, they had to accept these four demands of ours. Mr. Souri delivered this short letter to the mediator, stressing that this was the list of Iran’s demands, [and that], if the Americans wanted to resolve the issue, they were welcome to do so [on our terms], otherwise addressing the White House proposals to Iran would be pointless and unjustified. [Emphasis added.]

“All the demands presented in this letter were related to the nuclear challenge. [They were] issues we had always come up against, like the closing of the nuclear dossier, official recognition of [the right to] enrichment, and resolving the issue of Iran’s past activities under the PMD [possible military dimensions] heading. After receiving the letter, the Americans said, ‘We are definitely and sincerely willing, and we can resolve the issues that Iran mentioned.’” [Emphasis added.]

The texts of the November, 2013 Joint Plan of Action, as well as the July 14, 2015 “deal,” could easily have been predicted based on Kerry’s 2011 response to the Iranians.

“After Rohani’s government began working [in August 2013] – this was during Obama’s second term in office – a new [round of] negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 was launched. By this time, Kerry was no longer a senator but had been appointed secretary of state. [But even] before this, when he was still senator, he had already been appointed by Obama to handle the nuclear dossier [vis-à-vis Iran] and later [in December 2012] he was appointed secretary of state. Before this, the Omani mediator, who was in close touch with Kerry, told us that Kerry would soon be appointed secretary of state. In the period of the secret negotiations with the Americans in Oman, there was a more convenient atmosphere for obtaining concessions from the Americans.  After the advent of the Rohani government and the American administration [i.e., after the start of Obama’s second term in office], and with Kerry as secretary of state, the Americans expressed a more forceful position. They no longer displayed the same eagerness to advance the negotiations. Their position became more rigid and the threshold of their demands higher. But the situation on the Iranian side changed too, since a very professional team was placed in charge of the negotiations with the P5+1…”

Perhaps Kerry had found it more congenial, and certainly more consistent with his and Obama’s own intentions, to be eager to help Iran during secret negotiations and to appear modestly resistant during the P5+1 sessions; they were at least slightly more in public view. Even so, according to Amir Hossein Motagh, a former aide to President Rouhani,

The US negotiating team are mainly [in Lausanne] to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal. [Emphasis added.]

. . . .

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, for example, has long been insisting that Iran come clean on its previous military activities, something we are now told that the American delegation, led by Secretary Kerry, wants to leave out of the negotiation. Why? Because the Iranians have said they will not come clean. [Emphasis added.]

That was too much even for the normally pro-Democrat Washington Post, which wrote in a column attributed to its Editorial Board last Friday that the deal was “a reward for Iran’s noncompliance.”

According to the article linked above,

Some Iranian-Americans believe that Secretary Kerry should have recused himself from the negotiations at the very outset because of his long-standing relationship to his Iranian counter-part, Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The two first met over a decade ago at a dinner party hosted by George Soros at his Manhattan penthouse, according to a 2012 book by Hooman Majd, who frequently translates for Iranian officials.

Iranian-American sources in Los Angeles tell me that Javad Zarif’s son was the best man at the 2009 wedding between Kerry’s daughter Vanessa and Behrouz Vala Nahed, an Iranian-American medical doctor.

The newlyweds went to Iran shortly after their wedding to met Nahed’s family. Kerry ultimately revealed his daughter’s marriage to an Iranian-American once he had taken over as Secretary of State. But the subject never came up in his Senate confirmation hearing, either because Kerry never disclosed it, or because his former colleagues were too polite to bring it up.

Why did Obama designate Kerry to deal with Iran in 2011? Andrew C. McCarthy, writing at The Center for Security Policy, offers this:

Clearly, there are two reasons: Obama needed someone outside the administration, and Kerry’s status and track record made him a natural.

Remember, Obama was running for reelection in 2011–12. Public opposition to Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons and, therefore, to Iran’s enrichment of uranium was very strong — and, indeed, remains so. Consequently, Obama pretended on the campaign trail that he would vigorously oppose Iran’s uranium-enrichment efforts . . . even as he was covertly signaling to the jihadist regime that he was open to recognizing Iran as a nuclear power. [Emphasis added.]

As my friend Fred Fleitz of the Center for Security Policy has noted, Obama asserted in the lead-up to the 2008 election that “the world must work to stop Iran’s uranium-enrichment program.” So too, in the run-up to the 2012 election, did Obama continue assuring voters that Iran “needs to give up its nuclear program and abide by the U.N. resolutions that have been in place.” Those U.N. resolutions prohibit Iran’s enrichment activities. Thus did the president proclaim, in seeking reelection, that the only deal he would accept would be one in which the Iranians “end their nuclear program. It’s very straightforward.” [Emphasis added.]

With Obama out feigning opposition to Iran’s enrichment activities, it would not do to have a conflicting message communicated to Iran by his own administration. What if Iran, to embarrass Obama, were to go public about an administration entreaty that directly addressed enrichment? It would have been hugely problematic for the president’s campaign. Obama thus needed an alternative: someone outside the administration whom Obama could trust but disavow if anything went wrong; someone the Iranian regime would regard as authoritative. [Emphasis added.]

John Kerry was the perfect choice.

I agree, but Mr. McCarthy does not address this exchange, quoted above but worth repeating here:

“All the demands presented in this letter were related to the nuclear challenge. [They were] issues we had always come up against, like the closing of the nuclear dossier, official recognition of [the right to] enrichment, and resolving the issue of Iran’s past activities under the PMD [possible military dimensions] heading. After receiving the letter, the Americans said, ‘We are definitely and sincerely willing, and we can resolve the issues that Iran mentioned.’” [Emphasis added.]

II. Ernest Moniz

Moniz, the U.S. Energy Secretary, was asked to join the P5+1 technical discussions at the request of Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization.

Salehi said that he was asked to join the nuclear talks when the discussions on the Natanz enrichment facility reached a dead end. Salehi said he would only join the talks if Moniz, his American counterpart, did as well. According to Salehi, this was approved by Undersecretary Wendy Sherman and Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, which he described as “the communications link between America and Iran.” [Emphasis added.]

Salehi said he and Moniz did not know each other well when they were at MIT, but when they first met during the talks, “there was a feeling that he has known me for years.” Salehi added, “A number of my classmates are now Mr. Moniz’s experts.”  [Emphasis added.]

According to Salehi, Moniz entering the talks was important because Salehi expressed that he had been sent with “full authority” to sign off on all technical issues in the nuclear negotiations and Moniz had told him that he had the same authority. He added, “If the negotiations did not take place with the Americans, the reality is that it would not have reached a conclusion. No [other] country was ready to sit with us and negotiate for 16 days with their foreign minister and all of its experts.”

Salehi said that one of the more difficult times negotiating with Moniz was after they reached an agreement on a particular issue. Moniz would take it to the other members of P5+1, who would then make their own requests.

Moniz was likely as forthcoming with the non-US members of P5+1 as he was with members of the U.S. Congress; not at all.

North Korea and Iran, partners in crime

This is a drum I have been beating for years. Recent articles are available here and here. The Obama Administration persists in covering up what it knows on the subject and the current “deal” with Iran is silent on the matter. So, of course, was the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action.

Forbes published an article by Claudia Rosett today (August 13th) on the subject and, beyond noting that Douglas Frantz is Kerry’s Assistant Secretary in charge of the Bureau of Public Affairs, she observes that in his former capacity as a journalist for the Washington Post and New York Times, he wrote about the nature and perils of the axis.

Frantz’ duties under Kerry include

engaging “domestic and international media to communicate timely and accurate information with the goal of furthering U.S. foreign policy and national security interests as well as broadening understanding of American values.”

But it appears that as a State Department advocate of a free and well-informed press, Frantz himself is not free to answer questions from the press about his own reporting on North Korea’s help to Iran in designing a nuclear warhead. The State Department has refused my repeated requests to interview Frantz on this subject. Last year, an official at State’s Bureau of Public Affairs responded to my request with an email saying, “Unfortunately Assistant Secretary Frantz is not available to discuss issues related to Iran’s nuclear program.” This June I asked again, and received the emailed reply: “This is indeed an important topic for Doug, but he feels that speaking about his past work would no longer be appropriate, since he is no longer a journalist.”

The real issue, of course, is not the career timeline of Douglas Frantz, but the likelihood, past and future, of nuclear collaboration between Iran and North Korea. Frantz may no longer be a journalist, but it’s hard to see why that should constrain him, or his boss, Secretary Kerry, from speaking publicly about important details of Iran’s illicit nuclear endeavors — information which Frantz in his incarnation as a star journalist judged credible enough to publish in a major newspaper.

. . . .

President Obama has been telling Congress and the American public that the Iran nuclear deal — the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — “cuts off all Iran’s pathways to the bomb.” That’s not true. One of the most dangerous aspects of this deal is that it does not sever the longtime alliance between Tehran and Pyongyang. If there has indeed been cooperation between these two regimes on nuclear weapons, it’s time not only for Iran to come clean, but for the Obama administration to stop covering up. [Emphasis added.]

Although that’s not the only dangerous aspect which the Obama Administration has covered up and lied about cutting off “all [of] Iran’s pathways to the bomb” it is an important one. Meanwhile, it has been reported that

Fresh satellite images suggest North Korea is expanding its uranium extraction capacity, possibly with a view to increasing its stockpile of nuclear weapons.

The images taken in Pyongyang show Kim Jong-un has begun to refurbish a major mill that turns uranium ore into yellowcake – a first step towards producing enriched uranium.

A recent report by U.S. researchers warned that Kim was poised to expand his nuclear programme over the next five years and, in a worst-case scenario, could possess 100 atomic weapons by 2020. 

Conclusions

“Negotiations” involving hostile foreign nations such as Iran are easier when led by friendly “negotiators” with compatible interests. At least since his failed 2004 campaign for the presidency, Kerry has been on Iran’s side and has favored it over the United States. While pretending for political purposes to be against Iran’s nuclear program, Obama was and remains in favor of it, pretenses to the contrary notwithstanding.

Obama, Kerry and Moniz got the deal they wanted. They, along with their P5+1 partners, richly deserve their resultant legacy of empowering Iran as an anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-Western civilization, Islamist hegemonic nuclear power with a disgraceful human rights record comparable to that of its partner, North Korea.

The Iran – North Korea nuclear axis has helped both rogue nations to develop and create nuclear bombs and the means to deliver them, with very little in the way of “adult supervision.” The failure to deal with even tangentially, or even to mention, the axis will likely become a significant part of Obama’s legacy. Ours as well.

Bringing Obama’s vision of stability to the Middle East, Allah willing.

This video is from August 2010. Now it may well be too late to stop Iran.

Some deal: Iran will soon be able to kill 90 percent of our population

August 13, 2015

Some deal: Iran will soon be able to kill 90 percent of our population, Newsday, Lawrence J. Hass, August 13, 2015

Iran has tested how to conduct an EMP attack, such as by attaching a nuclear weapon to an orbiting satellite or launching a nuclear-armed missile into the atmosphere from a ship.

Iranian military leaders have endorsed an EMP attack against America, according to secret Iranian military documents that Pentagon officials have translated, and the Pentagon’s North American Aerospace Defense Command is moving back into Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado because it can resist an EMP attack.

Those who, in light of this deal and Iran’s missile and EMP work, nevertheless dismiss the “Death to America” threats from Iran as just political rhetoric might heed the words of former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban: “It is our experience that political leaders do not always mean the opposite of what they say.”

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Just four days after U.S.-led global powers and Iran completed their nuclear deal, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, reaffirmed the “Death to America” mantra that has pervaded his regime since its establishment in 1979, stating, “The entire country is under the umbrella of this great movement.” Iran has killed hundreds of Americans in the Middle East, both directly and through its terrorist proxies. It has threatened U.S. regional interests by funding anti-Israeli terrorists, propping up Syria’s terror-backing Bashar al-Assad and de-stabilizing U.S.-backed governments.

Moving forward, this deal will enable Tehran to threaten U.S. security more directly in at least two ways: First, Iran could deploy a nuclear warhead on one of its ballistic missiles and fire it at the United States. Iran is building increasingly sophisticated ballistic missiles, with its Shahab-3 able to reach Israel, and the Sejjil that it’s developing capable of reaching Italy and Poland.

Tehran also announced plans to build missile silos in what experts consider a precursor to deploying longer range missiles.

Second, Iran could detonate a nuclear device over the United States in an electromagnetic pulse attack that destroys our electric grid, putting the nation in the dark for months and eventually leaving 90 percent of Americans dead from disease or starvation.

Iran has tested how to conduct an EMP attack, such as by attaching a nuclear weapon to an orbiting satellite or launching a nuclear-armed missile into the atmosphere from a ship.

Iranian military leaders have endorsed an EMP attack against America, according to secret Iranian military documents that Pentagon officials have translated, and the Pentagon’s North American Aerospace Defense Command is moving back into Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado because it can resist an EMP attack.

That Iran can develop nuclear weapons under the deal, making these two scenarios plausible, is clear; the only question is when.

For starters, the deal is time-limited and, as restrictions end in 10-15 years, Iran can pursue two paths to a bomb – enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels or building plutonium-producing reactors, or both.
But Tehran need not wait that long because international inspectors will be hard-pressed to confirm that Iran is abiding by the deal’s restrictions on how much uranium it’s enriching, how many centrifuges it’s operating, and what it may be doing at secret sites that the world has not yet discovered.

That’s because rather than “anywhere, anytime” inspections, Iran will have 24 days to comply with requests from the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit a suspected undeclared site, during which Iran can move, hide, or destroy evidence of its nuclear progress.

If Iran refuses to allow a site visit after 24 days, global leaders likely would begin further negotiations with Iran that would give the latter weeks more to clean up a site.

But Tehran need not wait that long because international inspectors will be hard-pressed to confirm that Iran is abiding by the deal’s restrictions on how much uranium it’s enriching, how many centrifuges it’s operating, and what it may be doing at secret sites that the world has not yet discovered.

That’s because rather than “anywhere, anytime” inspections, Iran will have 24 days to comply with requests from the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit a suspected undeclared site, during which Iran can move, hide, or destroy evidence of its nuclear progress.

If Iran refuses to allow a site visit after 24 days, global leaders likely would begin further negotiations with Iran that would give the latter weeks more to clean up a site.

Nor, under this deal, must Tehran reveal the military-related dimensions of its nuclear work to date, leaving the world dangerously ignorant of how close it already is to developing and deploying a nuclear weapon and also leaving inspectors without a baseline against which to judge Iranian compliance in the future.

Moreover, the $100 billion to $150 billion in sanctions relief will give Iran a huge windfall to develop a more robust infrastructure for nuclear weapons production – either quickly by evading the weak inspections regime or more patiently by waiting about a decade until the world frees Iran of all restrictions.

Those who, in light of this deal and Iran’s missile and EMP work, nevertheless dismiss the “Death to America” threats from Iran as just political rhetoric might heed the words of former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban: “It is our experience that political leaders do not always mean the opposite of what they say.”

Column One: Obama’s enemies list

August 6, 2015

Column One: Obama’s enemies list, Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick, August 6, 2015

ShowImage (8)US President Barack Obama at the Rose Garden of the White House. (photo credit:OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO / PETE SOUZA)

[T]he real question lawmakers need to ask is whether the deal is good for America. Is Obama right or wrong that only partisan zealots and disloyal Zionists could oppose his great diplomatic achievement? To determine the answer to that question, you need to do is ask another one. Does his deal make America safer or less safe? The best way to answer that question is to consider all the ways Iran threatens America today, and ask whether the agreement has no impact on those threats, or whether it mitigates or aggravates them.

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In President Barack Obama’s defense of his nuclear deal with Iran Wednesday, he said there are only two types of people who will oppose his deal – Republican partisans and Israel- firsters – that is, traitors.

At American University, Obama castigated Republican lawmakers as the moral equivalent of Iranian jihadists saying, “Those [Iranian] hard-liners chanting ‘Death to America’ who have been most opposed to the deal… are making common cause with the Republican Caucus.”

He then turned his attention to Israel.

Obama explained that whether or not you believe the deal endangers Israel boils down to whom you trust more – him or Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And, he explained, he can be trusted to protect Israel better than Netanyahu can because “[I] have been a stalwart friend of Israel throughout my career.”

The truth is that it shouldn’t much matter to US lawmakers whether Obama or Netanyahu has it right about Israel. Israel isn’t a party to the deal and isn’t bound by it. If Israel decides it needs to act on its own, it will.

The US, on the other side, will be bound by the deal if Congress fails to kill it next month.

So the real question lawmakers need to ask is whether the deal is good for America. Is Obama right or wrong that only partisan zealots and disloyal Zionists could oppose his great diplomatic achievement? To determine the answer to that question, you need to do is ask another one. Does his deal make America safer or less safe? The best way to answer that question is to consider all the ways Iran threatens America today, and ask whether the agreement has no impact on those threats, or whether it mitigates or aggravates them.

Today Iran is harming America directly in multiple ways.

The most graphic way Iran is harming America today is by holding four Americans hostage. Iran’s decision not to release them over the course of negotiations indicates that at a minimum, the deal hasn’t helped them.

It doesn’t take much consideration to recognize that the hostages in Iran are much worse off today than they were before Obama concluded the deal on July 14.

The US had much more leverage to force the Iranians to release the hostages before it signed the deal than it does now. Now, not only do the Iranians have no reason to release the hostages, they have every reason to take more hostages.

Then there is Iranian-sponsored terrorism against the US.

In 2011, the FBI foiled an Iranian plot to murder the Saudi ambassador in Washington and bomb the Saudi and Israeli embassies in the US capital.

One of the terrorists set to participate in the attack allegedly penetrated US territory through the Mexican border.

The terrorist threat to the US emanating from Iran’s terrorist infrastructure in Latin America will rise steeply as a consequence of the nuclear deal.

As The Wall Street Journal’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady wrote last month, the sanctions relief the deal provides to Iran will enable it to massively expand its already formidable operations in the US’s backyard. Over the past two decades, Iran and Hezbollah have built up major presences in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia.

Iran’s presence in Latin America also constitutes a strategic threat to US national security. Today Iran can use its bases of operations in Latin America to launch an electromagnetic pulse attack on the US from a ballistic missile, a satellite or even a merchant ship.

The US military is taking active steps to survive such an attack, which would destroy the US’s power grid. Among other things, it is returning the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to its former home in Cheyenne Mountain outside Colorado Springs.

But Obama has ignored the findings of the congressional EMP Commission and has failed to harden the US electronic grid to protect it from such attacks.

The economic and human devastation that would be caused by the destruction of the US electric grid is almost inconceivable. And now with the cash infusion that will come Iran’s way from Obama’s nuclear deal, it will be free to expand on its EMP capabilities in profound ways.

Through its naval aggression in the Strait of Hormuz Iran threatens the global economy. While the US was negotiating the nuclear deal with Iran, the Revolutionary Guards unlawfully interdicted – that is hijacked – the Marshall Islands-flagged Maersk Tigris and held its crew hostage for weeks.

Iran’s assault on the Tigris came just days after the US-flagged Maersk Kensington was surrounded and followed by Revolutionary Guards ships until it fled the strait.

A rational take-home message the Iranians can draw from the nuclear deal is that piracy pays.

Their naval aggression in the Strait of Hormuz was not met by American military force, but by American strategic collapse at Vienna.

This is doubly true when America’s listless response to Iran’s plan to use its Houthi proxy’s takeover of Yemen to control the Bab el-Mandab strait is taken into consideration. With the Bab el-Mandab, Iran will control all maritime traffic from the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. Rather than confront this clear and present danger to the global economy, America abandoned all its redlines in the nuclear talks.

Then there is Iran’s partnership 20-year partnership with al-Qaida.

The 9/11 Commission found in its report that four of the 9/11 terrorists transited Iran before traveling to the US. As former Defense Intelligence Agency director Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Mike Flynn told Fox News in the spring, Iranian cooperation with al-Qaida remains deep and strategic.

When the US Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, they seized hard drives containing more than a million documents related to al-Qaida operations. All but a few dozen remain classified.

According to Flynn and other US intelligence officials who spoke to The Weekly Standard, the documents expose Iran’s vast collaboration with al-Qaida.

The agreement Obama concluded with the mullahs gives a tailwind to Iran. Iran’s empowerment will undoubtedly be used to expand its use of al-Qaida terrorists as proxies in their joint war against the US.

Then there is Iran’s ballistic missile program.

The UN Security Council resolution passed two weeks ago cancels the UN-imposed embargoes on conventional arms and ballistic missile acquisitions by Iran. Since the nuclear deal facilities Iranian development of advanced nuclear technologies that will enable the mullahs to build nuclear weapons freely when the deal expires, the Security Council resolution means that by the time the deal expires, Iran will have the nuclear warheads and the intercontinental ballistic missiles required to carry out a nuclear attack on the US.

Obama said Wednesday that if Congress votes down his nuclear deal, “we will lose… America’s credibility as a leader of diplomacy. America’s credibility,” he explained, “is the anchor of the international system.”

Unfortunately, Obama got it backwards. It is the deal that destroys America’s credibility and so upends the international system which has rested on that credibility for the past 70 years.

The White House’s dangerous suppression of seized al-Qaida-Iran documents, like its listless response to Iran’s maritime aggression, its indifference to Iran’s massive presence in Latin America, its lackluster response to Iran’s terrorist activities in Latin America, and its belittlement of the importance of the regime’s stated goal to destroy America – not to mention its complete collapse on all its previous redlines over the course of the negotiations – are all signs of the disastrous toll the nuclear deal has already taken on America’s credibility, and indeed on US national security.

To defend a policy that empowers Iran, the administration has no choice but to serve as Iran’s agent. The deal destroys America’s credibility in fighting terrorism. By legitimizing and enriching the most prolific state sponsor of terrorism, the US has made a mockery of its claimed commitment to the fight.

The deal destroys the US’s credibility as an ally.

By serving as apologists for its worst enemy, the US has shown its allies that they cannot trust American security guarantees. How can Israel or Saudi Arabia trust America to defend them when it is endangering itself? The deal destroys 70 years of US nonproliferation efforts. By enabling Iran to become a nuclear power, the US has made a mockery of the very notion of nonproliferation and caused a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

The damage caused by the deal is already being felt. For instance, Europe, Russia and China are already beating a path to the ayatollahs’ doorstep to sign commercial and military deals with the regime.

But if Congress defeats the deal, it can mitigate the damage. By killing the deal, Congress will demonstrate that the American people are not ready to go down in defeat. They can show that the US remains committed to its own defense and the rebuilding of its strategic credibility worldwide.

In his meeting with Jewish leaders Tuesday, Obama acknowledged that his claim – repeated yet again Wednesday – that the only alternative to the deal is war, is a lie.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Greg Rosenbaum, chairman of the National Democratic Jewish Council, which is allied with the White House, said that Obama rejected the notion that war will break out if Congress rejects the deal with veto-overriding majorities in both houses.

According to Rosenbaum, Obama claimed that if Congress rejects his nuclear deal, eventually the US will have to carry out air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to prevent them from enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels.

“But,” he quoted Obama as saying, “the result of such a strike won’t be war with Iran.”

Rather, Obama said, Iran will respond to a US strike primarily by ratcheting up its terrorist attacks against Israel.

“I can assure,” Obama told the Jewish leaders, “that Israel will bear the brunt of the asymmetrical responses that Iran will have to a military strike on its nuclear facilities.”

What is notable here is that despite the fact that it will pay the heaviest price for a congressional defeat of the Iran deal, Israel is united in its opposition to the deal. This speaks volume about the gravity with which the Israeli public views the threats the agreement unleashed.

But again, Israel is not the only country that is imperiled by the nuclear deal. And Israelis are not the only ones who need to worry.

Obama wishes to convince the public that the deal’s opponents are either partisan extremists or traitors who care about Israel more than they care about America. But neither claim is true. The main reason Americans should oppose the deal is that it endangers America. And as a consequence, Americans who oppose the deal are neither partisans nor turncoats.

They are patriots.

An Iran Deal Distraction

July 21, 2015

An Iran Deal Distraction, National Review, Henry F. Cooper, July 20, 2015

(I recommend that Obama resign for the good of the United States and the rest of the world. That has as much change of adoption as does Mr. Cooper’s recommendation. — DM)

I recommend that the president make a unilateral declaration that the United States will shoot down any Iranian (or North Korean) satellite unless an inspection demonstrates that no nuclear payload is involved. His negotiators could work out acceptable details that would be consistent with those negotiated with the Soviet Union over 25 years ago. Now that would be a treaty worth having.

*********************

There are many things wrong with the deal with Iran that, at a minimum, paves the road for Iran to get nuclear weapons and deliver them to attack Israel and the United States. This remains the explicit goal of the Iranian mullahs and their followers, who greeted the deal with chants of “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.” I could join the chorus recounting those many faults. But I prefer to emphasize something that is missing entirely from the debate: The mullahs and their followers may be able to achieve their goal with a capability they already have.

Iran launched a monkey into space on January 28, 2013 — almost 30 months ago. As then reported by Yeganeh Torbati in a Reuters article, this feat entailed launching a satellite weighting 4,400 pounds — much, much more than enough to carry a nuclear weapon.  The month before this monkey business, the Congressional Research Service published a report — Iran’s Ballistic Missile and Space Launch Programs — that, among other things, described a new Iranian satellite launch site at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. The site had been reported to be 80 percent complete in June 2012. Presumably, it can launch satellites southward over a wide swath of directions. Such a satellite could pass over the United States in its first orbit. A launch over the South Polar regions would approach the United States from a direction that avoids our current ballistic-missile defense (BMD) systems, which are focused on defending against intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that approach the United from the north. In effect, we have left our back door open while working to lock the front door.

This past February, Iran conducted its fourth satellite launch to the south, during national ceremonies marking the 36th anniversary of the 1979 Iranian Revolution. This satellite was reported to weigh only 110 pounds and is in orbit at an altitude varying between 139 and 285 miles.  This range of altitudes fits for Iran to detonate a nuclear weapon over the United States and produce an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that would shut down the electric-power grid of the continental United States for an indefinite period. Within a year, 200 million Americans could perish from starvation, disease, and societal collapse, according to estimates of members of the Congressional EMP Commission. Executing this existential threat is much simpler than delivering a nuclear weapon by an ICBM, because the nuclear weapon would be detonated above the atmosphere — no proven ability to reenter the atmosphere is needed.

Two points deserve emphasis. First, Iran already may have access to nuclear weapons, either in its own right or through cooperation with its ally, nuclear-capable North Korea — which also launches its satellites over the South Polar regions and can exploit the same U.S. vulnerabilities. And second, we should not permit this vulnerability to persist while being distracted by a debate about potential future Iranian capabilities. In turn, two straightforward action items seem obvious. First, we must deal with the EMP threat. The Department of Defense knows how; it has been protecting its key military systems against EMP effects for a half century — but it has not similarly been protecting the infrastructure upon which the survival of the American people depends. President Obama should knock heads until his lieutenants get their act together and address this deficiency.

And second, we must defend against the threat from the south. We currently have no defense against the aforementioned satellites that approach us from over the South Polar regions, or against ballistic missiles launched from vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. The first might be addressed by empowering our missile-defense site at Vandenberg Air Force Base with sensors that track the threatening satellite. The second could be addressed by deploying on military bases around the Gulf the same Aegis Ashore BMD systems that we are building in Romania and Poland to protect Europe against Iranian ballistic missiles.

While the EMP threat can be handled entirely by unilateral U.S. actions, diplomacy can play a role in countering the satellite threat. There are legitimate, non-threatening reasons for Iran (or North Korea) to launch satellites. But they should assure us that such launches do not carry nuclear weapons. And these assurances must be verified with high confidence. I recommend that the president make a unilateral declaration that the United States will shoot down any Iranian (or North Korean) satellite unless an inspection demonstrates that no nuclear payload is involved. His negotiators could work out acceptable details that would be consistent with those negotiated with the Soviet Union over 25 years ago. Now that would be a treaty worth having.

A powerful totalitarian theocracy can bring peace. Of sorts.

May 2, 2015

A powerful totalitarian theocracy can bring peace. Of sorts. Dan Miller’s Blog, May 2, 2015

(The views expressed in this article are mine, and do not necessarily reflect those of Warsclerotic or its other editors. — DM)

a1  Obama and Kahameni -building a toaster

Iran, an already powerful theocratic totalitarian state with extensive hegemonic ambitions, is about to become (if it is not already) a nuclear power. So equipped, it can extend its rule over the Middle East and beyond, bringing the “peace” of submission to Islam. Obama may favor this outcome and in any event appears to be at best indifferent.

Iran is ruled by Ayatollah Khamenei, its supreme political and religious power. He has the ultimate authority to approve or reject any P5+1 agreement, should there be one — which seems increasingly likely due to Obama’s ludicrous efforts to concede every possible matter of substance. Obama wants a foreign policy legacy and needs a “deal;” Iran does not need a “deal.” It has already benefited greatly from sanctions relief. Other nations have also benefited economically to the point that even were the U.S. to try to reimpose sanction such trade would continue and expand. Moreover, it is highly likely that Iran has done all of the necessary technical research on nukes and on delivery devices to the extent that, regardless of whether there is a “deal,” Iran can have deliverable nukes within a few months if not sooner. As I pointed out here, the insanity of the 2013 framework, adhered to except when arguably in America’s favor, led inexorably to this result.

The North Korea – Iran linkage makes the problem worse. Chinese nuclear experts recently revised their estimation of North Korea’s current possession of nukes:.

China’s top nuclear experts have increased their estimates of North Korea’s nuclear weapons production well beyond most previous U.S. figures, suggesting Pyongyang can make enough warheads to threaten regional security for the U.S. and its allies.

The latest Chinese estimates, relayed in a closed-door meeting with U.S. nuclear specialists, showed that North Korea may already have 20 warheads, as well as the capability of producing enough weapons-grade uranium to double its arsenal by next year, according to people briefed on the matter. [Emphasis added.]

Iran and North Korea have a long history of nuclear cooperation. Delivering North Korean technology, materials and nukes to Iran would not be very difficult. I addressed the problem here, herehere and elsewhere.

Consequences of a nuclear Iranian theocracy

The Iranian Shiite theocracy is totalitarian in every sense of the word; it has not moderated under “moderate” President Rouhani. To the contrary, it seems to have worsened. To the extent that credible figures are available, sexually transmitted disease has risen and the birth rate in Iran has fallen, considerably in recent years. Despite sanctions relief, poverty has increased. Where has the money gone? Iran pursues its hegemonic ambitions, most recently to help the Houthi in Yemen, while continuing to provide economic, logistical and weapons support to its other proxy terrorist organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood and others. Iran is very likely motivated by its own desire eventually to control the Middle East and beyond.

The recent Iranian hijacking of a cargo ship under “U.S. protection” may well have been an Iranian warning to Saudi Arabia, an American ally and leading opponent of the Iranian proxy war by Houthi in Yemen, that it can and might close the Strait of Hormuz to Saudi oil exports.

Strait-of-Hormuz

Although obligated under treaty to come to the defense of the Marshall Islands-registered cargo ship, the Obama Nation did not. Instead, it simply watched as the Iranian Navy fired shots across her bow and took her to an Iranian port to the North at Bandar Abbas. The ship and her crew remain there. Caroline Glick, in an article titled The Marshall Islands’ cautionary tale pointed out that

The Maersk Tigris is flagged to the Marshall Islands. The South Pacific archipelago gained its independence from the US in 1986 after signing a treaty conceding its right to self-defense in exchange for US protection. According to the treaty, the US has “full authority and responsibility for security and defense of the Marshall Islands.” [Emphasis added.]

Given the US’s formal, binding obligation to the Marshall Islands, the Iranian seizure of the ship was in effect an act of war against America.

. . . .

If the US allows Iran to get away with unlawfully seizing a Marshall Islands flagged ship it is treaty bound to protect, it will reinforce the growing assessment of its Middle Eastern allies that its security guarantees are worthless.

As the Israel Project’s Omri Ceren put it in an email briefing to journalists, “the US would be using security assurances not to shield allies from Iran but to shield Iran from allies.” [Emphasis added.]

What can other nations, with which America has treaties calling upon us to come to their defense, expect from the Obama administration if attacked by Iran? Precious little.

Under credible threat from nuclear attack by Iran and lacking actual (as distinguished from verbal) support from the Obama administration, Middle East Arab nations cannot be expected to resist very effectively, even as they seek to obtain their own nuclear arsenals.

Israel, the “Little Satan?” She would fight fiercely to the end, but might be overcome. Perhaps she will take the initiative and destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities before they become too extensive and better protected, perhaps by missiles provided by Russia. I suggested here that she can and should do so. Here is a link to a far more detailed analyses of what she can and should do, soon.

America, the “Great Satan,” is not immune to an Iranian nuclear attack. As I suggested here, a nuclear armed Iran could launch an EMP attack to drive the U.S. back to the stone age. Such an attack would increase Iran’s hegemonic potentials, and hence ambitions, by foreclosing the possibility of American help to nations with which we have protection treaties. However, even without an EMP attack, Obama would not provide much help. Therefore, I wonder whether — despite all of the continuing Iranian “death to America” bluster — Iran would be foolish enough to do it before Obama leaves office. He does His best to help Iran get nukes and pursue its hegemonic ambitions. Why try to kill a staunch friend like Obama’s America?

The Obama administration — and many voters — view global warming, climate change, climate disruption and whatever new phrases as may be developed as the most severe threat to humanity. An interesting article titled Progressives at the Poker Table compares “Progressive” attitudes toward “the threat of climate warming and that of a nuclear-armed Iran.” Predictably, the Obama Administration and most of the “legitimate news media” are far more concerned about the former than the latter, even though there is little if anything that we can do, even at great expense, about climate change (mostly natural in origin). If so disposed, there is quite a lot that we could do about the far greater, and in any event more immediate, threat from a nuclear Iran. Perhaps it’s simply easier to stage pious shows about costly but ineffective ways to “save the Earth” than to make useful efforts to save humanity from Islamic ravages.

Church of climatology

Conclusions

Andrew Klavan ridicules Obama’s P5+1 “deal” here:

The Congress probably won’t do anything to stop it, so Iran will very likely have nukes and the missiles with which to deliver them soon — if it does not already have them.

Hitler made a “deal” with Prime Minister Chamberlain years ago and returned from Munich to display a piece of paper signed by Hitler. Crowds cheered. Hitler laughed and continued his hegemonic pursuits throughout Europe. Hitler could have been stopped with relative ease long before World War II erupted but wasn’t. The “Peace in our time” meme was too powerful. Then we fought WWII.

Is that how the current mess with Iran will turn out?

code pink on Iran

Part II: Is Iran Playing Games With the US Navy?

May 1, 2015

First on CNN: Navy to escort U.S. commercial ships near Iran
By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent Updated 7:28 PM ET, Thu April 30, 2015


(Here’s the second article. Is Iran drawing the attention of the US Navy away from the Yemen strait? The Iranians are pretty sneaky. Escalation seems to be their dangerous game for now. – LS)

Washington (CNN)U.S. Navy warships accompanied four U.S. flagged vessels through the Strait of Hormuz Thursday, beginning a new military operation to offer armed protection from potential harassment by Iran’s navy, a U.S. defense official tells CNN.

The ships transiting the strait were both inbound to the Persian Gulf and also outbound into the North Arabian Sea and they occurred without incident. All four unarmed vessels were military supply and survey ships either operated by the U.S. Military Sealift Command or under contract to the command.

The official said the Pentagon will not be providing daily details on transits or the warships in the area because the US “does not want to establish a pattern of life,” for observers in the area.

CNN first reported Thursday that U.S. Navy warships would accompany U.S.-flagged commercial vessels that pass through the Strait of Hormuz due to concerns that ships from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps navy could try to seize a U.S. cargo ship.

Pentagon officials provided clarification Thursday afternoon that not every ship will necessarily be accompanied by the Navy. But this is still a significant change in the U.S. military posture in the Strait.

The classified plan was approved by the Pentagon earlier Thursday, according to a senior defense official.

While the Navy maintains a routine ship presence in the Persian Gulf and the North Arabian Sea, this new effort specifically requires an armed warship to be in the narrow channel between Iran and Oman when a U.S. commercial vessel passes through.

The decision to go ahead with this plan comes as Iran Revolutionary Guard ships harassed a U.S.-flagged vessel, the Maersk Kensington, on Friday and then later seized another cargo ship, the Maersk Tigris, flagged in the Marshall Islands.

The worry is that with the uncertainty around Iran’s intentions, any seizure of a U.S.-flagged vessel could provoke an international incident with Iran.

(Internation incident?  How about an act of war. – LS)

“This is a way to reduce the risk of confrontation,” the official told CNN.

The official emphasized the Navy is not trying to “play up” the current situation, but said the orders were approved “based on tensions in the region.”

A second U.S. official said if it becomes necessary, U.S. warships are prepared to escort U.S. commercial vessels throughout the entire Gulf.

There are a number of U.S. ships and aircraft in the immediate vicinity, including four ships and several aircraft monitoring the status of the Marshall Island vessel, which remains in Iranian custody allegedly over a 2005 financial dispute. U.S. Navy ships will be moved in and out of the area depending on the transit schedule of U.S. cargo vessels.

Iranian officials said the seizure of the Marshall Islands-flagged ship Maersk Tigris was due to a court decision.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Wednesday that the ship had “some rather peculiar activity” in its past that resulted in court action, according to lawyers with whom his ministry has been in touch.

“Simply, our naval forces implemented the decision of the court,” he added.

Rickmers Shipmanagement, the company managing the Maersk Tigris, a Maersk Line ship, said in a statement Thursday that the apparent issue dates back to 2005, when another Maersk Line vessel delivered a shipment to Dubai that was later disposed of when no one collected the containers.

A spokesperson for Rickmers Shipmanagement also said that 24 people — none American — are on board the Maersk Tigris and that they are all doing well. However, the company continues to “insist that the crew and vessel are released as soon as possible.”

The two recent incidents come after the U.S. last week sent warships to the vicinity of Yemen after concerns were raised that an Iranian convey was attempting to supply arms to Houthi rebels who have deposed the Western-backed government in Sanaa.

Multiple U.S. officials said the American ships had been deployed to the region to dissuade the Iranian convoy, which included armed ships, from docking in Yemen. The Iranian ships turned away from Yemen on Thursday.

The U.S. hope is that by deploying the naval accompaniment for cargo ships in the Strait of Hormuz, it’s much less likely that Iran would cause trouble for them. Rather, like in the case of Yemen, they would be more inclined to turn back.

Still, the move comes amidst U.S.-Iran tensions in the region over competing interests in Yemen and elsewhere. And it also coincides with delicate nuclear talks in the which the United States and five other world powers are trying to seal a final deal with Iran curbing the latter’s nuclear program.