Archive for the ‘Rogue nations’ category

No. 2 U.S. Military Officer: Possible Our Adversaries Will Build a ‘Terminator’

August 26, 2016

No. 2 U.S. Military Officer: Possible Our Adversaries Will Build a ‘Terminator’, Washington Free Beacon, , August 25, 2016

(Oh good. Something out of science fiction to worry about. — DM)

Joints Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. Paul Selva testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Joints Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. Paul Selva testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The nation’s second-highest ranking military officer believes that our adversaries may try to build completely autonomous “Terminator”-like systems that can conduct lethal operations on the battlefield.

Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Thursday that he believes the United States needs to do “something” to punish actors who pursue such a weapon, though he admitted that international laws or conventions aimed at this would inevitably be violated.

“I don’t think it’s impossible that somebody will try to build a completely autonomous system, and I’m not talking about something like a cruise missile … or a mine that requires a human to target it and release it and it goes and finds its target,” Selva told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. when asked about such capabilities. “I’m talking about a wholly robotic system that decides whether or not, at the point of decision, it’s going to do lethal ops.”

Selva has previously dubbed debate about the implications of autonomous weapons the “‘Terminator’ conundrum,” referring to the science fiction films featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Selva said technologists have told Pentagon leaders that the capability could be developed in 10 years.

“This is about an entirely robotic system, completely autonomous, [that is] not dependent on the human decision,” Selva said. “We’re told by the technologists that we’re a decade or so away from that capability.”

The Air Force general said that the United States should look at international law as a way to stop state or non-state actors from building autonomous systems that can carry out lethal operations.

However, he cautioned that any measures barring the construction of such capabilities would likely be violated, given the violations of existing international prohibitions on chemical and biological weapons. Syrian President Bashar al Assad has used chemical weapons repeatedly against his own people. The Islamic State, the terrorist group controlling territory in Iraq and Syria and inspiring global attacks, also has leveraged chemical weapons in attacks, according to U.N. investigators.

“I think we do need to examine the bodies of law and convention that might constrain anyone in the world from building that kind of system. But, I’m wholly conscious of the fact that, even if we do that, there will be violators,” Selva explained. “In spite of the fact that we don’t approve of chemical or biological weapons, we know there are entities—both states and non-states—that continue to pursue that capability in our world. In spite of the fact that we say we won’t kill women and children, we know there are entities in this world—state and non-state—that don’t care.”

“I’m cautious when I say we have to have a set of conventions and rules [inaudible] that govern behavior in this space because it’s highly likely there will be violators,” Selva continued. “Until we understand what we want the limits to be, we won’t have a baseline from which to determine if someone is moving on the path of violating the convention that could create something like a ‘Terminator’ that has incredible amounts of complexity and no conscience.”

“I think we have to have something, I don’t know what the something is,” he added.

Selva has previously warned about the ethical and legal implications of developing lethal systems that rely on artificial intelligence.

“There are ethical implications, there are implications for the laws of war. There are implications for what I call ‘The Terminator’ conundrum: What happens when that thing can inflict mortal harm and is empowered by artificial intelligence?” Selva said in January. “How are we going to know what is in the vehicle’s mind, presuming for the moment that we are capable of creating a vehicle with a mind?”

Selva spoke about the future of joint capabilities and the need for reform and innovation at the Defense Department, especially in the technological sphere. He said the United States is in a period of “great power competition,” highlighting challenges from Russia and China.

Selva also said that the United States faces challenges from Iran and North Korea because of their “aspirations to become nuclear powers.” Selva listed combatting “violent extremism” as an additional challenge.

“I won’t put a single label on it because we have watched violent extremism over the course of the last couple of decades morph in ways that we have not anticipated,” Selva said. “While we think we understand the dynamics ofsome variables of violent extremism today, that does not give us a crystal clear view of where it might go.”

Selva said emerging competitors such as Russia and China have not completely matched America in military capability but have come “pretty close,” challenging U.S. forces to find new ways to counter them.

“What we face over the next couple of decades is several very imaginative competitors who have actually looked at what we have done over the last two decades, reflected it back upon us, and challenged us with some of the very same techniques that we are challenging them with. That becomes very difficult to counter,” Selva said.

“That’s the environment we find ourselves in: Great power competition with powers who are not necessary our equal but are pretty close, but have picked asymmetric approaches strategically and operationally that seriously challenge us, and so we have to think differently about this problem,” he said.

Cuba and Obama’s ‘Axis of Evil’

March 21, 2016

Cuba and Obama’s ‘Axis of Evil’ Gatestone InstituteA.J. Caschetta, March 21, 2016

♦ Just as the Soviet Union did not subsidize Castro’s tyranny for the good cigars, so too Iran and North Korea are less interested in old weapons and luxury goods than in the one thing Cuba has always offered to America’s enemies — physical proximity. The USSR used Cuba as a forward operating base in the Cold War. Why would Iran and North Korea not do the same?

♦ Iranian and North Korean scientists have been openly cooperating on so many projects that Iran, if it is not already doing so, will likely evade IAEA inspections by testing its weapons in North Korea.

♦ A medium range missile fired from Cuba could reach most of the US. Cuba would also be a good launch point for an EMP attack on the US.

♦ Obama’s diplomatic engagement with Cuba’s octogenarian dictators will ensure that the island prison stays in business. Like Iran, Cuba has been flaunting its tyranny since Obama’s outreach, with 8,616 political arrests in 2015.

When George W. Bush used the term “axis of evil” to describe Iran, Iraq and North Korea in his 2002 State of the Union speech he was derided from all sides. Post-modernists and others among whom ideas of good and evil are quaint but obsolete, sneered that Bush was a simplistic thinker. Others, who agreed that threats to their existence might be evil, seemed less troubled by the ethics than by the accuracy of the term “axis.”

Bush, by linking these three nations, was accused of misunderstanding that members of an axis work together. As Iraq and Iran were mortal enemies, so went the argument, there was no evidence of cooperation.

In 2002 it may have been impossible to prove Iranian-North Korean cooperation, but that has changed. Since at least 2012 when the two countries signed a technological cooperation pact, Iranian and North Korean scientists have been openly cooperating on so many projects that Iran, if it is not already doing so, will likely evade IAEA inspections by testing its weapons in North Korea.

Whether through prescience or luck, Bush was correct about the Iran-North Korea connection. With Saddam out of the picture the “Axis of Evil” has become the “Duo of Evil” — not nearly the same ring. There also is evidence that the Duo is seeking to recruit a new third member to complete the axis.

Putin’s Russia, for instance, could easily be taken for a new member of the axis. Its fingerprints have been showing up in many places: the murder of Russian dissidents, the downing of passenger jets, the invasion of its neighbors. Putin’s decisions to cancel the transfer of S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran and withdrawal of troops from Syria suggest a Russia making a strategic retreat for its own best interests at the moment, whatever they may be.

China might also part of the axis. Constructing military bases on artificial islands indicates a budding expansionism. China’s reportedly growing dismay over North Korea’s antics, however, suggest a nation too concerned with its own interests to join any axis seeking to destroy the chief marketplace for its goods.

The less obvious, but more probable, recruit to the axis is Cuba, which shares with Iran and North Korea an institutional hatred for the USA and a history of autocratic rule. Robin Wright has called Cuba and Iran “melancholy twins.”

Most bitterly of all, all three countries might today be far less threatening had U.S. aid not saved them at crucial moments when their tottering regimes might have been toppled.

1519President Barack Obama shakes hands with Cuban dictator Raúl Castro during the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, on April 11, 2015. (Image source: White House/Pete Souza)

Had Jimmy Carter not pulled the regime out from under the Shah, the Iranian Revolution might never have caught on. Carter’s shameful treatment of an imperfect ally is a blight on his presidency. But when the so-called Green Revolution broke out in 2009, a newly-inaugurated President Obama did nothing to help the revolutionaries. Worse, he reached out his open hand, eventually placing billions of dollars at the mullah’s disposal just when sanctions were crippling Iran’s economy.

In 1994, North Korea was not yet a nuclear power. Its economy was almost non-existent, and an ailing Kim Il-Sung was losing the battle of world opinion after the IAEA declared it in violation of non-proliferation safeguards. Just when international opprobrium might have been leveraged against the regime, a semi-retired Jimmy Carter saved the Kims with the worst diplomatic deal the U.S. had ever made. The subsequent Clinton-Carter Agreed Framework provided Kim Jong Il (whose father died during negotiations) regular shipments of heavy fuel oil and, of all things, two light water nuclear plants. In return, Kim promised not to do what he immediately set about doing.

The now-infamous photograph of Kim Jong-Il and Madeleine Albright toasting the deal is an iconic tableau to diplomatic folly on par with Neville Chamberlain triumphantly waving a piece of paper with Hitler’s promise to behave himself, or more recently, John Kerry and Zarif shaking hands over the JCPOA.

Now Cuba is being saved just when its repressive dictatorship was finally vulnerable and fading on the vine, bereft of the welfare it enjoyed first from its Soviet patrons and then from Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. Obama’s diplomatic engagement with Cuba’s octogenarian dictators will ensure that the island prison stays in business. Like Iran, Cuba has been flaunting its tyranny since Obama’s outreach, with 8,616 political arrests in 2015.

Historical similarities aside, Cuba has cooperated with both Iran and North Korea. Under the Shah, Iran had no diplomatic ties with Cuba; but after 1979, Castro was one of the first nations to recognize Khomeini’s regime as the legitimate government of Iran. Since then, ties between the two have been increasing steadily. In May of 2001, Fidel Castro visited Iran, where he said “Iran and Cuba, in cooperation with each other, can bring American to its knees.” Visiting Cuba at a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in 2006, then Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad thanked the Castros for their support of his country’s nuclear program; he visitedCuba again in 2012; by 2014 the relationship had grown even closer.

Cuban relations with North Korea are not as old nor as easily documented as those with Iran. Aside from Castro’s visit to Pyongyang in 1986 and some weapons transfers in the 1980s, there had been little to report, until recently. The Economist offers 2008 as the year that cooperation between Cuba and North Korea began increasing. In 2013, the North Korean ship Chong Chon Gang was interdicted in Panama after leaving Cuba laden with Soviet weaponry hidden under mountains of sugar. There were MiG jets, spare MiG engines, missile parts, radar components, and other weaponry. There were reports that the ship had visited Cuba several times before being caught with the weapons. What else might have been smuggled out of Cuba is far less worrisome than what might have been smuggled into Cuba.

A Cuban role in the axis would be more than ideological. Just as the USSR did not subsidize Castro’s tyranny for the good cigars, so too Iran and North Korea are less interested in old weapons and luxury goods than in the one thing Cuba has always offered to America’s enemies — physical proximity. The USSR used Cuba as a forward operating base in the Cold War. Why would Iran and North Korea not do the same?

Most analysts are focused on North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), but a medium-range missile fired from Cuba could reach most of the US. Cuba would also be a good launch point for an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the US.

Just days before North Korea’s purported hydrogen bomb test, the State Department reached out to Kim Jong Un with another lifeline offer. And on March 17, the US removed Cuba from the list of countries deemed to have insufficient port security.

In spite of repeated Iranian violations of the JCPOA, there is no sign that the so-called “snapback sanctions” are even a topic of discussion at the White House. Last week, Russia used its veto at the UN Security Council to prevent any sanctions on Iran.

The biggest difference between the Bush and Obama approach to the “axis of evil” is that Bush was opposed to it; Obama appears infatuated.

Iran Bolsters Itself with UN Resolution Condemning Sanctions

September 27, 2015

Iran Bolsters Itself with UN Resolution Condemning Sanctions, Legal Insurrection, September 26, 2015

(Please see also, Iran Openly Declares That It Intends To Violate UNSCR 2231 That Endorses The JCPOA — DM)

Protest-Sign-Against-Iran-Nuclear-Deal-Death-to-America-e1441978760141-620x435

 

I think we all know what Iran means when it speaks of political free will. In the wake of the adoption of the Iran nuclear deal, conversations about nightmare “what if” scenarios focused on America’s ability to “snap” sanctions against Iran back into place; now, Iran is trying to reframe the conversation about the use of sanctions by arguing that the use of sanctions at all will constitute a greater violation than what the sanctions are meant to punish.

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This week, Iran used its considerable muscle to launch an attack on US efforts to tamper its nuclear program and otherwise belligerent conduct in the Middle East. These efforts took the form of a proposed resolution in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that condemns the use of sanctions against misbehaving nations as a violation of international law and fundamental human rights.

You won’t see the word “sanctions” more than three times in the resolution; instead, the drafters used the phrase “unilateral coercive measures.” From the proposed resolution:

Recognizing the universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated character of all human rights and, in this regard, reaffirming the right to development as a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of all human rights,

Expressing its grave concern at the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on human rights, development, international relations, trade, investment and cooperation,

Reaffirming that no State may use or encourage the use of any type of measure, including but not limited to economic or political measures, to coerce another State in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights and to secure from it advantages of any kind,

Recognizing that unilateral coercive measures in the form of economic sanctions have far-reaching implications for the human rights of the general population of targeted States, disproportionately affecting the poor and the most vulnerable classes,

Recalling also article 1, paragraph 2, common to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which provides that, inter alia, in no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence,

1. Calls upon all States to stop adopting, maintaining or implementing unilateral coercive measures not in accordance with international law, international humanitarian law, the Charter of the United Nations and the norms and principles governing peaceful relations among States, in particular those of a coercive nature with extraterritorial effects, which create obstacles to trade relations among States, thus impeding the full realization of the rights set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments, in particular the right of individuals and peoples to development;

The writing goes on to demand that member states ignore calls for sanctions, and condemns the use of such “as tools of political or economic pressure against any country, particularly against developing countries, with a view to preventing these countries from exercising their right to decide, of their own free will, their own political, economic and social systems.”

I think we all know what Iran means when it speaks of political free will. In the wake of the adoption of the Iran nuclear deal, conversations about nightmare “what if” scenarios focused on America’s ability to “snap” sanctions against Iran back into place; now, Iran is trying to reframe the conversation about the use of sanctions by arguing that the use of sanctions at all will constitute a greater violation than what the sanctions are meant to punish.

This isn’t a one-off finger-in-the-air from Iran to the US. The UNHRC is a dysfunctional land of multilingual politicking, and now the most dangerous players are using their influence with the greater UN body to bolster the worst violators at the expense of what should be common sense.

More from UN Watch [emphasis mine]:

Earlier this year, the UNHRC’s infamous Consultative Group, with Saudi Arabia’s Faisal Trad then serving merely as Vice-President, successfully picked Algerian hardliner Idriss Jazairy — famous for his efforts as a former diplomat to enact a UNHRC “code of conduct” to intimidate independent human rights experts — as the new “Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures.”

Jazairy has already accused the U.S. and Europe of being leading human rights violators due to their use of sanctions against countries like Iran and Zimbabwe.

Indeed, many of the resolutions adopted at each session of the UNHRC are sponsored by Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, Algeria, and other non-democracies, and are designed to demonize the West, free market economies, individual rights, or Israel, as part of a strategy to deflect attention from council members who are guilty of subjugating women, trampling religious freedom, persecuting gays, oppressing ethnic minorities and promoting relgious extremism.

This is clever, and part of a bigger strategy meant to counter American and Israeli efforts to speak out against the Iran nuclear deal. Even in the US, the media’s narrative has taken a subtle shift, away from the back and forth in Congress and toward an optic that frames the deal in terms of what it can do to encourage the advent of greater global cooperation. WaPo on Friday published an article needling the Republican Congress’ apparent rejection of “multilateralism”; meanwhile, the NYT editorial board executed a hard pivot away from the political theatre of the moment and toward What We Really Need to be Talking About© in terms of America’s participation in Gulf state politics.

The United Nations itself isn’t necessarily an important player in the American political conversation; international law is obscure, and multilateral relationships are [a] complication and confusing at best. However, if this resolution is adopted (and even if it isn’t) I can just about guarantee that the pro-Iran Deal crowd will use it as a weapon against anti-Deal candidates (primary season doesn’t go away just because we’re dealing with something happening in Geneva) currently warning their colleagues against the folly of attempting to deal with a nation that has proven itself more than adept at sidestepping the rules.

In this case, they’ve taken it upon themselves to rewrite them.

You can read the full proposed resolution here.

Progressivism: Easing the Way to Mass Murder

September 26, 2015

Progressivism: Easing the Way to Mass Murder, American ThinkerKenneth Levin, September 26, 2015

The progressive creed as it relates to foreign policy, and as represented most notably by our Progressive-in-Chief, President Obama, holds that the impact of United States behavior in the world has largely been negative. It casts American foreign policy as a variation on European colonialism: exploitative, indifferent to the peoples subjected to American attention and intervention, and inexorably engendering anti-American sentiment among those peoples.

The translation of this comprehension of the world into a progressivism-informed foreign policy has had the effect of making the world safer for mass murder.

President Obama has offered apologies for past American policy to Europeans, to Arabs and the Muslim world more broadly, to the peoples of Central and South America. Various media outlets have noted that, according to a 2011 Wikileaks publication, only a negative response by the Japanese government prevented Mr. Obama from going to Hiroshima in September, 2009, and offering apologies for America’s atomic bomb attack on the city.

But whatever the President’s erstwhile intentions vis-a-vis Hiroshima, the broader focus of his apologetics has been on those nations and peoples that are hostile to America. His key foreign policy syllogism, and that of America’s progressive camp, is that anti-American sentiment is essentially a product of American abuses and that American self-reform and accommodation, a kinder, gentler United States, will bring an end to current hostility and engender a new comity between this nation and its long-time victims.

Most of the world’s nations offer their citizens at best very limited rights. Some authoritarian regimes have close relations with the United States; others are hostile to the United States. One might think that progressives would object to despots of whatever sort and aspire to the liberation of populations from such governments.

But that is not case. The progressivist pattern, rather, is to oppose despotic regimes with which this nation has had positive relations but to be sympathetic and accommodating towards those that have viewed us as the enemy — that view being congruent with progressive orthodoxy.

Moreover, the advocates of genuine democratic reform in closed societies of either sort, pro- or anti-American, are essentially given short shrift. Such advocates typically look to the United States as a model for their aspirations, and that is sufficient to alienate, and preclude any hoped for support from, the progressive camp. Within pro-American authoritarian regimes, American progressives reserve their sympathy primarily for anti-regime forces that likewise look to America as the source of their respective nations’ ills and seek to replace those in power with a despotism of their own, a despotism with an anti-American stamp.

In Latin America, a number of democracies have in recent decades been subverted by left-wing populists who gained power at the ballot box and then proceeded to dismantle their nations’ democratic institutions with, for example, measures against competing parties, a free media and an independent judiciary. The pattern was established by Hugo Chavez, who became president of Venezuela in 1998, and was followed by, among others, Evo Morales in Bolivia and Rafael Correa in Ecuador. The new despots commonly justified their anti-democratic measures as necessary to counter the supposed nefarious aims of parties domestic and foreign, among which the United States is commonly trotted out as key bogeyman.

Obama and his administration displayed a notable sympathy for Chavez and have likewise done so for his emulators. The victims — among media figures or political opponents — that suffered at the hands of the post-democratic strongmen have enjoyed no such sympathy. Amazingly, when President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras likewise sought to undo his nation’s democracy and consolidate his personal control of the country but had his subversion of Honduras’s constitution blocked by the nation’s parliament and courts, the Obama administration backed Zelaya, attacked the “coup” that pushed him from power, and sought his reinstatement.

All of these populist despots were supported, of course, by Castro’s Cuba, which remains the chief example of anti-democratic leftism in Latin America both in terms of its longevity and in terms of its record of thousands murdered and myriad more imprisoned among those who have dared to take issue with the island’s dictatorship. But here, too, the progressive camp, and the Obama administration, have chosen to look upon the regime’s anti-American cant sympathetically, to see the proper way forward as American reform and cultivation of the Castros, and to close their ears and eyes to the regime’s victims.

But this progressivist cultivating of despotic forces which have only their anti-Americanism to recommend them takes on an even more sinister hue — indeed, much more sinister, in terms of the slaughters perpetrated by such forces and essentially ignored by American progressives — in the arena of the Muslim Middle East.

Virtually from its inception, the Obama administration has demonstrated support for the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood, founded in 1928 and closely linked to the Nazis during World War II, has consistently promoted an anti-American, anti-Western and anti-Semitic agenda. Its offshoot, Hamas, openly declares its dedication not only to the murder of all Israel’s Jews but of all Jews worldwide. Yet the Obama administration has appointed American Muslims associated with the Muslim Brotherhood to government posts and even as liaisons with federal law enforcement and security agencies and the military, and Brotherhood associates have been frequent guests at the White House.

Obama intervened to provide Brotherhood leaders prominent audience placement for his 2009 Cairo speech in which he apologized for America’s past role in the Middle East and sought more generally to propitiate the Arab and broader Muslim world. The President subsequently undercut pro-American Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak when the so-called “Arab spring” exploded in Egypt. He helped force Mubarak from office, and, as in Latin America, rather than support moderate, democratically oriented, groups in Egyptian society in the shaping of an alternative to Mubarak (including groups that consisted of Muslims and Coptic Christians working together for a democratic Egypt), threw his support behind the Brotherhood. One expression of this was the administration’s pushing for quick elections, which provided less time for challengers to the Brotherhood — the best organized political group in Egypt — to mount effective campaigns.

The election in June 2012, did bring the Brotherhood to power, with Mohamed Morsi as president and with the White House’s blessing. In the ensuing months, which saw increased murderous Brotherhood assaults on Egypt’s Coptic Christians — more than ten percent of the population and the Middle East’s largest Christian community — as well as Brotherhood cultivation of its Hamas protégés, the Obama administration continued to offer its support. (The only high profile criticism of Morsi came in the wake of the rarest of events, a New York Times front page, above-the-fold piece on Muslim anti-Semitism, in this instance a newly revealed Morsi anti-Semitic diatribe recorded some years earlier. On this occasion, the White House finally felt obliged to break from its typical indulgence of the Brotherhood and its leaders by releasing some comment condemning Morsi’s remarks.)

The Brotherhood ultimately lost popular favor, in large part because of its failure to address Egypt’s economic ills. But Egyptians were also put off by Morsi’s pursuit of the Brotherhood’s Islamist agenda. As, for example, The Economist noted

“… [I]n power the Brotherhood began to abandon its previous caution regarding its foes. Mr Morsi appeared to dismiss secular opponents and minorities as politically negligible. Instead of enacting the deeper reforms that had been a focus of popular revolutionary demands, such as choosing provincial governors by election rather than presidential appointment, or punishing corrupt Mubarak-era officials, the Brothers simply inserted themselves in key positions…

“When nearly all the non-Islamist members of a body charged with drafting a new constitution resigned in November 2012, the Brothers brushed the problem aside. Mr Morsi issued a snap decree rendering him and his constitution-writers immune from court oversight. This was when his popularity started to slide…

“The Brothers pushed through a hastily drafted constitution to a national referendum despite angry criticism from all other parties, and the referendum went Mr Morsi’s way. But his high-handedness lost him a crucial part of the electorate…”

But, again, none of this seemed to dampen Obama’s enthusiasm for Morsi and the Brotherhood, and when the Egyptian army under Abdel Fattah al-Sisi deposed Morsi in July, 2013, with wide popular support, the White House condemned the coup and dismissed its popular backing and the transgressions of the Morsi regime that generated that support. For much of the subsequent two years, the administration has given the pro-American al-Sisi the cold shoulder. Its withholding of military grants and sales to Egypt — only recently softened to some degree — has pushed al-Sisi to renew Egypt’s long dormant military links with Russia.

Before its victory in Egypt, the country where the Muslim Brotherhood had been most successful in gaining power had been Sudan, where its members made up a large part of the government following the 1989 coup d’état by General Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Bashir, who still rules Sudan, led a genocidal campaign against the black and non-Muslim — Christian and animist — population of southern Sudan over many years, until that region successfully seceded and established its independence. He currently continues a campaign of mass murder and displacement of the Muslim — but, again, black rather than Arab — population of Darfur. Bashir is under indictment by the International Criminal Court for genocide in Darfur.

President Obama, during his 2008 campaign as well as in earlier speeches, promised to act against the Darfur genocide. But he has done nothing, even as the slaughter, displacement and suffering continue. On the contrary, the Obama administration has reached out to Bashir. In addition, consistent with the Sudan government’s wishes and despite the horrible consequences for the people of Darfur, the administration appears to be supporting the downsizing of the UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur. Once again, for President Obama, appeasing anti-American entities such as the Muslim Brotherhood, an appeasement consistent with progressive orthodoxy, trumps supporting the victims of those entities.

Obama’s favorite Middle East leader has long been, according to various sources, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey is, of course, a NATO member and remains so even under Erdogan’s Islamist regime. It is not openly anti-American. But Erdogan has clearly turned away from the West, has developed close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and has sought to establish himself as the leading figure in a Middle East and broader Muslim world dominated by Islamist policies that emulate those of the Brotherhood.

Having notably described democracy as like a streetcar from which one exits upon reaching one’s destination, Erdogan has done much to undermine Turkish democracy. He has essentially dismantled the nation’s independent judiciary, closed down opposition media and arrested journalists — with Turkey having more journalists incarcerated than either China or Iran — and engineered his Islamist camp’s infiltrating and seizing control over other Turkish institutions, both public and private.

Erdogan was an enthusiastic supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt, is reported to have cried over the downfall of Morsi and the Brotherhood, and some months ago declared that he still regards Morsi rather than al-Sisi as Egypt’s president. He remained silent over and apparently indifferent to the Brotherhood’s slaughter of Egyptian Christians both before and during its period in power.

Erdogan likewise supports the Brotherhood offshoot Hamas in its genocidal war against Israel and has, through statements by him and leaders of his party and through his party-controlled media, whipped up domestic anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment. He has opened Turkey as a refuge for members of both Hamas and the Egyptian Brotherhood, and attacks on Israelis, such as the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers last year, have been orchestrated by senior Hamas agents in Turkey.

Yet none of this seems to have shaken President Obama’s enthusiasm for the Turkish leader. On the contrary, Erdogan’s turning from the West and embracing an agenda close to that of the Brotherhood has, once more consistent with the president’s progressive world view, rendered him worthy of the administration’s propitiation.

Obama’s reaching out to the Iranian mullahs virtually from the moment of his taking office in 2009 is likewise in line with his progressivist comprehension of foreign hostility to the United States as a response to past American transgressions. Following from this, his path to ending the hostility lay in breaking from that past, offering mea culpas for it, and cultivating new policies of understanding and comity.

More particularly, the CIA’s involvement in the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mossadegh in 1953 (which in fact at the time had the support of Iran’s religious establishment) and America’s subsequent ongoing support for Shah Reza Pahlavi are construed as the source of Iranian enmity and the history for which the President seeks to apologize and atone.

The popular uprising that followed the disputed reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June, 2009, led to the regime’s killing of dozens of protesters and the arrest and reported torture and rape of thousands more. Protesters urged the outside world, particularly the United States and President Obama, to support them, but Obama refrained even from offering significant verbal support, apparently not wanting to do anything that might undermine his outreach to the mullahs.

In the ensuing years, torture, including rape, and murder of political prisoners, among them suspected student critics of the regime culled in raids on Iranian universities, have been an ongoing fact of life in Iran. So, too, have been the imprisonment and execution of homosexuals and individuals accused of religious crimes, and abuses targeting members of the embattled Baha’i community and elements of Iran’s ethnic minorities, who represent more than fifty percent of the nation’s population.

But on all of this the Obama administration has been essentially silent as it has pursued its policy of winning over the apocalyptic Iranian theocracy through accommodation and concessions. That policy culminated this summer in the agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, which provides Iran with a path to nuclear weapons and even offers American aid to Iran in defending its nuclear program against sabotage and attack.

Nor has the administration let Iran’s role in killing Americans in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Iraq, and Iran’s assertions of never compromising in its enmity towards America, interfere with Obama’s agenda of pursuing its progressivist fantasies of peace with Iran through accommodation. Nor has the mullahs’ genocidal anti-Semitism, including their openly and repeatedly declared determination to destroy Israel, or their arming and training of Hezb’allah and Hamas to pursue Israel’s annihilation, led to the administration’s wavering from its course. On the contrary, the nuclear agreement appears to offer Iran protection against any Israeli attempt to derail the Islamo-fascist theocracy’s development of nuclear weapons. It also promises to soon provide the regime with tens of billions of dollars in previously embargoed funds, which has already translated into Iran’s embarking on a massive acquisition of advanced warplanes and other major weapons systems from China and Russia and its promising enhanced military aid to Hezb’allah and its other terrorist allies for use in pursuit of Israel’s destruction.

But the off-handedness regarding existential threats to Israel, and regarding as well myriad instances of wholesale human rights abuses, including mass slaughter by those the Obama administration has sought to propitiate, is apparently due to such matters being regarded as of no great consequence when measured against the central international dynamic as construed by progressivism. Administration indifference to the fact of some of those hostile regimes and non-state entities — the objects of American cultivation — having dismantled working democracies or having strangled incipient democratic movements derives from the same worldview. All their various crimes are mere epiphenomena, at most secondary, and potentially an unwelcome distraction, when measured against what is comprehended as the essential world-shaping dynamic: hostility towards America whose roots lie in past American abuses, and an end to hostility and creation of a more peaceful world through American contrition and accommodation.

In this way, Obama’s, and the progressive camp’s, comprehension of reality and playing out of that delusional “reality” on the world stage inexorably makes the world safer for the crimes, including mass murder, of the anti-American forces that are the object of progressivist propitiation.

 

Iran Openly Declares That It Intends To Violate UNSCR 2231 That Endorses The JCPOA

September 23, 2015

Iran Openly Declares That It Intends To Violate UNSCR 2231 That Endorses The JCPOA, Middle East Media Research Institute, September 22, 2015

(Please see also, Iran wants to renegotiate parts of the nuke “deal.” That may be good. Iran’s declaration that it intends to violate UNSCR 2231, dealing with missile development and related sanctions, should further prompt the U.S. Congress to repudiate the “deal.”– DM)

When the Americans moved the sanctions on the missile program to UNSCR 2231, Iran did not object, as, according to their statements above, they can violate Security Council resolutions, as they have done in the past, and this will not be regarded as a violation of the JCPOA.

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

In statements, three Iranian leaders – President Hassan Rohani, Foreign Minister Zarif, and Deputy Foreign Minister and senior negotiator Abbas Araghchi – emphasized that Iran has no intention of abiding by UNSRC 2231, which includes the JCPOA and another element; rather, that they will abide only by the original JCPOA.

The Iran nuclear deal consists of the following:

A.   A set of understandings between Iran and the P5+1 powers (as well as the remaining disagreements) all in a single package called the JCPOA. It is not a contract between Iran and the P5+1 countries as a group or any single one of them, and hence no document was signed.

B.   This set of mutual understandings (as well as disagreements) packaged in the JCPOA was transferred, following the conclusion of negotiations in Vienna on July 14, 2015, to the UN Security Council, for endorsement as a UN Security Council resolution. The resolution, UNSCR 2231, was passed on July 25, 2015 and it includes, in addition to the JCPOA, another element (Annex B) with further stipulations regarding Iran. For example, it addresses the sanctions on Iran’s missile development project.

To understand why UNSCR 2231 is structured in this way, we can look at statements by top Iranian negotiators about the process that led up to it:

In a July 20, 2015 interview on Iranian Channel 2, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister and senior negotiator Abbas Araghchi said that there had been tough bargaining between the Iranian and American delegations over the issue of the arms embargo on Iran and the sanctions related to Iran’s missile development project. “The Americans sought their inclusion in the JCPOA, claiming that otherwise they could not face criticism from Arab countries in the region. When they said that they could not lift the sanctions altogether, we told them explicitly that in that case there is no agreement. We told them that the national security issues are non-negotiable and that we will not accept an agreement which continues the embargo on weapons and the sanctions on missile development. In the end, the Americans said, We will put the issue of the embargo and the missiles in the UN Security Council Resolution separate from the agreement.”

In the same interview, Araghchi was asked whether Iran could refrain from carrying out UNSCR 2231; he replied: “Yes we can; just as we refrained from complying with UN Security Council resolutions, we can do so with regards to 2231.”

Araghchi also referred to the Iranian Foreign Ministry statement issued following the passage of UNSCR 2231: “The Iranian Foreign Ministry statement explicitly noted that Iran does not attach legitimacy to any restriction and any threat. If UNSCR 2231 will be violated by Iran, it will be a violation of the Security Council resolution and not of the JCPOA, similar to what happened 10 years ago when we violated Security Council resolutions and nothing happened. The text of the JCPOA notes the fact that the content of the JCPOA and of the UN Security Council resolution are two separate things.”[1]

Foreign Minister Zarif, in an August 9, 2015 media interview, reiterated the Iranian position regarding the difference between the JCPOA and UNSCR 2231, with a focus on the consequences of possible violation of the two by Iran. He said: “There is a difference between the JCPOA and UNSCR 2231. Violating the JCPOA has consequences, while violating UNSCR 2231 has no consequences.”[2]

Indeed, the restrictions regarding missiles are mentioned only in UNSCR 2231, and not in the JCPOA.

On August 29, 2015, Iranian President Hassan Rohani said: “There is nothing about the topic of missiles, defense, and weapons in the JCPOA.  Whatever we have about it is in Resolution [UNSCR] 2231… Moreover, we have formally announced that we are not committed to all the sections that appear in the resolution [2231], and we specified in the JCPOA that violation of the resolution [2231] does not mean violation of the JCPOA…[3]

The meaning of all this is that in everything related to the issue of missile development, Iran will disregard UNSCR 2231. Already during the negotiations, it insisted on no imposition of sanctions on Iran regarding its missile development (and no sanctions at all). When the Americans moved the sanctions on the missile program to UNSCR 2231, Iran did not object, as, according to their statements above, they can violate Security Council resolutions, as they have done in the past, and this will not be regarded as a violation of the JCPOA.

Endnotes:

[1] ISNA.ir/fa/news/94042915462/%D9%85%D9%85%D9%86%D9%88%D8%B9%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%AA%D8%B3%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%AD%D8%A7%D8%AA%DB%8C-%D9%88-%D9%85%D9%88%D8%B4%DA%A9%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D9%87- .

[2] Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said this at an August 9, 2015 conference sponsored by the Iranian daily Ittil’atwith other senior negotiators in attendance. See text in Farsi here.

[3] President.ir/fa/89047, August 30, 2015.

Thinking About the Unthinkable: An Israel-Iran Nuclear War

August 23, 2015

Thinking About the Unthinkable: An Israel-Iran Nuclear War, Amerian Thinker, John Bosma, August 23, 2015

(We live in “interesting times.” — DM)

The signing of a Munich-class agreement with Iran that hands it more than it ever hoped to pull off represents a shocking, craven American capitulation to an apocalyptic crazy state: a North Korea with oil. Nothing in Western history remotely approaches it, not even Neville Chamberlain’s storied appeasement of another antisemitic negotiating partner.

But it also augurs the possibility of a nuclear war coming far sooner than one could have imagined under conventional wisdom worst-case scenarios. Following the US’s betrayal of Israel and its de facto detente with Iran, we cannot expect Israel to copy longstanding US doctrines of no-first-nuclear-use and preferences for conventional-weapons-only war plans. After all, both were premised (especially after the USSR’s 1991 collapse) on decades of US nuclear and conventional supremacy. If there ever were an unassailable case for a small, frighteningly vulnerable nation to pre-emptively use nuclear weapons to shock, economically paralyze, and decapitate am enemy sworn to its destruction, Israel has arrived at that circumstance.

Why? Because Israel has no choice, given the radical new alignment against it that now includes the US, given reported Obama threats in 2014 to shoot down Israeli attack planes, his disclosure of Israel’s nuclear secrets and its Central Asian strike-force recovery bases, and above all his agreement to help Iran protect its enrichment facilities from terrorists and cyberwarfare – i.e., from the very special-operations and cyber forces that Israel would use in desperate attempts to halt Iran’s bomb. Thus Israel is being forced, more rapidly and irreversibly than we appreciate, into a bet-the-nation decision where it has only one forceful, game-changing choice — early nuclear pre-emption – to wrest back control of its survival and to dictate the aftermath of such a survival strike.

Would this involve many nuclear weapons? No – probably fewer than 10-15, although their yields must be sufficiently large to maximize ground shock. Would it produce Iranian civilian casualties? Yes but not as many as one might suppose, as it would avoid cities. Most casualties would be radiological, like Chernobyl, rather than thermal and blast casualties. Would it spur a larger catalytic nuclear war? No. Would it subsequently impel Russia, China and new proliferators to normalize nuclear weapons in their own war planning? Or would the massive global panic over the first nuclear use in anger in 70 years, one that would draw saturation media coverage, panic their publics into urgent demands for ballistic missile self-defense systems? Probably the latter.

The Iranian elite’s ideology and controlling political psychology is inherently preferential towards nukes and direct population targeting as a way to implement Shi’ite messianism and end-times extremism. Iran is a newly nuclear apocalyptic Shi’ite regime that ranks as the most blatantly genocidal government since the Khmer Rouge’s Sorbonne-educated leaders took over Cambodia in April, 1975. Senior Iranian officials have periodically tied nuclear war to the return of the Twelfth Imam or Mahdi, which Iran’s previous president anticipated within several years. This reflects not just the triumphalist enthusiasm of a new arriviste nuclear power that just won more at the table than it dared to dream. It also reflects a self-amplifying, autarchic end-days theology that is immune to both reality testing and to Western liberal/progressive tenets about prim and proper nuclear behavior.

Admittedly, Iranian leaders have lately resorted to envisioning Israel’s collapse in more restrained terms through Palestinian demographic takeover of the Israeli state and asymmetric warfare. Still there remains a lurid history of Iranian officials urging the elimination of Israel and its people, of allocating their nukes to Israeli territory to maximize Jewish fatalities, of Iranian officials leading crowds in chants of “Death to Israel!” Iran’s government also released a video game allowing players to target various kinds of Iranian ballistic missiles against Israeli cities – this as part of intensive propaganda drumming up hatred of Jews. A more recent video game envisions a massive Iranian ground army marching to liberate Jerusalem. In all, Iran’s official stoking of genocidal Jew hatred is far beyond what Hitler’s government dared to advocate before the 1939 outbreak of World War 2.

The deliberate American silence over Iran’s genocidal intentionality sends an unmistakable signal to Israel that the US no longer recognizes a primordial, civilizational moral obligation to protect it from the most explicit threats imaginable. It is truly on its own, with the US in an all-but-overt alliance with its worst enemy. The shock to Israel’s leaders of this abrupt American lurch into tacitly accepting this Iranian intentionality cannot be understated. Iran is violating the core tenets of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, a US initiative after the Tokyo and Nuremberg war-crimes trials to codify genocide as a crime against humanity. Now the US is silent.

But this shift is also recent. Every US government prior to President Obama would have foresworn nuclear talks with such a psychopathic regime or would have walked out in a rage upon such utterances. Yet Iran’s genocidal threats have had no discernible effect on Obama’s canine eagerness for a deal. It’s as if 75 years ago a US president had cheerfully engaged in peace talks with Hitler and his SS entourage despite learning the details of the Nazis’ secret Wannsee Conference where Hitler signed off on the Final Solution for the Jews. But whereas Hitler had the sense in that era to keep that conclave secret, Iran’s Wannsee intentionality toward Israel and world Jewry has for years been flamboyantly rude-and-crude and in-your-face. That this Iranian advocacy of a second Holocaust drew no objection from the US negotiators of this deal should make moral pariahs out of every one of them – including our president and Secretary of State.

These two factors alone, especially the abrupt evaporation of the US’s ultimate existential bargain with Israel through Obama’s de facto alliance with the mullahs, would drive Israel to the one attack option it can unilaterally use without running short of munitions and experiencing the massive US coercion embedded in that dependence. But there are other reasons why early Israeli nuclear pre-emption is not only justified but almost mandatory.

First, it is too late to stop Iran’s bomb-making momentum with conventional weapons or sanctions. That nation’s science and technology base is robust and improving. It has learned to domestically produce high-performance gas centrifuges whose uranium gas output is such that smaller numbers of them are needed for breakout. The US spent decades and many billions at labs like Oak Ridge National Laboratory on composites, software-controlled magnetic bearings, gas flow separations, thermal controls and ultra-precision manufacturing for these thin-wall, very-high-speed devices. Yet Iran has come up the centrifuge learning curve with surprising speed. Its metallurgists are familiar with a novel aluminum forging method that may yield nanophase aluminum shells so strong that they approach the centrifugal strength usually associated with more demanding composite-shell gas centrifuges. Also, Iran’s bomb engineering and physics can tap the sophisticated bomb designs and re-entry vehicle (RV) skills of North Korea, which is reducing the weight and mass of its H-bombs to fit on ballistic missiles and whose collaboration with Iran reportedly included Iranian technicians at North Korean bomb tests.

Other technology sources in the Nuclear Bombs R Us cartel for wannabe proliferators set up by rogue nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan of Pakistan include China, Russia and Pakistan. Worst of all, under the US-Iran deal, Iran’s ballistic missiles can improve their reliability, accuracy, throw-weight and their post-boost RV-release thrusters.

Second, Iran’s underground nuclear targets are likely harder than American and Israeli hard-target munition (HTM) developers have assumed. Why? Because Iranian engineers have perfected the world’s toughest concrete, developing mixtures using geopolymers, quartz powders (called fume) and metal and ceramic fibers. The result is hardness levels reportedly up to 50,000-60,000 psi in experimental samples. This means that even shallow “cut and cover” hard targets like the Natanz centrifuge enrichment plant, an armored complex in an excavated pit that is then covered, can resist destruction by the US’s most lethal hard-target bomb: the 30,000-lb “Massive Ordnance Penetrator.” Only the B-2 and the B-52 can carry the MOP. Yet while the MOP can penetrate ~200 ft into 5000-psi targets, it only reaches 25 feet into 10,000-psi concrete – and Iranian cement for new or up-armored underground bunkers has likely progressed well beyond that.

US and Israeli HTM alternatives include staged-warhead penetrators and – high on the wish list – novel energetic chemistries with orders-of-magnitude more power than current HTMs. Tactical HTMs with up to four sequential warheads use precursor warheads to blast an initial opening for larger follow-through charges to destroy tanks, fortifications and bridge piers. But these impact at slow speeds compared to what’s needed to kill deep hard targets. The latter need superhard casings (probably single-crystal metals) and packaging to keep their sequenced charges intact during violent impacts of thousands of feet/second (fps). One benchmark is the Department of Energy’s Sandia lab’s success years ago in firing a simulated hard-target RV into rock at 4400 fps. Similarly, reactive-material (RM) munitions and next-generation HEDM (high-energy-density material) explosives and energetic chemistries with orders-of-magnitude more power look promising for the future. But these require years of iterative fly-redesign-fly testing to assure they’ll survive impact with their deep targets.

Bottom line: with even the US’s best non-nuclear HTMs marginal against Iran’s critical deep targets, Israel’s HTMs probably wouldn’t do the job either, being lower in kinetic energy on target. Alternatives like using HTMs to destroy entrances to such targets and ventilation shafts may work – but unless Iranian military power and recovery are set back months or years, this damage would be repaired or worked round. Moreover, nuclear facilities tunneled into mountains would be almost impossible to destroy with conventionals.

Still, the brains behind Iran’s nuclear bomb, missile and WMD is concentrated in soft targets like the Iranian universities run by the IRGC (Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps), custodian of the bomb program). These can be hit by conventionals under a Peenemunde targeting strategy to kill as many weapon scientists and technicians as possible. (This recalls Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s directive for British bombers to target the residential housing on the small Baltic island where Hitler had sited his V-2 rocket program.) Alternatively, conventional or nuclear EMP (electromagnetic pulse) or HPM (high-power microwave) weapons could destroy for months all the computers and communications that support university-hosted bomb work. This would keep these scientists and surrounding urban populations alive.

Third, Obama’s decision to provide Iran “training courses and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to prevent, protect and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage, to nuclear facilities and systems as well as to enable effective and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems” is the clearest indicator that this accord is aimed squarely at Israel. Why? It eliminates the sole option Israel has left now that it lacks the US-supplied conventional HTMs to destroy unexpectedly hard deep targets, forcing it at best into a slow-motion conventionals-only campaign. This would expose it to brutal political and military blowback by Iran and its Chinese, Russian and European suppliers – and by an enraged American president. In essence, it appears that the Obama regime has under the accord deliberately stripped Israel of every option except nuclear pre-emption – which Obama, in typically liberal-progressive fashion, assumes would never happen. Ergo, Israel would be forced to accommodate Iranian military supremacy.

Fourth, what may drive an early Israeli nuclear attack are two considerations: (a) Russian S-300 ATBM/SAMs (anti-tactical ballistic missile/surface-to-air missile) in Iranian hands; and (b) Hezb’allah’s thousands of missiles. Russia’s agreement to supply Iran four batteries of its fearsome S-300 by late August for defending priority targets would make it very difficult for Israel to mount the complex precision bombing strategies needed for tough targets. The S-300, the world’s best, can knock down high-speed aircraft from near ground level to almost 100,000 feet. It can also engage some ballistic missiles.

Meanwhile, Hezb’allah’s arsenal of more than 60,000 rockets (by some estimates) is a much greater threat to Israel, especially its air force, than is appreciated. Hezb’allah has retrofitted an unknown fraction of these missiles, whose range now covers almost all of Israel, with GPS and precision guidance, allowing them to hit critical targets. Unfortunately, Israel’s Iron Dome and David’s Sling interceptors were designed on the assumption that most incoming missiles would be inaccurate and so the interceptors could be saved only for those approaching critical targets. The result? Hezb’allah rocket campaigns targeting Israeli airbases and other military targets could quickly run Israel out of interceptors. Iran could easily order such a campaign to throw Israel off balance as it focuses on the deadly US-abetted nuclear threat from Iran.

An Israeli nuclear pre-emption is thus eminently thinkable. Every other option has been stripped away by Obama’s decision, concealed from Israel, Congress and our allies until it was too late to challenge, to let Iranian bomb-making R&D run free and to harden Iran’s bomb-making infrastructure against Israel – while imposing lethal restrictions on Israeli countermeasures and forswearing any US and allied military attacks, such as B-2’s and B-52’s dropping MOP bombs.

The die is now cast. Nuclear pre-emption becomes attractive to a nation in extremis, where Israel is now:

…Israel needs to impart a powerful, disorganizing shock to the Iranian regime that accomplishes realistic military objectives: digging out its expensive underground enrichment plants, destroying its Arak plutonium reactor and maybe Bushehr in the bargain, killing its bomb and missile professionals, scientists and technicians, IRGC bases, its oil production sites, oil export terminals and the leaders of the regime where they can be found.

…its initial strike must move very fast and be conclusive within 1-2 hours, like the Israeli air attack opening the 1967 Six-Day War. The goal is to so stun the regime that Israel controls the first and subsequent phases of the war and its ending. This means that Israel must hit enough critical targets with maximum shock – and be willing to revisit or expand its targets – so as to control blowback and retaliation from Iran’s allies. In essence, this involves a very fast-paced Israeli redesign of the Middle East in the course of a nuclear war for survival.

…what is poorly appreciated is that nuclear weapons from 10 to 300 kilotons (KT) – depending on accuracy – can destroy deep hard targets to 200+ meters depth by ground coupling if they penetrate merely 3 meters into the ground (Effects of Nuclear Earth Penetrators and Other Weapons: National Research Council / National Academy Press, 2005, pp. 30-51). Israel could lower bomb yields or achieve deeper target kills by its reported tests of two-plane nuclear attacks in which the first plane drops a conventional HTM like a GBU-28 to open up a channel; the second plane drops its tactical nuclear bomb into that ‘soft’ channel for greater depth before bursting. This unavoidably would produce fallout on cities downwind. Fortunately, the same medical countermeasures used for radiological accidents (Chernobyl accidents, etc.)  – potassium iodide pills (available domestically from www.ki4u.com) – can be airdropped for use by exposed urbanites.

…the more important objective, however, is decapitation and economic paralysis by EMP and HPM effects that destroy all electronic, electrical and electromechanical devices on Iranian territory. While a high-altitude nuclear burst would affect most of Iran’s territory, it may not be necessary if smaller, lower-altitude weapons are used.

…A small number of nuclear weapons (10-15?) may suffice: one each for known underground hard targets, with one held in reserve pending bomb-damage assessments; several low-yield bombs for above-ground bomb-related depots; and low-yield neutron weapons to hit IRGC and regime targets while avoiding blast and fallout. Reactors can be hit with conventional HPM pulse weapons to burn out electrical, electronic and electromechanical systems for later reactor destruction by Special Forces. A targeting priority (using antipersonnel conventionals) would be university-hosted bomb/missile scientists.

…Israeli F-15s and F-16s provide the most accurate delivery for the initial phase – assuming that the S-300 batteries can be decoyed, jammed or destroyed (where Israeli air force experience is unmatched). The small stock of Jericho-2 ballistic missiles probably would be held in reserve. They can’t be used against buried targets unless their re-entry vehicles (RVs) are fitted with penetrator casings and decelerators like ribbon parachutes (used to slow down US test RVs for shallow-water recovery at Pacific atolls) to avoid disintegrating on impact. (Both methods require flight-testing, which is detectable.) Israel’s Dolphin subs in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean can launch nuclear or (probably) conventional cruise missiles with cluster munitions for IRGC targets.

The final issue is how Israeli and US leaders would operate in these conditions. An Israeli decision to go nuclear would be the most tightly held decision in history, given the prospect of out-of-control blowback by our current president if that was leaked. Still, Israel sees itself being driven into a Second Holocaust corner, possibly within weeks as the S-300s begin deploying around Iran’s nuclear targets. Once it decides nukes are its only way out, it would simulate and map out all possible event chains and surprises once it launches. Unavoidably, it would also have to decide what to do if it learns the US is feeding its pre-launch mobilization information to Iran, using its electronic listening posts and missile-defense radars in the region. It may have to jam or destroy those US sites.

For the US, however, this no-warning nuclear war would land like a thunderbolt on an unprepared White House that would likely panic and lash out as Obama’s loudly touted “legacy” goes up in smoke. The characteristic signatures of nuclear bursts would be captured and geolocated by US satellite. The commander of NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) under Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs would call the White House on the famous red phone. (As one of the few civilians who sat through a red phone alert at NORAD in July 1982, after a Soviet missile sub launched two test missiles off the Kamchatk Peninsulaa, I can testify it is a frightening experience for which nothing prepares you.) Given the psychology of our current president and his emotional investment in his Iran deal, what might follow could challenge the military chain of command with orders that previously were unthinkable.

Now retired, John Bosma draws on a 40-year background in nuclear war-gaming and strategic arms control (SALT 1 and 2, Soviet arms-racing and SALT violations, US force upgrades) at Boeing Aerospace (1977-1980); congressional staff and White House experience (1981-1983) in organizing the “Star Wars” ballistic missile defense (BMD) program and proposing its “defense-enforced strategic reductions” arms-control model adopted by the Reagan State Department; military space journalism (1984-1987); and technology scouting in conventional strategic warfare, rapid (1-2 hours) posture change in space, novel BMD engagement geometries with miniature air-launched interceptors, counter-WMD/terrorism, naval BMD and undersea warfare. Clients included DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the Missile Defense Agency, the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) Advanced Systems and Concepts Office, the Navy and the  He follows Israeli forces and BMD and has studied Iran’s nuclear R&D programs. All of his work is open-source

 

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.

Column One: Obama strikes again

July 31, 2015

Column One: Obama strikes again, Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick, July 30, 2015

ShowImage (5)US President Barack Obama (L) and Vice President Joe Biden. (photo credit:OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY PETE SOUZA)

Most of the antiquities that ISIS plunders in Iraq and Syria make their way to the world market through Turkey. So, too, most of the oil that ISIS produces in Syria and Iraq is smuggled out through Turkey. According to the US Treasury, ISIS has made $1 million-$4m. a day from oil revenue.

Instead of maintaining its current practice of balancing its support for Turkey with its support for the Kurds, under the agreement, the West ditches its support for the Kurds and transfers its support to Turkey exclusively.

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

While Israel and much of oficial Washington remain focused on the deal President Barack Obama just cut with the ayatollahs that gives them $150 billion and a guaranteed nuclear arsenal within a decade, Obama has already moved on – to Syria.

Obama’s first hope was to reach a deal with his Iranian friends that would leave the Assad regime in place. But the Iranians blew him off.

They know they don’t need a deal with Obama to secure their interests. Obama will continue to help them to maintain their power base in Syria though Hezbollah and the remains of the Assad regime without a deal.

Iran’s cold shoulder didn’t stop Obama. He moved on to his Sunni friend Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

Like the Iranians, since the war broke out, Erdogan has played a central role in transforming what started out as a local uprising into a regional conflict between Sunni and Shiite jihadists.

With Obama’s full support, by late 2012 Erdogan had built an opposition dominated by his totalitarian allies in the Muslim Brotherhood.

By mid-2013, Erdogan’s Muslim Brotherhood- led coalition was eclipsed by al-Qaida spinoffs. They also enjoyed Turkish support.

And when last summer ISIS supplanted al-Qaida as the dominant Sunni jihadist force in Syria, it did so with Erdogan’s full backing. For the past 18 months, Turkey has been ISIS’s logistical, political and economic base.

According to Brett McGurk, the State Department’s point man on ISIS, about 25,000 foreign fighters have joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq. All of them transited through Turkey.

Most of the antiquities that ISIS plunders in Iraq and Syria make their way to the world market through Turkey. So, too, most of the oil that ISIS produces in Syria and Iraq is smuggled out through Turkey. According to the US Treasury, ISIS has made $1 million-$4m. a day from oil revenue.

In May, US commandos in Syria assassinated Abu Sayyaf, ISIS’s chief money manager, and arrested his wife and seized numerous computers and flash drives from his home. According to a report in The Guardian published last week, the drives provided hard evidence of official Turkish economic collusion with ISIS.

Due to Turkish support, ISIS has become a self-financing terrorist group. With its revenue stream it is able to maintain a welfare state regime, attracting recruits from abroad and securing the loyalty of local Sunni militias and former Ba’athist forces.

Some Western officials believed that after finding hard evidence of Turkish regime support for ISIS, NATO would finally change its relationship with Turkey. To a degree they were correct.

Last week, Obama cut a deal with Erdogan that changes the West’s relationship with Erdogan.

Instead of maintaining its current practice of balancing its support for Turkey with its support for the Kurds, under the agreement, the West ditches its support for the Kurds and transfers its support to Turkey exclusively.

The Kurdish peshmerga militias operating today in Iraq and Syria are the only military outfits making sustained progress in the war against ISIS. Since last October, the Kurds in Syria have liberated ISIS-controlled and -threatened areas along the Turkish border.

The YPG, the peshmerga militia in Syria, won its first major victory in January, when after a protracted, bloody battle, with US air support, it freed the Kurdish border town of Kobani from ISIS’s assault.

In June, the YPG scored a strategic victory against ISIS by taking control of Tal Abyad. Tal Abyad controls the road connecting ISIS’s capital of Raqqa with Turkey. By capturing Tal Abyad, the Kurds cut Raqqa’s supply lines.

Last month, Time magazine reported that the Turks reacted with hysteria to Tal Abyad’s capture.

Not only did the operation endanger Raqqa, it gave the Kurds territorial contiguity in Syria.

The YPG’s victories enhanced the Kurds’ standing among Western nations. Indeed, some British and American officials were quoted openly discussing the possibility of removing the PKK, the YPG’s Iraqi counterpart, from their official lists of terrorist organizations.

The YPG’s victories similarly enhanced the Kurds’ standing inside Turkey itself. In the June elections to the Turkish parliament, the Kurdish HDP party won 12 percent of the vote nationally, and so blocked Erdogan’s AKP party from winning a parliamentary majority.

Without that majority Erdogan’s plan of reforming the constitution to transform Turkey into a presidential republic and secure his dictatorship for the long run has been jeopardized.

As far as Erdogan was concerned, by the middle of July the Kurdish threat to his power had reached unacceptable levels.

Then two weeks ago the deck was miraculously reshuffled.

On July 20, young Kurdish activists convened in Suduc, a Kurdish town on the Turkish side of the border, 6 kilometers from Kobani. A suicide bomber walked up to them, and detonated, massacring 32 people.

Turkish officials claim that the bomber was a Turkish Kurd, and a member of ISIS. But the Kurds didn’t buy that line. Last week, HDP lawmakers accused the regime of complicity with the bomber. And two days after the attack, militants from the PKK killed two Turkish policemen in a neighboring village, claiming that they collaborated with ISIS.

At that point, Erdogan sprang into action.

After refusing for months to work with NATO forces in their anti-ISIS operations, Erdogan announced he was entering the fray. He would begin targeting “terrorists” and allow the US air force to use two Turkish air bases for its anti-ISIS operations. In exchange, the US agreed to set up a “safe zone” in Syria along the Turkish border.

Turkish officials were quick to explain that in targeting “terrorists,” the Turks would not distinguish between Kurdish terrorists and ISIS terrorists just because the former are fighting ISIS. Both, they insisted, are legitimate targets.

Erdogan closed his deal in a telephone call with Obama. And he immediately went into action.

Turkish forces began bombing terrorist targets and rounding up terrorist suspects. Although a few of the Turkish bombing runs have been directly against ISIS, the vast majority have targeted Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria.

Moreover, for every suspected ISIS terrorist arrested by Turkish security forces, at least eight Kurds have been taken into custody.

Then, too, Erdogan has called on AKP lawmakers to begin criminalizing their counterparts from the HDP. Kurdish lawmakers, he urged them, must be stripped of their parliamentary immunity to enable their arrests.

As Erdogan apparently sees things, by going to war against the Kurds, he will be able to reestablish the AKP’s parliamentary majority. Within a few weeks, if the AKP fails to form a governing coalition – and it will – then new elections will be held. The nationalists, who abandoned the AKP in June, will return to the party to reward Erdogan for fighting the Kurds.

As for that “safe area” in northern Syria, as the Kurds see it, Erdogan will use it to destroy Kurdish autonomy. He will flood the zone with Syrian Arab refugees who fled to Turkey, to dilute the Kurdish majority. And he will secure coalition support for the Sunni Arab militias – including those still affiliated with al-Qaida – which will be permitted by NATO to operate openly in the safe area.

Already the Kurds are reporting that the US has stopped providing air support for their forces fighting ISIS in the border town of Jarablus. Those forces were bombed this week by Turkish F-16s.

For their part, despite Erdogan’s pledge to fight ISIS, his forces seem remarkable uninterested in rolling back ISIS achievements. The Turks have no plan for removing ISIS from its strongholds in Raqqa or Haskiyah.

The Obama administration is presenting the deal with Turkey as yet another great achievement.

In an interview with Charlie Rose on Tuesday, McGurk explained that the deal was a long time in the making. It began with a phone conversation between Obama and Erdogan last October and it ended with their phone call last week.

In October, Obama convinced Erdogan not to oppose US air support for the Kurds in Kobani and to enable the US to resupply YPG fighters in Kobani through Turkey. In the second, Obama agreed not to oppose Erdogan’s offensive against the Kurds.

Two years ago, in August 2013, the world held its breath awaiting US action in Syria. That month, after prolonged equivocation amidst mountains of evidence, the Obama administration was forced to acknowledge that Iran’s Syrian puppet Bashar Assad had crossed Obama’s self-declared redline and used chemical weapons against regime opponents, including civilians.

US forces assembled for battle. Everything looked ready to go, until just hours before US jets were scheduled to begin bombing regime targets, Obama canceled the operation. In so doing, he lost all deterrent power against Iran. He also lost all strategic credibility among America’s regional allies.

To save face, Obama agreed to a Russian proposal to have international monitors remove Syria’s chemical weapons from the country.

Last summer, the administration proudly announced that the mission had been completed.

UN chemical weapons monitors had removed Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal from the country, they proclaimed. It didn’t matter to either Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry that by that point Assad had resumed chemical assaults with chlorine-based bombs. Chlorine bombs weren’t chemical weapons, the Americans idiotically proclaimed.

Then last week, the lie fell apart. The Wall Street Journal reported that according to US intelligence agencies, Assad not surrendered his chemical arsenal.

Rather, he hid much of his chemical weaponry from the UN inspectors. He had even managed to retain the capacity to make chemical weapons – like chlorine-based bombs – after agreeing to part with his chemical arsenal.

Assad was able to cheat, because just as the administration’s nuclear deal with the Iranians gives Iran control over which nuclear sites will be open to UN inspectors, and which will be off limits, so the chemical deal gave Assad control over what the inspectors would and would not be allowed to see. So, they saw only what he showed them.

Obama has gone full circle in concluding his deal with Erdogan. Since entering office, Obama has sought to cut deals with both the Sunni jihadists of the Muslim Brotherhood ilk and the Shi’ite jihadists of the Iranian ilk.

His chemical deal with Assad and his nuclear deal with the ayatollahs accomplished the latter goal, and did so at the expense of America’s Sunni Arab allies and Israel.

His deal last week with Erdogan accomplishes the former goal, to the benefit of ISIS, and on the backs of America’s Kurdish allies.

So that takes care of the Middle East. With 17 months left to go till Obama leave office, the time has apparently come for the British to begin to worry.

Satire | Watch out Kim, your nukes are next!

July 27, 2015

Watch out Kim, your nukes are next! Dan Miller’s Blog, July 27, 2015

 

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

Having been thoroughly schooled by Iran during the P5+1 nuke negotiations on the necessity for flexibility, the Obama Administration is now even better prepared to take on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Kim Jong-un learns of U.S.  plans to negotiate

Kim learns of U.S. plans

As North Korea and more recently Iran proved, sanctions are feeble devices for getting rogue nations to eliminate their nuclear weapons programs. Possibly effective in bringing such nations to the bargaining table, they tend to collapse as the negotiators come to understand the benefits their nations would realize by their elimination (the sanctions, not necessarily their nations).

According to a July 26th Washington Post article titled U.S. planning to press harder against North Korea on human rights,

After the Obama administration’s groundbreaking nuclear deal with Iran, there have been calls to replicate that pact with North Korea, a rogue state that already has nuclear-weapons capability.

From Washington to Beijing, analysts and policymakers have been talking about the agreement as a possible “blueprint” for negotiations with Pyongyang. [Emphasis added.]

But Kim Jong Un’s regime has made it clear that it expects to be accepted as a nuclear power — saying this month it is “not interested” in an Iran-style deal. The Obama administration is instead focusing on human rights to further isolate North Korea, encouraged by the outbursts this approach has elicited from Kim’s stubbornly recalcitrant regime — apparently because the accusations cast aspersions at the leader and his legitimacy. [Emphasis added.]

“There is a growing assumption that the North Koreans are not going to surrender their nukes,” Andrei Lankov, a North Korea expert based in Seoul, said after recent meetings with officials in Washington. Human rights are Washington’s “next political infatuation,” he said.

The linked article also notes,

Pyongyang this month denounced the United States for “escalating” its anti-North Korea campaign after Sung Kim, the U.S. special representative for North Korea policy said at a public forum that “pressure is a very critical part of our approach to dealing with North Korea.”

The North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency reported afterward that pressure “being persistently increased” would simply “harden” North Korea’s “will to take tough counter-action against” the United States.

North Korean representatives have been notably responsive at the United Nations to criticism of the country’s human rights record and of the leadership in particular, staging a number of protests at forums in New York. [Emphasis added.]

North Korea’s increased responsiveness shows that nuke negotiations with it may well be even more successful than were those with Iran, giving Dear Leader Obama an even greater giant leap forward in His pursuit of foreign policy legacies.

Engagement with North Korea is becoming increasingly necessary. It has recently been reported that

the North has recently upgraded a missile platform and may be readying to launch a long-range missile around the time of a national anniversary in October.

In addition, North Korea is building a new high explosives assembly facility at its main Yongbyon nuclear complex. North Korea will probably use such explosives internally only for peaceful purposes, while (although not suggested by the linked article) preparing them for shipment elsewhere. Perhaps they may be sold to Iran and sent via diplomatic pouch to ensure safety.

Iran persuaded Washington, once “infatuated” with the “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear program, that Iran itself should probe those dimensions, turn the results of its investigations over to the indefatigable UN watchdog (the International Atomic Energy Agency, a.k.a. “IAEA”) and thereby negate all suspicions. Following that precedent, North Korea should itself investigate whether there are bases for allegations of its human rights violations. It should then, in no less timely fashion, turn any relevant information it finds over to the appropriate UN agency — perhaps the Security Council, where all permanent members, including stellar human rights advocates Russia and China, have vetoes.

Despite the brilliance of its handling of the Iranian nuke program — and the equal if not even greater brilliance of the plan to proceed with North Korea — unsubstantiated rumors will be spread by warmongering hawks such as those who continue to challenge Obama’s great victory over Iran. For example, it may be claimed that any DPRK officials who provide evidence of human rights violations will be executed by hungry dogs starved for the purpose.

That is nonsense. Most of the dogs in North Korea are already starving. The over-inflated egos of any DPRK officials that cause them to blather irresponsibly about such things would simply be deflated by defensive antiaircraft weapons such as recently used on Defense Minister Hyon Yong Chol. It’s the humane way to deal with those guilty of “disloyalty and showing disrespect to dictator Kim Jong Un.” It would, in fact, be sufficient evidence of North Korea’s respect for human rights (comparable Iran’s) to terminate any further inquiry immediately.

If, as Obama claims, “99% of world” likes the Iran “deal,” at least 200% will love a deal with North Korea under which it demonstrates its respect for human rights while promising not to use its nukes on any nation unless it wants to because Dear Leader Kim is upset. The trade potentials are equally mind-boggling and the deal will be no less a win-win situation for everyone than the “deal” with Iran!

And we will do just as well with North Korea!

And we will do the same with North Korea!

Progressivism, Obama, and Islam

June 24, 2015

Progressivism, Obama, and Islam, American ThinkerKen Blackwell, June 24, 2015

As the Obama administration winds down, I expect the situation only to get worse. The increasing desperation of the administration to realize the dream of fraternity with the Muslim world by 2016 will lead to ever more ignominious acts of national self-abasement that may soon verge on outright insanity.

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

Looking at President Obama’s foreign policy toward the Muslim world, especially Iran, makes me feel as if America has followed Alice into Wonderland. Nothing makes sense anymore, as the surreal has displaced the logical. Given Mr. Obama’s progressive ideology, it’s exactly what we should have expected.

Foreign policy is the realm of realpolitik. It has to be so, because the stakes are so high: the prosperity and even the survival of the human race. The first duty of every president has to be ensuring that the nation does not become vulnerable to the attacks of its enemies, but Mr. Obama fails to understand who our enemies are.

Progressivism, unfortunately, is not very good at recognizing reality. That’s because progressivism focuses on vision and aspiration. Conservatism begins with the facts on the ground and seeks improvement through gradual reform, while progressivism begins with a utopian vision and tries to conform reality to it.

Progressivism also errs fundamentally about the reality of human nature. Conservatives understand that man is a fallen creature, morally imperfect and inherently capable of evil in motives and actions.

Therefore, in foreign policy, you need to keep your powder dry.

Progressivism believes that man is innately good. In terms of foreign policy, that means we must trust that men’s motives are good, and we can work out our differences by talking with each other. After all, we’re all brothers under the skin.

The problem comes when reality refuses to conform to the utopian vision. One inescapable fact of foreign affairs is that it takes two to make peace, but only one to make war.

The late Robert Kennedy once said, “Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.”

Barack Obama’s dream that never was is to see America reconciled to the Muslim world. He has been obsessed with Islam right from the beginning of his administration. To realize his dream, he insists on treating implacable enemies like Iran as if they were already friends.

Thus, we’ve witnessed inanities like repurposing NASA from space exploration to making nice with the Muslim world (yes, Allah began as the moon god of an Arabian tribe, but it’s not as if we’re going to find him on the Far Side). But emasculating NASA is not a laughing matter. While NASA has been sidetracked for the last six years, the Russians, Chinese, Indians, Japanese and Western Europeans are making strides in their own space programs. Some future president is likely to learn the hard way that falling behind in space will have very painful consequences for America.

We’ve witnessed incomprehensible tactical policy blunders like releasing diehard jihadists from Guantanamo and watching them return to the battlefield, and the infamous exchange of five al-Qaeda generals for an American deserter. How many Americans realize that the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was in U.S. custody in Iraq at the beginning of the Obama administration?

We’ve witnessed colossal strategic blunders, like supporting our sworn enemies, the Muslim Brotherhood, in Egypt and elsewhere, and the inexplicable failure to support the pro-Western, pro-democracy revolution against the Iranian mullahs in 2009. Many foreign policy experts have agreed for years that the best chance we have to prevent the mullahs from obtaining nuclear weapons was not a U.S. invasion, but support for a popular Iranian regime change. Obama is missing every opportunity presented him.

We’ve even witnessed the outright denial of reality, such as Obama’s refusal to acknowledge that the Fort Hood massacre was the work of a Muslim terrorist. Officially it is considered “workplace violence,” even though Maj. Nidal Hassan was shouting “Allahu Akbar” as he gunned down his fellow soldiers. Obama won’t even allow his administration to use the words “Muslim” and “terrorist” in the same sentence.

Obama doesn’t seem to understand that the jihadists are not just like us. They have completely different values and ethics, and a worldview radically opposed to both Western secularism and Christianity. They don’t want peace with us; we are the Great Satan — they want to destroy us.

Back to realpolitik. The situation in the Iran nuclear arms talks is dire. Our European partners suspect that Obama is functioning primarily as Iran’s apologist, not adversary, and by watering down economic sanctions, may be cooperating with the mullahs in their quest to obtain the Bomb. Nuclear weapons in the hands of the mullahs would pose an existential threat to Israel immediately, and in time to the entire world as Iran improves its long-range missiles.

As the Obama administration winds down, I expect the situation only to get worse. The increasing desperation of the administration to realize the dream of fraternity with the Muslim world by 2016 will lead to ever more ignominious acts of national self-abasement that may soon verge on outright insanity.