Posted tagged ‘Iran and North Korea’

We’re turning a blind eye to Iran’s genocidal liars

April 18, 2017

We’re turning a blind eye to Iran’s genocidal liars, The Australian, Michael Oren, April 19, 2017

(Please see also, What North Korea Should Teach Us about Iran. DM)

In responding forcibly to North Korean and Syrian outrages, President Trump has taken a major step towards restoring America’s deterrence power. His determination to redress the flaws in the JCPOA and to stand up to Iran will greatly accelerate that process. The US, Israel and the world will all be safer.

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

The US has signed agreements with three rogue regimes strictly limiting their unconventional military capacities. Two of those regimes — Syria and North Korea — brazenly violated the agreements, provoking game-changing responses from Donald Trump. But the third agreement — with Iran — is so inherently flawed that Tehran doesn’t even have to break it. Honouring it will be enough to endanger millions of lives.

The framework agreements with North Korea and Syria, concluded respectively in 1994 and 2013, were similar in many ways. Both recognised that the regimes already possessed weapons of mass destruction or at least the means to produce them. Both ­assumed that the regimes would surrender their arsenals under an international treaty and open their facilities to inspectors. And both believed these repressive states, if properly engaged, could be brought into the community of nations.

All those assumptions were wrong. After withdrawing from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, Pyongyang tested five atomic weapons and developed ­intercontinental missiles capable of carrying them. Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, less than a year after signing the framework, reverted to gassing his own people. Bolstered by the inaction of the US and backed by other powers, North Korea and Syria broke their commitments with impunity.

Or so it seemed. By ordering a Tomahawk missile attack on a Syrian air base, and a US Navy strike force to patrol near North Korea’s coast, the Trump administration has upheld the frame­­works and placed their violators on notice. This reassertion of power is welcomed by all of ­America’s allies, Israel among them. But for us the most dangerous agreement of all is the one that may never need military enforcement. For us, the existential threat looms in a decade, when the agreement with Iran expires.

Like the frameworks with North Korea and Syria, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action of 2015 assumed that Iran would fulfil its obligations and open its facilities to inspectors. The JCPOA assumed that Iran would moderate its behaviour and join the international community. Yet unlike its North Korean and Syrian allies, Iran was the largest state sponsor of terror and openly vowed to destroy another state: Israel. Unlike them, Iran systematically lied about its unconventional weapons program for 30 years. And unlike Damascus and Pyongyang, which are permanently barred from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, Tehran can look forward to building them swiftly and legitimately in the late 2020s, once the JCPOA expires.

This, for Israel and our neighbouring Sunni states, is the appalling flaw of the JCPOA. The regime most committed to our destruction has been granted a free pass to develop military nuclear capabilities. Iran could follow the Syrian and North Korean examples and cheat. Or, while enjoying hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief, it can adhere to the agreement and deactivate parts of its nuclear facilities rather than dismantle them. It can develop new technologies for producing atomic bombs while testing intercontinental ballistic missiles. It can continue massacring Syrians, Iraqis and Yemenis, and bankrolling Hamas and Hezbollah. The JCPOA enables Iran to do all that merely by complying.

A nuclear-armed Iran would be as dangerous as “50 North Koreas”, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the UN in 2013, and Iran is certainly many times more dangerous than Syria. Yet Iran alone has been granted immunity for butchering civilians and threatening genocide. Iran alone has been guaranteed a ­future nuclear capability. And the Iranian regime — which brutally crushed a popular uprising in 2009 — has amassed a million-man force to suppress any future opposition. Rather than moderating, the present regime promises to be more radical yet in another 10 years.

How can the US and its allies pre-empt catastrophe? Many steps are possible, but they begin with penalising Iran for the conventions it already violates, such as UN restrictions on missile development. The remaining American sanctions on Iran must stay staunchly in place and congress must pass further punitive legislation. Above all, a strong link must be established between the JCPOA and Iran’s support for terror, its pledges to annihilate ­Israel and overthrow pro-American Arab governments, and its complicity in massacres. As long as the ayatollahs oppress their own population and export their ­tyranny abroad, no restrictions on their nuclear program can ever be allowed to expire.

In responding forcibly to North Korean and Syrian outrages, President Trump has taken a major step towards restoring America’s deterrence power. His determination to redress the flaws in the JCPOA and to stand up to Iran will greatly accelerate that process. The US, Israel and the world will all be safer.

Michael Oren is Israel’s deputy minister for diplomacy, a member of the Knesset and a former ambassador to Washington.

What North Korea Should Teach Us about Iran

April 18, 2017

What North Korea Should Teach Us about Iran, Gatestone InstituteAlan M. Dershowitz, April 18, 2017

(The proposed legislation should explicitly authorise military action whenever Iran develops nukes; not merely after the Iran Scam permits their development. — DM

If we are not to make the same mistake with Iran that we made with North Korea, we must do something now – before Iran secures a weapon – to deter the mullahs from becoming a nuclear power, over which we would have little or no leverage.

Congress should now enact legislation declaring that Iran’s reaffirmation that it will never “develop or acquire nuclear weapons” is an integral part of the agreement and represents the policy of the United States. It is too late to change the words of the deal, but it is not too late for Congress to insist that Iran comply fully with all of its provisions, even those in the preamble.

Congress should authorize the President “to take military action against Iran’s nuclear weapon’s program if it were to cross the red lines….”

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

We failed to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. As a result, our options to stop them from developing a delivery system capable of reaching our shores are severely limited.

The hard lesson from our failure to stop North Korea before they became a nuclear power is that we MUST stop Iran from ever developing or acquiring a nuclear arsenal. A nuclear Iran would be far more dangerous to American interests than a nuclear North Korea. Iran already has missiles capable of reaching numerous American allies. They are in the process of upgrading them and making them capable of delivering a nuclear payload to our shores. Its fundamentalist religious leaders would be willing to sacrifice millions of Iranians to destroy the “Big Satan” (United States) or the “Little Satan” (Israel). The late “moderate” leader Hashemi Rafsanjani once told an American journalist that if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons, they “would kill as many as five million Jews,” and that if Israel retaliated, they would kill fifteen million Iranians, which would be “a small sacrifice from among the billion Muslims in the world.” He concluded that “it is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality.” Recall that the Iranian mullahs were willing to sacrifice thousands of “child-soldiers” in their futile war with Iraq. There is nothing more dangerous than a “suicide regime” armed with nuclear weapons.

The deal signed by Iran in 2015 postpones Iran’s quest for a nuclear arsenal, but it doesn’t prevent it, despite Iran’s unequivocal statement in the preamble to the agreement that “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire nuclear weapons.” (Emphasis added). Recall that North Korea provided similar assurances to the Clinton Administration back in 1994, only to break them several years later — with no real consequences. The Iranian mullahs apparently regard their reaffirmation as merely hortatory and not legally binding. The body of the agreement itself — the portion Iran believes is legally binding — does not preclude Iran from developing nuclear weapons after a certain time, variously estimated as between 10 to 15 years from the signing of the agreement. Nor does it prevent Iran from perfecting its delivery systems, including nuclear tipped inter-continental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States.

 

If we are not to make the same mistake with Iran that we made with North Korea, we must do something now – before Iran secures a weapon – to deter the mullahs from becoming a nuclear power, over which we would have little or no leverage.

Congress should now enact legislation declaring that Iran’s reaffirmation that it will never “develop or acquire nuclear weapons” is an integral part of the agreement and represents the policy of the United States. It is too late to change the words of the deal, but it is not too late for Congress to insist that Iran comply fully with all of its provisions, even those in the preamble.

In order to ensure that the entirety of the agreement is carried out, including that reaffirmation, Congress should adopt the proposal made by Thomas L. Friedman on 22 July 2015 and by myself on 5 September 2013. To quite Friedman:

“Congress should pass a resolution authorizing this and future presidents to use force to prevent Iran from ever becoming a nuclear weapons state … Iran must know now that the U.S. president is authorized to destroy – without warning or negotiation – any attempt by Tehran to build a bomb.”

I put it similarly: Congress should authorize the President “to take military action against Iran’s nuclear weapon’s program if it were to cross the red lines….”

The benefits of enacting such legislation are clear: the law would underline the centrality to the deal of Iran’s reaffirmation never to acquire nuclear weapons, and would provide both a deterrent against Iran violating its reaffirmation and an enforcement authorization in the event it does.

A law based on these two elements — adopting Iran’s reaffirmation as the official American policy and authorizing a preventive military strike if Iran tried to obtain nuclear weapons — may be an alternative we can live with. But without such an alternative, the deal as currently interpreted by Iran will not prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. In all probability, it would merely postpone that catastrophe for about a decade while legitimating its occurrence. This is not an outcome we can live with, as evidenced by the crisis we are now confronting with North Korea. So let us learn from our mistake and not repeat it with Iran.

Re-isolate Iran now

January 27, 2017

Re-isolate Iran now, Israel Hayom, David M. Weinberg, January 27, 2017

In fact, the U.S. and Israel should reach an accord on a basket of responses to Iranian violations and aggressions, including the placement of a military option against Iran’s nuclear program back on the table.

Trump and Netanyahu must together promulgate an approach for combating the malign influence and hegemonic ambitions of Iran.

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

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear that one of the top items on his agenda for consultation with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington next month is countering Iranian aggression. With good reason. The net result of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has been to foster Iran’s rise to regional hegemon.

While the JCPOA suspended a part of Iran’s nuclear weapons program for a few years, the ayatollahs see it as providing time to advance their centrifuge capability and regional sway.

In a Hoover Institution paper published this month, Professor Russell Berman and Ambassador Charles Hill call Iran a “de facto Islamic caliphate,” and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps an “Iranian expeditionary force for invading strategic Arab spaces.”

They call former President Barack Obama’s declared goal — of finding and bolstering so-called moderates in Tehran via the JCPOA — an “illusion.” Iran is not a polity of moderates and hard-liners, they write. It is a revolutionary theocracy masquerading as a legitimate state actor. So the first thing Trump must do is recognize the consistently hostile character of the regime.

Alas, Obama was obsessed from the advent of his presidency with making nice to Iran, and was willing to subordinate much of American foreign policy in service of that goal. He sent many secret letters to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that recognized the prerogatives of the Islamic republic and foreswore regime change. He cut funding to anti-regime groups and abandoned Iranian moderates during the early days of the Green Revolution in 2009, after the regime fixed an election. He effectively conceded Syria as within Iran’s sphere of influence.

In his penetrating book, “The Iran Wars: Spy Games, Bank Battles, and the Secret Deals That Reshaped the Middle East,” Wall Street Journal reporter Jay Solomon exposes the money trail that accompanied this strategic sellout to Iran. In exchange for talking, Obama gave the Iranians hundreds of millions of dollars monthly, stabilizing their economy. And in the end, Obama offered Iran a deal that legalized full-blown uranium, plutonium, and ballistic missile work on a timeline, and did not force the country to disclose its previous nuclear cheating. The deal also released roughly a hundred billion dollars to Iran; had American officials traveling to drum up business for Iran; and removed restrictions on a range of Iranian terrorists.

Along the way, the administration abandoned the powerful sanctions leverage it had over Iran. Solomon chronicles the ramp-up of severe banking sanctions on Iran that were having a disastrous impact on the Iranian economy. “Iran’s economy was at risk of disintegrating, the result of one of the most audacious campaigns in the history of statecraft. The country was months away from running short on hard currency. The budget had a $200 billion black hole. And the U.S. Treasury Department had made sure Iran had no way to recover. Iranian ships and airplanes were not welcome beyond Iran’s borders, and oil revenue was frozen in overseas accounts.”

And then, behold, Obama backed off. Administration officials all of a sudden claimed that tightening the noose on the Iranian economy would cause the sanctions policy to collapse! And Secretary of State John Kerry was sent to cut a sweet deal with Iran; a deal that squandered — and then reversed — a decade’s worth of effort to constrain Iran.

Now Trump must act to constrain Iran all over again.

Over the past year, Iran has intensified a pattern of aggression and increased its footprint across the region. Iranian advisers with Shiite militias from as far away as Afghanistan have flooded Syria, giving Tehran a military arc of influence stretching to the Mediterranean.

Khamenei says that Iran’s massive military presence (alongside Hezbollah) in Syria is a supreme security interest for the regime — a front line against Israel — and that Iran has no plans to leave.

This has grave implications for Israel. Netanyahu must demand of Trump (and Putin) to include the removal of all foreign forces, especially Iran, in any future agreement regarding Syria. This will be very difficult — especially since Russia has just signed a long-term agreement to greatly enlarge its military presence in Syria, including the port in Tartus and air base in Latakia.

Iran, too, is aggressively expanding its naval presence in the Red Sea region and eastern Mediterranean. Since 2011, it has been sending warships through the Suez Canal, and has used maritime routes to send arms shipments to Hizballah and Hamas. (Israel has intercepted five of these armament ships.) And in the Strait of Hormuz, IRGC speedboats have repeatedly engaged in provocative encounters with American warships, including the conduct of surprise live rocket fire exercises in proximity to U.S. Navy vessels.

Then there is Iranian terrorism. IRGC agents have been caught planning attacks on Israeli, American, British and Saudi targets in Kenya. Over the past five years, Iranian agents were exposed while planning to attack Israeli diplomats in Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Georgia, India, Nigeria, Thailand and Turkey. Hezbollah operatives supported by Iran carried out the bus bombing of Israeli tourists at the Burgas airport.

Also: The detailing of Iranian terrorism in Arab countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia could fill this entire newspaper.

Then there is Iran’s ballistic missile program. In December, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz sent a seven-page letter to three senior officials of the Obama administration, detailing his well-founded concerns that North Korea and Iran might be working together on developing nuclear missiles. (Not surprisingly, the Obama officials never answered.)

Cruz’s basic question was: Why does Iran, having promised not to make nuclear weapons, continue to pour resources into developing long-range ballistic missiles, including numerous missile tests this past year? If not for nuclear weapons, then for what?

The intrepid analyst Claudia Rosett continually has raised the suspicion that North Korea’s nuclear program is secretly doubling as a nuclear backshop for Iran. It’s very possible that the $1.7 billion in air-freighted cash that Obama granted Iran is being used to finance nuclear weapons and missile research in North Korea. It’s even possible that Iran may be bold enough to buy warheads from North Korea.

Only Washington can stop this, by re-isolating and pressuring Iran. Netanyahu should travel to Trump with a comprehensive plan to influence U.S. policy toward Iran, as well as plans for joint action against Tehran.

This should include an end to the secrecy surrounding many sections of the JCPOA. All side agreements should be disclosed relating to Iranian technology acquisitions, raw material quantities, uranium and plutonium enrichment levels, sanctions relief and financial transfers. Loopholes and exceptions made surreptitiously by Obama should be closed.

Penalties should be set firmly in place for Iran’s prohibited missile programs. (Such penalties do not exist in the JCPOA or in U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231.)

U.S. and Israeli resources should be pooled, in a renewed and formal U.S.-Israel agreement, to uncover and eliminate any undisclosed sites within Iran connected to nuclear weapons technology; to counter Iranian terror threats across the region; and to subvert any Iranian bases in Syria and Lebanon.

In fact, the U.S. and Israel should reach an accord on a basket of responses to Iranian violations and aggressions, including the placement of a military option against Iran’s nuclear program back on the table.

Trump and Netanyahu must together promulgate an approach for combating the malign influence and hegemonic ambitions of Iran.

New UN Security Council Resolution Strengthens Sanctions Against North Korea

December 1, 2016

New UN Security Council Resolution Strengthens Sanctions Against North Korea, Front Page MagazineJoseph Klein, December 1, 2016

kim

But Iran, freed of sanctions, is likely to be the spoiler.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2321 (2016) on November 30th. It condemns the North Korean (DPRK) regime’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles while its people continue to suffer under inhumane conditions. The resolution strengthens previous UN-imposed sanctions on the DPRK in response to its fifth nuclear test conducted on September 9, 2016.

The prior resolutions have failed to slow, much less eliminate, the DPRK’s nuclear program involving the development and testing of both nuclear device and ballistic missile capabilities. As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon pointed out in his remarks to the Security Council following the vote, “The Council first adopted a resolution on the DPRK nuclear issue in 1993. Twenty-three years and six sanctions resolutions later, the challenge persists.”

The new resolution is intended to put more of a financial squeeze on the DPKR regime than ever before by closing loopholes and cutting the DPRK off from sources of hard currency that can be used to fund its nuclear bomb and ballistic missile programs.

Most notably, the new resolution places tighter restrictions on the DPRK’s export of coal. There will now be an absolute cap on how much coal the DPRK can export per year, closing a loophole that had allowed an exemption from any coal export limitations so long as the transactions were determined to be exclusively for “livelihood” purposes. Member states must report all transactions promptly to the 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee, which is directed to monitor total volumes and notify states when the allowed quantities have been reached and all procurement of coal from the DPRK must end.

The binding export cap will potentially cut the DPRK’s largest export, coal, by approximately $700 million per year from 2015 (more than 60%). Considering the fact that China is the DPRK’s principal purchaser of coal, the new restrictions agreed to by China are significant if fully implemented.

In addition, the new resolution imposes further restrictions on the sale or transfer of copper and other non-ferrous metals. It also places a ban on the supply, sale or transfer from the DPRK of statues, which has proven to be a lucrative source of hard currency needed by the regime. The resolution contains travel bans and assets freezes directed to individuals and entities not previously listed for such punitive actions, who are determined to be involved in the development, production, and financing of the DPRK’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, as well as the DPRK coal and conventional arms trade. There are more dual-use items, materials, equipment, goods and technology that will be subject to the embargo covering transfers to and from the DPRK.  Strict new sanctions on the DPRK’s illicit transportation activities are imposed.  Inspections of cargo transiting to and from the DPRK by rail, sea, air and road are to be expanded. And the new resolution contains further measures to isolate the DPRK from the global financial system and to prohibit financial support for trade with the DPRK in the form of export credits, guarantees, insurance and the like.

Resolution 2321 emphasizes, for the first time, a human rights dimension beyond the DPKR’s proliferation activities – the need for the DPRK to respect and ensure the inherent dignity of people in its territory. It also warns the DPRK that it is subject to being suspended from its UN rights and privileges.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, who led the negotiations of the text primarily with her Chinese counterpart, heralded the new resolution. She said it “imposes unprecedented costs on the DPRK regime for defying this Council’s demands.” She admitted, however, that “No resolution in New York will likely, tomorrow, persuade Pyongyang to cease its relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons.” Ambassador Power stressed that for the resolution to have any material impact on the DPRK’s behavior “all Member States of this United Nations must fully implement the sanctions that we have adopted today.” Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, while lauding the new resolution for including “the toughest and most comprehensive sanctions regime ever imposed by the Security Council,” reinforced Ambassador Power’s admonition. He warned that “sanctions are only as effective as their implementation. It is incumbent on all Member States of the United Nations to make every effort to ensure that these sanctions are fully implemented.”

The problem with such an expectation for full implementation by all member states is Iran, which is known to have a tight collaborative relationship with the DPRK to bolster both countries’ nuclear weapons and missile programs. Iran has flouted UN Security Council resolutions in the past aimed at its own nuclear program. And despite the nuclear deal under which Iran is expected to curtail its nuclear program, it is continuing the testing and development of ballistic missiles designed to carry nuclear weapons. When I raised the concern about Iran’s relationship with the DPRK to Ambassador Power after she delivered some brief remarks to the press, she refused to answer my question and walked away. It is not surprising in this case why she ducked my question. The concessions President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry made in order to reach agreement with Iran on the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) have provided a huge loophole for Iran and the DPRK to exploit together.

More specifically, the JCPOA contains a long “Specially Designated Nationals” list of individuals and entities that will no longer be subject to previously instituted nuclear-related sanctions. This delisting includes entities involved in supporting Iran’s ballistic missile program, which Iran is now arguably freer to pursue thanks to other concessions offered by Obama and Kerry.

One of the entities removed from both the UN and U.S. sanctions lists is Bank Sepah, a large Iranian state-owned financial institution. Bank Sepah had been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department back in 2007 for “facilitating Iran’s weapons program” and providing “support and services to designated Iranian proliferation firms.”   The bank had also been listed as an entity “involved in nuclear or ballistic missile activities” in UN Security Council Resolution 1747.

In addition to supporting Iran’s own missile program, Bank Sepah has also been involved, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, in transferring large sums of money from Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization to a North Korean firm associated with the Korea Mining Development Trading Bureau (KOMID), “a North Korean entity designated for providing Iran with missile technology.”

The DPRK’s Tanchon Commercial Bank, which has been designated by the US and the UN Security Council for sanctions due to its suspected proliferation-related activities, has served as the financial arm for KOMID.  “Since 2005,” according to a statement issued several years ago by the Treasury Department, “Tanchon has maintained an active relationship with various branches of Iran’s Bank Sepah…the U.S. has reason to believe that the Tanchon-Bank Sepah relationship has been used for North Korea-Iran proliferation-related transactions.”

Bank Sepah now is no longer hobbled by sanctions as a result of the JCPOA and a follow-up Security Council resolution endorsing the JCPOA and terminating the previous UN sanctions resolutions against Iran. This means not only more funding for Iran’s missile program, which Iran is continuing to pursue without any consequences. It also means a potential source of hard currency for North Korea’s nuclear program – precisely the opposite of what Ambassador Power said was the intent of the new DPRK Security Council sanctions resolution. And this is only scratching the surface of how the unfreezing of billions of dollars of Iranian assets and removal of sanctions on Iranian entities involved in nuclear-related activities, which have had ties with North Korean entities involved in nuclear-related activities, will help accelerate the nuclear weapons and missile programs of both rogue regimes.

In short, for the Obama administration, “The one hand giveth; the other hand taketh away.” Hopefully, the new Trump administration will do a better job in connecting the dots in the dangerous collaborative relationship between Iran and the DPKR and undo the damage the Iran nuclear deal is likely to do in helping to further that relationship.

New Report Shows Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Profiting from Iran Deal

October 5, 2016

New Report Shows Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Profiting from Iran Deal, Counter Jihad, October 5, 2016

iranian-nuclear-weapon

A new report from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies showcases the ways in which Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has benefited from the so-called nuclear deal.  This deal, which Congress never voted to approve nor reject, and which the Iranian government fundamentally altered rather than accepting, has nevertheless led to a vast transfer of wealth to Iran.  Much of that wealth has fallen right in the hands of the IRGC, which oversees Iran’s terrorist and military nuclear programs.

Here at CounterJihad, we have covered the problems withIran’s nuclear deal somewhat extensively.  The Foundation for Defense of Democracies report’s conclusions will thus be of little surprise to our regular readers.  However, it does include additional detail on the degree to which Iran’s corporate and business ventures are secretly dominated by IRGC elites.  As the report says:

[IRGC abuses] did not stop France’s mobile phone giant, Orange, from beginning talks with Iran’s largest mobile phone operator, Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran (MCI), over acquiring a stake in the Iranian company. The IRGC controls MCI through a 50-percent-plus-one stake in its parent company, the Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI).  In short, whether its internal security, foreign adventures, or large corporate ventures, the IRGC plays an outsized role in Iran’s internal power structure. Established in 1979 to consolidate the Islamic revolution and fight its enemies, the IRGC has evolved over the years into a full-fledged conventional army, conducting and directing terrorist activity abroad. The Guard has also become a political power broker, an economic conglomerate, and an agency in charge of nuclear and ballistic-missile proliferation….  IRGC revenues from economic activities yield the necessary resources and political leverage to place its members in positions of power. Conversely, the Guard’s political power serves the economic enterprises it owns, and both its political and economic weight in turn advance its military projects.

The IRGC’s corporate activity offers revenue to the organization in the same way that its control of narcotics within Iran does.  However, whereas the narcotics are often passed on to Hezbollah to be turned into heroin, corporate profits can be rolled over into apparently legitimate enterprises that have useful military applications.  That allows Iran a backdoor to internationally-developed advanced weaponry and so-called “dual use” technologies.  These are technologies that have both a legitimate purpose, but also an application to Iran’s nuclear program.

Their space program is an excellent example of the way in which a legitimate purpose can mask development of nuclear weapons:  the same technologies involved in building space rockets that can deploy satellites in particular orbits can also be used to develop ballistic missiles that will deliver nuclear warheads to particular cities.  The New York Times reported in September that the biggest engine in North Korea’s nuclear missile program seems to have been developed in partnership with Iran.  Iran’s version is “nuclear-capable,” but the North Korean version makes no pretense about its intentions.

The potential links to Iran complicate the issue. Iran has ignored a United Nations Security Council resolution, passed in conjunction with last year’s agreement freezing its nuclear program, to refrain from tests of nuclear-capable missiles for eight years.  The Obama administration has not sought sanctions, knowing they would be vetoed by Russia and China, nor has it said much in public about the details of the cooperation on the new rocket engine.

Nor are they likely to do so, given how much of the administration’s prestige is tied up with the so-called nuclear deal.  It is worth noting, however, that the effect of the deal has been to embolden Iran — and North Korea, and Russia, and America’s enemies in general.

North Korean Nukes, South Korea, Japan, China and Obama

September 10, 2016

North Korean Nukes, South Korea, Japan, China and Obama, Dan Miller’s Blog, September 10, 2016

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

On September 9th, North Korea conducted its fifth nuke test, of its most powerful nuke thus far. Can Obama get China to help make North Korea stop developing and testing nukes? Nope. China sees Obama, not as the representative of the world’s greatest power, but as a joke. He has no clout internationally and is a national embarrassment.

China and North Korea – a very short history

Here’s a link to an article I posted on June 25, 2013 about the Korean conflict. To summarize, China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) have a long history of acting together. China views the Republic of Korea (South Korea), which borders North Korea to the south and is an American ally, as a threat. She does not want reunification of the Korean peninsula under a government favorable to America.

When, on June 25, 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea with Russian aircraft, weaponry, training and other substantial support, China did not assist North Korea. North Korean forces pushed the South Korean government, as well as the few American military advisers (then under the command of the Department of State), south to the Pusan perimeter. Following General MacArthur’s unexpected and successful Inchon invasion which began on September 15th, American and other United Nations forces pushed the North Korean forces back north: MacArthur sent his by then greatly augmented forces east to Wonson and eventually managed to push North Korean forces to the northern side of the Yalu River. However, Chinese forces struck back en masse and MacArthur’s forces were driven back to Seoul.

Ever since bringing to an end MacArthur’s successes in the Korean Conflict, China has supported North Korea. She has opposed, and has then declined to enforce, significant sanctions responsive to North Korean nuclear and missile development and testing. While China may acquiesce in weak UN resolutions condemning North Korean provocations, she rarely goes beyond that.

China, Japan and the two Koreas

China has a long memory and still resents, bitterly, the lengthy period prior to and during World War II when Japan occupied significant parts of China. Ditto South Korea, all of which was under Japanese occupation for a lengthy period prior to and during World War II. Although China has substantial trade with both South Korea and Japan, she is more hostile to Japan than is South Korea; the latter two have substantial mutual interests transcending trade.

Perhaps the most important current dispute between China on the one hand, and Japan-South Korea-America on the other, involves the plans of Japan and South Korea to defend against North Korean missiles by the installation of THAAD anti-missile weapons provided by America. China’s stated reason for opposition to the THAAD system is that it could be used against Chinese, as well as North Korean, missiles. Why does China assert this objection unless she hopes to fire missiles at one or both of them? If China fires missiles at Japan and/or South Korea, they have every right to destroy her missiles and to respond in kind with U.S. assistance if requested.

President Obama

condemned Pyongyang’s fifth nuclear test today in the “strongest possible terms as a grave threat to regional security and to international peace and stability” as outraged lawmakers from both parties called for tougher action to stop North Korea’s nuclear program. [Emphasis added.]

That may well be all that Obama does — despite the warnings of Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, that

we have to make it absolutely clear that if they engage in any military activity, they will be destroyed. We have to have a credible deterrent. That seems to be the only thing that will stop North Korea from engaging in military action… We have sanctioned them, and we should keep sanctioning them, but it’s not going to stop them from developing the nuclear weapons.” [Emphasis added.]

Obama won’t do that:

In a statement Friday, President Obama vowed to “take additional significant steps, including new sanctions, to demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences to its unlawful and dangerous actions.”

Obama did not suggest what He might have in mind, beyond historically ineffective sanctions and condemnations “in the strongest possible terms,” to let North Korea know that there will be “consequences.”

A September 9th article at the New York Times provides an unpleasant analysis of the options Obama now has, and which His successor will have, in dealing with North Korea.

A hard embargo, in which Washington and its allies block all shipping into and out of North Korea and seek to paralyze its finances, risks confrontations that allies in Asia fear could quickly escalate into war. But restarting talks on the North’s terms would reward the defiance of its young leader, Kim Jong-un, with no guarantee that he will dismantle the nuclear program irrevocably.

For more than seven years, President Obama has sought to find a middle ground, adopting a policy of gradually escalating sanctions that the White House once called “strategic patience.” But the test on Friday — the North’s fifth and most powerful blast yet, perhaps with nearly twice the strength of its last one — eliminates any doubt that that approach has failed and that the North has mastered the basics of detonating a nuclear weapon.

Despite sanctions and technological backwardness, North Korea appears to have enjoyed a burst of progress in its missile program over the last decade, with experts warning that it is speeding toward a day when it will be able to threaten the West Coast of the United States and perhaps the entire country. [Emphasis added.]

. . . .

Mr. Obama has refused to negotiate with the North unless it agrees first that the ultimate objective of any talks would be a Korean Peninsula without nuclear arms. But Mr. Kim has demonstrated, at least for now, that time is on his side. And as he gets closer to an ability to threaten the United States with a nuclear attack, and stakes the credibility of his government on it, it may be even more difficult to persuade him to give up the program.

 In a statement Friday, Mr. Obama condemned the North’s test and said it “follows an unprecedented campaign of ballistic missile launches, which North Korea claims are intended to serve as delivery vehicles intended to target the United States and our allies.”

“To be clear, the United States does not, and never will, accept North Korea as a nuclear state,” he said.

Many experts who have dealt with North Korea say the United States may have no choice but to do so. [Emphasis added.]

“It’s too late on the nuclear weapons program — that is not going to be reversed,” William Perry, the defense secretary under President Bill Clinton during the 1994 nuclear crisis with North Korea, said in August at a presentation in Kent, Conn. The only choice now, he argued, is to focus on limiting the missile program. [Emphasis added.]

Obama has taken no significant steps to limit Iran’s continuing missile development and testing program. How can He limit that of North Korea without Chinese cooperation?

Yet the latest effort to do that, an agreement between the United States and South Korea to deploy an advanced missile defense system in the South, has inflamed China, which argues the system is also aimed at its weapons. While American officials deny that, the issue has divided Washington and Beijing so sharply that it will be even more difficult now for them to come up with a joint strategy for dealing with the North. [Emphasis added.]

China has been so vocal with its displeasure over the deployment of the American system that Mr. Kim may have concluded he could afford to upset Beijing by conducting Friday’s test. [Emphasis added.]

Fueling that perception were reports that a North Korean envoy visited Beijing earlier this week.

North Korea almost certainly sees this as an opportunity to take steps to enhance its nuclear and missile capabilities with little risk that China will do anything in response,” Evans J.R. Revere, a former State Department official and North Korea specialist, said in a speech in Seoul on Friday. [Emphasis added.]

The breach between China and the United States was evident during Mr. Obama’s meeting with President Xi Jinping last week. “I indicated to him that if the Thaad bothered him, particularly since it has no purpose other than defensive and does not change the strategic balance between the United States and China, that they need to work with us more effectively to change Pyongyang’s behavior,” Mr. Obama said, referring to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, as the advanced missile defense project is known. [Emphasis added.]

North Korea and Iran

Iran and North Korea have a long history of cooperation in developing nukes and missiles with which to deliver them. In the past, Iranian scientists have been present at North Korean nuke tests, and vice versa. They have also assisted each other in the development of nukes and missiles.

Iran and North Korea have substantial reasons to cooperate: by virtue of the Iran scam, Iran now has lots of money but is at least minimally restricted in its nuke development. North Korea has little usable currency, needs whatever it can get, and no attempts to halt or even to limit its nuke development have worked.

A missile fired recently by North Korea bore a striking resemblance to an Iranian missile.

Photos released by North Korea of its launch of long-range ballistic missiles are the latest proof of the close military cooperation between Pyongyang and Tehran, an Israeli expert in the field told the news site IsraelDefense on Tuesday.

According to Tal Inbar — head of Space and UAV Research Centre at the Fisher Institute for Air & Space Strategic Studies — what was new in the photos was the shape of the warheads attached to the Nodong missiles, known in Iran as the Shahab-3.

Until now, such warheads — first detected by Inbar in Iran in 2010 — have not been seen in North Korea. At the time, Inbar dubbed them NRVs (or, “new entry vehicles”), which became their nickname among missile experts around the world. [Emphasis added.]

Inbar told IsraelDefense: “The configuration that we saw [on Tuesday] is identical to what we saw in Iran six years ago. In principle, its penetrating body (warhead) is identical to that of Scud missiles, but is mounted on the Shahab-3, and creates a more stable entity than other Shahab/Nodong warheads.”

Inbar said this was the third time that something of this nature had appeared in Iran before it did in North Korea. “But we must remember that the two countries engage in close cooperation where military and space-directed missiles are concerned,” he said. “It is thus possible that both plans and technology are being transferred regularly from one to the other.” [Emphasis added.]

Are North Korea and Iran rational? According to this New York Times analysis, North Korea is.

North Korea’s actions abroad and at home, while abhorrent, appear well within its rational self-interest, according to a 2003 study by David C. Kang, a political scientist now at the University of Southern California. At home and abroad, he found, North Korean leaders shrewdly determined their interests and acted on them. (In an email, he said his conclusions still applied.) [Emphasis added.]

“All the evidence points to their ability to make sophisticated decisions and to manage palace, domestic and international politics with extreme precision,” Mr. Kang wrote. “It is not possible to argue these were irrational leaders, unable to make means-ends calculations.” [Emphasis added.]

Victor Cha, a Georgetown University professor who served as the Asian affairs director on George W. Bush’s National Security Council, has repeatedly argued that North Korea’s leadership is rational.

I submit that the same analysis, applied to Iran, produces the same result. Iran’s leaders know what they want, and are sufficiently rational to achieve it; they did. Obama, not the leader of a dictatorial theocracy, is sufficiently irrational to believe that what he wants for the Islamic Republic of Iran is what America needs it to have. It is not.

Obama and Iran

Obama’s Iran scam would be farcical were it not potentially deadly. He did not do what would have been best for America and the free world in general — increase sanctions until Iran complied fully with UN resolutions on missile testing, ceased Uranium enrichment and disposed of the means to do it, ceased all nuke research as well as all nuke cooperation with North Korea and ceased supporting all terrorist groups, including Hezbollah and Hamas. Instead, perhaps considering Himself above such trivia, Obama sought little more than what He considered His greatest achievement — His legacy:

iranian-navy-copy-1

Conclusions

If Obama were viewed internationally as the powerful leader of the world’s most powerful nation, He might be able to get China to clamp down, severely and successfully, on North Korea’s nuke and missile development. Were China to reject His overtures, He could arrange for it to wish that it had acceded. That’s not who Obama is, as demonstrated by, among His other actions, entering into the Iran Scam deal with Iran.

Perhaps Kim Jong-un needs to dress like an Iranian mullah to convince Obama to give him a “deal” similar to the one He gave to Iran. He had better hurry: that won’t work with President Trump.

Richardson: North Korea May Have Launched Nuclear Test to Get Nuclear Deal Like Iran’s

January 7, 2016

Richardson: North Korea May Have Launched Nuclear Test to Get Nuclear Deal Like Iran’s, Washington Free Beacon, January 6, 2016

(Why not? Their human rights records are comparable. — DM)

Richardson, who ran for president in 2008, endorsed Clinton for the 2016 election. Clinton, Obama’s former secretary of state, has been a vocal supporter of the Iran nuclear agreement.

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

Hillary Clinton supporter and former New Mexico governor Tom Richardson said North Korea’s nuclear test may have been an attempt to gain leverage for a nuclear deal similar to the one Iran struck with the Obama administration and other world powers.

North Korea claimed it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb on Tuesday, although nuclear experts doubt that was the actual device tested. CNN reported the test corresponded with a 5.1 seismic event.

CNN host Wolf Blitzer asked Richardson whether North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was crying out for attention with this latest act of aggression.

“I think he’s trying to get attention, number one, but I think he’s also sending a message that if you want to deal with me, if you want me to curb our nuclear weapons, it’s going to be a very high price,” Richardson said. “It’s a very poor country. They need humanitarian assistance. They need energy assistance. They need all kinds of sanctions lifted. It could be that he’s preparing for a negotiation. I think he’s looking at what happened with Iran, and he says, ‘You know, maybe there’s a deal that can be struck for me,’ although we don’t know this man thinks. He’s very unpredictable.”

Richardson, who ran for president in 2008, endorsed Clinton for the 2016 election. Clinton, Obama’s former secretary of state, has been a vocal supporter of the Iran nuclear agreement.

The Iran nuclear deal made in July and championed by the Obama White House, despite numerous concessions, was met with celebration in Tehran. The world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism received billions of dollars in sanctions relief, among other sweeteners, as part of the agreement.