Hat Tip: BB
*** The gunman has now been killed in Copenhagen.
By: Alan Caruba
“Has the U.S. already conceded a new era of nuclear proliferation?” and concluded that “Mr. Obama is so bent on an Iran deal that he will make any concession to get one.”
As we should know by now, President Obama has no negotiating skills and even less understanding of the world the U.S. used to lead by virtue of its military power and democratic values.
If he succeeds in getting a deal, absent Congress doing anything about it, the Wall Street Journal says it will result in “a very different world than the one we have been living in since the dawn of the nuclear age. A world with multiple nuclear states, including some with revolutionary religious impulses or hegemonic ambitions, is a very dangerous place.”
Yes, but. We already live in such a world and the real question is whether, absent their “revolutionary” rhetoric, shouting “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” do those at the top levels of the Iranian ruling structure want to risk having their nation destroyed if they were ever to use nuclear weapons?
No nation on Earth has done so since the U.S. ended the war with the Japanese Empire with two atom bombs rather than put at risk the lives of our troops in an invasion. Why do we think Iran would use their nukes if they acquired them?
The short answer is that the United Nations has passed six resolutions to deny Iran the capability of developing a military nuclear program and the current negotiations, the P5+1, while led by the U.S., are joined by Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany.
If you want to know why Iran continues to be involved in negotiations to restrict its nuclear weapons agenda, you need to know that the U.S. will release $11.9 billion to Iran by the time the talks are concluded in June. That’s the figure cited by our own State Department.
On January 21, the U.S. released $490 million, the third such payment since December 10. For sitting at the negotiations table, Iran will secure $4.9 billion in unfrozen cash assets via ten separate payments by the U.S. It had received $4.2 billion in similar payments under the 2013 interim agreement with the U.S. and was given another $2.9 billion by the Obama administration last year in an absurd effort to get them to agree to end their effort to become a nuclear power.
In a sense there are several Iran’s. There is the Iran of the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guard, both committed to the Islamic revolution that brought the present day Iran into being in 1979. They value having a nuclear weapons capability no less than the U.S. or other nations do.
Then there are the Iranian realists who would far prefer a detente between the U.S. and Iran because they believe it would be in both our interests. These are the voters who elected Hassan Rouhani in 2013 to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has served in office from 2005. They represent some 70% of its citizens would want peace, trade and normal relations with the U.S. Their leaders, however, have thoughts of hegemonic power in the Middle East to advance Shiite Islam.
The problem is that many of the Iranian leadership do not speak in terms other than an utter contempt for the U.S. and with an outspoken enmity for any nation that opposes the expansion of Islam. In late January, one of its newspapers, Kayhan, reported that “Professors, students and employees at the Imam Sadeq University, condemning the insults against the prophet of Islam by Charlie Hebdo…demand closure of the French embassy in Tehran.”
The demonstrators carried placards read, “I am not Charlie, I am the innocent child of Gaza”, “Death to America”, “Death to Israel”, “Death to Britain”, “Death to France”, ‘Death to Wahabism” and comparable signs all indicative of Iran’s hostility to any response to the terrorism it has sponsored for decades since the Islamic Revolution was initiated there in 1979.
On January 23, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad-Javad Zarif, addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, saying “I do not believe that ten years of confrontation will have had any benefits for anyone. Ten years of sanctions has yielded 19,800 centrifuges, exactly that which the sanctions wanted to halt.”
There is no question that sanctions and the long negotiations have reduced Iran’s capacity to create nuclear weapons agenda. The current negotiations, however, are signaling an abandonment of that policy.
At Friday prayers in late January, Hojjat al-Eslam Zazem Sediqi told those in attendance “Our statesmen should know the enemy, should know with whom they are dealing and negotiating with…You are speaking with wild beasts which do not show mercy to (anyone) young or old, and who insult the Prophet, the most sacred of sacred.”
The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDC) maintains a constant monitoring of Iranian news media and government outlets. The reported news out of Iran paints a picture of fire-breathing zealots against a moderate political class and population. The question is whether the zealots will have the final word.
On January 28, Ali Alfoneh, a FDC senior fellow, authored a policy brief that concluded that “Even in the unlikely event that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his negotiating team reach a nuclear agreement with international negotiators, its implementation may well fall to the Islamic Revolutionary Corps…The IRGC’s vociferous opposition to nuclear concessions and improving ties with the West raises serious questions over whether future Iranian governments will uphold any nuclear deal that the current one signs.”
There are two major power centers in Iran, the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and the IRGC. Rouhani is routinely referred to as “a moderate.” As Alfoneh noted, “Meanwhile, Rouhani’s cabinet is torn between public demands for jobs and human rights, the creeping infiltration of the IRGC, and the Supreme Leader’s dogged attempts to maintain the status quo at all costs.”
In late January, the Democrats on Capitol Hill, led by Robert Menendez (D-NJ) gave Obama another two months to reach a deal before they vote for new sanctions. In the House, progressives are urging their colleagues to hold off moving any legislation that would tighten economic penalties on Iran. At this point, the only thing that has worked has been sanctions and the return of frozen funds, a form of bribery.
Meanwhile, Iran has taken credit for the training and arming of Shiite rebels who overthrew the leadership in Yemen. Iran also supports the Hezbollah in Lebanon that is threatening Israel from the area of the Golan. In reprisal for a recent attack, Israel responded with an air strike that killed an Iranian general. None of this helps position Iran as a potential peaceful partner.
This is why John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, has invited Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to address a joint session of Congress. He did so without consulting the White House, but we should keep in mind that Obama released five Taliban generals from Gitmo without consulting Congress.
Netanyahu will spell out what he has said in the past. A nuclear Iran is an existential and a potentially catastrophic threat to Israel. He will likely point out that it is a threat to Saudi Arabia and all the other nations in the Middle East and worldwide.
The question is whether we are dealing with rational people leading Iran or not. In the end, we are asked to assume that even the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guards want to live, want their children and grandchildren to live, and want their nation to continue. That is what Obama is betting on. The problem with that is that Islam puts a high value on martyrdom.
© Alan Caruba, 2015
By: Denise Simon
Has anyone talked to Ashraf Ghani about the Taliban or the 5 detainees released from Guantanamo and handed over to Qatar? What is the near future for Afghanistan with the Talibans’ recent terror attacks? There is and remains a military stalemate between the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan. Perhaps the agreement signed with Afghanistan is a clue.
We conclude that the security environment in Afghanistan will become more challenging after the drawdown of most international forces in 2014, and that the Taliban insurgency will become a greater threat to tan’s stability in the 2015–2018 timeframe than it is now.
The insurgency has been considerably weakened since the surge of U.S. and NATO forces in 2009, but it remains a viable threat to the government of Afghanistan. The coalition’s drawdown will result in a considerable reduction in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations by Afghan, U.S., and NATO forces. History suggests that the Taliban will use sanctuaries in Pakistan to regenerate their capabilities as military pressure on the movement declines. In the 2015– 2016 timeframe, we assess that the Taliban are likely to try to keep military pressure on the ANSF in rural areas, expand their control and influence in areas vacated by coalition forces, encircle key cities, conduct high-profile attacks in Kabul and other urban areas, and gain leverage for reconciliation negotiations. In 2016–2018, once the insurgency has had time to recover from the last several years of U.S. and NATO operations, a larger and more intense military effort will become increasingly likely.
We conclude that a small group of al Qaeda members, many of whom have intermarried with local clans and forged ties with Afghan and Pakistani insurgents, remains active in the remote valleys of northeastern Afghanistan. However, as a result of sustained U.S. and Afghan counterterrorism operations, this group of al Qaeda members does not currently pose an imminent threat to the U.S. and Western nations. Further, so long as adequate pressure is maintained via U.S. and Afghan counterterrorism operations, the group is unlikely to regenerate the capability to become a substantial threat in the 2015–2018 timeframe.
We conclude that, in the likely 2015–2018 security environment, the ANSF will require a total security force of about 373,400 personnel in order to pro- vide basic security for the country, and cope with the Taliban insurgency and low-level al Qaeda threat.
The United Nations provided a report in December of 2014 that in part reads: The present report provides an update on the situation since the fourth report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team was submitted to the Committee on 30 April 2014 (S/2014/402). The inauguration of the new President of Afghanistan on 29 September marked the first democratic and peaceful transition of executive authority in the history of Afghanistan. This was achieved despite intensive efforts by the Taliban to disrupt the second round of the presidential elections on 14 June 2014. The Taliban also exploited the political uncertainty following the elections until a government of national unity was formed in September 2014. Consequently, 2014 saw a significantly elevated number of Taliban attacks across Afghanistan, marking an increase in their activity.
Although the current fighting season has not yet concluded, the prospects of the Taliban breaking the strategic stalemate look slim despite the almost complete withdrawal of international combat troops. The most intensive military onslaught of the Taliban during the 2014 fighting season resulted in several district centres in the south and the east being overrun, but only briefly, as the government forces proved resilient and were able to recapture them within days. Meanwhile, an intensive Taliban effort to take control of Sangin district in Helmand Province failed.
On the political front, the Taliban leadership remains largely opposed to reconciliation, despite some elements that argue in favour. Hardliners from the “Da Fidayano Mahaz”1 (not listed), the “Tora Bora Mahaz” (not listed) and other affiliates push for renewed military efforts and argue that a campaign of attrition will wear out government forces and institutions over a period of several years. Meanwhile, the pragmatists associated with the Mu’tasim Group argue for a negotiated settlem ent, which they believe could be to the Taliban’s advantage.
Stability in Afghanistan in 2015 and beyond will depend on two essential factors: the sustainability of external economic assistance, which is crucial to supporting the Government of Afghanistan and the national security forces and their continued development, and the persistence of Afghan confidence in government institutions and security forces, which is crucial to maintaining morale.
Regrettably, the Monitoring Team continues to receive a steady — albeit officially unconfirmed — flow of media reports indicating that some listed individuals have become increasingly adept at circumventing the sanctions measures, the travel ban in particular. Continuing to raise awareness with all stakeholders of the central role of the sanctions measures and their implementation as part of the wider political strategy of the international community remains one of the key tasks of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1988 (2011) and the Team. *** Al-Qaida associates
There was a distinct increase in the activities and the visibility of Al-Qaida- affiliated entities in Afghanistan in 2014 (see annex II for an overview of the various Al-Qaida entities active in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region and of how they relate to one another). Although geographically removed from Afghanistan, the recent events in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic, specifically the success of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), currently listed as Al-Qaida in Iraq (QE.J.115.04), present a challenge to the Taliban as a movement. In January 2014, the Afghan security forces seized propaganda material originating from an Iraq-based Al-Qaida affiliate in north-eastern Afghanistan. According to official information provided by Afghan officials to the Team, in mid-2014 the Taliban leadership was concerned that the success of ISIL in parts of northern Iraq would draw young people who were potential Taliban recruits to join ISIL in Iraq.
Although this did not happen, apparently because of how difficult it is to travel to Iraq, the Monitoring Team has received a steady stream of as yet unconfirmed reports and press articles pointing to the existence of direct contacts between individuals associated with the Taliban and individuals associated with ISIL. For example, it has been reported in several Afghan media articles that the current ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, listed as Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai (QI.A.299.11), lived in Kabul during the Taliban regime and cooperated closely with Al-Qaida groups in Afghanistan at the time.28 In addition, Taliban splinter groups such as the Da Fidayano Mahaz and the Tora Bora Mahaz continue to regularly report on and glorify ISIL activities on their websites.29 The Team will continue to monitor this situation and report to the Committee once it is able to present an official confirmation.
Currently, two prominent supporters of ISIL from the Afghan Taliban — Mawlavi Abdul Rahim Muslimdost (not listed), who is a leader of the “Jama’at al Da’wa ila al-Qur’an wa Ahl al-Hadith” (not listed) in Kunar Province, and Mawlavi Abdul Qahir (not listed) — have endorsed the leader of ISIL, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.30 Most other leaders of the Jama’at al Da’wa ila al-Qur’an wa Ahl al-Hadith had sworn allegiance to Mullah Omar’s “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” in 2010.31
The Tora Bora Mahaz is a militant group operating in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, that is reportedly under the operational control of the Taliban and its leader Anwar al-Haqq Mujahid (not listed), son of Yunus Khalis (not listed), who served as a Taliban shadow provincial governor. The group has primarily been attacking government forces in Nangarhar Province (see S/2014/402, para. 21). It publishes a magazine, Tora Bora, and maintains a website, on which it regularly cross-posts videos produced by ISIL.
At the individual level, some Arab nationals affiliated with Al-Qaida in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border area remain in touch with those who left for Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic. When in July a drone strike killed six Al-Qaida-affiliated individuals in North Waziristan, Abdul Mohsen Abdallah Ibrahim al Charekh (QI.A.324.14) — currently serving with the Al-Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant (QE.A.137.14) — expressed grief over the loss of his friends.
A militant group calling itself “Al-Tawhid Battalion in Khorasan” (not listed) pledged allegiance to ISIL. The Abtalul Islam Media Foundation posted a statement from the group using its Twitter account on 21 September 2014. In the message, the leader of the Al-Tawhid Battalion, Abu Bakr al-Kabuli (not listed), pledged loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and asked him if the group should fight in Khorasan or wait to join the ranks of ISIL, whether in Iraq, the Syrian Arab Republic, Afghanistan or Pakistan.33 The position of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (QI.H.88.03), the leader of the Hizb-I- Islami Gulbuddin, concerning the political situation in Afghanistan remains contradictory. On the one hand, he is seeking an enhanced political role for Hizb-I- Islami Gulbuddin in post-NATO Afghanistan. Some leading members of his party are involved in intense negotiations with the President, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, and with Abdullah Abdullah to explore options for future cooperation that include the possibility of joining the new Government.34 Hekmatyar has also supported the holding of an intra-Afghan dialogue without foreign interference.35 On the other hand, Hekmatyar has criticized the signing by Afghanistan of a bilateral security agreement with the United States and claimed that a continued foreign presence means nothing but war. He has also lashed out at Iran (Islamic Republic of) and Pakistan for supporting the deal.
From the brilliant mind of Michael Ramirez…
By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
In case anyone missed it, the worst case scenario – a trifecta from hell – just occurred. Yemen has fallen to the rebels; the King of Saudi Arabia just passed away and Iran now has the capability to drop nuclear missiles in our laps. The shadow of crisis hasn’t passed… it’s engulfed us in its stormy, dark depths.
On Tuesday, as Obama bloviated on about how, “The shadow of crisis has passed and the state of the Union is strong,” Iran was testing their new toys and Yemen was coming apart at the seams. You remember Yemen… that success story that Obama touted last fall, just like Biden clucked on about Iraq. The shining example for all the world to see on how Obama’s fight against terrorism was working. Except, as with every other lie Obama has put forth on the foreign policy front, it has failed. Now we are evacuating the embassy in Yemen – in fact, during Obama’s speech, we had three US Naval warships off the coast of Yemen ready to evacuate the embassy. Think about that. Just like Libya, another embassy is being emptied. At least this time, no dead American bodies are being left in its wake.
The Yemeni government fell to the Houthis, who are big on death to America and Israel just like all of these murderous Jihadists are. Tens of thousands are in the streets protesting and chaos reigns. The really fantastic part of all this is that they are Shiite and backed by Iran, with whom Obama has been spooning ever since he got into office. Why wouldn’t he, when he’s got an Iranian Valerie Jarrett calling the shots? Yemen is home to the most vicious sect of al Qaeda on the planet – al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). These are the same Jihadists who were linked to the Paris attacks two weeks ago. With the death of the King of Saudi Arabia and the fall of Yemen – the door to Iran seizing more territory and power has swung wide open and it is a very real possibility. Al Qaeda will have a field day as well.
And it gets worse. ISIS is now expanding into Yemen and al Qaeda has pledged their allegiance to ISIS. It is widely said that the Houthis and al Qaeda don’t get along, but in the violent furtherance of Islam, I wouldn’t count on that score if I were you.
From Allen West:
And the Obama administration just announced it would send 400 advisors/trainers to Syria. But we’re allowing Iran to pursue its nuclear program, 10,000 centrifuges,– and the Washington Post just gave President Obama three more Pinocchios for his SOTU assertion that Iran’s nuclear program has slowed down. And as you know, Obama threatened to veto congressional action to sanction Iran.
Why should we kinda care? The Yemeni government was pro-American and was aiding in the fight against Islamists within their borders. Now, not only has the Yemeni government been toppled, it has been replaced with the specter of Iranian influence in the vicinity of a chokepoint entering the Red Sea — and not far from Somalia — yet another hot bed of Islamism.
Now, add on top of this hot fudge sundae the fact that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia just passed away. Yemen is the southernmost country on the Arabian Peninsula where chaos now abounds at a time of a transition of leadership in Saudi Arabia.
Faced with upheaval and self-preservation, the Saudis could very well step up their support of Sunni Islamic terrorists to combat Iran and the Houthis.
Iran is now the big boy on the block and he’s packing heat. With the new Axis of Evil formed between Iran, Russia and China, I would not be surprised — at all — if Iran already has the bomb.
Iran’s latest coup de gras came this week:
Iran has apparently produced an intercontinental ballistic missile whose range far exceeds the distance between Iran and Israel, and between Iran and Europe.
On Wednesday night, Channel 2 showed satellite imagery taken by Israel’s Eros-B satellite that was launched last April. The imagery showed new missile-related sites that Iran recently constructed just outside Tehran. One facility is a missile launch site, capable of sending a rocket into space or of firing an ICBM.
On the launch pad was a new 27-meter long missile, never seen before.
The missile and the launch pad indicate that Iran’s ballistic missile program, which is an integral part of its nuclear weapons program, is moving forward at full throttle. The expanded range of Iran’s ballistic missile program as indicated by the satellite imagery makes clear that its nuclear weapons program is not merely a threat to Israel, or to Israel and Europe. It is a direct threat to the United States as well.
So, tell me again why our President is threatening to veto any new sanctions against Iran? Why our Marxist leaders are insisting that Iran has a right to nuclear power, which in reality is nuclear warfare capability? Are we on the wrong side, suicidal or both? Obama is knowingly releasing the worst of the worst from Gitmo to go back and actively command and assist these terrorists. This isn’t some far off battle that doesn’t affect us. Iran’s missiles can now reach the United States! And it isn’t just them – it’s Russia and China too. They are literally salivating at the thought of taking us down and Obama is helping them. Please give me one shred of evidence he is not aligned with our enemies, given that he is gutting our military at a time when the world is on fire and an Islamic Caliphate is rising, waging global war and conquest. Weakness is sensed by all our enemies around us and it acts like an aphrodisiac in wartime. I might also remind everyone that there is a Russian naval warship docked in Cuba, while our diplomats are over there cuddling with dictators. You are known by who you associate with. You might ask yourself why Obama has such a fondness for Islamo-fascists and dictators.
Syria has basically fallen apart. Assad has a nuclear program and it could easily fall into the hands of ISIS or the Iranians. We all know how brutal and barbaric ISIS is, but try to imagine those monsters with nukes. This development is significant in light of the Iranians’ announcement two weeks ago that they intend to build two new nuclear reactors and the Obama Administration’s insistence that such a clear expansion of the Iranian nuclear program does not constitute a violation of the Joint Plan of Action to “freeze” the program while its ultimate status is being negotiated. Take that along with this:
The P5+1, AKA The U.S., France, Britain, Russia and China plus Germany came up with something even worse. As Reuters and other sources are reporting, not only did they they give the Ayatollahs another 4 months to ‘negotiate’ while the centrifuges spin, but they actually bribed them with a further release of $2.5 billion in frozen funds just to keep the faux negotiations going. So not only does Iran get another 4 months for weapons development, they get the badly needed funds to continue!
If you throw into the mix that Israel took out an Iranian Revolutionary Guard General and some Hezbollah scum to boot, you have the makings of Armageddon. Next, Iran’s parliament has started to draft a law that would allow the country’s nuclear scientists to intensify their uranium enrichment, a step that could complicate ongoing talks with world powers. That’s tit for tat because of threatened sanctions from the US they say. It wouldn’t matter, any excuse will do… Iran would step up enrichment regardless because they are looking to bring the apocalypse on, pure and simple. And Obama, of course, is proclaiming he will steamroll Democrats (that’s right – Democrats) who get in his way and try to impose sanctions on Iran. Democrat Robert Menendez said during a committee hearing: “The more I hear from the Administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran.” That’s because they do, Bob.
This comes to light as Obama and the White House claim that John Boehner was out of line by inviting Netanyahu to speak before Congress in March without clearing it first. Then the White House lied about a Mossad report and said that Israel had spat in their face. See where this is going? Obama will stand against Israel all the way and do all he can to make sure that Iran finishes becoming a nuclear power and a world threat.
The shadow of crisis is now engulfing the US. If you pray, now is the time. Two years is a long time for Obama to finish destroying us. I keep reflecting on the fact that you don’t see the US mentioned in end times eschatology. I really hope that is an oversight, because the path Obama is taking us down leads right into the arms of our worst enemies.