07/15/15

Obama Joins Grant As “Unconditional Surrender” President

By: Col. Tom Snodgrass (Ret.)
Right Side News

Grant Demanded “Unconditional Surrender” Of The Enemy, While Obama Capitulated In An “Unconditional Surrender” To The Enemy

Obama’s Red Lines

Over a period of three years the Obama regime drew a series of bright “red lines” that it pretentiously and periodically announced to the U.S. public to reassure the American people that Obama was firmly committed to preventing the Iranian Shia Mullocracy from acquiring nuclear weapons that would vault their Twelver jihadist mission into the forefront of world threats to civilization. The red lines that Obama assured Americans would prevent the Iranian Islamic theocracy included

  1. Dismantling of Iran’s Nuclear Program
  2. Denying Iran’s “right” to Enrich Uranium
  3. Closing the underground, fortified Fordow Enrichment Facility
  4. Closing the Arak Heavy Water Reactor
  5. Reveal past work on the “Possible Military Dimensions” of Iran’s Nuclear Program
  6. Completely preclude Iran’s Breakout Capacity
  7. Give Sanctions Relief under the deal only after Iran’s Nuclear Program has been dismantled
  8. Sanctions Enforcement will be re-imposed if violations are detected
  9. Iran’s Breakout Time will be reduced to zero
  10. Containment vs. Prevention: Obama completely ruled out Containment, stating that only Prevention of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons was the acceptable outcome
  11. The Risk of Regional Proliferation will be drastically reduced
  12. Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program will be curtailed by a subsequent comprehensive agreement
  13. The Nature of the Iranian Regime would change to be a very successful regional power that would also be abiding by international norms and international rules
Iran nuclear program
Click on Interactive Map provided by the Institute for Science and International Security

Obama’s Unconditional Surrender To Iran

Not one of the 1-12 red lines survived the the negotiations to go into force under the deal that Obama ultimately approved.

Conclusion

Obviously red line #13 will never come to fruition as long as the Iranian Shia Mullocracy remains in power. Aside from the fact that #13 was totally unrealistic, the nature of the Iranian Islamic theocracy exists exclusively to implement the Shia Twelver jihadist mission, which involves dominating the world, not cooperating with it.

Obama’s unconditional surrender has considerably enabled the Iranian Shia Mullocracy to begin constructing their nuclear jihad tools unhampered by those it intends to dominate.

07/14/15

Iran JPOA Titled Executive Agreement Not Treaty

By: Denise Simon
FoundersCode.com

Full text of the Iran deal is here.

Official the Joint Plan of Action with Iran is now complete with several items considered just housekeeping matters are still to be worked out. The Parchin plant MAY have allowed inspections while the other locations are off limits. The Fordo plant continues the enrichment work and Bashir al Assad is dancing at Disney. (sarcasm)

It is unclear if the UK Parliament or France votes on the JPOA but it is likely to occur. China and Russia stand with Iran especially on the arms embargo and sanction relief side.

Israel is sounding the alarms for security not only for Israel but for America and Europe.

Lifted sanctions include these individuals:

Embedded image permalink

 

For the full text of the JPOA, click here.

By at Bloomberg:

As the Senate wraps up debate this week on Iran legislation, expect to hear a lot about “hardliners.”

The Senate’s alleged hardliners have tried to add conditions to a nuclear deal the U.S. is currently negotiating with Iranian moderates, but there is little chance the senators will succeed. The majority leader, Mitch McConnell, is expected to call for an end to debate on their meddling amendments.

According to a certain school of thought, all of this is a good thing. Our hardliners, say cheerleaders for the Iran negotiations, empower Iran’s hardliners, who are also wary of a deal.

President Obama views the politics of the Iran deal in these terms himself. Back in March when Senator Tom Cotton and 46 other Republicans sent a letter to Iran’s leaders, reminding them that any deal signed with Obama could be reversed by Congress or future presidents, the president played the hardliner card: “I think it’s somewhat ironic to see some members for Congress wanting to make common cause with the hardliners in Iran.”

There is definitely a political logic to pinning this “hardliner” label on the senators. The White House can artfully shift the conversation away from the contents of the deal it is negotiating. Instead the debate is framed as the Americans and Iranians who seek peace (moderates) versus those in both nations who want war (hardliners).

It’s simple, but deceptive. This tactic understates the power of Iran’s hardliners and dramatically overstates the power of U.S. hardliners.

In Iran, the people inside the system who are negotiating a deal, such as Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, must take the agreement to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, for approval. In Iran, the hardliner approves the deal.

In the U.S. system it’s the other way around. Senators like Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz support amendments that would set new conditions before lifting Congressional sanctions on Iran. But there are not enough votes in the Senate to overturn an Obama veto on the legislation if these amendments are attached. In other words, Obama frames the conversation in the U.S., because he has the power to ignore his hardliners whereas Zarif is obliged to placate his.

Then there is the substance of the amendments themselves. Democrats and Republicans have derided certain Republicans’ amendments to the bill as “poison pills,” aimed at making a deal with Iran impossible. But these amendments would require Iran to end its war against its neighbors, release U.S. citizens who have been jailed and recognize the right of the world’s only Jewish state to exist. Outside the context of Iran negotiations, these are hardly radical views. Obama has expressed support for these positions himself.

Compare those demands with those of the Iranian hardliners. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, the chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces on Sunday reiterated the red line that no military installations would be accessible for international inspections. This would pose a problem, given that the U.S. and other great powers have agreed to allow Iran to keep most of its nuclear infrastructure in exchange for tough inspections. The Iranian hardliners appear to be putting back in play something Obama’s team believed was already agreed.

The most important distinction between Iran’s hardliners and America’s hardliners however is their political legitimacy. Iran’s people have supported reform, but nonetheless the country’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and domestic spy agency have tightened the grip on power despite elections when reformers won the presidency.

Contrast their ascent with the plight of Iran’s moderates: In 1997, Iranians elected a reformer president, Mohammed Khatami, who promised to open up Iran’s political system. But throughout his presidency he was unable to stop the arrests of student activists or the shuttering of opposition newspapers. By the end of Khatami’s presidency, some of his closest advisers were tried in public for charges tantamount to treason. In 2013, Iranians elected Hassan Rouhani, who ran as a reformer even though under Khatami he had overseen crackdowns on reformers. Rouhani has not freed the leaders of the 2009 green movement from house arrest or most of the activists who protested elections in 2009.

When Obama talks about his Iran negotiations, he glosses over all of this. He emphasizes instead that Rouhani has a mandate to negotiate and that he is taking advantage of this diplomatic window.

Obama had threatened to veto legislation that would give Congress a chance to review, but not modify, any agreement the administration reaches with Iran and five other world powers. Now the president says he will sign the legislation, but only if it doesn’t include the kinds of amendments favored by the so-called hardliners. After all, those amendments are unacceptable to the hardliners who actually have sway — in Iran.

07/13/15

A Lethal Farce

Arlene from Israel

For days, I have delayed writing because the situation regarding negotiations with Iran has been so much in flux.  I was waiting, waiting, for some outcome or closure.  My own feeling for some time has been that there is the possibility that there will be no deal, as the Iranians in the end might balk at signing.

No deal would be the best we might hope for now. Great damage has already been done.  But at least this way, Obama’s insanity would be exposed and he wouldn’t be able to claim “victory.”  And then, if/when Israel were to attack Iran, there would be no charge that an agreement that would have brought “peace” had been sabotaged.

In truth, the Iranians pretty much have what they want already – insofar as much sanction relief has been provided upfront, European nations are clamoring to trade, and the international community has conceded the Iranian “right” to operate centrifuges.  Why mess things up by signing an agreement that calls for inspections, however limited, or other controls?

~~~~~~~~~~

The problem, of course, is that, while Iran hasn’t come to terms with signing, neither have the mullahs said negotiations were at an end.  They have been willing to play the game, on and on and on, all the while advancing their nuclear agenda.

While the American administration – in spite of Kerry’s feeble claims that he wouldn’t stay at the table forever – has been reluctant to be identified as the party that called an end to proceedings. Then, of course, the Iranians would charge that it was the US that was refusing to cooperate on a deal.

Thus have the negotiations gone past one deadline after another.  I came to refer to this process, in my own head, as “faux negotiations.” These are not legitimate negotiations, for there is no real give-and-take.

~~~~~~~~~~

This is how journalist Daniel Greenfield described the situation in “Obama’s Infinite Nuclear Deadlines for Iran” (emphasis added):

“’We are certainly not going to sit at the negotiating table forever,’ John Kerry said. That was last year around the time of the final deadline which had been extended from July 2014.

“’New ideas surfaced’ in the final days, he claimed and ‘we would be fools to walk away.’ That’s also the theme of every sucker caught in a rigged card game, MLM scheme and Nigerian prince letter scam.

Smart people walk away after getting cheated. Only fools stay.

“The final deadline was extended to March. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in March that, ‘I think it’s fair to say that we’ve reached our limit, right now, in as far as the conversations have been going on for more than a year.’

“The March deadline was extended until the end of June.

“Earnest said earnestly that the Obama Squad was ready to walk away even before June 30. An official claimed, ‘No one is talking about a long-term extension. No one.’

“The Iranians had a good laugh and sent the US negotiators out to fetch them some coffee and smokes.

~~~~~~~~~~

“…But Kerry was almost coherent compared to European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini who stated that, ‘We are continuing to negotiate for the next couple of days. This does not mean we are extending our deadline.’

“When you don’t treat a deadline as final, that means it’s being extended. A deadline that isn’t kept, isn’t a deadline. It’s an ex-deadline pining for the peaceful Iranian fjords.

“But Federica explained that the deadlines weren’t being extended, they were being ‘interpreted… in a flexible way.’ A flexible deadline is a good metaphor for the Obama negotiating posture.

If the negotiators can’t even make one of many deadlines stick, who really believes they’ll stand their ground on nuclear inspections or sanctions snapback?

“…Obama’s people have admitted that they will negotiate until doomsday. And doomsday is likely to be the date that Iran detonates its first bomb.

“…The deadline concession officially puts Iran in the driver’s seat.”

http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/259412/obamas-infinite-nuclear-deadlines-iran-daniel-greenfield

~~~~~~~~~~

And so… yesterday it was announced that a deal was very imminent and would likely be announced on Monday. (Monday midnight – tonight – is the latest deadline.) Hearts sank, stomachs clenched, at this possibility.

But here it is, Monday evening, and still no deal.  AP, reporting this afternoon, says a deal is still elusive (emphasis added):

Disputes over attempts to probe Tehran’s alleged work on nuclear weapons unexpectedly persisted at Iran nuclear talks on Monday, diplomats said, threatening plans to wrap up a deal by midnight

“The diplomats said two other issues still needed final agreement — Iran’s demand for a lifting of a U.N. arms embargo and its insistence that any U.N. Security Council resolution approving the nuclear deal be written in a way that stops describing Iran’s nuclear activities as illegal…”

http://news.yahoo.com/iran-talks-hit-final-stage-announcement-expected-064307157–politics.html

~~~~~~~~~~

The UN arms embargo has to do with conventional weaponry and impinges directly on Iranian plans for hegemony in the region.  But it has implications even beyond this.  As Andrew Bowen writes, in “Give the Mullahs Ballistic Missiles?” (emphasis added):

Ending an arms embargo on Iran will only destabilize the Middle East and threaten U.S. national security

“Advocates of this policy have three main arguments.

“First, that the U.S. shouldn’t get preoccupied by this small snag…

“Second, Washington’s concessions on the embargo aren’t a big deal because these negotiations are focused on Iran’s nuclear program…

Finally, there’s a claim that Iran simply needs advanced weapons to help defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria….

“Matthew McInnis, a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a former senior expert on Iran at the CENTCOM, argues, ‘these are all red herrings. They distract from Iran’s real threat to U.S. national security interests: an unfettered Iranian armed forces’

It is one of the great ironies with this potential deal that in trying to constrain Iran’s nuclear program for ten to 15 years, we may actually help create an Iranian military that puts the lives of American sailors, soldiers, and airmen at serious risk.”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/07/13/give-the-mullahs-ballistic-missiles.html

~~~~~~~~~~

Omri Ceren’s observations on this:

“…it just doesn’t seem possible that the Americans can give ground on this. What’s the sales pitch to Congress going to be? ‘Not only are we giving Iran $150 billion to bolster its military, but we’re also lifting arms restrictions to make it easier for them to buy next-generation cruise missiles they’ll use against the U.S. military and our allies.’

“…yes of course lifting the arms embargo would detonate American national security

“…If Kerry agrees to drop the arms embargo, it’s difficult to see Congress accepting the agreement. If Kerry gets the Iranians to give up on the demand, Congress will want to know what he had to trade away to do it.”

But (see below), Khameini is saying all his red lines have to be met, if there is to be an agreement.  If the Americans cannot accept it, is this a genuine sticking point? Or, if they do, the kiss of death in Congress?

Whatever the case, it is imperative that all Americans be aware of what is going on here, and hold Congress accountable.

~~~~~~~~~~

Perhaps by midnight tonight there will be a deal.  But do not count on it. There is talk of extending negotiations into Tuesday. In fact, there are reports that hotel rooms have been booked again in Vienna by the US delegation.

While Iranian media outlet PressTV cites Iran’s nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi (emphasis added):

“…certain issues still remain. As long as these issues are not settled, one cannot say we have reached an agreement. I cannot promise that the issues will be resolved by tonight or tomorrow night.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/july-13-2015-liveblog/

~~~~~~~~~~

If there is a deal, it will be the stuff of nightmares, beyond horrific.

Yesterday we saw photos of the overwhelming crowds in the streets of Tehran, waiting to celebrate the agreement.  Horrendous.

Aerial view of Tehran

Credit: Reuters

Hey folks, if the Iranians are that pleased, something is very very wrong.

According to the semi-official news agency Fars, the anticipated agreement complies with all the “red lines” set out by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

Khamenei had put forth these “red lines” last month, in talks with Iranian president Rouhani.

http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/07/12/iran-state-media-says-final-nuclear-agreement-includes-all-khameneis-demands/

Providing a somewhat different take, a Khamenei advisor, going by the name Velayati, has tweeted that: “Any deal in Vienna will be provisional, subject to approval by ‘Supreme Guide.’”

Iran's supreme leader and pivotal political figure has used a vast financial empire to secure his power, according to an investigation.

Credit: AFP

~~~~~~~~~~

Also a signal of something very wrong is the readiness of the Obama administration to continue negotiations even as Khamenei calls for a continuing struggle with the US – which he refers to as an “arrogant power” – regardless of what deal is signed.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4678652,00.html

Last Friday, in Tehran, “Al Quds Day” was observed by crowds of tens of thousands shouting, “Down with America,” “Death to Israel.”

Iranian protesters mark 'Al-Quds Day' in Tehran, July 10, 2015.

Credit: AP

Not even the specter of a burning American flag prompted Obama or Kerry to protest, or gave them pause regarding the wisdom of the negotiations.

~~~~~~~~~~

Prime Minister Netanyahu has made it clear again and again that Israel will not be bound by a bad deal with Iran.  Yesterday at the weekly Cabinet meeting, he showed a video of President Clinton, in which he praised a nuclear deal with North Korea, which would make the world safer.  We all know how that turned out.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/07/12/blasting-world-negotiators-for-parade-of-concessions-to-iran-netanyahu-drives-home-his-point-with-a-bill-clinton-video/

~~~~~~~~~~

In an interview with The Times of Israel yesterday, Dr. Dore Gold, who is currently serving as Director-General of the Foreign Ministry, let it be known that (emphasis added):

“Israel won’t be shy about making its views on the Iran deal heard on Capitol Hill…While Israel needs to express its concerns with civility, he stressed, the government is gearing up to firmly advocate its position in discussions with all the relevant players in the US government. ‘We’ll do it respectfully, but we have to tell the truth,’ he said.”

Reports The Times:

“According to other Israeli diplomats, never before has a Foreign Ministry director-general been as close to the prime minister as Gold is to Benjamin Netanyahu, who also happens to be serving as interim foreign minister. Unlike his predecessors, Gold, who immigrated to Israel in 1980, can pick up the phone and call Netanyahu at any time. It is quite clearly Gold, rather than Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who is calling the shots in Israel’s diplomacy, these diplomats say, acting as Netanyahu’s trusted emissary.”

’The story of Iran’s nuclear capability is not over,” said Gold, the author of a 2009 book on the Iranian regime’s bid for the bomb.

“…he hailed Netanyahu, whom he has advised since the mid-90s, as the courageous defender of the entire region, single-handedly bearing the burden of opposition to a deal that all Sunni states loathe but don’t dare to publicly criticize.

“’They can afford a strategy of silence when there is one player in the region who is defending not just itself but the entire Middle East,’ Gold said. ‘When Prime Minister Netanyahu stands up and attacks Iran, he’s not just defending Israel. He’s defending Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and all the other Sunni countries.’”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/battle-to-thwart-the-iran-nuke-deal-is-not-over-foreign-ministry-chief-vows/

~~~~~~~~~~

Gold’s role here is important not only because of his close relationship with Netanyahu.  It is also because he carries a certain prestige as an academic, author and diplomat.

Dr. Dore Gold

Credit: Flash 90

In truth, we do not yet know how this will play out.

07/12/15

JPOA, Iran Deal Reached, Announcement is a Formality

By: Denise Simon
FoundersCode.com

Fundamentally: JPOA: Comprehensive nuclear deal would “produce the comprehensive lifting of all UN Security Council sanctions.” That includes arms embargo. As the deal is being broadcasted in coming hours, Tehran has a flag burning. So has the signing bonus been delivered?

Update: 5:00 PM, EST

Terms of the JPOA Iran Deal from FarsNews Agency:

TEHRAN (FNA)- A source privy to the talks between Iran and the six world powers said in case Iran and the six world powers agree on a final deal, the text of the agreement will include the following points.

“In case the opposite side shows political will and the final agreement is signed, the text of the agreement will include the following points,” the source said.

“According to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, all sanctions against Iran are terminated and Iran will no more be recognized as a sanctioned nation,” the source said, and added, “The JCPA only envisages a set of temporary restrictions that will be removed after a limited and logical period of time, as stated earlier by the Iranian Supreme Leader.”

“All economic, financial and banking sanctions against Iran will be terminated for good on day one after the endorsement of the deal, again as the Iranian Supreme Leader has demanded.”

“Iran will no more be under any arms embargo, and according to a UN Security Council resolution that will be issued on the day when the deal is signed by the seven states, all arms embargos against Iran will be terminated, while its annex keeps some temporary restrictions on Iran for a limited period,” the source disclosed.

He said the JCPA is, in fact, a collection of multiple agreements that all fall within the redlines specified by the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, and includes a set of temporary and limited measures that will remain valid for different periods of time.

“The upcoming UN Security Council resolution – that will call all the previous five resolutions against Iran null and void – will be the last resolution to be issued on Iran’s nuclear program and withdraws Iran’s nuclear dossier from under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. This last resolution will remain valid and will be implemented for a specifically limited period of time and will then automatically end at the end of this period,” the source added.

“This is the first time that a nation subject to Chapter 7 of the UN Charter has managed to end its case and stop being subject to this chapter through active diplomacy,” he concluded.

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Iran, powers near to historic deal; U.S. says tough issues remain

By Parisa Hafezi and Arshad Mohammed

VIENNA (Reuters) – After more than two weeks of marathon negotiations, Iran and six world powers were close to nailing down an historic nuclear deal that would bring sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on Tehran’s atomic program, diplomats said on Sunday.

But Iranian and Western officials said it was unlikely they would be able to finalize an agreement on Sunday, saying the earliest an agreement could be ready was more likely Monday.

“We are working hard, but a deal tonight is simply logistically impossible,” Alireza Miryousefi, a spokesman for the Iranian delegation, said on Twitter. “This is a 100-page document, after all.”

A Western official said Tehran and Washington would need time to consult their capitals once an agreement was reached.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry cautioned that some difficult issues remained on the 16th day of ministerial negotiations between Iran, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

“I think we’re getting to some real decisions,” Kerry told reporters in the Austrian capital. “So I will say, because we have a few tough things to do, I remain hopeful. Hopeful.”

Several diplomats said an agreement that would end more than a year and a half of negotiations was so close that it could come as early as on Sunday. In a sign that something might be in the works, both Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi were also due to join the talks on Sunday.

However, a senior U.S. official played down speculation that an agreement was in the works on Sunday, and reiterated Kerry’s point that “major issues remain to be resolved in these talks.”

French Foreign Minister Laurent said he hoped the high-stakes negotiations were finally drawing to a close.

“I hope, I hope, that we are finally entering the final phase of this marathon negotiation,” Laurent Fabius told reporters.

“I believe it,” he added. “France’s position has been one of constructive firmness and I hope it will allow is to reach the end now, quickly, for a satisfying result.”

A senior Iranian official also said an agreement was close.

“Some 99 percent of the issues have been resolved and the agreement is ready,” said an Iranian diplomat. “With political will, we can finish the work late tonight and announce it tomorrow. But still there are at least two issues to be resolved.”

IRAN LEADER SETS NO NEW ‘RED LINES’

Iran and the six powers involved in the talks have given themselves until Monday to reach a deal, their third extension in two weeks, as the Iranian delegation accused the West of throwing up new stumbling blocks to an accord.

Among the biggest sticking points this week has been Iran’s insistence that a United Nations Security Council arms embargo and ban on its ballistic missile program dating from 2006 be lifted immediately if an agreement is reached.

Russia, which sells weapons to Iran, has publicly supported Tehran on the issue.

However, a senior Western diplomat said earlier in the week the six powers remained united, despite Moscow’s and Beijing’s well-known dislike of the embargos.

Western powers have long suspected Iran of aiming to build nuclear bombs and using its civilian atomic energy program to cloak its intention – an accusation Iran strongly denies.

The goal of the deal is to increase the time it would take for Iran to produce enough enriched uranium fuel for a single weapon to at least one year from current estimates of 2-3 months – the “breakout” time.

If there is a deal, the limits on Iran’s enrichment program are expected to be in place for at least a decade.

Other problematic issues in the talks are access for inspectors to military sites in Iran, answers from Tehran over past activity and the overall speed of sanctions relief.

Kerry and Zarif have met nearly every day since Kerry arrived in Vienna more than two weeks ago for what was intended to be the final phase in a negotiation process that began with an interim nuclear deal clinched in November 2013.

Experts and senior officials from Iran, the United States and the other powers have been meeting non-stop for months, often working into the early hours of the morning, to finalize an accord that will include five technical annexes.

An agreement would be the biggest step toward rapprochement between Iran and the West since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, although both sides are likely to remain wary of each other even if a deal is concluded.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said Tehran would continue its fight against “global arrogance” – referring to the United States. But Khamenei did not set any new “red lines” for his negotiators as he did in a tough speech two weeks ago.

In Washington, the top Republican in the U.S. Senate cast doubt on whether President Barack Obama will be able to win approval in Congress for any deal.

“I think it’s going to be a very hard sell, if it’s completed, in Congress,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the “Fox News Sunday” broadcast. “We already know it’s going to leave Iran as a threshold nuclear state.”

04/5/15

Russia… Heating Up The Cold War On The Road To World War III

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton


Russian Arctic Troops

Norway is worried over Russia, and so they should be. Add to that list of worriers, NATO. Russian ships have now docked at the once secret Norwegian naval base in the Arctic. It would seem that Norway has become a strategic chess piece once again in what is shaping up to be the road to World War III. Russia has its massive Northern Fleet based on nearby Kola Peninsula. “We sold the only base worthy of the name that we had up there. It’s pure madness,” former vice admiral Einar Skorgen, who commanded Norway’s northern forces, told AFP. Indeed, it is madness and the Russians have swooped in to take advantage of this lunacy. Skorgen and other critics are now claiming that Norway has robbed itself of a crucial foothold in the far north, forcing its submarines to travel hundreds of extra miles from their bases to defend the region. Lack of foresight on the Norwegians’ behalf has given the Russians a strong foothold in a very militarily important geopolitical area.

Now, three Russian military ships have spent the entire winter docked deep within the mountain hideaway, once a closely guarded military facility. “We are the only country along with Russia to have a permanent presence in the Barents Sea, where we share a common border. Obviously our navy should be stationed there, including our submarines,” Skorgen said. “If the ships aren’t there where they are needed, they might as well be scrapped altogether.” He is soooo right on that.

The military base changed hands and was rented to the Russkies to house their research vessels. Really, guys? You fell for that crap? Some of these seismic survey ships are reportedly linked to state-owned energy giant Gazprom. The Norwegians and NATO put this base on their military’s version of eBay and no one – including the US – made a bid. So, a Norwegian businessman sealed the deal in 2013 for a paltry $5,000,000 and turned around and leased it to the Russians. This is a massive joke considering that NATO invested nearly $500,000,000 into the construction of the base. “There are no longer any secrets surrounding this base,” said its new landlord Gunnar Wilhelmsen. “Not since the military and NATO agreed to put it on sale over the Internet, along with photographs of every nook and cranny.”

Historic blunder does not begin to cover this move. Those ‘research vessels’ are military vessels, you idiots, some of them surely updated and modernized versions of the old “fishing trawlers” that the USSR used to send out to plague our Naval exercises. Only the Russians know what is on those ships and what they are doing, but I’ll go out on a limb here and say it isn’t reading survey maps and taking samples. This is a special kind of stupid. The decision to close the base was made by the leftist government of Jens Stoltenberg, who has gone on to become NATO’s current Secretary General and who has warned countries not to lower their guard when it comes to Russia. Ironic much? So, first Jens, being the good socialist he is, closes the base and enables the sale of it to the Russians, then he warns not to trust the Russians. Yes, he is epically stupid, unless he’s working for the Russians that is. That is altogether possible.

Kjell-Ola Kleiven, a blogger writing on security issues in Norway, calls the affair the “biggest blunder in recent history” in an oil-rich country which boasts the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund. Labeling this a ‘blunder’ is being way too kind. “With 7,000 billion kroner in the bank,” he wrote, “you would have thought that the Norwegian nation had the means and savvy to retain ownership of Olavsvern base.” Despite the protests, Norway’s current right-wing government has shown no signs of reversing the decision made by its predecessors. So the conservatives are just as suicidally stupid as the socialists. “There are no plans to re-establish military installations in Olavsvern,” Audun Halvorsen, political advisor to the defence minister, told AFP in an email. “The owner of the site can use it as he sees fit and the armed forces do not have the authority to impose restrictions, nor any mandate to monitor civilian ships that dock there,” he added. “Any suspected irregular activity is a matter for the police and legal authorities.” Well, the fallout from World War III is a matter for the world, buddy. And this sounds like something out of Eric Holder’s pie hole concerning police actions versus terrorism. Historically it has been the job of the left to screw things up and the job of the right to make sure those things are not fixed. You’re all in it together and while your military is telling you, “Danger, danger, Will Robinson!” you blithely sell out your military installations and chastise those who object. What a bunch of unbelievably useful idiots.

So, what do you do when you bet all of your military capital on the Cold War being over, only to find the Russians were kidding? The Cold War never ended, it shifted. Does everyone out there still think Russia is the world’s savior? Because, if you do, you are in for a huge surprise and it won’t be pleasant.

The Spy Who Waged War In The Cold

Taking the Arctic benefits Russia in multiple ways. One of them is the vast oil and gas reserves they can claim. It provides a crucially strategic military vantage point. This by the way, further endangers the US and Alaska specifically. Palin was right when she that said you can see Russia from parts of Alaska, and Russia has their scopes on us as well. By the way, the only climate change that the Arctic is experiencing is the Cold War, which is experiencing a bit of a warming curve.

Russia has been a very busy totalitarian regime as of late. Included in their activities and plans, of course, is Iran. Now that Obama has betrayed Israel and mandated that Iran gets nuclear weapons, the Russians want in on the nuclear fun as well:

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov then said that a UN arms embargo against Iran should also go.

“Lifting sanctions on Iran, including the arms embargo, would be an absolutely logical thing to do,” said Igor Korotchenko, who heads the Global Arms Trade Analysis Center think tank in Moscow.

“Of key importance to us is the delivery of the upgraded S-300 missiles to Iran… A contract to this effect could be resumed on terms acceptable to both Moscow and Tehran,” he added.

Gee, I suppose they’re only going to use those missiles as peaceful paper weights as well. Nothing to worry about at all.

The Americans are putting on a show of force in this game of smoke and mirrors, where nothing is what it seems. On April 1, American B-52 bombers trained with allies over the Arctic and the North Sea. Officially, the flights were just a training mission. Unofficially, they’re meant to show Moscow that Washington won’t back down from a fight. Wish I believed that. The US Air Force planned the training missions — nicknamed Polar Growl — for months, yet launched its planes shortly after the Kremlin wrapped up a massive war game in Russia’s frigid northern regions. STRATCOM, which oversees America’s nuclear arsenal, including the flying branch’s heavy bombers, organized the practice sessions. It was a show of strength to reassure our NATO allies and send a message to the Russians. But the growl doesn’t really bare any teeth.

From War Is Boring:

But Russian officials no doubt see the flights as a response to their recent impressive Arctic maneuvers. For five days in March, tens of thousands of Russian troops, hundreds of warplanes and helicopters and dozens of ships and submarines gathered for the surprise drills.

“New military challenges and threats demand [a] further boost of the military capabilities of armed forces and special attention is being paid to the condition of the newly-set-up strategic command in the north,” Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said as the mock battle got under way.

Shoigu was referring to the Arctic headquarters Moscow set up in December 2014. Eight months earlier, Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin announced a massive expansion of military facilities in the country’s sparely populated northern areas.

“We need to strengthen our military infrastructure,” Putin said during a meeting of the country’s Security Council. “In particular, to create — in our part of the Arctic — a unified network of naval facilities for new-generation ships and submarines.”

The Kremlin followed up those plans with a revised, over-arching military doctrine at the end of 2014. The new policy described a world where Washington and its NATO allies were dangerous threats bent on encroaching on Russia’s borders.

And the posturing and game of military chicken continues apace… but it’s pretty clear who has the bigger set here, and who has the “flexibility” going on. In March, Russia tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile. US officials and security analysts say it is a new violation of Moscow’s arms control treaty commitments. Like the Russian bear cares. The March 18th flight test of a new RS-26 missile is part of a large-scale nuclear arms buildup by Russia and is raising concerns about treaty compliance. Moscow is engaged in a major nuclear forces buildup that includes new land-based missiles, new missile submarines and new bombers. Meanwhile, Obama has merrily reduced our nuclear capabilities by a whopping 66%. One does not have to be a mathematical genius to see where that leads.

Russia is using Prompt Global Strike as one of its myriad of excuses for upping their air and missile defense capabilities. They claim we may preemptively strike them, which I highly doubt. Obama is much more likely to go golfing with Putin, than bomb him. The PGS initiative aims to deliver a precision-guided conventional weapon airstrike within less than one hour after Washington deems the target to be a national security threat. But since Obama is soooo flexible, that airstrike is not likely to occur under his command.

Russia claims that Washington’s PGS has an overall structure similar to that of a nuclear triad. It first of all aims to conduct swift strikes from land and sea using already existing intercontinental and submarine-based ballistic and cruise missiles. Air-launched hypersonic missiles currently in development are a second option the Pentagon is working on. In addition there were hypothetical plans of kinetic bombardments from an orbiting space platform. This gives the Russians cover to work on development and implementation of comparable weapons. To counter the supposed American threat, Russia is developing a new generation of mobile surface-to-air missile system – the S-500 – designed among other things to intercept supersonic targets. While the missile for the system is still under development, once it is completed, it would be capable of intercepting any perspective ballistic and aerodynamic targets.

In the Arctic region, Russia has already quickly deployed air defense missile and artillery systems. The Defense Ministry also plans to deploy MiG-31 interceptor aircraft to protect Russian vessels sailing along the Northern Sea Route. They have already placed Pantsir systems in the Arctic. Deployment of MiG-31 on Russia’s Arctic airfields is planned as well. Meanwhile a new fully automatic radar station is undergoing final tests.

While Russia is beefing up militarily, not only have we been reducing across the board, what we do have is horrifically outdated. Many of our nuclear missile silos are using technology that is technologically a joke. For example, CBS News has documented that eight inch floppy disks are still being used in many of our missile silos. At this point, the US military plans to keep Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles that were originally deployed in the 1960s and 1970s in service until 2030. Gee, that makes me feel warm, fuzzy and secure. Meanwhile, the Russians now have nuclear subs that are almost silent and we’ve known about them for some time – from 2012:

A Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine armed with long-range cruise missiles operated undetected in the Gulf of Mexico for several weeks and its travel in strategic U.S. waters was only confirmed after it left the region, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

It is only the second time since 2009 that a Russian attack submarine has patrolled so close to U.S. shores.

Imagine a scenario where Russian nuclear subs approach our coastlines completely undetected and launch a barrage of missiles toward our cities and military bases. We could be wiped out before we even knew what hit us. Red Dawn comes to mind. The Russians know this and what is worse… we know it.

As far as preparing for a nuclear attack… once again, the Russians have been preparing for decades while we have just ignored the threat. Did you know that the Russians have a massive underground complex in the Ural mountains that has been estimated to be approximately 400 square miles in size? In other words, if true, it is roughly five-to-six times as big as the total area of Washington DC, or roughly the land area inside the DC Beltway. They also have dozens of similar, smaller sites throughout Russia. The Russians have also been constructing thousands of new underground bomb shelters in major cities such as Moscow. In the US, we can’t even fortify our power grid. It’s embarrassing and it’s suicidal in the extreme.

According to a Russian think tank, the best way for Russia to solve its problem with America would be to launch a nuclear weapon at Yellowstone National Park and hope it would set off a super volcano, destroying the continent. They are also eying the San Andreas fault. I consider this bluster, but who knows? Surely the Russians know that nuking Yellowstone would almost assuredly not set off the super volcano… in fact, it would probably drain off the caldera. Details. Who says the Russians don’t have a sense of humor?

On a more serious note, the Russians are playing both sides of the fence in Europe. From the far right to the radical left, populist parties across Europe are being courted by Russia’s Vladimir Putin who aims to turn them into allies in his anti-EU campaign. The Front National (FN) in France, Syriza in Greece and Jobbik in Hungary may be the most famous ones, but they are far from being alone. Some, like Britain’s UKIP, have disturbingly adopted a “benevolent neutrality” toward Putin. You’ll remember that countries and entities did the same with Adolph Hitler once upon a war. The Kremlin banks on these parties’ accession to power to change Europe and separate it from NATO and the United States, while aligning with Russia.

Russia is heating up the Cold War on the road to World War III across the planet and especially in the Arctic. She has some very strange bedfellows as well. The true axis of evil comprises Russia, China and Iran, who all have their missiles aimed at us. I think the Cold War is about to get hot as the Russian bear dons a parka and skis north, to Alaska.

04/3/15

The Only Clarity

Arlene from Israel

Tomorrow night begins Pesach.  (tonight)

A quintessential moment in the Jewish year, providing a powerful perspective: The Almighty heard the cry of the Children of Israel, who were suffering bitter slavery in Egypt. And He brought us out.  Not an agent, but the Almighty.  “Us” because we are commanded to consider ourselves as having been rescued then.


Credit: jfjfp

In that rescue, that Exodus from Egypt, we became a nation – ultimately brought to Mt. Sinai to receive the law, which instructs us to this day.  And then brought to the land.  It is of one piece.

Let us not forget the lessons of seder night.  And may those lessons transcend what is going on in the world today.

To all who celebrate, Chag Pesach Kasher V’Sameach.

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After days of tortuous dragging out of negotiations with Iran, a  “sort-of” conclusion has been announced.  The advent of the holiday makes it impossible for me to comment at length on what is currently going on.  Details will be forthcoming in my postings next week, after time spent with family and when I have returned to a “normal” writing schedule.  Here I wish to simply review fairly quickly.

There is no signed agreement. There is only a “framework”  – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action  – that will require much working out of specifics by the end of June.

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Obama tonight called the agreement “historic” – if finalized it “would cut off every path” to Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon, and would include the toughest inspections “ever negotiated…If Iran cheats, the world will know it.  If we see something suspicious, we will inspect it.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/world-powers-iran-announce-framework-for-nuke-deal/

Give us a break!  Only those eager to be taken in, only those who are so hungry for this issue to be put to rest, would believe this.  Unfortunately, this describes a good number of people.  Remember that Iran has a history of cheating, of moving ahead in secrecy on nuclear development.

The US speaks about re-imposing sanctions immediately if Iran were found cheating. But this is a dubious proposition, as Russia and China are likely to balk, so that Iran would be able to cheat AND have sanctions relief.

According to Jeffry Lewis, nuclear proliferation expert, “These treaties never really have an enforcement mechanism, which is, from a legal perspective, kind of weird and kind of a bummer, but totally understandable in a world of states that jealously guard their sovereignty.”  (Emphasis added)

https://www.vox.com/2015/4/2/8336723/iran-nuclear-deal-transcript

No enforcement mechanism? This means Iran must be trusted to keep the deal?

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Obama has the unmitigated gall to say there is no daylight between Israel and the US with regard to the security of Israel. This deal, he claims, is the best way to protect Israel.  He’s slick – attempting to sideline Netanyahu as an aggressive individual who prefers tough sanctions or even a military attack to this splendid deal that solves everything.

Israeli officials say they will continue to fight this agreement until its date for being finalized in June.

They referred to the framework as “a capitulation to Iranian dictates.” Speaking on condition of anonymity, they called it “a bad framework that will lead to a bad and dangerous agreement.” If finalized, it would make the world “far more dangerous.”

The agreement, they maintained, constitutes “international legitimization of Iran’s nuclear program” whose “only purpose is to build nuclear weapons.” (Emphasis added)

http://www.timesofisrael.com/world-powers-iran-announce-framework-for-nuke-deal/

We have yet to hear from members of Congress – but we will.

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I note, as well, that all Western negotiating partners are not on board with the same enthusiasm that Obama exudes.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and President Francois Hollande welcomed the “framework” but expressed the opinion that there was much work to do to before there could be an acceptable deal.

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I share this, from Omri Ceren of The Israel Project (emphasis added):

“[Iranian Foreign Minister] Zarif just finished his speech…some of what Zarif revealed has already generated controversy. There was a lot of braggadocio in the speech: no closing of facilities, R&D will continue on Iran’s scientific schedule, enrichment will continue, the heavy water at Arak will be modernized, etc.

“Perhaps most relevant to people who have been following the day-to-day in Lausanne, is that Zarif confirmed the U.S. has completely caved on the Fordow concession that the AP blew open on Thursday. Recall that Fordow is the underground bunker, built into the side of a mountain, which the Iranians emptied and made into an illicit enrichment facility. The assumption had always been that the Iranians would have to close it under any reasonable deal.

“President Obama was saying as late as 2012: ‘We know they don’t need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordo in order to have a peaceful program’

“The Iranians simply said no…So the Americans caved and said that they could keep it open as a research facility, but they had to remove all the centrifuges for storage…there was a lot of talk of Iranian flexibility when they accepted it…Then this week, it emerged that in fact the Iranians would be allowed to keep centrifuges spinning inside the mountain.

“But instead of spinning uranium, the centrifuges would be spinning germanium or similar non-nuclear elements. Centrifuges spin isotopes into lighter and heavier elements, thereby enriching’ the material. That’s what they do. In fact that’s all they do. The administration has gone all-in on a talking point can be defeated by a Google search for ‘centrifuges enrich germanium’…

This isn’t a minor point. The concession has the potential to gut the whole deal.”

“[It] allows…centrifuge R&D beyond the reach of the West- since the process is the exact same process, Iran will have a hardened facility where it will be able to research and develop N-generation centrifuges. Zarif bragged from the stage in Lausanne that Iranian R&D on centrifuges will continue…the development of advanced centrifuges would give the Iranians a leg up if they decide to break out, and will put them instantly within a screw’s turn of a nuke when the deal expires.

“[It] leaves Iranian nuclear infrastructure running beyond the reach of the West – if the Iranians kick out inspectors and dare the world to respond, the West will have zero way to intervene…”

http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/04/02/critics-say-just-announced-framework-deal-between-p51-and-iran-raises-many-concerns/

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A bit of clarification here, regarding the Fordow site and the enrichment of germanium:

“…the centrifuges could only be used to enrich germanium, zinc, and other non-fissile materials. But the centrifuges are identical in design to those used for uranium enrichment, and can quickly be retooled for uranium enrichment.

Critics are concerned that Fordow could be used to perfect advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges using uranium stand-ins and in a location secure from outside attack.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/iran-nuclear-deal-chances-2015-3

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And in closing, this additional information just in from Omri Ceren:

“The issue of sequencing sanctions relief – how, when, and to what extent sanctions will be lifted in exchange for Iranian compliance – was one of the key sticking points over the last week…

“Achieving an understanding on sanctions would have to be counted as a major achievement, and it’s already being claimed as such. But there’s something wrong here. I haven’t figured out what it is yet, but I’m pretty sure I don’t like it…

“The EU/Iran joint statement says sanctions will be terminated ‘simultaneously’ with Iran implementing its obligations…

“The White House factsheet says sanctions will be suspended ‘after’ Iran has taken ‘all’ of its nuclear-related steps…

Zarif is already saying the White House is lying about how sanctions will be lifted… (emphasis added)

“The last time Zarif accused the Obama administration of lying on a factsheet was after the JPOA was announced, in the context of granting a ‘right to enrich.’ He was 100% right and the Americans were 100% wrong.

“It’s not clear what the actual sanctions deal is, but it’s worrying that there are already differences…If the Iranians are right, then the White House is again misleading journalists and lawmakers about the actual scope of their concessions.”

03/29/15

Bone Weary

Arlene from Israel

Anyone who is tracking the news these days, and genuinely cares for the security of Israel and the future of the US – not to mention Europe and the Mideast – has got to have an extremely heavy heart.  We are facing some very dark times.

With regard to Israel, serious thinkers are pondering the best way to survive the 22 months until Obama is out of office.  But the problem is actually a great deal bigger than the issue of how Obama is behaving towards Israel – as much as this remains huge for us here.

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Obama.  In addition to his irrational and venomous attacks on Israel, there is his courting of Iran.  One is the flip side of the other: Alienate Israel, buddy up to Iran.

We are now a mere two days away from the presumed deadline on a signed framework deal between Iran and P5 + 1.  (In reality this is a negotiation between Iran and the US, as the other negotiating partners, with the exception of France, have largely pulled back.)  How likely it is that a deal really will take place depends on whom you ask.  What is clear is that Obama – and Kerry, operating in his stead – are doing all they can to achieve this “diplomatic success.”

Because of Obama’s eagerness, what we are seeing is the stuff of nightmares.  Definitely nightmares, as it’s hard to believe this could be happening in the light of day.  The Iranians – recognizing very well with whom they are dealing – have consistently stonewalled on US demands.  Last Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal broke with a story on yet another US pullback, each in turn design to conciliate the Iranians (emphasis added):

Talks over Iran’s nuclear program have hit a stumbling block a week before a key deadline because Tehran has failed to cooperate with a United Nations probe into whether it tried to build atomic weapons in the past, say people close to the negotiations.

“In response, these people say, the U.S. and its diplomatic partners are revising their demands on Iran to address these concerns before they agree to finalize a nuclear deal, which would repeal U.N. sanctions against the country.”

http://www.wsj.com/articles/iran-stalls-u-n-probe-into-its-1427327943

The issue is “possible military dimensions” (PMD).  As Omri Ceren of The Israel Project has explained (emphasis added):

“PMD disclosure is about base-lining all of Iran’s nuclear activities – not just its known civilian parts – as a prerequisite for verifying that those activities have been halted under a nuclear deal. Iran has uranium mines; some are civilian and some are military. It has centrifuges; some are operated by civilians and some by IRGC personnel. It has uranium stockpiles; some are maintained by civilians and some by the military. There’s no way for future inspectors to verify that Iran has shuttered its mines, stopped its centrifuges, and shipped off its stockpile – for instance – unless the IAEA knows where all the mines and stockpiles are.

“No PMDs mean no verification.”

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And there’s more.  On Thursday, AP reported (emphasis added):

The United States is considering letting Tehran run hundreds of centrifuges at a once-secret, fortified underground bunker in exchange for limits on centrifuge work and research and development at other sites…”

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/ap-exclusive-iran-run-centrifuges-fortified-site-29925489

As Ceri explains here (emphasis added):

“Allowing the Iranians to enrich at Fordow means they could kick out inspectors at any time and have a fully-functioning enrichment facility hardened against military intervention. Since sanctions will be unraveled by design at the beginning of a deal, that means the West would have literally zero options to stop a breakout…

“The White House started out promising that Fordow would be shuttered, then that it would be converted into an R&D plant where no enrichment would take place, and now they’ve collapsed.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Add to the above the fact that the US is ignoring the violent hegemonic encroachment of Iranian proxies across various areas of the Middle East – as if it were only the issue of nuclear capacity that must be dealt with.

There are, of course, Syrian president Assad, and Iranian proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon (and Syria).  But most recently what we’ve seen is the takeover of Yemen by the Shiite Houthis, also supported by Iran.  Houthi control of Yemen has enormous importance because of its strategic location, adjacent to Saudi Arabia.  From the Yemenite port city of Aden, the straits of Bab el-Mandeb, which are only about 20 miles wide, can be controlled.  The straits constitute a major chokepoint – so the party that controls the area has the capacity to block marine traffic from the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea to the Mediterranean.  Somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.8 million barrels of oil and refined petroleum products pass through the straits daily on their way to destinations in Asia, Europe and the US.

This is before we mention that increased Iranian backed presence in the Middle East is worrisome to Israel.

But the US is not paying a whole lot of attention. US special forces fled Yemen a while ago, and US negotiators are not raising this issue.  There are commentators who believe that the US should have walked out on negotiations until Iran withdrew support for the Houthis.  But that might have jeopardized the deal, which has first priority for Obama – the rest of the world be damned.

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You want to know how crazy it is?  While Obama is promoting diplomatic ties with Iran and “reaching out” to the Iranians, we can see in a MEMRI video that Iranian leader Khamenei cries “Death to America.”

http://www.memri.org/clip/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/4838.htm

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Amir Hossein Motaghi is an Iranian journalist who was supposed to be covering the negotiations, but has defected because he could not longer tolerate Iranian demands that he write his reports according to their specifications.

In a TV interview, he has now said:

The U.S. negotiating team are mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal.”

http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/03/28/iranian-defector-us-negotiating-team-mainly-there-to-speak-on-iran%e2%80%99s-behalf/

If this does not blow your mind, you are not getting it.

~~~~~~~~~~

What I really cannot grasp – even beyond the question of how a man such as Obama secured two terms in the White House – is why the other negotiating nations are being so passive, when Iran is a threat to them, or why the American people are not truly up in arms (meant figuratively here).

~~~~~~~~~~

There are just a small number of possible recourses with regard to this situation:

The first is the US Congress, many of whose members – Republicans, but a handful of Democrats as well – indeed are grievously distressed by what is going on.  What is required is a sufficient number of votes in the Senate to over-ride a veto by Obama, so that sanctions to weaken Iran can be put in place appropriately. We are seeing signs that this may be possible.

“The U.S. Senate voted unanimously on Thursday for a non-binding amendment to a budget bill intended to make it easier to re-impose sanctions if Iran violates a nuclear deal.

“The vote was 100-0 for the amendment, sponsored by Republican Senator Mark Kirk, which would establish a fund to cover the cost of imposing sanctions if Tehran violated terms of an interim nuclear agreement now in effect, or the final agreement negotiators hope to reach before July.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/26/iran-nuclear-congress-idUSL2N0WS30W20150326

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And then there is Israel.

According to Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) there is time between the signing of a framework agreement now and the final agreement in June – at which point details would be factored in – when diplomatic maneuvering can still be done.  This would involve, it seems to me, key communication with France first – as France has the greatest unease about what is taking place.

Beyond this, there is the military option, with the moment of truth advancing rapidly.  We are now probably past the 11th hour, perhaps at about 15 minutes to midnight.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has said, again and again, that he will never permit Iran to become a nuclear power. He has also made it clear that Israel is not bound by the terms of a very bad P5 + 1 deal with Iran.

Just today, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, a close Netanyahu associate, declared on public radio that Israel “will not be bound by an accord concluded by others and will know how to defend itself.” (Emphasis added)

https://news.yahoo.com/dangerous-accord-iran-worse-israel-feared-pm-094154014.html

What our government will do in the end, and what our military is capable of doing, remains to be seen.  Israel cannot take out Iran’s capacity for nuclear development entirely – but can, as I understand it, do considerable damage.

The scuttlebutt is that Netanyahu wants to attack, although I know people who are convinced he never will. (Please, do not write to share opinions on this.)  Some months ago, information was revealed indicating that at one point Defense Minister Ya’alon was opposed to an attack but has now changed his mind.

A key factor here is the readiness of Saudi Arabia, which is absolutely enraged with Obama’s inaction on Iran, to lend passive assistance, at a minimum, should Israel decide to attack. The Saudis would be delighted – make no mistake about this.  This assistance might make a difference in the end.  Because the other piece of the story is that Obama is trying his best to track Israeli intentions and to block us.

~~~~~~~~~~

Leon Panetta – former director of the CIA and Secretary of Defense under Obama, gave an interview to Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC three days ago that merits mention here. Put simply, what he said was that he learned at the CIA and Defense that “The Iranians can’t be trusted.”

This is the bottom line.  Said Panetta (emphasis added):

“…the real test is going to be, and the whole world will be looking at it — the test will be have we truly made sure that Iran can be stopped from developing a nuclear weapon. And to do that in my book demands transparency and it demands accessibility so that we have a firm inspection regime that will guarantee they cannot do this.”

http://dailycaller.com/2015/03/26/former-obama-defense-secretary-the-iranians-cant-be-trusted-video/

Precisely! And that is never, ever going to happen.

~~~~~~~~~~

I recently encountered an article that asked, in its lead: Which side is Obama on?  That, my friends, is a rhetorical question.  It is clear that he is on Iran’s side.

That being the case, it is inevitable that the president would come down on Netanyahu in every way possible.  He wants to discredit him, and weaken him, and delegitimize his position, for Netanyahu is the key stumbling block to what he is trying to achieve.  There is no way for Bibi to make it “right” with Obama. It’s not really about the negotiations with the Palestinian Arabs or other related issues.

And facing the truth straight on also helps explain why Obama worked so hard behind the scenes to defeat Netanyahu in the elections, and why he is so frustrated now.

~~~~~~~~~~

Just a moment here, then, to look at what is happening at home.  I wrote last week about the apparent halting of building scheduled for Har Homa in Jerusalem (and indeed I’ve received no information that it was anything else such as a bureaucratic mix-up).  That did not sit well.  Since I wrote about that, information has surfaced about Israel agreeing to release to the Palestinian Authority tax monies that had been collected – with some held back against money owed to Israel for electricity and other services.  On top of this, there is apparently a deal for Israel to sell gas to Gaza, with Qatar paying the bill.

This did not sound good.  Really not good. Certainly at first blush it looks like a caving to Obama under pressure, because there is so much talk about Israel’s “readiness’ for a “two state” deal.

But that’s at first blush, and I’ve been struggling with this long and hard over the last couple of days. Because there is another way to look at this.  If Netanyahu is making concessions to please Obama it is the height of foolishness, a terrible weakness, as nothing will please Obama where we are concerned.  The only way to respond to him is with strength.  Anything that smacks of weakness will simply invite more pressure.

But suppose Netanyahu is doing this to remove some of the poison spewed by Obama (Netanyahu is a racist, he does not want peace, etc.), in order to deal more placidly with others? Suppose he wants to approach Democrats in Congress conveying the image of someone who is willing to compromise for peace, so that they will hear him on Iran?  Suppose he wants to speak with French leaders – who are eager for “two states” – from a position that will make them more amenable to his message? Or with other European countries?  Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz suggests several nations are uneasy about the deal.

In light of the enormous weight of what our prime minister has to deal with, I prefer to cut him some slack here, for the moment, and see how the situation evolves. Today he told the Cabinet:

“This deal, as it appears to be emerging, bears out all of our fears, and even more than that.”

http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Netanyahu-says-expected-Iranian-nuclear-deal-even-worse-than-Israel-feared-395468

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I had hoped to discuss some matters related to the formation of the coalition here, but will table this.  Before closing, I want simply to look at a couple of relative bright spots in an otherwise grim picture.

Saudi Arabia, alarmed by the Houthi take-over in Yemen, and absolutely furious at Obama for opting out of involvement, decided to act, in concert with other Sunni allies.  This was promising, as the Iranian takeover by proxy in Yemen is being pushed back as a result of Saudi airstrikes that are being hailed a success. There is further talk of ground forces in Yemen, although my information is that it will not be necessary, as there are tribal groups in Yemen that are ready to act on the ground against the Houthis.

Even further, the Arab League, at the closure of a meeting in Egypt, has announced in principle the creation of a joint Arab rapid response force. Egypt, which would be a prime mover in the establishment of such a force, declared that it would consist of some 40,000 elite troops, backed by jets, warships and light armor.  What this means is that even though the US has totally abdicated its role of confronting Iranian regional aggression, there are Sunni Arab states presumably ready to step up, lest the feared and detested Iran take over the region.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/03/29/yemen-rebels-air-bases/70625166/

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Then see this report that says Hezbollah – operating at the behest of Iran – has been stopped by paramilitary rebel forces from establishing a major presence on the Golan directly adjacent to the Israeli border.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/on-the-syrian-golan-unlike-in-yemen-an-iranian-offensive-fails/

03/25/15

Exposed

Arlene from Israel

Before we take a look at the broader situation, I share two announcements:

This Friday, March 27th, at noon, there will be a press conference and a “Keep Iran Nuclear Free” rally, at 780 Third Avenue (between 48th & 49th Streets) in Manhattan. This is in front of the offices of the Manhattan offices of New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, to urge these Senators to commit to overriding President Obama’s expected veto of two important pending bills on the issue of Iran.

The Bipartisan Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015, sponsored by Senators Kirk and Menendez, imposes new sanctions on Iran if international negotiators fail to reach a deal by June 30 on Tehran’s nuclear program.  Fourteen Senators, including Senator Schumer co-sponsored the bill.

The Bipartisan Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, sponsored by Senators Corker, Menendez, Graham and Kaine, mandates that the president must submit the text of any agreement with Iran to Congress; prohibits the administration from suspending congressional sanctions for 60 days, during which Congress would hold hearings and review the agreement; provides for Congressional oversight; and requires assessments and certifications of Iranian compliance.

Every vote is needed.

It is best if you can attend, but in any event, if you live in NY state, you are encouraged to reach Senator Schumer via: http://www.schumer.senate.gov/ and Senator Gillibrand via: http://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/

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And then, for Israelis and those planning to be in Israel over the Pesach week:

I have written about the illegal building for Arabs that the EU is sponsoring, and the excellent report about this that the organization Regavim has released.  Now Regavim is sponsoring a bus tour to allow you to actually see this massive illegal building in Area C and Jerusalem. In the end, there is nothing like seeing it for yourself.

Date and time: Wednesday, April 8th, Hol Hamoed Pesach, from 1:30 to 4:30 PM.

Location: Buses will depart from and return to the Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem.

Cost: 100 NIS or $25.

An expert will accompany each bus; detailed maps will be provided, as will water.  Bring your own food.

For information: Dr. Jan Sokolovsky, [email protected]

To Register: by April 3, www.regavim.org.il/en/events/Pesach

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As to what has been exposed (if you haven’t already guessed), it is Obama’s hatred for our prime minister and his paranoid vindictiveness.

However supporters of Obama (particularly Jewish supporters) have, over the past years, tried to convince themselves that Obama was a friend of Israel, it has never been the case.

If you doubt this, please take the time to see this video (with thanks to Michael Widlanski for calling it to my attention):

“Daylight: The Story of Obama and Israel” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wbH5KVPrPo&feature=youtu.be

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What has happened now is that Obama’s antipathy for Israel has grown enormously.  The president does not like to lose and is not fond of compromise.  If he does not achieve what he wants, he goes after those whom he sees as stumbling blocks.


Credit:  Telegraph (UK)

It was bad enough for him that, in spite of his efforts to block Bibi, our prime minister came to the Congress – to a resounding welcome that must have been galling for the president – to speak against the deal with Iran that is close to completion.

Clearly, he resolved to “fix” Bibi after this, by making sure that he was not re-elected.  We know that there were American funds invested in the effort to defeat Bibi at the polls, as well as assistance provided to the Buji campaign by former Obama advisor Jeremy Bird and the team he brought with him.

An official here in Jerusalem has charged that the White House was directly involved in the attempt to unseat the prime minister:

http://www.timesofisrael.com/officials-white-house-was-part-of-bid-to-oust-netanyahu/

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But there is even worse: There are reports from a Likud strategist of an effort “’to organize the [Israeli] Arabs into one party and teach them about voter turnout.

“’The State Department people in the end of January, early February, expedited visas for [Israeli] Arab leaders to come to the United States to learn how to vote,’ McLaughlin exposed.

“He added, ‘there were people in the United States that were organizing them to vote in one party so they would help the left-of-center candidate Herzog, that the Obama administration favored.’” (emphasis added)

This, my friends, was the source of Bibi’s concern during the election that the Arabs were coming “in droves.”  He knew it was a set up, but Obama then turned this into a “racist” statement, which it was not.

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In the end, all of the dirty tricks didn’t work, and Netanyahu secured a victory.  Oh, how galling this must have been for Obama.

I’ve already written about his overheated response, with the decision to “re-evaluate” the US relationship with Israel.

But since I last wrote, it has gotten worse still.  The latest accusation is that Israel “spied” on negotiations with Iran and then leaked information to members of Congress.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4640317,00.html

Spied?  What does this mean?  There is no evidence offered, simply an empty (silly) charge.  Does Obama imagine that Israel designed little robots that look like flies and were able to sit on the wall of the negotiating room, recording information? What?

The information I do have is that Israeli officials are in touch with some of those who are in the negotiating process – primarily from France – and have been thus kept informed. This is not “spying.”

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And then there is the whole issue of Netanyahu “sharing” information with members of Congress.

Please understand what sort of siege mentality the president has, that he considers it inappropriate for members of Congress to know what’s going on. This is at the core of Congress’s battle with him:  Its members believe they must be informed and involved, and he’s fighting them every step of the way.

What is more, there is no evidence, either, of Bibi having shared information with members of Congress.  Speaker of the House John Boehner said he was “shocked” by this accusation, for he has never received any information about the Iranian negotiations from Israel, and he was unaware of other members of Congress having received such information.

http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/03/24/boehner-%e2%80%98shocked%e2%80%99-by-reported-israeli-spying-on-iran-talks-denies-receiving-information/

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Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, and Defense Minister Bogie Ya’alon have all categorically denied the accusation of spying.

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What we have here, then, is a very sick situation.  Exceedingly nasty.  Dangerous, certainly. But it seems to me beyond the bounds of what is rational. This is Obama becoming unhinged.

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And you know what?  In some respects, I see this as not a bad thing. For, many who supported Obama – who believed him when he said he had Israel’s back – have now had their eyes opened. There is a significant shift in how Obama is being seen in several quarters within the US.  Consider (with emphasis added):

’The fact that the outcome of a democratic election in Israel seems to be of great concern [to the Obama administration] is cause for deep anxiety and puzzlement,’ said David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee.’

“’Whatever the failings of the prime minister, the way this is unfolding runs completely contrary to the spirit of US-Israel relations,’ Harris said. ‘The US appears to have a reasoned interest in prolonging the crisis’

”’As someone who was critical of several steps by [Netanyahu] during the campaign leading up to his reelection, I am even more troubled by statements now coming out of the White House,” said Abe Foxman, longtime national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

What we are hearing from the Obama administration raises deeper questions about their intentions and perspectives,’ he said, adding that ‘from the beginning of the Obama years, there was a disturbing indifference to the mind-set of the Israeli public.’”

http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Jewish-establishment-sounds-alarm-as-White-House-rhetoric-intensifies-394978

OK, so now we have establishment Jewish leadership – which has pretty much toed the line for Obama – looking askance at him.  Good.  Hopefully there is a body of Jews within the American electorate that is now also revisiting the issue of Obama as friend of Israel.

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But there is also a troubling side to this situation: That is Netanyahu’s MO – his propensity for seeming to play the game rather than being confrontational.  We had reason to hope there had been a shift away from this tendency of his.  He demonstrated a strong conviction and was willing to buck the president when it came to his talk in Congress.  This was the Bibi to be admired and supported. He showed he could do it – as he has shown before.  I remember his lecture to Obama in the White House, as to why we cannot return to the ‘67 lines.

But now?  Now I have picked up news that – if accurate – is greatly unsettling:

According to YNet, Israel is freezing construction of 1,500 new housing units in Har Homa:

“The massive construction plan in Har Homa has been suspended ‘for neither planning nor professional reasons.’

“The Ministry for Construction and Housing and Jerusalem municipality confirmed that two critical planning discussions set for the coming week on advancing the construction have been canceled for unknown reasons.

“Planning officials familiar with the details of the plan told YNet that the program is not being advanced due to the political sensitivity and that there had been no approval from the Prime Minister’s Office to hold the planning discussions.”

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4640852,00.html

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Har Homa (officially Homat Shmuel) is outside the Green Line and often referred to as a “settlement” in “east (sic) Jerusalem.”  In fact, it is in the south of Jerusalem, within the municipal lines of a united Jerusalem, and a strategically important neighborhood.  Founded in 1997, under the watch of Netanyahu, it is located only about a kilometer from Bethlehem.  Netanyahu has indicated that this neighborhood serves as protection for “the southern gateway of Jerusalem.”  The area is being constructed in stages – reportedly there is a master plan; the current population is 25,000.

New housing units in Har Homa
Credit: European Press Photo Agency

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Just days ago, before the election, Netanyahu stood in Har Homa and pledged to continue building in Jerusalem.  He knows that it is possible to continue in spite of international uproar, for he faced an uproar when approving the construction of the first stage of Har Homa 18 years ago.

Yesterday, at a  press conference, Obama declared that Netanyahu’s words have made the possibility of a “two state” deal unlikely:

“Netanyahu, in the election run-up, stated that a Palestinian state would not occur while he was prime minister.  And I took him at his word that that’s what he meant.

“Afterwards, he pointed out that he didn’t say ‘never,’ but that there would be a series of conditions in which a Palestinian state could potentially be created. But, of course, the conditions were such that they would be impossible to meet any time soon.”

Obama said that in light of Netanyahu’s comments, the “possibility seems very dim” for the Israelis and the Palestinians to reach an agreement.

“’We can’t continue to premise our public diplomacy on something that everybody knows is not going to happen, at least in the next several years,’ the president said.”

http://news.yahoo.com/israel-denies-spying-us-134204766.html

It is hardly necessary for me to say much about how dishonest and low Obama’s approach is.  As if everything was in place, and peace was going to burst out any second – but Netanyahu destroyed it.  As if Netanyahu’s conditions were anything but reasonable.

This statement by Obama followed a speech by his chief of staff, Denis McDonough, in which he declared that “an occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end.”

Bibi knows full well how correct he is about the impossibility of a “Palestinian state” now – because of the terrorism in the region, and because of Abbas’s total intransigence as well (never mind because of our legal rights).  But there remains great unease that Obama’s approach may put him on the defensive and motivate him to “prove” his intentions.

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As far as I can determine at present, the report about the stoppage for political reasons is coming only from YNet – which has a distinctly leftward tilt. The prime minister’s office, referring more to bureaucratic process, denies the stoppage was motivated by politics.

This is a situation that must be watched closely. Within days we should have a more definitive picture.

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We might hope that Bibi Netanyahu would take the advice of Brett Stephens, writing on “The Orwellian Obama Presidency” (emphasis added):

”Here is my advice to the Israeli government, along with every other country being treated disdainfully by this crass administration: Repay contempt with contempt. Mr. Obama plays to classic bully type. He is abusive and surly only toward those he feels are either too weak, or too polite, to hit back

The Israelis will need to chart their own path of resistance…Israel survived its first 19 years without meaningful U.S. patronage. For now, all it has to do is get through the next 22, admittedly long, months.”
http://www.wsj.com/articles/bret-stephens-the-orwellian-obama-presidency-1427153308?mod=hp_opinion

AMEN!