Why Iran’s mullahs should never have nuclear weapons

May 12, 2014

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In the words of Bret Stephens below in the Prager University video, we must never allow Iran to get “the bomb,” because they are likely to use it:

All of what Stephens says is true, but the key is that the real power in Iran is held by millenarian fanatics who see it as their duty to bring about the Shiite “End Times.” To these people, the temptation to use nuclear weapons in fulfillment of what they see as a religious duty might well be irresistible.

What’s so very frustrating in this situation is that all too many see only a binary choice: either accept Iran as a nuclear power, or preemptively invade the country at a potentially tremendous cost in blood and treasure. There is a third way, though we’ve wasted much time.

My friend Michael Ledeen has often written about the brittleness and vulnerability of the Iranian regime, which lives in desperate fear of the people it rules. (If you’ve read any Iranian history, you’ll know why.) Here’s an example from a recent column:

The wreckage of the Iranian state is not just the result of corruption and incompetence;  it also derives from the intense infighting within the elite.  Unconfirmed stories have appeared in the Iranian press reporting phone taps organized by the Revolutionary Guards Corps against members of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s inner circle, as well as against one another within the Guards.  There are documented fractures within the ranks of Hezbollah.  Assassinations continue apace, as in the case of Mojtaba Ahmadi, the head of the Cyber Army, in October.  The Iranian Embassy in Beirut was bombed in November by a terrorist group the Iranians had actually created.   And, in a telling blow to the regime’s ideology, Christianity is booming, and the regime is resorting to public meetings to warn the people about its dangers.

The regime does not seem to know how to cope with this crisis.  On the one hand, it increases repression.  The tempo of executions has famously increased since Rouhani’s election, and the recent brutality in Evin Prison–discussed by Ben Weinthal–shows that regime leaders are even afraid of prisoners.  For good reason:  last year many leading political prisoners refused to join the regime’s call for easing sanctions, despite torture and isolation.

It’s a hollow regime.  Its internal opponents hold it in contempt and do not fear it, and it is palpably failing.  

Between acquiescence to a nuclear Iran and outright invasion lies the choice of aiding the democratic opposition, which is large and growing. In the 1980s, we undertook a similar program in Poland, aiding the anticommunist resistance both with non-lethal aid (radios, etc.), but also open, loud public support for the rights of the people against the regime they hated. It was part of a broader American-led effort to resist Soviet aggression, and it worked. The fall of Communism in Poland was the crack that eventually lead to the collapse of the whole Soviet Empire.

Something similar could well work in Iran, whose people are desperate for the only genuinely revolutionary nation on the planet to lend its still vast moral authority on behalf of a nation that wants to free themselves from the schemes of the mad mullahs.

We missed a great chance to do this in 2009, when massive street demonstrations brought the regime to the edge of collapse. When the world needed the moral clarity of Ronald Reagan, there was instead the diffidence of Barack Obama.

And now, five years and one farcical agreement later, Iran is that much closer to having a nuclear weapon. We had better hope that they don’t achieve it before 2017, when, we again hope, a new and competent administration comes takes over. One that will not fool itself about the dangers of an Iran with a nuclear bomb.

Because, otherwise, they will use it.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Another Iranian peaceful nuclear facility goes *BOOM!*

December 1, 2011

Once is an accident. Twice may just be a coincidence. But when bad things happen over and over?

Someone’s gunning for you. Someone who plays for keeps:

AN IRANIAN nuclear facility has been hit by a huge explosion, the second such blast in a month, prompting speculation that Tehran’s military and atomic sites are under attack.

Satellite imagery seen by The Times confirmed that a blast that rocked the city of Isfahan on Monday struck the uranium enrichment facility there, despite denials by Tehran.

The images clearly showed billowing smoke and destruction, negating Iranian claims yesterday that no such explosion had taken place. Israeli intelligence officials told The Times that there was “no doubt” that the blast struck the nuclear facilities at Isfahan and that it was “no accident”.

The explosion at Iran’s third-largest city came as satellite images emerged of the damage caused by one at a military base outside Tehran two weeks ago that killed about 30 members of the Revolutionary Guard, including General Hassan Moghaddam, the head of the Iranian missile defence program.

Iran claimed that the Tehran explosion occurred during testing on a new weapons system designed to strike at Israel. But several Israeli officials have confirmed that the blast was intentional and part of an effort to target Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Gee, I wonder how the Israelis would know it was intentional and part of a larger plot? They couldn’t have anything to do with it, maybe by helping internal resistance groups, could they? Just because someone’s also been whacking Iranian atomic scientists and unleashing targeted computer viruses at the Mullah’s pet weapons program, and now has escalated to blowing up their missile bases just when the program chief and his North Korean advisers were visiting? And just because Iran has frequently threatened to rain nuclear fire on Israel? Surely it’s a coincidence.

As I like to say, “Oh, those wacky Jews.”

Go, Mossad!

PS: a word of caution about the source from Michael Totten.

A source I trust just told me that the journalist who broke this story has a dubious track record. That doesn’t necessarily mean the story is wrong, but these kinds of stories are sometimes goofed at the outset even by journalists with good records, so we shouldn’t assume we have this all figured out yet.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Does Barack Obama hate Great Britain?

February 14, 2011

I mean, selling-out an ally’s nuclear secrets isn’t something one usually does to an ally one likes, is it?

Here’s what happened: According to WikiLeaks, a series of classified cables were sent from the U.S. negotiators to the State Department explaining that the Russians wanted to know the full extent of Great Britain’s nuclear capability. This was hardly surprising, as throughout the Cold War they had been trying to get this information. Now they were insisting on it as a price for Russian support for the New START deal. They could gauge this information from examining the “unique identifer” serial numbers on the Trident missiles that the U.S. has sold the UK over the years. The State Department has called these reports “bunk”.

Instead of telling Moscow that Britain was an independent power not party to the treaty, and therefore information about her nuclear deterrent was non-negotiable, the leaked cables show that the Obama administration lobbied the British Foreign Office and Ministry of Defense in 2009 for permission to simply tell Moscow this data about the number, age, and performance capabilities of Trident.

Needless to say, the U.K refused, because not letting the Russians know the full extent of its deterrent has long been key to its success. Yet astonishingly—and in my view despicably—the Obama administration seems to have simply rode roughshod over British objections and—according both to WikiLeaks and the Daily Telegraph of London—“The U.S. agreed to hand over the serial numbers of Trident missiles it transfers to Britain.”

If this is the way Obama treats one of our closest allies, I’d hate to see how he treats our enemies.

Oh, wait. I have:

Obama with Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez


Stuxnet a joint US-Israel project…

January 17, 2011

…started by Bush, and accelerated by Obama. Well done to both men, and to our Israeli partners!

I love it when we do cool stuff like this:

The Dimona complex in the Negev desert is famous as the heavily guarded heart of Israel’s never-acknowledged nuclear arms program, where neat rows of factories make atomic fuel for the arsenal.

Over the past two years, according to intelligence and military experts familiar with its operations, Dimona has taken on a new, equally secret role — as a critical testing ground in a joint American and Israeli effort to undermine Iran’s efforts to make a bomb of its own.

Behind Dimona’s barbed wire, the experts say, Israel has spun nuclear centrifuges virtually identical to Iran’s at Natanz, where Iranian scientists are struggling to enrich uranium. They say Dimona tested the effectiveness of the Stuxnet computer worm, a destructive program that appears to have wiped out roughly a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges and helped delay, though not destroy, Tehran’s ability to make its first nuclear arms.

“To check out the worm, you have to know the machines,” said an American expert on nuclear intelligence. “The reason the worm has been effective is that the Israelis tried it out.”

Though American and Israeli officials refuse to talk publicly about what goes on at Dimona, the operations there, as well as related efforts in the United States, are among the newest and strongest clues suggesting that the virus was designed as an American-Israeli project to sabotage the Iranian program.

Be sure to read the whole thing; it’s a fascinating story. One item straight out of science-fiction: the virus was designed to record what normal operations looked like, then play it back so Iranian scientists would think everything was fine while Stuxnet was quietly wrecking their centrifuges. Genius!

Of course, there’s a dark lining to every silver cloud… or something. What we and the Israelis have done to the Iranians could be done to us by a hostile power. (Hello? China?) Let’s hope the DoD and the rest of the government are taking computer security seriously. At least, let’s not make it so easy for the next Bradley Manning, okay?

That downer aside… Ain’t this cool?

RELATED: At Blue Crab Boulevard, Gaius thinks Stuxnet was way overbuilt and wonders what other capabilities it’s hiding.


Good news! Another wacko state wants to go nuclear!

January 5, 2011

What could go wrong?

 

Now the military junta that rules Burma wants the Bomb:

But there is near-smoking gun evidence to substantiate reports of a Burmese nuke project. A major in the army, Sai Thein Win, has defected to the Democratic Voice of Burma, delivering into its hands hundreds of secret documents and photos. The materials reveal the construction of a huge network of underground facilities dating back to 1996 and costing at least $3.5 billion since 2001. This evidence is enough to convince Robert Kelley, a former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, that Burma’s junta is working on uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing capabilities with North Korean assistance.

The Strategic and Defence Studies Centre of Australia has published a study reaching the same conclusion. The authors interviewed two defectors who independently confirmed the building of a secret nuclear site, nearby the public site constructed with Russian aid. One defector testified to the presence of about 60 North Koreans at a secret site, which the authors describe as similar in design to the Syrian nuclear reactor destroyed by Israel in 2007.

The materials obtained by the Democratic Voice of Burma also show that a series of meetings took place in North Korea from the 22nd to the 29th of November in 2008 — meetings that included the Burmese military chief. One cable released by Wikileaks notes that a Burmese official mentioned the chief’s 2008 visit to North Korea in a slip of the tongue.

The organization has put together all the intelligence it has on Burma’s secret nuclear weapons program in the form of a documentary available to the public. For now, the junta is able only to mine uranium and produce yellowcake. One defector says that the regime hopes to be nuclear-capable by 2020. But the authors of the Australian study say Burma could go nuclear by 2014 in the absence of major problems. Rudimentary though it may be, the West should not dismiss Burma’s role in the nuclear Axis of Evil. The junta is in a position to fill one of the gaps in Iran’s nuclear effort. According to one defector, in February 2004 he met with an Iranian intelligence officer and nuclear scientist and received a sample of yellowcake. If this testimony is true, then Iran has already turned to Burma to help relieve its critical shortage of raw uranium.

Moreover, the UN has already confirmed that North Korea is shipping nuclear materials to Burma and using “links with overseas criminal networks to carry out these activities.” Next, corrupt Burmese officials might sell nuclear materials to criminals or terrorists. A September 2008 cable describes a Burmese civilian’s threat to U.S. diplomats to sell uranium-238 to Thailand, China, or other countries if the Americans themselves declined to buy. Claiming he already had 50 kg of Burmese uranium in a barrel, the civilian boasted that he could sell up to 2,000 kg. Another cable from January 2007 describes a suspected shipment of 112 metric tons of uranium ore to China by the Burmese government.

So, not only is Rangoon playing patty-(yellow)cake with North Korea and Iran, but private parties are getting involved. And, similar to the danger of a nuclear arms race in the Persian Gulf if (when) Iran gets its Big Firecracker, a Burmese nuclear capability would give incentive to Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia to get their own… “just in case.”

Not to mention making nuclear-armed India feel surrounded.

And, speaking of rational state-actors,  have I mentioned that the rulers of Burma use astrology to make key national decisions?

I think I need a drink.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Russians make RINO, squish, aisle-crossers look like chumps

December 24, 2010

Because they ARE chumps. For weeks during this recent lame-duck session of Congress, the White House, Democratic senators, and the liberal media were telling us that the latest START arms-reduction treaty with the Russians had to be  approved now, in spite of serious, legitimate concerns. It absolutely could not wait until the new Senate was seated with new members who would actually reflect the will of the voters as expressed in the recent election. Nope, it had to be done now, or the universe would implode… or something.

So they finally found some “bipartisan” Republicans and ratified it.

And now the Russians say that, gosh, they won’t be able to get it done on their end until next year:

Russian lawmakers gave preliminary approval on Christmas Eve to the so-called New START treaty with a vote in the lower house of parliament. But Konstantin Kosachev, head of the State Duma’s foreign affairs committee, said it would take until next month “at the earliest” for the treaty to receive its three required readings and get a final vote. Lawmakers’ vacation lasts until Jan. 11.

The assessment seems to put the brakes on the document President Obama called a top priority as he whipped up the Republican votes needed to pass it before the end of the lame-duck session. Vice Adm. Jerry Miller said the Russians appear to be having some fun at U.S. expense.

So, explain to me again, Senators Lugar, Alexander, Bennett, Brown, Cochran, Collins, Corker, Isakson, Johanns, Murkowski, Snowe, and Voinovich: what was the big rush? Couldn’t you have waited for a Senate that had an actual mandate from the people to do more than minimal government business? And do you hear the chuckles coming from Moscow? How does it feel knowing you’ve been played — again?

Idiots.

LINKS: Power Line calls the Republicans listed above Obama’s useful idiots. Jennifer Rubin, who’s been critical of the treaty, points out that, inter alia, we did get something to protect missile defense. The Russian press respectfully disagrees. Legal Insurrection wonders if Republicans will ever learn. Ace of Spades thinks Putin “Pwned” Obama, again.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Tehran bombings target nuclear scientists?

November 29, 2010

Gee, who could be behind this?

Two separate explosions killed a nuclear scientist and injured another in the Iranian capital Monday morning, official news outlets reported.

Both scholars’ wives and a driver were also injured in the attacks, according to the news agencies. The slain scientist, Majid Shahriari, was a member of the nuclear engineering team at the Shahid Behesti university in Tehran, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency, or IRNA.

(…)

The assassins, riding motorcycles, tossed bombs at — or attached them to — vehicles of the two Shahid Behesti University professors as they drove with their spouses en route to work between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m..

“A Pulsar motorbike drove close to Dr. Shahriari’s car and stuck a bomb on his car which after a few seconds exploded,” Tehran police chief Hossein Sajednia was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.

The article also mentions another Iranian nuclear scientist assassinated last January.

But, who’s ordering the hits?

Let’s consider: Iran, an aggressive and terroristic nation, is developing nuclear weapons, which no one in their right mind wants them to have. They have repeatedly threatened to drop those weapons on a certain small country nearby, the government of which lives by the motto “Never again” and has been known to deal harshly with enemies who threaten its people.

I’ll give you three guesses, and the first two don’t count.

Via Instapundit.

LINKS: Gateway Pundit has video. Also Hot Air.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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