What if Iran already has nukes hidden in North Korea?

March 31, 2015

satire nuclear explosion 2

That’s the not so subtle implication of Gordon Chang’s article in The Daily Beast. Much of the article explores the illicit nuclear proliferation network (parts confirmed, others suspected) between Iran, China, North Korea, and (formerly?) Pakistan, dating back nearly fifteen years. But the key portions follow:

In October 2012, Iran began stationing personnel at a military base in North Korea, in a mountainous area close to the Chinese border. The Iranians, from the Ministry of Defense and associated firms, reportedly are working on both missiles and nuclear weapons. Ahmed Vahidi, Tehran’s minister of defense at the time, denied sending people to the North, but the unconfirmed dispatches make sense in light of the two states announcing a technical cooperation pact the preceding month.

(…)

The North Koreans have also sold Iran material for bomb cores, perhaps even weapons-grade uranium. The Telegraph reported that in 2002 a barrel of North Korean uranium cracked open and contaminated the tarmac of the new Tehran airport.

(…)

The relationship between the two regimes has been long-lasting. Hundreds of North Koreans have worked at about 10 nuclear and missile facilities in Iran. There were so many nuclear and missile scientists, specialists, and technicians that they took over their own coastal resort there, according to Henry Sokolski,  the proliferation maven, writing in 2003.

Even if Iran today were to agree to adhere to the Additional Protocol, it could still continue developing its bomb in North Korea, conducting research there or buying North Korean technology and plans. And as North Korean centrifuges spin in both known and hidden locations, the Kim regime will have a bigger stock of uranium to sell to the Iranians for their warheads. With the removal of sanctions, as the P5+1 is contemplating, Iran will have the cash to accelerate the building of its nuclear arsenal.

So while the international community inspects Iranian facilities pursuant to a framework deal, the Iranians could be busy assembling the components for a bomb elsewhere. In other words, they will be one day away from a bomb—the flight time from Pyongyang to Tehran—not one year as American and other policymakers hope.

(Emphasis added)

Think about it. Pretend for a minute you’re one of the Muslim fanatics who rule Iran. Maybe you’re part of the faction that sees it as its duty to bring about the Islamic “end times.” You definitely want to crush the Jews and destroy Israel. You hate America as the Great Satan and see Iran’s Islamic Revolution as the one hope for truly making Allah’s religion supreme. To protect the revolution and fulfill Allah’s goals, you’ve decided Iran needs nuclear weapons.

But the Great and Little Satans (America and Israel) stand in your way. They don’t want you to have these weapons. They are infidels and enemies of Allah. So, to buy yourself the time to make them, you enter into negotiations — not to give anything away, but merely to delay. And, so far, it’s worked. The infidels are weak and anxious for an agreement, so they keep playing along, no matter how outrageous your demands.

And yet there are risks. What if the Zionist Entity (Israel) loses patience and attacks? That might set back your program. What if a new president takes charge in America, one who isn’t afraid to use his nation’s awesome resources to weaken your regime by supporting the opposition, as Reagan did with Poland, or through the direct use of armed force, as they did to Saddam? That could wreck your nuclear dreams, if not overthrow you altogether. How do you guard against that?

Well, like any well-run operation, you have a disaster back up plan. In this case, an offsite nuclear program, parallel to the one in Iran. One so offsite that  it is in another country, an allied nation with a nuclear program of its own and that hates America, too, and is obsessed with security.

A place like North Korea.

This is all speculative, of course, but it is also plausible. It’s what any reasonable person would consider doing in a similar situation. And, while the mullahs are aggressive antisemitic religious fascists, they are not stupid.

Keep your eye out: Iran has been playing hardball in the negotiations, demanding so much that even Obama and Kerry must have been tempted at times to walk out. The deadline for an agreement is coming up: If Iran suddenly and to everyone’s relief makes major concessions, I think the North Korean backup scenario goes from “likely” to “almost certain.”

Sleep well.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Iranian defector: US acting as Tehran’s advocates in nuclear negotiations

March 28, 2015
x

Such a deal…

I’ll admit to confirmation bias: I’ve suspected this all along —

In his television interview, Mr Mottaghi also gave succour to western critics of the proposed nuclear deal, which has seen the White House pursue a more conciliatory line with Tehran than some of America’s European allies in the negotiating team, comprising the five permanent members of the UN security council and Germany.

“The US 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,” he said.

Amir Hossein Mottaghi was a close aide to Iranian President Rouhani and ran his campaign’s public relations. He defected when he decided it was impossible to work as a real journalist anymore, rather than as a parrot for the regime. (1) So, he defected in Switzerland when he went their ostensibly to cover the negotiations. (2)

Defector reports are always to be taken with several grains of salt, since they have reason to say things their hosts want to hear, but this is credible to me, given the insane concessions we seem to be making.

It’s a strange thing when I find myself rooting for the failure of an American president’s diplomacy and his consequent embarrassment, but that’s the blunt truth. If Mottaghi is right, we’ve gone from appeasement to collusion against our own interests and those of our allies. This is shaping up to be a horrifically bad deal with potentially catastrophic consequences; the humiliation of Barack Obama to thwart it would be a small price to pay.

via Daniel Halper

Footnote:
(1) It took him this long to realize this?
(2) Good thing he didn’t defect at our embassy. Obama might have been tempted to return him to show our “good faith.” And I’m only half-joking.


And may Obama have as much success in Canada as he did in Israel

March 27, 2015
x

In the crosshairs?

Via Kathy Shaidle, it looks like Obama wants to interfere in yet another ally’s elections:

When it comes to Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, like Netanyahu, is a political conservative, considerably to the right of Obama.

Harper’s staunch support of Israel — he has replaced Obama as Israel’s strongest defender and ally in the West — can’t have made Obama happy.

Another significant irritant in Canada-U.S. relations has been Obama’s refusal to approve the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta’s oilsands to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast, which has put Harper and Obama at loggerheads.

Many Americans are perplexed by Obama’s opposition to the pipeline, with both the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal noting recently that Obama’s major arguments against Keystone are simply untrue.

Obama ally and billionaire investor Warren Buffett has said the U.S. should have already approved Keystone, both because it makes economic sense and in recognition of the close relationship between Canada and the U.S.

As for what Obama might be thinking, our media have reported some of his campaign operatives are already working with the Liberals and NDP to help defeat Harper and the Conservatives in October’s election.

(While the Harper Conservatives have used Republican strategists for Canadian elections, that’s obviously not the same as Obama strategists working to help defeat the prime minister of a foreign country.)

The worrisome thing for Harper is that, unlike in Israel, Obama is popular with Canadians.

Yes, we’ve tried to influence elections before, notably in Italy in the 1940s, when it was an urgent necessity to stop the Stalin-aligned Communist Party from coming to power, which would have been a strategic disaster. But, in the case of Israel and Canada, we’re talking about the sitting PMs of allied states whose only offense has been to disagree with Obama on policy.

What am I saying? With Obama, daring to disagree with Him is the greatest sin of all.

Jeez, but this guy is a petty, childish, immature, narcissistic embarrassment.

And those are his good points.


Hillary has nothing to hide, and she wiped the email server to prove it

March 27, 2015
Above the rules.

Above the rules.

Keep this in mind: Hillary Clinton conducted all her State Department official correspondence on this private server. Her top, close aides at State all had accounts on this server. It is inconceivable that sensitive United States Government information  –information foreign intel services would love to have– was not stored on it. The server was astoundingly insecure; in fact, we know it was hacked.

Ergo, it is in the interests of the United State and its people to find out in a verifiable manner –not just taking Hillary’s word for it– what was on that server and if the official records of her work have all been turned over to State, as commanded by law. Also, a forensic analysis of the server is imperative to determine if anyone else had hacked it: who, when, what did they get? Beyond questions of Benghazi or the questionable dealings of the Clinton foundation, we need to know how much damage may have been done to the national security and foreign relations of our country. The potential security breach could make Edward Snowden look like an amateur.

Which is why she wiped the server:

The head of the House Select Committee on Benghazi says former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has erased all information from the personal email server she used while serving as the nation’s top diplomat.

“We learned today, from her attorney, Secretary Clinton unilaterally decided to wipe her server clean and permanently delete all emails from her personal server,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said in a statement Friday.

He said while it’s “not clear precisely when Secretary Clinton decided to permanently delete all emails from her server, it appears she made the decision after October 28, 2014, when the Department of State for the first time asked the Secretary to return her public record to the Department.”

Last week, Gowdy sent a letter to Clinton’s attorney asking that the email server be turned over to a third party in the hopes that an investigation could recover about 30,000 emails that her team deleted before turning the rest over to the State Department.

Gowdy said “it is clear Congress will need to speak with the former Secretary about her email arrangement and the decision to permanently delete those emails.”

Emphasis added. This wasn’t just a wipe to reinstall Window Server or whatever outdated software she was using. When she received word that State wanted those emails, she ran downstairs to hit the SCRAM button. It’s no longer a question of “if,” but “what.” What was on that server she was so desperate to hide? Whatever it was, she arrogated to herself the right to decide what was and wasn’t relevant. In spite of the law. And now we’ll likely never know.

This is like an embezzler burning down a building to hide his crime.

The high-handed corruption of the Clintons never fails to astound.


How Putin could break NATO, or, ready for “Great Northern War II?”

March 26, 2015
Target: Gotland?

Target: Gotland?

The Great Northern War was a conflict in the early 18th century launched by a coalition headed by Russia that broke the power of the Swedish empire in the Baltic Sea region. The war also saw the establishment of Russia as a Continental power and its annexation of the region we know today as the “Baltic states.”

Today, 300 years later, Russia’s ruler might again use an attack on Sweden (1) to reestablish his nation as a world power and cover his re-annexation of the Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania:

Over the past 12 months Russia’s air force flew a series of aggressive combat patrols over the Baltic Sea, including mock nuclear strikes against Sweden’s capital Stockholm, to assess the reaction time and preparedness of Sweden’s air force. Since October 2014 Russia’s Navy has sent submarines into Swedish territorial waters to assess the capabilities and preparedness of Sweden’s Navy. The results: Sweden is defenseless.

Last week Russia’s air force progressed from testing military preparedness to dry runs for a major air assault. A combination of transport planes and fighter jets flew from Russia over the entire Baltic Sea to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. While Sweden didn’t even manage to get a plane in the air, Italian air force jets flying out from Šiauliai air base in Lithuania intercepted and identified the Russian jets. The Italian fighters were outnumbered 4 to 1.

The obvious targets of Russian aggression along the Baltic Sea, namely Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, all share a land border with Russia, so there is no need to mount a large scale air assault to overrun these tiny states. But to keep these three nations occupied and oppressed, Putin must keep the US air force and the US Navy out of the Baltic Sea. This is why Russia is preparing to assault, occupy and fortify Sweden’s Gotland Island.

And why is Gotland (highlighted in red in the map above) needed to keep us from resisting a Russian assault on the Baltics?

If Russia controls Gotland and bases S-300 or S-400 long range air-defense missile systems and K-300P Bastion-P long range anti-ship missile systems on the island, then US air force planes cannot reach the Baltic States and US Navy ships cannot pass the Danish Straits to enter the Baltic Sea. Russia has already S-300 and K-300P stationed in Kaliningrad along with tactical nuclear 9K720 Iskander missiles, but as Poland’s military could overrun Kaliningrad and destroy Russia’s anti-ship and air-defense systems there, Russia will occupy Gotland a few hours before the attack on Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania begins.

The author is a writer living in the Ukraine . You can read the rest of the article, which presents an extended scenario in which Russia presents the NATO with a fait accompli and dares it to do something about it. Some of NATO –the US, Poland, Great Britain, and others NATO states as well as non-NATO Sweden– try to mount a counterattack, but are hobbled by Germany’s refusal join or to even allow their territory to be used or crossed by NATO forces, as well as Russian threats to use nuclear weapons against the smaller nations’ cities, which leads Sweden to concede. In Thomas Theiner’s scenario, a Polish refusal to concede leads to a Russian nuclear strike against a Polish city, which in turn brings about the  the end of the war when NATO’s nuclear powers (the US, Great Britain, and France) decline to retaliate. Poland surrenders, NATO breaks up in defeat, and Russia regains its “lost provinces.”

While Theiner’s scenario goes deeper into speculative territory the further he develops his scenario, the initial situation –a surprise Russian attack on Gotland to block relief of the Baltics– is frighteningly plausible:

  • Russia carved off provinces from Georgia in 2008, claiming it was protecting Russian minorities.
  • We have the ongoing dismemberment of Ukraine, another former Russian possession, which began with Russian complaints about mistreatment of Russian speaking minorities there.
  • Russia has also complained about the supposed mistreatment of Russian minorities in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Setting the stage? Russia is already acting aggressively in the Baltic region.

And Sweden has indeed become a target:

Putin is, in my estimation, a predatory aggressive bully who perceives conciliation in others as a sign of weakness, something to be exploited

What a coincidence: Sweden is weak. Its military spending has declined severely on a per capita (2) basis over the last 25 years, and its military is correspondingly small and lacking key capabilities to defend against Russia. While moving to station troops on Gotland and announcing plans to spend more on defense, it is currently vulnerable to rapid exploitation in the event of a Russian attack.

American leadership (meaning President Obama), which would be crucial to any effort to resist Russia and rally NATO, is feckless, appeasement-oriented, and incompetent. And while Theiner assumes the US will try to defend Sweden and the Baltics, I have to wonder just how strenuous an effort President Lead-From-Behind would make, considering he refuses even to meet with the head of NATO. Putin sees this and may well think that now is his best chance to take a huge gamble.

Is a second Great Northern War at all likely to happen? Who knows, but, as I said, I find it all too plausible given the recent past. It’s a possibility that cannot be responsibly ignored.

We have a little less than two years until (we hope) an American president takes office who is interested in foreign affairs and recognizes what needs to be done to protect our interests and the free world’s from predators such as Vladimir Putin.

Until then, sleep well!

Footnotes:
(1) Link courtesy of Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt newsletter of March 24th. And I want to thank Jim for the nightmares that gave me.
(2) Data from the SIPRI milex database.


(Video) Andrew Klavan on “Magical Leftist Thinking”

March 25, 2015

Been on a bit of a “staycation” this week: this Friday is a state holiday here in California (1), so I’ve taken today and tomorrow off to turn it into a five-day weekend. Ah, the life of the One Percent. smiley cool hey babe

As you can imagine, the urge to post frothing right-wing rants has been low. smiley snoring

I’ll have something good for y’all tomorrow, I promise, but, for now, here’s satirist Andrew Klavan to explain to us the wonders and mysteries of Leftist Magical Thinking:

Trouble is, the magic often turns out to be a curse. smiley worried

Footnote:
(1) In honor of Cesar Chavez, who fought for a farm workers union and was a strong opponent of illegal immigration.


The man, the moment: “Draft Biden” is on

March 23, 2015

Joe Biden

Come on, Democrats. You just know America is yearning for the chance to vote for four years of politics’ answer to Professor Irwin Corey.

John Fund at NRO:

Mark Halperin of Bloomberg News says the buzz is that “if Hillary Clinton fails, he’s the man.” The vice president himself is said to be scrambling for a way to somehow run for president a third time.

Joe Biden? When the next president is sworn in, he will be 74 years old, but that’s only the beginning of his problems. A creature of Washington since he was elected to the Senate at age 29, he personifies the bloviating Beltway that voters have come to loathe. Like the best of bloviators, he can be oblivious to his habit, telling GQ magazine in 2013: “I never speak about anything I don’t know a great deal about.”

But at other times, he can be insightful and revealing about his own career. He told an audience at a 2012 Democratic fundraiser in Chicago: “I never had an interest in being a mayor ’cause that’s a real job. You have to produce. That’s why I was able to be a senator for 36 years.”

Look, Ted Cruz has already declared he’s running a populist, “us against D.C.” campaign; so why not run the ultimate Washington insider against him, should Cruz win the nomination? Can you imagine the debates between them?? Blogging gold!

Fund, of course has to be a bit of a killjoy:

I don’t think Biden is stupid, but I do think he is unserious. Not unserious in quite the same way that Donald Trump is. After all, Trump usually knows when he is being outrageous — and acts in this way consciously to build his brand.

I fear Biden, if not serious, is at least sincere, both when he is on the stump and in the many policy meetings in Washington where he leaves attendees scratching there heads. If so, we should all worry.

Few modern politicians have unfairly vilified their opponents as often as Biden has. In 2012, Biden stood before a Virginia campaign crowd, about half of whom were African Americans, and said of Mitt Romney in a comic, down-home accent: “He is going to let the big banks once again write their own rules, unchain Wall Street. He is going to put y’all back in chains.” Even Willie Geist, a co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, put it bluntly: “If Paul Ryan, the Republican candidate, said that to an African American audience, there would be calls this morning for him to get out of the race, for Mitt Romney to withdraw from the race. There’s a double standard.” Biden refused to apologize, because he knew the media would let him get away with not doing so.

Just this month, Biden told a union audience that its adversaries were “intent on breaking unions” and wore “blackshirts,” a clear reference to the skull-crackers of Mussolini’s Fascist Italy. As media critic Jack Shafer noted in Politico: “Biden’s political provocation drew slim attention. The near-universal newsroom response seems to have been, It’s only Uncle Joe going off again.”

Yeah, Biden is a boor, and there is some reason to question, if not his intelligence, at least his grip on reality. But, as Fund points out, he’s currently polling better with Democrats than Elizabeth Warren. If Hillary falters, who can the Democrats going to turn to?

Ready for Hillary Joe?


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