Ben Sasse (R-NE) on the Iran negotiations: the administration is “explicitly tolerating a renegade nuclear program”

February 25, 2015

The junior senator from Nebraska nails it in this video. Unlike our administration, he seems to have a clear understanding of both the ramifications of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons and the Obama administration’s feckless, delusional approach. Well worth watching:

via Fred Fleitz, who writes:

Obama officials defend their approach to the nuclear talks because they claim a final deal will be subject to robust verification by IAEA inspectors. This argument is hard to take seriously since Iran has never fully cooperated with the IAEA and has specifically refused to cooperated with IAEA inspectors during the talks and cheated on the interim agreement which set up the talks.Moreover, yesterday’s revelations (if they are true) by the NCRI, an Iranian dissident group, that Iran has been operating a secret facility where it has been developing advanced uranium centrifuges and may be enriching uranium adds to the suspicion that Tehran cannot be trusted with any dual-use nuclear technology.

It’s a shame Senator Sasse isn’t leading the negotiations, rather the buffoonish John Kerry.


Gaza air raids a message from Israel to Iran

July 10, 2014
x

Memo to the mullahs

Photo credit: PressTV

For the last three days, Israel has been launching air raids against Hamas targets in Gaza in retaliation for the murder of three Israeli teens (one an American citizen) and the hundreds of rockets fired at Israelis towns and cities — and at a nuclear plant. (1)

But Hamas isn’t the sole target of these attacks. Writing at National Review, analyst Tom Rogan points out that Iran and its increasingly likely acquisition of nuclear weapons, and the destabilizing consequences of that for the region, are very much on Jerusalem’s mind, even as they battle Hamas. And so the heavy air assaults on Gaza are also a message to Tehran:

Meeting Hamas and [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] rocket teams with decisive force, Netanyahu hopes to signal Israel’s unwillingness to cede its traditional security supremacy. This intent is encapsulated in Israel’s mobilization of ground-force deployments: Netanyahu seems determined to take major risks in pursuit of grand strategic objectives (in this case, the military dismemberment of Hamas). Nevertheless, Israeli operations in Gaza aren’t solely about damaging Hamas. They’re also about broadcasting specific capabilities. In this regard, the scale of Israel Defense Forces air sorties in Gaza has been notable. Advertising its conducting of hundreds of missions each night, the IDF is demonstrating its capability for large-scale operations: the kind of air campaign necessary to attack Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Here, Netanyahu wants Iran to understand his willingness to gamble — even at potentially high cost. By extension, Netanyahu is also warning U.S., European, and Russian diplomats that he won’t accept any deal with Iran that he regards as weak.

Emphasis added.

It would be much better for the region and the world if this message were sent in conjunction with American and European efforts to encourage and support the opposition to the mullahcracy, a brittle, vulnerable regime that fears its own people. What worked against the Soviet empire –a clear willingness to defend oneself coupled with measures to support dissidents– would surely work here.

But, as our foreign policy under Obama is a feckless wreck that sees a diminution of American power as something desirable, while administration officials simultaneously urge restraint on Israel and praise allies of Hamas, Prime Minister Netanyahu is left on his own to make sure Ayatollah Khamenei gets the message loud and clear:

“Don’t push us.”

PS: Yes, a Palestinian teen was murdered, probably in retaliation for the killing of the three Jewish teens. But note the difference: the evening of the day the boy’s body was found, Netanyahu was publicly denouncing the killing and calling for a swift investigation. Six Jewish Israelis have been arrested as suspects, and the nation is horrified. What was the reaction in Hamas-controlled Gaza to the kidnapping of the three Jewish teens? People handed out candy in celebration. You tell me who the real savages are.

Footnote:
(1) Unbelievably idiotic. Last I checked, radioactive fallout didn’t discriminate between Muslim and Jew.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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)


Kerry: Nuke deal doesn’t give Iran right to enrich; Iran: World recognized our right to enrich

November 24, 2013

This is an awful deal that, at best, kicks an eventual confrontation down the road a ways. Not quite Munich, but a feckless diplomacy of a weak administration has made war more likely, not less.


North Korea caught smuggling missiles though Panama Canal?

July 16, 2013
"I've got some bad news, boss..."

“I’ve got some bad news, boss…”

Couldn’t be. I’m sure there’s an innocent explanation:

A mystery with potential international ramifications is unfolding in Panama, where authorities discovered military equipment hidden inside a North Korean-flagged ship that originated in Cuba.

Cuba has long been at odds with the United States, and North Korea is banned by the United Nations from importing and exporting most weapons because of its nuclear ambitions. Suspicions were further raised when the ship’s captain suffered an apparent heart attack, and then tried to commit suicide, Panama’s president said.

These facts were sufficiently intriguing for President Ricardo Martinelli to travel to the port and examine the ship himself.

The president tweeted a photo of what he saw — a green octagon-shaped tube with a cone at its end and another similar-looking piece of equipment behind it.

Is it a missile, a reported asked?

“Maybe,” Martinelli said. “I am not familiar with that, but it would be good if such things didn’t pass through Panama, which is a country that loves peace and not war.”

The Panamanians originally became suspicious when they heard there was a load illegal drugs on the ship (North Korea regularly raises money through the drug trade). Boarding the ship, instead of heroin under all those bags of brown sugar, they found something a lot more worrisome. President Martinelli has asked the UN to examine the cargo to determine what it really is (I suppose they could be massive cigar humidors), but you can bet the CIA will be all over it, too, working quietly in the background. Don’t be surprised of this cargo spends a long time in a Panamanian warehouse because of “customs irregularities”  –long enough for us to dismantle and examine the missiles– before the rest of the cargo and the ship are released back to North Korea. This happens whenever the weapons of one power fall into the hands of another.

(And can you imagine what will happen to that crew when they do get back to North Korea? Consider this guy’s fate.)

Aside from the likely intelligence boon for us, though, this discovery raises several questions: Where were the missiles headed? North Korea? Iran? What was Cuba’s role: a transit point, or are they cooperating with the Norks on missile development, something that would concern us greatly? How long has this been going on, and is anyone else, such as Cuba’s client Venezuela, in on the operation?

This incident has given us a brief glimpse of the deadly-serious game being played behind the scenes between the United States and its adversaries, something we don’t often see because the MSM is covering what’s truly important, such as Kim Kardashian’s baby and Wendy Davis’ shoes. It’s a game the other side is playing for keeps.

Which makes it a good thing we have President Lead-From-Behind in charge.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Good news! Another Islamist government wants ICBMs! Huzzah!

July 25, 2012

Via Claire Berlinski, in case you were sleeping too easy at night:

The Turkish Armed Forces have begun working on a project to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), broadcaster NTV reported on its website today. 
 
A decision to launch the project was made in a July 17 meeting of the Defense Industry Executive Board, headed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel. Erdoğan had previously requested that the military develop missiles with a 2,500-kilometer range.
 
The board decided to form a satellite launch center that would have a two-fold effect on Turkey’s aerospace and military endeavors. First, the center will enable Turkey to place its own satellites in orbit, and second, the center will allow the Turkish military to launch missiles that can navigate outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. Attaining an ICBM launch capability is reportedly the chief aim of the satellite launch center.

Far from being the moderate Muslim leader the Obama administration fools itself into believing he is, Prime Minister Erdogan, head of an openly Islamist party, is Antisemitic, anti-American, anti-democratic, and an Islamic supremacist.

And he wants ICBMs. If anyone wants to bet that he and his supporters will refrain from trying to tip those with nuclear warheads, you’re on.

The Turkish sultan was for centuries also the Islamic caliph, spiritual leader of the world’s Muslims, and the revival of the caliphate is the dream of Islamists, everywhere.  A Turkish leader with nuclear missiles would have a strong claim on the leadership of a new caliphate, one that would have a hard time resisting the call to jihad.

There are regional geopolitical issues to worry about, too. Iran has its own nuclear and missile program and, while Iran and Turkey currently enjoy cordial relations as fellow Islamic supremacists, they have been rivals for hundred of years, fighting several wars with each other over influence in the Middle East and Central Asia. Those rivalries are buried, not dead, and Turkey has reason to want nukes if Iran gets them, too. And with its former province of Syria falling into chaos, Turkey is in a position to extend its influence over its ancient dominions in the Fertile Crescent. Possession of nuclear missiles would give it an edge over Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The same can be said with regard to Russia and the belt of Turkic language speakers ranging from Europe to China, over which Turkey has long dreamed of exerting influence and leadership. Much of this area used to be part of the Russian Empire and the USSR, and Moscow still thinks of it as its “sphere of influence.” Who wouldn’t want to see a nuclear-armed and angry Russia squared off against a newly-nuclear, inspired-by-jihad Turkey?

It’s been said that, if Iran gets nuclear weapons, other nations in the region will rush to get their own. That goes double if both Tehran and Ankara get the Big Firecrackers.

Sleep well, and hope that the next administration revives our missile defense program.

UPDATE: Think I’m exaggerating about Erdogan’s Islamism? Check out who’s visiting him at home.

(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)


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