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October 30, 2014 / 6 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘nuclear weapons’

What Will Happen Now with US Middle East Policy?

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Turkish Reader: Haven’t you understood yet that the US does not care about whether a Muslim country is ruled by Sharia [dictatorship] or by secular [democracy] law as long as that regime is pro-American? Isn’t this U.S. interests “über alles”?

Me: Yes I do care. First, no Islamist government is really going to be pro-American or pro-Western. Second, it won’t be good for that country’s people. Why should I feel differently to handing over Czechoslovakia to Nazi rule or Hungary to Communist rule than Turkey to Islamist rule?

Already there are starting to appear evaluations of what President Barack Obama’s second term will be like. I think that even though the Obama Administration doesn’t know or have a blueprint it is clear and consistent what the Middle East policy would be. It is a coherent program though as I say it is not necessarily fully or consciously thought out. The plan would be for a comprehensive solution which will leave the Middle East situation as a successful legacy of the Obama Administration.

There are three main themes of this plan, though as I say I’m not sure it has really taken shape. By 2016 they will all fail, and leave the West weaker.

The first is with Iran policy. The goal would be to “solve” the nuclear weapons’ issue by making a deal with Iran. One thing that is possible is that the Iranians just deceitfully build nuclear arms. The other that the will go up to the point when they can get nuclear weapons very quickly and then stop for a while. Probably either result will be hailed as a brilliant diplomatic victory for Obama.

This is how the nuclear deal is interpreted by Iran, in a dispatch from Fars new agency: “It seems that the Americans have understood this fact that Iran is a powerful and stable country in the region which uses logical and wise methods in confrontation with its enemies.” In other words America is an enemy of Iran that has backed down.

One thing Iran might get in a deal for “giving up””its nuclear ambitions would be something in Syria perhaps. It would probably look like this. It is possible that this deal would be in the shape of an unofficial partition of Syria, with the Bashar Assad regime surviving in 40 percent of the country including Aleppo and Damascus; another 40 percent would be controlled by a U.S.-backed rebels, mainly Muslim Brotherhood; and 20 percent would be a Kurdish autonomous area. I want to stress that I don’t believe that this would work and would in fact be the object of another Iranian stalling technique.and effort to gain total victory..

Iran wants primacy at least in the Shia world – meaning Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. It would just require Iranian patience if Iran is willing to devote extensive resources to this enterprise until it could seize the whole country. The U.S. probably won’t provide ground troops, which is understandable. And would the U.S. provide military and economic aid to an al-Qaida-Salafi-Muslim Brotherhood regime? At any rate the Iranians would either develop nuclear weapons or simply get to the point where they could if they wanted to and then stop, knowing that they could so at any time. Of course, this would relatively ignore Israel’s security needs.

And if a nuclear deal with Iran doesn’t materialize you can tell who will be blamed by an article named, “A Nuclear Deal With Iran Is Within Reach, If Congress Plays Its Part,”” in the prestigious magazine, Roll Call.

The second theme would be an illusion that it would be possible to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict as a two-state solution but actually moving toward the Palestinian real goal which is an Arab Palestine. Period. Regarding this issue it is probably that both sides would stall. Only Secretary of State John Kerry believes otherwise.

The Israeli side would mount a strategic retreat by gradual concessions hoping that the Obama Administration would end before too much damage was done. It is clear, for example, that prisoner releases, the granting of economic benefits and the entry of more laborers would be among the concessions given.Of course, this would also relatively ignore Israel’s security needs.

NYT Upset at Bibi – but They Won’t Say the Real Reason Why

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

The New York Times is not happy with Bibi:

Mr. Netanyahu has legitimate reasons to be wary of any Iranian overtures, as do the United States and the four other major powers involved in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. But it could be disastrous if Mr. Netanyahu and his supporters in Congress were so blinded by distrust of Iran that they exaggerate the threat, block President Obama from taking advantage of new diplomatic openings and sabotage the best chance to establish a new relationship since the 1979 Iranian revolution sent American-Iranian relations into the deep freeze.

Even though the Times admits that pretty much every fact Netanyahu brought up is accurate!

Mr. Rouhani and the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, have insisted repeatedly that Iran wants only to develop nuclear energy and that obtaining a nuclear weapon would harm the country’s security.

Even so, Iran hid its nuclear program from United Nations inspectors for nearly 20 years, and the country is enriching uranium to a level that would make it possible to produce bomb-grade nuclear material more quickly. It has also pursued other activities, like developing high-voltage detonators and building missiles that experts believe could only have nuclear weapons-related uses.

These facts make it hard not to view the upcoming American-brokered negotiations skeptically. But Mr. Netanyahu has hinted so often of taking military action to keep Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon that he seems eager for a fight.

Actually, the main thrust of Bibi’s speech was to not to start a war, but a warning against loosening sanctions in exchange for smiles and empty promises:

I have argued for many years, including on this podium, that the only way to peacefully prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons is to combine tough sanctions with a credible military threat. And that policy is today bearing fruit. Thanks to the effort of many countries, many represented here, and under the leadership of the United States, tough sanctions have taken a big bite out of Iran’s economy. Oil revenues have fallen. The currency has plummeted. Banks are hard pressed to transfer money. So as a result, the regime is under intense pressure from the Iranian people to get the sanctions removed. That’s why Rouhani got elected in the first place. That’s why he launched his charm offensive. He definitely wants to get the sanctions lifted, I guarantee you that, but he doesn’t want to give up Iran’s nuclear weapons program in return.

Now, here’s the strategy to achieve this:

First, smile a lot. Smiling never hurts. Second, pay lip service to peace, democracy and tolerance. Third, offer meaningless concessions in exchange for lifting sanctions. And fourth, and the most important, ensure that Iran retains sufficient nuclear material and sufficient nuclear infrastructure to race to the bomb at a time that it chooses to do so. You know why Rouhani thinks he can get away with this?…Because he’s gotten away with it before. 

The NYT cannot find any holes in Netanyahu’s logic. It cannot find any concrete concession that Rouhani is offering. Yet, against all known facts, it still insists that Rouhani is the moderate who must be given concessions to, and Bibi is the warmonger.

There is nothing wrong with speaking to and negotiating with Iran, but there is a great deal wrong with loosening sanctions in response to a smile.

So if the Times cannot find anything actually wrong with Bibi’s words, why are they so upset at him? The reason seems to be because he called them out for doing the exact same thing with North Korea:

Like Iran, North Korea also said its nuclear program was for peaceful purposes. Like Iran, North Korea also offered meaningless concessions and empty promises in return for sanctions relief. In 2005, North Korea agreed to a deal that was celebrated the world over by many well-meaning people. Here is what the New York Times editorial had to say about it: “For years now, foreign policy insiders have pointed to North Korea as the ultimate nightmare… a closed, hostile and paranoid dictatorship with an aggressive nuclear weapons program.

Very few could envision a successful outcome.

And yet North Korea agreed in principle this week to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, return to the NPT, abide by the treaty’s safeguards and admit international inspectors….Diplomacy, it seems, does work after all.”

A year later, North Korea exploded its first nuclear weapons device.

That’s the real reason the “Paper of Record” is so miffed – because Bibi mentioned its record of believing dictators on the threshold of nuclear weapons capability.

The truth hurts, so the NYT – instead of admitting its very real role in pressuring Washington to believe North Korea’s empty promises – is lashing out at the person who pointed it out.

This is behavior one would expect from a teenager who was caught in a lie, not from a newspaper whose entire reputation is dependent on accuracy.

The NYT’s choosing to ignore that part of Bibi’s speech explains a great deal about its nonsensical editorial that is at odds with facts.

Visit Elder of Ziyon.

Feiglin: Israel’s Strategy Against Iran has Collapsed

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Moshe Feiglin (Likud) believes that Israel’s strategy on how to deal with the Iranian nuclear threat has failed.

In a Facebook post Feiglin writes:

We saw it coming and now it is here.

Israel’s strategy against Iran – attempting to convince the world to deal with the nuclear issue instead of Israel – has collapsed.

Neither the US nor Europe will volunteer to defend Israel, while Israel has lost precious time and maneuvered itself into isolation.

Iran is free to proceed with its goal to destroy Israel – undisturbed, while the legitimacy for an Israeli preemptive strike has dissipated.

On Tuesday, we’ll see how Prime Minister Netanyahu deals with this latest Iranian challenge at the UN and the White House.

Netanyahu to Ministers: Keep Mum on Obama-Rouhani Call

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

On Saturday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered his government ministers not to grant media interviews on political issues. The order came 24 hours after the phone conversation between President Barack Obama and his Iranian counter part Hassan Rouhani as the latter was leaving the U.S.

Netanyahu ordered all his government ministers to cancel all their interview dates on radio and television tonight and tomorrow, and to avoid any public response to any of Rouhani’s remarks, and, more specifically, to avoid comments on the one-on-one phone conversation.

Media commentators in Israel have suggested that the PM wishes to avoid any domestic embarrassments on the eve of his meeting with Obama, with his own coalition members issuing statements that contradict his own.

Though more likely, with the situation as delicate and unstable as it is, Netanyahu probably has a strategy in mind in how to deal with these latest developments, including Obama’s surprising linkage of dealing with Iranian nuclear weapons to Israel’s forced capitulation to the Palestinian Authority, Rouhani’s, apparently successful, charm offensive, and an unreliable ally that has further destabilized the Middle East; Netanyahu simply doesn’t want his strategy derailed or undermined by a misspoken comment.

This was the first direct conversation between an American and an Iranian leader in 34 years. The conversation lasted 15 minutes, at the end of which Obama blessed Rouhani in Iranian with the word “Khodahafez”, which translates into “God should be with you”.

Rouhani tweeted the conversation to his followers.

Netanyahu is set to meet with Obama before his speech at the UN this week.

A commentator on Iran’s Press TV suggested the possible rapprochement between Iran and the U.S. was Netanyahu and the Israeli lobby in the United States nervous, that “you could fry an egg on the top of Netanyahu’s head at any given time during the day right now. He is absolutely furious.”

The commentator, Mark Glenn, said Netanyahu is so frustrated because he “did not get his war in Syria, he is not going to get his war in Iran and now you have got an American administration talking reasonably with the Iranians, first time it has happened over thirty years.”

What Netanyahu actually said about Rouhani’s UN speech was that “as expected, this was a cynical speech that was full of hypocrisy. Rouhani spoke of human rights even as Iranian forces are participating in the large-scale slaughter of innocent civilians in Syria. He condemned terrorism even as the Iranian regime is using terrorism in dozens of countries around the world. He spoke of a nuclear program for civilian purposes even as an IAEA report determines that the program has military dimensions and when any rational person understands that Iran, one of the most oil-rich nations, is not investing capital in ballistic missiles and underground nuclear facilities in order to produce electricity.”

Netanyahu added that “it is no coincidence that the speech lacked both any practical proposal to stop Iran’s military nuclear program and any commitment to fulfill UN Security Council decisions,” warning that “this is exactly Iran’s strategy – to talk and play for time in order to advance its ability to achieve nuclear weapons. Rouhani knows this well. He bragged that, a decade ago, he had succeeded in misleading the West so that while Iran was holding talks, it simultaneously advanced its nuclear program.”

“The international community must test Iran not by its words but by its actions,” Netanyahu insisted.

The Israeli delegation left the hall during Rouhani’s speech, in order not to “grant legitimacy to a regime that does not recognize the existence of the Holocaust and which publicly declares its desire to wipe the State of Israel off the map.”

Responding to a note of protest from Treasury Minister Yair lapid, who faulted the PM for ordering Israel’s diplomats to leave, Netanyahu said: “As the Prime Minister of Israel, the state of the Jewish people, I could not allow the Israeli delegation to be part of a cynical public relations ploy by a regime that denies the Holocaust and calls for our destruction.”

UN Rejects Arab Anti-Israel Nuclear Resolution

Friday, September 20th, 2013

The UN’s 159 member nuclear assembly voted down an Arab League non-binding resolution that singled out Israel for its alleged nuclear arsenal and demanded that Israel sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). There has been a recent attempt by the Arabs to use the focus on Syria’s use of chemical weapons as an excuse and an attempt to refocus the spotlight on Israel.

The resolution was voted down 51 countries to 43, the remaining countries abstained or were not present for the vote.

If it had passed, pressure would have been placed on Israel to sign the NPT and allow in IAEA inspectors.

Israel is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) as has not openly acknowledged if it has nuclear weapons or not. It is believed that Israel has more than 80 nuclear bombs.

Iran, which is a signatory to the NPT, is actively seeking to obtain nuclear weapons, has tricked IAEA inspectors, and has repeatedly stated that Israel should be destroyed.

The resolution failed to pass due to the efforts of the Israeli foreign ministry, the Prime Minister’s office, and the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission. For many, this is proof positive that it is possible to actively fight the anti-Israel resolutions that regularly single out Israel for attack in the UN.

 

 

Another Dark Day for America

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

I think it’s fair to say that Putin spit in Obama’s face yesterday, and then rubbed it in for good measure.

Just the other day, President Obama made a Clintonian-like statement regarding a possible intervention in Syria, “First of all, I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line.”

Um, except that Obama did set a red line.

On Aug. 20, 2012, Obama said, “We have been very clear to the Assad regime … that a red line for us is, we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.”

That’s a pretty pathetic attempt to extricate himself from a poorly thought out statement, but not unexpected anymore.

Obama painted himself into a corner, and he’s been trying to weasel his way out of it, ever since he realized that people were listening to what he said and trying to hold him to it.

And now Obama apparently believes that Putin has pulled his chestnuts out of the fire. Syria will (maybe) give up their chemical weapons. Russia and Iran(!) will be guarantors of the deal.

Of course, Putin wasted no time in using this victory to reposition Russia as the world’s new, undefied superpower. He announced he is going to complete the sale to Iran of the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles that he was forced to halt 3 years ago. He’s going to build another nuclear reactor in Iran. (And let’s not forget Snowden). Everything that America doesn’t (shouldn’t?) want to happen.

[ED: Putin is denying yesterday's reports that he will be completing the S-300 deal]

So, if you haven’t gotten the point yet, Obama just unilaterally demoted the US from being the sole global superpower. He just gave Iran a green light to do what they want without fear of reprisal, and he personally conceded world leadership to Vladmir Putin.

September 11 will once again go down in history as another dark day for America.

After the Holidays

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Wow. I just read Obama’s speech and watched the video for good measure.

I was wondering how Obama was going to sidestep his promise to attack Syria if they used chemical weapons, and here he managed to do so by simply saying he wants to spread the “accountability” onto the backs of the American people’s representatives – when they come back from their extended vacation, and the issue is no longer on everyone’s mind, and not so important anymore, because by then a few thousand more Syrians (on both sides) will have been killed, but only by mere conventional weapons this time. Besides, the decision isn’t really time sensitive anyway.

Obama started his speech saying that Syria is making a mockery of the global prohibition against chemical weapons, but instead, his entire speech made a mockery of himself, proving he can’t keep his word and can’t be trusted to not try to find a way to weasel out of his obligations, no matter how short-sided he was to obligate himself to them in the first place.

He may even doublespeak the world again in a few weeks time, saying Assad learned his lesson about American resolve, and therefore there is no reason to actually have to go through with an actual attack.

There’s only one lesson here, and that’s for Mr. Netanyahu.

Bibi, if you still think for one second that Obama will help Israel against Iran, or forget Israel, that Obama will protect his other Middle East allies, much less the rest of the world, including the U.S., from a nuclear Iran, you are completely mistaken.

Iran now knows it can go full steam ahead with no consequences.

(Though I do admit, Obama will go tougher on Israel than on Syria or Iran, if we disrupt his grand plans of creating a Palestinian state for Hamas to take over).

Obama was dumb to promise to attack in the first place if chemical weapons were used, and is now even dumber to not follow through with it – even with a symbolic strike across the proverbial bow.

(He may still have to take some action in a month or two because of congressional pressure, but he will do so saying, “Wasn’t me, they made me do it”.)

If you’re negotiating with the Arabs in Ramallah, because you are relying on some empty promise by Obama regarding Iran – please stop now.

Yes, Obama says he is prepared to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program. He’s prepared to give the order. He believes he has the authority to do so.

But the truth is, he will want to have a debate on it first. For the good of the country.

Sometime after the holidays.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/muqata/after-the-holidays/2013/09/01/

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