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June 28, 2016 / 22 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘nuclear’

New Book Draws Parallels Between Cold War and Israel, Iran, Nuclear Tensions

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

History doesn’t need to repeat itself – not when leaders and citizens understand and apply the lessons of the past. That’s the position of information systems expert, researcher and author Ozzie Paez. His recently published “Decision Making in a Nuclear Middle East” uses the Cold War as a template for understanding the risks of nuclear conflict in the Middle East if Iran becomes a nuclear power.

“The Cold War was not as ‘cold’ as many remember,” explains Paez. “More than once, the world came to the brink of catastrophe. Military and political leaders routinely made decisions in environments of high uncertainty, sometimes taking reckless risks with the lives of millions. Even lower ranking military officers sometimes faced tough decisions that could have led to a nuclear exchange. If you are among the many, including politicians, academics and policy makers, who believe that the Cold War turned out as it was destined and that history suggests a similar outcome for a nuclear Middle East, then this book should give you pause.”

Decision Making in a Nuclear Middle East: Lessons from the Cold War (PRNewsFoto/Ozzie Paez)

Decision Making in a Nuclear Middle East: Lessons from the Cold War

Amazon reviewer M E Niehoff agrees with Paez’s analysis, comparing the mutual deterrence mindset of the USSR and USA during the cold war and the “spatial and timing realities of a nuclear conflict in the Middle East. He concludes (and I agree),” Niehoff notes, “that mutual deterrence is not a valid concept for the Middle East. … It appears that unless current nuclear armed countries come together and take a unified hard line against nuclear proliferation in the world (probably very unlikely), eventual nuclear conflict may be inevitable.”

“Decision Making in a Nuclear Middle East” takes an “operational” view of history, and includes documents and interviews with key players from the Cold War. With the release of many classified materials from that era, it’s now possible to objectively assess the conditions and decision making processes behind pivotal nuclear crisis in hot spots like Korea, Berlin and Cuba.  They can help us put in context the emerging nuclear standoff in the Middle East and its implications for millions of lives in the region and beyond.

Amazon reviewer Ben Gilad notes that, “Ozzie’s analysis of the nuclear Middle East is based on a novel application of ‘benchmarking’ – a technique used in business to compare best practices. Dissecting the Soviet-US Cold War nuclear deterrence history with great clarity. … Paez shows how fickle and unreliable mutual deterrence can be in the Middle East context. This is one of […] if not the most insightful, concise, clear-eyed analysis I’ve read about the Middle East’s fragile balance of power.”

Paez is also the author of “Going Nuclear: The Influence of History and Hindsight on the Iranian Nuclear Negotiations.” His upcoming book, “Informed Decision Makers—And Other Myths and Fallacies,” will address informed decisions across time and industries to illustrate the challenges and possibilities inherent to information driven environments.

David Israel

Key Obama Adviser: We Misled Nation To Sell Iran Nuclear Deal

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

A lengthy New York Times Magazine profile of Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, portrays him as a spinmeister contemptuous of the foreign policy establishment who fed credulous journalists a misleading narrative to sell the Iran nuclear deal to the American people.

According to writer David Samuels, Rhodes oversaw a “war room” whose task was to sell the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to Congress ahead of crucial votes last fall that failed to kill the agreement.

“In the spring of last year, legions of arms-control experts began popping up at think tanks and on social media, and then became key sources for hundreds of often-clueless reporters,” Samuels wrote.

“We created an echo chamber,” he quoted Rhodes as admitting. “They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”

According to Samuels’s piece, the strategy included the White House’s TheIranDeal Twitter feed. Rhodes used groups like the Ploughshares Fund, which advocates the elimination of nuclear weapons and lobbied for the JCPOA.

“We drove them crazy,” Samuels quotes Rhodes as saying of the opponents of the nuclear deal.

Samuels wrote that Rhodes does not think much of the journalists the war room was using to spread its narrative: “The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns,” Rhodes was quoted as telling him. “They literally know nothing.”

According to the article, the administration put out a deliberately misleading narrative about the way the nuclear negotiations came about, linking them to the rise in 2013 of the “moderate” President Hasan Rouhani at the expense of “hardliners,” ushering in a supposedly new political reality in Iran.

In fact in 2012 State Department director of policy planning Jake Sullivan – a close aide of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – began holding talks with the Iranians in Oman and elsewhere, and he and Deputy Secretary of State William Burns drew up the framework of what would eventually become the JCPOA three months before the election that brought Rouhani to office.

Obama was known by insiders to have wanted to make a deal with Iran from the beginning of his presidency in 2009, but the idea that the rise of “moderates” provided the opportunity was “largely manufactured for the purpose for selling the deal,” Samuels wrote.

Samuels argued that the misleading narrative was useful for the administration.

“By obtaining broad public currency for the thought that there was a significant split in the regime, and that the administration was reaching out to moderate-minded Iranians who wanted peaceful relations with their neighbors and with America, Obama was able to evade what might have otherwise been a divisive but clarifying debate over the actual policy choices that his administration was making,” he wrote.

He characterized the approach as part of a broader strategy – helping the U.S. to extricate itself from existing regional alliances with countries like Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Turkey, with the ultimate goal of U.S. “disengagement from the Middle East.”

It’s an objective, Samuels said, that Rhodes – a determined critic of the Iraq war – views with a sense of “urgency.”

The profile depicts Rhodes as being comfortable in spinning the issue to the American people.

“I mean, I’d prefer a sober, reasoned public debate, after which members of Congress reflect and take a vote,” Samuels quotes Rhodes as telling him. “But that’s impossible.”

Rhodes holds a dim view of the foreign policy establishment, according to Samuels, referring to it contemptuously as “the Blob,” and including in that grouping Hillary Clinton; Obama’s first defense secretary Robert Gates; and “editors and reporters at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker and elsewhere.”

Patrick Goodenough

U.S. to Buy Heavy Water from Iran

Monday, April 25th, 2016

The United States has cut a deal with Iran to purchase heavy water from the Islamic Republic, according to a report posted on the Hezbollah-linked Al Manar website.

The report quoted PressTV as saying Iran will sell 32 metric tons of heavy water to the U.S.

Heavy water is used in certain types of nuclear reactors, where it acts as a neutron moderator to slow down neutrons so they are more likely to react with the fissile uranium-235 than with uranium-238, which captures neutrons without fissioning.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs, Abbas Araqchi told PressTV in Vienna on Friday the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran reached an agreement on the sale with a U.S. company before a joint commission meeting between Iran and the P5+1 group.

The agreement was reportedly signed following three months of negotiations.

Hana Levi Julian

World Leaders Warn ISIS Plans Nuclear Drone Attack

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

World leaders are warning their nations that Da’esh (ISIS) plans to use drones to drop radioactive material on cities in a “dirty bomb” attack.

U.S. President Barack Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and world leaders including the presidents of France and China met Friday over the issue.

U.S. officials presented a scenario at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington D.C. earlier last week that described the danger in detail. The scenario described radioactive material being taken from a medical facility by “insiders” and sold to terrorists via the “dark web” on the Internet.

ISIS is believed to have seized around 90 pounds of low grade uranium in 2014 from Mosul University in Iraq, according to a report Friday by The Telegraph.

At a news briefing in Washington D.C. after the event, Cameron told reporters, “So many summits are about dealing with things that have already gone wrong. This is a summit about something we are trying to prevent.

“The issue of nuclear security and the security of nuclear materials, particularly when it comes to the problems of international terrorism, the concept of terrorists and nuclear materials coming together – which is obviously a very chilling prospect. And something in the light of the Belgian attacks, we know is a threat that is only too real.

“That’s the point of being here and that action Britain has taken with America, very much giving a lead on nuclear security, and the security of nuclear sites, transport and materials.”

Footage exists that reportedly shows ISIS terrorists using drones for the purpose, The Telegraph reported. It was deemed so serious that world leaders were asked to participate in war games Friday to plan a strategy in how to respond to such an attack.

Hana Levi Julian

North Korea Blows Up Capitol Hill in New Video [video]

Monday, March 28th, 2016

Pyongyang is again obsessed with blowing up the American capital in a cloud of nuclear haze, on the video screen.

North Korea released its latest propaganda mini-film over the weekend, showing an ‘exciting’ nuclear attack on Washington DC.

Entitled “Last Chance,” the four-minute video released Saturday shows a submarine-launched nuclear missile that lays waste to Washington. The footage shoots through the history of U.S.-Korean relations, including images from the Korean War, the capture of U.S. surveillance ship Pueblo in 1968, and the first international nuclear crisis with Korea in the early 1990s.

The video reaches a sequence that shows a missile flying through the clouds, then swerving back to Earth and piercing the ground in front of the Lincoln Memorial in the American capital.

In the ensuing explosion, the U.S. Capitol building is dramatically destroyed, with a message then flashing on the screen in Korean: “If U.S. imperialists budge an inch toward us, we will immediately strike them with nukes.”

The video, posted to the DPRK Today website, concludes with the American flag in flames.

This is not the first such video released by North Korea, a nation apparently unable to resolve its issues other than with digital violence, arms sales to terrorists and video threats to world powers.

Pyongyang has been working hard to develop intercontinental ballistic missile (IBM) capability, particularly a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) that can carry a nuclear warhead.

A similar video was uploaded to the Internet in 2013, with the White House targeted in the crosshairs and once again, the U.S. Capitol going up in the flames of an explosion.

The country then threatened South Korea with a “merciless military strike.”

For weeks, leader Kim Jong-un’s military leaders have been escalating the belligerent public rhetoric following the annual joint military drills by South Korea and the United States.

This year’s war games were even bigger, in response to North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket in February, and its nuclear test at the start of the year.

In particular, this year’s games included special drills that honed the skills needed for an operation to neutralize North Korea’s top leadership if need be.

Kim Jong-un has taken those drills personally. Last Thursday he presided over a long-range artillery drill simulating an attack on the Seoul office and residence of South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

On Saturday the KCNA published a statement by the “Reconciliation Council” calling the South Korean president “dog like,” a “dirty old woman” and “chicken-like” among other epithets that are not printable on this website.

The North Korean leader demanded hours later she apologize via the artillery section of the Korean People’s Army (KPA), and “punish” those who formulated the new operation simulation. Pyongyang is unhappy with the international sanctions imposed on North Korea that followed its rocket and nuclear tests earlier in the year, though it was warned they would come in response.

Hana Levi Julian

North Korea Announces Successful Hydrogen Bomb Test

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

North Korea announced Wednesday it has successfully tested a minaturized hydrogen bomb.

“The republic’s first hydrogen bomb test has been successfully performed at 10:00 am on January 6, 2016,” a news anchor announced on North Korean state television.

So far there has been no independent confirmation of the news; but if confirmed, this will be North Korea’s fourth nuclear test since 2006. The country apparently also tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile late last month, South Korean officials told the BBC. This test was also a followup to a similar test performed in May 2015.

Prior to the test, North Korean media broadcast a statement contending Pyongyang “deserved to hold nuclear weapons … to counter nuclear threats by the United States.”

A new threat to the United States and others The ability to launch a missile from a submarine radically changes the warning time of an attack for residents of the U.S. West Coast, among others.

It also changes the calculation of military response – not only for the United States, but for all Western nations considered “enemies” of North Korea.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports the epicenter of a quake was detected at 10:00 Pyongyang time (01:30 GMT) in the northeast of the country.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has already called it a “serious threat to the safety of his nation” and said flatly that it could not be tolerated.

South Korea warned it is a “serious challenge to global peace,” adding that it also a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Wednesday’s test was expected to prompt worldwide condemnation and possibly economic and political sanctions, which followed the nuclear test in 2013.

More powerful than an atomic bomb A hydrogen bomb is more powerful than the standard atomic bomb, such as that which was used by the United States at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The weapon was first developed by the U.S. in 1952, and packs more explosive power for far less weight. Powered by nuclear fission, such a bomb involves fusion of lighter elements – hydrogen isotopes — into heavier elements that form a chain reaction.

Also known as a thermo-nuclear bomb, an H-bomb has less radioactive fallout. Another advantage of the H-bomb is that it is much smaller than an atomic bomb – it can be as small as a few feet in length.

North Korea shares with Iran Hydrogen bombs can be fit into warheads on ballistic missiles.

This is precisely the problem with North Korea, which has been testing its latest ballistic missile.

An additional problem is North Korea’s willingness to share its nuclear technology with Iran.

In the past, North Korea has also shared its weaponry with Syria. Some of those weapons have found their way to terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

New danger to the Middle East A new danger now exists, resulting from the capture by Da’esh (ISIS) of territory from Hezbollah and other fighters supporting the Syrian regime.

In this manner, Da’esh has already begun to build its air force with the equipment of other nations, including Iraq, Syria, Russia and the U.S.

North Korea has in the past shared its nuclear technology, and some of its nuclear hardware, with Syria. It is unclear what – if anything – is still left from that era in the region; but whatever is there will be collected by Da’esh.

Whatever North Korea chooses to share with Iran and its proxy terror groups going forward may also eventually find its way to Da’esh as well.

Did the H-bomb pass the test? It is not clear whether North Korea’s test was successful or not this time around, regardless of what its government announced.

Hana Levi Julian

France Demands Details From IAEA On Iranian Nuclear Activities

Monday, November 30th, 2015

France has demanded the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency do its job, and provide all the information in its possession – with the “necessary detail” – on whether Iran has carried out work on nuclear weapons of mass destruction in the past.

According to a statement Monday by the French Foreign Ministry, Paris is especially concerned that the issue of Iran’s past nuclear activities will not be addressed properly.

“France with interest will become aware of this report this week,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Romain Nadal in a news briefing.

“We are expecting that the IAEA provides with the necessary detail all the information it possesses.”

A final assessment by IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano “on all past and present outstanding issues described in [his] November 2011 report” is expected sometime this week.

Amano told the UN’s nuclear monitoring agency at the meeting of its board of governors the IAEA could not “provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran” and and it was not possible to “conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”

The report is likely to tip the balance toward either lifting international economic sanctions – as provided in the nuclear deal negotiated in Vienna this summer – or retracting that agreement if any of the parties, France included, are dissatisfied with evidence of work on atomic weapons.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/france-demands-details-on-iranian-nuclear-activities/2015/11/30/

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