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October 10, 2015 / 27 Tishri, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘weapons of mass destruction’

Israeli Security Cabinet Unanimously Rejects Iran Nuclear Deal

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Israel’s Security Cabinet unanimously rejected the nuclear deal signed Tuesday (July 14) with Iran, and declared “Israel is not bound by it.”

In a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Israel went on to say “The Joint Comprehensive Agreement reached between the P5+1 and Iran… impairs Israel’s national security.

“The agreement enables Iran to continue its significant enrichment of uranium far beyond any practical civilian needs…

“In placing partial constraints for a limited number of years and areas, the agreement in effect only postpones Iran’s achievement of military nuclear capability,” the statement continued. “When these limitations end, Iran will be able to increase its overall enrichment capacity significantly.

“The agreement does not adequately limit Iran’s research and development capabilities, particularly with regard to advanced centrifuges. In the case of “breakout” to a nuclear device, Iran could rely on its ability to enrich rapidly and covertly, shortening the time needed to produce a bomb.

“Iran already has the enrichment capability to produce a bomb. It also has the suitable means of delivery (ballistic missiles and advanced guided missiles.) Without limitations on its weaponization, the way is paved for Iran to assemble a bomb.

“The agreement curtails UN Security Council resolutions that imposed an arms embargo on Iran and restrictions on its ballistic missile capabilities. The outcome of such concessions could enable Iran to further develop its missile program and to enhance its conventional military capabilities.

“The agreement does not ensure a tight enough monitoring and verification mechanism. Iran has achieved its advanced nuclear capability covertly despite the IAEA’s safeguards mechanism, and will be able to continue deceiving, evading and concealing.

“As part of the economic benefits of the agreement, Iran will gain access to frozen funds (up to $150 billion). These funds will be used to increase Iran’s subversive activities in the region and its support of terror (including Hezbollah) against Israel and its neighbors, as well as to strengthen the rule of the Ayatollahs. Iran’s subversive activities in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen will only increase, as it will enjoy international legitimacy deriving from this agreement and an empowered status as a threshold nuclear state. “Nuclear capabilities in the hands of Iran are a game changer and will almost certainly spark a nuclear arms race that will undermine regional security in the Middle East.

“A nuclear Iran is a threat not only to Israel but also to the moderate countries in the Middle East and well beyond.”

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier came to the defense of the new agreement, saying Israel should take a “closer look” and “not criticize the agreement in a very coarse way.” Steinmeier told German broadcaster ARD in an interview, “In the agreement, Iran has to commit to these monitoring possibilities. And we will make sure that the monitoring possibilities are also observed after this deal.”

U.S. President Barack Obama also spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday in a phone conversation in which he reiterated America’s commitment to Israel’s security. He also told Netanyahu that Defense Secretary Ash Carter will travel to Israel next week, the White House told media in a statement following the call.

But the deep concern over the prospect of a nuclear arms race in the region is no fantasy to Israel’s neighbors, either — including those who live elsewhere in the Middle East.

In its first statement attributed to an “official source,” Riyadh said Saudi Arabia supported an agreement to stop Tehran gaining nuclear weapons but emphasized the importance of a strict inspections regime and the ability to reimpose sanctions. An earlier statement likewise underlined the issue of preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Obama Vows to ‘Walk Away’ From Bad Iranian Nuclear Deal

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama says he’ll “walk away” from a bad nuclear deal with Iran.

The U.S. -led delegation of six world powers have extended their deadline for negotiations with Tehran until July 7 to reach a deal on halting Iran’s nuclear development program.

In return, the United Nations would lift the crippling economic sanctions that have been imposed against the Islamic Republic for years.

Obama said there must be a “strong, rigorous verification mechanism” in place for monitoring Iran’s nuclear sites before he is willing to agree to a deal. He warned that his instructions to negotiators in Vienna – including Secretary of State John Kerry – have been “extremely clear.”

Any terms of the deal, he said, must block Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon – at least for the next decade.

“If they cannot, that’s going to be a problem because I’ve said from the start I will walk away from the negotiations if, in fact, it’s a bad deal” he told a joint news conference with visiting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

“If we can’t provide assurances that the pathways for Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon are closed, and if we can’t verify that – if the inspections regime, verifications regime, is inadequate, then we’re not going to get a deal,” Obama said.

“Ultimately, this is going to be up to the Iranians.”

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Monday that the current deal being negotiated between the world powers and Iran has gone “from bad to worse.”

In effect, he said, the deal will pave Iran’s way to being “not only a major power with one or two nuclear bombs, but with an unlimited arsenal within a decade with the possibility of achieving several atomic bombs beforehand, by violating the monitoring which, in any case, is full of holes.”

The current deal also gives Iran many billions of dollars, he said, “apparently hundreds of billions of dollars, within a short time.” Such an enormous amount of funding will allow Iran to finance its increasing aggression, Netanyahu pointed out.

The first goal, he said, would be to fund “the murderous stranglehold it is using around the State of Israel,” but he also noted there are “other parts of the Middle East that are subject to its aggression, such as Yemen, Iraq and many other places.

Iran Says No to Deal Without Immediate Lifting of Sanctions

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday that “unless all economic sanctions are lifted on the first day of the implementation of the agreement,” nothing would be signed with the P5+1, according to an Iranian PressTV report.

The statement was made during Iran’s Nuclear Technology Day, where Iran showed off their “nuclear achievements” and claimed they weren’t working towards a nuclear bomb.

Obama Mocks Netanyahu’s ‘Red Line’ Cartoon with Inaccurate Sketch

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

The White House Wednesday tweeted a diagram promoting the nuclear deal with Iran that directly ridiculed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s “red line” cartoon in the United Nations three years ago — but the White House version also was full of inaccuracies.

Netanyahu’s cartoon, which was headlined around the world, show a red near the top of a bomb to get across his point that “there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs and that is by placing a clear red line on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.”

Wise guys at the White House dreamed up a similar diagram with an opposite message and with the help of a blue line at the bottom of the bomb to illustrate that Iran has a zero chance of developing a nuclear bomb under the administration’s proposed deal.

“Under the framework for an Iran nuclear deal, Iran uranium enrichment pathway to a weapon will be shut down,” the chart reads.

There is one problem with the diagram. It is not true.

President Obama has actually bragged that Iran will be limited to “only” 6,000 centrifuges, all of which can produce uranium, which would be low-grade. The sketch accurately states that under the deal, there will be “no production or stockpile of highly enrich uranium.” Experts have said that 6000 centrifuges is enough to produce a bomb.

But a picture tells a thousand words, in and this case, they all are wrong because that little blue line clearly shows Iran would have “0%” enriched uranium, which is a lie.

The Obama administration’s diagram also claims that Iran would be 90 percent on the way to a bomb if there is no deal, but that statement only makes Netanyahu’s argument stronger as Iran is so close to achieving that, it could easily violate the deal and achieve its goal while the world argues about whether to impose stiff sanctions after the fact.

President Obama also admitted this week, that in just over a decade — with the deal, Iran would be able to get the bomb before anyone would even notice. The State Department tried to walk that one back.

Jacques Hymans, an associate professor of international relations at the University of Southern California and an expert on nuclear proliferation, told Vox.com last year:

As long as they have those centrifuges sitting there, the deal is really walking on thin ice.

Below is the White House’s latest gimmick to sell the nuclear deal with Iran.

The White House's inaccurate sketch.

The White House’s inaccurate sketch.



France Warns There’s ‘Insufficient Progress’ With Iran on Nuclear Deal

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

French Ambassador to the United Nations Francois Delattre told a meeting of the UN Security Council Tuesday that “insufficient” progress has been made towards a nuclear deal with Iran.

The UNSC session had been convened specifically to discuss the issue of UN sanctions on Iran.

“Iran must now make difficult choices if it truly wishes to regain the trust of the international community,” Delattre told ambassadors at the session.

Gaps still remain on the issues of sanctions and research and development, Reuters reported. Likewise, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in a briefing in Lausanne, Switzerland on Tuesday, that although there had been “substantial progress” in the talks, “important gaps remain… We have an opportunity to get this right,” he added, urging Iran to make the “fundamental decisions” that would prove its interest in peace, not nuclear weaponry.

But as Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu predicted in his speech to the U.S. Congress earlier this month, Iran’s behavior reflects anything but an interest in peaceful relations with the West.

An Iranian official scolded the director-general of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiyo Amano, for requiring unannounced inspections of its nuclear sites as part of its inspection protocols.

The request, which Amano contended would reassure the international community and restore Iran’s credibility, harmed negotiations between world powers and Tehran, said Iran nuclear spokesperson Behrouz Kamalvandi.

Iranian state television quoted Kamalvandi as saying, “It would be much better if Amano only talked about the IAEA’s seasonal and monthly reports.”

The deadline for the talks – conducted with Iran by the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — is set for March 31, with a final agreement to be tied up by June 30.

Syria Using Chemical Weapons: Will the US Act?

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

News item:

The Syrian regime has used lethal chemical weapons, mostly sarin gas, against armed rebels several times in the past few weeks, and is continuing to do so, the head of the Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence Research Branch, Brig. Gen. ltay Baron, said on Monday.

Baron said that photographs showing victims with foam coming out of their mouths and contracted pupils were signs that deadly gas had been used.

Speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, Baron confirmed that “to the best of its [the IDF’s] knowledge,” weapons of mass destruction had definitely been used by the Syrian regime, a development which the United States and others say they are still trying to determine.

In his briefing, Baron said the lack of an “appropriate international response” to the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons was “very worrying” and was leading Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his forces to believe that there were no consequences to their use of WMDs.

This follows on a report that appeared last week:

Britain and France have informed the United Nations that there is credible evidence that Syria has used chemical weapons on more than one occasion since December, according to senior diplomats and officials briefed on the accounts.

In letters to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the two European powers said soil samples, witness interviews and opposition sources support charges that nerve agents were used in and around the cities of Aleppo, Homs and possibly Damascus, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, expressed serious concern over evidence of chemical weapon use, but left open the possibility that it was the rebels that had used them. But there is no evidence that the rebels have control of such weapons, while there is plenty that the regime does and has been preparing to use them.

Chemical weapons are difficult to use effectively and so far have not lived up to their destructive potential. Huge quantities of poison gases like chlorine, phosgene and mustard gas were used during WWI, leading to perhaps 1,000,000 casualties and less than 100,000 fatalities — a horrendous number in absolute terms, but not when compared to the overall carnage. Iraq used mustard gas and nerve agents against Iran during their war in the 1980′s, causing perhaps 100,000 casualties and 20,000 immediate deaths.

There is something deeply terrifying about these weapons, even more so than the far more potent and dangerous nuclear bombs, which have the potential to kill millions in a single attack. It has been reported that Israel informed its enemies that it would consider nuclear retaliation in response to a chemical attack, and Egypt, Syria and Iraq — all of which had developed chemical warfare capability and had used it in other conflicts — apparently believed it, and did not employ them against Israel in several wars. Such is the power of deterrence.

Last August, President Obama said that the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Civil war would cross a “red line” that would bring about some form of active intervention by the U.S. and its allies:

“We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus,” Obama said. “That would change my equation. . . . We’re monitoring that situation very carefully. We have put together a range of contingency plans.”

The president’s remarks represented his strongest language to date on how the United States might respond to contain Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. In July, he warned that Assad would be “held accountable by the international community” if he made the “tragic mistake” of deploying chemical munitions.

Immediately afterwards, an anonymous official softened the statement a bit:

On Monday, an administration official said that Obama did not intend to flag any change in policy in his latest remarks and that the appetite for military intervention remains low.

Reflections on the Invasion of Iraq, a Decade Later

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

How does one understand the U.S.-led expeditionary force that attacked Iraq exactly a decade ago, on March 18, 2003?

Saddam Hussein’s regime was one of the most monstrous in human history, enslaving some 20 million people to his cruel and demanding will and, without provocation, attacking several of his neighbors (Iran and Kuwait especially, also Israel and Saudi Arabia). In addition, he aspired to dominate the worldwide oil & gas trade and tried to build nuclear weapons. One can hardly imagine a greater menace to civilized life.

The decade that followed has seen a return to the more mundane awfulness of the Middle East. Communal problems, political turmoil, Islamist growth, poor relations with neighbors, but at least no gassing of one’s own population, invading neighbors, or threats to the world economy. This is all anyone could have expected – except that George W. Bush naïvely convinced himself and others that Iraq could be free and prosperous and even a model for the region. He then led a trillion-dollar effort that cost thousands of lives and came up woefully short.

So, yes, Iraq and the world are better off with Saddam gone. But the high hopes of a rehabilitation by the U.S. government have been disappointed. This should offer a pointed lesson for future temptations to “nation build”: Western powers enjoy overwhelming battlefield superiority but face great difficulty when trying to shape other countries. Don’t try the latter unless the stakes are high enough and the will exists to see it through.

Originally published at Danielpipes.org and The National Review Online, The Corner, as “Reflection on the Invasion of Iraq,” March 18, 2013.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/the-lions-den-daniel-pipes/reflections-on-the-invasion-of-iraq-a-decade-later/2013/03/19/

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