Tag Archives: Iran

Waivers Render Executive Order A Toothless Tiger

President Barack Obama signed into law the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA.) on July 1, 2010.  The law’s purpose was to convince the Iranian Government to comply with its full range of nuclear obligations, and engage in constructive negotiations on the future of its nuclear program.

On November 21, 2011, Obama signed Executive Order (EO) 13590. That EO called for sanctions on ANY entity (see Section 5) doing business with Iran, specifically buying Iranian oil. The sanctions were designed to affect financial institutions that conduct transactions with Iran’s central bank for the sale or purchase of petroleum and related products.

On April 26, 2012, Kenneth Katzman, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs at the Congressional Research Service, provided “Sanctions Targeting Foreign Energy Involvement in Iran: The Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), CISADA, and a November 2011 Executive Order” for Congress. In his report, Katzman says, “The President has had the authority under ISA to waive sanctions if he certifies that doing so is important to the U.S. national interest. CISADA changed the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) waiver standard to ‘necessary’ to the national interest.” (page 6)

Well, I guess issuing waivers has, in Obama’s mind, become necessary. In an announcement largely overshadowed by the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday, June 28, 2012, that the Obama administration was exempting China from sanctions called for in EO 13590 for continuing to buy Iran’s oil.

China’s imports of Iranian oil did decline substantially between January and May, 2012. The decline was attributed to a contract dispute between China’s state-controlled Sinopec and Iran’s National Iranian Oil Co. But when that dispute was resolved, China’s imports of Iranian crude rose again by 34.5 percent. Coincidence? You decide.

House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R – FL) said, “The administration likes to pat itself on the back for supposedly being strong on Iran sanctions. But actions speak louder than words, and today the administration has granted a free pass to Iran’s biggest enabler, China, which purchases more Iranian crude than any other country.”

Since March, 2012, a total of twenty waivers have been granted, including top Iran customers China, Japan, India, South Korea and Italy.

The signing of EO 13590 was widely covered by the MSM, predicting the new sanctions reflect an increasingly Trans-Atlantic response to Iran. The MSM predicted an expansion of the reach of existing sanctions and their potential impact on companies worldwide that interact with Iran’s financial and petroleum sectors. But with granting of waivers, EO 13590 has become a “toothless tiger,” a fact that the MSM has chosen to ignore.

But that’s just my opinion.

Please visit RWNO, my personal web site.

Fundraise and Fore! obama’s Answer to World Events

Israel issued warnings over security problems with Egypt. Militants from the Sinai Peninsula crossed over into southern Israel Monday and fired on a border security fence, killing one Israeli. The IDF moved tanks and other armed forces to the Israel-Egypt border in response to the attack. Egypt is on the offensive against Israel.

Egypt’s presidential election results lean towards victory for Mohammed Morsi, the radical Islamist Muslim Brotherhood candidate. Thanks at least in part to vocal White House support for the “Arab Spring”, which ushered the Muslim Brotherhood to Egypt’s presidency, Egypt is now likely to be more inclined towards acting offensively towards Israel.

Russia’s General Staff announced Russian Black Sea fleet warships may head for Syria, saying: “The Mediterranean Sea is a zone of the Black Sea Fleet responsibility. Hence, warships may go there in the case it is necessary to protect the Russian logistics base in Tartous, Syria”. Several warships, including large landing ships are ready for deployment. Russia supports Syria, an active agent for radical Ismanists in Iran, who also just happen to support the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Russia exerts new influence in the Middle East while Russia’s President Vladimir Putin plays the White House like a fiddle.

The Euro survived over the weekend after a close call in Greek elections. Early market euphoria on Monday diminished when persistent uncertainty over the situation in Spain, Italy and other eurozone countries resurfaced. Despite Greece’s election result easing fears that the single currency will disintegrate, indications that Greece will run out of money in mid-July stalled initial market optimism. Multiple countries in Europe are now in economic decline after decades of following Socialist policies.

In France, Socialist President Francois Hollande was given a mandate to follow through with his tax-and-spend agenda when France’s Socialists won control of parliament on Sunday. Hollande now has the majority he needs to combat France’s debt crisis by following the very formula that created a debt crisis in France, Greece, Spain, Italy and the rest of the eurozone.

Meanwhile, in an address to the UN sustainability conference in Rio, Great Britain’s Prince Charles issued warnings about climate change. In a pre-recorded speech the Prince declared: “Catastrophic consequences of carrying on with ‘business-as-usual’ are bearing down on us faster than we think, already dragging many millions more people into poverty and dangerously weakening global food, water and energy security for the future”. The Prince then went on to say: “We do not have nearly enough knowledge on which to base the decisions that will be the best for the long term.” So, which is it? Either “we do not have nearly enough knowledge on which to base the decisions that will be the best for the long term” or we know enough to say “many millions more people” have to worry about poverty, food, water and energy security. You can’t have it both ways, “your majesty”.

In America, Al Gore cashed in on the hysteria he and his fellow climate change propagandists created when New York city Comptroller John Liu OK’d a $16.56 million contract with Generation Investment Management, the former vice president’s environmentally friendly investment firm. Generation Investment Management will help manage New York City pension funds to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Given the track record of green energy capital investments, New York City pension funds are going to be another candidate for a taxpayer funded federal bailout. As with any investment management company, Generation Investment Management will earn their fees no matter what happens to the funds they invest. Apparently it pays to be a global warming alarmist. Perhaps Prince Charles fears the British Monarchy faces pending austerity measures and is just trying to get on the global warming gravy train.

Over the past three and a half years while current world events were taking shape, the White House has been spending money it does not have ala Socialist Europe. All the while enacting another big government socialist “entitlement” program to “nudge” Americans towards European style government dependency.

They championed bureaucratic violations of the free exercise of religion, using the presidential bully pulpit and complicit media lapdogs to convince uninformed voters that it was really a Republican attack on women’s healthcare.

Drones and unmanned airplanes began spying on private property in America’s heartland to ensure American Citizens are complicit with stifling new draconian EPA regulations. An EPA that is now attempting to redefine ditches as bodies of water in order to grant itself additional regulatory power.

Exceeding the Oval Office’s Constitutional and statutory authority to give work visas to a hand picked group of illegal aliens was deemed more important than creating a business friendly, jobs creating economic environment for American Citizens and legal immigrants.

This coming from an administration that pledged in 2008 that it would cut the federal deficit in half by the end of its first term. Instead, the size of the federal government, federal spending and the deficit are all at record high levels. The U.S. national debt has increased by over $5 trillion in less than four years, and after surviving WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, the economic disaster that was Jimmy Carter’s presidency and the global financial crash of 2008, the United States of America’s credit rating has been downgraded.

Insinuating his name into the online biographies of former Presidents and releasing a photo-montage of himself in his “private moments” became priorities, as did attending a record number of fund raising events and playing 100 rounds (and counting) of golf. Never mind that David Axelrod, his 2012 re-election campaign chief, called former President George W. Bush “out of touch” for playing golf while the country struggled with a bad economy.

That’s what his deep-pocketed out of touch with reality millionaire and billionaire Hollywood elite friends expect from their “cool” friend in the White House. To be truly “cool”, one must be seen as being above it all.

America and the world will be better off once the current Chief Executive of the United States begins spending his days playing golf full time as a former government employee.

God Save the Queen.

http://mjfellright.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/fundraise-and-fore-obamas-answer-to-world-events/

Egypt: Broken, Unfulfilled Promises and Wild Cards

Facing a divisive run-off vote for president of Egypt, Mohammed Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, is trying for the center ground. He’s said he would include a wide range of political forces in government, promising to provide representation to women and children. “I stress to all people that the presidency… will never be individual,” he said. “Rather, the presidency will be an institution.”

Mursi also tried to reassure the uprising’s youth group leaders, saying he wanted a “democratic, civil, and modern state” including freedom of religion and a right to protest. “There will not be emergency law, and there will be no arrests,” he said. “Youths are free, but they should bear part of the responsibility.”

Mursi added that Coptic Christians would be named as presidential advisers and even one as vice-president “if possible”. “Our Christian brothers, they are partners in the nation. They will have full rights that are equal to those enjoyed by Muslims.” There would also not be an enforced Islamic dress code, he insisted. “Women have a right to freely choose the attire that suits them.”

Egypt in 2011-2012 is a lot like Iran was in 1979-1980. A highly unpopular Western-backed leader heavily protected by a lavishly financed army being toppled by public demonstrations led by youthful protestors in advance of “democratic” popular elections. It also sounds like a 2012 version of “Hope and Change” Egyptian style.

Tell the people what they want to hear. Promise a transparent, inclusive, post-partisan government that secures freedoms and preserves rights. In fact, whatever the promises required to secure enough votes to win election are, make them. Once in office, keeping those promises will lose priority in the face of enacting the unspoken agenda. If broken promises become a problem, simply blame the very same political opposition you vowed during the campaign to work with as part of an inclusive government for preventing you from fulfilling those promises. Then, as in the case of the “progressive” Democratic candidate for the U.S. presidency, re-vow to keep the promises you’ve failed to keep over the past three years after you’re re-elected.

In June 1979, Khomeini’s Freedom Movement released a draft constitution for an Islamic Republic that included a Guardian Council to veto un-Islamic legislation. Despite claims of “vote-rigging, violence against undesirable candidates and the dissemination of false information to produce an assembly overwhelmingly dominated by clergy loyal to Khomeini”, the new constitution was approved by Khomeini and the Assembly of Experts. Khomeini and the Assembly then changed course, rejecting the constitution, declaring the new government should be based “100% on Islam.” The National Democratic Front was banned in August 1979. The Muslim People’s Republican Party was banned in January 1980. The People’s Mujahadin of Iran was attacked in February 1980. University purges begun in March 1980.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, like all cells of the Muslim Brotherhood, is a proxy for the Iranian Islamic Republic. The likelihood is high that promises will be broken, political opposition ruthlessly oppressed, with freedoms and rights denied. Throughout human history, society has broken down into conflicting groups. Each group has said “We are right and you are wrong”, and if it’s strong enough, imposed its will upon the others.

Egypt’s pro-democracy activists already know the Brotherhood only joined their 2011 uprising after it had gained irreversible momentum. They also know that in order to secure goodwill with the generals who took the country over post-Mubarak the Brotherhood ditched them during their protests against military rule. The Brotherhood lost still more credibility when it reversed a decision not to run a presidential candidate in the election. Then it tried to stack a 100-member panel assigned to draft the constitution with Islamists, compromised mostly of it’s own members.

Given the history of Islamists co-opting popular uprisings against pro-western leaders in order to impose a theocratic regime, do not be surprised to see that occur in Egypt.

As it will be in the United States should the current White House occupant attempt an unconstitutional coup to prevent electoral defeat, the military is the ultimate wild card.

http://mjfellright.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/broken-unfulfilled-promises-and-wild-cards/

Iran Military Chief Vows to Annihilate Israel

AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE LOGO

NEW YORK, May 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — AJC called today’s Iranian vow to annihilate Israel another unmistakable signal that, despite international pressure to date, the regime in Tehran has not changed its genocidal aims.

“Iran has made clear through a record of deadly terrorism worldwide — against the U.S., Argentina, Great Britain, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and others — what it does without nuclear weapons. Now, just imagine what an Iran with nuclear-weapons capability would do,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “Iran’s military chief of staff has left no doubt what is the regime’s goal, and why, if further proof is needed, its nuclear program must be stopped.”

Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, declared today that “the Iranian nation is standing for its cause, which is the full annihilation of Israel.”

The (Iranian) Fars News Agency reported that General Firouzabadi made his threat during a speech in Tehran today. He also repeated Iran’s unwavering commitment to supporting Palestinians opposed to Israel’s very existence.

“General Firouzabadi’s brazen threat to destroy another UN member state, Israel, together with the risk that Iran’s behavior will trigger a nuclear arms race in the volatile Middle East, should serve to further re-enforce — indeed, bolster — the sanctions against Iran, while, as President Barack Obama has said, keeping all options on the table,” said Harris.

The Iranian military commander’s comments come just before International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director Amano arrives in Tehran. He is trying again to reach an understanding with the Iranian regime ahead of Wednesday’s talks in Baghdad between representatives of Iran and the five UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany.

“General Firouzabadi’s comments are a timely and sobering reminder of the stakes involved,” said Harris. “They should also put to rest, once and for all, the fanciful views of those remaining political leaders, diplomats, and journalists who contend that Iran is a ‘peaceful’ nation which has simply been ‘misunderstood’ by the global community.”

Activists to Conduct Prayer Vigil In Support of Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani

Image via http://i2.cdn.turner.com

WASHINGTON, May 19, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — Washington, DC area activists plan to conduct prayer vigil and public witness called “Christianity is Not a Crime!” on Sunday, May 20, at 2:30 P.M.

Image via http://i2.cdn.turner.com

 

Event Details—
 
When:  Sunday, May 20, 2012, at 2:30 P.M.
Where:  In front of the Iranian Interest Section in Washington, D.C. located at 2209 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Why:  Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has been sentenced to death in Iran for his refusal to renounce his Christian faith and embrace Islam. He has now been in prison for 950 days.
The event will also be carried live on the computer via ustream.tv. Members of Pastor Nadarkhani’s church will be watching in Iran via www.ustream.tv/channel/reabhloid.
Participants will call for the free nations of the world to keep the pressure on Iran to embrace human rights and religious freedom and demand that Pastor Nadarkhani be immediately released and continue to pray for the Nadarkhani family and the church in Iran.
 Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, states:
“We are gathering outside of the Iranian Interests Section to pray and ask God for the safety and immediate release of Pastor Nadarkhani. We are standing as a public and prophetic witness in front of the Interest Section to show our solidarity for Pastor Nadarkhani, his family, and all our dear brothers and sisters who are persecuted around the world for their faith.
“We are also praying that Iran embrace religious freedom for all and move away from a government that crushes human rights and the free expression of faith.”
Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice, adds:
“We cannot and should not stop working to secure Pastor Youcef’s immediate and unconditional release. At the American Center for Law and Justice, we are doing all we can in this country and abroad to secure his freedom.
“We continue to pray for Pastor Youcef and all of those who face persecution because of their Christian faith.”

America’s Destructive Lack of Realism

Last winter, when I heard John McCain drummed up support to bomb Syria, it makes me wonder if the 535 members in Washington have dementia.  We already had an unnecessary intervention in Libya, we’ve mostly concluded our business with Iraq, and Afghanistan is crumbling.  In a time where Americans are anything BUT enthusiastic or willing to become involved in another nation’s affairs, we must first ask, as George Will has, how many wars do we want to fight.

I was an unabashed neoconservative who supported the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq until I saw, as William F. Buckley aptly pointed out, how this movement grossly underestimates American power.  This was evident in the negligence in the post-war Iraqi reconstruction operations that followed the fall of Saddam Hussein’s government. The planning of the entire reconstruction effort, outlined in National Security Presidential Directive 24 issued in January 2003, gave the Department of Defense complete authority over the post-war operations.  It’s absurd.  Rebuilding Iraq into a modern, free market democracy in three months or less.  No wonder chaos ensued.  This whole notion of liberal democracy proliferating throughout the Middle East, in a region with no historical precedent of such values, is mind numbingly naive.

Even with our involvement winding down in Iraq, it appears the only winner is Iran since we’ve weakened the only nation in the region to curb its growing influence.  The resilience of the new democracy in Iraq and its disposition towards the United States in the future remains to be seen.  However, Syria is still holding out from the so-called “Arab Spring,” Iran still has nuclear ambitions, which would set off a regional arms race, and Egypt has fallen prey to the radical Muslim Brotherhood after we threw our good friend, Hosni Mubarak, under the bus in the hopes that a vibrant democracy will emerge there. Is this our dividend after spending $700 billion in Iraq?  Was this the best use of American political and military resources?

America’s destructive lack a realism is becoming disastrously expensive and straining our military.  Afghanistan and Iraq has cost us a whopping $1.2 trillion dollars in war expenditures.  We could be facing a $4-6 trillion dollar price tag when this whole ordeal is over.  We need to reexamine our financial stability and national interest for future engagements.

Case in point, Libya had nothing to do with American interests.  We do not receive oil from Libya. We don’t have diplomatic relations with Libya.  It was a civil war that was none of our business in a tribal society whose various clans hated Qaddafi more than each, hence the fragile display of national unity.  Like in Iraq, civil institutions were derived from one man and his family creating a power vacuum that will lead to more bloodshed.  The various militias refuse to disarmand the eastern half of the country has declared autonomy.  Did we really stop a slaughter? I feel more bloodshed will ensue because of our reckless engagement in their affairs.

People die in war, especially in the brutal theater of civil war.  Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean it’s our business. Especially when we have become involved in tribal societies before with little success.  We realists do not deny the existence of moral truths and principles, but when applied in the anarchic field of international relations, it is inherently dangerous.  It thrusts a nation, whose only purpose is to survive, into entanglements that are diplomatically obtuse, detrimental to its interests, and leads to prolonging the conflict.

If Qaddafi had squashed the insurrectionists in Benghazi, it would have been over, but we intervened, allied ourselves with rebel elements affiliated with al-Qaeda, and escalated the civil war leading to more deaths. In Somalia, our intervention culminated in the infamous Black Hawk Down incident, despite the fact it was hopeless from the start. There was no government to open up a diplomatic channel, no infrastructure, and clan ties that prevented national unity.  We lost nineteen American soldiers to help feed people in a failed state. A tragic waste of American resources.

The era of nation-building and humanitarian interventions need to end.   If our criteria for involvement is humanitarian based, we will be in a perpetual state of war.  The essence of nation-building, as George Will rightly said on Charlie Rose, is oxymoronic since it’s an organic entity that take generations to perfect.  Just because American marines are on the ground, doesn’t mean the maturation process will be accelerated.  In all, these attempts at social engineering are textbook cases of the irresponsible and arduous tasks that have drained American power over the past decade.  I’m thankful that a growing consensus in this country is starting to view such ventures as nonsensical.  It’s simply not worth the cost.

Finding a Winning Strategy in Iran

Nuclear Iran

Preventing Iran from getting the capability to manufacture nuclear bombs is obviously high on the list of concerns for the White House, and will be for the foreseeable future. Finding a way to do that is another issue entirely. While pundits from the U.S. often talk about the concept of “spin” in news reports, our journalists are amateurs in comparison with the religious leaders in Iran. And that is part of our current problem in dealing with their leadership.

Nuclear Iran

Mark Rain (CC)


On a very simplistic level, Americans are incapable of fully understanding the depth of resolve in Iran. It is a cultural divide that exacerbates the situation. The region in general is influenced to this day by tribal and clan feuds dating back thousands of years. In Islamist regimes like Iran, government is backed by God, as far as the people are concerned. That, coupled with the relative isolation of the nation from the rest of the world, leaves religious leaders there with the ability to spin the story about the current trade restrictions against Iran as an evil plot by infidels, or whatever they choose. While those leaders control to some extent what information gets in to the citizens, they also control what gets out. Only recently, the West got a taste of what could be a daily occurrence in Iran for all we know – citizens protesting against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Add to that the fact that Iran has a history of instability, and cannot under any circumstances be trusted to honor promises or treaties, and it becomes one of the most difficult diplomacy problems facing the U.S.

It is a given that Iran will be a large part of the foreign policy debate between Obama and Romney this fall. But, it will necessarily be in general terms that will likely be useless in practice, and will only be for the benefit of the public and pundits. And it is unlikely that there will be much from Romney’s side that will differ greatly from the current course of action, if for no other reason, because the options are fairly limited. No one that wants to be elected this November will suggest military action in Iran, outside of unmanned air-strikes, or limited surgical actions to reduce Iran’s ability to produce enriched Uranium. And any debate on that would be limited to what is already known publicly about those operations, so there would be logistical issues to address in such a plan – Iran apparently has been building facilities underground, presumably out of the reach of conventional air-strikes.

While the release of video showing domestic unrest is somewhat heartening, it is without real context. Yes, the people are angry with Ahmadinejad, but they could just as easily be more angry with the U.S. – a likely scenario, given that they are undoubtedly given daily doses of anti-Western rhetoric from clerics. The video evidence is also anecdotal, so it would be foolish to think that it is a sign of a potential mass uprising and eventual regime change. For the true cynics out there, change might not be good either – there are no guarantees that once the dust settles, the new leadership would be any friendlier with the U.S. or Israel.

Arab nations in the region add to the instability of the situation as well. Syria’s problems give Iran incentive to move forward faster toward nuclear capabilities, since that nation is its only real ally in the region. Then there is the issue of other Arab nations seeking nuclear arms in the wake of Iran accomplishing that end. That alone is arguably the greatest reason for preventing Iran from entering the nuclear club.

Then there is the possibility that Israel would render all U.S. diplomatic considerations moot by initiating a strike against Iran. If this happens before November, it would radically change the situation for our election, obviously. If it happens at all, it virtually guarantees U.S. involvement in yet another war. Any plan for preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear capabilities that does not take Israel into consideration should be left on the drawing board. If Romney wants to truly exploit deficiencies in the Obama course of action, this is it. The current administration’s diplomatic failures with Israel should be tied into the Iran problem.

The one thing this administration might have done right was to enlist Russia in the diplomatic process. There is a tiny glimmer of hope that their restarting of talks with Tehran may cause the end of the current problem. While it may not leave all parties happy, since it may result in Iran’s ability to export power from nuclear plants, it is at least progress.

As for finding a winning strategy in Iran, perhaps the answer lies in the middle, between extending an open hand as the Obama administration is doing, and offering only a fist, like Iran. But, no matter what is chosen, if the U.S. does not stop characterizing itself as a weakling on the world stage, our nation will pay for it. There is such a thing as tough diplomacy, and as a nation, we need to embrace that stance once again.

Suggested Reading:

Keeping Iran in Check

The Israeli and Arab Dimensions of Iran’s Nuclear Program

The Ghost of Iran’s Future

U.N Report Shows Iran Accelerating Nuke Capabilities

The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency said that Iran has drastically accelerated it’s capability to produce higher-grade enriched uranium in just the last few months.

While Iran insists that it’s nuclear ambitions are purely peaceful, missing uranium metal, the construction of underground facilities for enrichment and a failure to convincingly explain its activities have given the international community reason to fear that Iran is close to breaking the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that it had agreed to.

Iran publicly stated that it began using its underground Fordo facility to enrich uranium to 20% – a level much more easily upgraded to weapons-grade material. Iran began the high-grade enrichment at the underground plant in January that is about 20 miles north Qom – a religious stronghold in the Islamic nation – and right next to a military base.

Iran has stated that the higher-grade uranium is only to be used for medical purposes, but the placement of the manufacturing plant deep underground and encircling it with missiles and defense armaments paint a different picture. The on-again/off-again nuclear talks and refusal to allow inspection of Iranian facilities also fuels fears that Iran is on the verge of going nuclear.

Claims of major nuclear advances coming from Iran

On Wednesday, in a continued show of defiance against sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union, Iran announced two major advances in its nuclear program. A CNN report said Iranian President Ahmadinejad was at the reactor to personally hand load domestically made file rods while also announcing a new generation of advanced centrifuges with the intent to produce yellowcake, which is used to enrich uranium. Yellowcake is a material which the United Nations has banned Iran from developing.

Tehran displayed further resistance as state media reported the Islamic Nation was taking steps to stop oil exports to six European countries as a result of the sanctions. This would include an oil ban. It’s reported Iran has already discontinued exports to France and the Netherlands while placing an ultimatum on Italy, Spain, Greece, and Portugal demanding they either sign long term contracts with Iran or be cut off completely. The ban on Iranian oil by the EU set to go in effect in July.

On Wednesday Iran’s head nuclear negotiator formally notified the EU’s foreign policy chief that Iran has a willingness to resume talks with world powers over its nuclear program. However many in the West feel it’s ploy to buy more time.

Ahmadinejad: the world will soon witness Iran’s “major nuclear achievements”

Saturday, before state TV, Iranian President Ahmadinejad stated that Iran in the near future will announce significant progress in its nuclear program.

The announcement came on the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic revolution before thousands of Iranians, carrying flags and pictures of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei while chanting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America”, in state-organized rallies across the Islamic republic.

“In the coming days the world will witness Iran’s announcement of its very important and very major nuclear achievements,” Ahmadinejad said to a crowd at Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom). He gave no specific details.

Despite sanctions imposed by the United States and its European allies in an attempt to force Tehran back to the table for more talks. Iran continues to maintain its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Ahmadinejad: the world will soon witness Iran's "major nuclear achievements"

Saturday, before state TV, Iranian President Ahmadinejad stated that Iran in the near future will announce significant progress in its nuclear program.

The announcement came on the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic revolution before thousands of Iranians, carrying flags and pictures of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei while chanting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America”, in state-organized rallies across the Islamic republic.

“In the coming days the world will witness Iran’s announcement of its very important and very major nuclear achievements,” Ahmadinejad said to a crowd at Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom). He gave no specific details.

Despite sanctions imposed by the United States and its European allies in an attempt to force Tehran back to the table for more talks. Iran continues to maintain its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Will Obama Go To War With Iran?




If the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) November, 2011, report is correct, Iran will soon join the ranks of the world’s nuclear powers. Because of the Obama administration’s reluctance to confront this threat, others must begin preparing the case for a military strike to destroy Iran’s nuclear program. President Barack Hussein Obama has avoided Iran’s explicit military threats. Rather, he seeks to “isolate and increase the pressure upon the Iranian regime.” He naïvely hopes to negotiate a settlement with Tehran (and Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea!), but he has ended up in the same place as his predecessor, George W. Bush, thus delaying the inevitable day of reckoning with Iran. Additionally, Obama doesn’t feel comfortable with employing the military, and going to war would discredit his claim that he was going to use “smart” diplomacy instead of saber-rattling.

As Obama continues to increase pressure on Iran in the hope that the government in Tehran will give up its nuclear program, the Iranians will respond to escalation with escalation. So far Obama has offered only sanctions. There is general agreement in the US on two points: (1) an Iranian nuclear weapons capability is “unacceptable,”and (2) the US prefers reaching an acceptable outcome without using force. There are three factors to consider when a US-Iran war is contemplated:

  1. Uncertainty: Not only may the US government not know the technical status of the Iranian nuclear program, or the actual state of readiness of Iranian forces, it may not know (or worse, have wrong) the decision-making and implementation protocols of the Iranian government, how the Iranian people and military would react to an attack, what Tehran would ask its allies and proxies to do, and what in fact they will do.
  2. Complexity: The number of factors in the war situation, such as actors, processes and the connections among them. Enemy disinformation can also set us on the wrong track. The enemy acts not just on the battlefield but also through an ability to influence our understanding of the situation by means of denial and deception. In this and other ways complexity reinforces uncertainty.

  3. War Itself: War involves simultaneous conflict in the military, diplomatic, economic and social domains on four levels: political, strategic, operational, and tactical. While a war with Iran might begin in the military domain, it would likely expand to others, and while it might begin at the operational or tactical level it would soon encompass strategic and political levels as well. There is a very great chance that, through suicide terrorist attacks, non-military may become directly involved.

Obama is married to the idea that nations can just sit down and talk about their problems with each other over a beer. Yet perhaps Obama has finally realized that his assumptions about the uses of diplomacy were incorrect. Obama may have come to the realization that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might appear to be a clown, he is serious about acquiring nuclear weapons, and he is not interested in following the policy of “mutually assured destruction” (MAD) that has kept the nuclear powers from turning the entire planet into a burnt cinder. Obama and his advisers do not seem to be concerned with the deaths of anyone so long as their ideological goals are reached.

Obama, during the primary debates for the Democrat nomination, said that he would be glad to meet with any head of government without preconditions. Now we get word of a letter Obama sent to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei. The White House disputed Iranian reports that Obama sent a letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader offering direct bilateral talks. Regarding the letter, Iranian Member of Parliament Hojjatoleslam Hossein Ebrahimi said:

  • … has described it [closing the Strait of Hormuz] as the United States’ red line that would provoke a response by the United States.
  • … Obama has mentioned cooperation and negotiation based on the interests of the two countries.
  • … He [Obama] has stated in the letter that they [the US] will not take any hostile action against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
  • … This is not the first time that Obama has sent a message and letter to the Islamic Republic of Iran. He has repeatedly spoken in a soft tone about the Islamic Republic of Iran, but, in practice, he has not acted accordingly. Obama’s letter indicates that the United States has become afraid of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s might and has realized the point that an arrogant spirit is of no use, and therefore, he has softened his tone when speaking about the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The fourth consideration is our definition of victory. A regime-change goal would require a broad military offensive that could include nuclear facilities, air defenses, Iran’s retaliatory capabilities, leadership targets, regime supporters, and national infrastructure and economic targets. The more expansive a war’s goals as a plan escalates from strike to campaign to broad offensive, the greater the force needed to achieve those goals. The primary question is: if the politicians start a war, will they step back and let an unencumbered military fight it? If we look at recent history, it doesn’t look too promising.

But that’s just my opinion.

Access to other articles like this one can be found at RWNO, my personal web site.

Iranian Fishermen Rescued from Pirates by U.S. Navy

Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta prasied U.S. Navy sailors who rescued 13 Iranian fishermen who were being held by pirates.  The captain of the Iranian vessel, Al Molai, was able to send a radio distress signal which was received by the nearby U.S. aircraft carrier John C. Stennis. Upon receiving the radio call  the escorting cruiser Mobile Bay was sent to give assistance.

The Navy said a boarding team  from the destroyer USS Kidd boarded the Al Molai and detained 15 pirates who were holding the Iranians hostage. The pirates didn’t resist and surrendered quickly in the rescue, according to the Navy statement. The fishermen received food and medical care and were then sent home.

“It makes it very clear to them that, despite how much they often try to provoke us, the United States in this kind of situation is going to respond as we should in a very humanitarian and responsible way,” Panetta said regarding the recent threats from the Tehran to shut down oil traffic through the Strait of Hormuz. There has been no response from the Iranian government.

CNN.COM

Iran- More Sabre Rattling?




On Tuesday, January 3, 2012, Iran warned an American aircraft carrier not to return to the Persian Gulf. To enter the Persian Gulf, ships must pass through the Strait of Hormuz. “We recommend to the American warship that passed through the Strait of Hormuz and went to Gulf of Oman not to return to the Persian Gulf,” General Ataollah Salehi, Iran’s army chief, was quoted as saying by the Iranian state news agency IRNA. Salehi spoke as a 10-day Iranian naval exercise ended near the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf. Iranian officials have said the drill was to show that Iran could close the strait.

The strait is divided between Iran and Oman’s territorial waters, and international law requires both countries to allow free passage through it. Salehi’s warning for the US aircraft carrier not to come back seemed aimed at further depicting the strait and the Gulf as under Iran’s domination, though there is no way to enforce his warning without military action. The Iranian naval exercise served as practice for closing the Strait of Hormuz if the West enacts sanctions blocking Iranian oil sales or imposes economic sanctions.

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