Wednesday, November 27, 2013
The Iranians Have the Best of Both Worlds Right Now, They Are Diplomatically Shielded from Attack Yet They Can Work Overtime on their Nuclear Program
Sunday, November 24, 2013
1. Parchin: This long-suspected facility remains out of UN oversight. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry boasted after the signing that daily IAEA inspections will take place at Fordo and Natanz. However, cameras are already fixed at both those facilities without an agreement, whereas Tehran’s consistent denial of IAEA access to Parchin is not addressed.2. Secret nuclear locations: Under the heading "Possible Military Dimensions," the last IAEA report noted: "Since 2002, the Agency has become increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related organizations, including activities related to the development of a payload for a missile.” The watchdog has received information indicating activities "relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device." This was further corroborated by new information obtained since November 2011.Tehran’s non-cooperation for investigating these findings is not mentioned in the Geneva interim accord, nor was it addressed in the negotiations.3. Dirty bombs: Iran doesn’t need a full-scale nuclear bomb or missile warhead for attacking Israel. For decades, Tehran has been working on perfecting hundreds of dirty bombs as part of its nuclear program, by adding plutonium or enriched uranium to conventional bombs. These weapons are easy to make and easy to use. In the hands of Hizballah or other Shiite terrorist organizations in Syria or Iraq, for instance, they could be used to strike Israel without leaving a trail to Tehran.This peril too was ignored by the six powers in Geneva.4. Rollback. While President Obama has presented the deal as a first step toward freezing or even rolling back “key aspects” of Iran’s nuclear program. The fact remains that, so long as Iran is permitted to enrich uranium, even though this is restricted to a low 5 percent grade, it is free to produce as much fissile material as it wants, whenever it wants. This seems more like roll forward than roll back.5. Enrichment. Obama and Kerry said the new deal does not recognize Iran’s right to enrich uranium. They were contradicted by the Iranian president and senior negotiator as well as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. So what is the truth? If Iran won recognition for this right, it blows the bottom out of the Non-Proliferating Treaty because, in no time, all the signatories may start enriching uranium with permission from the big powers. Neither is there any point in making Iran join the NPT’s Additional Protocol for snap inspections.6. Centrifuges. Iran has undertaken not to add new centrifuges to its enrichment facilities, according to President Obama, but there is nothing to stop it from keeping up their production. In the six-month interregnum for negotiating a comprehensive nuclear deal, Tehran wins time to turn out enough centrifuges to substantially expand its production of enriched uranium.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Iranian Leader Calls Jews "Rabid Dogs" and That "They Cannot Be Called Human Beings", Obama Administration Silent
Jerusalem is "unpleasantly surprised" that, as of Thursday afternoon, the Obama administration had not unequivocally condemned vicious anti-Israel statements made Wednesday morning by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, senior Israeli officials told The Times of Israel.In an address to an assembly of tens of thousands of Basij militiamen, Khamenei declared that Israel was doomed to fail and characterized the "Zionist regime" as the "sinister, unclean rabid dog of the region." He also said Israelis "cannot be called human beings." Footage of the event showed the crowd shouting "Death to America" and "Death to Israel."...
Monday, November 18, 2013
At Least Obama Has Accomplished One Good Thing, He Has Brought Israel and Saudi Arabia Together... For an Attack on Iran
Israel and Saudia Arabia are secretly working together on plans for a possible attack against Iran in case the Geneva talks fail to roll back its nuclear program, British paper The Sunday Times reported.
The two countries' shared concern has put them at odds with the United States as the latter continues to seek an agreement with Iran to ease economic sanctions in return for pulling back nuclear development.
According to the diplomatic source quoted by the Times, Saudia Arabia has agreed to let Israel use its air space, and assist an Israeli attack by cooperating on the use of drones, rescue helicopters and tanker planes.
Israel's Mossad intelligence agency is reportedly working with Saudi officials to make arrangements following the signing of a nuclear deal in Geneva.
"Once the Geneva agreement is signed, the military option will be back on the table. The Saudis are furious and are willing to give Israel all the help it needs," the Times quoted the source as saying.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
As a practical matter, it is nearly inconceivable that insurance companies would be able to reissue the canceled health-care plans. The process, as Avik Roy expertlyexplains, is too extensive and complex to complete in the few weeks between now and Obamacare’s coverage deadline — something that an administration that can’t, after three years, get a functioning website running should know. But even if it could be done, the insurance companies would be insane to offer plans that failed to comply with the letter of the Obamacare statute. Similarly, the state insurance commissioners would be insane to permit them, and Americans would be insane to buy them. The policies would be legally unenforceable.
As the telecoms learned, Bush’s assurance that they’d be held harmless meant nothing once Obama and his base started urging warrantless wiretapping victims to sue. The companies spent untold millions in legal fees and costs. The health-insurance companies, too, would be deluged with lawsuits by insureds who claimed that the policies were illegal and wrongly denied coverage for this or that treatment. The insurance companies themselves would get into the act, filing suits to be compensated for payouts they’d made based on the illegal policies. The Obama “waiver” would avail them of nothing in a court, where a judge would be obliged to follow the law, not Dear Leader’s enforcement preferences.
Friday, November 15, 2013
It is a condition of my admission to this great land that I am not allowed to foment the overthrow of the United States government. Oh, I signed it airily enough, but you'd be surprised, as the years go by, how often the urge to foment starts to rise in one's gullet. Fortunately, at least as far as constitutional government goes, the president of the United States is doing a grand job of overthrowing it all by himself.
On Thursday, he passed a new law at a press conference. George III never did that. But, having ordered America's insurance companies to comply with Obamacare, the president announced that he is now ordering them not to comply with Obamacare. The legislative branch (as it's still quaintly known) passed a law purporting to grandfather your existing health plan. The regulatory bureaucracy then interpreted the law so as to un-grandfather your health plan. So His Most Excellent Majesty has commanded that your health plan be de-un-grandfathered. That seems likely to work. The insurance industry had three years to prepare for the introduction of Obamacare. Now the King has given them six weeks to de-introduce Obamacare.
"I wonder if he has the legal authority to do this," mused former Vermont governor Howard Dean. But he's obviously some kind of right-wing wacko. Later that day, anxious to help him out, Congress offered to "pass" a "law" allowing people to keep their health plans. The same president who had unilaterally commanded that people be allowed to keep their health plans indignantly threatened to veto any such law to that effect: It only counts if he does it — geddit? As his court eunuchs at the Associated Press obligingly put it: "Obama Will Allow Old Plans." It's Barry's world; we just live in it.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Think Worries About a Nuclear Arms Race in the Middle East are Overlbown? Think Again. The Saudis are Prepared to Acquire Pakistani Nukes
Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistani nuclear weapons projects, and believes it could obtain atomic bombs at will, a variety of sources have told BBC Newsnight.
While the kingdom's quest has often been set in the context of countering Iran's atomic programme, it is now possible that the Saudis might be able to deploy such devices more quickly than the Islamic republic.
Earlier this year, a senior Nato decision maker told me that he had seen intelligence reporting that nuclear weapons made in Pakistan on behalf of Saudi Arabia are now sitting ready for delivery.
Last month Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, told a conference in Sweden that if Iran got the bomb, "the Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb, they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring."
Since 2009, when King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia warned visiting US special envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross that if Iran crossed the threshold, "we will get nuclear weapons", the kingdom has sent the Americans numerous signals of its intentions.
Gary Samore, until March 2013 President Barack Obama's counter-proliferation adviser, has told Newsnight:
"I do think that the Saudis believe that they have some understanding with Pakistan that, in extremis, they would have claim to acquire nuclear weapons from Pakistan."
The story of Saudi Arabia's project - including the acquisition of missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads over long ranges - goes back decades.
In the late 1980s they secretly bought dozens of CSS-2 ballistic missiles from China.
These rockets, considered by many experts too inaccurate for use as conventional weapons, were deployed 20 years ago.
This summer experts at defence publishers Jane's reported the completion of a new Saudi CSS-2 base with missile launch rails aligned with Israel and Iran.
It has also been clear for many years that Saudi Arabia has given generous financial assistance to Pakistan's defence sector, including, western experts allege, to its missile and nuclear labs.