Russia has brought fighter planes, air-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft batteries to Syria. He has put military “boots on the ground” there too. The aerial bombing and ground fighting have started. Command centers have been established. Russia is there to stay.
An editorial in Investor’s Business Daily deplores the fact that Russia is now the dominant great power in the Middle East.
And it is a fact. Obama has handed the region to Putin as on a golden platter.
And what’s worse, with Russia comes China and Iran. We can’t see Putin sharing power with any other country for very long. But right now, the Vast Nasty Country Conspiracy is in full operation. (See here, here, and here.)
Moscow won’t just be destroying IS; it will be replacing us as dominant power in the Mideast, where the oil the free world needs is. And Putin won’t be alone.
According to Russian Sen. Igor Morozov, who sits on Russia’s international affairs committee, Chinese forces are joining Russia against IS. “China has joined our military operation in Syria,” Morozov said in Pravda. “A Chinese cruiser has already entered the Mediterranean, and an aircraft carrier follows it.”
With Iranian Quds force commander Qassem Soleimani believed to have met with Russian officials this month, the “genuinely broad” coalition against terrorism in which “Muslim countries are to play a key role” may end up as Russia, China and Iran.
Meanwhile, London’s Daily Express reports on German reporter and author Jurgen Todenhofer’s book, “Inside IS — Ten Days in the Islamic State.”
In it, he warns that the free world “is drastically underestimating the power of ISIS’, which “intends to get its hands on nuclear weapons”, then undertake “the largest religious cleansing in history”. Years ago, all these would have seemed laughable predictions. But Obama’s new world of American decline is full of such terrifying surprises.
Charles Krauthammer thinks, as we do, that Putin has little interest in defeating the Islamic State.
He writes, also at IBD:
If it had the wit, the Obama administration would be not angered, but appropriately humiliated. President Obama has, once again, been totally outmaneuvered by Vladimir Putin.
Two days earlier at the United Nations, Obama had welcomed the return, in force, of the Russian military to the Middle East — for the first time in decades — in order to help fight the Islamic State.
The ruse was transparent from the beginning. Russia is not in Syria to fight the Islamic State. The Kremlin was sending fighter planes, air-to-air missiles and SA-22 anti-aircraft batteries. Against an Islamic State that has no air force, no planes, no helicopters?
Russia then sent reconnaissance drones over Western Idlib and Hama, where there are no Islamic State fighters. Followed by bombing attacks on Homs and other opposition strongholds that had nothing to do with the Islamic State.
Indeed, some of these bombed fighters were U.S. trained and equipped.
Asked if we didn’t have an obligation to support our allies on the ground, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter bumbled that Russia’s actions exposed its policy as self-contradictory.
Carter made it sound as if the Russian offense was to have perpetrated an oxymoron, rather than a provocation — and a direct challenge to what’s left of the U.S. policy of supporting a moderate opposition.
The whole point of Russian intervention is to maintain Assad in power. Putin has no interest in fighting the Islamic State.
Indeed, the second round of Russian air attacks was on rival insurgents opposed to the Islamic State. The Islamic State is nothing but a pretense for Russian intervention. …
Just three weeks ago, Obama chided Russia for its military buildup, wagging his finger that it was “doomed to failure”. Yet by Monday he was publicly welcoming Russia to join the fight against the Islamic State.
He not only acquiesced to the Russian buildup, he held an ostentatious meeting with Putin on the subject, thereby marking the ignominious collapse of Obama’s vaunted campaign to isolate Putin diplomatically over Crimea.
Putin then showed his utter contempt for Obama by launching his air campaign against our erstwhile anti-Assad allies not 48 hours after meeting Obama.
Which the U.S. found out about when a Russian general knocked on the door of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and delivered a brusque demarche announcing that the attack would begin within an hour and warning the U.S. to get out of the way.
In his subsequent news conference, Secretary Carter averred that he found such Russian behavior “unprofessional.”
Good grief. Russia, with its inferior military and hemorrhaging economy, had just eaten Carter’s lunch, seizing the initiative and exposing American powerlessness — and the secretary of defense deplores what? Russia’s lack of professional etiquette.
Makes you want to weep.
Consider: When Obama became president, the surge in Iraq had succeeded and the U.S. had emerged as the dominant regional actor, able to project power throughout the region.
Last Sunday, Iraq announced the establishment of a joint intelligence-gathering center with Iran, Syria and Russia, symbolizing the new “Shiite-crescent” alliance from Iran across the northern Middle East to the Mediterranean, under the umbrella of Russia, the rising regional hegemon.
Russian planes roam free over Syria attacking Assad’s opposition as we stand by helpless. Meanwhile, the U.S. secretary of state beseeches the Russians to negotiate “de-conflict” arrangements — so that we and they can each bomb our own targets safely. It has come to this.
Why is Putin moving so quickly and so brazenly? Because he’s got only 16 more months to push on the open door that is Obama.
He knows he’ll never again see an American president such as this — one who once told the General Assembly that “no one nation can or should try to dominate another nation” and told it again last Monday of “believing in my core that we, the nations of the world, cannot return to the old ways of conflict and coercion.”
They cannot? Has he looked at the world around him — from Homs to Kunduz, from Sanaa to Donetsk — ablaze with conflict and coercion?
Wouldn’t you take advantage of these last 16 months if you were Putin, facing a man living in a faculty-lounge fantasy world?
Where was Obama when Putin began bombing Syria? Leading a U.N. meeting on countering violent extremism.
Go on, weep.
That’s what we’re doing, figuratively at least.
This is a letter that Hillary Clinton has put out to that strange section of the population who think she could be the president of the USA:
I wanted you to hear this directly from me:
Yes, I should have used two email addresses, one for personal matters and one for my work at the State Department. Not doing so was a mistake. I’m sorry about it, and I take full responsibility.
“A mistake” so huge that it betrayed her country to its enemies. Should such a person be president?
She “takes full responsibility”! Good grief – she IS responsible, whether she “takes” the responsibility or not, it is hers and hers alone She DID this stupid and hugely dangerous thing.
It’s important for you to know a few key facts. My use of a personal email account was aboveboard and allowed under the State Department’s rules.
But not a private server.
Everyone I communicated with in government was aware of it.
But they did not know she mixed private with state business, nor that she had a private server.
And nothing I ever sent or received was marked classified at the time.
She is one of the few top people in government who is authorized to label communications as classified. We know that she received emails about national defense and from foreign governments that are “born classified”. If she didn’t know that, how is she fit to be president?
As this process proceeds, I want to be as transparent as possible. That’s why I’ve provided all of my work emails to the government to be released to the public, and why I’ll be testifying in public in front of the Benghazi Committee later next month.
How do we know she has provided all her work emails? She has destroyed tens of thousands, and we have only her word – the word of a notorious liar – that they concerned only her private affairs.
I know this is a complex story.
Complex? Not at all. It is a simple tale of corruption, deception, and betrayal.
I could have – and should have – done a better job answering questions earlier. I’m grateful for your support, and I’m not taking anything for granted.
I understand that you may have more questions, and I am going to work to keep answering them. If you want to read more, including my emails themselves, please go here:
If you are in intelligence or defense, send her some secrets by all means, but make sure you mark them “classified”. Then wait to see what happens to them.
If Hillary Clinton is elected to the presidency for no better reason than that she is a woman, what will that say about women?
What sort of woman is she whom a majority of American voters would be elevating into a role model?
A corrupt venal lying cheat as a model woman?
Here‘s a very long list of her lies, gaffes, scandals, misjudgments, disasters …
It looks as if the world may have reason to be grateful to the cruel musty old men who rule Iran (!) – for sparing it from the terrible “deal” Barack Obama thinks he has concluded with them.
The Ayatollahs will not comply with the agreement unless and until all sanctions against Iran are lifted.
But the Obama administration is telling America that Iran must first agree to comply before sanctions are lifted.
Dare we hope that this impasse will continue indefinitely? That the “deal” will fade away?
The crowing [by the Democrats] this week over Barack Obama’s success in gaining congressional support for his Iranian nuclear deal against Binyamin Netanyahu’s defeat was premature. The July 14 Vienna deal between Iran and six world powers was just the first round of the game. Decisive rounds are still to come, before either of the two can be said to have won or lost.
The biggest outstanding hurdle in the path of the accord is Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his silence on where he stands on the deal whether by a yea or a nay. Without his nod, nothing goes forward in the revolutionary republic. So the nuclear accord is not yet home and dry either in Tehran or even in Washington.
While Obama gathered congressional support in Washington for the accord to pass, Khamenei made three quiet yet deadly remarks:
1. “Sanctions against Tehran must be lifted completely rather than suspended. If the framework of sanctions is to be maintained, then why did we negotiate?”
White House spokesman Josh Earnest answered him: “Iran will only see sanctions relief if it complies with the nuclear deal.”
There lies the rub. For the Obama administration, it is clear that Iran must first comply with the accord before sanctions are eased, whereas Tehran deems the accord moot until sanctions are lifted – regardless of its approval by the US Congress.
Here is the first stalemate, and not the last. … Long exhausting rounds lie ahead that could drag on longer even than the protracted negotiations, which Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif brought to a close in Vienna.
2. Khamenei next took the step of referring the accord to the Majlis (parliament) for approval, pretending that to be legally in force, the accord requires [its] majority vote … He put it this way, “I believe… that it is not in the interest of the majlis to be sidelined.”
This step was in fact designed to sideline President Hassan Rouhani, on whom Obama and Kerry counted to get the nuclear deal through, and snatch from him the authority for signing it – or even determining which body had this competence.
It had been the intention of Rouhani and Zarif to put the accord before the 12-member Council of Guardians for their formal endorsement. But Khamenei pulled this rug out from under their feet and kept the decision out of the hands of the accord’s proponents.
3. His next step was to declare with a straight face: “I have no recommendation for the majlis on how to examine it. It is up to the representatives of the nation to decide whether to reject or ratify it.”
This step in the nuclear chess game was meant to show American democracy up in a poor light compared to that of the Revolutionary Republic (sic). While Obama worked hard to bring his influence to bear on Congress, he, Khamenei, refrained from leaning on the lawmakers, who were freed to vote fair and square on the deal’s merits.
This of course is a charade. … The ayatollah exercises dictatorial control over the majlis through his minion, Speaker Ali Larijani. He has absolute trust in the lawmakers never reaching any decision on the nuclear deal, or anything else, without his say-so.
Congressional approval in Washington of the nuclear accord may give President Obama a fine boost but will be an empty gesture for winning endorsement in Tehran. It might even be counter-productive if American lawmakers carry out their intention of hedging the nuclear deal round with stipulations binding Iran to full compliance with the commitments it undertook in Vienna, or also continue to live with existing sanctions or even face new ones.
Still some room for hope then?
Hmm. What’s the betting Obama will cave to Ayatollah Khamenei?
… my golden door is barred to Christians,” says the Mother of Exiles, who earlier misspoke, and whose views on who is welcome to America have now evolved.
We do not like Christianity, but we are appalled by the persecution of Christians by Muslims in the Middle East.
Donald Trump has noticed that the Christians in the Muslim countries of the Middle East, and those who fall under the rule of IS/ISIS/ISIL, are being persecuted almost to extinction – and that the Obama administration is unmoved by their plight.
From the Refugee Resettlement Watch:
Trump speaks out on Syrian refugees: “We are saving the Syrian Muslims and not the Christians!”
Trump is almost right. It isn’t zero Christians, but it’s pretty close to zero. Although we have admitted a small handful of Syrian Christian refugees, the vast majority are Muslims and mostly Sunni Muslims. 96% [of those] admitted so far in 2015 are Muslims.
But, don’t forget!
Led by the Senate Jihad Caucus, the push is on to admit 65,000 Syrians before Obama leaves office and the vast majority of those will be plucked from UN camps populated by mostly Syrian Sunni Muslims.
One man in America is trying to bring Middle Eastern Christians to safety in the US, for which he is now threatened by the administration with imprisonment.
From Creeping Sharia:
Living as a Christian in many parts of Iraq or Syria has become impossible – a one-way ticket to martyrdom at the hands of ISIS – yet it remains a near-impossible feat for these persecuted religious minorities to find refuge in America.
But if you can get to America and get your case in the hands of Robert DeKelaita, your chances are greatly improved.
As it turns out, this high-powered Chicago attorney may have been a little too successful. He’s gained asylum for thousands of persecuted Christian from Iraq, Syria and Egypt, and that caught the attention of the Obama Justice Department, which is known to be no friend of Middle Eastern Christians.
DeKelaita, 52, grew up in Kirkuk in the heart of Assyria, a portion of northern Iraq that is home to one of the world’s most ancient Christian communities. …
After Saddam Hussein took power, DeKelaita’s family emigrated to the U.S. in 1973 and settled in the Chicago area. …
He’s helped reunite hundreds of families in the U.S., most of them since 2003 when the U.S. invasion and overthrow of Saddam unleashed a wave of Islamic terror against Christians that far exceeded anything that was seen under the secular Baathist regime.
The Obama administration moved against DeKelaita in September 2014, raiding his office and scooping up whatever “evidence” they could find against him. He was indicted on charges of falsifying the asylum applications of 12 clients over a 10-year period, allegedly concocting “phony claims” of religious persecution. The government has delayed his trial twice while it seeks to firm up witnesses who will testify against him. Each count of immigration fraud carries a maximum of 10 years prison and a $250,000 fine. …
Some find it ironic that the Obama administration is going after a lawyer who helps persecuted Iraqi Christians gain asylum while it welcomed and granted asylum for more than 68,000 unaccompanied alien children from Central America last summer.
At the same time Central Americans are being greeted with a “catch and release” policy at the border, a group of 27 Assyrian Christians who made it to the border earlier this year are being detained indefinitely.
“The way that some of our federal judges view the plight of Christians in Iraq and the way some of the adjudicators view them, you would honestly think ‘what is wrong with these people?’” DeKelaita [said]. …
One judge told him: “To argue that Christians in Iraq are being targeted for their religious beliefs is to appeal to either ignorance or emotion.” …
DeKelaita, after his indictment, learned that the FBI had been investigating him since 2008, soon after Obama took office. …
He points to the Obama administration’s attempt earlier this year to block an Iraqi nun from entering the country to testify before Congress on the issue of Christian persecution in the Middle East. After … a public outcry, Obama relented and issued the visa to Sister Diana Momeka. …
The Obama-led Department of Homeland Security has detained 27 Iraqi Christian asylum seekers in California for six months, despite the fact that most of them have family who are U.S. citizens living in San Diego. …
One of DeKelaita’s biggest successes was in getting a judge to strike down an outdated and inaccurate report out of Europe that insisted there was no persecution of Christians in Iraq. …
Meanwhile, the slaughter continues in Iraq and Syria. Another 220 Assyrian families were kidnapped just last week in Syria and fears are growing that the men will face beheading, the women a life of servitude as sex slaves. Bishops in Syria and Iraq have put out desperate pleas for help, saying they feel abandoned by the West.
While it detains Iraq Christian asylum seekers, the Obama administration has been welcoming thousands of Muslim refugees from jihadist hotbeds in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, despite warnings from House Homeland Security Chair Michael McCaul, R-Texas, that some of these refugee programs may become a “jihadist pipeline” into the U.S.
Obama is not perturbed by jihadism. He is dropping the bar against admitting Muslim refugees who have links to terrorist organizations:
From a January 2014 report by the Wall Street Journal:
The U.S. plans to resettle thousands of Syrians displaced by their country’s civil war could hinge on those refugees receiving exemptions from laws aimed at preventing terrorists from entering the country.
A U.S. official stated publicly for the first time this week that some of the 30,000 especially vulnerable Syrians the United Nations hopes to resettle by the end of 2014 will be referred to the U.S. for resettlement.
More than two million Syrians have fled their country since the war erupted in 2011, creating the worst refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide, advocates say. About 20 countries, mostly in Europe, have agreed to take 18,000 Syrians, according to United Nations High Commission for Refugees, or UNHCR, the agency charged with referrals.
The U.S. has not set a specific target for how many refugees it will resettle. But at a Senate hearing Tuesday, State Department Assistant Secretary Anne Richard said, “We expect to accept referrals for several thousand Syrian refugees in 2014.”
Post-9/11 immigration laws designed to keep out terrorists have had the unintended consequence of ensnaring some innocent people. …
And rather admit a thousand terrorists than keep out one “innocent” Muslim.
Anwen Hughes, a lawyer at Human Rights First …
One of those bleeding-heart organizations that do so much harm in the world …
who has studied the laws’ impact, said that the government has been “reactive, slow,” about giving exemptions up to now, and urged a swifter process, given the magnitude of the Syrian crisis.
The advocacy group has called on the U.S. to work to resettle 15,000 Syrians a year. The International Rescue Committee, another advocacy organization, is pressing the U.S. to set a goal of 12,000 Syrian refugees this year.
The U.S. leads the world in refugee resettlement. In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the U.S. received 70,000 refugees from 65 countries, including more than 19,000 from Iraq. In that year, more than 1,340 Syrians already in the U.S. applied for asylum.
And you can safely bet that Anwen Highes wil not be investigated by Obama’s sniffing-dogs.
But aren’t we going too far when we blame Obama personally for this injustice?
No. He makes the decisions:
From a Fact Sheet of the American Immigration Council:
A refugee, as defined by Section 101(a)42 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), is a person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country because of a “well-founded fear of persecution” due to race, membership in a particular social group, political opinion, religion, or national origin. This definition is based on the United Nations 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocols relating to the Status of Refugees, which the United States became a party to in 1968.
Each year the President, in consultation with Congress, determines the numerical ceiling for refugee admissions. For Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, the ceiling is 70,000.
Under Obama, the US has “pivoted eastward”:
Almost half of all refugee arrivals (46.4 percent, or 32,450) in FY 2014 came from the Near East/South Asia—a region that includes Iraq, Iran, Bhutan, and Afghanistan.
There are three principle categories for classifying refugees under the U.S. refugee program.
Priority One. Individuals with compelling persecution needs or those for whom no other durable solution exists. These individuals are referred to the United States by UNHCR, or they are identified by a U.S. embassy or a non-governmental organization (NGO).
Priority Two. Groups of “special concern” to the United States, which are selected by the Department of State with input from USCIS, UNHCR, and designated NGOs. Currently, the groups include certain persons from the former Soviet Union, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Iran, Burma, and Bhutan.
Priority Three. The relatives of refugees (parents, spouses, and unmarried children under 21) who are already settled in the United States may be admitted as refugees. The U.S.-based relative must file an Affidavit of Relationship (AOR) and must be processed by DHS.
The INA requires that the majority of prospective refugees make their individual well-founded fear cases.
The Christians of the Middle East have well-founded fears. But they are Christians. That, apparently, is enough to bar them from the US, which Obama has clearly stated is “one of the largest Muslim countries in the world”. (Watch and listen to him saying so here.) And in his opinion, the more Muslim the better.
Here is the text of the “side agreement” between IAEA and Iran:
Separate Arrangement II agreed by the Islamic State of Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency on 11 July 2015, regarding the Road-map, Paragraph 5
Iran and the Agency agreed on the following sequential arrangement with regard to the Parchin issue:
- Iran will provide to the Agency photos of the locations, including those identified in paragraph 3 below, which would be mutually agreed between Iran and the Agency, taking into account military concerns.
- Iran will provide to the Agency videos of the locations, including those identified in paragraph 3 below, which would be mutually agreed between Iran and the Agency, taking into account military concerns.
- Iran will provide to the Agency 7 environmental samples taken from points inside one building already identified by the Agency and agreed by Iran, and 2 points outside of the Parchin complex which would be agreed between Iran and the Agency.
- The Agency will ensure the technical authenticity of the activities referred to in paragraphs 1-3 above. Activities will be carried out using Iran’s authenticated equipment, consistent with technical specifications provided by the Agency, and the Agency’s containers and seals.
- The above mentioned measures would be followed, as a courtesy by Iran, by a public visit of the Director General, as a dignitary guest of the Government of Iran, accompanied by his deputy for safeguards.
- Iran and the Agency will organize a one-day technical roundtable on issues relevant to Parchin.
For the International Atomic Energy Agency: Tero Varjoranta, Deputy Director General for Safeguards
For the Islamic Republic of Iran: Ali Hoseini Tash, Deputy Secretary of Supreme National Security Council for Strategic Affairs
And here’s interpretation and comment from The Big Story, by George Jahn:
An AP report has revealed that the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency has agreed with Iran that Iranian experts and equipment will be used to inspect Iran’s Parchin military site, located in not far from Tehran, where Iran is suspected of conducting covert nuclear weapons activity more than a decade ago.
Here are some questions and answers about the document, and what it means for the larger deal between Iran, the United States and five other world powers to limit Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for easing sanctions against Iran.
WHAT HAVE IRAN AND THE IAEA AGREED?
According to a draft document viewed by AP, Iran has agreed to cooperate with the U.N. in answering longstanding allegations about possible past work to develop nuclear weapons at its Parchin plant — but only with the Iranians conducting the inspections themselves.
Iran would collect its own environmental samples on the site and carry out other work usually done by IAEA experts. The IAEA will be able to review the Iranians’ work after the fact. The deal on Parchin was between the IAEA and Iran. The Obama Administration was not a direct party to the agreement, but apparently was aware of it.
WHAT DO OPPONENTS OF THE DEAL SAY?
Opponents of the broader deal are seizing an opportunity to say the entire exercise of negotiating with Iran is flawed, that it relies too much on trust of the Iranian government.
WHAT DOES THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SAY?
The Obama administration and other supporters say the wider agreement is focused on the future, with ample inspections, and that the side accord between Iran and the IAEA is focused on Iran’s activities in the past and therefore is not central to the overall deal.
HOW UNUSUAL IS THE AGREEMENT ON PARCHIN?
Any IAEA inspection of a country suspected of nuclear irregularities is usually carried out by agency experts. They may take swipes of residue on equipment, sample the air or take soil samples in attempts to look for signs of clandestine work on atomic arms or other potentially dangerous unreported activity.
The document on Parchin, however, will let the Iranians themselves look for signs of the very activity they deny — past work on nuclear weapons.
It says “Iran will provide” the agency with environmental samples. It restricts the number of samples at the suspect site to seven and to an unspecified number “outside of the Parchin complex” at a site that still needs to be decided.
The U.N. agency will take possession of the samples for testing, as usual. Iran will also provide photos and video of locations to be inspected. But the document suggests that areas of sensitive military activity remain out of bounds.
The draft says the IAEA will “ensure the technical authenticity of the activities” carried out by the Iranians — but it does not say how. …
WHY IS THE PARCHIN AGREEMENT IMPORTANT?
Any indication that the IAEA is diverging from established inspection rules could weaken the agency, the world’s nuclear watchdog with 164 members, and feed suspicions that it is ready to overly compromise in hopes of winding up a probe that has essentially been stalemated for more than a decade.
Politically, the arrangement has been grist for American opponents of the broader separate agreement to limit Iran’s future nuclear programs, signed by the Obama administration, Iran and five world powers in July. Critics have complained that the wider deal is built on trust of the Iranians, while the administration has insisted it depends on reliable inspections.
The separate agreement on past nuclear activities does not affect the broader deal signed in July. And it doesn’t appear yet that the revelation will change any votes in Congress for or against a resolution of disapproval, which President Barack Obama is expected to veto if it passes.
HOW DID THIS AGREEMENT HAPPEN?
It could be a matter of priorities.
The Obama administration’s main focus in the broader Iran deal — signed by the U.S., Iran, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — is crimping Iran’s present nuclear activities so they cannot be used in the future toward making a bomb. Faced with more than a decade of Iranian resistance to IAEA attempts to probe the allegations of past weapons work at Parchin, there may be a willingness to settle for an agency report that is less than definitive — and methods that deviate from usual practices.
The IAEA also appears to have recognized that Iran will continue to insist the allegations are lies, based on false U.S., Israeli and other intelligence. After a decade of stalemate it wants to close the books on the issue and allow the U.N. Security Council to do so as well.
The alternative might well have been no inspection at Parchin of any kind. [As if this “inspection” is not exactly equivalent to no inspection – ed.]
WHAT DOES THE IAEA SAY?
Director General Yukiya Amano says, “The arrangements are technically sound and consistent with our long-established practices. They do not compromise our … standards in any way.” He says agreements with Iran on clearing up the nuclear arms allegations “are confidential and I have a legal obligation not to make them public – the same obligation I have for hundreds of such arrangements made with other IAEA member states“.
WHAT DO OTHERS SAY?
Ned Price, spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House: “We are confident in the agency’s technical plans for investigating the possible military dimensions of Iran’s former program, issues that in some cases date back more than a decade. Just as importantly, the IAEA is comfortable with the arrangements, which are unique to the agency’s investigation of Iran’s historical activities.”
Olli Heinonen, in charge of the Iran investigation as IAEA deputy director general from 2005 through 2010, says he can think of no similar arrangement — a country essentially allowed to carry out much of the probe of suspicions against it.
The agreement is sinister and ludicrous.
(And now we know there is a “Separate Arrangement I” that we know nothing of.)
Commander J. E. Dyer writes at Liberty Unyielding:
Kerry offered to give the Senators a classified briefing on the side agreement – even though he also stressed that the U.S. has not been given access to it.
The reaction of JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] supporters to the AP report has been to emphasize that this agreement is about resolving IAEA’s questions regarding Iran’s past activities. The side agreement on Parchin isn’t about monitoring current or future activities, which are a separate issue.
The implication is that self-sampling and selfies are good enough for resolving the lingering questions about the past. Going forward, suggest Team Obama and its allies, is where we’ll see the tough, unprecedentedly rigorous verification regime for Iran’s military-related nuclear work.
The big problem with that logic – even more important than the point that verifying Iran’s past activities is crucial – is that there is nothing written down about the nature of the verification regime for military-related activities going forward. The JCPOA is silent as to methods and measures. It does not describe a rigorous verification regime. It doesn’t describe a verification regime at all.
All it says is that Iran and IAEA will develop agreements for inspecting the military-related sites IAEA requests access to. If IAEA isn’t satisfied, it can appeal to the JCPOA’s Joint Commission – on which Iran is one of the eight voting members.
So the only model we have to go by, in judging how this verification process is going to work, is the text of the side agreement on Parchin. And that text says we’re going to take Iran’s word for it. …
That approach isn’t good enough for the nuclear program of a radical regime that is still the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism.
Our readers can always rely on us to bring them the latest politically correct thinking and most radical opinions, and to keep them up-to-the-minute with information from the Compassion and Non-Judgmental Movement (CONJM).
Today’s CONJM Bulletin:
Item: In Democrat governed states, persons sentenced to prison are to be allowed to imprison and guard themselves.
Item: In states that still have the death penalty, the CONJM demands that until the death penalty is abolished and murderers sentenced to death are given their rightful freedom, they must be permitted to execute themselves in their own time, and may also choose the manner of their death. Social media response to this progressive idea suggests that most will choose to die from “old age”. Any who choose hanging, electrocution, gassing, or lethal injection will carry out the procedure by themselves on themselves, when and where they choose, with or without witnesses, as they prefer.
Item: In cities with progressive policing, burglars will be permitted to search for the goods they themselves have stolen.
Item: Under debate at present – a progressive outcome being pretty well assured – is a proposal, amply seconded, that abductors should be left to locate their abductees themselves, and decide whether or not to proceed with further actions such as blackmail, rape, or murder without police interference.
Item: Finally, we are happy to report great success in the International Relations Department. Since it is headline news in the conservative press, we will quote a media report of this triumph of tolerance, trust, and Christian forbearance.
The report comes from the New York Post:
A secret side deal to the Iran nuclear agreement allows Tehran to send its own inspectors to investigate a site where it has been accused of developing nuclear weapons, it was reported Wednesday.
The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran hammered out the plan for self-inspections of the Parchin military complex, long suspected of being a test site for nuclear arms, according to The Associated Press.
The United States and five world powers were not privy to the negotiations, but were briefed on the deal as part of the larger package signed in July limiting Iran’s nuclear program.
Skeptical members of the GOP-led Congress have been demanding texts of any side agreements, but the Obama administration has insisted the arrangements are technical and that it didn’t have copies.
Intelligence agencies have long suspected Parchin was used to experiment with high-explosive detonators for nuclear arms.
Iran has refused international inspectors access to the site for years and under the new deal that will not change.
Instead, the IAEA will diverge from normal protocol and allow Tehran to use its own experts and equipment to search for evidence of nuclear-weapons experimentation at the site.
Iran is to provide photos and videos to the IAEA while “taking into account military concerns”.
That wording suggests Iran will continue to keep off-limits areas of the complex Tehran has deemed of military significance.
Needless to say, Republicans and other bigots object to this great leap forward:
“This is a dangerous farce,” fumed Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“It is absolutely unacceptable, yet telling, that we are finding out the details of these agreements through The Associated Press,” said an outraged House Majority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
Olli Heinonen, who was in charge of the Iran probe as deputy IAEA director general from 2005 to 2010, said he could think of no similar concession to any other nation.
But the dear Leader takes no notice of the reactionaries and their so-yesterday narrow-minded opinions:
Team Obama defended the side deal and said it had confidence in the inspection program.
Here’s the deal that Obama has made with Iran, reported by Omri Ceren who has proved to be the most reliable provider of information on the negotiations:
The following has all been confirmed:
(1) The Iranian nuclear program will be placed under international sponsorship for R&D – A few weeks ago the AP leaked parts of an annex confirming that a major power would be working with the Iranians to develop next-generation centrifuge technology at the Fordow underground military enrichment bunker. Technically the work won’t be on nuclear material, but the AP noted that “isotope production uses the same technology as enrichment and can be quickly re-engineered to enriching uranium”. The administration had once promised Congress that Iran would be forced to dismantle its centrifuge program. The Iranians refused, so the administration conceded that the Iranians would be allowed to keep their existing centrifuges. Now the international community will be actively sponsoring the development of Iranian nuclear technology. And since the work will be overseen by a great power, it will be off-limits to the kind of sabotage that has kept the Iranian nuclear program in check until now.
(2) The sanctions regime will be shredded – the AP revealed at the beginning of June that the vast majority of the domestic U.S. sanctions regime will be dismantled. The Lausanne factsheet – which played a key role in dampening Congressional criticism to American concessions – had explicitly stated “U.S. sanctions on Iran for terrorism, human rights abuses, and ballistic missiles will remain in place under the deal.” That turns out to have been false. Instead the administration will redefine non-nuclear sanctions as nuclear, so that it can lift them. The Iranians are boasting that sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank, NIT Co., the National Iranian Oil Company, and 800 individuals and entities will be lifted. That’s probably exaggerated and a bit confused – CBI sanctions are statutory, and will probably not be getting “lifted” – but the sense is clear enough.
(3) The U.S. collapsed on the arms embargo – Just a week ago Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee that “under no circumstances should we relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking.” Now multiple outlets have confirmed that the embargo on conventional weapons will be lifted no later than 5 years from now, and that the embargo on ballistic missiles will expire in 8 years. No one in the region is going to wait for those embargoes to expire: they’ll rush to build up their stockpiles in anticipation of the sunset.
(4) The U.S. collapsed on anytime-anywhere inspections – The IAEA will get to request access to sensitive sites, the Iranians will get to say no, and then there will be an arbitration board that includes Iran as a member. This concession is particularly damaging politically and substantively because the administration long ago went all-in on verification. The original goal of the talks was to make the Iranians take physical actions that would prevent them from going nuclear if they wanted to: dismantling centrifuges, shuttering facilities, etc. The Iranians said no to those demands, and the Americans backed off. The fallback position relied 100% on verification: yes the Iranians would be physically able to cheat, the argument went, but the cheating would be detected because of an anytime-anywhere inspection regime. That is not what the Americans are bringing home.
(5) The U.S. collapsed on PMDs [possible military dimensions] – This morning the Iranians and the IAEA signed a roadmap for a process that would see Tehran eventually providing access for the IAEA to clear up its concerns. This roadmap differs in no significant way from previous commitments the Iranians have made to the agency, except now Tehran will have received sanctions relief and stabilized its economy.
A video, published July 6, 2015, tells the story:
Of course yet another “deadline” (hahahaha!) has been passed in the Capitulate-to-Iran talks now going on and on in Vienna.
And according to the latest report by Omri Ceren – all of whose reports have so far proved to be accurate – the US is preparing to cave yet again. (And so will the rest 0f the P5+1 group – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, plus Germany – ostensibly participating in the negotiations but really just letting the US lead the verbal dance to surrender.)
Notice that the European Union is also represented there by Federica Mogherini, grandly named the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
The parties missed another deadline this morning, and talks are now expected to go through the end of the week. Mogherini told reporters this morning: “I am not talking about extension. I am talking about taking the hours we need to try to complete our work.” (?) The overwhelming consensus from press and analysts here in Vienna nonetheless hasn’t changed: the parties will indeed announce some kind of agreement before they leave, though it will almost certainly have details that will need to be sorted out in future negotiations. How that aligns with the administration’s legal obligation to provide Congress with all final details the deal is anyone’s guess at this point.
Meanwhile the Obama administration and its allies are laying the groundwork for another U.S. collapse, this time on inspections. Couple of indicators:
(1) They’re giving up on promising “the most robust inspection/verification regime in history”
Here’s President Obama during his April 2 speech about the Lausanne announcement: “Iran has also agreed to the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime ever negotiated for any nuclear program in history”.
Here’s White House spokesman Josh Earnest at the beginning of May echoing the boast: “what President Obama has indicated must be part of any nuclear agreement… is the most intrusive set of inspections that have ever been imposed on a country’s nuclear program”.
But now here’s White House validator Daryl Kimball talking to Politico a couple days ago: “this particular agreement will establish the most extensive, multilayered system of nuclear monitoring and verification for any country not defeated in a war“. Catch the caveat about wartime defeat? …
For 20 months the administration promised Congress that Iran had been sufficiently coerced by sanctions that Tehran would accept anytime/anywhere inspections. Many in Congress disagreed and urged the administration to boost American leverage by working with the Hill to pass time-triggered sanctions. The administration responded with two different media wars that included accusations – including some by the President – describing lawmakers as warmongers beholden to “donor” money. Congress was right and the administration was wrong. Why would lawmakers now accept a weaker inspection regime than what the administration said it could secure, and what administration officials smeared lawmakers for doubting?
(2) A new talking point is that the IAEA’s technology makes up for the P5+1 collapsing on inspections
This appeared in two articles yesterday (the NYT and the Daily Beast). The two stories are fantastically geeky reads about the IAEA’s toys, but that’s not what the administration officials and validators wanted to focus on. Instead you had Energy Secretary Moniz telling the NYT that the technology “lowers the requirement for human inspectors going in” and Kimball telling the Daily Beast that the technology meant that the IAEA would be able to “detect [nuclear activities] without going directly into certain areas”.
This argument is terrible and scientists should be embarrassed they’re making it.
In its story the NYT quoted Olli Heinonen – a 27-year veteran of the IAEA who sat atop the agency’s verification shop – all but rolling his eyes:
Mr. Heinonen, the onetime inspection chief, sounded a note of caution, saying it would be naïve to expect that the wave of technology could ensure Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal. In the past, he said, Tehran has often promised much but delivered little. “Iran is not going to accept it easily,” he said, referring to the advanced surveillance. “We tried it for 10 years.” Even if Tehran agrees to high-tech sleuthing, Mr. Heinonen added, that step will be “important but minor” compared with the intense monitoring that Western intelligence agencies must mount to see if Iran is racing ahead in covert facilities to build an atomic bomb.
The most fundamental problem is that IAEA procedures require physical environmental samples to confirm violations. They can use futuristic lasers and satellites to *detect* that Iran is cheating. But to confirm the cheating they need environmental samples, and usually multiple rounds of samples. Without that level of proof – which requires access – the agency simply wouldn’t tell the international community that it was certain Iran is in violation.
That’s before even beginning the discussion about why technology can’t make up for access to people, facilities, and documents – without which the IAEA won’t even know where to point its lasers and satellites.
But this is what the administration has left: the Iranians can’t be expected to grant anytime/anywhere access but that’s OK because the IAEA has cool toys.
Have the Iranians conceded anything? Is there anything the US has not conceded?
Has the whole performance been nothing but a charade to cover Obama’s determination that Iran should get its nukes?
Why would he want that? To make sure Islam is a strong force in the world? So the state of Israel will be destroyed? So the United States will be a weaker force in the world?
Or …. ?
Obama, through his lackey John Kerry, continues to woo the hellish regime of the Iranian Ayatollahs. He longs for a “deal” at any cost.
He is doing everything possible to help them become a nuclear-armed power.
This really is, without exaggeration, the worst threat, the gravest danger, the world as a whole has ever faced. The threat of the imposition of world control by Communist Russia was grave, but the Russians were not willing to die in massive numbers when a retaliation to their attack descended on them. The Muslim Iranians “love death”, and reckon that Muslims would be happy to die and go to their brothel in the sky; and that, however heavy the retaliation, there would still be a lot of Muslims left alive to dominate – perhaps exclusively occupy – this world.
Either Obama does not realize that he is putting the world in extremest danger, or he must want what the Ayatollahs want.
What is that? The destruction of Israel, certainly,and he’s cool with that. But he cannot believe that Israel is the Iranians’ only target. They continue to scream “Death to America!” loud and clear while the charade of “negotiations” for the “deal” is in progress. He must be cool with that too. Do his P5+1 claques feel the same way? Seems so.
Their latest move is to HELP Iran get “the bomb”.
George Jahn writes at AP:
Western powers are offering Tehran high-tech reactors under a proposed nuclear agreement, a confidential document says, but a defiant speech by Iran’s supreme leader less than a week before a negotiating deadline casts doubt on whether he’s willing to make the necessary concessions to seal a deal. …
Iran’s top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Tuesday rejected a long-term freeze on nuclear research and supported the idea of barring international inspectors from military sites. Khamenei, in comments broadcast on Iranian state television, also said Iran would sign a final deal only if all economic sanctions on the country were first lifted. The preliminary deal calls for sanctions to be lifted gradually after an agreement is finalized.
Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed Khamenei’s remarks, saying Wednesday they were [only] for “domestic political consumption”. …
In another sign the Islamic Republic may be toughening its stance, Iran’s Guardian Council on Wednesday enacted legislation banning access to military sites and scientists, according to state TV. …
The West has held out the prospect of providing Iran peaceful nuclear technology in the nearly decade-long effort to reduce Tehran’s ability to make nuclear weapons. But the scope of the help now being offered in the draft displeases U.S. congressional critics who say Washington is giving away too much.
“These continued concessions only emboldened Iran’s leaders to press for more,” Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement. “The way these negotiations are moving, it is increasingly difficult to see the administration striking a meaningful, lasting agreement that would be acceptable to Congress.” …
[A draft annex] entitled Civil Nuclear Cooperation, promises to supply Iran with light-water nuclear reactors instead of its nearly completed heavy-water facility at Arak, which could produce enough plutonium for several bombs a year if completed as planned. …
Outlining plans to modify that heavy-water reactor, the draft, dated June 19, offers to “establish an international partnership” to rebuild it into a less proliferation-prone facility while leaving Iran in “the leadership role as the project owner and manager.”
The eight-page draft also promises “arrangements for the assured supply and removal of nuclear fuel for each reactor provided,” and offers help in the “construction and effective operation” of the reactors and related hardware. It offers cooperation with Iran in the fields of nuclear safety, nuclear medicine, research, nuclear waste removal and other peaceful applications. …
[But] because isotope production uses the same technology as enrichment and can be quickly re-engineered, the compromise has been criticized by congressional opponents of the proposed deal.
Scott Johnson comments at PowerLine:
This is no longer a deal to stop the Iranian nuclear program. It’s a deal to let the Iranians perfect their nuclear program with international assistance and under international protection. …
Some country in the P5+1 will be helping the Iranians develop next-generation centrifuges in a facility impenetrable to American and Israeli bombs. Conversely, any country that wants to sabotage that development will be unable to do so, because the program will be protected and maintained by a major power.
As the centrifuges are being developed they’ll be spinning non-nuclear elements, but once they’re perfected the Iranians will be able to use them to enrich uranium. The international community will literally be investing in helping Iran achieve a zero breakout.
A couple of obvious points. First, it means the P5+1 will be actively providing the Iranians with the tools to break out while a deal is in place. The Iranians will already have 300kg of 3.67% uranium on hand, and they’ll be able to scale up production as they need because the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] lets them keep 5,000 centrifuges enriching uranium at Natanz and lets them keep another 10,000 centrifuges in storage available to be installed. They can bring low enriched material to Fordow and quickly enrich it to weapons-grade levels in the next-generation centrifuges they’ll have developed with P5+1 assistance. Second – again – it means that the P5+1 will be actively ensuring that Iran will have the technology to go nuclear at will the instant the deal expires. The technology the Iranians learn to develop at Fordow will be applied on a mass scale.
To that end, the draft, entitled Civil Nuclear Cooperation, promises to supply Iran with light-water nuclear reactors instead of its nearly completed heavy-water facility at Arak … [and] offers to “establish an international partnership” to rebuild it into a less proliferation-prone facility while leaving Iran in “the leadership role as the project owner and manager.”
Light-water reactors are significantly more proliferation-resistant than heavy-water reactors (in fact there’s no reason to build a heavy water reactor – of the type that the Iranians have been working on – unless you want to produce plutonium for a nuclear weapon). But even LWRs are not proliferation proof, and a plutonium bomb isn’t the only concern.
Imagine that 15 years from now the Iranians have built a dozen LWRs with help from a P5+1 nation. One concern is indeed that they’ll kick out inspectors, keep the spent fuel, and start reprocessing on the way to creating a plutonium bomb. But a more subtle concern is that they will use the existence of the LWRs as a pretext for industrial-scale uranium enrichment – because they’ll say they need the uranium fuel for their plutonium plants – which can serve as a cover for breaking out with a uranium bomb. The P5+1 would be actively providing the Iranians with diplomatic leverage to use against the P5+1 in the future.