As more about the US’s terms of surrender to Iran emerge, it becomes ever clearer that despite the big lie told by Obama and the Ayatollah Khamenei – the two Supreme Leaders – that Iran would never use nuclear energy for anything but peaceful purposes, it is in fact a nuclear arsenal that Iran is after.
Is anybody surprised?
In this article at the Wall Street Journal, Jay Solomon names some of the people and organizations behind the intense activity in Iran to acquire nuclear warheads and missiles to deliver them.
What? The Religion of Peace make war?
And against whom? Surely not the country they call “the Great Satan”? Whoever could imagine such a thing!
The Obama administration and European Union agreed as part of the accord last week to lift sanctions over eight years on a network of Iranian scientists, military officers and companies long suspected by the U.S. and United Nations as central players in a covert nuclear weapons program.
The U.S. also agreed to remove a German engineer from its financial blacklist by late 2023 after he was targeted by sanctions for his alleged role in a global black market in nuclear weapons technology run by the father of Pakistan’s nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan.
The decision to roll back sanctions on these individuals and organizations is detailed in more than 100 pages of documents released last week as part of the landmark nuclear accord reached between Iran and six world powers.
The Obama administration decided to remove Gerhard Wisser from its sanctions list by 2023. The German engineer was convicted and sentenced to 18 years in prison [suspended] by a South African court in 2007 for his role in supplying centrifuge components to the A.Q. Khan black-market network. … The U.S. and IAEA accuse Mr. Khan and his associates of facilitating the sale of nuclear equipment to North Korea, Iran and Libya during the 1980s and 1990s. The senior U.S. official didn’t provide specifics about why Mr. Wisser was granted sanctions relief as part of the Iran deal. Mr. Wisser could not be located. He pleaded guilty in 2007 in South Africa to manufacturing components that could be illegally used in nuclear technology. …
Republicans said in recent days they were stunned the White House and European allies agreed to lift sanctions on such individuals and expressed concerns about the long-term impact on U.S. and global security. A number of leading Republicans said the issue of sanctions relief will be among those they cite in attempting to block legislative approval of the Iran deal.
Congress started a 60-day review period of the agreement this week.
“This would remove sanctions on those responsible for Iran’s nuclear weapons development at the same time restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program come off,” said Rep. Ed Royce (R., Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, referring to the delisting of Iranian scientists, companies and officers. “That’s a deadly combination.” …
Among those [people] to be removed from the U.S., U.N. and EU sanctions lists by 2023 is Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi. U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies suspect he oversaw a secret Iranian program to develop the technologies for a nuclear weapon, at least until 2003. He’s been called by American officials the “ Robert Oppenheimer” of Iran’s nuclear efforts, a reference to the American scientist who oversaw development of atomic weapons during World War II. The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has repeatedly attempted to interview the military officer to conclude its investigation into Tehran’s alleged weaponization work, but has repeatedly been rebuffed.
Iran denies it sought to build a bomb and has guarded access to its military sites and leadership. …
The U.S., U.N. and EU also committed in Vienna to remove Fereidoun Abbasi-Davani, a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist, from their sanctions lists over the next eight years. … Mr. Abbasi-Davani was promoted to head the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran from 2011-2013.
The military body Mr. Fakhrizadeh allegedly headed, the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, known as SPND, also will be removed from the U.S. sanctions list by 2023. The IAEA has said SPND may have been involved in nuclear weapons research after 2003. The agency has sought to interview officials from the organization but have also been rebuffed.
The U.S. also agreed to remove Kalaye Electric Co. from its sanctions list over the next eight years. The Iranian company was exposed by the IAEA as having secretly run a uranium-enrichment facility in the early 2000s. …
The EU and U.N. also committed to removing Malek Ashtar University from their sanctions lists. The Tehran research center was accused of supplying scientists who participated in secret weaponization work, according to former U.S. and IAEA officials. …
Denials and confusion will continue:
The Obama administration will begin briefing Congress on Wednesday, including with appearances by Secretary of State John Kerry. Mr. Kerry and other administration officials have in some cases added to the confusion over the status of Iranians and others on sanctions lists. According to the Vienna documents, the commander of Iran’s overseas military unit known as the Qods Force will be taken off EU and U.N. sanctions lists in the next eight years. But the secretary of state initially denied that the commander, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, would be removed from sanctions lists.
Of course he will be removed. He and everyone else on the list will probably be given awards soon by Obama, or the UN, or the Nobel Peace Prize Committee.
From Commentary, by John Podhoretz:
This is an infamous day, and while those of us who see Iran’s nuclearization as the threshold threat for the rest of the 21st century will not be silent and will not give up the fight against it, it is appropriate to take a moment to despair that we — the United States and the West — have come to this.
Only a moment?
How go those old talks with Islamofascist Iran about stopping it getting armed with nukes?
The all-powerful supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s latest comment was far from helpful. Saturday, July 11, he said publicly: “The US is the true embodiment of global arrogance,” the fight against which “could not be interrupted” even after the completion of the nuclear talks. He also boasted that the Islamic Republic had “managed to charm the world” by sticking with those negotiations.
This is from DebkaFile:
Khamenei’s remarks reflect the struggle between the pro- and anti-nuclear deal factions at the highest level of the Iranian leadership. …
On June 29, President Hassan Rouhani was planning to resign when he asked the supreme leader to receive him first. He was upset by Foreign Minister Mohamed Zavad Zarif’s recall from Vienna to Tehran for a tough briefing. Zarif had warned the president that the talks were doomed unless Iran gave some slack. The foreign minister said that the six foreign ministers were preparing to leave Vienna in protest against Iran’s intransigence.
Rouhani when he met Khamenei warned him that Iran was about to miss the main diplomatic train to its main destination: the lifting of sanctions to save the economy from certain ruin.
The supreme ruler was unconvinced: He referred the president to the conditions for a deal he had laid down on June 23 and refused to budge: Sanctions must be removed upon the signing of the final accord; international atomic agency inspectors were banned at military facilities, along with interviews with nuclear scientists; and the powers must endorse Iran’s right to continue nuclear research and build advanced centrifuges for uranium enrichment.
Rouhani hotly stressed that those conditions had become a hindrance to the deal going through and insisted that sanctions relief was imperative for hauling the economy out of crisis.
Khamenei disputed him on that point too. He retorted that the revolutionary republic had survived the eight-year Iranian-Iraqi war (1979-187) with far fewer resources and assets than it commanded at present.
For back-up, the supreme ruler asked two hardliners to join his ding-dong with the president: Defense Minister Mir Hossein Moussavi and Revolutionary Guards chief Mohammad Ali Jaafari.
Both told Rouhani in the stiffest terms that Tehran must not on any account bow to international pressure for giving up its nuclear program or the development of ballistic missiles.
In a broad hint to President Rouhani to pipe down, Khamenei reminisced about his long-gone predecessor Hassan Bani-Sadr (president in 1980-1981) who was not only forced out of office but had to flee Iran, and the former prime minister and presidential candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi, who has lived under house arrest for six years since leading an opposition campaign.
The supreme leader then set out his thesis that the danger of Iran coming under attack had declined to zero, since Europe was in deep economic crisis (mainly because of Greece) and because the US president had never been less inclined to go to war than he is today.
Jaaafri added his two cents by commenting that after a succession of fiascos, Obama would go to any lengths to reach a nuclear deal with Iran as the crowning achievement of his presidency. The Revolutionary Guards chief then added obliquely: “Before long we will present the West with a fait accompli.”
He refused to elaborate on this when questioned by the president, but it was taken as a reference to some nuclear event.
Rouhani left the meeting empty-handed, but his letter of resignation stayed in his pocket.
The next day, when Zarif landed in Vienna to take his seat once more at the negotiating table, he learned about a new directive Khamenei had sent the president, ordering him to expand ballistic missile development and add another five percent to its budget – another burden on Iran’s empty coffers.
Khamenei’s office made sure this directive reached the public domain. Zarif too was armed with another impediment to a deal. Khamenei instructed him to add a fresh condition: The annulment of the sanctions imposed against Iran’s missile development and arms purchases.
Can this be true?
The Saudi multi-millionaire media tycoon, prince Talal Bin Waleed, has urged all Arab nations to give up their acrimonious stance toward the Jewish nation and instead continue to strive for a more peaceful, prosperous and homogenous Middle-East.
The controversial Saudi prince Talal has openly declared his intention to embark on a seven-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land and pray in Al-Aqsa Mosque — the third holiest site in Islam located in the Old City of Jerusalem, reported Okaz , the Arabic Saudi Arabian daily on Thursday.
All my Muslim brothers and sisters must understand that it became a moral imperative for all inhabitants of war-torn Middle-East, namely Arabs, to desist their absurd hostility toward Jewish people.
My sovereign, King Salman has instructed me to open a direct dialogue with Israel’s intellectuals building amicable ties with our Israeli neighbors.
I was always candid regarding the utmost necessity of quelling the growing waves of anti-Semitism in our volatile region, and I shall remain lavish in my praise to Israel as the sole democratic entity in one the most tyrannical parts in the entire world.
Saying that his voyage might be the harbinger of peace and fraternity, the Saudi Prince emphasized developing the nascent military and intelligence co-operation with Tel Aviv [correction: Jerusalem – ed].
Saudi Arabia? Yes. Religious tolerance? Yes.
But the Saudis don’t really mean it, do they? Of course not, but a little thing like that won’t stop them.
The Independent reports:
Saudi Arabia has hosted an international conference on human rights, attended by the president of the UN Human Rights Council, and resolved to combat intolerance and violence based on religious belief.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) – which has its headquarters in Jeddah – convened the fifth annual meeting of the Istanbul Process as the kingdom’s Supreme Court prepared to rule on the case of blogger Raif Badawi, sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam through religious channels”. It later upheld the sentence.
The UN HRC recently faced criticism over Saudi plans to head up the council from 2016, in what critics said would be the “final nail in the coffin” for the international body.
And the Geneva-based human rights campaign group UN Watch accused HRC president Joachim Rücker of giving “false international legitimacy” to the two-day conference on religious freedoms held in Jeddah on 3 and 4 June.
According to a report in the Saudi Gazette, the participants in the conference “began with an agreement to put [HRC] resolution 16/18 into effect” – a pledge by all member states to combat “intolerance and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief”.
“In addition, participants agreed on the importance on providing human rights education and encouraging religious and cultural diversity in communities.”
Invited to make the opening statement at the conference, Mr Rücker told the summit: “Religious intolerance and violence committed in the name of religion rank among the most significant human rights challenges of our times.”
But Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, said: “It’s bad enough that the oppressive and fundamentalist Saudi monarchy was elected to sit on the UN Human Rights Council.
“But for top UN human rights officials to now visit Jeddah and smile while human rights activist Raif Badawi languishes in prison for the crime of religious dissent, still under threat of further flogging, is to pour salt in the wounds. It’s astonishing.”
Astonishing? Astonishing hypocrisy, yes. But what can be expected of the Saudis’ contemptible regime? It’s very existence is a mockery not only of tolerance, but also of truth, decency, honesty, humanity.
It should inspire not astonishment but outrage and fury – if anyone in the flabby West is still capable of righteous anger.
Saudi Arabia is probably the most monocultural and intolerant country in the world. (Comparable only to Communist regimes.)
Islam is the state religion of Saudi Arabia and its law requires that all citizens be Muslims. Neither Saudi citizens nor guest workers have the right of freedom of religion.The official and dominant form of Islam in the kingdom – Wahhabism – arose in the central region of Najd in the eighteenth century. Proponents call the movement “Salafism”, and believe that its teachings purify the practice of Islam of innovations or practices that deviate from the seventh-century teachings of Muhammad and his companions.
Saudi Arabia has “religious police” (known as Haia or Mutaween), who patrol the streets enforcing dress codes, strict separation of men and women, attendance at prayer (salat) five times each day, the ban on alcohol, and other aspects of Sharia (Islamic law). (In the privacy of the home behavior can be far looser, and reports indicate that the ruling Saudi Royal family applies a different moral code to itself, indulging in parties, drugs and sex.) [Including, to our certain knowledge, homosexual sex (often with under-15-year-old boys), which is punishable by death under sharia – TAC.]
Daily life is dominated by Islamic observance. Businesses are closed three or four times a day for 30 to 45 minutes during business hours while employees and customers are sent off to pray. The weekend is Friday-Saturday, not Saturday-Sunday, because Friday is the holiest day for Muslims. As of 2004 approximately half of the broadcast airtime of Saudi state television was devoted to religious issues. 90% of books published in the kingdom were on religious subjects, and most of the doctorates awarded by its universities were in Islamic studies. In the state school system, about half of the material taught is religious. In contrast, assigned readings over twelve years of primary and secondary schooling devoted to covering the history, literature, and cultures of the non-Muslim world comes to a total of about 40 pages.
Public support for the traditional political/religious structure of the kingdom is so strong that one researcher interviewing Saudis found virtually no support for reforms to secularize the state.
Because of religious restrictions, Saudi culture lacks any diversity of religious expression, buildings, annual festivals and public events. Celebration of other (non-Wahhabi) Islamic holidays, such as the Muhammad’s birthday and the Day of Ashura, (an important holiday for the 10-25% of the population that is Shīʿa Muslim), are tolerated only when celebrated locally and on a small scale. Shia also face systematic discrimination in employment, education, the justice system. Non-Muslim festivals like Christmas and Easter are not tolerated at all, although there are nearly a million Christians as well as Hindus and Buddhists among the foreign workers. No churches, temples or other non-Muslim houses of worship are permitted in the country. Proselytizing by non-Muslims and conversion by Muslims to another religion is illegal and punishable by death. And as of 2014 the distribution of “publications that have prejudice to any other religious belief other than Islam” (such as Bibles), was reportedly punishable by death.
Atheists are legally designated as terrorists.
Saudis or foreign residents who “call into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based” may be subject to as much as 20 years in prison. And at least one religious minority, the Ahmadiyya Muslims, had all its adherents deported, and they are legally banned from entering the country.
Next the UN will consider Saudi Arabia the ideal venue for an international conference on “diversity”. And after that, why not one on women’s rights?
Iran will concede nothing. Obama will concede everything.
The most reliable and accurate reporter of what is going on at the US-Iranian talks to “prevent” Iran becoming a nuclear power is Omri Ceren. Read his reports here.
This is what went on today when an AP reporter questioned the State Department about the latest news from the scene of -
The Great Humiliation of the US at the Hands of the Mullahs of Iran
The administration is trying to move the goalpost from “the Iranians have to resolve past issues” to “the Iranians have to provide the access that could be used to resolve past issues”. And instead of trying to sell the collapse as necessary they’re trying to insist that their stance has never changed. State Department Press Office Director Jeff Rathke tried to convince the State Department press corps at today’s briefing that the Obama administration never promised lawmakers and journalists that the Iranians would have to resolve the PMD issue before they got sanctions relief.
What followed was a 10 minute back-and-forth …
The videos are here – http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4540775/state-dept-vs-associated-press-iran-disclosure-12 – and here – http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4540777/state-dept-vs-associated-press-iran-disclosure-22. There are 2 parts because at first the discussion sort of ended with Rathke telling the Associated Press’s Matthew Lee that the administration has never changed its position, but then later Lee brought the conversation back to the topic and literally read Kerry’s PBS interview out loud off his phone.
LEE: But does your unwillingness to even characterize the –you know, where the talks are and that they’re at a difficult phase with 2-1/2 weeks left, does that extend to not commenting on various reports that have come out this week and the last about concessions that the P5+1 appear to be making to Iran in terms of both sanctions relief and on the PMD issue?
RATHKE: Well, I think we’ve spoken a bit to this yesterday. But on the PMD issue, you know, we’re — we’ve seen the reports that — I think that you’re referring to. You know, I think our position on this hasn’t changed. We’ve always made clear to the Iranians that they will have to reach agreement with the IAEA on providing the necessary access to address the concerns about the possible military dimensions of their program. And without that agreement, you know, we will not be able to move forward with sanctions relief. That’s been our position throughout these negotiations.
LEE: Right. But that means — that suggests that the actual questions don’t have to be answered and the concerns resolved in order to get the deal, correct?
RATHKE: Well, again…
LEE: They only have to agree to — at some point, whatever that might be, but at some point — after an agreement is reached, to, to deal with this. Is that correct?
RATHKE: Well, the point is that Iran has to provide the necessary access to the IAEA for them to address these concerns.
LEE: Yeah, but does that have to happen to get to a deal? Or can that happen after a deal?
RATHKE: Without — without — without agreement on the access, we will not — needed to resolve this, we won’t be able to reach, you know…
LEE: So if Iran agrees to give access to the sites that the IAEA wants, but doesn’t actually — but hasn’t actually given the access by June 30th, that’s still OK. Is that correct?
RATHKE: Well, there I think we’re getting into details that I will leave in the negotiating room. I think what I’m trying to convey, though, is that our — our position on the possible military dimensions issue and the necessity of Iran working with the IAEA, that position remains the same and hasn’t changed.
LEE: Is it — is it correct that there is a difference between me, if I’m Iran, saying to you: “OK, you can have access in 50 years,” and me as Iran saying, “OK, come on in now and give — and ask all the questions you want, and we’ll — we’ll address your concerns.” There’s a difference between those two, correct?
RATHKE: But the distinction you’re trying to say is 50 years versus zero?
LEE: Well, when does Iran have to give the access?
RATHKE: Again, those — those are details that…
LEE: Well, they shouldn’t be. They shoudn’t, I didn’t…
RATHKE: …in the negotiating room, and I’m not going to speak to those.
LEE: Well, but they shouldn’t be up for negotiation, because the whole idea in the JPOA was that Iran would resolve these issues in order to get to — in order to get to a comprehensive deal. And now you’re saying they don’t have to resolve them at all. All they have to do is say, “OK, at some point in the future, and we don’t know when that might be, that we’ll give access.” And giving access doesn’t mean that you’re — that the IAEA or yours — your concerns have been resolved or addressed.
RATHKE: Our position on this hasn’t changed, Matt. And you can go back and look at what we said at the time. But our position remains that, you know, it’s about the access that the IAEA needs to address our concerns.
LEE: But that’s not what it was at the beginning. At the beginning of this, it was they have to resolve the PMD issue to the satisfaction of the IAEA or there isn’t going to be a deal.
RATHKE: Again, I’m saying there’s not a — there’s not a difference.
LEE: Well, that’s a big difference between that and saying that they just have to agree to at some point down the road give access, and not even resolve the concerns.
RATHKE: Again, the…
LEE: There is a difference there. I mean, am I wrong?
RATHKE: Look, the focus is on addressing — addressing these concerns and that’s one of the issues that we’re dealing with in the negotiating room.
QUESTION: So would the IAEA first have to resolve this, well, would the deal have to include that the IAEA has resolved this already before we sign it. I mean, because if you sign the deal without that being resolved, isn’t it just something left open?
RATHKE: Again, I go back to what I said initially in response to Matt’s question. That it has consistently been our position that Iran has to reach agreement with the IAEA to provide the necessary access to address the concerns about the possible military dimensions of their program. That’s been our position throughout the negotiations. And without that agreement, you know, we’ll not be able to move forward with sanctions relief. And, you know, the — the discussions in the room, I will leave in the room. But that’s been our position and that’s — and it remains.
LEE: So it has never been the U.S. position that Iran must resolve the PMD concerns to get to an agreement. That’s never been — that’s never been a condition?
RATHKE: Look, if we want to go back and — and look at what was said at the time, again, our position on this.
LEE: I wish this wasn’t, I mean.
RATHKE: It remains the same.
LEE: It doesn’t remain the same, Jeff. It’s — it’s — it’s changed. I mean, Secretary Kerry even said that it had — they had to be resolved in order for there to be a deal.
RATHKE: You’re trying to draw a distinction between the words address and resolve.
LEE: No. You’re lowering it — you’re lowering the bar even further from address to just agree to give access to, which means, I mean, if they give access…
LEE: If they give access and the IAEA — your version now says that if they give access, the IAEA goes in and finds some huge secret bomb-making thing, that’s OK. Then — they’ve given access and that’s alright.
RATHKE: I think you were listening to what I said.
LEE: I was.
RATHKE: I said that Iran has to provide the necessary access to address the concerns about the possible military dimensions of their program.
LEE: But what if the concerns aren’t addressed? What if the access that they give doesn’t address the concerns? You’ve already got the deal, they’re already getting sanctions relief. Or are you saying that if the concerns aren’t addressed at some point down the road, then they’re not going to get the sanctions relief that they would’ve gotten for that
RATHKE: I’ve laid out our position clearly, Matt. It hasn’t changed.
LEE: Alright, well, I’m very confused, because it does seem that — that — that — that the goal posts seem to be moving.
RATHKE: No. The goal posts haven’t moved.
LEE: I want to go back to Iran and this whole PMD thing. All right. In April, the secretary was on PBS Newshour with Judy Woodruff. And she asked him: “The IAEA said for a long time that it wants Iran to disclose past PMDs. Iran is increasingly looking like it’s not prepared to do this. Is the U.S. prepared to accept that?”
Secretary Kerry: “No. They have to do it. It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal, it will be done.”
Woodruff: “Because it’s not there right now.”
Kerry: “It will be done.”
Woodruff: “So that information will be released before June 30th. It will be available?”
Secretary Kerry: “It will be part of the final agreement, it has to be.”
Now you’re saying that all they have to do is to agree to provide access at some date in the future to address that? That certainly — that’s…
RATHKE: No, that’s…
LEE: That’s a walk-back…
LEE: Or am I completely misunderstanding what the secretary said?
RATHKE: Our position remains, as Secretary Kerry outlined it, that — and, you know, as you quoted from the secretary’s…
LEE: He said there, in a response to a question, “Does Iran have to disclose its PMDs?”, in other words, do they have to address the — address the concerns or resolve the concerns, and he said, “Yes, before June 30th.” Was he wrong?
RATHKE: He said yes, that’s part of — that would have to be part of the — part of the deal.
LEE: And now you’re saying it doesn’t have to be part of the deal.
RATHKE: No, I’m not saying it’s part of the deal (sic), Matt. You’re trying to draw distinctions here where there aren’t distinctions. What Secretary Kerry in that — in that interview…
RATHKE: … is consistent with our policy…
LEE: There is no distinction between them having to open up and…
RATHKE: No, see — you’re offering your interpretation of what these words […] mean. What the secretary said in that interview, what I’ve said, and what our position’s been throughout these talks is entirely consistent.
The prevarication on the part of the State Department is so obvious and shameful that this exchange should be used as an example of “How to Slither Out of Answering a Question” in all Schools of Diplomacy from now on.
The UN must be destroyed.
The US must stop funding the UN – headquarters of international political evil.
Senator Ted Cruz is serious about it. He has sent this letter to the Secretary-General of Evil HQ:
June 3, 2015
His Excellency Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General of the United Nations
First Avenue at 46th Street
New York, NY 10017
Dear Mr. Secretary-General:
I write to you to convey my outrage that the State of Israel may be added to your list of “parties to conflict who commit grave violations against children.” This designation would falsely and shamefully equate Israel with some of the most barbaric terrorist organizations around the world. The decision to add Israel is solely your decision to make and, therefore, is entirely in your power to prevent from taking place.
As you are well aware, this list is part of your annual report on Children and Armed Conflict. It is my understanding that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) may be added for the alleged violations described below. The 2014 report on Children and Armed Conflict listed more than 59 parties including terrorist organizations such as Boko Haram, Taliban, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and Al Qaeda who “recruit or use children, kill or maim children, commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against children, or engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals in situations of armed conflict.”
Such deplorable atrocities rightfully should be condemned by the United Nations. But there is absolutely no legitimate basis for adding Israel to such a list that includes parties which only represent the greatest of evil, honor death over life, and deliberately massacre women and children. Unlike those parties on your list, Israel cherishes life and goes to extraordinary lengths to minimize civilian casualties during a conflict. In fact, Israel’s careful warfare tactics set an example for other nations to emulate, including the United States, which, according to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, recently sent a team of senior military officers over to Israel to learn more about these tactics.
As the entire world observed last summer, Israel began its justified military operation in response to the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teenagers by Hamas, two of whom were 16 years old and another 19 years old. As Israel engaged in an operation to find the Hamas terrorists responsible and bring them to justice for this heinous act, the conflict further escalated when Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad began to launch rockets and use underground tunnels deliberately targeting Israeli civilians, in an indiscriminate attempt to murder as many Israelis as possible. These terrorist groups are motivated by the stated desire to destroy Israel within any borders, not by any legitimate interest in making peace with Israel.
Acting in self-defense, Israel targeted only areas in Gaza that posed a threat and where members of Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad were located. The IDF took such steps as dropping leaflets, making announcements, placing telephone calls, and sending text messages directly to residents in Gaza to provide advance warning of an imminent attack to minimize civilian casualties. Members of Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad purposefully hid themselves and stockpiled weapons in densely populated areas including UN facilities, schools, hospitals and mosques. They used civilians, including children, as human shields. Hamas’ main command center was located underneath the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, which made the primary source of medical care to Gaza residents a legitimate military target if Israel’s objective was to destroy Hamas’ terrorist leadership. These terrorists even encouraged residents in Gaza to ignore the IDF warnings and remain in their homes in an attempt to use them as pawns in their ongoing propaganda war to demonize the Jewish State. The very lives of Gaza residents are of no concern to Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad, for whom casualties are not an unintended consequence of war, but rather a deliberate objective. The United States Congress unanimously passed a resolution last year condemning their actions.
Meanwhile to Israel’s northeast a civil war wages in Syria. In an action completely alien to the parties on your list, Israel has offered medical care, free of charge, to the casualties of this action. Israeli physicians have treated and saved the lives of more than a thousand Syrians injured in that conflict, including children. The contrast could not be more clear: Hamas and other terrorist groups exploit medical facilities as human shields to launch operations against Israel, while Israel uses theirs to provide cutting-edge medical care to people whose government’s avowed goal is to destroy the Jewish State.
Mr. Secretary-General, I submit that, should you determine to add more parties to your list, you should focus on those who actually exploit their own children as human shields, indoctrinate and raise their children to glorify violence and martyrdom, and target the children of others to achieve their destructive goals who should receive priority consideration, such as Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad. There is absolutely no moral equivalence between radical Islamic terrorists, who are motivated by these factors, and Israel, which is justifiably motivated solely by the defense of her people.
Mr. Secretary-General, under no circumstances should Israel be added to your list. As the largest contributor to the United Nations, Congress will have no choice but to reassess the United States’ relationship with the United Nations and consider serious consequences if you choose to take this action.
United States Senator
 “Listing Parties to Conflict Who Commit Grave Violations Against Children,” Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Accessed June 2, 2015, https://childrenandarmedconflict.un.org/our-work/sg-list/.
 “Report of the Secretary-General: Children and Armed Conflict,” United Nations, May 15, 2014, http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/68/878&Lang=E&Area=UNDOC.
 Lisa Ferdinando, “Chairman Says Israel Acted Responsibly in Gaza Operation,” Army News Service, U.S. Department of Defense, November 7, 2014,http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=123589.
 H. Con. Res. 107, Agreed to December 10, 2014, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hconres107enr/pdf/BILLS-113hconres107enr.pdf.
An Iranian Guards commander sends a message to Obama and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA):
“You would be wrong to dare to want to inspect our military centers and whoever does look at IRGC centers we will fill his throat with molten lead.” - Gholamhossein Qeybparavar, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander, Fars Province, Iran.
And here’s a picture of a pathetic John Kerry (who has now put himself out of the insane negotiations with Iran by “breaking a leg”) bending over to persuade a skeptical, relaxed, unimpressed Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif that the US really loves Iran and wants nothing more than to make it happy (or something along those lines):
The US-Iran “agreement” … “can’t actually be an ‘agreement’ in the normal sense of the word [because] there is no prospect of Iran complying with it, and it’s quite possible that it will be proclaimed by the Obama administration regardless of whether Iran has even ostensibly ‘agreed’ to it .
So writes the splendid military-political analyst, Commander J. E. Dyer here.
The following also comes from her article:
Marie Harf is back, smacking down a mildly critical article in the New York Times about a looming problem with Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium (LEU at 3.5% purity), and the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) undertaken in November 2013 as the basis for continued negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program.
The gist of the concern is that the Iranian stockpile has grown 20% since the JPOA was agreed on. This is a problem partly because it indicates non-compliance with the JPOA, under which Iran’s stockpile was supposed to be frozen.
But it’s also a significant problem because it’s not clear how Iran will be able to comply, on a meaningful timetable, with the stockpile allowance under a long-term deal. Iran is supposed to get down to an LEU stockpile of 300 kg, and keep it there. When IAEA completed its most recent inspection, Iran had 8,714 kg of LEU stock in uranium hexafluoride gas form (the form in which it is fed into centrifuge arrays for enrichment).
Iran thus has to convert to other forms, and/or render non-weaponizable, 96% of her current LEU stockpile in order to comply with the terms of the proposed final “agreement”. Yet Iran has spent the last 18 months enlarging this stockpile, and has claimed technical difficulties with her plan to turn much of the stockpile into fuel elements for nuclear reactors.
An administration official reportedly acknowledged the issue:
“How are they going to do it?” one senior American official said recently when asked about the negotiations, details of which Mr. Kerry and his team are trying to keep confidential. “We’re not certain. It’s their problem, not ours. But it’s a problem.”
The Institute for Science and International Security, moreover, in its analysis of the latest IAEA report, repeated its warning from April 2015 that Iran still has a substantial stockpile of uranium hexafluoride, in oxide form, enriched to the higher 19.75% purity. Although it would require re-conversion to be enriched further as weapons-grade material, doing that would more than double Iran’s post-“agreement” stockpile of LEU.
The warning about these real problems came to a head with the NYT article on Monday. Reporters at the State Department’s daily briefing taxed Marie Harf with it; she described the State Department as “perplexed” by it, claiming that the article’s “main contentions are totally inaccurate”. But she proceeded to both misidentify and misstate one of these “main contentions” in her explanation:
“First, the notion in the story that western officials or U.S. officials involved were unaware of this issue or not understanding of what this entails is just absurd,” Harf said.
The article doesn’t say any such thing, so Harf is just arguing against a straw man here. Her other comments shed no additional light on the issue. She merely alludes to Iran’s “commitment” to reducing the LEU stockpile to 300 kg.
“What matters is that they [Iran] have committed already, and we said [it] publicly, to reducing their stockpile whenever this implemented 300 kilograms,” Harf said. “The notion that this is some big issue of concern of negotiation is more manufacturing a controversy than actual reality. Everyone who read that story this morning was totally perplexed by it.”
This comes from PowerLine, written and assembled by Scott Johnson:
Intelligence Squared US arranged one of its excellent debates on the upper West Side of Manhattan this week. The debate had as its subject the merits of President Obama’s pending arrangement with Iran. Addressing the proposition that the deal is good for the United States, the debate matched Philip Gordon and Amb. Thomas Pickering (for the affirmative) with Michael Doran and Mark Dubowitz (for the negative), with moderator John Donovan cracking the whip in impressive fashion. The audience votes on the proposition before and after the debate; the team that maximally moves the dial is declared the winner.
We think the case for the “agreement” or “arrangement” as made by Gordon and Pickering is extremely weak.
Doran and Dubowitz bring some strong arguments to the debate, and in our opinion win it overwhelmingly. But then, we start off thinking the “agreement” is merely a cover for Obama’s intention to let Iran become a nuclear-armed power.
We consider ourselves libertarians with a small “l”: atheist libertarian conservatives.
We are not, however, to be counted among Libertarians because we part company with them on a number of issues that have arisen in our experience.
Some libertarian organizations are historical revisionists – in particular, Holocaust revisionists. One group told us they do not believe the Holocaust ever happened, or if it did, “the numbers of those killed could not have been anywhere near as large as is alleged”. This is not just ignorant, it must be maliciously intended too.
Libertarians have maintained that it’s okay to use children for pornography “if you pay them”. This is so vile, we can only hope most Libertarians do not agree with it.
Libertarians keep themselves under-informed about foreign affairs, and are absurdly pacifist. In America many are isolationist. We believe the US needs to be very strongly defended, and that defense sometimes requires a pre-emptive strike. We also believe in the Pax Americana, which means at present that this single super-power has a duty to protect the non-Islamic world from the forces of savage Islam – with arms if necessary.
Now a well-known Libertarian, a candidate for the presidency, is making a case for isolationism by falsely accusing the Republican Party – of which he is a member – of creating the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL).
We quote from an AP report. (Find it all at the New York Post here.)
Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul is blaming his own party for the rise of the Islamic State group.
The freshman senator from Kentucky said Wednesday that the GOP’s foreign policy hawks “created these people”. …
“ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately,” Paul said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
“They created these people. ISIS is all over Libya because these same hawks in my party loved – they loved Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya. They just wanted more of it.” …
Paul favors less military intervention abroad, wants a dramatic reduction in U.S. money to foreign governments and stands in opposition to the Patriot Act and the US policy behind drone strikes. It all makes him something of an outlier on foreign policy and national security in the GOP field. …
We agree with him that there should be a reduction in money to foreign governments: a reduction to zero. But that is an issue on which he has changed his mind (or says he has):
Sensitive to being branded an isolationist in the race, he has scaled back some of his positions, no longer calling for deep cuts in the Pentagon budget, for example, and no longer proposing the elimination of foreign aid, including to Israel. …
Bobby Jindal, Governor of Illinois and a possible rival of Rand Paul as a presidential candidate, “described Paul’s comments as ‘a perfect example of why Senator Paul is unsuited to be commander in chief'”:
“We have men and women in the military who are in the field trying to fight ISIS right now, and Senator Paul is taking the weakest, most liberal Democrat position,” Jindal said. “We should all be clear that evil and radical Islam are at fault for the rise of ISIS, and people like President Obama and Hillary Clinton exacerbate it.”
We don’t think of “evil” as a force separate from human will, but we do agree of course that Islam is the cause of the rise of ISIS, and that Obama and Hillary Clinton have helped it rise.
In his interview earlier, Paul described Iraq as “a failed state” …
Which it is …
… and criticized Republicans who condemn his foreign policy as weak.
Which it is.