Monday, October 20, 2014

Don’t Make a Bad Deal With Iran

The Opinion Pages  | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

 OCT. 19, 2014
JERUSALEM — Israel is deeply concerned about the trajectory of the ongoing negotiations concerning Iran’s nuclear program. The talks are moving in the wrong direction, especially on the core issue of uranium enrichment.
Although Iran has modified its tone recently, there have hardly been any changes of substance since the soft-spoken president, Hassan Rouhani, took over the reins from his aggressive predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Neither administration has budged from the insistence that Iran should retain most of the 9,400 operational centrifuges it deploys to enrich uranium, as well as its nearly completed nuclear reactor in Arak, which could produce plutonium in the future.
Iran has softened its inflammatory anti-Western rhetoric and shown some flexibility on less important issues but we must not be duped by these gestures. President Obama must stand by his declaration that no deal with Iran is better than a bad deal.
Israel also worries that the ongoing campaign against the Islamic State will come at the expense of the critical struggle against Iran's nuclear program.
Fighting the Islamic State is vital and Israel unequivocally supports the global effort to prevent the formation of a new Islamic caliphate in the Middle East. But even more important is the imperative to preclude the already existing Islamic Republic of Iran — with its infamous track record of sponsoring terrorist groups, abusing human rights, calling for Israel’s destruction, and lying unabashedly for almost 20 years about its nuclear program — from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.
Many experts argue that because a deal with Iran would necessarily include some restrictions on the Iranian nuclear project, an imperfect agreement is better than no agreement. They are wrong.
That’s because Iran has already made considerable progress in its attempt to advance toward nuclear weapons. An agreement that allows Iran to continue circling in a holding pattern will resemble what happened with North Korea after the 2007 agreement left large parts of Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities intact, which enabled the North Koreans to produce several nuclear weapons in the following years. Under such conditions, nothing will stop Iran’s mullahs from landing, sooner or later, at their ultimate destination.
Second, a flawed deal would hand Iran practical advantages in return for almost nothing. In return for an insignificant and temporary reduction of its enrichment capacities, Iran stands to reap $100 billion per year when the sanctions are lifted; gain formal legitimacy for its uranium enrichment activities; and, despite its history of nuclear fraud and concealment, preserve the capability to produce nuclear weapons at a time it deems appropriate. Three factors will determine the breakout time needed for Iran to produce nuclear weapons: the quantity and quality of its remaining operational centrifuges; the amount of 3.5 percent enriched uranium that it is permitted to stockpile; and the final destiny of its remaining centrifuges and their infrastructure. The international community must have full and complete clarity on these fundamental issues.
Finally, a bad deal would pave the road to nuclear proliferation and herald the dawn of a nuclear arms race in the unstable Middle East. Other countries in the region will rush to build equivalent enrichment programs, which the international community will no longer be able to resist in good conscience, and which will drastically increase the risk of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of radical Islamists.
This actually leaves the negotiators with only two real options at the moment: a bad deal, or no deal at all. Barring a surprising change in Iran’s negotiating stance, there is zero chance of reaching a satisfactory good deal before the Nov. 24 deadline.
Choosing the “no deal” option will very likely produce extra pressure — including some new sanctions — on Iran and, subsequently, might pave the way for a better deal in the near future.
Standing our moral ground will transmit a clear message to the leaders in Tehran that the only way to escape mounting pressure will be through ultimately making the necessary significant compromises.
Not reaching a nuclear deal at this stage must not be considered a failure. It can even be regarded a qualified success, since it would represent the integrity of an international community adhering to its principles rather than sacrificing the future of global security because it is distracted by the worthy fight against Islamic State terrorists.
The 2003 war in Iraq came at the expense of blocking a greater threat: Iran’s nuclear project, which was then only in its embryonic stage. The international community must not repeat this mistake in 2014. The Islamic Republic of Iran remains the world foremost threat. We must guarantee that it never obtains nuclear weapons.

Yuval Steinitz is Israel's minister of intelligence.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Parsing and interpreting John Kerry’s statement

The State Department on Friday rejected  Economic Minister Naftali Bennett's accusations that Secretary of State John Kerry made a linkage between the emergence of Islamic State and the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

In her remarks to the press, the State Department's deputy spokesperson, Marie Harf, said that Kerry's remarks were taken out of context "for political reasons."

Here is what Kerry said:

And so we have to stop and think about that in the context of this challenge that we face today. I think that it is more critical than ever that we be fighting for peace, and I think it is more necessary than ever. As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the ISIL coalition, the truth is we – there wasn’t a leader I met with in the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt – and I see a lot of heads nodding they had to respond to. And people need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity, and Eid celebrates the opposite of all of that.
The State Department apparently thinks we do not understand English. Naftali Bennett had every reason to interpret Kerry’s words the way he did.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Europe is Sick - but we first have to establish exactly what from

Europe is definitely sick. But we have to find out is it just ignorance or more…

The question is how many of the British MPs who are willing to recognize Palestine, which includes Hamas in the unity government, have read the Hamas Charter, Article 7  which reads:

"The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him."

Even more interesting would be to know how many of the British MPs who are willing to recognize Palestine know that Article 7 of the Hamas Charter is taken from Hadith Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 177  and quotes the Prophet Muhammad?

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. “O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him

I would love to know this statistics.  Would anyone try and find out?

So in order to make sure that we have excluded ignorance as the cause of this sickness, let’s make sure that the European politicians will not be unfairly judged for what they apparently stand for. Let them read the Hamas Charter before every vote on recognizing Palestine. In other words, do they approve of  the Hamas Charter, Article 7 or they just do not care? Which is it? 

Ruins of the Middle East

Obama shuns our friends and courts our enemies. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Germany and Iran: From the Aryan Axis to the Nuclear Threshold

Telos Press Publishing is pleased to announce that Matthias Küntzel’s Germany and Iran: From the Aryan Axis to the Nuclear Threshold is now available for pre-order. The book will be released on November 1, 2014.  
Why has the international community failed to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability? Why is Germany, even today, the mullahs’ biggest trading partner in the West? What underpins the strange friendship between Germany and Iran that goes back to the beginning of the last century and has survived every war, catastrophe, and revolution?
Matthias Küntzel’s Germany and Iran: From the Aryan Axis to the Nuclear Threshold helps us to answer these questions. By unearthing new evidence from the National Archives in Washington, DC, and the German Foreign Office Archives in Berlin, Küntzel reveals that there has always been a hidden dispute between the White House and the German government over how to tackle Iran, and this dispute has deep historical roots.
In this fascinating study, Küntzel shows how, during the First World War, Kaiser Wilhelm was acclaimed Hajj Wilhelm Muhammad by Shiite clerics, and later how Adolf Hitler was celebrated as the Twelfth Imam. As Küntzel carefully documents, the now 35-year-old special relationship between Germany and the Islamic Republic of Iran is critical to understanding the ongoing controversy over Iran’s nuclear program.

Praise for Matthias Küntzel’s Germany and Iran

“Matthias Küntzel is one German intellectual who unflinchingly looks into the heart of darkness that is Khomeini’s legacy and hears echoes of the murderous Jew-hatred and fanaticism of Germany’s past. This fine book should be widely read by government officials, political leaders, journalists, think tank analysts, scholars, and citizens who want a better understanding of the Germany’s considerable impact on the Iranian issue.”
Jeffrey Herf, Distinguished University Professor, Department of History, University of Maryland
“There are not too many experts who are as qualified as Matthias Küntzel to deal with a fascinating subject as the German-Iranian relationship. This book is an essential contribution to the ongoing discussion.”
Shimon Stein, Former Ambassador of Israel in Germany (2001–7) and currently Senior Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, Tel Aviv University
“Some would believe the current Iranian government is more moderate and ‘outward looking’ than its predecessors. Küntzel’s study gives us ample warning, based on history, that Iran is playing the long game with regard only for the advancement of its own interests. This should be on any short list of ‘must read’ books on the subject.”
Dr. Jack Caravelli, Former White House National Security Council Staff
“Matthias Küntzel is one of Germany’s most astute observers of Iran, and his detailed account of his country’s special relationship with Iran is as definitive as any we have been given to date. Anyone interested in learning more about Iran’s nuclear program and its global role in fostering hostility to America and Israel will find this book invaluable.”
Alvin H. Rosenfeld, Professor of English and Jewish Studies, Indiana University
“This book is important because its author argues passionately, but also persuasively, that on all major vectors influencing politics and policy—culture, religion, history, myth making, symbolism, and, of course, the economy—Germany’s relationship to the United States concerning all things Iran is much closer to that of an ornery rival, perhaps even a determined opponent, than an ally in any meaningful sense of that term.”
Andrei S. Markovits, Karl W. Deutsch Collegiate Professor of Comparative Politics and German Studies, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
“Matthias Küntzel makes it clear that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s policy toward Israel is rooted in a deep, historical anti-Semitism that makes it nothing less than an existential threat to the Jewish people.”
Ambassador Dore Gold, President, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and Former Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations

About the Author

Matthias Küntzel is a political scientist and historian based in Hamburg, Germany. He has served as senior advisor for the German Green Party caucus in the Bundestag and is currently a Research Associate at the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at Hebrew University in Jerusalem as well as a member of the German Council on Foreign Relations. Since 2001, his research and writing have focused on antisemitism, Islamism, National Socialism, Iran, and German and Western policies toward the Middle East and Iran. His essays and articles have been translated into twelve languages and published in the Wall Street Journal, the New Republic, theAmerican Foreign Policy Interest, the Israel Journal of Foreign AffairsTelosPolicy Review, and the Jerusalem Post. His earlier book Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism, and the Roots of 9/11, published by Telos Press Publishing in 2007, won the Gold Award for Religion at the 12th annual Independent Publisher Book Awards in Los Angeles.

Satellite imagery shows Parchin explosion aftermath

Sean O'Connor, Indianapolis and Jeremy Binnie, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
08 October 2014

Satellite imagery indicates that there was an explosion at Iran’s Parchin military research, development, and production facility on 5 October, raising fears about safety precautions at a site where nuclear weapons research allegedly has been carried out.

The Iranian opposition website reported that an explosion took place at Parchin at 23:00 local time (19:30 GMT) on 5 October and was so large that it blew out windows in buildings 15 km away. Iran’s Defence Industries Organisation subsequently told the official Islamic Republic News Agency that two of its workers had been killed in a fire, but did not confirm there had been an explosion or explain the cause of the accident.

Satellite imagery captured by Airbus Defence and Space on 7 October suggests an explosion did occur at one of the facility’s internal complexes. Comparisons with imagery from February and August 2014 indicate that two buildings were either completely destroyed in the incident or so badly damaged that they were razed the following day.

Several other structures up to 300 m away from the two destroyed buildings suffered varying degrees of damage, indicating an explosive event at one or both of the destroyed buildings resulted in material being projected through the air. 

Most of the visible damage to the structures is minor and limited to their roofs, but some show signs of far more significant damage, suggesting chemicals or explosives detonated inside them as a result of the event. Mysteriously, a large building just to the east of the two destroyed structures appears undamaged.

Some of the debris thrown out by the explosion was probably removed from the surrounding area in the clear-up operation that was visibly under way when the satellite imagery was acquired at 11:15 (07:45 GMT) on 7 October.

The structures at the affected complex are not surrounded by the earth berms that are normally erected around facilities where munitions are being tested or stored to minimise the impact of any accidents.

The same issue was apparent at a facility near Bid Kaneh, where an explosion killed Major General Hassan Moqaddam, a leading figure in Iran’s missile programme, and several others on 11 November 2011.

Israeli intelligence minister Yuval Steinitz clarified earlier claims about the nature of the research that is suspected to have been carried out at the Parchin complex in September, when he said his country had “highly reliable information” that Iran had conducted tests on internal neutron initiators for nuclear weapons at the facility. “The use of such material has no 'dual use' explanation since the only possible use for internal neutron sources is to ignite the nuclear chain reaction in nuclear weapons,” he said.

Tehran is under intense international pressure to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect Parchin, but it has refused all such visits since 2005 and insists the facility is only engaged in conventional military activities.


However, Matthew Kroenig in the conclusion of his book A Time to Attack writes:

Chapter 3 showed that there are no black swans that are likely to save us from the Iranian nuclear threat. We cannot sabotage, assassinate, regime-change, or cyberattack our way out of this problem. We also saw that allowing Iran to obtain a latent nuclear capability, aka the Japan Model, is unacceptable and would be tantamount to giving up and acquiescing to nuclear weapons in Iran.

We might be left then with only one option; the military option, the subject of chapter 6. This chapter made clear that a US strike on Iran's nuclear facilities is not an attractive option either. Such a conflict would result in Iranian military retaliation, spikes of oil prices, and anti-American sentiment. Yet a military strike would also have benefits. It could destroy Iran's nuclear facilities, set back Iran's nuclear program and create a significant possibility that Iran would never acquire nuclear weapons. If diplomacy fails, this is our only hope for keeping Tehran from the bomb