Saturday, November 30, 2013
I’d been reading George F. Kennan: An American Life by John Lewis Gaddis when I came across this paragraph, page 555, which really hit home:
But he was frightened. On the way from the airport, Kennan had stopped at the White House to see Arthur Schlesinger, now serving as a presidential aide – Kennedy was spending the weekend at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. “You and I are historians,” Schlesinger recorded Kennan having said, “or rather you are a real historian and I am a pseudo-historian.”
We both know how tenuous a relation there is between man’s intentions and the consequences of his acts…. I have children, and I do not propose to let the future of mankind be settled or ended by a group of men operating on the basis of limited perspective and short-run calculations. I figure that the only thing left in life is to do everything I can to stop the war.
Posted by Mladen Andrijasevic at 10:51 PM
Friday, November 29, 2013
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Despite last weekend's agreement, Iran still plans to continue its uranium enrichment programme.
At the start of this week that the negotiations which went on in Geneva last weekend were not a meeting of equals.
On one side were the Iranians, representing the clear wishes of their unelected Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini. On the other were the P5+1 countries joined by the unelected Supreme Baroness Catherine Ashton whose primary desire seemed to be to just declare some deal – any deal.
So a wretched deal was done which has initiated the fraying and eventual collapse of sanctions, and Baroness Ashton and Secretary Kerry hugged each other for the cameras and got their moment of feeling like world saviours. Now it is business as usual.
Before even leaving Geneva Iran’s Foreign Minister : ‘Today’s agreement deals with several sectors, the most important of which is that Iran’s enrichment program has been recognized, and this program will continue.’
Yesterday the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Ali Larijani , ‘We don’t need their [westerners’] permission for enriching uranium.’
The Iranian government meanwhile has disputed the very wording of the . Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said on Tuesday:
Oh – and despite the fact that the agreed text stated that there must not be ‘any further advances of its activities’ at the Arak reactor, the Iranian Foreign Minister said on Wednesday that Iran will continue ‘construction’ at the Arak site.
Who could possibly have foreseen such betrayal?
Posted by Mladen Andrijasevic at 10:58 PM
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
On November 12, 1936, Winston Churchill said:
Two things, I confess, have staggered me, after a long Parliamentary experience, in these Debates. The first has been the dangers that have so swiftly come upon us in a few years, and have been transforming our position and the whole outlook of the world. Secondly, I have been staggered by the failure of the House of Commons to react effectively against those dangers. That, I am bound to say, I never expected. I never would have believed that we should have been allowed to go on getting into this plight, month by month and year by year, and that even the Government's own confessions of error have produced no concentration of Parliamentary opinion and force capable of lifting our efforts to the level of emergency. I say that unless the House resolves to find out the truth for itself, it will have committed an act of abdication of duty without parallel.
The situation is dire. People who have no clue about Shi’a eschatology and the Twelvers have just negotiated a deal which leads to nuclear war. Who says it would? Scholars of Islam like Bernard Lewis and Raphael Israeli, former CIA director James Woolsey, former CIA spy who spent 10 years among the Revolutionary Guards, Reza Kahlili and German scholar Matthias Kuntzel.
The Obama administration track record in the Middle East is abysmal. The Obama administration supports the Muslim Brotherhood, an anti–Semitic and anti-American organization whose credo is “Allah is our objective; the Quran is our law, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and dying in the way of Allah is the highest of our aspirations."
As Conan Doyle used to say, when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth – Obama’s appeasement policy is leading towards a war. But Obama is supplying Israel with more weapons systems than any other previous president goes the counter argument. Supplying Israel with more weapons systems than any other previous president is irrelevant when Obama at the same time supports the Muslim Brotherhood across the Middle East and is doing everything to make use of these weapons systems impossible against Iran.
The Obama administration’s absurd policies in promoting the Muslim Brotherhood have created havoc in the Middle East, but even this serial bungling can still be reversed, as we have seen in Egypt. This will not be possible if Iran gets the bomb. The damage will be cataclysmic.
Congress should impeach President Obama on Iran or be complicit in facilitating the next Holocaust. I am not sure whether Congress would define the incompetence leading to a nuclear war in which millions would die as an impeachable offense but Congress should decide whether it fits “high crime or misdemeanor”. But first Congress must understand the stakes.
Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen should ask themselves - what do we know about Shi'a eschatology, the Mahdi and the Twelvers? Nothing. Did we hold congressional hearings on Iranian motives? No. Have leading western scholars of Islam been consulted? Did we hear their views? No.
Unless the US Congress resolves to find out the truth for itself, it will, to quote Churchill, have committed an act of abdication of duty without parallel. Ignorance is not an excuse.
Posted by Mladen Andrijasevic at 12:44 AM
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Monday, November 25, 2013
By Matthias Küntzel · Monday, November 25, 2013
The five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany nullify the United Nations sanctions regarding Iran.
HAMBURG, November 24, 2013—During the night of November 24, 2013, it came to this: The five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany signed an interim agreement that accepts the plutonium facility at Arak and approves Iran’s continued uranium enrichment. “This deal appears to provide the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism with billions of dollars in exchange for cosmetic concessions,” criticized Senator Mark Kirk (R-Illinois).
The first victim of this surrender is the United Nations.
On December 23, 2006, the UN Security Council called, in a rare act of unanimity, on the regime in Tehran to suspend all plutonium and uranium activities or otherwise to face sanctions. Since then this position has been amplified in several UN decisions.
Until today, it was only the Tehran regime that ignored this proclamation and failed to respect the UN positions. Today however the above named 5+1 powers joined in this disregard for the UN positions. The regime in Tehran has been rewarded for its provocative anti-UN policies and the authority of the UN Security Council has been diminished.
The Plutonium Reactor will be Completed
First of all, there is the matter of the heavy water reactor at Arak, which Iran does not need, except for the preparation of weapons grade plutonium. The regime is counting on having this plutonium reactor running by the end of 2014. It therefore refused to accept any interruption in the construction work.
This refusal led to the collapse of the previous round of negotiations in Geneva, after the French Foreign Minister Fabius explained that he would not support a “deal for dummies.”
This deal, which was favored by the United States and the other powers, including Germany, stipulated that Tehran would promise not to activate the reactor during the next six months. “As a quid pro quo,” continued construction of the reactor would be permitted.
But Tehran had repeatedly declared that it was not planning on activating Arak before the end of 2014. The “quid pro quo” that it would not do so during the next six months was, in fact, no concession at all. Most of the 5+1 group really wanted to treat world opinion as a bunch of “dummies.”
Now the new agreement includes the following variation of the “Arak compromise”: With some minor restrictions, the reactor can continue to be prepared for activation. What’s more is that the signatories of the Geneva document declare that they are prepared to eventually accept the activation of the plutonium reactor. Yet even the mere construction of the site that lacks any civilian utility represents a breach of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The “quid pro quo”: Iran promises to refrain from installing any fuel rods or heavy water or “remaining components” during the next six months and to provide the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with current design information about the reactor—a step to which Iran would be obligated in any case according to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Yet there is no plan to provide IAEA inspectors access to the site.
Uranium Enrichment Continues
No “freezing” of uranium enrichment is intended. According to the New York Times, the agreement “would not require Iran to stop enriching uranium to a low level of 3–5 percent or dismantle any of its existing centrifuges. Iran’s stockpile of such low-enriched uranium would be allowed to temporarily increase to about eight tons from seven tons currently. But Tehran would be required to shrink this stockpile by the end of the six-month agreement back to seven tons. This would be done by installing equipment to covert some of that stockpile to oxide.” (Michael R. Gordon, “Deal Reached With Iran Halts Its Nuclear Program,” Nov. 23, 2013).
Thus, the agreement gives even approval to an—allegedly temporary—significant expansion of the amounts of enriched uranium is given.
In this context it is noteworthy that during the next six months Iran is allowed to “continue its current enrichment Research & Development practices” and to produce new centrifuges “to replace damaged machines.” No centrifuge, however, will be dismantled.
When Syria’s poison gas supplies were to be destroyed a few weeks ago, it was self-evident that the sites where the gas was being produced would be destroyed first. Only afterward did one begin to address the poison gas stockpiles themselves. This sequencing made sense in order to prevent the Syrian dictator from quickly replenishing the poison gas that was being taken away.
Iran is being handled differently: all the facilities to enrich uranium remain in tact and not a single centrifuge will be destroyed.
The surrender in Geneva allows Iran to become a nuclear threshold state and provides legitimacy and impetus for Iran’s efforts. It has made hopes for a peaceful resolution of the nuclear conflict extremely difficult. The consequences are unpredictable.
Given these conditions, Iran could easily agree to refrain from producing uranium enriched to 20% during the next six months.
Yet the existing supplies of 20% uranium will not be moved to another country, as the 5+1 group has been demanding for years. The supplies remain under Iranian control and should only be “diluted” or transformed into uranoxide—the form in which uranium is used in fuel rods. These are processes that can easily be reversed, if needed.
“To guard against cheating,” so reports the New York Times, “international monitors would be allowed to visit the Natanz enrichment facility and the underground nuclear enrichment plant at Fordo on a daily basis to check the film from cameras installed there.”
This proviso may look good at first, but it leaves out the decisive detail: one can allow the inspectors temporary access, but also remove them when necessary. This is precisely the tactic North Korea used successfully to get its bomb.
In addition, the Geneva deal shows that the 5+1 were unsuccessful with other, key inspection issues. For more than ten years, Iran has been blocking the use of the “additional protocol” of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which would provide the Vienna Inspectors from the IAEA expanded access, including to suspected secret installations. Moreover the regime has been blocking efforts by the IAEA to analyze Iran’s previous nuclear weapons research. These hide-and-seek policies will remain in place.
The Sanctions Will Run Out
Even though Iran can proceed both with uranium enrichment and the preparation for plutonium production with minor and reversible limitations, the 5+1 group essentially wants to suspend the sanctions. According to the Wall Street Journal, the United States assumes a sanctions reduction of six to seven billion dollars during the next six months. Approval by the Congress, which is largely critical of Obama’s Iran policy, is not necessary.
The United States intends to transfer to Iran 4.2 Billion dollars for oil revenue, which have so far been blocked by sanctions; this will come to some 600 million dollars per month. The agreement also demands to “suspend U.S. and EU sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical exports, as well as sanctions on associated services” and on Gold, precious metals, automobiles, and airplane spare parts.
The Obama administration is trying to pacify its critics with the claim that the agreement is “limited, temporary, targeted, and reversible.” It is to be used so that the next six months can allow for the development of an agreement that will fully eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat. But this is hardly likely!
Was the boast not proudly repeated that only international pressure brought Tehran to the negotiating table? It is then unclear why precisely the retreat from this pressure will lead the regime to “genuine” concessions in the next six months.
When France called the earlier plan a “deal for dummies,” it was being generous, wrote Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post. Krauthammer continues:
“Don’t worry, we are assured. The sanctions relief is reversible. Nonsense. It was extraordinarily difficult to cobble together the current sanctions. Once the relaxation begins, how do you reverse it? Adding back old sanctions will be denounced as a provocation that would drive Iran to a nuclear breakout—exactly as Obama is today denouncing congressional moves to increase sanctions as a deal-breaking provocation that might lead Iran to break off talks.”
That’s the way it is. The surrender in Geneva allows Iran to become a nuclear threshold state and provides legitimacy and impetus for Iran’s efforts. It has made hopes for a peaceful resolution of the nuclear conflict extremely difficult. The consequences are unpredictable.
Translated by Russell Berman
Posted by Mladen Andrijasevic at 10:13 PM
Posted by Mladen Andrijasevic at 9:06 PM
Chamberlain to reporter: It is up to the Czechs now. Hague to Israel: Don't undermine Iran nuclear deal
When the meeting broke up at 1:30 am, noted Schmidt,”Chamberlain bid a hearty farewell to the Führer.” As he left the Dreesen, a newspaperman intercepted him to ask: “Is it hopeless, sir?” Chamberlain replied: “I would not like to say that. It is up to the Czechs now.” In other words, peace was possible unless the Czechs stubbornly insisted on defending their homeland.
From The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Alone, 1932-1940 by William Manchester,p 343
Reuters) - Israel should avoid taking any action that would undermine the interim nuclear agreement reached between Iran and world powers at the weekend, Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday.
Urging world leaders to give the interim deal a chance, Hague said it was important to try to understand those who opposed the agreement. But he urged Israel and others to confine their criticism to rhetoric.
"We would discourage anybody in the world, including Israel, from taking any steps that would undermine this agreement and we will make that very clear to all concerned," Hague told parliament.
Hague added that he had not seen any sign that any country opposed to the agreement would try to disrupt it "in any practical way". But he said Britain would be "on its guard".
He was speaking after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday denounced the nuclear deal as an "historic mistake". Netanyahu is sending his national security adviser to Washington for talks about the agreement.
Hague told parliament he hoped a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Tehran could be reached within a year, but warned that world powers could swiftly reverse any sanctions relief they had granted Iran if Tehran reneged on the deal.
Posted by Mladen Andrijasevic at 10:34 AM
Sunday, November 24, 2013
"I think it could turn out to be a cataclysmic error of gigantic proportions," Dershowitz said of the deal, which he described as "naive."
"It could also turn out to be successful, to be the beginning of a negotiated resolution," Dershowitz told Newsmax on Sunday. "But I think the likelihood of it being the former is considerably greater."
Dershowitz said he thought the administration of President Barack Obama did a poor job of negotiating the deal.
"I think it's thoughtful and intelligent Americans vs. naive Americans," he said.
The deal, announced late Saturday night in the United States, makes it more likely Iran will develop a nuclear bomb, likely creating the need for a future military strike by Israel or the United States, Dershowitz said.
It also increases the possibility of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia obtaining nuclear weapons as well, he said.
The Harvard Law School professor thinks there is at best a 10 percent chance that the administration can change attitudes among Iran's Islamist leadership.
"But when you weigh that against the 30 or 40 percent chance that they're dead wrong – nuclear bomb wrong – then it's a very bad assessment of risk and benefits," he told Newsmax.
"This is first-year negotiating theory, and this administration gets a D-minus with grade inflation," Dershowitz said. "You don't let up on sanctions that are working."
Other countries, such as China, are taking the deal as a green light to do business with Iran, he said. All the nuclear experts, Iran experts and congressional experts he has spoken with oppose the deal, he said.
Israel has spoken out against the deal, and Saudi Arabia is known to be wary of Iran. But it is a mistake to think of it as a dispute between Israel and Saudi Arabia on one hand and the United States on the other, Dershowitz said. "This is a highly disputed and contested issue within the United States."
Dershowitz counts himself among the skeptics.
"I think it's a bad deal for America and a bad deal for the West," he said. "The risks to world peace are far greater than the potential benefits to world peace."
American negotiators used the wrong model, Dershowitz said. They used the model of Syria where the administration "accidentally backed into a good result instead of the North Korea model, which is much more parallel.
"North Korea does not pose a direct threat to the United States. Iran does," Dershowitz said. "You think that we'd learn from our mistakes in North Korea."
Dershowitz said that if Iran fails to comply, he hopes Congress ratchets up the sanctions once the six months are complete. But he isn't sure that will be possible since China and other nations will be doing business with them by then.
"I think we have hurt our sanction regime irretrievably by this measure," he said.
Congress should take preemptive action by passing authorization in advance to allow the president to increase sanctions and deploy the military option in the event Iran crosses a red line, Dershowitz said. That way, the president doesn't have to go to Congress after red lines are crossed.
"I think that would send a powerful message to Iran that the military option is still on the table," he said.
Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton suggested the White House struck the deal out of fear that Israel would attack Iran's nuclear facilities as it did those of Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007.
Dershowitz said that since Israel was not consulted on the agreement, it isn't bound by it and is within its rights to defend itself.
Israel "has the absolute right to prevent a country that has threatened its destruction from developing nuclear weapons," he said. "That's a right in law, it's a right in morality, and it's a right in diplomacy."
The signs were on the wall 5 years ago. Where was Dershowitz then?
Posted by Mladen Andrijasevic at 10:41 PM