(The first four minutes is about the mess in Yemen and the last four minutes is about the North Korean nuclear threat. — DM)
(The first four minutes is about the mess in Yemen and the last four minutes is about the North Korean nuclear threat. — DM)
Obama’s foreign policy legacy will be to have tied America’s fortunes to an imperial and nuclear Iran governed by an ambitious and ruthless anti-American regime.
Last week, the Obama administration urged Saudi Arabia to halt its air campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who have wrested control of the Yemeni capital Sanaa. The White House’s professed concern was that Riyadh’s Operation Decisive Storm was killing too many civilians. Unfortunately, that’s hardly surprising since Iranian proxies, like Hezbollah and Hamas, typically stash their missiles and rockets in civilian areas. Presumably, the Houthis have read from the same playbook. The effect of the administration’s diplomatic efforts, then, was to protect Iranian arms in Yemen. And this, in turn, the administration no doubt believes, protects Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran.Houthis rally against Saudi Arabia, April 1. Newscom
In public, Obama is eager to show that the United States still stands by its traditional allies, like Riyadh. But behind the scenes, it’s clear that the White House’s real priority is partnering with Iran. Sure, the White House dispatched an aircraft carrier to the Arabian Sea, but this was not to stop Iran from shipping arms to the Houthis. As Obama himself explained, America’s blue-water Navy was present to ensure freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf. The notion that the White House really intended to interdict Iranian arms shipments beggars belief. For more than four years Obama has done nothing to stop Bashar al-Assad from killing nearly a quarter of a million people in Syria, lest he endanger his nuclear agreement with Iran. With a deal so close, Obama is certainly not going to risk what he sees as the capstone of his foreign policy legacy by disarming Iranian allies in Yemen.
The problem is that by protecting his nuclear agreement with Iran, the president has protected and empowered the Islamic Republic. Tehran may boast of controlling four Arab capitals, but the reality is that its regional position is a house of cards. Pull out one of those Arab capitals, or the nuclear program, and Iran’s burgeoning empire quickly collapses. It’s Obama who is propping it up.
It’s interesting to imagine how these last six years might have gone for the Islamic Republic had the White House not been so determined to have a nuclear deal. Perhaps the Tehran regime would have been toppled when the Green Movement took to the streets in June 2009 to protest a fraudulent election if the American government had decided to back the opposition early, openly, and resourcefully. Perhaps another administration would at least have seen that uprising as an opportunity to gain leverage over the Iranian regime. Not Obama. He wanted a nuclear deal with the existing regime.
Another White House might have backed the Syrian rebels in order to bring down Assad. Indeed, a good portion of Obama’s cabinet counseled as much. To topple Tehran’s key Arab ally would have been the biggest strategic setback to Iran in 20 years, said Gen. James Mattis. Obama chose to leave Assad alone, and even ignored his own red line against the use of chemical weapons. Instead of the airstrikes he threatened on Syrian regime targets, Obama made a deal to ostensibly remove the chemical weapons that Assad is still employing.
As Assad’s position became weaker, Hezbollah entered the Syrian war to prop him up. The Iranian-backed militia was stretched thin between Syria and Lebanon, but the Obama administration helped the terrorist organization cover its flank by sharing intelligence to keep Sunni car bombs out of Hezbollah strongholds in Beirut. Another administration might have understood this as an opportunity to weaken Iran’s position in Damascus and Beirut, but not Obama. He had his eyes on the prize.
In sum, over the last six years, almost all of Iran’s advances in the region, including its move into Iraq to fill the vacuum in Baghdad after the American withdrawal from that country, has taken place with either the overt or tacit assistance of Obama. The White House brags about it. Israel might have attacked Iranian nuclear facilities, as one administration official told the press, but we deterred Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from striking. If the Iranians strut with confidence these days, that’s because they understand who has their back.
The nuclear deal, as the president has explained, means that within a little more than a decade, Iran’s breakout time will be down to zero—which is a nice way of saying the clerical regime will have the bomb. The likely result is that the agreement will ensure Iran’s regional position long after Obama’s presidency is around to safeguard it. It will strengthen the hand of the hardliners. It is not Rouhani or Zarif or other so-called moderates who hold the nuclear file, but Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guard Corps. And in the future, American policymakers will have a vital interest in ensuring there are no internal regime fights over who controls the bomb.
In other words, Obama’s foreign policy legacy will be to have tied America’s fortunes to an imperial and nuclear Iran governed by an ambitious and ruthless anti-American regime.
Vladimir Putin: Thanks to Hillary, I now own America’s Uranium Future!
By Andrew G. Benjamin April 24, 2015 Via Canada Free Press
(Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow me to introduce your next President, Hillary Rotten Clinton. The best candidate money can buy. – LS)
Hillary Clinton’s campaign releases rebuttal to stories about her corruption and greed: “There isn’t a shred of evidence.”
Not a shred.
A $140 million mountain that landed at the Clinton Foundation, courtesy of Vladimir Putin, who may have also sent a bouquet of roses with the money transfers.
Team Hill adds: “It’s a RIGHT WING CONSPIRACY financed by the Koch Brothers!”
Sure it is.
Questions keep arising about the largest deposit-only ATM machine in the world: The Clinton Foundation.
Just as the Clinton Foundation is refiling its taxes for the last five years, we hear that Hillary Clinton expects to raise an unheard record $2.5 billion for her presidential run. With these new stories hitting the headlines daily, the left is circling the wagons around Hillary. What you’ll read next is about the woman the progressive left presents to the American people as its viable presidential candidate, the person that represents the political left’s values.
Several sources reveal allegations about the Clintons self-enriching through the sale of political favors at the expense of America’s national security. These recall earlier stories now confirmed: the Clintons selling of missile secrets to the Chinese. Behind these curtain calls are other chapters that raise the curtain to reveal how the largest North American uranium refiners’ executives “charitably” and brazenly funneled money to the Clintons and their cohorts.
This group of American and Canadian investors and executives first built, and then sold off to (whom Mitt Romney correctly identified during the presidential debates, America’s primary nuclear-armed enemy), the Russians, the largest and most productive North American uranium mining enterprise.
The New York Times’ headline:
“The headline in Pravda trumpeted President Vladimir V. Putin’s latest coup, its nationalistic fervor recalling an era when its precursor served as the official mouthpiece of the Kremlin: “Russian Nuclear Energy Conquers the World.”
The article, in January 2013, detailed how the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, had taken over a Canadian company with uranium-mining stakes stretching from Central Asia to the American West. The deal made Rosatom one of the world’s largest uranium producers and brought Mr. Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain.”
The Russians are the largest producers of uranium, and this deal that allegedly a former United States president and his now-candidate wife for the same office facilitated, will make Russia the owner of 20% of US uranium production – a clear national security matter that was approved by the State Department while Clinton was its chief.
The New York Times:
“Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation.”
In isolation this story would be mind-biggling and certainly would make Hillary’s presidential prospects charitably described, “unclear.” With all the other stories circling Clinton’s wife like vultures, it is explosive!
It’s been understood for years that the Clintons who advised Obama during his presidency to do likewise, are above and beyond the law and human decency.
Impressively, Team Hillary went on the attack for earlier allegations of her bribe-taking and funneling money to the Clinton Foundation, by attacking the character of Peter Schweizer, the author of the new book that unravels the Clintons’ activities. They then attacked the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, while not rebutting the content of the stories circling the media that is taking notice…this time.
She tells us “they” (the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy) have nothing else to talk about but me.”
Narcissists to the core, just like Barry Obama, the Clintons always see themselves as the center of the universe.
“The New York Times’s examination of the Uranium One deal is based on dozens of interviews, as well as a review of public records and securities filings in Canada, Russia and the United States. Some of the connections between Uranium One and the Clinton Foundation were unearthed by Peter Schweizer, a former fellow at the right-leaning Hoover Institution and author of the forthcoming book “Clinton Cash.”…“the episode underscores the special ethical challenges presented by the Clinton Foundation, headed by a former president who relied heavily on foreign cash to accumulate $250 million in assets even as his wife helped steer American foreign policy as secretary of state, presiding over decisions with the potential to benefit the foundation’s donors.”
It gets worse, The Times continues:
“Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors.”
The Clinton Foundation is now refiling its IRS returns for five years based on stories from the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.
”…shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.”
Mere words added to the above will not add to the impact of this story that must leave the reader as speechless as it has left this writer. Three words however, come to my mind, reflecting on the historical record of the Clinton’s behavior, deceptions, subterfuge, lack of transparency, abuse of power,obvious criminality,and their willful self-enriching, greed and shenanigans:
A comparison of the progressive approach to the threat of climate warming and that of a nuclear-armed Iran offers interesting insights into the progressive mind.
Let’s start with climate warming, which according to the best measures, inconveniently stopped about 18 years ago. First, what is the magnitude of the threat? The most alarmist predictions of future catastrophe are based on computer-generated climate models that have been consistently refuted by events of the real world. According to the alarmists, there would be fifty million refugees from global warming by 2010. Never happened.
Those models are based on a variety of assumptions about “feedback mechanisms” generated by increased CO2 in the atmosphere trapping more heat. NASA satellite date from 2000-2011 showed far more heat escaping the earth’s atmosphere than predicted by the computer models, according to study in the peer-reviewed journal Remote Sensing.
Nor is clear to what extent the global warming of the 20th century was generated by anthropogenic forces – i.e., increased CO2 emissions. Many leading climate scientists now think that solar activity — about which we can do nothing — may be a larger contributor to temperature variation than carbon emissions. That would be consistent with the wide fluctuations between warm and cold periods over the last millennium, even prior to the onset of the Industrial Resolution.
Scientists at CERN, the European Organization of Nuclear Research, which involves 600 universities and national labs and 8,000 scientists, have shown that cosmic rays promote the formation of molecules that grow and seed clouds. And clouds trap heat in the atmosphere. The magnitude of cosmic rays emitted by the sun depends on variations in the sun’s magnetic field.
Finally, that which the alarmists consider an unmitigated disaster — higher levels of CO2in the atmosphere may have many beneficial effects. A 2012 statement signed by 16 distinguished scientists from universities like Harvard, Princeton, MIT, and the Hebrew University, pointed out that CO2 is “not a pollutant,” but rather a “key component of the biosphere’s life cycle.” Higher concentrations of CO2 spur plant growth.
In sum, the threat, if any, is one for the indeterminate future, of unknown magnitude and causation, and may not even be subject to ameliorative action. Yet climate alarmists propose a Global Green Carbon Treaty of such cost and intrusiveness that Yale’s Walter Russell Mead compares it to the 1928 Kellogg-Brand Pact outlawing war for sheer folly. He describes GGCT as less a treaty and more a constitution for world government regulating all economic production in every country on earth. That constitution would be for a “global welfare state with trillions of dollars ultimately sent by the taxpayers of rich countries to governments (however feckless, inept, corrupt or tyrannical) to poor ones.”
These proposals are put forward seemingly oblivious to the economic cost or loss of liberty involved. In his 2001 book The Skeptical Environmentalist, Danish statistician Bjorn Lonborg calculated that enforcement alone of the Kyoto Treaty would cost $150,000 billion a year, money which could save tens of thousands of lives annually.
The above-mentioned statement of the 16 scientists cited the work of Yale economist William Nordhaus, whos showed that the highest benefit-to-cost ratio would be achieved via a policy of fifty years of economic growth unimpeded by greenhouse gas controls. The least developed countries would benefit most by being able to share some of the advantages of material well-being — i.e., health and life expectancy — with the more developed world.
NOW TO THE OTHER SIDE of the comparison. Even President Obama admits that under the unsigned understanding reached at Lausanne, Iran will have zero breakout time to a nuclear weapon thirteen years from now. (Today, he puts the breakout time at three months.)
That fact alone creates a world with as many tripwires leading to war as Europe on the eve of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in August 1914. Only this time the weapons of choice will be nuclear.
The proposed agreement with Iran means the end of nuclear non-proliferation. If the world’s leading rogue state and sponsor of terrorism can have its nuclear weapons program effectively endorsed by the members of the U.N. Security Council, every other nation that was dissuaded in the past by international pressure from expanding its civilian nuclear program to include enrichment to weapons level – e.g., South Korea, Brazil – will reconsider.
The most rapid nuclear proliferation will take place in the world’s most volatile region, the Middle East, in which the millennial hatred of Sunnis and Shiites still burns hot. Saudis have made it clear that they will purchase nuclear weapons off-the-shelf from Pakistan, as per a prior agreement, to counter Iran’s ability to obtain nuclear weapons. Egypt and Turkey will almost certainly follow suit.
An already aggressive Iran would become vastly more so with the hundreds of billions of dollars in revenues from the lifting of sanctions and the ability to provide a nuclear umbrella for its regional proxies. As a consequence, the Middle East would become all the more volatile.
The nations most likely to acquire nuclear arms and unstable, which increases the possibility of terrorist groups acquiring nuclear weapons. Iran has long eyed the “holy cities” of Mecca and Medina, and is already stirring up the Shiite population in Saudi Arabia’s eastern, oil-producing provinces and in Yemen on its southern border. Egypt cannot feed its population.
And Iran might find it useful to supply some of its non-state allies, like Hezbollah or Hamas, with dirty nuclear weapons that do not require missiles to deliver. Non-state actors are far harder to deter or hold accountable.
A nuclear Iran should terrify not only Israel, which it has repeatedly threatened to obliterate. Iranian leaders have publicly speculated for years about the grim calculus of a nuclear exchange with Israel: one bomb wipes out Israel; Israeli retaliation still leaves us with tens of millions survivors. Former CIA Director James Woolsey and Peter Fry, a member of the congressional EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) Commission, stress the vulnerability of the United States. The recent “understanding” (the terms of which are unknown and perhaps unknowable given the wide divergence between American and Iranian descriptions of what has been concluded) makes no reference to any limitations on Iran’s ballistic missile program, on which it works closely with North Korea.
Iran may soon possess long-range missiles capable of reaching the United States or the capacity to launch a nuclear-armed satellite above the United States. Even one nuclear weapon detonated above the United States could potentially knock out much of the national power grid. The congressional EMP Commission estimated that a nationwide blackout lasting one year from such an EMP attack could result in the deaths of nine out of ten Americans, with ISIS-like gangs ruling the streets.
Nor are traditional doctrines of nuclear deterrence relevant to the Middle East, in general, and Shiite Iran, in particular. Former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Schultz ask in their devastating critique of the recent agreement how will traditional doctrines of deterrence based on stable state actors “translate into a region where sponsorship of non-state proxies is common, the state structure is under assault, and death on behalf of jihad is a kind of fulfillment?”
As the dean of Middle East scholars Bernard Lewis has pointed out, for Shiite fanatics awaiting the return of the “hidden Imam,” after a cataclysmic event, the destruction of nuclear war might be an inducement rather than a deterrent.
WHAT DOES PRESIDENT OBAMA offer as the response to this description of a nuclear tinderbox waiting to be lit? Pure fantasy.
He and Secretary of State Kerry have made repeated references to a fatwa of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini against the use of nuclear weapons, which does not exist and certainly is credited by none of Iran’s enemies.
And he speaks hopefully of a newly mellowed Iran after the conclusion of an agreement. What is it about the Supreme Leader’s repeated chants of “Death to America” and insistence that current negotiations have nothing to do with reconciliation that the President can’t hear?
One option that the President has completely excluded is an air campaign to destroy Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and cut of the “head of snake,” as Woolsey once described the Revolutionary Guard to me. Obama has repeatedly accused the opponents of the Lausanne understanding as being advocates of war.
Clearly, then, all the tough talk about “all options are on the table,” “a bad deal is worse than no deal [followed by military attack],” “I will never allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons,” had the same truth content as “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”
Yet no one doubts that the United States has the capability to destroy Iran’s enrichment infrastructure. (If Russia goes through with the delivery of advanced anti-aircraft batteries, as a consequence of the Lausanne understanding, the task will be complicated.) And there will be consequences that cannot be fully known in advance. Iran has terrorist sleeper cells around the world. But it also has lots of assets, besides its nuclear infrastructure, which would be subject to further attacks if it unleashes those cells.
Whatever the Iranian response, the price to be paid will certainly be less than consigning all humanity to live in a world perpetually poised on the cusp of nuclear war.
SO WHY in the case of global warming are progressives willing to incur unbearable costs to combat a future threat of unknown magnitude and immediacy, and against which their solutions may well prove futile, while with respect to the easily identified and imminent danger of a nuclear-armed Iran, they write off from the start a clear and known remedy?
For progressives the solution of worldwide government, run by the executive decree of “the best and the brightest,” is not a cost too great to be contemplated, but rather the fulfillment of the progressive dream. But they will never countenance military action, even to save millions of lives down the road. Churchill’s dictum, “If you want peace, prepare for war,” remains foreign to them.
Israel has invested ‘immense sums’ over past decade building the capacity to hit Iran’s nuclear facilities, TV report says
The IDF on Thursday night, shortly before midnight, launched an airstrike which targeted a “terrorist infrastructure” in northern Gaza, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.
According to the statement, the airstrike was in retaliation for an earlier rocket attack by Gaza terrorists on southern Israel.
In addition, said the IDF, the entry of worshipers from Gaza into Israel will be prevented on Friday.
“The IDF will not permit any attempt to harm the security of the citizens of Israel,” the statement said.
The IDF confirmed earlier that at least one terrorist rocket had been fired from Gaza at southern Israel.
There were no reports of physical injuries or damage. The remains of one rocket were located in an open area in the Sha’ar Hanegev region.
The last time a Color Red siren was heard in the Gaza Belt region was in late December – four months ago. In response, IAF jets attacked Hamastraining grounds in Khan Yunis, in southern Gaza.
Iranian naval convoy bound for Yemen turns back toward home
DEBKAfile Special Report April 23, 2015, 8:58 PM (IDT)
(Seems Obama is only interested in a possible threat to shipping lanes while the Saudis do not wish the rebels to be resupplied at all. How this gets reconciled is anyone’s guess. Yet another mess caused by Obama’s total lack of leadership and resolve. – LS)
Senior US defense officials reported Thursday, April 23, that the Iranian convoy suspected of carrying weapons for Houth rebels in Yemen appeared to have turned around and was heading north toward Iran. Other Pentagon sources were more cautious: “This isn’t over yet,” they said, in reference to a potential showdown shaping up from Monday, when the USS Roosevelt carrier and USS Normandy missile cruiser reached the Arabian Sea. The Iranian convoy was tracked by the US, Saudi, Egyptian and UAE fleets, any one of which may have intercepted an Iranian vessels trying to unload arms for the rebels.
DEBKAfile reported earlier that, just hours after halting military operations in Yemen, Saudi Arabia Wednesday, April 22 resumed its air strikes, bombing pro-Iranian Houthi rebel positions southwest of Taiz, after they seized a brigade base from forces loyal to fugitive President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Saudi-led coalition went back on a promise published Tuesday to shift its focus from military action to peace talks after Houthi rebels opted out of the ceasefire the Obama administration was trying to broker between Riyadh and Tehran. Tehran further refrained from ordering its warships to turn around and told them to stay on course for the Gulf of Aden opposite Yemen.
DEBKAfile reported earlier Wednesday:
Wide overnight predictions of a Yemen ceasefire coming out of US mediation between Iran and Saudi Arabia were unfulfilled by Wednesday, April 22. All that happened was Saudi Arabia’s termination of its air strikes against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels – but not its sea and air blockade of the country. The rebels made it clear that for them, the war goes on. From Washington, US President Barack Obama warned Tehran against delivering weapons to Yemen that could be used to threaten shipping traffic in the region. Speaking in a televised interview on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” the president said: “What we’ve said to them is that ‘if there are weapons delivered to factions within Yemen that could threaten navigation, that’s a problem.’”
He was referring to the Iranian buildup of nine vessels, some carrying weapons, and warning that US warships were deploying to defend international navigation in the Gulf of Aden and the strategic Strait of Bab el-Mandeb off the shores of Yemen.
DEBKAfile reported earlier::
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdolllahian said Tuesday night, April 21, that Tehran is optimistic that ‘in the coming hours we shall see a halt to military attacks in Yemen.”
He did not say whether the Saudi Arabia had accepted a ceasefire after three weeks of air strikes, or its targets, the Houthi rebels and their Yemeni army allies – or both. Their acceptance would terminate the Yemen civil war.
Earlier Tuesday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest tried to play down the danger of a collision between a US naval strike force led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier and an Iranian naval convoy believed to be carrying arms for the Houthis. Both were due to arrive in the Gulf of Aden opposite the Yemeni shore. Earnest said the US fleet’s mission was “to ensure the free flow of commerce” i.e. the freedom of navigation through the Gulf of Aden and Strait of Bab El-Mandeb.
He did not repeat an earlier statement by US defense officials that The Roosevelt carrier, the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy and other accompanying warships had been sent to pre-empt any attempt by the Iranian vessels to unload weapons for the Houthis – in violation of a UN Security Council resolution.
Pentagon officials said an Iranian convoy of nine cargo ships had reached international waters in the Gulf of Aden, but that to their knowledge, the US and Iranian ships had not yet seen each other or made any contact.
The tone coming from the White House towards the end of the day was that the US naval buildup opposite Yemen was intended to give diplomacy a military boost, rather than confront the Iranian fleet.
Reports from Riyadh likewise pointed to active diplomacy afoot for ending the violence in Yemen.
A statement read out on Saudi-owned Arabiya TV announced the end of the kingdom’s military operation against the Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen. “The alliance had achieved its goals in Yemen through the “Storm of Resolve” campaign and would now begin a new operation called “Restoring Hope.”
This operation, the statement said, would focus on security at home and counter-terrorism, aid and a political solution in Yemen.
At the same time, DEBKAfile’s Gulf sources report the same TV channel carried the opposite message from Riyadh:
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Abdulaziz has ordered the Kingdom’s National Guard to join the military campaign in Yemen, said another communique. Minister of the Saudi National Guard Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah said his forces are on high alert and are ready to take part in Operation Storm of Resolve, a Saudi-led coalition of 10 states battling the advance of the Iran-backed rebels.
The Saudi National Guard is a strong armed force, superior to and better equipped than the Saudi national army. It would provide a solid increment for the Saudi air strikes in Yemen.
Behind this cloud of apparent contradictions hovering over the Yemen conflict Tuesday, is an Obama administration bid to broker the contest between Saudi Arabia and Yemen and bring about a ceasefire. The various parties are meanwhile jockeying for advantageous positions without surrendering their options. If the bid is successful, a truce may be announced in the Yemen war in the coming hours, but it is still hanging fire.