Tag Archives: Sanctions

Iran deal: no snap inspections, sanctions dropped, nuclear weapon within one year

What difference does national security make?
What difference does foreign policy make?

Hillary Clinton supports the new deal that Obama has struck with Iran. So let’s see what’s in the deal.

Here are the key points about the Democrats’ deal with Iran from foreign policy expert Nile Gardiner:

[…][T]his is a disastrous agreement that leaves Iran’s nuclear infrastructure largely in place, with only limited “managed” access to inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In effect the Iranian regime will be able to deny unfettered inspections of its nuclear facilities. Iran has never cooperated with good faith with the IAEA in the past – there is no reason to believe it will do so now.

[…]Under the proposed arrangement, Iran would be in a position to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon within a year – the “breakout” time – if it chose to renege on the agreement. Even if Iran sticks to the deal, which is highly unlikely, the sunset restrictions on uranium enrichment will expire in a decade. In the meantime there are no restrictions put in place to limit Iran’s development of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) or its conventional weapons capability.

[…]With the impending lifting of economic sanctions against Iran, which had been painstakingly put together by the UN Security Council over the course of many years despite Russian and Chinese resistance, Tehran will have potentially hundreds of billions of additional dollars to invest in its nuclear facilities, conventional weapons capability, and its state sponsored terror network, including Hamas and Hezbollah.

[…]There can be no doubt that the Iran nuclear deal will spark a dangerous arms race in the Middle East, with Iran’s Arab neighbours seeking to defend themselves in the event that Tehran becomes a nuclear weapons power. The prospect of a nuclear war in the Middle East will be dramatically raised as a result of this agreement.

[…]The end result can only be an emboldened Iran that grows ever more aggressive as it seeks to establish regional dominance. For Israel… the deal threatens its own long-term survival. In the face of a genocidal tyranny that has vowed its destruction, the people of Israel are nervous for their own future.

Is that threat to Israel real, or am I just exaggerating? Well, it’s no secret that Iran has made the threat many times in the past to annihilate Israel. But what’s striking is that they have been making it during the negotiations as well.

CNS News explains:

A photograph posted on Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s official website–as the Obama administration was finalizing negotiations on a deal intended to prevent Iran from building a nulcear weapon–shows the walking stick-waving supreme leader striding across, and apparently glaring at, a painted representation of Israel’s national flag.

The caption on the photo, according to a translation by American Enterprise Institute scholar Michael Rubin, reads, “The Zionist Regime is Condemned to Vanish.”

Now, if you ask Obama and Clinton, Israel has nothing to worry about from a nuclear-enabled Iran. Does that seem reasonable in view of the facts, though? I would not be surprised to see Israel nuked the day after the 2016 presidential election… with the United States as the next target, of course.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, Republican presidential candidates oppose the deal with Iran.

Finally, let’s close with a sobering recap of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s disastrous string of foreign policy blunders, courtesy of Ben Shapiro:

America used to worry about its allies being targeted for destruction. Obama’s new deal with Iran contains zero restrictions on their terrorist activity across the Middle East and the world, and relieves sanctions on figures including Qasem Soleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force, a group responsible for the murder of hundreds of American troops. The deal also enriches Iran massively, and Iran has made clear that it will use those increased resources to help its terrorist allies like Hamas and Hezbollah.

[…][Obama] has purposefully hollowed out America’s military, and fully embraces Iran’s regional aspirations.

[…]Obama wants Iran to take over large sections of the Middle East. Like most Europeans, Obama sees America and Israel as greater threats to world peace than Iran or North Korea. His top priority in the Iran deal was forestalling action by the United States and Israel. He achieved that, at the cost of Saudi Arabia and Egypt seeking nuclear weapons, Hamas reinforcing its position as a terrorist cancer in the Gaza Strip, Hezbollah retrenching as the controlling force in Lebanon, Bashar Assad ensuring his continued leadership, Iraq turning into an Iranian client state, Afghanistan preparing for Iranian-influenced sectarian violence, and Houthi-caused chaos in Yemen, for a start.

It’s the foreign policy blunders that will be the hardest to fix. The domestic stuff we can fix, the foreign policy – it’s going to almost impossible to roll that back. And if we do see a nuclear weapon within a year, Obama will veto anyone who tries to stop Iran from using it on Israel – or on us. Iran is not kidding when they say “death to Israel” and “death to America”. We are about to find out, and sooner than you think.

Now the big question is this – will that make any difference to Democrat voters? Sometimes I think that Democrat voters have their heads so far up their asses that no amount of facts can break in. Maybe the only thing that will wake them up is the mushroom cloud over Israel… or maybe over New York or Los Angeles. But honestly, they will probably just blame Bush or something. It’s invincible ignorance. Prove me wrong, Democrats. Because this time, it’s life and death serious.

Are libertarians right to say that lifting sanctions on evil regimes leads to liberalizing reforms?

Has liberalizing relations with China caused their government to introduce pro-liberty reforms? Libertarians like Rand Paul who cheered Obama’s appeasement of Cuba think that it has, but what are the facts?

This is a news article from the ultra-leftist UK Guardian.

Excerpt:

China’s drift towards a new authoritarianism under the unsmiling leadership of Xi Jinping has found new expression in a series of alarming year’s-end moves to curb personal freedoms and free speech. The country’s implacable president and Communist party chief is forcefully driving China towards economic and geopolitical superpower status. But the social cost is mounting steadily.

With the ruthless crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong still fresh in the memory, Xi’s latest anti-democratic coup came in the form of expanded action to block Gmail, Google’s email service, presumably because it gave users a degree of autonomy that Xi and his unelected party cadres find threatening. China already regularly blocks foreign websites such as Facebook and YouTube. Google pulled most of its business out of China in 2011 after a row over censorship.

Aspects of Xi’s policy of “autocracy with Chinese characteristics” are familiar to the country’s academic community, which is under renewed pressure to toe the party line. Instructions issued by the president after a higher education conference on Monday included the demand that universities do more to promote Marxist doctrine and Communist party ideological guidance, the Xinhua news agency reported.

“Enhancing [party] leadership and party-building in the higher learning institutions is a fundamental guarantee for running socialist universities with Chinese features well,” Xi was quoted as saying.

Political indoctrination is already a routine feature of university life for Chinese students, while their teachers are subject to monitoring to ensure political correctness. In an echo of the Stalinist era in the Soviet Union, this year reporters from state-controlled media were ordered to attend university lectures and detect and denounce teachers whose ideas might be considered “scornful of China” or pro-western.

Christians are hit especially hard:

China’s estimated 60-70 million Christians have not escaped persecution during the Christmas period, according to reports from Beijing suggesting their plight has worsened under the new leadership. Members of Shouwang, a Beijing Christian group, told Agence France-Presse that several pastors had been under house arrest since they tried to arrange Easter services in a public square in 2011.

Most Chinese Christians shun state-run churches and worship in “house churches” beyond government control. But official tolerance of such independent activity is waning, judging by a crackdown on 400 churches in eastern Zhejiang province, some of which were reportedly demolished.

Offering an insight into paranoid party thinking, an official recently told Beijing worshippers to “resolutely resist the use of Christianity by foreigners to infiltrate China”. Crosses have been torn down at many churches and at a nursing home. The authorities have made an issue out of Christmas lights, which are increasingly popular in Chinese cities, saying they may pose a safety hazard.

The ultra-leftist New York Times had more to say. (H/T Dennis Prager)

Excerpt:

They pounce on bloggers who dare mock their beloved Chairman Mao. They scour the nation’s classrooms and newspapers for strains of Western-inspired liberal heresies. And they have taken down professors, journalists and others deemed disloyal to Communist Party orthodoxy.

China’s Maoist ideologues are resurgent after languishing in the political desert, buoyed by President Xi Jinping’s traditionalist tilt and emboldened by internal party decrees that have declared open season on Chinese academics, artists and party cadres seen as insufficiently red.

Ideological vigilantes have played a pivotal role in the downfall of Wang Congsheng, a law professor in Beijing who was detained and then suspended from teaching after posting online criticisms of the party. Another target was Wang Yaofeng, a newspaper columnist who voiced support for the recent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and then found himself without a job.

“Since Xi came to power, the pressure and control over freethinkers has become really tight,” said Qiao Mu, a Beijing journalism professor who was demoted this fall, in part for publicly espousing multiparty elections and free speech. “More and more of my friends and colleagues are experiencing fear and harassment.”

Two years into a sweeping offensive against dissent, Mr. Xi has been intensifying his focus on perceived ideological opponents, sending ripples through universities, publishing houses and the news media and emboldening hard-liners who have hailed him as a worthy successor to Mao Zedong.

[…]Mr. Xi’s recent orders and the accompanying surge of pressure on political foes further dispelled initial suspicions that his ideological hardening was a feint to establish his credibility with traditionalists as he settled into power. Instead, his continuing campaign against Western-inspired ideas has emboldened traditional party leftists.

This is why libertarians like Rand Paul can never be the Republican candidate for President. Foreign policy is one of the main responsibilities of the President. When it comes to choosing our leaders, we have to choose someone who sees what has and has not worked in the past. Trade is not a solution to reining in strong anti-Western nations, something else (maybe like Reagan in the Cold War?) is needed to deal with evil regimes. We made a mistake throwing Cuba a lifeline just as we had them on the ropes. We have to look at the world and ask what comes after stage one of foreign policy decisions – for all parties. The trouble with libertarians is that they don’t apply the economic way of thinking to foreign policy.

Panama seizes shipment of missile guidance equipment from Cuba bound for North Korea

RSN-75 Radar for SA-2 SAM
RSN-75 Radar for SA-2 SAM

From Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

Cuba, long derided in international policy circles as a basket case and no threat to the U.S., has been caught smuggling weapons of war to North Korea in blatant violation of U.N. sanctions. This is a wake-up call.

Sharp-eyed Panamanian authorities, watching the North Korean freighter Chong Chon Gang since June, received intelligence it might be shipping illegal drugs, something it had been caught doing before.

As the vessel lumbered into the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal from Cuba, Panamanian authorities cornered the 450-foot rust-bucket, battled a maniacally violent crew who slashed ship lines to make it hard to unload the ship, and then watched as the ship’s captain tried to kill himself before having a heart attack.

After subduing the crew, the Panamanians found no drugs buried beneath sloppily packed brown sugar, but did find defensive RSN-75 “Fan Song” fire-control radar equipment for SA-2 surface-to-air missiles.

The discovery, and the crew’s behavior, were signs of something big the North Koreans didn’t want known — weapons smuggling, a violation of both United Nations sanctions prohibiting all sales of weapons to North Korea and Panama’s own laws governing the canal.

“You cannot go around shipping undeclared weapons of war through the Panama Canal,” declared Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, a U.S. ally, who tweeted a photo of the illegal shipment for the world to see.

It’s significant that the enabler of this violation of international law was none other than Cuba, which has worked hard to convince the Obama administration to drop all travel and trade sanctions against it — and which is currently negotiating a migration pact with the U.S. It’s time to stop that right now, and sanction Cuba further.

The brazen shipment of Russian-made weapons through Panama signaled that little has changed in Cuba — a state sponsor of global terror that has in fact been trying to destroy the U.S. since 1962.

“This is a serious and alarming incident that reminds us that the North Korean regime continues to pursue its nuclear and ballistic programs, and will stop at nothing in that pursuit,” said House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. “It also illustrates that the Castro tyranny continues to aid and abet America’s enemies and continues to pose a national security threat to the United States so long as the Castro apparatchik holds control over the island.”

It’s also the work of a rogue state. And at just 90 miles away, one that is as chillingly close to our shores as it is warm and friendly to North Korea.

[…]Although it’s unknown why North Korea, a major weapons exporter, is importing weapons from Cuba right now, defense analysts speculate that the weapons may be making their way back to Pyongyang for an upgrade and return to Cuba.

That would be worrisome given that North Korea has said it means to strike the U.S. on its own home turf. What better launching pad could it ask for than Cuba?

Two weeks ago, North Korea’s military commander visited Cuba to a red-carpet welcome. The visit raises questions as to what the two discussed — and, given the threat we see now, whether U.S. intelligence was aware of it.

If there is one thing that the United States definitely should not do, it’s dropping sanctions against Cuba.

IAEA report expected to show that Iran now has the ability to build a nuclear bomb

Map of the Middle East
Map of the Middle East

From Fox News.

 Pakistan, North Korea and a former weapons scientist from the Soviet Union reportedly all helped Iran with its nuclear weapons quest, according to an impending U.N. nuclear watchdog report expected to show the Islamic regime has mastered the science of building a bomb.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s report due out this week will lay out findings collected over years of intelligence gathering. It is expected to reinforce concerns that Iran didn’t actually abandon its weapons-related research in 2003, as indicated by a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate given to then-President George W. Bush.

U.S. intelligence agencies reported in 2007 that they believed Tehran halted its experiments in response to international and domestic pressures. But an ongoing investigation by the Fox News Specials Unit concludes that more than 600 entities were working inside Iran to support its program, and at least 40 sites where the work is taking place are suspected to exist across the country.

For British, French and American investigators, one of the most concerning sites is the Qom uranium enrichment construction site, hidden deep in the mountains. The latest intelligence shows that security walls have doubled around the site. Its scale cannot be explained by any known civilian nuclear energy use.

David Albright, a former IAEA official and president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security who reviewed the intelligence files, told The Washington Post that Iran’s nuclear weapons program “never really stopped” and also concluded that Iran “has sufficient information to design and produce a workable implosion nuclear device.”

Western diplomats and nuclear experts briefed on the findings in the IAEA report also told the Post that foreign scientists offered assistance in overcoming key technical hurdles.

The documents reportedly show that a former Soviet weapons scientist named Vyacheslav Danilenko allegedly tutored Iranians for several years on building high-precision detonators needed to trigger a nuclear chain reaction. The Post reported that Pakistani and North Korean officials also gave to Iran mathematical formulas and codes as well as a so-called neutron initiator, which shoots a stream of atomic particles into the weapon’s fissile core at the start of the chain reaction.

There are two things to point out about this story. The first thing is that it was a strategic disaster for us to back out of Iraq, because that’s where we need to be to be able to gather intelligence, mount covert ops, run interdiction on attempts to transfer WMDs to Syria, etc. We really need to be in theater in order to deal with Iran, Syria and groups like Hezbollah, Iran’s Quds force and Muqtada Al Sadr’s Mahdi Army.

Unfortunately, I think that David Axelrod is running our national security now, which is why Obama pulled out forces out of Iraq.

Excerpt:

Three years, two abject failures. The first was the administration’s inability, at the height of American post-surge power, to broker a centrist nationalist coalition governed by the major blocs — one predominantly Shiite (Maliki’s), one predominantly Sunni (Ayad Allawi’s), one Kurdish — that among them won a large majority (69 percent) of seats in the 2010 election.

Vice President Biden was given the job. He failed utterly. The government ended up effectively being run by a narrow sectarian coalition where the balance of power is held by the relatively small (12 percent) Iranian-client Sadr faction.

The second failure was the SOFA [Status of Forces Agreement] itself. U.S. commanders recommended nearly 20,000 troops, considerably fewer than our 28,500 in Korea, 40,000 in Japan and 54,000 in Germany. The president rejected those proposals, choosing instead a level of 3,000 to 5,000 troops.

A deployment so risibly small would have to expend all its energies simply protecting itself — the fate of our tragic, missionless 1982 Lebanon deployment — with no real capability to train the Iraqis, build their U.S.-equipped air force, mediate ethnic disputes (as we have successfully done, for example, between local Arabs and Kurds), operate surveillance and special-ops bases, and establish the kind of close military-to-military relations that undergird our strongest alliances.

The Obama proposal was an unmistakable signal of unseriousness. It became clear that he simply wanted out, leaving any Iraqi foolish enough to maintain a pro-American orientation exposed to Iranian influence, now unopposed and potentially lethal. Message received. Just this past week, Massoud Barzani, leader of the Kurds — for two decades the staunchest of U.S. allies — visited Tehran to bend a knee to both President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The second thing to point out is the question of what we should be doing to restrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Click here for a run-down of some of our options. There are a lot of things we could do short of all-out war, but that would require that we had a statesman in the White House – someone who takes foreign policy seriously and treats it as more than a political issue.

A previous post I wrote showed how arms that China sells to Iran make their way to Hezbollah to be used against Israeli assets. That’s what we can expect will happen with nuclear weapons that Iran develops. Are we willing to accept that? There is also the matter of the Mexican drug cartels, the Quds force, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and our porous border with Mexico. Are we willing to risk that?

We need to take the gloves off our national security agencies, especially the CIA, and do what has to be done.