Major Problems With Babylon the Great’s Nukes

Antichrist’s Men Gain Success In Iraq With Iran’s Support (Daniel 8:3)

Iraqi forces, Iranian-suported militias report success in Baiji

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Photographs were disseminated on Twitter purporting to show Iranian Qods Force commander Qasem Soleimani alongside Shi’ite militiamen in Jurf al Sahkar in late October.

The Iraqi military and Iranian-backed Shiite militias are reported to have liberated the central city of Baiji from the Islamic State and are close to breaking the siege on the nearby oil refinery. The Shiite militias, which are heavily supported by Iran’s Qods Force, are playing a key role in recent gains against the Islamic State. US airpower has supported the militias and Iraqi government forces.

General Abdul Wahab al Saadi, the senior commander in the area, announced the “liberation of Baiji” earlier today on Iraqi state television, The Associated Press reported. Several Iraqi military officers also claimed success in Baiji, which hosts Iraq’s largest oil refinery.

Iraqi officials told Reuters that security forces have advanced to within one kilometer of the refinery, which has been surrounded by Islamic State fighters since the beginning of the summer. Officers claim that Islamic State fighters who are retreating are being targeted by aircraft.

Security forces and the Shiite militias have killed 17 Islamic State fighters over the past 24 hours, according to All Iraq News.

Asaib al Haq, or the League of the Righteous, a Shiite militia that is responsible for killing hundreds of US soldiers in Iraq between 2006-2011, is known to be fighting in Baiji. Al Ahad TV reported that the militia, along with Iraqi Army units, killed Ala Burhan al Tikriti, an Islamic State commander who “supervised the execution of the massacre at Camp Speicher,” an Iraqi base outside of Tikrit where hundreds of Iraqi troops were murdered. Numerous videos of the League of the Righteous fighting alongside Iraqi forces in Baiji have also been published on YouTube and other video sharing sites.

The League of the Righteous was formed in 2006 as an offshoot of Muqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army. The militia, which has been trained by Hezbollah and Qods Force, was the largest and most powerful of what the US military called the Special Groups, or militias backed by Iran. The group was at the forefront in using EFPs, or explosively formed penetrators, the deadly mines that can penetrate US armored vehicles. Hundreds of US soldiers were killed in EFP attacks.

Three of the group’s top leaders, including its military emir, Akram Abbas al Kabi, are listed by the US as Specially Designated Global Terrorists. [See LWJ report, US sanctions Iranian general for aiding Iraqi terror groups.]

Iranian militias spearheading Iraqi assaults against the Islamic State

The Iraqi government has grown dependent on Iranian-backed Shiite militias ever since the Islamic State launched its offensive to take large swaths of northern, central and eastern Iraq in mid-June. The Islamic State’s summer offensive, combined with the group overrunning most of the western province of Anbar beginning in January, cause the collapse of nearly half of Iraq’s Army divisions.

The militias deployed to Samarra, the provincial capital of Salahaddin, as the Islamic State took control of the nearby cities of Tikrit and Baiji. Samarra is home to the Al Askari Mosque, one of the most revered religious sites in Shia Islam.

Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Qods Force, the special operations branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, was spotted in Samarra directing the defense of the city.

The Shiite militias were at the vanguard of the fighting in two other recent successes: driving back the Islamic State from Amerli in Salahaddin province and from Jurf al Sakhar in northern Babil province.

At the end of August, the League of the Righteous and the Hezbollah Brigades, another Iranian-supported militia, supported Iraqi troops in breaking the Islamic State’s hold on Amerli. The Hezbollah Brigades is listed by the US as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. [See LWJ reports, US airstrikes in Amerli supported deadly Shia terror group and US aided Hezbollah Brigades in breaking Islamic State siege of Iraqi town.]

At the end of October, the League of the Righteous, the Hezbollah Brigades, and the Badr Brigade, yet another Iranian-supported militia, drove the Islamic State from Jurf al Sakhar.

After the town was liberated from the Islamic State, photographs and videos of the militias celebrating the victory alongside Iraqi troops were published on the Internet. Soleimani was photographed with several members of Shiite militias in Jurf al Sahkar. One photograph purported to show Soleimani along with Hadi al Amiri, the head of the Badr Brigades, The Washington Post reported.

The US, either intentionally or unintentionally, has supported the Shiite militias’ gains. US and coalition aircraft launched multiple airstrikes in Baiji, Amerli, and Jurf al Sakhar as the militias and Iraqi forces began their offensives. Most recently, the US conducted 28 airstrikes in Baiji between Oct. 18 and Nov. 12, according to data compiled by The Long War Journal and Qualitative Military Edge.

The deployment of Iranian militias in Sunni areas such as Baiji and Jurf al Sakhar is certain to complicate the fight against the Islamic State. While the Islamic State has lost territory, the jihadist group has positioned itself as the defenders of the Sunnis against Iran and its Shiite proxies in the Iraqi government.

 

Obama’s Letter To Khamenei About ISIS And Nukes

Iran responds to Barack Obama’s letter about fight against ISIS and Tehran’s nuclear ambitions

A top security official in Iran said Wednesday the Islamic Republic has written back in response to letters sent by U.S. President Barack Obama, the first acknowledgement of such correspondence.  However, it’s not clear whether Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wrote the letters himself.

The letter writing is part of a recent thaw in relations between the two countries since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the U.S.-backed shah and the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, where 52 Americans were held hostage for more than a year. It also comes as a U.S.-led coalition battles the Islamic State of Iraq and AL-Sham group in neighbouring Iraq and as Iran and world powers negotiate a permanent deal regarding the country’s contested nuclear program.

“This is not the first time that such a thing has taken place,” said Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, during an appearance on state television Wednesday night. “It had previously taken place and necessary response was given to some of them.”

Obama’s recent letter to Khamenei described a shared interest between the U.S. and Iran in fighting ISIS militants and stressed that any cooperation on that would be largely contingent on Iran agreeing to the nuclear deal, according to the Wall Street Journal. Shamkhani said the letter “mainly focused on nuclear issues.”

 
We responded “that we can’t accept at all to have a decorative, caricaturistic nuclear industry,” Shamkhani said.

There was no immediate response in Washington to Shamkhani’s comments.

 
Iran and six world powers – the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany – are negotiating a final nuclear accord now. The stakes are high as the two sides face a Nov. 24 deadline. A deal is supposed to put in place measures that would prevent Iran from making an atomic weapon in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Iran has said its program is for peaceful purposes.

The talks reportedly remain stuck over the size and output of Iran’s uranium enrichment program, a technology that can be used to produce nuclear fuel or nuclear weapons and how the sanctions must be lifted.

U.S. and Iranian officials held a series of secret meetings last year that ultimately paved the way for the historic interim nuclear deal in Geneva. Obama and Iranian President Rouhani also held a historic phone call last fall, the first direct communication between their nation’s leaders since the Islamic Revolution.

A Bad Deal About To Be Made

Iran’s nukes: Too desperate for a deal

November 13, 2014 | 7:32pm

The levels of diplomatic activity, fear and even desperation regarding Iran’s steadily advancing nuclear-weapons program are rising rapidly in the White House.

The same is true for Israel and America’s Arab allies in the region, but for very different reasons.
Israel and friendly Arab states worry that the religious fanatics and militarists ruling Tehran will achieve their long-sought goal of possessing deliverable nuclear weapons.

President Obama worries that his endless concessions to and compromises with these same fanatics and militarists will fail to produce a piece of paper he can call a diplomatic success.

With the Nov. 9-10 talks in Oman apparently producing no breakthroughs, it’s looking likely that the looming Nov. 24 negotiating “deadline” will simply be extended — though Iran may even force Obama to offer further sanctions relief before it will consent to another extension.

Tehran has Obama exactly where it wants him.

The past year’s intense “P5 + 1” negotiations (culminating a dozen years of such diplomacy) have seen the Security Council’s five permanent members and Germany make one concession after another.

This is not speculation: The White House has cheerfully leaked details of these concessions to friendly reporters to encourage news stories about how close a deal is.

Sadly, this practice is more evidence that it is the “deal” itself, rather than its substance, that constitutes Obama’s Holy Grail.

Reports that Obama has written to Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, linking cooperation against the terrorist Islamic State (or “ISIS”) with an agreement over Iran’s nuclear-weapons program, only further confirms this point.

Obama’s serial entreaties to Khamenei are both naïve and dangerous.

Obama’s weakness is also evident to other US enemies.

North Korea recently released its last three American prisoners, with no publicly known quid pro quo. Since Pyongyang never does anything for free, we can deduce the likelihood of secret diplomatic overtures there as well.

And from Pyongyang’s perspective, why not? If Iran can extract concessions and gain legitimacy from Obama without conceding much if anything, why should Kim Jong-un not demand the same?
US competitors like China and Russia can read the calendar. They see Obama’s tenure coming to a close in 2017, and surely doubt that his successor will be as weak or inattentive.

Nations out to enhance their interests at America’s expense will obviously try to exploit Obama’s last years in office. The just-announced agreement for Russia to build six or more nuclear reactors in Iran, over 10 years in the making, illustrates how this phenomenon will unfold.

As for Iran’s continuing proliferation threat, last week’s International Atomic Energy Agency report is deeply troubling. It shows Iran continuing to obstruct IAEA efforts to investigate its nuclear-weaponization activities and stonewalling many other long-pending questions.

The IAEA is a serious organization, professional and dedicated at its operational levels. Though politicized under Director-General Mohammed el-Baradei, who re-wrote staff-level reports on Iran’s activities and generally provided Tehran political cover, it has returned to balance under el-Baradei’s successor, Yukiya Amano of Japan.

Tehran’s persistent refusal to cooperate is important for two reasons.

First, the IAEA is not an intelligence agency. In many critical areas, it acts on information it receives from others (including the United States and Israel), trying to validate that information by other means.

By preventing IAEA from establishing an accurate “baseline” against which to measure future Iranian nuclear activity, Tehran undercuts the essential prerequisites for later verification.
(If inspectors don’t know what the starting point is, they can’t measure subsequent cheating.)
Second, we must worry whether any deal with Iran is truly verifiable. If Iran isn’t improving its conduct before a deal is signed, why expect its performance to improve once it succeeds in legitimizing its program and eliminating sanctions?

Only those unfamiliar with recent history could be confident that US, Israeli and other intelligence services actually know the full measure of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Hubris when it comes to atomic bombs is a dangerous mistake.

Iran’s continued duplicity underlines how little faith we can place in any commitments the regime makes. At this point, we can only hope that Tehran saves us from ourselves by overreaching, as it has so often before.

Sadly, with Obama so eager to declare victory, there may be no practical limit to what Iran can achieve.

John Bolton is a former US ambassador to the United Nations.

Pakistani Horn Launches Another Nuclear Capable Missile

Pakistan Just Successfully Tested A Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missile

Pierre Bienaimé0Nov 13, 2014, 10.39 PM

Pakistan successfully tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile today with an impact point in the Persian Gulf. The newly tested version of the Shaheen-II ballistic missile, which is roughly equivalent to the US’s Pershing II missiles, can carry either conventional or nuclear warheads according to ISPR, the Pakistani army’s public relations arm.The announcement seems to confirm expert analysis that the country is aiming to build long-range delivery systems for tactical nuclear weapons – smaller warheads built for use in a battlefield or active combat scenario, rather than for strikes on cities or infrastructure.

Addressing scientists, engineers, and military officers viewing the test site, lieutenant general Zubair Mahmood Hayat still reiterated Pakistan’s stance that the goal of its strides in ballistic capability is deterrence – presumably against any rash military action by India, with which Pakistan has a number of outstanding territorial and security-related disputes.

Pakistani news media put the range of the Shaheen-II at 1,500 kilometers, though the Federation of American Scientists estimates it may be able to travel 2,000 kilometers or more depending on its payload. One Indian television news program included a map showing the several India’s cities that fall within the missile’s now-proven range.

The test is the latest development in a long-running arms race between Pakistan and its neighbor.

In 1999 Pakistan tested a shorter-ranged Shaheen missile that was also capable of carrying nuclear weapons. After that test, Pakistan’s officials cited a concern for preserving “strategic balance in south Asia” – an objective that has India, Pakistan’s larger, more populous, more powerful, and also nuclear-armed rival, squarely in mind.

The missile program has established that strategic balance with India, Arif Rafiq, a researcher at the Middle East Institute, told Business Insider in September.

“Since India and Pakistan tested nuclear weapons in 1998, there has been a greater level of restraint in terms of the behavior of both countries when it comes to war,” Rafiq said. “But at the same time they also taken great measures to build up their nuclear arsenal and further develop or strengthen or diversify their launch capability.”

While nuclear development continues, India and Pakistan have become the world’s first and third largest arms importers, respectively.