Babylon’s Military Pundits Push For More Nukes (Daniel 7:7)

Air Force Command Says: “Modernization is a must for the nuclear enterprise”

Air Force Long Range Stealth Nuclear Bomber

Air Force Long Range Stealth Nuclear Bomber

Posted 1/21/2015   Updated 1/21/2015
by Staff Sgt. Torri Ingalsbe
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information 

1/21/2015 – WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force’s priorities for modernization and continuous improvement in the nuclear enterprise were the top of discussion during the Air Force Association’s monthly breakfast Jan. 20 in Arlington, Virginia.

This nuclear deterrent is as relevant and is as needed today as it was in January of 1965,” said Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak, the Air Force assistant chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration. “And it will be, until that happy day comes when we rid the world of nuclear weapons. It will be just as relevant in 2025, ten years from now.”

To remain relevant, Harencak explained the importance of investing in programs to modernize the two legs of the nuclear triad owned by the Air Force, including the long-range strike bomber and the ground-based strategic deterrent.

“It’s not going to be inexpensive, but it’s also not going to be unaffordable,” he said. “It’s something we have to do to protect our nation. In this world, there still is a nuclear threat and our United States Air Force is there to meet it so we can defend our great nation, and our allies.”

The Air Force’s goal is to develop and purchase 80 to 100 LRSB aircraft. This modernization of nuclear-capable bombers will provide safe, secure and effective forces for generations to come, he explained.

“In what world do we send our grandchildren into combat in 80-year-old airplanes?” Harencak asked. “There are a lot of hard decisions we’ve got to make out there, but this isn’t one of them. We want them (our children and grandchildren) to win: 100 to nothing, not 51 to 49. We can afford this, and it’s desperately needed so the United States Air Force continues to be what it always has been – the force that allows alternatives and options for our president to defend America.”

In addition to investment in aircraft, the Air Force is continuously working on increasing morale and mission focus within the intercontinental ballistic missile community, with help and guidance from the Force Improvement Program.

“Our ICBMs have been referred to as America’s ‘ace in the hole,’ for more than 50 years,” Harencak said. “They still are. They are still the ante into this game that is so high that no one out there would ever be perversely incentivized to attempt to become a nuclear competitor with us. They make sure no one out there has any illusions that they could accomplish anything through the threat or use of nuclear weapons.”

To reinvigorate the ICBM community, the Air Force is on track to modernize the Minuteman III weapon system until the ground-based strategic deterrent is underway. Last year marked many changes in the community, and Harencak said the Air Force will continue to make improvements.

“What we’re doing is making sure this is a process of continuous improvement,” he said. “I am 100 percent positive we don’t have it 100 percent right – but that’s okay. We do have the processes and organizations in place to make sure we continually improve and never take our eye off the ball of the needs of Airmen in the nuclear enterprise.”

The bottom line is we must move forward to ensure America’s nuclear triad is still the best in the world, and the general said modernization and recapitalization is the way to go.

“The triad has been proven and tried and true for decades – because it works,” Harencak said. “We need to continue to make the modest investments necessary to make sure we have the absolute best nuclear deterrent going forward.”

Obama Can’t Stop Prophecy: The Iranian Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8)

Obama’s Wrong: The Iran Nuclear Program Is Full-Steam Ahead

Contrary to the president’s State of the Union assurances, Iran has exploited loopholes to keep progress on its nuclear program very much un-halted.

By John Tabin
January 22, 2015

“Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran,” President Obama said in Tuesday’s State of the Union address, “where, for the first time in a decade, we’ve halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material.

This was, in fact, false. For the last year, even as negotiations have continued, the Iranians have exploited loopholes in the interim agreement to keep progress on their nuclear program very much un-halted. Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium has expanded; the interim deal limits enrichment by purity—they can only get about 60 percent of the way to weapons-grade purity without violating the deal—but it doesn’t limit by volume. Construction has continued on the heavy water plant in Arak, which could function as a factory for plutonium bombs; the interim agreement only prohibits firing the reactor itself. And work continues on Iran’s ballistic missile program, which the interim agreement doesn’t even attempt to curb.

Sanctions on Iran Impending? Not Yet

But leave that aside. The president was merely indulging his habit of touting accomplishments that aren’t actually accomplishments. What he said a few sentences later was even more problematic:
But new sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails—alienating America from its allies; and ensuring that Iran starts up its nuclear program again. It doesn’t make sense. That is why I will veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress. The American people expect us to only go to war as a last resort, and I intend to stay true to that wisdom.

A casual listener might assume that Congress is considering sanctions that would kick in as soon as they’re passed. But that’s simply not the case: The bill advocated by Senators Mark Kirk and Robert Menendez triggers sanctions only if negotiators miss the June 30 deadline the administration set for securing an agreement.

The notion that the Iranians would be pushed to walk away from the negotiating table by the threat of sanctions that would bite if the Iranians walked away from the negotiating table is incoherent. So why is Obama so adamantly opposed to sanctions legislation that has fairly broad bipartisan support on Capitol Hill?

There is an intelligible reason that Obama might oppose Kirk-Menendez, although it wouldn’t make for a good line in a speech: Obama may want to let talks drag on further, or to sign a deal with Iran that Congress wouldn’t like.

Kirk-Menendez establishes a series of criteria (significantly watered down from the version of the bill that former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid killed in the last Congress) that Iran must meet in a nuclear agreement to avoid sanctions. It makes sense to oppose Kirk-Menendez if the Obama administration wants to either extend the interim agreement again or sign a deal that wouldn’t necessarily check Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Or Perhaps Obama Fantasizes He Can Reset the Middle East

It may be, his protestations that he “keep[s] all options on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran” notwithstanding, that Obama sees diplomacy with Iran as inherently desirable not simply as a means toward nonproliferation but as a path toward a broader rapprochement with Tehran.

Punishing sanctions are what induced Iran to negotiate in the first place, and the threat that they’ll return is the best hope for a deal that might end the Iranian nuclear weapons program without war.

This would explain why Bashar al-Assad, Tehran’s proxy in Damascus, wasn’t mentioned in last night’s speech, and why U.S. planes operating in Syrian territory have left the dictator’s forces alone. And it would explain the letter President Obama sent to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei last year (at least the fourth such letter he’s sent) touting the shared interest Washington and Tehran have in fighting the Islamic State. Obama may imagine that he is the president who is going to break through the Islamic Republic’s anti-Americanism and realign the Middle East.

This is, of course, an insane fantasy (and to be fair, systematic thinking about where Obama’s instincts lead him may give him too much credit). The government in Yemen, Washington’s partner in fighting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was just overrun by rebels backed by Iran. A closer Middle Eastern ally faces constant threats from Iranian proxies in the Levant—though unlike the Yemenis, the Israelis are pretty good about taking care of themselves.

And Tehran’s use of violence as an instrument of statecraft isn’t limited to the region; the Islamic Republic’s special brand of power-projection has extended to Europe and South America (where investigating Iranian terrorism can be dangerous), and has come close to touching the United States.

This regime isn’t ever going to fit comfortably into an international order that serves American interests. It certainly shouldn’t be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. Punishing sanctions are what induced Iran to negotiate in the first place, and the threat that they’ll return is the best hope for a deal that might end the Iranian nuclear weapons program without war.

There’s a good chance that the House and Senate both have the votes to not only pass the Kirk-Menendez sanctions bill but to override Obama’s veto. They should do so immediately.

John Tabin is a writer in Washington, DC. Follow him on Twitter.

Babylon Loses Another Country To The Shiite Horn (Daniel 8:8)

Yemen’s US-backed president quits; country could split apart

Presidential officials said Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi submitted his resignation to parliament rather than make further concessions to Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, who control the capital and are widely believed to be backed by Iran.
The prime minister and his cabinet also stepped down, making a thinly veiled reference to the Houthis’ push at gunpoint for a greater share of power. Houthis deployed their fighters around parliament, which is due to discuss the situation on Sunday.

Yemeni law dictates that the parliament speaker — Yahia al-Rai, a close ally of former autocratic ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh — will now assume the presidency. Saleh still wields considerable power and is widely believed to be allied with the Houthis.

There were conflicting reports suggesting that authorities in Aden, the capital of southern region of Yemen, would no longer submit to the central government’s authority. Even before the Houthis’ recent ascendance, a powerful movement in southern Yemen was demanding autonomy or a return to the full independence the region enjoyed before 1990. Southerners outrightly reject rule by the Houthis, whose power base is in the north. The Houthis are Zaydis, a Shiite minority that makes up about a third of Yemen’s population.

Concerns were also mounting about an economic collapse. Two-thirds of Yemen’s population are already in need of humanitarian aid, according to reported U.N. figures. Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia, which has long been Yemen’s economic lifeline, cut most of its financial aid to Yemen after the Houthis seized the capital in September. The Houthis deny receiving any Iranian support.

The Houthis’ recent encroachments on Sunni areas have also fanned fears of a sectarian conflict that could fuel support for al-Qaida, a Sunni movement that has links to some of the country’s tribes and is at war with both the Shiites and Hadi’s forces. U.S. officials say the developments are already undermining military and intelligence operations against al-Qaida’s Yemen-based affiliate, which made its reach felt in this month’s deadly Paris attacks.

Hadi’s resignation comes four months after President Barack Obama cited Yemen as a terrorism success story in a September speech outlining his strategy against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, which involves targeted U.S. strikes on militants with the cooperation of a friendly ground force. Obama called it an approach “that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.”

In Washington on Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. was still trying to sort out what was happening on the ground and had made no decisions yet regarding embassy staffing.

The resignations mark the collapse of an internationally backed transition that compelled Saleh, who ruled for three decades, to resign in 2012 following months of Arab Spring protests.

Hadi’s rule was deeply undermined by Saleh loyalists who retained posts in state institutions and the security apparatus. Last year the U.N. Security Council imposed targeted sanctions on Saleh and two top Houthi leaders, accusing them of obstructing the political transition.

Despite widespread fears, some observers said Thursday’s resignation of the elected president could encourage Yemenis to take to the streets just as they did in 2011 in against Saleh.

“The coming hours will be decisive for Yemen for decades to come. Either they will usher in a new path, new openings, or we say our death prayers,” said Yemeni writer Farea Al-Muslimi.

Shortly after Hadi’s resignation, the Supreme Security Committee, the top security body in Aden, the capital of the south, issued orders to all military bases, security bodies and popular committees composed of armed civilians to be on a state of alert and take orders only from Aden central command.

It was not immediately clear how much mandate the security authorities have over the southern region, and analysts predicted that internal conflict among southern secessionist leaders would probably delay action toward a split with the north.

The greater threat, they said, is fragmentation of other regions.

“We are not talking here about split of north and south, but the fracture of the state to small pieces where each tribal region disintegrates,” said Al-Muslimi.

Hadi’s resignation came despite efforts by U.N. envoy Jamal Benomar to implement a deal reached Wednesday to resolve the crisis.

“We reached a deadlock,” Hadi said, according to a copy of his letter of resignation obtained by The Associated Press. “We found out that we are unable to achieve the goal, for which we bear a lot of pain and disappointment.”

Presidential adviser Sultan al-Atawani told AP that the Houthis refused to withdraw from the presidential palace, the republican palace where the prime minister lives or from the president’s house. They also refused to release a top aide to Hadi whose abduction earlier this week set the violence in motion.
Military officials close to the president said the Houthis also pressured Hadi to deliver a televised speech to calm the streets. They said the Houthis also demanded appointments in his own office, the Defense Ministry and provincial capitals. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Shortly before Hadi’s resignation, Prime Minister Khaled Bahah submitted his own resignation, saying he feared “being dragged into an abyss of unconstructive policies based on no law.”
Three ministers of his cabinet told AP that they were subjected to heavy pressures from Houthi gunmen who visited them in their homes with list of names of people they want to appoint in their ministries. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.

Babylon The Not-So-Great Conceding To Iran (Daniel 7-8)

Iran acknowledges US is willing to reach nuclear agreement

John Kerry shakes hands with Mohammad Javad Zarif
Saeed Kamali Dehghan
Wednesday 21 January 2015 11.36 EST

The Iranian government has acknowledged that the US is genuinely willing to reach a comprehensive agreement with Tehran, in an unusual assessment of the progress of the ongoing nuclear talks.

It comes after Barack Obama threatened to veto any new sanctions bill that the congress may impose on Tehran, and as Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, was strongly criticised at home for taking a stroll with his American counterpart.

The Iranian government’s spokesman, Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, who is a close ally of the country’s president, Hassan Rouhani, told reporters on Wednesday that Tehran viewed the US administration as determined to end the nuclear standoff with Iran.

“We are seeking the Iranian people’s rights in the nuclear negotiations and our assessment show that they, especially the Americans, have the will to reach an agreement with Iran,” he said, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

Nobakht’s comments were rare remarks reflecting Tehran’s view of where the other side stands in the nuclear talks.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Obama said new sanctions by the US congress will only jeopardise the chance to peacefully end the nuclear stalemate with Tehran through diplomacy.

“Between now and this spring, we have a chance to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that prevents a nuclear-armed Iran, secures America and our allies – including Israel – while avoiding yet another Middle East conflict. There are no guarantees that negotiations will succeed, and I keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran,” he said.

“But new sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails – alienating America from its allies, making it harder to maintain sanctions, and ensuring that Iran starts up its nuclear program again. It doesn’t make sense. And that’s why I will veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress.”

In the latest round of nuclear talks, Zarif, who is also Iran’s lead nuclear negotiator, met the US secretary of state, John Kerry, for several hours in Geneva last week. On the sidelines of those talks, Zarif and Kerry took a stroll in the city, which marked rare scenes of the two top officials from the old adversaries having a break together outside negotiations behind closed doors.

In Tehran, pictures of Zarif and Kerry walking in downtown Geneva prompted criticism from the hardline camp, with Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the commander of Iran’s informal voluntary Basij militia, who is a close confidant of the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, attacking the Iranian foreign minister for that stroll.

“Apparently, Mr Zarif doesn’t know what kind of a nation he is representing,” Naqdi was quoted as saying by the Dana news agency. “He must apologise to the Iranian people for his inappropriate actions.”

Nobakht was questioned on Wednesday about the controversies surrounding the stroll. The Isna news agency quoted him as responding: “It is silly to say that our diplomacy is weak because these two officials took a stroll.” This sort of criticism was not supported by Iranian people, he said.