Babylon The Great Expands Her Nuclear Arsenal (Daniel 7:7)

It’s Decision Time for the Air Force’s New Nuclear Cruise Missile
 
LRSO

LRSO
The question is—does the military need it?
by JAMES DREW
The Pentagon calls it the Long-Range Standoff Weapon, or LRSO for short, and it would replace the outdated Air-Launched Cruise Missile your grandfather’s warbird—the 50-year-old B-52 Stratofortress—still carries on bomber runs over the Pacific and Europe to deter a preemptive attack on America and her allies.
The Air Force’s budget request for fiscal year 2016 calls for around $1.8 billion in spending on the missile during the next five years. There will be two versions—one to carry an updated W80 thermonuclear warhead, and another packed with conventional explosives for non-nuclear attacks.

We’re talking about weapons that, if used, means the world is already half way to oblivion—and there’s no turning back.

LRSO will not be some new smart bomb or another bunker-busting munition, but a high-yield nuclear device capable of great destruction from an equally great distance.
The Navy has its own sea-based cruise missile—the Tomahawk. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 explicitly forbids the use of ground-launched cruise missiles.
If Congress approves funding, lawmakers will make a long-term investment in this type of weapon, ensuring its survival well past the 2030s when the United States’ aging ALCM nuclear-armed cruise missile is due to retire.

Arms race

But some in Washington are already calling for the Air Force to terminate—or at least delay—the project. Lawmakers argue the flying branch has not properly justified the missile’s mission objectives, and that it goes against the spirit of the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review.
Others contend that having a conventional and nuclear-tipped cruise missile could increase the chances of strategic miscalculation during times of heightened tensions.
With both conventional and nuclear versions, nobody except the U.S. would know which type of missile any particular bomber has on board. This creates uncertainty—which is dangerous when dealing with potential Armageddon.
The Pentagon argues this program is necessary to keep the U.S. nuclear stockpile modern and capable against potential peer and near-peer adversaries like Russia and China.
Plus, the Air Force argues that it already employs a conventional version of the ALCM, known as the CALCM.
But far fewer politicians have made up their mind about weapons on the fringes, like cruise missiles, which are nice to have but expensive to keep—and not required for the strategic deterrence mission, since most bombers already carry B61 nuclear gravity bombs.
Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert for the Federation of American Scientists, said the Air Force needs to make a more compelling case for buying the LRSO than simply arming the president with more “strike options,” as the Air Force describes it.
He said other far-reaching weapons like land- and sea-based ballistic missiles, Tomahawks, and even conventional Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles already cover the mission area.
“Even if there were a unique mission need that cannot be performed with other capabilities, what would be the mission?” Kristensen said in an email.

“Would it be limited use in regional escalation strategies, would it be to counter-deter Russian air-launched cruise missiles or Chinese cruise missiles, or would it be to shoot holes in air-defense systems?”

“There are some who see the LRSO as an ‘in-between’ weapon that gives the president strike options that escalate from use of nuclear gravity bombs but avoid escalating to use of nuclear ballistic missiles,” he added.
“This is a good old Cold War era tit-for-tat escalation scenario that is not essential against Russia and China and not needed against smaller regional adversaries.
The generals in charge of the U.S. strategic forces, however, argue there is a “capability gap” that only an air-launched cruise missile can fill. The Air Force detailed this gap in a classified review of alternatives submitted to the Pentagon in 2013.
The Office of the Secretary of Defense obviously agreed, since it found space in the latest budget request for LRSO. But the only real argument put forward since the project’s inception in 2011 is that a new air-launched cruise missile could punch through modern integrated air-defense systems, keeping strategic bombers out of harm’s way.
Gen. Stephen Wilson, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, said during a January event in Washington that he wants to replace the ALCM, which he described as a “terrific weapon system.”
“It was designed in ’70s, built in the ’80s, and was designed to last 10 years,” Wilson said. “Today, we’ll use the current ALCM through 2030 … At some point we have to be able to design a new standoff missile that provides the president with options.”

“I’m going to need a missile that will be able to penetrate any of the most sophisticated air-defense systems going forward,” Wilson added.

U.S. Strategic Command chief Navy Adm. Cecil Haney argues that the nation’s nuclear stockpile is at a critical point and needs upgrades, and that’s why the Pentagon is pressing so hard for LRSO and a new ICBM the Air Force wants funded in 2016.
“I don’t have an option,” the admiral said at a Feb. 6 event in Washington. “It’s not an area that we can wish away—we have to invest in those kinds of capabilities.”

Price tag

If the Air Force gets congressional approval, work on the cruise missile could start almost immediately. Four companies — Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon—are already involved in technical studies.
In fact, the Air Force planned to begin the project this year, but pushed it back in favor of more spending on a guided tail-kit assembly for the B61 tactical nuclear bomb.
The Air Force wants $37 million in seed money for 2016 to scale up the program and to hold a competition for the first phase of development. The service has solid enough preliminary designs to jump straight into modeling, simulation and early aircraft integration work, according to budget documents.
At the same conference, Air Combat Command chief Gen. Herbert Carlisle said he welcomes the development of a new conventional cruise missile, and has created an office to coordinate those activities with the service’s Global Strike Command.

“I’m often asked whether there will be a conventional variant of that, and I say absolutely,” Wilson said in January.

“Just like we have the CALCM that was a spinoff for the ALCM, we see going forward that there will be a Long-Range Standoff Missile and there will be a conventional variant that will follow to be able to buy it in numbers and reduce the cost,” the general added.
There are more than 1,500 ALCMs and CALCMs in the Air Force’s storehouse. Each B-52 can carry 20 of the weapons—12 under the wings and eight on a rotary dispenser in the bomb bay. The ALCM has a range of 1,500 miles, but is slow and easy to detect.
The Pentagon junked the more stealthy Advanced Cruise Missile in 2012 to comply with the New START Treaty Pres. Barack Obama signed with Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin.
The Air Force is responsible for the cruise missile “delivery vehicle,” but the National Nuclear Security Administration has responsibility for the warhead. According to the agency, the cruise missile will carry a life-extended version of the W80 warhead used on the ALCM and Tomahawk.
NNSA considered the B61 warhead, but it was too heavy. It looked at the W84 from the decommissioned Gryphon ground-launched cruise missile, but there are too few of those, so last year the agency formally decided on the W80.
The first production unit of the updated W80, designated W80–4, will enter service around 2025. The entire project is worth an estimated $10 billion to $20 billion, according to some analysts.

The Pakistani Nuclear Horn Grows (Daniel 8:8)

China opens ‘largest’ embassy in Pakistan, strengthens South Asia presence

By Feb 17, 2015 8:46PM UTC

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, left, speaks during a meeting with Pakistan's Prime Minister's Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, in Islamabad, Pakistan last week. Pic: AP.

You might expect the largest Chinese embassy to be in the United States, the world’s biggest economy. Or in Japan, China’s most powerful neighbor. Or, given the growing sympathies between China and Russia, it might be headquartered in Moscow.

Instead, it is in Pakistan. The new embassy was inaugurated on February 13 in the presence of China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who described China’s new diplomatic mission as a “symbol of friendship”. No further details were offered to the public, but the number of exclamation marks dotting the Foreign Ministry’s report seems to prove that a certain amount of excitement was part of the enterprise.

According to the official version of the event, “Wang Yi said that the five-starred red flag, won by martyrs with their blood, carries the Chinese nation’s tradition of unremitting efforts for self-improvement and opens up bright prospects for us, and it will wave in the heart of every Chinese forever!” Furthermore, “as a symbol of the special friendship between China and Pakistan, it will definitely play its due role in China-Pakistan all-weather friendly relations!”

Hype aside, the fact that China’s largest embassy is now in Islamabad says a lot about Beijing’s interest in South and Central Asian affairs. The two countries have been long-standing allies and are currently trying to establish a China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC) that will link the port of Gwadar on the Pakistani coast to the western province of Xinjiang with railways, roads and pipelines for gas and oil. The project is meant to be an important part of China’s New Silk Road initiative, as Beijing calls its plan for investments across the Eurasian Continent. In November, Reuters reported that in the coming six years Beijing will back energy and infrastructure projects in Pakistan with $45.6 billion.

Some of the projects that China is supporting are nuclear. The Wall Street Journal wrote in 2014 that China was in talks with Pakistani authorities to get three nuclear power plants worth $13 billion. Earlier this month Wang Xiaotao, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), confirmed what had already been rumored a year before: much to the chagrin of international observers who believe that the deal will undermine non-proliferation, Beijing is backing the construction of six reactors.

Besides economic cooperation, there is also a geopolitical side to the story. The Chinese government is troubled by separatism in the tumultuous province of Xinjiang, which shares a long and porous border with Central Asia. What worries Beijing is the possibility that a crisis triggered by instability in Afghanistan could spill over on Chinese soil, making matters even worse.

As journalist and author Ahmed Rashid wrote on the Financial Times in January, “of particular concern to China is the national security threat in its northwestern ‘autonomous region’ of Xinjiang, which has seen a recent surge in riots and terrorist attacks. Some Islamic radicals belonging to the Uighur ethnic group have trained with the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Beijing would like to ensure that such militants gain neither training nor protection within Taliban-controlled territory in the future.” This problem is worsened by NATO’s gradual retreat from the region, which could leave a power and economic vacuum behind.

Islamabad’s help is fundamental to work out a political solution to the Afghan problem. The war in Afghanistan is deeply influenced by what happens in Pakistan and fighters operate across the border. In other words, in order to tackle its own problems – real and potential – China needs to have the Pakistani authorities as much as possible on its side. And that might be precisely what Mr. Wang had in mind last week, when he told the press that “Pakistan has always played a unique and irreplaceable role in dealing with the issue of Afghanistan. In future, both China and Pakistan are willing to strengthen communication and coordination with Afghanistan and work with the international community to make unremitting efforts to realize the successful transition of Afghanistan.”

Obama Doesn’t Understand He Is Hastening The End (Daniel 8:3)

Hezbollah Admits It’s Fighting In Iraq–Is This Why Obama Is Allowing Iran To Go Nuclear?

hezbollahattacksisrael

Hezbollah In Iraq

In his mind, this type of arrangement would make perfect sense.
L. Todd Wood — February 17, 2015

The Jerusalem Post reported over the long weekend that Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terrorist organization based in Lebanon, admitted they are actively fighting the Islamic State alongside American, Kurdish, and other forces in Iraq. The Post writes: “Hezbollah, Lebanon’s Shiite militia is fighting the militant Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in Iraq, its chief Hassan Nasrallah revealed for the first time on while speaking to supporters in southern Beirut, AFP reported on Monday.”

We have written many times about the Obama administration’s allowance of Iran to gain a nuclear weapon, in spite of the dangers to our allies in the region as well as the direct threat to America herself. Could Obama be allowing Iran to get the bomb in exchange for Iran’s help in the fight against ISIS? We all know of Obama’s reluctance to completely commit America to fights in the Middle East, regardless of the consequences.

In his mind, this type of arrangement would make perfect sense. He protects his legacy and campaign commitments of removing America from Middle Eastern wars. He allows another Islamic country to fight ISIS.

The possibility of a rabid theocracy that has threatened to wipe the Jewish State off the face of the earth gaining a nuclear weapon (and actually having the capacity to do so) is really not a concern to our Dear Leader. The natural follow-on question is: is Obama arming Iran as well?

Could this be the reason the White House is so strongly against Congressional threats of renewed sanctions against Iran if they do not make progress on the nuclear weapons issue? Think about it. If this deal really is in place with Iran, and Congress mucks it up by actually forcing attention back to the initial goal of preventing Iran from going nuclear, that really screws up Obama’s plans– doesn’t it?

Is this the reason that Obama and his minions are so against the Israeli speech in front of Congress in a few weeks? For as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said over the weekend: “If the American plan for dealing with Iran is so good, what is there to hide? Why not tell us all about it?”

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

Read more at http://www.westernjournalism.com/hezbollah-admits-fighting-iraq-obama-allowing-iran-go-nuclear/#TlwESLSxjVYREKGq.99

6000 Centrifuges Too Many (Daniel 8:3)

Report: U.S. has offered to let Iran keep 6,500 centrifuges for uranium enrichment

Iranian Centrifuge Surge

Iranian Centrifuge Surge

posted at 3:21 pm on February 16, 2015 by Allahpundit

Is this news? The precise number may be newsy but surely not the fact that Iran will have lots and lots of enrichment equipment still up and running once Smart Diplomacy is done with them.

The decision to reduce the exchange of sensitive information about the Iran talks was prompted by concerns that Netanyahu’s office had given Israeli journalists sensitive details of the U.S. position, including a U.S. offer to allow Iran to enrich uranium with 6,500 or more centrifuges as part of a final deal.
Obama administration officials believed these reports were misleading because the centrifuge numbers are part of a package that includes the size of the Iranian nuclear stockpile and the type of centrifuges that are allowed to operate. A deal that allowed 500 advanced centrifuges and a large stockpile of enriched uranium might put Iran closer to making a bomb than one that permitted 10,000 older machines and a small stockpile, the administration argues…
This latest breach in the U.S.-Israeli relationship began around Jan. 12 with a phone call from Netanyahu. Obama asked the Israeli leader to hold fire diplomatically for several more months while U.S. negotiators explored whether Iran might agree to a deal that, through its technical limits on centrifuges and stockpiles, extended the breakout period that Iran would need to build a bomb to more than a year. But Netanyahu is said to have responded that a year wasn’t enough and to have reverted to Israel’s hard-line insistence that Iran shouldn’t be allowed any centrifuges or enrichment.

Wait — the big nuclear deal that’s going to secure Peace In Our Time would actually leave Iran with thousands of functioning centrifuges? Well … yes. It’s been that way since the beginning, when the two sides reached their interim agreement in Geneva in late 2013. That agreement didn’t explicitly say that Iran would retain the right to enrich uranium but it did acknowledge Iran’s right to “nuclear energy for peaceful purposes” and allowed it to continue enriching uranium at low (i.e. not weapons-grade) levels to fuel nuclear reactors until, at a minimum, a permanent agreement was reached. Realistically there’s no way Khamenei will agree to cancel his enrichment program; the regime’s invested too much of its prestige in it over the last 13 years. To scrap enrichment entirely would be a total capitulation to the west. If you want to eliminate their centrifuges, you’ll have to bomb, and we all understand — Khamenei included — that Obama’s not going to do that. Netanyahu is a different story, but who knows how much damage Israel’s smaller air force could inflict on Iran’s heavily fortified facilities.

What Khamenei might do is agree to scale back enrichment and give UN nuclear inspectors access to their nuclear infrastructure. Before the initial Geneva agreement, Iran had something like 18-19,000 centrifuges running. If all of those centrifuges were operating at full tilt, they could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to arm a bomb within a month or so. If Khamenei agrees to give up two-thirds of those centrifuges then the “breakout period” (the time needed to convert crude uranium to highly enriched uranium suitable for a weapon) would stretch much longer, to six months or more. What a longer Iranian breakout period would achieve for the west at this point, I don’t quite know; surely, as a smart piece in Slate warned last year, we have a bombing plan that could be implemented within days if not hours if we received intel that Iran had “broken out” and was now enriching at weapons-grade levels. Netanyahu hates the idea of making the breakout period rather than full denuclearization the touchstone of negotiations with Iran, as he suspects (quite rightly) that Iran will cheat and use its remaining equipment to pump out bomb material. The White House has made no bones about its priorities, though: Just a few weeks ago, at a hearing before a Senate committee, Obama deputy Tony Blinken flatly admitted that their goal in all this is to merely extend the time it would take Iran to build a bomb, not to convince Iran to dismantle its facilities. Watch the clip below, from last April, and you’ll find Kerry sounding pretty excited about maybe getting Iran to extend its breakout period to six or 12 months. Once you’re talking about breakout periods instead of disarmament, by definition you’re talking about letting Iran keep its program. That “6,500″ number today just happens to be the White House’s target. For the moment.

Whether you’ve reached a weak agreement that turns on Iran’s breakout period or a strong one that requires full denuclearization, the key is verification. Everyone expects Iran to try to cheat by building and operating secret enrichment sites. (Weapons experts call this a “sneakout” capacity, contra “breakout.”) If Khamenei tells the IAEA they can access any site they want any time they want, that might give the U.S. and EU enough confidence to do a deal that would leave Iran with a basic enrichment program for its reactors intact. If Iran tries to limit access by inspectors, there’s no deal. And all of this depends, of course, on the ability of western intelligence to identify suspicious sites in Iran: If the CIA, Mossad, and European agencies can’t find a site, obviously the UN can’t inspect it. That’s the future of this clusterfark, I think — Israeli intel announcing that they suspect secret enrichment work is being done at a particular Iranian site and U.S./EU intel insisting that there’s nothing there, knowing that it would mean war with Iran if they agreed with the Israeli assessment and UN inspectors were denied access. But even a bad scenario like that is good enough for Obama, who wants nothing more than to lock in some sort of weak Iranian rapprochment for his “legacy” and then hand this hot potato off to the next president. That goal should be easy enough to meet.