Preparing For A Nuclear Attack From The Third Horn (Daniel 8:8)

Given the presence of a strong government in New Delhi and the pressure on it from Indian citizens in the event of a repeat of 26/11 type terror attack, the ties between the two neighbours have greater danger of escalating towards a devastating nuclear warfare, in particular from Pakistan.
Such a dangerous scenario can only be avoided by the US working with Islamabad to ensure that there is no further large scale terror attack on India emanating from Pakistan, two top American experts – George Perkovich and Ashley Tellis – told members of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Strategic Forces during a hearing yesterday.
South Asia is the most likely place nuclear weapons could be detonated in the foreseeable future. This risk derives from the unusual dynamic of the India-Pakistan competition,” said Perkovich, vice president for Studies Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
The next major terrorist attack in India, emanating from Pakistan, may trigger an Indian conventional military riposte that could in turn prompt Pakistan to use battlefield nuclear weapons to repel an Indian incursion. India, for its part, has declared that it would inflict massive retaliation in response to any nuclear use against its territory or troops,” he said.
Obviously, this threatening dynamic – whereby terrorism may prompt conventional conflict which may prompt nuclear war – challenges Indian and Pakistan policy-makers. India and Pakistan both tend to downplay or dismiss the potential for escalation, but our own history of close nuclear calls should make US officials more alert to these dangers. The US is the only outside power that could intervene diplomatically and forcefully to de-escalate a crisis,” Perkovich said.
Tellis said the most useful US contribution towards preventing a Pakistani use of nuclear weapons in such a scenario – and the Indian nuclear retribution that would result thereafter – would be to press Pakistan to exit the terrorism business or risk being left alone (or, even worse, the object of sanctions) if a major Indian military response ensues in the aftermath of any pernicious terrorist attack.
“Other than this, there is little that the United States can do to preserve deterrence stability between two asymmetrically-sized states where the gap in power promises to become even wider tomorrow than it is today,” he said.
Both the experts, who are from the Carnegie, told members of the Senate sub-committee that Pakistan today has more nuclear weapons than that of India.

How Babylon Handed Iraq Over to Iran (Daniel 8:3)

The Tower Magazine: How Iraq Became an Iranian Client While the U.S. Watched

Iranian Hegemony

Iranian Hegemony


In I Saw the U.S. Hand Iraq Over to the Iranians. Is the Whole Region Next?, which was published in the February 2015 issue of The Tower Magazine, Michael Pregent observes that not only has the United States seemingly given in to Iranian demands in nuclear negotiations, but “it is doing the same in Iraq, where the U.S. is acquiescing to Iranian influence and accepting Iranian dominance over the Iraqi government and many of the armed militias active in the country.”

During his time as a military advisor in Iraq, Pregent observed the dynamic by which Iran achieved effective control over much of Iraq’s government.

Nonetheless, General David Petraeus had some success in reaching a balance between Sunni and Shia when he was head of Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I). When he left in 2005, he left behind Iraqi army divisions in and around Baghdad that had a 55-45 percent ratio of Shia to Sunni.

Before Petraeus took command of MNF-I in 2007, I had the opportunity to brief him on the changing sectarian make-up of the ISF under his predecessor—General Martin Dempsey. The divisions in and around Baghdad were now over 90 percent Shia and mostly militia-affiliated. Petraeus was shocked.

This shift in the sectarian makeup of the security forces was the result of a 2006-2007 purge of Sunni commanders, leaving a sectarian military force that saw few distinctions between any Sunni man of military age and the Sunni insurgency. Extra-judicial killings in Baghdad skyrocketed, with somewhere between 25-50 percent of prisoners being summarily executed, and bound Sunni men dumped around Baghdad in an attempt to terrify Sunnis out of supporting al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and its affiliates.

General Dempsey was in charge while this process was taking place. Asked about it by advisors and analysts, Dempsey replied, “I make no distinction between Shia and Sunnis. I only see them as Iraqis.” This was a noble position to take, and would have been correct if the rule of law had been in place and militia membership seen as a disqualification for service. But there was no rule of law, and the Sunnis did not share Dempsey’s views. This misunderstanding came at a high price. The purged and executed Sunni officers were the exact Iraqis we needed—those who were willing to fight both AQI and Shia militias at great personal risk. Now, they were targeted and killed by both of them.

Pregent’s experiences have prompted him to look beyond just Iraq or the nuclear negotiations:

Having witnessed this jarring turn of events, it is important to point out that this is not simply an Iraqi issue. It is a regional issue. The Iranian government believes that the U.S. wants a nuclear deal so badly that it will tacitly approve Iran’s activities throughout the Middle East—including in Syria and Yemen—by downplaying Iranian influence or ignoring it altogether. At the same time, Iraqi politicians cite the slow pace of America’s “strategic patience” as a reason to welcome Iranian support. But support comes with a price, and it is a price that will be paid not only by Iraq, but also the U.S. itself.

In a related article for The Daily Beast, co-written with Michael Weiss, Pregent argued that Iran’s influence in Iraq was making it “impossible” for the United States to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria effectively.

Nebuchadnezzar Is Running To The Fire

Obama rushing toward risky nuclear deal with Iran
The Detroit News
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The Iranian navy is shown blowing up a replica of a U.S. carrier. AP Photo/Tasnim News
The emerging nuclear deal with Iran could be the capstone of an Obama administration foreign policy record that has made every possible mistake, from its reset with Russia to a Middle East strategy that managed to drive Israel and the Palestinians even further from peace.

The fear is that President Barack Obama is ready to make any deal for the sake of a deal, and is conceding too much wiggle room for the Iranians to continue their nuclear ambitions.

The Washington Post, in an editorial, summed up the major red flags this way:

The initial goal of dismantling Iran’s ability to make a nuclear weapon has given way to acceptance of Iran’s capabilities, which the White House now hopes can be restricted.
The Obama administration has acquiesced to Iran’s desires to increase its influence in the region.
The president is planning to implement any deal it makes with Iran unilaterally, without seeking congressional approval.

Former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Schultz are warning the administration is giving away too much, and seems outmatched at the negotiating table.

Kissinger rightly warns that a deal that leaves open a path for Iran to produce a nuclear weapon risks triggering the start of an arms race in the region, with other countries rushing to obtain their own bombs.

The administration has taken the unusual step of cutting off Israel from the flow of information about how the talks are coming together. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is scheduled to speak to Congress about the negotiations next month, is warning that the deal leaves Iran with too much bomb-making capacity.

The administration appears ready to allow most of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure to remain intact. Rather than extending the distance between Iran and a nuclear weapon, the deal would keep the Iranians within a year to 15 months from being able to produce a bomb.

Obama believes a vigorous inspection regime can detect an Iranian breakout. But given the size of Iran’s nuclear program, that is a risky bet.

The White House also seems convinced that reaching a nuclear deal will pave the way for a new relationship in which the United States would partner with Iran in combatting the Islamic State and other extremist groups.

That’s wishful thinking. Though driven by different ideologies, Iran and the Islamic State share the similar goal of pushing western influence out of the Middle East. That includes the destruction of Israel.

Allowing Iran, which has been a major financier of terrorist groups, to play a larger role in the region risks destabilizing other nations, including Saudi Arabia, an important ally of the United States.

The stakes in these negotiations are high — too high for this president or any other to act unilaterally. Bypassing Congress to sign a nuclear deal — or to end the sanctions that Congress voted to approve — is unprecedented.

Obama should step back from the table, listen to the advice of seasoned counselors, and respect Congress’ constitutional role in this process.

The Korean Nucleat Horn Grows (Daniel 7)

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By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
FEBRUARY 27, 2015

North Korea could be on track to have an arsenal of 100 nuclear weapons by 2020, according to a new research report. The prediction, from experts on North Korea, goes well beyond past estimates and should force renewed attention on a threat that has been eclipsed by other crises.

At the moment, the United States and five other major powers are negotiating an agreement that would constrain the nuclear program in Iran, which does not possess any nuclear weapons. North Korea, on the other hand, is estimated to have already produced 10 to 16 weapons since 2003.

The new assessment comes from Joel Wit, a former American negotiator with North Korea who is now a senior fellow with the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and David Albright, head of the Institute for Science and International Security. They conclude that North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs have been growing since 2009 and are now “poised for significant expansion over the next five years.” That poses serious threats for other countries in Asia and for the United States.

Sanction Easing Leaves Ayatollah In Control (Daniel 8:3)

Middle East Countries Wary Of Iran Sanctions Easing, Not Possible Nuclear Weapons
Khamenei's Iron Fist

Khamenei’s Iron Fist
  @ErinBanco e.banco@ibtimes.com on February 26 2015 3:56 PM EST
 
ISTANBUL — While the U.S. and Israel focus on the implications of Iran developing its nuclear program, some of Iran’s regional adversaries are concerned about something else: the power that Iran’s economy, unshackled from sanctions by a nuclear deal with the international community, would exert in the Middle East. As negotiations in Geneva inch toward a possible deal in which Iran would freeze its nuclear energy program in exchange for a lifting of sanctions, Iran’s neighbors look worriedly at a huge nation that’s been isolated from world trade for decades and whose re-entry in it may tip the balance of economic power in the Middle East. 
 
With a population of more than 78 million, Iran is the Mideast’s second-largest nation after Egypt and already the second-biggest economy after Saudi Arabia. With almost two Iranians out of three under the age of 30, many of them with higher degrees, the young, well-educated nation could soon turn into an economic powerhouse.
And for countries such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan, an Iran released from its current economic restrictions and able to trade freely is a threat, in sectors from mining to the automotive industry. For the governments of those Sunni-dominated nations, those economic concerns also compound ongoing concerns over the growing political influence of Shiite Iran in places such as Iraq and Syria. 
Iran has grown into its current size as an economy even under an international isolation that began in 1979, when an Islamist revolution overthrew the pro-Western regime of the Shah and the occupation of the U.S. embassy in Tehran led to the end of relationships with the U.S. Washington and the European Union took an even harsher stance in 2012, when increased sanctions imposed as Iran went forward with its nuclear program helped cause a two-year recession.
U.S. companies are prohibited from trading with Iran, and doing so remains nearly impossible  for non-U.S. companies. Any foreign company not owned by a U.S. individual that trades with Iran runs the risk of being blacklisted by the U.S. and excluded from its market.
But that could change if the U.S. and Iran reach an agreement. Recent reports have indicated that U.S. officials are considering putting forward a plan that would restrict Tehran’s nuclear capabilities for 10 years in exchange for the easing of some economic sanctions. Analysts and lawyers specializing in sanctions said one of the first parts of the sanction structure to be lifted or eased would be the extraterritorial factor, which allows the U.S. government to punish third-party entities that deal with Iran.
If Iran comes back in full onto the world oil market, an immediate effect is that Saudi Arabia’s industrial ambitions may suffer. Mohamad Aly Ramady, an economist based in Riyadh, said Saudi Arabia is using its revenue from oil and minerals extraction to help jump-start an emerging auto sector. Over the past two years, Saudi Arabia has worked with Indian-owned companies to begin car production in the city of Yanbu, but if Iran were able to export cars, it would hinder potential future sales of Saudi vehicles in the Middle East.
Iran has ranked for years in the top 15 largest car-producing nations, making 1.6 million vehicles in 2011, more than Great Britain and more than double Italy. Renewed sanctions then hit the nation over its nuclear energy program, and the ensuing economic slump slowed car production to just 740,000 in 2013. But Iran has shown it has the ability to make more cars than established industrial powerhouses, and if sanctions were eased it could sell them throughout the Middle East. That could help sink Saudi Arabia’s attempt to diversify away from a largely oil-based economy, after the kingdom has invested more than $50 billion in turning Yanbu into an industrial center.
For Jordan, the fear lies more in how a resurgent Iranian economy could translate into more regional clout.
Iran has for years intervened in volatile situations throughout the Middle East, giving cash and weapons to Shiite groups in Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria. In the latter, Iran initially propped up President Bashar al-Assad, but its intervention has turned into a fight to stop Sunni militias, including the Islamic State group, or ISIS. The humanitarian crisis created by the regime’s crackdown with Iranian support has pushed  hundreds of thousands of Syrians to flee to Jordan, which is burdening the fragile Jordanian economy.
Like Jordan, Turkey also has a major stake in the wars in Iraq and Syria, and has taken in millions of Syrian refugees since the Syrian civil war began in 2011. But the government is more worried about the possibility of Iran being able again to conduct financial transactions directly, which would cut Turkish banks out of the profitable role of intermediary.
Before the U.S. and EU implemented the latest round of sanctions, Turkey’s Halkbank, 75 percent owned by the government, was one of the main hubs for handling Iranian transactions. The few countries that still imported Iranian oil, unable to pay Iran directly, turned to Halkbank to make payments. The Turkish bank is holding on to the cash until it can pay Iranian oil sellers, and lawyers said it is profiting handsomely from millions of dollars in  interest. (The central bank’s main interest rate in Turkey is now at a relatively very high 10.75 percent.)
A deal with Iran that could end that bonanza for Turkey. But sanctions could remain in place, depending on the outcome of the nuclear talks.
The opposers of any agreement with Iran include many Republicans in Washington and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will hold a speech before the U.S. Congress next week — at the Republicans’ invitation, not approved by the White House — in which he is expected to publicly criticize the White House’s efforts to broker a deal. Netanyahu has said before that a deal is going to result in Iran developing a nuclear weapon, which Israel would never allow.