Ironically, A Quake Will Destroy Israel, Not Iran (Rev 11)

Netanyahu in Washington, assails Iran deal, touts US-Israel ties ahead of Congress address

The Associated Press

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures while addressing the 2015 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington, Monday, March 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Associated Press March 2, 2015 | 7:17 p.m. EST
By JULIE PACE and ARON HELLER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to lower tensions, Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. officials cast their dispute over Iran as a family squabble on Monday, even as the Israeli leader claimed President Barack Obama did not — and could not — fully understand his nation’s vital security concerns.

“American leaders worry about the security of their country,” Netanyahu said as he opened a controversial trip to Washington. “Israeli leaders worry about the survival of their country.”

Netanyahu’s remarks to a friendly crowd at a pro-Israel lobby’s annual conference amounted to a warm-up act for his address to Congress Tuesday, an appearance orchestrated by Obama’s political opponents and aimed squarely at undermining the White House’s high-stakes bid for a nuclear deal with Iran.

Netanyahu tried to paper over his personal differences with Obama, insisting he was not in Washington to “disrespect” the president and saying any reports of the demise of U.S.-Israel ties were “not only premature, they’re just wrong.”

The prime minister’s remarks were bracketed by speeches from a pair of top Obama advisers: U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, whose address served as a preemptive rebuttal of Netanyahu’s expected critique of the Iran negotiations Tuesday.

With Secretary of State John Kerry opening a new round of talks with Iran in Switzerland, Rice said the U.S. was seeking a deal that would cut off “every single pathway” Iran has to producing a nuclear weapon. She said Obama keeps all options on the table for blocking Tehran’s pursuit of a bomb and declared that “a bad deal is worse than no deal.”

Still, Rice warned against holding out for “unachievable” outcomes, such as getting Iran to fully end domestic enrichment.

“As desirable as that would be, it is neither realistic or achievable,” she said. “If that is our goal, our partners will abandon us.”

Netanyahu appeared to be reserving his most specific criticism of the negotiations for his remarks to lawmakers. But he said he had a “moral obligation to speak up in the face of these dangers while there is still time to avert them.”

Negotiators are working to reach a framework agreement before an end of March deadline. U.S. officials have reported progress toward a prospective agreement that would freeze Iran’s nuclear program for at least 10 years but allow the Iranians to slowly ramp up in later years

Obama spoke dismissively of Netanyahu’s warnings about the risks of such a deal, saying the prime minister had previously contended Iran would not abide by an interim agreement signed in 2013 and would get $50 billion in sanctions relief, a figure the U.S. says is far too high.

“None of that has come true,” Obama said in an interview with Reuters.

Obama views the prospect of a nuclear accord with Iran as a central component of his foreign policy legacy — as much as Netanyahu views blocking such a deal as a component of his own.

Netanyahu has been wary of Obama’s diplomatic pursuits with Iran from the start, fearing the U.S. will leave Tehran on the cusp of being able to build a bomb. As the outlines of a deal have emerged and the deadline has drawn near, his criticism has become more forceful.

The prime minister has suggested the U.S. and its partners have “given up” on stopping Iran. In response, Kerry has said America’s historic support of Israel suggests Washington deserves the benefit of the doubt.

While Obama and Netanyahu have never gotten along personally, the rift over Iran has sunk their relationship to a new low. The White House has criticized the prime minister’s address to Congress as a breach of diplomatic protocol, and officials have publicly questioned his judgment on the merits of the Iran deal.

Nuclear Triad
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Michael Krepon

A SERIOUS nuclear competition between two nuclear-armed rivals is very hard to stabilise. When one rival increases its nuclear capability, the other does, too. Then both rivals feel less secure — even when they possess secure retaliatory capabilities. It’s even harder to stabilise a triangular nuclear competition, as is the case with China, India and Pakistan. A two- or three-sided competition can only be stabilised when disputes are resolved or set aside, trade increases, and rivals tacitly agree to restrain their nuclear capabilities.

Stabilisation requires roughly balanced strategic modernisation programmes, conventional capabilities and national trajectories. These conditions are absent. Pakistan measures its strategic requirements against India, while India measures against both its nuclear-armed neighbours. India will compete with China whatever Pakistan does. This triangle is imbalanced and unstable.

The Cold War triangle of the US, the Soviet Union and China was also unstable. Moscow and Beijing colluded at first, and then became bitter rivals. Once Beijing acquired a minimal deterrent, it dropped out of the nuclear competition, focusing instead on domestic and economic priorities. Today’s triangular competition among the US, China and Russia is also unstable. Russia is helping China to compete, even though Moscow understands that Beijing will pose as much of a strategic concern in the future as the US.

Triangular competitions are never static. China and Pakistan are becoming closer, while Washington gravitates towards New Delhi. The Chinese and Indian legs of the triangle are growing taller, but unevenly. Pakistan’s leg is shrinking despite the growth of its nuclear arsenal, because of weak social and economic indicators. Border disputes, ongoing nuclear modernisation programmes, disparate conventional military capabilities, and violent extremist groups make this triangle particularly unstable. Stabilisation, if it occurs, will result from tending to domestic and economic concerns, increasing direct trade, avoiding crises, and resolving or shelving territorial disputes.

Deterrence stability may prove elusive in Asia.

If domestic political compulsions do not permit the resolution of border disputes, the most promising way to stabilise a triangular competition is through direct trade and tacit agreements. The most important tacit agreement available to China and India would be to end aggressive patrolling along their disputed border. For India and Pakistan it would be to refrain from inserting or supporting violent extremists in Kashmir and Balochistan.

Tacit agreements not to play with fire in these disaffected regions would still not reduce the risk of conflict if violent extremists based in Pakistan attack iconic Indian targets outside Kashmir. To guard against this possibility, the intel cooperation between India and Pakistan — agreed in principle but poorly implemented in practice — could help defuse nuclear-tinged crises and military clashes.
Tacit agreements are also possible with respect to nuclear weapon-related programmes. All three states are on course to increase their nuclear arsenals. Over the next decade, China and India could decide to place more than one warhead atop a single missile and to field ballistic missile defences.
These capabilities will be hard and expensive for Pakistan to acquire. Increases in det­errence instability will grow proportionately with the extent to which Beijing and New Delhi decide to embrace multiple warhead missiles and missile defences. Improved missile accuracies and multiple warheads could lead to increased targeting lists that take on a war-fighting character.

A tacit agreement between Beijing and New Delhi not to field missile defences, or to deploy them only for narrow purposes, could serve useful purposes. Tacit agreements to forego nuclear war-fighting cap­­abilities and to adhere to well-established, non-offensive nuclear postures could also dampen deterrence instability amidst strategic modernisation programmes.

China and India have ample resources for the growth of their nuclear capabilities. Pakis­tan does not. The wisest choice of the weakest competitor, as the Soviet Union and China demonstrated during the Cold War, is not to engage in a nuclear competition. Still, Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal will continue to grow because of prior investment decisions. Even so, Pakistan will fall further and further behind in a nuclear competition with an India that is more inclined to compete.

However many nuclear weapons Pakistan has, deterrence stability will be elusive unless Pakistan and India improve relations. China and India have a modicum of deterrence stability, despite their growing arsenals, improved conventional capabilities and economic dynamism because they have set aside their territorial dispute while increasing direct trade and investment. With two strong, risk-taking leaders, they might even be able to address their border dispute.

In contrast, there is little evidence that India and Pakistan will try to resolve the Kashmir dispute, or that spoilers would accept the result. Absent a Pakistani strategy to adopt Beijing’s approach towards New Delhi, India and Pakistan will face conditions of significant deterrence instability.

The writer is co-founder of the Stimson Centre in Washington.
Published in Dawn March 3rd , 2015

Khamenei Is Encouraged To Lie For Islam’s Cause (Qur’an 3:54)

One of the most important guarantees the Islamic Republic of Iran provides to prove its nuclear program is peaceful, is the Fatwa issued by the Leader Ayatollah Khamenei which considers WMDs and nuclear weapons not only ‘illegal’, but also ‘illegitimate and Haraam’ (Arabic term used for deeds totally forbidden in Islam). Meanwhile, the significance of this religious-legal decree is tried to be distorted by some media and officials in west. In a latest of such efforts, senior fellow in national security affairs at the American Foreign Policy Council James S. Robbins has written in US News that “the Fatwa may not exist at all. Although Iranian officials have referred to it repeatedly, it has not been published. By contrast, all of Khamenei’s other Fatwas have been. Moreover, Iran has given conflicting dates for its issue, including 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2012. The nearest thing to an official text can be found on the web page of Iran’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations.”
The claim is despite the fact that a special section for Fatwas by Ayatollah Khamenei on the official website of the Leader’s office has published the Leader’s Message to International Conference on Nuclear Disarmament on April 17, 2010 which includes the Fatwa in four languages: “We believe that besides nuclear weapons, other types of weapons of mass destruction such as chemical and biological weapons also pose a serious threat to humanity. The Iranian nation which is itself a victim of chemical weapons feels more than any other nation the danger that is caused by the production and stockpiling of such weapons and is prepared to make use of all its facilities to counter such threats. We consider the use of such weapons as Haraam and believe that it is everyone’s duty to make efforts to secure humanity against this great disaster.”
Meanwhile, US News article alleges that Iran has made “no reference to the Quran or any other Islamic text or tradition, as other religious edicts traditionally do.” That’s while another article on Khamenei.ir website “Jurisprudential Reasons Why Nuclear Weapons are Haraam” has elaborated on the roots and grounds of this decree in Islamic resources.
The attempt to undervalue Ayatollah Khamenei’s Fatwa banning Nukes comes amid last week report by AlJazeera and The Guardian revealing part of spy cables on Mossad’s assessment of Iran’s nuclear program.
According to AlJazeera, the documents reveal that short after the Israeli PM Netanyahu address to UN General Assembly in 2012 showing a cartoon-like drawing of a bomb and warning that Iran was 70 percent of the way to obtain a nuclear weapon, the Israeli spy agency Mossad reported that Iran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.” The Guardian has also reported of US, Israeli and British covert global campaigns to stem the spread of Iranian influence, tighten sanctions and block its nuclear programme.”
The classified documents were jointly released by AlJazeera and The Guardian last week amid ongoing nuclear talks and drastic rise in tensions among US politicians over Netanyahu’s visit to the US and speech to the Congress this week.

Babylon The Great Preparing For The Fall (Revelation 18)

Russia and China Aren’t Less Committed to Nuclear Force. So Why Are We?

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Michaela Dodge

As Russia and other nations around the world flex their “nuclear muscles,” when it comes to the United States, maintaining a credible nuclear force is certainly a tough task. Challenges include: declining research, development and acquisition budgets; uncertain prospects for modernization, and an American public that lacks a clear understanding of how nuclear weapons contribute to national security.

The U.S. nuclear force has prevented a great power war for seven decades. Yet the commitment to maintain a credible nuclear force appears shaky.

That is certainly not the case in competitor nations such as Russia, China and North Korea. While sanctions and low oil prices have crippled Russia’s economy, the Kremlin is still doggedly spending billions of dollars on modernizing its strategic rocket forces. Washington’s lack of commitment takes a toll on more than investment. It does not go unnoticed by the men and women who man the nation’s nuclear submarines, bombers, and intercontinental ballistic missiles. That only makes executing a nuclear mission more difficult, both practically and morally.

State of Affairs

Imagine being out on the vast prairie of Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado or Nebraska in the dead of winter, the blasts of wind making the sub-zero temperatures nearly unbearable. After driving one to three hours to reach your missile alert facility, you go down into the launch control center where the 50-year-old equipment smells the same as it did to your father, who pulled alerts here before you were born. During winter, heavy snow may trap maintenance and missile alert crews in the missile field for days. When they finally get to go home, the smell of old equipment and chemicals lingers on their clothes.

Much the same can be said for the bomber crews who fly the exact same aircraft their fathers flew and their sons or daughters will likely fly.

Recent Analysis

The Heritage Foundation’s newly released “2015 Index of U.S. Military Strength” evaluates the health of the U.S. nuclear complex according to nine categories. In four of those categories—warhead modernization, delivery systems modernization, nuclear weapons complex and nuclear test readiness—the complex was rated as “weak” (the second worst rating possible).
One of the main factors behind these low scores is sequestration. Its “automatic pilot” budget regimen threatens sustained and predictable funding—a major problem for addressing issues within the nuclear complex. It has already forced a delay in plans to replace aging delivery systems. This includes everything from a new bomber and its nuclear certifications, to a replacement for the Ohio-class strategic submarine, to a follow-on intercontinental ballistic missile.
Another major factor contributing to lower scores are the government’s conflicting policies regarding the nuclear complex. We say we care about the nuclear force and the complex that supports it, yet manpower and resources available to execute the nuclear mission have been steadily declining until recently. We say we are in favor of a robust nuclear modernization program, yet proclaim, at the same time, we need to get to a world without nuclear weapons—all while refusing to truly modernize our weapons.

The president’s fiscal year 2016 budget dedicates over $75 million for the ground-based strategic deterrent, better known as the Minuteman replacement. While the current missiles are in fact woefully archaic—they were first deployed in the 1970s—there is no provision for replacing the even older silos and launch control centers from which a new missile would be launched.

On the bright side, the president’s budget accelerates by two years the Long-Range Standoff missile, an essential advancement in American capabilities. This project is particularly vital considering the limited number of available stealth bombers and the angle of attack needed to counter the tunneling efforts of our adversaries, which make targets hard to reach.

The main question, however, is what Congress will do.  At the end of the day, it’s the House and Senate that decide which programs get funded and at what level.

The Index’s low rankings indicate the areas of America’s nuclear force that are in greatest need of investment. And it’s a force that must be sustained. The nuclear mission is critical. Its ultimate purpose is to deter a catastrophic attack on our homeland, our forces abroad, and our allies. While it is true that we require a nuclear force we never hope to launch, it is important to recognize that our nuclear weapons serve to keep the peace every day.