GOP And Netanyahu: Watch What You Ask For (Dan 8:3)

Iran Threatens to Restart Uranium Enrichment if Deal Fails

New generation centrifuges

Iranian parliament passes proposal demanding sanction removal, nuclear development, and threat to pressure US into deal.

By Dalit Halevy, Ari Yashar

First Publish: 3/16/2015, 2:36 PM
An overwhelming majority of 260 out of 290 Iranian parliament members passed a proposal designed to strengthen the regime’s policy regarding the nuclear talks with world powers, with three important clauses contained in the document.

The first clause demands a removal of all sanctions against Iran that were imposed by the United Nations (UN) Security Council, as part of implementing a nuclear deal.

In the second clause, the Iranian parliament called for a preservation of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and rights to develop nuclear power according to article 4 of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

Finally – and most significantly – the proposal delineates that if any of the obligations of the nuclear deal are breached, the deal will be considered null and void, and Iran will restart its uranium enrichment to the “level required by Iran’s needs.”

Iran has been demanding to have 190,000 centrifuges, an amount allowing it to produce a full nuclear arsenal within weeks.

Israel has argued that leaving Iran with uranium enrichment capabilities in any deal would be disastrous, with Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer pointing out that 17 nations have peaceful nuclear programs and not a single one of them enriches uranium.

It has been noted that the newly passed proposal constitutes an additional Iranian attempt to pressure the US and world powers to agree to the nuclear deal being formulated ahead of a March 31 deadline, as Iran attempts to portray that there are no alternatives to the deal given that Iran will push forward with nuclear development if there is no agreement.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in his Congress address earlier this month stressed that the US can stand firm in its crippling sanctions and force Iran to concede, urging the US to pursue a better deal.

Under the deal being created Iran has been unwilling to give up on its existing nuclear infrastructure, with the agreement being limited in time as well as offering a complete removal of sanctions in exchange for the “freeze” of nuclear development.

Those opposing the deal point out that removing the sanctions will allow the Islamic regime to advance nuclear development covertly given that those capabilities will not be removed, and likewise Iran will be allowed to continue pumping up its military capabilities and expanding its regional influence.

It Is All Part Of The Prophecy (Daniel 8)

We’re letting Iran and ISIS carve up Iraq

The good news: The Iraqi army, backed by Kurdish and Shiite militias, has captured parts of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown, from the Islamic State after weeks of bitter fighting.

It may take several more weeks of bitter house-to-house fighting before IS retreats toward its heartland of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqah in Syria, but the army of the self-styled caliph has already experienced its biggest battlefield defeats.

The bad news: Iran is the biggest winner in the Tikrit fight — and IS is gaining elsewhere. 

The two are dancing toward a de facto partition of Iraq between them.

While IS was retreating on the Tikrit front north of Baghdad, its forces were making major gains east of the Iraqi capital with the aim of capturing Ramadi, Iraq’s fourth-largest Arab Sunni city.

In fact, IS (aka ISIS, or Daesh in Arabic) still controls the largest chunk of territory that any terrorist group ever has. It also continues to attract large numbers of volunteer jihadists, from Western Europe and even from China, the Philippines and Japan.

In propaganda terms, IS has also scored new gains by securing pledges of loyalty from other jihadi movements in Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Algeria and Mali. The latest came from Boko Haram in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the general perception in Baghdad and elsewhere is that the real winners of the (as yet incomplete) victory in Tikrit were Shiite militias backed and even led by military advisers from the Quds Corps of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has tried to claim the victory for his forces, but Iran’s propaganda machine is in full gear awarding credit to the military genius of Gen. Qassem Suleimani, the celebrity Quds Corps commander.

Some Iranian officials even claim a new Persian empire is taking shape across most of the Middle East.

“Today, Baghdad is the capital of our culture and identity, and Iraq is geopolitically inseparable from Iran” says Ayatollah Ali Yunessi, special adviser to President Hassan Rouhani. “Having fought together, we must become one.”

Such talk is a propaganda boost to IS, which bases part of its claim to legitimacy on its “resistance against Iranian plots to conquer Arab lands and force Sunnis to convert to Shiism.”

Meanwhile, Iran seems to be applying the recipe it’s used in Lebanon and Yemen to beleaguered Iraq. They key ingredient: creating a parallel army that, in time, can outgrow the national army of the “host” nation.

This is just what Iran achieved with the branch of Hezbollah (Party of God) it set up in Lebanon and its sister organization, Ansar-Allah (Helpers of God), which last month seized power in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

Iran is using the same recipe in Syria, creating the parallel army Haras al-Qowmi (Ethnic Guard) with the help of the Lebanese Hezbollah.

The Iraqi version, Hashad al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization), is modeled on Iran’s Baseej Mustazafeen (Mobilization of the Downtrodden). At its core are four Shiite militias theoretically disbanded under ex-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki: the Badr (Full Moon), Jaish al-Mahdi (The Mahdi Army), the Iraqi Hezbollah and Jund al-Shuhada (Army of Martyrs).

The Iranian regime knows it lacks the military power and the political support needed to seize direct control in any Arab state, least of all Iraq. This is why it plans to create a state-within-a-state situation — where the formal government in Baghdad, like the formal governments in Beirut or Damascus, will be an empty shell, with real power exercised by heavily armed and well-funded groups linked to Tehran.

These Iranian-controlled groups would command chunks of territory while letting Sunni jihadists set up shop in their own neck of the woods.

In other words, Iran is not aiming to defeat IS, let alone destroy it. All Tehran wants is to create a safe corridor through Iraqi territory to Syria and thence to Lebanon.

And IS seems to be preparing for just such an outcome by diverting resources to its eastern and southeastern fronts — with the ultimate aim of threatening Jordan and, later, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The deadly dance of IS and the Quds Corps is facilitated by President Obama’s inability or unwillingness to define his war aims, let alone develop a credible strategy for preventing IS and Iran from dividing the Levant between them.

Debating Obama’s demand for a war authorization to deal with the situation in Iraq, Congress must start by asking the president to clearly define what he intends to do and how he intends on doing it.
If the answer is to continue with Obama’s current policy and posture, don’t expect anything good to come out it — for either the United States or Iraq.

Antichrist’s Men Rise To Fight (Rev 13:16)

Iraqi militia loyal to radical cleric joins Tikrit offensive 

Peace Brigade

Fighters with the militia loyal to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr left Baghdad Sunday to take part in an offensive to capture Tikrit from ISIS
 
“We are traveling to help the community of Muslims and to help the people of Iraq,” said Ali Al-Mousawi, a spokesman for the brigade.
Tikrit and Mosul have been under the control of ISIS group since it swept across northern Iraq in June. The extremists hold a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria.
Iraqi officials say that at least 30,000 men—including soldiers, Shiite militiamen, Sunni tribes and police officers—are fighting to seize Tikrit. US Gen. Martin Dempsey said Wednesday that at least 20,000 militiamen are taking part in the offensive.
Earlier this month, New York-based Human Rights Watch called on the Iraqi government to protect civilians in Tikrit and allow them to flee combat zones. Its statement noted “numerous atrocities” against Sunni civilians by pro-government militias and security forces.
Sadr, who comes from a line of influential Shi’ite clerics, heads the militia previously known as the Mahdi Army, a paramilitary force he formed in 2003 in a show of resistance against the US-led occupation of Iraq. Last month, he announced that he would withdraw the Peace Brigades from fighting in a “show of goodwill” following accusations that the militias were responsible for battlefield atrocities.

The End Is Much Closer Than People Realize (Revelation 16)

Russia was ready for nuclear alert over Crimea, Putin says in documentary

Putin Threatens Nuclear War

Putin Threatens Nuclear War
MOSCOW — Reuters

Published Sunday, Mar. 15 2015, 9:28 PM EDT

Mr. Putin also expanded on a previous admission that the well-armed forces in unmarked uniforms who took control of Ukrainian military facilities in Crimea were Russian soldiers.
Mr. Putin also said that Russia had saved the life of Ukraine’s former pro-Moscow president, Viktor Yanukovich, who he said had been in danger after “revolutionaries” seized power following weeks of violent street protests in Kiev last year.
“For us it became clear and we received information that there were plans not only for his capture, but, preferably for those who carried out the coup, but also for his physical elimination. As one famous historical figure said: ‘No person, no problem,’” Mr. Putin said.
Protests over Mr. Yanukovich’s decision to back away from a trade agreement with the European Union in favour of closer ties with Moscow forced him from power in February last year. Mr. Yanukovich’s overthrow ultimately prompted Russia to seize and annex the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.
“Of course it wasn’t immediately understandable [what the reaction would be to Crimea’s annexation],” Mr. Putin said. “Therefore, in the first stages, I had to orient our armed forces. Not just orient, but give direct orders.”
Russia initially denied that the unmarked forces who took control in Crimea were Russian, but Mr. Putin later admitted they were. In the Sunday documentary, he said he ordered the defence ministry to deploy military intelligence special forces, marines and paratroopers “under the cover of strengthening the protection of our military facilities.” (Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based in Crimea; it retained the bases after the collapse of the Soviet Union under an agreement with Ukraine.)
Mr. Putin claimed in the documentary that the number of Russian forces in Crimea never exceeded the 20,000 authorized under the agreement on basing the Black Sea Fleet there.
The documentary comes as speculation swirls about Mr. Putin’s 10-day absence from public view. He has not been seen in public or on live television since March 5, prompting a wave of savage mockery across the Internet, despite official insistence that it was business as usual in the Kremlin. On Monday, he will meet with the president of Kyrgyzstan in an event covered by the news media, which would be his first appearance before journalists since March 5.
The independent news broadcaster Dozhd said on Sunday the Kremlin had declined to comment on its report that Mr. Putin had not been in Moscow but in Novgorod province, at his Lake Valdai residence, for the past several days. An Austrian newspaper reported that Mr. Putin was suffering from back problems and that a Viennese orthopedic expert had travelled to Russia to treat him.
The film, shown across Russia ahead of the first anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, documented the seizure of the peninsula and provided details of Mr. Yanukovich’s last hours in Ukraine before he fled to Rostov-on-Don, in southern Russia.
Mr. Putin said Mr. Yanukovich had called on Feb. 21 last year to lay out plans to leave the capital, where violent street protests had been raging for weeks.
“I told him my point of view that, in such a situation, it’s best not to leave the capital,” said Mr. Putin.
From Kiev, Mr. Yanukovich travelled to Kharkiv, then on to Donetsk, where he called Mr. Putin to ask for help.
Mr. Putin suggested meeting him personally in Rostov-on-Don, but Mr. Yanukovich’s plane was not given permission to leave. He then travelled to Crimea, from where he was spirited to Russia.

Even South Africa Has Uranium That Could Be Used By Terrorists (Rev 15:2)

Terrorists could steal SA nuclear fuel: US

southafricai

March 15, 2015 at 10:42am
By Douglas Birch and R Jeffrey Smith
Technicians extracted the highly enriched uranium from the apartheid regime’s nuclear weapons in 1990, then melted the fuel down and cast it into ingots. Over the years, some of the cache has been used to make medical isotopes, but roughly 220kg remains, and South Africa is keeping a tight grip on it.
That gives this country – which has insisted that the US and other world powers destroy their nuclear arsenals – a theoretical ability to regain its former status as a nuclear-weapons state. But the US is worried that the nuclear explosives here could be stolen and used by militants to commit the worst terror attack in history.
Washington has waged a discreet diplomatic campaign to persuade South Africa to get rid of its stock of nuclear-weapons fuel.
But President Jacob Zuma, like his predecessors, has resisted the White House.
He proposed that South Africa transform its nuclear explosives into benign reactor fuel, with US help.
If Zuma agreed, the White House would trumpet their deal at a 2012 summit on nuclear security in South Korea, Obama wrote, according to a copy of the letter.
Together, he said, the two nations could “better protect people around the world”.
Zuma insisted that South Africa needed its nuclear materials and was capable of keeping them secure. He did not accept a related appeal from Obama two years later, US officials said.
South Africa asserts that it is absurd for the US to be obsessed over the security of the country’s small stockpile while downplaying the starker threat posed by the big powers’ nuclear arsenals.
Raising the threat of nuclear terror, officials here say, is an excuse to restrict the spread of peaceful and profitable nuclear technology to the developing world, and to South Africa in particular.
This claim of being singled out is similar to that made by another emerging nuclear power: Iran.
Few outside the weapons states possess such a large stockpile of prime weapons material, and none has been as defiant of US pressure to give it up.
In response to this report, the South African government issued a statement reaffirming its view that the November 2007 break-in was an ordinary burglary and asserting that the weapons uranium is safe.
“We are aware that there has been a concerted campaign to undermine us by turning the reported burglary into a major risk,” said Clayson Monyela, spokesman for the country’s foreign ministry.
He said the International Atomic Energy Agency had raised no concerns, and that “attempts by anyone to manufacture rumours and conspiracy theories laced with innuendo are rejected with the contempt they deserve.”
A bomb’s worth could fit in a 2.5kg sack and emit so little radiation that it could be carried around in a backpack with little hazard to the wearer. Physicists say a sizable nuclear blast could be readily achieved by slamming two shaped chunks of it together at high speed.
Each has been similarly asked by Washington and its allies to reduce or eliminate their stocks of highly enriched uranium.
After Zuma rejected Obama’s 2011 plea, Obama raised the issue again, during a trip to Pretoria in June 2013.
This time, he privately asked Zuma to relinquish a different trove of weapons-usable uranium – still embedded in older reactor fuel that by US accounts is lightly guarded – in exchange for a free shipment of 350kg of fresh, non-weapons-usable reactor fuel.
There, the South African emissary told reporters that the summits should “wrap up” their work and leave nuclear security to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which considers the expansion of civilian nuclear power a key mission.
Fear of “what could go wrong” with nuclear technology, Nkoana-Mashabane said, should not violate the “inalienable rights” of countries to use enriched uranium for peaceful purposes. “We have no ambition for building a bomb again. That is past history. But we want to use this resource.”
South Africa has used some of the former bomb fuel to make medical and industrial isotopes – generating $85 million in income a year.
But about six years ago, South Africa started making the isotopes with low-enriched uranium that poses little proliferation risk – a decision that robbed it of its long-standing rationale for keeping the materials.
Now officials say they’re retaining their weapons uranium partly because some day someone may find a new, as-yet-undiscovered, commercial application.
Abdul Minty, who served for most of the past two decades as South Africa’s top nuclear policymaker and is now the country’s ambassador to UN agencies in Geneva, said it was the US that was recalcitrant. Even as it campaigns to halt the spread of nuclear weapons, he said, it refuses to part with its own.
The IAEA, the 75-year-old diplomat said, cannot be used as a tool to undermine the “basic right” of non-nuclear countries to develop their own nuclear industries.
He also harshly criticised the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty – in which the members of the UN Security Council agreed to get rid of their nuclear arsenals if the rest of the world promised not to acquire them – for not pressuring the major powers to disarm.
According to US officials and experts, South Africa uses only about 7.5kg of its remaining stock of weapons uranium to make isotopes annually, out of a total stockpile estimated by foreign experts at 220kg. And it need not use it at all.
Waldo Stumpf, a longtime atomic energy official in South Africa who presided over the dismantlement of the apartheid-era bomb programme, said in an interview that handing over the highly enriched uranium “was never part of the thinking here. Not within FW de Klerk’s government. Not afterwards, when the ANC took over. Why would we give away a commercially valuable material that has earned a lot of foreign exchange?”
In fact, South Africa intends not only to keep its existing enriched uranium, officials here say, but also insists on the right to make or acquire more.
Xolisa Mabhongo, who served from 2010 to 2014 as South Africa’s ambassador to the IAEA and last year moved to a senior executive post at the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation,
said: “I don’t think there is any incentive that can be offered” that South Africa would trade for its weapons uranium. “We do not see the need to give it to anybody else.”
* This article comes from the Centre for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organisation.