Iran Will Build The Bomb When Negotiations Fail (Daniel 8)

CIA head: U.S. intel has ‘robust’ knowledge of Iran nuclear capabilities

Iranian Nuclear Negotiations?

Iranian Nuclear Negotiations?

Pakistan’s Nukes Are A Security Risk (Daniel 8:8)

Pak’s nuclear programme prone to security risks: Report

India TV News Desk
Pakistan nukes
New Delhi: A US report on Pakistan’s tactical nuclear programme has questioned the country’s ability to secure warheads even in peacetime.

The report titled ‘Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Operational Myths and Realities’ said that the introduction of mini nuclear weapons in the subcontinent has substantially increased the risk of a confrontation with India getting out of hand.

According to Economic Times report, the Washington-based think tank report said that tactical nuclear weapons like the Nasr missile that Pakistan has introduced are aimed as battlefield weapons directed against troops or armoured formations.

It further claimed that the presence of tactical nuclear weapons will naturally result in increased pressure on both India and Pakistan to escalate during any future crisis.

The current Indian doctrine calls for a massive retaliation in case of a nuclear strike on home territory, ET reported.

However, dealing with a limited nuclear strike on a troop formation with a massive and debilitating strike across the border with possible high civilian loss could be difficult to justify, even though India has reiterated that it will not differentiate between a strategic or tactical nuclear weapon.

The Mushroom Cloud Draws Near (Rev 15:2)

Mushroom clouds in the Middle East draw closer

Ireland’s greatest contribution to the security of the world will soon be no more, writes Dan O’Brien

Dan O’Brien Twitter

Published 22/03/2015 | 02:30
Last week, St Patrick’s Day was marked all over the planet. At the same time, a much less well-known Irish contribution to the world moved closer to unravelling as protracted talks on Iran’s nuclear programme moved into their final days.

Ireland’s biggest ever contribution to global security was the role it played in the drawing up of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. For decades, that treaty greatly limited the spread of the most destructive weapons ever invented beyond the five permanent members of the UN security council. Had the pact not been as successful as it was in the 1970s and 80s, the Cold War might well have ended in the hottest war in human history.

But it increasingly appears as if the effectiveness of the treaty will not last much beyond the 50th anniversary, in 2018, of its first signatory putting pen to paper.

After Israel acquired the bomb in the 1970s, India and Pakistan did so more openly in the 1990s. The transfer to North Korea of technology and know-how by the leading Pakistani nuclear scientist, AQ Khan, was instrumental in that North-East Asian state going nuclear a decade ago. That episode proved how the probability of proliferation rises as the number of countries wielding nukes grows. The risks become greater still when the countries are politically unstable, as both Pakistan and Iran are.

Since early in this century, those same five permanent members of the security council, along with Germany, (known as the P5+1) have been trying to persuade Iran not to use its nuclear programme to make a bomb. Because Iran has strung out the talks and repeatedly broken commitments, it has had heavy sanctions imposed on it. These sanctions have done real damage to an economy that has never been strong. Despite this, Iran has continued to pour resources into a programme it claims is designed purely for its civilian energy needs.

This claim has long been viewed with great suspicion, if not plain disbelief by most countries. One reason is that Iran is among the most energy-rich nations on earth, thanks to its vast oil reserves. As it has far more than it can consume, it is the second-largest exporter of crude oil in the world. Despite this, it imports petrol because its refining capacity is so limited (this would be akin to Ireland exporting live cattle for slaughter and importing processed meat because it can’t or won’t build enough abattoirs).

That the Islamic state does not invest in its refining capacity to make better use of its existing resources, rather than embark on the complicated and costly process of building a nuclear programme from scratch, is just one of the reasons why so much suspicion exists about its intentions.

Another reason to believe that the real intention behind Iran’s programme is military, not civilian, is its sense of insecurity. As a theocratic, non-Arab, Shia Muslim state, it has no natural allies in the region, bar the weak and failing state of Iraq. All of the other major regional powers – Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel, Egypt and the US – are rivals or enemies. Two are nuclear powers themselves.

Iran knows that if it had the bomb, it would become less vulnerable to pressure of any kind from those (more powerful) enemies and rivals. This is compelling logic to seek the ultimate weapon.
This logic is not only understood in some quarters in Ireland and the western world more widely there is a curious sympathy for it, usually among those who lean to the left. Sympathisers say that because other countries have the bomb, including Israel in particular, there is no reason why Iran shouldn’t acquire it.

It is curious that leftists are sympathetic to this argument because they tend to give precedence to the collective good (in this case global security) over the rights of individuals or countries.

Rightists, by contrast, tend to lean in the other direction – anti-gun control lobbyists in the US use exactly the same argument against restricting the right of Americans to bear arms, even though the price paid is the highest murder rate in the developed world.

Along with a minority who sympathise with Iran, a majority in western countries believe that going to war with Iran in order to prevent it from acquiring a nuclear-weapons capability would be disproportionate. That is, by and large, also the position among the P5+1, with China and Russia most opposed to resorting to war, and France taking the hardest line with the Iran.

The US has not ruled an attack out (Washington’s official position is that all options remain on the table), but there are huge doubts as to whether even a protracted attack could destroy the entire nuclear programme given the amount of time Tehran has had to conceal and protect it.

In addition, there is no appetite in the Obama administration to enter into another large and hazardous military operation in the Middle East.

Among other things, this further underscores how serious an error was the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Among the best reasons to oppose that war was because it distracted from the much greater threat to global security of Iran’s nuclear programme, and the implications for proliferation in the region and beyond.
The effect of the invasion, among other things, was much greater regional instability. This not only made it impossible for those countries opposing a nuclear-armed Iran to maximise pressure on the Islamic Republic, but has greatly strengthened Iran’s relative power in the region.

Over more than a decade, that has allowed Iran to advance its nuclear programme to the point that even if the deal due for finalisation within the next few days is agreed, it will likely only delay by a few years the day when Tehran acquires the bomb. It is for this reason that its regional rivals – Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel – have been so critical of the ongoing talks process.

It is taken as a given in the Middle East that the closer Iran comes to acquiring a nuclear capacity, the more likely its large regional rivals will move to acquire their own bomb, abandoning the non-proliferation treaty in the process .

That the Saudis have hinted in recent days that it is moving in that direction already is proof of how seriously they take the threat. It is also worth noting that the Gulf Arab states are infinitely more threatened by their co-religionists in Iran having the bomb than they are by Israeli nukes, with which they have lived for four decades.

For a region as unstable and prone to violence as the Middle East to become the hotbed of global nuclear proliferation would be a disaster for the region and for the security of the world. It would hugely increase the risk of nuclear war breaking out.

A nuclearised Middle East would also bring closer the day when a terrorist organisation gets its hands on a bomb and a mushroom cloud appears over a city somewhere in the world.

There are no longer any good outcomes in relation to Iran’s nuclear programme. A deal over the coming days appears the least bad option for global security, as it offers some prospect of slowing the Persian theocracy’s move to nuclear powerdom. But sooner or later that now seems inevitable.

The contribution of foreign minister Frank Aiken and his diplomats to limiting the spread of these weapons was of global significance for five decades. It very much looks as if that contribution will run its course over the next decade.

Sunday Independent

Russia Ups The Nuclear Ante (Daniel 7)

Russia Sends Nuclear-Capable Bombers to Crimea

Training Flights On Tupolev TU-95MS Bear Strategic Bomber
A Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-95MS Bear strategic bomber during a training flight, in Ryazan region, Russion on November 16, 2012. (Photo by Alexander Ryumin/Itar-Tass/ABACAPRESS.COM)
KYIV, Ukraine—As NATO and Russia simultaneously launch military exercises stretching from Eastern Europe into the Arctic, Russian defense officials said this week that supersonic bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons will be deployed to Crimea.

According to the Russian news agency TASS, Tupolev TU-22M3 strategic bombers will be positioned in the former Ukrainian territory as part of a snap military exercise involving Russia’s Navy’s Northern Fleet, which has been put on full alert, and other ground and air units across Russia. The Russian military drills comprise 40,000 troops, more than 41 warships, 15 submarines and 110 aircraft and helicopters, according to RIA news agency.

The TU-22M3 is capable of carrying the Kh-22 anti-ship missile, which was designed by the Soviet Union to target U.S. warships and is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads.

Russia’s military exercises began Monday and are scheduled to last until Saturday. The stated intent of the mobilization, according to Russian defense officials, is to evaluate Russia’s northern defenses and the capabilities of its Northern Fleet.

“New challenges and threats of military security demand the further heightening of military capabilities of the armed forces and special attention will be paid to the state of the newly formed strategic merging (of forces) in the North,” said Russian Defense Minister Gen. Sergey Shoigu, according to Russian news outlet Sputnik.

Russia also announced this week the deployment of Iskander tactical ballistic missile systems to the Kaliningrad region, according to TASS. The Iskander missile system has a range up to about 300 miles and is designed to carry both conventional and nuclear warheads.

The deployment of nuclear platforms within striking distance of NATO forces during this week’s drills highlights the role of nuclear weapons in Russia’s national security strategy, said Michaela Dodge, a policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation.

“Russia does think about NATO as one of its primary adversaries, threatens NATO allies with a nuclear attack, and states that nuclear weapons use can be de-escalatory under some circumstances,” Dodge said.

“Provided that we have a good insight into what the Russian troops are doing in the field,” Dodge added, “opportunities for miscalculations should be low.”

In an interview aired on Russian television Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had considered putting his nuclear arsenal on alert if U.S. or NATO had intervened in Russia’s March 2014 annexation of Crimea.

“We were ready to do that,” Putin replied when asked if he was willing to put his nuclear arsenal on alert. “That’s why I think no one wanted to start a world conflict.”

Russia’s exercises this week parallel several high-profile NATO operations, underscoring the escalation of tensions to levels not seen since the Cold War.

On March 9, Norway, a NATO member country, launched a military exercise in the northern region of Finnmark, which borders Russia’s Murmansk Oblast.

The exercise, called “Joint Viking,” comprises 5,000 Norwegian military personnel.

In another NATO operation, a convoy of U.S. Army Stryker armored fighting vehicles is set to depart Saturday for a 1,100-mile journey across Eastern Europe.

The operation, named Dragoon Ride, is part of a ratcheted-up U.S. military presence across Eastern Europe in response to Russia’s involvement in the ongoing Ukraine conflict as well as other recent provocations such as repeated flybys of NATO countries by Russian warplanes and the infiltration of Russian submarines into Swedish territorial waters.

As part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, the U.S. Air Force recently deployed 12 A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany and forward deployed F-16 fighters to Amari Air Base, Estonia and Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania.

Despite the tit-for-tat military exercises with NATO and the deployment of nuclear weapons platforms, Russia’s actions this week are probably not a serious threat to the alliance, said Luke Coffey, Margaret Thatcher fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

I do not think that these exercises and troop movements are anything more than posturing,” says @LukeDCoffey

“At this point I do not think that these exercises and troop movements are anything more than posturing,” said Coffey, a U.S. Army veteran. “Nevertheless, it is important that NATO keeps an eye on Russia’s actions in the region. After the invasion of Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea nothing can be completely ruled out.”Nolan Peterson

Petraeus Does Not Betray Us: Iran Is The Big Risk (Daniel 8)

David Petraeus: Iran more of a threat than ISIL

By Nick Gass
3/20/15 7:52 AM EDT

Former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus says the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is not the biggest threat facing the United States in Iraq.

“In fact, I would argue that the foremost threat to Iraq’s long-term stability and the broader regional equilibrium is not the Islamic State; rather, it is Shiite militias, many backed by — and some guided by — Iran,” Petraeus said in written comments to The Washington Post’s Beirut bureau chief, Liz Sly.
The Iranian regime “is ultimately part of the problem, not the solution” to the region’s issues, Petraeus said.

The retired general offered his take on the situation, saying that Iraq needs “all of the elements” that were a part of the counterinsurgency campaign during the troop surge in 2007 and 2008. He cautioned that merely pushing ISIL out of Iraq could make the Iranian-backed militias the most powerful force in the country, which he said would be harmful to regional U.S. interests.

Petraeus said he has “several thoughts” on Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani being in Iraq, but most of them “probably aren’t suitable for publication in a family newspaper like yours.”
“What I will say is that he is very capable and resourceful individual, a worthy adversary,” he added. “He has played his hand well. But this is a long game, so let’s see how events transpire.”
The White House confirmed Monday that the administration is consulting Petraeus for advice on how to deal with threats posed by ISIL, despite his recent admission that he shared classified information with his mistress.

“He is, I think, legitimately regarded as an expert, when it comes to the security situation in Iraq,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. “So I think it makes a lot of sense for senior administration officials to, on occasion, consult him for advice.”

Petraeus, who served as commander during the Iraq troop surge, visited the country last week for the first time in more than three years to attend the Sulaimani Forum, in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The former general also expressed concern for the situation in Syria, which he called “a geopolitical Chernobyl.”

“Until it is capped, it is going to continue to spew radioactive instability and extremist ideology over the entire region,” he warned.

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