Too Late to Fix Obama’s Wretched Deal

Bolton and Netanyahu blast ‘wretched,’ ‘disastrous’ Iran deal

8 hours ago BY Agencies

US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser on Monday bemoaned the “wretched” Iranian nuclear deal in his talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, as the senior US aide and Israeli premier called for stepped-up global pressure on Tehran to curb its military activities.

Ahead of a day of discussions between Israeli and American security officials, John Bolton told Netanyahu that the United States sees the “highest importance” in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and that’s why Trump withdrew from the deal negotiated by the Obama administration and was reapplying stiff sanctions.

Bolton has been a strident critic of the nuclear deal and has pushed for greater pressure on Tehran to ensure it halts its support for terror groups in the Mideast and stops development of ballistic missiles. A former ambassador to the United Nations under president George W. Bush, Bolton is a longtime hawkish advocate for Israel.

Netanyahu agreed the deal was “disastrous” and called Trump’s decision to drop out historic. He repeated his oft-used refrain that “the nuclear deal did not block Iran’s path to the bomb, it paved Iran’s path to an entire nuclear arsenal.

“By removing the sanctions [the deal] enabled Iran to bring in billions and billions of dollars to its coffers which only fueled Iran’s war machine in Syria, in Lebanon, in Yemen and elsewhere,” said Netanyahu.

The premier stated that Israel’s gratitude for Trump’s decision to walk away from the accord “is shared by all our Arab neighbors… practically everyone in this region,” and added that “all countries that care about peace and security in the Middle East should follow America’s lead and ratchet up the pressure on Iran. Because the greater the pressure on Iran, the greater the chance that the regime will roll back its aggression.”

“It’s important the people of Iran understand that our fight is not with them. Our fight is with the regime that brutally represses them, that arrests women for uncovering their hair, that hangs gays in the public squares, that defies the aspirations for freedom of millions and millions of Iranians,” declared Netanyahu.

Indian Point Nuclear Reopens Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Indian Point Unit 2 back in service after monthlong outage

Posted: Apr 22, 2018 7:26 AM MDT Updated: Apr 22, 2018 7:26 AM MDT

BUCHANAN (AP) – Indian Point Unit 2 nuclear power plant has returned to service after a month-long scheduled outage for refueling and maintenance.

The refueling outage that ended Saturday was the last before the plant is permanently shut down by April 30, 2020.

Plant operator Entergy says workers completed hundreds of inspections and tests during the shutdown of Indian Point 2 that started March 19.

The power plant and its companion reactor Indian Point 3 will be permanently shut down under a settlement with New York state. Indian Point 3 will be turned off by the end of April 2021.

The Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan generates the equivalent of a quarter of the power used by New York City and Westchester County.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

The Two Great Horns of Prophecy (Daniel 8:3)

Image result for iran and iraq shia hornIran-Iraq War, 30 Years Later: From Foes to Allies With U.S. in Between

By Tom O’Connor On 8/20/18 at 6:00 AM

Iran and Iraq fought a bloody eight-year struggle that ended in a stalemate 30 years ago Sunday, only to become close allies in the region today—a situation that often leads to trouble for U.S. policy in the Middle East.

As President Donald Trump attempts to enforce unilateral and internationally unpopular U.S. sanctions against Iran, he has been met with resistance from Iraq, which considers itself an ally of both countries. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has attempted to carefully balance between the U.S. and Iran, but his political coalition suffered deeply in recent elections and the outcome of the U.S.-Iran dispute could determine his successor’s relationship with both governments. At the same time, a relatively liberal Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been pushed increasingly closer toward his hard-line rivals, as diplomatic and economic prospects of a historic 2015 nuclear deal with the U.S. were dashed.

The dynamics between Iran and Iraq far predate the current equation, however. As National Iranian American Council research associate Sina Toossi told Newsweek, „the two neighbors have been bound by deep cultural, commercial and religious ties for centuries.“

The story of why the two modern states went to war and how they view the U.S. was shaped by a series of 20th- and 21st-century events that rocked the region and the world.

Iraqi schoolchildren wave Iranian and Iraqi flags as an Iranian protocol soldier stands guard during the welcoming ceremony for Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport on January 3, 2009. The U.S. secretly supported both countries when they went to war in the 1980s, but has found itself stuck between Iraq and Iran’s alliance in the 21st century. BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images

After World War I, Iraq was seized from the Ottoman Empire by the United Kingdom and turned into a colonial mandate. While Iran has never officially come under the control of a foreign power, it was heavily influenced by the U.K. and Russia at the time; Nazi Germany also established strong political ties with its ruling monarchy ahead of the World War II. Iranian Shah Reza Khan was forced to abdicate by the Allied Powers after the war and was replaced by his son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who steadily consolidated his power with the support of the West.

In the early 1950s, Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh successfully challenged the shah’s absolute power in an attempt to nationalize the country’s oil industry. The move angered the U.K., which appealed for U.S. help in squashing his initiative, which it did via a CIA coup against Mossadegh in August 1953, reasserting Pahlavi’s total control. Iraq did, however, successfully oust Western influence in 1958 with the violent overthrow of King Faisal II at the hands of General Abd al-Karim Qasim. The new Iraqi leadership established new territorial claims against Iran.

„After Iraq’s 1958 revolution the Iraqi leader, General Abd al-Karim Qasim, declared that Iran’s southwestern province of Khuzestan and the Shatt al-Arab river (which Iranians refer to as Arvand Rud) belonged to Iraq,“ Toossi said. „This laid the groundwork for escalating tensions between the two sides, and formed the pretext for Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran in 1980.“

With Qasim himself being ousted and executed in a 1963 coup orchestrated by Baathist leader Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, Saddam Hussein became an increasingly prominent figure in Iraq. Iran was going through its own major changes, and, in 1979, the Islamic Revolution ended the shah’s dynasty, replacing it with a theocratic leadership headed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. As the move sent shock waves throughout the Muslim world, that same year, Hussein took the helm in Iraq and decided to take action against the burgeoning Shiite Muslim power next door.

The Iran-Iraq War lasted from 1980 through 1988, and the U.S. covertly supported both sides of the conflict. The U.S. publicly chose Hussein’s side as the taking of hostages at the U.S. Embassy by Khomeini’s supporters led to the severing of ties between Washington and Tehran. At the same time, the U.S. secretly sold arms to Iran with the intent of using the funds to back anti-communist insurgents in Nicaragua in a scandal that became known as the Iran-Contra Affair. Its architect, then–National Security Council staff member Oliver North, was chosen as the new president of the National Rifle Association in May of this year.

Hundreds of thousands of troops and civilians on both sides were killed, with ethnic minorities sometimes siding with invading forces and the prominent use of World War I tactics such as chemical weapons and trench warfare. It ended with a U.N.-brokered ceasefire on August 20, 1988, and no clear victor. Two years later, Hussein again acted on extraterritorial claims by invading neighboring Kuwait, which he accused of stealing Iraqi oil, and moved on to Saudi Arabia, prompting U.S. military action.

The U.S. quickly defeated Iraq and began imposing heavy restrictions on the country, forcing it to forfeit its chemical weapons arsenal under U.N. supervision and no-fly-zones to shield Kurdish and Shiite Muslim communities. Washington and the Pentagon increasingly called for Hussein to be removed from power, and those voices were amplified with the 2000 election of George W. Bush, who declared both Iran and Iraq—along with North Korea—to be part of an „Axis of Evil.“ Cheered on by hawks such as then–Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs John Bolton—who has since been appointed as Trump’s national security adviser—the U.S. charged Iraq with failing to disarm its weapons of mass destruction program and invaded in 2003.

While those accusations later proved to be false, the U.S. again defeated the Iraqi military and this time overthrew the government. The Baathist, Sunni Muslim-dominated leadership was replaced in 2005 with a majority-Shiite Muslim government reflective of the country’s religious demographics, and ties to Iran quickly flourished just as the U.S. began gearing up on new sanctions targeting Tehran over its nuclear program. Iran began investing in Iraq’s stabilization and offered extensive support to combat the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) after they evolved from jihadi groups that emerged in the wake of the U.S. invasion. Both U.S. and Iranian support helped the Iraqi military and its local allies overcome a jihadi takeover, but the two international powers have only grown increasingly hostile toward each other in recent months.

Since Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement that marked the first major diplomatic breakthrough between the two countries since they fell out in 1979, the White House has ramped up efforts to isolate Tehran from the international community. In addition to reinstating and expanding sanctions over a nuclear program the country has always maintained was for nuclear purposes, the U.S. has accelerated opposition to Iran’s backing of Shiite Muslim militias across the region, including Syria, where they are battling ISIS and insurgents. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently announced the establishment of an „Iran Action Group“ on the 65th anniversary of the U.S.-led coup that reinstated Iranian Shah Pahlavi.

As the new Iran sanctions came into effect earlier this month, Abadi deeply criticized them while agreeing to „reluctantly“ comply with the measures during a press conference. Iraqi President Fuad Masum told news outlet Al-Hurra that „the nature of Iraq’s relations with Iran, along with their mutual interests, will make it difficult for Iraq to abide by these decisions.“ Last week, Abadi clarified his position and denied saying he would follow Trump’s sanctions, claiming he only intended to forego the use of U.S. dollars in transactions with Iran, with which he said Iraq had a „privileged relationship.“

Iraq deeply depends on Iran for energy as well as security. Swelling demonstrations over poor government services and unemployment have plagued Abadi’s caretaker administration as the country copes with the unexpected fallout of a May election won by an old U.S. foe, Muqtada al-Sadr. The influential Shiite Muslim cleric once led insurgents against the U.S. military occupation in Iraq, but he has more recently warned against an overbearing Iranian influence in the country as well. As Iraq’s next government coalesces, the U.S. is attempting to maintain a stake in the country’s political future at the expense of Iran, something Tehran is likely to fight for.

„Given the turbulent state of Iraqi-Iranian relations from 1958 to 2003, Iran has a vested interest in Iraq’s political structure remaining friendly,“ Toossi said.

Iran Prepares to Battle Babylon the Great

(Twitter)

In Show of Force Iran Unveils New Jet Fighter

Iran’s defense minister has hailed the country’s military achievements, announcing plans to unveil a new fighter jet this week and continue enhancing missile capabilities.

Albawaba

Brigadier General Amir Hatami said in a live TV program on Saturday that the fighter jet would fly on Wednesday, which marks Iran’s Defense Industry Day.

„Our focus has been on priorities, with the top priority being the missile issue,” he said. “We are in a good position in this field, but we need to develop it.“

Hatami further touched on the recent unveiling of precision-guided ‘Fateh Mobin’ missile, stressing that Iranian missiles are good in terms of diversity and thus most attention has been paid to their agility, anti-radar capability, high precision and sustainability in different environmental conditions.

„We have never sought and will never seek weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons due to our religious beliefs and as stated by Leader of the Islamic Revolution [Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei], but we will not allow a violation of our interests and are looking for peace,“ he said.

„We operate within the framework of Iran’s strategy based on active deterrence. Iran has never invaded a country, but anyone attempting to threaten our security will receive a decisive response,“ he added.

Hatami said, “A plane, which has passed several stages, will be presented on the Defense Industry Day and people will see the fighter jet flying from a close distance as well as the equipment used for its manufacture.”

Over the past years, Iran has made major breakthroughs in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing military equipment and hardware despite sanctions and economic pressures on the country.

The Islamic Republic maintains that its military power poses no threat to other countries and is merely attentive to its military doctrine of deterrence.

„We will spare no efforts to preserve the defense power and will develop it,“ the Iranian defense minister said, adding, „We have no other way because they (the enemies) want to disarm us.“

Iran, he noted, has „designed its domestic defense and should make the enemy understand that if it hits us once, it will be beaten ten times.“

Hatami’s remarks came less than a month after U.S. President Donald Trump effectively threatened Iran in a tweet addressed to President Hassan Rouhani and said, “You will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.”

Referring to the U.S. plan to create a NATO-like security and political alliance between Arab countries to confront Iran, Hatami said the initiative „is mostly in words“ and part of the enemy’s strategy to sow discord in the region.

„It is highly unlikely that the Americans and especially the Zionist regime will dare to allow such an alliance between the Muslim countries as they know that Muslim nations have a clear objective and view Israel as the real enemy of the region.“

This article has been adapted from its original source.

The German Nuclear Mistake (Daniel 7)

A Nuclear Armed Germany Would Be a Mistake

Tobias Fella

It was a mistake to consider it in 1957 under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and it is a mistake to consider it now in 2018.

In German post-war mythology, the Federal Republic’s first chancellor Konrad Adenauer is synonymous with Western Integration and unshakeable trust in America. Yet, if push came to shove, he did not want to have to trust in U.S. nuclear protection. Thus, in a cabinet meeting in December 1956, he called for the Bundeswehr to equip with nuclear weapons—either through own efforts, ideally with the French and Italians , if necessary, in secret by deliberately leaving America in the dark. The ‘ Paris Agreements of 1954’ , where Germany agreed not to manufacture atomic weapons wouldn’t be much of an obstacle, French Defence Minister Jacque Chaban-Delmas declared. The prohibition of atomic weapons would only concern German state territory. Therefore, why not jointly produce them in France?

During the 1950s, Adenauer and his Minister of Defence Franz Josef Strauss noticed rapid changes in the security environment. In the Summer of 1956, rumors emerged that the British planned to shift much of its military capability from Germany to the Middle East. Also, it was reported that the United States would soon announce an 800,000-men cut in its forces, making Europe an easy target for Soviet aggression. Why not use atomic weapons to halt the Red Army rather than drench the battlefield of Central Europe with American blood? According to U.S. Admiral Radford , this would not only be less costly but pretty much make up for the loss of conventional deterrence capabilities. If this wasn’t enough for Germans to bear, there was the Sputnik-Crisis of October 1957. Now the U.S. homeland was within reach of Russian nuclear missiles— America’s age of invulnerability was coming to an end.

Would Americans defend Western Europe at the price of nuclear extermination? Did decision-makers in Washington value Bonn and Berlin as much as New York or Boston? Where would the defense be deployed —on the inner-German border, the Rhine riverside, in North Africa? Wouldn’t the United States try to limit a nuclear war to Germany to protect American soil, try to win a scaled-down nuclear exchange with the Soviets at the expense of the federal republic, not least to save a great amount of blood and treasure? Understandably, Adenauer didn’t want to go down that road. A ‘Bonn bomb,’ therefore would be the avenue of escape. And the window of opportunity seemed to be there. After all, Paris felt humiliated by Washington during the Suez Canal Crisis, was short of money and—at that period of history—did not possess the bomb. Though, why not join hands with the old hereditary enemy on the other side of the Rhine?

The idea never transformed into reality. The Algerian War and De Gaulle got in the way. France became a nuclear power on its own. Germany was ‘compensated’ with the ‘nuclear sharing agreement,’ was from now on involved in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s nuclear planning and in ‘warhead delivery’ in the event of their use. Strauss’ option about this is recorded in his memoirs : ‘The little puppet was allowed to run alongside the military band with his toy trumpet, believing he was the drum major.’ The German Foreign Office, however, breathed a sigh of relief—catastrophic political consequences had been averted, for the moment.

2018: Back to the Future?

Now, almost six decades later, Brooking’s Constanze Stelzenmueller , claims that Germany is facing ‘its worst security dilemma since the 1950s’. In the West, Donald Trump insists on ‘peace (only) through strength,’ on ‘unmatched American power,’ including a pre-eminence in nuclear capabilities. In the East, Vladimir Putin has announced ‘revolutionary weapons systems’ capable of out-maneuvering any defense and delivering nuclear warheads to every corner of the globe. And Germany lies in-between.

Today as then, Western solidarity is under considerable strain. This time, nuclear Great Britain is not only ordering its troops home but leaving the European Union, while France continues to think of the ‘Force de frappe’ as a national tool first. And on top of everything, the steadiness of NATO’s Article 5 guarantee is called into question, again. The country to be blamed for this, if voices out of the Trump administration are to be believed, is first and foremost mine: Germany , who is said to spend way too little on defense and to occasionally make common cause with Moscow—on Nord Stream 2 and beyond. Additionally, arms control and (nuclear) non-proliferation regime(s) are in severe trouble while nuclear weapons states are modernizing their arsenals. Similar to ‘ Atomic Annie ’ of 1953, an artillery cannon capable of delivering nuclear grenades up to twenty miles into enemy territory, today low-yield, high-precision nuclear weapons are planned to lower the deployment threshold, thus hardening ‘ soft spots ’ in defense and deterrence.

To make matters worse, the United States, China, and Russia are developing ‘ hypersonic gliders ’ of such speed (Mach 5 or more) that any effective response becomes next to impossible. As a result, in the future, most of the world’s nuclear arsenals might be rendered highly vulnerable to attack. When Trump then further announces a ‘space force’ and it becomes clear that early warning systems are constantly hackable via cyberspace, the Cold War doctrine of ‘mutually assured destruction,’ the belief ‘whoever shoots first dies second’ almost sounds reassuring and stabilizing.