Preparing for War with Iran (Daniel)

Image result for iran deal
Former UN Ambassador John Bolton has a plan to pull out of the Iran deal. It’s bad.
Updated by Zeeshan Aleem@ZeeshanAleemzeeshan.aleem@vox.com Aug 29, 2017, 2:40pm EDT
Former US Ambassador to the United Nations and uber-hawk John Bolton says that former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon asked him to draw up a plan for how to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal in July. But after the White House ejected Bannon in August, Bolton lost access to the administration and his plan never made it to Trump’s desk.
Now he’s decided to publish his plan publicly, and it’s … not very good.
The five-page memo is basically a strategic public relations campaign to convince the world that the US has a case for pulling out of the deal. That case hinges on one central claim: that Iran is clearly violating the deal and has thus rendered it a meaningless agreement.
But experts say that this claim isn’t grounded in evidence, and that Iran is meeting international standards in complying with the deal’s requirements for inspections and monitoring.
Bolton’s argument, they say, simply assumes that Iran has nefarious intentions to build nuclear weapons despite the absence of any proof. And some analysts warn that his argument suffers from the same kind of war-hungry reasoning that led the US to invade Iraq on questionable evidence in 2003.
“There’s a lot of talk of Iran’s noncompliance with the deal, but there isn’t a lot of evidence of Iran’s noncompliance,” Jeffrey Lewis, an arms control expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, told me. “That’s sort of how Iraq happened, where the Bush administration said, ‘Let’s go find the evidence of weapons of mass destruction,’ rather than asking, ‘Does Iraq have weapons of mass destruction or not?’”
There’s no compelling evidence that Iran is violating the deal
In 2015, the Obama administration and its allies struck the nuclear deal with Iran, which called for lifting punishing Western economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear program.
The accord helped cool rising tensions between the US and Iran, which could possibly have led to yet another US military intervention in the Middle East. Tehran has already received tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for shipping out a large chunk of its enriched uranium and taking thousands of centrifuges offline.
In his memo, Bolton asserts that Iran’s “outright violations” of the terms of the deal give the US license to scrap the deal and reimpose crippling economic sanctions on the country unilaterally.
But experts say there is no evidence of Iran refusing to comply with the deal in substantial ways.
“Washington’s partners in the deal and the European Union have all clearly stated that Iran is complying with the deal, and more importantly, the US intelligence community is pointing to Iran’s compliance with the agreement,” Kelsey Davenport, the director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association, told me.
“Based on the evidence that’s been presented to the intelligence community, it appears that Iran is in compliance with the rules that were laid out in the JCPOA,” Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress in July.
In the runup to the invasion of Iraq, Bolton served as the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security in the Bush administration. Both Davenport and Lewis point out that he was a key player in pushing for the war based on cherry-picked intelligence suggesting that Iraq’s leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
“Bolton was pretty central to that and he’s replicating that experience,” Lewis said.
In addition to his concerns about compliance, Bolton also points out that Iran’s international behavior is strategically at odds with the US’s. Iran backs militant groups like Hezbollah and others that threaten US allies in the Middle East.
But that conduct is not prohibited by the agreement, and it’s unclear how pulling out of the Iran deal would allow the US to rein in Tehran.
Davenport points out that there are “clear signals that Washington’s partners are not interested in going along with Trump’s plan to exit the deal.”
Why does that matter? If the US is the only one one to scrap the deal and decides to reimpose sanctions, then its penalties won’t have much bite. It was the combined force of the international community’s isolation of Iran that suffocated its economy and made it inclined to curb its program and negotiate for relief.
Parties to the deal, like France and China, have already begun to do business with Iran again. They’re not eager to reverse that without good cause.
So if the US pulls out of the Iran deal when Iran is in fact complying with it, the other parties to the deal have little reason to join the US in dropping it as well and restarting sanctions. Iran would then be in a better position to pursue nuclear weapons than it was before the deal was struck.

LA Will Be The First Nuclear Casualty (Revelation 16)


A Los Angeles suburb released this ominous video about how to survive a nuclear attack

Leanna Garfield and Dave Mosher
Aug. 9, 2017, 3:36 PM 4,246
Earlier this week, an analysis from US intelligence officials revealed that North Korea has figured out how to fit nuclear warheads on missiles, and that the country may have up to 60 nuclear weapons. (Some independent experts estimate the figure is much smaller).
On Monday, North Korea issued a stark warning to the US: If you attack us, we will retaliate with nuclear weapons.
Several American cities, including New York, San Francisco, and Honolulu, have response plans for terrorist attacks, including so-called “dirty bombs” containing radioactive material. But few have publicized plans to deal with a real nuclear explosion.
One exception is Ventura County, a suburb about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles. In 2003, the local government launched a PSA campaign called Readythat aims to educate Americans how to survive a nuclear attack. The goal, according to the campaign site, is to “increase the level of basic preparedness across the nation.”
One of the more recent PSA videos is the one below, published in 2014. It opens with a short message from Ventura County public health officer Dr. Robert Levin, then cuts to a little girl with an ominous expression around the one-minute mark.
“Mom, I know you care about me,” she says. “When I was five, you taught me how to stop, drop, and roll … But what if something bigger happens?” The video then flashes to the girl walking down empty streets alone.
The Ventura County Health Care Agency has published several guides on what to do in the event of a nuclear bomb hitting the area. As the girl says in the video above, the agency’s focus is to “go in, stay in, tune in.”
The scenario assumes a terrorist-caused nuclear blast of about 10 kilotons’ worth of TNT or less. Few people would survive within the immediate damage zone, which may extend up to one or two miles wide, but those outside would have a chance.
Brooke Buddemeier, a health physicist and radiation expert at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, previously told Business Insider that he likes Ventura County’s PSAs because they’re simple and easy to remember. “There is a ton of guidance and information out there,” he said, but “it’s kind of too hard to digest quickly.”
Buddemeier said you’d have about 15 minutes – maybe a little bit longer, depending on how far away you are from the blast site – to get to the center of a building to avoid devastating exposure to radioactive fallout. Going below-ground is even better.
“Stay in, 12 to 24 hours, and tune in – try to use whatever communication tools you have. We’re getting better about being able to broadcast messages to cell phones, certainly the hand-cranked radio is a good idea – your car radio, if you’re in a parking garage with your car,” he said.
The protection factor that various buildings, and locations within them, offer from the radioactive fallout of a nuclear blast. The higher the number, the greater the protection.Brooke Buddemeier/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Buddemeier adds, however, that you shouldn’t try to drive away or stay in your car for very long, because it can’t really protect you. Today’s vehicles are made of glass and very light metals, and offer almost no shielding from damaging radiation.
In large cities, hundreds of thousands of people would be at risk of potentially deadly exposure. But fallout casualties are preventable, Buddemeier said.
“All of those hundreds of thousands of people could prevent that exposure that would make them sick by sheltering. So, this has a huge impact: Knowing what to do after an event like this can literally save hundreds of thousands of people from radiation illness or fatalities,” he said.

We Have Already Committed Political Suicide

https://i2.wp.com/i2.cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/161206095438-01-hassan-rouhani-donald-trump-split-exlarge-169.jpgIran nuclear deal: Rouhani warns US against ‘political suicide’
Media captionMr Rouhani said Iran would “respond to violations”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned US President Donald Trump he risks political suicide if he scraps the nuclear deal with Tehran.
At his swearing-in ceremony, Mr Rouhani said Iran would continue to abide by the terms of the deal as long as the other signatories do the same.
The White House says Iran is complying with the deal but Mr Trump says Iran is violating its spirit.
Last month the US state department announced new sanctions on the country.
The US says the sanctions relate to Iran’s missile programme and alleged support for terror groups but Tehran says they violate the nuclear deal.
Mr Rouhani – being sworn in for a second term after winning presidential elections in May – said he had nothing to do with “newcomers to the world of politics” and urged “old-timers” to see the nuclear deal as an example of how to manage international relations.
“Those who want to tear apart the JCPOA [nuclear deal] should know that they would also be tearing apart their political life,” he said in a ceremony broadcast live on state TV.
He accused the US of a “lack of commitment” to the deal and said it was an “unreliable partner”.
Meanwhile Iranian officials have been urging Europe not to side with the Trump administration.
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Mr Trump was “trying to destroy the nuclear accord at Iran’s expense” and said “Europe should be conscious of this”, private Tasnim news agency said.
Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, asked Europe to “take a more independent policy towards Iran”, state media reported.
Mr Rouhani won 57% of the vote in May’s election after promising to create jobs and build bridges with the outside world.

Ron Paul Is Correct: War With Iran

“President Trump seems to be impatiently racing toward at least one disastrous war. Maybe two. The big question is who will be first? North Korea or Iran?” wrote the 81-year-old former congressman in his weekly column published on the site of his Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.
“With continuing pressure from both Democrats and Republicans over the unproven ‘Russiagate’ allegations, it increasingly looks like he will seek relief by starting a ‘nice little war.’ If he does so, however, his presidency will likely be over and he may end up blundering into a much bigger war in the process,” states Paul, who contested the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 and 2012.
The new White House administration has attempted to exert unprecedented pressure on Pyongyang amid a series of missiles test carried out on the orders of Kim Jong-un over the past year.

Paul believes that Trump is looking to play a proactive role in any standoff with the Kim regime, saying, that displays, such as the recent US B-1 bomber flight over the Korean peninsula, sends “a clear message that he is ready to attack.”
Paul further criticizes the scaling up of US naval forces in the Persian Gulf in recent months, which led to clashes between Iranian and American vessels.
“Imagine if the US Navy had encountered Iranian warships in the Gulf of Mexico firing machine guns at them when they approached the Iranians,” writes Paul, who has consistently advocated a policy of non-interventionism.
He also notes that Iran is complying with the terms of the Obama-era nuclear agreement, apparently to Trump’s dismay.
And although Paul did not endorse any of the 2016 candidates, his son Rand Paul, who ran for the nomination, did, with Trump emerging as the most popular major-party politician among libertarian voters, with many of his policies superficially echoing Paul’s own stance.
“Although Trump’s bombastic rhetoric on Iran and North Korea has been pretty consistent, the American people voted Trump because he was seen as the less likely of the two candidates to get the US into a major war,” writes Paul.
“A recent study by Boston University and the University of Minnesota concluded that Trump won the most votes in parts of the country with the highest military casualties… These are the Americans living in the swing states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan that surprised the pundits by voting for Trump over Hillary.”
With the US establishment distracted, Paul advocates for his supporters to “make their voices heard” and drag attention back to the international arena, to stop Trump “blustering us into one or two wars that will make Iraq and Afghanistan look like cakewalks by comparison.”

The US Will Soon War With Iran (Daniel 7-8)

President Donald Trump speaking at CPAC, Maryland, February 24, 2017. (Gage Skidmore, CC 2.0)The mask is off: Trump is seeking war with Iran

+972 Blog
By Trita Parsi

President Donald Trump speaking at CPAC, Maryland, February 24, 2017. (Gage Skidmore, CC 2.0)

Something extraordinary has happened in Washington. President Donald Trump has made it clear, in no uncertain terms and with no effort to disguise his duplicity, that he will claim that Tehran is cheating on the nuclear deal by October — the facts be damned. In short, the fix is in. Trump will refuse to accept that Iran is in compliance and thereby set the stage for a military confrontation. His advisors have even been kind enough to explain how they will go about this. Rarely has a sinister plan to destroy an arms control agreement and pave the way for war been so openly telegraphed.
The unmasking of Trump’s plans to sabotage the nuclear deal began two weeks ago when he reluctantly had to certify that Iran indeed was in compliance. Both the US intelligence as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency had confirmed Tehran’s fair play. But Trump threw a tantrum in the Oval Office and berated his national security team for not having found a way to claim Iran was cheating. According to Foreign Policy, the adults in the room—Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, and National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster — eventually calmed Trump down but only on the condition that they double down on finding a way for the president to blow up the deal by October.
Prior to the revelation of Trump’s Iran certification meltdown, most analysts and diplomats believed that Trump’s rhetoric on Iran was just that — empty talk. His bark was worse than his bite, as demonstrated when he certified Iran’s compliance back in April and when he renewed sanctions waivers in May. The distance between his rhetoric and actual policy was tangible. Rhetorically, Trump officials described Iran as the root of all problems in the Middle East and as the greatest state sponsor of terror. Trump even suggested he might quit the deal.
In action, however, President Trump continued to waive sanctions and admitted that Iran was adhering to the deal. As a result, many concluded that Trump would continue to fulfill the obligations of the deal while sticking to his harsh rhetoric in order to appease domestic opponents of the nuclear deal — as well as Trump’s allies in Saudi Arabia and Israel.
But now, assessments are changing. The tangible danger of Trump’s malice on the Iran deal — as well as the danger of the advice of the “adults in the room”  —became further clarified this week as tidbits of the reality TV star’s plans began to leak.

How to Wreck a Deal

An IAEA expert demonstrating how the safeguards Next Generation Surveillance System (NGSS) works, March 20, 2015. (Photo: Dean Calma / IAEA)An IAEA expert demonstrating how the safeguards Next Generation Surveillance System (NGSS) works, March 20, 2015. (Photo: Dean Calma / IAEA)

Recognizing that refusing to certify Iran would isolate the United States, Trump’s advisors gave him another plan. Use the spot-inspections mechanism of the nuclear deal, they suggested, to demand access to a whole set of military sites in Iran. Once Iran balks — which it will since the mechanism is only supposed to be used if tangible evidence exists that those sites are being used for illicit nuclear activities — Trump can claim that Iran is in violation, blowing up the nuclear deal while shifting the blame to Tehran.
Thus, the advice of the adults in the room — those who we are supposed to restrain Trump — was not to keep the highly successful nuclear deal that has taken both an Iranian bomb and war with Iran off the table. Rather, they recommended killing it in a manner that would conceal Trump’s malice and shift the cost to Iran.
According to The New York Times, the groundwork for this strategy has already been laid. Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Corker (R-TN) calls this strategy “radical enforcement” of the deal. “If they don’t let us in,” Corker told The Washington Post, “boom.” Then he added: “You want the breakup of this deal to be about Iran. You don’t want it to be about the U.S., because we want our allies with us.”
This is a charade, a rerun of the machinations that resulted in the Iraq war. It doesn’t matter what Iran does or doesn’t do. If it were up to Trump, he’d never have accepted that Iran was in compliance in the first place. He admitted as much to the Wall Street Journal. “If it was up to me, I would have had them [the Iranians] non-compliant 180 days ago.”
Sounding supremely confident of the “radical implementation” strategy, Trump added that “I think they’ll be noncompliant [in October].” In so doing, he further confirmed doubts that the process is about determining whether Iran is in compliance or not. The administration is committed to finding a way to claim Iran has violated the accord, regardless of the facts—just as George W. Bush did with Iraq.
Potential for Backfire
But Trump’s confidence may be misplaced on two levels. First, abusing the inspection mechanisms of the deal may prove harder than Trump has been led to believe. The inspections are the cornerstone of the deal, and Iran’s ability to cheat on the deal is essentially non-existent as long as the integrity and efficiency of the inspections remain in tact. But if Trump begins to abuse the mechanism to fabricate a conflict, he will end up undermining the inspections regime and actually enhance the ability of those in Iran who would like to pursue a covert nuclear program. Precisely because of the commitment of Europe and others to non-proliferation, they are likely to resist Trump’s efforts to tinker with the inspections.
Second, by revealing his hand, Trump has displayed his duplicity for all to see. That includes the American public, whose anti-war sentiments remain strong and are a key reason they supported the nuclear deal in the first place.
The American public knows the Iraq playbook quite well. Trump’s own supporters remain enraged by the disastrous war with Iraq. They know how they got played. It’s difficult to imagine why they would allow themselves to get played again by a president who has left little doubt about his intent to deceive.
Trita Parsi is the president of the National Iranian American Council and author of Losing an Enemy – Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy. This article was first published in LobeLog.

The Next 911 Will Be a Nuclear Attack at the Port of Long Beach (Rev 14)


Trump’s Budget Would Leave U.S. Ports Open to Nuclear Threat
The administration is putting money toward a border wall, but giving short shrift to America’s other borders.
BY BETHANY ALLEN-EBRAHIMIAN
President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would pour money into a wall on the southern border — while stripping funding from protecting ports against the threat of nuclear attack.The administration’s proposed 2018 budget would halve funding for key counterterrorism programs at another kind of border: The 361 ports dotted across America’s 95,000 miles of coastline. The proposed cuts, leaving just $48 million in grant funding, have alarmed port operators, senators from both sides of the aisle, and counterterrorism experts alike.“I’m seriously concerned that these budget cuts will weaken our ability to detect, prevent, and respond to future attacks,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), the ranking member on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, last month.After the September 11, 2001 attacks, one of security experts’ greatest fears was that terrorists would acquire nuclear or radiological weapons and use them against the United States. Analysts determined that if a weapon of mass destruction were to be deployed, it would likely be delivered in one of the 12 million shipping containers arriving in ports every year — a flood of cargo seemingly too big to search without disrupting global trade.Determining that ports were “susceptible to large scale acts of terrorism,” Congress established the Port Security Grant Program in October 2002 to fund radiation detection scanners, security systems and maintenance, and training at maritime ports. But even today, worries about port security persist. Former Secretary of Defense William Perry said last month at an event at the Hoover Institute that North Korea may not need the long-range missiles it is currently developing in order to deliver a nuclear payload to American shores. Pyongyang, he said, “might even be able to do terrible damage to the United States by delivering [nuclear weapons] in freighters.”The Trump budget doesn’t just take aim at port security funding — it also would slash the U.S. Coast Guard budget, which provides layers of protection by tracking incoming vessels, scanning for illicit weapons, and making sure foreign ports have adequate security, Additionally, a pair of crack Coast Guard units — the Maritime Safety and Security Teams and the Maritime Security Response Teams — could lose their funding entirely, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press in February. The Response Teams are the Coast Guard’s ace in the hole against terrorists, said Cmdr. Paul Frantz, of the Coast Guard’s Office of Deployable Specialized Forces, “designed to respond to the threat or event of a terrorist attack.” This spring, nearly two dozen senators sent Trump’s budget director a letter warning against dismantling the Coast Guard units, warning that it would be “negligent and detrimental to our national security.”When the September 11 attacks occurred, U.S. ports were wide open to possible risks. Years of funding have built up the capabilities of ports around the country to detect potentially nefarious activity, including any smuggled nuclear bombs. According to testimony submitted to a June 2014 Senate homeland security committee hearing, in 2001 Customs and Border Patrol had none of the big scanners — known as radiation portal monitors — that spot radiological hazards. By 2014, it had 1,387 at ports across the country, able to screen 99 percent of incoming cargo, essentially meeting the post-9/11 Congressional mandate that 100 percent of incoming shipping containers be scanned.But these scanners require expensive maintenance and have a lifespan of 10 to 13 years, meaning those deployed after 9/11 will soon need to be replaced. Many ports don’t have the cash. “There’s a lot about the border wall, but we’re borders as well,” said April Danos, director of information technology at the Greater Lafourche Port Commission in Louisiana. The grants enable ports like Lafourche to install pricey security systems they wouldn’t have been able to afford, and to perform costly maintenance to keep systems operational. “Those budget cuts would impact us greatly,” said Danos. “We would not be able to maintain these systems.”The possible gutting of the grant program has port operators around the country up in arms. On June 12, the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) sent a letter calling on eight leading lawmakers to fully fund the grant program, highlighting that it is crucial in “helping seaports harden security and protect these vital transportation hubs and maritime borders.”Congress needs to be reminded that “ports are international borders,” said John Young, director of freight and surface transportation policy at the AAPA, in a phone interview with Foreign Policy. Used in collaboration with local law enforcement, said Young, port security grants “can do anything from fencing to cyber security assessments, to installing cyber equipment to purchasing equipment to help secure ports.”Without the grant money, it’s not clear how ports and operators will be able to fully address ongoing vulnerabilities or identify new ones.“It’s a big deal for us,” said Danos. “The gaps are going to be left wide open.”Chris Hondros/Getty Images

The Sunni Horn is Destroyed (Daniel 8)


Khamenei’s representative says Islamic state’s Baghdadi ‘definitely dead’: IRNA
A man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has made what would be his first public appearance at a mosque in the centre of Iraq’s second city, Mosul, according to a video recording posted on the Internet on July 5, 2014, in this still image taken from video. REUTERS/Social Meda Website via Reuters TV
Iran’s state news agency quoted a representative of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday as saying Islamic State’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was “definitely dead”.
“Terrorist Baghdadi is definitely dead,” IRNA quoted cleric Ali Shirazi, representative to the Quds Force, as saying, without elaborating. IRNA later updated the news item, omitting the quote on Baghdadi’s death.
The Quds Force is in charge of operations outside Iran’s borders by the country’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps. Iranian Foreign Ministry officials were not available to comment on the report of Baghdadi’s death.
The secretive Islamic State leader has frequently been reported killed or wounded since he declared a caliphate to rule over all Muslims from a mosque in Mosul in 2014, after his fighters seized large areas of northern Iraq.
Russia said on June 17 its forces might have killed Baghdadi in an air strike in Syria. Washington said on Thursday it had no information to corroborate such reports. Iraqi officials have also been skeptical in recent weeks.
(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; editing by Andrew Roche)

The Secret Behind Obama’s Nuclear Deal

pic_giant_022615_SM_Obama-Iran-DealThe Iran Nuclear Deal’s Secret Side

A bomb that fails to explode after it is dropped is called a dud. Occasionally that dud goes off long after the battle is over, causing casualties among people who thought they were no longer in harm’s way.

Politico published a story in April about how the Obama administration undermined its own anti-proliferation and sanctions-enforcement efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran. It should have been a bombshell when it was published. But if it made any noise at all, the sound was lost amid the cacophony over supposed collusion between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign.
In reaching its 2015 deal to restrict Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for lifting international and some – but not all – U.S. sanctions, the Obama administration released seven Iranian prisoners (six of whom were Iranian-American) and dropped international extradition efforts to try to gain custody of 14 others. This much became public knowledge when the deal was implemented in January 2016.
But the report from Politico said the former president downplayed the offenses for which the detainees had been held and the others were being sought. Three of the released prisoners were part of a procurement network that sought microelectronics for Iranian anti-aircraft and cruise missiles. Another had been sentenced to eight years for supplying Iran with satellite technology. The 14 fugitives who the U.S. had sought to apprehend included the alleged ringleader of a group that acquired vital American-made parts for Iranian centrifuges via China. Those centrifuges were a key component of the very Iranian nuclear program that the administration was trying to stop.
That’s just what happened in 2016, after the deal was signed. Politico also reported that the Obama administration began slow-walking efforts to apprehend Iranian arms-smugglers and sanctions-busters as early as 2014, when talks on the potential nuclear deal were still a secret held closely within the White House and a small circle of senior executive branch officials.
Obama’s under-the-table concessions on Iran’s procurement agents, like the overall Iran nuclear deal itself, are arguably unwise but unarguably legal. The determination and execution of American foreign policy are the purview of the executive branch, subject to congressional prerogatives over appropriating funds, confirming nominees, declaring war and ratifying treaties. Despite the fact that it involved American commitments to Iran and collaboration with multiple other countries, the nuclear deal was presented as an executive agreement rather than a treaty, which is why President Trump is free to disavow it if he should choose. So far, he has not.
American allies as diverse as Israel and Saudi Arabia instantly saw the Obama agreement as a concession to an implacable enemy and a threat to their own security. No doubt they knew the extent of the concessions regarding the sanctions-evading individuals well before Politico brought this to wider attention. With America’s reliability as a bulwark against Iranian aggression undermined, the Saudis in particular embarked on a much more muscular response of their own, including the current near-blockade of neighboring Qatar for being insufficiently loyal to the anti-Tehran cause.
While Obama may have been kowtowing to the Iranians, he certainly wasn’t “colluding” with them in any reasonable sense of that word. He was acting as an elected official within what he (at least) believed to be the scope of his constitutional powers. This was true, as well, back in 2012 when Obama famously told Dmitry Medvedev, “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.” At the time Medvedev was keeping Russia’s presidential seat warm for Vladimir Putin, who had temporarily stepped down in 2008 to become prime minister due to term limits, only to reclaim the seat a few weeks after Obama’s remarks to Medvedev were inadvertently captured on an open mic. “I understand,” Medvedev replied. “I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”
Was Obama “colluding” with the Russians amid his 2012 presidential campaign? Not unless collusion has been redefined to include the conduct of international diplomacy by a sitting president.
Trump, of course, was not a sitting president during the 2016 campaign. Nothing has surfaced to indicate that he or the people around him had anything to do with the hacking of Democratic campaign files and subsequent releases of embarrassing emails that U.S. intelligence agencies (then run by Obama appointees) concluded were the work of the Russians. And while some in Trump’s circle surely had business dealings with Russian executives and officials during that time, those likewise were not illegal, and had even been encouraged by the Obama administration.
Well after the election and just a few weeks before Trump’s inauguration, Obama retaliated against the alleged Russian electoral interference with new sanctions, including the ban of 35 Russian individuals from U.S. soil. According to news reports initially sourced to anonymously leaked intelligence, Trump’s incoming national security adviser, Michael Flynn, discussed those sanctions with a Russian diplomat and may have indicated that Trump would revisit the actions once he took office. (Thus far Trump has let Obama’s steps stand.) Flynn served in the administration for less than a month before being forced to resign, largely for telling Vice President Mike Pence that he had not discussed sanctions with the Russians – denials which were later contradicted, to Pence’s embarrassment.
So for the past four months we have been exposed to an endless deluge of columns purporting to explore and explode the alleged “cover-up” for which there is, as far as anyone yet knows, no underlying crime, based on leaks from the administration of a president who, after boasting of his own forthcoming “flexibility,” sought to tie his successor’s hands in dealing with the still-emerging disclosures of Russian interference in an American election.
It has been a lot of noise and smoke, but with very little actual explosive force. Meanwhile, an actual bombshell landed almost unnoticed and sits waiting for someone to stumble across it. It may never go off. Then again, especially if one of Obama’s catch-and-release proliferators is ever linked to a successful hostile event, it could someday yield a pretty big bang.

Iran Is Correct: We Created ISIS

isis-obama1 

Iran blames US for creating ISIS amid worsening Middle East tensions

Terrorism From The Iranian Horn

Terrorists in Tehran

BY MICHAEL LEDEEN JUNE 10, 2017
Yes, I know: Tehran is full of terrorists, but mostly they’ve been the regime’s terrorists, and mostly they kill, beat, and torture Iranians who don’t much care for Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei or President Hasan Rouhani. Wednesday was different. Or maybe not.
ISIS has claimed its killers staged the two attacks in Tehran on symbolically powerful targets: the tomb of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, and the “parliament” building.
There are many Iranians who don’t believe it was ISIS; they think it was the terrorists they know, the ones who kill innocent Iranians all the time. Iran being what it is—a Mediterranean country where the simple, straightforward story is invariably rejected in favor of a more complicated conspiracy theory—they purport to have “evidence.”
The evidence is all circumstantial, including the claim that ISIS has not attacked Iranian forces in Iraq and Syria, and that no Iranian official was killed or wounded. Only civilians were targeted. So why in Tehran? They say it’s obvious: it’s a hoax, staged by the regime, justifying further repression. Notice that the same sort of claim was made by Turks opposed to Erdogan. They say that the dictator staged the false coup that justified his massive crackdown against his internal opposition.
Whatever the truth may be—and it will be a while before it gets sorted out—the events in Tehran bespeak considerable opposition to the regime. If the terrorists were enemies of Khamenei et al., then the regime is faced with armed opponents. If the regime staged it, well then it shows the regime is sufficiently concerned about the internal opposition to have run a substantial risk: the most important symbols of the regime have been attacked, and Iranian security didn’t stop it and in fact staged it.