The Inevitable War With Iran (Ezekiel 17)

 
Why the U.S. may still have to go to war against Iran

By Bennett Ramberg October 26, 2015

Effective enforcement of the Iranian nuclear deal remains a conundrum. Enshrined in the agreement is “snapback” – the restoration of international economic sanctions against Tehran should it violate the deal’s terms. Yet the expected rush of European, Russian and Chinese businesses into Iran would make such unified action questionable.

Aware that economic pressure might not be enough, U.S. officials have repeatedly declared “all options” are on the table. Though most have been reluctant to offer details, recent Pentagon talk has focused on a new bunker-buster bomb. Such talk feeds into the growing presumption that Washington would rely on air strikes if Iran violated the agreement.

Yet history shows that forceful alternatives either don’t work or are too dangerous and costly. In addition, past air strikes have proved to be unreliable. So policymakers should indeed consider all options. Previous tactics — including assassination, special-forces sabotage, technology disruption, armed forces mobiliztion, massive bombing and war — deserve another look.
Some tacks have worked better than others. Determining the best course, however, can be complicated. Here’s a list:

1) Assassination marks the nadir on the violence spectrum. It has reportedly been applied by Israel against Iraqi and Iranian scientists — for example, the bomb, delivered by motor cycle, that struck the car in Tehran in which Majid Shahriari, a senior nuclear engineer, was riding in 2010. But the tactic has failed to seriously hinder nuclear development.

2) Sabotage by special forces of nuclear installations has had more impact but is not enduring. One early application was during World War Two, when British commandos attempted to destroy a plant in Nazi-occupied Norway that produced heavy water, a vital substance Germany required for the nuclear weapons effort. Israel’s 1979 commando detonation of the Osirak reactor core as it sat in a French warehouse awaiting shipment to Iraq marks a second case. In both instances, engineers repaired the damaged equipment within months.

3) Sabotage of a different sort, including cyberattacks on Iran’s uranium- enrichment plants, as well as the adulteration of material imported to fabricate centrifuges, set back Tehran’s nuclear program by months. But that was it.

4) Air strikes. Without the precise delivery systems of current air forces, the United States tried a massive bombing campaign during World War Two to destroy the Norwegian heavy-water plant after Britain’s attempted sabotage failed. Even with that, the allies needed a follow-up commando operation to eliminate the surviving heavy-water stocks. But the success in Norway failed to halt Nazi Germany’s program back in Germany. Scientific barriers proved far more important in undermining the Nazi effort.

With more advanced aircraft, Israel’s bombardment of Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981, and Syria’s Al Kibar reactor in 2007, succeeded far more efficiently. The destruction of Syria’s reactor may be the most effective use of force in history. With few resources to rebuild the North Korean-engineered plant, Damascus abandoned its nuclear effort.

The attack on Iraq’s Osirak reactor told another story. Here, destruction prompted Baghdad to undertake a 10-year covert effort to enrich uranium. By some estimates, Iraq was within a year of succeeding when the 1991 Persian Gulf War broke out.

But bombing will not prevent efforts at covert reconstruction by countries with the personnel, drive, resources and effective stealth to do the job. Iran, unlike Syria, falls into this category.

5) War or the threat of war. In the end, the only forceful policy that eliminated emerging nuclear weapons programs with certainty — putting aside voluntary monitored relinquishment by former Soviet states, South Africa and Libya — was the successful wars waged against Nazi Germany in World War Two and Iraq in 1991. Occupying military forces in the first case, and international inspectors in the second, were able to eliminate all nuclear contraband.

War, however, remains the most costly option, in both blood and treasure.

It also adds a wrinkle, not in its application, but in its gestation. The Cuban missile crisis demonstrated that threat manipulation — preparations for the use of overwhelming military force to invade the island, coupled with the naval quarantine and the ramping up of the alert status of the nuclear arsenal — intimidated Moscow to abandon its Cuba gambit.

But coercive diplomacy is never a sure thing. Think about the massive buildups undertaken by U.S. and allied forces against Iraq in 1991 and 2003. Both failed to intimidate, and war ensued.
6) There is one last option of the “all options” alternative that policymakers appear loath to talk about: acceptance of Iran as a nuclear armed state. Farfetched? Even the Israelis apparently gave a nod to that possibility when Ehud Barak, former prime minister and defense minister, recently revealed that, between 2010 and 2012, Jerusalem seriously contemplated military action against Iran but then got cold feet.

For Washington to take this course would actually be consistent with historic behavior. When faced with a nuclear buildup in China during the early 1960s, North Korea in recent years and the Soviet Union at the beginning of the Cold War, the United States decided that managing an adversary with an emerging nuclear arsenal was a better course than using force to stop it. Of course, acceptance of Iran into the nuclear club banks that it will be a responsible steward of the bomb.

History’s lessons for halting Iran’s nuclear temptation are sobering. “All options are on the table” may be a nice catch phrase — but if the mullahs attempt a nuclear breakout, only a winning war would guarantee full success.

Half measures, notably air strikes, may buy time to sway Tehran to rethink its nuclear course. But the past’s inconvenient truth remains: Unless Iran complies with the recent agreement and the underlying nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Washington faces a daunting choice should snapback fail. It can go to war or bet that deterrence applied against nuclear adversaries in the past will work again against Iran’s revolutionary regime.

Obama To Make Nuclear Deal With The Third Horn (Daniel 8)


U.S. Looking Into Nuclear Deal With Pakistan, Report Says

Tessa Berenson @tcberenson
10:34 AM ET

Pakistan may be on the verge of developing a small nuclear weapon

The United States is in the early stages of exploring a nuclear deal with Pakistan to limit the country’s nuclear arsenal, according to a report.

The New York Times, citing anonymous officials and outside experts familiar with the talks, reports that the U.S. is exploring a deal with Pakistan, whose nuclear program is the fastest-growing on earth. The Times notes there is particular concern that the nation may be close to deploying a small nuclear weapon.

“If Pakistan would take the actions requested by the United States, it would essentially amount to recognition of rehabilitation and would essentially amount to parole,” George Perkovich, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told the Times of the potential agreement, which would loosen controls imposed on Pakistan by the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a group of nuclear supplier countries trying to curb nuclear proliferation.

Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif will be in Washington, D.C., next week, but the Times reports government officials aren’t optimistic that Pakistan would agree to a deal, especially since it sees the nuclear program as its main defense against India.
[NYT]

Obama And Babylon Bedfellows With Iran (Ezekiel 17)


Iran and U.S. to Intensify Tactical Cooperation

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh President of the International American Council

President Hassan Rouhani contradicted Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s remarks about the potential rapprochement between the US and the Islamic republic.

Although, Mr. Khamenei continues to reject the idea that there would be any additional detente between Tehran and Washington, Iran’s latest tactical shift in its foreign policies and priorities, as well as, Rouhani’s message at the United Nations general assembly suggested a different landscape.
Although Iranian leaders’ speeches are just a collection of words rather than actions, if we analyze Rouhani’s speech meticulously, the broader tone of his remarks suggested two major and intriguing issues. First of all, the general tone was of Tehran’s willingness to further engage with the West and the United States.

The engagement appears to be on two levels: economic and geopolitical. Rouhani suggested that his country is prepared to make Iran a business hub in the region by increasing economic deals between Iran, the West and other nations. This shows that Rouhani, under the supervision of the Supreme Leader, is putting economic and national interests ahead of ideological interests.

Secondly, Rouhani depicted Iran as a country which is fighting terrorism and is willing to cooperate with the international community to resolve conflicts in the region and defeat terrorism. In other words, Rouhani is attempting to ratchet up the Islamic Republic’s global and regional legitimacy without mentioning Iran’s role in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, and without attracting attention on the function of Quds influence ( a foreign branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps which operates in foreign countries) in fueling conflicts in the region through military operations, fundings or sectarian agendas.

Prioritizing Economy Over Ideology?

Tehran’s increased geopolitical legitimacy on the global stage — which is projected and orchestrated by Iranian leaders and indirectly facilitated by the Obama administration’s foreign policy towards Tehran — can have significant impacts on Iran’s embattled economy, causing it to revive in a faster time

Western countries are more willing to conduct business deals with Iran when Tehran’s legitimacy is viewed as being restored. This legitimacy is validated by the Obama administration view of Iran as a significant player as well as having a constructive role in resolving conflicts and fighting terrorism. As President Obama pointed out to the world leaders gathered at the United Nations General Assembly, “The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict.”

On the other hand, since the U.S does not have clear and detailed policy towards the conflicts in the Middle East, and since the U.S policy is currently anchored in the wait-and-see foreign policy, Washington is more willing to delegate the task of fighting the Islamic State or resolving the crisis in Syria and Yemen, to Tehran and Moscow or other nations. This suggests that the Obama administration will continue to indirectly ratchet up the Islamic Republic’s global legitimacy and projection of power in order to fulfill Washington’s unwillingness to take decisive actions.

Why Iran Does Iran Still Slam U.S.?

Some politicians, scholars and policy analysts might make the argument that Rouhani is not sending signs of further cooperation between Tehran and Washington since he slammed the US over the conflicts in the region. The argument goes that the Supreme Leaders speeches clearly indicate that there would be no further rapprochement.

We need to remember that Iran’s Supreme Leader previously drew several red lines regarding the nuclear deal — before it was reached between the six world powers and the Islamic Republic — but most of those red lines were crossed.

Mr. Khamenei’s public statements do not genuinely reflect the way he instructs his president and senior cadre of IRGC in private. In public, Khamenei has to reiterate the Islamic Republic’s anti-American policies due to the fact that he needs to satisfy and fulfill his social base’s revolutionary principles. In addition, Rouani needs to satisfy the critics at home by criticizing the U.S. and other countries in the region.

It is accurate to observe that Khamenei is instructing the president’s team to prioritize national and economic interests over the revolutionary ones. This is due to the fact that the nuclear deal and Iran’s change of tone on the global stage would not have been possible without a green light from Mr. Khamenei. Every crucial foreign policy issue enacted by the President has to be approved by the Supreme Leader.

Finally, although Iran is prioritizing its economic and national interests over its ideological principles, this does not necessarily mean that Tehran is fundamentally abandoning its revolutionary norms. The Islamic Republic can not afford to leave its revolutionary principles behind because they are the deep-established character of the government, and how it gains its legitimacy.

This revolutionary establishment is even out of the control of the individual, Mr. Khamenei. Putting economic and national interests ahead of the revolutionary ones is a short term tactical shift in order to save the Islamic Republic.

In conclusion, Iran’s prioritization of national and economic interests, the US role in indirectly facilitating and ratcheting up Iran’s global legitimacy, and the US wait and see foreign policy in the Middle East, suggest that tactical cooperation between Tehran and Washington, and Tehran and West is likely to increase. This increased cooperation will not resolve the crisis in the region since Tehran will not alter its foreign policy objectives and revolutionary norms fundamentally, but the Iran-U.S. cooperation will indeed enhance Iran’s global legitimacy.

Preparing For Nuclear War Against Russia (Daniel 7)


US Vs Russia Nuclear War: Tensions Ripe Over Germany, Norway Borders

BY ATHENA YENKO ON EMAIL @MORNINGNEWSUSA
PUBLISHED: 1:19 PM, SEP 24, 2015 UPDATED: 1:19 PM, SEP 24, 2015

Russia threatens counter nuclear measures if U.S. goes ahead with its plan of stationing nuclear weapons in Germany. Moscow viewed the move as provocation and disruption of the supposed security balance in Europe. Spokesman for Russian Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, described Pentagon plan of deploying new nuclear weapons in Germany “a very serious step towards exacerbating tensions on the European continent.”

“Unfortunately, if this step is implemented — and we can say they are confidently advancing towards its implementation, it may disrupt the strategic balance in Europe and therefore will clearly make Russia take corresponding countermeasures to re-establish the balance,” Peskov said in a press briefing as reported by TASS. “It’s not a step towards strengthening stability, towards confidence building and enhancement of security in Europe,” he added. The counter measures to be taken by Russia will assure “national security and re-establishment of the strategic balance,” the official said.
According to a separate report from The Telegraph, Russia’s threat was made after Germany’s television broadcaster, ZDF, reported that U.S. has plans of replacing B61 bombs with the more advanced B61-12s. The latter can be fired as missiles unlike with the old variant which are dropped from aircraft. Russia’s biggest concern is that these advance versions are more of tactical than strategic in nature.

Tactical nuclear weapons are designed to be based on a battlefield in military situations. Many of the weapons during the Cold War era are tactical in nature. Strategic nuclear weapons, on the other hand, are designed to be use as a part of an overall military strategy aimed at weakening an enemy’s ability to attack.

An unnamed military source said that Moscow is now in the process of investigating whether such U.S. weapons deployed in Germany are tactical in nature. “The question is being considered. A final decision will be taken after detailed analysis of the potential threat from German Tornado fighter-bombers carrying new B-61-12 atomic bombs,” the source was quoted as saying by The Telegraph, citing Interfax, a Russian news website.

A related report from the Express said that Russia is also concern that U.S. is a NATO member. “These states actually have nuclear weapons as part of the framework of NATO’s nuclear sharing program,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, was quoted as saying.
Peskov has also expressed Russia’s concern over NATO’s advancement toward the Russian borders. Russia too threatens counter-measure if the West alliance proceed with its military activities near its borders.

“We must not forget that NATO is an organization that has been created during the time of confrontation and for confrontation, that’s why it cannot change its nature. That is why any advancement by such an organization toward our borders will force us to take adequate counter-measures to safeguard own security, our national security,” Peskov was quoted as saying by Sputnik International.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Norwegian Defense Minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide, reaffirmed the defense relationship between the two nations. Norway is bordered by Finland and Russia to the north-east.

According to Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook, the two leaders fortified the very close working relationship that the United States and Norway share within NATO. The two discussed increasing security challenges along NATO’s northern flank.

Khamenei Vows To Destroy Babylon (Daniel 8:4)

 
AYATOLLAH SAYS MUSLIM RESPONSIBILITY IS TO SHATTER U.S., THE ‘IDOL OF TYRANNY’

by Gregory Tomlin | 24 September, 2015
Middle East Media Research Institute/MEMRI

The graphic displayed in a letter to Muslims from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The letter instructs Muslims to take up their duty of smashing the “idol of tyranny,” the United States, and its “Zionist” ally, Israel.

TEHRAN (Christian Examiner) – Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, with the ink barely dry on the nuclear deal between his country, the United States and its allies, has issued a “call” for Muslims to help destroy the “idol of tyranny” – America.

In a letter celebrating the annual pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca, known as the Hajj, Khamenei said the Hajj was a source of renewal for Muslims and it will help them shatter the idols in their lives – “the idol of the soul, the idol of pride, the idol of sexual lust; the idol of tyranny and subservience; the idol of global tyranny [i.e., the U.S.]’ the idol of sloth and irresponsibility; and the other idols that shame the precious human soul – a plan that will spring forth from the depths of the heart will shatter them. Then, liberty, honor, and health will replace dependence, hardship, and humiliation.”
Khamenei wrote in the letter, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), that American foreign policy, always “evil,” was causing war and bloodshed in the region. He also held the U.S. responsible for “displacement, poverty, backwardness, and religious and sectarian division.”
The letter contains a graphic of a smashed Statue of Liberty.

“Instead of dealing with sparking religious schism, instead of remaining passive in the face of the enemy, and instead of engaging in trivial matters, the clerics, politicians, and cultural figures [respectively] must all identify the great pain of the Islamic world, and must accept and implement the mission with which God has charged them. ”

– Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Lest the U.S. alone receive the blame, however, he also pointed a finger and Israel, charging the “Zionist regime in Palestine” with crimes against humanity.

“[The Zionist regime] continually disrespects the Al-Aqsa Mosque and tramples the blood and money of the oppressed Palestinian people,” Khamenei wrote.

“You Muslim [pilgrims] – this issue is your top priority. You must ponder it, and know that with which you are charged under [the law of] Islam. The senior clerics, politicians, and cultural figures have a weightier mission, in the fulfillment of which, unfortunately, they are remiss. Instead of dealing with sparking religious schism, instead of remaining passive in the face of the enemy, and instead of engaging in trivial matters, the clerics, politicians, and cultural figures [respectively] must all identify the great pain of the Islamic world, and must accept and implement the mission with which God has charged them.

Khamenei said conflicts in Iraq, the West Bank, Gaza and other places are the “greatest woes of the Islamic ummah.” Ummah is the Arabic word “community” or “nation.”

“The plots of the global tyranny [i.e. the U.S.] in this matter must be identified, and ways to resolve [this matter] must be considered. The nations must demand this of their governments, and the governments must be true to their responsibilities,” Khamenei wrote.

On Sept. 23, Khamenei also said via Twitter the U.S. was a purveyor of “vicious policies” in the region. Those polices, and Israel’s “sacrilege of the al-Aqsa mosque,” he said, are the “primary issue of all Muslims.”

said Muslims should “deliberate on it and know your Islamic responsibilities towards it.”
The ayatollah is the leader of Shi’ite Muslims, but not Sunnis. He has also lashed out at “Takfiri” Muslims, or Sunnis who accuse Shi’ite Muslims and other Sunnis of apostasy.

Russia Ups The Nuclear Ante (Daniel 7)

  
Russia to counteract deployment of new U.S. nuclear weapons in Germany

3:05 September 23, 2015 Interfax

Russia will counteract U.S. plans to deploy new tactical nuclear bombs in Germany, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov has said.

“This may upset the strategic balance in Europe. Hence, Russia will naturally have to take countermoves, countermeasures for restoring this strategic balance and parity,” Peskov said on Sept.23.

“Indeed, this is not a step towards bolstering stability, confidence and security in Europe,” he said.
“This is definitely another step, unfortunately a very serious one, towards the escalation of tensions on the European continent,” Peskov said.

Considering the decision of the German parliament, the United States “is making steady progress” in the deployment of new types of nuclear weapons, the presidential press secretary said.

As to what countermeasures Russia may take, Peskov said, “these are the steps required for the provision of the national security of the Russian Federation and strategic parity in Europe.”

The Deutsche Welle radio said on Sept.22 with reference to the German channel ZDF that the United States was about to start the deployment of a new type of nuclear weapons at the German Armed Forces’ Buchel airbase in the Rheinland-Pfalz land. The television channel supported its claim with U.S. budget plans envisaging the possibility of arming German Tornado attack aircraft with new nuclear bombs B61-12 already in the third quarter of 2015.

Experts told ZDF that tactical nuclear bombs B61-12 were much more precise than the bombs the airbase had at its disposal earlier.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Sept.22 that Moscow was concerned about the pending modernization of U.S. nuclear weapons in Germany.

Korean Nuclear Horn Threatens U.S. (Daniel 7:7)

 
North Korea warns U.S. it’s ready to use nuclear weapons ‘any time’

By Jethro Mullen, CNN
Updated 9:42 PM ET, Tue September 15, 2015

(CNN)In its latest bout of saber rattling, North Korea says it is ready to use nuclear weapons against the United States and other foes if they pursue “their reckless hostile policy” toward Kim Jong Un’s regime.

In a statement carried by the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency on Tuesday, an atomic energy official said Pyongyang is improving its nuclear weapons arsenal “in quality and quantity.”
If the U.S. and other hostile forces persistently seek their reckless hostile policy towards the DPRK and behave mischievously, the DPRK is fully ready to cope with them with nuclear weapons any time,” the director of the North Korean Atomic Energy Institute said, using an abbreviation of the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

North Korea’s main nuclear complex at Yongbyon, which includes a uranium enrichment plant and a plutonium production reactor, is operating normally, the official told the news agency.

North says weapons are for self-defense

Notorious for issuing alarming and attention-grabbing statements, Pyongyang has repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons against the United States. But strong doubts remain over whether it has the missile technology to target the U.S. mainland.

An indication it wants to advance its missile capabilities, North Korea said Monday it was planning more satellite launches. Prohibited by U.N. Security Council resolutions, such launches are widely seen as a way of testing ballistic missile technology.

Kim’s regime didn’t say when the next launch would take place, but observers have speculated that it could launch a long-range rocket carrying a satellite in October around the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s ruling party.

The atomic energy official on Tuesday reiterated the North Korean stance that its nuclear weapons program is a self-defense measure “in the face of the U.S. extreme hostile policy and nuclear threats towards it.”

U.S. stresses missile defense measures

In an interview with CNN earlier Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert said Washington is constantly working with Seoul “to ensure that other allies in the region as well as the U.S. homeland are protected from threats posed by North Korea.”

“We’ve moved, over time, a good deal of missile defense capability to the region,” Lippert said before North Korea issued the statement about its nuclear program. “Ground-based interceptors to Alaska, surface combatants to the Western Pacific, a THAAD battery on Guam, another radar in Japan in order to be ready and vigilant for anything the North Koreans may or may not do.”
THAAD, which stands for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, is a ballistic missile defense system.

After the North Korean statement, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby told a regular news briefing that the United States continues “to call on North Korea to refrain from irresponsible provocations that aggravate regional tensions, and instead focus on fulfilling its international obligations and commitments.”

Nuclear complex revamped

The North’s announcement that the Yongbyon nuclear complex is up and running comes as little surprise.

During a period of heightened tensions in the region in spring 2013, Pyongyang announced it would revamp and restart the facilities at the site.

In February of this year, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he believed that “North Korea has followed through on its announcement by expanding its Yongbyon enrichment facility and restarting the reactor.

But some North Korea watchers have questioned whether the reactor is operating at full power.
A July article on 38 North, a website that specializes in analysis of North Korea, said satellite imagery suggested the reactor may not have been operating or was only functioning at low power levels.

The report’s authors also identified rapid construction at the uranium enrichment plant of a building they theorized could be used “to assemble or store conventional high explosive components of a nuclear weapon.”

The North Korean atomic energy official said Tuesday that the Yongbyon facilities were being employed for both economic development and “the building of a nuclear force.”

Expert says nuclear arsenal is growing

Kim Jong Un’s regime may already have 10 to 15 nuclear weapons, according to David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector who now heads the nonprofit Institute for Science and International Security.

In a report in February, Albright predicted that Pyongyang could increase its stockpile to anywhere between 20 and roughly 100 nuclear weapons by 2020.

The growing nuclear arsenal poses a serious strategic challenge for the United States.

The U.S. government has repeatedly called on North Korea to commit to denuclearization as a condition of any future negotiations, but Kim’s regime has repeatedly dismissed such an idea, demanding to be recognized as a nuclear power.

Pyongyang’s statement Tuesday provided few details about its specific grievances with U.S. policy, which it accused of “openly seeking the downfall” of North Korea’s “social system.”

The combative rhetoric comes just three weeks after North and South Korea reached a deal to dial down tensions in the region that were inflamed by landmine blasts and artillery fire in the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two countries.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye issued a joint statement with EU leaders after a summit in Seoul on Tuesday in which they strongly condemned the North’s “continued development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”

The leaders urged North Korea to abandon all its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear program in a “complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner,” and to “refrain from any further provocation.”
CNN’s Kathy Novak and journalist HyoungJoo Choi contributed to this report.

Iran Makes More Stipulations (Daniel 8:4)

 

IRAN’S KHAMENEI: NO DEAL UNLESS U.S. LIFTS SANCTIONS IMMEDIATELY

ReutersReuters
by JORDAN SCHACHTEL

4 Sep 2015
Washington, DC

Iranian dictator Ali Khamenei said Thursday that there will be no nuclear deal with the United States unless the Obama administration lifts sanctions from the Islamic Republic immediately once the accord goes into effect.

“If the sanctions are not going to be removed, then there will be no deal,” the “Supreme Leader” told Iran’s Assembly of Experts, in remarks broadcast on state-television.

 

 Khamenei added:

If on certain matters we compromised and gave concessions on certain issues, it was primarily to remove sanctions. Otherwise what need was there to negotiate? We would have continued our work and the 19,000 centrifuges that we have. In a short time we could have reached 50,000 or 60,000 centrifuges, and continue 20% enrichment and speed up development and research.

Iran’s theocratic ruler went on to cast doubt about the Americans’ ability to following the deal properly.

“Don’t say that the Americans make these speeches to satisfy domestic opponents. Of course, I believe the domestic fight in America is real and they have differences and the reason for this difference is clear to us. But what is officialy said needs a response, and if it is not answered the words of the opposing side will take hold,” he said.

Khamenei said that he believes Iran’s parliament should vote on whether to approve the deal.
“I have told the president (Hassan Rouhani) that it is not in our interest to let our lawmakers review the deal,” he concluded.

However, it remains unclear if the parliamentary vote would have any legal binding, because the Supreme Leader, who has ultimate authority over the country, could simply overrule the vote.

The Legacy Of Babylon The Great (Ezekiel 17)

 

Commemorating U.S. Violence from Hiroshima to Iraq

by SAM HUSSEINI

A new political mural has gone up in Washington, D.C.

Well, sort of new.

The mural has been there for a few years, but it’s been transformed just recently. Some might say, made more whole, reborn.

It’s a mural on the side of a restaurant formerly known as the Calvert Cafe. It features U.S. presidents from Eisenhower to Obama with Mama Ayesha, who founded the restaurant that is now named for her: Mama Ayesha’s, just near the Duke Ellington Bridge in Adams Morgan. It was originally labored over by Karlisima Rodas.

The recent transformation involves someone having apparently paintballed all the presidents, shooting them in the balls with red paint. Or trying to. Who ever did this seems to have been richer in inspiration than in sniper skills, which may on balance be a good thing. It’s a bit messy, but the intent is fairly clear: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton I, Bush II and Obama — all shot in the balls. Scrawled on the side is “The War Thugs.”

This is an apparent reference to Obama’s comments in April calling protesters against police killings who resort to property destruction “thugs.”

As USA Today reported: “President Obama doesn’t regret using the term ‘thug’ in describing the violent rioters in Baltimore this week, spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday.

“‘Whether it’s arson or, you know, the looting of a liquor store … those were thuggish acts,’ Earnest said.

“In discussing the riots Tuesday, Obama assailed the ‘criminals and thugs who tore up the place,’ and described them as a distraction from the real issues of police brutality.”

An examination of U.S. foreign policy puts the “thugishness” of someone looting a liquor store to shame. From using nuclear weapons, to bombing Vietnam and invading Iraq to deploying killer drones in county after country, the thugishness of these presidents is hard to compete with.

One could imagine the augmented muralist going a bit further, perhaps giving us a lingering blot where Truman’s crotch would be were he in the picture. That would be all too appropriate given that Truman gave rise to our “National Security State” and nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki exactly 70 years ago this week.

The date of the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima — August 6 — is also the date of the imposition of the sanctions being imposed on Iraq in 1990, exactly 25 years ago, that would ultimately take the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, many of them children. The 1991 U.S. bombing of Iraq and subsequent sanctions set the stage for the killing fields we now see — or rather, don’t see and manage to ignore in Iraq and beyond. Yet, the administration of Bush I is regarded by some so-called critics of Bush II as enlightened.

From Hiroshima to Iraq, all these presidents have used violence. Massive violence. An augmented mural could include mushroom clouds in the background, and perhaps jet fighters, bombers and killer drones flying overhead.

Perhaps the greatest violence they’ve all used is to threaten the world with nuclear weapons. It’s not as though the U.S. only used atomic weapons against Japan at the end of World War II.

As Daniel Ellsberg has noted, the U.S. uses nuclear weapons constantly, like a thief robbing people by waving a gun around. You don’t need to pull the trigger to “use” the gun.

So, take a look at “From Wounded Knee to Syria: a Century of US Military Interventions” by Zoltan Grossman. Among the U.S. aggression most have forgotten is Eisenhower administration issued a nuclear threat against Iraq in 1958 against invading Kuwait. Or that Johnson invaded the Dominican Republic in 1965; how many remember that? Or that the Carter administration began the Rapid Deployment Force, paving the way for future U.S. Mideast wars and began the backing of the Mujahadeen to undermine the Soviets in Afghanistan.

The paintballing — a sort of art work thar is literally paint as paint — recalls the Edward Sorel piece that adorns Robert Scheer’s book “Thinking Tuna Fish, Talking Death” — which features “world leaders” dancing the can-can with missiles as genitalia.

There’s typically a taboo against graffiti artists “tagging” over each other’s work and this would seem to violate it, but there’s a case to be made that this more competes the piece than defaces it. Some people, including Karlisima, now seem upset by the addition of the paintballs, but murals are not typically done to glorify the high and mighty, and do so for the Great Leaders in traditions that shouldn’t be emulated. The labor of putting together the original mural is not destroyed, it’s not painted over, but used to make a perhaps unexpected point. Further, the original mural it seems was not so much done to convey a vision the artist as much as commissioned by the DC Arts Commission and various other governmental bureaucratic entities. The mural that used to adorn that wall was of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, where Mama Ayesha was born. But it was replaced and the collective wisdom had it that the environs of Washington, D.C. were lacking in sufficiently honoring our war presidents, pretending all is smilingly well as they are brutal.

The new mural now features Mama Ayesha in her beautiful Palestinian dress bring the war makers together, their vulnerability, what they likely had thought of as a source of their dominating power, made evident. And they’re smiling, accepting, perhaps gaining in empathy.

As it is, there continue to be sprawling U.S. military bases the world over — and it’s not as if things are getting better by any objective measure — the U.S. just reopened its military base in the Philippines to little notice. All these presidents have continued the U.S.’s backing of Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians as Israel has effectively destroyed a people over their collective tenure.
The paintball artist perhaps admirably exercised restraint from engaging in figurative head shots. After all, virtually every president has killed, not least of all the current inhabitant of the White House, who has commented he’s “really good at killing people.”

The U.S. is killing people using drones in Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan. Obama is often depicted as something approaching a pacifist by some for not having bombed Iran already. Never mind that he escalated the war in Afghanistan, has now stepped up U.S. bombings of Iraq and Syria, bombed Libya along with NATO, and so on and so on.

But our society, media and art largely ignore all this. They focus on celebrity silliness or, worse yet, treat presidents like revered celebrities when their hands are covered in blood that is all too real.