The Iranian Korean Nuclear Axis


The North Korean Axis of Middle East Proliferation
by Matthew RJ Brodsky
August 31, 2017 12:26 P
Last week, Reuters revealed the existence of a confidential U.N. report claiming that two North Korean shipments bound for the government agency in charge of Syria’s chemical weapons were intercepted in the past six months.
Put in its proper context, the news of the shipments, both of which violated existing international sanctions, is further evidence of North Korea’s nefarious role in spreading weapons of mass destruction and missile technology to other rogue regimes across the globe. The U.N. report highlights the extent to which North Korea has been a principal strategic partner to Iran and Syria for decades. Understood correctly, it should have major implications not only for how the U.S. handles the saber-rattling regime of Kim Jong-un but for how the Trump administration chooses to approach Iran today.
Pulling a single thread reveals the tangled web of relations between Pyongyang, Tehran, and Damascus. Take, for instance, the 2007 Israeli raid that destroyed Syria’s covert nuclear reactor. North Korean scientists provided the technology and material for that reactor, which, according to former CIA director Michael Hayden, was “an exact copy” of a North Korean reactor. “The Koreans were the only ones to build these reactors since they purloined the designs from the British in the 1960s,” Hayden recalled. Ten North Koreans who “had been helping with the construction” of the Syrian reactor were killed in the Israeli strike, according to media reports at the time.
In 1991, then-Syrian president Hafez al-Assad made a military-acquisition alliance with North Korea, which allowed him to purchase missiles from the North, and gave him access to the expertise needed to produce more-advanced weapons domestically. North Korea also helped the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center construct a missile complex in Aleppo used for fitting chemical weapons on Scud missiles in the early 1990s. A quarter century later, it turns out the two recently intercepted North Korean shipments were headed for the same Syrian agency.
The timing is suspect as well. The U.N. report specifically addressed shipments intercepted in the last six months. The Assad regime only retook Aleppo from the rebels in December 2016. It doesn’t take an expert, then, to guess at the likely contents of the shipments.
In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the two states signed a “scientific cooperation” agreement. The year was 2002 — the same year that the existence of Iran’s own plutonium reactor in Arak was publically exposed. Tehran appeared to understand the benefits of redundancy; it was an insurance policy if something should befall its own burgeoning nuclear program. That helps to explain why Iran financed the North Korean nuclear venture in Syria to the tune of $1 billion. It was only then, in 2002, that the construction of Assad’s al-Kibar plutonium reactor began in earnest.
Although Israel destroyed the site five years later, denying Iran the dividends from their investment, they were impressed by the cooperative agreement reached between the Kim and Assad regimes in 2002. The result was a duplicated and expanded science-and-technology deal inked between Iran and North Korea a decade later.
The North Korean Nexus with Iran
Of course, the bilateral collaboration between Pyongyang and Tehran predates that 2012 agreement. For example, WikiLeaks exposed a February 2010 diplomatic cable from confirming Iran’s purchase of 19 advanced ballistic missiles from North Korea — missiles that put Western European capitals within Tehran’s reach.
The watershed year between the two states came in 2012, as President Obama was concluding his disastrous nuclear deal with Tehran.
Just as Iran’s Shahab-2 missile is modeled on North Korea’s Hwasoong-6, Iran’s Shahab-3 missile also matches North Korea’s Nodong. That shouldn’t be too surprising, considering that Iranian scientists and military officers frequently attend North Korean test launches of long-range ballistic missiles and have maintained a presence at North Korean nuclear-test sites for at least the last decade. It’s only natural that such curiosity would run both ways, too: From the 1990s onward, dozens of North Korean scientists and technicians are also known to have worked inside Iran.
The watershed year between the two states came in 2012, as President Obama was concluding his disastrous nuclear deal with Tehran. According to detailed analysis published in February by Israel’s BESA Center, since reaching their cooperation agreement, North Korea and Iran have been working on “miniaturizing a nuclear implosion device in order to fit its dimensions and weight to the specifications of the Shahab-3 re-entry vehicle.” The authors of that analysis went on to conclude that, “the nuclear and ballistic interfaces between the two countries” are “long-lasting, unique, and intriguing,” and that North Korea is ready and able to clandestinely assist Iran in circumventing the nuclear deal, while Iran is likely helping North Korea upgrade its own strategic capacities.
The Parchin Connection
It should set off alarm bells that North Korea and Iran have been working together to overcome some of the remaining challenges that prevent Pyongyang from targeting the U.S. homeland with nuclear warheads — namely, the warhead-miniaturization process and the perfection of its long-range ballistic missiles. But it should set off sirens that some of that work has been carried out at Parchin, the Iranian facility that Tehran insists is a military site and keeps off limits to international inspections.
Parchin should be familiar. When Obama administration officials were cooking up their nuclear deal with Iran, they repeatedly promised that critically important “anytime, anywhere” inspections would have to be part of the agreement. What happened instead was that they folded like a tablecloth, as they did on every declared red-line issue crucial to verifying Iran’s past nuclear-related military activity.
In 2015, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei personally and repeatedly rejected any access to what he called military sites, including Parchin. So Team Obama came up with a secret side agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which would allow Iran to inspect its own site and provide its own soil samples.
Anyone could have guessed what would happen next.
In 2015, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei personally and repeatedly rejected any access to what he called military sites, including Parchin.
“Despite years of Iran sanitizing the site and the Iranians taking their own environmental samples, the IAEA nonetheless detected the presence of anthropogenically-processed (‘man-made’) particles of natural uranium,” reads a new report released by the Institute for Science and International Security.
After years of Iranian denials and attempts to block access to the site, it turns out “substantial evidence exists that Iran conducted secret nuclear weapons development activities at Parchin,” including “the presence of uranium particles” and “a variety of other evidence of work related to nuclear weapons,” the report claims. It goes on to note the many suspicious site alterations that Iran made after the IAEA requested access in 2012 — which, again, is when Iran and North Korea signed their science-and-technology cooperation agreement.
It is also worth mentioning that in November 2012, the IAEA reported that Iran completed the installation of some 2,800 centrifuges at its Fordow uranium-enrichment facility, which was built and buried deep inside a mountain near the city of Qom. That report also noted that Iran installed more centrifuges at its fortified, underground fuel-enrichment plant in Natanz. Both facilities were producing uranium enriched up to 20 percent — a level useful only in the production of nuclear weapons.
Add it all up, and it becomes clear that because of Mr. Obama’s nuclear deal, the U.S. and the IAEA don’t know the scope of Iran’s past nuclear activities at precisely the moment when that knowledge is critical. The same lack of access afforded by the deal also prevents the U.S. from grasping the range of North Korea’s nuclear efforts, specifically experiments relevant to the detonation of a warhead that took place at Parchin. And the kicker is that a growing chorus of analysts today is calling for the Trump administration to negotiate a similar agreement with Kim Jong-un. Let that sink in for a moment.
An Evolving Axis
Fifteen years ago, many scratched their heads at President George W. Bush’s inclusion of North Korea alongside Iraq and Iran in what he described as “an axis of evil.” Few recall that North Korea was actually the first of the three countries he listed in his 2002 State of the Union address, followed by Iran. It’s quite clear now that the third state on that list should have been Syria rather than Iraq. After all, according to Hayden, by 2001 the CIA was gathering “scattered, unverified and ambiguous information” regarding nuclear ties between Syria and North Korea. Even if the literal picture presented by Israel didn’t become clear until a few years later, by 2002 the two had signed their scientific-cooperation agreement and Iran’s plutonium reactor had become public. The writing was on the wall.
The recent sanctions-busting North Korean shipments to Iran highlight how dangerous it is to seal a structurally defective nuclear deal with a rogue state while leaving other distressing aspects of that state’s behavior untouched. They should make it abundantly clear that we must seriously address this blooming axis of proliferation, because any bilateral agreement with one of its members can be easily undone by another.

The New Age of Nuclear Terrorism

https://defenceindepth.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/blog-post-rob-and-chris-nuclear-terrorism.jpg?w=532&h=299Banking Against the New Age of Nuclear Terror BloombergView
Tobin Harshaw
(Bloomberg View) — Arguably, nuclear weapons are now a greater threat to the U.S. and the world than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Actually, it’s not even arguable: North Korea is showering the Pacific with nuclear-capable missiles; South Korea and Japan may in turn pursue their own programs; President Donald Trump is again talking of ripping up the Iran nuclear pact; the Tehran regime is illegally testing its own ballistic arsenal; nuclear-armed Pakistan’s increasingly volatile politics raise a threat to India and beyond; Russia’s Vladimir Putin is eyeing a Soviet-style buildup; China is building nuclear-capable submarines; and there is always the worry that terrorist groups might get their hands on enough radiological material to craft a “dirty bomb.”
QuickTake Nuclear Power
Yet here’s some good news: On Tuesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency will officially open the world’s first “bank” for enriched nuclear fuel in Kazakhstan. The LEU facility is an important option for countries that want the benefits of peaceful nuclear energy, without the significant costs of uranium enrichment and without the risks of proliferation. Low-enriched uranium is needed for peaceful reactors, and the bank says it will provide an assured international supply of nuclear fuel on a nondiscriminatory, nonpolitical basis in the event of a supply disruption.
While many nations and groups — including the European Union, Norway, the United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan and Kuwait — deserve credit for the bank’s creation, special mention goes to two great Americans: former senator Sam Nunn of Georgia, and a fellow from Nebraska more familiar to Bloomberg readers for his success in other fields: Warren Buffett.
Buffett put up an initial $50 million for the bank, which other donors matched two-for-one. Nunn, who for decades was Congress’s leading light on military issues, is the founder, along with Ted Turner, of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit group that has done much of the legwork on efforts to keep nuclear material out of the hands of terrorists. (Take a moment to check out its Nuclear Security Index, an interactive graphic on global risks of theft and sabotage involving fissile materials.)
Another great American, Ernest Moniz, a longtime nuclear scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who most recently served as President Barack Obama’s secretary of energy, is now the chief executive officer of NTI. (He has also won the coveted “Best Hair at the State of the Union” award from USA Today.) Before Moniz headed off to Central Asia for the big event, we had a wide-ranging chat about the most pressing global threats related to nuclear threats. Here is an edited version of the interview:
Tobin Harshaw: We are going to talk primarily about your new project, the LEU bank, and its role in global nonproliferation. But I think it might help first if we give readers a quick briefing on the role of the Energy Department in the U.S. nuclear weapons program. In a nutshell: When did that start, what does it encompass, and why doesn’t the Pentagon have the entire program under its control?
Ernest Moniz: The history of Department of Energy has two threads, one of which goes back to the Manhattan Project during World War II and then the now-defunct Atomic Energy Commission and eventually the DOE. The challenges in nuclear security evolved, and as the Cold War ended, there was a new focus on the security and safety of weapons and nuclear material globally. The DOE’s role involved reducing threats as well as maintaining the U.S. military deterrent. Sustaining the stockpile is not in the Pentagon because its stewardship is a science and technology job suited to DOE National Laboratories.
The second major thread came in 1970s with the oil embargoes and other energy crises. That led to the official creation of the department in 1977, which took in offices from elsewhere such as the Interior Department while new regulatory structures were established.
TH: So what is the full extent of the department’s role in terms of the nuclear deterrent?
EM: Today about 62 percent of the DOE’s annual spending is considered part of the national security budget. Including clean-up costs, this is about $18.5 billion, of which nuclear security is over $12 billion. This involves maintaining the stockpile — making sure the deterrent is safe, secure and reliable without having to do any testing, which is very important — and securing and eliminating nuclear weapons-usable materials across the world. The department also has a shared responsibility with the Navy to provide the propulsion for nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines.
TH: I want to bring up a paradox: Even as the U.S. hopes to tamp down on the spread of nukes around the world, the Pentagon has started a $1 trillion modernization of its arsenal. This was initiated under President Obama, who famously won a Nobel Peace Prize for efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons. As a former member of his administration, can you explain why the modernization is necessary?
EM: They are quite different issues. I don’t like to call it a “modernization program,” because it implies in some minds that this is a whole brand new arsenal. For the DOE, this is really about upgrading the facilities and doing life-extension programs for the weapons without having to do any tests. For the military, it’s about improving the delivery systems, not new nuclear bombs.
It is expensive, and the Energy Department cost is expected to be about $80 billion over decades. But as secretary of energy, I had a hard time accepting our workers going into 50- to 60-year-old buildings doing high-hazard work. There are tremendous safety issues. Even now, we won’t be able to adequately replace the uranium facility at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, until 2025.
We fully support and endorse working toward the vision of a world without nuclear weapons, and we want to continue the lowering of their profile in our national security posture. But no serious person feels we can reach that goal in less than decades. As long as they are our fundamental deterrent, we have to make sure they are safe and reliable and that the workforce is in a safe environment.
TH: OK, let’s move on to the new project. Give us a brief explanation of the LEU bank, and how it can help in trying to keep a lid on global proliferation and keep nuclear material from getting in the wrong hands.
EM: The issue, particularly as nuclear power emerges in different countries that have not had it, is the security of the fuel supply. And that is where the bank comes in. The IAEA owns the bank, and any country in good standing on its nonproliferation agreements is eligible to use the material in the bank for its energy program if there is a breakdown in the commercial supply chain. This gives nations no reason to pursue a concerning — and economically nonsensical — development of indigenous enrichment capacity.
TH: Where will it come from?
EM: The IAEA is going out for proposals, and countries will make bids. Under the schedule, we hope to have all the material in hand by the end of year. It will come from commercial fuel suppliers or consortia. Kazakhstan is hosting the bank and has been an enormously positive influence on nonproliferation efforts worldwide since its independence from the Soviet Union.
TH: So the big worry is that, otherwise, nations would start enriching on their own?
EM: It’s that there could be a lot of claims from these countries that they need their own enrichment programs because of insecure supplies. With the availability of the bank, and the clearly bad economics of developing an enrichment program for a small nuclear program, it would be an obvious concern now if a country went ahead anyway. The question they will face is: Why are you doing this?
TH: What are some of the nations with nascent energy programs the bank is geared to?
EM: For example, Mexico has a very small program. The U.A.E. is now building South Korean reactors. The Russians are selling to Eastern Europe and elsewhere. And now in the Middle East, there are at least nominal agreements with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey for building Russian reactors. The Russians would prefer to be the sole fuel suppliers for those plants going forward, but a country could be concerned if it’s tied to just one supplier, which is where the fuel bank comes in — as a backup should there be any cutoff in supply.
TH: Congratulations, then, on the bank, and on NTI’s other efforts to lower future threats. Now let’s talk about current concerns. First, how much does the idea of terrorists getting their hands on a weapon or a so-called “dirty bomb” worry you?
EM: There is a special risk of terrorists and dirty bombs. Indeed it’s another area where NTI focuses, because it’s not only a question of power and weapons: There is also a very large use of radioisotopes in medicine, industrial work, oil and gas. These radioisotopes could be very dangerous in the wrong hands.
One of the areas NTI has been working on with success is to encourage governments — especially mayors and governors — to work toward the replacement of cesium-137, which is used for blood irradiation and other treatments, with X-rays, which do not provide this sort of risk. The costs of replacing the cesium sources with X-rays are reasonable once you consider you don’t need the type of security you need to ensure the radioisotopes stay where they are. You may have seen the stories about when ISIS had control of Mosul, which had a substantial cobalt-60 source that could have been used for a dirty bomb. Perhaps they didn’t know how to handle it. Some counties in Europe have moved to eliminate these materials, and we should do so as well.
TH: You were a big supporter of the Iran nuclear deal. At its second anniversary, have things turned out as you hoped?
EM: They have, in the sense that the IAEA continues to provide the data that indicate full compliance. That is where I hoped we would be and are. But we are not there in terms of a lot of the political discussion, particularly in terms of the possibility of Trump withdrawing, which would be a very bad decision. It would ironically isolate the United States. Because as long as Iran complies, the Europeans and others will continue to deal with Iran, but it will have justification for wriggling out of one or more of the stipulations.
TH: Last, before you rush to the holiday hotspot of Astana, Kazakhstan, let’s briefly talk North Korea. The consensus among experts seems to be that we will just have to live in a world where Kim Jong Un has nukes. Do you agree?
EM: Well I think certainly a lot of the language being used today is not helpful. But I think we cannot let go of the vision of a denuclearized peninsula, just as we cannot give up on the vision of a denuclearized world.
Going back to 1990s, I do not believe we have addressed the North Korea situation in a broad enough way — that is, I don’t think we can have security and stability there unless we address in a serious way the legitimate security concerns of North and South Korea, China and Japan. And also the Russian and U.S. postures. At its core, we need to broaden discussion beyond nukes to the full security discussion of those four neighbors. Until there is stability and a feeling of full trust there of all the regional parties, progress on denuclearization will be difficult at best.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
Tobin Harshaw writes editorials on national security, education and food for Bloomberg View. He was an editor with the op-ed page of the New York Times and the paper’s letters editor.
For more columns from Bloomberg View, visit http://www.bloomberg.com/view.

The British Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Great Britain’s Nuclear Weapons Could Easily Destroy Entire Countries

Kyle Mizokami
The United Kingdom maintains a fleet of four ballistic missile submarines with the ability to devastate even the largest of countries. This fleet came into being after its ally, the United States, canceled a key weapon system that would have been the cornerstone of London’s nuclear arsenal. Fifty years later, the UK’s missile submarine force is the sole custodian of the country’s nuclear weapons, providing a constant deterrent against nuclear attack.
The United Kingdom’s nuclear force in the early 1960s relied upon the so-called “V-Force” strategic bombers: the Avro Vulcan, Handley Page Victor and Vickers Valiant. The bombers were set to be equipped with the Skybolt air-launched ballistic missile, which could penetrate Soviet defenses at speeds of up to Mach 12.4 (9,500 miles an hour). Unfortunately technical problems plagued Skybolt, and the U.S. government canceled the missile in 1962.
Skybolt’s cancellation threatened to undo the UK’s entire nuclear deterrent, and the two countries raced to come up with a solution. The United States agreed to offer the new Polaris submarine-launched ballistic missile to replace Skybolt. The United Kingdom had no missile submarines to carry Polaris—it would have to build them.
A study by the Ministry of Defense concluded that, like France, the UK would need at least five ballistic missile submarines to maintain a credible deterrent posture. This number would later be reduced to four submarines. Like the French Le Redoutable class, the submarines would bear a strong resemblance to the U.S. Navy’s Lafayette-class ballistic missile submarines, with two rows of eight missiles tubes each behind the sail. Unlike Lafayette and Le Redoutable, the new submarines of the Royal Navy’s Resolution-class would have their hydroplanes on the bow, with the ability to fold up when parked along a pier.
Most of the submarine was British, with two built by Vickers Armstrong at Furness and two by Cammel Laird at Birkenhead. The missiles, missile launch tubes and fire control mechanisms, however, were built in the United States. Each submarine was equipped with sixteen Polaris A-3 submarine-launched ballistic missiles. The Polaris had a range of 2,500 miles and was originally equipped with a single British warhead. A midlife improvement for the missile, Polaris A-3TK, replaced the single warhead with six Chevaline multiple independently targetable warheads of 150 kilotons each.
The first submarine, HMS Resolution, was laid down in 1964 and commissioned in 1967, followed by Repulse and Renown, commissioned in 1968, and the aptly-named Revenge in 1969. Resolution first successfully launched a missile off the coast of Florida in February 1968.
In the early 1980s, it became clear that the Resolution class would eventually need replacement. Despite the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet threat, London held firm and built all four ships. The UK again decided to build its own submarines and outfit them with American missiles. The result were the four Vanguard-class submarines: Vanguard (commissioned in 1993), Victorious (1995), Vigilant (1996) and Vengeance (1999). Vanguard carried out her first Trident II missile firing in 1994, and undertook her first operational patrol in 1995.
At 15,000 tons displacement, the Vanguards are twice the the size of the Resolution class that preceded them. Although each submarine has sixteen launch tubes, a decision was made in 2010 to load each sub with just eight American-built Trident II D-5 submarine launched ballistic missiles. The Trident II D-5 has a range of 4,600 miles, meaning it can strike targets across European Russia with ease. Each D-5 carries eight multiple independently targetable warhead 475 kiloton thermonuclear warheads, giving each submarine a total of thirty megatons of nuclear firepower.
UK missile submarine crews, like their American counterparts, maintain two crews per boat to increase ship availability. Under a program known as Continuous At Sea Deterrence (CASD) at least one submarine is on patrol at all times, with another coming off patrol, another preparing for a patrol and a fourth undergoing maintenance. According to the Royal Navy, CASD has not missed a single day in the last forty-eight years without a submarine on patrol.
In 2016, the Ministry of Defense announced the next generation of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, dubbed Successor, would be the Dreadnought class. The Royal Navy will builds four Dreadnought-class subs, each weighing 17,200 tons, with construction beginning in September 2016. Each will have twelve missile tubes instead of sixteen, and the subs will recycle the Trident II D-5 missiles from their predecessors. The Dreadnought boats are expected to enter service in the 2030s and have a thirty-year life cycle. The ministry expects the new submarines to cost an estimated $39 billion over thirty-five years, with a $12 billion contingency. The introduction of the third generation Dreadnought class will provide the UK with a powerful strategic deterrent until the 2060s and possibly beyond.

Obama’s Great Betrayal (2 Kings 25)


Obama chose dishonor, and Israel will have war

Iran is taking over Syria. The distant enemy is coming closer. The US is out of the picture. Those who put their trust in the new world sheriff, Donald Trump, have to admit he appears to be far more concerned with the American media than the Iranian imperialism. That is who he is.
The world’s sheriff is not whoever has more power—the United States has a lot more—but whoever uses the power he has.
Netanyahu had to go to Vladimir Putin this week again for another round of talks with the Russian leader during his vacation in Sochi. It’s not clear whether Putin is going to stop the Iranian threat. It is clear, however, that he’s the only one there is any point in talking to.
ISIS has been defeated on the ground. Over the last year, its fighters have been pushed out of Mosul in Iraq, and in the coming year, probably, they’ll also be pushed out of Syria’s Raqqa, the caliphate’s capital. The problem is that the alternative for ISIS on the ground—Iran and Hezbollah—is just as bad.
The strengthening and spreading of Iran’s influence were made possible, inter alia, because of the nuclear deal. European nations were quick to court the country that got Barack Obama and John Kerry’s stamp of approval. Most of the sanctions were lifted. Europe rushed to renew the massive deals and oil purchases. In the five months that followed the sanctions’ removal, Iranian exports—excluding oil—grew by $19 billion. The oil production soared from an average of 2.5 million barrels a day during the sanctions to close to 4 million barrels a day in recent months. The billions increased accordingly.
Many of the heads of Israel’s defense establishment, unlike Netanyahu, determined the nuclear deal was the lesser of evils. Its advantages, they claimed, outweigh its shortcomings.
I’m afraid they were wrong. The Iranian threat was twofold: Both the development of nuclear weapons and regional subversion. It is possible there is a temporary waning of the first threat. The second threat, meanwhile, continues growing. Iran is stirring the pot: it has militant affiliates in Yemen; it is fighting in Iraq and turning it into a protected state; Syria is also becoming a protected state; and Lebanon, for a long time now, has been under the control of Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah.
Between Iran and Israel there is a growing, ever expanding territorial corridor under Iranian control, and the Shiite nation is planning on building a sea port in Syria, perhaps an airport as well. This didn’t happen because of the nuclear agreement, but there is no doubt the nuclear agreement served to bolster Iran and its expansionist aspirations.
Obama and Kerry managed to mislead the international community in general—and the American public in particular—by claiming the alternative to the agreement was war. That’s not true. The alternative was continuing and the sanctions and imposing additional, harsher sanctions. Only then, it might have been possible to deal with both threats. Now, it is too late.
Most of the time, Netanyahu’s conduct was appropriate. He was among those who pushed for the sanctions on Iran. He spurred the international community into action. But at some point, something went wrong. Netanyahu became a nuisance. Instead of showing a little more flexibility on the Palestinian issue, in order to get more on the Iranian issue, he made himself the American administration’s enemy on both matters. The result was a complete failure. Iran’s nuclear capabilities were not curbed, and Tehran is now turning into a regional power. Chamberlain, said Winston Churchill, was “given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.” As time goes on, it becomes all the more apparent Obama has chosen dishonor. Iran is becoming a world power, and Israel might pay with another war.

Korea is not a Shia Horn (Daniel 8:8)

Tillerson Suggests North Korea May Soon Be Ready for Talks

Gardiner Harris and Eileen Sullivan

A military parade celebrating the 105th birthday of North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-sung, in Pyongyang in April. Wong Maye-E/Associated Press
WASHINGTON — In some of the most conciliatory remarks to North Korea made by the Trump administration, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson complimented the government in Pyongyang for going more than two weeks without shooting any missiles or blowing up any nuclear bombs.
“I’m pleased to see that the regime in Pyongyang has certainly demonstrated some level of restraint,” Mr. Tillerson said, suggesting that the brief pause in testing may be enough to meet the administration’s preconditions for talks.
“We hope that this is the beginning of the signal we’ve been looking for,” he said, adding that “perhaps we’re seeing our pathway to sometime in the near future of having some dialogue. We need to see more on their part. But I want to acknowledge the steps they’ve taken so far.”
That was the carrot. As for the stick, the Trump administration announced new sanctions against China and Russia on Tuesday as part of its campaign to pressure North Korea to stop its development of nuclear weapons and missiles.
The two moves are part of the Trump administration’s dual-track strategy for taming the nuclear threat from North Korea — ratcheting up economic pressure on the government through sanctions while simultaneously offering a diplomatic pathway to peace.
That second approach has gradually softened in recent months. In his first trip to Seoul, South Korea, in March, Mr. Tillerson appeared to make North Korea’s surrender of nuclear weapons a prerequisite for talks. At that time, he said that negotiations could “only be achieved by denuclearizing, giving up their weapons of mass destruction,” and that “only then will we be prepared to engage them in talks.”
In recent months, he has suggested that Pyongyang only had to demonstrate that it was serious about a new path before talks could begin, suggesting that a significant pause in the country’s provocative activities would be enough. And three weeks ago, he went out of his way to assure the North’s leaders “the security they seek.”
Then, a little more than two weeks ago, the United Nations Security Council passed its toughest sanctions yet against North Korea. And the next day, Mr. Tillerson met with his counterparts in South Korea and China in an effort to increase pressure on Pyongyang.
The United Nations sanctions were already starting to have an impact curtailing trade in China and infuriating Chinese seafood importers, who had to return goods to North Korea.
Mr. Tillerson’s remarks Tuesday were particularly noteworthy because they were made in a news conference that was otherwise devoted to discussing the Trump administration’s new approach to the war in Afghanistan.

Graphic

Can North Korea Actually Hit the United States With a Nuclear Weapon?

Six systems that North Korea needs to master to achieve a long-sought goal: being able to reliably hit the United States.
OPEN Graphic
There is fierce debate in the administration over what course to take with North Korea — and whether a combination of diplomatic outreach and military threats would change North Korea’s current direction. Tension between the United States and North Korea has escalated over North Korea’s recent missile tests. Most intelligence assessments have concluded that the North has no incentive to begin negotiations until it demonstrates, even more conclusively than it has in recent weeks, that its nuclear weapon could reach the United States mainland.
But Mr. Tillerson’s diplomatic outreach has been repeatedly undercut by President Trump’s bellicose rhetoric, including a threat to unleash “fire and fury” against North Korea if it endangered the United States.
The new sanctions issued by the Treasury Department affect six individuals and 10 organizations with financial ties to Pyongyang’s weapons program. They represent a gradual increase in pressure on China, which has long frustrated the United States for economically supporting the regime in Pyongyang. Some 90 percent of North Korea’s trade is with China.
“It is unacceptable for individuals and companies in China, Russia and elsewhere to enable North Korea to generate income used to develop weapons of mass destruction and destabilize the region,” Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said in a statement on Tuesday.
In June, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on a Chinese bank, a Chinese company and two Chinese citizens to crack down on the financing of North Korea’s weapons program, the first set of secondary sanctions against North Korea that directly targeted Chinese intermediaries.
“I think it’s a significant action by the Trump administration,” Anthony Ruggiero, a senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a nonprofit group in Washington, said of the new round of sanctions.
Tuesday’s actions appeared to be part of a larger campaign to pressure individuals, businesses and countries with financial ties to North Korea, said Mr. Ruggiero, a former official in the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes at the Treasury. “It looks like the beginnings of a broad pressure campaign,” Mr. Ruggiero said.
Among the Chinese companies sanctioned on Tuesday is Mingzheng International Trading Limited, considered by the Treasury Department to be a “front company” for North Korea’s state-run Foreign Trade Bank, which has been subject to American sanctions since 2013.
In June, United States prosecutors accused Mingzheng of laundering money for North Korea and announced that the Justice Department would seek $1.9 million in civil penalties.
The new United States sanctions address how other nations tolerate North Korea’s behavior, particularly China, said Elizabeth Rosenberg, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington.
“These sanctions expand the U.S. blacklist for companies tied to North Korea’s economic activity and are designed to curb the hard currency available to Pyongyang,” Ms. Rosenberg said in an email. “I think we should expect more sanctions of this nature, including more designations to highlight the role of China to enable North Korea’s illicit aims.”

The US is Responsible for the Iran-Korea Alliance

Iran Lobby Blames US for North Korea / Iran Collaboration

editor-m

By INU Staff
INU – While the regime in Tehran tried to divide the Arab world, the Iran lobby sought to shift blame, no matter what U.S. administration was in office or which political party controlled Congress.
Whether the transgression was its human rights violations, wars in neighboring countries, or the arrest of dual-national Iranians, U.S. policy was blamed. The opium trade was attributed to Afghanistan. U.S. sanctions were blamed for the miserable economic conditions.
Recently, an editorial by Reza Marashi of the NIAC appeared in Haaretz, which warned the U.S. from using the North Korean threat as a tie-in to Iran. “First, conflating Pyongyang and Tehran is troublesome for an obvious reason: One has the bomb, and the other does not,” wrote Marashi.
President Hassan Rouhani told Iranian lawmakers this week that Iran could walk away from the nuclear deal and restart its nuclear program in a “matter of hours” and bring a weapon to fruition in short order, although, according to the Iran lobby, the gap between North Korea’s and Iran’s nuclear capabilities was supposedly to be years apart. Marashi claims that American policies in confronting other regimes with nuclear ambitions, such as Libya and Iraq, have motivated the Iranian regime to work harder to build their nuclear program.
Marashi also ties the Trump administration’s decision to kill the Transpacific trade deal and pull out of the Paris climate change agreements to Iran’s mistrust of the U.S. on the nuclear deal, and says that the North Korea deal was doomed to failure, because the U.S. had no intention of allowing North Korea to develop a nuclear capability. He claims that this makes Iran believe the U.S. is similarly disingenuous with its deal. Marashi wrote, “If Trump corrects course and fully implements Washington’s JCPOA obligations, the risk of Tehran pursuing Pyongyang’s path is slim to none. The longer he continues violating the terms of the deal, the more likely it becomes that Iran resumes systemically advancing the technical aspects of its nuclear program – without the unprecedented, state-of-the-art monitoring and verification regime currently in place.”
The “state-of-the-art monitoring” Marashi cites is not actually meaningful monitoring. The nuclear deal’s agreement prohibits international inspectors from accessing many of Iran’s military bases and allows collection of soil samples only after extensive scrubbing and removal of topsoil, which is then handed over to inspectors by Iranians.
Still, most importantly, the connection between Iran and North Korea is the missiles. North Korea escalated Iran’s ballistic missile program by licensing its technology and providing upgrades, improvements and technical advice.
North Korea now has powerful missiles that are capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
Iran and North Korean exchange technical data, and news reports of the potential for Iranian scientists working in North Korea to learn its manufacturing processes for building nuclear warheads for its missiles are increasing.

North Korea Is Not Our Real Enemy


North Korea’s leader holds fire on Guam missile launch
Al Jazeera
North Korea’s leader received a report from his army on plans to fire missiles towards Guam and said he will watch the actions of the US before making a decision to fire, North Korea’s official news agency said on Tuesday.
Kim Jong-un ordered the army to be ready to launch should he make the decision for military action.
North Korea said last week it was finalising plans to launch four missiles into the waters near the US Pacific territory of Guam, and its army would report the attack plan to Kim and wait for his order.
Kim, who inspected the command of North Korea’s army on Monday, examined the plan for a long time and discussed it with army officers, the official KCNA agency said.
“He said that if the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions on the Korean Peninsula and in its vicinity, testing the self-restraint of the DPRK, the latter will make an important decision as it already declared,” it said.
The DPRK stands for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
North Korea’s threat to attack near Guam prompted a surge in tensions in the region last week, with US President Donald Trump warning he would unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea if it did so.
Christopher Hill: US and North Korea in a ‘propaganda spat’
Kim said the US should make the right choice “in order to defuse the tensions and prevent the dangerous military conflict on the Korean Peninsula”.
The visit to the Korean People’s Army Strategic Force marks Kim’s first public appearance in about two weeks.
Trump spoke to Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, late on Monday to discuss North Korea.
“President Trump reaffirmed that the United States stands ready to defend and respond to any threat or actions taken by North Korea against the United States or its allies, South Korea and Japan,” a White House statement said early Tuesday.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday there would be no military action without Seoul’s consent and his government would prevent war by all means.
“Military action on the Korean Peninsula can only be decided by South Korea and no one else can decide to take military action without the consent of South Korea,” Moon said in a speech to commemorate the anniversary of the nation’s liberation from Japanese military rule in 1945.
“The government, putting everything on the line, will block war by all means,” Moon said.
North Korea is angry about new UN sanctions over its expanding nuclear weapons and missile programme and annual military drills between the US and South Korea beginning later this month that North Korea condemns as invasion rehearsals.
Guam braces for planned North Korea missile strike
A Guam official said he was “ecstatic” as North Korea appeared to back away from its threat.
“There doesn’t appear to be any indication, based on what we’re hearing, that there will be any missiles attacking in the near future or in the distant future,” Lieutenant-Governor Ray Tonorio said.
Jim Mattis, US defence secretary, warned on Monday the US military would be prepared to intercept a missile fired by North Korea if it was headed to Guam.
Mattis said that the US military would know the trajectory of a missile fired by North Korea within moments and would “take it out” if it looked like it would hit the US Pacific territory.
“The bottom line is, we will defend the country from an attack. For us that is war,” Mattis said.
Richard Broinowski, former Australian ambassador to Seoul, told Al Jazeera from Sydney on Tuesday that there was no real threat of war.
“Kim Jong-un is not stupid. He’s led his country for a number of years now, and he’s done well. There’s a lot of bluster and hyperbole,” he said. “On the part of the US, we have a president who is unschooled and unskilled in diplomacy. But he’s surrounded by people who are.”
He also said that the solution was direct talks without conditions between the US and North Korea.
“It’s been tried before and it needs to be tried again,” said Broinowski.

The Iran Korea Connection (Daniel 8:4)

Pay no attention to that mullah behind the curtain, the North Korean regime implicitly orders the world as they keep ramping up missile tests, increasing the volume of bellicose rhetoric and crafting their four-missile plan for attacking Guam.
Sure, Iran and North Korea — along with another of their toxic allies, Russia — were partners as targets of the nearly unanimous sanctions that recently sailed through Congress. But they’re partners in so many ways — other than both holding U.S. hostages — from the weapons trade to circumvention of sanctions that every action coming out of Pyongyang needs to be weighed in broader context of the Iran relationship, and even as a test run of Iran’s ultimate ambitions for its own weapons capability.Iran is almost living vicariously through North Korea’s horn-locking with the Trump administration, engaging in weapons-grade trolling with state media loving the story and underscoring that Pyongyang is simply moving to protect the DPRK from unbridled U.S. aggression — the same convenient argument that Tehran makes to justify its own provocative actions.And there are early indications that Iran plans to act like Kim Jong Un’s war room — in the campaign sense, at a minimum — during Pyongyang’s testing of UN and Washington fortitude. A day before Kim’s Guam threat, the semi-official Fars News Agency ran a retrospective on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in which they defended most nuclear countries including North Korea: “So much is said every day about nuclear weapons and threats from nuclear-armed states, but that one historic fact remains among all the blather,” went the piece. “For all the talk, only America has dropped the bomb.” Iran is paying close attention to the untested dynamics of a new world order in which the Patton-admiring President of the United States vacillates in a love-disappointment relationship with China, has nary a bad word to say about the Kremlin, comes to loggerheads with NATO allies and may or may not call quits on the Iran nuclear deal.
While North Korea tests the system by wagging its rogue nuclear power, Iran wants to know how the globe reacts. And this observation isn’t happening in a vacuum, as Iran, North Korea and the rest of their friends take notes on how their axis can hoodwink our allies.
Because theirs is a long-term relationship, they also have the motivation to move closer to each other in not only fighting the Great Satan but in worrisome financial and military bonds.
On Aug. 3, the No. 2-ranking official in North Korea, president of the Supreme People’s Assembly Kim Yong Nam, arrived in Tehran for a 10-day visit, longer than many honeymoons and suspected to be chock-full of meetings on how the two can widen cooperation in a range of fields and battle sanctions hand-in-hand.
Pyongyang just opened an embassy in Tehran to, as the state-run Korean Central News Agency declared, “boost exchanges, contacts and cooperation between the two countries for world peace and security and international justice.”
They’ve already had a share-and-share-alike relationship when it comes to missile technology, with Iran’s Shahab-3 intermediate-range ballistic missile capable of striking Israel almost mirroring the North Korean No Dong 1 — and Pyongyang, in the line of nefarious hand-me-downs, likely borrowed their engine technology from Russia.
Iran was an investor in the No Dong before it even went to the testing ground. This long-running “you do the research, we provide the cash” marriage is basically tailored for a post-P5+1 deal world: Iran rakes in the dough from lifted sanctions, continues their ballistic missile program that wasn’t included in the deal, and has extra cash from above board or under the table to send North Korea’s way for continued nuclear development and testing that will be shared with Tehran in the end.
To avert a potentially devastating conflict, the State Department is dangling the offer of conditional talks with North Korea. And Iran would be an invisible yet powerfully influential presence in the negotiating room.
Johnson is a senior fellow with the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center and D.C. bureau chief for PJ Media.

CIA Correct: No War with Korea (Daniel 8)

https://img.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_1484w/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2017/01/12/Others/Images/2017-01-12/image12.JPG?uuid=c5tcXNjqEeag5tUC1nUbyACIA’s Pompeo says no ‘imminent’ threat of nuclear war

CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Sunday defended President Trump’s tough rhetoric toward North Korea and praised the administration for “uniting the world” in trying to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula while making clear there is no intelligence that shows a nuclear war is “imminent.”
“There’s nothing imminent,” Pompeo told “Fox News Sunday.” “There’s no intelligence indicating we’re on the cusp of a nuclear war.”

Pompeo praised the efforts of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in getting China and Russia to join in a unanimous U.N. vote recently to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea, amid the country’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
Trump last week said North Korea would be met with “fire and fury” if leader Kim Jung Un followed through on a threat to execute a missile strike on nearby Guam, a U.S. territory with an American military base.
Despite calls for Trump to tone down the rhetoric and end the back-and-forth with Kim, the president continued to make his point, saying Friday that the United States military is “locked and loaded.”
Pompeo said Sunday, “The president made clear to the North Korea regime how America will respond if certain actions are taken.
“We are hopeful that the leader of the country will understand [Trump’s remarks] in precisely the way they were intended, to permit him to get to a place where we can get the nuclear weapons off the peninsula. …. That’s the best message you can deliver to someone who is putting America at risk.”
The director also dismissed talk from those in previous administrations who suggested the Trump White House was surprised by a news report that North Korea now has a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can be put on an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the U.S.
“It doesn’t surprise me that those who came before us were surprised; they did nothing,” Pompeo said.

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.