An anonymous U. S. senior official, speaking about Israeli P. M. Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu and Iran’s nuclear program, quoted by Jeffrey Goldberg in TheAtlantic:
“It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”
Not to be confused with another senior U. S. official who called Bibi “a chickenshit.”
I would say it wasn’t just our pressure on Bibi, but also our assurances, which today look pretty hollow.
To me, the scariest thing right now is not Ebola or ISIS, but that we seem to be on the verge of doing a disastrous deal with Iran.
The deadline for nuclear talks with Iran was supposed to be tomorrow, July 20. In exchange for holding off on further sanctions, President Obama swore up and down to Congress that this was a firm deadline.
Now the deadline has been extended till November 24, which means Iran blithely continues its path to a nuclear weapon. What does Iran need most? Time. What did they just get? Time.
Look, if they had a delay of a week or two, that would be one thing. It would show they were close to a deal. (Whether it would be a smart deal for us is a different issue, but not one we face today.) But a four–month extension shows that we have nothing, that we’re just spinning our wheels, while they spin their centrifuges.
November 24 gets Obama past the mid-terms and to Thanksgiving when no one will be paying attention when they announce further failure and, God forbid, another absurd extension.
I am someone who would like to get out of Afghanistan yesterday, in terms of attempting to bring democracy or even stability to that medieval hellhole.
But today’s front-page story in the NYT* convinces me that we need to leave some troops. Without them, we can’t have our drone bases, which means we can’t reach Al Qaeda targets in Pakistan’s frontier region and we’ll have a much bigger challenge if (when?) there’s a nuclear weapons crisis in Pakistan.
OK, you’ve scared me enough. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has so far refused to sign the agreement for us to leave troops beyond the end of this year. Just wire the money he wants into his Swiss bank account and let’s be done with it.
“Afghan Exit Is Seen As Peril To Drone Mission,” David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt
From “How Iran, Putin and Assad Outwitted America,” David Keyes, TheDailyBeast:
“Historians will look back at the present moment with astonishment that Iran so skillfully outwitted the West. They will note the breathtaking naivete of American and European officials who let a brutal theocracy undermine Western interests throughout the Middle East. At one of Iran’s most vulnerable moments, America threw the mullahs a life-line; an ill-conceived nuclear deal coupled with a complete inability to stop Syria, Iran’s closest ally, from continuing to slaughter enmasse. …
“[Iranian foreign minister Mohamed] Zarif’s mission to Moscow quells any lingering hopes that Russia can be seduced away from Syria or Iran. Putin has made a simple calculation: Assad will protect his interests better than anyone. Russia, in turn, has made it clear that it will prop up Syria’s tyrant and their Iranian backers at almost any cost. …
“Iran, Syria and Russia appear to be the strong horses of the Middle East. Assad slaughters with impunity because he knows that no one will actually stop him. Russia knows it can get away with backing Syria and Iran, because who is ready to pay the price to stop it? …
“It is no surprise that Iran’s mullahs are gloating that they outwitted the West with the recent nuclear deal. They did. Our sincere and overwhelming desire for peace clouded a sober reading of Iran’s intentions. …
“In this Middle Eastern proxy war, it often seems that only one side is actually fighting. Russia is pouring massive sums of money and arms into Syria to prop up Assad. …”
I know we’re all enthralled by Christie’s bad motives in closing down those lanes, but the big story is Obama’s good intentions in paving this road to Hell.
Iran’s chief negotiator on the nuclear agreement, Abbas Araqchi, says that there is an informal side deal to the formal agreement between Iran and the six other powers (the U. S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China), which he called a nonpaper.
The State Department says that there is no such secret agreement. I’m going with Araqchi on this one.
Araqchi seems very happy with the results of the negotiation: “No facility will be closed; enrichment will continue, and qualitative and nuclear research will be expanded. All research into a new generation of centrifuges will continue.”
I predict that this whole thing is going to blow up and be a disaster for the Obama administration in the latter half of 2014.
Both the U. S. and our enemy Shiite Iran are on the same side in Iraq — supporting Shiite al-Maliki against Sunni Al Qaeda.
To a large extent, our frenemy Maliki brought his Anbar province troubles on himself by mistreating the Sunnis there and creating an opening for Al Qaeda. Now he’s struggling to get the Sunni tribal leaders to turn against Al Qaeda and turn back to him, hoping they hate his guts a little less.
The violence spreading out from Syria shows that the Mideast right now is just fighting the Sunni-Shiite battle that’s been going on since the seventh century. At this moment, it’s led by Saudi Arabia and Iran fanning proxy wars, just as the U. S. and Russia had their client states during the Cold War. The Sunni Saudis are trying to fight both the Shiites and Al Qaeda, a monster they helped create. Good luck with that.
We have to fight Al Qaeda and its affiliates, and we have to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons, which would lead to Saudi Arabia’s getting nuclear weapons. Resolving the Sunni-Shiite thing? Fuhgeddaboudit.
The Defense Department has upgraded its “bunker buster” bombs to the point that it is confident we would not just damage, but destroy Iran’s underground nuclear complex at Fordow. * These 30,000 pound bombs are Massive Ordnance Penetrators (MOPs).
We have shared video with the Israelis to convince them that we can now destroy the site . Israel could merely damage the complex, probably setting Iran back a couple of years or so. Israel doesn’t have MOPs or the aircraft to deliver them.
The main issue with Israel is not convincing them we can destroy Fordow, but that we will.
Our intention is to wait until after Iran’s elections in June, to see if they will lead to diplomatic progress. I don’t see the point of this — it’s not as if the elections will be free and fair, they will be fixed just like previous elections. I don’t see what’s going to change.
The MOPs would also be very useful against North Korea. I’m not looking for war, but neither Iran nor North Korea is looking for peace. We never should have allowed North Korea to get nuclear weapons, and we can’t allow Iran.
“U. S. bulks Up to Combat Iran,” Adam Entous and Julian E. Barnes, WSJ
Israel and the U. S. have a new arms sales agreement. It does not include the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, the so-called bunker-buster bomb, that might destroy Iran’s nuclear enrichment site at Fordo, which is a couple of hundred feet beneath a mountain.
Israel would not be able to use the bunker buster with its existing aircraft, since the thing weighs 30,000 pounds. It would need a B-2 stealth bomber. We’re not selling them one of those either.
We are providing them advanced refueling tanker planes that Bush 43 refused to sell them, as well as missiles that can take out an enemy’s air defense system. Both would be necessary for an attack against Iran.