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August 15th
9:38 PM
Via

Gunmen Have Attacked And Entered Kamra Air Base In Pakistan, Thought To House Nuclear Weapons - Business Insider

pieceinthepuzzlehumanity:

Gunmen have attacked and entered a Pakistan air force base, according to Reuters. The target is the Kamra Air Base, located around 40 miles outside Islamabad. The attacked is believed to be conducted by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) — reports in the Pakistan press have suggested they were planning attacks in retaliation for upcoming military action. A three hour gun battle is reportedly raging between security guards and attackers.

[Read More]

March 25th
12:31 PM

The False Debate About Attacking Iran

Nicholas Kristof »

There really isn’t such a debate. Or rather, it’s the same kind of debate as the one about climate change — credible experts are overwhelmingly on one side…

So as we hear talk about military action against Iran, let’s be clear about one thing. Outside Netanyahu’s aides and a fringe of raptors, just about every expert thinks that a military strike at this time would be a catastrophically bad idea. That’s not a debate, but a consensus.  >continue<

March 20th
2:24 PM
Via
crisisgroup:

We are deeply concerned about all the loose talk regarding a possible military attack on Iran because of the growing uncertainty over parts of its nuclear program.
Not only would such an attack be a clear violation of the charter of the United Nations. It could have severely negative repercussions across the region and be counterproductive to the very objectives it would seek to achieve.
…
A military attack against Iran risks igniting a period of confrontation across the region with consequences that no one can fully predict. The turmoil could end up producing several nuclear-armed states in what is probably the most volatile area of the world. And there could be war both with and within the Muslim world.
The argument is not only about giving diplomacy a chance. It is about recognizing that diplomacy is the only alternative for those seeking a lasting and sustainable solution to the Iran nuclear issue and peace in the region. The other options are recipes for war and in all probability a nuclear-armed Iran.
The recent report by the International Crisis Group has described the options on the table. Diplomacy requires determination and patience. But most important of all, it requires the recognition that it is the only option we have.
FULL ARTICLE (The New York Times)
Photo: NASA Goddard Photo and Video/Wikimedia Commons

crisisgroup:

We are deeply concerned about all the loose talk regarding a possible military attack on Iran because of the growing uncertainty over parts of its nuclear program.

Not only would such an attack be a clear violation of the charter of the United Nations. It could have severely negative repercussions across the region and be counterproductive to the very objectives it would seek to achieve.

A military attack against Iran risks igniting a period of confrontation across the region with consequences that no one can fully predict. The turmoil could end up producing several nuclear-armed states in what is probably the most volatile area of the world. And there could be war both with and within the Muslim world.

The argument is not only about giving diplomacy a chance. It is about recognizing that diplomacy is the only alternative for those seeking a lasting and sustainable solution to the Iran nuclear issue and peace in the region. The other options are recipes for war and in all probability a nuclear-armed Iran.

The recent report by the International Crisis Group has described the options on the table. Diplomacy requires determination and patience. But most important of all, it requires the recognition that it is the only option we have.

FULL ARTICLE (The New York Times)

Photo: NASA Goddard Photo and Video/Wikimedia Commons

March 5th
1:30 PM

We Can Live with a Nuclear Iran

Paul Pillar »

Fears of a bomb in Tehran’s hands are overhyped, and a war to prevent it would be a disaster.

…Thus we find ourselves at a strange pass. Those in the United States who genuinely yearn for war are still a neoconservative minority. But the danger that war might break out—and that the hawks will get their way—has nonetheless become substantial. The U.S. has just withdrawn the last troops from one Middle Eastern country where it fought a highly costly war of choice with a rationale involving weapons of mass destruction. Now we find ourselves on the precipice of yet another such war—almost purely because the acceptable range of opinion on Iran has narrowed and ossified around the “sensible” idea that all options must be pursued to prevent the country from acquiring nuclear weapons.  >continue<

A scholarly long read well worth attention. The dangerously unexamined notion that Iran cannot be allowed to possess nuclear weapons continually reasserts itself in a building siren song. An 'existential threat to Israel' gets assumed as a given in what looks like a charade to deflect attention from the real worry, potential threats to Western influence and de facto control over the Persian Gulf. And as this dubious line falls into the trap of taking itself too seriously, feverishly pressing Iran on all fronts, ironically it becomes harder to imagine any Iranian’s capacity to ascertain a rational argument for not acquiring nuclear weapons.

The present amplitude and velocity of war talk enjoins the highest duty to vigorously question whole networks of assumptions.

March 2nd
9:17 PM
Dear President Obama: Listen to the Israelis, not the LikudJuan Cole&#160;&#187;

&#8230;The poll shows that the vast majority of Israelis does not think that  their government should strike Iran without the support of the United  States.  It shows that only about half of Israelis think that the result  of such a strike would be a delay in Iran’s nuclear program lasting  more than a couple of years, and 12% believe it would accelerate the  program.  A fifth think it would have no effect at all.
&#8230;As for their preference for a US president, Barack Obama has a slight  lead among Israeli Jews over Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, and a big  lead over Rick Santorum and Ron Paul.  Given that all the GOP candidates  but Paul have virtually joined the Likud Party and committed verbal  genocide against the Palestinians, it is remarkable how little swayed  Israeli Jews have been by these extravagant positions.  Obama remains  relatively popular with Israeli Jews, not despite his commitment to a  peace process rejected by the Likud government but because of it. &gt;continue&lt;

Although public opinion (at least in the US) often has little to do with either rationality or truth, it appears to say something when large numbers of Israelis harbour doubts - even up against the supposed &#8220;existential threat&#8221; posed by Iran.

Dear President Obama: Listen to the Israelis, not the Likud
Juan Cole »

…The poll shows that the vast majority of Israelis does not think that their government should strike Iran without the support of the United States. It shows that only about half of Israelis think that the result of such a strike would be a delay in Iran’s nuclear program lasting more than a couple of years, and 12% believe it would accelerate the program. A fifth think it would have no effect at all.

…As for their preference for a US president, Barack Obama has a slight lead among Israeli Jews over Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, and a big lead over Rick Santorum and Ron Paul. Given that all the GOP candidates but Paul have virtually joined the Likud Party and committed verbal genocide against the Palestinians, it is remarkable how little swayed Israeli Jews have been by these extravagant positions. Obama remains relatively popular with Israeli Jews, not despite his commitment to a peace process rejected by the Likud government but because of it. >continue<

Although public opinion (at least in the US) often has little to do with either rationality or truth, it appears to say something when large numbers of Israelis harbour doubts - even up against the supposed “existential threat” posed by Iran.

February 23rd
3:24 PM
Via

In Heavy Waters: Iran’s Nuclear Program, the Risk of War and Lessons from Turkey

The dramatic escalation in Israel’s rhetoric aimed at Iran could well be sheer bluff, a twin message to Tehran to halt its nuclear activities and to the international community to heighten its pressure to that end. Or not. As Israel sees it, the nuclear program represents a serious threat; the time when Iran’s putative efforts to build a bomb will become immune to a strike is fast approaching; and military action in the near future – perhaps as early as this year – therefore is a real possibility. While it is widely acknowledged in the West that war could have devastating consequences, and while U.S. and European efforts to restrain Israel are welcome, their current approach – ever-tightening economic sanctions designed to make Tehran bend – has almost no chance of producing an Iranian climb­down anytime soon. Far from a substitute to war, it could end up being a conduit to it. As 2012 begins, prospects of a military confrontation, although still unlikely, appear higher than ever.

The nuclear talks that appear set to resume could offer a chance to avoid that fate. For that to happen, however, a world community in desperate need of fresh thinking could do worse than learn from Turkey’s experience and test its assumptions: that Iran must be vigorously engaged at all levels; that those engaging it ought to include a larger variety of countries, including emerging powers with which it feels greater affinity; that economic pressure is at best futile, at worse counterproductive; and that Tehran ought to be presented with a realistic proposal. If it is either sanctions, whose success is hard to imagine, or military action, whose consequences are terrifying to contemplate, that is not a choice. It is an abject failure.

The picture surrounding Iran, rarely transparent, seldom has been more confusing or worrying. One day Israel issues ominous threats, hinting at imminent action; the next it announces that a decision is far off. Some of its officials speak approvingly of a military strike; others (generally retired) call it the dumbest idea on earth. At times, it appears to be speaking openly of a war it might never wage in order to better remain silent on a war it already seems to be waging – one that involves  cyber-attacks, the killing of Iranian nuclear scientists and mysterious explosions. U.S. rhetoric, if anything, zigs and zags even more: the secretary of defense devotes one interview to listing all the catastrophic consequences of war and another to hinting a military confrontation cannot be ruled out. President Barack Obama, among others, appears seriously resistant to the idea of yet another Middle East war, yet keeps reminding us that all options are on the table – the surest way to signal that one particular option is…

FULL ARTICLE (International Crisis Group)

February 4th
11:13 AM

Israel prompts fears over Iran strike, cites looming 'immunity zone'

Bloomberg »

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said yesterday that Israel must consider conducting “an operation” before Iran reaches an “immunity zone,” referring to Iran’s goal of protecting its uranium enrichment and other nuclear operations by moving them to deep underground facilities such as one at Fordo, near the holy city of Qom.

…U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta declined to comment directly on a report by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius that Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June. Panetta and other U.S. officials have repeatedly warned Israel not to act alone.  >continue<

Is Israel preparing to attack Iran?  |  Persistent drum beat

January 23rd
12:25 PM

Nuclear Spending ~ How much?

According to one estimate, the United States currently spends over $50 billion per year on maintaining and upgrading a nuclear weapons force of 5,000 nuclear weapons and weapons related programs. These costs could increase in light of the Obama administration’s plan to spend at least $200 billion over the next decade on new nuclear delivery systems and warhead production facilities.

For example, the Navy plans to spend around $110 billion to build a new fleet of nuclear-armed submarines. The Pentagon estimates the total cost of building and operating the new submarine at nearly $350 billion over its 50 year lifespan. The Air Force also intends to spend $55 billion on procurement of 100 new bombers and an unknown sum on new land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Additionally, the National Nuclear Security Administration plans to spend $88 billion over the next decade to refurbish existing nuclear warheads and rebuild the factories that make key nuclear warhead parts.  >link<

What is the “Triad”?  |  Bloated Nuke Budget

January 17th
6:17 PM
Via

Iranian Official: Students switch major to nuclear science after assassination

acalc:

Counter-terrorism…? Oh, that’s what it means.

Unless Iran assassinated its own scientist as part of a plot, then the list of suspects is fairly clear. Allegedly, according to the article, over 1000 Iranian students have decided to pursue nuclear science in the wake of the assassination/state-sponsored terror act. Now, who knows if that really happened. Regardless, nothing good will come from this heavy-handed approach of blowing up scientists—even if you believe a nuclear-equipped Iran is no good for that region or the world. It sounds plausible to me and is consistent with the human spirit that students would do this. And they’re probably getting even more incentive to do so.

January 11th
3:00 PM

Iran Hype undermined by Obama Administration Admissions

Juan Cole »

The announcement of the Iranian government that it will activate its Fordow nuclear enrichment site has predictably drawn forth a new round ofwar propaganda from the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In contrast, the Chinese media accurately report Iran’s affirmation that the new site will be subject to UN inspections and so is perfectly legal.

Ironically, what Clinton says is diametrically opposite from the repeated assurances given by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, that Iran is not trying to construct a nuclear warhead. True, he put it in a misleading way, saying that Iran
“is not yet building a bomb,” as though it is only a matter of time. But in order to build a bomb, Iran would have to deny access to UN inspectors and, well, initiate a program to build a bomb. That it has not done so is covered up in mainstream US political and journalistic discourse, to the point where the NYT had to apologize for stating (contrary to Panetta) that Iran has a nuclear weapons program (it does not, as far as anyone can tell).

And now, it turns out, the Obama administration is even willing to admit the truth. The sanctions regime on Iran is not even primarily about the civilian nuclear enrichment program (to which Iran has a right under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty), but about causing the regime to collapse.(Apparently the appearance in print with its admission of illegal motives provoked a sharp set of phone calls and a revision of the statement to merely a collapse of the nuclear program. I believe WaPo got it right the first time.)

I think blockading a civilian population for the purpose of instituting regime change in a state toward which no authorization of force has been issued by the UN Security Council may well be a war crime. Even advocating a war crime can under some circumstances be punishable, as happened at the Nuremberg trials.  >continue<

7:53 AM
Via

Another nuclear scientist killed in Iran

mohandasgandhi:

A university lecturer and nuclear scientist has been killed in a car explosion in north Tehran, reports say.

Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, an academic who also worked at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, and another unidentified person were killed in the attack.

Several Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated in recent years, with Iran blaming Israel and the US….Both countries deny the accusations.  >continue<

Color me surprised.

Western forces may be dismantling nuclear program from within

Covert war in Iran?

January 8th
7:45 PM
Via
cultureofresistance:



Panetta: Iran Not Building a Nuclear Weapon




Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta appears on CBS’ Face the Nation this morning and declared, despite enormous public rhetoric among pundits and many US government officials - not to mention GOP presidential candidates, that Iran is not currently trying to build a nuclear weapon. &gt;continue&lt;

cultureofresistance:

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta appears on CBS’ Face the Nation this morning and declared, despite enormous public rhetoric among pundits and many US government officials - not to mention GOP presidential candidates, that Iran is not currently trying to build a nuclear weapon. >continue<

January 5th
5:27 PM

Iran’s growing state of desperation

Fareed Zakaria »

Iran’s nuclear program is making progress. This is inevitable: Nuclear technology is 70 years old; Iran has a serious scientific community, and it sees a nuclear program as an emblem of national security and pride. But do we think of North Korea as strong and on the rise because it has a few crude nuclear devices? (It is worth pointing out to those, such as Gingrich, who see regime change as the “solution” that Mousavi and other leaders of Iran’s Green Movement strongly support its nuclear program and have criticized Ahmadinejad for giving away too much in his offers of negotiations with the West.)

…[hardball force] risks building up pressures that could take a course of their own — with explosive consequences. The price of oil is rising during a global slump only because of these political risks. Without a carefully considered strategy, these risks will grow. Weak countries whose regimes face pressure can sometimes cause more problems than strong nations.  >continue<

12:34 PM

"President Gerald Ford signed a directive in 1976 offering Tehran the chance to buy and operate a U.S.-built reprocessing facility for extracting plutonium from nuclear reactor fuel. The deal was for a complete &#8216;nuclear fuel cycle&#8217;." At the time, Richard Cheney was the White House Chief of Staff, and Donald Rumsfeld was the Secretary of Defense. The Ford strategy paper said the "introduction of nuclear power will both provide for the growing needs of Iran&#8217;s economy and free remaining oil reserves for export or conversion to petrochemicals."

- Nuclear Program of Iran, the 70&#8217;s

"President Gerald Ford signed a directive in 1976 offering Tehran the chance to buy and operate a U.S.-built reprocessing facility for extracting plutonium from nuclear reactor fuel. The deal was for a complete ‘nuclear fuel cycle’." At the time, Richard Cheney was the White House Chief of Staff, and Donald Rumsfeld was the Secretary of Defense. The Ford strategy paper said the "introduction of nuclear power will both provide for the growing needs of Iran’s economy and free remaining oil reserves for export or conversion to petrochemicals."

- Nuclear Program of Iran, the 70’s