Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Valley Of Decision : Iran Crosses The Nuclear Threshold

While the West continues to slumber, Iran has crossed the nuclear threshold to 20% enrichment, the minimum needed for a nuclear bomb. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plans to announce it in February, during the celebration of the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

In contrast to the bogus 2007 NIE on Iran, both the German BND and French Intelligence have revealed that the Iranians never actually stopped their illegal clandestine program and are well on their way to functional nuclear weapons. According to a widely circulated report in Germany's well-respected Der Spiegel, Iran's plans are well advanced and a secret military branch of Iran's nuclear research program that answers to the Defense Ministry called FEDAT, an acronym for the "Department for Expanded High-Technology Applications" is involved in the construction of a nuclear warhead for Iran's solid fuel versions of its Shahab missiles:

The Iranians are believed to have conducted non-nuclear tests of a detonating mechanism for a nuclear bomb more than six years ago. The challenge in the technology is to uniformly ignite the conventional explosives surrounding the uranium core -- which is needed to produce the desired chain reaction. It is believed that the test series was conducted with a warhead encased in aluminum. In other words, everything but the core was "real." According to the reports, the Tehran engineers used thin fibers and a measuring circuit board in place of the fissile material. This enabled them to measure the shock waves and photograph flashes that simulate the detonation of a nuclear bomb with some degree of accuracy. The results were apparently so encouraging that the Iranian government has since classified the technology as "feasible."

Ahmadinejad's announcement was essentially the Mullah's response to the latest plan the West proposed, with Iran shipping its uranium to Turkey or Russia for enrichment in exchange for various economic inducements. The Iranians initially signaled interest in the plan, ate up some more time and then finally rejected it in a blatantly obnoxious fashion.

The EU response on January 25th was to essentially refuse to enact sanctions on Iran themselves, but to refer the entire mess to the UN Security Council.

Because of China and Russia's vetoes, any response there will likely be some watered down sanctions that mean absolutely nothing, if that. That will enable the parties to look like they're accomplishing something while business continues as usual, especially for a number of European countries like Germany and Italy whom are major trading partners of Iran.

The sanctions of course were always simply an excuse for holding talks about talks while doing absolutely nothing.That's what they were designed for, and that's what's been going on now for six years - six years - while the centrifuges have continued to turn and Iran has continued to fortify its nuclear sites and improve its weapons technology while being surprisingly open about its ultimate intentions.

And what of the United States? President Obama's idea of action involves mild, 'targeted sanctions' that avoid impacting Iran's major point of vulnerability - refined fuel imports. I

Starting with the famous 'unclenched fist', our amateur president's actions have been a major force in emboldening the mullahs.

After setting a September 2009 deadline for major sanctions Obama simply did nothing and kicked the can down the road until the end of December...after which he did absolutely nothing again.

Instead, we were treated to continuous rounds of useless diplomacy that was always destined to fail because the Chinese and the Russians made it clear that they were never going to come on board.They said so repeatedly.

For that matter, even the administration must know that the idea of sanctions is a charade. Real sanctions that might make a difference would involve a naval and air blockade of Iran, military action Obama is obviously not comfortable with.

President Obama wasn't even willing to do or say anything to exploit the internal unrest in Iran over the elections. In the streets of Tehran and Isfahan,the Iranian protesters repeatedly chanted slogans asking Obama if he was with them or with the regime.Our president's response was to vote 'present' and make sure the mullahs knew they had a free hand.

Meanwhile Iran took over Lebanon through their proxy Hezbollah and re-armed them in blatant disregard of UNSC 1701, the Iran backed Shi'ite Alliance has pushed Iraqi PM Maliki out of their coalition and look to take over Iraq in the next elections and Iran continues to foment violence and terrorism all over the region, even against our troops in Afghanistan.

Our president's response to all this? Absolutely nothing. In fact, Administration figures are still talking about 'engagement' and 'sanctions'!

If Obama actually wanted to help along a resurgent Iran armed with nuclear weapons, he could scarcely have done better. And so far, there's absolutely no sign whatsoever he intends to change course.

In later years, our posterity will marvel at how the West slept and allowed Iran to develop into the threat it has become the same way we marvel at how passive the West was to the rise of Hitler. As for Obama, if things continue as they are an entire generation of Americans faced with the pain and the fallout of having to deal with a nuclear armed Iran and its terrorist proxies will treat him with a visceral contempt not even seen after Richard Nixon resigned.

The one bright spot in this dismal picture remains Israel,who has never lost sight of Iran as the existential threat that it is and retains both the will and the means try to do something about it.

It would be one of the supreme ironies of history if Israel, the despised Jew among nations manages to stop Iran's headlong rush to Armageddon and save the West as well as the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama,the most anti-Israel president America has ever had.


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Anonymous said...

May G--, truly, in his infinite mercy, help us. We have Captain Queeg as our commander. An even better metaphor might be the RMS Titanic. It's already the night of 14th April 1912, but the captain's crew are still lining up the deck chairs. A ' One Step Beyond ' episode I watched 45+ years ago enumerating sundry premonitions haunts me still.


Anonymous said...

Strange, passing thought : Zero = Don Giovanni, the creepy charmer & wooer of the girls ( & media fools ) ; Israel = the hapless Leporello, performing all the dirty work, particularly clean up, for an ungrateful, unappreciative boss.

Clean up = Iran.


Freedom Fighter said...

That's why I love it when you drop by, DD. Zero as Don Giovanni! Che lastima!

However,I would not characterize Israel as Leporello.

To continue the opera metaphor, Zero could be characterized as the feckless Pasha, who can't even sing but who rules as a tyrant and attempts to enslave and destroy Konstanza's virtue, but is foiled in the end.

Rahm Emanuel as Osmin,perhaps?


Anonymous said...

Un'idea eccellente ! Un suggerimento eccellente ! ( An excellent idea ! An excellent suggestion ! )

The casting of Rahm Emmanuel as Osmin is inspired. I had to sleep on the question as to which opera was more apropos as an analogy.

Don Giovanni has what I hope is a prescient analogy for Zero's political career in the 2012 Prez election in the opera's denouement. Very Gotterdammerung. Also, I did contrive to include both Israel & Iran in that analogy.

But yours is better (migliore), for your analogy managed to include a direct Mahometan note &, above all else, the casting of E R as Osmin. That is hysterically funny.

I bestow upon you the corona di fiore ( the winner's garland of a 'crown of flowers' ). Go forth & do mighty deeds.

I have to admit that I'm more in the Verdi & Puccini camps for opera, and, for classical non-operatic music, I'm more in the 3 Bs' camp : Beethoven, Brahms, & Bach ( & baroque music ). But that's immaterial to the discussion.

Must run. Mostly for business reasons, but also because I've plumbed the depths of my Italian. I think I've used all the Italian which I can recall save for one word ... Ciao !


Freedom Fighter said...

Molte grazie, Drago/Dinosauro.

I've always liked opera, once I actually got exposed to it as an adult.

I draw the line at listening to Wagner or Richard Strauss. Too much of the smell of burning flesh and death about them.


Anonymous said...

I think the two whose names you broached are overrated : W is too pompous, pretentious. Also, opera should be in Italian.

In my youth, when I prepared for a visit to a country whose language I had never studied, I should memorise a number of useful & polite phrases : please ( per favore ), thank you ( grazie ), & c.

I was, one day, travelling, & conversing in my beginner's Italian, with a couple of nice Italian kids in Italy whom I had first met that very morning, &, at one point, one of them said something & then asked a question. The first part about the hot weather I understood perfectly, but the second part I misunderstood as a question about stopping to rest & cool off. ' Un suggerimento eccellente ! ' I chirped. They burst into laughter. ' Sorry, ' I said, accidentally reverting to English, ' my Italian is bad. ' ' Do you mean... ' one of the girls smiled in astonishment, ' I mean, are you American ? ' ( I nodded abashedly. ) She continued, ' We thought you were from rural place & had bad accent ! We did not want to be rude & ask, but we are wondering for these hours. I was saying "very hot day , & you are suffering from allergies, yes?"

I'll always love the Italians. ' Un suggerimento eccellente ! '

Public Television ( PBS )used to broadcast opera regularly till circa the 1970s.


Freedom Fighter said...

Opera should be in Italian? Including Carmen, Boris Gudenov, Moses und Aaaron and the Magic Flute, among others? OK, just jerking you around a bit DD!

I refuse to listen to Wagner and Richard Strauss because Wagner was an inspiration for the Nazis and Strauss actually was one.

I loved your Italian story,BTW.

Anonymous said...

1)Of course, I was kidding. I love Carmen, & my late mother used to hum the Carmen aria ' oiseau rebelle ' ( ' rebel bird ' ) whilst driving. It was her favourite song ' by a mile ' . ( Yes, we were the very weirdest Euro-centric American Indians which you can imagine . )

I even have visited the Pere Lachaise cemetery & have left a flower ( rose sometimes, carnation sometimes ) at the Bizet memorial as a memorial act for my mother on occasion. It's an extraordinarily beautiful place. There should be a ' grave ' accent ( completely accidental pun ) borne ( another accidental pun ) by the first e in Pere, but I haven't the foggiest notion how to order the computer to create it.

2)Looked up Strauss quickly in a couple of my encyclopedias & also checked round on-line ( being careful to mistrust anything at the wacko-pedia site ! ). He had a Jewish ' librettist ' ( correct spelling ? ), a Jewish daughter-in-law ( Alice ), & Jewish grandchildren. It sounds like the National Socialists were blackmailing S into co-operation. Parents will do anything to secure the safety of their children, their in-laws, & grandchildren.

3)People continually mistook me for a Northern Italian. Apparently, I picked up the habit of adding an -s to my nouns for plurals in Milan, & c. This is the normal fashion in the Northern third of Italy & Switzerland. The vowel-change plurals are the norm in central & Southern two-thirds & Standard Italian. Also, I towered above a lot of the Southern Italians with my height. I had to keep explaining that I was an American.


Anonymous said...

PS : I'm going to be speaking later this week w/ an old friend who has a lot of academic background in 1900s European history. I'll ask re this (S).

And I'll ask about the plurals (she's originally from Italy), for, the more I think about it, the more I think that I misremembered, & it wasn't pluralised that way in Milan, but something else was definitely occurring : vowels different to the South ? & the terms & verbs ? I can't recall now. It has been a long while. I do recall that the Northern third had a markedly different set-up. But if there are any Italian language specialists reading : yes, that s use ends to the west of Milan, doesn't it ?

Northern Spain, Southern France, & Northern Italy are a wonderfully mixed linguistic melange (& blur!) to me.

If you didn't receive the first message, then this really won't make any sense at all !


Freedom Fighter said...

I've heard Pere Lachaise is absolutely beautiful but like the 'above ground' cemeteries in New Orleans it can be a bit dangerous because of the criminals looking to prey on tourists.

From what I understand about Richard Strauss, he was an enthusiastic supporter of Hitler. Certainly he could have voted with his feet and left Germany has he wanted to, as Marlene Dietrich, Thomas Mann, Ernst Maria Remarche and a host of other German non-Jews did. This is especially true if he had Jewish relatives he cared an internationally known composer, he would have had no problem getting he and his family out, IMO.

The German response to fascism closely parallels the response of Muslims to Islamism, I think. I call it the 20-60-20 formula, and I've mentioned it on the site before..

Twenty percent of the Germans were likely active supporters of Hitler and his regime and another 20% or so were appalled by it and reacted in various ways, including leaving.

60% were prepared to go along with the flow. When Hitler was winning, they were perfectly happy to take advantage of the spoils...including having Cousin Hans the parteigenosse put in a word with the local gauleiter about taking over the Cohen's grocery or nice little vacant house since the Cohens had been 'relocated' to Dachau or points east, or enjoying being able to get a promotion to take over Professor Meyer's place at the local university since he wasn't teaching there any more and it was such a shame to see such a nice position go to waste.

It's the same with jihad. 20% or so are actively supporting it or engaged in it, 20% are horrified and the other 60% are prepared to lean towards or against it depending on who's winning.

That's why it's so important to stop it forcefully now.


Anonymous said...

1) Agreed : pickpockets galore ! Go in a group !

2) I accept your evaluation. You are a very thorough investigator.

3) Even worse : by Nov 1932, they were voting in the 33 % range directly for the National Socialists & 12 % for the Roman Catholic Centre Party (allies) ; by March 1933, 44 % were for the National Socialists & 11 % were for the Centre Party. By that time, a clear majority of Germans were just plain evil. (44 % + 11 % = 55 % .)

4) Agreed ! Whatever it takes.


Soccer Dad said...

It would be one of the supreme ironies of history if Israel, the despised Jew among nations manages to stop Iran's headlong rush to Armageddon and save the West as well as the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama,the most anti-Israel president America has ever had.

I figure the world will be just as grateful as it was after Israel set back Saddam Hussein's nuclear ambitions nearly 30 years ago.


Anonymous said...

( Post 1 ) Sunday, 7th February 2010, Updating from dragon/dinosaur. To JP : my apologies for my protracted absence from this site ( more than a week ), but this past week has seen an avalanche of business paper-work. ( Business is Business. ) I have not forgotten my pledge to up-date you, ( a Promise is a Promise, ) &, having spoken with my old friend, just yesterday, I shall continue & resume. She is a treasure trove of historical data regarding Europe, & she speaks at a meteoric clip. I had to capture her thoughts by means of Mercurial note-taking. Please forgive a stream-of-consciousness flavour to this post, but I'm regurgitating quite a quantity of info via my notes & my recollection. ( And I'm very tired & typing very quickly. Well, quickly for me. ) Virtually everything in this post is her view. There will be split posts for clarity's sake. ( Cor ! This is like home-work ! )
-----1st, let us examine the composer S swiftly & speedily. She doesn't like him any more than you do ; however, she cautions that the ( Austrian ? ) daughter-in-law may have refused any travel overtures from her father-in-law residing in Germany. She might have had elderly parents unwilling to leave. S accepted, in 1933, a position from the National Socialists, but he ' resigned ' ( sc, was forced out, ) in 1935 & lived with his daughter-in-law thereafter. S was, quote, ' declared cleared by the Allied Munich enquiry tribunals/courts in 1948 ', end of quote. ( I don't know your opinion apropos of those. ) Sounds like Heidegger.-----That's all she knows. Candidly, she despises all Germans & Austrians, particularly Austrians. ( I believe that it is an historical, family-inherited hatred. ) To her, they are either Nazis or Ratzis. Enough of S.

Anonymous said...

Sunday, 7 February 2010 ( 2d post from d/d )-----Next item : she has completely disentangled me from my misrememberings re the Northern Italian dialects & ' Separate Languages ' . She is Sherlock Holmes + Prof Henry Higgins. She tested me by speaking several words & phrases in Latin & English which had Standard Italian identical-base-root equivalents. She couldn't help laughing when I was responding in my ' Italian ' , for I had quite a hodgepodge/hotchpotch of accents, incorporating particularly Milan & Venice.-----Northern Italians admit some vowels which they have in common with the French, but these vowels are altogether absent & missing for Standard Italian. Sure as the Sun rises at Dawn in the East, I invariably resorted to these French & Northern Italian vowels whenever they put in an appearance in the Northern Italian languages & French ( which is why she did not speak any French : she did not wish to bias or prejudice me. English & Latin lack these vowels. ) I have just said languages : she speculates that I may have been speaking different languages : Milanese, Venetian, & c. No wonder people were smiling amusedly : I was travelling down the spine of Italy ' speaking in tongues ' ! -----She solved my s plural mystery by enquiring after my itinerary. I normally travelled first from West to East : Milan ( il duomo, the Galleria, the Last Supper ), other cities, Venice ( canals, gondole/gondolas, Piazza San Marco/St Mark's Square ) , then Aquileia in the furthest North-East, then I travelled South-wards down the spine of Italy. This was the ' King Dollar ' era : if you scrimped & saved, your powerful American dollars could take you places ! When I mentioned Aquileia, she said, ' That's it ' . She then spoke several words & phrases in what sounded like Spanish. The plural nouns terminated in s ; however, it was not o-s, but i-s. It was the language of Friuli.-----So the s plural wasn't a figment of my imagination & poor memory ; however, I know that I wasn't speaking that language in the South. The regular Italian paradigm of singular a becoming e in plural, & singular o becoming i in plural would be automatic for me ( Latin singular a becomes plural ae, & Latin singular us becomes plural i ). It does explain my confusion. That & the passage of years. Next : The Agony Of Aquileia.

Anonymous said...

Sunday, 7th February 2010, 3d post from dragon/dinosaur : -----Finally. Aquileia. ( Hereafter, this is purely me. ) I once wrote a paper about it some donkey's years ago ( at this site, I should, perhaps, say ' elephant's years ago ' ), & I once wrote a column about it. It is a profoundly sad, heart-rending, heart-wrenching, historic set of sites. Whenever I was in Italy, I dedicated as much time to Aquileia, the tiny town, as I should for the famous Milan or Venice or Rome or the Amalfi Coast. At least 3 days.-----It's only a small town, maybe a thousand people, in our actual time. But once she was a mighty city of hundreds of thousands. This is her story : ----- The Gauls were the 1st to try to to found a settlement there in 183 BC, but the power of Rome had already grown too great. In 181 BC, Aquileia was formally founded by a detachment of 3,000 soldiers & their families. It grew quickly into a great city. Emperors from the 1st one, Augustus, regularly holidayed there. The Emperor Diocletian & the Emperor Constantine are also known to have loved the city. As of AD 400, it was one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire & in the world. Aquileia's population was in the hundreds of thousands. I believe that she was the 4th largest city in the entire Empire.-----Aquileia received a scare when Alaric the Goth ( or Visigoth ) attacked the city twice unsuccessfully in 401 ( some people fled in 401 & literally pounded wood into the nearby lagoons, thereby founding Venice, the eldest daughter of the Roman Empire, ) & 408, but was safe till 452. ---In 451, the Roman General Aetius, allied with Theodoric I, King of the Visigoths, defeated Attila the Hun at the Battle Of The Catalaunian Fields ( or Battle Of Chalons ) in NE France. The most conservative ancient estimate is that 162,000 people died, including Theodoric. But Aetius, nominally the winner, either could not pursue Attila, or had intended that Attila & the Huns should be used as a counter-weight against the Germans, the Romans' dangerous, long-term enemies. If so, it was perhaps the greatest blunder of the Empire's history. The Roman soldiers, horrified by their own losses, simply melted away.-----In early April 452, Attila & the Huns besieged Aquileia. For more than 3 months, Aquileia held out against the attacks of hundreds of thousands of Huns. On the 18th July 452, the walls were breached & Aquileia fell. Hundreds of thousands of people were murdered. Attila not only destroyed the city, he levelled it to the ground so thoroughly that it was unfindable when people searched only a few years later. Next : conclusion.

Anonymous said...

Final post ( I promise ) : She rebuilt, but she was attacked again in 568 by the Lombards. In 590, she was destroyed again by the Lombards. She could never get an even break.-----In 1031, a new, but simple, basilica was constructed on the site of the ancient one. It is Romanesque & utilitarian, but, inside, you will find priceless mosaics from the early 300s original. You can even view some of the vestiges of the evil Attila's 452 vandalism. The Via Sacra which runs from Via Roma, next door to the Basilica/Cathedral, runs along the ancient port quays. Lombardy poplars line the route. You can observe massive foundations for the buildings of a great city. You can observe the Romans' own dock stairways. It always haunts me, that walk. There should be a great city there. The walk ends at Via Gemini. I wonder if that campground is still there.--- I am always looking for historical parallels,analogies, metaphors. It is an idee fixe, an obsession, with me. I wonder if perhaps America + the West might not be running a course parallel to the Romans. In which case, the terrorists might be the modern Huns. The Red China which we have known for the past 30 years might be analogous to the Germany of the 1800s : nationalistic, proud, belligerent, economically rising at a meteoric velocity. Maybe the good ( ie, non-destructive, ) Germans of our actual time are the Mexicans. They are already here.----- I don't think we're at the 400s level, but I do think that for the past 35 years we have been in the equivalent of a post - Marcus Aurelius, post - 181, post - Golden Age era.----- But if we don't wake up & deal with Iran & the modern Huns, we might just end up facing another set of Dark Ages. I fear that Soccer Dad is correct & that Israel will end up being scapegoated if she addresses this Iran problem.-----I've managed to bring this thread ( now a scarf ) full circle back to Iran ! I'll presently catch up with your articles by reading speedily, but then I might not be able to return, owing to business, for some time. I apologise for the length, but I've not had time to make it shorter. I promise not to write so voluminously in the future, but we were discussing Italy. Oh, I have taken the guided, escorted tours to the cemeteries ( they've solved St Swithin's dilemma ) in New Orleans, but those council estates/housing projects nearby were scary! Have to run. Have I covered everything ? C'est tout ? Je crois que oui. -----Arrivederci ! -- dragon/dinosaur

Freedom Fighter said...

So, Aquileia was sort of the gateway between Illyria and Northern Italy? I'd heard of it before as one of the cities on the Adriatic that eventually, like Padua, became Venice, but was unaware of it's complete cultural/historical importance.

Needless to say, I found your information fascinating, but then, your talking to someone who read Gibbon at sixteen! I found an old, but handsomely bound copy of his history of Rome moldering in my high school library that had last been checked out about 12 years ago.

And I concur with your remarks about America. We will either reaffirm our Republic or become Rome as people understand that the party of demos ( the mob) is in danger of destroying the country's security and well being and finally decide that shelving this democracy stuff and listening to a man on a white horse with a few answers is preferable to societal suicide.

RE: The Donkey/Elephant conundrum...I have no great love or loyalty for the Republican a matter of fact, I come from a long line of Democrats, including my mother, who is normally a delegate to the state convention when her health allows.

However, as a sensible man, a patriot and a lover of liberty, what realistic alternative that exists is found almost entirely in the GOP and that's almost always where I vote.

I have a proposition for you, DD that might prove entertaining for you. I'd appreciate you e-mailing me at the address given on this site, so I can run it by you.

And no, it does not involve giving up your precious anonymity.


Anonymous said...

Monday, 15th Feb 2010, Updating from dragon/dinosaur. To JP : -----1) Hoping you are on the mend. You are in my prayers. -----2) apropos of last topic : sorry, very busy, strictly backstage -----3) you are also a reader of Gibbon ?! you were also reading him as a youth ?! My earliest reading of Gibbon was a public-library copy. My parents soon gave me a paperback edition ( 1,000 + pp ) as a birthday gift/present. I bought & read a 2- or 3-volume paperback edition in the 1970s ( ? ) or 1980s. The Decline & Fall Of The Roman Empire helped me to learn the English language. -----4) vis-a-vis antique locution ' donkey's years ' : I'm sorry ; it's merely an expression from bygone days signifying ' long ago ' ( no political signification ).
Back in a tick for part 2. --d/d

Anonymous said...

Monday, 15th Feb 2010, Part 2, from d/d. -----I note that in my haste that I neglected to mention the aftermath for Attila The Hun & the Western Roman general Aetius. -----The Eastern Roman Emperor, Marcian, hearing of the anarchy in the West, sent Eastern reinforcements. That, combined with an epidemic & the paucity of food, induced Attila to return to Hungary in 452. In early 453, he took another wife, Ildico. At the wedding festivities, he became intoxicated. Later that night, he insulted Ildico, & she punched him in the nose, thereby giving him a nosebleed ( early grrrl power; atta, girl ! ). He drowned in a pool of his own blood that same night ! -----Aetius returned from the Battle Of Chalons ( Catalaunian Fields ) to public jubilation & celebration, but when, in 454, he visited his emperor, Valentinian III, in the Western Empire's capital of Ravenna, the jealous emperor stabbed Aetius to death with a sword. ( I have to say that the Western Romans need to rethink their officer incentives programme because, at this rate, they're not going to be round for very much longer ! ) A few months later, Aetius' friends returned the favour & killed the Western Emperor. No one was ever punished.

Finally, I'm going to be gone for almost a month to a minor something which is being held during this month ( as you are in sunny Southern Cal, you're probably not familiar with it ). I've been invited to do some translation by a company associated with the company which I'm a junior partner in. They were so eager to obtain me that they're paying us so that our company can hire a temp to fill in for me whilst I'm gone. Coincidentally, I was about to take a holiday for a couple of days there, anyway, & they have agreed, as part of the deal, to allow me to keep those days as a holiday. I was very flattered. I leave on Wednesday. -----I hope that you will recover. Please do everything the doctor & your wife tell you. Hope to be back reading you in perhaps mid-March, circa Ides time. -- d/d