Monday, October 13, 2014

As Deadline Nears, Iran Lays Out Impossible Red Lines For Nuclear Talks

Some six weeks before the conclusion of crucial nuclear talks between P5+1 world powers and Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a Twitter feed he is believed to operate, posted a graphic laying out 11 non-negotiable “red lines,” beyond which his country’s negotiators would, presumably, not budge.
“During the past year, Ayatollah Khamenei, in line with his support for the Iranian negotiators, has also stressed on the Iranian nation’s rights and has called it necessary to observe the red lines in the course of the nuclear talks,” the infographic, which was posted on Sunday, said.
The talks with the P5+1 include the U.S., Britain, France, China and Russia – the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany.
The list, essentially, rules out any agreement acceptable to the west, and particularly, Israel.
In September, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said Iran missed an August 25 deadline, by which time Tehran was obligated to clarify five issues connected to developing nuclear weapons.
The tweet comes days after a reports surfaced of a mysterious massive blast and fire which gutted parts of the Parchin nuclear facility, some 30 kilometers southeast of Tehran. Western analysts believe the site conducted high-explosives tests, connected with developing triggers for nuclear weapons.

On October 1, at a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of the danger of leaving Iran with nuclear capabilities.
“Iran seeks a deal that would lift the tough sanctions that you worked so hard to put in place and leave it as a threshold nuclear power,” Netanyahu told Obama during a press conference before their private meeting in the Oval Office. “And I firmly hope under your leadership that would not happen.”
Speaking at the UN General Assembly on September 29, Netanyahu declared that “The Islamic Republic is now trying to bamboozle its way to an agreement that will remove the sanctions it still faces and leave it with a capacity of thousands of centrifuges to enrich uranium. This would effectively cement Iran’s place as a threshold military nuclear power. And in the future, at the time of its choosing, Iran, the world’s most dangerous regime, in the world’s most dangerous region, would obtain the world’s most dangerous weapons.”
Dissidents have said in recent days, that some of the weapons research work that was carried out at Parchin, has been transferred elsewhere.
Watch Israeli Ambassador Ido Aharoni of Israel’s Consulate General in New York talking about foiling Iran’s nuclear plans:

America's plans to fight Islamic State are in ruins as the militant group's fighters come close to capturing Kobani and have inflicted a heavy defeat on the Iraqi army west of Baghdad.

The US-led air attacks launched against Islamic State (also known as Isis) on 8 August in Iraq and 23 September in Syria have not worked. President Obama's plan to "degrade and destroy" Islamic State has not even begun to achieve success. In both Syria and Iraq, Isis is expanding its control rather than contracting.

Isis reinforcements have been rushing towards Kobani in the past few days to ensure that they win a decisive victory over the Syrian Kurdish town's remaining defenders. The group is willing to take heavy casualties in street fighting and from air attacks in order to add to the string of victories it has won in the four months since its forces captured Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, on 10 June. Part of the strength of the fundamentalist movement is a sense that there is something inevitable and divinely inspired about its victories, whether it is against superior numbers in Mosul or US 
airpower at Kobani.

Unfortunately for the US, Kobani isn't the only place air strikes are failing to stop Isis. In an offensive in Iraq launched on 2 October but little reported in the outside world, Isis has captured almost all the cities and towns it did not already hold in Anbar province, a vast area in western Iraq that makes up a quarter of the country. It has captured Hit, Kubaisa and Ramadi, the provincial capital, which it had long fought for. Other cities, towns and bases on or close to the Euphrates River west of Baghdad fell in a few days, often after little resistance by the Iraqi Army which showed itself to be as dysfunctional as in the past, even when backed by US air strikes.
The battle for Anbar, which was at the heart of the Sunni rebellion against the US occupation after 2003, is almost over and has ended with a decisive victory for Isis. It took large parts of Anbar in January and government counter-attacks failed dismally with some 5,000 casualties in the first six months of the year. About half the province's 1.5 million population has fled and become refugees. The next Isis target may be the Sunni enclaves in western Baghdad, starting with Abu Ghraib on the outskirts but leading right to the centre of the capital.

Even though Islamic State militants in Syria have no aircraft to speak of, the US’s top military commander says establishing a no-fly zone may be part of the campaign. Such a move is what US allies, including Turkey, have been pressing for.

Earlier, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel indicated that there was a possibility for a no-fly zone in Syria, as per Ankara’s request.

A no-fly zone is reportedly a condition Turkey set for a more direct engagement against the Islamic State militants, who have been fighting against Kurdish militias in northern Syria since last month.
On Sunday, officials confirmed to AP on condition of anonymity that Turkey agreed to all US and other coalition members to use Turkish air bases, including Incirlik Air Base in the south, to launch sorties into Syrian territory. Access to Turkish bases is something that Washington has been seeking for the bombing campaign against IS (also known as ISIS, or ISIL).
Establishing a no-fly zone, however, would make US justification for the campaign even shakier than it is now. The Obama administration used post-9/11 extraordinary powers to go after Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria without Congressional approval. But the Islamic State is technically no longer part of Al-Qaeda after splitting from the terrorist network and pursuing its own goal of establishing an fundamentalist Sunni caliphate in part of Iraq and Syria.

Internationally, the US-led military campaign is also in murky legal waters. Washington didn’t bother to get a UN Security Council resolution to use force in Syria, and rejected the idea of asking for the approval of the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad. Some countries, including Iran and Russia, have argued that the US is just a hair’s breadth away from an illegal invasion of a sovereign nation on the pretext of fighting terrorism.
A no-fly zone would be aimed against the Syrian army, not Islamic State, which the US and its allies accuse of war crimes against civilians. The US has pledged to train and arm Syria rebel forces that are trying to overthrow Assad’s government, but are not hard-core Islamists like the IS, which is also challenging Assad’s rule.
Going up directly against Damascus in Syria is likely to fuel suspicion that the campaign against Islamic State is just a pretext for forcing Assad out of power. Russian experts note that when NATO received a UN mandate to enforce a no-fly zone in Libya in 2011, it went on to decimate Muammar Gaddafi’s armed forces, which left the country ripe for a takeover by Islamist forces.

Chief NBC foreign correspondent Richard Engel said that there were “enormous contradictions in the U.S. strategy” against the Islamic State and that IS (also ISIS or ISIL) was “not degraded at all.”

Engel said the Obama administration’s strategy of suddently “inspiring” the Iraqi army to fundamentally change was “completely unrealistic.”

“The Iraqi army is in no better shape now than when it collapsed,” Engel told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd. “The new government is not instilling confidence in the people. It’s not instilling confidence in the armed forces. The U.S. spent years and years and billions of dollars to build the Iraqi army only to watch it collapse and hand over so many of its weapons.”

Reporting from Irbil, Engel noted that coalition airstrikes forced IS militants to “shift gears” temporarily to focus on Kurdistan, but now the terrorist army is once again marching toward Baghdad as they were in the beginning of the summer of 2014.

“They do not seem to be degraded at all,” Engel said. “Now ISIS is once again focused on Baghdad. [The airstrike campaign] is having an impact in that it has forced ISIS to change their target somewhat, but it’s certainly not slowing down the group.”

video apparently shot and uploaded by Arab activists Sunday night, showing multiple launches of fireworks at Maale Hazeitim, is making the rounds on Facebook. Maale Hazeitim is a Jewish neighborhood on the Mount of Olives, overlooking the Temple Mount.

Local terrorists also attacked Maale Hazeitim around 3 p.m. last Friday,targeting Jewish residents with fireworks and rocks.

The fireworks caused a fire in the nearby brush, which spread quickly but was extinguished by the residents and private security guards before the fire department showed up.
Ten days ago, local terrorists attacked a day care center in further testimony to the ongoing "silent intifada" in the capital.
Three weeks ago, a school bus was attacked with rocks and paint, almost causing it to veer off the road, in what residents report is a constant ongoing reality of attacks on the same buses at the same locations which police somehow are unable to prevent.

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