Saturday, April 4, 2015

In The News: 'Iran Deal Could Ignite Mideast Firestorm', Russia In Arctic Region, 'Dirty War' On Yemen, ISS Moving Towards Damascus, California Drought

Alan Dershowitz: Iran Deal Could Ignite Mideast Firestorm

[What he doesn't appreciate, or at least write about, is the fact that the "10-year" situation is irrelevant - Iran will continue their nuclear progress regardless, in a covert manner]

If it turns out that the proposed accord with Iran allows Tehran to construct a nuclear bomb in 10 years – by abiding by all the conditions until then – it is sure to ignite a firestorm among surrounding nations, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said Friday on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum."

"Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Egypt, Jordan will not accept the deal and will say they're not bound by the deal and they have an option to do what they think they have to do to protect the survival of their own countries," he said.

"We all hope it doesn't come to any kind of a military option being exercised, but if the choice is between Iran getting a nuclear weapon and Iran being prevented from getting a nuclear weapon, obviously the prevention, whatever it takes, is preferable by at least the countries who are most directly in danger. Of course, the United States is also in danger because of the ICBM." 
The public needs clarification about whether it's "a 10-year deal or a 15-year deal or a 25-year deal," he continued.

"It sounds to me like it's a 10-year deal, which if it's complied with legally, Iran is entitled legally to start to develop a bomb in 10 years. If so, that's not a good deal. It's just a postponement, kicking the can down the road, and creating a game-changer, to quote the president's own words."
Congress has two options to step in, he said.

"One is to simply not withdraw the sanctions. That doesn't require any votes, that just requires nothing to be done. And the other is to try to pass a statute that requires a veto-proof majority, which probably is not available right now."

The US State Department rejected over the weekend Israel’s demand that any final deal with Iran on its nuclear program include recognition of Israel’s right to exist, saying that was not the issue at hand.
“This is an agreement that is only about the nuclear issue,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters on Friday night, according to Fox News. “This is an agreement that doesn’t deal with any other issues, nor should it.”

Meanwhile the New York Times reported that the White House was already making intense efforts to sell the emerging deal to a reluctant Congress, in order to prevent legislators from blocking the accord.

Since the deal was announced on Thursday senior members of President Barack Obama’s staff, including Vice President Joe Biden, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, have been phoning their colleagues in the House and the Senate as well as Jewish lobbying groups to convince them of the agreement’s merits, the Times reported.

A bipartisan bill being advanced in the Senate, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, would require any final agreement with Iran to be submitted to Congress for a 60-day review period before congressionally mandated sanctions on Iran could be waived or suspended by the president. Chiefly supported by Republicans, the bill has also gained some key backing from some Democratic lawmakers.
Obama has promised to veto the bill, saying it could wreck the nuclear accord and isolate the US in an intransigent position. The bill’s success or failure rests, therefore, on Republicans’ ability to sway Democrats to their camp in order to secure a veto-proof majority.
Following the announcement by Iran and six world powers that they had reached a framework for a final nuclear deal, to be finalized by June 30, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he and his government were united in “strongly opposing” the agreement.

However, it appears unlikely Israel will be able to prevent the final deal amid broad international support for such an agreement.

Despite a negotiated understanding with Tehran on the nuclear issue, the US is still going ahead with its missile defense installations in Europe, being deployed over a perceived threat from “nuclear Iran” – a pretext which Moscow called a “fairytale.”

“The threat to NATO countries posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles continues to increase… the framework [of the Iran nuclear program] agreement does not change that fact,” NATO’s spokeswoman Oana Lungescu told Sputnik.

Russia’s deputy Prime Minister and a former representative of Moscow to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, was quick to react saying that despite the understanding reached in Switzerland, the controversial missile shield in Europe stays because “the Missile Defense System was never about Iran.”

Washington for years insisted that the missile defense system was intended to protect against potential missile threats from rogue elements such as Iran and North Korea. Russia strongly objected to new unilateral military installations by NATO and proposed the creation of a joint security system, but Washington rejected the idea.
Meanwhile the head of the Russian State Duma Foreign Relations Committee Aleksey Pushkov has called the official American explanation for placing the missile defense system in Europe a “fairytale.”

“NATO won’t give up on the missile shield in Europe? Who would have thought it! These fairytales about a ‘treat’ from Iran and North Korea were for idiots. Now NATO doesn’t even have these fairytales,” Pushkov said on Twitter.
Some political analysts agree with the Russian officials’ assessments.

Russia’s permanent representative to NATO Alexander Grushko said earlier that NATO’s decision to strengthen its eastern borders are changing the military and political situation in Europe. Such a buildup poses a great risk for Russia, unbalancing a strategic parity, and will be taken into account in military planning.

The alliance recent moves violate the Russia-NATO Founding Act, under which NATO agreed not permanently station “substantial combat forces” near the Russian border in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich said this week.

Russia sees the recent actions as additional proof that NATO is still an anti-Russian military bloc that has taken advantage of the Ukrainian conflict, using it as a pretext for a military build-up in Eastern Europe.
“NATO is developing its rapid response forces and is boosting its infrastructure near our borders, we are registering attempts to violate nuclear parity and the creation of the European and Asia-Pacific segments of the missile defense systems is being sped up,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week.

Russian ships docked at what was once a secret Norwegian naval base in the Arctic have prompted concern from the NATO country's former top military leaders, anxious about its resurgent eastern neighbour roaming nearby.
Norway's jagged Arctic coastline has regained its strategic importance since tensions between Russia and NATO members have spiked to levels not seen since the fall of the Soviet Union.
The rocky relations have led some to criticise the shutting down of Olavsvern Naval Base, a massive complex burrowed into a mountain near the northern town of Tromsoe, that has been closed since 2009.
"We sold the only base worthy of the name that we had up there. It's pure madness," former vice admiral Einar Skorgen, who commanded Norway's northern forces, told AFP.
Skorgen and other critics say Norway has robbed itself of a crucial foothold in the far north, forcing its submarines to travel hundreds of extra miles from their bases to defend the region.
On top of that, three Russian ships have spent the winter docked deep within the mountain hideaway, once a closely guarded military facility.
"We are the only country along with Russia to have a permanent presence in the Barents Sea, where we share a common border. Obviously our navy should be stationed there, including our submarines," Skorgen said.

The Pentagon has upgraded and tested the largest bunker-buster bomb in the US, powerful enough to disable Iran’s most heavily fortified nuclear facilities in case of failure to reach a nuclear deal, a senior US official told the Wall Street Journal.
“The Pentagon continues to be focused on being able to provide military options for Iran if needed,” an unnamed senior US official has been quoted as saying. “We have not taken our eyes off the ball.”

According to the Wall Street Journal report, work on the bunker buster (the so-called Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP) started before the latest round of talks with Iran. The most recent testing took place in mid-January, when the improved bunker buster was dropped at a testing site at an undisclosed location by a B-2 bomber that took off from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, officials told the publication.

The Wall Street Journal reported in 2012 that according to Pentagon war planners the 30,000-pound (13,607 kg) bunker buster wasn’t powerful enough to destroy some fortified Iranian nuclear facilities. So work reportedly began to upgrade the bomb’s design and guidance systems.

According to senior officials, the results show the improved bomb—when dropped one on top of the other—is now more capable of penetrating fortified nuclear facilities in Iran or in North Korea, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Pentagon also designed the bunker buster to challenge Iran’s Fordow facility, which is built into a mountain to protect it from potential airstrikes. 

Civilians suffer most in all wars. Yemen is no exception. Sanaa is becoming a ghost town.
One shopkeeper said “(t)here are very few people left here. Everyone has fled, and those who have stayed live alone without their families.”
“So hardly anyone comes to buy anything anymore.Now I’m lucky if I make $20 a day.”
According to Yemeni Post editor-in-chief Hakin al-Masmari, “(a)t the beginning they were targeting only Sanaa, so people were fleeing to the provinces.”
“However, now they have expended to the suburbs as well.”
Yemenis in attacked areas are trapped in their homes. They face shortages of essentials to life – including food, water, medical supplies, and power.
Yemen already is the region’s poorest country. War exacerbated things greatly.

Even where food and other products and services are available, most Yemenis can’t afford them. Survival for many is threatened.
A growing refugee and unemployment crisis compounds things. Human misery affects millions.
Around a million aged-five or under Yemeni children are malnourished. Expect the number to grow exponentially in coming weeks and months.
The Pentagon is coordinating Saudi-led terror-bombing – choosing targets, supplying munitions, providing intelligence, refueling attacking warplanes, and providing other services.
Sputnik News reported US warships shelling Yemeni targets. Air attacks struck residential neighborhoods, hospitals, schools, power stations, a Hodeida dairy plant, and other nonmilitary sites.

“Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes, some by crossing the sea to Djibouti and Somalia.”
“Electricity, water and essential medicines are in short supply.”
Nothing in Yemen today is normal. US imperial arrogance is systematically ravaging and destroying another country.
High crimes against peace are being committed daily. Arab lives and welfare don’t matter.
Washington and its area proxies slaughter them in cold blood. Bodies piling up attest to their barbarity.

Islamic State has taken control of 90 percent of a Palestinian refugee camp on the Damascus outskirts where 18,000 civilians have suffered years of bombing, army siege and militia control, a monitoring group said on Saturday.

The hardline group's offensive in Yarmouk gives it a major presence in the capital. Islamic State, the most powerful insurgent group in Syria, is now only a few kilometers from President Bashar al-Assad's seat of power.

The United Nations has said it is extremely concerned about the safety and protection of Syrians and Palestinians in the camp. Civilians trapped there have long suffered a government siege that has led to starvation and disease.

"The situation in Yarmouk is an affront to the humanity of all of us, a source of universal shame," U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) spokesman Chris Gunness said.

"Yarmouk is a test, a challenge for the international community. We must not fail. The credibility of the international system itself is at stake," he said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict from Britain, said Syrian air force jet bombed the camp on Saturday.

The Islamic State on Wednesday launched an attack on other groups of fighters in Yarmouk, in particular Aknaf Beit al-Maqdis, an anti-Assad militia of Syrians and Palestinians from the camp.

Government officials could not be reached for comment. Syria's state news agency SANA said terrorists in the camp had prevented aid from reaching civilians. It added the army had encircled Yarmouk. 

The way the world has either become blind or elects to ignore their own illogical thinking and acting. I am daily reminded that common sense is not so common anymore. The irrational thinking is everywhere. It rears its head in the most dangerous or saddest times. This is most evident when we look at the murder of the unborn. Once again, there is a fight brewing in Indiana.

Christian News reports:

An Indiana woman (Purvi Patel) who allegedly threw her newborn baby in the trash after giving birth was sentenced to 20 years behind bars on Monday, while being lectured by the presiding judge (St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Hurley) that she should have obtained an abortion.

That should be enough right there. There really needs to be nothing added to that statement. It does not matter the circumstances of the murder, however heinous. It matters little why this woman took the action that she took. All that I want to focus on is the fact that the judge is lecturing this woman on killing the child in one manner and not another.

"You, Miss Patel, are an educated woman of considerable means. If you wished to terminate your pregnancy safely and legally, you could have done so," she said. "You planned a course of action and took matters into your own hands and chose not to go to a doctor."

No, the problem is not that this woman, or any woman, would choose not to obtain a doctor's assistance in killing her child. It is that they would choose to kill their child, period! It would seem that this woman, according to state law, did what was within her "rights" to do. Yet, Indiana is like the rest of our world, upside down.

How is it okay to have your child chopped to pieces by a doctor and then thrown into the trash, but if you throw the baby in whole, it's a crime? To quote the kid on the commercial, "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard."

This woman is going to jail for doing for herself what women in Indiana have another do for them legally every day.

The drought in California is getting a lot worse.  As you read this, snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevada mountains are the lowest that have ever been recorded.  That means that there won’t be much water for California farmers and California cities once again this year.  To make up the difference in recent years, water has been pumped out of the ground like crazy.  In fact, California has been losing more than 12 million acre-feet of groundwater a year since 2011, and wells all over the state are going dry.  Once the groundwater is all gone, what are people going to do? 

Today, the state of California is turning back into a desert but it now has a population of 38 million people.  This is not sustainable in the long-term.  So when the water runs out, where are they going to go?

I have written quite a few articles about the horrific drought in California, but conditions just continue to get even worse.  According to NPR, snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevada mountains are “just 6 percent of the long-term average”

The water outlook in drought-racked California just got a lot worse: Snowpack levels across the entire Sierra Nevada are now the lowest in recorded history — just 6 percent of the long-term average. That shatters the previous low record on this date of 25 percent, set in 1977 and again last year.

California farmers rely on that water.  Last year, farmers had to let hundreds of thousands of acres lie fallow because of the scarcity of water, and it is being projected that this year will be even worse

More than 400,000 acres of farmland were fallowed last year because of scarce water. Credible sources have estimated that figure could double this year.

Fortunately, many farmers have been able to rely on groundwater in recent years, but now wells are running dry all over the state.  Here is more from NPR

Last year was already a tough year at La Jolla Farming in Delano, Calif. Or as farm manager Jerry Schlitz puts it, “Last year was damn near a disaster.”

La Jolla is a vineyard, a thousand-or-so acres of neat lines of grapevines in the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley. It depends on water from two sources: the federal Central Valley Projectand wells.

Until last year, Schlitz says, wells were used to supplement the federal water.

“Now, we have nothing but wells. Nothing. There’s no water other than what’s coming out of the ground,” he says.

Last year, one of those wells at La Jolla dried up. The farm lost 160 acres — about a million dollars’ worth of produce, plus the wasted labor and other resources.

Are you starting to understand the scope of the problem?
Despite all of the wonderful technology that we have developed, we are still at the mercy of the weather.
And if this drought continues to drag on, it is absolutely going to cripple a state that contains more than 10 percent of the total U.S. population.
In an attempt to fight the water shortage, Governor Jerry Brown has instituted statewide water restrictions for the first time ever
And scientists tell us that this might just be the beginning.  There have been megadroughts in that area of the country that have lasted more than 100 years in the past, and there are fears that another megadrought may have begun.  The following comes from National Geographic

California is experiencing its worst drought since record-keeping began in the mid 19th century, and scientists say this may be just the beginning. B. Lynn Ingram, a paleoclimatologist at the University of California at Berkeley, thinks that California needs to brace itself for a megadrought—one that could last for 200 years or more.

As a paleoclimatologist, Ingram takes the long view, examining tree rings and microorganisms in ocean sediment to identify temperatures and dry periods of the past millennium. Her work suggests that droughts are nothing new to California.

“During the medieval period, there was over a century of drought in the Southwest and California. The past repeats itself,” says Ingram, who is co-author of The West Without Water: What Past Floods, Droughts, and Other Climate Clues Tell Us About Tomorrow. Indeed, Ingram believes the 20th century may have been a wet anomaly.

If this is a megadrought, it is just a matter of time until massive migration will become necessary.
In fact, one UN official is already talking about it

If the state continues on this path, there may have to be thoughts about moving people out, said Lynn Wilson, academic chair at Kaplan University and who serves on the climate change delegation in the United Nations.

“Civilizations in the past have had to migrate out of areas of drought,” Wilson said. “We may have to migrate people out of California.”

Wilson added that before that would happen, every option such as importing water to the state would likely occur— but “migration can’t be taken off the table.”


Dutch Treat said...

In todays Buffalo News there was a cartoon where a guy from LA was scoffing to a Buffalonian: How could you live there with all that snow? Then in the next shot he's screaming: CAN WE PLEASE HAVE SOME?!?

Waterer said...

A blessed Easter to all my brothers and sisters in this place of "those who long for Him" .
Special thanks to you Scott for your faithful sharing to keep us alert.
Hebrews 13
20 Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us[d] that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Scott said...

Amen and thanks!

The Summit will be special tomorrow with Baptisms and the energy will be great as will the sermon, its a guarantee - we're all really looking forward to worship tomorrow.

And of course, every easter I always have to wonder of maybe.......well, you know the rest :)

Scott said...

''if maybe'...not 'of maybe'