In what should be a surprise to no one, the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program haven’t been going very well. The agreed-upon “deadline” is about a month away, but no one expects it to be met. The only question is just how many concessions President Obama, leading the “P5+1” group of countries, is willing to make for the sake of any deal at all.
In the “framework” deal of April 2nd, Iran apparently agreed to allow inspections of its “suspicious” nuclear sites. But a week ago, the Supreme Leader of the nation, Ali Khamenei, backed off any such promise and swore to prohibit anything of the sort. He said this during a speech he made Tuesday to military leaders in his capital:
The other non-agreement is over when sanctions against Iran would be relieved. The West believes that Iran’s access to money and credit and trade should be granted over time, as Iran verifies its disarmament. Iran wants to be relieved of sanctions immediately upon signing the deal.
But this week, it seems, even the P5+1 position is fracturing. In what seems as much a warning to President Obama and John Kerry as it is to Iran, France announced that unless Iran agrees to inspections at “all” Iranian sites, including military sites, it could not participate in any deal. Laurent Fabius, France’s foreign minister, told his Parliament Tuesday: “Yes to an agreement, but not to an agreement that will enable Iran to have the atomic bomb.” An agreement “will not be accepted by France if it is not clear that verifications can be made at all Iranian facilities, including military sites,” said Fabius.
It is somewhat odd to see France adopting the hardline position and the USA taking the “deal at any price” position, but such is the new reality: no such “clarification” of the absolute necessity of nation-wide inspections was issued by the US State Department.
Even the UN is out in front of John Kerry. Monday, Yukiya Amano, chairman of the UN’s nuclear monitoring agency (the IAEA), reminded the world that Iran (on April 2nd) had already agreed to implement the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which allows for snap inspections.
These clarifications of France and the IAEA put the Obama Administration in a bind: they set the bottom threshold beyond which no consensus in the P5+1 is possible. Without “anywhere, anytime” inspections, Iran is essentially free to pursue its nuclear bomb in secret, all the while denying the obvious, and free of sanctions in the bargain. Such a deal would essentially pay Iran to develop its nukes with the new money from sanctions relief.
Perhaps that’s the whole goal of the Obama Administration. If so, it would be hard to distinguish the public statements and negotiating stance from its actual, current positions taken. Congress, which can in theory repudiate any such agreement, would do well to remember the lamentable experience of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, which actually did agree to snap inspections after the Gulf War.
In contrast to the Iraqi army’s failures, Kurdish fighters in Syria are on the march against the Islamic State group, capturing towns and villages in an oil-rich swath of the country’s northeast under the cover of US-led airstrikes.
As the Kurds close in on Tel Abyad, a major commercial center on the Turkish border, their advance highlights the decisive importance of combining airstrikes with the presence of a cohesive and motivated ally on the ground — so clearly absent in Iraq.
In Syria, a country now split mostly between al-Qaeda-style militants and forces loyal to President Bashar Assad, the US has found a reliable partner in the country’s main Kurdish fighting force, known as the People’s Protection Units, or the Kurdish acronym YPG, founded by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party. They are moderate, mostly secular fighters, driven by revolutionary fervor and deep conviction in their cause.
Syria’s Kurds have shown remarkable cohesiveness. Spurred by ideology and nationalistic fervor, they fought ferociously to claw back territory after Islamic State militants captured the Kurdish town of Kobani and dozens of surrounding villages last fall. The IS descent on Kobani led the US to widen its air campaign from Iraq into Syria to assist the Kurds.
Despite the fact that IS had heavy weapons and far more fighters, the Kurds resisted the offensive on Kobani, conducting fierce street battles until the US air-dropped weapons and intensified the airstrikes.
In January, the YPG liberated Kobani from the Islamic State militants and began a wide offensive in which they regained much of the territory they had lost.
The Kurds are now closing in on Tel Abyad with fighters moving east from Kobani and west from Hassakeh — an offensive that, if successful, would open a direct line between Kurdish-controlled territory along the border with Turkey.
Such a move is likely to anger Turkey, which sees the YPG as part of the Kurdish PKK movement that has waged an anti-government insurgency in southeastern Turkey.
Japan Issues Highest Alert, Evacuation Warnings After Volcano "Explosively" Erupts - No Injuries Reported
First, earthquakes; then tsunamis; then household spending collapses for the 13th month in a row... and now Japan is dealing with a volcano. NHK reports that Kuchinoerabu-jima, a volcano on Kuchinerabu Islands (off the southern-most tip of Japan) has erupted "explosively." Officials have asked local inhabitants to evacuate the area. As yet there are no reported injuries.
- Japan Meteorological Agency raises warning level on volcano on island of Kuchinoerabujima, off southern coast of Japan’s Kagoshima, to highest level of 5 after “explosive” eruption.
- Level 5 warning calls for evacuations
- Pyroclastic flow after volcano has reached coast
Volcano name Kuchinoerabujima eruption alarm (residential areas)
Heisei 07 minutes at 27 May 29 June 10 Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory Kagoshima Local Meteorological Observatory
Heisei 07 minutes at 27 May 29 June 10 Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory Kagoshima Local Meteorological Observatory
** (Heading) **
?Please refer to the strict vigilance (correspondence of evacuation, etc.) in a residential area of ??interest.
As Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog, you may not have noticed, but our planet is becoming increasingly unstable. According to Volcano Discovery, 40 volcanoes around the globe are erupting right now, and only 6 of them are not along the Ring of Fire. If that sounds like a very high number to you, that is because it is a very high number. As I have written about previously, there were a total of 3,542 volcanic eruptions during the entire 20th century. When you divide that number by 100, that gives you an average of about 35 volcanic eruptions per year. So the number of volcanoes that are erupting right now is well above the 20th century’s average for an entire calendar year. And of course we are witnessing a tremendous amount of earthquake activity as well. Nepal was just hit by the worst earthquake that it had seen in 80 years, and scientists are telling us that the Himalayas actually dropped by an astounding 3 feetas a result of that one earthquake. How much more does our planet have to shake before people start paying attention?
Of course the things that we have been seeing lately are part of a much larger long-term trend. Seismic activity appears to have been getting stronger over the past few decades, and now things really seem to be accelerating. The following is how one news source recently summarized what we have been witnessing…
But of course most Americans are never going to care about any of this until it starts affecting them personally.
Well, perhaps they should start paying attention to the warning signs. In recent weeks we have seen significant earthquakes in Michigan, Texas, Mississippi, California, Idaho And Washington. In addition, it is being reported that pressure is building in dormant volcanoes in Arizona and California. Just because we have not had a killer earthquake or a large volcanic eruption in the U.S. in recent years does not mean that it will always be that way. Right now the entire planet appears to be waking up, and this especially seems to be true of the Ring of Fire.
And right now, just about every other part of the Ring of Fire is shaking violently.
For example, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake just hit Japan on Wednesday…
A magnitude-6.8 earthquake that shook northeast Japan on Wednesday was an aftershock of the devastating 2011 quake that triggered a massive tsunami and nuclear power plant meltdown.
“We consider this morning’s earthquake to be an aftershock of the 2011 Northeastern Pacific Earthquake,” said Yohei Hasegawa, an official at the Japanese meteorological agency.
The temblor, which struck just after 6 a.m. local time (5 p.m. ET Tuesday), was sparked by the Pacific tectonic plate “subducting,” or moving under, the main land plate, he added.
Hasegawa warned that more tremors may be on the way.
One Japanese expert is warning that Japan “might have entered an era of great earthquakes and volcanic eruptions“, and considering the immense devastation that the great earthquake and tsunami of 2011 caused, that is a very sobering assessment.
Meanwhile, a series of very strong earthquakes have struck Papua New Guinea recently as well. The following comes from the Washington Post…
A powerful earthquake rattled Papua New Guinea on Thursday, the fourth strong quake to hit the South Pacific island nation in a week. The temblor prompted officials to issue a local tsunami warning, but it was lifted shortly afterward with no reports of damage.
The 7.1-magnitude quake struck about 150 kilometers (94 miles) southwest of the town of Panguna on Bougainville Island at a depth of 23 kilometers (14 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
Once again, just because things have always been a certain way does not mean that they will always be that way.
As Americans, we are not accustomed to being concerned about major earthquakes and massive volcanic eruptions, but that could soon change in a big way.
The truth is that our planet and our sun are changing in ways that are unpredictable and that our scientists don’t completely understand.
For example, a recent LiveScience article discussed the fact that scientists are deeply puzzled by the fact that the magnetic field of our planet is getting weaker 10 times faster than previously believed…
For years, I have warned that we will face our worst nightmare – the collapse of socialism. In the death throes of this abomination that even the Ten Commandments listed as a serious sin, equal to “thou shalt not kill”, government will become the ugly beast that will devour society to retain power.
Of course, they will never see themselves that way, but they will justify in their minds that stripping us of our freedom, rights, privileges, and immunities, is necessary to maintain socialism for the good of the people.
Karl Marx, who sought to change society by sheer force, set all this in motion. What has taken place is really scary, for indeed they have altered society far more than anyone dares to ponder.
Why is this Sovereign Debt Crisis collapse different from 1931? When the governments of the world defaulted on their debts in 1931, there were no pension funds. Government has exempted itself from all prudent reason for you take the state operated pension funds, like Social Security in the USA, where 100% of the money is in government bonds. They may have no intention of defaulting, but very few government have ever paid off their debts in the end. Then there are states who regulate pension funds requiring more than 80% to be in government bonds.
A Sovereign Debt Default this time around will wipe out socialism, yet the bulk of the people are clueless not merely about the risk, but the ramifications. Younger generations do not save to support their parents for that was government’s job post-Great Depression. Socialism has altered thousands of years of family structure following the ranting of Karl Marx. This has been one giant lab experiment that ended badly in China and Russia and is coming to a local government near you.
So this time it is SUBSTANTIALLY DIFFERENT. Government is now on the hook, which is part of the reason why they are moving to eliminate cash to prevent bank runs and to force society to comply with their demands. This is why we have people like Gordon Brown, who sold Britain’s gold reserves in 1999 making the low, claiming now that eliminating cash will eliminate the boom and bust of the business cycle. Let’s face it, Gordon Brown has NEVER been right when it comes to politics, not even once, and he has been the worst manager of finance that Britain has ever known. He sold the low in gold and now he presumes he can fulfill Marxism by eliminating cash. He postulates ideas that are theory without any support whatsoever. We cannot afford more arrogant people like this in politics who believe they have a right to experiment with society.
This time it is very different. They have wiped out society placing the entire scheme of socialism as a terrible nightmare that will end badly, and they have ruined the social family structure disarming people that for thousands of years was our very means of self-sufficient survival. These clown have set the tone for wiping out the dreams they sold the elderly, all while hunting taxes and causing job creation to implode as the youth has been converted into the lost generation. All this with pretend good intentions. Can you imagine the damage to society if they had actually intended this mess? They have lied to themselves and to the people. We have to crash and burn – that part is inevitable. Only when the economy turns down will we then argue over solutions.