New evidence of Iranian lies re nukes....
Here is a WSJ summary of the latest inspector report on Iran's progress:
Over the past three months, Iran has more than tripled its monthly output of uranium that has been enriched to a fissile concentration of 20% at Natanz and Fordow, according to the IAEA. Such nuclear fuel, compared with the 3.5% used in most nuclear-power reactors, brings Iran dangerously close to the weapons-grade level needed to make atomic weapons, according to nuclear experts.
Iran's current stockpile of 20% enriched uranium stands at 110 kilograms, according to the IAEA. Nuclear experts estimate Iran could make a single bomb if it increased its current stockpile of 20% enriched uranium to between 125 and 200 kilograms and then enriched it further, to weapons grade.
Iran's government has said it needs the purer form of enriched uranium to fuel its research reactor in Tehran. But nuclear experts argue that Iran's stockpile already is large enough to fuel that facility for at least a decade.
Key to appreciating the significance of this is that once enough 20% enriched uranium is made, Iran will be weeks at most from having 90% enriched, weapons-grade fuel for a bomb.
These are hardly surprises. Nor, sadly, are the concurrent efforts to dissuade Israel from striking Iran, mounted by the Obama administration and the Iranian regime. Iran's deputy defense minister cuts loose with barbs aimed at Israel, culminating with this one: "Iran's warriors are ready and willing to wipe Israel off the map."
Fox reports that Israeli PM Netanyahu will not commit to inform the US in advance if Israel decides to strike Iran. Their stated reason, that this will decrease the chance that America will be held responsible, surely is disingenuous. The obvious reason for Israel's decision is fear that the Obama administration would leak the decision in advance, to head off Israel's strike. Such are the wages of distrust sown by Team Obama's highly public campaign aimed at heading off an Israeli strike.
The WSJ reports that Netanyahu next week will seek specifics from Obama re military options & red lines Iran must not cross. US intelligence assessments are skewed by a "no more Iraq 2003" mentality. Some US officials say a nuclear Iran is inevitable--the prospect that delaying Iran's ascendancy several years could give sanctions time to work, and possibly aid regime change, is beyond their conception.
Mike Ledeen's latest Iran entry is astonishing. Apparently in 2009 Sen. Chuck Schumer acted as intermediary between SecState Hillary & Green opposition leaders in Iran, asking what to do. The Greens warned us that efforts to deal with the mullahs would fail, and only perpetuate a bad situation. But they got no help from Team Obama, and now, nearly three years later we face imminent Mideast war with Iran. Such are the wages of feckless non-leadership. Here is the full text of the Nov. 30 Green memo (6 pages) to Team Obama.
But Barry Rubin, a true Mideast expert & usually right, believes that Iran's leaders will not strike and thus that Israel need not act. His is a serious voice that merits respect. He adds this of events in the Mideast, as to other myths that abound:
Briefly, here are some other myths that deserve to be abandoned as soon as possible:
• There is an Israel-Palestinian peace process. That’s probably dead for decades because the Palestinian side doesn’t want a compromise deal. Obama’s mistakes, the Palestinian Authority-Hamas coalition, the Islamist “spring” and the UN unilateral independence bid all makes it even more obviously deceased.
• The Muslim Brotherhood is moderate. Wake up and smell the jihad.
• The Syrian regime is about to fall. The opposition knows that without international intervention – which isn’t going to happen – they can’t win.
• Turkey is the very model of a moderate Islamic democracy. Actually, it’s a repressive Islamist dictatorship in training. Look at the massive arrests, the trumped-up treason charges, the trampling of free speech and the assault on the country’ armed forces.
Elliott Abrams writes that Israelis see world--and US--passivity over slaughter in Syria and realize they, too must fend for themselves. Michael Totten explains that if the Saudis & Turks arm Syrian rebels and Assad falls, the US will have no influence with the new regime. And as Jonathan Schanzer writes, if the Saudis captain the uprising Islamist fanatics will become Syria's future government; the Saudis will push, if only to strip the Russians of their sole remaining Mideast ally. There are reports the US may, at long last, bypass the UN (puh-leez do!) & take modest measures re Syria.
But Team Obama states Iran is not ISO a nuclear weapon. This they say despite Iran having tested nuclear bomb detonators, also testing explosive configurations--Iran last week barred inspectors from visiting Parchin (a key nuclear facility) and been caught with the blueprint for a nuclear warhead. And JCS Chairman Martin Dempsey sees Iran as a "rational" actor on the world stage. Policy expert Michael Singh dissects the "Iran is rational" thesis:
There are indeed examples that suggest rational cost-benefit decisionmaking by the Iranian regime, including the one cited in the 2007 NIE -- the regime's apparent decision to suspend its nuclear "weaponization" research in 2003 following the U.S. invasion of Iraq. But other Iranian actions seem untethered from cost-benefit considerations. For example, why would Iran try to blow up a restaurant in Washington in an effort to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, when such an action could spark a war that Iran would surely lose? Or, why would Iran not make a show of cooperation with the IAEA delegation that recently visited Iran, if for no other reason than to delay an Israeli military strike that seems increasingly likely?
More importantly, even if we were to conclude that the Iranian regime is a rational actor, we would not necessarily be able to predict its decisions or behavior. We have a poor understanding of how the regime sees its interests, what it perceives as costly and beneficial, what information is available to its leader, and therefore what it would consider the best decision in a given circumstance. And of course, even otherwise rational actors are prone to the occasional -- and sometimes very consequential -- irrational decision. And in an authoritarian state with an aging and increasingly isolated leader, this risk goes up exponentially.
Rich Lowry at NRO notes that JCS Chairman Dempsey's statement that Iranian leaders are rational ignores how rationality can be linked to ideological fervor, and frustrate our reliance upon traditional deterrence.
The fallacy of "mirror-imaging" how an adversary thinks is one of the most treacherous traps in foreign policy. Michael Ledeen, in a column about Rick Santorum's Iran stance, notes that former supporters of Venezuelan tyrant Hugo Chavez say Iran has missiles in Venezuela now that can reach the US. Meanwhile, the State Dept. quietly warned Mideast regional allies that securing Syria's massive stocks of WMD would be a post-Assad priority; the stocks include chemical & biological weapons, and may even include nuclear materials.
Max Boot sees ominous signs for Assad in Hamas deserting his side. Reasons: (1) Assad losing Palestinian support undermines his "West, Israel vs. Syria" narrative; (2) Assad loses his lever of a second front in a war vs. Israel; (3) Hamas has transferred its allegiance to Egypt, believing assad is doomed.
Bottom Line. Iran marches on, while a delusional Obama administration marches to its own drummer--the 2012 November election. Israel must decide what it will risk, on its own, as on this one the US does not have Israel's back.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, National Security, Terrorism, Homeland Security, Nuclear Proliferation, WMD, Conservative Politics