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Ed Webb

James Moore: I'm Scared, Ma - 0 views

  • I lost track of what the narrator was saying and was drawn into the strangest scenes a child might have ever encountered. A classroom of students just like ours was shown taking instructions from their teacher who told them to do something like "drop, roll, and curl" under their desks. A siren wailed in the background and then there was a mushroom cloud rising darkly from the earth. I did not sleep much for many days.
  • The movies and the newscasts about Russia and film of the nuclear explosions in Japan convinced my impressionable mind that every plane over our house feathering its engines was a Soviet bomber that had slipped undetected across the border and was about to drop a deadly explosive into our hillbilly neighborhood. "I'm scared, Ma," I told my mother one groggy morning. "What about, son?" "The airplanes at night when I'm in bed. They might be carrying bombs from the Russians." "Oh son, that's nothing to worry about. Nobody will drop a bomb here."
  • Israel, according to published reports by many defense industry analysts, has the fifth largest nuclear arsenal in the world, but has refused to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty or even formally admit to possession of such technology, even though it is widely-known that the Dimona Reactor in the Negev Desert has been on-line since the 60s. Pakistan and India, sharing a border and contempt for each other, have also refused to be signatories of the treaty. North Korea was once a party to non proliferation, but has since withdrawn and threatens to develop and launch a thermonuclear device. There are also reportedly weapons missing from former Soviet satellite nations.
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  • The U.S. attempts mediation but where does any country's moral authority originate when it has deployed nuclear weapons, still has an arsenal, and is telling another sovereign nation that it cannot develop similar armaments? No one has ever answered this question. Iran also wants to know why Israel is permitted by the world community to have nukes while Tehran is told no. Does not one sovereign nation have the same rights as another sovereign nation? Israel, Pakistan, and India felt geo-political threats and developed nuclear weapons as deterrents, which is the aspiration of the powers in control of Iran and North Korea -- or do they have evil intent?
Ed Webb

Jordan's uranium and Israel's fears | openDemocracy - 0 views

  • while supporting the development of its nuclear technology, America is insisting that Jordan purchase its reactor fuel on the nuclear market (it will “allow” Jordan to mine the uranium ore, but not convert it into fuel).  The Obama administration stresses that it will refuse to help Jordan if it makes use of its own uranium, and intends to model any deal with Jordan on the USA's recent nuclear agreement with the United Arab Emirates, who agreed to purchase their uranium on the international market, but reserve the right to renegotiate this deal if another country concludes an agreement on more favourable terms. Pursuing its right to enrich uranium without America's agreement would prove difficult for Jordan: the USA plays a powerful role in the Nuclear Supplier Group which monitors the sale of nuclear technology.  Moreover, many reactors from countries outside the USA contain American components which would require Jordan to gain America's approval to purchase.  But the USA's insistence that the country give up the right to use its own uranium seems to be a strategic miscalculation with the potential to alienate one of America and Israel's key Arab allies.  While the Jordanian government under reformist King Abdullah can certainly be criticised for its benign and even not-so-benign authoritarianism, it remains a positive presence in the Israel-Palestinian peace process (and the strongest ally of the USA in the Arab world). In fact, it was its willingness to 'help' in the war on terror that caused concern for human rights campaigners. Undermining the country's nuclear intentions when Jordan has done more than it is required to do in terms of tranparency and negotiation gives the impression that America will always treat Middle Eastern nuclear projects with suspicion, and that there's little incentive to cooperate.
  • To knowingly alienate Jordan by undermining the country's right to energy independence would be an act of masochism by Israel, particularly when the country's nuclear programme presents an opportunity to develop a model of transparency in nuclear energy development, and a chance to strengthen a more moderate presence in the region at a time when it is sorely needed.
Ed Webb

Humanitarian Aid Blocked As UN Imposes New Iran Sanctions | Common Dreams - 0 views

  • Food and medical exports to Iran are being blocked from that country even though they are exempt from new sanctions instituted Monday by the European Union.
  • "With Iraq, that of course ended up with 500,000 Iraqi children dead, resulted in the shortage of medicine, and other needs, and ended up ultimately to forceful invasion and war,"
  • Washington-based sanctions attorney Eric Ferrari said food and medical exports to Iran are being blocked, even though those items are technically exempt from sanctions. According to the NIAC: He said he has encountered numerous scenarios—an attempted export of a $250,000 of burn medicine, a multimillion dollar export of prosthetic limbs, exports of food supplies—in which goods that had a license from the U.S. government, a willing exporter, and a willing importer, still were blocked because no foreign bank was willing to take the risk to facilitate the transaction.  The reason, he said, is that the U.S. government has announced broader and broader penalties for any foreign bank dealing with Iranian financial institutions, while making no distinction between prohibited and authorized transactions with those banks.  The result is fewer and fewer channels for legal, humanitarian, food, and medical transactions.
    Some confusion here - headine refers to UN, text refers to new EU sanctions, but also to existing US sanctions. Nevertheless, it is a matter of concern that sanctions are a blunter weapon than might appear from much media coverage and political discussion.
Ed Webb

UN calls on Israel to open nuclear facilities - 0 views

  • The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution Monday calling on Israel to quickly open its nuclear program for inspection and backing a high-level conference to ban nuclear weapons from the Middle East which was just canceled.
  • 174-6 with 6 abstentions
  • Those voting "no" were Israel, the U.S., Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau
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  • not legally binding
  • Israel has long said there first must be a Mideast peace agreement before the establishment of a Mideast zone free of weapons of mass destruction. The region's Muslim nations argue that Israel's undeclared nuclear arsenal presents the greatest threat to peace in the region
  • While the United States voted against the resolution, it voted in favor of two paragraphs in it that were put to separate votes. Both support universal adherence to the NPT, and call on those countries that aren't parties to ratify it "at the earliest date." The only "no" votes on those paragraphs were Israel and India.
Ed Webb

Report: Sanctions may be speeding Iran's nuclear advancement - - 0 views

  • “Putting pressure is just half of the equation; [US and European officials] have succeeded with that, undoubtedly the pain on Iran is immense,” says Mr. Parsi. “But to channel the pain is a very, very different task.”
  • measures have begun to bite, causing economic isolation and a precipitous fall in both oil revenues and the value of the Iranian currency. But Iran has still added thousands of centrifuges to enrich uranium, and deployed a more efficient, second-generation centrifuge model; stepped up uranium enrichment levels from 5 percent to 20 percent, which is technically not too far from weapons-grade; and moved its most sensitive work to a deeply buried site impregnable to air attack.
  • “it is highly unlikely that the regime will succumb to sanctions pressure … [when] no proportionate sanctions relief is put on the table by the P5+1, and capitulation is seen as a greater threat to the regime’s survival than even a military confrontation with the United States.”
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  • "individuals close to the core of Iran's power structure are relishing the narrative of resistance" because although there is economic suffering, Iran “is also gaining newfound respect on the international stage due to its refusal to succumb to Western pressure.”
  • “Stark divisions among the Iranian elite are unmistakable,” notes the NIAC report. “[But] if the testimony of elite insiders is to be believed, sanctions have helped strengthen cohesion rather than intensify rifts.”
Ed Webb

An open letter to the New York Times concerning Thomas Friedman | Daniel W. Drezner - 1 views

  • Why not "negotiate with the Iranian people?"  Well, to get technical about it, they're not the ones controlling Iran's nuclear program.  That's not a minor issue.  For all this talk about how states are irrelevant in the 21st century, on matters of hard security not much has changed.  Lest Friedman or anyone else doubt this, recall that the Iranian state has proven itself more than capable of suppressing the Iranian people over the past four years.
  • Iranians take nationalist pride in the technological accomplishments of their national nuclear program.  Furthermore, in a propaganda war between the U.S. government and their own government, the U.S. is probably gonna lose even if it possesses the better argument.  For all of Friedman's loose talk about the power of social media in a digitized world, he elides the point that one of the sentiments that social media is best at magnifying is nationalism
  • Friedman's "break all the rules" strategy is as transgressive as those dumb-ass Dr. Pepper commercials.  Worse, he's recommending a policy that would actually be counter-productive to any hope of reaching a deal with Iran.
Ed Webb

Senior Saudi prince says Trump shouldn't scrap Iran deal | Reuters - 0 views

  • U.S. President-elect Donald Trump should not scrap a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers but should take the nation to task for its "destabilizing activities" in the Middle East, said a former senior Saudi official.
  • "I don't think he should scrap it. It's been worked on for many years and the general consensus in the world, not just the United States, is that it has achieved an objective, which is a 15-year hiatus in the program that Iran embarked on to develop nuclear weapons," Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief and ex-ambassador to Washington and London said on Thursday.
    • Ed Webb
      Turki is a very powerful member of the Saudi royal family and widely listened to on security issues
  • would like to see if the deal could become a "stepping stone" to a more permanent program "to prevent proliferation through the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East."
    • Ed Webb
      A long-term goal on which Saudi and Egypt agree, and they don't agree on much. Of course, a major target of this would be Israel.
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  • His views are described by insiders as often reflecting those of the kingdom's top princes and as influential in Riyadh foreign policy circles.
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