Category Archives: nuclear Iran

Nuclear Iran: Condi Rice’s Mushroom Cloud 2.0……….

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Like the United States, they voiced particular alarm at Iran’s decision to move higher-grade uranium enrichment to an underground bunker — heightening their suspicions of its aims. “The absence of a plausible economic or commercial rationale for so many of the nuclear activities now being carried out in Iran, and the growing body of evidence of a military dimension to these activities give grounds for grave concern about Iran’s intentions,” British Ambassador Simon Smith said on behalf of London, Berlin and Paris. Davies said current IAEA monitoring of Iranian nuclear sites might provide some warning should Iran decide to “break out” and use its enriched uranium stockpile to develop nuclear bomb capability, but “that will come too late.”…………..

Now it is: the plausibility, stupid! So, I had to go back to the earlier case: remember Iraq and Saddam and the smoking gun and the famous mushroom cloud? Here are some memorable quotes from the halcyon days of 2002-2003:

  • “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” –National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice (2002)
  • It’s a slam-dunk case!” –CIA Director George Tenet, discussing WMD and the case for war during a meeting in the Oval Office, Dec. 21, 2002
  • We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.” –Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (2003)
  • We know he’s been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.” –Vice President Dick Cheney(2003)
  • WEF?—-> “I think the burden is on those people who think he didn’t have weapons of mass destruction to tell the world where they are.” –White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, July 9, 2003
  • British intelligence has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production.” –President Bush, 2003
  • King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia repeatedly exhorted the United States to “cut off the head of the snake” by launching military strikes to destroy Iran’s nuclear program, according to leaked U.S. diplomatic cables….” Reuters (2010)
  • The release of the BPC report in late June, and the Post op-ed today, coincide roughly with a revealing and important diatribe from the United Arab Emirates ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al-Otaiba, who said this week that the UAE wouldn’t be unhappy at all if the United States bombed Iran’s nuclear program. “I think it’s a cost-benefit analysis,” said Otaiba, the representative of a notorious kleptocracy in Abu Dhabi….. The Nation

Yada, yada, yada. Which in itself does not mean that the Iranians are not interested in nuclear weapons. It does mean, however, that Western intelligence can be totally stupid and can totally fuck up just a they did in Iraq. It does mean that some Iranian exile groups can also be self-serving in pushing the “nuclear bomb” issue, given that their intelligence sources are unreliable at best. There is a lot of fog around the Iranian nuclear program, some of it created deliberately by the Iranian regime itself and some of it, I suspect, by Western governments and their intelligence sources. Some of this fog is a result of ignorance and some of it is deliberate, on both sides.
Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

On Bushehr Nuclear Power, Zaroastrian and Royal Pagan Rites on my Gulf of Madness……..

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Iran has condemned the “negative” position of the Gulf GCC which had criticized the Iranian “provocations” toward some Arab states in the Gulf. The spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, Ramin Mehmanprast that the “regional policies of the Islamic Republic has always been one of mutual respect, good neighborliness, and noninterference……Regrettably some have waged a campaign against Iran…….. He considered that the GCC ministers expressing their deep worry about developments in the Iranian nuclear issue” an unnecessary thing……..

Okay: the “GCC” ministers have criticized Iran’s nuclear program, just as the new Bushehr plant is now providing electric power. The Iranians interpret the IAEA reports different from the way Western powers interpret them (the glass half-full vs. the glass half-empty syndrome). As for me, I have no idea if the glass is half-full or half-empty: there is an important difference, depending on which half is empty and which is full and taking into consideration one of Newton’s Laws. I do hope the Iranians are right and there will be no nuclear weapons in the Middle East (except in Israel), but I have my doubts on this issue. I would dread the prospect of a nuclear arms race between the mullahs in Tehran and the potentates in Abu Dhabi. I also wonder if mullahs would lie to us? In any case, nuclear technology has a logic of its own, sort of like when……..oh well, no sense getting obscene here.
What is

intriguing in this brief and ordinary report from a daily newspaper in my home town on my Gulf, is the unrelated picture and the caption it added to this report. This picture below is captioned with the words “Iranian Zaroastrians perform their religious rites at the Temple
of  Fire in Tehran”.
    Also sprach the mullahs?
To

foreign eyes it looks quite innocent, maybe even quaint and cute (as it does to me in fact in a different context). Now WTF does the photo have to do with the nuclear program? This is something that divisive semi-official Saudi media outlets like Alarabiya or Asharq Alawsat often publish, not a daily that claims some remnant of the old bygone pre-Salafi liberalism of my hometown. In the Gulf of Madness, such photo and caption only serve to fan flames and divisions these days. Before you know it, there will be retaliation: some Saudi princes will start bowing to al-Lat or Hubal of the good old pagan Jahiliya days, or some Egyptian expatriates who have gone native will start worshiping a Pharaoh again (that era may be over now but there are plenty of princes available). In this age of confessional and sectarian tensions stoked by irresponsible potentates and their retainers……………..
(I found the photo rather cute: men and women performing their common rites. WTF is wrong with that?)

Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Breaking News! Tony Blair as Windsor, Solves the Iraq Fiasco and Afghanistan……….

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Tony Blair calls for regime change in Iran and Syria as he blames Tehran for prolonging the conflict in Iraq after the 2003 invasion. In an interview to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the former prime minister warns that the Middle East would be “very, very badly” destabilised if Iran acquired nuclear weapons. Blair, who is the Middle East peace envoy, tells the Times: “Regime change in Tehran would immediately make me significantly more optimistic about the whole of the region. If Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons capability it would destabilise the region very, very badly. “They continue to support groups that are engaged with terrorism and the forces of reaction. In Iraq one of the main problems has been the continued intervention of Iran and likewise in Afghanistan.“…….

Did I write earlier that Tony Blair may be angling for the Nobel Prize in “WMD”?
I’ve got nothing against regime change in Iran or in ‘most’ of the rest of the Middle East (almost all of it). In fact I could recommend a couple of candidates that would make Mr. Blair faint, and I mean biggies. But these changes should be done by the people, not by bumbling Western leaders playing macho outside their bedrooms.
So, Blair now blames the Iranian regime for the wars he started (with his allies). He blames the mullahs for the fact that the “Mission Was NOT Accomplished”. True, the Iranians have their own interests and machinations and they certainly did not try to make life easier for the Mr. Blair and his partners. But to blame his fiasco on someone else? Now that is leadership, “New Labor” style (pardon my missing “u”).

Mr. Blair can now rest assured that he will be retained as “somebody’s” envoy for the Middle East. He need not worry on becoming another Duke of Windsor, whiling his time in luxury on the Riviera. He can also, coincidentally, be assured of more fat deals and contracts from various potentates and oligarchs in my region.

(Nothing personal against Tony, I could overlook anyone’s shortcomings, especially my own. But I detest anyone who calls for another fucking war in my region, and Tony has been calling for another fucking war in my Gulf for some time now. He is treating the region as if it is still his own fucking backyard).
Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Kim Jong Qaddafi, Kim Jong Iraq, Kim Jong Iran………

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Such sweet deals are no longer to be had in a world where all worker bees, even those wearing medals and epaulettes, with secret police at their disposal, get discarded like used tissue paper after their cost-benefit balance tips to the former. Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega languished in an American prison on trumped-up drug charges for 20 years before being extradited to France; Saddam got dropped down a trap door to the howling jeers of his rivals. One can easily imagine a call from North Korean tyrant Kim Jung-Il to Libya’s Colonel Gadhafi a few years back: “Don’t disarm, Muammar. Just you wait! The second you give up your nukes the Americans will take you out. Saddam disarmed in 1991; now he’s in a tacky grave in Tikrit. What did Milosevic get for attending the Dayton peace conference? A war crimes trial. Look at me. I don’t cooperate. I don’t give in. Sure, they hate me. But I’m holding tight. Living large. Cooperation with the Americans is a mug’s game!“…………..

Raises a good point, n’est-ce pas. Saddam gave up his weapons of WMD, and where is he now? So did Qaddafi, and he is gone somewhere. Meanwhile Kim Jong-Il, Pakistan, Israel, India, etc have nuclear weapons and nobody is touching them. Is there a message in here somewhere for the Iranians?
(Okay, Israel doesn’t count here, since Israel is a “white” power).
Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Nuclear Theocratic Powers of the Middle East and Beyond…….

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Particularly worrisome in the Saudi case is the potential departure from the Gold Standard established by the UAE 123 agreement. If, as has been suggested, the Saudi agreement is concluded without an accompanying commitment to abjure reprocessing and enrichment technologies, there could be profound consequences for the administration’s nonproliferation objectives and for the long-term stability of the Middle East. Although Saudi Arabia has not previously been judged to be a proliferation threat, as it “lacks the technological expertise, industrial base, and disciplined commitment required to develop an indigenous weapons capacity,” recent developments may have altered this assessment. The alacrity with which the United States dispensed of its long-standing support for the regime of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak no doubt gave pause to the House of Saud, which continues – 30 years later – to be troubled by American abandonment of the Shah on the eve of the Iranian revolution. Nor is Saudi threat perception likely to be relieved by the regional meddling of its frequent ideological competitor. This is to say nothing of the Kingdom’s concerns regarding Iranian weaponization. Indeed, Saudi Arabia appears increasingly unnerved by the trajectory of the Iranian program, a trend that can be seen in the country’s shifting characterizations of its own nuclear ambitions. ……..

  • There are fears that Saudi Arabia may try and shift any nuclear program toward military use. In fact that is exactly what Prince Turki al-Faisal warned about last month. There is now this fear, but the difference is that the Saudis will need American (and maybe other) help in any nuclear plan they have.

  • There are, there have been, fears of the Iranian nuclear program. These fears are based on possibilities that the Iranian may be trying to either build nuclear weapons or, more likely, reach the point ehre they can build nuclear weapons.

  • Then there is Israel. Everyone knows that Israel has many nuclear warheads, although no one can prove it. Israel is not a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), hence it is not under any Western pressure to allow international (IAEA) inspection.
  • Pakistan has several nuclear weapons, and it is not an NPT signatory either. Pakistan was created as a quasi-theocratic state: it was carved up as an Islamic state from parts of India. The country has been veering toward fundamentalism and back over its history. It may be closer now than at any other time.


What do all these West and South Asian countries have in common? No, not the geographic proximity. They are all either declared theocracies, undeclared theocracies, quasi-theocracies, or threatened theocracies. They are all within one of these categories I noted above. Scary, no? (The United States is not a theocracy, although the Tea Party and other elements would like it to be and try to push it that way).
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Israeli Warplanes in Iraq: Iranian Paranoia? Iraqi Rumors? Saudi Hopes?………

     
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Iranian media report that Israeli jet fighters have conducted drills at an American military base in Iraq in preparation for an attack on Iran. Press TV quotes a source close to prominent Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sader’s group that a considerable number of Israeli warplanes were seen at the al-Asad base in Iraq. The aircraft reportedly included F-15, F-16, F-18, F-22, and KC-10 jet fighters. The warplanes allegedly carried out their week-long exercises at night. The drills were reportedly aimed at preparing to strike Iran’s air defense systems, disrupt Iran’s radars and attack targets deep inside Iran. Iraqi officials had not been notified of the exercises, which were conducted in collaboration with the US military. The United States operates several bases in Iraq whose future status is not clear yet and the Baghdad government is not involved in any of the military deployments taking place there.

I personally doubt all this: not only will it be futile, but it may divert attention back to the Palestine-Israeli issue and those ever expanding settlements. Yet it is tempting to dismiss all this as Iraqi rumors feeding Iranian paranoia. But one must remember: it is often at times when all seem to be quite that such attacks occur. From Operation Barbarossa to Pearl Harbor to the Ozirak attack to September 11, this has been the pattern (not always, but often).
Meanwhile, the Israelis are being their characteristic selves about this issue, the Iranians worry, and the rulers of Saudi Arabia are probably praying again (for such an attack to happen). I was going to add the shaikhs of UAE and Bahrain, but then I remembered that they don’t count anymore.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com