Preparing for War on Multiple Fronts?

Preparing for War, too Slow?

Keep an eye on Libya, it too may require a repeated effort.

Without any formal announcements, the military has been testing missile systems both in an offensive and defensive measure. The Pentagon is charged with keeping ahead of forecasted conditions and they are successful and do make robust recommendations to the White House. Under sequestration, some needed measures are not possible yet proving the need given recent global terror events some requests are approved while others are delayed.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An early morning missile test in New Mexico left a white contrail that quickly turned into a corkscrew that was visible for hundreds of miles Thursday.

The unarmed Juno target missile was launched at 6:55 a.m. MST from an old military depot in northwestern New Mexico.

It was aimed at White Sands Missile Range, some 215 miles away, but a White Sands spokesman says it was successfully intercepted over the range by a Patriot missile and disintegrated midair.

Range spokesman Luciano Vera says a second Patriot fired from White Sands self-destructed after the first Patriot hit the target.

The corkscrew-shaped contrail was visible in Phoenix, 245 miles southwest of the launch site.

Moving forward, the Pentagon is also diligently working to gain a robust intelligence advantage as well as expanding a Middle East war footing.

WASHINGTON — As American intelligence agencies grapple with the expansion of the Islamic State beyond its headquarters in Syria, the Pentagon has proposed a new plan to the White House to build up a string of military bases in Africa, Southwest Asia and the Middle East.

The bases could be used for collecting intelligence and carrying out strikes against the terrorist group’s far-flung affiliates.

The growth of the Islamic State’s franchises — at least eight militant groups have pledged loyalty to the network’s leaders so far — has forced a debate within the Obama administration about how to distinguish between the affiliates that pose the most immediate threat to the United States and Europe and others that are more regionally focused. The regional groups, some officials say, may have opportunistically adopted the Islamic State’s brand to bolster their local clout and global stature.

In the midst of that debate, senior military officials have told the White House that the network of bases would serve as hubs for Special Operations troops and intelligence operatives who would conduct counterterrorism missions for the foreseeable future. The plan would all but ensure what Pentagon officials call an “enduring” American military presence in some of the world’s most volatile regions.

While it is in vogue to side with Putin and his mission to stop Islamic State in Syria, it is pure propaganda. Russia has assumed a full defensive posture aiding Bashir al Assad and is only targeting anti-Assad forces in Syria, many of which are supported by the West and the Middle East Gulf States. Russia in fact is expanding their bases in Syria stealing away some objectives even from Iran. Further, Russia is using the conflict in Syria to test the skill levels of ground troops and newly created weapons systems.

Then while the globe is focused on tracking terrorists around the world and connecting them to Islamic State or al Qaida, there is yet another matter of grave concern pointing to North Korea. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says his country has developed a hydrogen bomb, state media reported Thursday.

Jong Un made the statement during an arms industry inspection on Wednesday, South Korean news agency Yonhap said, citing reports.

Information related to the highly secretive nation of North Korea, which has nuclear weapons, is extremely difficult to independently confirm.

A report by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said the country is now a “powerful nuclear weapons state ready to detonate a self-reliant A-bomb (atomic bomb) and H-bomb (hydrogen bomb) to reliably defend its sovereignty and the dignity of the nation,” Yonhap reported. *** This is not a new condition, as the United States has advanced technology to test the air quality to determine what it reveals, which is in fact part of the signals intelligence used by the geo-spatial systems. Going back a few years, conditions were prove what North Korea was doing when it comes to the creation of a hydrogen bomb. There was and is a surge in radiation going back to 2010.

We cannot overlook the matter of the continued aggression by China in the South China Sea where the United States has deployed the USS Larson, which is a guided missile destroyer tasked with surveillance and intelligence gathering.

While there is still the matter of Iran testing missile systems in violation of all resolutions, there is very little if anything being considered to stop Iran.

It appears all of these global events are in fact part of the briefings provided to the White House, yet the Commander in Chief has proven he would rather remain focused on social justice issues and defer national security matters to the next President. You be the judge as to what the worldwide global security conditions will be by then.





Iran Tests Medium Range Missile, Violates UN Resolutions

Iran tests another mid-range ballistic missile in breach of UN resolutions

FNC: Iran has carried out a new medium range ballistic missile test in breach of two United Nations Security Council resolutions, a senior U.S. official told Fox News on Monday.

Western intelligence says the test was held Nov. 21 near Chabahar, a port city in southeast Iran’s Balochistan province near the border with Pakistan.  The launch took place from a known missile test site along the Gulf of Oman.

The missile, known as a Ghadr-110, has a range of 1,800 – 2000 km, or 1200 miles, and is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. The missile fired in November is an improved version of the Shahab 3, and is similar to the precision guided missile tested by Iran on Oct. 10, which elicited strong condemnation from members of the U.N. Security Council.

“The United States is deeply concerned about Iran’s recent ballistic missile launch,” Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., said in a statement after the October launch. “After reviewing the available information, we can confirm that Iran launched on October 10 a medium-range ballistic missile inherently capable of delivering a nuclear weapon.”

President Obama mentioned the Iranian missile test during a press conference on Oct. 16 and said the United States was preparing to brief the U.N. sanctions committee. He added that it would not derail the nuclear deal.

Iran appears to be in a race against the clock to improve the accuracy of its ballistic missile arsenal in the wake of the nuclear agreement signed in July.

Just days after Tehran and six world powers signed the nuclear accord that would curtail Iran’s nuclear program, the U.N. passed resolution 2231, which compels Iran to refrain from any work on ballistic missiles for 8 years. UNSCR 1929 was passed in 2010 and bans Iran from conducting ballistic missile tests.

The international community expressed its discontent with Iran’s October missile test, but it is not clear whether the latest test will elicit more sanctions.

Iranian missile development defies restrictions (courtesy of Janes)

Key Points

  • Iran’s testing of the new Fateh-313 and Emad missiles, and the revelation of an underground missile complex, signal Tehran’s refusal to abide by UN missile prohibitions.
  • Released video footage of the flight tests and underground complex, analysed by IHS Jane’s , has revealed key details about Iran’s new missiles and missile infrastructure.
  • With UN missile restrictions on Iran generally weakened under Security Council Resolution 2231, and with Iran in the process of implementing the nuclear agreement reached in July 2015, the P5+1 and other countries may struggle to impose sanctions as a means of curbing Iran’s missile activities.

IAEA Just Gave up on Iran Nuclear Verification

Oh my, Barack Obama lied…..not only in verbal form but in written form. Now other world leaders, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, France, Israel and more will indeed have some forceful response to Barack Obama.

Then there is the issue of releasing the billions in frozen funds back to Iran and the further lifting of sanctions. But the biggest questions are still not answered: Exactly where is Iran with their nuclear weapons program, does it continue unimpeded and what with other threatened countries do now?

 this deal provides the best possible defense against Iran’s ability to pursue a nuclear weapon covertly — that is, in secret.  International inspectors will have unprecedented access not only to Iranian nuclear facilities, but to the entire supply chain that supports Iran’s nuclear program — from uranium mills that provide the raw materials, to the centrifuge production and storage facilities that support the program.  If Iran cheats, the world will know it.  If we see something suspicious, we will inspect it.  Iran’s past efforts to weaponize its program will be addressed.  With this deal, Iran will face more inspections than any other country in the world. (the full Barack Obama statement here as posted on the White House website)

President Obama sold his nuclear deal with Iran with promises that the accord would be based on “unprecedented verification,” and this week we were reminded of how much that promise was worth. Witness the latest report on Iran’s nuclear program from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The IAEA is the U.N. outfit that is supposed to monitor Iran’s compliance with the agreement, which requires Tehran to answer the agency’s questions on its past nuclear work in order to obtain sanctions relief. On Wednesday the agency produced its “final assessment”—the finality here having mostly to do with the U.N. nuclear watchdog giving up hope of ever getting straight answers.

Hence we learn that “Iran did not provide any clarification” regarding experiments the agency believes it conducted on testing components of nuclear components at its military facility at Parchin. “The information available to the Agency, including the results of the sampling analysis and the satellite imagery, does not support Iran’s statements on the purpose of the building,” says the report. “The Agency assesses that the extensive activities undertaken by Iran since February 2012 at the particular location of interest to the Agency seriously undermined the Agency’s ability to conduct effective verification.”

This seems to be A-OK with the Obama Administration, which made clear it’s prepared to accept any amount of Iranian stonewalling in order to move ahead with sanctions relief. “We had not expected a full confession, nor did we need one,” an unnamed senior Administration official told the Journal. One wonders why they even bothered with the charade.

Still, the report is illuminating on several points, above all its conclusion that Tehran continued to work on nuclear weapons research until 2009. That further discredits the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, which claimed Iran’s weapons program had ceased in 2003, and which effectively ended any chance that the Bush Administration would use military force against Iran’s nuclear sites.

It should also inspire some humility about the quality of Western intelligence regarding closed and hostile regimes such as Iran’s. A 2014 report from the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board noted that at “levels associated with small or nascent [nuclear] programs, key observables are easily masked.” Yet the Administration keeps insisting that Iran’s nondisclosures don’t matter because the U.S. has “perfect knowledge” of what the mullahs are up to, as John Kerry claimed last summer.

The larger point is that the nuclear deal has already become a case of Iran pretending not to cheat while the West pretends not to notice. That may succeed in bringing the agreement into force, but it offers no confidence that Iran won’t eventually build its weapon.

Iran Lies Proven, Obama Lifts Sanctions

From Chairman Royce:

Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) released the following statement today regarding the IAEA’s report on the “Possible Military Dimensions” of Iran’s past nuclear work:

“The IAEA report proves Iran lied.  For years, the Iranian regime worked secretly to develop a nuclear weapon.  And there are still important questions that remain unanswered.  For example, how far did Iran get toward building a bomb? And what happened to all of the materials, research, and expertise Iran acquired?

“Iran’s long track record of obstructing investigators means the IAEA will face significant challenges moving forward – especially since the president’s nuclear agreement allows Iran to carry out self-inspections at key sites.  Iran won’t even have to cheat to achieve advanced enrichment capacity, which puts them just a small step away from a bomb.” 

In 2007, GW Bush was mislead by a flawed NIE, National Intelligence Estimate on the Iranian nuclear production program.

TWS: The authors of the 2007 NIE famously argued that the Iranians halted their nuclear weapons program in 2003 and had not restarted it since. The U.S. intelligence community defined “nuclear weapons program” as “Iran’s nuclear weapon design and weaponization work and covert uranium conversion-related and uranium enrichment-related work.” For no good reason, the NIE’s definition excluded “Iran’s declared civil work related to uranium conversion and enrichment.” More here.

Iran tried to build nuke weapons: UN report

TheHill: Iran carried out work to build a nuclear weapon in previous years, but that effort never passed initial stages, a United Nations agency said in a confidential report revealed on Wednesday.

The conclusion follows this year’s finalization of the international nuclear deal with Iran and is sure to prompt concerns about Tehran’s willingness to implement that pact

Yet the report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which was widely shared Wednesday, claimed that Iran carried out only preliminary steps to building a nuclear bomb and ceased those activities at least five years ago.

“[A] range of relevant activities to the development of a nuclear explosive device were conducted in Iran prior to the end of 2003 as a coordinated effort, and some activities took place after 2003,” IAEA said.

*** Now this month, December:

Next month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is scheduled to address one of the most important elements of the July 2015 Iran nuclear deal: Iran’s possible past nuclear weapons work, which the IAEA refers to as the “possible military dimensions” or the PMD of Iran’s nuclear program.

Although Obama officials had said Iran’s full cooperation with the PMD investigation was a prerequisite for the lifting of sanctions, this is no longer the case.

Resolving the PMD issue is important because this information is necessary to set a baseline for verifying the nuclear agreement. Secretary of State John Kerry made this clear in a July 24, 2015 speech when he said: “PMD has to be resolved before they get one ounce of sanctions relief. Now that could take six months, it could take a year. I don’t know how long. But the IAEA has to certify that all of that has been done and we have received our one- year breakout before they get a dime.”

There go the sanction….

WSJ: The Obama administration said it expects to start lifting sanctions on Iran as early as January after the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog found no credible evidence that Tehran has recently engaged in atomic-weapons activity. But the agency reported that the country had pursued a program in secret until 2009, longer than previously believed.

The mixed findings in the report, which also indicated that Iran showed limited cooperation with investigators, fueled critics who said the July nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, as well as the White House’s move on Wednesday, were too easy on Tehran.

Iran has reached a historic agreement with major world powers over its nuclear program. What is Iran giving up, and how does it benefit in the long run? And what are supporters and critics of the deal saying? WSJ’s Niki Blasina explains.

Nonetheless, senior U.S. officials said they expected the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 35-nation board of governors to vote this month to formally close its decadelong probe of Iran’s suspected past weapons work. International sanctions on Iran could then be lifted as early as January, U.S. officials said, once Tehran completes additional steps required to constrain its broader nuclear program.

“Iran has provided what [the IAEA] says was sufficient,” said a senior U.S. official working on the implementation of the Iran deal. “We had not expected a full confession [by Iran], nor did we need one.”

Wrapping up a five-month probe of Iran’s past activities, the IAEA said it believed Iran had a coordinated nuclear-weapons program until 2003 and that some of these activities continued as late as 2009.

The agency said the most-recent work Iran conducted on a weapon appeared to be through the use of computer modeling to develop components used in an implosion device. The agency said the work was done between 2005 and 2009.

“The modeling…has a number of possible applications, some of which are exclusively for a nuclear explosive device,” the report said.

The agency said there were no credible indications of nuclear-weapons-related activities in Iran after 2009. But it added that Iran provided little information on some points and offered some misleading responses.

Opponents of the nuclear deal in the U.S. Congress criticized the White House’s willingness to move forward with the pact, arguing Iran needed to provide significantly more answers to the U.N. agency. Some Republicans also demanded the U.S. refuse to lift the sanctions until Tehran complies.

“The IAEA’s report is dangerously incomplete and should be rejected by the IAEA Board of Governors,” said Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.), while Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.), said, “The only clear point is that Iran stonewalled inspectors.”


US Admits Iran Will Punk the World on the JPOA

The US never really expected Iran to come totally clean about a key element of its nuclear program

 BusinessInsider: The Iran nuclear deal will clear a crucial milestone on December 15, when the International Atomic Energy Agency submits a report on the extent of Iran’s previous nuclear-weaponization activities.

The completion of that investigation into the possible military dimensions (PMDs) of Iran’s nuclear program is one of the major prerequisites for the full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the landmark nuclear deal that Iran and a US-led group of six countries signed in July.

iran nuclearREUTERS

In theory, the JCPOA won’t be implemented unless Iran complies with a separate “roadmap” agreement with the IAEA. That agreement, which was signed the same day as the JCPOA, lays out the parameters of the agency’s weaponization investigation. The JCPOA isn’t supposed to go into effect unless the sides “fully implement” that roadmap agreement.

But “full implementation” doesn’t really have a fixed meaning within the JCPOA, an agreement that is voluntary and non-binding. And according to an Associated Press analysis out Monday, the IAEA’s investigation is likely going to have inconclusive results.

As the AP notes, the head of the IAEA has “been careful to diminish expectations, describing his upcoming report last week as ‘not black and white.'” And according to the AP, Iranian officials have spoken about the IAEA probe using similar language, “suggesting they already know that the agency’s conclusions won’t be damning.”

Iran has already threatened that it simply won’t comply with the JCPOA if it’s dissatisfied with the IAEA’s report. That might be more than just an empty ultimatum, since according to the AP the announcement is consistent with what Iranian diplomats are saying behind closed doors as well.

“Two Western diplomats familiar with the issue say those same threats have been made in negotiations with IAEA officials,” the AP reported.

The weaponization report is considered crucial to the successful implementation of the nuclear deal, as it will be used to formulate an inspection baseline for Iran’s nuclear program. There is extensive evidence that Iran had a nuclear weapons program until as late as 2003.  The IAEA needs to be able to identify key personnel, facilities, supply chains, and past activities to establish exactly how far along Iran’s weaponization activities really are and to recognize whether those activities have been restarted.

But as the AP’s analysis suggests, the roadmap is also contentious — and perhaps even inconvenient, given its potential to interrupt the smooth implementation of a deal that Iran and the US-led group spent nearly two years negotiating. There are already signs that the US wants to get past the investigation as smoothly as possible — even if the IAEA’s “roadmap” doesn’t result in Iran’s full disclosure of its past weaponization work.

Business Insider has obtained a State Department document submitted to congressional offices during the Congress’s review of the JCPOA in July.

The 18-page document, a “verification assessment report” that is essentially the department’s outline of the nuclear deal’s various stipulations, is unclassified. But congressional staffers were only allowed to read it inside of a SCIF, or a special area for viewing and storing classified or compartmentalized information.

The section entitled “Addressing ‘Possible Military Dimensions'” discusses the US’ interpretation of the IAEA “roadmap” and its requirements.

“Iran’s implementation of its commitments under the Roadmap will bring to an end the years-long delay in the IAEA’s ability to address PMD [Possible Military Dimensions] issues,” the document reads.

Two paragraphs later, it explains that even with this high level of confidence that the IAEA investigation will resolve the PMD issue, the US’ standards fall somewhat short of full Iranian disclosure on weaponization-related matters.

“An Iranian admission of its past nuclear weapons program is unlikely and is not necessary for purposes of verifying JCPOA commitments going forward,” the report reads. “US confidence on this front is based in large part on what we believe we already know about Iran’s past activities”

“The United States has shared with the IAEA relevant information, and crafted specific JCPOA measures that will enable inspectors to establish confidence that previously reported Iranian PMD activities are not ongoing,” it continued. “If credible information becomes available regarding any renewed Iranian efforts, it would be shared with the IAEA as appropriate, whether involving previous people, locations, entities, or otherwise. We believe other IAEA member states will do the same.”

This report was circulated in Congress not long after the deal was signed. From a relatively early stage, the State Department believed that the IAEA was capable of monitoring Iran’s nuclear program without Iran fully disclosing its past activities.

This wasn’t because of any particular US trust in the Iranians. Rather, it was due to State’s confidence that US intelligence already knew enough about the extent of Iran’s weaponization program to make such an admission of past weaponization work unnecessary.

Even so, State apparently never expected full Iranian transparency on weaponization. And the Obama administration believed that Iran had no responsibility to admit to a past weaponization program under the JCPOA.

Washington always intended to give Iran a pass on full disclosure — and the result may be a watered-down IAEA investigation that’s treated more as a formality than as an integral element of an arms control agreement designed to last for decades.

The United States has it’s own Task Force, that is IF the White House allows full technology to monitor Iran.

Task Force to assess technologies in support of future arms control and nonproliferation treaties and agreements. The Task Force, however, quickly realized that addressing this charge alone would be of limited value without considering a broader context for nuclear proliferation into the foreseeable future. That realization resulted from a number of factors which included:

 Accounts of rogue state actions and their potential cascading effects;

 The impact of advancing technologies relevant to nuclear weapons development;

 The growing evidence of networks of cooperation among countries that would otherwise have

little reason to do so;

 The implications of U.S. policy statements to reduce the importance of nuclear weapons in international affairs, accompanied by further reductions in numbers, which are leading some longtime allies and partners to entertain development of their own arsenals;

 The wide range of motivations, capabilities, and approaches that each potential proliferator introduces.