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Israel’s duplicity about its nuclear weapons

The Emperor’s New-Old Nuclear Clothes, Common Dreams ,  Helena Cobban September 18, 2019, by  The Lobe Log, 

Israel wants to keep leaders in Washington distracted and always a little off-balance, so they will end up without the bandwidth and the stamina needed to confront Israel over the continuation of colonial expansion in the lands occupied in 1967.byHelena Cobban

How is it still possible to write a lengthy article about the military/strategic dynamic among the triad of Israel, Iran, and the United States while making zero mention of Israel’s robust nuclear-weapons capability? New York Times staffers Ronen Bergman and Mark Mazzetti, and their editors at the Times magazine clearly think this is quite okay. In their recent lengthy article, “The Secret History of the Push to Strike Iran,” Bergman and Mazzetti looked at the U.S.-Israeli coalitional aspect of the past 17 years in the project to prepare for launching military or special-ops actions against Iran. They followed in the long tradition within the big corporate media of deliberately ignoring Israel’s nuclear capability, a factor that is central to any understanding of the forces at play in the Middle East and also, crucially, those at play in the U.S.-Israeli relationship.

The authors’ omission of any mention of Israel’s nuclear capabilities—and the ability these capabilities have long given to the country’s leaders to exert strong, continuing nuclear blackmail on Washington—is one serious flaw in their narrative. Another is that they seriously downplay the importance of the fact that Israel’s military is incapable, on its own, of inflicting debilitating damage on Iran’s nuclear program using only “conventional,” that is non-nuclear, weapons. (The two lacunae could perhaps be linked, as we will see below.)

Early in the article, Bergman and Mazzetti set the scene for how they see the strategic dynamic among Israel, Iran, and Washington by citing an analysis provided by Ilan Goldenberg, who was an up-and-coming Pentagon official in the Obama administration………….

A few things about the nuclear dimension of the U.S.-Israel-Iran triangle have been clear to me for a long time. One is that the longstanding refusal of most members of the U.S. political elite (officials, legislators, think-tankers, corporate media, and so on) to even mention the fact of Israel’s own nuclear-weapons capabilities and to take full account of them in public discussions of strategic matters in the Middle East is extremely harmful. Among the harms inflicted by that refusal (and by the general political clout that Israel wields in Washington) is that Israel’s longstanding ability to wield a form of nuclear blackmail against Washington—as I have written about for more than 30 years now—is never mentioned. Nor is the fact that, while Iran has been a full member of the NPT and has submitted to a full range of inspections of its nuclear research facilities for many decades now, Israel is not a member and has never been subjected to any such inspections.

(Another thing that is almost never mentioned is that all journalists based in Israel—as Bergman is—are subject to the country’s rigorous censorship system. This censorship is particularly strict regarding all military issues.)

…………  so long as Iran does not break out of the NPT, Israel can quietly, behind the veil of its longstanding policy of “nuclear ambiguity”, continue to exert a form of “extreme-case” nuclear deterrence against Iran. (And to use the threat of a potential unveiling as a potent means of leverage against decision-makers in Washington.)

So why, then, do we have all the continual hullabaloo and endless navel-scratching in the Western corporate media (and the Western political system, more broadly) about the possibility—not yet anywhere close to a fact, but a possibility, some time in the future—that Iran may start to build a nuclear-weapons capability?

My conclusion is that a good part of this navel-scratching is a deliberate tactic of diversion: a way for the decision-makers in Israel and their supporters to keep leaders in Washington and elsewhere distracted and always a little off-balance, so they will end up without the bandwidth and the stamina needed confront Israel over the continuation of its project of colonial expansion in the lands occupied in 1967.

That colonial project in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and in Golan is what all Israeli leaders since 2001 have cared about most deeply. And they all knew that one great way to head off any efforts a U.S. president might make to challenge the project was to raise a hubbub about Iran’s alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons.

“Why do you keep talking to us about human rights or international law issues in the Palestinian territories?” was the essential message such efforts sent to decision-makers in Washington. “Stop worrying about those. We will handle them as we see fit, and you should butt out. But meantime, keep looking at all those shiny objects over there in the Iranian nuclear program! And by the way, keep your aid money flowing to our military. Otherwise, just imagine what havoc we could create for you in the Gulf…”

Helena Cobban is a writer and researcher on global affairs. She is a Contributing Editor of Boston Review, and writes weekly news analysis on Middle East affairs for Inter-Press service. Her blog can be enjoyed at Just World News.    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/18/emperors-new-old-nuclear-clothes
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September 19, 2019 Posted by | Israel, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA’s new National Security Adviser – out of the Bolton nuclear frying pan, into the Kupperman nuclear fire?

Trump’s Acting National Security Adviser Said Nuclear War With USSR Was Winnable
Questioning “mutual assured destruction,” Charles Kupperman called nuclear conflict “in large part a physics problem.” Huffington Post, By Nick Robins-Early , 16 Sept 19, 
President Donald Trump’s acting national security adviser, former Reagan administration official Charles Kupperman, made an extraordinary and controversial claim in the early 1980s: nuclear conflict with the USSR was winnable and that “nuclear war is a destructive thing but still in large part a physics problem.”Kupperman’s suggestion that the U.S. could triumph in a nuclear war went against dominant theories of mutually assured destruction and ignored the long-term destabilizing effects that such hostilities would have on the planet’s health and global politics.

Kupperman, appointed to his new post on Tuesday after Trump fired his John Bolton from the job, argued it was possible to win a nuclear war “in the classical sense,” and that the notion of total destruction stemming from such a superpower conflict was inaccurate. He said that in a scenario in which 20 million people died in the U.S. as opposed to 150 million, the nation could then emerge as the stronger side and prevail in its objectives. 

His argument was that with enough planning and civil defense measures, such as “a certain layer of dirt and some reinforced construction materials,” the effects of a nuclear war could be limited and that U.S. would be able to fairly quickly rebuild itself after an all-out conflict with the then-Soviet Union.

“It may take 15 years, but geez, look how long it took Europe to recover after the Second World War,” Kupperman said. Referring to the Japanese city on which the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb in 1945, he also claimed that “Hiroshima, after it was bombed, was back and operating three days later.”

At the time,Kupperman was executive director of President Ronald Reagan’s General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament. He made the comments during an interview with Robert Scheer for the journalist’s 1982 book, “With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush, and Nuclear War.”

The National Security Council did not immediately respond to questions on whether Kupperman, 68, still holds the same views of nuclear conflict as he did in the early 1980s. Kupperman’s seemingly cavalier attitude toward the potential death of millions of people was criticized at the time both by Democratic politicians and arms control experts.

It seems reasonable to suggest the crazies are in charge of the nukes,” Jeremy Stone, president of the Federation of American Scientists, wrote about Kupperman and his colleagues in 1984.

Contemporary nuclear experts similarly criticize Kupperman’s beliefs as wrongheaded and dangerous.

“Kupperman’s comments might as well have come straight from the script of (the film) ‘Dr. Strangelove.’ He was part of a group of defense analysts at the time who weren’t shy about sharing such views,” said Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Washington-based Arms Control Association, who first noted Kupperman’s views in a Twitter post in January when Kupperman was hired as the deputy national security adviser.

“The simple fact is that a nuclear war can’t be won and must never be fought,” Reif said.

But rather than being sidelined as a relic of Cold War hubris, Kupperman now holds one of the most powerful positions in the White House. Although his role is temporary, civil rights groups have also already called on him resign over his extensive ties to the Center for Security Policy, an anti-Muslim think tank founded by conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney.

Gaffney is a prominent anti-Muslim activist who repeatedly promoted the conspiracy theories that members of President Barack Obama’s administration were working to enforce Islamic law in the U.S., that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated top levels of government and that Obama was secretly Muslim himself. Kupperman served on the board of directors for Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy between 2001-2010.

“CSP has continuously promoted Islamophobic conspiracy theories, and anyone, like Mr. Kupperman, who has so closely associated with them for so long is ― at the very least ― complicit in their brand of anti-Muslim bigotry and should not be entrusted with one of the highest-ranking security roles in the United States,” Council on American-Islamic Relations Executive Director Nihad Awad said Tuesday.

Before joining the NSA, Kupperman served as an informal adviser to Bolton and worked as a defense industry executive at Boeing and Lockheed Martin. He was a critic of the Iranian nuclear deal and in 2017 co-signed a letter to Trump backing Bolton’s plan to withdraw from the agreement.

Here are excerpts of Kupperman’s comments from his interview with Scheer: ……..https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/charles-kupperman-nuclear-war-trump-nsa_n_5d7b9809e4b03b5fc88212fd

September 17, 2019 Posted by | politics, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Rick Perry to Discuss Nuclear Sharing Agreement With Saudi Arabia

September 14, 2019 Posted by | marketing of nuclear, politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

Amazingly Trump told the truth about nuclear weapons and Libya

DONALD TRUMP JUST ADMITTED THAT IT MAKES SENSE FOR AMERICA’S ENEMIES TO GET NUCLEAR WEAPONS    https://theintercept.com/2019/09/13/trump-nuclear-weapons-libya-north-korea/   Jon Schwarz September 14 2019,

ON THURSDAY, PRESIDENT Donald Trump did something truly shocking: He told the truth.

When asked why he fired John Bolton, his former national security adviser, Trump said:

He made some very big mistakes. When he talked about the Libyan model for Kim Jong Un, that was not a good statement to make. You just take a look at what happened with Gaddafi.

Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, said that Trump “is not ‘siding with Kim Jong Un’ when he points out, correctly, that Bolton’s surrender model of negotiations is a complete nonstarter for North Korea.” Trump’s statement has a deep significance, one that the Americans should consider carefully.

September 14, 2019 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

North Korea willing to resume negotiations, wants USA to take a fresh approach

North Korea willing to resume US nuclear talks, senior diplomat says, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/09/north-korea-us-pyongyang-trump-kim-jong-un    Meeting could be held in late September at mutually agreed location, deputy foreign minister tells state news agency.

North Korea is willing to restart talks with the United States in late September over its nuclear programme, but warned that chances of a deal could end unless Washington takes a fresh approach.
The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, agreed in a 30 June meeting with Donald Trump to reopen working-level talks stalled since their failed February summit in Hanoi, but this has yet to happen despite repeated appeals from Washington.

n a statement carried by North Korea’s official KCNA news agency, the deputy foreign minister, Choe Son-hui, said Pyongyang was willing to have “comprehensive discussions” with the United States in late September at a time and place agreed between both sides.

Asked for comment, a US state department spokeswoman said: “We don’t have any meetings to announce at this time.”

On Sunday, Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, said he hoped to return to denuclearisation talks with North Korea in the coming days or weeks.

But Choe highlighted that Washington needed to present a new approach or the talks could fall apart again.

“I want to believe that the US side would come out with an alternative based on a calculation method that serves both sides’ interests and is acceptable to us,” Choe said.

“If the US side toys with an old scenario that has nothing to do with the new method at working-level talks which would be held after difficulties, a deal between the two sides may come to an end.”

In April, Kim set a year-end deadline for the United States to show more flexibility in talks, which broke down in February over US demands for North Korea to give up all of its nuclear weapons and Pyongyang’s demands for relief from punishing US-led international sanctions.

The end-of-September timeframe would coincide with the annual United Nations general assembly in New York, which Pompeo is due to attend. North Korea’s mission to the United Nations said last week that the foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho, would not attend “due to his schedule”.

North Korea has demanded that Pompeo be replaced with a “more mature” person in the US negotiating team, while lauding the rapport built between Kim and Trump in three meetings since June 2018.

The US special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, led working-level talks with North Korea in the run-up to the failed Hanoi meeting.

September 10, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

UN urges Iran to co-operate with UN regulatory agency

Time is of the essence’ in Iran co-operation: UN nuclear watchdog Channel News Asia, 8 Sept 19, 

VIENNA: The acting head of the UN nuclear watchdog on Monday (Sep 9) called on Iran to “respond promptly” to the agency’s questions regarding Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Cornel Feruta was addressing the quarterly board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) a day after meeting high-level Iranian officials in Tehran.

He said that in his meetings he “stressed the need for Iran to respond promptly to Agency questions related to the completeness of Iran’s safeguards declarations”, adding: “Time is of the essence.”

Earlier Monday, the IAEA confirmed that Iran was installing advanced centrifuges, a move that puts further pressure on the troubled 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

The IAEA’s latest statements come a day after Tehran hit out at European powers, saying they had left Iran little option but to scale back its commitments under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)…….

Iran has said that notwithstanding its reduction of commitments under the JCPOA, it will continue to allow access to IAEA inspectors who monitor its nuclear programme…….  https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/-time-is-of-the-essence–in-iran-co-operation–un-nuclear-watchdog-11888270

September 10, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

France pledges to press Iran to comply with nuclear deal

France pledges to press Iran to comply with nuclear deal    https://nypost.com/2019/09/07/france-pledges-to-press-iran-to-comply-with-nuclear-deal/ By Sara Dorn, France will continue pressuring Iran to comply with the 2015 nuclear deal, a top official said Saturday.

“We must do everything we can to contribute to ease tensions with Iran and to ensure navigation safety,” French defense minister Florence Parly said during a joint press conference with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper in Paris.

“We can only confirm our goal, which is to bring Iran to fully respect the Vienna deal,” Parly said.

Meanwhile, Iranian officials said Saturday the country has begun using centrifuges to enrich uranium, a key ingredient for nuclear weapons.

Iran ramped up its nuclear activity in July in response to President Trump’s reinstatement of sanctions that were nixed during the nuclear deal made with Iran and world leaders in Vienna in 2015.

Iran has said it would come back into compliance with the pact if Europe helps the country work around the US sanctions to sell crude oil on the international marketplace.

September 8, 2019 Posted by | France, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran’s President Rouhani talks with Emmanuel Macron, warning on reducing nuclear commitments

Rouhani Warns Macron Iran Will Take Next Nuclear Step  September 01, 2019  Radio Farda   

September 1, 2019 Posted by | politics international | Leave a comment

Tensions between India and Pakistan, as India contemplates abandoning its No First Use policy on nuclear weapons

August 31, 2019 Posted by | India, Pakistan, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump’s friendliness with Putin makes it hard for NATO to do anything about Russia’s weapons tests and radioactive explosion

Russia’s nuclear weapons tests were linked to a radioactive explosion. Trump’s friendliness with Putin makes it hard for NATO to do anything about it. Business Insider, MITCH PROTHERO, AUG 29, 2019   

August 31, 2019 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA | Leave a comment

Russia fears fatal consequences if the NEWSTART nuclear arms treaty is allowed to lapse

August 26, 2019 Posted by | politics international, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Hiroshima Round Table’s urgent appeal to save nuclear agreements  

Urgent appeal to save nuclear agreements  https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2019/08/25/commentary/japan-commentary/urgent-appeal-save-nuclear-agreements/#.XWL9GugzbIU

BY RAMESH THAKUR  HIROSHIMA, 25 Aug !9 The Hiroshima Round Table held its seventh annual meeting last Wednesday and Thursday. For the first time, in recognition of the uniquely dangerous international security environment since the dawn of the atomic age in this beautiful city, the Round Table issued an urgent appeal to maintain existing nuclear arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation pacts and to build on them in order to deepen strategic stability. Continue reading

August 26, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif visits G-7 Summit

Top Iranian Official Makes Surprise G-7 Summit Visit Amid Nuclear Talks

  • Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is under U.S. sanctions, was invited to the gathering by France’s foreign minister.   SYLVIE CORBET, LORI HINNANT and DARLENE SUPERVILLE BIARRITZ, France (AP) 25 Aug 19, — A top Iranian official paid an unannounced visit Sunday to the G-7 summit and headed straight to the buildings where leaders of the world’s major democracies have been debating how to handle the country’s nuclear ambitions.

August 26, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

As Trump trashed nuclear weapons treaty, Putin promises ‘symmetrical response’ to US missile test

Putin promises ‘symmetrical response’ to US missile test after end of nuclear treaty Telegraph UK   23 AUGUST 2019

Vladimir Putin has promised a “symmetrical response” to the US test of a missile banned under a nuclear weapons treaty rubbished this month by the Trump administration amid fears of a new arms race.A new land-based version of the navy’s Tomahawk cruise missile fired from an island in California struck a target more than 310 miles away on Sunday, according to the Pentagon. The recently defunct 1987 US-Russian intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty banned land-based missiles with ranges between 310 and 3,410 miles.

On Friday, Mr Putin told his security council that the test just 16 days after the treaty’s demise proved that the United States had long been developing weapons in violation of the agreement, while accusing Russia of the same as part of a “propaganda campaign”……

He ordered the defence and foreign ministries to “analyse the level of the threat to our country created by the aforementioned actions of the United States and take exhaustive steps to prepare a symmetrical response”.  While he did not say exactly what that would be be, it was reported in February that Russia could begin producing a land-based version of its Kalibr cruise missile with a range of 1,600 miles by the end of the year.

“For a symmetrical response, it would be enough to take Kalibr and put it on land and conduct a launch,” defence analyst Alexander Golts told The Telegraph. “That wouldn’t take a huge effort.”

Donald Trump’s announcement in February that he would withdraw from the INF treaty, which ended the deployment of US ballistic missiles to Europe and of Soviet nukes targeting them, raised fears of a new arms race. …… https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/08/23/putin-promises-symmetric-response-us-missile-test-end-nuclear/

August 24, 2019 Posted by | politics international, weapons and war | 2 Comments

Iran working productively with France, to save nuclear deal

August 24, 2019 Posted by | France, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment