Sunday, November 16, 2014

Israel Opposing Iran Nuclear Talks to Maintain Status Quo?

Robert Hunt, former US Ambassador to NATO, has published a piece today in which he discussing what he believes is the REAL reason Israel is so adamantly against ANY nuclear accord between the US and Iran: Israel wants Iran to remain the "boogeymen" of the Middle East.

Israel of course is not the only nation in that region that would prefer this image of Iran remain no matter what..

Kudos to Mr. Hunter on a piece somewhat out of left field when it comes to these nuclear talks..

Why Israel Opposes A Final Nuclear Deal with Iran and What to Do Abort It- LobeLog

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Syrian Nuclear Scientists Assassinated...Possible Iranian Connection?

First, the headline:

While a story of Syrian government scientists/engineers being killed would normally be a bit lost in the multitude of news concerning Syria's ongoing civil war, but it's that last bit of the headline, "one of them Iranian" that has caught many observers' eye. 

Here are some the facts concerning this story that may catch your eye too:
  • These engineers work at Syria's Der Al-Hadjar Nuclear Research Center, which is home to Syria only "true" research reactor, the SRR-1.
  • The SRR-1 is what is called a "miniature neutron source reactor" (MNSR), which is one of the smallest of its kind in the world.
  • While the reactor does uses highly-enriched uranium as its fuel (90% enriched), it uses so little fuel (just under 1 kilogram) that using this facility's current fuel or even its spent fuel (which may contain a VERY small amount of plutonium) for making nuclear weapons is not even remotely feasible.
  • However, while the MNSR can't be used to actually produce nuclear weapons, it CAN be used to experiment on methods of plutonium-extraction from spent fuel and several other non-civilian experiments. 
  • The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) in recent years got into something of a row with the Syrian government over the possibility that experiments of these type were carried out at this facility. 
  • The reports of an Iranian nuclear engineer being killed in this attack is NOT confirmed by any Iranian or Syrian government sources but is being widely reported by various news agencies.
  • The area of the capital of Damascus where this attack occurred is NOT believed to be involved in any heavy fighting, so the odds of this being a random killing of government officials by "rebels" seems unlikely. 
So what is the real significance of this story?

If confirmed, why is there an Iranian nuclear engineer working at the MNSR? 

Who carried out this killing? Syrian "rebels" or operatives of the Israeli government?

All very good questions and regardless of their answers, I suspect this won't be the last we hear of Syrian nuclear-related activities...

Monday, November 10, 2014

Senator Rand Paul: President Obama's ISIS War is Illegal

Not much to comment on here.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul, a likely 2016 contender for the GOP nomination, makes the case that our current conflict with ISIS in Iraq and Syria has now exceeded the legal limits and is now unconstitutional.

That is NOT a new observation nor even a very unique one (much the same was said of the brief air war over Libya several years ago), but that doesn't mean he's wrong in making this accusation..

The Daily Beast- Obama's ISIS War is Illegal

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cruz's Demagoguery on Israel and Iran- The American Conservative

A short and sweet piece concerning Ted Cruz's boringly predictable response to a story on Iran's nuclear program by The American Conservative's very own, Daniel Larison!

Cruz's Demagoguery on Israel and Iran

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

To Beat Russian Tanks, the Baltic States Study the Georgian War- War is Boring

For those who don't know, the site War is Boring is arguably one of the best independent military/foreign policy sites around. It has a fairly unique style of writing and the topics tackled by its authors are hardly typical.

Today, WIB author Robert Buckhusen posted a piece discussing just how nervous the three Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) towards the Russians, not surprising given the events in Ukraine over the last year or so.

How are these Baltic states' militaries reacting? Smartly, by studying another conflict between the modern Russian military and a small ex-Soviet state: Georgia.


To Beat Russian Tanks, the Baltic States Study the Georgian War

Monday, October 20, 2014

FP- Do Iraq and Syria No Longer Exist?

Consider this if you will: Your country is in the midst of a serious "civil war", so serious in fact that you have lost control of one of your longest continuous borders, has your country ceased to exist as a unified & distinct entity?

That is just one of many worrying questions foreign policy wonks and world leaders alike, now tackled by Foreign Policy magazine's very own Joel Rayburn..

Definitely worth a read!

Do Iraq & Syria No Longer Exist? - Foreign Policy Mag

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Daily Beast: Goodbye to the Last of Syria's Good Guys

Ever since President Obama made his announcement that the US would be taking a much more active role in combating the forces of ISIS, much of the talk in Washington (both by pundits and "analysts") has been WHO exactly is the Syrian opposition forces we are pledging to help?

Are these forces the kind of freedom-loving force that NeoCons dream of or are we once again backing the "enemy of my enemy", hoping to God that those weapons and training we are giving them don't come back to bite us in the ass?

Well, Joshua Hersh of The Daily Beast has tackled this very question in a piece posted today:

Goodbye to the Last of Syria's Good Guys

The questions surrounding these "good rebels" are planning to arm/train to fight ISIS is far more important than many may realize.

Not only in such a strategy incredibly risky, but to be frank, our history with similar such "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" affairs is just plain terrible. All too often, these groups gladly ask for the help of the United States, only to stab us in the back THE moment it becomes politically expedient.

Further, giving how long Syria's civil war has ranged, one really has to wonder as to whether this is all MUCH too little, too late...