The True Origins of Isis Ideology (Wahhabism/Salafism)
The birth of Wahhabism and the house of Saud
What is a Wahhabi and What is Wahhabism?
Wahhabism: The School of Ibn Taymiyyah – The Root of Terrorism?
Who Are The Salafis and Wahhabies Yusuf Estes Islam
100% Video Proof of Radical Muslim Terrorist Training Camps in America – Bill O’Reilly
Seymour Hersh’s Latest Bombshell: U.S. Military Undermined Obama on Syria with Tacit Help to Assad
Published on Dec 22, 2015
A new report by the Pulitzer-winning veteran journalist Seymour Hersh says the Joints Chiefs of Staff has indirectly supported Bashar al-Assad in an effort to help him defeat jihadist groups. Hersh reports the Joint Chiefs sent intelligence via Russia, Germany and Israel on the understanding it would be transmitted to help Assad push back Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State. Hersh also claims the military even undermined a U.S. effort to arm Syrian rebels in a bid to prove it was serious about helping Assad fight their common enemies. Hersh says the Joints Chiefs’ maneuvering was rooted in several concerns, including the U.S. arming of unvetted Syrian rebels with jihadist ties, a belief the administration was overly focused on confronting Assad’s ally in Moscow, and anger the White House was unwilling to challenge Turkey and Saudi Arabia over their support of extremist groups in Syria. Hersh joins us to detail his claims and respond to his critics.
British Empire Created Radical Islam
Published on Mar 29, 2016
The Salafist and jihadist ideology behind terror attacks in Brussels, Paris and San Bernardino is a product of Wahhabism, an offshoot of Sunni Islam and the official religion of Saudi Arabia.
Prior to the 9/11 attacks Wahhabism had at best a marginal footprint in the United States. “80 percent of the 1,200 mosques operating in the US were constructed after 2001, more often than not with Saudi financing,” notes World Affairs. “As a result, Wahhabi influence over Islamic institutions in the US was considerable by 2003, according to testimony before the US Senate. Hundreds of publications, published by the Saudi government and its affiliates, and filled with intolerance toward Christians, Jews, and other Americans, had been disseminated across the country by 2006.”
The Saudis have spent billions to propagate the intolerant and hateful ideology of Wahhabism. “Between 1975 and 1987, the Saudis admit to having spent $48 billion or $4 billion per year on ‘overseas development aid,’ a figure which by the end of 2002 grew to over $70 billion (281 billion Saudi rials). These sums are reported to be Saudi state aid and almost certainly do not include private donations which are also distributed by state-controlled charities. Such staggering amounts contrast starkly with the $5 million in terrorist accounts the Saudis claim to have frozen since 9/11,” writes Alex Alexiev.
The US government has encouraged the spread of radical Wahhabism by coddling the Saudi Arabian government and insisting America shares a “special relationship” with the kingdom. The blind eye turned toward Saudi Arabia and its deplorable record in human rights was demonstrated when it was elected to the UN Human Rights Council (in fairness, the vote is primarily the fault of the UK—the British government also shares a “special relationship” with the medieval kings of Saudi Arabia and has allowed the virus of Wahhabism to spread in Britain, hence the term “Londonistan”). http://www.infowars.com/ted-cruz-igno…
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David Horowitz – Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left
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My Jihad blah, blah, blah. what`s yours?
The Leftist / Islamic Alliance
David Horowitz – Progressive Racism
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‘Hannity’ Investigation: Do Muslims Believe Sharia Law Supersedes the U.S. Constitution?
US abstains as UN demands end to Israeli settlements
Trump Calls On Pres Obama To Veto U.N. Resolution On Israeli Settlements – Special Report
Barack Obama HAS OFFICIALLY LOST IT !!!!!!!!!!!
Israeli Government Puts Down Obama And Ask Trump For Help
Israelis called Trump to weigh in ahead of UN Security Council vote
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Israel accuses Obama of anti-Israeli ‘shameful move’ at UN
For the first time in 36 years, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution critical of Israel’s Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory. The United States abstained. (Reuters)
By Josef Federman | APDecember 23 at 12:12 PM
JERUSALEM — An Israeli official on Friday accused President Barack Obama of colluding with the Palestinians in a “shameful move against Israel at the U.N.” after learning the White House did not intend to veto a Security Council resolution condemning settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem the day before.
“President Obama and Secretary Kerry are behind this shameful move against Israel at the U.N.,” the official said. “The U.S administration secretly cooked up with the Palestinians an extreme anti-Israeli resolution behind Israel’s back which would be a tail wind for terror and boycotts and effectively make the Western Wall occupied Palestinian territory,” he said calling it “an abandonment of Israel which breaks decades of US policy of protecting Israel at the UN.”
Although the U.S. opposes the settlements, it has traditionally used its veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council to block resolutions condemning Israel, saying that disputes between Israel and the Palestinians must be resolved through negotiations. But after eight years of failed peace efforts during the Obama Administration, Israel has expressed concern the outgoing president would take an audacious step to leave his mark on the region. In recent weeks, the White House had been especially secretive about its deliberations.
In this Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016, file photo, President-elect Donald Trump attends a meeting at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla. (Andrew Harnik, File/Associated Press)
The Israeli official’s admission marked a final chapter in the icy relations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama over the last eight years, and signaled an era of close ties between Israel and the incoming Trump administration.
Israel knew even before the Egyptian draft resolution that the White House was planning an “ambush” and coordinating it with the Palestinians, said another Israeli official, who requested anonymity to discuss internal diplomatic conversations.
Israeli diplomats believe they were misled by the U.S. during a meeting last week between high-ranking Israeli and Obama administration officials in which the U.S. side offered reassurances about its efforts to support Israel but declined to explicitly state that the U.S. would veto such a resolution if it came up. The Israelis told their counterparts that “friends don’t take friends to the Security Council,” the official said.
The Egyptian-sponsored resolution had demanded that Israel halt settlement activities in occupied territories claimed by the Palestinians and declared that existing settlements “have no legal validity.”
But under heavy Israeli pressure, Egypt called off a planned vote in the Security Council hours before it was to take place. In the diplomatic activity ahead of the postponement, both Netanyahu and Trump issued nearly identical statements urging the U.S. to veto the measure.
“After becoming aware that the administration would not veto the anti-Israel resolution, Israeli officials reached out to Trump’s transition team to ask for the president-elect’s help to avert the resolution,” the Israeli official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was discussing behind-the-scenes diplomatic activity.
On Friday, Egypt said its president had received a call from Trump in which they both agreed to give the incoming U.S. administration a chance to try and resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The call came hours after Egypt indefinitely postponed the U.N. vote.
A statement from the Egyptian presidency said the two men spoke by phone early Friday and agreed on “the importance of giving a chance for the new American administration to deal in a comprehensive way with the different aspects of the Palestinian issue with the aim of achieving a comprehensive and a final resolution.”
A senior Palestinian official, speaking anonymously according to protocol, said Egypt didn’t consult with the Palestinians about delaying the vote and it was a “complete shock” for them. Egypt represents Arab states on the security council.
Egypt is the first Arab country to make peace with Israel, and the two countries have close security ties in a shared struggle against Islamic militants.
The Palestinian mission to the United Nations said the Security Council will vote later in the day on the resolution condemning Israel’s settlement construction, now sponsored by New Zealand, Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela.
The U.S., along with the Palestinians and nearly all of the international community, opposes Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as obstacles to peace. Some 600,000 Israelis live in the two territories, which the Palestinians seek as part of a future independent state. Israel captured both areas in the 1967 Mideast war.
Trump has signaled he will be far more sympathetic to Israel. His campaign platform made no mention of the establishment of a Palestinian state, a core policy objective of Democratic and Republican presidents over the past two decades. He also has vowed to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that would put the U.S. at odds with the Palestinians and almost the entire remainder of the international community, and his pick for ambassador to Israel, Jewish-American lawyer David Friedman, is a donor and vocal supporter of the settlements.
The proposed resolution would have been more than symbolic. While it did not call for imposing sanctions on Israel, its language could have hindered Israel’s negotiating position in future peace talks. Given the widespread international opposition to the settlements, it would have been nearly impossible for the Trump administration to reverse it.
It remained unclear Friday whether the measure would come up for a vote in the council before Obama leaves office.
In a Christmas greeting on Friday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said: “Despite the Israeli occupation, our presence in our homeland and the preservation of our cultural and national heritage are the most important form of resistance in the face of the darkness of a foreign colonialist occupying power.”
Associated Press writer Josh Lederman in Washington contributed to this report.
Trump says “let it be an arms race” when it comes to nuclear weapons
“Absolutely Frightening”: Greenpeace on Trump’s Call for a New Nuclear Arms Race
Trump, Putin both seek to boost their nuclear capability
Published on Dec 22, 2016
President-elect Donald Trump signaled Thursday that he will look to “strengthen and expand” the US’s nuclear capability hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to enhance his country’s nuclear forces.
The exchange appeared to raise the prospect of a new arms race between the two nuclear superpowers, which between them boast more than 14,000 nuclear warheads, the still deadly legacy of their four-decades long Cold War standoff.
But the comments by Putin, who is presiding over a project to restore Russia’s lost global power and influence, and Trump, who will shortly become the US commander-in-chief, did not spell out exactly what each side is proposing or whether a major change of nuclear doctrine is in the offing.
Trump weighed in with a tweet just hours after Putin spoke following a meeting with his military advisers to review the activity of the past year.
“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” Trump wrote.
It was not immediately clear if the President-elect is proposing an entire new nuclear policy that he would begin to flesh out once he takes office next year.
Trump could also be referring to plans to modernize the current US nuclear arsenal that are currently underway and will cost hundreds of billions of dollars. The Obama administration has outlined a plan to modernize delivery systems, command and control systems and to refurbish warheads in the US nuclear triad — the US force of sea, airborne and missile delivered nuclear weapons.
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INSIDE VIEW !!! US Air Force Minuteman Strategic Missile Silo Mini Documentary
Published on Mar 10, 2016
The LGM-30 Minuteman is a US land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), in service with the Air Force Global Strike Command. As of 2014, the LGM-30G Minuteman III version[a] is the only land-based ICBM in service in the United States.
Development of the Minuteman began in the mid-1950s as the outgrowth of basic research into solid fuel rocket motors which indicated an ICBM based on solids was possible. Such a missile could stand ready for extended periods of time with little maintenance, and then launch on command. In comparison, existing US missile designs using liquid fuels required a lengthy fueling process immediately before launch, which left them open to the possibility of surprise attack. This potential for immediate launch gave the missile its name; like the Revolutionary War’s Minutemen, the Minuteman was designed to be launched on a moment’s notice.
Minuteman entered service in 1962 as a weapon tasked primarily with the deterrence role, threatening Soviet cities with a counterattack if the US was attacked. However, with the development of the US Navy’s Polaris which addressed the same role, the Air Force began to modify Minuteman into a weapon with much greater accuracy with the specific intent of allowing it to attack hardened military targets, including Soviet missile silos. The Minuteman-II entered service in 1965 with a host of upgrades to improve its accuracy and survivability in the face of an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system the Soviets were known to be developing. Minuteman-III followed in 1970, using three smaller warheads instead of one large one, which made it very difficult to attack by an anti-ballistic missile system which would have to hit all three widely separated warheads to be effective. Minuteman-III was the first multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) ICBM to be deployed. Each missile can carry up to three nuclear warheads, which have a yield in the range of 300 to 500 kilotons.
Peaking at 1000 missiles in the 1970s, the current US force consists of 450 Minuteman-III missiles in missile silos around Malmstrom AFB, Montana; Minot AFB, North Dakota; and F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming. By 2018 this will be reduced to 400 armed missiles, with 50 unarmed missiles in reserve, and four non-deployed test launchers to comply with the New START treaty. The Air Force plans to keep the missile in service until at least 2030. It is one component of the US nuclear triad—the other two parts of the triad being the Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), and nuclear weapons carried by long-range strategic bombers.
Type Intercontinental ballistic missile
Place of origin United States
In service 1962 (Minuteman-I)
Used by United States
Unit cost $7,000,000
Weight 78,000 lb (35,300 kg)
Length 59 ft 9.5 in (18.2 m)
Diameter 5 ft 6 in (1.7 m) (1st stage)
Warhead Nuclear: W62, W78, or (2006–) W87
Air Burst or Contact (Surface)
Engine Three-stage Solid-fuel rocket engines; first stage: Thiokol TU-122 (M-55); second stage: Aerojet-General SR-19-AJ-1; third stage: Aerojet/Thiokol SR73-AJ/TC-1
approx. 8,100 (exact is classified) miles (13,000 km)
Flight altitude 700 miles (1,120 kilometers)
Speed Approximately 17507 mph (Mach 23, or 28176 km/h, or 7 km/s) (terminal phase)
Accuracy 200 m CEP
Missile Silo (MLCC)
Minuteman-III (LGM-30G): the current model 
Side view of Minuteman-III ICBM
Airmen work on a Minuteman-III’s multiple independently-targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) system. Current missiles carry a single warhead.
The LGM-30G Minuteman-III program started in 1966, and included several improvements over the previous versions. It was first deployed in 1970. Most modifications related to the final stage and reentry system (RS). The final (third) stage was improved with a new fluid-injected motor, giving finer control than the previous four-nozzle system. Performance improvements realized in Minuteman-III include increased flexibility in reentry vehicle (RV) and penetration aids deployment, increased survivability after a nuclear attack, and increased payload capacity. The missile retains a gimballed inertial guidance system.
Minuteman-III originally contained the following distinguishing features:
Armed with W62 warhead, having a yield of only 170 kilotons TNT, instead of previous W56’s yield of 1.2 megatons.
It was the first Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicles (MIRV) missile. A single missile was then able to target 3 separate locations. This was an improvement from the Minuteman-I and Minuteman-II models, which were only able to carry one large warhead.
An RS capable of deploying, in addition to the warheads, penetration aids such as chaff and decoys.
Minuteman-III introduced in the
Examining the U.S. Nuclear Spending Binge | Arms Control Association
Published on Jul 31, 2016
The Arms Control Association has for years raised warning sirens about the cost and necessity of the modernization plans and have suggested a number of steps that could be taken to put the plans on a more sustainable course. The Pentagon estimates that the proposed modernization effort of the U.S. nuclear triad and its supporting infrastructure over the next 25 years will cost between $350-$450 billion.
The remainder of the Obama administration and that of the next president will likely be faced with a number of increasingly urgent questions about America’s nuclear modernization project, including its affordability, opportunity costs, impacts on global stability and more.
Speakers on this panel addressed the scope of the current nuclear weapons spending plans, challenges and options available to the next president, and the feasibility of the modernization plans given the experience of previous administrations.
• Mark F. Cancian, Senior Advisor with the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
• Hans Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists
• Andrew Weber, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs
• Amy Woolf, Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy at the Congressional Research Service
• Kingston Reif, Arms Control Association, Moderator
LGM-30 Minuteman Launch – ICBM
Published on May 31, 2016
The LGM-30 Minuteman is a U.S. land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), in service with the Air Force Global Strike Command.
As of 2014, the LGM-30G Minuteman III version is the only land-based ICBM in service in the United States.
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Trump Said the U.S. Should Expand Nuclear Weapons. He’s Right.
America needs to bolster its deterrence not to start a war, but to prevent one.
On Thursday, Donald Trump created controversy when he tweeted, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” In case anyone was confused, he followed up Friday morning with an off-air remark to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that clarified his intentions: “Let it be an arms race,” he said. “We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”
The backlash was swift and unanimous. Critics charged that there is no plausible reason to expand U.S. nuclear weapons, that Trump’s comments contradicted a decades-old bipartisan consensus on the need to reduce nuclear stockpiles, and that such reckless statements risk provoking a new nuclear arms race with Russia and China.
On this matter, however, Trump is right.
U.S. nuclear strategy cannot be static, but must take into account the nuclear strategy and capabilities of its adversaries. For decades, the United States was able to reduce its nuclear arsenal from Cold War highs because it did not face any plausible nuclear challengers. But great power political competition has returned and it has brought nuclear weapons, the ultimate instrument of military force, along for the ride.
In recent years, North Korea has continued to grow its nuclear arsenal and means of delivery and has issued chilling nuclear threats against the United States and its Asian allies. As recently as Thursday — before Trump’s offending tweet — Rodong Sinmum, the Pyongyang regime’s official newspaper, published an opinion article calling for bolstering North Korea’s “nuclear deterrence.”
The potential threats are everywhere. Washington faces an increasing risk of conflict with a newly assertive, nuclear-armed China in the South China Sea. Beijing is expanding its nuclear forces and it is estimated that the number of Chinese warheads capable of reaching the U.S. homeland has more than trebled in the past decade and continues to grow. And Russia has become more aggressive in Europe and the Middle East and has engaged in explicit nuclear saber rattling the likes of which we have not seen since the 1980s. At the height of the crisis over Crimea in 2014, for example, Russian President Vladimir Putin ominously declared, “It’s best not to mess with us … I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers.” And on Tuesday, he vowed to “enhance the combat capability of strategic nuclear forces, primarily by strengthening missile complexes that will be guaranteed to penetrate existing and future missile defense systems.” As former Defense Secretary William Perry correctly notes, “Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War.”
The United States needs a robust nuclear force, therefore, not because anyone wants to fight a nuclear war, but rather, the opposite: to deter potential adversaries from attacking or coercing the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons of their own.
Under President Barack Obama, the United States mindlessly reduced its nuclear arsenal even as other nuclear powers went in the opposite direction, expanding and modernizing their nuclear forces. Such a path was unsustainable and Trump is correct to recognize that America’s aging nuclear arsenal is in need of some long overdue upgrades.
So, what would expanding and strengthening the nuclear arsenal look like?
First, the United States must modernize all three legs of the nuclear triad (submarines; long-range bombers, including a new cruise missile; and intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs). The Obama administration announced plans to modernize the triad under Republican pressure, but critics are already trying to kill off the ICBM and the cruise missile, and production timelines for these weapon systems keep slipping into the future. The Trump administration must make the timely modernization of all three legs of the triad a top priority.
Second, the United States should increase its deployment of nuclear warheads, consistent with its international obligations. According to New START, the treaty signed with Russia in 2011, each state will deploy no more than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads, but those restrictions don’t kick in until February 2018. At present, according to the State Department, the United States is roughly 200 warheads below the limit while Russia is almost 250 warheads above it. Accordingly, Russia currently possesses a nuclear superiority of more than 400 warheads, which is worrisome in and of itself and also raises serious questions about whether Moscow intends to comply with this treaty at all. The United States, therefore, should expand its deployed arsenal up to the treaty limits and be fully prepared for further expansion should Russia break out — as Moscow has done with several other legacy arms control agreements.
Third, and finally, the United States and NATO need more flexible nuclear options in Europe. In the event of a losing war with NATO, Russian strategy calls for limited nuclear “de-escalation” strikes against European civilian and military targets. At present, NATO lacks an adequate response to this threat. As I explain in a new report, the United States must develop enhanced nuclear capabilities, including a tactical, air-to-surface cruise missile, in order to disabuse Putin of the notion that he can use nuclear weapons in Europe and get away with it.
These stubborn facts lay bare the ignorance or naivety of those fretting that Trump’s tweets risk starting a new nuclear arms race. It is U.S. adversaries, not Trump, who are moving first. It is a failure to respond that would be most reckless, signaling continued American weakness and only incentivizing further nuclear aggression.
The past eight years have been demoralizing for many in the defense policy community as Obama has consistently placed ideology over reality in the setting of U.S. nuclear policy. The results, an increasingly disordered world filled with intensifying nuclear dangers, speak for themselves.
Rather than express outrage over Trump’s tweet, therefore, we should take heart that we once again have a president who may be willing to do what it takes to defend the country against real, growing and truly existential threats.
How the Pentagon Plans to Modernize the US Nuclear Arsenal
By JUSTIN FISHEL
Dec 23, 2016, 2:22 PM ET
President-elect Donald Trump’s tweets this week about strengthening and expanding America’s nuclear weapons capability are raising eyebrows, but they also highlight the Pentagon’s existing programs to update and modernize its nuclear arsenal.
The components of America’s nuclear triad of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM’s), strategic bombers, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles are decades old. While the Pentagon has undergone a modernization process to keep these systems intact over that time, the Pentagon has plans to replace each leg of the triad in the coming decades.
But the Pentagon’s plans to update and modernize the nuclear triad will be a lengthy and costly enterprise. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told Congress earlier this year that it will cost $350 billion to $450 billion to update and modernize beginning in 2021. But there are some estimates that a 30-year modernization program could cost as much as $1 trillion.
And that process has gotten underway since the lifespan of the existing delivery systems ends in the next 15 to 20 years. Replacement systems are currently in the phase of research, development, testing and evaluation.
The U.S. Air Force maintains a fleet of 450 Minuteman III ICBM missiles located in underground silos across the plains states, each carrying multiple nuclear warheads. A key leg of the nuclear triad, the Minuteman III missiles went into service in the 1970’s and have been upgraded ever since to keep them mission ready. No new ICBM missiles have gone into service since the MX missile was deployed in the 1980’s, but those missiles were retired a decade ago.
This summer, the Air Force began the process of soliciting designs for a new ICBM to replace the Minuteman III, with the first new missile scheduled to enter service by 2029.
The Air Force has already begun the process of replacing the 76 B-52 strategic bombers that have been flying since the 1960’s with the new B-21 “Raider” that will begin flying in 2025. Upgrades to the B-52, designed in the 1950’s, have allowed the aircraft to continue serving as a nuclear-capable aircraft and also allowed it to conduct airstrikes against ISIS.
The Navy has also begun the process to find a replacement for its 14 Ohio Class ballistic missile submarine fleet that first went into service in the 1980’s. But the first Columbia Class submarine is not slated to enter service until 2031.
But it is important to point out that a replacement of these systems, while incredibly expensive, does not equate to an overall growth of the nuclear arsenal.
In other words, the U.S. is looking to become more efficient — it’s not looking for more nuclear weapons. As one defense official put it, with the cost of the new systems, the Pentagon is simply not able to do a one-to-one replacement.
As of September 2015, the United States has a total of 4,571 warheads in its nuclear weapons stockpile, according to a State Department official. The United States has retired thousands of nuclear warheads that are removed from their delivery platform that are not included in this total, the official said, noting those warheads are not functional and are in a queue for dismantlement.
The 2011 New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) nuclear weapons agreement limits to 1,550 the number of nuclear warheads that can be deployed on ICBMs, submarines or heavy bombers by the U.S. and Russia. Both countries have until February 2018 to meet the New START’s reduction target levels for deployed warheads.
The United States currently has 1,361 deployed nuclear weapons while Russia has 1,796. The larger Russian number is seen as a temporary increase as Russia replaces older warheads with new ones.
Donald Trump says he wants to ‘greatly strengthen and expand’ U.S. nuclear capability, a radical break from U.S. foreign policy
Russian President Vladimir Putin praised his country’s military on Dec. 22, saying its armed forces had performed well in the fight against “international terrorists” in Syria. (Reuters)
By Carol MorelloDecember 22 at 1:05 PM
President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday called for the United States to expand its nuclear arsenal, after Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country’s nuclear potential needs fortifying, raising the specter of a new arms race that would reverse decades of efforts to reduce the number and size of the two countries’ nuclear weapons.In a tweet that offered no details, Trump said, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”During the campaign, Trump talked in one debate about the need to modernize the country’s infrastructure of nuclear weaponry, saying the United States is falling behind. But it is not clear whether Trump is thinking of increasing the number of nuclear weapons the United States possesses, or updating the existing supply.
The men and women the president-elect has selected for his Cabinet and White House team.
“We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defense systems,” Putin said.
Russia and the United States have worked for decades at first limiting, and then reducing, the number and strength of nuclear arms they produced and maintained under a Cold War strategy of deterrence known as “mutually assured destruction.” Both Republican and Democratic presidents have pursued a policy of nuclear arms reduction, said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.
Currently, the United States has just under 5,000 warheads in its active arsenal, and more than 1,550 deployed strategic warheads, a number that fluctuates, according to Kimball. In an October assessment by the State Department Bureau of Arms Control Verification and Compliance, Russia has about 400 more nuclear warheads than the United States does. But the United States has about 170 more delivery systems than Russia.
Under the New START Treaty, the main strategic arms treaty in place, both the U.S. and Russia must deploy no more than 1,550 strategic weapons by February of 2018. Kimball said both countries appear to be on track to meet that limit, which will remain in force until 2021, when they could decide to extend the agreement for another five years.
Since President George H.W. Bush’s administration, it has been U.S. policy not to build new nuclear warheads. Under President Obama, the policy has been not to pursue warheads with new military capabilities.
The U.S. military is in the beginning stages of updating its nuclear triad, which covers the delivery systems — bombers, submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles. Last year, the Pentagon estimated it must spend an average of $18 billion a year over 15 years starting in 2021, to replace weapons that already have been refurbished and upgraded beyond their original shelf life.
President-elect Donald Trump has called nuclear weapons “the single greatest problem the world has” – but he’s also made some controversial statements about them. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)
But independent experts have estimated the total cost of modernizing the aging nuclear arsenal could reach $1 trillion over 30 years, according to the Arms Control Association.
“If Donald Trump is concerned about the rising costs of the F-35, he will be shocked by the skyrocketing costs of the current plan to modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal,” Kimball said. “Trump and his people need to explain the basis of his cryptic tweet. What does he mean by expand, and at what cost?”
But others argue that nuclear weapons and the principle of deterrence are essential components of national security, and the Obama administration’s efforts to further reduce its nuclear weapons have been just wishful thinking.
Michaela Dodge, a Heritage Foundation policy analyst specializing in nuclear weapons and missile defense policy, said that the White House in its 2010 Nuclear Posture Review made the erroneous assessment that there was little likelihood of conflict with Russia. Yet Moscow is in the midst of a large-scale nuclear weapons modernization program, and has violated many arms control treaties that it signed, she said.
“There is already an ongoing nuclear arms race, except now the United States isn’t racing,” she said in a telephone interview. “It’s mostly Russia and China.”
Dodge has called for the incoming Trump administration to request funding for nuclear warheads, delivery platforms and nuclear infrastructure. She also said the United States should withdraw from treaties that have eroded defense capabilities.
Traditional components of a strategic nuclear triad
While traditional nuclear strategy holds that a nuclear triad provides the best level of deterrence from attack, in reality, most nuclear powers do not have the military budget to sustain a full triad. Only the United States and Russia have maintained nuclear triads for most of the nuclear age. Both the US and the Soviet Union composed their triads along the same lines, including the following components:
Bomber aircraft capable of delivering nuclear bombs (carrier-based or land-based; usually armed with long-range missiles).
Ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). Nuclear missiles launched from ships or submarines. Although in early years the US Navy sea leg was carrier aircraft based with a very short period using sub launched cruise missiles such as the Regulus before SLBMs were ready to be deployed.
The triad also gives the commander in chief the flexibility to use different types of weapons for the appropriate strike while also preserving a reserve of nuclear armaments theoretically safe from a counter-force strike:
ICBMs allow for a long-range strike launched from a controlled or friendly environment at a lower cost per delivered warhead and easiest targeting from a surveyed geographic location. If launched from a fixed position, such as a missile silo, they are vulnerable to a first strike, though their interception once aloft is substantially difficult, Some ICBMs are either rail or road mobile. Medium-range ballistic missiles and ground-launched cruise missiles were also assigned for strategic targets based in nations closer to the potential confrontation, but were eventually forbidden by arms control treaty to the US and Russia.
SLBMs, launched from submarines, allow for a greater chance of survival from a first strike, giving the commander a second-strike capability. Some long-range submarine-launched cruise missiles are counted towards triad status; this was the first type of submarine-launched strategic second-strike nuclear weapon before ballistic missile submarines became available. A SLBM is the most difficult to get accurate targeting for as it requires obtaining an accurate geographical fix to program targeting data to the missile, the total cost of a SLBM is increased by the cost of the submarine force, large crews and deterrence patrols.
Strategic bombers have greater flexibility in their deployment and weaponry. They can serve as both a first- and second-strike weapon. A bomber armed with AGM-129 ACM missiles, for example, could be classified as a first-strike weapon. A number of bombers often with aerial refueling aircraft kept at safe points would constitute a second-strike weapon. In some strategic contexts either with nearby potential enemies or with forward basing lighter aircraft can be used on the strategic level as either a first-strike weapon or if dispersed at small airfields or aboard an aircraft carrier can reasonably avoid a counterstrike giving them regional second-strike capacity, aircraft such as the Mirage 2000, F-15E, A-5 Vigilante, Sea Harrier, or FB-111 are or were tasked part or full-time with land or sea-based strategic nuclear attack missions. An aerial refueling fleet supports intercontinental strategic operations both for heavy bombers and smaller aircraft; it also makes possible around the clock airborne standby of bombers and command aircraft making these airborne assets nearly impossible to eliminate in a first strike. Bomber airborne alert patrols are very expensive in terms of fuel and aircraft maintenance, even non-airborne alert basing requires both crew training hours and aircraft upkeep.
Tactical nuclear weapons are used in air, land and sea warfare. Air-to-air missiles and rockets, surface-to-air missiles, and small air-to-ground rockets, bombs, and precision munitions have been developed and deployed with nuclear warheads. Ground forces have included tactical nuclear artillery shells, surface-to-surface rockets, land mines, medium and small man-packable nuclear engineering demolition charges, even man-carried or vehicle-mounted recoilless rifles. Naval forces have carried nuclear-armed naval rocket-assisted and standard depth charges and torpedoes, and naval gunnery shells. Tactical nuclear weapons and the doctrine for their use is primarily for use in a non-strategic warfighting role destroying military forces in the battle area; they are not counted toward triad status despite the possibility of many of these systems being usable as strategic weapons depending on the target.
The following nations are considered fully established triad nuclear powers, they have robust capability to launch a worldwide second strike in all three legs and can disperse their air forces and their sea forces on deterrent patrols. They possess nuclear forces consisting of land-based missiles, ballistic or long-range cruise missile submarines, and strategic bombers or long-range tactical aircraft.
Unlike the United States and Russia where strategic nuclear forces are enumerated by treaty limits and subject to verification, China, a nuclear power since 1964, is not subject to these requirements but currently has a triad structure smaller in size compared to Russia and the United States. China’s nuclear force is much smaller than the US or Russia and is closer in number and capability to that of France or the United Kingdom. This force is mainly land-based missiles including ICBMs, IRBMs, and tactical ballistic missiles as well as cruise missiles. Unlike the US and Russia, China stores many of its missiles in huge underground tunnel complexes; U.S. Representative Michael Turner referring to 2009 Chinese media reports said “This network of tunnels could be in excess of 5,000 kilometers (3,110 miles), and is used to transport nuclear weapons and forces,” the Chinese Army newsletter calls this tunnel system an Underground Great Wall of China.
Currently China has one Type 092 submarine that is currently active with JL-1 SLBM according to Office of Naval Intelligence. In addition, the PLAN has deployed 4 newer Type 094 submarines and plan to deploy up to 8 of these Jin-class SSBN by the end of 2020. The new Type 094 fleet uses the newer JL-2 SLBM. China carried out a series of successful JL-2 launches in 2009, 2012 and 2015. The United States expect the 094 SSBN to carry out its first deterrent patrol by 2015 with the JL-2 missile active. There is an aged albeit upgraded bomber force consisting of Xian H-6s with an unclear nuclear delivery role. The PLAAF has a limited capability fleet of H-6 bombers modified for aerial refuelling as well as forthcoming Russian Ilyushin Il-78 aerial refuelling tankers. China also introduced a newer and modernized H-6 variant the H-6K with enhanced capabilities such as launching long ranged cruise missile the CJ-10. In addition to the H-6 bomber, there are numerous tactical fighter and fighter bombers such as the: J-16, J-10, JH-7A and Su-30 which all capable of carrying nuclear weapons. China is also developing hypersonic glide vehicles.
A former triad power, the FrenchForce de frappe possesses sea-based and air-based nuclear forces through the Triomphant-class ballistic missile submarines deployed with M45 intercontinental SLBMs armed with multiple warheads, nuclear capable Dassault Rafale F3 and Dassault Mirage 2000N fighter aircraft (armed with Air-Sol Moyenne Portée) which replaced the long-range Dassault Mirage IV supersonic nuclear bomber and KC-135 aerial refuelling tankers in its inventory. France had S2 and then S3 silo based strategic nuclear IRBMs, the S3 with a 3,500 km range, but these have been phased out of service since the dissolution of the USSR. France operates aircraft with a nuclear strike role from its aircraft carrier.
Non-triad powers are nuclear armed nations which have never developed a strategic nuclear delivery triad.
North Korea has claimed to have indigenous nuclear weapons technology since a large underground explosion was detected in 2006. The DPRK has both aircraft and missiles which may be tasked to deliver nuclear weapons. The North Korean missile program is largely based on domestically produced variants of the Soviet Scud missile, some of which are sufficiently powerful to attempt satellite launch. The DPRK also has short-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. Western researchers believe the current generation of the DPRK’s suspected nuclear weapons are too large to be fitted to the country’s existing missile stock.
Pakistan does not have an active nuclear triad. Its nuclear weapons are primarily land-based. The Minimum Credible Deterrence (MCD) is a defense and strategic principle on which the atomic weapons program of Pakistan is based. This doctrine is not a part of the nuclear doctrine, which is designed for the use of the atomic weapons in a full-scale declared war if the conditions of the doctrine are surpassed. Instead, the MCD policy falls under minimal deterrence as an inverse to Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). In August 2012, The Economist magazine wrote an article stating that Pakistan was an emerging nuclear triad state. Pakistani plans of responding to any capture or pre-emptive destruction of their nuclear defences seems to be one reason why they are determined to develop a third leg, after air- and land-based delivery systems, to Pakistan’s nuclear triad, consisting of nuclear-armed ships and submarines. As Iskander Rehman of the Carnegie Endowment, a think-tank, observes in a recent paper, Pakistani nuclear expansion and methods of delivery is drifting “from the dusty plains of the Punjab into the world’s most congested shipping lanes… It is only a matter of time before Pakistan formally brings nuclear weapons into its own fleet.”
Pakistan possesses several ballistic missiles such as the Shaheen-1A and the Shaheen-II, missiles having ranges of 900 km and 2000 km respectively. They also contain systems said to be capable of carrying several nuclear warheads as well as being designed to evade missile-defense systems. Pakistan also possesses the Babur cruise missile with a range up to 700 km. These land-based missiles are controlled by Army Strategic Forces Command of the Pakistan Army.
The PAF has two dedicated units (the No. 16 Black Panthers and the No. 26 Black Spiders) operating 18 aircraft in each squadron of the JF-17 Thunder, believed to be the preferred vehicle for delivery of nuclear weapons. These units are a major part of the Air Force Strategic Command, a command responsible for nuclear response. The PAF also operates a fleet of F-16 fighters, of which 18 were delivered in 2012 and, as confirmed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, are capable of carrying nuclear weapons. The PAF also possesses the Ra’ad air-launched cruise missile which has a range of 350 km and can carry a nuclear warhead with a yield of between 10 kilotons to 35 kilotons.
In 2004, the Pakistan Navy established the Naval Strategic Forces Command and made it responsible for countering and battling naval-based weapons of mass destruction. It is believed by most experts that Pakistan is developing a sea-based variant of the Hatf VII Babur, which is a nuclear-capable ground-launched cruise missile.
The UK never rolled out its own land based missile nuclear delivery system. It only possesses sea-based nuclear forces through its Royal NavyVanguard-class ballistic missile submarines, deployed with Trident II intercontinental SLBMs armed with multiple warheads. The Royal Air Force used to operate V bomber strategic bombers throughout the Cold War and continued airborne delivery using Tornado and Jaguar aircraft until the late 1990s. The planned UK silo-based IRBM, the Blue Streak missile, was cancelled as it was not seen as a credible deterrent, considering the population density of areas in the UK geologically suited for missile silos. The tactical Corporal surface-to-surface missile was operated by the British Army. The American made intermediate range Thor missile aimed at Soviet targets was operated briefly by the RAF but before the arrival of the Polaris SLBM. Previously having a nuclear strike mission for carrier-based Buccaneer attack aircraft and later Sea Harriers, the UK no longer deploys nuclear weapons for delivery by carrier-based naval aircraft or any other means other than the Vanguard submarine-launched Trident SLBM.
Israel has been reported in congressional testimony by the US Department of Defense of having aircraft-delivered nuclear weapons as early as the mid-1960s, a demonstrated missile-based force since the mid-1960s, an IRBM in the mid-1980s, an ICBM in the early 2000s and the suspected second-strike capability arrived with the Dolphin-class submarine and Popeye Turbo submarine-launched cruise missile. Israel is suspected of using their inventory of nuclear-capable fighter aircraft such as the long-range F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 and formerly the F-4 Phantom, Dassault Mirage III, A-4 Skyhawk and Nesher. Israel has appreciable and growing numbers of long-range tanker aircraft and aerial refueling capacity on its long-range fighter-bomber aircraft, this capacity was used in the 1985 long-range conventional strike against the PLO in Tunisia.Jane’s Defence Weekly reports that the Israeli Dolphin-class submarines are widely believed to be nuclear armed, offering Israel a second-strike capability with a demonstrated range of at least 1500 km in a 2002 test. According to an official report which was submitted to the American congress in 2004, it may be that with a payload of 1,000 kg the Jericho 3 gives Israel nuclear strike capabilities within the entire Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and almost all parts of North America, as well as within large parts of South America and North Oceania, Israel also has the regional reach of its Jericho 2 IRBM force. The existence of a nuclear force is often hinted at blatantly and evidence of an advanced weapons program including miniaturized and thermonuclear devices has been presented, especially the extensive photographic evidence given by former Israeli nuclear weapons assembler Mordechai Vanunu. There have been incidents where Israel has been suspected of testing, but so far Israel for diplomatic reasons has not openly admitted to having operational nuclear weapons, and so is only a suspect triad state.
Air Mobile ICBM Feasibility Demonstration—24 October 1974
There is nothing in nuclear strategy to mandate only these three delivery systems. For example, orbital weapons or spacecraft for purposes of orbital bombardment using nuclear devices have been developed and silo deployed by the USSR from 1969 to 1983, these would not fit into the categories listed above. However, actual space-based weapon systems used for weapons of mass destruction have been banned under the Outer Space Treaty and launch ready deployment for the US and former USSR by the SALT II treaty. Another example is the US, UK, and France do or have previously included a strategic nuclear strike mission for carrier-based aircraft, which especially in the past were far harder to track and target with ICBMs or strategic nuclear bombers than fixed bomber or missile bases, permitting some second-strike flexibility; this was the first sea-based deterrent before the SLBM. The US and UK jointly explored an air-launched strategic ballistic nuclear missile, the Skybolt, but canceled the program in favor of submarine-based missiles. In 1974 a Lockheed C-5 Galaxy successfully tested an air launch of a Minuteman ICBM; this system was not deployed, but was used as a bargaining point in the SALT treaty negotiations with the USSR.
Story 1: When Will Obama and Kerry Walk Like Men Out Of Negotiations With The World Leading Terrorist Nation The Islamic Republic of Iran? Never! — Yakety Yak– Where Is The Written Signed Agreement/Treaty Stopping Iran From Having Nuclear Weapons President Obama? — Time To Release Some Massive Ordnance Penetrators (MOPs) — Bunker Busters on Iran’s Nuclear Bomb Factories — Bombs Away — Videos
Divine – Walk Like A Man (1985) HQ
Walk Like a Man – The Four Seasons
“Walk Like A Man”
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
(Wop wop wop wop)
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
Walk like a manOh how you tried
To cut me down to size
by telling dirty lies to my friends
But my own father
Said give her up, don’t bother
The world isn’t coming to an endHe said walk like a man
Talk like a man
Walk like a man my son
No woman’s worth
Crawling on the earth
So walk like a man my sonoo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
(Wop wop wop wop)
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-ooFine eyed baby
I don’t mean maybe
We’re gonna get along somehow
Soon you’ll be crying
On ‘count of all you’re lying
Oh yeah, just look who’s laughing nowI’m gonna walk like a man
Fast as I can
Walk like a man from you
I’ll tell the world
Forget about it girl
And walk like a man from youoo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
(Wop wop wop wop)
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
(Wop wop wop wop)
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
(Wop wop wop wop)
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
Walk Like a Man Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons Lyrics
July 2015 Breaking News USA ready to attack Iranian nuclear facilities with awe-inspiring plan B
30,000 Pound Bunker Buster Bomb designed to detour Iran Nuclear Threat
As negotiations with Iran continue towards a nuclear arms agreement, the United States still holds a trump card. The 30,000 Pound Boeing GBU-57 Bunker Buster bomb, the largest non-nuclear weapon in U.S. inventory, designed to destroy nuclear weapons bunkers in Iran and North Korea. The bunker buster, known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), is 30,000 pounds (13,608 kg.) and has been improved with “adjusted fuses to maximize its burrowing power, upgraded guidance systems to improve its precision and hi-tech equipment intended to allow it to evade Iranian air defenses in order to reach and destroy the Fordow nuclear enrichment complex.”
“Hopefully we never have to use it, but if we had to, it would work.”
The existence of a bomb that has the capability of destroying the underground facility from the air could also give the West extra bargaining power in nuclear negotiations with the Iran.
US officials believe the improved MOP will serve to convince Israel to hold off on unilaterally attacking Iran and give Washington more time to diplomatically neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat.
US military chiefs openly admitted the weapon was built to attack the fortified nuclear facilities of “rogue states” such as Iran and North Korea. Although the Pentagon insists that it is not aimed at a specific threat, unnamed officials within the ministry have repeatedly claimed the bomb is being tailor-made to disable Iranian nuclear facilities at Fordo.
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Bunkers & Bunker Busting Bombs
MOP Massive Ordnance Penetrator GBU-57A-B Penetrator bunker buster bomb Iran United States
World War 3 Pentagon unveils 30,000 pound M O P Bunker Buster Bomb against Iran May 03, 2013
Boeing Delivers Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) 37,000 LB Bombs To The USAF – GBU-57
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News Wrap: As deadline looms, Kerry says Iran nuclear talks not ‘open-ended’
Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons In Concert Live
Frankie Valli And 4 Seasons Live on Ice 2008
The Coasters – Yakety Yak – ORIGINAL MONO VERSION
Yakety Yak – The Coasters with lyrics
Where Have all the Flowers Gone: Eve of Destruction
Iran Made Illegal Purchases of Nuclear Weapons Technology Last Month
The question is not whether Iran can be trusted to uphold the nuclear deal now being negotiated in Vienna (it can’t), but whether the Obama administration and its P5+1 partners can be trusted to punish Iran when it violates the agreement?
Experience shows that unless Iran violates the deal egregiously, the temptation will be to ignore it. For instance, Iran got away with selling more oil than it should have under the interim agreement. More ominously, Tehran repeatedly pushed the envelope on technical aspects of the agreement—such as caps on its uranium stockpile—and got away with it. The Obama administration and other Western powers have so much invested in their diplomatic efforts that they’ll deny such violations ever occurred.
More evidence of Iranian violations has now surfaced. Two reports regarding Iran’s attempts to illicitly and clandestinely procure technology for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs have recently been published. They show that Iran’s procurement continues apace, if not faster than before the Joint Plan of Action was signed in November 2013. But fear of potentially embarrassing negotiators and derailing negotiations has made some states reluctant to report Tehran’s illegal efforts. If these countries have hesitated to expose Iran during the negotiations, it is more likely they will refrain from reporting after a deal is struck.
The first report was released last month by the U.N. panel of experts in charge of reporting compliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions regarding Iran. The panel noted that U.N. member states had not reported significant violations of U.N. sanctions and speculated as to why: either Iran was complying, or countries did not wish to interfere with negotiations.
Paddle, pedal, jog or Segway through North America’s largest urban parkland—Edmonton’s river valley.
The second report, released last week by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, is less ambiguous. The agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, confirmed to us that Iran continues to seek illicit technology for its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs.
Iran has had a long history of trying to obtain nuclear technology from German companies, particularly by seeking ways to transport merchandise in circumvention of international sanctions. Since November 2013, Tehran has sought industry computers, high-speed cameras, cable fiber, and pumps for its nuclear and missile program. It appears that Iran’s readiness to negotiate does not reflect any substantive policy change. Rather, it is a diplomatic tactic retreat forced by economic distress, not a strategic rethinking of its priorities.
Iran’s cheating should give Western negotiators additional resolve to impose ironclad guarantees in the agreement. They should compel Iran to reveal its past activities, including its post-JPOA procurement efforts, and impose tough, intrusive, “anytime, anywhere” inspections before sanctions are suspended, let alone lifted.
Instead, the lack of reporting to the U.N. despite evidence of cheating suggests a lack of resolve on the part of Western nations, and their willingness to downplay all but the most egregious violations. This does not bode well for the future. If Western powers are reluctant to penalize Iran for trying to evade sanctions because they’re afraid of spoiling the negotiations, what will happen in the future when Western powers have even more invested in preserving an agreement?
Emanuele Ottolenghi is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Benjamin Weinthal is a research fellow.
In 2002, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin were working on the development of a 30,000-lb (13,600 kg) earth-penetrating weapon, said to be known as “Big BLU“. But funding and technical difficulties resulted in the development work being abandoned. Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, analysis of sites that had been attacked with bunker-buster bombs revealed poor penetration and inadequate levels of destruction.This renewed interest in the development of a super-large bunker-buster, and the MOP project was initiated by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to fulfill a long-standing Air Force requirement.
The U.S. Air Force has not officially recognized specific military requirement for an ultra-large bomb, but it does have a concept for a collection of massively sized penetrator and blast weapons, the so-called “Big BLU” collection, which includes the MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Burst) bomb. Development of the MOP was performed at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Munitions Directorate, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida with design and testing work performed by Boeing. It is intended that the bomb will be deployed on the B-2 bomber, and will be guided by the use of GPS.
Northrop Grumman announced a $2.5-million stealth-bomber refit contract on 19 July 2007. Each of the U.S. Air Force’s B-2s is to be able to carry two 14-ton MOPs.
On 6 October 2009, ABC News reported that the Pentagon had requested and obtained permission from the U.S. Congress to shift funding in order to accelerate the project. It was later announced by the U.S. military that “funding delays and enhancements to the planned test schedule” meant the bomb would not be deployable until December 2010, six months later than the original availability date.
The project has had at least one successful Flight Test MOP launch. The final testing will be completed in 2012.
The Air Force took delivery of 20 bombs, designed to be delivered by the B-2 bomber, in September 2011. In February 2012, Congress approved $81.6 million to further develop and improve the weapon.
On 7 April 2011, the USAF ordered eight MOPs plus supporting equipment for $28 million.
On 14 November 2011, Bloomberg reported that the Air Force Global Strike Command started receiving the Massive Ordnance Penetrator and that the deliveries “will meet requirements for the current operational need”. The Air Force now has received delivery of 16 MOPs as of November 2011. And as of March 2012, there is an “operational stockpile” at Whiteman Air Force Base.
In 2012, the Pentagon requested $82 million to develop greater penetration power for the existing weapon. A 2013 report stated that the development had been a success, and B-2 integration testing began that year.
MOP being offloaded in preparation for its first explosive test, 2007.
Mock up of MOP inside a bomb bay of a B-2 simulator, 2007.
B-52 releases a MOP during a weapons test, 2009.
Next-generation Penetrator Munition
On 25 June 2010, USAF Lt. Gen. Phillip Breedlove said that the Next-generation Penetrator Munition should be about a third the size of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator so it could be carried by affordable aircraft. In December 2010, the USAF had a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the Next Generation Penetrator (NGP).
Global Strike Command has indicated that one of the objectives for the Next-Generation Bomber is for it to carry a weapon with the effects of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator. This would either be with the same weapon or a smaller weapon that uses rocket power to reach sufficient speed to match the penetrating power of the larger weapon.
One of the current limitations of the MOP is that it lacks a void-sensing fuze and will therefore detonate after it has come to a stop, even if it passed by the target area.
Whether Iran is racing toward nuclear weapon capabilities is one of the most contentious issues challenging the West, including the United States and Israel, which has been involved in a shadow war with the country.
April 2, 2015
April 2, 2015
Iran Agrees to Nuclear Limits, But Key Issues Are Unresolved
Iran and European nations say they have reached an understanding about next steps, but key issues need to be resolved before a final agreement by June 30.
According to European officials, roughly 5,000 centrifuges will remain spinning enriched uranium at Natanz, about half the number currently running. The underground enrichment site at Fordo — which Israeli and some American officials fear is impervious to bombing — will be partly converted to advanced nuclear research and the production of medical isotopes.
A major reactor at Arak, which officials fear could produce plutonium, will operate on a limited basis that will not provide enough fuel for a bomb.
In return the European Union and the United States will begin to lift sanctions, as Iran complies.
Kerry Announces Extension to Iran Talks Video by Reuters/ Photo by Roland Schlager/European Pressphoto Agency
U.S. and Allies Extend Iran Nuclear Talks by 7 Months
A yearlong effort to reach an enduring accord with Iran to dismantle large parts of its nuclear infrastructure fell short, forcing the United States and its allies to declare a seven-month extension, but with no clear indication of how they plan to bridge fundamental differences.
The Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, left, Catherine Ashton, who is representing the European Union, and Secretary of State John Kerry in Vienna. Leonhard Foeger/Reuters
Negotiators Scrambling as Deadline Looms in Nuclear Talks
As six world powers and Iran race to meet a Monday deadline for an agreement that would constrain Iran’s nuclear program, the United States stakes out an ambitious goal for what an accord should accomplish.
American officials say the agreement should slow the Iranian nuclear program enough that it would take Iran at least a year to make enough material for a nuclear bomb if it decided to ignore the accord.
It has become increasingly unlikely that any accord announced on Monday would be a complete one. And whatever deal is reached, it may not matter if Iranian hard-liners have their way. In Iran, the final decision on a nuclear deal lies with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader.
Under a proposed deal, Russia will convert uranium into specialized fuel rods for Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant.Majid Asgaripour/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Role for Russia Gives Iran Talks a Possible Boost
Iran tentatively agrees to ship much of its huge stockpile of uranium to Russia for conversion into specialized fuel rods for the Bushehr nuclear power plant, Iran’s only commercial reactor. The agreement is potentially a major breakthrough in talks that have until now been deadlocked.
A key question remains about the negotiations that American officials have been loath to discuss in public: In a final deal, would Iran be required to publicly admit its past activities, or merely provide a mechanism for monitoring its actions in the future?
Iran’s nuclear reactor in Arak, about 150 miles southwest of Tehran, is being redesigned.Hamid Foroutan/Iranian Students News Agency, via Associated Press
Iran Altering Arak Reactor in Bid for Nuclear Deal
Atomic power engineers in Iran start redesigning a partly constructed reactor in Arak to limit the amount of plutonium it produces, Ali Akbar Salehi, the director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, says, expressing hope that the change will help alleviate Western objections that the plutonium can be used in weapons.
Iran, the United States and the five other countries agree to a four-month extension of the negotiations, giving them more time to try to bridge a major difference over whether the country will be forced to dismantle parts of its nuclear infrastructure, according to senior Western diplomats involved in the talks.
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, accuses the West of trying to sabotage a reactor being built near Arak.Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Iran Outlines Nuclear Deal; Accepts Limit
As the deadline for the talks approaches on Sunday, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, says the country could accept a freeze on its capacity to produce nuclear fuel at current levels for several years, provided it could eventually produce fuel unhindered.
The proposal will effectively extend a limited series of concessions Iran made last November as part of a temporary deal to get negotiations started on a permanent accord. In return, Iran wants step-by-step relief from sanctions that have substantially weakened its economy.
Iran Is Providing Information on Its Detonators, Report Says
The I.A.E.A. releases a report stating that Iran is beginning to turn over information related to its nuclear detonators. The agency says that Iran has provided “additional information and explanations,” including documents, to substantiate its claim that it had tested the detonators for “a civilian application.”
From left, Foreign Ministers Laurent Fabius of France and William Hague of Britain, and Secretary of State John Kerry with Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh of Jordan, in Paris. Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images
Negotiators Put Final Touches on Iran Accord
Iran and a group of six world powers complete a deal that will temporarily freeze much of Tehran’s nuclear program starting Jan. 20, in exchange for limited relief from Western economic sanctions.
The agreement faced opposition from Iranian hard-liners and Israeli leaders, as well as heavy criticism from some American lawmakers, who have threatened to approve further sanctions despite President Obama’s promise of a veto.
The negotiators in Geneva early Sunday morning. President Obama hailed the agreement. Denis Balibouse/Reuters
Deal With Iran Halts Nuclear Program
The United States and five other world powers announce a landmark accord that would temporarily freeze Iran’s nuclear program and lay the foundation for a more sweeping agreement.
The aim of the accord, which is to last six months, is to give international negotiators time to pursue a more comprehensive accord that would ratchet back much of Iran’s nuclear program and ensure that it could only be used for peaceful purposes.
Iran is in a much different position now to negotiate on its nuclear program than it was four years ago when President Obama first broached the subject.
Iran Says It Agrees to ‘Road Map’ With U.N. on Nuclear Inspections
The I.A.E.A. says that Iran has agreed to resolve all outstanding issues with the agency, and will permit “managed access” by international inspectors to two key nuclear facilities. But the promise does not extend to the Parchin military site, which inspectors have been trying to see for months.
Marathon talks between major powers and Iran fail to ease sanctions on the country and produce a deal to freeze its nuclear program.
Iran and a group of six world powers say that they have engaged in “substantive” and “forward-looking” discussions on the disputed Iranian nuclear program and that they will reconvene on November 7.
The account of the two days of talks in Geneva came in a rare joint statement from Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Catherine Ashton, the foreign policy chief for the European Union, who is the lead negotiator with Iran.
President Obama says he has spoken by phone with President Hassan Rouhani, the first direct contact between the leaders of Iran and the United States since 1979. Mr. Obama, speaking in the White House briefing room, said the two leaders discussed Iran’s nuclear program and said he was persuaded there was a basis for an agreement.
Moments before Mr. Obama’s announcement, Mr. Rouhani’s Twitter account posted this now-deleted message: “In a phone conversation b/w #Iranian & #US Presidents just now: @HassanRouhani: “Have a Nice Day!” @BarackObama: “Thank you. Khodahafez.”
Rouhani, Blunt and Charming, Pitches a Moderate Iran in First U.N. Appearance
Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, turns himself into a high-speed salesman offering a flurry of speeches, tweets, televised interviews and carefully curated private meetings, intended to end Iran’s economic isolation.
At the United Nations General Assembly, he preaches tolerance and understanding, decries as a form of violence the Western sanctions imposed on his country and says nuclear weapons have no place in its future. He takes aim at Israel’s nuclear arsenal in a public – while the country’s leaders caution over what they deem as an empty charm offensive.
Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s new leader, received a private letter from President Obama about easing tensions between the countries.Vahid Salemi/Associated Press
Iran Said to Seek a Nuclear Accord to End Sanctions
Seizing on a perceived flexibility in a letter from President Obama to President Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s leaders are focused on getting quick relief from crippling sanctions, a top adviser to the Iranian leadership says.
The adviser says that Mr. Obama’s letter, delivered about three weeks ago, promised relief from sanctions if Tehran demonstrated a willingness to “cooperate with the international community, keep your commitments and remove ambiguities.”
Iran Slows Its Gathering of Enriched Uranium, Report Says
I.A.E.A. inspectors say that Iran is slowing its accumulation of enriched uranium that can be quickly turned into fuel for an atomic bomb. The report’s disclosure is significant politically because it delays the day when Iran could breach what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel last fall called a “red line” beyond which Iran would not be allowed to pass — the point at which it has enough purified uranium to quickly make a single nuclear weapon.
Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, has been elected the next president of Iran.
Iran Elects New President
Voters overwhelmingly elect Hassan Rouhani, 64, a mild-mannered cleric who advocates greater personal freedoms and a more conciliatory approach to the world.
The diplomat sheik played a key role in Iran’s voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment in 2004, which Western powers responded to by asking for more concessions from Iran.
Mr. Rouhani replaces his predecessors’ foreign minister with Mohammad Javad Zarif, an American-educated diplomat known for his understanding of the West, and makes him responsible for negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Mr. Rouhani also removes a hard-line nuclear scientists as head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, and replaces him with the former foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi. In September, Iran’s longtime ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency will be replaced as well.
The Obama administration escalates sanctions against Iran for the fourth time in a week, blacklisting what it describes as a global network of front companies controlled by Iran’s top leaders, accusing them of hiding assets and generating billions of dollars worth of revenue to help Tehran evade sanctions.
The White House also accuses Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of personally directing an effort to bypass them.
The United States also blacklists Iranian petrochemical companies, its automotive industry and more than 50 Iranian officials, and threatens to sanction foreign banks that trade or hold Iran’s national currency, the rial.
The I.A.E.A. says Iran has made significant progress across the board in its nuclear program, while negotiations with the West dragged on this spring. But it said that it has not gone past the “red line” that Israel’s leaders have declared could trigger military action.
In its last report before the Iranian elections next month, the agency also gives details that point to an emerging production strategy by the Iranians. One strategy involves speeding ahead with another potential route to a bomb: producing plutonium. The report indicates that Iran is making significant progress at its Arak complex, where it has built a heavy-water facility and is expected to have a reactor running by the end of next year.
The United States expands its roster of those violating Iran sanctions, blacklisting four Iranian companies and one individual suspected of helping the country enrich nuclear fuel. It also singles out two other companies, including a Venezuelan-Iranian bank, accused of helping Iran evade other Western-imposed prohibitions on oil sales and financial dealings.
The penalties came a day after the Senate introduced legislation that could effectively deny the Iran government access to an estimated $100 billion worth of its own money parked in overseas banks, a step that proponents said could significantly damage Iran’s financial stability.
Iranians rush to supermarkets to buy cooking oil, red meat and other staples, stockpiling the goods over new fears of price spikes from a change in the official exchange rate that could severely reduce the already weakened purchasing power of the rial, the national currency.
Prices of staples are set to increase by as much as 60 percent because of the currency change.
Economists say the result is from a combination of severe Western sanctions and what many call the government’s economic mismanagement.
Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon. Next week he will travel to the Middle East to finalize the arms sale.Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
U.S. Arms Deal With Israel and 2 Arab Nations Is Near
The Defense Department is expecting to finalize a $10 billion arms deal with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates next week that will provide missiles, warplanes and troop transports to help them counter any future threat from Iran.
Israeli Officials Stress Readiness for Lone Strike on Iran
In an interview with the BBC, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat, saying Israel has “different vulnerabilities and different capabilities” than the United States. “We have to make our own calculations, when we lose the capacity to defend ourselves by ourselves.”
Israeli defense and military officials have been issuing explicit warnings this week that Israel was prepared and had the capability to carry out a lone military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
US Blacklists an Iranian and Businesses Over Violation of Sanctions
The United States blacklists an affluent Iranian business executive, Babak Morteza Zanjani, and what it describes as his multibillion-dollar money laundering network, accusing them of selling oil for Iran in violation of the Western economic sanctions imposed over Iran’s disputed nuclear program.
On March 14, The Treasury Department, which administers the government’s Iran sanctions, blacklisted a Greek shipping tycoon, Dimitris Cambis, over what it called his scheme to acquire a fleet of oil tankers on Iran’s behalf and disguise their ownership to ship Iranian oil.
Family members of slain nuclear scientists stood with Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, far right, a nuclear official. Arash Khamoushi/Iranian Students News Agency, ISNA, via Associated Press
After Talks End, Iran Announces an Expansion of Nuclear Fuel Production
Iran’s president announces an expansion of the country’s uranium production and claims other atomic energy advances, striking a pugnacious tone in the aftermath of diplomatic talks thatended in an impasse with the big powers on April 6 in Kazakhstan.
A look, provided by the United States Navy, at how its laser attack weapon works. The video is silent.
Navy Deploying Laser Weapon Prototype Near Iran
The U.S. announces that the Navy will deploy a laser weapon prototype in the Persian Gulf, where Iranian fast-attack boats have harassed American warships and where the government in Tehran is building remotely piloted aircraft carrying surveillance pods and, someday potentially, rockets.
The laser will not be operational until next year. It has been shown in tests to disable patrol boats and blind or destroy surveillance drones.
President Obama traveled to Israel on March 20, in a symbolic two-day visit to the country, the first of his presidency.
Iran Nuclear Weapon to Take Year or More, Obama Says
President Obama tells an Israeli television station that his administration believes it would take Iran “over a year or so” to develop a nuclear weapon.
Mr. Obama’s estimated timeline contrasts with Mr. Netanyahu’s stated belief that Israel and its Western allies are likely to have to intervene by the spring or summer, when, he says, Iran’s scientists will have enriched enough uranium to become a nuclear threat.
Iran meets with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany in Kazakhstan, but talks end with no specific agreement over a proposal that would sharply constrain Iran’s stockpile of the most dangerous enriched uranium, in return for a modest lifting of some sanctions.
The six powers also agreed that Iran could keep a small amount of 20 percent enriched uranium — which can be converted to bomb grade with modest additional processing — for use in a reactor to produce medical isotopes.
Iranian oil sales have been reduced by half as a result of the international pressure on the country, and restrictions on financial transactions and transportation have created many difficulties for its leaders.
The state news agency IRNA quotes a report by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, saying that it had found significant new deposits of raw uranium and identified sites for 16 more nuclear power stations.
Iran’s raw uranium reserves now total around 4,400 tons, including discoveries over the past 18 months, IRNA quoted the report as saying.
A few weeks earlier, Ayatollah Khamenei said that his country was not seeking nuclear weapons but added that if Iran ever decided to build them, no “global power” could stop it.
Speaking to air force commanders in Tehran on Feb. 6, Ayatollah Khamenei said Iran “will not negotiate under pressure.” Khamenei Official Web site, via European Pressphoto Agency
U.S. Bolsters Sanctions
A new round of American sanctions take effect which state that any country that buys Iranian oil must put the purchase money into a local bank account. Iran cannot repatriate the money and can use it only to buy goods within that country. Violators risk severe penalties in doing business with the United States. Oil exports from Iran have already dropped by a million barrels a day.
A week earlier, Iran announces that it would deploy a new generation of centrifuges, four to six times as powerful as the current generation.
Most of that decline comes in a frenzy of speculative selling by Iranians worried that rapid inflation could render their money worthless. The government responds with a crackdown in which some money traders are arrested.
The depressed value of the rial forces Iranians to carry ever-fatter wads of bank notes to buy everyday items. But the sanctions also present a new complication to Iran’s banking authorities: they may not be able to print enough money.
Meanwhile, the European Union toughens sanctions against Iran, banning trade in industries like finance, metals and natural gas, and making other business transactions far more cumbersome.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations, displaying his red line for Iran’s nuclear program. Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
Israel’s ‘Red Line’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel tells the United Nations that Iran’s capability to enrich uranium must be stopped before the spring or early summer, arguing that by that time Iran will be in a position to make a short, perhaps undetectable, sprint to manufacture its first nuclear weapon.
The United Nations atomic agency reports that Iran has installed three-quarters of the nuclear centrifuges needed to complete a deep-underground site under a mountain near Qum for the production of nuclear fuel.
The I.A.E.A. also says that Iran may have sought to cleanse another site where the agency has said it suspects that the country has conducted explosive experiments that could be relevant to the production of a nuclear weapon.
Meanwhile, the United States imposes more punishing sanctions against Iran, aimed at its oil and petrochemical sectors, as well as its shipping trade, intensifying existing sanctions intended to choke off the revenue that Iran reaps from its two largest export industries.
The Neptune, an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, is part of a fleet of about 65 Iranian tankers serving as floating storage facilities for Iranian oil, each one given a nautical makeover to conceal its origin and make a buyer easier to find. Thomas Erdbrink
Embargo on Iranian Oil
A European Union embargo on Iranian oil takes effect, playing a large role in severely restricting Iran’s ability to sell its most important export.
In retaliation, Iran announces legislation intended to disrupt traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, a vital Persian Gulf shipping lane, and tests missiles in a desert drill clearly intended as a warning to Israel and the United States.
In January 2013, Iran’s oil minister, Rostam Qasemi, acknowledged for the first time that petroleum exports and sales had fallen by at least 40 percent in the previous year, costing the country $4 billion to $8 billion each month.
Iran’s nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, in Baghdad. Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters
Talks With West Falter
After a brief spurt of optimism, talks between Iran and six world powers on its disputed nuclear program fail to produce a breakthrough in Baghdad. The United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany wanted a freeze on Iranian production of uranium enriched to 20 percent purity, which is considered a short step from bomb grade. The Iranians wanted an easing of the onerous economic sanctions imposed by the West and a recognition of what they call their right to enrich. The countries agree to meet again in June, but talks were further slowed after a new regimen of harsh economic sanctions and a statement from the International Atomic Energy Agency that said Iran had made ”no progress” toward providing access to restricted sites it suspects of being used to test potential triggers for nuclear warheads.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad surveying the centrifuges at Iran’s underground complex at Natanz in March 2007.Office of the Iranian President
Meanwhile, I.A.E.A. inspectors are still trying to gain access to the Parchin site, 20 miles south of Tehran, to ascertain whether tests have been carried out there on nuclear bomb triggers.
But satellites images show that the site has been extensively cleaned by the Iranians.
Jan. 11, 2012
Iran’s semiofficial Fars News Agency supplied this photo of what it said was Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan’s car after the bombing.Meghdad Madadi/Fars News Agency, via Associated Press
Bomb Kills Nuclear Scientist
A bomber on a motorcycle kills Mostafa Ahmadi Rosha, a scientist from the Natanz site, and his bodyguard. Iran blames Israel and the United States. The Americans deny the accusation, but Israel is more circumspect.
Iran displayed the drone for propaganda purposes, with photographs of ayatollahs who led Iran’s revolution behind it and a desecrated version of the American flag. Revolutionary Guards, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
A Blow to U.S., as Drone Crashes
A stealth C.I.A. drone, the RQ-170 Sentinel, crashes near the Iranian town of Kashmar, 140 miles from the Afghan border. It is part of a stepped-up surveillance program that has frequently sent the United States’ most hard-to-detect drone into Iran to map suspected nuclear sites.
Iran asserts that its military downed the aircraft, but American officials say the drone was lost because of a malfunction.
Iran’s nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz.Hasan Sarbakhshian/Associated Press
Natanz Plant Recovers
After a dip in enriched uranium production in 2010 because of the cyberattacks, Iranian production recovers. While the United States and Israel never acknowledged responsibility for the cyberprogram, Olympic Games, some experts argue that it set the Iranians back a year or two. Others say that estimate overstates the effect.
With the program still running, intelligence agencies in the United States and Israel seek out new targets that could further slow Iran’s progress.
A poster of an Iranian gas field is a backdrop to passers-by in Asaluyeh. Newsha Tavakolian for The New York Times
West Expands Sanctions, and U.N. Offers Evidence on Nuclear Work
Major Western powers take significant steps to cut Iran off from the international financial system, announcing coordinated sanctions aimed at its central bank and commercial banks. The United States also imposes sanctions on companies involved in Iran’s nuclear industry, as well as on its petrochemical and oil industries.
The United Nations atomic agency releases evidence that it says make a “credible” case that “Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device” at its Parchin military base and that the project may still be under way.
Unidentified attackers riding motorcycles bomb two of Iran’s top nuclear scientists, killing one and prompting accusations that the United States and Israel are again trying to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program.
The scientist who was killed, Majid Shahriari, reportedly managed a ”major project” for the country’s Atomic Energy Organization. His wounded colleague, Fereydoon Abbasi, is believed to be even more important; he is on the United Nations Security Council’s sanctions list for ties to the Iranian nuclear effort.
The Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri, with his 7-year-old son, greeting family members in Tehran.Newsha Tavakolian/Polaris, for The New York Times
Iranian Scientist Defects to U.S., Then Reconsiders
Shahram Amiri, an Iranian nuclear scientist who American officials say defected to the United States in 2009, provided information about Iran’s nuclear weapons program and then developed second thoughts, returning to Iran. (After a hero’s welcome, he was imprisoned on treason charges and tortured, according to reports from Iran.)
The bizarre episode was the latest in a tale that has featured a mysterious disappearance from a hotel room in Saudi Arabia, rumors of a trove of new intelligence about Iran’s nuclear plants and a series of contradictory YouTube videos. It immediately set off a renewed propaganda war between Iran and the United States.
Ambassadors to the United Nations, from right: Susan E. Rice of the United States, Mark Lyall Grant of Britain and Ruhakana Rugunda of Uganda voted to affirm a Security Council resolution on Iran while Turkey’s ambassador, Ertugrul Apakan, voted against it. Mario Tama/Getty Images
U.N. Approves New Sanctions
The United Nations Security Council levels its fourth round of sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. The sanctions curtail military purchases, trade and financial transactions carried out by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which controls the nuclear program.
The Security Council also requires countries to inspect ships or planes headed to or from Iran if they suspect banned cargo. In addition, Iran is barred from investing in other countries’ nuclear enrichment plants, uranium mines and related technologies, and the Security Council sets up a committee to monitor enforcement.
The United States and Israel realize that copies of the computer sabotage program introduced in Natanz are available on the Internet, where they are replicating quickly. In a few weeks, articles appear in the news media about a mysterious new computer worm carried on USB keys that exploits a hole in the Windows operating system. The worm is named Stuxnet.
President Obama decides not to kill the program, and a subsequent attack takes out nearly 1,000 Iranian centrifuges, nearly a fifth of those operating.
Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.Herwig Prammer/Reuters
Work on Warhead
The United Nations’ nuclear inspectors declare for the first time that they have extensive evidence of “past or current undisclosed activities” by Iran’s military to develop a nuclear warhead.
The report also concludes that some Iranian weapons-related activity apparently continued “beyond 2004,” contradicting an American intelligence assessment published in 2008 that concluded that work on a bomb was suspended at the end of 2003.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in 2011. Francois Lenoir/Reuters
Leaked Gates Memo on U.S. Policy
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates warns in a secret three-page memorandum to top White House officials that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear capability.
When the memo becomes public in April, Mr. Gates issues a statement saying that he wishes to dispel any perception among allies that the administration had failed to adequately think through how to deal with Iran.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and President Obama, in Pittsburgh, accused Iran of building a secret nuclear fuel plant.Doug Mills/The New York Times
Warning on Nuclear ‘Deception’
American, British and French officials declassify some of their most closely held intelligence and describe a multiyear Iranian effort, tracked by spies and satellites, to build a secret uranium enrichment plant deep inside a mountain.
The new plant, which Iran strongly denies is intended to be kept secret or used for making weapons, is months from completion and does nothing to shorten intelligence estimates of how long it would take Iran to produce a bomb. American intelligence officials say it will take at least a year, perhaps five, for Iran to develop the full ability to make a nuclear weapon.
The negotiators Saeed Jalili of Iran, left, and William J. Burns, third from right, in Geneva. Pool photo by Denis Balibouse
Talks End in Deadlock
International talks on Iran’s nuclear ambitions end in deadlock despite the Bush administration’s decision to reverse policy and send William J. Burns, a senior American official, to the table for the first time.
Iran responds with a written document that fails to address the main issue: international demands that it stop enriching uranium. Iranian diplomats reiterate before the talks that they consider the issue nonnegotiable.
President George W. Bush rejects a secret request by Israel for specialized bunker-busting bombs it wants for an attack on Iran’s nuclear program. The Bush administration is alarmed by the Israeli idea to fly over Iraq to reach Iran’s major nuclear complex at Natanz and decides to step up intelligence-sharing with Israel and brief Israeli officials on new American efforts to subtly sabotage Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Mr. Bush will hand off the major covert program to President Obama.
The United States works with Israel to begin cyberattacks, code-named Olympic Games, on computer systems at the Natanz plant. A year later, the program is introduced undetected into a controller computer at Natanz. Centrifuges begin crashing and engineers have no clue that the plant is under attack.
The Security Council unanimously approves sanctions intended to curb Iran’s nuclear program. The sanctions ban the import and export of materials and technology used in uranium enrichment and reprocessing and in the production of ballistic missiles.
The heavy-water plant in Arak, south of Tehran.Iran/Reuters
Iran Opens a Heavy-Water Reactor
Just days before Iran is supposed to suspend enrichment of uranium or face the prospect of sanctions, President Ahmadinejad formally kicks off a heavy-water production plant in Arak, 120 miles southwest of Tehran, which would put Iran on the path to obtaining plutonium, a fuel used in nuclear weapons.
In November, Iran seeks international assistance to ensure safe operation for a 40-megawatt reactor it is building. Citing broader doubts about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the United Nations atomic agency, the United States and European countries oppose offering help.
A satellite image of Natanz in 2007.GeoEye/SIME, via Associated Press
Natanz Production Is Restarted
Iran resumes uranium enrichment at Natanz after negotiations with European and American officials collapse.
The I.A.E.A. approves a resolution to report Iran’s nuclear program to the Security Council, citing “the absence of confidence” among the atomic agency’s members “that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.”
President Ahmadinejad offended Israel in his speech on the rule of law at a United Nations conference in 2012. Eduardo Munoz/Reuters
Ahmadinejad Elected President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known only as a secular conservative and a former mayor of Tehran, becomes president. He becomes a divisive figure in world affairs, cheering on the development of Iran’s nuclear program despite orders from the United Nations Security Council to halt it, calling for Israel to be “wiped off the map’’ and describing the Holocaust as “a myth.”
With Laptop Files, U.S. Seeks to Prove Iran’s Nuclear Aims
Senior American intelligence officials present the International Atomic Energy Agency with the contents of what they say is a stolen Iranian laptop containing more than a thousand pages of Iranian computer simulations and accounts of experiments — studies for crucial features of a nuclear warhead.
Intelligence reports reveal that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a little-known Iranian scientist, leads elements of Iran’s weaponization program known as Project 110 and Project 111.
But doubts about the intelligence persist among some experts, in part because American officials, citing the need to protect their source, have largely refused to provide details of the origins of the laptop beyond saying that they obtained it in mid-2004 from a source in Iran who they said had received it from a second person, now believed to be dead.
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi talking to reporters in Tehran ahead of nuclear talks in Paris. Abedin Taherkenareh/European Pressphoto Agency
Violation and New Agreement
Iran violates the agreement, charging that the Europeans reneged on their promises of economic and political incentives. After 22 hours of negotiations, an Iranian delegation and senior officials from France, Germany, Britain and the European Union come to a preliminary agreement to immediately suspend Iran’s production of enriched uranium. The Iranian foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi, praises the so-called Paris Agreement but emphasizes that any suspension will be temporary.
In a few weeks, the I.A.E.A verifies Iran’s suspension of its enrichment activities, with one exception: its request to use up to 20 sets of centrifuge components for research and development.
An Iranian missile displayed by the Revolutionary Guards under a portrait of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, in September 2003. Henghameh Fahimi/Agence France-Presse
Nuclear Program Is Suspended
Possibly in response to the American invasion of Iraq, which was originally justified by the Bush administration on the grounds that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, Ayatollah Khamenei orders a suspension of work on what appear to be weapons-related technologies, although he allows uranium enrichment efforts to continue.
Inspectors with the United Nations atomic agency find traces of highly enriched uranium at the Natanz plant, and Iran concedes to demands, after talks with Britain, France and Germany, to accept stricter international inspections of its nuclear sites and to suspend production of enriched uranium.
Discovery of Secret Plants
Mujahedeen Khalq, an Iranian dissident group also known as the M.E.K., obtains and shares documents revealing a clandestine nuclear program previously unknown to the United Nations.
The program includes a vast uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy water plant at Arak. In December, satellite photographs of Natanz and Arak appear widely in the news media. The United States accuses Tehran of an “across-the-board pursuit of weapons of mass destruction,” but takes relatively little action because it is focused on the approaching invasion of Iraq the next year.
Iran agrees to inspections by the I.A.E.A. It also signs an accord with Russia to speed up completion of the nuclear power plant at Bushehr.
Mohammad Khatami in 2009. Hasan Sarbakhshian/Associated Press
Proposal for Nuclear-Free Mideast
President Mohammad Khatami of Iran goes to Saudi Arabia, becoming the first Iranian leader since 1979 to visit the Arab world.
He issues a joint statement with King Fahd expressing concerns about Israel’s nuclear weapons program and support for ridding the Middle East of nuclear weapons. In 2003, Iran supports such a proposal initiated by Syria.
President Bill Clinton addressing reporters in July 1996. Joe Marquette/Associated Press
Sanctions Against Iran and Libya
With growing intelligence estimates that Iran may secretly be trying to build a nuclear weapon, President Bill Clinton signs a bill imposing sanctions on foreign companies with investments in Iran and Libya. Such rules are already in place for American companies.
A Russian engineer checking equipment at the Bushehr nuclear plant in April 2007.Behrouz Mehri/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Iran and Russia Sign Nuclear Contract
Iran announces that it will sign an $800 million contract with Russia to complete construction on one of two light water reactors at the Bushehr nuclear plant within four years. After many delays, the project was completed in 2010.
The United States has been persuading countries like Argentina, India, Spain, Germany and France to prohibit the sale of nuclear technology to Iran’s civilian program.
In 2005, the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency is on the verge of reviewing Tehran’s nuclear program when Iranian officials admit to a 1987 meetingwith Dr. Khan’s representatives. But Tehran tells the agency that it turned down the chance to buy the equipment required to build the core of a bomb.
Iraqi gunners used a Soviet 130-milllimeter field gun to shell the Iranian cities of Abadan and Khurramshahr.United Press International
Nuclear Program Restarts
The Iran-Iraq war, from 1980 to 1988, changes Iran’s thinking about the nuclear program. With Saddam Hussein pursuing a nuclear program in Iraq, Ayatollah Khomeini secretly decides to restart Iran’s program and seeks the assistance of German partners to complete the construction at Bushehr, which was damaged by bombs during the war.
Feb. 11, 1979
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini descending from the Air France plane that returned him to Tehran after 15 years in exile.United Press International
Khomeini Comes to Power
Prime Minister Bakhtiar is overthrown by followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, an exiled cleric, after bloody clashes in Tehran.
The new leader is uninterested in the nuclear program and ends the shah’s effort. Many nuclear experts flee the country.
The Bushehr nuclear plant on Aug. 21, 2010, as its first fuel rod was loaded. Getty Images
Creation of Atomic Energy Body
The shah creates the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, which conducts training for its personnel and nuclear deals with countries including the United States, France, West Germany, Namibia and South Africa. By training engineers in Iran and abroad, the country gains a solid understanding of nuclear technologies and capabilities.
A year later, Kraftwerk Union, a West German company, agrees to construct two light water reactors to produce nuclear energy at the Bushehr complex, 470 miles south of Tehran. Construction begins in 1974 but the contract is not signed until 1976.
By the late 1970s, the United States becomes worried that Iran may harbor nuclear weapon ambitions.
July 1, 1968
Iran Signs Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
With the American-provided research reactor running, starting in 1967, Iran becomes one of 51 nations to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, agreeing to never become a nuclear-weapon state.
Iran begins a civilian nuclear program in the 1950s, led by Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, who reaches a deal through the Eisenhower administration’s Atoms for Peace program. Under the agreement, the United States agrees to provide a nuclear research reactor in Tehran and power plants.
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Greece Defaults on IMF Loan Despite New Push for Bailout Aid
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GABRIELE STEINHAUSER and
VIKTORIA DENDRINOU in Brussels and
NEKTARIA STAMOULI in Athens
Updated July 1, 2015 12:12 a.m. ET
Greece became the first developed country to default on the International Monetary Fund, as the rescue program that has sustained it for five years expired and its creditors rejected a last-ditch effort to buy more time.
The Washington-based fund said the Greek government failed to transfer €1.55 billion ($1.73 billion) by close-of-business on Tuesday—the largest, single missed repayment in the IMF’s history.
The failure to pay the IMF was a dramatic, if anticipated, conclusion to a day full of unexpected twists and turns. On Tuesday morning—with the clock ticking toward the midnight expiration on the European portion of Greece’s €245 billion bailout—officials in Athens said they were working on a new solution to the four-month old impasse with creditors.
By the afternoon, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had asked for a new rescue program—the country’s third in five years—to help pay for some €29.15 billion ($32.52 billion) in debt coming due between 2015 and 2017.
Late Tuesday, Greek officials were also raising doubts over their plans for a referendum planned for Sunday, in which the government had asked its citizens to vote against pension cuts and sales-tax increases demanded by its creditors.
Some officials suggested that Mr. Tsipras and his ministers could campaign for a “yes” if a better offer from the rest of the eurozone and the IMF was on the table, while others indicated that the vote might even be called off altogether.
Whether any of these developments would keep Greece from financial meltdown andsecure its spot in Europe’s currency union was still unclear. But the prospect of more rescue loans—however dim—might help buffer some of the effects of the nonpayment to the IMF.
Before Greeks have voted on the measures demanded by creditors, “we will not negotiate about anything new at all,” Ms. Merkel said. Her deputy and coalition partner, Sigmar Gabriel of the Social Democrats, urged Greece to cancel the referendum altogether. “Then one could very quickly gather for talks, initial talks. If that’s not the case, then we should certainly do this after the referendum,” Mr. Gabriel said.
European stocks and bonds fell amid the uncertainty and the euro declined against the U.S. dollar.
But most of the moves were smaller than the declines a day earlier in reaction to Athens’s weekend announcement that the government would call a referendum on whether to accept the terms that creditors are offering and the government’s shutdown of its banking system to prevent a financial collapse.
In Washington, President Barack Obama played down the potential impact of Greece’s worsening crisis on the U.S. and broader global economy. “That is not something that we believe will have a major shock to the system,” he said.
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has been urging his European counterparts to press ahead with bailout talks to find a “pragmatic compromise” that includes both tough economic overhauls and debt relief, to prevent Europe’s economic problems from dragging on U.S. growth.
Greek banks have been heavily dependent on support from the European Central Bank. WSJ’s Charles Forelle explains why the country’s banking sector could turn out to be its Achilles heel.
Eurozone finance ministers are scheduled to discuss Greece’s bailout request, along with new proposals for budget cuts and policy overhauls, in a teleconference Wednesday morning.
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told his counterparts Tuesday that these plans would be close to the creditors’ latest demands, Austrian Finance Minister Hans Jörg Schelling said in a television interview.
Mr. Varoufakis also suggested that his government might campaign for a “yes” in the referendum if its new proposals were accepted, Mr. Schelling said.
Other officials were more skeptical that, after four months of at times acrimonious negotiations, Mr. Tsipras’s left-wing government was finally giving in to creditors’ demands.
“The political stance of the Greek government doesn’t appear to have changed,” said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who presides over the talks with his eurozone counterparts. Mr. Dijsselbloem already said over the weekend that the government would have a hard time convincing creditors and investors that it would implement measures it has to far opposed.
The expiration of the existing bailout and a default on the IMF aren’t expected to have immediate consequences for Greece’s economy. Its banks have already been ordered closed until Monday, after the European Central Bank capped emergency loans to Greek lenders over the weekend. Cash withdrawals by Greeks have been limited to €60 a day for each account-holder since Monday.
On Wednesday, the focus will again be on the ECB, whose governing council is due to meet in Frankfurt.
The council, which includes central bankers from the eurozone’s 19 member states, is reluctant to take any additional steps for now that would inflict more pain on Greek banks—for instance, by forcing them to pay back the outstanding loans just days ahead of the referendum, people familiar with the matter said, despite a growing level of impatience over the central bank’s exposure to Greece.
One largely symbolic option would be for the ECB to raise the amount of collateral that banks have to post in return for the emergency loans, but calibrate the reductions on the face value of assets used for collateral so that Greek lenders would still have enough to cover the existing €89 billion loan pile.
Greek crisis deepens as loan repayment deadline passes
Kim Hjelmgaard and Marco della Cava,
reece’s midnight deadline passed Tuesday for repaying $1.8 billion to the International Monetary Fund and other international creditors, deepening a financial crisis that threatens the Mediterranean nation’s membership in the European Union.
Despite an eleventh-hour effort by Greek lawmakers Tuesday to secure a new two-year debt deal before the deadline, European finance ministers reviewing Greece’s proposal concluded their conference call without offering a bailout extension.
The ministers agreed to convene again Wednesday to further discuss the details of a new series of loans from the eurozone’s European Stability Mechanism, its $560 billion rescue fund.
After the deadline passed (at 6 pm ET), Greece joined Zimbabwe, Sudan and Somaliain being in arrears to the IMF. Fitch Ratings has downgraded Greece’s government debt further into junk territory.
Standing in the way of any new deal from the IMF and other creditors is Sunday’s Greek referendum on whether to accept the terms that would come with a new aid package, which includes tax increases and spending cutbacks after years of recession. There is some dispute over whether such a referendum could be canceled, with some Greek lawmakers arguing that the vote is now set in stone.
Late Tuesday, thousands of Greeks took to the streets of Athens, many of them in support of accepting new bailout terms. A “no” vote would lead to Greece leaving the European Union and abandoning the euro currency.
The $1.8 billion Greece owes is part of a $270 billion aid plan it received from the IMF, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Commission — 19 eurozone governments — during its financial crisis.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel made her position clear Tuesday, telling reporters in Berlin, “We’ll negotiate about absolutely nothing before the planned referendum is held.”
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said that his government would step down if “yes” votes prevailed, telling a Greek public broadcasting outlet Monday, “We’ll choose in a sovereign way what our future will be like, we will insist on negotiating.”
President Obama cautioned that a failed Greek economy could have significant ripple effects on markets around the world, adding Tuesday that “what you have here is a country that has gone through some very difficult economic times, and needs to find a path toward growth and a path toward staying in the eurozone.”
But should there be a so-called Grexit — or Greek exit from the European financial community — Obama added that “it is important for us that we plan for any contingency, that we work with the ECB and other international institutions to ensure that some of the bumps that occur in the financial markets are smoothed out.”
Greece had previously indicated it would not be able to make the payment. The IMF said it would not give Greece its customary 30-day grace period before issuing a notice of technical default.
But Athens is not expected to immediately go bankrupt. That would only happen if its non-payment triggers further defaults in its financial system, which is not expected.
Next month, on July 20, Greece is also due to pay the ECB $3.9 billion.
Talks between Greece and its creditors have broken down as Athens has tried to negotiate less onerous repayment terms, mainly centered around austerity measures. Global markets on Monday tumbled over fears that the country’s attempts to strike a better deal could see it forced out of the eurozone. Its membership in the European Union is also at stake.
But markets bounced back Tuesday in Asia, and European indexes moved away from earlier losses after steep sell-offs in those regions helped push the Dow down 350 points in the prior session — its biggest one-day point loss since June 20, 2013.
On Tuesday, U.S. markets edged higher, buoyed by Greece’s new proposal that came against the dominant crisis narrative of the last 48 hours.
Earlier, citing unnamed government sources, Greece’s Ekathimerini newspaper reported Athens was reconsidering a previous proposal by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. No details were provided.
A Greek eurozone exit, it is feared, would reignite the financial contagion experienced during the sovereign debt crisis of 2009 and beyond when billions of dollars were wiped off the value of European government debt and other assets.
Still, while many analysts and officials have warned that Greece leaving the eurozone could have far-reaching consequences for economies and markets across the world, the specific impact of that possible development remains mostly unclear.
“If Greece leaves the eurozone, there is unlikely to be a big bang moment when the country adopts the drachma (the currency it used prior to adopting the euro in 2001),” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, a unit of the ratings firm.
“It will happen over time, as the Greek government issues IOUs that effectively become the new currency,” he said.
Greek Prime Minister Tsipras hinted Monday that he may resign if his nation votes “yes” in the referendum Sunday. Tsipras’ leftist Syriza party insists the vote is being called to strengthen its negotiating mandate with its creditors.
“If the Greek people want to proceed with austerity plans in perpetuity, which will leave us unable to lift our head, we will respect it, but we will not be the ones to carry it out,” he said on Greek television late Monday.
European leaders including Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and French PresidentFrancois Hollande dispute that. They say that Sunday’s vote will effectively be a referendum on whether Greece wants to remain part of the eurozone.
The government has limited cash withdrawals from banks to about $68 per day in a bid to stave off bank runs and keep its financial system from collapsing, triggering protests from groups on both sides of Sunday’s yes or no vote.
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Greece’s bailout expires, country defaults on IMF payment
By ELENA BECATOROS and DEREK GATOPOULOS
y to fall into arrears on payments to the fund. The last country to do so was Zimbabwe in 2001.
After Greece made a last-ditch effort to extend its bailout, eurozone finance ministers decided in a teleconference late Tuesday that there was no way they could reach a deal before the deadline.
“It would be crazy to extend the program,” said Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbleom, who heads the eurozone finance ministers’ body known as the eurogroup. “So that cannot happen and will not happen.”
(AP) An elderly man passes a graffiti outside an old bank in Athens, Tuesday, June 30,… Full Image
“The program expires tonight,” Dijsselbleom said.The brinkmanship that has characterized Greece’s bailout negotiations with its European creditors and the IMF rose several notches over the weekend, when Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced he would put a deal proposal by creditors to a referendum on Sunday and urged a “No” vote.
The move increased fears the country could soon fall out of the euro currency bloc and Greeks rushed to pull money out of ATMs, leading the government to shutter its banks and impose restrictions on banking transactions on Monday for at least a week.
But in a surprise move Tuesday night, Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis hinted that the government might be open to calling off the popular vote, saying it was a political decision.
The government decided on the referendum, he said on state television, “and it can make a decision on something else.”
(AP) A demonstrator waves a Greek flag during a rally organized by supporters of the YES… Full Image
It was unclear, however, how that would be possible legally as Parliament has already voted for it to go ahead.Greece’s international bailout expires at midnight central European time, after which the country loses access to billions of euros in funds. At the same time, Greece has said it will not be able to make a payment of 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) to the IMF.
With its economy teetering on the brink, Greece suffered its second sovereign downgrade in as many days when the Fitch ratings agency lowered it further into junk status, to just one notch above the level where it considers default inevitable.
The agency said the breakdown of negotiations “has significantly increased the risk that Greece will not be able to honor its debt obligations in the coming months, including bonds held by the private sector.”
Fitch said it now considered a default on privately-held debt “probable.”
(AP) People stand in a queue to use an ATM outside a closed bank, next to a sign on the… Full Image
Hopes for an 11th-hour deal were raised when the Greek side announced it had submitted a new proposal Tuesday afternoon, and the eurozone’s 19 finance ministers held a teleconference to discuss it.But those hopes were quickly dashed.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she ruled out further negotiations with Greece before Sunday’s popular vote on whether to accept creditors’ demands for budget reforms.
“Before the planned referendum is carried out, we will not negotiate over anything new,” the dpa news agency quoted Merkel as saying.
Greece’s latest offer involves a proposal to tap Europe’s bailout fund — the so-called European Stability Mechanism, a pot of money set up after Greece’s rescue programs to help countries in need.
(AP) The word “NO”, referring to the upcoming referendum, is written in red paint outside… Full Image
Tsipras’ office said the proposal was “for the full coverage of (Greece’s) financing needs with the simultaneous restructuring of the debt.”Dijsselbloem said the finance ministers would “study that request as we should” and that they would hold another conference call Wednesday, as they had also received a second letter from Athens that they had not had time to read.
Dragasakis said the new letter “narrows the differences further.”
“We are making an additional effort. There are six points where this effort can be made. I don’t want to get into specifics. But it includes pensions and labor issues,” he said.
European officials and Greek opposition parties have been adamant that a “No” vote on Sunday will mean Greece will leave the euro and possibly even the EU.
(AP) Demonstrators shout slogans during a rally organized by supporters of the YES vote… Full Image
The government says this is scaremongering, and that a rejection of creditor demands will mean the country is in a better negotiating position.In Athens, more than 10,000 “Yes” vote supporters gathered outside parliament despite a thunderstorm, chanting “Europe! Europe!”
Most huddled under umbrellas, including Athens resident Sofia Matthaiou.
“I don’t know if we’ll get a deal. But we have to press them to see reason,” she said, referring to the government. “The creditors need to water down their positions, too.”
The protest came a day after thousands of government supporters advocating a “No” vote held a similar demonstration.
(AP) Demonstrators gather under the rain during a rally organized by supporters of the… Full Image
On Monday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker made a new offer to Greece. Under that proposal, Tsipras would need to accept the creditors’ proposal that was on the table last weekend. He would also have to change his position on Sunday’s referendum.Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said the offer would also involve unspecified discussions on Athens’s massive debt load of over 300 billion euros, or around 180 percent of GDP. The Greek side has long called for debt relief, saying its mountainous debt is unsustainable.
A Greek government official said Tsipras had spoken earlier in the day with Juncker, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi and European Parliament president Martin Schulz.
Meanwhile, missing the IMF payment will cut Greece off from new loans from the organization.
And with its bailout program expiring, Greece will lose access to more than 16 billion euros ($18 billion) in financial support it has not yet tapped, officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because talks about the program were still ongoing.
On the streets of Athens, long lines formed again at ATM machines as Greeks struggled with the new restrictions on banking transactions. Under credit controls imposed Monday, Greeks are now limited to ATM withdrawals of 60 euros ($67) a day and cannot send money abroad or make international payments without special permission.
The elderly have been hit particularly hard, with tens of thousands of pensions unpaid as of Tuesday afternoon. Many also found themselves completely cut off from any cash as they do not have bank cards.
The finance ministry said it would open about 1,000 bank branches across the country for three days beginning Wednesday to allow pensioners without bank cards to make withdrawals. But the limit would be set at 120 euros for the whole week.
With negotiations have broken off in dramatic fashion last week, a cacophony of voices on Syriza’s Left have vowed to prioritise domestic obligations unless creditors finally unlock the remainder of its €240bn bail-out programme. Greece only avoided going bust earlier this month after the government has asked for a Zambia-style debt bundling which will now be due on June 30.
The rhetoric is a far cry from February, when Greece’s finance minister pledged his government would “squeeze blood out of a stone” to meet its obligations to the Fund.
Although no nation has ever officially defaulted on its obligations in the post-Bretton Woods era, Greece would join an ignominious list of war-torn nations and international pariahs who have failed to pay back the Fund on time.
What happens after a default?
In choosing to bundle up four separate June repayments, Greece avoided triggering an immediate default.
But in the event of a delayed repayment, according to IMF protocol, Greece could be afforded a 30-day grace period, during which it would be urged to pay back the money as soon as possible, and before Ms Lagarde notifies her executive board of the late payment.
However, with talks have broken down in acrimonious fashion between the country and its creditors, Ms Lagarde has said she will renege on this and notify her board “immediately”.
Having spooked creditors and the markets of the possibility of a fatal breach of the sanctity of monetary union, Greece may well stump up the cash if an agreement to release the country more emergency aid is reached (that’s looking increasingly unlikely however).
But should no money be forthcoming however, the arrears process may well extend indefinitely.
Greece’s other creditor burden would also start piling up, with the government due to pay another €6.6bn to the European Central Bank in July and August.
Stopping the cash
Although the exact process is uncertain, falling into a protracted arrears procedure could have major consequences for continued financial assistance from Greece’s other creditors – the European Central Bank and European Commission.
“If Greece defaults to the IMF, then they are considered to be in default to the rest of the eurozone,” says Raoul Ruparel, head of economic research at Open Europe.
“Such a scenario would risk the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) cancelling all or part of its facility or even declaring the principal amount of the loan to be due immediately,” say analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Should the EFSF take such a decisive move, it could activate a range of cross default clauses on Greek government bonds held by private investors and the ECB. These clauses state a default to one creditor institution applies to all.
The political and market damage that may ensue would be substantial. Popular sentiment in creditor nations would turn against the errant Greeks, while the position of the ECB in particular could quickly come under the spotlight.
The central bank has kept Greek banks on a tight leash, maintaining that it would only restore normal lending operations to the country once “conditions for a successful completion of the programme are in place”.
A wave of defaults may force the ECB into finally pulling the plug on the emergency assistance it has been providing in ever larger doses since February.
What would happen if Greece left the euro? In 60 seconds
Scrambling for funds
Whatever the outcome, Greece on many measures, is all but bankrupt.
In addition to the half a billion euros plus it owes the Fund this month, the Leftist government will still be paying back the IMF until 2030. In total, its repayment schedule stretches out over the next 42 years to 2057.
Greece makes new aid proposal, seeks debt restructuring
ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece has submitted to creditors a new two-year aid proposal calling for parallel debt restructuring, the office of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday, in what seemed like a last-ditch effort by Athens to resolve an impasse with lenders.
The statement came hours before Athens was set to default on a loan to the International Monetary Fund. It was unclear how creditors would respond.
“The Greek government proposed today a two-year deal with the ESM (European Stability Mechanism) to fully cover its financial needs and with parallel debt restructuring,” the government said in a statement.
“Greece remains at the negotiating table,” the statement said, adding that Athens would always seek a “viable solution to stay in the euro.”
If Greece defaults on its debt, it will be the biggest default by a country in history.
Greece is expected to miss a €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) debt payment on Tuesday. That won’t be enough to put it in the record books yet, but it could eventually make Greece default on its entire debt load: €323 billion ($360 billion).
This isn’t the first time Greece has been on the brink. Greece already holds the record for the biggest default ever by a country from 2012 when it went into technical default and had to restructure about $138 billion of its debt. Back then, Greece was quickly bailed out by its European peers. That’s unlikely to happen now.
The Greek government pulled its negotiators from talks with European officials Friday after little progress was made on a debt payment plan and economic reforms. Greece has called for a referendum vote on July 5 on the latest proposal from Europe and the International Monetary Fund.
Greece already holds the record: Greece’s 2012 technical default shattered the previous record set by Argentina in 2001, when the South American nation defaulted on $95 billion in debt. While there are parallels between the two countries, experts say this potential Greek default could be much worse.
“Things are incredibly dire,” says Anna Gelpern, a Georgetown University professor. “For political reasons and market-confidence reasons, they need to deal with the debt…It’s not clear to me how they deal with it without defaulting on anyone.”
Greece won’t officially be in default right away. The International Monetary Fund generally gives countries a month after missing a debt payment before it declares a country in defaulted. However, the markets will most likely judge Greece to be in default by July 1.
Greece’s debt is spread out across the board. Greece owes money to the International Monetary Fund, Germany, France, Greek banks and several others.
But consider this: Whatever happens to Greece, it’s likely to be a long process. Argentina is still in default. But a key difference is that Greece has four times the debt load of Argentina — the next worst default — but Greece’s economy is only half the size of Argentina’s.
While Greece would be the biggest sovereign default, Lehman Brothers had over $600 billion in assets when it filed for bankruptcy in 2008. A Greek default would be smaller and unlikely to rattle the global financial system like Lehman, but it would have a long-lasting impact on the Greek people.
Here are some of the worst sovereign defaults since 2000.
1. Greece — $138 billion, March 2012. Despite going into a technical default, the Greek government is propped up by bailout funds from its European peers. Those bailout funds eventually lead to the current dilemma.
2. Argentina — $95 billion, November 2001. Argentina’s currency was “pegged” or equal to one U.S. dollar for years — a currency exchange that eventually proved to be completely inaccurate. Like Greece is doing this week, Argentina also clamped down on Argentines trying to take money out of the banks. It didn’t help. The country’s economy was nearly three times smaller just one year later, according to IMF data. In July 2014, Argentina went into a technical default after it missed a debt payment to its hold out creditors.
3. Jamaica — $7.9 billion, February 2010. Massive government overspending for years and rapid inflation pushed Jamaica into default five years ago. At the time, over 40% of the government’s budget went to paying debts. Its economy, which depends on tourism, suffered when the U.S. recession began in late 2008.
4. Ecuador — $3.2 billion, December 2008. Ecuador pulled a fast one on its creditors. With a debt payment looming, the Ecuardor’s government, led by President Rafael Correa, just said no to its creditors. He claimed the debt, some which was owned by American hedge funds, was “immoral.” Rich in resources, Ecuardor could have made debt payments, but intentionally chose not to.
Despite Lagarde’s initial reluctance, IMF on the hook for Greece
By By Anna Yukhananov | Reuters – 21 hours ago
By Anna Yukhananov
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As French Finance Minister in 2010, Christine Lagarde opposed the involvement of the International Monetary Fund in Greece.
Now as the country stands on the edge of defaulting on a 1.6 billion euro ($1.8 billion) payment to the Fund, Lagarde’s tenure at the head of the IMF since 2011 will be shaped by Greece, which holds a referendum on Sunday that could pave the way to its exit from the euro.
By its own admission the Washington-based institution broke many of its rules in lending to Greece. It ended up endorsing austerity measures proposed by the European Commission and European Central Bank, its partners in the troika of Greece’s lenders, instead of leading talks as it had done with other countries such as Russia and in the Asian financial crisis.
“I think the IMF has missed the opportunity (on Greece), because it has not fully leveraged the lessons it learned from the previous crises it was involved in, due to this asymmetric relationship within the troika,” said Domenico Lombardi, a former IMF board member.
That the IMF lent to Greece at the behest of Europe, which has nominated every IMF Managing Director since the inception of the Fund in 1946, may expose the institution to greater scrutiny, especially as it has $24 billion in loans outstanding to Greece in its largest-ever program.
“When it was clear that the Greek program was underperforming, they did not push back sufficiently against the euro zone, which had at the time a misguided policy emphasis on only austerity,” said Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, a fellow at the Peterson Institute in Washington.
The involvement of the Fund in Greece and its continued support for decisions driven by eurozone governments caused a deep split in the institution.
Some IMF economists had misgivings about lending to Greece in 2010 within the constraints of the so-called “troika” of lenders, where the Fund would be the junior partner to the European Central Bank and the European Commission.
IMF board members also protested the “exceptional” size of the program, as Athens did not meet the Fund’s criteria for debt sustainability, meaning it would have trouble repaying.
Yet swayed by the fear that contagion in Athens could spread to French and German banks, the IMF agreed to participate in a joint 110-billion-euro bailout of Greece with the Europeans.
“The Europeans have a third of the voting rights (at the IMF), and they have appointed the managing director since the beginning, so essentially it is the governance that has driven the Greek program,” said Lombardi who is now with the Canada-based Center for International Governance Innovation.
Later, the Fund admitted that its projections for the Greek economy had been overly optimistic. Instead of growing after a year of austerity, Greece’s economy plunged into one of the worst recessions to ever hit a country in peacetime, with output falling 22 percent from 2008 to 2012.
While the euro zone’s insistence on drawing a direct link between euro membership and Greece’s debt sustainability and the negotiating tactics of the Greek government have exposed both to questions of credibility, the Fund stands charged as well.
“The IMF’s reputation, too, has been shaken from widespread criticism of the Greek program, including its own admission of its failures,” said Lombard Street Research economist Konstantinos Venetis.
TEMPTATION TO GO BIG
If Greece does default on all $24 billion it owes to the Fund, that will dwarf previous delinquencies from countries like Sudan, Zimbabwe and Somalia.
While the IMF was worried about contagion when it made the loans, it also had institutional incentives for wanting to bail out troubled countries, said Andrea Montanino, a former IMF board member who left the Fund in 2014 after participating in reviews of Greece’s second bailout in 2012.
“The IMF is in a preferred creditor status; the more you lend, the more you earn,” said Montanino, now with the Atlantic Council.
The IMF’s heavy involvement in large bailouts for euro zone countries, which included Ireland and Portugal, have enabled it to build up its reserve buffers in recent years. It is now aiming to store away some $28 billion by 2018.
From interest and charges on the Greek program alone, the IMF has earned some $3.9 billion since 2010, according to figures on the IMF’s website.
“I think the Greek lesson is in the future, the IMF will be much more careful,” said Montanino.
Greece is widely expected to miss a crucial payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday—hours before its bailout officially ends at midnight and the country is left with few, if any, financial lifelines.
Greek officials have already warned the country is unable to pay the 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) due to the IMF by 6 p.m. ET, after reforms-for-aid talks with creditors broke down at the weekend.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the president of the Eurogroup, subsequently tweeted on Tuesday that there would be a teleconference to discuss an “official request” from the Greek government “received this afternoon” at 1 p.m. ET.
The Greek government on Tuesday proposed a new, two-year bailout deal with the European Stability Mechanism. This would be to “fully cover its financing needs and the simultaneous restructuring of debt,” according to a translated press release from the office of the Greek Prime Minister.
Yannis Behrakis | Reuters
A protester waves a Greek flag in front of the parliament building during a rally in Athens, Greece, June 22, 2015.
This comes at a time when Greece’s financial future is in jeopardy. The country will potentially have no access to external sources of cash, once its funding from the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) expires at midnight.
Meanwhile, Greece’s banking system is being kept afloat by emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) from the European Central Bank, which is up for review on Wednesday.
Against a backdrop of uncertainty, Tsipras has called a referendum on July 5 of the Greek people on whether to accept the bailout proposals—and accompanying austerity measures—proposed by creditors.
Tsipras has urged the public to vote “no” to more austerity.
“The Greek government will claim a sustainable agreement within the euro. This is the message of NO to a bad deal at the referendum on Sunday,” the translated statement from the prime minister’s office said on Tuesday.
‘Running out of notches’
Meanwhile, credit ratings agencies are increasingly nervous about the country’s solvency.
Fitch Ratings downgraded Greek banks on Monday to “Restricted Default,” after Athens imposed capital controls to prevent an exodus of deposits from Greece.
In addition, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) lowered Greece’s credit rating to CCC- from CCC, saying the probability of the country exiting the euro zone was now 50 percent.
Moritz Kraemer, chief rating officer of sovereign ratings at S&P, told CNBC on Tuesday that the group was “actually running out of notches” for Greece.
“We have the rating at CCC- and that’s pretty much the lowest rung that we have on our scale,” he told CNBC Europe’s “Squawk Box.”
If Greece misses its payment on Tuesday, then the IMF will consider it in “arrears” – a technical term used by the IMF, which is similar to default.
If a country is in arrears to the IMF, it means it won’t get any future aid until the bill is repaid.
Although the IMF payment is dominating headlines, S&P’s Kraemer said that Greece’s bailout program ending at midnight was just as significant.
“Basically after that we’re back to square one,” he said. “So even if there was to be a change of heart in Athens and they did decide to take the creditors’ offer, that’s legally no longer possible as the program would have elapsed.”
Greece’s debt crisis: It all started in 2001…
Yannis Behrakis | Reuters
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In international law, odious debt, also known as illegitimate debt, is a legal theory that holds that the national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation, should not be enforceable. Such debts are, thus, considered by this doctrine to be personal debts of the regime that incurred them and not debts of the state. In some respects, the concept is analogous to the invalidity of contracts signed under coercion.
When a despotic regime contracts a debt, not for the needs or in the interests of the state, but rather to strengthen itself, to suppress a popular insurrection, etc, this debt is odious for the people of the entire state. This debt does not bind the nation; it is a debt of the regime, a personal debt contracted by the ruler, and consequently it falls with the demise of the regime. The reason why these odious debts cannot attach to the territory of the state is that they do not fulfil one of the conditions determining the lawfulness of State debts, namely that State debts must be incurred, and the proceeds used, for the needs and in the interests of the State. Odious debts, contracted and utilised for purposes which, to the lenders’ knowledge, are contrary to the needs and the interests of the nation, are not binding on the nation – when it succeeds in overthrowing the government that contracted them – unless the debt is within the limits of real advantages that these debts might have afforded. The lenders have committed a hostile act against the people, they cannot expect a nation which has freed itself of a despotic regime to assume these odious debts, which are the personal debts of the ruler.
There are many examples of similar debt repudiation.
Patricia Adams, executive director of Probe International, a Canadian environmental and public policy advocacy organisation and author of Odious Debts: Loose Lending, Corruption, and the Third World’s Environmental Legacy, stated: “by giving creditors an incentive to lend only for purposes that are transparent and of public benefit, future tyrants will lose their ability to finance their armies, and thus the war on terror and the cause of world peace will be better served.” In a Cato Institute policy analysis, Adams suggested that debts incurred by Iraq during Saddam Hussein‘s reign were odious because the money was spent on weapons, instruments of repression, and palaces.
A 2002 article by economists Seema Jayachandran and Michael Kremer renewed interest in this topic. They propose that the idea can be used to create a new type of economic sanction to block further borrowing by dictators. Jayachandran proposed new recommendations in November 2010 at the 10th anniversary of the Jubilee movement at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C.
In December 2008, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa attempted to default on Ecuador’s national debt, calling it illegitimate odious debt, because it was contracted by corrupt and despotic prior regimes. He succeeded in reducing the price of the debt letters before continuing paying the debt.
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The Corker Bill Isn’t a Victory — It’s a Constitutional Perversion
by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY
As the Framers knew, we are unlikely to outgrow human nature. So what happens when we decide we’ve outgrown a Constitution designed to protect us from human nature’s foibles?
The question arises, yet again, thanks to Senator Bob Corker. The Tennessee Republican, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, is author — along with Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) — of a ballyhooed bipartisan bill that is being touted as the derailment of President Obama’s plan to trample congressional prerogatives en route to a calamitous “deal” that will facilitate jihadist Iran’s nuclear-weapons ambitions. (I use scare-quotes because the so-called deal is still a work in regress.)
So guess who now supports this stalwart congressional resistance to our imperial president? Why none other than . . . yes . . . Barack Obama! You think maybe, just maybe, the Corker bill isn’t quite what it’s cracked up to be? You’d be right. When you read the legislation, it becomes apparent that Senator Corker is simply channeling his inner Mitch McConnell.
Back in 2011, the Senate’s then-minority leader was flummoxed by the national debt. No, not by its enormous size. Afraid of being lambasted by the media for slowing the gravy train, he wanted to help Obama raise the debt by many additional trillions of dollars; but equally fearing the wrath of those who’d elected him precisely to slow the gravy train, he wanted to appear as a staunch opponent of such profligacy.
Senator McConnell’s problem was that meddlesome Constitution. On the theory that government borrowing and spending are best controlled by the elected officials most directly accountable to the taxpayers who foot the bill, the Constitution gives Congress, not the president, ultimate power over the debt.
This is inconsistent, of course, with a scheme to impose more crushing debt on the country without being held accountable for it. Consequently, the Constitution was thrown overboard.
McConnell and other GOP leaders hatched a plan under which Obama would appear to raise the debt unilaterally. Congress could then respond with a “resolution of disapproval.” As McConnell knew, either Democrats would defeat the resolution or Obama would veto it. That was $4 trillion ago. McConnell’s chicanery gave big-spending Republicans a windfall: They succeeded in extending our tapped-out country’s credit line but still managed to vote against the extension — i.e., they could tell the voters back home that they opposed something that actually could not have happened without their support.
American taxpayers did not fare quite as well. We are now on the hook for $18 trillion, soon to be several trillion more. If, as is inevitable, interest rates begin to approach modest historical norms, the government’s budget will be consumed by debt service. Our nation, having taken on lavish obligations of social welfare and global defense, will face a crisis that is at least transformative, if not existential.
A nuclear Iran would be a threat that is similarly transformative. To know that, we need only listen to the White House tut-tutting about how “unrealistic” it would be to expect the mullahs to renounce their support for terrorism in exchange for sanctions relief.
In Washington, you see, insisting that Iran act like a normal country is nutter stuff, but trusting Iran to enrich uranium only for peaceful purposes is totally logical. MORE IRAN COULD U.S. WEAKNESS INVITE UNPLANNED MILITARY CONFRONTATION WITH IRAN? CONGRESS SHOULD TRY TO KILL THE IRAN DEAL NOW DEM REP. SAYS IRANIAN ‘DEATH TO AMERICA’ CHANTS COULD BE READ IN ‘A COUPLE OF WAYS’
So Beltway Republicans are ready to put up a fight, right? About as much of a fight, it seems, as they were ready to make against mounting debt.
Cravenly elevating their own political interest over the national interest, many on the GOP side of the political class calculate that it is more important to avoid blame for frustrating Obama — this time, on his delusional Iran deal — than to succeed in actually frustrating Obama. But alas, that annoying Constitution is again an obstacle to shirking accountability. It does not empower the president to make binding agreements with foreign countries all on his own — on the theory that the American people should not take on enforceable international obligations or see their sovereignty compromised absent approval by the elected representatives most directly accountable to them.
Thus, the Constitution mandates that no international agreement can be binding unless it achieves either of two forms of congressional endorsement: a) super-majority approval by two-thirds of the Senate (i.e., 67 aye votes), or b) enactment through the normal legislative process, meaning passage by both chambers under their burdensome rules, then signature by the president.
The Corker bill is a ploy to circumvent this constitutional roadblock. That is why our post-sovereign, post-constitutional president has warmed to it.
Because it would require the president to submit any Iran deal to Congress, it is drawing plaudits for toughness. But like McConnell’s debt legerdemain, it’s a con job. Once the deal is submitted, Congress would have 60 days (or perhaps as few as 30 days) to act. If within that period both houses of Congress failed to enact a resolution of disapproval, the agreement would be deemed legally binding — meaning that the sanctions the Iranian regime is chafing under would be lifted. As Corker, other Republican leaders, and the president well know, passage of a resolution of disapproval — even if assured in the House with its commanding Republican majority — could be blocked by the familiar, lockstep parliamentary maneuvering of just 40 Senate Democrats. More significantly, even if enacted in the Senate, the resolution would be vetoed by Obama. As with the resolutions of disapproval on debt increases, it is nearly inconceivable that Obama’s veto would be overridden.
To summarize, the Constitution puts the onus on the president to find 67 Senate votes to approve an international agreement, making it virtually impossible to ratify an ill-advised deal. The Corker bill puts the onus on Congress to muster 67 votes to block an agreement. Under the Constitution, Obama’s Iran deal would not have a prayer. Under the Corker bill, it would sail through. And once again, it would be Republicans first ensuring that self-destruction is imposed on us, then striking the pose of dogged opponents by casting futile nay votes.
This is not how our system works. Congress is supposed to make the laws we live under. It is the first branch of government, not a rubber-stamping Supreme Soviet. We seem to have forgotten that the point of the Constitution is not to accomplish great things; it is to prevent government from doing overbearing or destructive things. The achievement of great things was left to the genius and ambition of free people confronting challenges without stifling constraints.
The Constitution’s constraints can indeed be stifling. Quite intentionally so: They are there to prevent legacy-hunting ideologues and feckless fixers from rolling the dice with our lives.
That a lawless president would undertake to eviscerate these constraints is to be expected. But is he really much worse than an entrenched political class that anxiously forfeits its powers to stop him?
The Barack Obama administration has estimated for years that Iran was at most three months away from enriching enough nuclear fuel for an atomic bomb. But the administration only declassified this estimate at the beginning of the month, just in time for the White House to make the case for its Iran deal to Congress and the public.
Speaking to reporters and editors at our Washington bureau on Monday, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz acknowledged that the U.S. has assessed for several years that Iran has been two to three months away from producing enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. When asked how long the administration has held this assessment, Moniz said: “Oh quite some time.” He added: “They are now, they are right now spinning, I mean enriching with 9,400 centrifuges out of their roughly 19,000. Plus all the . . . . R&D work. If you put that together it’s very, very little time to go forward. That’s the 2-3 months.”
Brian Hale, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, confirmed to me Monday that the two-to-three-month estimate for fissile material was declassified on April 1.
Here is the puzzling thing: When Obama began his second term in 2013, he sang a different tune. He emphasized that Iran was more than a year away from a nuclear bomb, without mentioning that his intelligence community believed it was only two to three months away from making enough fuel for one, long considered the most challenging task in building a weapon. Today Obama emphasizes that Iran is only two to three months away from acquiring enough fuel for a bomb, creating a sense of urgency for his Iran agreement.
Back in 2013, when Congress was weighing new sanctions on Iran and Obama was pushing for more diplomacy, his interest was in tamping down that sense of urgency. On the eve of a visit to Israel, Obama told Israel’s Channel Two, “Right now, we think it would take over a year or so for Iran to actually develop a nuclear weapon, but obviously we don’t want to cut it too close.”
On Oct. 5 of that year, Obama contrasted the U.S. view of an Iranian breakout with that of Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who at the time said Iran was only six months away from nuclear capability. Obama told the Associated Press, “Our assessment continues to be a year or more away. And in fact, actually, our estimate is probably more conservative than the estimates of Israeli intelligence services.”
Ben Caspit, an Israeli journalist and columnist for Al-Monitor, reported last year that Israel’s breakout estimate was also two to three months away.
A year ago, after the nuclear talks started, Secretary of State John Kerry dropped the first hint about the still-classified Iran breakout estimate. He told a Senate panel, “I think it is fair to say, I think it is public knowledge today, that we are operating with a time period for a so-called breakout of about two months.”
David Albright, a former weapons inspector and president of the Institute for Science and International Security, told me administration officials appeared to be intentionally unspecific in 2013, when the talking points used the 12-months-plus timeline. “They weren’t clear at all about what this one-year estimate meant, but people like me who said let’s break it down to the constituent pieces in terms of time to build a bomb were rebuffed,” he said. Albright’s group released its own breakout timetable that focused solely on the production of highly enriched uranium, not the weapon itself. It concluded Iran was potentially less than a month away.
When USA Today asked a spokeswoman for the National Security Council about Albright’s estimate, she responded that the intelligence community maintained a number of estimates for how long Iran would take to produce enough material for a weapon.
“They have made it very hard for those of us saying, let’s just focus on weapons-grade uranium, there is this shorter period of time and not a year,” Albright told me. “If you just want a nuclear test device to blow up underground, I don’t think you need a year.”
This view is supported by a leaked document from the International Atomic Energy Agency, first published by the Associated Press in 2009. Albright’s group published excerpts from the IAEA assessment that concluded Iran “has sufficient information to be able to design and produce a workable implosion nuclear device based upon (highly enriched uranium) as the fission fuel.”
Kenneth Pollack, a former CIA analyst who is now an Iran expert at the Brookings Institution, told me that most of the technical estimates about an Iranian breakout were not nearly as precise as they are sometimes portrayed in the press. “The idea there is such a thing as a hard and fast formula for this is nonsense,” he said. “All the physicists come up with different answers depending on what inputs they use.”
In this way, Obama’s new, more alarmist figure of two to three months provides a key selling point for the framework reached this month in Switzerland. When Obama announced the preliminary agreement on April 2, he said one benefit was that if it were finalized, “even if it violated the deal, for the next decade at least, Iran would be a minimum of a year away from acquiring enough material for a bomb.”
Hence the frustration of Representative Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. “We’ve been researching their claim that a deal would lengthen the breakout time for Iran from two to three months to a year,” he told me of the administration. “We’re just trying to confirm any of their numbers and we can’t confirm or make sense of what they are referencing.”
Nunes should hurry. The Iranian nuclear deal is scheduled to breakout in less than three months.
Congress and White House strike deal on Iran legislation
A Senate committee voted unanimously Tuesday to give Congress the power to review a potential Iran nuclear deal after a June 30 negotiating deadline, in a compromise with the White House that allows President Obama to avoid possible legislative disapproval of the pact before it can be completed.
The bipartisan bill is likely to move quickly to the full Senate after the Foreign Relations Committee voted 19 to 0 to approve the measure. It would give Congress at least 30 days to consider an agreement after it was signed, before Obama could waive or suspend any congressionally mandated sanctions against Iran.
During that period, lawmakers could vote their disapproval of the agreement. Any such resolution would have to clear a relatively high bar to become law, requiring 60 votes to pass and 67, or two-thirds of the Senate, to override a presidential veto.
The compromise avoided a potentially destructive showdown between the White House and Congress, as well as a possible free-for-all of congressional action that Obama has said could derail the negotiations while they are underway. It followed extensive administration lobbying on Capitol Hill, including phone calls from Obama and a closed-door Senate meeting Tuesday morning with Secretary of State John F. Kerry and other senior officials.
While the administration was “not particularly thrilled” by the final result, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said before the vote, it was “the kind of compromise that the president would be willing to sign.”
Congress and White House strike deal on Iran legislation deal(1:09)
Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reached a compromise Tuesday on a bill that would give Congress a say on any deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program. (AP)
In passing the legislation, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) hailed the “true emergence” of bipartisanship on a crucial foreign policy issue, and he congratulated Congress for approving sanctions legislation in the first place that “brought Iran to the negotiating table.”
“Despite opposition from the White House all along,” Corker said in a statement released after the vote, he was proud of unanimous committee support for a measure that “will ensure the American people — through their elected representatives — will have a voice on any final deal with Iran, if one is reached.”
Responding to Jack Goldsmith on the Corker Bill & the Nature of Obama’s Iran Deal
by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY April 20, 2015 12:24 PM
I have great respect and admiration for Jack Goldsmith, especially when it comes to his mastery of international law and its complex interplay with constitutional law. At the Lawfare blog, Professor Goldsmith has penned a thoughtful critique of my weekend column, in which I objected to the Corker bill – the legislation proposed by Senator Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) and others that would govern congressional review of President Obama’s anticipated executive agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. Goldsmith claims that I have distorted both the Corker bill and the Constitution. Goldsmith and I have a fundamental disagreement about what Obama’s Iran deal is intended to accomplish – and as I shall explain, this is a situation where the de facto has to take precedence over the de jure. But let me state upfront that I do not question that the president (as I have argued many times) has plenary authority over the conduct of foreign affairs and that, as Thomas Jefferson opined, exceptions to that principle must be narrowly construed. Nor do I, as Goldsmith implies, blame the Corker bill for any deficiencies in the current statutory regiment of Iran sanctions. Indeed, I have argued that the president’s waivers of Iran sanctions are different in kind from, to take some prominent examples, his waivers of Obamacare provisions and of certain enforcement aspects of the federal immigration and narcotics laws. The latter are lawless (though the administration attempts to rationalize them by an untenable interpretation of the prosecutorial discretion doctrine). The former are entirely lawful and written into the sanctions bills themselves. The problem for Obama is that his sanctions waivers cannot be permanent – the pertinent statutes do not allow for that. (I use the word permanent advisedly. The word binding, which I might otherwise use, has a legal connotation that, as we shall see, can be confusing here.) That is, there are statutory sanctions that would apply to the Iranian government and (mainly) entities that do business for or with it if the president had not waived those sanctions; the statutes that prescribe the sanctions enable the president to waive them for fixed terms; they do not enable the president to provide permanent sanctions relief. That is a central issue in the administration’s negotiations with Iran (which are taking place within in the P5 + 1 framework – but obviously the U.S. is the principal player). Iran wants permanent sanctions relief. The president wants to give the regime permanent sanctions relief, but he does not have that authority. This, I think, moves us toward the nub of my disagreement with Goldsmith. He argues: the agreement the President is negotiating with Iran is by design not legally binding under international law and thus does not even implicate the domestic constitutional framework for approving binding international agreements. [Emphasis in original.] I have never suggested that the Constitution prevents presidents from making executive agreements with other governments. (Indeed, I wrote favorably about the Cotton letter, which made exactly this point.) I thus agree, in the abstract, that the president’s merely making an agreement with Ayatollah Khamenei would not be de jure binding under international law. But this omits two critical, concrete facts applicable to this particular negotiation: (a) The only deal the Iranians are interested in is one that is permanent – regardless of whether it can be said to be legally binding – i.e., they want complete sanctions relief, regardless of whether it is by obtaining (1) a guarantee that the sanctions will not be re-imposed (if not by law then by an arrangement that makes “snap-back” of the sanctions illusory as a practical matter); or (2) a substantial payday just for signing the agreement that makes the possibility of re-imposition even more illusory. (b) Obama’s intention is to submit the deal he cuts with Iran to the U.N. Security Council, where it would be endorsed by a resolution. Now, you can say all you want that what the president is trying to accomplish here is not technically a “legally binding” international agreement that enjoins our government from re-imposing sanctions. But the practical reality is that Obama is crafting an agreement that is structured to give Iran the equivalent of permanent sanctions relief (by providing so many carrots now that the sticks will no longer matter) and to give other nations the grist to argue that the Security Council resolution makes the agreement binding even if it does not have binding effect under U.S. law. The Iranian foreign minister has already made that contention in response to the Cotton letter. And, as Obama calculates, even if the agreement is not “legally binding,” it becomes very difficult politically for the U.S. to take a contrary position once other nations have acted in reliance on a Security Council resolution (by lifting their own sanctions and conducting significant commerce with Iran). The way Goldsmith describes the president’s Iran negotiations and the Corker bill, one has to conclude that the ongoing debate about the former is much ado about nothing and that the latter is a complete waste of time. By Goldsmith’s lights, Obama is simply exercising the discretionary waiver authority he indisputably already has, and he is not trying to strike any sort of “binding” arrangement. One wonders why so much effort over something of such apparently fleeting consequence. And for Senator Corker’s part, his bill is not designed to do anything Congress could not already do in its absence: It can approve, disapprove or take no action on Obama’s deal, and whatever it chooses to do would be subject to his veto. So what’s the big deal? The big deal only becomes apparent if you acknowledge the reality of what Obama is trying to accomplish: Permanent lifting of the sanctions in conjunction with illusory restrictions that will pave Iran’s way to becoming a nuclear-weapons power despite current American law and U.N. resolutions designed to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear-weapons power. Just as I do not believe the president is, in fact, only trying to make a non-binding agreement, I do not believe the Corker bill is a case of congressional idling. If the agreement is seen as, in effect, of such potentially lasting significance that it should be treated as a binding treaty, then the Constitution would require Obama to find 67 Senate votes to approve it. As I argued in the column, the Corker bill reverses this: requiring opponents of the agreement to find 67 votes to kill it. In effect, I take Goldsmith to be arguing that the Constitution’s treaty clause can be reduced to a nullity by simply calling an international pact an “executive agreement” rather than a “treaty.” As unappealing as that contention sounds, there is a good deal of history and practice to support it. This reflects a reality I’ve often addressed: We are more a political society than a legal one. The Constitution does not resolve with exactitude the division of authorities between the two political branches; nor does it vest the judiciary with clear authority to resolve inter-branch disputes. As a result, presidents trying to achieve particular results in particular circumstances, take whatever seems to be the path of least resistance. Sometimes Congress squawks, sometimes it doesn’t. When it does, there is debate over whether the agreement in question should be treated as a treaty, but I cannot say there is a firmly established legal test for when an agreement is so consequential that it must be treated as a treaty. I don’t think the framers intended it to be a legal determination – it’s a political one. On that score, I’ve pointed out that the framers assumed impeachment would be a real remedy if a president, in dealing with a foreign country, tried to do something dangerous or treacherous – especially if it involved cutting the Senate out of the loop. Over time, impeachment has become an illusory check on the president, so it should not surprise us that presidents are less concerned about offending Congress by proceeding unilaterally when they calculate there is little political risk in doing so. All that said, I do not contest, and never have, that there is constitutional license for the president, in his nearly plenary authority over international affairs, to make international agreements (which last only as long as the president chooses to honor the agreement). And Goldsmith is right that I don’t question congressional-executive agreements: If the president can make an executive agreement with another government, and Congress is persuaded to enact – by the normal process – any legislation necessary to implement the agreement, what is there to object to (as long as the agreement does not violate the constitutional rights of the states and individuals)? The treaty clause, however, is one of the most important, constitutionally explicit restraints on the president’s power over foreign policy. A transformative agreement that significantly impacts American sovereignty and the constitutional or statutory rights of Americans should go through the Constitution’s treaty process – and even a ratified treaty (much less an executive agreement) cannot trump the Constitution (as the Supreme Court held in Medellin v. Texas (2008)). One last point. Using an example of something I wrote several years ago in support of presidential authority to waive sanctions against countries that run afoul of U.S. prohibitions on trade with Iran, Goldsmith contends that I have reversed my position on presidential authority over foreign policy. I haven’t. As noted above, the sanctions-waivers we are actually dealing with here are authorized by statute, so this is not a situation where Congress has enacted sanctions that have no waiver provisions and that the president can attempt to trump only by relying on his constitutional authority over foreign affairs. But if we were in such a situation, I would argue that there are some things a president could unilaterally waive over Congress’s objection, and some that he could not. If Congress tried to impose sanctions directly on foreign governments, I think the president would have a very strong case. If Congress imposed sanctions on private corporations and individuals that did business with certain foreign governments, I think the president would have a less strong case – perhaps a lot less strong. It might also matter whether it was wartime or a time of some true national emergency. I believe, in any event, that it is out of deference to the president’s considerable constitutional authority over the conduct of foreign affairs that sanctions laws (and some other laws that implicate foreign affairs) contain explicit presidential waiver provisions. Congress does not want to provoke a constitutional dispute that may be detrimental to achieving policy ends that, very often, both political branches support. That is all the more reason, to my mind, that when an international agreement is of great consequence to American national security, the president should not provoke a constitutional dispute by attempting to act unilaterally. The president should treat the agreement as a treaty – and so should the Senate.
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Arab leaders agree joint military force
By Haitham El-Tabei
Arab leaders agreed on Sunday to form a joint military force after a summit dominated by a Saudi-led offensive on Shiite rebels in Yemen and the threat from Islamist extremism.
Arab representatives will meet over the next month to study the creation of the force and present their findings to defence ministers within four months, according to the resolution adopted by the leaders.
“Assuming the great responsibility imposed by the great challenges facing our Arab nation and threatening its capabilities, the Arab leaders had decided to agree on the principle of a joint Arab military force,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told the summit in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.
The decision was mostly aimed at fighting jihadists who have overrun swathes of Iraq and Syria and secured a foothold in Libya, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said ahead of the summit.
On Sunday, Arabi told the meeting the region was threatened by a “destructive” force that threatened “ethnic and religious diversity”, in an apparent reference to the Islamic State group.
“What is important is that today there is an important decision, in light of the tumult afflicting the Arab world,” he said.
A handout picture made available by the Egyptian presidency shows Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al …
Egypt had pushed for the creation of the rapid response force to fight militants, and the matter gained urgency this week after Saudi Arabia and Arab allies launched air strikes on Huthi rebels in Yemen.
Arabi, reading a statement at the conclusion of the summit, said on Sunday the offensive would continue until the Huthis withdraw from regions they have overrun and surrender their weapons.
Several Arab states including Egypt are taking part in the military campaign, which Saudi King Salman said on Saturday would continue until the Yemeni people “enjoy security”.
– ‘Months to create’ –
Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi at the start of the summit called for the offensive to end only when the Huthis “surrender”, calling the rebel leader an Iranian “puppet”.
Saudi Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri, spokesman of the Saudi-led coalition forces, speaks to the medi …
However, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the leaders to find a peaceful resolution in Yemen.
“It is my fervent hope that at this Arab League summit, leaders will lay down clear guidelines to peacefully resolve the crisis in Yemen,” he said.
James Dorsey, a Middle East analyst with the Singapore-based S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said that despite support for a joint-Arab force, “it would still take months to create and then operate on an ad-hoc basis.
“I don’t think we will get an integrated command anytime soon, as no Arab leader would cede control of any part of their army anytime soon,” he said.
“Today we will have a formal declaration that would be negotiated every time during action.”
Sisi said in a recent interview that the proposal for a joint force was welcomed especially by Jordan, which might take part alongside Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.
Aaron Reese, deputy research director at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War, said “each of these countries would bring a different capability.
“The Jordanians are well known for their special forces capability… the Egyptians of course have the most manpower and bases close to Libya.”
Before Egyptian air strikes in February targeting the IS in Libya, the United Arab Emirates, which shares Cairo’s antipathy towards Islamists, had reportedly used Egyptian bases to launch its own air strikes there.
Cairo had sought UN backing for intervention in Libya, dismissing attempted peace talks between the rival governments in its violence-plagued North African neighbour as ineffective.
Story 1: No Body Does It Better– Israel Spies On Iran and USA Nuclear Talks — Provides Details of Terrible Deal To Congress — Show The American People The Deal or Kill The Deal! — Stop Iran From Getting The Bomb — The Neutron Bomb — An Humane Weapon — and The Neutronium Bomb — The Doomday Device — Let The Sunshine In — Video
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When the moon is in the seventh house
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
And peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius
Harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding
No more false hoods or derisions, golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelations, and the mind’s true liberations
When the moon is in the seventh house
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
And peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine
Ally’s snooping upset White House because information was used to lobby Congress to try to sink a deal
March 23, 2015 10:30 p.m. ET
Soon after the U.S. and other major powers entered negotiations last year to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, senior White House officials learned Israel was spying on the closed-door talks.
The spying operation was part of a broader campaign by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to penetrate the negotiations and then help build a case against the emerging terms of the deal, current and former U.S. officials said. In addition to eavesdropping, Israel acquired information from confidential U.S. briefings, informants and diplomatic contacts in Europe, the officials said.
Soon after the U.S. entered negotiations last year to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, senior White House officials learned Israel was spying on the closed-door talks. Photo: Getty
The espionage didn’t upset the White House as much as Israel’s sharing of inside information with U.S. lawmakers and others to drain support from a high-stakes deal intended to limit Iran’s nuclear program, current and former officials said.
“It is one thing for the U.S. and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal U.S. secrets and play them back to U.S. legislators to undermine U.S. diplomacy,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on the matter.
The U.S. and Israel, longtime allies who routinely swap information on security threats, sometimes operate behind the scenes like spy-versus-spy rivals. The White House has largely tolerated Israeli snooping on U.S. policy makers—a posture Israel takes when the tables are turned.
The White House discovered the operation, in fact, when U.S. intelligence agencies spying on Israel intercepted communications among Israeli officials that carried details the U.S. believed could have come only from access to the confidential talks, officials briefed on the matter said.
Israeli officials denied spying directly on U.S. negotiators and said they received their information through other means, including close surveillance of Iranian leaders receiving the latest U.S. and European offers. European officials, particularly the French, also have been more transparent with Israel about the closed-door discussions than the Americans, Israeli and U.S. officials said.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and President Barack Obama shown during a meeting at the White House in October. The leaders disagree over the negotiations with Iran. Photo: GettyPHOTO: REUTERS
Mr. Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer early this year saw a rapidly closing window to increase pressure on Mr. Obama before a key deadline at the end of March, Israeli officials said.
Using levers of political influence unique to Israel, Messrs. Netanyahu and Dermer calculated that a lobbying campaign in Congress before an announcement was made would improve the chances of killing or reshaping any deal. They knew the intervention would damage relations with the White House, Israeli officials said, but decided that was an acceptable cost.
The campaign may not have worked as well as hoped, Israeli officials now say, because it ended up alienating many congressional Democrats whose support Israel was counting on to block a deal.
Obama administration officials, departing from their usual description of the unbreakable bond between the U.S. and Israel, have voiced sharp criticism of Messrs. Netanyahu and Dermer to describe how the relationship has changed.
“People feel personally sold out,” a senior administration official said. “That’s where the Israelis really better be careful because a lot of these people will not only be around for this administration but possibly the next one as well.”
This account of the Israeli campaign is based on interviews with more than a dozen current and former U.S. and Israeli diplomats, intelligence officials, policy makers and lawmakers.
Distrust between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Obama had been growing for years but worsened when Mr. Obama launched secret talks with Iran in 2012. The president didn’t tell Mr. Netanyahu because of concerns about leaks, helping set the stage for the current standoff, according to current and former U.S. and Israeli officials.
U.S. officials said Israel has long topped the list of countries that aggressively spy on the U.S., along with China, Russia and France. The U.S. expends more counterintelligence resources fending off Israeli spy operations than any other close ally, U.S. officials said.
A senior official in the prime minister’s office said Monday: “These allegations are utterly false. The state of Israel does not conduct espionage against the United States or Israel’s other allies. The false allegations are clearly intended to undermine the strong ties between the United States and Israel and the security and intelligence relationship we share.”
Current and former Israeli officials said their intelligence agencies scaled back their targeting of U.S. officials after the jailing nearly 30 years ago of American Jonathan Pollard for passing secrets to Israel.
While U.S. officials may not be direct targets, current and former officials said, Israeli intelligence agencies sweep up communications between U.S. officials and parties targeted by the Israelis, including Iran.
Americans shouldn’t be surprised, said a person familiar with the Israeli practice, since U.S. intelligence agencies helped the Israelis build a system to listen in on high-level Iranian communications.
As secret talks with Iran progressed into 2013, U.S. intelligence agencies monitored Israel’s communications to see if the country knew of the negotiations. Mr. Obama didn’t tell Mr. Netanyahu until September 2013.
Israeli officials, who said they had already learned about the talks through their own channels, told their U.S. counterparts they were upset about being excluded. “ ‘Did the administration really believe we wouldn’t find out?’ ” Israeli officials said, according to a former U.S. official.
Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer met with U.S. lawmakers and shared details on the Iran negotiations to warn about the terms of the deal.PHOTO: CNP/ZUMA PRESS
The episode cemented Mr. Netanyahu’s concern that Mr. Obama was bent on clinching a deal with Iran whether or not it served Israel’s best interests, Israeli officials said. Obama administration officials said the president was committed to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Mr. Dermer started lobbying U.S. lawmakers just before the U.S. and other powers signed an interim agreement with Iran in November 2013. Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Dermer went to Congress after seeing they had little influence on the White House.
Before the interim deal was made public, Mr. Dermer gave lawmakers Israel’s analysis: The U.S. offer would dramatically undermine economic sanctions on Iran, according to congressional officials who took part.
After learning about the briefings, the White House dispatched senior officials to counter Mr. Dermer. The officials told lawmakers that Israel’s analysis exaggerated the sanctions relief by as much as 10 times, meeting participants said.
When the next round of negotiations with Iran started in Switzerland last year, U.S. counterintelligence agents told members of the U.S. negotiating team that Israel would likely try to penetrate their communications, a senior Obama administration official said.
The U.S. routinely shares information with its European counterparts and others to coordinate negotiating positions. While U.S. intelligence officials believe secured U.S. communications are relatively safe from the Israelis, they say European communications are vulnerable.
Mr. Netanyahu and his top advisers received confidential updates on the Geneva talks from Undersecretary of State for Political AffairsWendy Sherman and other U.S. officials, who knew at the time that Israeli intelligence was working to fill in any gaps.
The White House eventually curtailed the briefings, U.S. officials said, withholding sensitive information for fear of leaks.
Current and former Israeli officials said their intelligence agencies can get much of the information they seek by targeting Iranians and others in the region who are communicating with countries in the talks.
In November, the Israelis learned the contents of a proposed deal offered by the U.S. but ultimately rejected by Iran, U.S. and Israeli officials said. Israeli officials told their U.S. counterparts the terms offered insufficient protections.
U.S. officials urged the Israelis to give the negotiations a chance. But Mr. Netanyahu’s top advisers concluded the emerging deal was unacceptable. The White House was making too many concessions, Israeli officials said, while the Iranians were holding firm.
Obama administration officials reject that view, saying Israel was making impossible demands that Iran would never accept. “The president has made clear time and again that no deal is better than a bad deal,” a senior administration official said.
In January, Mr. Netanyahu told the White House his government intended to oppose the Iran deal but didn’t explain how, U.S. and Israeli officials said.
On Jan. 21, House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) announced Mr. Netanyahu would address a joint meeting of Congress. That same day, Mr. Dermer and other Israeli officials visited Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers and aides, seeking a bipartisan coalition large enough to block or amend any deal.
Most Republicans were already prepared to challenge the White House on the negotiations, so Mr. Dermer focused on Democrats. “This deal is bad,” he said in one briefing, according to participants.
A spokesman for the Israeli embassy in Washington, Aaron Sagui,said Mr. Dermer didn’t launch a special campaign on Jan 21. Mr. Dermer, the spokesperson said, has “consistently briefed both Republican and Democrats, senators and congressmen, on Israel’s concerns regarding the Iran negotiations for over a year.”
Mr. Dermer and other Israeli officials over the following weeks gave lawmakers and their aides information the White House was trying to keep secret, including how the emerging deal could allow Iran to operate around 6,500 centrifuges, devices used to process nuclear material, said congressional officials who attended the briefings.
The Israeli officials told lawmakers that Iran would also be permitted to deploy advanced IR-4 centrifuges that could process fuel on a larger scale, meeting participants and administration officials said. Israeli officials said such fuel, which under the emerging deal would be intended for energy plants, could be used to one day build nuclear bombs.
The information in the briefings, Israeli officials said, was widely known among the countries participating in the negotiations.
When asked in February during one briefing where Israel got its inside information, the Israeli officials said their sources included the French and British governments, as well as their own intelligence, according to people there.
“Ambassador Dermer never shared confidential intelligence information with members of Congress,” Mr. Sagui said. “His briefings did not include specific details from the negotiations, including the length of the agreement or the number of centrifuges Iran would be able to keep.”
Current and former U.S. officials confirmed that the number and type of centrifuges cited in the briefings were part of the discussions. But they said the briefings were misleading because Israeli officials didn’t disclose concessions asked of Iran. Those included giving up stockpiles of nuclear material, as well as modifying the advanced centrifuges to slow output, these officials said.
The administration didn’t brief lawmakers on the centrifuge numbers and other details at the time because the information was classified and the details were still in flux, current and former U.S. officials said.
The congressional briefings and Mr. Netanyahu’s decision to address a joint meeting of Congress on the emerging deal sparked a backlash among many Democratic lawmakers, congressional aides said.
On Feb. 3, Mr. Dermer huddled with Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, who said he told Mr. Dermer it was a breach of protocol for Mr. Netanyahu to accept an invitation from Mr. Boehner without going through the White House.
Mr. Manchin said he told Mr. Dermer he would attend the prime minister’s speech to Congress, but he was noncommittal about supporting any move by Congress to block a deal.
Mr. Dermer spent the following day doing damage control with Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, congressional aides said.
Two days later, Mr. Dermer met with Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the SenateIntelligence Committee, at her Washington, D.C., home. He pressed for her support because he knew that she, too, was angry about Mr. Netanyahu’s planned appearance.
Ms. Feinstein said afterward she would oppose legislation allowing Congress to vote down an agreement.
Congressional aides and Israeli officials now say Israel’s coalition in Congress is short the votes needed to pass legislation that could overcome a presidential veto, although that could change. In response, Israeli officials said, Mr. Netanyahu was pursuing other ways to pressure the White House.
This week, Mr. Netanyahu sent a delegation to France, which has been more closely aligned with Israel on the nuclear talks and which could throw obstacles in Mr. Obama’s way before a deal is signed. The Obama administration, meanwhile, is stepping up its outreach to Paris to blunt the Israeli push.
“If you’re wondering whether something serious has shifted here, the answer is yes,” a senior U.S. official said. “These things leave scars.”
A neutron bomb, officially known as one type of Enhanced Radiation Weapon, is a low yield fission-fusion thermonuclear weapon (hydrogen bomb) in which the burst of neutrons generated by a fusionreaction is intentionally allowed to escape the weapon, rather than being absorbed by its other components. The weapon’s radiation case, usually made from relatively thick uranium, lead or steel in a standard bomb, is, instead, made of as thin a material as possible, to facilitate the greatest escape of fusion produced neutrons. The “usual” nuclear weapon yield—expressed as kilotons of TNT equivalent—is not a measure of a neutron weapon’s destructive power. It refers only to the energy released (mostly heat and blast), and does not express the lethal effect of neutron radiation on living organisms.
Compared to a pure fission bomb with an identical explosive yield, a neutron bomb would emit about ten times the amount of neutron radiation. In a fission bomb, at sea level, the total radiation pulse energy which is composed of both gamma rays and neutrons is approximately 5% of the entire energy released; in the neutron bomb it would be closer to 40%. Furthermore, the neutrons emitted by a neutron bomb have a much higher average energy level (close to 14 MeV) than those released during a fission reaction (1–2 MeV). Technically speaking, all low yield nuclear weapons are radiation weapons, that is including the non-enhanced variant. Up to about 10 kilotons in yield, all nuclear weapons have prompt neutron radiation as their most far reaching lethal component, after which point the lethal blast and thermal effects radius begins to out-range the lethal ionizing radiation radius. Enhanced radiation weapons also fall into this same yield range and simply enhance the intensity and range of the neutron dose for a given yield.
History & deployment to present
Conception of the neutron bomb is generally credited to Samuel T. Cohen of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who developed the concept in 1958.Testing was authorized and carried out in 1963 at an underground Nevada test facility. Development was subsequently postponed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978 following protests against his administration’s plans to deploy neutron warheads to ground forces in Europe. On November 17, 1978, in a test the USSRdetonated its first similar-type bomb. President Ronald Reagan restarted production in 1981. The Soviet Union began a propaganda campaign against the US’s neutron bomb in 1981 following Reagan’s announcement. In 1983 Reagan then announced the Strategic Defense Initiative, which surpassed neutron bomb production in ambition and vision and with that the neutron bomb quickly faded from the center of the public’s attention.
Three types of enhanced radiation weapons (ERW) were built by the United States. The W66 warhead, for the anti-ICBM Sprint missile system, was deployed in 1975 and retired the next year, along with the missile system. The W70 Mod 3 warhead was developed for the short-range, tactical Lance missile, and the W79 Mod 0 was developed for artillery shells. The latter two types were retired by President George H. W. Bush in 1992, following the end of the Cold War. The last W70 Mod 3 warhead was dismantled in 1996, and the last W79 Mod 0 was dismantled by 2003, when the dismantling of all W79 variants was completed.
In addition to the two superpowers, France and China are known to have tested neutron or enhanced radiation bombs. France conducted an early test of the technology in 1967 and tested an “actual” neutron bomb in 1980. China conducted a successful test of neutron bomb principles in 1984 and a successful test of a neutron bomb in 1988. However, neither country chose to deploy the neutron bomb. Chinese nuclear scientists stated prior to the 1988 test that China had no need for the neutron bomb, but it was developed to serve as a “technology reserve,” in case the need arose in the future.
Although no country is currently known to deploy them in an offensive manner, all thermonuclear dial-a-yield warheads that have about 10 kiloton and lower as one dial option, with a considerable fraction of that yield derived from fusion reactions, can be considered capable of being neutron bombs in actuality if not in name. The only country definitively known to deploy dedicated (that is, not Dial-a-yield) neutron warheads for any length of time is Russia, which inherited the USSRsneutron warhead equipped ABM-3 Gazelle missile program, this Anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system contains at least 68 neutron warheads of yield 10 kiloton and it has been in service since 1995, with inert missile testing approximately every other year since then (2014). The system is designed to destroy incoming “endo-atmospheric” level nuclear warheads aimed at Moscow etc. and is the lower-tier/ last umbrella of the A-135 anti-ballistic missile system (NATO reporting name: ABM-3).
Considerable controversy arose in the U.S. and Western Europe following a June 1977 Washington Post exposé describing U.S. government plans to purchase the bomb. The article focused on the fact that it was the first weapon specifically intended to kill humans with radiation.Lawrence Livermore National Laboratorydirector Harold Brown and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev both described the neutron bomb as a “capitalist bomb”, because it was designed to destroy people while preserving property. Science fiction author Isaac Asimov also stated that “Such a neutron bomb or N bomb seems desirable to those who worry about property and hold life cheap.”
Use of neutron bomb
Neutron bombs are purposely designed with explosive yields lower than other nuclear weapons. Since neutrons are absorbed by air, neutron radiation effects drop off very rapidly with distance in air, there is a sharper distinction, as opposed to thermal effects, between areas of high lethality and areas with minimal radiation doses. All high yield (more than ~10 kiloton) “neutron bombs”, such as the extreme example of a device that derived 97% of its energy from fusion, the 50 megatonTsar Bomba, are not able to radiate sufficient neutrons beyond their lethal blast range when detonated as a surface burst or low altitude air burst and so are no longer classified as neutron bombs, thus limiting the yield of neutron bombs to a maximum of about 10 kilotons. The intense pulse of high-energy neutrons generated by a neutron bomb are the principal killing mechanism, not the fallout, heat or blast.
The inventor of the neutron bomb, Samuel Cohen, criticized the description of the W70 as a “neutron bomb” since it could be configured to yield 100 kilotons:
the W-70 … is not even remotely a “neutron bomb.” Instead of being the type of weapon that, in the popular mind, “kills people and spares buildings” it is one that both kills and physically destroys on a massive scale. The W-70 is not a discriminate weapon, like the neutron bomb—which, incidentally, should be considered a weapon that “kills enemy personnel while sparing the physical fabric of the attacked populace, and even the populace too.”
The Soviet/Warsaw pact invasion plan, “Seven Days to the River Rhine” to seize West Germany. Under such a scenario, neutron bombs, according to their inventor, would hopefully blunt the Warsaw pact tank, and more thinly armored BMP-1 thrusts, without causing as much damage to the people and infrastructure of Germany as alternative higher fission fraction & higher explosive yield tactical nuclear weapons would. They would likely be used if the mass conventional weapon NATO REFORGER response to the invasion had yet to find time to be organized or found ineffective in battle.
Although neutron bombs are commonly believed to “leave the infrastructure intact”, with current designs that have explosive yields in the low kiloton range, the detonation of which, in a built up area, would still cause considerable, although not total, destruction through blast and heat effects out to a considerable radius.
Wood frame house in 1953 nuclear test, 5 psi overpressure, complete collapse
Upon detonation, a 1 kiloton neutron bomb near the ground, in an airburst would produce a large blast wave, and a powerful pulse of both thermal radiation and ionizing radiation, mostly in the form of fast (14.1 MeV) neutrons. The thermal pulse would cause third degree burns to unprotected skin out to approximately 500 meters. The blast would create at least 4.6 PSIout to a radius of 600 meters, which would severely damage all non-reinforced concrete structures, at the conventional effective combat range against modern main battle tanks and armored personnel carriers (<690–900 m) the blast from a 1 kt neutron bomb will destroy or damage to the point of non-usability almost all un-reinforced civilian building. Thus the use of neutron bombs to stop an enemy armored attack by rapidly incapacitating the crew with a dose of 8000+ Rads of radiation, which would require exploding large numbers of them to blanket the enemy forces, would also destroy all normal civilian buildings in the same immediate area ~600 meters, and via neutron activation it would make many building materials in the city radioactive, such as Zinc coated steel/galvanized steel(see Area denial use below). Although at this ~600 meter distance the 4-5 PSI blast overpressure would cause very few direct casualties as the human body is resistant to sheer overpressure, the powerful winds produced by this overpressure are capable of throwing human bodies into objects or throwing objects-including window glass at high velocity, both with potentially lethal results, rendering casualties highly dependent on surroundings, including on if the building they are in collapses. The pulse of neutron radiation would cause immediate and permanent incapacitation to unprotected outdoor humans in the open out to 900 meters, with death occurring in one or two days. The lethal dose(LD50) of 600 Rads would extend to about 1350–1400 meters for those unprotected and outdoors, where approximately half of those exposed would die of radiation sickness after several weeks.
However a human residing within, or is simply shielded by at least 1 of the aforementioned concrete buildings with walls and ceilings 30 centimeters/12 inches thick, or alternatively of damp soil 24 inches thick, the neutron radiation exposure would be reduced by a factor of 10.
Furthermore the neutron absorption spectra of air is disputed by some authorities and depends in part on absorption byhydrogen from water vapor. It therefore might vary exponentially with humidity, making neutron bombs immensely more deadly in desert climates than in humid ones.
Questionable effectiveness in modern anti-tank role
The Neutron cross section/ absorption probability in barns of the two natural Boron isotopes found in nature (top curve is for 10B and bottom curve for 11B. As neutron energy increases to 14 MeV, the absorption effectiveness, in general, decreases. Therefore for boron containing armor to be effective, fast neutrons must first be slowed by another element by neutron scattering.
The questionable effectiveness of ER weapons against modern tanks is cited as one of the main reasons that these weapons are no longer fielded or stockpiled. With the increase in average tank armor thickness since the first ER weapons were fielded, tank armor protection approaches the level where tank crews are now almost completely protected from radiation effects. Therefore for an ER weapon to incapacitate a modern tank crew through irradiation, the weapon must now be detonated at such a close proximity to the tank that the nuclear explosion‘s blast would now be equally effective at incapacitating it and its crew. However this assertion was regarded as dubious in a reply in 1986  by a member of theRoyal Military College of Science as neutron radiation from a 1 kiloton neutron bomb would incapacitate the crew of a tank with a Protection Factor of 35 out to a range of 280 meters, but the incapacitating blast range, depending on the exact weight of the tank, is much less, from 70 to 130 meters. However although the author did note that effective neutron absorbers and neutron poisons such as Boron carbide can be incorporated into conventional armor and strap on neutron moderating hydrogenous material (hydrogen atom containing substances), such as Explosive Reactive Armor can both increase the protection factor, the author holds that in practice combined with neutron scattering, the actual average total tank area protection factor is rarely higher than 15.5 to 35. According to the Federation of American Scientists, the neutron protection factor of a “tank” can be as low as 2, without qualifying the tank statement is for a light tank(tankette) ormedium tank/main battle tank.
A composite high density concrete, or alternatively, a laminated Graded Z shield, 24 units thick of which 16 units are iron and 8 units are polyethylene containing boron (BPE) and additional mass behind it to attenuate neutron capture gamma rays is more effective than just 24 units of pure iron or BPE alone, due to the advantages of both iron and BPE in combination. Iron is effective in slowing down/scatteringhigh-energy neutrons in the 14-MeV energy range and attenuating gamma rays, while the hydrogen in polyethylene is effective in slowing down these now slowerfast neutrons in the few MeV range, and boron 10 has a high absorption cross section for thermal neutrons and a low production yield of gamma rays when it absorbs a neutron. The Soviet T72 tank, in response to the neutron bomb threat, is cited as having fitted a boronated, polyethylene liner, which has had its neutron shielding properties simulated.
However as some tank armor material contains depleted uranium(DU), common in the US’s M1A1 Abrams tank, which “incorporates steel-encased depleted uranium armour”, a substance that will fast fission when it captures a fast, fusion generated neutron, and therefore upon fissioning it will producefission neutrons and fission products embedded within the armor, products which emit amongst other things, penetrating gamma rays. Although the neutrons emitted by the neutron bomb may not penetrate to the tank crew in lethal quantities, the fast fission of DU within the armor could still ensure a lethal environment for the crew and maintenance personnel by fission neutron and gamma ray exposure,largely depending on the exact thickness and elemental composition of the armor – information usually hard to attain. Despite this, DUCRETE – which has an elemental composition similar to, but not identical to the ceramic 2nd generation heavy metal Chobham armor of the Abrams tank- DUCRETE is an effective radiation shield, to both fission neutrons and gamma rays due to it being a graded Z material. Uranium being about twice as dense as lead is thus nearly twice as effective at shielding gamma ray radiation per unit thickness.
Use against ballistic missiles
As an anti-ballistic missile weapon, the first fielded ER warhead, the W66, was developed for the Sprintmissile system as part of the Safeguard Program to protect United States cities and missile silos from incoming Soviet warheads by damaging their electronic components with the intense neutron flux.Ionization greater than 5,000 rads in silicon chips delivered over seconds to minutes will degrade the function of semiconductors for long periods. Due to the rarefied atmosphere encountered high above the earth at the most likely intercept point of an incoming warhead by a neutron bomb/warhead, whether it be the retired Sprint missile’s W66 neutron warhead or the still in service Russian counterpart, the ABM-3 Gazelle, at the Terminal phase point(10–30 km) of the incoming warheads flight, the neutrons generated by a Mid to High-altitude nuclear explosion(HANE) have an even greater range than that encountered after a low altitude air burst, where there is a lower density of air molecules that produces, by comparison, an appreciable reduction in the air shielding effect/half-value thickness.
However, although this neutron transparency advantage attained only increases at increased altitudes, neutron effects lose importance in the exoatmosphericenvironment, being overtaken by the range of another effect of a nuclear detonation, at approximately the same altitude as the end of the incoming missile’s boost phase(~150 km), ablation producing soft x-rays are the chief nuclear effects threat to the survival of incoming missiles and warheads rather than neutrons. A factor exploited by the other warhead of the Safeguard Program, the enhanced (X-ray) radiation W71 and its USSR/Russian counterpart, the warhead on the A-135 Gorgon missile.
Another method by which neutron radiation can be used to destroy incoming nuclear warheads is by serving as an intense neutron generator and to thus initiate fission in the incoming warheads fissionable components by fast fission, potentially causing the incoming warhead to prematurely detonate in a Fizzle if within sufficient proximity, but in most likely interception ranges, requiring only that enough fissionable material in the warhead fissions to interfere with the functioning of the incoming warhead when it is later fuzed to explode(see related physics:Subcritical reactor).
Lithium-6 Hydride(“Li6H”) is cited as being used as a countermeasure to reduce the vulnerability/”harden” nuclear warheads from the effects of externally generated neutrons.Radiation hardening of the warheads electronic components as a countermeasure to high altitude neutron warheads, somewhat reduces the range that a neutron warhead could successfully cause an unrecoverable glitch by the TREE(Transient Radiation effects on Electronics) mechanism.
Use as an area denial weapon
In November 2012, during the planning stages of Operation Hammer of God, it was suggested by a British parliamentarian that multiple enhanced radiation reduced blast (ERRB) warheads could be detonated in the mountain region of the Afghanistan/Pakistan border to prevent infiltration. He proposed to warn the inhabitants to evacuate, then irradiate the area, making it unusable and impassable. Used in this manner, the neutron bomb(s), regardless of burst height, would releaseneutron activated casing materials used in the bomb, and depending on burst height, create radioactive soil activation products.
In much the same fashion as the area denial effect resulting from fission product (the substances that make up the majority of fallout) contamination in an area following a conventional surface burst nuclear explosion, as considered in the Korean War by Douglas MacArthur, it would thus be a form of Radiological warfare. With the difference with that of neutron bombs producing 1/2, or less, of the quantity of fission products when compared to the same yield pure fission bomb. Radiological warfare with neutron bombs that rely on fission primaries would therefore still produce fission fallout, albeit a comparatively “cleaner” and shorter lasting version of it in the area if air bursts were utilized, as little to no fission products would be deposited on the direct immediate area, instead becoming diluted global fallout.
However the most effective use of a neutron bomb with respect to area denial would be to encase it in a thick shell of material that could be neutron activated, and use a surface burst. In this manner the neutron bomb would be turned into a “salted bomb“, a case of Zinc-64, produced as a byproduct of depleted zinc oxideenrichment, would for example probably be the most attractive from a military point of view, as when activated the Zinc-65 that is created is a gamma emitter, with a half life of 244 days.
Neutron bombs/warheads require considerable maintenance for their capabilities, requiring some tritium for fusion boosting and tritium in the secondary stage (yielding more neutrons), in amounts on the order of a few tens of grams (10–30 grams estimated). Because tritium has a relatively short half-life of 12.32 years (after that time, half the tritium has decayed), it is necessary to replenish it periodically in order to keep the bomb effective. (For instance: to maintain a constant level of 24 grams of tritium in a warhead, about 1 gram per bomb per year must be supplied.) Moreover, tritium decays into helium-3, which absorbs neutrons and will thus further reduce the bomb’s neutron yield.