Tag Archives: Iran

We Must Go to War With North Korea and Iran if Necessary

I know many of you will disagree. But there are two existential threats to our country that President Trump must deal with. Militarily if necessary, and it will not be pretty if it comes to that.

Secretary of State Tillerson warned Congress that Trump may pull out of the Iran deal. Now that’s welcome news. But I’d milk this one along for a time, while not letting the goal of ending the deal get out of sight.

From the Washington Examiner:

Tillerson certified that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama’s team in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan that was released late Tuesday night. But he hastened to add that Iran’s role as “a leading state sponsor of terror through many platforms and methods” has the Trump team debating whether to stick with the agreement.

I am not an interventionist. We should not be in Syria except to fight ISIS. Abandoning Mubarak, our longtime ally, was a dumb idea. I supported the overthrow of Qaddafi, but it was a mistake, we should have left him right where he was. I think I let myself get carried away by the fact that he killed so many Americans in the skies over Lockerbie. And the brutal reality that he was set to slaughter thousands of his own people. But that, unfortunately, is how these countries work.

But a nuclear Iran or a nuclear North Korea is simply, as a previous president put it without understanding the term, a red line. We cannot be in a position where the insane, terrorism-supporting rulers of either of the countries are in a position to destroy us with nuclear weapons. And once they have the capability, we may never be able to rid them of it.

In short, we must do everything short of war to end their hopes of a first-strike capability against the United States. But if everything short of war comes up short, then there must be war. Our survival, and perhaps that of the world, depends on it.

The reason I say to “milk it” with Iran is that North Korea already has nuclear weapons and is developing ICBMs with which to strike us. That is, North Korea must be dealt with first. And if we have to strike North Korea, it might just convince Iran to make a verifiable deal to end its nuclear weapons program, and it may even encourage those in Iran who want to overthrow a regime hell-bent on confronting the United States with nukes.

But I doubt it.

This country has big problems, both domestic and foreign, courtesy of the previous administration. People don’t want to hear that we can’t pay for entitlements and the government must be massively cut, wiping out service many people depend on, or think they depend on. Or that we have obligations to defend ourselves that will result in grievous violence and loss of life.

But those are the facts.

#Iran: He’s Back! Ahmadinejad to run for president in May

AMIR VAHDAT and JON GAMBRELL
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday stunned the country by unexpectedly filing to run in the May presidential election, contradicting a recommendation from the supreme leader to stay out of the race.

Ahmadinejad’s decision could upend an election many believed would be won by moderate President Hassan Rouhani, who negotiated the nuclear deal with world powers. Though Rouhani has yet to formally register, many viewed him as a shoe-in following Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s recommendation in September for Ahmadinejad to stand down and conservatives’ inability to coalesce around a single candidate.

Ahmadinejad’s firebrand style could prove appealing for hard-liners seeking a tough-talking candidate who can stand up to U.S. President Donald Trump. His candidacy also could expose the fissures inside Iranian politics that linger since his contested 2009 re-election, which brought massive unrest.

Associated Press journalists watched as stunned election officials processed Ahmadinejad’s paperwork on Wednesday. Asked about Ahmadinejad’s decision, one Tehran-based analyst offered a blunt assessment.

“It was an organized mutiny against Iran’s ruling system,” said Soroush Farhadian, who backs reformists.

Ahmadinejad previously served two four-year terms from 2005 to 2013. Under Iranian law, he became eligible to run again after four years out of office, but he remains a polarizing figure, even among fellow hard-liners.

Two of his former vice presidents have been jailed for corruption since he left office. Iran’s economy suffered under heavy international sanctions during his administration because of Western suspicions that Tehran was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in 2009 sparked massive protests and a sweeping crackdown in which thousands of people were detained and dozens were killed.

Internationally, Ahmadinejad is more known for repeatedly questioning the scale of the Holocaust, predicting Israel’s demise and expanding Iran’s contested nuclear program.

The memory of the 2009 unrest likely sparked Khamenei’s comments in September. At that time, he recommended an unnamed candidate not seek office as it would bring about a “polarized situation” that would be “harmful for the county.”

Ahmadinejad described comments by the supreme leader suggesting he not run as “just advice” in a news conference shortly after submitting his registration.

“His advice does not prevent me from running,” he said. “There is extensive pressure on me from dear people of different walks of life as their small servant to come to the election.”

There was no immediate reaction from the supreme leader’s office.

Ahmadinejad said his decision to run was intended to help former Vice President Hamid Baghaei, a close confidant. Baghaei, who was imprisoned for seven months after he left office, registered alongside Ahmadinejad on Wednesday. So did Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, another of the former president’s close allies.

More than 120 prospective candidates submitted their names as candidates on the first day of registration Tuesday, including six women and seven clerics. Registration remains open until Saturday.

Under Iran’s electoral system, all applicants must be vetted by the Guardian Council, a clerical body that will announce a final list of candidates by April 27. The council normally does not approve dissidents or women for the formal candidate list.

The May 19 election is seen by many in Iran as a referendum on the 2015 nuclear agreement and other efforts to improve the country’s sanctions-hobbled economy. Under the nuclear deal, Iran agreed to curb its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

Since the deal, Iran has signed multi-billion-dollar contracts with airplane manufacturers Boeing Co. and Airbus. The benefits have yet to trickle down to the average Iranian, however, fueling some discontent.

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Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writer Adam Schreck in Dubai contributed to this report.

Bahrain says Trump better understands Iran and the region

Bahrain’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that US President Donald Trump understood the region and the threats posed by their common adversary Iran better than Barack Obama.

Speaking in an interview with Reuters at his office in the capital Manama, Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa said the staunch US Gulf ally was confident the new administration would soon clarify its stances on foreign policy.

The Sunni-ruled kingdom accuses Iran, a Shia theocracy across the Gulf, of radicalizing and arming some members of its Shia Muslim majority population, and Gulf monarchies say Obama did not do enough to tackle perceived meddling by Iran in Bahrain and in wars raging throughout the region.

Tehran denies any meddling in the island kingdom.

Trump has pledged to deal forcefully with the Islamic Republic and criticized a landmark international deal to curb its nuclear program inked under Obama in 2015 as a concession to a state the United States considers a sponsor of terrorism.

“We see … a much clearer understanding from the White House of the threats we are facing here in the region and especially the ones that are coming from the Islamic Republic,” Sheikh Khaled said.

“The last few years, there was a policy that we think it was better for them to correct, and we advised them it should be corrected.”

Sheikh Khaled last month met US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa has spoken by telephone with senior US officials, including Trump after his election in November.

Sitting astride one of the world’s key oil shipping lanes, Bahrain is a key ally of Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia and hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

Neither country were among the ban Trump is seeking to impose on travelers from Iran and five other Muslim-majority nations in the Middle East and Africa.

Some critics of the Trump administration fear it is prioritizing the fight against militancy and Iran over promoting human rights among American allies, but the foreign minister said the US shift acknowledged the region’s harsh realities.

“CLARITY IS COMING”

Sheikh Khaled said his country welcomed a decision by the White House to pursue a $5 billion sale to Bahrain of 19 Lockheed Martin F-16 aircraft and related equipment which was held up last year by concerns about human rights.

He said Trump’s style may have distracted some from the merits of his views, but all administrations had growing pains.

“They’ll get in order … every new administration will always start in a way that will seem unclear, but clarity is coming,” he said, speaking in his green and wood-panelled office adorned with pictures of past and present Bahraini monarchs.

“Maybe when you see the difference in the personality of the president, maybe that’s kind of giving an overwhelming picture of the situation. Things are working in America.”

Since 2011 Arab Spring protests led by Bahrain’s Shi’ites were crushed with the help from some Gulf Arab states, Bahrain says Iran has stepped up a campaign to undermine security there and bring about the downfall of the ruling al-Khalifa family, of which Sheikh Khaled is a member.

“It’s a whole project we are facing and it will not stop until this regime changes its course from the way it is now – hegemonic, theocratic, theo-fascist – to a regime that would answer the aspirations of its own people.”

“Until that moment we will have to defend ourselves.”

Human rights organizations have criticized an escalating government crackdown since the main Shi’ite opposition bloc was shuttered last year, several prominent activist were arrested and the top Shi’ite spiritual leader had his citizenship revoked on corruption charges.

Bahrain says it has acted to reform its security services and that it genuinely seeks dialogue with the opposition in a way that is rare in the mostly closed and authoritarian region.

“We feel like we are being pressured and punished for no reason, just for sticking our neck out and addressing issues that every country has,” Sheikh Khaled said.