WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate passed a measure authorizing the nation’s defense programs Friday, and along with it managed to give lands sacred to Native Americans to a foreign company that owns a uranium mine with Iran.
The $585 billion National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 is one of the must-pass pieces of legislation that Congress moves every year. But like they did in attaching extraneous riders to the must-pass government funding bill, lawmakers used the defense bill as a vehicle to pass a massive public lands package.
The bill sailed through on a vote of 89 to 11.
A guest on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry show, Iraq war veteran Earl Catagnus Jr., seems to believe that the number of military advisors President Obama is sending into Iraq (300) is extremely significant. He said:
“I have to just mention this about the 300, and what the significance of that number is, it’s symbolic. The movie now, 300 with the 300 Spartans, is an East versus West fight. I don’t know if this is where the sophistication - why the President chose 300, and I don’t know but it signals maybe to Iran, because we see that because the movie was a big downer, and Iran it wasn’t allowed to be played because it shows the Persians in this negative, barbarous state. Again, it’s an example of something, if it isn’t intended, and it’s an unintended consequence, you’re thumbing your nose at another part of the region just because of your ignorance of what that means, that 300 military advisers, American Spartan warriors that are the special forces and, again, I don’t know if that was intended or unintended, but it will signal a message to Iran.”
Yes, that’s someone trying to claim that President Obama’s decision to send 300 military advisers to Iraq is somehow tied with the movie 300 starring Gerard Butler.
I’m sure in the midst of an extremely tense situation developing in Iraq, President Obama sat there thinking to himself, “You know, let’s send 300 troops over to Iraq in a symbolic gesture like the Spartans used against the Persians in that movie 300. That way, we’ll not only be advising Iraq on how to handle these Islamic insurgents, but we’ll be sticking it to Iran at the same time.”
It is interesting that Hamas has been unable to prevent Islamic Jihad militants from operating along the border with Israel, in an area that is supposed to be off limits to them. This, despite having recently stationed its Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades in the area to ensure that no rockets are fired from it. But what is actually stopping Hamas, a group that even Israel recognizes as the sovereign authority in the Gaza Strip, from disarming the Al-Quds Brigades? Who or what is preventing fighters from the al-Qassam Brigades, whose military strength is several orders of magnitude greater than Islamic Jihad’s military wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, to enforce their authority? And what made the Hamas slogan of “concentrating military power in one hand” so hollow and meaningless?
Right now, the leaders of Hamas are looking at Islamic Jihad and coming to the conclusion that the Al-Quds Brigades are capable of doing to them exactly what Hamas did to Fatah seven years earlier. They can achieve military superiority, thereby posing a threat to Hamas and especially to its position of seniority in the Gaza Strip.
Iran favors Islamic Jihad. Hamas realizes this, and is not trying to disarm it. For its part, Islamic Jihad now knows how to take advantage of the crisis facing Hamas and the movement’s weaknesses. This leaves the leaders of Hamas caught between a rock and a hard place. On one side they have Israel, which threatens them with a large scale military attack if the rocket fire doesn’t stop. On the other side is Iran, which will not stand silently by if Hamas causes any harm to the members of Islamic Jihad or to Iranian interests in Gaza.
The leaders of the Hamas movement are being forced to evaluate the options and choose between Israel or Iran. Which frightens them more? Which poses a greater threat, as far as they are concerned? Which threat has far-reaching implications for their future? From which threat will they emerge with damage they can tolerate? Hamas tends to choose Iran.
2014 john McCain : Obama Is ‘Near Delusional In Thinking The Cold War Was Over’
2008 John McCain : “The Cold War is over, the Soviet empire is gone and neither one is missed,”
2014 John McCain : ‘Obama’s foreign policy “feckless” “We have a weak and indecisive president that invites aggression.”
1980’s John McCain: The fundamental question is: What is the United States’ interest in Lebanon? It is said we are there to keep the peace. I ask, what peace? It is said we are there to aid the government. I ask, what government? It is said we are there to stabilize the region. I ask, how can the U.S. presence stabilize the region?… The longer we stay in Lebanon, the harder it will be for us to leave. We will be trapped by the case we make for having our troops there in the first place.
I was checking out a thread downstairs yesterday and noticed the mention of Iran with regard to state sponsorship of terrorism, so I’d like to point out that the Department of State puts out a fairly detailed yearly report called Country Reports on Terrorism:
U.S. law requires the Secretary of State to provide Congress, by April 30 of each year, a full and complete report on terrorism with regard to those countries and groups meeting criteria set forth in the legislation. This annual report is entitled Country Reports on Terrorism. Beginning with the report for 2004, it replaced the previously published Patterns of Global Terrorism. […]
The reports contain a chapter specifically devoted to state sponsors of terrorism. There are four countries the U.S. has designated as state sponsors of terrorism: Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria. In case you’re not aware of how a country gets on the list (I wasn’t), the determination is based on the following criteria:
Countries determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism are designated pursuant to three laws: section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act. Taken together, the four main categories of sanctions resulting from designation under these authorities include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions. […]
Based on the reports I looked at, it appears they aren’t released until sometime between May-August, so I guess we should expect to see a new one for 2013 within the next 3-6 months.
Here’s the one for 2012 for anyone who’s interested:
Additionally, since the death penalty (in Iran) was also mentioned in the thread I linked to above, and since I know many here are against it regardless of which country it happens in, I began searching and found a site called Death Penalty Worldwide which provides a searchable worldwide death penalty database as well as a mini “Country of the Day” profile that changes on each page refresh.
Being wary of any site I’m unfamiliar with, I read their About Us and FAQ pages, then Googled the site’s creator, Professor Sandra Babcock. Based on the half dozen items I read, she appears to be a well-respected Clinical Professor of Law.
Bachmann: Iran Nuclear Facilities ‘Must Be Bombed’, Geneva Deal Obama’s ‘Biggest Cudgel’ to Prevent Israel Self-Defense
Bachmann (R-Mars) remains a member of the House Intelligence Committee. She apparently assumes that the committee’s mandate is to stamp out intelligence and prevent its spread.
House Intelligence Committee member Michelle Bachmann said that Iran’s nuclear facilities “must be bombed.”
In a speech at a Zionist Organization of America gala on Sunday night, Bachmann said that the Geneva deal reached between Iran and world powers at the weekend will severely limit Israel’s ability to operate freely in the interests of its self defense.
Bachmann said, “It may be incumbent upon the Prime Minister to make a decision he has no desire to make, and that would be to bomb facilities, that must be bombed, in Iran.”
The former presidential candidate framed the deal as a deliberate effort to harm Israel’s security interests.
She said, “That decision that was made by the P5+1 in Geneva had more to do with Israel than it had to do with Iran.”
“Because, you see, the decision that was made could be the biggest cudgel that our president, and that the nations of the world, could use to prevent Israel, the Jewish state of Israel, from defending not only herself, but her right to exist.”
Bachmann went on to paint a picture of a systemic effort on the part of the Obama Administration and others to undermine Israel’s ability to defend itself.
Hannity: Obama’s Comments on Deal With Iran “Sound Eerily Similar” to Chamberlain’s Deal With Hitler
The following are the words of Michelle Bachmann, whom Mark Levin (among others) refers to as a “true conservative”).
FOR SOME UNKNOWN REASON THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION WANTS THE LAST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD THAT SHOULD HAVE A NUCLEAR BOMB TO GET ONE, Bachmann said. CALL YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS, TELL THEM ‘I WANT YOU TO STOP PRESIDENT OBAMA FROM GIVING THE ABILITY
TO HAVE A NUCLEAR BOMB TO IRAN AND THAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE OF WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE IT IS TREASONOUS AND I THINK THAT’S WHY YOU HEAR MORE AND MORE PEOPLE CALLING FOR THE IMPEACHMENT OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, she continued.
Bachmann also seemed to suggest that North Korea developed nuclear capabilities under Obama even though its first nuclear test was in 2006: WHY DO THEY WANT TO ALLOW IRAN TO OBTAIN A NUCLEAR WEAPON JUST LIKE THEY DID WITH NORTH KOREA? THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION AND WENDY SHERMAN IN PARTICULAR WILL HAVE TO ANSWER THAT I CAN’T I DON’T UNDERSTAND THEM I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE THOUGHTS AND INTENTIONS OF THEIR HEART
Nothing — not even Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons — is a source of such deep concern for the West and Israel as Iran’s nuclear facilities, such as Natanz, Isfahan and Fordo. The installation at Fordo, not far from the holy city of Qom, is viewed as a particularly grave threat.
Researchers working underground there are using 696 centrifuges to enrich uranium to 20 percent. Afterwards, it only takes a relatively small step to create the material required to build nuclear bombs. Fordo, which didn’t go into operation until late 2011, is reportedly the most modern plant in the Iranian nuclear program which — despite all denials from Tehran — the world believes is designed to give the Islamic Republic the ultimate weapon. What’s more, Fordo is believed to be virtually indestructible. Even bunker-buster bombs would hardly be powerful enough to disable the facility — the enrichment cascades lie 70 meters (230 feet) under the surface.
But the long-smoldering nuclear dispute with Tehran may be about to take a sensational turn. SPIEGEL has learned from intelligence sources that Iran’s new president, Hassan Rohani, is reportedly prepared to decommission the Fordo enrichment plant and allow international inspectors to monitor the removal of the centrifuges. In return, he could demand that the United States and Europe rescind their sanctions against the Islamic Republic, lift the ban on Iranian oil exports and allow the country’s central bank to do international business again.
Rohani reportedly intends to announce the details of the offer, perhaps already during his speech before the United Nations General Assembly at the end of the month. His foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, will meet Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s top diplomat, in New York next Sunday and give her a rough outline of the deal. If he were to make such wide-ranging concessions, President Rohani would initiate a negotiating process that could conceivably even lead to a resumption of bilateral diplomatic relations with Washington.
The U.S. has intercepted an order from Iran to militants in Iraq to attack the U.S. Embassy and other American interests in Baghdad in the event of a strike on Syria, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
Military officials have been trying to predict the range of possible responses from Syria, Iran and their allies. U.S. officials said they are on alert for Iran’s fleet of small, fast boats in the Persian Gulf, where some U.S. warships are positioned.
The Journal reported that some officials believe a direct response from the Syrian or Iranian governments is less likely than reprisals from allied militant groups, such as Lebanese militant ally Hezbollah, which could attack the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.
The State Department issued a new alert Thursday warning against nonessential travel to Iraq and citing terrorist activity “at levels unseen since 2008.”
The Iranian message, intercepted in recent days, came from Qasem Soleimani, the head of Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force, and went to Iranian-supported Shiite militia groups in Iraq, according to the Journal, citing U.S. officials.
In it, Soleimani said Shiite groups must be prepared to respond with force after a U.S. strike on Syria.
Iraqi Shiites have been sympathetic to the Alawite-dominated government of Syria and oppose U.S. strikes against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, the Journal noted.
U.S. officials told the paper that the Embassy in Baghdad was one likely target. The officials didn’t describe the range of potential targets indicated by the intelligence.