These Are Not The Drones You Seek

Mission creep, what mission creep? Who are you going to believe, Robert Gates and Obama or your own lying eyes? Why, exactly, are we in Libya again?

U.S. will deploy Predators in Libya

President Barack Obama has given U.S. forces the go-ahead to use armed Predator drones in Libya after forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi changed their tactics in the fighting there, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Thursday.

“It’s an evolving situation. We saw an opportunity here and recommended it to the president. He took it,” Gates told reporters at a Pentagon briefing.

However, Gates said the use of the drones did not indicate that the U.S. was being sucked back into a military campaign that Obama has promised will be handled chiefly by other NATO countries and allied forces.

“This is a very limited addition on our part, but it does provide some additional capabilities to NATO,” Gates said. “I don’t think there’s mission creep at all….The primary strike role has been turned over to our allies, our friends.”

Now remember boys and girls, providing “additional capabilities to NATO” is not, I repeat, IS NOT mission creep. Um, it’s been at least a couple months now, whatever happened to “days, not weeks”?

See also:
U.S. begins using Predator drones in Libya
U.S. Launches Drone Strikes in Libya
Obama authorizes Predator drone strikes in Libya
US deploys armed drones over Libya
Obama Approves Use of Predator Drones in Libya
U.S. Sends Predators to Strike Qaddafi Troops Fighting Rebels
Libya: US sends armed drones to shield rebels
Pentagon: Robot War Over Libya Begins in 3, 2, 1 …
US begins using armed drones in Libya
U.S. introduces armed Predator drones in Libya

Of course, the U.N. resolution we’re operating under only authorizes humanitarian efforts, so I’m sure these armed Predator drones will only be used to deliver food to civilians and stuff like that.

The Council stressed the need to intensify efforts to find a solution to the crisis that responded to the legitimate demands of the Libyan people, noting actions being taken on the diplomatic front in that regard. It further demanded that Libyan authorities comply with their obligations under international law and take all measures to protect civilians and meet their basic needs and to ensure the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian assistance.

In that connection, the Council specified that the flight ban would not apply to flights that had as their sole purpose humanitarian aid, the evacuation of foreign nationals, enforcing the ban or other purposes “deemed necessary for the benefit of the Libyan people”.

I don’t know, what supposedly started out as a limited “kinetic military action” sure as hell seems to have blossomed over the weeks into the United States and NATO openly taking sides in a Libyan civil war.

/how is that not mission creep?

The Incredible Ineptitude Of “Smart Diplomacy”

The Who Won’t Get Fooled Again, but the United States keeps getting fooled time after time after time. Once again, the Iranians have run diplomatic circles around the Obama Administration’s comical and ineffective “smart diplomacy”. If this was a little league softball game, they’d have to invoke the ten run rule.

Iran’s nuclear move may derail U.S. efforts on sanctions

An agreement by Iran to send much of its nuclear fuel abroad clouded prospects for U.S.-led plans to impose further economic sanctions on Tehran over its controversial nuclear development program.

The proposal, brokered by leaders of Brazil and Turkey during an 18-hour session in Tehran and announced late Sunday, drew a reaction of cautious skepticism from the United States and its Western allies, who questioned whether it goes far enough to address longstanding concerns over the goal of the Iranian nuclear program. Iran says its effort is for civilian energy purposes only, but Western powers believe Tehran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

U.S., French, German and Russian officials all raised questions about the announcement, noting that Iran would still keep more than a ton of its nuclear stockpile and would continue enriching uranium in its centrifuges. But Western leaders also called for further study of the plan, saying it should not be dismissed out of hand.

The agreement appeared to sap some of the momentum for a new round of United Nations Security Council sanctions, which looked to include restrictions on Iranian government financial transactions. Officials from Turkey and Brazil said the deal removed any need for further U.N. sanctions. The two countries currently sit on the 15-member Security Council, though neither has the power to veto a sanctions resolution.

It remains to be seen whether Tehran was merely trying to avert imminent sanctions or whether the pact could form the basis of a wider accord. In making the uranium transfer abroad, Iran would drop its previous insistence that any swaps should take place on Iranian soil.

U.S. officials face a choice of rejecting the deal and appearing intransigent, or accepting it, potentially allowing Iran to defuse mounting international pressures through an indefinite delay.

The plan calls for Iran to ship 2,640 pounds of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey under the supervision of both Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, in Vienna. In return, Iran would receive 265 pounds of uranium from France and Russia within a year for use in a small nuclear reactor that produces medical isotopes to treat the ill.

Talked Into A Trap

Nuclear Iran: President Obama’s “direct diplomacy with Iran without preconditions” has, not surprisingly, led us down a blind alley. Now China and Russia are about to mug us with Turkey’s phony uranium deal.

The White House is learning that its “tough diplomacy” is a boomerang that may soon leave America nursing a very sore lump on its head.

The deal Iran triumphantly announced with Turkey and Brazil on Monday is exactly the kind of development that can give Moscow and Beijing the excuse not to agree to more sanctions. Which would mean that President Obama is left painted into a corner about what to do next to prevent a terrorist regime in the Middle East from getting nukes.

It was all smiles in Tehran as Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan patted themselves on the back as peacemakers, and clasped hands with the world’s most powerful hater of Jews, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His shady re-election nearly a year ago sparked mass demonstrations and the killing of protesters by the Islamofascist regime.

In a regurgitation of last fall’s Geneva agreement that Iran ultimately backed out of, the new “fuel swap” deal would require Tehran to send some enriched uranium to Turkey. After a year, Iran would get some non-weapons-grade uranium back from Russia and France.

But Tehran says it will continue its own uranium enrichment activities, which means that when all is said and done nothing has changed.

As the Sarkozy government in France warns, the Turkey deal does “nothing to settle the problem posed by the Iranian nuclear program.” The new British government says it will continue to push for sanctions; an unimpressed Germany says what matters is Iran’s domestic enrichment.

Even the White House admits the deal resolves nothing. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ reaction was to point out that “the words and the deeds of the Iranian leadership rarely coincide.”

But China and Russia, which both have economic and geopolitical reasons to stay cozy with their trading partner, can use this deal to say in answer to President Obama’s charisma offensive designed to get them on board new sanctions: “Problem solved! Give Iran some slack.”

In the coming months, as Tehran continues to block inspection of nuclear facilities, and Moscow and Beijing refuse to approve new sanctions, what does the president do?

Reject what he was willing to accept last fall (because since then Iran has been busy enriching lots more uranium, and that makes it a different ballgame today)?

See also:
Iran’s Nuclear Coup
Iran nuclear fuel swap: how Turkey is complicating US aims
Nuclear swap deal helps prevent sanctions on Iran: Brazilian VP
Israel fears Iran nuclear deal will delay UN sanctions
Iran and Turkey reach unexpected accord on enriched uranium
Iran’s unanswered questions
West not convinced of Iran uranium deal
U.S., allies critical of new deal on Iran’s nuclear program
White House Keeps Sanctions on Table After Iran Announces Nuclear Fuel Deal
Lucy Says: C’mon, Kick The Football Charlie Brown

So, let’s recap, Iran gets to keep working on their nuclear weapons program, full speed ahead, without the threat of any meaningful sanctions and, at the same time, Iran makes the Obama administration out to be an international laughingstock.

/it’s a twofer

Time For More Talks Or Another Strongly Worded Letter

How many more times are we going to let North Korea urinate on our leg with impunity?

N Korea ‘in final uranium phase’

North Korea has entered the final phase of uranium enrichment, the North’s state media are reported as saying by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

“Uranium enrichment tests have been successfully carried out and that process is in the concluding stage,” state media were quoted as saying.

If confirmed, the move would be in defiance of international pressure for the North to abandon its nuclear work.

The UN passed tougher sanctions after a nuclear test by Pyongyang in May.

Both that test and an earlier nuclear test by North Korea in 2006 were understood to have been plutonium-based warheads.

Defiance

The North’s KCNA news agency reported that North Korea’s delegation at the United Nations had written to the Security Council, saying Pyongyang was now ready “for both sanctions and dialogue”.

“Reprocessing of spent fuel rods is at its final phase and extracted plutonium is being weaponised,” the AFP news agency reported the delegation as saying.

“If some permanent members of the UN Security Council wish to put sanctions first before dialogue, we would respond with bolstering our nuclear deterrence first before we meet them in a dialogue,” the delegation said.

South Korea’s defence minister had warned in June that the North was going ahead with plans to enrich uranium, a step towards making nuclear weapons.

Observers say the US has long suspected the existence of a secret uranium enrichment programme in the North, though experts say it remains little-developed.

In the past few months, North Korea has fired a long-range rocket over Japanese territory and conducted an underground, plutonium-based nuclear test.

Renewed tensions

But more recently, the secretive communist nation has made more conciliatory gestures on the world stage.

Two US reporters and a South Korean worker were released from detention and Pyongyang said it was interested in resuming cross-border tourismand industrial projects with the South.

Less than two weeks ago, the first meeting between officials from the North and South for nearly two years took place unexpectedly in the southern capital, Seoul.

However, the latest communique indicated that the North was unhappy that the UN allowed South Korea to launch a satellite last month, after having condemned its own rocket launch in April, Reuters reported.

Correspondents said Pyongyang’s latest remarks appeared to seek once again to ratchet up tensions on the Korean peninsula.

See also:
N. Korea Says It’s in Last Stage of Uranium Enrichment
North Korea says in final phase of uranium enrichment
N. Korea Reports Advances in Enriching Uranium
N.Korea says in last stage of enriching uranium
UAE seizes North Korean weapons. Now what?
Why Are We Not Stomping North Korea’s Guts Out?

Between Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan, it’s just a matter of time before a working nuclear device ends up in the hands of some rogue state or non-state actor with a strong desire to detonate it at a time a place that is contrary to U.S. national interests.

/talks, letters, lots of whistling past the graveyard