Filed under: History, Iran, Islam, Middle East | Tags: Building a Round Ark, The Flood Story, The Story of Noah's Ark
Here is a fascinating story of how an Englishman, going through some of his father’s possessions after his death. found a clay fragment that his father had bought from a bazaar with cuneiform writing on it. which he took to the British Museum to see if he could find out just what it was. It was a clay tablet from 1,750 B.C. and Dr. Irving Finkel, Deputy Keeper of Middle East in the British Museum found it to contain a new account of the ancient Babylonian Flood story, containing actual directions for making a round ark.
There are many versions of the deluge myth in the ancient Near East. One features Zusudra, King of Sumer, as the Noah figure and is found on a single tablet from the 17th century B.C. excavated in Nippur, Iraq. The Epic of Gilgamesh tells the story of Utnapishtim who was tasked by the god Enki-Ea to build a boat that would save his family, craftsmen, plants and animals from the flood the other gods were sending to destroy humanity. The earliest surviving Gilgamesh tablets date to the 18th century B.C.
Dr. Finkel is one of the few people in the world who can sight read cuneiform writing. “Wall, wall! Reed wall, reed wall! Atra-Hasis…” That passage is famous among Assyriologists as the opening lines of the Atra-Hasis Flood Story. Finkel was thrilled at such a rare find and asked to keep the tablet so he could translate the whole thing which is covered in cuneiform front and back, but Mr. Simmonds was unwilling to part with it. It wasn’t until 2009 when Dr. Finkel spotted Douglas Simmonds at the Babylon, Myth and Reality exhibition that the latter finally agreed to bring the tablet in for translation.
The story of what that tablet led to is an absolutely fascinating archaeological detective story told in the video. Simply stated, this show has everything: Mesopotamian history, issues in ancient urban water management, the Ziggurat of Ur, dangers military and ecological, southern Iraq’s enchanting marshlands, cuneiform tablets and the laser-scanning thereof, ship design, archaeological geology, traditional crafts, how reeds can be used to make an AMAZING house, bitumen drama, flood legends and their transmission from Babylon to Judea, the reality of regular flooding in the Fertile Crescent, several exceptional beards and at the end, a big ol’ round boat.
Watch it when you have the time, and when you can enlarge it to full screen.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Iran, Islam, National Security, Politics, Progressivism, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: But It's Not a Movie!, Democrats' Blind Partisan Loyalty, Violating The Sanctions
Iran has never stopped violating the sanctions, never stopped violating the “agreement” that was reached in Brussels, and is continuing to do everything it can to demonstrate that it has the upper hand as a result of the deal it negotiated with the United States and its five partners. It twists understandings of the terms of the deal to justify its ‘misbehavior’ or just goes ahead and does what it chooses anyway.
President Obama and his Secretary of State are so eager for a deal that they are not pushing back, they are only pushing hard to get a veto-proof congressional vote of approval.
Iran plans to sign a contract for four advanced Russian surface-to-air S-300 missiles as early as next week, following a visit to Moscow by Quds force commander Qassem Soleimani (seen above) in violation of an international travel ban. The Quds Force is the designated arm of the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to export the revolution abroad —which is just what they have been doing.
The sanctions against Qassem Soleimani “will stay forever” John Kerry said on Tuesday. “He oversaw the plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington, its efforts to destabilize Iraq, to support Bashar Assad in Syria, and the IRGC’s proliferation of WMD. The Quds Force supports the Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah, Shiite militants in Iraq, and Palestinian terrorist groups like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.” Other than that, he’s not apt to pay much attention to sanctions.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is planning “a massive ballistic missile test” in the near future, according to the Fars News Agency.
Earlier this year, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajiadeh said they plan to upgrade and replace Iran’s existing Fateh, Qiyam, and Qadr missiles with a new generation of missiles — despite international sanctions on the Iranian Missile program.
The issue has arisen in the debate over the Iran Deal in Congress. Lawmakers have criticized the agreement for allowing the international arms embargo to be lifted after five years and the ballistic missile sanctions to be lifted after eight years. Perhaps they should criticize the IRGC for ordering new missiles from Russia last week, and having tests “in the near future.” Perhaps they should be arguing, not about what “the agreement says”— but about what Iran is actually doing.
Iranian leaders have declared that their arms shipments to allies in the region, such as their terrorist proxy Hezbollah will continue in spite of the UN Security Council arms embargo that is still in effect for five years.
Secretary Kerry said: “The arms embargo is not tied to snapback. It is tied to a separate set of obligations. So they are not in material breach of the nuclear agreement for violating the arms part of it.”
There isn’t any “snapback” anyway, that would require agreement among the other parties to the agreement, and that’s not going to happen. The other parties are busy planning trade negotiations with Iran as soon as they can send them off. With sanctions lifted and money flowing back to Iran, they will be in the market for all the interesting things the western nations produce. Nobody is shouting ‘Death to Germany,’ or ‘Death to France’— the Europeans need to sell more stuff, and they want to buy Iranian oil which will help to lift the energy blackmail that Putin favors. They don’t believe that Iran has any interest in nuking them, it’s our problem. And if Obama wants to be a patsy, that’s our problem too.
Democrats in the House and Senate are lining up to support Obama’s disastrous deal out of blind partisan loyalty to Obama. They are assuming that the inspections will deter Iran for at least another ten years, as Kerry claims. Yet the military sites such as Parchin, where they are working on militarization of nuclear weapons, will not be inspected by the IAEA. Instead the Iranians will inspect their own military sites, and provide soil samples to the IAEA with their own record of the inspection. That should work.
Chief negotiator Wendy Sherman is the one who successfully negotiated the agreement with North Korea —where Kim Jong Un is currently threatening to nuke South Korea. If this was a movie, you might just walk out because it’s all so completely unbelievable, and sticking around to find out how it turns out is way too uncomfortable.
In spite of all this, President Obama envisions himself flying to Tehran to shake hands on the agreement with the Supreme Leader. He sees it as a triumphant moment when he turns over the Middle East to the sovereignty of the ancient nation of Persia, and brings all Americans home, never to interfere in the nasty world again. Even better than Nixon opening up China. Or something like that. When Iran sets off an EMP attack decimating the East Coast and killing millions of Americans Obama won’t even have finished raising the billion dollars he wants for his presidential library.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Foreign Policy, History, Iran, Islam, Middle East, Military, National Security, The United States | Tags: Breakout Timelines, Fooling Ourselves?, Read Between the Lines
On August 4 — David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the “Breakout Timelines Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action? (JCPOA) suggested that the likely breakout for a nuclear weapon for Iran is seven months.
Senator Menendez responded: ” [Six-to-seven months] would be concerning to me, because I already am a little concerned that what we bought here was a very expensive alarm system … [S]ix or seven months is not going to be helpful if they decide to break out, because by the time we re-impose sanctions … it [wouldn’t] be meaningful. The next president of the United States … will only have one choice: to accept Iran as a nuclear weapons state or to have a military strike.
The Institute analyzed the imprudent assumption on which the Obama administration bases its one-year contention:
The bare-boned limits on Iran’s centrifuge program provide for at least a 12-month breakout period. However, based on ISIS analyses the agreed limits do not guarantee a 12-month breakout timeline during the first ten years of the agreement, if Iran can relatively quickly re-deploy its already manufactured IR-2m centrifuges. The administration has taken the position that Iran will not deploy these IR-2m centrifuges, because they have assessed that they will not work well enough. However, this assessment depends on an assumption about Iran’s manufactured IR-2m centrifuges that may not hold. Moreover, available data indicate that the breakage rate of the IR-2m centrifuges are no worse than those for the IR-1 centrifuges. Uncertainties about the quality of the existing IR-2m centrifuges make a definitive resolution of this issue difficult. Nonetheless, straightforward prudence would argue to include these centrifuges in a breakout, since their redeployment would have a major impact compared to IR-1 centrifuges and the United States lacks high assurance that the IR-2m centrifuges will not work adequately if deployed. In this case, the 12-month breakout criterion does not hold during the first ten years of the agreement. At a minimum, it is arguable whether the breakout criterion holds. [Emphasis added].
Another witness was Gary Samore, executive director for research in Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He said:
Senator, I don’t think re-imposition of sanctions is an effective response to breakout. I think the only effective response to breakout is military force. I mean, if the Iranians have decided to run the risk of openly dashing for a nuclear weapon, I don’t think sanctions are going to deter them or stop them.
Senator Menendez responded: So it seems to me that if Iran makes a political decision to move forward because it believes it’s the preservation of the regime, the revolution, or its place in the region, then ultimately … we are just kicking the ball down the road, but we will have a stronger, resurgent Iran with more money and greater defense capabilities than it has today.
There seems to be a basic assumption here that Iran wants to become an nuclear power to be — what? merely a powerful nation among the powerful nations of the world. Not that Iran’s urgent desire is to destroy the United States of America, which the Ayatollah loathes, and the nation of Israel, — which he also loathes. In spite of all the evidence do we fail to understand Iran’s real aims? And prepare for that? They talk about increases in terrorism. They talk about Iraq and ISIS, and the other Gulf States. They even mention the possibility of Iran becoming a nuclear state, as if that just places Iran in the world’s grouping of states that have nuclear weapons to insure that nobody attacks them.
One would think that observing the actions of ISIS, the beheadings, the immolations, the crucifixions, the destruction of the monuments of history and the behavior of al-Qaeda, there would be some recognition of the fact that these people don’t really observe the same standards nor conventions. We have been told that we worship life, while they worship death — but that makes no sense to the Western mind, so we ignore it.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Foreign Policy, Iran, Islam, Middle East, National Security, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: The Iran Deal, The Parchin Military Site, No Inspections Regime, America At Risk
You have probably heard the old saying about “setting the fox to guard the henhouse”— a parable intended to tell you that the nature of a fox is to eat the hen, and you cannot put someone in charge of a task that they are by nature unqualified to fulfill. Which brings us, of course, to the startling news that Obama’s Iran Deal gives Iran the choice assignment of inspecting their own military sites such as Parchin and then to give the results to the IAEA.
Those old parables handed down from one generation to another are ignored at our peril. They represent hard-learned wisdom and form part of the guardrails of life.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Nuclear Physicist, says that we can tell from soil samples the extent to which Iran is developing a nuke. All very fine, except that Iran gets to produce the soil sample.
Obama is quite sure that Iran would never actually set off a nuclear weapon. He has said so. He believes that when Iran’s funds are released from the sanctions, the money will be used to fix their economy because there has been a lot of hardship for the people and the Ayatollah will want to fix that. He has said so. He believes that Iran wants to become one among the community of nations, and will take care of the Middle East. defeating ISIS and bringing order to the region. He is wrong.
The American Foreign Policy Council’s Amanda Azinheira wrote of the risks in Defense News on Wednesday: “A nuclear warhead detonated 18 miles off the ground anywhere over the eastern seaboard could collapse the whole eastern grid, which generates 75% of the country’s electricity. The recovery time from a nationwide EMP event might be anywhere from one to 10 years. In the meantime, tens of millions of Americans would likely die from starvation and/or societal collapse.”
Foundation for the Defense of Democracies chairman and former CIA Director James Woolsey and EMP Task Force Executive Director Peter Vincent Pry wrote in the Washington Times about Iran and an EMP attack.
Iran has apparently practiced surprise EMP attacks, orbiting satellites on south polar trajectories to evade U.S. radars and missile defenses, at altitudes consistent with generating an EMP field covering all 48 contiguous United States,” according to Woolsey and Pry. “Iran launched its fourth satellite on such a trajectory as recently as February 2015.”
They also noted that the use of nuclear infrastructure permitted under the Iran deal makes getting an EMP weapon “relatively easy.”
Supposedly, we can harden off the grid to an EMP attack, but it has to be done by individual states, who are waiting for the federal government, but nobody seems to regard it as urgent. I have seen estimates of costs in the low billion range, but my knowledge ranges from scant to not much. No one wants to believe that such a thing could happen, because it sounds too much like a science fiction movie.
“Death to America” has never been, as Mr. Obama has claimed, simply a a public relations thing for public consumption. The Iranian people hate the tyrannical government. The Iranian military is planning to be able to make a nuclear EMP attack.
The urgent thing seems to be letting your representatives in Congress know how important it is that they oppose the Iran Deal in Congress, and override the President’s inevitable veto.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Iran, Islam, National Security, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: A Basic Explanation, Obama's Iran Deal, Praeger University
Is the nuclear agreement between the United States and Iran a good or bad deal? Would it be harder or easier for Iran to develop nuclear weapons? Would it make Iran and its terror proxies stronger or weaker? Should the U.S. Congress support or defeat the deal? Dennis Prager answers these questions and more.
The deal releases $150 billion in funds which had been sanctioned to prevent Iran from developing the nuclear weapons they are so intent on developing, along with the intercontinental ballistic missiles they want. To put that in understandable terms, the Marshall Plan for Europe only cost $120 billion in today’s dollars. And just why do they want “intercontinental” missiles anyway? Neither Israel nor Europe are on different continents. Is that what Qasem Soleimani, head of the Iraq Revolutionary Guard Corps, was doing in Moscow?
Filed under: Iran, Islam, Israel, National Security, Politics, Progressives, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: Asking for Answers, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator Tom Cotton, The Iran Deal
Filed under: Foreign Policy, History, Iran, Islam, National Security, Progressives, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: Fantasy and Myth, Iran's Constitution, The Islamic Revolution
Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog
Last year Iran was selling gasoline for less than 50 cents a gallon. This year a desperate regime hiked prices up to over a dollar. Meanwhile, Iranians pay about a tenth of what Americans do for electricity.
Iran blew between $100 billion to $500 billion on its nuclear program. The Bushehr reactor alone cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $11 billion making it one of the most expensive in the world.
This wasn’t done to cut power bills. Iran didn’t take its economy to the edge for a peaceful nuclear program. It built the Fordow fortified underground nuclear reactor that even Obama admitted was not part of a peaceful nuclear program, it built the underground Natanz enrichment facility whose construction at one point consumed all the cement in the country, because the nuclear program mattered more than anything else as a fulfillment of the Islamic Revolution’s purpose.
Iran did not do all this so that its citizens could pay 0.003 cents less for a kilowatt hour of electricity.
It built its nuclear program on the words of the Ayatollah Khomeini, “Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled or incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of [other] countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world.”
Iran’s constitution states that its military is an “ideological army” built to fulfill “the ideological mission of jihad in Allah’s way; that is, extending the sovereignty of Allah’s law throughout the world.”
It quotes the Koranic verse urging Muslims to “strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah”.
Article 3 of Iran’s Constitution calls for a foreign policy based on “unsparing support” to terrorists around the world. Article 11, the ISIS clause, demands the political unity of the Islamic world.
Iran is not just a country. It is the Islamic Revolution, the Shiite ISIS, a perpetual revolution to destroy the non-Muslim world and unite the Muslim world. Over half of Iran’s urban population lives below the poverty line and its regime sacrificed 100,000 child soldiers as human shields in the Iran-Iraq War.
Iran did not spend all that money just to build a peaceful civilian nuclear program to benefit its people. And yet the nuclear deal depends on the myth that its nuclear program is peaceful.
Obama insisted, “This deal is not contingent on Iran changing its behavior.” But if Iran isn’t changing its behavior, if it isn’t changing its priorities or its values, then there is no deal.
If Iran hasn’t changed its behavior, then the nuclear deal is just another way for it to get the bomb.
If Iran were really serious about abandoning a drive for nuclear weapons, it would have shut down its nuclear program. Not because America or Europe demanded it, but because it made no economic sense. For a fraction of the money it spent on its nuclear ambitions, it could have overhauled its decaying electrical grid and actually cut costs. But this isn’t about electricity, it’s about nuclear bombs.
The peaceful nuclear program is a hoax. The deal accepts the hoax. It assumes that Iran wants a peaceful nuclear program. It even undertakes to improve and protect Iran’s “peaceful” nuclear technology.
The reasoning behind the nuclear deal is false. It’s so blatantly false that the falseness has been written into the deal. The agreement punts on the military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program and creates a complicated and easily subverted mechanism for inspecting suspicious programs in Iranian military sites.
It builds in so many loopholes and delays, separate agreements and distractions, because it doesn’t really want to know. The inspections were built to help Iran cheat and give Obama plausible deniability.
With or without the agreement, Iran is on the road to a nuclear bomb. Sanctions closed some doors and opened others. The agreement opens some doors and closes others. It’s a tactical difference that moves the crisis from one stalemate to another. Nothing has been resolved. The underlying strategy is Iran’s.
Iran decided that the best way to conduct this stage of its nuclear weapons program was by getting technical assistance and sanctions relief from the West. This agreement doesn’t even pretend to resolve the problem of Iran’s nuclear weapons. Instead its best case scenario assumes that years from now Iran won’t want a nuclear bomb. So that’s why we’ll be helping Iran move along the path to building one.
It’s like teaching a terrorist to use TNT for mining purposes if he promises not to kill anyone.
But this agreement exists because the West refuses to come to terms with what Islam is. Successful negotiations depend on understanding what the other side wants. Celebratory media coverage talks about finding “common ground” with Iran. But what common ground is there with a regime that believes that America is the “Great Satan” and its number one enemy?
What common ground can there be with people who literally believe that you are the devil?
When Iranian leaders chant, “Death to America”, we are told that they are pandering to the hardliners. The possibility that they really believe it can’t be discussed because then the nuclear deal falls apart.
For Europe, the nuclear agreement is about ending an unprofitable standoff and doing business with Iran. For Obama, it’s about rewriting history by befriending another enemy of the United States. But for Iran’s Supreme Leader, it’s about pursuing a holy war against the enemies of his flavor of Islam.
The Supreme Leader of Iran already made it clear that the war will continue until America is destroyed. That may be the only common ground he has with Obama. Both America and Iran are governed by fanatics who believe that America is the source of all evil. Both believe that it needs to be destroyed.
Carter made the Islamic Revolution possible. Obama is enabling its nuclear revolution.
Today Tehran and Washington D.C. are united by a deep distrust of America, distaste for the West and a violent hatred of Israel. This deal is the product of that mutually incomprehensible unity. It is not meant to stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb. It is meant to stop America and Israel from stopping it.
Both Obama and the Supreme Leader of Iran have a compelling vision of the world as it should be and don’t care about the consequences because they are convinced that the absolute good of their ideology makes a bad outcome inconceivable.
“O Allah, for your satisfaction, we sacrificed the offspring of Islam and the revolution,” a despairing Ayatollah Khomeini wrote after the disastrous Iran-Iraq War cost the lives of three-quarters of a million Iranians. The letter quoted the need for “atomic weapons” and evicting America from the Persian Gulf.
Four years earlier, its current Supreme Leader had told officials that Khomeini had reactivated Iran’s nuclear program, vowing that it would prepare “for the emergence of Imam Mehdi.”
The Islamic Revolution’s nuclear program was never peaceful. It was a murderous fanatic’s vision for destroying the enemies of his ideology, rooted in war, restarted in a conflict in which he used children to detonate land mines, and meant for mass murder on a terrible scale.
The nuclear agreement has holes big enough to drive trucks through, but its biggest hole is the refusal of its supporters to acknowledge the history, ideology and agenda of Iran’s murderous tyrants. Like so many previous efforts at appeasement, the agreement assumes that Islam is a religion of peace.
The ideology and history of Iran’s Islamic Revolution tells us that it is an empire of blood.
The agreement asks us to choose between two possibilities. Either Iran has spent a huge fortune and nearly gone to war to slightly lower its already low electricity rates or it wants a nuclear bomb.
The deal assumes that Iran wants lower electricity rates. Iran’s constitution tells us that it wants Jihad. And unlike Obama, Iran’s leaders can be trusted to live up to their Constitution.
Re-posted with permission from the Sultan Knish blog. If you have not met Daniel Greenfield, add him to your blogroll. He is always provacative, and always interesting. He also blogs regularly at Front Page Magazine.