Monday, September 7, 2015

On the Prowl w/#Outsiders On This Labor Day 2015: Notations On #TheIranDeal, The Middle East & Other Thoughts

It has been a busy morning in #Outsiders as the team facilitated the Daily Twitter Curation and as I worked on supporting the latest Notation for the Day on the US Political Scene.    There is never, ever a dull moment.

I have also been assessing the on-going debate on the #Iran Deal.    I have been on the record in my private capacity in support of this for the sake of the people of Iran fully realizing the continued challenges Iran represents.    What I saw From General Conway and General Wald issued under the auspices of the Iran Strategy Council was of profound concern to me which I have noted below for reference as part of my own personal notations on the #IranDeal.  It was also of profound concern as I saw bellicose comments from the Iranian Defense Minister as reported by MEMRI .    I also reviewed reports of the Saudi King Visit to Washington and how Saudi Arabia is continuing to flex its' muscle as our team reviewed reports of UAE, Bahrani and Saudi soldiers dying as they have continue to fight the Houthi rebels who have been driven from the South.

The vote on the #IranDeal is slated for September 17 as moves will be at hand to strengthen the sanctions regime against Iran.    It will be an interesting few weeks as I note the CNN Article & also the work that @MoveON  has done along with the analysis by  +BipartisanPolicy  and the original guidance the team +NIAC 

Why Should Congress Support Deal

What will Iran’s nuclear program look like upon implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)? What will it look like in 10 years? How about 15 years? This timeline of the deal’s major provisions shows how the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program change over the next two decades.
Though some provisions of the final deal remain in place for 20 or 25 years, provisions in several critical areas begin to lapse in as early as eight years. By year eight, Iran will be able to manufacture and stockpile advanced centrifuges that are up to 17 times more efficient than the ones it is currently operating, and be able to buy and sell ballistic missiles. By year 10, Iran will be able to start using advanced centrifuges for enrichment, and have no limits on the number of centrifuges spinning at its Natanz enrichment facility. Within 16 years, by BPC calculations, Iran’s breakout timing (the amount of time required to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon) will be just three weeks, down from one year.

Dear MoveOn member,
The road to change is long and hard. It takes many people, over many years, acting in many different ways to lead to real change. And there's always more work to do.
That's why we take moments to step back from the work and celebrate each other. We hope that today, Labor Day, you're able to take a moment—whether you're grilling, parading, or working—to do that.

This short video celebrates the work of so many MoveOn members and allies over the last six weeks.
 Our organizing has contributed to a major victory for diplomacy over war. There's still plenty of work ahead to preserve this historic diplomatic agreement with Iran and shift our country away from the militarism of the Bush years. But today, let's revel in each other and in our collective power.
Diplomacy Defended: Watch the Video!
 There's so much good stuff in this video: 
  • The #SchumerMobile, which buzzed around New York City last week to hold Senator Charles Schumer accountable for opposing diplomacy—and also swung into Connecticut and New Jersey to let Senators Richard Blumenthal (CT) and Cory Booker (NJ) know what they could expect from progressives if they followed Senator Schumer down the war path. (Sen. Booker has since announced he's supporting diplomacy!)
  • Thousands of people at more than 200 events around the country on the August 26 #NoWarWithIran National Day of Action, earning tremendous media coverage. 
  • Town hall meetings with members of Congress—where pro-diplomacy constituents outnumbered opponents at 87% of the events we tracked. 
See for yourself: watch and share the video today—and take a moment to remember why you fight for change.

P.S. This Thursday, September 10, as Congress prepares to vote on the Iran agreement, MoveOn members and allies are holding candlelight vigils in more than 150 cities. Can you attend a Vigil for Peace and Diplomacy near you, or sign up to host one if it's not yet planned for your area? 

Iran Strategy Council Co-Chairs Gen. Conway and Gen. Wald Author Op-Ed on

Editors Note: Gen. (Ret.) James Conway is former commandant of the Marine Corps. Gen. (Ret.) Charles Wald is former deputy commander of United States European Command. They co-chair the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA)-commissioned Iran Strategy Council. The views expressed are their own.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), negotiated by the United States and other world powers with Iran, is often referred to as the "Iran nuclear deal." Supporters contend it prevents a nuclear Iran; however, even if it adheres to the agreement, Iran will become a threshold nuclear state in no more than 15 years, when the deal's major nuclear restrictions expire. The deal undercuts America's realistic ability to prevent an Iranian nuclear breakout, and has other significant negative implications for the national security of the United States and our regional allies.

The new Iran Strategy Council of retired senior U.S. military leaders, which we co-chair, was commissioned by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs to provide objective analysis of the deal's potentially grave strategic implications and what that could mean for U.S. policy. And what we see is troubling.

Iran's adversarial intentions and activities are well known. As President Barack Obama said last month: "We have no illusions about the Iranian government or the significance of the Revolutionary Guard and the Quds Force. Iran supports terrorist organizations like Hezbollah. It supports proxy groups that threaten our interests and the interests of our allies -- including proxy groups who killed our troops in Iraq. They try to destabilize our Gulf partners."

However, the JCPOA will actually compound these threats. The deal will provide Tehran access to resources, technology, and international arms markets required to bolster its offensive military capabilities and support for proxy groups like Hezbollah. And even if only a fraction of the roughly $100 billion in overseas assets to be unfrozen as part of the agreement -- more than the government's entire budget for the current fiscal year -- is devoted to military spending, Iran will be able to begin revitalizing its defense industrial base. Plus, it is also set to acquire advanced S-300 air defenses from Russia at the end of this year.

Over the medium term, the removal of economic sanctions and the U.N. arms embargo will allow the regime to acquire other advanced technologies and weapons from abroad. And, once sanctions against its ballistic missile program sunset, Iran could more easily develop weapons capable of reaching targets within the Middle East and beyond -- including Europe and the United States.

It is also not just about conventional military spending. The JCPOA also will provide Iran with greater resources to funnel to Shiite militias and similar groups across the region. The infusion of new revenues in the coming years will create opportunities to significantly expand involvement throughout the Middle East (and possibly farther abroad). By giving Iran the means to extend its influence and expand its involvement in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Yemen and elsewhere, the agreement directly threatens to undermine the national security of the United States and our closest regional allies.

Already, Saudi Arabian officials, despite accepting the deal, have explicitly threatened to pursue their own nuclear arsenals in response to Iran attaining nuclear weapons, while others have at least suggested they might. We have served in the region, and we take those remarks very seriously.

The president has made clear that the JCPOA does not preclude the need for robust military capabilities: "[I]f 15 or 20 years from now, Iran tries to build a bomb, this deal ensures that the United States will have...the same options available to stop a weapons program as we have today, including -- if necessary -- military options."

And yet, even as the agreement boosts Iran's ability to meddle in the region and strains longstanding alliances, sequestration is already diminishing the U.S. military's ability to project power in the Middle East. The U.S. military will still rise to face any future challenge, but it will do so with less manpower, fewer capabilities, more antiquated platforms, and a lower level of readiness than it has now or has had in a very long time

For all these reasons, the United States is in far better position to prevent 
a nuclear Iran today, even by military means if necessary, than when the JCPOA sunsets. Protecting our national interests and our allies will require putting in place a strategy to begin mitigating the deal's downsides now.

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