TheChoppingBlock
2 views | +0 today
Follow
TheChoppingBlock
News of interest, most foreign policy related
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by TheChoppingBlock
Scoop.it!

Iran held me hostage 30 years ago. It shouldn’t hold America hostage today. - The Washington Post

Mock firing squads. Manacles. Blindfolds. This was not what I signed up for when I joined the Foreign Service in October 1978. But that was what I found when, assigned to Tehran as my first post, I was taken captive for 444 days by Islamic militants, along with 51 of my colleagues. I was 24 years old, and Iran was gripped by revolution...

 

I did stay in the Foreign Service, though, and retired last month as the last of the U.S. hostages on active duty with the State Department.

 

The hostage crisis concluded more than 30 years ago, but the confrontations with the Islamic republic continue. Over the decades, we’ve seen the Iranians attack tankers in the Persian Gulf, provide weapons and training to Hamas and Hezbollah, and, through their proxies, attack our troops in Iraq. In each case, the success of our response depended both on appearing resolute and on being resolute.

 

Iran is coming back to the negotiating table — but not because it has suddenly decided to live up to its international obligations. These talks may provide a face-saving way to halt its nuclear program.

 

The key to the Iranians accepting such a solution is to convince them that we have the capability and the will to end their program ourselves. The irony is that the more clearly we demonstrate that capability and will, the less likely we will need to use them.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by TheChoppingBlock
Scoop.it!

Top Tweet on Gaza Proven False

Top Tweet on Gaza Proven False | TheChoppingBlock | Scoop.it
Two photos, both allegedly depicting the results of Israeli air strikes in Gaza, have been proven false.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by TheChoppingBlock
Scoop.it!

Israeli plans for Iran go back years

JERUSALEM (AP) — For more than a decade, Israel has systematically built up its military specifically for a possible strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. It has sent its air force on long-distance training missions, procured American-made "bunker-busting" bombs and bolstered its missile defenses.

 

Although a unilateral Israeli attack would probably not destroy Iran's nuclear program, it appears capable, at least for now, of inflicting a serious blow.

 

Danny Yatom, a former director of Israel's Mossad spy agency, said even if Israel cannot destroy Iran's nuclear program altogether, a serious disruption would be enough.


"This might delay the appearance of the bomb by many years," he said.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by TheChoppingBlock
Scoop.it!

Skeptics doubt U.S. can be certain about Iran's nuclear progress

Skeptics doubt U.S. can be certain about Iran's nuclear progress | TheChoppingBlock | Scoop.it

Despite President Obama's assurances that the United States will know if Tehran begins to secretly build a nuclear bomb, some senior officials familiar with U.S. intelligence and spying capabilities in Iran are doubtful.

 

The issue is a crucial one because the White House has suggested that U.S. satellites, sensors and spies, as well as United Nations inspections, provide a reliable tripwire to decide whether diplomacy has failed and military action is needed to stop Iran from assembling a nuclear device.

 

"You have to assume that, if they went clandestine once, they could well go clandestine in other places," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee.

 

"As someone who deals with this stuff every day, I'm not sure how [the president] is that confident," said Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. "I am confident that at some point … we would know, probably. The problem is, you wouldn't know if that meant they'd have a weapon in three days or in three months."

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by TheChoppingBlock
Scoop.it!

US Amb to Russia: Human Rights in Russia takes a back seat to trade with Putin

US Amb to Russia: Human Rights in Russia takes a back seat to trade with Putin | TheChoppingBlock | Scoop.it

 

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Mike McFaul, the former NSC senior director for Russia and a key architect of the administration's "reset" policy with Russia, was in Washington today --along with all other U.S. ambassadors -- in advance of a huge conference at the State Department Tuesday.

 

He made clear, in two separate speaking events, that the administration's top trade priority in 2012 is to repeal the Jackson-Vanik law, which has blocked Russia from getting Permanent Normal Trade Status (PNTR). However, the administration doesn't support any replacement for the law, such as the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2011 -- legislation meant to promote human rights in Russia that is named for the anti-corruption lawyer who died in a Russian prison, after allegedly being tortured, two years ago.

 

David Kramer, the president of Freedom House, talked at the event about the coordinated campaign by the Russian government to clamp down on democratization and human rights progress in Russia and to blame the current anti-government protests in Russia on the United States.

 

"Politically, in light of the environment in Russia, which has been deteriorating in Russia, to simply lift Jackson-Vanik without some replacement would be viewed in Moscow and Russian leadership as a sign of weakness on the part of the United States -- again, that we need this relationship more than they do," Kramer said. "And if we don't replace it, then we would, in their minds, be rewarding them despite their bad behavior by not going after them. To me, this has to be a package deal."

 

more...
No comment yet.