- - Thursday, January 1, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Obama’s decision to normalize relations with the totalitarian Castro regime, with their human rights atrocities directed against their own citizens, has rightly outraged our loyal Cuban-American community. This appeasement, with apologies by Mr. Obama to the godless communist regime during our traditional holiday season, is a betrayal of America’s principles of freedom and democracy. Of course, with his radical background, it apparently was easy for the president to forgo a demand for any of the long-standing concessions that the Castro regime has refused to make to even qualify for normalization of relations.

Some have said Mr. Obama should have learned from America’s dealings with other totalitarian communist regimes that engagement does not translate into freedom and democracy for their citizens. However, that may not have been the objective of this enterprise. The announcement of normalization with Cuba with its media information overload and manipulation of the facts — aided and abetted by the mainstream media — has diverted America’s attention from a host of the administration’s domestic scandals: the Benghazi tragedy, our failed policy on combating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and our unwillingness to take effective action to combat Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. Most important, it has diverted America’s attention from its most critical Middle East objective of preventing Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability.

What most Americans don’t understand is that Iran became a threshold nuclear state several years ago when it built enough centrifuges and then produced enough reactor-grade uranium to make several nuclear weapons. The 2013 announcement of an interim agreement between Iran and the United States, plus five other world powers (P5 plus 1), is supposed to prevent Iran from becoming a threshold nuclear state. It is a sham. As pointed out by Andrew Bostom in his book “Iran’s Final Solution for Israel,” this Geneva agreement is viewed by Iran, according to Iranian analyst Mohammed Sadeq al-Hosseini, in the same context as the seventh-century Treaty of Hudaybryya. That treaty was an agreement between Muhammad and the pagan Qaraysh tribe of Mecca, but Muhammad broke the treaty as soon as his forces were strong enough to achieve military victory.

Furthermore, when you factor in the principle of “taqiyya” (lying), permitted under Shariah law to achieve one’s ultimate objective, it should be a clear signal to our negotiators where Iran is heading. Nuclear analyst Jonathan Spyer summarized the one-sided outcome of the interim agreement as a diplomatic ‘bonanza” for Iran. He stated that core elements of the Iranian drive to achieve nuclear weapons capability remain entirely intact. This is borne out by Fred Fleitz, of the Center for Security Policy, who points out that there are critical deficiencies in the Geneva P5 plus 1 interim agreement. Obama administration officials have misled the American public to make them believe the negotiations, even with the latest extensions, are achieving our objectives. This is far from reality.

For example, the enrichment centers at Fordo and Natanz will not be closed and will continue to operate. None of the 19,500 centrifuges will be dismantled. Centrifuges capable of uranium enrichment beyond 5 percent were, by compromise, to be “disconnected” (easily reversed). However, this arrangement permits 10,000 centrifuges to continue to enrich to 20 percent purity, approaching weapons grade.

The agreement also does not address the military production center at Parchin, which is Iran’s experimental, high-explosive facility. Tehran has refused repeatedly to permit International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors access to this key testing site.

Additionally, the heavy-water plutonium reactor at Arak is required only to “suspend,” not cease activity. Iran has stated that it intends to continue construction and activity. Finally, the interim agreement does not address Iran’s intercontinental-missile delivery systems.

Based on these facts, Iran is on track to achieve a nuclear weapon capability. President Hassan Rouhani told the Financial Times that dismantling nuclear facilities was a “red line” that Iran would not cross. As the world’s recognized leader in state-sponsored terrorism costing thousands of American lives, a nuclear-capable Iran should be clearly unacceptable. We should never forget Iran’s material and training support to the Sept. 11 hijackers, without which that attack could not have been conducted, nor its takeover of the U.S. Embassy, nor the bombing of U.S. Marine barracks and a host of other “acts of war.” However, every administration, be it Democrat or Republican, when challenged by Iran, has found an excuse not to act.

Over the years, we have had more than sufficient justification to retaliate against Iran. Clearly, to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear capability, its key nuclear infrastructure must be destroyed. With the Obama administration’s appeasement approach to Iran, there is no chance that this administration will conduct a military strike.

Therefore, such a strike that must be conducted is left to our closest Middle East ally, Israel. With Iran’s repeated declarations of intent to eliminate Israel, it is absolutely essential that Israel conduct the attack to ensure its survival. While it will be difficult, Israel has the capability to do serious damage to Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and delay its nuclear weapons capability for about two years. Hopefully, by 2017, the United States will have an administration with the political will and common sense to finish the job.

James A. Lyons, a U.S. Navy retired admiral, was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.

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