Israeli attack on Iran ‘would not stop nuclear programme’
Richard Norton-Taylor, Guardian – August 30, 2012
An Israeli attack on Iran would delay but probably not stop its nuclear programme, the most senior US military officer has claimed. General Martin Dempsey reinforced Washington’s opposition to unilateral Israel military action as he made clear that US military chiefs were equally wary of getting ensnared in Syria. In common with Nato’s supreme commander, US admiral James Stavridis, who wrote about Afghanistan for the Guardian on Thursday, Dempsey put a brave face on the situation there. The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff was speaking to journalists in London, where he attended the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games as head of the US delegation.
Iran Boosted Uranium Enrichment, U.N. Says
Joby Warrick, Washington Post – August 31, 2012
Iran dramatically increased its production of a more enriched form of uranium in recent months, U.N. inspectors reported Thursday, suggesting that the country’s nuclear facilities were ramping up their output even as Iran’s leaders engaged in international negotiations on possible curbs to its nuclear program. At the same time, Iran appeared to have taken steps that would make it harder to use its uranium stockpile to make nuclear bombs, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported.
Report on Iran Nuclear Work Puts Israel in a Box
Jodi Rudoren and David E. Sanger, New York Times – August 30, 2012
For Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday offered findings validating his longstanding position that while harsh economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation may have hurt Iran, they have failed to slow Tehran’s nuclear program. If anything, the program is speeding up. But the agency’s report has also put Israel in a corner, documenting that Iran is close to crossing what Israel has long said is its red line: the capability to produce nuclear weapons in a location invulnerable to Israeli attack.
Iran makes little headway on key nuclear equipment
Fredrik Dahl, Reuters – August 31, 2012
Iran may have doubled its uranium enrichment capacity in an underground facility but it seems to be struggling to develop more efficient nuclear equipment that would shorten the time it would need for any atom bomb bid, experts say…”Iran appears to be continuing to encounter problems in its testing of production-scale cascades of advanced centrifuges,” a U.S. think-tank, the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), said.
North Korea makes “significant” nuclear reactor progress: IAEA
Fredrik Dahl, Reuters – August 31, 2012
North Korea has made significant progress in the construction of a light water atomic reactor over the past year, a U.N. watchdog report said, a facility that may extend Pyongyang’s capacity to produce material for nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), citing satellite images, also said “certain activities” had been observed at locations where the reclusive Asian state “reportedly” conducted nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
Presidential Election News
President Obama Gets Chance To Bolster Credibility On National Security
Marty Schladen, El Paso Times – August 31, 2012
When President Barack Obama visits Fort Bliss today, he’s expected to tout his record as commander in chief and try to claim the upper hand in a debate over the possibility of deep, automatic cuts in military spending. The visit comes a day after the close of a Republican National Convention that sought to introduce presidential nominee Mitt Romney as a plausible alternative to Obama as commander of U.S. military forces, and four days before Demo crats gather to renominate Obama. Several experts said this is the rare presidential cycle in which the Democrat has a clear advantage on national-security issues — and they added that Obama has the better argument about military spending.
Afghan minister accused of abuses to become new intelligence chief
Jon Stephenson, Miami Herald – August 30, 2012
An Afghan Cabinet minister dogged by torture allegations is slated to become the new chief of Afghanistan’s notorious intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security. The appointment of Asadullah Khalid, the minister of border and tribal affairs, will be announced within days by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, said a man who knows Khalid. A former senior government official who’s close to Karzai told McClatchy that “Khalid’s appointment has been confirmed.” Both men spoke only on the condition of anonymity, as they weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Obama To Highlight Iraq Withdrawal
AFP – August 30, 2012
President Barack Obama will Friday mark the second anniversary of his declaration of the end of US combat missions in Iraq, highlighting his leadership credentials at a key political moment…”The visit will focus on, I think, that important anniversary,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney. “It will also focus on the fact that the president has always said that part of ending the war in Iraq responsibly is standing by those who served.”
‘Put A Match To It’ And Scrap DoD’s Buying Rules: Top Pentagon Advisor
Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., AOL Defense – August 30, 2012
If the Pentagon wants to buy weapons that are delivered on time and don’t cost too much, then it should take decades of regulations, totaling thousands of pages, and “put a match to it,” the chairman of a Defense Business Board study told AOL Defense… It would be a big fire. The government-wide Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) is 2,013 pages long. The DoD-specific Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation adds another 1,903 pages. And the handbook for Pentagon acquisition officers is 962 pages, according to the study that Punaro chaired for the Pentagon’s Defense Business Board.