Tag Archives: Libya

Will Iran’s Nuclear Deception Stand?

There was an article in a paper the other day that said while so many Americans were focusing their ire at Libya’s Moammar Qaddafi, their real concern ought to be Iran.

Looks like that article got it right. The Iranians now admit they have a second uranium enrichment facility. This one looks to be fully capable of producing bomb making material. So much for Ahmadinejad’s statement the other day at the UN that Iran has fully cooperated with weapons inspectors. He certainly made no mention of this second facility in his remarks to the General Assembly.

Ahmadinejad

So now what to do? Even those who might think the Iranians have a right to develop nuclear power for the nation’s energy needs are at a loss. This appears to be out and out deception.

Presidents Obama and Sarkozy, as well as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown were quick to respond to Iran’s admission. President Obama said the new facility “is inconsistent with a peaceful program.”  He demanded Iran present detailed information to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) as to the scope and intention of the new plant.

However, CNN is quoting sources who say Western powers have known about the existence of this so-called secret plant for several months. It was that knowledge that led Iran to send a letter to the IAEA admitting the new plant existed.

So the question must be asked again. What to do now? President Obama and France’s Sarkozy talk about new and “serious” sanctions. Can they work, and to what end? Demanding the Iranians close the new plant is like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube.

And while the West may see Iran’s nuclear ambition as war-like, what about the rest of the world. The Chinese have a longstanding problem with ratcheting up sanctions against Iran. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, it has the power to veto any such action, rendering the tough talk of Obama, Sarkozy, and Brown effectively moot.

So it seems the road to getting Iran to scale back its nuclear program runs right through Beijing. Which leads to the question, what will the West have to concede to get the Chinese to pressure Iran despite their strong economic ties? It’s obvious any progress here will come in increments, and perhaps despite the tough words we heard Friday morning. Unlike the previous administration, no  one is talking about a military option.

So what would you do? How would you respond to Iran’s new nuclear plant? Do you think they want to make a bomb? You tell me.

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Should Qaddafi and Ahmadinejad Speak at UN?

By the look and feel of US media coverage, the bosses of Libya and Iran ought to be the world’s most wanted. “Libyan Loon”, “Evil Ahmadinejad”, the tabloid headlines scream. As if calling these people names will somehow hasten their departure from the world stage. It’s ironic that Qaddafi (there are still at least a dozen ways to spell his name) will be following President Barack Obama to the podium at the UN General Assembly Wednesday. It’s been his embrace of the released Lockerbie bomber and his quest to pitch his tent somewhere in the New York area that’s refocused attention on him.

There are local officials in the New York hamlet of Bedford that are as we speak descending on an estate reportedly owned by Donald Trump. They’ll be inspecting the tent Qadaffi has pitched there, with an eye toward making him take it down because he didn’t get a permit. Nothing to do with politics, you understand. They’re just upholding the law.

gaddafi_tent.bedford

As for Ahmadinejad, his constant denials of the Holocaust are reason enough for most people to find his presence here distasteful at best. And believe me, that is good reason. To top it off, he’s got significant problems at home, where there are still significant numbers of people who think he stole the last election. He’ll be center stage Wednesday afternoon, and several nations have promised to walk out of his speech if he starts ranting.

Ahmadinejad

That leaves a larger question. Why are these guys even here addressing the world body? Their statements and actions d

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Muammar Qaddafi & Englewood, NJ? Why’s Libyan Leader Coming to My Town?

The international firestorm over Scotland’s decision to free Libya’s Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi shows no sign of abating, nor should anyone have expected it to. Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny  MacAskill will be making a statement to that country’s Parliament. His appearance isn’t expected to be pretty.

The decision to send the only person convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing home to Libya was, one expects, not taken lightly. However, on the international stage, there are charges a trade deal was made to free Megrahi, and there are calls in the US for a boycott of Scottish and British goods and tourism.

No one can predict if such action will be taken, and if so, what its effect will be. Yet for me, and the city in which I live, the entire weight of the Scottish decision and Libya-US relations has taken a decidedly personal turn.

That’s because there’s word that Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi is considering a stay in Englewood, NJ, the city I call home. Qaddafi is due to speak to the UN next month, Englewood is about 10 miles as the crow flies from midtown Manhattan, and the Libyan mission to the UN owns a home in town.

Muammar Qaddafi
Muammar Qaddafi

As you might imagine, news of Qaddafi’s possible visit has touched off a wave of anger in Englewood’s large Jewish community. Many here consider him a continuing sponsor of terrorism, no matter what the rapprochement between Libya and the US in recent years. Residents cite as proof of Qaddafi’s imminent arrival frantic renovations currently going on at the little used property .

Of course, there’s little that can be done to legally stop Qaddafi from using the property while he’s in the US.

Libyan owned mansion in Englewood, NJ under renovation for Gadhafi's stay
Libyan owned mansion in Englewood, NJ under renovation for Gadhafi's stay

There are issues regarding international diplomacy, and the State Dept. doesn’t as a rule publicize where foreign leaders reside during visits. Qaddafi reportedly wanted to pitch a tent in New York’s Central Park, but that request went nowhere.

Already there are calls from some to “burn the house down”, which is at best stupid and at worst could merit a visit from authorities.

Certainly if Qaddafi does come to my town, I’d expect protests, large and vocal. Englewood is a diverse small city, and as such would tolerate a stay by Qadaffi, but certainly not in silence. And that’s as it should be. As Americans, we have the right of free speech and should show our outrage that a convicted murderer can return home to a hero’s welcome.

To the extent that Muammar Qaddafi condoned and organized that show of support, he should be the subject of protests, in Englewood, NJ and at the UN. If he chooses to stay among us, he’s got to hear us as well.

Cafe in Englewood, NJ
Cafe in Englewood, NJ

Isn’t that the American way?

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