The John Batchelor Show

Thursday 26 April 2018

Air Date: 
April 26, 2018

Photo: A tiny part of the enormous and spectacular Marrakesh souk.
Co-hosts: Behnam Ben Taleblu, FDD, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents
Hour One
Thursday 26 April 2018 / Hour 1, Block A:  Sebastian Gorka, Fox National Security Strategist and author of the upcoming, Why We Fight;  in re: North Korea. Secy Mike Pompeo has been confirmed by the Senate, and also helped arrange the meeting between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in. Moments after confirmation he left for Andrews AFB to fly to Brussels to speak with NATO leaders.  The Trump effect! No time to look for fancy cars or drinks in Adams Morgan.  Concerning DPRK, we have to step beyond the armistice; no resolution, just stasis since 1953.   . . .  US is pushing hard with our allies against the Chines aggression.  Trump is a pragmatist. The steel and aluminum tariffs were never about trade war. Were abt a global re-set. Now, everything is possible.  We’ve been acquiescing to the creeping influence of China for three decades, even unto their buying off Australian members of parliament.
Thursday 26 April 2018 / Hour 1, Block B:  Sebastian Gorka, Fox National Security Strategist and author of the upcoming, Why We Fight; in re: Pres Trump’s natl security advisor John Bolton; JCPOA:  president was not satisfied with the explanations he was given if we unilaterally withdraw.  Macron and Merkel want to keep the deal alive because they're massive trading partners, nothing to do with the merits of the deal. Iran is a bad actor, which is esp evident when you stand in a Druse village in the Golan: it empowers the mullahs.  Anything that undermines the Teheran regime is good, Our challenge is to convey to the American people why Iran is dangerous to us.  Report today that our gunships  in Syria are being jammed, probably by Russians.  [microwaves?]  “Supermissiles that could take out Florida” failed visibly, so Russian clients know they can’t depend on Russian technology. Russians are using inhuman levels of microwave radiation against Ukrainians, frying stuff mid-air.  Satrapy.
The Blue Wave fantasy of a Democratic takeover in the coming elections. . .  “If you're an American facilitating felonious activities, including coaching people to lie to enter the US, you’ll be dealt with appropriately.”   Mike Pompeo.
Thursday 26 April 2018 / Hour 1, Block C:  Behnam Ben Taleblu, FDD, in re: the Iran deal.   In some parts of the world, everything hinges on Pres Trump’s decision for May 12.  It's an existential crisis for the entire Middle Eastern region.  Same time as the Nakhba and other events. Macron had a very successful charm offensive here; in the press, the Europeans are offering a fake fix for JCPOA. John Bolton wasn’t brought in to settle for a fake fix.  Javad Zarif has been in the US on anther charm offensive sowing the seeds for trouble after 12 May rejection of the JCPOA.
Iran is weak but is great at filling vacuums and poking a finger in the US eye.  We, and the Iranian people, need a real fix. Regime change?  Whew—that’d be a real fix. 
Without the JCPA does Iran maintain its power in Syria? If so nothing will be staying the US from full sanctions.  Saudis also want the deal cancelled. MBS has been driving [anti-Iran activity].
Iran’s weakness is its economy; of course, they're thieves and stole the money; then spread some of it elsewhere.   Iranian people in 2017-2018 chiding the leadership for foreign adventures and distributing money the populace needs to foreigners,  . . .   The T4 headquarters in Damascus; the drone sent from Syria over the Golan across part of  Israel was armed.  This is an act of war.
The guise of the Syrian civil war to resupply Hezbollah . . .  Our AC130 gunships in Syria are experiencing jamming.  Escalation.
US needs a plan in case the JCPOA is cancelled. 
Staring at the troops across the frontier in the Golan: Monica Crowley wisely observed, “This is the front line of the new cold war.”
Thursday 26 April 2018 / Hour 1, Block D:  Gordon Chang, Daily Beast, and Bruce E Bechtol, Jr., assoc prof, poli sci; Dept of Security Studies, Angelo State University; in re:  Collapse of the North Korean test site. Collapsed tunnel: killed a couple dozen workers; reports were sketchy but from multiple sources.  John McCreary, intell op ret, does a report every morning called Nightwatch.  Read by general, intell officers worldwide. He quoted several Chinese reports saying this tunnel is gone.  No  longer a viable nuclear test site.  Ergo, every one of North Korea’s tests: cannot be replicated. Do they have an alternative site ready to go?  Took ‘em 12 years to bld that facility.  Suspending nuke tests/ Only if it was to be one in the atmosphere veer the Pacific.  As for missile testing, although they've made a lot of progress, they still have away to go. Haven't proven they can integrate all their capabilities into one [composite].
BEB:  I read the FDD reports daily.  Many reliable sources (Jane’s, et al), in 2003 NK had so many pp assisting them w bldg. a nuke warhead they had a special spa. In 2005, underground facilities.   In 2011, Iran helped w software; in 2015, reports from dissident groups: dozens of Iranians were visiting. Finally, in 2013 the Iranian top officials in DPRK to observe the tests.  The US govt has never even remarked o n all this, nor has the UN. 
Will they talk about transparency?  No.
Hour Two
Thursday 26 April 2018 / Hour 2, Block A:  Dennis Ross, Washington Institute; in re: Gaza
Ambassador Dennis Ross is counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Prior to returning to the Institute in 2011, he served two years as special assistant to President Obama and as National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, and a year as special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Thursday 26 April 2018 / Hour 2, Block B:  Laziza Dalil, in re: Association Mimona, in Morocco. 
 “Mimouna” is a unique Moroccan Jewish celebration of liberty and community. Moroccan Jews traditionally invite their Muslim neighbors to join their post-Passover festivities. Association Mimouna is an NGO founded in 2007 at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane by Moroccan Muslim students who take pride in this shared symbol of Moroccan heritage and strive to preserve and promote the history of Morocco’s ancient Jewish community. Mimouna seeks to educate Moroccans about the Jewish culture that used to flourish in the country, and encourage harmony between Jews and Muslims. Thousands of people have attended Mimouna’s “Moroccan Jewish Days” and “Moroccan Jewish Caravan.” The New York Times described Mimouna’s conference commemorating Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust and honoring King Mohammed V for his refusal to assent to the persecution of Jews during the Vichy occupation as “the first of its kind in an Arab or Muslim nation and a sign of historical truth triumphing over conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic dogma.”
Born and raised in Marrakech, Laziza Dalil holds a BA in finance and international business from Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (AUI). She is currently working as a commercial associate in a foreign embassy in Rabat. While earning her degree, Laziza was Vice President of the Student Government Association and co-hosted a weekly entertainment radio show. Laziza joined the university's Mimouna club. She is the Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of the Moroccan NGO, Association Mimouna.
Thursday 26 April 2018 / Hour 2, Block C:  Ilan Berman, American Foreign Policy Council; in re: Iran  US intelligence is monitoring a series of cargo flights from Iran into Syria that the US suspects may be carrying weapons systems into Syria for potential use by Bashar al-Assad's regime or Iranian forces, CNN has learned. 
An administration official confirms to CNN that the flights took place and the US and Israel are both concerned the cargo could potentially include weapons that could eventually be used to threaten Israel. 
While weapons shipments into Syria are not uncommon, these flights involving Iran have caught the attention of US intelligence because they occurred in the days after the April 13 US airstrikes on Assad regime targets. Rhetoric between Iran and Israel has also escalated in recent weeks over Tehran's involvement in areas of Syria that can be used to potentially launch missiles or aircraft that could target Israel.
 Ilan Berman is Senior Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, DC. An expert on regional security in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Russian Federation, he has consulted for both the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Department of Defense, and provided assistance on foreign policy and national security issues to a range of governmental agencies and congressional offices. He has been called one of America's "leading experts on the Middle East and Iran" by CNN
Thursday 26 April 2018 / Hour 2, Block D:  Aykan Erdemir, Intl Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief,  in re: Turkey.
 Dr. Aykan Erdemir is a former member of the Turkish Parliament (2011-2015) who served in the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, EU Harmonization Committee, and the Ad Hoc Parliamentary Committee on the IT Sector and the Internet. As an outspoken defender of pluralism, minority rights, and religious freedoms in the Middle East, Dr. Erdemir has been at the forefront of the struggle against religious persecution, hate crimes, and hate speech in Turkey. He is a founding member of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief, and a drafter of and signatory to the Oslo Charter for Freedom of Religion or Belief (2014) as well as a signatory legislator to the London Declaration on Combating Antisemitism.
Hour Three
Thursday 26 April 2018 / Hour 3, Block A: Brenda Shaffer, Georgetown, in re: Energy.   Oil  is now at $75/Bbl. Unusually high in recent times. Yes, it's party due to Iran’s behavior. Big gap between supply n demand; geopolitical events do not have a big effect, in a tight mkt, geopolitics can excessively affect the market.  Actions among all the national forces can destabilize a region.   Decision to continue or not the JCPOA; and demos in western Iran; and other events.  The threat of Iran for disrupting our allies. Is Iran an existential threat to Israel?   . . .  PA, Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, can be affected. Yemen on the oil tankers’s shipping routes.  Eventually, the conflict in Syria will be brought into Iran, itself.  Huge implications for the price of oil.  “What starts in the Golan doesn't stay in the Golan.”
Armenian demos: NYT covers them daily – but not a syllable about Iranian demos in Khuzestan or  _____.  Yes, these are significant.  The big question is, what happens with e security forces?
In Armenia, security forces joined the demos and brought down the govt; similar in Georgia (Sheverdnadze) and in Russia under Yeltsin.
Conference of Presidents last night held a celebration of Muslim countries that moved mightily to save Jews. For most of history it's been a warmly cooperative relationship.  Local citizens incorporated into local culture. Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, all accepted and protected Jews. One who  escaped to a Christian European nation may not have been safe, but if he got to one of the Central Asian nations, he was. Note that Muslim Soviet troops were critical to the success of Stalingrad in the winter.    
[The majority population of most border provinces is non-Persian, while Iran's heartland is primarily Persian (though about half the population of Tehran itself consists of minorities). In all, ethnic minorities comprise more than half of the country's total population of 82 million, according to mainstream academic assessments. The largest group is Azerbaijanis (approximately 24 million), followed by Kurds (8 million), Lurs (3 million), Arabs (3 million), Turkmens (3 million), and Baluch (3 million).]
Brenda Shaffer
Thursday 26 April 2018 / Hour 3, Block B:  Malcolm Hoenlein, in re: there are 1400 anti-Jewish incidents per year . . .  400 in Germany. Also, an attack against a young Israeli Arab: curious, he put on a yarmulke and went into the streets of Berlin and was maltreated.  Tens of  thousands of Germans put on a kipa and marched.   Protest against an official who said, “Don't wear overtly Jewish clothes.”  What?
The IDF is deployed next to Gaza; Hamas is looking for a major provocation, wants to kill and Israeli. Israel is putting up a huge earth berm and a wall sunk well below ground level.  Nikki Haley this week spoke of those who use human shields, denounced this and spoke in favor of the populace.   Also, the fight between Abbas (the PA) and Hamas (Gaza).  These demos are a diversion. Note that they don't demonstrate at the Egyptian border, where there would be a lot more casualties. 
Thursday 26 April 2018 / Hour 3, Block C:  Gene Marks, Washington Post: Small Business America; in re:  First-time jobless clams are lowest since Nixon was president.
Thursday 26 April 2018 / Hour 3, Block D:  Gene Marks, Washington Post, in re: Small Business America.
Hour Four
Thursday 26 April 2018 / Hour 4, Block A: Robert Zimmerman, BehindtheBlack,com, in re:
Trace Gas Orbiter releases first color image. 
Zooming in on a Martian surprise. —Alba Mons, tons of interesting features, esp a rill on the lava plains.  Gorgeous photo; can see the rim of the crater. High-res image: a sort of black smudge, which, zoomed in on, shows the black to be splash-like ejecta from a very recent impact.
Movie from Rosetta. A tweeter dug into archives and created a small movie: one with stars frozen in background; another, looking into the neck of the crater. 
Diamonds from space!  Diamonds might have come from a planet as big as Mercury.  . . .  Diamonds in meteors.
How to blow up a star   Scientists have been trying to simulate explosions. Getting neutrinos to generate the blast to cause a supernova hasn't worked, but now have managed to make it so the neutrino blast wave doesn't die out.   . . . Nature: . . . thought that in falling matter, . . . creating a shock wave; but [need] some extra source of energy.
Thursday 26 April 2018 / Hour 4, Block B: Robert Zimmerman, BehindtheBlack,com, in re:
Russia and China have successful launches.   China launched a very small Long March 11, quick-reaction launch vehicle designed to put up satellites quickly. Put up five, each designed to do Earth observations; claimed to be not military [ha]. Russia sent up a Euro observation sat. 
China's mysterious SJ-17 satellite.    Has done a lot of re-location maneuvering. Suggests an anti-satellite [most likely].  Cd be testing their own version of the X37B.  Cognoscenti are desperately trying to get the US Air Force to quit making huge sats that take years to launch; rather, make hundreds of tiny cube sats.
DARPA announces $10 million launch.    . . . effort o get money into small, new companies without all the bureaucratic fuss and feathers? “It's a payoff; it's the swamp.”
Thursday 26 April 2018 / Hour 4, Block C:  The Return of George Washington: Uniting the States, 1783-1789,  by Edward J. Larson
Thursday 26 April 2018 / Hour 4, Block D:  The Return of George Washington: Uniting the States, 1783-1789,  by Edward J. Larson
..  ..  ..
Iranian Moves in Syria Threaten Israel; interview with Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser in
i24news on April 23, 2018
Q: In what ways does Iran’s entrenchment in Syria pose a danger for Israel?
Kuperwasser: What the Iranians are trying to do is to turn Syria into a base from which they can threaten Israel in a much easier way than they can from far away in Iran. Even if they are trying to have nuclear weapons, they know it’s going to take time. Meanwhile, they have to build their capabilities, and they are trying to bring in elements to make it possible for them to threaten Israel in three ways:

  • The first is by improving the capabilities of Hizbullah. The main focus in this respect is to try to enable Hizbullah to have weapons that are more precisely guided. Israel is trying to prevent that from happening.
  • Second, they were trying to build, until recently, a base for carrying out terror attacks against Israel from the areas adjacent to the border in the Golan Heights.
  • Third, the Iranians are trying to build a base inside Syria itself from which they can attack Israel using their various military capabilities, and use Syria as a place for the production of weapons that they cannot produce in Iran.

All of these are direct threats for Israel, and we saw that on February 10, when they tried to carry out an attack against Israel directly from Syria.
Q: It is said that an Iranian retaliatory strike against Israel is likely in the works. Do you agree with that assessment?
Kuperwasser: They have many options. They may consider carrying out terror attacks against Israeli targets outside the region. They did that in the past in Buenos Aires, so everything is possible.  We should be on the alert, and yes, the Iranians will try to find a way to retaliate. But it’s not retaliation because they started it by launching an attack on Israel.
This is an ongoing war. The idea of using Syrian territory as a base from which they can threaten Israel was an Iranian idea that was not thwarted by the Russians in spite of what Israel said to them. Netanyahu went to Putin eight times in order to tell him all about that.
Q: It didn’t really work, right?
Kuperwasser: We don’t know, because things could’ve been much worse by now. So you cannot know if this is the case. There are all kinds of things that they can bring in. They didn’t bring in planes, they didn’t bring in rockets and missiles.
The growing Iranian presence in Syria is mainly a result of the decision taken mainly by the Obama administration to let Iran play a role in Syria. This was not the case until the Americans and the Iranians agreed on the JCPOA, on the nuclear deal, but right with the nuclear deal came American acquiescence to the Iranian role in Syria. We are still eating the fruits of this today.
Q: President Donald Trump will have to decide by May 12th whether to restore the U.S. economic sanctions on Tehran. Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif has warned that if the U.S. pulls out of the deal, “Iran has many options, and those options are not pleasant.”
Kuperwasser: What the Iranians are really worried about is that President Trump is going to deliver on his promise to take steps regarding the JCPOA if it is not fixed. The way things look right now, it is not going to be fixed, so he’s going to nix it.  I think the result is going to be that the options of the Iranians will be very limited. The most important thing that’s going to happen is that the Iranian rial is already plunging. It’s just going to continue nosediving, and God knows what’s about to happen to the Iranian economy? Nobody in the major companies in the world is going to prefer doing business with Iran.
Q: French President Macron doesn’t want Trump to leave the nuclear deal. Can Macron sway him?
Kuperwasser: I don’t think that on this extremely important issue, Trump is going to change his mind just because of something that Macron is going to tell him, unless Macron has a way to fix the deal. But I don’t think that he has one, and I think for Trump it is extremely important to lead.
He knows well that this deal is terrible for the West. It paves the road for the Iranians to have a big nuclear arsenal in 12 or 13 years. Who’s ready to support a deal like that? At the end of the day, Macron will have to stand with the United States. He doesn’t want it to happen now, and we know that once the U.S. pulls out of the deal, it means the re-imposition of American sanctions.
American sanctions are secondary sanctions. They’re not about the United States not dealing with Iran. They’re about not dealing with anyone who deals with Iran. This is so powerful and so painful for the Iranians. Now they are trying to deter the Americans from doing it, but once this is done, France is going to have to reassess – as will the Iranians themselves.