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 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 18-Mar-2014
18-Mar-14 World View -- Does Iran's anti-nuclear fatwa really exist, as claimed?

Web Log - March, 2014

18-Mar-14 World View -- Does Iran's anti-nuclear fatwa really exist, as claimed?

U.S. special forces capture pirate Libyan oil tanker in Mediterranean

This morning's key headlines from

Russia's Putin declares Crimea to be a 'sovereign and independent state'

Girl celebrates referendum victory on Sunday in Lenin Square in Simferopol, the capital city of Crimea (Telegraph)
Girl celebrates referendum victory on Sunday in Lenin Square in Simferopol, the capital city of Crimea (Telegraph)

As expected, Russia will not immediately annex Crimea, despite the fact that Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to do so on Sunday. According to the decree signed on Monday by president Vladimir Putin:

"Considering the will of the peoples of Crimea expressed at the all-Crimea referendum on March 16, 2014, I hereby decree that the Republic of Crimea, where the city of Sevastopol has a special status, be recognized as a sovereign and independent state."

This is similar to what Russia did in 2008, after Russia invaded Georgia. Russia took control of two Georgian provinces, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but did not officially annex them to Russia. The annexation thus was "de facto," not "de jure."

In the case of Georgia, international outrage settled down within a few months, and everything returned to business as usual. Possibly Putin hopes the same thing will happen with respect to Crimea.

The other possibility, being advanced by some analysts, is that Putin wants to postpone annexing Crimea until after a new invasion of Ukraine allowing Russia to annex either eastern Ukraine or all of Ukraine, along with Crimea. Itar-Tass (Moscow)

Does Iran's anti-nuclear fatwa really exist, as claimed?

The interim nuclear agreement that the West signed with Iran in November has been very troubled from day one. The full text of that agreement has never been published. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that under the agreement Iran had no right to enrich uranium, while Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif gloated that Iran had preserved its right to enrich uranium. The White House published a "summary," but Iran completely rejected the White House summary as "not true." Then, in January, Iran disclosed that there was a secret side agreement to the nuclear agreement. The White House first confirmed this, saying that the side agreement would be made public, and then denied that there was a secret side agreement.

In selling the interim nuclear agreement, President Barack Obama frequently referred to a fatwa issued by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei that Iran's nuclear program is entirely peaceful, and that forbids the development of nuclear weapons. The fatwa supposedly says, "the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that the Islamic Republic of Iran shall never acquire these weapons."

The problem is that Obama has apparently never actually seen this fatwa, and apparently neither has anyone else. Iranian and Arab writers have been examining Obama's claim, and they say that there is no such fatwa. The closest thing to it that's verifiable is a slogan from Khamanei:

"Nuclear weapons for no nation, nuclear energy for all nations!"


U.S. special forces capture pirate Libyan oil tanker in Mediterranean

This story could be the plot of a situation comedy.

Following the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, the eastern region of Libya, formerly known as Cyrenaica and now called the Barqa Region, is being governed by rebels who demand to secede from the Libya headed by the government in Tripoli -- and keep their oil wells for themselves.

A major drama played out in Libya over the last two weeks. A North Korean-flagged oil tanker, the Morning Glory, docked in the port of As-Sidra in "Barqa." The rebels loaded it up with $38 million worth of crude oil from Libya's wells. The Tripoli government said that if the oil tanker leaves port, it would be bombed. The rebels said that if it's bombed, then it would be a "declaration of war."

Then Libya's prime minister in Tripoli announced that the oil tanker had been captured, and that it was under control of Libya's navy. The next thing we heard was that the oil tanker had slipped away anyway. The prime minister was sacked, and he's now fled to Europe.

So the oil tanker headed to the waters near Cyprus, where the pirates began trying to sell off their oil. Both Cyprus and Libya asked for America's help, and early Monday morning, a U.S. SEAL commando team boarded the tanker from a Naval special warfare rigid inflatable boat and took control. No one was injured. The ship will be returned to Tripoli.

Despite the comedic nature of this story, the serious side is that Libya is in chaos. The country is essentially being run by individual militias, with little government control over the country. The Morning Glory incident may not be fully played out, but even if it is, it's going to lead to retribution in its aftermath. Reuters

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 18-Mar-14 World View -- Does Iran's anti-nuclear fatwa really exist, as claimed? thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (18-Mar-2014) Permanent Link
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