May 20, 2019

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NYT "expert" calls Bibi Iran nuclear speech a "nothingburger." Here’s where he shows his ignorance.

From an op-ed in The New York Times by Steven Simon, who somehow survived a single year as National Security Council’s senior director for the Middle East and North Africa:

Monday afternoon, just a bit behind schedule, Mr. Netanyahu took to the stage next to an enormous screen. The headlines had suggested he would be in his office at a desk or podium to share news of existential importance. Instead, he presented a minor-league TED Talk — and in English, no less. Outside the elite, fewer and fewer people in Israel speak English, so the notion of a country’s leader supposedly addressing his compatriots in a foreign language on a matter of national security added to the weirdness of the performance.

One would think that a writer freely admitting that he didn’t understand why something happened would disqualify him from calling it “weird.”

But it wasn’t weird. Netanyahu is a brilliant communicator. Dismissing his choice and medium of messaging reveals that Simon cannot think outside his own little box.

Obviously Bibi wasn’t addressing Israelis. A good theory of who he really was addressing comes from Michael Weiss, an expert on the Middle East:

Today [Bibi]  broadcast to the IRGC that their most guarded facilities are playgrounds for the Mossad. Not a confidence building exercise for Iranians if they seek to go to war.

Netanyahu is playing chess and Simon thinks he’s watching a game of tic-tac-toe.

The archive had been stored in what Mr. Netanyahu described as a derelict warehouse in Tehran. The photos he displayed indicated that there did not even appear to be a lock on the door. One wonders how important the Iranians thought these documents were, given the slapdash approach they took to storing them. 

Is Simon seriously claiming that the Iranians didn’t care about the contents of these archives? Without knowing the content of any of the tens of thousands of documents? Again – he doesn’t understand something so he displays his ignorance by disparaging what he doesn’t understand.

Why were sensitive documents in this civilian warehouse? Barak Ravid has an excellent Twitter backgrounder on the Mossad operation, and he writes in part:

An Israeli official said the Mossad received intelligence that showed the Iranians were trying to hide all the documents which dealt with the military dimensions of their nuclear program. The official said that in a highly secret operation known to a handful of Iranian officials the Iranians transferred tens of thousands of documents and CD’s from several different sites around the country to a civilian warehouse in Tehran.  The Israeli official said the Iranians did all that because they were afraid that in post Iran deal inspections the IAEA will discover the incriminating documents The Mossad has put the warehouse under surveillance and started preparing for a possible operation to seize the documents. According to Israeli officials more than 100 Mossad spies worked on this operation.

100 Mossad agents working in a highly sensitive area, and this NYT “expert” claims that there was not even a lock on the door so it was a cinch. Wow, those Mossad agents should have just walked in the unlocked door- what’s wrong with them for not consulting with Steven Simon?

Simon goes on to say that everything revealed in the archives was known already. Um, no – there are so many files that the US and Israel haven’t finished going through them yet. Ravid again:

 In February Mossad started translating & analyzing the documents most of were written in Farsi. A special team with 50 analysts was formed in the Mossad & a separate team is working in the CIA. Both intelligence agencies still haven’t finished analyzing the documents
 An Israeli official told me: “The documents tell us new things about the military dimensions of the Iranian nuclear program. Things we didn’t know before. The documents give us new details about Iranian R&D sites, sites for possible nuclear tests & individuals involved”
 The official added: “The documents tell us more details than the IAEA knew until toady about the Iranian nuclear program. 

And as David Horovitz notes, the documents show not that Iran is violating the deal – but how terrible the deal was to begin with, and how foolhardy it was to offer a deal that gave Iran the pathway to nuclear weapons and delivery systems where research can continue at full tilt.

All this in exchange for a delay of a few years for the weapon itself and many billions of dollars to help pay Hezbollah and prop up the Syrian dictator who gasses his own people to death.

But the New York Times is committed to supporting the deal that should be replaced with something that actually stops Iran’s obvious quest for nuclear weapons – something that has teeth.

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