Misremembering the European Refugees

that-did-not-happen

Click image for video link

I am not in any way having a go at the sentiments expressed in this video, but there were a few unfortunate mistakes made. The video is referring to the The Middle East Relief And Refugee Administration, which the British created in 1942.

At the start of World War II, Syria and Lebanon were colonial possessions of France, which came under the control of Nazi collaborating Vichy France in 1940. Western Europe fell so quickly to the Germans in 1940 that there was no time for any significant movement of refugees to Syria. In 1941 British Empire forces, including Australian troops, invaded Syria and Lebanon. This was to prevent German forces from making use of Syria, as they were already attempting to invade British Egypt from Italian Libya.

The Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939 and the Balkans in 1941 had resulted in thousands of refugees, who the British evacuated through Greece to their territories of Cyprus, Egypt, and Palestine. In 1942, the British dispersed these Jewish, Polish, Greek, and Yugoslav refugees to temporary camps in Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. Some Poles were even sent to Iran, which the British Empire and the Soviets had jointly invaded in 1941 to overthrow the pro-Nazi Reza Shah. Virtually all these refugees, except many Jews, returned to Europe after the war.

This video characterizes the temporary settlement of these refugees as a choice made by the local Arabs out of the goodness of their hearts; when in reality, they had no say, as the British were in charge of these lands. It’s the British Empire who should be credited with taking in the refugees and funding their camps. The video also implies that the Arabs welcomed the refugees into their communities, when in fact they were kept in their own separate camps. Also, the overwhelming majority of the non-Jewish refugees did not intend to settle in the Middle East permanently, unlike the case today with many of the Syrian refugees, who desire to settle permanently in Europe.

The theme of this video is that Europe owes the Arabs some sort of debt; which is just a misreading of history. Many now seem to have forgotten, in Europe’s time of need, the British Empire took in their tired, poor, and hungry.

These facts aside, we should still be helping Syrian refugees.

MicMedia
https://www.facebook.com/MicMedia/videos/1268577323165055/

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Friday The 13th – A Nightmare On Arab Street

Iran-determined-to-strengthen-ties-with-Iraq

Recent events in Iraq look like the beginning of a long feared nightmare scenario for the Middle East – that the Syrian Civil War would become a wider Sunni versus Shia regional war, involving Syria, Iraq, Iran, and maybe even Lebanon. Iran is already involved in helping Assad’s Shia regime in Syria, so now, with their intervention in Iraq to fight a Sunni terrorist faction (ISIL, also known as ISIS) already involved in the Syrian war, it’s now time to think of a new name for this larger war.

This must be seen as a great opportunity by Iran, as they can now establish a land bridge to Syria, enabling them to bring their full military might to bear on all the Syrian rebel factions. Before, Iran’s support for Assad’s regime primarily consisted of volunteers, and small arms and ammunition flown in piecemeal. But now, full divisions of tens of thousands of well-equipped professional soldiers with tanks, armoured cars, mass artillery, and a capable air force could sweep its way through Iraq and into Syria, changing the whole balance of forces there.

Maliki in his panic and desperation has made a tragic mistake by inviting in Iranian forces. With Iranian troops in Iraq, it is unlikely they will leave. They will probably seek to dominate Iraq’s politics, and transform it into a client state. This will also badly damage efforts at reconciliation between the Shiite dominated Iraqi government and the Sunnis, who have always been suspicious of Iranian influence. Maliki was already doing a poor job at dealing with the distrustful Sunni minority by mistreating the Sahwa militia, persecuting many Sunnis, and keeping Sunni political figures out of the government. Now Sunnis, who might still have believed in national unity in the face of the threat from the old ‘al Qaida in Iraq’ (now rebranded as ISIL), will have little enthusiasm for an Iranian led Shia alliance. Already, many Sunni civilians have shown support for ISIL terrorists advancing through Iraq.

A possible sequel to this nightmare though, is even more disturbing; that if Iran either achieves a total Shia victory, or at least reduces Sunni resistance to a manageable low level guerilla conflict – Iran could achieve domination over the Middle East. The conflict could leave Iraq and Syria dependent on Iranian power, and transform them and the Hezbollah controlled territory in southern Lebanon into client states of an Iranian Shia empire. But this would just be the start of clerical Iran’s supreme wish – a border with Israel. Iran would be able to build up its considerable forces along the Golan Heights and southern Lebanon for an ultimate doomsday showdown with Israel. Iran might even have a nuclear bomb by then. A nuclear holocaust and Iranian domination of the Middle East could be the greatest disaster of the 21st century.

The first part of the nightmare will be bad enough though. The mass suffering and death in Syria, which many in the West find excuses to not care about, will become much, much worse. Don’t think the intense hatred and trauma-induced bloodthirstiness that this conflict will create won’t find its way to the West. Expect the age of Islamist terrorism to get worse.

As jihadists take aim at Baghdad, Iran steps in to help historical foe
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/06/13/as-jihadists-take-aim-at-baghdad-iran-steps-in-to-help-historical-foe/

Lessons Not Learnt

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Putin holds all the cards now. However, this situation was only allowed to occur because of the political and moral vacuum that developed in the West since the end of the Cold War.

Michael Totten: “What he [Putin] most fears is that Ukraine might join NATO, removing yet another buffer state between himself and the West and kiboshing his plans for the Eurasian Union, a euphemism for a 21st century Russian empire. (Does anyone seriously believe Kazakhstan will be an equal partner with Moscow?)

Keeping his former Ukrainian vassal out of NATO will be easy now even if a militant anti-Russian firebrand comes to power in Kiev. The Crimean referendum—whether it was free and fair or rigged is no matter—creates a disputed territory conflict that will never be resolved in Ukraine’s favor. It will freeze and fester indefinitely. There isn’t a chance that NATO would accept a member that has a disputed territory conflict with Russia. No chance at all. Ukraine is as isolated as it could possibly be from the West without getting re-absorbed into Russia entirely.

Putin did the same thing to Georgia in 2008 when he lopped off the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and he did it for the same reason.”

What Vladimir Putin is Up To
http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/blog/michael-j-totten/what-vladimir-putin

“Ronald Asmus: This war [The Russia–Georgia war of 2008] is all about the rules of the game in European security. And I think most Americans, perhaps even including people like me, thought five years ago that we had successfully all but completed a post-Cold War European security architecture that had rendered war in Europe impossible and had allowed the United States to shift its strategic focus away from Europe to new hotspots in the wider Middle East.

And the key moment in that was the [2002 NATO] Prague Summit where we completed the so-called “big bang” enlargement of NATO [to] Central and East Europe from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

I think what this war showed was that Russia no longer believes in those rules of the game, because those rules of the game were based, among other things, on the rights of countries to choose their own path and their own alliances.

And as I argued in the book, the fundamental cause of the war was not ethnicity, was not Abkhazia or South Ossetia. This was a war that was fought over Georgia’s desire to go West and Russia’s determination to stop it from going West.”

Interview: Georgia’s ‘Little War’ Raises Big Questions
http://www.rferl.org/content/Interview_Georgias_Little_War_Raises_Big_Questions/2023466.html

Every Tyranny Is Paranoid
https://simonjmeath.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/every-tyranny-is-paranoid/

The “Great Game”

vladimir_putin

A peaceful diplomatic solution to Assad’s possession of chemical weapons would be welcome, but this is not Putin’s true position. Putin wants Assad to continue waging the war unhindered. He has been feeding the Syrian Civil War by supplying Assad with weapons, munitions, and diplomatic support. Putin is now congratulating himself that he has skilfully saved Assad from any serious consequences for the very real and confirmed gassing of innocent people.

What everyone needs to do is look at the track records. Assad, Putin, and Obama. What have they done; what are their motives; who do you trust?

What I want to emphasise is that Putin cannot be trusted. His article is not genuine. He is trying to protect Assad through any manipulative and dirty means necessary. Don’t take him at face value. Putin talks quietly and “reasonably” so as to look well intentioned. Remember how he treats his own people. What he does to those who stand up to him. The people he oppresses. He’s not preaching to you from a high pulpit, but from a dark dungeon. To understand him and to filter his words, you must know the “Great Game” of manipulative diplomacy that the Russians have always played. Right now, the free world is losing this game. Remember; Beowulf: “An astute man must take a measure of two things – words and deeds, and keep the two clear in his mind”.

Right now Putin is playing many naive people in the West by pretending he wants what they want – peace. But he is actually manipulating them for his own ends. Sound familiar? Hitler 1938.

With his article, Putin is trying to stir an isolationist sentiment. One in which he and his fellow dictators will be left alone by the US while they imprison, torture, and kill. This is the “peace” that we see in the world today. A phoney peace. That’s why there are so many political refugees today. When one dictator pushes it even further by waging war on his own people and crossing “red lines” by gassing innocent people, including children, Putin is counting on a disinterested world. A world intimidated into non-action by fear of war.

By not taking the right measure of the man behind the words, understanding his motives, they’re backing – indirectly – an immoral position.

“In an unprecedented move, President Vladimir Putin has written an article for the New York Times, declaring he wants to “speak directly to the American people”. Putin´s reminder of the UN´s purpose and why its power should not be undermined is both logical and diplomatic. Here is his plea for American restraint in full, please tell us what you think in the comments section.”

Putin speaks directly to the American people: and what he says makes perfect sense
http://www.trueactivist.com/putin-speaks-directly-to-the-american-people-and-what-he-says-makes-perfect-sense/

They’ve been played:

Putin — Saruman Come Alive
http://victorhanson.com/wordpress/?p=6470

Every Tyranny Is Paranoid
https://simonjmeath.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/every-tyranny-is-paranoid/

Every Tyranny Is Paranoid

A Little War That Shook The World

Click image for amazon.com link

UPDATE: July 31, 2013 President Vladimir Putin’s cruel tyranny is driven by paranoia

Tyrannies are always paranoid about threats to their regimes and so, naturally, Russia views every U.S. action as part of a grand game of chess.

David Goldman: “It’s instructive to view ourselves through a Russian mirror. The term “paranoid Russian” is a pleonasm. “The fact is that all Russian politicians are clever. The stupid ones are all dead. By contrast, America in its complacency promotes dullards. A deadly miscommunication arises from this asymmetry. The Russians cannot believe that the Americans are as stupid as they look, and conclude that Washington wants to destroy them,” I wrote in 2008 under the title “Americans play monopoly, Russians chess.” Russians have dominated chess most of the past century, for good reason: it is the ultimate exercise in paranoia. All the pieces on the board are guided by a single combative mind, and every move is significant. In the real world, human beings flail and blunder. For Russian officials who climbed the greasy pole in the intelligence services, mistakes are unthinkable, for those who made mistakes are long since buried.”

The Russians Think We’re Wrecking the World on Purpose
http://pjmedia.com/spengler/2013/03/19/the-russians-think-were-wrecking-the-world-on-purpose/?singlepage=true

“Ronald Asmus: This war [The Russia–Georgia war of 2008] is all about the rules of the game in European security. And I think most Americans, perhaps even including people like me, thought five years ago that we had successfully all but completed a post-Cold War European security architecture that had rendered war in Europe impossible and had allowed the United States to shift its strategic focus away from Europe to new hotspots in the wider Middle East.

And the key moment in that was the [2002 NATO] Prague Summit where we completed the so-called “big bang” enlargement of NATO [to] Central and East Europe from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

I think what this war showed was that Russia no longer believes in those rules of the game, because those rules of the game were based, among other things, on the rights of countries to choose their own path and their own alliances.

And as I argued in the book, the fundamental cause of the war was not ethnicity, was not Abkhazia or South Ossetia. This was a war that was fought over Georgia’s desire to go West and Russia’s determination to stop it from going West.”

Interview: Georgia’s ‘Little War’ Raises Big Questions
http://www.rferl.org/content/Interview_Georgias_Little_War_Raises_Big_Questions/2023466.html

Syria In Ruins

A man walks past a burnt car and damaged buildings along a street at the al-khalidiya neighbourhood of Homs

UPDATE1: April 5, 2013 Battle of Armageddon

UPDATE2: June 20, 2013 Syria’s Endgame: Prospects Dim, Options Narrow

UPDATE3: July 4, 2014 Obama vetoed British plan to create a 100,000 strong Free Syrian force in 2012

Had Obama intervened with a no fly zone or provided arms to the secular forces last year he could have cut off oxygen to the jihadists and the revolution would be over by now. Syria could have a transitional government favourable to the West and the hope of a friendly regime in the future. Instead, we have mass death, destruction, and the increasing influence of Islamists. A great historical opportunity has been missed to the detriment of the United States and the cost of tens of thousands of Syrian lives.

“The White House rejected the Clinton-Petraeus proposal over concerns it could draw the United States into the Syrian conflict and the arms could fall into the wrong hands, the Times said, citing unnamed Obama administration officials.”

White House rebuffed Clinton-Petraeus plan to arm Syrian rebels: report
http://news.yahoo.com/white-house-rebuffed-clinton-petraeus-plan-arm-syrian-023937923.html

“Pentagon leaders told Congress on Thursday that they had supported a recommendation to arm Syrian rebels promoted by the State Department and CIA but which President Barack Obama ultimately decided against.

Obama’s government has limited its support to non-lethal aid for the rebels who, despite receiving weapons from countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are poorly armed compared to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army and loyalist militias.

Syria’s 22-month-long conflict has killed an estimated 60,000 people.

Senator John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, has championed greater U.S. involvement and chided the Obama administration at a hearing, asking Pentagon leaders: “How many more have to die before you recommend military action?” ”

Pentagon backed plan for U.S. to arm Syrian rebels
http://news.yahoo.com/pentagon-backed-plan-u-arm-syrian-rebels-101637115.html

“Second, the lack of hope for an intervention by the West removed any impetus for maintaining a secular narrative. Many fighters who had pinned their hopes on NATO were greatly disappointed and angered that their suffering was ignored. It is not unusual for Syrian fighters to say something akin to, “What has the West done for us? We now have only God.”

When these ideological factors were combined with the infusion of money and arms that has been channeled to jihadist groups in Syria over the past year, the growth of Syrian jihadist groups accelerated dramatically. Not only are they a factor on the battlefield today, but they also will be a force to be reckoned with in the future.”

The Consequences of Intervening in Syria
http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/consequences-intervening-syria?

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A Dictatorship’s “Election”

UPDATEUkraine election ‘reversed democracy’, OSCE says

“At the moment, there are some worrying trends, as confirmed by the latest interim report by the election observation mission of the O.S.C.E.’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

We are concerned about reports of the use of administrative resources to favor ruling party candidates and the difficulties several media outlets face. Similarly, we are concerned about the continuation of the practice of the Central Election Commission holding closed pre-session meetings and the lack of representation of some political parties on district and precinct election commissions. Distribution of material or financial benefits to voters is another issue that should be investigated and halted.”

It’s also easy to win when the opposition leader is in jail!

Ukraine’s Troubling Trends
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/25/opinion/hillary-clinton-catherine-ashton-ukraines-election.html?_r=1&

Ukraine election: President Yanukovych party claims win
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20113616

Yulia Tymoshenko: Imprisoned By The Dark Side
https://simonjmeath.wordpress.com/2011/08/07/yulia-tymoshenko-imprisoned-by-the-dark-side/

Ukraine — Who Cares About Democracy?
https://simonjmeath.wordpress.com/2011/04/30/ukraine-—-who-cares-about-democracy/

Ukrainian Federalism: Code For Rule From Moscow
https://simonjmeath.wordpress.com/2011/04/30/ukrainian-federalism-code-for-rule-from-moscow/

Moscow Rules Ukraine
https://simonjmeath.wordpress.com/2011/04/30/moscow-rules-ukraine/

Ukraine’s Subverted Democracy
https://simonjmeath.wordpress.com/2011/04/30/ukraines-subverted-democracy/

Freedom For Syria


UPDATE: July 24, 2012 Assad Delenda Est: The Case for Aiding Syria’s Rebels

Syria is the most unpredictable of the Arab Spring compared, say, to Yemen, Egypt, Libya or Tunisia. It’s a potential sectarian nightmare once Assad is overthrown, not unlike Lebanon in the 80s or more recently Iraq.

However, the future is equally grim if Assad is not overthrown. The war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed by his forces in Homs and elsewhere must stop. It looks like it’s going to have to be the lesser of the two evils. Do what it takes to protect innocent civilians, whether that’s arming the Free Syrian Army or a full intervention with all the unforeseen consequences.

“Here’s to John McCain, leading from the front. Last week, the Arizona senator cut through all the White House doubletalk on the Syrian uprising and demanded a more active U.S. policy, including provision of arms to the Free Syrian Army as well as airpower to slow the assaults of Bashar al-Assad’s murderous regime.

McCain grilled senior administration officials and military officers, and set the record straight regarding the disposition of the Syrian rebels. Over the past several weeks, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have both claimed, without evidence, that al Qaeda had infiltrated the opposition. Last week McCain countered: The Syrian rebels are “not fighting and dying because they are Muslim extremists.” The administration then started to walk back its charges. What the White House really meant, said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, is that al Qaeda is looking to “exploit” the situation.

As well they might. The Syrian uprising is now a year old. There is no official toll, but the dead may number 10,000 or more. It’s gone on long enough, says McCain. With his Senate colleagues Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham, McCain released a statement calling for “relief from Assad’s tank and artillery sieges. .  .  . Providing military assistance to the Free Syrian Army and other opposition groups is necessary, but as Assad continues to intensify his assault, that alone will not be sufficient to stop the slaughter and save innocent lives. The only realistic way to do so is with foreign airpower.” The three senators realize that this “will first require the United States and our partners to suppress the Syrian regime’s air defenses in at least part of the country.”

As usual, the administration had excuses for inaction. “That air defense system,” Panetta told the Senate, “is pretty sophisticated.” According to the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, it is “approximately five times more sophisticated .  .  . than existed in Libya.”

McCain bristled. “We spend almost $1 trillion a year on the military,” he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “And we can’t take out air defenses of Syria? That is an horrific waste of the taxpayers’ dollars.”

McCain’s right. We’re not talking about NORAD here. In 2007 the Israelis had no trouble disabling Syrian air defenses before their air raid on the Al Kibar nuclear reactor in the Syrian desert. And that was hardly the first time the Israeli Air Force ran roughshod over the Syrians. Damascus’s Russian-supplied air capabilities, defensive and offensive, are a running joke in the region.

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Dictator For Life

©Vince McIndoe

UPDATE1: August 10, 2012 Putin Confirms the Invasion of Georgia Was Preplanned

UPDATE2: September 16, 2012 Georgian Democracy and Russian Meddling

UPDATE3: November 9, 2012 New Georgia government detains general, ex-minister. (Ivanishvili’s witch-hunt begins.)

If the Russians don’t overthrow Putin now, are they going to try again in ten years? He has actually said that he wants to “run” again in 2018, as if democratic elections have any meaning when opponents are disqualified and the state media does the regime’s bidding!

Putin has chosen to be a dictator for life – that’s the historical significance of this moment. It clearly bodes ill for Russia’s immediate neighbours and the world.

I strongly suspect there’s been a secret deal to hand over Belarus to Russia when its dictator Lukashenko dies. They have already given Russia a certain amount of control.

Ukraine’s Orange Revolution has failed in large part due to political pressure from Moscow, which includes the threatening message sent to Russia’s “near abroad” by its invasion of Georgia in 2008.

Concerning Georgia, Putin could, under the cover of the U.S. elections, the Olympic Games in London, possible Middle Eastern conflicts (Israel vs. Iran or the Syrian civil war), and before a weak president is gone, finish his invasion of Georgia. Russia already occupies South Ossetia and Abkhazia. This puts them less than 24 hours from besieging the capital, Tbilisi.

In 2008, it was the distraction of the Olympics in China and the “lame duck” phase of Bush’s presidency that Putin exploited, as well as the usual weak noises coming from Europe. Could Europe be much weaker economically and politically than it is now?

The end of the Putin regime would benefit the world too. If China were alone on the Syrian issue, I believe they would back off, and Georgia would naturally be safe because a democratic Russia would have no interest in trying to take them over.

Putin says no crackdown on protesters after vote
http://news.yahoo.com/putin-says-no-crackdown-protesters-vote-121555706.html

Russia election: Police arrest 550 at city protests
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17265820

From South Ossetia to War With Georgia
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/print/article/from-south-ossetia-to-war-with-georgia/453075.html 

A Nuclear Iran Cannot Be Contained

UPDATE: February 23, 2012 He Was Constructing a Genocide Weapon

It’s unfortunate that the Iranian regime is run by a bunch of fanatics who have allied themselves with terrorists – so you could say that they themselves are a terrorist state. Iran already gives weapons and support to terrorist groups like Hezbollah, so they could secretly give them nuclear bombs.

If Tel Aviv was suddenly nuked by a smuggled in nuclear bomb, then Iran could deny any knowledge and escape retaliation. But Iran could always decide that the direct approach is easier, and kid themselves into thinking that they can wipe out Israel in a surprise bombardment by nuclear missiles, and avoid any heavy retaliation.

Ahmadinejad is a delusional fanatic who believes it is Allah’s will to destroy Israel, and may believe that he is the one destined to do it.

“First, the fact that we survived the previous nuclear standoff is hardly evidence that deterrence was bound to succeed. On more than one occasion during the West’s struggle with Communism, the threat of mutually assured destruction did not prevent the two sides from stepping right to the brink, most famously during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

It would be a deadly game to try to replay MAD with Iran, in an international environment lacking many of the necessary conditions that helped keep the Cold War from unraveling into chaos. This is not just because mutually assured destruction might be more of an incentive than a deterrent for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and those around him. Even assuming Tehran will act “rationally,” MAD would still be too dangerous to contemplate.

Crucially, a nuclear standoff with Iran would lack a key component that helped keep the Cold War from turning hot: a modicum of mutual trust. Although they were ideological enemies, the Soviet Union and the U.S. had full diplomatic relations and clear channels of communication. Remember those famous red telephones?

Nothing of this sort exists between the U.S. and Israel on one side and Iran on the other. Even in promising to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, Tehran can’t even bring itself to so much as call the country by its proper name, referring to it as the “Zionist entity.” The absence of direct contacts raises the chance of either side misreading its opponent’s intentions.

In addition, Iran lacks second-strike capability and Israel is too small to absorb a nuclear attack. The temptation to launch a preemptive attack will therefore be far greater than that faced by the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Add to that the much shorter flight times for missiles between Iran and Israel than between the U.S. and the Soviet Union—giving both sides much less time to think and react—and the chances for conflict or mishap spiraling out of control grow exponentially. Even if the Iranian regime has no intention of launching an atomic strike, the risks of nuclear war by misinterpretation, technical error or miscalculation could prove unmanageable.

And unlike during the Cold War, in which there were only two main nuclear players, an Iranian bomb would inevitably lead other neighboring states to follow suit, producing a fragile standoff between several actors.”

Containment Won’t Work Against Iran
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203824904577212572805880952.html

WikiLeaks: Arab Attitude Toward Iran
https://simonjmeath.wordpress.com/2011/04/30/wikileaks-arab-attitude-toward-iran/

Trivialising The Nuclear Bomb
https://simonjmeath.wordpress.com/2011/04/30/trivialising-the-nuclear-bomb/

Should Iran Be Bombed?
https://simonjmeath.wordpress.com/2011/04/30/should-iran-be-bombed/

Iran With The Bomb, Or To Bomb Iran?
https://simonjmeath.wordpress.com/2011/04/30/iran-with-the-bomb-or-to-bomb-iran/

Iran vs The West: Nuclear Containment?
https://simonjmeath.wordpress.com/2011/04/30/iran-vs-the-west-nuclear-containment/

The Threat Of Nuclear/Biological Terrorism
https://simonjmeath.wordpress.com/2011/04/30/the-threat-of-nuclearbiological-terrorism/