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North Korea’s Progress in Developing Nuclear Weapons Is Good News for Iran

Aug. 10 2017

Last month, Pyongyang launched what it claims to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM); more recently, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency concluded that the Communist regime has also developed the sort of miniaturized nuclear weapon that could be used as a warhead for such a missile. These technological achievements bode well for Iran, according to Ted Poe, and not only because the 2015 nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic resembles the 1994 agreement to restrict North Korea’s nuclear program:

Iran looks to North Korea to support and enable its nuclear ambitions. For years, experts have suspected North Korea of being the key supporter behind Iran’s missile and nuclear programs. Today, many of the missiles Iran would use to target American forces in the Middle East are copies of North Korean designs.

North Korean engineers are in Iran helping to improve its missiles to carry nuclear warheads. . . . Fortunately, Iran is still behind the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in acquiring a nuclear device. But like the ill-fated 1994 agreement with North Korea to halt its nuclear program, the nuclear deal President Barack Obama signed with Iran in 2015 is destined to fail. Once it does, Iran will be able to mount nukes, quickly, on its massive arsenal of ballistic missiles thanks to North Korean assistance that has occurred since the deal was signed. This time, Iran’s missiles will be better protected because North Korea has helped it build as many as thirteen secret underground launch facilities modeled after their own. . . .

According to the Pentagon, North Korea already gave Iran an intermediate-range missile known as the Musudan in 2005, which Iran tested earlier this year. The DPRK used the same missile to develop its new ICBM. Tehran will likely follow the same path to an ICBM—except with its North Korean friends providing tips to accelerate its program. When Iran reaches this threshold, [it] will be able to extend its threats beyond the Middle East and deep into Western Europe to endanger our NATO allies.

Read more at National Interest

More about: Iran, Iran nuclear program, North Korea, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy

Getting It Right in Afghanistan

Aug. 23 2017

While praising the president’s announcement Monday night that the U.S. will be sending 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan, Thomas Joscelyn and Bill Roggio express their “doubt [that] this will be enough to win the war.” They also warn against the dangers of a complete or partial American withdrawal and offer some strategic recommendations:

Al-Qaeda is still a significant problem in South Asia—a potentially big one. President Obama frequently claimed that al-Qaeda was “decimated” and a “shadow of its former self” in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That wasn’t true. The Obama administration’s counterterrorism campaign dealt significant blows to al-Qaeda’s leadership, disrupting the organization’s chain of command and interrupting its communications. But al-Qaeda took measures to outlast America’s drones and other tactics. The group survived the death of Osama bin Laden and, in many ways, grew. . . .

Al-Qaeda continues to fight under the Taliban’s banner as well. Its newest branch, Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, is deeply embedded in the Taliban-led insurgency. . . . There’s no question that Islamic State remains a serious problem in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but it still doesn’t threaten the Afghan government to the same degree that the Taliban/al-Qaeda axis does. . . .

Iran remains a problem, too. The Iranian government has supported the Taliban’s insurgency since 2001. Although this assistance is not as pronounced as Pakistan’s, it is meaningful. The U.S. government has also repeatedly noted that Iran hosts al-Qaeda’s “core facilitation pipeline,” which moves fighters, funds, and communications to and from South Asia. Any successful strategy for turning the Afghan war around will have to deal with the Iranian government’s nefarious role. The Russians are [also] on the opposite side of the Afghan war.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Iran, Taliban, U.S. Foreign policy