Who finances Hamas’s rockets?

July 14, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Almost anywhere you look in Mideast terrorism, you find the fingerprints of Iran.

Originally posted on Money Jihad:

Short answer: Iran.

Iran manufactures missiles, loads them up at its Bandar Abbas port, ships them to Sudan, where they are transported by ground to the Sinai for final transfer through smuggling tunnels to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

Smuggling was rampant particularly when the Muslim Brotherhood controlled Egypt under Muhammad Morsi, making a significant contribution to Hamas’s 10,000 missile stockpile. “Under Morsi it was almost a highway,” said one observer.

Shorter-range missiles are built in Gaza itself. Technical expertise lent by Iran is helping develop Hamas’s homegrown rocket program, although even as recently as two years ago one analyst observed that Hamas lacks the capacity within Gaza to build a banana plantation, much less a missile factory.

Some missiles, such as the M-302, are manufactured by Syria “under license” from China, which designed it. Assad would not be able to produce these weapons or remain…

View original 9 more words


Gaza air raids a message from Israel to Iran

July 10, 2014
x

Memo to the mullahs

Photo credit: PressTV

For the last three days, Israel has been launching air raids against Hamas targets in Gaza in retaliation for the murder of three Israeli teens (one an American citizen) and the hundreds of rockets fired at Israelis towns and cities — and at a nuclear plant. (1)

But Hamas isn’t the sole target of these attacks. Writing at National Review, analyst Tom Rogan points out that Iran and its increasingly likely acquisition of nuclear weapons, and the destabilizing consequences of that for the region, are very much on Jerusalem’s mind, even as they battle Hamas. And so the heavy air assaults on Gaza are also a message to Tehran:

Meeting Hamas and [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] rocket teams with decisive force, Netanyahu hopes to signal Israel’s unwillingness to cede its traditional security supremacy. This intent is encapsulated in Israel’s mobilization of ground-force deployments: Netanyahu seems determined to take major risks in pursuit of grand strategic objectives (in this case, the military dismemberment of Hamas). Nevertheless, Israeli operations in Gaza aren’t solely about damaging Hamas. They’re also about broadcasting specific capabilities. In this regard, the scale of Israel Defense Forces air sorties in Gaza has been notable. Advertising its conducting of hundreds of missions each night, the IDF is demonstrating its capability for large-scale operations: the kind of air campaign necessary to attack Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Here, Netanyahu wants Iran to understand his willingness to gamble — even at potentially high cost. By extension, Netanyahu is also warning U.S., European, and Russian diplomats that he won’t accept any deal with Iran that he regards as weak.

Emphasis added.

It would be much better for the region and the world if this message were sent in conjunction with American and European efforts to encourage and support the opposition to the mullahcracy, a brittle, vulnerable regime that fears its own people. What worked against the Soviet empire –a clear willingness to defend oneself coupled with measures to support dissidents– would surely work here.

But, as our foreign policy under Obama is a feckless wreck that sees a diminution of American power as something desirable, while administration officials simultaneously urge restraint on Israel and praise allies of Hamas, Prime Minister Netanyahu is left on his own to make sure Ayatollah Khamenei gets the message loud and clear:

“Don’t push us.”

PS: Yes, a Palestinian teen was murdered, probably in retaliation for the killing of the three Jewish teens. But note the difference: the evening of the day the boy’s body was found, Netanyahu was publicly denouncing the killing and calling for a swift investigation. Six Jewish Israelis have been arrested as suspects, and the nation is horrified. What was the reaction in Hamas-controlled Gaza to the kidnapping of the three Jewish teens? People handed out candy in celebration. You tell me who the real savages are.

Footnote:
(1) Unbelievably idiotic. Last I checked, radioactive fallout didn’t discriminate between Muslim and Jew.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Benghazi massacre an Iranian operation?

June 23, 2014
Qassem Suleymani

Qassem Suleymani

That’s the assertion of journalist Kenneth Timmerman in a forthcoming book, “Dark Forces.” In a summary article in the New York Post, Timmerman discusses Qassem Suleymani, the head of Quds Force, Iran’s external special operations forces that have conducted operations against us in Iraq and Afghanistan, helped establish Hizbullah, and carried out terrorist strikes around the world. He then talks about Iran’s concern over our presence in Benghazi, where we were monitoring jihadist groups (and, according to rumor, shipping guns to the Syrian rebels, who were fighting Iran’s client, President Assad), groups that Iran, per Timmerman’s sources, had a hand in creating and supporting. The Iranians were so concerned, in fact, that Suleymani set up an operation in which a Quds Force hit team, disguised as Red Crescent workers, were to kidnap Ambassador Stevens and destroy the CIA annex in Benghazi. The idea was to hit us hard to prove to Washington that there was no safe place for American personnel in the Middle East.

Trouble was, from the Iranian point of view, we were intercepting their communications, knew when the hit team arrived, and had them followed by Libyan militia members in our pay. That’s when things got weird:

Then at 1 in the morning, it happened.

All of a sudden, the deputy chief jumped up from where he had been dozing off. His guys were going nuts.

The ruckus got the chief’s attention. “What’s going on? What are they saying?” he asked.

The deputy translated the excited shrieks from the trackers. It seemed the Red Crescent team had been headed back to the Tibesti Hotel when they were ambushed by a half dozen Toyota pickups with .50-caliber machine guns mounted on the beds.

The militia guys forced the Iranians to get out, cuffed them, then bundled them into a pair of Jeep Cherokees and sped off.

Our guys decided it was more prudent not to follow them, he said.

So they’re gone, the chief said. That’s it. Kidnapped.

Based on information that came in later, the station chief and his deputy assumed the Iranians had been kidnapped in some Sunni-Shia dispute and were being held until they could be shipped back to Tehran.

But, what they didn’t know, per Timmerman’s sources, is that the Iranians were intercepting the CIA annex’s communications and knew we were on to them, so they staged the kidnapping of their team as a bluff, to make us think their operation was thwarted by sectarian rivalries. And it worked; the CIA station chief and his deputy bought it. In other words, we knew what the Iranians were up to, they knew we knew, but we didn’t know that they knew we knew. And that allowed them to play us for suckers, get us off our guard, and for their proxies in Ansar al Sharia (again, per Timmerman) to carry out the attacks on September, 2012. Which, by the way, the Iranians had changed to a straight “kill the ambassador” operation, since we had blown the cover of their original kidnapping squad.

Is it true? The trouble with Timmerman’s account is that it relies on anonymous sources. That’s not surprising in intelligence work, but it makes it impossible for the average person to verify.

On the other hand, I do find it at least plausible. The Iranians have considered themselves at war with us since 1979, a war we’ve only fitfully recognized. They were responsible for the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, and there’s widespread opinion that they were somehow involved in the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996 (1). Iran has killed and maimed hundreds, if not thousands of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, via the IEDs they supplied their proxies in both places. That a commander as daring and dedicated to his cause as Qassem Suleymani appears to be might order a hit on his enemy’s embassy is not outside the bounds of reason, however.

I suppose, until and if the Iranian government falls and their records become available, this will remain one of the mysteries of the shadow war between the US and Iran.

Footnote:
(1) This was later also attributed to al Qaeda, but there’s nothing that says Iran and bin Laden couldn’t have been working together.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Hitler and Chamberlain, Putin and Obama

June 2, 2014

Obama as Chamberlain

(Photo via Israel Matzav)

I’ve been saying for years, almost since the Jihadi War began, that the state of international relations gives me a “1930s vibe,” a feeling that we may be on a path toward another World War. That feeling has come and gone as the years passed, as I’m sure it did for those living in the 30s, but it’s never quite gone away. In fact, Russia’s predatory moves toward Ukraine have brought that feeling roaring back, the parallels being striking.

Bill Whittle has noticed the same trends and, in this video for Truth Revolt, compares a lion, a bear, and two lambs:

But it’s not Russia that worries me most, unless it’s in combination with other powers. Russia is a dying state, its demographic trends signalling serious future decline. Its military, outside of special elite units, just isn’t all that good, and, while they’ve made steps to rebuild, they’re still  a long way off. (They had trouble mobilizing the limited forces they used to assault Georgia in 2008.) Their economy is far too dependent on natural resources, especially oil, but Russian oil is notoriously expensive to extract. Fracking technology in the West promises to cut the legs out from under Putin and his successors as it drives the price of oil and gas down, making Russia’s less marketable.

China concerns me more: a rising power with a strong hyper-nationalist faction, an aggressive foreign policy, and a strong sense of (as Bill notes about Russia) historical grievance. Some incident in the South or East China Seas could easily be the spark for a major conflagration.

And then there’s Iran: a fascist theocracy that has promised to destroy Israel and is desperately seeking its own nuclear weapons to do just that.

We face a bear, a dragon, and a lion, while we are lead by lambs.

Yep. I have a bad feeling about this.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Why Iran’s mullahs should never have nuclear weapons

May 12, 2014

x

In the words of Bret Stephens below in the Prager University video, we must never allow Iran to get “the bomb,” because they are likely to use it:

All of what Stephens says is true, but the key is that the real power in Iran is held by millenarian fanatics who see it as their duty to bring about the Shiite “End Times.” To these people, the temptation to use nuclear weapons in fulfillment of what they see as a religious duty might well be irresistible.

What’s so very frustrating in this situation is that all too many see only a binary choice: either accept Iran as a nuclear power, or preemptively invade the country at a potentially tremendous cost in blood and treasure. There is a third way, though we’ve wasted much time.

My friend Michael Ledeen has often written about the brittleness and vulnerability of the Iranian regime, which lives in desperate fear of the people it rules. (If you’ve read any Iranian history, you’ll know why.) Here’s an example from a recent column:

The wreckage of the Iranian state is not just the result of corruption and incompetence;  it also derives from the intense infighting within the elite.  Unconfirmed stories have appeared in the Iranian press reporting phone taps organized by the Revolutionary Guards Corps against members of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s inner circle, as well as against one another within the Guards.  There are documented fractures within the ranks of Hezbollah.  Assassinations continue apace, as in the case of Mojtaba Ahmadi, the head of the Cyber Army, in October.  The Iranian Embassy in Beirut was bombed in November by a terrorist group the Iranians had actually created.   And, in a telling blow to the regime’s ideology, Christianity is booming, and the regime is resorting to public meetings to warn the people about its dangers.

The regime does not seem to know how to cope with this crisis.  On the one hand, it increases repression.  The tempo of executions has famously increased since Rouhani’s election, and the recent brutality in Evin Prison–discussed by Ben Weinthal–shows that regime leaders are even afraid of prisoners.  For good reason:  last year many leading political prisoners refused to join the regime’s call for easing sanctions, despite torture and isolation.

It’s a hollow regime.  Its internal opponents hold it in contempt and do not fear it, and it is palpably failing.  

Between acquiescence to a nuclear Iran and outright invasion lies the choice of aiding the democratic opposition, which is large and growing. In the 1980s, we undertook a similar program in Poland, aiding the anticommunist resistance both with non-lethal aid (radios, etc.), but also open, loud public support for the rights of the people against the regime they hated. It was part of a broader American-led effort to resist Soviet aggression, and it worked. The fall of Communism in Poland was the crack that eventually lead to the collapse of the whole Soviet Empire.

Something similar could well work in Iran, whose people are desperate for the only genuinely revolutionary nation on the planet to lend its still vast moral authority on behalf of a nation that wants to free themselves from the schemes of the mad mullahs.

We missed a great chance to do this in 2009, when massive street demonstrations brought the regime to the edge of collapse. When the world needed the moral clarity of Ronald Reagan, there was instead the diffidence of Barack Obama.

And now, five years and one farcical agreement later, Iran is that much closer to having a nuclear weapon. We had better hope that they don’t achieve it before 2017, when, we again hope, a new and competent administration comes takes over. One that will not fool itself about the dangers of an Iran with a nuclear bomb.

Because, otherwise, they will use it.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Why on Earth are we selling spare aircraft parts to Iran?

April 8, 2014
No way!!

You did what??

This is an unbelievably stupid decision. I’ll let my friend Michael Ledeen explain why:

Somebody on Twitter posted an upbeat message saying the US delegation to the latest round of talks with Iranian officials was quite optimistic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a born optimist and I love optimism, but I’d rather revel in victory than hope for good news, and the Iranians have every reason to revel. The Obama crowd has just ok’d something the Tehran tyrants have desperately wanted since the eighties: spare parts for their long-grounded American passenger aircraft. Boeing and General Electric were given export licenses by the Treasury Department and everyone involved has been chanting “we take aircraft security very seriously,” in order to cloak this latest gift to the Khamenei-Rouhani regime in humanitarian hues.

Frankly I’d rather they took national security very seriously. Iran uses its commercial aircraft for military purposes (one of the reasons that eery flight between Tehran and Caracas is so worrisome), and the mullahs have been limited by the degradation of the national fleet. The Boeing planes and GE engines date to the 1970s, and very few of them are in service. Back in the mid-eighties, when I spent quite a bit of time with Iranian officials, they repeatedly asked for spare parts, both for the passenger planes and for the aging military craft, the F4s and F5s. Secretary of Defense Weinberger of course vetoed any such discussions, and the embargo has held until just now.

Now we’re arming Iran.

Emphases added.

The idea that a state-sponsor of global terrorism like Iran would adhere to understandings to keep the civilian and military functions of their aircraft separate is self-delusional nonsense. They’ll no more do that than they have to keep their civilian and military nuclear programs apart. (Really, I have a bridge for anyone who believes they’re honoring the recent nuclear agreement.)

What these fatuous dunderheads at State and in the White House refuse to see is that Iran has regarded itself as being at war with the United States since 1979. A deal like this, when Iran could easily ferry troops or equipment on “civilian” flights is tantamount to selling them the rope they’ll use to hang us.

This is part of a larger, global war of tyrannies against democracies. George W. Bush was mocked for his “Axis of Evil” comment, but he was right. The players have changed a bit since then, but still include Pyongyang, Moscow, Beijing, Havana, Caracas — and Tehran. And they’re taking advantage of the openings we’re giving them. More Michael:

And so it is, indeed the war has been on for some time, and it’s a bit hotter than Cold War 1.0 was for most of the twentieth century.  Kiev burned, and may burn again soon.  Caracas is burning, as are many of Venezuela’s cities and towns.  Crimea has been annexed, and Syria is still aflame, as is Iraq, and also Yemen.  Estonia and Finland are seriously frightened, as well they should be.  If we pull back from the crisis du jour, we can see it’s a global conflict.  Iran and Russia are fighting in Syria, sometimes with and sometimes against the jihadi marauders.  Cuba is fighting in Venezuela, a country the Castros largely command, and Hezbollah is in there, too.  And for those of you who follow Africa, know that the Iranians are up to their necks in Nigeria, buying influence and supporting the mass murderers in Boko Haram.

The West needs to wake up and smell the smoke from the fires starting to burn all around it, before it turns into a real conflagration. Our foes are vulnerable, and the West can win, but only if with American leadership. The US government is the only one that can convince the other nations to take the steps necessary to push back against Putin, Khamenei, and the others. As John Schindler recently wrote:

We will have many allies in resisting Russian aggression if we focus on issues of freedom and sovereignty, standing up for the rights of smaller countries to choose their own destiny.

It would help if we had leaders who saw themselves as the heirs to Churchill, rather than Chamberlain.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Iran tests U.S. maritime borders

February 8, 2014
"Iranian Navy in action"

“Iranian Navy in action”

Oh, how cute! The Iranian Navy is trying to show the Great Satan (1) that it’s all grown up, now!

A senior Iranian naval commander says his country has sent several warships to the Atlantic Ocean, close to U.S. maritime borders for the first time.

The commander of Iran’s Northern Navy Fleet, Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad, is quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying Saturday that the vessels have already begun the journey to the Atlantic Ocean via waters near South Africa.

The “task force” sending us this message consists of a destroyer and a helicopter carrier.

I’m sure U.S. Fleet Forces Command will be sure to be duly impressed, once they’re done laughing and pointing.

Seriously, Iran says this is in response to us for stationing the 5th Fleet in and near the Persian Gulf. Hey, Afshin! Buddy! It’s called “freedom of the seas,” and we take it very seriously. If you weren’t periodically threatening to close a lifeline for much of the world’s oil, we wouldn’t have to stand ready to knock some much-needed sense into you.

Schmucks.

Footnote:
(1) For those without a program, that’s us.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


In which Barack Obama resembles James Buchanan

November 26, 2013
"Obama's true predecessor"

“Obama’s true predecessor”

Not in the sense of “after him, a civil war,” of course. That line of thinking, which I’ve occasionally seen, is a bit overwrought. But something Stanley Kurtz wrote today made me think of Jimmy B.

Discussing what may have motivated Obama to ink this bad deal with Iran, Kurtz discounts the idea that it was done to give the administration a win after the Obamacare debacle. Rather, Kurtz thinks that Obama did this because his support has shrunk to his hardcore base, and that base hates the very idea of violent conflict with Iran. To keep from losing this last group, which is already angry over Obamacare’s problems, Obama is willing even to sign an agreement that wreaks havoc on the US position in the Middle East, as long as it postpones conflict with Iran. Kurtz writes:

Americans are weary of war and few on any political side were inclined to bail Obama out of his Syrian “red line” misadventure. Yet there is still a strong constituency for taking action when core American interests are threatened. That constituency, unfortunately, stands largely outside of Obama’s base.

To the extent that this analysis is valid, it means that as long as Obamacare is on life-support (for the next three years, by most accounts), Obama’s policy inclinations and political survival alike will conspire to dictate American weakness on the world scene. With Obama down to his dovish core supporters, we are paralyzed abroad.

And it’s this that makes me think of the hapless Pennsylvanian. Faced with a potential crisis, trapped by his ideology and party supporters who loathed the idea of federal intervention against the states, Buchanan sat there and temporized and let the problem fester until he could hand it off to Lincoln and say “You deal with it!”

And so it is with Obama and whoever succeeds him.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#IranDeal: It wasn’t just the Israelis and the Saudis Obama backstabbed

November 26, 2013
"Left to rot."

“Left to rot.”

There’s been a lot of talk since the weekend about the deal brokered between Iran on the one hand, and the US and its European partners on the other, that supposedly somehow represented a breakthrough in the quest to prevent the Iranian mullahs from getting their hands on nuclear weapons. Discussions have centered around diplomacy and grand strategy, and the motives of the Iranian and US governments. Matter of “high politics,” as they might have said in the 19th century.

But the agreement touches people on a very personal level, too. Left unmentioned in any of the negotiations are Americans trapped in Iranian prisons, men such as Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor from Idaho who was accused of the horrid crime (in Iran, under Islam) of preaching the Gospel and helping to establish home churches (1). Abedini was yanked off a bus, his passport taken from him, and he was consigned to Iran’s notorious Evin prison.

And, in the negotiations leading to this wonderful deal, the US never mentioned him once:

Two words are nowhere to be found in the pages of text that spell out a new interim nuclear deal with Iran: Saeed Abedini.

Now some supporters of the American pastor, who’s been detained in Iran for more than a year, are accusing U.S. officials of betraying Abedini by signing off on an agreement that doesn’t get him out of prison.

“We were across the table from the Iranians, and we did not bring home Americans. To me that’s a tragedy and that’s outrageous,” said Jay Sekulow, the chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Abedini’s family in the United States.

While analysts debated the nuclear agreement’s pros and cons, Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, said she was trying to comfort her two young children.

“It’s very painful,” she told CNN’s “The Lead” on Monday. “My kids were crying this morning, saying, ‘God, don’t let Daddy die. Bring him home.’ “

One would think an American government, leading a nation founded on principles of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, would have raised a stink about Abedini at these negotiations, something along the lines of “You want sanctions lifted and your sequestered cash released? Give us Abedini and we’ll talk.” (2)

But then one would remember Barack Obama is in charge. Defending Americans in danger abroad is a bit alien to him, as we learned in Libya.

Via Bryan Preston, who connects Abedini’s abandonment to his Christianity and draws a parallel to the Obama administrations attacks on religious liberty here. I disagree with Bryan on this: nations have often sacrificed individuals for “reasons of state” when a higher goal was at stake. In the Obama administration’s case, the nuclear deal with Iran was paramount, and if the government was willing to blindside Jewish Israel and Muslim Saudi Arabia with this, they weren’t going to let the fate of Saeed Abedini (or Robert Levinson) stand in the way. It’s shameful and cynical, to be sure, but not religiously motivated.

RELATED: There are several good articles explaining why this deal stinks. At The Weekly Standard, John Bolton calls this “abject surrender.” Writing at PJM, Michael Ledeen points out, among other excellent observations, that the Iranian treasury was almost empty, but we’ve now agreed to give them billions. Genius. Eli Lake at The Daily Beast quotes an expert who says this comes close to a “nuclear 1914 scenario.” How fitting, with the hundredth anniversary of World War I approaching. James Carafano calls this a deal based on a dangerous fantasy — Munich II. My own observation is this: Regardless of the restrictions placed on the Iranian public nuclear program by this deal, if you think there isn’t a secret program run in parallel by the military that is still going full-speed, you’re high.

This deal makes war more likely, not less.

PS: There’s a support page for Pastor Abedini at Facebook, and a web site for Robert Levinson.

Footnote:
(1) Abedini’s offense was compounded by being himself a convert to Christianity from Islam. Under Islamic law, that is the crime of apostasy and is punishable by death. I suppose the Iranians thought they were being merciful for just sticking him in jail for eight years.
(2) Not that I’m a religious person, but I believe very strongly in the natural right of all humans to freedom of speech and religion, and, within very broad bounds, government should stay the heck out. No law is legitimate that oppresses those rights, and an American government that won’t stand up for its citizens’ rights in the face of a tyranny that tramples both is craven.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Kerry: Nuke deal doesn’t give Iran right to enrich; Iran: World recognized our right to enrich

November 24, 2013

This is an awful deal that, at best, kicks an eventual confrontation down the road a ways. Not quite Munich, but a feckless diplomacy of a weak administration has made war more likely, not less.


Delusional: Obama admin thought they could convince Iran to abandon #Syria

September 7, 2013

Top Obama foreign policy adviser

Top Obama foreign policy adviser

I think this is final proof that The One and his band of happy progressives have been into the wrong mushrooms.

According to Samantha Power, our UN Ambassador and key mind behind the fatuous “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine of humanitarian intervention (1), thought that a UN report on Syria’s use of chemical weapons could convince Iran (and Russia) to abandon Bashar Assad:

Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, hoped that a team of UN investigators — many of whom, presumably, have a longstanding relationship with Iranian leaders — could write a report that would convince Iran to abandon its ally at the behest of the United States.

“We worked with the UN to create a group of inspectors and then worked for more than six months to get them access to the country on the logic that perhaps the presence of an investigative team in the country might deter future attacks,” Power said at the Center for American Progress as she made the case for intervening in Syria.

“Or, if not, at a minimum, we thought perhaps a shared evidentiary base could convince Russia or Iran — itself a victim of Saddam Hussein’s monstrous chemical weapons attacks in 1987-1988 — to cast loose a regime that was gassing it’s people,” she said.

This isn’t merely “detached from reality,” this is foreign policy as a psychotic break. Where do I begin? Iran? Syria is their key client in the region, essential to their influence along the Eastern Mediterranean and a vital conduit to their “foreign legion,” Hizbullah. When the protests first started a couple of years ago, they loaned Assad snipers for use against the demonstrators, a tactic they employed in their own country. They’ve even dispatched their elite troops, the Revolutionary Guard, to help Assad because, let me say this again, Syria is vital to them.

The idea that Iran, which is seeking nuclear weapons to fulfill their fondest dream of wiping Israel from the map and bringing about the Islamic “end times,” would be intimidated by a report from the United Nations is beyond laughable.

And Russia? That same Russia run by Vladimir “I leveled Grozny” Putin, who’s publicly slapping Obama, taking his lunch money, and is happily planning to supplant the US in the Middle East? That Russia? The one that blocked us at the Security Council? They’re going to say “Oh, well. A UN report. That’s different!”?

I think I’ve figured it out. “Smart Power” was one big joke all along. On us.

I’m with Victor Davis Hanson: Obama’s naive blundering is reminiscent of JFK’s mishandling of the Vienna summit, which lead Khrushchev to think he could get away with putting nuclear missiles in Cuba, which in turn almost resulted in World War III. It worries me that , with more than three years left to go, one of our major foes is going to think he can similarly test Obama.

Oh. Hi, China!

via Twitchy

Footnote:
(1) That worked so well in Libya.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


About that “moderate” new Iranian president

June 20, 2013
"Another moderate"

“Another moderate”

“Moderate” in post-Khomeini Iranian dictionaries must mean “Cool with blowing up Jews in foreign countries:”

Iranian President-elect Hassan Rowhani was on the special Iranian government committee that plotted the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, according to an indictment by the Argentine government prosecutor investigating the case.

The AMIA bombing is considered the deadliest terrorist attack in Argentina’s history, killing 85 and wounding hundreds more. The Argentine government had accused the Iranian government of planning the attack and Iran’s terrorist proxy Hezbollah of carrying it out. Numerous former and current Iranian officials are wanted by Interpol in connection with the bombing.

Former Iranian intelligence official Abolghasem Mesbahi, who defected from Iran in the late 1990s, testified that the decision to launch the attack was made within a special operations committee connected to the powerful Supreme National Security Council in August 1993.

According to the 2006 indictment, Mesbahi testified that Rowhani, who was then serving as secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, was also a member of the special committee when it approved the AMIA bombing.

A committee that included Supreme Leader (1) Ali Khamenei, the hardliner’s hardliner and real ruler of Iran. If Rowhani didn’t meet his approval, Khamenei wouldn’t have allowed him on the committee, nor would he have allowed him to run for president this year.

What? You didn’t know that Khamenei, ostensibly through the clerical Guardian Council, picks who’s even allowed to run for president in the first place?

That’s why referring to this guy as a “moderate” is nothing more than a bad joke. If he had been a genuine moderate, interested in improving relations in the world, ending Iranian state support for terrorism, and reining in Khamenei’s beloved nuclear program, the “Supreme Leader” and the Guardian Council would never have let him run in the first place. If he’s a moderate, it’s in the same way Rudolf Hess was a “moderate Nazi.”

What’s disheartening is to see again just how desperate many in the West are to find a moderate Iranian leader, someone with whom we can cut a deal. (See, for example, this piece in the leftist Guardian and this in the nearly-as-leftist New York Times) They’re nothing more than the spiritual grandchildren of the fools and appeasers who thought one could deal with Hitler.

The plan fact is that Iran has been at war with the United States and on a mission from Allah to destroy Israel and kill Jews since 1979. The people in charge, quite possibly including Rowhani, see it as their mission to bring about the Islamic “end times.” They have been stringing the US and the West along for decades, dissembling and dissimulating and pretending to be reasonable enough that they can always find suckers (including each new American administration from Carter to Obama) who think they’ll be the one to strike the “Grand Bargain.”

And I bet it will turn out the same way with Rowhani  and Obama, only the ending here will not just be egg on an American president’s face, but Khamenei in possession of a nuclear bomb.

PS: Michael Ledeen has written a great book on the difficulty the West has calling evil for what it is and facing it directly until great damage has been done and it’s almost too late. By our willful blindness and failure to take meaningful steps early, we become “Accomplices to Evil.” Highly recommended.

Footnote:
(1) One sign of possible Fascist infestation — a liking for grandiose, ego-stroking titles.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


If Assad falls, will Iran try to govern Syria directly?

May 6, 2013

That’s the speculation of a retired Israeli general, on what would amount to annexation:

  • In mid-April, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah paid a secret visit to Tehran where he met with the top Iranian officials headed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Gen. Qasem Suleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard Corps. Suleimani prepared an operational plan named after him based upon the establishment of a 150,000-man force for Syria, the majority of whom will come from Iran, Iraq, and a smaller number from Hizbullah and the Gulf states.
  • Suleimani’s involvement was significant. He has been the spearhead of Iranian military activism in the Middle East. In January 2012, he declared that the Islamic Republic controlled “one way or another” Iraq and South Lebanon. Even before recent events in Syria, observers in the Arab world have been warning for years about growing evidence of “Iranian expansionism.”
  • An important expression of Syria’s centrality in Iranian strategy was voiced by Mehdi Taaib, who heads Khamenei’s think tank. He recently stated that “Syria is the 35th district of Iran and it has greater strategic importance for Iran than Khuzestan [an Arab-populated district inside Iran].” Significantly, Taaib was drawing a comparison between Syria and a district that is under full Iranian sovereignty.
  • Tehran has had political ambitions with respect to Syria for years and has indeed invested huge resources in making Syria a Shiite state. The Syrian regime let Iranian missionaries work freely to strengthen the Shiite faith in Damascus and the cities of the Alawite coast, as well as the smaller towns and villages. In both urban and rural parts of Syria, Sunnis and others who adopted the Shiite faith received privileges and preferential treatment in the disbursement of Iranian aid money.
  • Iran is also recruiting Shiite forces in Iraq for the warfare in Syria. These are organized in a sister framework of Lebanese Hizbullah. Known as the League of the Righteous People and Kateeb Hizbullah, its mission is to defend the Shiite centers in Damascus. It is likely that Tehran will make every effort to recruit additional Shiite elements from Iraq, the Persian Gulf, and even from Pakistan.

Click through for much more.

I’ve said before that Syria is Iran’s lynchpin on the Western side of the Fertile Crescent, without which the position of its proxy army in Lebanon, Hizbullah, becomes almost untenable, and one of the arguments for Western intervention in Syria has been that it would gravely weaken Iran’s influence in the region. So, it’s at least plausible.

But, would they? It would truly be a desperate act, greatly increasing the danger in the area. It’s hard to imagine Israel tolerating what in essence would be a Persian satrapy on its border, when said “Persian Empire” has promised to rain nuclear fire on Israel.

And could they? The effort to control Syria, even with remnants of the Syrian Army and Hizbullah to help, would be a tremendous drain on Iranian resources of manpower and wealth, and it would certainly mean ratcheting up the pressure on Iraq, passage through whose territory Iran would need to resupply its forces. I have trouble believing they could maintain such a long-distance operation.

I’ve no idea how reliable General Shapira’s analysis is, but dictatorships have done crazier things in the past.

via Jews for Sarah and Michael Ledeen, who has a good article on the larger war.


Canadian train plot: RCMP asserts an al-Qaeda connection

April 23, 2013

I mentioned this in yesterday’s post, but there’s a bit more information on the terrorists and their connection with al-Qaeda:

Canadian police officials have linked the plotting of two Muslim men to destroy a Toronto passenger train to al Qaeda’s network inside Iran. The two suspects, neither of whom are Canadian citizens, were taken into custody yesterday and are facing terrorism charges. One of the suspects had placed an image of al Qaeda’s banner in a social media site. The image has since been removed.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner James Malizia said yesterday that the two suspects, identified as Chiheb Esseghaier, of Montreal, and Raed Jaser, of Toronto, received “support from al Qaeda elements located in Iran,” in the form of “direction and guidance.” The two men’s plot called for the destruction of a train bound from the US to Canada in an effort to sow terror and harm the economies of both countries.

Esseghaier, a doctoral student at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, has a bachelors degree in Industrial Biology and a masters degree in Industrial Biotechnology, according to his Linkedin page. He lists Nanotechnology as one of his “Skills & Expertise.” He attended college in Tunis and is thought to be a Tunisian.

Before the image was taken down sometime last night, Esseghaier’s Linkedin page displayed in image of al Qaeda’s black flag. This flag was first used by al Qaeda in Iraq but has been adopted by other al Qaeda affiliates.

The remainder of the article is a good backgrounder on the Iran-al Qaeda relationship, including at least a couple of “secret agreements” that allow al-Qaeda transit through Iran.

While the above quote doesn’t claim a direct Iranian role in the plot, unlike the statement quoted in the Washington Examiner piece yesterday, I think it’s reasonable to assume the Iranians at some level knew and approved of what the two were planning and the encouragement al-Qaeda gave them.  Al-Qaeda is in the country on their sufferance, and there is no way Tehran is not going to keep tabs on what they’re doing, lest they unexpectedly find themselves the targets of retaliation after, say, another 9/11-style attack. So, while there’s no direct evidence of Iranian foreknowledge, it’s a safe bet they did.

Which should make the next meeting Canada and Iran’s diplomats quite… interesting.

Also, while there’s a coincidence in time, there’s no evidence I’ve seen of a connection between the train plot and the Boston Marathon attacks. What I do think it hints at, however, is just how many jihad plots there are “out there,” waiting to be put into action. Again, if Esseghaier and Jaser were a pair of “lone wolves” encouraged by al-Qaeda, similar to what may be the truth about the Tsarnaevs, how many others are out there?

Comforting thought, no?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Breaking: Canadians foil Iranian/al Qaeda New York-Toronto train attack

April 22, 2013

They love hitting mass transportation. Breaking in The Washington Examiner:

Canadian security officials announced today that they thwarted a terrorist attack on a passenger train reportedly traveling from New York City to Toronto, planned by two men allegedly tied to al Qaeda.

“I commend our Canadian counterterrorism partners, particularly the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, for their efforts in stopping a major terrorist plot which was intended to cause significant loss of human life including New Yorkers,” Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said in a statement today.

The attack had Iranian backing. “They are elements of al Qaeda in Iran,” a Canadian police official told reporters during the press conference while identifying the al Qaeda affiliate that was involved in the attack. “What the investigation has demonstrated is that the support being received was in the form of direction and guidance.”

Emphasis added. Say it after me, folks:

This is war, and they’re still trying to kill us.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Did an Iranian nuke facility go boom? I think so…

January 29, 2013
"Seen over Fordow?"

Seen over Fordow?

The key is found not in what governments are saying, so much, but in what they are doing, which in turn lends perspective to their words.

Background: A few days ago, a report appeared on World Net Daily that there had been a massive explosion at Fordow, one of Iran’s major nuclear facilities, where centrifuges enrich uranium to a level at which it could be used as a warhead on a missile. I ignored the story, largely because WND has as much credibility for news as Timothy Geithner does for economics.

Then again…

Lee Smith has weighed in on Israeli actions around the time of this possible event, and his analysis has me saying “Hmmm…”:

Over the weekend there was news of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet’s “intense” consultations. According to reports, Jerusalem has deployed two Iron Dome missile defense batteries to the north—one near the port city of Haifa, and another in the Galilee region—a move that Israeli spokesmen explain is only part of a regular, scheduled rotation all over the country. However, taken in tandem with Jerusalem’s public concerns that Bashar al-Assad’s beleaguered regime may itself use chemical weapons against Israel or transfer them to Hezbollah or that the arsenal may fall into the hands of Islamist rebels, the speculation is that the Iron Dome batteries have been moved to intercept Syrian missiles carrying chemical weapons.

However, there is no obvious reason why Assad is more likely to use or transfer those weapons now more than any other time during the last two years since the uprising began; or why the rebels are more likely now to appropriate them and divert resources from their existential war with the regime to tangle with Israel. Perhaps more to the point, the Iron Dome is not designed to intercept the kind of missiles that can carry chemical weapons payloads. The likelier scenario is that Israel is girding itself in the event that Hezbollah is called upon to retaliate for the Fordow operation, using the Iranian-supplied rockets and missiles that Iron Dome is designed to stop.

Add to this Iranian denials that anything happened (1), American doubts that anything happened (2), and the Israelis mostly keeping quiet (3), and the astute reader is left with one conclusion:

Something happened. Something big. And a good thing it is, too, for the Iranian leadership is far too dangerous to ever let have nuclear weapons.

And lest you think this is too big and too far away for the Israelis, bear in mind that they and we were also behind  Stuxnet.

As I like to say in situations like these: “Oh, those wacky Jews!” (4)

via Power Line

Footnotes:
(1) Of course they would. If you were them, would you admit your archenemy had just broken one of your favorite toys?
(2) Of course we would. Publicly. If we were involved, or if the Israelis warned us. If they didn’t involve us, which may be wise, then our doubts would serve to confuse Tehran.
(3) Of course they would. Not only does Israel rarely talk about intelligence operations, but, if this really happened, the last thing they want to do is rub Tehran’s nose in it and force them to retaliate.
(4) It’s the First Rule of Mideast Politics: “Do not [mess] with the Israelis!”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Religion of Misogyny Watch: Iran bans women from college courses

August 20, 2012

Can’t have women getting an education; they might get uppity and think they’re men’s equals.

In a move that has prompted a demand for a UN investigation by Iran’s most celebrated human rights campaigner, the Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, 36 universities have announced that 77 BA and BSc courses in the coming academic year will be “single gender” and effectively exclusive to men.

It follows years in which Iranian women students have outperformed men, a trend at odds with the traditional male-dominated outlook of the country’s religious leaders. Women outnumbered men by three to two in passing this year’s university entrance exam.

Senior clerics in Iran’s theocratic regime have become concerned about the social side-effects of rising educational standards among women, including declining birth and marriage rates.

Under the new policy, women undergraduates will be excluded from a broad range of studies in some of the country’s leading institutions, including English literature, English translation, hotel management, archaeology, nuclear physics, computer science, electrical engineering, industrial engineering and business management.

Now there’s a smart way to develop your country — if your goal is to march boldly into the 12th century, that is.

The Iranian Minister for Science and Higher Education claimed the move was necessary to restore “gender balance” in the universities. How progressive of him. But an observation at the end of the article hints at the real reason for the imbalance, and therefore the ban:

Iran has highest ratio of female to male undergraduates in the world, according to UNESCO. Female students have become prominent in traditionally male-dominated courses like applied physics and some engineering disciplines.

Sociologists have credited women’s growing academic success to the increased willingness of religiously-conservative families to send their daughters to university after the 1979 Islamic revolution. The relative decline in the male student population has been attributed to the desire of young Iranian men to “get rich quick” without going to university.

In other words, too many Iranian boys are cocksure, lazy dummies, while the women are willing to work hard to get ahead. So the answer, of course, is to close the doors on the most energetic and ambitious of your people.

It was Muhammad’s favorite wife, his child-bride Aisha, who once said:

“I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women” (Bukhari 72:715)

Over 1,400 years later, not much has changed.

via PJM

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


What’s “sieg heil!” in Farsi?

June 4, 2012

In what is, when you think about it, a natural alliance, Iran’s fascist, Jew-hating, millenarian Islamic government is allowing a site serving Nazi propaganda to run under their domain, despite otherwise heavy Internet censorship:

A pro-Nazi association now operates a Persian-language website in Iran, promoting anti-Semitism and memorializing Adolf Hitler, apparently with the approval of the Iranian government and its censors.

The site, Nazicenter.ir, features videos of Nazi leaders and pictures of Hitler, and praises the Third Reich for nearly conquering the Western world. It also includes a public forum whose members routinely discuss their hatred of the Jewish people.

The site’s primary goal, its administrators write, is to confront the “story of the Holocaust, which without a doubt has been taken advantage of in contemporary history.”

Iran’s Islamic regime strictly regulates all forms of communication. Hundreds of websites have been banned, and Iranians’ online access to the free world is severely restricted. But a Nazi propaganda website is consistent with the proclamations of Iran’s military and political leaders, who have both denied the existence of the Nazi Holocaust and called for the destruction of Israel.

The chief commander of the Iranian armed forces, Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, announced the doctrine of the Islamic regime in a recent speech. “The Iranian nation is standing for its cause,” he said, “and that is the full annihilation of Israel.”

Lovely. Goebbels would be so proud. As would Muhammad.

President “Look at Me!” blows our national secrets — again

June 1, 2012

This time about Stuxnet, the super-virus that’s been wreaking havoc with the Iranians’ “peaceful” nuclear program. The New York Times Obama Marketing Department has the story:

Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran

From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons, according to participants in the program.

Mr. Obama decided to accelerate the attacks — begun in the Bush administration and code-named Olympic Games — even after an element of the program accidentally became public in the summer of 2010 because of a programming error that allowed it to escape Iran’s Natanz plant and sent it around the world on the Internet. Computer security experts who began studying the worm, which had been developed by the United States and Israel, gave it a name: Stuxnet.

At a tense meeting in the White House Situation Room within days of the worm’s “escape,” Mr. Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time, Leon E. Panetta, considered whether America’s most ambitious attempt to slow the progress of Iran’s nuclear efforts had been fatally compromised.

“Should we shut this thing down?” Mr. Obama asked, according to members of the president’s national security team who were in the room.

Told it was unclear how much the Iranians knew about the code, and offered evidence that it was still causing havoc, Mr. Obama decided that the cyberattacks should proceed. In the following weeks, the Natanz plant was hit by a newer version of the computer worm, and then another after that. The last of that series of attacks, a few weeks after Stuxnet was detected around the world, temporarily took out nearly 1,000 of the 5,000 centrifuges Iran had spinning at the time to purify uranium.

This account of the American and Israeli effort to undermine the Iranian nuclear program is based on interviews over the past 18 months with current and former American, European and Israeli officials involved in the program, as well as a range of outside experts. None would allow their names to be used because the effort remains highly classified, and parts of it continue to this day.

What was it I said in another post about keeping one’s mouth shut with national secrets? Oh, yeah…

One of the greatest secrets you can have in intelligence work –especially when dealing with a deadly enemy– is that you’ve compromised their security. That you’ve cracked their codes, found their safe houses, planted a bug in their meetings, slipped a mole deep inside… so many things. You want them kept secret because you can exploit the advantage again and again, disrupting and demoralizing your enemy because they can’t figure out how you’re always one step ahead. These are secrets you go to your grave with, because, once blown, they’re useless.

Again, this is great news, and the article is a fascinating read, but does anyone really believe that its publication on the same day as a horrific, recession-foreboding jobs report is just a coincidence?

No, I didn’t either.

Yeah, I know they said they interviewed a bunch of people (Do you really think they talked without Washington’s permission?) and said some secrets were kept secret, but… give me a break.

The danger of an article like this is that the Iranians (or their patrons in Russia and China) might be able to deduce from what is said and not said crucial information — about Stuxnet itself, about how it was inserted into Iran, about who may have helped us from the inside… who knows?

And that’s the point. We don’t know what they know, and thus we don’t know if anything in this article might provide them with a valuable clue or a key to a defense. Remember, it was a series of small, seemingly obscure clues that lead us to the big secret of Osama bin Laden’s location. Who knows what tidbit useful to Tehran might be found in this article?

Thus the correct thing to do would have been to shut the Hell up.

After WWII, the British kept the truth about Ultra secret for 29 years. With a national secret of comparable importance, Obama can’t wait 29 months to brag about it.

This is an administration so self-absorbed, so puerile, that it values the security of American strategic secrets lower than the president’s reelection chances.

November can’t come fast enough.

PS: Romney 2012, because he’s an adult and can keep his mouth shut.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


In an honest world, this would mean war

May 29, 2012

Iran plotting to kill US diplomats? Yeah, I’d call that a casus belli…

In November, the tide of daily cable traffic to the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan brought a chilling message for Ambassador Matthew Bryza, then the top U.S. diplomat to the small Central Asian country. A plot to kill Americans had been uncovered, the message read, and embassy officials were on the target list.

The details, scant at first, became clearer as intelligence agencies from both countries stepped up their probe. The plot had two strands, U.S. officials learned, one involving snipers with silencer-equipped rifles and the other a car bomb, apparently intended to kill embassy employees or members of their families.

Both strands could be traced back to the same place, the officials were told: Azerbaijan’s southern neighbor, Iran.

The threat, many details of which were never made public, appeared to recede after Azerbaijani authorities rounded up nearly two dozen people in waves of arrests early this year. Precisely who ordered the hits, and why, was never conclusively determined. But U.S. and Middle Eastern officials now see the attempts as part of a broader campaign by Iran-linked operatives to kill foreign diplomats in at least seven countries over a span of 13 months. The targets have included two Saudi officials, a half-dozen Israelis and — in the Azerbaijan case — several Americans, the officials say.

But, let’s be honest. Iran has been at war with the US since 1979, but we’ve refused to see it, or, if we did, to ignore it and try instead to reach chimerical “grand bargain.” Iran was responsible for the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983. They were behind the Khobar Towers attack in 1996. They’ve trained and supplied Iraqi insurgents against US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, resulting in American deaths. They are the most active state sponsor of terrorism in the world.

And now they’ve been caught plotting to kill our diplomats and their families.

I don’t expect it under this administration, and both Republican and Democratic presidents have refused to see the problem, but, eventually, we have to face the truth and treat Iran as an enemy who has declared jihad on us.

But, until then, how many more Americans have to die?

via The Jawa Report

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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