Dear Iran: “Of course you know, this means war!” — Updated

October 12, 2011

Or, it would, if we had an administration with the spine of a Warner Bros. cartoon character.

ABC broke the news yesterday of an Iranian assassination plot foiled by the FBI and the DEA:

The new case, called Operation Red Coalition, began in May when an Iranian-American from Corpus Christi, Texas, approached a DEA informant seeking the help of a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, according to counter-terrorism officials.

The Iranian-American thought he was dealing with a member of the feared Zetas Mexican drug organization, according to agents.

The DEA office in Houston brought in FBI agents as the international terror implications of the case became apparent.

The Iranian-American, identified by federal officials as Manssor Arbabsiar, 56, reportedly claimed he was being “directed by high-ranking members of the Iranian government,” including a cousin who was “a member of the Iranian army but did not wear a uniform,” according to a person briefed on the details of the case.

Arbabsiar and a second man, Gohlam Shakuri, an Iranian official, were named in a five-count criminal complaint filed Tuesday afternoon in federal court in New York. They were charged with conspiracy to kill a foreign official and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, a bomb, among other counts. Shakuri is still at large in Iran, Holder said.

Holder identified Shakuri as an Iran-based member of the Quds force, a much feared special unit in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. The Treasury sanctions named several other members of the Iranian Quds force as well.

Arbabsiar, a naturalized U.S. citizen, expressed “utter disregard for collateral damage” in the planned bomb attacks in Washington, according to officials.

The complaint describes a conversation in which Arbabsiar was allegedly directing the informant to kill the Saudi ambassador and said the assassination could take place at a restaurant. When the informant feigned concern about Americans who also eat at the restaurant, Arbabsiar said he preferred if bystanders weren’t killed but, “Sometimes, you know, you have no choice, is that right?”

BTW, that same restaurant is known to be frequented by US senators. But, hey, sometimes “you have no choice.” Argentina was also discussed as a target, a country Iran has attacked before in their desire to kill Jews.

There’s no doubt this is a casus belli — “a cause of war.” The Iranian government has been caught red-handed organizing a terrorist operation on US soil, an operation that would not only have killed foreigners under our protection but, very likely, American citizens. And the flippant dismissal of the prospect of killing government officials makes this an attack on our government, too. While there’s no direct evidence that Khamenei or Ahmadinejad knew about this in advance, well… yeah, right. Their prime foreign covert operations agency, the Quds Force, plans an attack on the territory of the Great Satan (that’s us), and the Big Nuts in the Iranian fruitcake don’t know about it?

Like I said, “yeah, right.”

But, don’t worry, the Obama Administration is not planning any military retaliation, true to its “September 10th” values:

That a foreign government would plot to kill a foreign leader on American soil could be seen as an act of war, but Obama administration officials say the path the U.S. government will purse will align with American interests – and a military response and possible armed conflict with a third Muslim nation would not be part of that. (Though, it should be noted, the official White House position is “no option is off the table.”)

This afternoon the Treasury Department announced further sanctions against Iran, and in coming days diplomats at the United Nations and elsewhere will discuss further ways to isolate Iran, while American officials will spread far and wide throughout the region that the Iranian government was planning to kill an Arab leader.

In other words, we’re going to treat this as a law-enforcement matter, lay down sanctions, and run around telling the Arabs what they already know: that the mullahs are a bunch of dangerous psychos.

That’ll have Tehran quaking in its boots. Probably from laughing at us.

It may seem odd for me to quote Osama bin Laden, but one thing he said was very true, at least as far as life in the Muslim world goes:

“When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse.”

This is us playing the weak horse, whining when someone uses our land to carry out terror attacks. Other dictators around the world (and the people who have to live under or near them) will see this and act accordingly, as Iraq is now doing.

Let’s be honest: Iran has been at war with us since 1979, but we’ve failed to recognize this and act accordingly. Even a president as great as Reagan had a blind spot when it came to Iran and thought he could reach a grand bargain, and Bush failed to take strong action against Syria and Iran when they sponsored the guerrilla war against us in Iraq from 2004-2008. So Obama isn’t the first to naively believe that restraint would be seen as anything other than weakness.

But it’s time for it to stop.

The naked truth is that Iran is killing our soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Whether directly or indirectly, it doesn’t matter. Their puppets Hizbullah and Hamas attack our ally, Israel. They are waging war against us (this attack was meant as much to humiliate us as to strike at the Saudis) and have taken that war to our homeland.  It’s time to stop wagging our fingers in disapproval and instead punch back — hard.

Lest someone accuse me of being a warmonger, I’m not advocating invading Iran or sinking their navy in retaliation, as emotionally satisfying as that might be. We don’t have to in order to defeat them. As Michael Ledeen has often pointed out (most recently here), the Iranian regime’s grip on power is brittle; their people hate them; they face frequent rebellion and acts of sabotage. If we simply had the moral clarity and political courage to provide the peoples of Iran with the political, propaganda, and logistical support to wage their own struggle against the tyrants, as Reagan did in Poland against the Soviets, we could win without firing a shot.

Instead, we do the diplomatic equivalent of writing them a speeding ticket.

That’s no way to win a war.

CYNICAL THOUGHT: Funny how this news breaks just as AG Holder and the administration are facing close scrutiny for the Gunwalker scandal. There’s no evidence I’ve seen that this plot had gone operational and had to be stopped now. Hmmm….

LINKS: Three mustread articles at The Long War Journal and Threat Matrix. JustOneMinute thinks Holder learned a lesson. Fausta talks about the mounting threat in Latin America from Hizbullah, an Iranian cats-paw. Let’s not forget, the Iranians tried to run this plot through Mexican drug cartels. Still think that border is secure, Mr. President? Power Line notes the “axis of evil” between Iran and Los Zetas. This isn’t just about immigration — this is a national security issue.

UPDATE: Former federal prosecutor (And no fan of Obama and Holder) Andy McCarthy puts my cynical thought to rest — a frame-up makes no sense.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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Forget “Where’s Waldo.” Where’s Muhammad?

September 27, 2011

I bet this news from PJM’s Patrick Poole will make you all feel safe and secure:

Two Bangladeshis who were caught by Customs and Border Protection illegally crossing the border in June 2010 admitted under questioning that they were members of a designated terrorist organization that signed on to a fatwa by Osama bin Laden pledging to wage war against Americans.

But amazingly, after one of the men requested asylum, he was released on bond. And now one Homeland Security official tells me, concerning the released terror operative, “We don’t have the slightest idea where he is now.”

The two men, Muhammad Nazmul Hasan and Mirza Muhammad Saifuddin, were intercepted near Naco, Arizona, not long after they had crossed the border on June 25, 2010. During their interrogation, one of the men admitted that they were members of Harakat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami Bangladesh (HuJI-B), which was designated a terrorist organization by the United States in February 2008. Earlier this month the group claimed responsibility for a bombing a courthouse in New Delhi. That attack killed 11 and wounded at least 45 others.

(Emphasis added.)

Reading this, one’s first reaction is probably a hearty “WTF?” and some choice words about the competence of the Border Patrol and the courts for allowing an admitted terrorist to walk on bail, something that defies common sense.

But it’s not the agencies’ actions that run contrary to wisdom, but the law itself. While Poole doesn’t go into detail about the relevant laws, I’m willing to bet existing statutes, reflecting a pre-September 11th mentality that treats terrorism as a law-enforcement problem, left the CBP and the court with little choice — once the Bangladeshi jihadist invoked the laws of asylum, the relevant officials were obliged to obey them. And because no one is mandated to keep track of asylum-seekers out on bail, this Al Qaeda ally walked out the door and vanished into an Arizona sunset, never to be heard from again, until… ?

More than ten years after 9/11, it’s way past the time that our laws were updated to reflect a time of war and potentially catastrophic terrorism. At a minimum, people who admit to belonging to organizations allied to our deadly enemy should be held without bail; more properly, since we’re dealing with terrorist operatives, they should be transferred to military custody and their cases decided by a military commission. We’re not talking about people sneaking into America looking for a better life; these are people sneaking into America to take lives.

As Poole points out, the southern border is the preferred route for people seeking illegal entry into the United States, and, regardless of what President Obama claims, that border is not secure. It’s clear Obama and the Democrats won’t do a thing to genuinely control it, in spite of the obvious threat to national security (1), so it will be up to the next, hopefully adult, administration.

Meanwhile, don’t worry. I’m sure we’ll find the missing Bangladeshi jihadi… right after the car-bomb goes off.

Footnote:
(1) You know, that thing that really is one of the assigned duties of the federal government. But they have more important things to do, like regulating which light bulbs you can buy.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


I feel so secure, now

January 7, 2010

With guys like this watching out for us, how could I not?

NCTC director Michael Leiter remained on ski slopes after Christmas Day airline bombing attempt

The top official in charge of analyzing terror threats did not cut short his ski vacation after the underwear bomber nearly blew up an airliner on Christmas Day, the Daily News has learned.

Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center since 2007, decided not to return to his agency’s “bat cave” nerve center in McLean, Va., until several days after Christmas, two U.S. officials said.

“People have been grumbling that he didn’t let a little terrorism interrupt his vacation,” said one of the sources.

Oh, come on, now. Did you really expect him to give up his place in the ski-lift line just because a jihadi tried to blow up a plane full of people over a major American city? Besides, he was just following his boss’ example. Jeez, there are priorities, you know.

So, let’s see. We have a  President who takes three days to make a statement so bloodless and perfunctory that it was obvious he wanted to get back to his golf game. Then there’s his Homeland  Security Secretary, who beclowned herself on national TV the weekend after the attack by telling us the system worked – and then that it didn’t. And don’t forget the chief counterterrorism adviser to the President, who assured us there are no downsides to treating the Pantybomber as a criminal suspect; after all, we can offer him a plea-bargain.

Who knew that, in November, 2008, we stepped into a time machine and traveled back to September 10thDoh

LINKS: More disgusted reactions at Hot Air.