Israel’s next tunnel threat to the north

hamas-tunnelWND, By AARON KLEIN, 08/07/2014:

TEL AVIV – Israel, at great cost, believes it has destroyed the complex tunnel network built by Hamas to smuggle arms and other contraband into Gaza and send suicide bombers into the Jewish state, but the possible existence of a similar and perhaps even greater underground system remains a threat to its national security.

The Israeli government is quietly concerned the Iranian-backed Hezbollah organization has excavated tunnels that snake under the Jewish state’s northern communities in the Golan Heights.

A Hezbollah tunnel network under Israel could mirror or even dwarf the Hama terrorist tunnels in the county’s south, along the Gaza Strip border.

Such tunnels could enable Hezbollah to carry out previous threats to use commandos to storm northern Israeli communities in an attempt to hold positions within the country.

After Israel’s nearly month-long military campaign in Gaza aimed in large part at destroying Hamas’s tunnels, Israeli officials seem careful to avoid publicly addressing the potential for Hezbollah tunnels.

A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces declined to comment on Hezbollah’s possible tunneling in the north.

The Shiite terrorist organization is known for its vast, sophisticated tunnel networks in Lebanon.

Indeed, Hezbollah taught Hamas its tunnel-warfare tactics and helped supervise the construction of its network.

It therefore must be assumed Hezbollah has at least attempted to tunnel under Israel in the north. The organization may not have drilled any openings into Israeli cities yet, however, fearing discovery or retaliation from Israel.

Northern Israeli residents have for years reported hearing drilling sounds underground. However, the Israeli military has said it has not discovered any tunnels.

Last week, the mayor of Kiryat Shmona, a city near Israel’s border with Lebanon, reportedly asked the IDF to investigate the possibility of Hezbollah tunnels.

Asked by WND for more information on the Hezbollah tunnel threat, an Israeli security source speaking on background said there is fear that after the Gaza conflict, Hezbollah will attempt to convert its defensive tunnels into offensive networks that can snake under Israel.

The source said that while no tunnels were yet discovered under Israeli towns, the working assumption is that Hezbollah will attempt to tunnel there.

The source said Hezbollah is bogged down with the ongoing insurgency targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria and that Israel does not believe Hezbollah wants a direct conflict with the Jewish state any time soon.

However, the source added the assumption within the Israeli defense establishment is that Hezbollah has incorporated into its future war plans the potential to raid Israeli cities via tunneling, learning lessons from the most recent Gaza conflict.

Hezbollah’s underground highways

Knowledgeable sources told WND that Lebanon is virtually catacombed with sophisticated tunnels from the northern part of the country into the Bekaa Valley, throughout Beirut and in southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah has specialized in tunnel boring to move fighters and supplies in various conflicts with Israel.

Some of the tunnels, especially in mountainous areas, not only are used to store military supplies but to move more sophisticated weaponry undetected from overhead surveillance, the sources said.

Updates were made for the tunnels to host missile launch pads after the 2006 Lebanon War, when Israel took out scores of above-ground Hezbollah missile and rocket launchers.

Throughout the Bekaa Valley, there are tunnels known to hide military equipment from continuous Israeli and U.S. surveillance.

Sources say the Hezbollah tunnels in Lebanon, which are capable of withstanding some aerial bombings, store missiles and rockets and other military hardware to respond to an Israeli attack.

Even under Beirut itself, especially in the Hezbollah stronghold of south Beirut, military supplies are stored in bunkers and tunnels estimated to be some 40 to 50 feet below the ground. Up above, there are regular businesses masking the existence of the tunnels.

Because Hezbollah controls south Lebanon, sources say the region has been the subject of extensive tunneling, some of which can be bored quickly to allow troops to move secretly into Israel.

At its Museum for Resistance Tourism, for example, Hezbollah has demonstrated its tunneling capability and conducts tours through underground bunkers. A 200-meter tunnel displays complete living and working quarters for fighters, replete with kitchens, electrical generators and communications equipment.

The war museum, which is operated by Hezbollah near the village of Mleeta in southern Lebanon, is the site of a former Hezbollah base utilized to ambush Israeli troops.

North Korea

Hezbollah has a relationship with North Korea’s communist dictatorship, which is known to have constructed tunnels that snake underneath the demilitarized zone with South Korea.

The northern Israeli landscape, with its rocky hills and mountains, is geographically different than beachfront Gaza. However, numerous geologists told Israeli media outlets in recent years that Hezbollah has the capability to tunnel under the Israeli north.

Just last week, geologist Col. Yossi Langotsky, a former adviser on terror tunnels, explained to Israel National News that the ground in Israel’s northern Galilee is easier to dig than in the Koreas.

“For nine years I raised hell, and said [terrorists are] digging tunnels into Israeli territory, and the state security system is not organized with enough seriousness required to deal with the intensity of the threat,” Langotsky said.

Fighting for us: The Real stakes in Israel’s war

Israeli soldiers sleep atop a tank during a small truce between Israel and Hamas near the Gaza Strip on July 28. Photo: AP

Israeli soldiers sleep atop a tank during a small truce between Israel and Hamas near the Gaza Strip on July 28.
Photo: AP

By John Bolton:

Israel’s effort to destroy Hamas’ underground Gaza Strip infrastructure is about defeating terrorism, yes — but even graver issues are involved.

Hamas’s long record of indiscriminate rocket attacks (over 11,000 since Israel left Gaza in 2005), its suicide bombers and its determination to destroy the Jewish state are all too real.

This is more than ample justification for Israel not just to retaliate against Hamas, but to destroy it.

But in Gaza today, Israel is also battling the existential peril of Iran’s nuclear program.

Despite Hamas’ 2011 refusal to support Assad in Syria, Iran never forgot Hamas’ potential usefulness against “the little Satan”; Tehran and Hamas have resumed their strategic partnership.

By confronting Hamas, Israel is simultaneously also striving against the fear of a new holocaust courtesy of Iranian nuclear weapons.

Removing or at least substantially degrading this mortal threat is the key imperative in Gaza, and could take considerable time to accomplish.

Appreciating this objective requires understanding the interwoven layers of deterrence and military capability involved in Israel’s war on Iran’s nuclear threat.

Of course, a nuclear Iran is not simply Israel’s problem, but America’s as well. Unfortunately, Washington and its allies have abdicated their responsibilities.

President Obama says repeatedly that “all options are on the table,” but no one really believes he’ll ever order military strikes against Iran’s nuclear program, and few think the endless talks with Iran will even slow Tehran’s progress. Israel is the only power that may act.

Yet Iran’s most likely response to an Israeli attack would be to unleash Hamas and Hezbollah against the Israeli civilian population.

A direct Iranian attack on Israel is unlikely, since Tehran wouldn’t want to risk an Israeli nuclear response. Retaliating indirectly through its terrorist surrogates is safer, while providing an air of plausible deniability.

Other options (closing the Strait of Hormuz; attacking US forces in the region) are highly unlikely, since they’d prompt an American military response, even from Obama.

(Incidentally, an Israeli strike would not prompt a broader Middle East war, because key Arab states also oppose a nuclear Iran.)

Thus the Hamas and Hezbollah arsenals in Gaza and southern Lebanon are crucial.

Most of Hamas’ rockets are short-range and not terribly accurate. If they hit civilian targets, they are of course lethal, but for Hamas their main use is as a weapon of terror.

After the 2006 Hezbollah-Israel war, however, Tehran not only replenished Hezbollah’s more muscular missile stockpiles, but also substantially upgraded Hamas’ assets. Longer-range missiles began appearing in Gaza, smuggled in courtesy of Iran, such as the Fajr-5 and the Khaibar (Syrian-built from Iranian design).

As recently as March, Israel intercepted the Klos-C in the Red Sea carrying Khaibar missiles, mortars and assault-rifle ammunition, which Israel credibly says were Gaza-bound. Although shipping records were counterfeited, Iran was undoubtedly the source.

Thus Iran could order the launching of longer-range, more accurate missiles from both Lebanon and Gaza, substantially increasing the threat to Israel.

Despite Israel’s huge strides in missile defense, especially Iron Dome, such systems can still be defeated by overwhelming them with large numbers of rockets arriving simultaneously on a given target, especially if they’re launched from two disparate locations.

Iran fully understands the deterrent effect these missiles have on any Israeli government contemplating a pre-emptive strike. The Khaibar’s range of about 200 miles means it can strike Israel’s port of Haifa from Gaza.

With its 50-mile range, the Fajr-5 can hit Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor. (Missile ranges rise or fall depending on the weight of the weapons payload being carried.)

Israel needs to feel confident it can successfully attack Iran’s nuclear program without risking unacceptable civilian losses when Tehran retaliates via Hamas and Hezbollah.

Thus, Israel should destroy Hamas’ missile capabilities now, as well as any unmanned aerial vehicles in Gaza that might disperse biological or chemical weapons.

Ideally, Israel would do the same to Hezbollah — which helps explain why Hezbollah has held back during the current hostilities.

But there is little doubt that Iran and Hamas desperately hope John Kerry or others will manage to impose a cease-fire in Gaza before their stocks of long-range missiles are uncovered and destroyed.

This is why it is so important that Israel continue its Gaza operations for as long as it deems necessary, precisely to destroy those missiles.

In so doing, Israel is acting not only in its own legitimate self-defense, but in America’s as well.

Some Facts and Notes About The Situation on the Border: From the Jihadi Threat Perspective

h2Terror Trends Bulletin, By Christopher Holton, July 27.2014:

• Hezbollah has a major presence in North, Central and South America.

• Hezbollah is embedded in the Lebanese Muslim community in the US and enjoys protection from a neighborhood watch-type program that serves as a countersurveillance and counterintelligence operation. They also are embedded in multiple Shia mosques, some of which are directly tied to the Iranian regime.

• In 2003, then-CIA director George Tenet testified before Congress that 12 Hezbollah cells has been identified as operating in the US conducting surveillance.

• A Congressional Research Service report published in 2011 indicated that Hezbollah was present in 15 US cities, including Houston and Nashville.

• Hezbollah’s activities in the US primarily center around drug trafficking and criminal schemes and scams.

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Picture-117

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• In Operation Smokescreen from 1995-2002, a Hezbollah cell in North Carolina that was bootlegging cigarettes to raise money was broken up. This was detailed in the excellent book, “Lightning Out of Lebanon.”

• In Operation Tobacco Road, 16 Muslim in the US were indicted for trafficking bootleg cigarettes in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York. The proceeds are believed to have gone to Hezbollah and/or HAMAS.

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• In 2011, 70 car dealerships in Florida and elsewhere were uncovered laundering cars for sale in West Africa to raise money for Hezbollah.

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• Hezbollah has two major networks operating in Latin America:

1. The Hojjat al-Eslam Mohsen Rabbani Network

2. The Ghazi Atef Salameh Nassereddine Network

• Rabbani is an Iranian diplomatic official who was formerly the cultural attache’ to Argentina when Hezbollah attacked two Jewish targets there in 1992 and 1994. He is wanted on an Interpol Red Notice.

Hojjat al-Eslam Mohsen Rabbani

• Nassereddine was born in Lebanon, became a Venezuelan citizen in 2000-2001 and became Venezuela’s number 2 diplomat to Syria.

Ghazi Atef Salameh Nassereddine

• Hezbollah’s Rabbani network operates in Brazil and Venezuela and is linked to the Sinaloa Cartel and has been identified as operating cocaine labs and providing security for drug operations.

The Southern Border of the US

• Former DEA Operations Chief, Michael Braun, has testified about Hezbollah’s extensive operations in Latin America:

–Hezbollah has exploited America’s porous southern border for years.

–Hezbollah has close relations with Mexican cartels.

• Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman detailed Hezbollah’s Latin American operations in his indictment of Iranian officials for the 1992 and 1994 Buenos Aires bombings:

–9 Latin American countries have Hezbollah deeply embedded.

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–The origin of Hezbollah’s presence in Latin America was the heavy emigration out of Lebanon from 1975-1990.

–Hezbollah initially set up operations in the lawless “Tri-border” area where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay come together.

The lawless "Tri-Border Area" in South America

• Hezbollah has a particularly heavy presence in Venezuela, especially on Margarita Island, where Hezbollah operates a training camp and has banking assets

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• Hezbollah operates in Mexico and has relations with the Los Zetas cartel.

• In Mexico, Hezbollah’s operations include drug and human trafficking and providing explosives and tunneling training for the cartels. Hezbollah originally provided explosives training to Al Qaeda in Sudan in the 1990s and they have extensive experience in tunneling operations on the Lebanon-Israel border.

Hezbollah tunnel

• In July 2010, acting on intelligence provided by the US, Mexican authorities arrested a Hezbollah operative in Tijuana.

• The two main north-south routes for Hezbollah trafficking operations are I-35 and Highway 59.

interstate-35-map

US Highway 59

• US LE and Border Patrol have reported an increase in detainees with Farsi language tattoos and Hezbollah imagery on tattoos in recent years.

Source: fortressoffaith.org

• It has become increasingly common for Muslims in Mexico to change their Islamic surnames to Hispanic sounding names to facilitate moving across the border. Apologists claim this is simply to avoid discrimination. 

• Cartels have been involved in trafficking Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab and Hezbollah operatives into the US.

• From 2008-2010, an estimated 180,000 OTMs (Other Than Mexicans) were believed to have crossed the border illegaly.

• In that same period, 1,918 “Special Interest” OTMs were apprehended on the border. “Special Interest” means they originated from nations of terrorism concern, such as Middle Eastern Islamic nations.

• In January 2011, a Farsi language book was found on the border in Arizona. It was named “In Memory of Our Martyrs.” It was an anthology of Jihadis killed in martyrdom operations.

English language translation of "In Memory of Our Martyrs" published by Iran's Qods Force and available on Amazon in the UK

• In April 2005, then-FBI director Robert Mueller reported that Hezbollah was involved in human trafficking on the southern border.

• In July of 2012, six Special Interest aliens from Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen were arrested in Laredo, TX. Each had 60,000 Iraqi dinars.

Information on general enforcement conditions on the Mexican border:

• There are constraints on border control. The Border Patrol is forbidden from patrolling on federal land. The Border Patrol reports receiving instructions to avoid detaining and processing illegal aliens.

• The majority of border crossers are NOT economic immigrants.

• Cartels are buying real estate on both sides of the border to set up staging areas and camps.

• The cartels employ high-tech comm gear superior to that in the hands of US LE.

• Cartels and coyotes employ scouts and snipers on the high ground along trafficking routes.

• The Mexican army has in fact provided surveillance and cover fire FOR traffickers on more than one occasion.

• Arizona ranchers are afraid to use their cell phones in the open because cartel snipers might think they are calling in reports to LE and kill them. Even US LE are careful about using comm gear in the open on the southern border. It is believed that the cartels have snipers and scouts in the high ground all the way to Phoenix.

• In 2010, an indictment in San Antonio involved the human smuggling of 100 or more Al Shabaab members from Somalia.

In short, the border is not secure, not at all. Any politician that says otherwise is LYING. In significant portions of the border, for much of the day/night, the border is completely controlled by cartels who have known ties to Jihadis, such as Hezbollah.

Christopher Holton is Director of Education and Outreach at ACT! for America. Holton joined ACT! for America after serving for 10 years at the Center for Security Policy, where he directed the Center’s Divest Terror Initiative and Shariah Risk Due Diligence Program. He has been involved in legislation in twenty states to divest taxpayer supported pension systems from foreign companies that do business with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic Republic of Sudan, and the Syrian Arab Republic as well as passage of American Laws for American Courts and several other forms of state level legislation in dozens of states. In 2005, he was a co-author of War Footing, published by the US Naval Institute Press. Holton’s work has also been published by National Review, Human Events, The American Thinker, Family Security Matters, Big Peace, World Tribune, World Net Daily, and NewsMax. Before joining the Center, Chris was President of Blanchard and Company, a two hundred million dollar per year investment firm, and editor-in-chief of the Blanchard Economic Research Unit.

Iran’s Proxy War Against Israel

ayatollah_2146641b-450x336Front Page, by Majid Rafizadeh:

While the mainstream media has focused solely on Hamas and Israel in the current ongoing war, there has been less attention given to the major role that the Islamic Republic of Iran has been playing in ratcheting up the conflict with its military assistance to Hamas fighters, including Iranian-built Fajr 5 and M-75 with ranges of approximately 75 kilometers.

These are missiles and rockets that can target cities like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

It is worth noting that the export of arms as well as military and weaponry assistance by the Islamic Republic to Hamas is legally prohibited by the United Nations Security Council, written in UN Resolution 1747.

Although Iranian leaders often deny that they are supporting Hamas militarily, some, including former Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, admitted that the Islamic Republic has been supplying military aid and technology to Hamas in the Gaza Strip. On the Iranian parliament’s website, Larijani stated, “We are honored to provide the Palestinian people with military aid, while all Arabic countries do is hold meetings. Palestinian people do not need lectures and meetings.”

In addition, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Mohammad, Ali Jafari, admitted that Iran is supplying weapons to Hamas and other groups: “Iran provides technical assistance to all Muslims who fight against world arrogance.”

What is Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s stance? Is he truly a moderate? Rouhani’s stance on arming Hamas and standing against Israel is no different from his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The Iranian president recently projected Iran’s leadership by calling Kuwaiti Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and pointing out that tthe Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, and the international community, ought to take immediate and serious steps to assist Hamas and the Palestinians.

After all, Iranian presidents are all loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

In fact, across Iran’s political spectrum, there is no difference with regard to their position towards arming Hamas and fighting Israel. They all share anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinians views. In addition, whenever the international community or the United States has attempted to broker a peace, Iranian leaders have attempted to scuttle it. Their view is the same as what Ahmadinejad previously conveyed:  “Who gave them [Mahmoud Abbas’ negotiating team] the right to sell a piece of Palestinian land? The people of Palestine and the people of the region will not allow them to sell even an inch of Palestinian soil to the enemy. The negotiations are stillborn and doomed.”

The Iranian leaders hypocritically and frequently point out that the reasons they support the Palestinians and Hamas are humanitarian. Nevertheless, the main reason is advancing Iran’s regional hegemonic ambitions and its strategic, geopolitical and ideological goals.

In addition, the Islamic Republic has been seeking to project its regional hegemonic supremacy by supporting not only Shiite groups such as Hezbollah (Lebanon), Bashar Al Assad (Syria), and Nori Al Maliki (Iraq), but also penetrating the Sunni communities and supporting groups such as Hamas.

Since the Islamic revolution in Iran, the main foreign policy objectives of the Islamic Republic have been rivalry and antagonism towards the United Sates and its ally Israel.

The Islamic Republic attempted to find or create any group possible to stand against US foreign policy in the region (as well as those of Israel), in order to advance Tehran’s ideological, strategic and geopolitical objectives in the region.

The major force in Iran supporting Hamas are the Quds forces, an elite branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps which fight abroad, under the leadership of Khamenei and headed by Qasem Suleimani.

Another admission from the Islamic Republic on arming Hamas came from its own press, surprisingly. Last week, Javan newspaper, an Iranian state newspaper, stated, “The Islamic Republic of Iran is the only country in which a consensus on the Palestinian issue exists between the regime and its people. Together with popular support for the Palestinian fighters, the [Iranian] regime also provides important aid to the Palestinian fighters, including military weaponry… This measure by the Islamic Republic – arming the Palestinian groups – is carried out publicly, and not in secret, and has even been publicly emphasized by the leader [Khamenei],” according to Algemeiner and MEMRI’s translation of the Persian text.

Accordingly, the Islamic Republic has also provided Hamas with Fajr 5 missiles and Abadil drones before the war.

Across Iran’s political spectrum, Iranian leaders follow the words of the founder of this theocratic regime, Iran’s former Supreme Leader, Ayatollah and Ali Khomeini, who repeatedly attempted to rally people against Israel and the United States, “To liberate Qods [Jerusalem], Muslims should use faith-dependent machine guns and the power of Islam and keep away from political games which reek of compromise… Muslim nations, especially the Palestinian and Lebanese nations, should punish those who waste time indulging in political maneuvers.”

Under the presidency of Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s foreign policy has not shifted and it is crucial to draw attention to Iran’s intervention and military assistance as the Islamic Republic is major player in ratcheting up the ongoing war.

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist and scholar, is president of the International American Council and serves on the board of the Harvard International Review at Harvard University. Rafizadeh is also a senior fellow at the Nonviolence International Organization based in Washington, DC and is a member of the Gulf project at Columbia University. He can be reached at rafizadeh@fas.harvard.edu. Follow Dr. Rafizadeh at @majidrafizadeh.

Iran General: We Will Hunt Down Israelis House To House

image-e1406512087862Daily Caller, By Reza Kahlili:

The deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards vowed revenge against Israel for its ongoing military incursion into Gaza, which has already killed hundreds of Palestinians and dozens of Israelis.

“You [people of Israel] are trees without any roots which were planted in the Islamic lands by the British,” Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said at this week’s Friday prayer sermon in Tehran, Fars News Agency reported. That statement referred to the Balfour Declaration, which led to the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire after World War I and the eventual creation of the state Israel in 1948.

“We will chase you house to house and will take revenge for every drop of blood of our martyrs in Palestine,” Salami said. “and this is the beginning point of Islamic nations awakening for your defeat.”

The deputy commander promised that Palestine will no longer remain calm and cited a statement by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic regime: “Imam [Khomeini] with the statement that Israel must be wiped from the face of the Earth gave a true message to the world. This message enlightened the Muslims and became the concept on the streets of Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.”

Salami, recalling previous wars Israel fought against Hezbollah in Lebanon, said: “The end of the Zionist regime [Israel] has arrived. Islamic movements are armed, missiles are positioned, and today we witness how the arms of the resistance in a corner of the Islamic world are controlling the events in the face of the tragic and barbaric attack by the Zionist regime against the oppressed and defenseless Palestinians in Gaza.”

Salami blamed the U.S. and England for Israel’s policies and activities in the region and stated, “The balance of power will change to the benefit of the Islamic world, and we warn the Zionists that you are a rootless society with no land, no race, no history and no element which constitute a nation. Today, no place in the occupied land is safe for the Zionists … today the missiles of the Palestinian resistance cover much farther than the Zionists expected.

“We are confident that Allah’s promises will come true and in the end the Islamic world will be the graveyard of America and the Zionist regime’s policies along with their allies in the region. The flag of Islam will be raised,” Salami concluded.

The Islamic regime has long trained and armed Hezbollah and Palestinian forces for attacks against Israel. In reference to further arming Palestinians, the speaker of the regime’s Parliament, Ali Larijani, said in a statement Wednesday: “The clear need of Palestine is its need for weapons and basic necessities, and Iran plays an important role in meeting the clear needs of the Palestinian people.”

As reported by The Daily Caller on Wednesday, the Islamic regime’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that the only solution for the region is the destruction of Israel, and that the armed confrontation must expand beyond Gaza.

“These crimes are beyond imagination and show the true nature of the wolfish and child killer regime, (and) the only solution is its destruction,” the ayatollah declared to his audience. “However, until that time, the expansion of the armed resistance of the Palestinians (from Gaza to) the West Bank is the only way to confront this wild regime.”

Tasnim News Agency, which is close to the Revolutionary Guards, reported on Wednesday that in a letter, 40 high-ranking Guard commanders warned America that it will “certainly be held responsible for the consequences of these events [in Gaza].” The commanders included Ali Shamkhani, current secretary of the regime’s Supreme National Security Council; Yahya Rahim Safavi, the former commander of the Guards and current adviser to the supreme leader; and Ghasem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Forces (in charge of terrorist activities outside of Iran).

The regime has been awarded $2.8 billion in sanctions relief by the Obama administration in return for an agreement on a four-month extension to the Geneva talks in finding a peaceful solution to its illegitimate nuclear program. The Islamic regime had received $7 billion in sanctions relief after the negotiated agreement last November with a six-month deadline to finalize the agreement, but it has so far refused to back down from its demand to continue developing its nuclear program. It has also succeeded in excluding from the talks its ballistic missile program, which is under U.N. sanctions.

The Revolutionary Guards announced last week its first anti-radar ballistic missile, named “Hormouz 1,” and claims it can penetrate and destroy missile defense systems and could now destroy Israel’s famed Iron Dome missile defense system, as well as any Patriot missile defense system. The announcement said the missile could be used to attack the radar systems of U.S. warships and aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf.

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and author of the award winning book “A Time to Betray” (Simon & Schuster, 2010). He serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI)

 

Khamenei: Israel a Rabid Dog. The World Should Arm the Palestinians:

 

Former Iranian Official Amir Mousavi: Iran Will Provide Missiles to West Bank Palestinians:

 

Stories From The Battlefield: Hamas Tunnels Used To Target Israel’s Kindergartens

Gaza21-e1406466928121By Mordechai Ben-Menachem

Multiple media outlets report that Hamas’s offensive tunnel network – now known to have been composed of over forty attack tunnels dug underneath Israel’s border with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip – was set to be activated during the Jewish High Holidays (September 24th) as a mass terror attack.

The attack was meant to generate as many as ten thousand casualties, men, women and particularly children and hundreds of captives.  Explosives were particularly placed underneath kindergartens to make certain that these “institutions” would be the first struck, even before any thing else.

The IDF recently published the below map showing that tunnels were created in pairs, to empty out on both sides of nearby communities.  The known cost of the infrastructure – each tunnel costs upward of some $1 million – clearly shows that Hamas was planning a coordinated mega-attack.  It must be understood that use of even one tunnel would inevitably trigger Israeli retaliation against the entire network.

A map of a small portion of the tunnels meant to be used 9 weeks from now.

A map of a small portion of the tunnels meant to be used 9 weeks from now.

Revelations regarding the planned tunnel attack magnitude played a decisive role in the Israeli government’s rejection of a ceasefire proposed late Friday by Secretary of State John Kerry.

Unbelievably, Kerry actually proposed in his latest “cease-fire proposal” – none of which have been honored by Hamas so far – that Israel refrains from degrading remaining attack tunnels.  This mind-boggling concept would necessarily be rejected by any sane government, of any country.

Israeli security sources, citing information acquired in interrogations of captured brigands, described a scenario under which hundreds of heavily armed Hamas fighters would have spilled out into Israel in the dead of night and within 10 minutes been positioned to infiltrate essentially all Israeli communities surrounding the Gaza Strip.  Waiting then in hiding until schools and kindergartens were occupied, the terrorists would then attempt to kill the children first, and then kill and kidnap as many Israelis as possible.  The plot was set to take place during Jewish New Year, on September 24.

“It’s like the Underground, the Metro or the Subway,” Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said. “These tunnels are all connected. I would describe it as Lower Gaza.”

Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said, “A whole city of terror tunnels has been found.  Without the ground operation, we would have woken up one day to an Israeli 9/11.”

Except, the actual objective was to be five times 9/11.

Read more at Daily Caller

Also see:

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UANI Applauds U.S. House for Passing New Sanctions on Iran’s Terrorist Proxy Hezbollah

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UNAI:

New York, NY – Today, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for unanimously passing the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act (H.R. 4411), a measure to impose further sanctions on the foreign assets of designated terrorist organization Hezbollah. Among other provisions, the legislation would direct the Treasury Department to prohibit a foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates Hezbollah activities from maintaining a payable-through account in the U.S. The bill was introduced by U.S. Reps. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Edward R. Royce (R-CA), and Eliot L. Engel (D-NY) and cosponsored by 321 Members of Congress. The legislation’s Senate counterpart, S. 2329, was introduced by U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) and has 46 cosponsors.

Said UANI CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace:

We applaud the House for voting to toughen sanctions on Hezbollah, the Iranian regime’s terrorist proxy. The House has sent a strong, bipartisan message with this unanimous vote, and we hope the Senate now passes this bill and sends it to President Obama’s desk. As the Administration has noted, Iran remains the world’s top sponsor of terrorism, and Tehran and its agents must be held fully accountable for sowing terror across the globe.

For additional information on Hezbollah and Iran’s terrorist activity, visit the following UANI resources:

Iran VERITAS Project: Documenting Iran’s Violence, Extremism, Repression and Terror

For 35 years the Islamic Republic of Iran has used violence and brutality to consolidate power at home and spread its radical revolutionary ideology abroad. UANI’s Iran VERITAS Project is the definitive record memorializing Iran’s violence, extremism, repression and terrorism at home and abroad.

Iran State Sponsor of Terrorism Timeline

Iran – particularly the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – has been repeatedly tied to terrorist organizations and terrorist attacks against the United States and its allies throughout the world.

IDF Chief: Syrian Battlefield Experience Makes Hizballah a Greater Threat

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz Photo: EREZ HARODI - OSIM TSILUM

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz Photo: EREZ HARODI – OSIM TSILUM

by John Rossomando:

Hizballah’s combat experience in Syria could make it a more potent threat to Israel, according to Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz.

“The bad news from our point of view is that while Hizballah is fighting on three fronts … it is also amassing experience we will one day face,” Gantz said, noting that the terrorist group has more firepower than most states. Gantz warned that this experience combined with the terrorist group’s firepower makes it a force to be reckoned with – one that Israel will eventually have to confront.

He spoke spoke Monday at an annual policy conference in Herzliya, Israel.

Only a handful of nations – the U.S., China, Russia, Israel, France and the U.K. – have more firepower than the terrorist militia, he said. Hizballah’s close connection with the “radical axis led by Iran” adds to the threat facing Israel by contributing to the Islamic republic’s strategy of encircling and isolating it. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which threaten Israel with rocket fire from Gaza, also form part of this axis.

“At the same time, World Jihad elements in Syria are getting stronger,” Gantz said.

He estimates that the Syrian civil war could last another 10 years.

He warned that Hizballah would be “set back decades” by the damage that Israel would wreak on it in the case of a future war. But the lessons from the 2006 Lebanon war show that an all-out war carries a high cost for Israel.

The war proved that Hizballah no longer was the ragtag Shiite militia that emerged with Iran’s backing in the 1980s. It grew into an effective, coordinated fighting force that proved challenging to the IDF. Hizballah stopped Israeli tanks using the latest Russian antitank weaponry and showed unprecedented discipline.

This coordination still exists. Reports from Syria show that Hizballah is organized similar to a regular national army, operating with a military command structure, the latest infantry weapons, and armored vehicles.

Estimates place 4,000 to 10,000 Hizballah fighters in Syria. Assad owes his grip on power in part to Hizballah’s capabilities, which have helped repel the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Jabhat al-Nusra and other Sunni jihadist groups.

Although the IDF would still enjoy superiority over Hizballah in a future war, the terrorist group’s experience in Syria could give it improved combat performance and force coordination against Israel, much like modern national armies. Hizballah may be able to mount larger-scale offensive operations.

The new threats from Hizballah and other terrorist organizations mean the IDF will need to adapt to maintain its military supremacy, Gantz said.

House to Introduce New Bill Cracking Down on Hezbollah’s Funding, Drug Trade, TV station

Mideast Lebanon IsraelBy :

House lawmakers on Monday are set to introduce a new bill that would greatly tighten economic sanctions on the terror group Hezbollah by going after its foreign assets, narcotics trafficking rings, and its media apparatus, according to information obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The new bipartisan Hezbollah International Financial Prevention Act aims to widen the scope of sanctions by going after Hezbollah’s drug trafficking and public relations arms, which until this point have operated with relative impunity across the globe, including in Latin America.

The sanctions also would disrupt Hezbollah’s fundraising channels and cut off the group’s ability to finance its international terror activities.

The new sanctions, which have been in the works for weeks, were spearheaded by Reps. Ed Royce (R., Calif.), Eliot Engel (D., N.Y.), Mark Meadows (R., N.C), and Brad Schneider (D., Ill.).

The lawmakers argue that new sanctions are needed in order to thwart Hezbollah’s growing global network, which includes drug rings, criminal networks, and terror funding in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Read more at Free Beacon

Dearborn Man Arrested Trying to Join Hizballah Fighters in Syria

Lebanese Media Report Shift In U.S. Attitudes Towards Hizbullah, Despite Its Being A Designated Terrorist Organization

MEMRI:

Introduction

In February 2013, Hizbullah deputy secretary-general Sheikh Na’im Qassem said that the Americans had “contacted us in various ways and via mediators and asked to sit down with us. We answered via the mediators that the images [of such a meeting] would do no good, and that the only thing that would help is a change in your [i.e. the Americans'] mentality and your recognition of the legitimate rights of peoples.”[1]

This statement, if authentic, could attest to a change of strategy vis-à-vis Hizbullah on the part of the U.S., which declared Hizbullah a terrorist organization in 1990. According to Lebanese media reports, the U.S. administration has been conducting contacts with it since April-May 2012; these contacts, mostly indirect and through intermediaries, have more recently become direct as well. The reports state that at first, the U.S. administration and Hizbullah exchanged intelligence information, but later expanded the contacts into a diplomatic and political relationship, and even into dealings concerning domestic Lebanese politics.

The media reports focus on the relationship between the U.S. and the director of Lebanon’s General Security Directorate, ‘Abbas Ibrahim; although it is an official Lebanese body, this directorate, and Ibrahim himself, are close to Hizbullah. Before heading General Security, from 2005 to 2008, Ibrahim headed military intelligence in South Lebanon – and, according to many Lebanese Sunnis, this apparatus and those in charge of it in South Lebanon are pro-Hizbullah. At Qatar’s request, Ibrahim also mediated between this country and Hizbullah in November 2013.[2]

This paper will review the reports on the contacts and the relationship between the U.S. and Hizbullah, on the development of these contacts and this relationship, on their possible reasons and purposes, and on their possible connection with the shift in U.S. foreign policy towards Iran and towards the entire region.

 

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale (left) and Lebanese General Security Directorate head ‘Abbas Ibrahim

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale (left) and Lebanese General Security Directorate head ‘Abbas Ibrahim

Direct And Indirect CIA-Hizbullah Security Cooperation

According to Lebanese media reports, indirect CIA-Hizbullah contacts were apparently initiated by the U.S., and have been underway since at least April 2012, conducted by the U.S. Embassy in Beirut and Hizbullah through Ibrahim. These contacts culminated in cooperation fighting Al-Qaeda and its offshoots and other extremist Sunni organizations.[3] It should be noted that since Hizbullah’s announcement of its military involvement in Syria, it has been targeted by Sunni terrorist organizations operating in Syria and Lebanon, which have attacked Hizbullah itself as well as Shi’ite population centers in Lebanon considered to be Hizbullah strongholds.

Read more at MEMRI

Hezbollah in the streets of Caracas?

3893367737_c4e1e6fbb2_zAEI, By :

A man whom the US Treasury Department has designated as an operative of the terrorist organization Hezbollah has relocated from the Syria war zone to Venezuela in recent days, apparently in support the government’s violent crackdown against student demonstrators. Ghazi Atef Nassereddine was sanctioned by the US government in 2008 for providing logistical and financial support to Hezbollah.

Sources and documents substantiate Nassereddine’s role as Hezbollah’s principal representative to the Venezuelan regime and a close collaborator of President Nicolás Maduro. In recent years, his official cover has been as a diplomat assigned to Venezuela’s embassy in Damascus, where he has used his position to facilitate travel for many persons from the Middle East to Venezuela. From that post, he had extraordinary access to senior Syrian security officials who have waged war on opponents of the Assad regime.

Two witnesses also have told me that Nassereddine worked personally to obtain Maduro’s approval of Hezbollah money laundering schemes using Venezuelan entities. One plan involved the transfer of Syrian oil through a Venezuelan-operated refinery in the Caribbean to evade international sanctions.  These deals would produce enormous profits for corrupt representatives of the Maduro regime as well as Hezbollah.

As part of the late Hugo Chávez’s radical, anti-US agenda, the Venezuelan regime has promoted and even funded the presence and activities of Iran and Hezbollah in the Western Hemisphere. Now that regime is turning to these allies as it faces a meltdown fueled by its virtual bankruptcy, shocking rates of violent crime, spiraling inflation, widespread shortages of food and medicine, and more recently, student demonstrations against Maduro’s regime in the country’s principal cities.

One very dangerous operative who has answered this call is Ghazi Nassereddine, who was born in 1971 in the Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil, which the Israeli’s have dubbed, “The capital of Hezbollah.” Ghazi parents emigrated to Venezuela, where he acquired citizenship soon after Chávez took power. As I stated in my testimony before the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence Committee on Homeland Security on July 2011, “[Ghazi Nassereddine], along with at least two of his brothers, manages a network that raises and launders money and recruits and trains operatives to expand Hezbollah’s influence in Venezuela and throughout Latin America.” His brother, Oday, is a long-time activist in the so-called “Bolivarian Circles,” one of the activist groups that has received paramilitary training to defend Chavismo.

Ghazi Nassereddine appears to have returned to Venezuela to help the regime in its fight to hold to power and silence protesters against Nicolás Maduro’s criminal regime. He tweeted from Caracas on February 19 that he “supports the actions taken by the government [against the opposition]” and labeled the government’s actions against the opposition as “humanitarian and patient.”

Nassereddine’s return to Venezuela shows that the regime knows that it is in fight for survival and prepared to use violence. Already thuggish paramilitary have been videotaped beating and shooting pistols indiscriminately into crowds of student demonstrators. It is remarkable that a Hezbollah operative of Nassereddine’s prominence would be part of that repressive campaign.

In recent years, numerous policymakers and experts in the region have documented the presence of Iran’s terrorist proxy in the Hemisphere – although the State Department continues to minimize this threat.  That Hezbollah operatives could be among those committing acts of terror and violence against Venezuelan demonstrators would be a dramatic demonstration of that group’s operational capability and brazenness in the Americas.

The State Department is reportedly “considering” what measures to take in response to the acts of violence and the expulsion this week of three US diplomats from Caracas. Beyond whatever diplomatic action it might be mulling over while violence rages in Venezuela, US national security agencies should direct additional resources to verify and counter the involvement of Hezbollah terrorists committing acts of violence on the streets of Venezuela.

Experts: Iran Exerting Troubling Influence in Latin America

Guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC / AP

Guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC / AP

By :

Iran and its terrorist proxy groups’ influence in Latin America remains a troubling security threat to the region and world, experts said at a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

Hezbollah, a Shiite terrorist group based in Lebanon and sponsored by Iran, has established illicit networks in Latin America in the last few decades to provide millions annually for its global operations, experts on the region told the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade.

Those networks involve money laundering, counterfeiting, piracy, and drug trafficking in cooperation with local criminal groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Celina Realuyo, assistant professor of national security affairs at the National Defense University, said the “convergence” of terror and crime networks in Latin America presents a significant threat to regional and global security.

“These types of illicit actors, terror providers, and criminals, a lot of them are offering and brokering services but may not espouse the ideological fervor that other groups have,” she said. “But they’re offering a lot of special services—a terror pipeline—where you see this very unholy alliance between terror groups and criminal groups who have a win-win.”

The witnesses’ testimony on Tuesday appeared to contradict a State Departmentreport issued last year that downplayed the threat of Iran and Hezbollah in the Western Hemisphere and was sharply criticized by some lawmakers and terrorism experts.

Realuyo said a lot of fundraising for Hezbollah in the region cannot be “separated out” from the illicit operations of local criminal groups.

Douglas Farah, senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Americas Program, added that just because ties between Hezbollah and groups like FARC seem opaque does not mean they are nonexistent.

“It’s hard to get through the policy perception that [they’re] not there,” he said.

Realuyo pointed to three recent cases as evidence of the links between Hezbollah and criminal groups in Latin America.

Read more at Free Beacon

More on Hezbollah activities in Latin America: http://counterjihadreport.com/category/latin-america/

Iranian commander: We have targets within America

Hossein-Salami-10-e1391313435440By Reza Kahlili:

A top commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards boasted Saturday that his forces have plans in place to attack the United States from within, should the U.S. attack the Islamic Republic.

“America, with its strategic ignorance, does not have a full understanding of the power of the Islamic Republic,” Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said in a televised interview. “We have recognized America’s military strategy, and have arranged our abilities, and have identified centers in America [for attack] that will create a shock.”

Reports indicate that terrorist Hezbollah forces — allies of Iran — have infiltrated the U.S. and have mapped out targets.

“We will conduct such a blow in which they [America] will be destroyed from within,” Salami said.

This is the second warning by a high-ranking officer of the Guards in two weeks. The chief commander of the Guards, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Jafari, addressing Secretary of State John Kerry, said on Jan. 24 that a direct conflict with America is the “strongest dream of the faithful and revolutionary men around the world.”

Kerry had previously said that if Iran did not live up to the agreement reached in Geneva on its nuclear program, “all options are on the table.”

“Your threats to revolutionary Islam are the best opportunity,” Jafari had said. “Muslim leaders for years have been preparing us for a decisive battle.… Do you know how many thousands of revolutionary Muslims at the heart of the Islamic revolutionary groups around the world are awaiting for you to take this [military] option from the table into action?”

Gen. Salami went further, saying the Revolutionary Guards have taken into consideration America’s military ability and different scenarios under which the U.S. could attack Iran via a limited missile or air strike, or even a ground attack.

“All operational bases of the enemy in the region in whatever capacity and location are within our firepower,” Salami warned. “The American military option does not make a difference for us, and they can use this option, but they will have to accept the responsibility of devastating consequences.”

Salami asked whether America could control the spread of any war with the Islamic Republic: “Can they preserve their vital interest in the region in the face of endless attacks by Iran? Can they keep their naval assets and the Zionist regime [Israel] secure?”

Salami said that with the U.S. economy and debt, America is in no position to engage Iran militarily.

The general then taunted Washington, citing Iran’s political and cultural influence in Iraq. “The current has changed for the Americans so much so that they invest [by invading Iraq] and others [Iran] benefit.”

Read more at Daily Caller

Iranian Fund Should Compensate, Not Create More, Victims

20111016_BeirutBarracksby LT. COLONEL JAMES G. ZUMWALT, USMC (RET)

On Feb. 1, the memory of the deaths of 241 U.S. military personnel slaughtered in the Oct. 23, 1983, Beirut bombing of the Marine Barracks will be dealt a slap in the face by an Obama administration that still doesn’t get it.

Barack Obama, never having served in uniform, fails to understand the insensitivity of a decision he made, to take effect Feb. 1 and the message it conveys to victims’ families of the bombing. One would expect those around the president who have so served, such as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, to explain it to him.

Some background is needed.

After Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 during the Lebanese civil war, U.S. President Ronald Reagan ordered U.S. Marines — part of a Multinational Force — to Beirut. Established by the United Nations at Lebanon’s request, the MNF was to oversee the withdrawal of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

A little known terrorist group Islamic Jihad launched coordinated, independent suicide truck bombing attacks against separate buildings housing the Marines and French MNF soldiers that October day.

The death toll of 241 for the United States was the largest single-day combat loss since World War II; the 58 deaths France suffered was its largest single day loss since the Algerian war in 1962.

The MNF withdrew soon after.

An initial investigation revealed authorization for the attack came from Tehran. The French quickly retaliated with an air attack against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley; the United States, uncertain there was a definite Iranian connection, rejected an offer to conduct the attack jointly.

Yet, even after the Iranian link was established, a U.S. response was never forthcoming.

It was the U.S. failure to respond to Iranian aggression that prompted Tehran to begin a one-sided war against the United States that continues to this day — all without fear of retaliation. Iran’s aggression has included supplying militants in Iraq and Afghanistan with roadside bombs responsible for more U.S. casualties being inflicted by any single country since Vietnam.

A 2003 U.S. Department of State report tagged Iran as “the most active state sponsor of terrorism.” Tehran has done nothing since then to refute such a title.

Today, the evidence is clear Tehran gave Hezbollah the green light to launch the 1983 Beirut bombing and that it has ties both to the 1996 Khobar Towers attack in Saudi Arabia and the 9/11 attacks. By January 2007, Iran was so brazen as to conduct a direct raid, with its Special Forces, in Karbala, Iraq, resulting in the executions of five Americans.

Iran’s history of terrorism, while failing to incur U.S. government retaliation, has incurred the wrath of U.S. citizens who have lost family members to its violent acts. Numerous civil suits have been filed against Tehran, bringing into evidence its complicity and generating judgments now totaling more than $8.8 billion.

Included among these is a judgment awarded to victim families of the Beirut bombing.

In 2012, a U.S. federal judge levied an $813 million judgment against Iran for its involvement in that attack. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Royce Lamberth noted in his July 3, 2012, opinion, “Iran is racking up quite a bill from its sponsorship of terrorism.”

With that background, we turn to the Nov. 24, 2013, nuclear arms deal negotiated in Geneva with Tehran, taking effect Feb. 1.

While numerous flaws in the agreement won’t preclude Iran from ultimately attaining its nuclear arms objectives, it is the unfreezing of billions of dollars in assets to Tehran that represents a slap in the face to the memories of our fallen warriors.

On that date, Iran will receive the first $550 million of $4.2 billion in overseas funds that have been blocked for the past several years. Additional payments in increments of $450 million and $550 million are scheduled to follow over the next five months.

At no point in negotiations did the U.S. government endeavor to hold the Iranian government accountable for its terrorist activities by demanding any released funds be applied to payoff outstanding judgments incurred for these activities. Accordingly, Tehran will use these monies to continue funding terrorist activities in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Venezuela and elsewhere.

Funds that should have gone to compensate families of victims of terrorist attacks instead will go to creating additional victim families.

Read more: Family Security Matters

Also see ———> U.S. DISTRICT COURT RULES IRAN BEHIND 9/11 ATTACKS