Saudi Arabia May Go Nuclear Because of Obama’s Iran Deal

1392403931746.cachedBy Eli Lake and Josh Rogin:

President Obama wants an agreement with Iran to prevent a Middle Eastern nuclear arms race, but it’s pushing Saudi Arabia toward its own nuke program.
Last month, America’s top Iran negotiator Wendy Sherman had some bad news for ambassadors from America’s Arab allies. In a meeting with envoys from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other Gulf states, Sherman said that any bargain with Iran would likely leave Tehran, the Gulf states long-time enemy, with the capacity to enrich uranium, according to U.S. officials briefed on the encounter.

Sherman regularly briefs these allies after diplomatic talks with Iran, but in recent weeks those conversations have been different. While most of America’s Middle East allies—with the exception of Israel—have publicly supported the current Iran negotiations, behind the scenes, envoys from the region have expressed grave concerns that Iran could be left with a break out capacity to make the fuel for a nuclear weapon at a time of their choosing.

And now, one of the countries in the region without a full-blown nuclear programs—Saudi Arabia—may be changing its mind. Riyadh has a long-standing interest in nuclear power. But Western and Israeli intelligence services are starting to see signs that this interest is growing more serious, and extends into nuclear enrichment. Until recently, the pursuit of nuclear enrichment—or the fuel cycle—was considered by arms control experts as a tell-tale sign of a clandestine weapons program. Nuclear fuel is sold to all members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but it’s far more costly to build the infrastructure and produce it indigenously. Saudi Arabia appears to be getting more serious about going down that path.

If Saudi Arabia pursue nuclear enrichment even if there is an Iran deal, then the victory to curb atomic weapons that Obama has tried to achieve will be at least partially undone by his own diplomacy.

“They view the developments in Iran very negatively. They have money, they can buy talent, they can buy training,” said David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a former weapons inspector. “The Saudis are thinking through how do you create a deterrent through capability.”

Albright said in this particular case, an indigenous Saudi program is in the very early stages. In 2012, the Saudi government announced plans to build 16 commercial reactors by 2030 and signed a technology agreement with China. But Albright said he has heard concerns expressed by a European intelligence agency that Saudi Arabia in recent years has quietly been developing the engineering and scientific knowledge base to one day master the nuclear fuel cycle, or produce the fuel indigenously for the reactors it’s trying to build. He said Saudi Arabia was hiring the scientists and engineers needed to build the cascades of centrifuges needed to produce nuclear fuel. “We don’t worry about the Saudis learning to operate a reactor,” he said. “I worry that they will learn the skills needed to master the fuel cycle.”

Read more at The Daily Beast

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Nuke Deal Elusive as Iran Digs in Heels Over ‘Inalienable’ Enrichment Rights

Anti-Iranian regime protesters chant outside the Palais Coburg in Vienna, where final negotiations over Iran's nuclear program continued Friday ahead of a November 24 deadline

Anti-Iranian regime protesters chant outside the Palais Coburg in Vienna, where final negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program continued Friday ahead of a November 24 deadline

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Washington Free Beacon, BY: :

VIENNA—Secretary of State John Kerry spent hours locked behind closed doors with Iran’s foreign minister early Friday as both sides rushed to reach a final nuclear agreement that sources say is becoming increasingly elusive as a result of Tehran’s intransigence.

As the United States seeks to impose clear and verifiable limits on Iran’s nuclear research work ahead of a Nov. 24 deadline, the Iranians have refused to cede any ground and are publicly insisting that its “inalienable” nuclear rights must be recognized under any final deal.

Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif spent several hours Thursday night and several more on Friday morning meeting in private, according to a senior State Department official. There is no indication yet that major headway has been made between the sides.

The foreign ministers from the negotiating countries, including the United States and Iran, are all gearing up to leave Vienna today, according to one source familiar with the status of the talks. While it remains unclear at this point if the leaders will return in the coming days, some have speculated that Zarif could be conveying the parameters of a tentative deal with higher-level officials in Tehran.

Any agreement that it is reached is likely to pave the way for another extension in talks as final details continue to be hashed out, the source said.

With neither the United States nor Iran appearing publicly before reporters in Vienna and answering questions, insiders in Washington and Vienna are becoming increasingly skeptical that the Obama administration will be able to deliver a deal the American people and Congress will find acceptable.

“The Iranians have refused to budge on the most basic elements—they want to keep the entire fuel cycle, and do so at a level that will allow them to breakout [with a nuclear weapon] whenever they choose so quickly no one will be able to stop them,” said one senior foreign policy strategist currently in Vienna for the talks.

The Obama administration is poised to ink a deal that includes many concessions to Iran before the Monday deadline comes around, according to a senior congressional aide who works on the issue of Iran.

“As Iran digs its heels against dismantling its enrichment program, eliminating its plutonium ‘bomb factory’ at Arak, and coming clean on its nuclear weapon, the worry is that the Obama administration will make more massive concessions and move to grant ‘nuclear amnesty’ to the terror-supporting mullahs in Tehran before Monday,” the congressional aide told the Washington Free Beacon.

“The Clinton administration gave ‘nuclear amnesty’ to North Korea in 1994 and North Korea exploded its first nuclear bomb little more than a decade later. So we’ve all seen this charade before,” warned the congressional source.

Many watching the talks unfold in Vienna remain skeptical that Iran will even hold up its end of any bargain that may be reached.

“If Iran agrees to something, history shows they will be lying—it will be the only time in 25 years Iran would not be secretly cheating on its nuclear obligations,” said the foreign policy strategist. “At this point, it seems that only more pressure will get Iran to dismantle its plutonium bomb factory and enough of its illicit nuclear infrastructure to assure us, our allies, Congress, and the American people that Iran won’t have the capability to build nukes.”

If Kerry and his team fail to deliver a deal that restricts many of the most controversial aspects of Iran’s nuclear program, Congress is likely to step in and impose new economic sanctions on Tehran—an outcome that will likely lead Iran to abandon any further negotiations.

“Without that [type of deal], there will be more sanctions on Iran, not fewer as Tehran seeks,” the source explained. “Even if that means a period of increased tension, Tehran won’t race ahead and will be back at the table soon, or it will soon again face a balance of payments crisis and economic default.”

However, Kerry’s version of a likely deal differs drastically from these parameters, which also are supported by a majority of Congress.

The Obama administration only hopes to delay Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon by about a year, according to U.S. officials quoted by the New York Times.

Congressional leaders have called this unacceptable, with many in the Senate promising to veto any final deal that caves to Iran’s demands to continue its nuclear enrichment regime.

“We are now just a few days away from the Iran nuclear deadline. And the P5+1 appear poised to accept a weak deal with a regime that cannot be trusted,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.) said on Thursday. “Despite approximately $14 billion in direct sanctions relief, as well as incalculable indirect benefits to the Iranian economy and the nuclear program, Iran has repeatedly stated that it will never stop enriching uranium or take one step back in its research and development.”

General Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA, told Congress Thursday afternoon that the White House’s goals with Iran are flawed. Even if Tehran’s program is stalled, the U.S. intelligence community is not capable of detecting an Iranian nuclear bomb, Hayden said.

“Because of the covert nature of Iran’s activities, American intelligence alone will not be able to verify the agreement,” Ros-Lehtinen reiterated. “It is impossible to verify Iran’s nuclear program because as the Defense Science Board report has said, the capability to detect Iran’s undeclared or covert nuclear sites is either inadequate or does not exist.”

Meanwhile, Kerry is scheduled to meet with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond later Friday afternoon.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Kerry will travel from Vienna to Paris Friday evening for consultations with his European counterparts. It is unknown whether or not he will return to Vienna before the Nov. 24 deadline, a sign talks are at an impasse and western delegations will plot the way forward.

Also by Adam Kredo:

Fred Fleitz: Fatally Flawed Negotiations with Iran — The WMD Perspective

CSP: Fred Fleitz, Senior Fellow, Center for Security Policy; Former Chief of Staff to then-Undersecretary of State John Bolton; former Professional Staff Member, House Permanent Selection Committee on Intelligence; Former Analyst, Central Intelligence Agency speaks at the Center for Security Policy’s National Security Group Lunch on Capitol Hill regarding the fatally flawed negotiations with Iran.

 

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National Leaders Urge Congress To Repudiate Iran Nuclear Talks And Any Agreement They Might Produce

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(Washington, D.C.): Today, the Center for Security Policy released a letter signed by 17 prominent security policy practitioners and other national leaders denouncing the Obama administration’s conduct of the nuclear talks with Iran and the seriously defective deal likely to emerge from them. Signatories include: former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra, former National Counterintelligence Executive Michelle Van Cleave,formerAssistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance Paula DeSutter, formerAssistant Secretary of Defense (Acting) Frank Gaffney, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Jack David, National Review Editor Rich Lowry and Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes. 

The letter calls on the U.S. Congress to repudiate this year’s nuclear diplomacy with Iran and dissects the terms of the agreement it is reportedly producing. The authors believe the United States and its Western allies have already given away too much to Iran – and still moreconcessions appear to be in the offing.  Their professional assessment is that any accord along these lines will be a threat to our interests, allies and security.

Key problems with the incipient agreement identified in the open letter, which was organized by the Center for Security Policy, include:

  • The deal will effectively concede to Iran the “right” to enrich uranium and allow Iran to continue uranium enrichment.
  • It will permit Iran to install new, still more advanced centrifuges and to retain its large stockpile of low-enriched uranium.
  • It will not require Iran to disassemble existing centrifuges, its underground Fordow enrichment facility or its plutonium-producing Arak heavy water reactor now under construction.

In the signatories’ judgment these dangerous U.S. concessions will do virtually nothing to stop, or even substantially to delay, Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.  They note estimates by three leading Washington think tanks that Iran will retain its presently assessed capability of producing weapons-grade nuclear fuel in as little as four-to-six weeks from a decision to do so.

In addition to raising their concerns about these disturbing U.S. concessions, the authors of the letter expressed alarm that Iran is already defying a key premise of this year’s nuclear talks and prerequisite for any future deal – namely, that the regime in Tehran would cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In that connection, Iran was supposed to give IAEA inspectors unrestricted access to Iranian nuclear sites and answer outstanding questions about the military dimensions of its nuclear program. The signatories conclude that since Iran has failed to live up to these commitments even before an agreement was reached, there is no reason to believe it will abide by these or similar obligations in the final, comprehensive agreement that the Obama administration is trying to finalize by a November 24 deadline.  Neither is there reason to expect that the mullahs will cooperate with efforts by the IAEA to monitor their future compliance with such an accord.

Finally, the authors of the joint letter regard as wholly unacceptable President Obama’s reported intention to deny the U.S. Congress any say in the forthcoming nuclear agreement with Iran and his plan to suspend unilaterally statutorily mandated U.S. sanctions against Iran once a final accord is reached. It appears that Mr. Obama is proceeding in this fashion precisely because he knows that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle would find his deal unsupportable.

The letter concluded by stating that Congress must act now to prevent the realization and implementation by the United States of an extremely bad nuclear deal with Iran. Its signatories called on lawmakers to:

…Adopt legislation to repudiate the nuclear agreement now taking shape.  We urge you and your colleagues to insist that a coherent, realistic and firm U.S. policy be adopted instead, one aimed at actually preventing the Iranian regime from realizing its nuclear weapons ambitions.  This should require, at a minimum, that there be no further easing of sanctions or further talks with Iran until Tehran complies with all UN Security Council resolutions related to its nuclear program, fully cooperates with the IAEA, and provides truthful answers to all outstanding questions about its nuclear program.

View full text: Iran letter to Congress 111214

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The Obama Administration’s Strategic Schizophrenia

obamasCSP, By Kyle Shideler:

Last week in the Wall Street Journal it was reported that the Obama administration sought an agreement on fighting ISIS with Iran:

The correspondence underscores that Mr. Obama views Iran as important—whether in a potentially constructive or negative role—to his emerging military and diplomatic campaign to push Islamic State from the territories it has gained over the past six months. Mr. Obama’s letter also sought to assuage Iran’s concerns about the future of its close ally, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, according to another person briefed on the letter. It states that the U.S.’s military operations inside Syria aren’t targeted at Mr. Assad or his security forces.

It is now being reported that the same administration believes ISIS cannot be defeated without overthrowing Assad:

President Barack Obama has asked his national security team for another review of the U.S. policy toward Syria after realizing that ISIS may not be defeated without a political transition in Syria and the removal of President Bashar al-Assad, senior U.S. officials and diplomats tell CNN. The review is a tacit admission that the initial strategy of trying to confront ISIS first in Iraq and then take the group’s fighters on in Syria, without also focusing on the removal of al-Assad, was a miscalculation. In just the past week, the White House has convened four meetings of the President’s national security team, one of which was chaired by Obama and others that were attended by principals like the secretary of state. These meetings, in the words of one senior official, were “driven to a large degree how our Syria strategy fits into our ISIS strategy.”

The contradiction between these two policies should be obvious, as Iran has expended ample time, funds, and men (primarily through proxy forces like Hezbollah and other Shia militias) to keep Assad in power. In fact overthrowing Assad would by necessity require the targeting and destruction of some of the very same forces that the Obama administration envisioned fighting ISIS on our behalf in Iraq.

The administration’s utter strategic incoherence is founded on an unwillingness to comprehend what drives both the Iranian aims (through proxies in Iraq and Syria), as well as the forces arrayed against them.  As we have repeatedly pointed out here on the Free Fire blog (See here, here, and here), the Syrian opposition is dominated by Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda-allied Islamist militias connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Obama Administration’s policy for Syria has involved alternatively partnering with these Islamists, while also bombing certain units of them during the course of the air campaign against ISIS. All sides in the current regional conflict are motivated by the same ideological agenda, establishing their hegemony in the region in order to extend (their particularly sectarian brand) of Islamic law, and to use future gains as a base for further jihad against their enemies, including principally the United States. Whether the U.S. attempts to partner with Iran against ISIS, or Al Qaeda against ISIS, or the Muslim Brotherhood against Al Qaeda, or Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood against Iran, every permutation will result in the same eventual outcome. Victory for enemies of the United States.

The Obama administration has prided itself on it’s attention to “nuance”. In its dealings in the Middle East, it has repeatedly attempted to tease out differences and distinctions that are at best irrelevant, leading to the construction of a world view that is ultimately divorced from reality in any meaningful way. The result is that this Administration finds itself simultaneously on all sides, and still the wrong sides, of every strategic challenge.

BLACK: It’s Not The Centrifuges-It’s The Warhead

iranian-nuclear-weaponTruth Revolt, By Edwin Black, Nov. 11, 2014:

November 24, 2014 is a looming deadline for Iran, Israel, the United States and the world over its nuclear weapons program. Just days ago, the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] released a report summarized by its conclusion: “The Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities. Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the Agency to clarify the outstanding practical measures, nor has it proposed any new practical measures in the next step of the Framework for cooperation.”

Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, leading the international negotiations, has described the back and forth as “a forest of distrust.” At the same time, she declares, “Our bottom line is unambiguous … Iran will not, shall not obtain a nuclear weapon.” In the background, media revelations recently disclosed secret correspondence between the Obama White House to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — kept even from Congressional leaders and America’s closest allies and Israel. Washington is struggling to enlist Tehran in the faltering campaign against the Islamic State. This process has juggled agreed numbers of centrifuges — a limit of 4,000 … or is it 10,000 … or is it something in between? Centrifuges are a critical component because each vertical cylinder slowly but steadily distills uranium into a highly enriched weapon-ready state.

However, as the world ponders Iran’s dash to enrich more kilograms of uranium, the underlying concern is not so much about the enrichment process itself, but the end product: a nuclear warhead. Iran has been developing its warhead for some sixteen years. That design is nearly perfected.

Compare the process to gunpowder. To use gunpowder, you need load it into a cartridge, load the cartridge and a bullet into a rifle, and then find a marksman. Iran has nearly mastered all those steps — but in nuclear terms.

Four technological achievements are key to completing Tehran’s nuclear weapon:

1) accretion of enough nuclear materials, highly enriched to weapons-grade or 90 percent; 2) machining that material into metal for a spheroid warhead so it can fit into a missile nosecone; 3) developing a trigger mechanism to initiate the atomic explosion at a precise moment during missile reentry; and, of course, 4) a reliable delivery system.

Start with the nuclear material. Experts estimate that a single bomb would require approximately 25 kilograms of Highly Enriched Uranium, or HEU, with a U-235 concentration of at least 90 percent. Much of Iran’s nuclear enrichment remains at 3.5 and 20 percent levels. But the numbers are deceiving. Enriching to 3.5 percent is 75 percent of the task of reaching weapons-grade. Once Iran has reached 20 percent, it has gone 90 percent of the distance. Indeed, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani delivered a 2005 speech in his capacity as National Security Advisor in which he declared, “a country that possesses fuel cycle technology can enrich uranium —and the country that can enrich uranium to about 3.5 percent will also have the capability to enrich it to about 90 percent.” Today, Iran possesses enough nuclear material for a fast “break-out” that would finish the job, creating enough for five or ten bombs, in about six weeks.

Second, that HEU must be metalized and shaped into a dense spheroid compact enough to fit into a missile nosecone. Iran has mastered the metallurgical techniques using other high-density metals such as tungsten, which have been test-detonated in a special chamber to measure their explosive character.

Third, the spheroid must be detonated. Iran’s warhead design employs a R265 shock generator hemisphere drilled with 5mm boreholes that are filled with PETN— pentaerythritol tetranitrate, an organic high explosive favored by terrorists. When triggered with precision, the PETN array can cause a massive synchronized implosion. That will fire an internal exploding bridgewire which will in turn actuate an embedded neutron initiator to detonate the atomic reaction—and the mushroom cloud. This sequence of devices has been assembled and tested. Iran has some 500 exploding bridgewires.

Fourth, the warhead must be delivered. The Shabab-3 missile nosecone is large enough to accommodate the warhead. The outer radius of the R265 shock generator-encased warhead is 550 millimeters, less than the estimated payload chamber diameter of about 600 millimeters. Most of all, the Iranian military has selected the Shabab-3 not only because it possesses a range of 1200 kilometers, but because it can be detonated in an airburst some 600 meters off the ground on re-entry. The height of 600 meters was used in the Nagasaki explosion. Such a weapon cannot be crashed into the ground. It must be detonated while still airborne. Iran has a small fleet of Shahab-3 missiles.

Hence, Iran’s metronomic accretion of nuclear material is not just an ambiguous physics undertaking that should worry the West. It is part and parcel of a nuclear attack plan that the international community is determined to address.

Edwin Black is the author of 11 award-winning editions, including IBM and the Holocaust,and his most recent book Financing the Flames. The author can be found at www.edwinblack.com

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US Veterans and Families Sue Six Banks Accused of Transferring funds to Finance Iran Terror Groups

Honor Guard Advancing Colors at Veterans Day Ceremony  WWII National Memorial Washington, DC Source: Getty Images

Honor Guard Advancing Colors at Veterans Day Ceremony WWII National Memorial Washington, DC
Source: Getty Images

NER, By Jerry Gordon, Nov. 11, 2014:

Just prior to Veterans Day, November 10, 2014, a lawsuit was filed in the Eastern Federal District Court in Brooklyn, New York against six major international banks allegedly engaged in transfers of funds with a leading Iranian bank. The defendants in the action include HSBC Bank USA, Barclays, London’s Standard Chartered Bank, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Credit Suisse, and London-based Iranian Bank Saderat.  The suit is on behalf of more than 200 plaintiffs Veterans and families of US service personnel and a journalist killed or maimed in Iraq. Attacks that occurred over the period from 2004 to 2008 by terrorist groups affiliated with Iran’s Quds Force and its proxy Hezbollah.  Over 80 wounded veterans are among the plaintiffs, many victims of Improvised Explosive Devices (I.E.D.).  The suit by the plaintiffs is requesting a jury trial.

The New York Times in its account of the lawsuit drew from the complaint compelling examples of the victims of Iran’s Quds Force and Hezbollah attacks in Iraq:

The sneak attack on the compound outside Baghdad in January 2007, the lawsuit said, was the work of a terrorist group “trained and armed by Iran’s Quds Force with Hezbollah’s assistance.” Once inside the compound, the group sprayed bullets and lobbed grenades, killing several American soldiers, including 20-year-old Jonathon M. Millican, who jumped on one of the grenades. Mr. Millican’s widow and father joined the lawsuit, along with the families of three other soldiers killed in that attack and a surviving soldier who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The journalist, Steven Vincent, was kidnapped and shot in August 2005. His widow, mother and father are plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Christopher M. Hake was on his second tour of duty in Iraq in March 2008 when an Iranian-manufactured explosive device went off near his vehicle and killed him.

The NYT noted this example of flagrant disregard by one of the six banks accused in the complaint caught evading financial sanctions against dealings with Iranian financial institutions:

The lawsuit cites a series of emails and conversations taken  from the banks’ settlements with federal prosecutors, offering a lens inside the banks’ flagrant disregard for sanctions against Iran. A Standard Chartered executive, in response to concerns raised by an employee in New York, reportedly replied: “You f–ing Americans. Who are you to tell us, the rest of the world, that we’re not going to deal with Iranians?”

 

The Eastern District Brooklyn federal court figured prominently in a jury verdict in the case of Almog v. Arab Bank  rendered in September 2014. The plaintiffs were 6,000 terrorist victims of more than 24 Hamas attacks involving Americans and families in Israel. The jury found the Jordan- based Arab Bank liable for transfers to the terrorist group Hamas.  The Arab Bank suit presiding federal Judge is now determining how best to handle the damages assessment phase.   Both lawsuits were filed under the 1990 US Antiterrorism Act that provided a civil cause of actions for international acts of terrorism and an extraterrorial jurisdiction in federal courts.  Some of the lawyers in this current suit were also counsel in the Arab Bank matter.

There are similar cases pending against the Bank of China, NatWest and Crédit Lyonnais.  One example is the $338 million damages award against the Bank of China in 2012 in a verdict by a DC federal court in a case brought by Shurat HaDin Israel law Center of Tel Aviv headed by Nitsana Darshan Leitner and US co-counsel New York attorney Robert Tolchin.  The Center and US counsel brought the suit on behalf of the family of the late Danny Wultz of Weston, Florida who was mortally wounded in a Palestinian terrorist attack in Tel Aviv in 2006. The terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad involved in perpetrating the attack used funds provided by Iran through transfers via the Bank of China.

A Washington Free Beacon report on the suit noted the arguments contained in the plaintiffs compliant:

The veterans argue that the banks helped Iran illegally move “billions of dollars” to terrorist entities that later targeted U.S. troops in attacks.

The suit alleges these banks are knowingly acting as key cogs in Iran’s efforts to evade U.S. sanctions and provide “material support” to Hezbollah and other terror groups, which, at Tehran’s behest, have carried out attacks against U.S. interests in Iraq.

“Defendants’ unlawful conduct was purposefully directed at the United States, and the conspiracy was specifically designed to effectuate the flow of billions of U.S. dollars through the United States in violation of U.S. laws, and in fact resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars illegally passing through the United States,” plaintiffs argue in the complaint filed by New Jersey-based Osen & Associates.

The veterans and their families are seeking an unspecified amount of damages from the banks as a result of their alleged support for Iranian terrorism.

The suit alleges that the international banks in question were “knowingly” part of a “conspiracy” by Iran to skirt international sanctions.

The lawsuit explains in great detail how Iran has funneled money to Hezbollah and other terror entities in Iraq. Iranian money, the suit alleges, was spent to train terrorists and arm them with IEDs and other weapons typically used to kill and wound U.S. soldiers.

The context of this latest US antiterrorism suit – Iran’s Quds Force involved with proxy Hezbollah fighting US forces in the Iraq War – comes at a time when the Administration has reached out to Iran’s Supreme Ruler, Ayatollah Khamenei seeking the Islamic  Regime’s  assistance in fighting the Islamic State, ISIS.  Already heavily engaged in Iraq advising the Iraqi national security forces on how to combat ISIS is none other than the head of the Quds Force, Qassem Suleymani, along with Hezbollah operatives.

We hope that this federal lawsuit at least finds these major banks dealing with Iranian financial institutions complicit in the terror financing of Al Quds and Hezbollah who killed Americans and maimed US vets for life.

US Embracement of Iran Will Only Help the Islamic State

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (r) and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (l) shake hands as EU envoy Catherine Ashton and Oman Foreign Minister Yussef bin Alawi watch. Zarif began talks with Kerry and Ashton in Oman on Nov.9, 2014 to end a standoff over Tehran's nuclear program. (Photo: © Reuters)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (r) and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (l) shake hands as EU envoy Catherine Ashton and Oman Foreign Minister Yussef bin Alawi watch. Zarif began talks with Kerry and Ashton in Oman on Nov.9, 2014 to end a standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program. (Photo: © Reuters)

BY RYAN MAURO:

As the November 24 deadline for a deal with Iran looms, President Obama wrote a secret letter to Supreme Leader Khamenei reportedly suggesting a common bond against the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS or ISIL).

The unpublished letter reportedly offered cooperation with Iran against ISIS if a nuclear deal is reached. Secretary of State Kerry saidthis is incorrect and that the nuclear negotiations are being treated as a wholly independent issue.

The evidence supports Kerry, as Iran publicly rejected cooperation with the U.S. against ISIS in September. There has already been some level of indirect coordination, as U.S. airstrikes assisted Iraqi forces and two Iranian-sponsored militias, Asaib Al-Haq and the Hezbollah Brigades, in breaking the ISIS siege of Amerli.

President Obama similarly said the U.S. is not coordinating with Iran and that the nuclear issue is not being paired with the ISIS issue. He would not confirm or deny the letter but said he told Iran, “Don’t mess with us, we’re not here to mess with you. We’re focused on our common enemy.”

The White House ruled out military cooperation and intelligence-sharing with Iran, raising the question of what kind of relationship the U.S. is seeking with Iran.

The letter underscores one of the biggest flaws in the U.S. strategy against ISIS: The failure to tackle Iranian-backed militias in Iraq whose activity fuels ISIS and other Sunni extremists and undermines the Iraqi government.

Iran needs ISIS and Al-Qaeda just as these organizations “need” Iran. Ayatollah Khamenei and his allies, the Syrian regime, have a strategy of setting up Al-Qaeda and ISIS as their opponents  so they can purport themselves up as the “moderate” alternative.

That is why Iran helps Al-Qaeda, even permitting it to use Iranian territory to send fighters to Syria. And that’s why, as senior U.S. Treasury Department official David Cohen mentioned, the Assad regime buys oil from ISIS.

Yet, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and Turkey, James Jeffrey, hit the nail on the head when he said Supreme Leader Khamenei “is basically a believer in a very similar Islamic philosophy to that of ISIS…It is a pan-Islamic force of revolutionary bent.”

Read more at Clarion Project

End the Bush-Obama Fecklessness: Destroy Iran’s Nuclear Facilities Now

mrz111309dapr20091113032918By Andrew G. Bostom, November 10, 2014:

The Obama administration and Iran’s rulers, spurred by the latter’s alleged “pragmatic” wing [1], appear to be rushing headlong towards a final agreement on November 24, 2014, which would validate Iran’s right to enrich uranium for putative non-military uses, and also provide the global jihad-promoting Shiite theocracy [2] extensive relief from economic sanctions. This mutually desired outcome was strongly hinted at by both U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman during an October 23, 2014 speech [3], and the recent public statements [1] of key Iranian regime advisors.

Indeed, reports surfaced this past week [4] that President Obama himself has made direct, supplicating overtures to Iran’s head Shiite theocrat, Ayatollah Khamenei, linking U.S.-Iranian “cooperation” in fighting the Islamic State Sunni jihadists, to reaching a final nuclear agreement November 24, per the so-called “P5 +1” (= the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China, i.e., the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany) negotiations process. At a post-midterm elections press conference, 11/5/14, Mr. Obama openly expressed [5] his endorsement of the apparently forthcoming nuclear deal with Iran:

I think that we’ll be able to make a strong argument to Congress that this is the best way for us to avoid a nuclear Iran, that it will be more effective than any other alternatives we might take, including military action.

Pace Mr. Obama’s and his advisers’ “arguments”—a toxic brew of willful, dangerous delusion, ignorance, and cynicism—the diplomatic processes they are aggressively pursuing will inevitably yield an Iran armed with nuclear weapons. Thus within two days of the U.S. President’s latest roseate pronouncement, a tocsin of looming calamity was sounded in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report [6] released Friday, 11/7/14.

Even the centerpiece of touted P5 +1 negotiations’ “success,” curtailment of Iran’s uranium enrichment program, was questioned by the IAEA, which noted the Islamic Republic was continuing activities “which are in contravention of its obligation to suspend all enrichment-related activities.” The IAEA report [6]further observed that contrary to its relevant commitments, “Iran has not suspended work on all heavy water related projects.” Most ominously, the IAEA report highlighted [6] Iran’s failure to cooperate and resolve “outstanding issues related to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.” Specifically, the IAEA expressed [6] its remaining concern,

about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.

As a concrete example of Iran’s ongoing defiance, the IAEA cited [6] unresolved questions (which date back to the IAEA’s 11/8/2011 report [7], paragraphs 38-45) pertaining to nuclear weapons detonation research, such as “detonator development and the initiation of high explosives and associated experiments.” Regarding the Parchin facility—long known as a center [8] for weapons triggering research and development, which allegedly [8] (per the IAEA’s own 11/8/2011 assessment [9]) includes possessing the design for an implosion-type nuclear weapon, and experimental efforts to construct a nuclear warhead—the 11/7/14 IAEA report added [6] it

has observed through satellite imagery that the construction activity that appeared to show the removal/replacement or refurbishment of the site’s two main buildings’ external wall structures appears to have ceased. This activity is likely to have further undermined the Agency’s [IAEA’s] ability to conduct effective verification. 

Albeit with decided understatement, the IAEA’s 11/7/14 report came to this rather dire conclusion [6]:

the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material is in peaceful activities.

Panglossian assessments notwithstanding, the most rational and feasible alternative to the axiomatic, but unacceptable consequence of feckless Obama, and before that George W. Bush Administration policies, are coordinated U.S. military strikes which target and destroy Iran’s four essential nuclear facilities: the uranium enrichment compounds at Natanz and Qom (/Fordow); the uranium conversion hub at Isfahan; and Iran’s plutonium-producing reactor, (still) being constructed at Arak. Consistent with the IAEA’s ongoing concerns [6] about “undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran” (including, perhaps, at Khondab [10]?), it must be underscored that three of these four sites—the Natanz and Qom uranium enrichment facilities, and the heavy-water, plutonium producing Arak reactor—were each developed clandestinely [8]. Moreover, August 14, 2002, early in the Bush II Administration, it was revealed publicly [8] that two of these secret nuclear sites, Natanz and Arak, were already under construction. Former Bush and Obama Administration Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ published (January, 2014) memoir [11], as first reported by the Washington Post’s Walter Pincus [12], discloses [12] how President Bush, some five years after the revelations about Natanz and Qom, was convinced by Gates to forestall a pre-emptive Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, and the (absurd) “geo-strategic rationale” for this executive decision:

Gates writes that his most effective argument was that an Israeli attack on Iran that overflew Iraq would endanger what the surge had achieved with Baghdad. Bush then ‘emphatically said he would not put our gains in Iraq at risk,’ according to Gates (p. 193 [13]).”

Finally, just prior to leaving office, the George W. Bush Administration negotiated a November 17, 2008  “SOFA” (status of forces agreement [14]) with our “Iraqi allies” which, as per Article 27, paragraph 3 (“Iraqi land, sea and air shall not be used as a launching or transit point for attacks against other countries.”) prohibited the US from attacking, for example, Iranian nuclear production facilities, from Iraqi bases and airspace.

The case for limited, targeted military strikes on Iran’s four known nuclear facilities has been made with pellucid cogency by Georgetown University International Relations Professor, and expert on Iran’s nuclear program, Matthew Kroenig [8]. In his dispassionate May, 2014, study, A Time to Attack [8], Kroenig elucidates [8] the profoundly destabilizing threat posed by an Iran armed with nuclear weapons:

From Iran , a revisionist and risk-acceptant state, we can expect…reckless behavior. Iran will almost certainly be willing to risk nuclear war in future geopolitical conflicts, and this will mean that it will be able on occasion to engage in successful nuclear coercion. It also means that, in playing these games of brinkmanship, it will increase the risk of a nuclear exchange.

Kroenig then outlines [8] the tactical obstacles military strikes on Iran’s four established nuclear facilities would confront, from the relative ease of attacking the surface Isfahan and Arak sites, to the difficulty of targeting the underground Natanz and Qom complexes.

…Isfahan and Arak are above ground and therefore are easy military targets. We [the U.S.] could easily destroy these facilities using air- or sea-launched cruise missiles, launched from U.S. B-52 bombers operating outside Iranian airspace or U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf.

Natanz is buried under seventy feet of earth and several meters of reinforced concrete, and Qom is built into the aide of a mountain and is therefore protected by 295 feet of rock. To destroy these sites we would need to use the Nassive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP. The MOP weighs 30,000 pounds and according to open source reporting, is capable of penetrating up to 200 feet before exploding. Some simple arithmetic (200 feet is greater than 70+ feet) suggests that Natanz doesn’t stand a chance. It is unlikely that the MOP could penetrate into the enrichment chamber of Qom in a single shot (295 feet is greater than 200 feet), but we could simply put subsequent bombs in the crater left from a previous bomb and thus eventually tunnel our way in. Putting multiple bombs in the same hole requires a fair bit of accuracy in our targeting, but we can do it. In addition to destroying their entrances, exits, ventilation heating and colling systems, and their power lines and sources. The MOP can only be carried on the U.S. B-2 stealth bomber. Since it can be refueled in midair, the B-2 can be sent on a roundtrip mission from U.S. bases in Missouri and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to its targets in Iran and back home again without stopping. The B-2 could also be escorted by stealthy U.S. F-22 fighters, or F-16s, to protect it against fighter aircraft.

This relatively limited, and very brief campaign consisting of “a barrage of cruise missiles and bombing sorties,” Kroenig observes [8], plausibly conducted in one night,

would almost certainly succeed in its intended mission and destroy Iran’s key nuclear facilities.

Citing [8] four historical precedents where pre-emptive bombing of nuclear facilities achieved the goal of non-proliferation, decisively—“Nazi Germany during World War II, Iran during the Iran-Iraq War, Iraq several times in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, and Syria in 2007”—Kroenig concludes [8] by enumerating the multiple benefits which would accrue from similarly destroying Iran’s known nuclear installations:

There is absolutely no doubt that a strike on Iran’s nuclear facility would significantly set back Iran’s nuclear progress and create a real possibility that Iran would remain non-nuclear for the foreseeable future.

Moreover…[a] strike…would stem the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and bolster the nonproliferation regime around the world.

Furthermore, a U.S. strike would also strengthen American credibility. We declared many times that we were prepared to use force if necessary to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons. A strike would demonstrate that we mean what we say and say what we mean and that other countries, friends and foes alike, would be foolish to ignore America’s foreign policy pronouncements.

Read more at PJ Media

Iran Switching to Hard Ball in a Last Attempt to Control Iraq

Shi'ite fighters and Iraqi army members participate in an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in Jurf al-Sakhar October 26, 2014.(Photo: © Reuters)

Shi’ite fighters and Iraqi army members participate in an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in Jurf al-Sakhar October 26, 2014.(Photo: © Reuters)

The unforeseen ouster of Nouri al-Maliki represented a major defeat for the Iranian regime’s agenda in Iraq. Tactics had to be switched.

BY JACOB CAMPBELL:

“Good Opportunity”

A “good opportunity” is how Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi – one of the Iranian regime’s most senior clerics – described the events of June 10.

By most accounts, the fall of Mosul on that date was exactly the crisis the mullahs needed to tighten their grip on Iraq.

In a June 16  article for the New York Times, under the headline “ISIS Will Fail in Iraq, and Iran Will Be the Victor,” Steven Simon of the Middle East Institute predicted that, “to the extent that this sectarian brawl produces something resembling a winner, it won’t be in Washington, Mosul or Baghdad – but in Tehran.”

Drawing much the same conclusion, Middle East experts Michael Doran and Max Boot wrote in the Washington Post on June 17 that “the rise of ISIS provides Tehran with multiple benefits. For one thing, it makes … the Shi’ites of Iraq ever more dependent on Iranian protection.”

Nor is the long shadow cast over Iraq by the Iranian regime visible only from a Western perspective.

As Iraq’s Azzaman daily – a favourite of Iraqis in the country’s predominantly Shi’ite south – reported on September 4, “The stunning military successes by the Islamic State (IS) have made Iraq more reliant on Iran than any time before … IS’s invasion [has] given Tehran more leverage on almost all aspects of life in the country.”

Likewise, on October 1, Iranian dissident and human rights activist Amir Basiri argued in Forbes magazine that “Iran has been able to benefit immensely from the havoc that the Islamic State has wreaked across Iraq … [by using it] as an excuse to surge thousands of troops through the porous Iran-Iraq border and notch up the violent activities of its many proxy militia groups.”

Indeed, in the months that followed the Mosul takeover, at least 5,000 Revolutionary Guards – including 200 elite Qods Force officers – swarmed across the border into Iraq, while membership of the Iranian-backed Kata’ib Hezbollah militia tripled to over 30,000, swelling the total number of Iraq’s Shi’ite militiamen to well in excess of 150,000.

Consequently, the Pentagon assessed that, by mid-July, the Iraqi army was “deeply infiltrated” and had become “heavily dependent on Shi’ite militias – many of which were trained in Iran – as well as on advisers from Iran’s paramilitary Qods Force,” the New York Timesrevealed.

According to Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey, as reported by the World Tribune on September 22, “A study by US Central Command determined that 24 of the 50 brigades in the Iraqi army … [are] dominated by Shi’ites believed [to be] aligned with Iran.”

In an interview with CNN on October 13, Fareed Zakaria of the Council on Foreign Relations summarised the state of Iraq’s military in blunter – but no less accurate – terms: “There’s no real Iraqi army … If you scratch the surface of the Iraqi army, it’s a bunch of sectarian militias.”

All of this corroborates the following information, contained in a report handed to the author during a meeting with Iraqi tribal representatives in late June:

“Qassem Soleimani, Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Force (IRGC-QF), has set up his headquarters in the Baghdad International Airport zone, where he is directing the reorganisation and amalgamation of the Iraqi army and Shi’ite militias into 200-man battalions, each of which is to be commanded by an IRGC-QF officer. Soleimani’s chief of staff is Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, a senior advisor to the Kata’ib Hezbollah militia … Recently, Soleimani met with Hadi al-Ameri, Iraqi Transport Minister and leader of the Badr Brigade militia, to negotiate the merger of the Badr Organisation with Kata’ib Hezbollah … For all intents and purposes, Soleimani is now the commander-in-chief of Iraq’s armed forces.”

Rather than downplaying its control over the Iraqi army, the Iranian regime has sought to publicize it, with the state-run Fars Newsproudly affirming that “Soleimani is the actual leader of the Iraqi forces,” according to Iraqi News.

With Iraq in chaos and the reins of its military firmly in the mullahs’ hands, the Iran newspaper – a publication owned by the Islamic Republic News Agency – felt confident enough to claim in a June 26 editorial that, “[since] there is no way to resolve the escalating crisis in Iraq domestically, … Iran can pave the way for an interim coalition” to govern Iraq.

This, however, proved to be an overoptimistic miscalculation.

Read more at Clarion Project

Jacob Campbell is a Senior Fellow of the Humanitarian Intervention Centre, Head of Research at Stand for Peace, and Co-Chairman of the Ashraf Campaign (ASHCAM). He tweets@JCampbellUKIPon Twitter.

Also see:

Netanyahu: ‘There is No Moderation in Iran’

 

BY:
November 10, 2014

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded Monday to a 9-step plan to eliminate Israel posted by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei on Sunday.

Netanyahu warned that an impending deal over Iran’s nuclear program negotiated among the P5+1 (permanent members of the United Nations Security Council) does not take into account the violent and inflammatory rhetoric emanating from the Iranian regime.

“He is publicly calling for the annihilation of Israel as he’s negotiating a nuclear deal with the P5+1 countries,” Netanyahu said. “There is no moderation in Iran.”

Netanyahu slammed efforts to reach a ‘deal’ with Iran, citing the Iranian regime’s failure to cooperate with UN nuclear inspectors and dishonesty in disclosing information regarding its nuclear weapons program.

“It is unrepentant, unreformed, it calls for Israel’s eradication, it promotes international terrorism, and as the IAEA report just said, it continues to deceive the international community about its nuclear weapons program,” Netanyahu said. “This terrorist regime in Iran must not be allowed to become a nuclear threshold power. I call on the P5+1 countries: don’t rush into a deal that would let Iran rush to the bomb.”

****

Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei Tweets: Israel Should be Wiped Off the Map. CNN Says It Doesn’t Matter - Fred Fleitz

Today’s big news about Iran concerns a message posted to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei official Twitter account  with a link to his nine-step plan to eliminate the state of Israel.  More details HERE.  The Iranian leader said he prefers Israel be eliminated by a referendum from which “Jewish immigrants” would be excluded.  If this is not possible, Khamenei said  “powerful confrontation and resolute and armed resistance” is the only solution.

This is obviously an important development as the West presses to seal a controversial nuclear deal with Iran that will have a negligible effect in slowing its pursuit of nuclear weapons.   Khamenei’s comments are troubling because they indicate that this kind of hateful rhetoric, which was often expressed by former Iranian President Mamoud Ahmadinejad, continues to be the official view of the Iranian regime despite the election of the supposedly “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani in June 2013.

You wouldn’t know this from CNN’s coverage of this issue this morning when a reporter made the incredible assertion that Khamenei’s tweet may not matter because there are other views in the Iranian leadership and since Iran and the West are on the brink of striking an historic agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.

CNN apparently does not understand why Khamenei’s title is “Supreme Leader.”

CNN, like the foreign policy establishment, is in lock step with the Obama administration in denying the threat from Iran to get a nuclear agreement with Iran to bolster the Obama legacy.  Dismissing such an outrageous message from Iran’s Supreme Leader is an indication of how far the Obama administration’s media enablers are prepared to go.

Also see:

ISRAEL SECURITY SUMMIT – Boykin, West, McInerney, Berntsen! (pt.2)

Published on Nov 7, 2014 by theunitedwest

Part 2 of 2 – (see part 1 here) Israel Security Summit, September 9, 2014, Stoughton, MA, Congregation Ahavath Torah, Rabbi Jonathan Hausman. In this two-part series you will hear from four of the world’s top experts on US National Security and our relationship with Israel. The panelists are LTG. Jerry Boykin (ret), former commander of Delta Force, LTG. Tom McInerney,(ret) former combat pilot with over 4000 hours and 400 missions and CIA Station Chief Jerry Boykin, who headed up the hunt for Osama Bin Laden in 2003 in Afghanistan. The moderator for this highly-charged panel is LTC Allen West (ret) a combat veteran who also served as a US Congressman from Florida. Part 1 also has a award presentation to Revere Chief of Police, Joseph Cafarelli who was instrumental in capturing the Boston bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Sit back, watch the two parts and get ready to get very upset at the Obama Administration’s failures with Israel and get ready to stand with Israel in the very dangerous days ahead. Contact The United West for more information as to how you can help!

Obama’s Pandering to Iran Has No Limits

1578134015CSP, by Fred Fleitz:

The Obama administration is in desperation mode on the nuclear talks with Iran.  With the prospect of a Republican Senate taking action next year to thwart its controversial nuclear diplomacy and a fast approaching November 24 deadline for the talks, the Obama administration reportedly has doubled down on its previous one-sided concessions to Tehran by offering to allow it to operate up to 6,000 uranium centrifuges.

Further confusing this situation, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the president wrote a secret letter to Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei in which he reportedly stressed that “any cooperation on the Islamic State was largely contingent on Iran reaching a comprehensive agreement with global powers on the future of Tehran’s nuclear program by a November 24 diplomatic deadline.”

Although the Obama administration made several disturbing concessions to get Iran to the bargaining table, one of the worst was implicitly conceding to Tehran the “right” to enrich uranium by allowing it to operate uranium centrifuges.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bluntly made this point when he visited the United States in September when he said Iran has no need for uranium enrichment and any enrichment it conducts is for one purpose: making nuclear bombs.

Charles Krauthammer made a similar point during the Fox News Special Report program last night, saying that to get a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration “has abolished the central idea of nonproliferation . . . you cannot enrich.”

Using 9,000 centrifuges currently operating, Iran is enriching to reactor-grade enough uranium to fuel about two nuclear weapons per year if further enriched to weapons-grade.  Although allowing Iran to operate 6,000 centrifuges means it would accumulate reactor-grade uranium at a slightly slower pace, this proposal ignores the risk from Iran’s large reactor-grade uranium stockpile and the fact that far fewer centrifuges are needed to enrich to weapons-grade from reactor-grade.

Using less than 2,000 centrifuges, Iran could enrich from reactor-grade to weapons grade in 2.2 to 3.5 months.  Iran currently has enough reactor-grade uranium to make enough weapons-grade nuclear fuel for at least seven nuclear weapons if further enriched.

The Obama administration’s decision to allow Iran to enrich uranium was unconscionable and made the negotiations to slow or halt the Iranian nuclear program an unacceptable risk to American and international security from the outset.  Over the last year, Obama officials gave away more and more to Tehran in the nuclear talks, setting the stage for a final agreement that is certain to be a diplomatic train wreck.

Words escape me to discuss the foolhardiness of the letter that President Obama reportedly sent to Ayatollah Khamenei last month.  Given that Iran is in part to blame for the surge in sectarian violence in Iraq since 2011 due to its ties to the Maliki government and its training of Iraqi Shiite militias, why would the United States be discussing cooperation with Iranian officials against the Islamic State and linking this to getting a nuclear agreement?  If the United States was to say anything to Iran about restoring stability to Iraq and defeating the Islamic State, it should be: “Stop meddling in Iraq!”

A Republican Senate and responsible oversight of the president’s abysmal foreign policy cannot come soon enough.

POTUS OBAMA SENT SECRET LETTER TO IRAN’S LEADERSHIP; SEEKING TEHRAN’S HELP AGAINST THE ISLAMIC STATE; PLEDGED NOT TO TAKE OUT ASSAD

ayattollah, November 7, 2014 · by R.C. Porter:

Disastrous and ill-conceived. From the very beginning of POTUS Obama’s first term in office, he and his ‘team’ have sought to offend our friends and appease our adversaries. One of POTUS Obama’s first foreign policy affronts against a long-time ally, was to send the bust of Winston Churchill back to England. Great start on how not to win friends and influence people. POTUS Obama’s view of the world and his perceived belief that America was in large part to blame for many of the world’s ills was naïve and perplexing. From his — can’t we all just get along speech in Cairo, to his failure to support the Iran uprising after a corrupt Presidential vote, his re-set with Russia, withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq too quickly and without a tether, failure to check China’s aggressive posture in the western Pacific, backing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and now appeasing the Mullahs of Iran and the butcher of Syria — Obama’s foreign policy is breathtaking in its fecklessness and vacuity. The best way to defeat the Islamic State — is also take out Assad. The U.S. should have taken out Syrian military airfields — the minute we began bombing ISIS positions in northern Syria. And, we surely do not want to encourage the Mullahs in Tehran/Qum that they can still produce a nuclear weapon, or achieve a near-constant breakout capability with a deal more to their liking — because of a U.S. President’s desperation for a deal — at almost any price. Very, very disturbing. No wonder this letter was sent in secret, and without Congressional input, or knowledge. RCP.

 

Obama Wrote Secret Letter to Iran’s Khamenei About Fighting Islamic State

Presidential Correspondence With Ayatollah Stresses Shared U.S.-Iranian Interests in Combating Insurgents, Urges Progress on Nuclear Talks

By JAY SOLOMON And CAROL E. LEE, Nov. 6, 2014

WASHINGTON-President Barack Obama secretly wrote to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the middle of last month and described a shared interest in fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, according to people briefed on the correspondence.

The letter appeared aimed both at buttressing the campaign against Islamic State and nudging Iran’s religious leader closer to a nuclear deal.

Mr. Obama stressed to Mr. Khamenei that any cooperation on Islamic State was largely contingent on Iran reaching a comprehensive agreement with global powers on the future of Tehran’s nuclear program by a Nov. 24 diplomatic deadline, the same people say.

The October letter marked at least the fourth time Mr. Obama has written Iran’s most powerful political and religious leader since taking office in 2009 and pledging to engage with Tehran’s Islamist government.

The correspondence underscores that Mr. Obama views Iran as important-whether in a potentially constructive or negative role-to his emerging military and diplomatic campaign to push Islamic State from the territories it has gained over the past six months.

Mr. Obama’s letter also sought to assuage Iran’s concerns about the future of its close ally, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, according to another person briefed on the letter. It states that the U.S.’s military operations inside Syria aren’t targeted at Mr. Assad or his security forces.

Mr. Obama and senior administration officials in recent days have placed the chances for a deal with Iran at only 50-50. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to begin intensive direct negotiations on the nuclear issue with his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, on Sunday in the Persian Gulf country of Oman.

“There’s a sizable portion of the political elite that cut their teeth on anti-Americanism,” Mr. Obama said at a White House news conference on Wednesday about Iran’s leadership, without commenting on his personal overture. “Whether they can manage to say ‘Yes’…is an open question.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, foreground left, met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, background right, in Vienna in July. ENLARGE
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, foreground left, met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, background right, in Vienna in July. JIM BOURG

For the first time this week, a senior administration official said negotiations could be extended beyond the Nov. 24 deadline, adding that the White House will know after Mr. Kerry’s trip to Oman whether a deal with Iran is possible by late November.

“We’ll know a lot more after that meeting as to whether or not we have a shot at an agreement by the deadline,” the senior official said. “If there’s an extension, there’re questions like: What are the terms?”

Mr. Obama’s push for a deal faces renewed resistance after Tuesday’s elections gave Republicans control of the Senate and added power to thwart an agreement and to impose new sanctions on Iran. Sens. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) have introduced legislation to intensify sanctions.

‘There’s a sizable portion of the [Iranian] political elite that cut their teeth on anti-Americanism. Whether they can manage to say ‘Yes’…is an open question.’

-Barack Obama

“The best way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is to quickly pass the bipartisan Menendez-Kirk legislation-not to give the Iranians more time to build a bomb,” Mr. Kirk said Wednesday.

House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) expressed concern when asked about the letter sent by Mr. Obama.

“I don’t trust the Iranians, I don’t think we need to bring them into this,” Mr. Boehner said. Referring to the continuing nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, Mr. Boehner said he “would hope that the negotiations that are under way are serious negotiations, but I have my doubts.”

In a sign of the sensitivity of the Iran diplomacy, the White House didn’t tell its Middle East allies-including Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates-about Mr. Obama’s October letter to Mr. Khamenei, according to people briefed on the correspondence and representatives of allied countries.

Leaders from these countries have voiced growing concern in recent weeks that the U.S. is preparing to significantly soften its demands in the nuclear talks with Tehran. They said they worry the deal could allow Iran to gain the capacity to produce nuclear weapons in the future.

Arab leaders also fear Washington’s emerging rapprochement with Tehran could come at the expense of their security and economic interests across the Middle East. These leaders have accused the U.S. of keeping them in the dark about its diplomatic engagements with Tehran.

The Obama administration launched secret talks with Iran in the Omani capital of Muscat in mid-2012, but didn’t notify Washington’s Mideast allies of the covert diplomatic channel until late 2013.

Senior U.S. officials declined to discuss Mr. Obama’s letter to Mr. Khamenei after questions from The Wall Street Journal.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Thursday declined to comment on what he called “private correspondence” between the president and world leaders, but acknowledged U.S. officials in the past have discussed the Islamic State campaign with Iranian officials on the sidelines of international nuclear talks. He added the negotiations remain centered on Iran’s nuclear program and reiterated that the U.S. isn’t cooperating militarily with Iran on the Islamic State fight.

Administration officials didn’t deny the letter’s existence when questioned by foreign diplomats in recent days.

Mr. Khamenei has proved a fickle diplomatic interlocutor for Mr. Obama in the past six years.

Mr. Obama sent two letters to Iran’s 75-year-old supreme leader during the first half of 2009, calling for improvements in U.S.-Iran ties, which had been frozen since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Tehran.

Mr. Khamenei never directly responded to the overtures, according to U.S. officials. And Iran’s security forces cracked down hard that year on nationwide protests that challenged the re-election of then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad .

Mr. Khamenei is believed to be the decision maker on the nuclear program. ASSOCIATED PRESS

U.S.-Iran relations have thawed considerably since the election of President Hasan Rouhani in June 2013. He and Mr. Obama shared a 15-minute phone call in September 2013, and Messrs. Kerry and Zarif have regularly held direct talks on the nuclear diplomacy and regional issues.

Still, Mr. Khamenei has often cast doubt on the prospects for better relations with Washington. He has criticized the U.S. military campaign against Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL, claiming it is another attempt by Washington and the West to weaken the Islamic world.

“America, Zionism, and especially the veteran expert of spreading divisions-the wicked government of Britain-have sharply increased their efforts of creating divisions between the Sunnis and Shiites,” Mr. Khamenei said in a speech last month, according to a copy of it on his website. “They created al Qaeda and [Islamic State] in order to create divisions and to fight against the Islamic Republic, but today, they have turned on them.”

Current and former U.S. officials have said Mr. Obama has focused on communicating with Mr. Khamenei specifically because they believe the cleric will make all the final decisions on Iran’s nuclear program and the fight against Islamic State.

Mr. Rouhani is seen as navigating a difficult balance of gaining Mr. Khamenei’s approval for his foreign policy decisions while trying to satisfy Iranian voters who elected him in the hope of seeing Iran re-engage with the Western world.

A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency checks the enrichment process inside the Natanz uranium enrichment plant in January. ENLARGE
A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency checks the enrichment process inside the Natanz uranium enrichment plant in January. EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

The emergence of Islamic State has drastically changed both Washington’s and Tehran’s policies in the Middle East.

Mr. Obama was elected on the pledge of ending Washington’s war in Iraq. But over the past three months, he has resumed a U.S. air war in the Arab country, focused on weakening Islamic State’s hold of territory in western and northern Iraq.

Iran has had to mobilize its own military resources to fight against Islamic State, according to senior Iranian and U.S. officials.

Tehran’s elite military unit, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has sent military advisers into Iraq to help the government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, a close Iranian ally. The IRGC has also worked with Syrian President Assad’s government, and Shiite militias from across the Mideast, to conduct military operations inside Syria.

U.S. officials have stressed that they are not coordinating with Tehran on the fight against Islamic State.

But the State Department has confirmed that senior U.S. officials have discussed Iraq with Mr. Zarif on the sidelines of nuclear negotiations in Vienna. U.S. diplomats have also passed on messages to Tehran via Mr. Abadi’s government in Baghdad and through the offices of Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, among the most powerful religious leaders in the Shiite world.

Among the messages conveyed to Tehran, according to U.S. officials, is that U.S. military operations in Iraq and Syria aren’t aimed at weakening Tehran or its allies.

“We’ve passed on messages to the Iranians through the Iraqi government and Sistani saying our objective is against ISIL,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on these communications. “We’re not using this as a platform to reoccupy Iraq or to undermine Iran.”

-Michael R. Crittenden contributed to this article.

Write to Jay Solomon at jay.solomon@wsj.com and Carol E. Lee atcarol.lee@wsj.com

Inside Iran’s Middle East: The Southeast Insurgency

ITSP logo by :

In this second installment of our Inside Iran’s Middle East series we will be covering the bloody campaign the Iranian regime’s IRGC-Ground Forces Command has been waging in the Northwestern and Southeastern parts of the country.  In the first installment, we covered the regime’s use of “reformers” to keep the west off-balance so that they can further their nuclear weapons program and eliminate the opposition.  We won’t be talking about the toothless “Green Revolution” or the Monarchists or MeK living in exile abroad.  No, we will be discussing the only viable opposition in the country in these next two installments:  the Balochs and the Kurds.

Inside Iran’s Middle East:  The “Reformers”

http://internationalterrorismstudyproject.com/2014/10/26/inside-irans-middle-east-the-reformers/

qods force__1

IRGC-Qods Force personnel in the Sacred Defense Week pass and review for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini (2013)

Source:  Fars News Agency

We will start with the insurgency taking place in the Southeastern part of Iran.  In this part of Iran, the dominate rebel group is Jundalla or “Soldiers of God.”  This is the group of ethnic Baloch fighters.  Their goal is the establishment of a “greater Balochistan” that consists of Southeastern Iran, all of Southern Afghanistan and Southwestern Pakistan.  The organization was founded by Abdul Malik Rigi and his brother Abdul Hamid Rigi, and have between 700-2,000 active fighters with many more reported to be in Afghanistan and Pakistan operating in a “reserve” or support capacity. Financing of operations is done through the narcotics trade, opium specifically.  As a result, Iran has been fighting its very own “War on Drugs” along the border with Afghanistan’s Nimroz Province.

Profile: Iran’s Jundullah militants

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8314431.stm

Iraq’s shadow on Balochistan

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/EA25Df01.html

Waking up to the war in Balochistan

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17182978

Karzai Admits Balochistan Unrest Emanating From Afghanistan, Claims Malik

http://tribune.com.pk/story/345413/karzai-admits-balochistan-unrest-emanating-from-afghanistan-claims-malik/

jundallah

Jundallah Fighters

Source:  al-Arabiya

Jundallah was formed in 2003, but the group really put itself on the map in 2005 when it ambushed then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s motorcade in Baluchistan Province that resulted in the death of one bodyguard and several more injured.  The following year would see an incident involving Jundallah fighters blocking the main road near the town of Tasooki leaving 21 civilians killed. The year 2007 would see Jundallah increase the frequency and sophistication of their attacks throughout Zahedan, starting with a VBIED attack in 14 FEB 07 targeting an IRGC convoy that resulted in 18 IRGC killed.  Jundallah would follow up two days later by bombing a girls school in Zahedan City.  What came next was mass abductions of Iranian truck drivers, who were brought to one of their bases inside Pakistan.  The Pakistani Army would later free them.  However, this would not stop the Iranian regime from accusing the Pakistani government of providing material support to Jundallah fighters.

Sunni group vows to behead Iranians

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2006/jan/16/20060116-124019-6619r/

Leader of the Jundallah Movemement, Abd Al-Malek Al-Rigi: We Train Fighters in the Mountains and Send Them into Iran

http://www.memritv.org/clip_transcript/en/1897.htm

Foreign devils in the Iranian mountains

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IB24Ak01.html

Guns smuggling on the rise in Balochistan

http://centralasiaonline.com/en_GB/articles/caii/features/pakistan/2010/04/09/feature-01

rigi 33

the late-Jundallah Leader Abdul Malik Rigi

Source:  al-Jazeera

The truth is Jundallah did receive support from the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) by having fighters train at terrorist camps run by the intelligence organization (it is important to note that the ISI has been operating on its own agenda separate from that of the actual government – more on that in a future article).  The Rigi brothers spent the 2005-2009 time period cultivating ties with the Afghan Taliban, Pakistani Taliban (TTP) and al-Qaida senior leadership.  A quid pro quo deal was made where Jundallah fighters would continue to receive training, material support and AQ embeds in exchange for assistance in facilitating the travel of senior leaders across the AF-PAK border. Jundallah also assisted AQ in financing their operations through the drug trade by helping them secure the logistical supply routes.  The AQ operatives who spent time embedded with Jundallah in Southeastern Iran would later become the core of what we know today as the “Khorasan Group,” the special cell AQ senior leadership established to handle “sensitive operations.”

As a whole the American mainstream media got it completely wrong about KG, because they were not in Iran to “work with the Iranians” – they were there to kill Iranians.  In fact, KG leader Muhsin al-Fadhli (who is very much alive contrary to Western media reports) was the point-man for this endeavor.  Fadhli was able to go wherever he pleased with the assistance of Jundallah fighters who had a well-established safe-house network in that part of the country. More importantly, he’s  one of the AQ operatives that has a great deal of experience fighting the Iranian military (thanks to his time spent fighting alongside Jundallah).  The AQ senior leadership decision to deploy Fadhli and an element of KG to Syria was a bid to revitalize al-Nusra Front efforts to regain the initiative against the Assad regime, the IRGC-Qods Force and Basij Resistance Force units supporting regime forces.

The History and Capabilities Of The Khorasan Group

http://internationalterrorismstudyproject.com/2014/09/27/khorasan-group-doesnt-exist/

The Khorasan Group:  Threat To The Homeland?

http://internationalterrorismstudyproject.com/2014/09/23/khorasan-group-dont-believe-hype/

Khorasan Group is a Bigger Threat Than ISIS?

http://internationalterrorismstudyproject.com/2014/09/14/us-government-syria-based-al-qaida-cell-bigger-threat-isis/

Report: Former head of al Qaeda’s network in Iran now operates in Syria

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/03/report_former_head_o.php

Who supports Jundallah?

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2009/10/jundallah.html

Read more at ITSProject