The Supreme Leader Caught in His Own Web?

khawebIran Truth, by Clare Lopez, August 19, 2015:

For those who have only experienced either democracy or dictatorship, it is difficult to grasp the complexities of Iran’s political system, which is an autocracy that has adopted some democratic features. A careful reading of the Iranian constitution, however, clarifies for the reader that the Supreme Leader is the one and only person who wields ultimate power in that system, including appointment power for a vast number of positions.

Hossein Shariatmadari, editor-in-chief of Kayhan, the most important Iranian daily widely viewed as the regime outlet for the Supreme Leader’s ideas and policies, is one of those appointed to his job directly by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Thus, it was no surprise that Shariatmadari’s 15 August 2015 editorial, claiming that Khamenei opposes the nuclear deal, drew immediate attention. Obviously, Shariatmadari would not have written that without Khamenei’s consent. The confusing part, however, is that Hamid Reza Moghadam Far, top advisor to MG Mohammed Ali Jafari, Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander, then harshly criticized Shariatmadari and warned him not to ascribe to the Supreme Leader his own ideas and understandings.

Given that Jafari is directly appointed by the Supreme Leader (just like Shariatmadari), and that there’s little history of this Iranian regime sending out such mixed messages from its own top ranks, the only conclusion possible is that sowing confusion is a calculated move at this time, intended to serve a regime objective.

For over three decades, the Islamic regime of Iran has made implacable enmity toward the U.S. and Israel the foundation of its official foreign policy, reflecting its leaders’ ideological dedication and fervor. Generations of young people have been indoctrinated to Islamic beliefs and recruited to the IRGC, Qods Force, and Basij on the basis of commitment to these beliefs. A blood-soaked litany of terror attacks instigated by this mullahs’ regime stretches from the ruins of the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut through Khobar Towers, the East Africa Embassy bombings, the USS Cole attack, 9/11 and hundreds of American troops killed and maimed by Iranian and Hizballah explosives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tehran’s support for Islamic terror groups has left a global trail of murder and mayhem. “Resistance” is what the Ayatollahs call it. “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” are the slogans, chanted in endless repetition. America is the “Great Satan” and Israel the “Little Satan.” Never did the Supreme Leader imagine negotiating, much less reaching an actual agreement, with such hated enemies.

But the sanctions took their toll and financial collapse had to be avoided, even if it meant coming to the table to negotiate with the world’s superpowers, however noxious that was for Khamenei personally. Getting the West to believe Iran was desperate enough to obtain relief from sanctions that it would agree to limit its nuclear weapons program was only a clever ruse, of course, but it worked. The first step was allowing Hassan Rouhani, an old regime hand who’d served as negotiator in earlier talks, to become president. Khamenei needed Rouhani’s smiling demeanor to smooth international impressions of the Islamic Republic. The years-long cultivation of Secretary John Kerry by Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also would pay off big time. The clincher was bringing in Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, an old friend of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEO) chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, to push through to the final agreement. Intelligence services like Iran’s are willing to invest lots of time and effort with targets at this level.

The American collapse on every single key issue—from enrichment (a stipulation demanded—and obtained—even before the first secret talks began in Oman in 2011) to centrifuges, the Arak plutonium-producing reactor, off-limits facilities, Iran’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), sanctions relief, and P5+1 technical assistance with nuclear development and site protection—surprised and delighted the Iranians. Contrary to Shariatmadari’s claims, the Supreme Leader is in fact quite satisfied with the nuclear deal; but, he cannot show that publicly, for two key reasons. If the U.S. Congress should vote against the deal, potentially leaving in place even some sanctions that President Obama could neither waive nor lift, Khamenei would find himself the public supporter of a failed deal. The powerful IRGC and Basij militia might hold him responsible for compromising the blood of martyrs and values of the Islamic Revolution for which the Iranian people sacrificed their economy and lives. And that would spell the end of the regime.

What to do? Khamenei wants the benefits of this deal without any of the possible liabilities. So, even as his trusted Iran Lobby pulls out the stops to make sure the deal goes through, he tries to find a way to support it without disappointing the guns that keep him in power. Solution: in public, Khamenei has spoken in general, nebulous phrases that convey no certain position. But in private, to certain audiences among the IRGC, Qods Force, and Basij, he pretends to oppose the deal. To others, he expresses support. Each group is allowed to go out and express its understanding of the Supreme Leader’s position with the media. Meanwhile, Khamenei plays the game safely and waits to see which way the deal will go.

If something goes wrong with the deal, Khamenei will be the one who warned Rouhani’s negotiating team not to trust the Americans. Publicly, then, he can discredit Shariatmadari and claim the media misstated his position (even though everyone knows that without Khamenei’s prior permission, neither Jafari nor Kayhan’s editor-in-chief would even discuss the subject). The regime is trapped in a web of its own making. It has radiated hatred toward Israel and the West for so long and so insistently that it cannot now just stop chanting “Death to America” or calling for Israel to be wiped off the face of the map. Nor can it abandon its terror proxies across the region. Disappointing the IRGC and Basij that are the backbone of this regime would shake the very foundation of the Islamic Republic of Iran: unthinkable.

Khamenei depends on the U.S. Congress to save his regime. Congressional members may want to think about that long and hard before voting on this disastrous deal next month.

This piece was co-written by Daniel Akbari, a lawyer certified to practice before the Supreme Court of Iran, holds a master’s degree from Texas State University and a graduate certificate in homeland security from the Bush School of Government and Public service. 

Also see:

FREEDOM ISN’T FREE – Hausman Memorial Speaker Series

Hausman eventPublished on Aug 13, 2015 by theunitedwest

The Hausman Memorial Speaker Series is proud to host three extraordinary individuals for the “Freedom Isn’t Free” Security Briefing, at Ahavath Torah Congregation in Stoughton, MA. Frank Gaffney, president and founder of The Center for Security Policy, Clare Lopez, former CIA operations officer and current VP of Research and Analysis at The Center, and Admiral James “Ace” Lyons, former Commander of the USN Pacific Fleet and current President and CEO of Lions Associates LLC offer their insights on topics including jihad, the Islamic State and the dangers and consequences of a bad Iranian nuclear deal. This straight forward presentation will undoubtedly reveal aspects of the Obama Administration’s policies that will leave you shaking your head!

Where Iranian Sanctions Relief Would Really Go

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Secure Freedom Radio, Aug. 7, 2015:

With Clare Lopez, Claudia Rosett, Dr. Michael O’Hanlon, Prof. Peter Navarro

CLARE LOPEZ, Vice President of Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy:

  • A disconnect between the president’s rhetoric on the Iran deal and the agreement’s actual content
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer’s decision to not support the deal and its implications for Congress
  • Who Iranian Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani is and why he was sanctioned
  • Sarah Steelman’s point that the deal will force U.S. states to remove sanctions on terrorist sponsors
CLAUDIA ROSETT, Journalist-In-Residence with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies:

Dr. MICHAEL O’HANLON, Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution:

  • General thoughts on the Iranian nuclear deal and if Congress should pass it
  • The problem of immediate, large-scale sanctions relief for the Iranians
  • General John Campbell’s recent analysis of the situation in Afghanistan
  • The current state of the Taliban and whether parts of it are joining the Islamic State

Prof. Peter Navarro, Author of the forthcoming Crouching Tiger: What China’s Militarism Means for the World:

  • An economic explanation of the national security threat from China
  • Consensus among experts on the dangers on an expanding Chinese military
  • Obama backing down on currency manipulation and the flawed economic interdependence argument concerning Beijing

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Fox: Iran’s Terrorist General Visits Putin in Russia By Jennifer Griffin

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Dr Michael Rubin Ph.D.: The Iran Deal

Recorded at Center for Security Policy’s National Security Group Lunch on Capitol Hill on Thursday, July 24, 2015.

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Caroline Glick: The Iran Deal – Implications for International Security

Recorded at a Center for Security Policy National Security Briefing on Capitol Hill on Thursday, August 6th, 2015.

Also see:

Obama Concessions to Iran Worse than Previously Known

1383410554Center for Security Policy, by Clare Lopez, June 30, 2015:

To no one’s surprise, the nuclear talks with Iran that were supposed to produce an agreement by tomorrow have been extended. Critics of the nuclear deal sought by President Obama fear that this will be a dangerous deal because of too many one sided U.S. concessions to Iran.

These include allowing Iran to enrich uranium and build advanced enrichment centrifuges while an agreement is in force. Iran will keep all of its nuclear infrastructure, including a plutonium-producing heavy–water reactor. (It is supposed to be re-engineered to produce less plutonium.)

Iran also will be allowed to keep its entire stockpile of the uranium it’s already enriched (although it’s supposed to dilute it down to a form less-readily usable to make a bomb). Nor does Iran have to come clean about its past nuclear weapons work. And the U.S. reportedly has now pledged to provide Iran technical assistance to further develop its nuclear program.

Israeli news sources over the weekend claimed that the U.S. has caved on inspections of nuclear facilities in a final agreement, a report that is consistent with other reports this month about such a concession.

But this story actually gets worse. In a June 29 Wall Street Journal article, columnist Jay Solomon wrote that the Obama administration has been secretly making concessions to Iran since 2009 to convince it to begin multilateral talks on its nuclear program.

These concessions included the release of four Iranians detained in the United States and the United Kingdom; two convicted arms smugglers, a retired senior diplomat and a scientist convicted of illegal exports to Iran. The U.S. also agreed to increase U.S. visas for Iranian students. According to Solomon, these concessions were arranged in secret by Oman.

Iran also asked the United States to blacklist groups hostile to Iran. The Obama administration reportedly replied to this request by sanctioning a Pakistani military group known as Jundullah which had attacked Shi’ite mosques in eastern Iran, killing hundreds.

According to the Journal article, the Obama administration did not agree to sanction other groups hostile to the Iranian regime such as a pro-monarchy group in Los Angeles. The MEK (Mujahedeen-e Khalq and the National Council of Resistance of Iran or NCRI, the political umbrella group to which it belongs) had already been put on the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list in 1997 and 2003, respectively, at the request of Mohammad Khatami, a previous Iranian president.

The editorial also noted that on the day after the announcement of the framework agreement, the U.S. Treasury Department removed Buhary Seyed Abu Tahir, a Dubai-based Sri Lankan businessman, from a list of persons sanctioned in 2004 as part of the A.Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network. This network provided secret assistance to the nuclear programs of Iran, Libya and North Korea.

What other concessions did the Obama administration make to get a nuclear deal with Iran? The overall picture that’s emerging suggests an even broader understanding: to what extent has the Obama White House agreed to Iranian regional hegemony, perhaps a dominance secured by a nuclear capability? How much worse does this story have to get before Congress puts an end to this dangerous farce?

NIAC June 25 Discussion on Geopolitical Implications of Nuclear Deal with Iran

Slavin-Beinart-Parsi-Kaplan-Web-3CSP, by Caitlin Anglemier, June 26, 2015:

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) serves as de factor influence for Iranian interests in Washington politics, as previously reported by the Center for Security Policy’s Clare Lopez. Trita Parsi, NIAC’s president, has been very influential in this process.

Yesterday, June 25, NIAC held a discussion on “The Geopolitical Implications of an Iran Deal”. The panel of speakers included: Peter Beinart, contributing editor forThe Atlantic and National Journal; Fred Kaplan, war stories columnist for Slate; Dr. Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council; and Barbara Slavin, South Asia Center senior fellow for the Atlantic Council.

The talk began with a discussion on how foreign policy has become a primary focus of the Republican party and how generally, the Democratic party tends to place more emphasis on social and economic issues. The discussion then drifted towards discussing the negotiation talks themselves and the ten-year time period aspect. The panel acknowledged the concern that many have, which is that the ten-year period is just delaying the inevitable truth that Iran could obtain a nuclear weapon within a year. But the panel emphasized the importance of those ten years. While that negative viewpoint is out there, why not try to focus on the time positively and the opportunity it provides for even more talks, negotiations, and compromising?

In trying to frame the ten-year period in such a positive manner, the NIAC panel attempted to depict a reality that is simply not accurate. Solely based on how the nuclear deal negotiations have gone so far, it would be foolish to think that ten years of talks and additional demands would go any better than what has transpired-which has not been good at all.

The discussion then moved to reflecting on the implications of all the money involved in the deal talks. “…[the US] will have released a total of $11.9 billion to the Islamic Republic [of Iran] by the time nuclear talks are scheduled to end in June, according to figures provided by the State Department”. The panel seemed to indicate that if a deal is successfully reached, Iran would utilize the freedom gained from lifted sanctions as well as the cash assets given from the United States to benefit the people of Iran. The panel’s theory was that if Iran continued, over the next ten years, to send money overseas for alternative projects, the people of Iran would start questioning the government and would become upset. In the past, Iran has used the funds it had to fund terrorism and terrorist organizations. If the country has placed an emphasis on aiding terrorism over taking care of its people in the past, why would that change after a new deal?

The last part of the discussion before questioning commenced revolved around the “misfortunate reality” that the US can’t work in alliance with Iran to combat the Islamic State. The panel emphasized how the Islamic State is well aware of the fact that all of its major opponents are at war with one another, and has already taken advantage of this situation. At first glance it does seem that Iran has taken steps towards combatting the Islamic State. However, Iran is actually continuing to fund Hezbollah as well as Shia tribes and militias. While the US clearly wants to abolish the Islamic State, this must be accomplished without simultaneously strengthening Iran and its militant connections. This hypothetical alliance with Iran against IS could never manifest itself in reality.

The last part of the discussion allowed for members of the audience to ask questions to the panel. One of the most prominent themes of questioning revolved around the exact details of the deal talks and their implications. The panel tried to emphasize with great significance the problem of coming to negotiations with lists of hardline demands, and with no willingness to compromise or concede anything on any of the details. The US tried to approach the talks with certain demands, and has essentially back peddled on almost all of them. There has been no compromising either side of the talks. A speaker on the panel described compromise as “a dirty word”. This is not the most effective way to reach agreements and negotiate.

More importantly, even if we were able to compromise and establish a negotiation with Iran on their desires and demands, we have no reason to believe that they will be honest and follow through on said demands in the future. Therefore, this essentially indicates that a “deal” is just a blissfully ignorant façade.

Conclusive, the discussion was polite, peaceful, and very informative. It would be easy to imagine a listener walking away with a positive mental image of Iran and the extensive benefits a successful nuclear deal agreement. However, we must take it upon ourselves to not be so easily deceived. Pursuing an agreement with Iran in nuclear talks is not only a waste of time and resources, it would result in directly providing Iran with significant relief from sanctions as well as billions of dollars. And contrary to what some apparently believe, these billions will in fact not be used towards benefiting the wellbeing of the Iranian citizens, but will continue to be used in funding terrorism and terrorist organizations.

We must abandon these attempts at negotiations with Iran before we make ourselves out to be even greater pushovers than we have already portrayed.

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Also see:

The Obama administration has been assuring lawmakers that there can be prompt reporting and measures such as “snap back” sanctions if Iran cheats. By now, the record goes far to suggest that in the time it takes State to transmit a legally required report to Congress, Iran could violate its way to a nuclear breakout.

American Conservative Union Discusses Iran Nuclear Deal

1169645321Center for Security Policy, June 19, 2015:

The American Conservative Union Foundation hosted an expert discussion on the possible ramifications of the impending U.S.-Iran nuclear deal. The panelists included Lt. Gen Michael Flynn (Ret.), Clare Lopez, KT McFarland and Michael Rubin.

You can watch the event here: http://www.c-span.org/video/?326655-1/discussion-nuclear-deal-iran

By Stephanie Routzahn, June 23, 2015:
On Friday, June 19th, the Center’s Vice President for Research and Analysis, Clare Lopez joined an elite panel of experts on Iran at an event sponsored by the American Conservative Union Foundation to a packed audience in the Caucus room at the Canon House Office Building. Also included in the list of dynamic list of speakers were national security expert, KT McFarland, Former Director of the D.I.A., Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (Ret.), and A.E.I. Scholar, Michael Rubin.
     The panel held an illuminating discussion on the topic of Iran titled, “Iran Nuclear Deal: What Can We Expect?” The subject matter experts’ topics ranged from refuting the misguided claim President Obama and Secretary Kerry both assert that a nuclear deal is the only alternative to war, despite the irrefutable fact that Iran has an extensive history of blatantly ignoring calls from the international community to cease nuclear proliferation, causing mistrust towards possible Iranian concessions.
    KT McFarland lead the discussion by telling the audience, “We have assembled the greatest group of experts that we could find, and it’s not so much numbers as quality.” Posing a question about the claim coming out of the administration that it’s either a deal or war with Iran, she asked, “Is this a legitimate question, or is that a straw-man option?” She asked everyone who spoke to summarize.
     Lt. Gen. Flynn (Ret.) answered by articulating what’s at stake for America, and what the U.S.’s policy towards the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism is, and laid out four points on the strategic outlook on where the United States should be from the prospective of history:
This country needs clarity right now, instead of confusion. The second thing is confidence. I want my leadership to be confident in themselves. I don’t want the United States to appear weak. The third word is coherence, instead of discord. If you don’t contribute, you don’t get a seat at the table, Iran.  You don’t contribute to the greater good of humanity. The fourth is character. What type of characteristics do we want the United States to be known for? We’ve sort of lost what our consciousness is of what America is built on – lots of sacrifice.
   When asked about the agreement with Iran, Lt. Gen. Flynn (Ret.) expounded upon the implications of the deal, how the deal is causing America to take sides with the Shiites, and elaborated on what the implications are for the region going nuclear, and the future rise in the proxy wars between the Sunni and Shia communities.
   Michael Rubin followed with an excellent discussion on what one can expect on the outcomes from the P5+1 negotiations, and discussed the red flag warnings coming out of the regime, notably, Kahamenei’s call for heroic flexibility.
His office has suggested that (heroic flexibility) means a change in tactics, not a change in policy. When we look at the term, ‘heroic flexibility’, it’s really astounding that the State Department prides itself on cultural understanding, and doesn’t recognize the religious connotation of this term going back to the Imam Hassan. Ultimately, we are projecting our own goodwill on the Iranian’s side.
     Leading expert, Clare Lopez discussed in depth the extent of the threats posed by Iran, possible military dimensions, the character of the regime, the components of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and the current status of the negotiations. Clare Lopez ended the panel discussion with a call to action for what citizens can do, and how Congress ought to approach the deal.
Congress has the responsibility, and it took upon itself the responsibility when it passed the 
Corker-Cardin bill to take a vote on any ultimate agreement between the U.S. and the Iranians.
 A bad deal is worse than no deal, and we need to let our Congressional representatives know to vote 
down this deal.

Green Berets’ efforts to take down ISIS undermined by shoddy U.S. intelligence

U.S. Special Forces (USSF) soldiers scan the ground below for threats while flying on a MH-60 Black Hawk during a Fast Rope Insertion Extraction System training exercise. USSF fast roped onto a specific target during the Special Forces Advanced Reconnaissance, Target Analysis, and Exploitation Techniques Course, John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School on Fort Bragg, N.C., Aug. 28, 2012. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Justin P. Morelli)

U.S. Special Forces (USSF) soldiers scan the ground below for threats while flying on a MH-60 Black Hawk during a Fast Rope Insertion Extraction System training exercise. USSF fast roped onto a specific target during the Special Forces Advanced Reconnaissance, Target Analysis, and Exploitation Techniques Course, John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School on Fort Bragg, N.C., Aug. 28, 2012. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Justin P. Morelli)

The Washington Times – Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Army Green Berets planned for a wide range of actions in Iraq this year but bemoaned the sorry state of U.S. intelligence assets in the country to help the local security forces find and kill Islamic State terrorist targets, an internal Army memo says.

The memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times, states that when U.S. forces exited Iraq in December 2011, “all theater-level enterprise databases were terminated.”

This was forcing U.S. special operations forces in Iraq to track a wide range of intelligence reports “on individual service member laptops and share drives,” the memo says.

The memo was written in December by the commander of 1st Special Forces Group, a Tacoma, Washington-based command of about 1,400 Green Berets and support personnel, as it prepared to deploy some commandos to Iraq. The commander is now the top U.S. special operations officer in Iraq.

The commander asked Army headquarters to provide an intelligence architecture called Palantir. Its network specializes in storing and sorting all sorts of intelligence data that can be mined to create links between individuals and terrorist cells, such as the ones controlling parts of Iraq and Syria.

“This is proving to be a repeat of past mistakes from Iraq and Afghanistan where critical information at the early onset of a conflict is lost, and operational opportunities are missed throughout the remainder of the convict,” said the commander. “The lack of an enterprise-level intelligence infrastructure degrades [special operations forces’] ability to collaborate across formations and echelons, and reduces our ability to target ISIL.”

ISIL and ISIS are other names for the Islamic State.

The seven-page memo is, in a sense, an indictment of the ability to deploy U.S. war theater intelligence capabilities nearly 14 years after the declaration of the war on terrorism.

A military source said the Army has granted the commander’s request for Palantir and that other special operations units have the same pending requests.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican, has pressed Army Gen. Joseph Votel, who heads U.S. Special Operations Command, to improve intelligence for commandos sent back to Iraq.

Mr. Hunter says the Army’s own intelligence network, the Distributed Common Ground System, is plagued with numerous flaws. He has pushed the Army to provide proven commercially available networks to the troops. SOCOM is operating its version of the common ground system.

In a letter sent to Gen. Votel on Monday, Mr. Hunter, a former Marine officer, took issue with the four-star general’s upbeat report to him on how well the common ground system is working.

He accused Gen. Votel’s staff of “discouraging commanders from requesting alternative solutions, and spending money duplicating capabilities that exist on the commercial market. In my oversight role, my objective is to help USSOCOM field tools that work right now.”

Mr. Hunter took issue with the general’s contention that requests for Palantir did not reflect a lack of capability by the common ground system. “The requested capability does not exist in the Army inventory and is not provided by the DCGS-SOF system,” he said.

The congressman said the Army plans to rush some common ground components to special operations forces who have told superiors that the system does not meet their needs.

In a March 26 letter to Gen. Votel, the congressman said SOCOM’s handling of the common ground system “appears to be following the failed path taken by the Army.”

The special operations version, Gen. Votel responded, “is USSOCOM’s overarching umbrella program to deliver world-class intelligence support to our deployed forces.”

He said “one of the strengths of the DCGS-SOF program” is “its open architecture and integration of commercial technology.”

Army Col. Thomas A. Davis, a SOCOM spokesman, told The Times, “Gen. Votel welcomes the opportunity to meet with Rep. Hunter to address any and all concerns he has regarding the Distributed Common Ground/Surface System — Special Operations Forces (DCGS-SOF) program. It would be premature to discuss any specifics related to this matter until after the two leaders have had the opportunity to meet.”

The 1st Special Group commander’s memo frequently used the word “no” to describe intelligence assets awaiting Green Berets in Iraq. They, like conventional U.S. troops, are there to perform the “advise and assist” role to organize Iraqi Security Forces into units that are capable of fighting the Islamic State.

“No common operating picture exists for USSOF partnered tactical operations centers,” the commander wrote. “No real time information collection capability exists for Iraqi soldier sensors. No capability exists for automated bilingual data sharing.”

The U.S. left the Iraqi army equipment to store ground intelligence data, but “No U.S. repository exists for this information and the information resides in Arabic only,” the memo says.

The commander then expressed effusive praise of Palantir and called it “the only solution that meets several” special operations goals and provides a network that lets analysts in the U.S. look at the same information.

Palantir virtually synchronizes personnel and capabilities regardless of location,” the commander said. “It is the only platform that bridges the critical seams of SOF conventional and SOF interagency data sharing to effectively contribute to unified action.”

The plan, the commander said, is to install a Palantir mobile tactical command and collection center and then link it to Iraq’s commercial communications infrastructure.

Though Obama administration policy prohibits the Green Berets from taking part in combat, the memo shows they planned to operate throughout Iraq in “remote outstages” and “team houses.”

“In the current operational environment, USSOF is not permitted to provide direct side-by-side advise-and-assist support to Iraqi tactical informations,” the memo says. “This operational constraint inhibits the rapid and accurate sharing of tactical information with troops on mission.”

The 1st Special Forces Group is not the first combat unit to ask higher-ups to let it deploy with Palantir, a system built by Palantir Technologies Inc. in Palo Alto, California, and now used by law enforcement as well as the military.

A stream of memos obtained by The Washington Times in recent years shows Army and special operations forces clamoring for Palantir and knocking the Distributed Common Ground System as too slow and prone to crashes.

Some memos showed that Army headquarters tried to block emergency requests for Palantir, a move Mr. Hunter said was an attempt by the Army’s top brass to protect congressional funding for the Distributed Common Ground System.

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Pete Hoekstra: Obama Hung Iraqi Soldiers ‘Out to Dry’ With Pullout – Newsmax, by Tod Beamon, June 17, 2015:

The United States “hung” Iraqi soldiers “out to dry” when President Barack Obama pulled troops out of Baghdad in 2011 — and that will hamper any major effort to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS), former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra told Newsmax TV on Wednesday.

“We had an integrated system that really gave us ground truth in real time for our troops,” Hoekstra, the former Michigan Republican who headed the panel from 2004 to 2007, told “Newsmax Prime” host J.D. Hayworth.

“When we pulled out, we pulled out the signals’ intelligence, we pulled out the overhead — but most importantly, we left our human intelligence.

“Those Iraqis that were partnering with us; we hung them out to dry,” he added. “As we now go back in and try to re-establish with the Iraqis, the people who we need in the ground to tell us what’s actually happening, they’re not going to partner with us.

“They saw what we did to the last folks that put their lives on the line,” Hoekstra added.

“They’re not going to take that risk again.

“It’s absolutely outrageous what we did in Iraq. We took great intelligence and we totally destroyed it — and now, we’ve got to try to recreate it.”

National defense expert Clare Lopez noted that U.S. intelligence has suffered greatly because of the lack of troops in in Iraq.

“It’s tough when you don’t have a presence on the ground in the person of troops, of Special Forces, or other intelligence operatives,” she told Hayworth. “When that goes away and when our troops are withdrawn, so do the intelligence-collection capabilities.

“The other part about that is we can operate out of different places, but it’s difficult when you don’t have the same amount of presence on the ground that we had back then,” Lopez said.

Hoekstra added that the charges filed Wednesday against a 20-year-old New York college student arrested over the weekend for allegedly plotting to set off a pressure-cooker bomb to support ISIS proved that Islamic jihadism is rapidly growing in the United States.

“The threat is alive and well in the United States, and congratulations to our law enforcement for continuing to catch these folks — but they’re not going to be able catch them all,” he said.

“The threat is real and it’s here in the homeland.”

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Islamic State Gains Military Expertise From Ex-Soldiers

Fighters from the Islamic State / AP

Fighters from the Islamic State / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Gill Gertz, June 16, 2015:

The recent defection to the Islamic State (IS) of a special operations colonel in Tajikistan and the group’s infiltration of the Malaysian military are raising new concerns that the Islamist terror group is gaining military expertise, according to U.S. officials and experts.

Col. Gulmurod Khalimov, a commander of the Interior Ministry security unit known as OMON, disappeared in April and late last month surfaced in an IS video calling for jihad against Russia and the United States. Tajikistan is a former Soviet republic that is currently aligned with Russia.

In Southeast Asia, authorities in Malaysia broke up an Islamic State terrorist plot in March that involved two Royal Malaysian Air Force soldiers. The arrests revealed the terrorist group has infiltrated the military and that around 70 Malaysian army personnel are believed to be supporters or sympathizers with the Islamic State, according to U.S. officials.

A recent State Department security report said the defection of Khalimov could be a “game changer” for Islamic State terrorists in the region. The group is also known Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

“While several hundred Tajik nationals are estimated to fight for ISIL, Khalimov’s defection has raised concerns about the threat of militants in Tajikistan and the security threat against U.S. citizens,” the June 10 report said.

The report said Khalimov’s defection is not expected to translate immediately into “increased capabilities” for IS, or a more open operating environment for the group in the region.

However, the State Department is warning Americans to be cautious in Tajikistan, specifically in three regions near the border with Afghanistan.

The defection is unusual because most of the population in Tajikistan are not receptive to the radical Islam espoused by IS or the Taliban in nearby Afghanistan.

That could change in the future if economic conditions deteriorate, something that would increase “the risk of Khalimov’s extremist message resonating with the poor and disenchanted.”

Average monthly wages in Tajikistan are the lowest in the region at $170 a month. By contrast, IS pays fighters $400 a month, “raising the risk that desperate Tajiks may be lured into joining ISIL [another name for the Islamic State] simply for financial purposes.”

The threat of terrorist attacks against Americans and U.S. interests is a concern and increased security at government facilities in the area may lead terrorist groups to seek out “soft, civilian targets like residential areas, clubs, restaurants, hotels, and outdoor recreation areas,” the report said.

The Department of State currently does not have a travel warning in place for Tajikistan, the report said, despite the fact that the British government has warned its citizens to avoid travel to Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast, the region closest to Afghanistan.

A U.S. intelligence official said the Islamic State’s thousands of recruits include some with military and law enforcement training.

“ISIL’s access to thousands of foreign fighters, and the coalition’s engagement in Iraq since 2003, suggest the group has access to some individuals who have prior military or law enforcement training,” said the official.

The terrorist group is seeking to recruit and brand itself globally as a major Islamist fighting force, the official said. It uses social media and propaganda to reach a range of audiences in multiple languages.

An earlier State Department security report on ISIL in Southeast Asia quoted a Malaysian deputy defense minister as saying, “if army personnel are found to embrace elements of ISIS, the army and police will cooperate in our efforts to counsel them and restore their faith in accordance with proper teachings.”

The Malaysian government is said to be tracking IS infiltration efforts closely and seeking to temper or eradicate Islamist extremism within the military’s ranks.

“One of the principal targets espoused by ISIL leadership and its adherents abroad are ‘apostate regimes,’” the second report said. “Governments of countries in which extremist ideology may have infiltrated the military can ill afford to discount the possibility of insider threat.”

The U.S. intelligence official said: “It would not be surprising if those messages [put out by IS] resonate with some extremists in Southeast Asia.”

The defection of the Tajik colonel also highlights that Islamist fervor and not poverty and economic privation are a leading cause of terrorism.

Sebastian Gorka, a counterterrorism expert, said the infiltration of the Islamic State into foreign militaries is a key reason the group successfully eclipsed Osama bin Ladin’s al Qaeda in gaining control of the global jihad movement.

IS has exploited the Syrian civil war and developed a powerful propaganda machine across multiple social media platforms to recruit over 20,000 foreign fighters, said Gorka, the Horner distinguished chair of military theory at Marine Corps University.

“At the same time it has allowed professional military men to join its ranks—especially the Sunni officers of the Iraqi army disenfranchised by [former Prime Minister Nouri] Maliki’s Shia-dominated government,” he said.

“These officers, with others from other nations, have turned a ragtag former subunit of the terrorist group al Qaeda into the richest, most successful insurgency of the modern age,” Gorka said.

“In this way IS has empowered the ideology of holy war with a military expertise that makes the group a threat to all the countries of the Middle East as well as North Africa.”

Clare M. Lopez, a former CIA officer, said IS is not primarily targeting militaries as a recruiting ground. The problem is “so many, including our own [military], already have jihad-and-sharia-sympathetic members in their ranks,” she said.

“And so, instead of stewing silently, or venting their anger and frustration someplace, perhaps anonymously online, these essentially fifth columns are being lit up and sometimes recruited by IS’ own online ops,” said Lopez, now vice president for research and analyst with the Center for Security Policy.

Sympathizers of the terrorist group already exist in all societies but the Internet and social media have allowed for the widespread propagation of jihadist ideas and deeds, she added.

“On militaries, I think we can take it as a given that IS fields an impressive [counterintelligence] capability, too,” Lopez noted.

The spread of IS ideology among military personnel in Central and Southeast Asia comes as President Obama is under fire for stating publicly that the United States lacks a clear strategy for defeating the terror group. The president said he was waiting for the Pentagon to produce a strategy for additional training of Iraqi security forces.

Obama stated in Germany June 8 that “we don’t have a complete strategy,” and that details “are not yet worked out” for bolstering Iraqi forces.

Robert Gates, the former secretary of defense criticized the president on Friday for the lack of strategy.

“What it feels like to me is really what the president said last week, which was a lack of a strategy,” Gates told Yahoo News.

“Just adding a few hundred troops doing more of the same I think is not likely to make much of a difference,” Gates said. “I think that we have to figure out what our strategy is. We should have had a strategy a year ago that took into account differences within the Iraqi government and sectarian differences in the country and so on.”

Gates said militarily what is needed in Iraq are U.S. forward air controllers and spotters and U.S. trainers embedded with Iraqi forces at the battalion level.

“We have to be willing, if we think ISIS is truly a threat to the United States and to our interests … to be willing to put Americans at risk,” he said. “That’s just a fact of life. That doesn’t mean we reinvade Iraq.”

The authoritarian Tajik government in early June issued an international arrest warrant for Khalimov for crimes including treason and illegal participation in military action abroad.

The office of the country’s prosecutor-general stated in a June 3 notice of Khalimov: “Acting for mercenary means, he joined the international terrorist organization calling itself Islamic State,” according to a report by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

The Tajik colonel appeared in the online video wearing a black turban and holding a sniper rifle. He said he had been trained by the U.S. contractor Blackwater.

“Listen, you dogs, the [Tajikistan] president and ministers, you don’t know how many of the guys here, our brothers, are waiting to return to Tajikistan to revive Sharia law,” Khalimov said. “We are coming to you with slaughter, inshallah.”

Regarding IS plans for the United States, Khalimov stated: “Listen, you American pigs, I’ve been three times to America, and I saw how you train fighters to kill Muslims. God willing, I will come with this weapon to your cities, your homes, and we will kill you.”

Gen. John Campbell, the senior military commander in Afghanistan, told the Army Times in January that IS was recruiting militants in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“The Taliban have their allegiance to Mullah Omar and a different philosophy and ideology than ISIS, but, potentially, there are people who are disgruntled with the Taliban, they haven’t seen [Taliban commander] Mullah Omar in years, or they want to go a different way,” Campbell said. “So there are people vulnerable to the Daesh message, and so we’re looking at it very hard.”

Also see:

PENTAGON: IRAN MILITARY DOCTRINE IS ‘DEFENSIVE’

iran_revolutionary_guardWND, by Garth Kant, June 4, 2015:

WASHINGTON – A Pentagon report claims Iran’s military doctrine is primarily “defensive,” but one of the nation’s top specialists on the Islamic theocracy calls the assertion “completely off the mark.”

In fact, Clare Lopez of the Center for Security Policy points out the Pentagon actually contradicts that claim itself, in its own report.

“In one sentence, the report describes the regime’s ‘aggressive policies, such as use of covert action and terrorism’ and then reverses itself by calling such policies ‘primarily defensive,’” Lopez told WND.

“This is the very definition of incoherence,” she added.

The Washington Free Beacon obtained a copy of the report, which is dated January 2015, and was due to Congress at the start of the year. Analysts told the Beacon, “the delay appeared designed to avoid upsetting Tehran and the nuclear talks.”

Middle East analyst Clare Lopez

Middle East analyst Clare Lopez

Lopez, who honed her analytical acumen during her 20 years of service as a CIA field operative and who has served as an instructor for military intelligence and Special Forces students, told WND, “The Pentagon clearly is completely off the mark when it characterizes Iran’s military doctrine as defensive.”

Indicating there was nothing in the report to suggest Iran had changed its stripes, Lopez cited a litany of specific historical instances of aggression either carried out, or supported by, Iran that were anything but defensive:

  • The Beirut Marine barracks bombing by its Hezbollah terror proxies in 1983.
  • The Iranian operational terror alliance with al-Qaida in the early 1990s.
  • The Buenos Aires terror attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets in 1992 and 1994.
  • The terrorist attack on Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996.
  • The East Africa Embassy bombings of 1998.
  • The attack on the USS Cole in 2000.
  • The Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
  • All the funding, support, training and weapons (like Explosively Formed Projectiles and Improvised Explosive Devices) that Iran provided the Iraqi Shiite terror militias to kill and maim American troops.
  • Continuing Iranian regime support to Islamic terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.
  • Support to the genocidal regime of Bashar al-Assad.

“This list could go on much longer, but there is virtually nothing about the Iranian military doctrine that isn’t offensive,” summed up Lopez.

The Pentagon report also claims Iran is developing ballistic missiles to deter U.S. and Israel, while not mentioning repeated threats by the Islamic Republic’s leaders to annihilate both countries:

“Since the Iran-Iraq War, Tehran has placed significant emphasis on developing and fielding ballistic missiles to counter perceived threats from Israel and U.S. and allied forces in the Middle East and to project power.”

Lopez isn’t buying it.

“An anti-ballistic missile system might be considered a defensive weapon, but ballistic missiles, let alone Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) of the kind that Iran has, including some with nosecones visibly configured to carry a nuclear warhead, are offensive weapons.”

She continued, “They are designed to carry WMD (weapons of mass destruction) warheads with intercontinental range. Iran’s current arsenal of ballistic missiles includes missiles with the range to reach not only the entire Middle East, but much of Europe, and the continental United States as well.”

Iran’s third test of its Sajjil-2 medium range ballistic missile in Dec. 2009

Iran’s third test of its Sajjil-2 medium range ballistic missile in Dec. 2009

Indeed, the report found Iran “continues to develop technological capabilities that also could be applicable to nuclear weapons, including ballistic missile development.”

Lopez issued a scathing indictment of the Pentagon report and its authors.

“Pentagon officials all took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. That they are either incapable or unwilling to fulfill that oath when it comes to the jihadist Iranian regime is dereliction of duty and a ‘Catastrophic Failure,’ to borrow a book title from my colleague, Stephen Coughlin.”

In a previous interview with WND, Lopez referred to another book, one that she believed served as “the blueprint for the Obama administration’s Middle East plan.”

She said, “The Devil We Know,” by fellow former CIA operative Robert Baer, advised America to seek a truce with Iran, deal with it as an equal and reach settlements on one issue at a time, “until Iran is ready for détente and maybe more.”

Lopez disagreed with the author’s conclusion that was a good idea, but believed the Obama administration is, in fact, following a plan to let Iran become the dominant power in the Middle East, with the intention of turning the state that sponsors more terrorism than any other, into a security partner of the U.S.

“I’ts not in the United States’ best interests, but it is one way of getting us out of Muslim lands, which is what this administration wants done,” she said.

That might explain the Pentagon now downplaying what virtually all analysts see as Iran’s aggressive military designs.

In sum, Lopez found the Pentagon report not only defied present reality, but history, as well.

“A quick look at the Iranian constitution shows that the Tehran regime was established from the beginning, after the 1979 Khomeini revolution, as a jihadist regime, with an Islamic identity, and a self-assigned mission to expand that revolution and Shariah via jihad to the entire world.”

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

She continued, “In the Iranian constitution, see especially in the Preamble the section about the ‘Religious Army,’ meaning Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, where it talks about its mission as not just defense of Iran’s borders, but jihad – jihad to spread the revolution and shariah to the whole world. And then it quotes from Quran verse 8:60 about ‘striking terror into the hearts of the enemy.’”

An exasperated Lopez concluded, “This is written right into the Iranian constitution! What on earth is not clear about this?!”

This is the section of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran to which she referred:

THE RELIGIOUS ARMY

In the organization and equipping of the countries defense forces, there must be regard for faith and religion as their basis and rules. And so the Islamic Republic’s army, and the corps of Revolutionary Guards must be organized in accordance with this aim. They have responsibility not only for the safeguarding of the frontiers, but also for a religious mission, which is Holy War (JIHAD) along the way of God, and the struggle to extend the supremacy of God’s Law in the world.

“Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of God and your enemies, and others beside.”

Quotation from the Quranic Arabic Corpus

U.S. aided arms flow from Benghazi to Syria

A Syrian Kurdish fighter in Kobani, Syria, in January Associated Press

A Syrian Kurdish fighter in Kobani, Syria, in January Associated Press

WorldMag.com, By J.C. DERRICK, May 18, 2015:

WASHINGTON—Documents released today confirm the Obama administration knew weapons were flowing out of Benghazi, Libya, to Syrian rebels in 2012 even though the rebels had well-publicized ties to al-Qaeda and other extremist groups.

Previous reports, including one by WORLD in 2013, have linked U.S. involvement in Libya to arms flowing into Syria, but the new documents provide the first verification that contradicts administration officials and congressional Democrats who maintained there was no evidence to support it. The documents provide further confirmation that the CIA and the State Department—under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—received immediate intelligence that the attack was committed by al-Qaeda- and Muslim Brotherhood-linked brigades, even as Clinton and other officials claimed it was the result of rioting against a Muslim-bashing video.

“Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya, to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria,” says an October 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document released with heavy redactions. It notes the activity took place weeks before terrorists attacked the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, killing four Americans in September: “The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were [500] sniper rifles, [100] RPGs, and [400] 125 mm and 155 mm howitzers missiles.”

Judicial Watch, a Washington, D.C., watchdog group, obtained the cache of more than 100 documents after filing a lawsuit in federal court. The judge who ordered the release, Ketanji Brown Jackson, is a 2013 appointee of President Barack Obama.

“These documents are jaw-dropping,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said. “No wonder we had to file more FOIA lawsuits and wait over two years for them.”

Administration officials—including the CIA’s former acting director in sworn congressional testimony last year—have argued that initial intelligence showed no evidence of a pre-planned attack at Benghazi. But new documents undercut that assertion. A DIA memo dated September 12, 2012, says the attack was planned at least 10 days in advance to “kill as many Americans as possible” in revenge for a U.S. air strike that killed a militant leader in Pakistan and to commemorate the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

That document, also heavily redacted, was circulated to top administration officials, including then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, four days before U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice went on several national television shows claiming the attack was the result of a spontaneous protest.

Clare Lopez, a member of the Citizens Commission on Benghazi—a group of former intelligence officers, military personnel, and national security experts—told me it comes as no surprise that Benghazi was a retaliatory attack since al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a video had called on the “sons of Libya” to avenge his deputy’s death. Lopez said the Judicial Watch release is “very significant,” because it “begins to peel back a little more of the layers of the onion about what was going on in Benghazi, and why that mission [facility] was there.”

Lopez, a former CIA officer who is now a vice president at the Center for Security Policy, said the commission has confirmed it was not the CIA but the State Department that managed the gun-running operation. According to Lopez, the department put up between $125,000 to $175,000 for each surface-to-air missile it funneled out of Libya to the Syrian battlefield.

The new revelations raise the stakes in the ongoing Benghazi investigation, which threatens to extend deep into the 2016 presidential campaign season. Republican members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, created a year ago following another Judicial Watch release, say the administration is stalling in its production of documents. Democrats have accused Republicans of moving at a “glacial pace” to unnecessarily drag out the probe.

Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 race, has agreed to testify before the panel, but the Republicans who control the committee say they won’t call her until they receive all relevant documents.

Monday’s disclosure includes startling detail showing that U.S. intelligence agencies know about militant activities down to the measurements of a room where al-Qaeda collects documents in Libya. The militants responsible for the Benghazi attacks controlled large caches of weapons “disguised by feeding troughs for livestock” and trained “almost every day focusing on religious lessons and scriptures including three lessons a day of jihadist ideology.”

A DIA report from August 2012 detailed the “dire consequences” of unfolding events in the Middle East, and predicted the rise of ISIS and a possible caliphate 17 months before Obama called the group a “JV team.
“This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters,” the document reads. “ISI could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.”

J.C. is a reporter in WORLD’s Washington Bureau. He spent 10 years covering sports, higher education, and politics for the Longview News-Journal and other newspapers in Texas before joining WORLD in 2012. Follow J.C. on Twitter @jcderrick1.

Also see:

Islamic Terror in an Age of Individual Jihad

20150504_texassuspectsshotmohammed.siFamily Security Matters, by Clare Lopez, May 7, 2015:

Anyone who thinks that what happened at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, TX on 3 May 2015, when two Muslim terrorists tried to attack a “Draw Muhammad” art contest, was an isolated incident, needs to think again. Although the two jihadist shooters, both affiliated with the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix (a Muslim Brotherhood-linked mosque), were quickly shot dead by security at the site, it’s their modus operandi that we need to understand. This is what the future jihad in America is going to look like. It is called ‘individual jihad’ (fard ‘ayn) and it is not just doctrinally-authorized in Islam, but is aggressively being encouraged, even commanded, by the Islamic State (as the Caliphate) through its online magazine, ‘Dabiq,’ as well as a flurry of other statements and videos by both IS and al-Qa’eda.

As the Center’s Senior Fellow (and author of the newly-released “Catastrophic Failure”), Steve Coughlin, points out, 2015 is the final year of the “10 Year Programme of Action” for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The top action item for that decade has been criminalization of the criticism of Islam – that is, pushing for legal measures to bring U.S. and other Western societies into compliance with Islamic blasphemy and slander laws. Those laws impose the death penalty for anything considered ‘offensive’ to a Muslim. Some think that just avoiding anything that might remotely be thought ‘offensive’ to Muslims is the best way to deal with the situation. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton certainly did all she could during her tenure to collaborate with the OIC through the Istanbul Process and UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18. But it’s never enough and never going to be enough until all of humanity is subjugated to shariah; so now, in this final year of the ‘Programme,’ we are beginning to see the physical enforcement of those Islamic speech codes across the Western world, including in our own homeland. That enforcement increasingly is taking the form of individual acts of jihad terrorism.

Prior to 9/11, as al-Qa’eda took aim at ‘the far enemy,’ the key perpetrators-Usama bin Laden and other top leaders of AQ, Hizballah, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the Taliban-met to plot, plan, and direct that attack. It was very much a top-directed operation. Today, the Global Islamic Movement is dispersed, institutionalized, and operationalized. Myriad jihad groups as well as unaffiliated individual jihadis seek to instill terror across the world, even as AQ and IS compete with Iran for leadership of the kinetic vanguard role. The OIC functions at the Islamic head-of-state institutional jihad level. And the Muslim Brotherhood provides the civilization jihad indoctrination, infiltration, and subversion operations within target governments and societies.

These three jihad levels – kinetic vanguard, Islamic institution, and civilization jihad – work in synergistic tandem to undermine the West, sap our will to resist, and play the siren song of submission as the easiest, most reasonable way out of this nightmare. Violent jihad attacks by Muslim terrorists against Western free speech targets have proliferated throughout the first half of 2015. In early January 2015, two Muslim gunmen murdered twelve staff members of the French satirical magazine, ‘Charlie Hebdo.’ Three police officers were executed as well and another four people were killed by a third jihadist shooter who targeted a Jewish deli market in Paris. Then, in February, a jihadist gunman attacked a Copenhagen event called “Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression” where Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks was speaking, killing one civilian and injuring two law enforcement officers (although Vilks himself escaped harm). And now they’ve taken aim at Pamela Geller, the courageous founder of Stop Islamization of America, also known as the American Freedom Defense Initiative. The body count is rising, but that’s not really the objective: free speech is. Free society and free-thinking individuals governed by consent of the governed under rule of man-made law are. Simply by existing, such individuals and such societies block the forces of jihad from achieving their obligatory shariah objective, which is the global imposition of shariah. Free speech is the most important, first line of defense against that onslaught because shariah cannot reign unchallenged as long as free people may speak their minds.

Taking shape, then, is a concerted jihad campaign to instill terror among those who dare to resist shariah. Especially via online messaging and social media, the Islamic State has been urging faithful Muslims to make the hijrah to Middle East battlefields but specifically encourages those who cannot or choose not to, to wage individual jihad in place, wherever they live. Thanks to misguided federal refugee resettlement policies that are channeling thousands of all-too-often poorly-vetted Muslim immigrants into the U.S., combined with official refusal to recognize Muslim Brotherhood operatives, groups, and Islamic Centers as the jihadist threat they actually are, there is a now a ready pool of indoctrinated jihad recruits living among us, whose numbers the FBI admits it has no way to manage or even monitor. From this pool in coming weeks and months will emerge the individual jihadis, converted, inspired, and trained by Brotherhood imams and mosques who will answer the IS call to jihad issued by recruiters lying in wait for them all over the Internet.

Understanding and confronting this dynamic that is taking direct aim at the American right to free speech is imperative for both the engaged citizen and an informed law enforcement community. It is the only way to stay free.

LIVE EVENT: Iran Truth Panel

4100482676President Obama has made numerous exaggerated and misleading statements to promote his nuclear diplomacy with Iran as a good deal. However, in an interview with NPR, the president accidentally told the truth and confirmed what many have been saying about his nuclear diplomacy with Iran:

“What is a more relevant I fear would be that in Year 13, 14, 15, they have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point, the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.”

Because the nuclear agreement being sought by the Obama administration will allow Iran to continue to enrich uranium and develop much more efficient centrifuge machines, it is very likely that the time to an Iranian bomb could shrink to “almost zero” as the president said. This is one of many reasons to stop this deal.

The Center for Security Policy will hold a panel discussion on how the Iran deal is a path for Iran to get the bomb.

WHO:
  • Kenneth Timmerman: Author, Activist and investigative journalist; Executive director of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI)
  • Admiral James A. “Ace” Lyons (U.S. Navy, Ret.), former Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and father of the Navy Red Cell counterterrorist unit.
  • Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.: President, Center for Security Policy, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy (Acting) under President Reagan.
  • Clare Lopez, Senior Vice President for Research and Analysis, Center for Security Policy and former Operations Officer in the CIA’s Clandestine Service
WHERE:
1324 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
WHEN:
Friday, May 8th, 2015 | 10:00am

Texas Attack: It’s Not (Just) About the Cartoons

The attackers at the Texas event Elton Simpson (Left) and Nadir Soofi. Background: the Curtis Culwell Community Center where the attack took place.

The attackers at the Texas event Elton Simpson (Left) and Nadir Soofi. Background: the Curtis Culwell Community Center where the attack took place.

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, May 6, 2015:

A misleading and dangerous narrative has formed in the wake of the shooting in Garland, Texas that is music to the ears of Islamists: That there’s a causal relationship between the Mohammed drawing event and the attack on the event. Many figures in the media are conflating the target with the motivation.

The facts speak for themselves. The first perpetrator who was identified, Elton Simpson, was first investigated by the FBI all the way back in the fall of 2006. The court documents show that the FBI was tracking a suspected plot to establish a sleeper cell in Arizona and Simpson was associated with the organizer. The FBI used a presumably Muslim informant who attended Simpson’s mosque.

Simpson was recorded telling the informant about his desire to quickly enter Paradise by dying in violent jihad. He blasted Muslims who didn’t believe they are required to fight overseas and framed the conflict as one between democracy’s “man-made laws” and “Allah‘s laws.” He talked about the need to rebuild a caliphate. All of this happened roughly eight years before ISIS made “caliphate” practically a household word and before the Mohammed drawings contest was ever mentioned.

Simpson was a convert who was born in Illinois and moved to Phoenix. He was convicted in 2011 for lying to the FBI about his plan to go to Somalia and join Al-Qaeda’s affiliate there named Al-Shabaab. He was only fined $500 and sentenced to three years probation because the judge dropped the terrorism charge. Here’s an excerpt from the astounding ruling:

“It is true that the Defendant had expressed sympathy and admiration for individuals who ‘fight’ non-Muslims as well as his belief in the establishment of Shariah law, all over the world including in Somalia. What precisely was meant by ‘fighting’ whenever he discussed it, however, was not clear. Neither was what the Defendant meant when he stated he wanted to get to the ‘battlefield’ in Somalia.”

Simpson’s co-conspirator was his roommate, Nadir Soofi, who was born in Garland, Texas, where the shooting took place. He was raised there until he was three years old. He and his brother then attended a private school in Pakistan and moved back to America when their mother divorced their Pakistani father.

A friend of Soofi’s since sixth grade said he noticed his radicalization process happening over several years. He strangely switched from being a dog-lover to a dog-hater and became an “internet jihadi” while suffering from “loneliness and struggling in the U.S.” after moving back from Pakistan. His Facebook page shows he followed popular radical preachers like Khalid Yasin and Zakir Naik.

Simpson swore allegiance to the Islamic State and the pair attacked the Mohammed cartoons event but that doesn’t mean they were motivated by the event. The event was simply the most attractive target for implementing his long-held jihadist beliefs. If the event was cancelled, another target would have been chosen because the fundamental objective was murder and dying.

Simpson wasn’t even motivated by the Islamic State, per se. He had adopted the jihadist ideology years before ISIS burst onto the scene. The Islamist premises that made the Islamic State attractive is where the problem originates.

The  says Simpson was a consistent attendee and Soofi sometimes also came. Simpson was popular among the other young attendees.

As pointed out by former CIA officer Clare Lopez, the mosque’s Facebook page says it is owned by the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity whose links to Hamas earned it being called an unindicted co-conspirator designation in a terrorism-financing trial.

Lopez also notes that the mosque’s imam, Sheikh Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz Ahmad Sulaiman, is a member of a the North American Imams Federation, a group so radical that it is interconnected with the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America, an anti-American Islamist organization that supports Hamas and forbids Muslims from serving food to the U.S. military.

The Federation had (or has) an official linked to the Jamaat-e-Islami group in Bangladesh; Sulaiman was even convicted as a war criminal there. Daniel Greenfeld discovered that the mosque held an event with Lauren Booth from PressTV, a propaganda outlet for the Iranian regime. Lopez also noticed that Simpson converted to Islam around the same time as he began attending the mosque, strongly indicating that his original interpretations of Islam were shaped by what was being preached at the mosque.

The mosque’s leadership has given contradictory answers about how long Simpson attended. Mosque president Usama Shami told one media outlet that he stopped showing up around 2010 when he was indicted. To another, Shami said he attended for a decade and stopped coming two or three months ago.

Shami says Simpson had a lot of friends at the mosque and never expressed radicalism. Yet, the FBI informant wasn’t previously friends with Simpson and seemed to have had no trouble getting him to talk about his radicalism, making it hard to believe that Simpson didn’t express this to his other friends at the mosque.

Shami is already positioning to redirect attention away from Islamism and onto its opponents—especially the U.S. government—as Islamists reflexively do. He seemed to suggest that the FBI provoked Simpson’s radicalization by saying that he saw a personality shift after he was indicted. Shami claims he suddenly saw an “absence of happiness” but no radicalism.

This is typical Islamist deflection. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), another U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity and designated terrorist entity by the United Arab Emirates, claims that the FBI is purposely radicalizing innocent Muslims. In its condemnation of the Texas shooting, it accused the terrorists and event organizers of having the same agenda.

Islamist radicalism is what breeds Islamist terrorism, even if some non-violent Islamist radicals disagree with terrorism. In order for someone to join the Islamic State, he or she must first have the extreme beliefs of sharia governance and rebuilding the caliphate. In order for someone to join Hamas, he must first be anti-Semitic. And for someone to attack people drawing Mohammed, he must believe that critics of Mohammed deserve death.

The media’s focus on the Mohammed drawings contest misses the mark. Whether or not one agrees with holding the event is irrelevant as to why this attack happened. It happened because of the desire to find a target; not because of the target itself.

Every second the media spends implying a casual relationship between the event and the attack is a second wasted.

Watch Clarion’s Ryan Mauro’s interview about the attack on Fox News:

Also see:

Connecting the dots to the Texas gunmen

llustration on the Islamic Sharia roots of the Garland Texas terrorists by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Time Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/may/5/clare-lopez-connecting-the-dots-to-the-texas-gunme/#ixzz3ZMDc05Cu  Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

llustration on the Islamic Sharia roots of the Garland Texas terrorists by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Time

Their Phoenix mosque maintains Shariah-compliant support for jihad

– – Tuesday, May 5, 2015:

Both gunmen identified in the May 3 attack against the “Draw Muhammad” event at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, attended the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, according to news reports. Elton Simpson and his roommate, Nadir Soofi, both were known to mosque leadership dating from 2006, although Usama Shami, chairman of the mosque’s board of trustees, claimed they stopped attending recently.

Interestingly, the imam at the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix (ICCP) is Sheikh Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz Ahmad Sulaiman, one of the so-called “flying imams,” who filed suit in March 2007 against US Airways officials for allegedly showing discrimination in removing them from a flight after the imams’ suspicious behavior raised alarm among crew and passengers. That behavior included loud praying at the gate area prior to boarding, refusal to sit in assigned seats, requests for seat belt extensions that were unnecessary and unused, and travel on one-way tickets with no checked baggage.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which was demonstrated in federal District Court to be affiliated with Hamas (the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, a designated terrorist organization as listed by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), and its attorney, Omar Mohammedi, a former president of CAIR’s New York chapter, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the six imams, including Imam Sulaiman.

The Egyptian-born Imam Sulaiman has served since 2002 as the imam at the ICCP, which was founded in 1982 and received its tax-exempt 501(c)3 status as a religious establishment. The ICCP website openly identifies the mosque as Shariah-compliant, with reference on its donations page to paying the “zakat,” an obligatory annual tax for all Muslims that is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, and of which one-eighth must go to support jihad. According to its website, the ICCP’s property is owned by the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). The trust is yet another Muslim Brotherhood affiliate, as confirmed in a 2009 ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas Dallas Division, which identified the trust as a Hamas associate.

Imam Sulaiman is a member of the Washington, D.C.-based North American Imams Federation, whose board of trustees include the Jordanian-born Imam Omar Shahin (another of the so-called “Flying Imams” and former imam of the Islamic Center of Tucson, Ariz.) and Imam Siraj Wahhaj, whose name appeared on a U.S. government list of unindicted co-conspirators for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Imam Sulaiman is a 1992 graduate of the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, where he received his doctorate with a specialization in the hadith, the accounts of the life and deeds of Islam’s founder, Muhammad. He memorized the Koran at the age of 11 and overall, has spent some 33 years in the study of Islam. Given this background, Imam Sulaiman is a very senior cleric, whose authority projects influence in the Phoenix area. Unfortunately, in April 2004, when Zuhdi Jasser, the founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, organized a Muslim Rally Against Terrorism, Imam Sulaiman and other imam members of the Valley Council of Imams refused to lend their support because they refused to condemn terrorism in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Although not yet confirmed, it’s likely that the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix was the mosque where Texas gunman Elton Simpson, born in 1991 in Illinois before moving to Phoenix, was converted to Islam, reportedly while attending high school, 2005-09. It was, however, about 2006 when he began discussing the Muslim’s obligation to engage in jihad in telephone conversations recorded by the FBI. Due to the court’s apparent ignorance of the fact that the only kind of jihad discussed anywhere in Islamic Law is “war against non-Muslims,” the government failed to convict him of anything beyond making a false statement about his intention to go to Somalia to participate in jihad. Further, according to published media reports, it was in 2006 that Usama Shami, the ICCP mosque president, dates his own relationship with Simpson, who would have been converted to Islam at about that time.

The Islamic Community Center of Phoenix’s Facebook page has posted links to both the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Muslim American Society and the Islamic Community Center of Tempe (or Tempe Masjid). Although not an event linked by the ICCP, the Tempe Masjid’s Facebook page currently contains an announcement for a May 15-17 course titled “Dawn of Mercy: The Messenger in Mecca.” One of the featured speakers for that event is Siraj Wahhaj, whose name appeared on a U.S. government list of unindicted co-conspirators for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Finally, in April 2015, Imam Sulaiman figured among other local imams who condemned the Islamic State and its barbarity as somehow divorced from Islamic doctrine and singled out Fox News, which he claimed was “paid to create an animosity between people.”

At least in the case of these two jihadi gunmen, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, the formative influence of a mosque like the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix and its clerical leadership must not be overlooked, especially when their affiliations, leadership and programs are as troubling as these.

Clare M. Lopez is vice president for research and analysis at the Center for Security Policy.

How the Iran lobby sidetracked the nuclear talks: part 2

Photo by: Vahid Salemi FILE - In this Sunday, April 12, 2015 file photo, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a ceremony to commemorate the late Khadijeh Saghafi, wife of late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, in Tehran, Iran. Rouhani has dismissed pressure from the U.S. Congress over a preliminary deal on Iran's nuclear program, saying that Tehran is dealing with world powers not American lawmakers. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Photo by: Vahid Salemi
FILE – In this Sunday, April 12, 2015 file photo, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a ceremony to commemorate the late Khadijeh Saghafi, wife of late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, in Tehran, Iran. Rouhani has dismissed pressure from the U.S. Congress over a preliminary deal on Iran’s nuclear program, saying that Tehran is dealing with world powers not American lawmakers. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

– – Thursday, April 16, 2015:

In the previous article, we saw how the Iranian regime’s panic over the 2002 outing of its theretofore clandestine nuclear weapons program drove its subsequent decisions about how to deal with the publicity and mollify, or at least occupy, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), and the United States (U.S.).

Having been well-trained by its mentors at the Soviet KGB, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) quickly established a two-tier system: those nuclear sites, such as Natanz, Isfahan, Arak, and later Fordow, that had been exposed were turned into show sites. IAEA inspectors were invited in, and the so-called EU-3 (France, Germany, and the United Kingdom), later joined by the rest of the UNSC to form the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, UK, and U.S.), began negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program.

The haggling went on for a decade and counting. At no time from 2003 to this day, however, did Iran itself willingly offer up (as obligated under its nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signatory status) any information about other clandestine sites in its sprawling nuclear weapons program. For unexplained reasons, nor did the IAEA, P5+1, or UNSC compel it to despite an international sanctions regime ostensibly aimed at getting Iran to comply with six UNSC Resolutions demanding it halt all nuclear enrichment and come clean about its past nuclear activities with “possible military dimensions.”

While international trade relationships, intra-UNSC rivalries, and a reluctance to alienate Iran right out of the talks altogether might explain some of the failure to press Iran about the clandestine elements of its nuclear weapons program, at least for the U.S., there was another player involved in the game: the Iran Lobby.

As discussed in a February 2009 occasional paper by this author and published by the Center for Security Policy under the title, “Rise of the Iran Lobby: Tehran’s Front Groups Move On—and into—the Obama Administration,” “a complex network of individuals and organizations with ties to the clerical regime in Tehran” had organized by the early 2000s to influence U.S. government policy towards the Islamic Republic of Iran.

A follow-on paper, “The Iran Lobby: Alive, Well, and Changing the Face of the Middle East,” published by the Center in October 2014, chronicled what I termed “the disastrous fruits of that network’s efforts.” The term “Iran Lobby,” by the way, was first noticed in the Iranian media itself, in 2007. It seemed a most apt description of the circle of influence operators that were pursuing and achieving positions of influence at the upper levels of U.S. national security then, and certainly all the more so, now.

After more than a dozen years of maneuvering behind the scenes of Washington, DC policymaking, the Iran Lobby today has succeeded in infiltrating the Department of State, National Security Council (NSC), and the nuclear negotiations themselves. Led by NIAC (the National Iranian American Council) and its founder and president, the Iranian-born Trita Parsi, the Iran Lobby counts among its affiliates and supporters a Who’s Who list of influential individuals and organizations ranging from former ambassadors and oil executives, to a bevy of Middle East and Iran experts from leading NGOs and think tanks.

The objective was always clear: shift official U.S. policy on Iran to a position supportive of Tehran’s agenda that sought protracted negotiations to buy time for its nuclear weapons development, financial concessions that eased sanctions and released frozen assets, and a conciliatory posture that eschewed any discussion of military options to deal with Iranian intransigence, ignored Iranian support for Islamic jihad (terrorism), pretended its Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) program didn’t exist, turned a deaf ear to non-stop genocidal threats against the Jewish State of Israel, and generally acquiesced in its regional geo-strategic ambitions.

Above all, there was to be absolutely no discussion of Iran’s parallel clandestine nuclear weapons program. Astonishingly, today, the Iran Lobby has achieved all of this and more.

Not surprisingly, the Iranian leadership mocks the Obama administration, especially Secretary of State John Kerry and his hapless negotiating team. In January 2014, just weeks after the supposed landmark ‘breakthrough’ of the November 2013 “Joint Plan of Action,” Kerry’s Iranian counterpart, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, actually laid a wreath at the tomb of Imad Mughniyeh, the Hizballah terror chieftain responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans from the 1983 Marine Corps barracks bombing to 9/11.

The same month, Iran’s ‘moderate’ president Hassan Rouhani tweeted about how, in Geneva, the world powers “surrendered to Iranian nation’s will.” A senior Iranian TV commentator noted with rare honesty that the Geneva agreement was but “the Treaty of Hudaybiyya.” Following the 2015 April Fool’s Day ‘framework’ agreement, Iranian leadership figures were quick to describe the U.S. version as a “U.S. version” “lie” and declare it “not acceptable to Iran.” Meanwhile, Iran’s Bassij commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi declared that “erasing Israel off the map” was “non-negotiable.”

And yet, the American team practically begged the Iranians to keep talking and give them something, anything to hold up as a ‘success.’

To understand this sorry state of affairs, it is only necessary to understand the function and purpose of hostile influence operations and how the Iran Lobby in America has finessed its way to turning U.S. foreign policy with Iran completely on its head. As described above, maneuvering Tehran-regime-friendly figures into positions of power and influence is the name of the game.

One Sahar Nowrouzzadeh could be Exhibit A for how this works: apparently a former NIAC employee, she now appears on a list of senior White House aides who attended a secure video conference on 31 March 2015 with the U.S. negotiating team in Lausanne, Switzerland. She is listed as the National Security Council Director for Iran.

Meanwhile, her former boss, NIAC’s Trita Parsi, appears in a photo published by the Iranian Fars News Agency, greeting Fereydoon Rouhani (the president’s brother) at the Lausanne talks. Parsi’s Facebook page shows another photo of the NIAC leader smiling at the talks alongside his Research Director, Reza Marashi, and NBC reporter Ann Curry. Marashi’s NIAC bio lists his former employment at the State Department’s Office of Iranian affairs. According to reports, at least Parsi has been present at previous nuclear negotiations in Geneva and Vienna, as well.

This is what a successful infiltration operation looks like. Apparently, Parsi thinks so, too, because on 2 April 2015, he posted the following on his Facebook Page:

“Trita Parsi

“April 2 at 5:22pm ·

“Oops. Just realized I haven’t eaten lunch today. Been too busy gloating…”

Clare M. Lopez is the Vice President for Research & Analysis at the Center for Security Policy.