Iranian commander: We have targets within America

Hossein-Salami-10-e1391313435440 (1)By Reza Kahlili:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Daily Caller

Defining Jihad Downward

Screen-Shot-2014-12-12-at-2.44.37-PM-190x142CSP, By Kyle Shideler:

My colleague Adam Savit has already taken the BBC to task for their write up of a recent report on Jihadist violence in the month of November, which neglected to include the murder of Israelis. This led me to drill down deeper into the report by the International Center for the Study of Radicalisation and Political violence. Not only did the report neglect to include Hamas violence in its study of jihadi attacks, but it does so explicitly and intentionally. The report notes:

This definition excludes Shia militant groups such as Hezbollah that justify fighting in the name of jihad but are located outside the Sunni tradition. Indeed, the jihadists of al Qaeda, the Islamic State and like-minded groups regard Hezbollah as ‘apostates’ and have been among the most vociferous opponents of Shia militant groups in places like Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

The definition also excludes the Palestinian group Hamas which advocates ‘jihad’ and – unlike Hezbollah – is widely recognized as Sunni. Its religious, social and political doctrine, however, is not Salafist.
Jihadist groups such as al Qaeda have repeatedly condemned Hamas for recognizing man-made laws and becoming involved in democratic elections, while Hamas, in turn, has repressed – and fought against – jihadist groups.

This justification is at best ignorant, and at worst mendacious.

While it is true that Hezbollah is fighting Islamic State and Al Qaeda in Syria, Hezbollah also has a long history of cooperation with Al Qaeda. Are the authors of this report unaware that it was Hezbollah which introduced Al Qaeda to the truck bombing techniques used in the Africa Embassy bombings (a role for which they have been held responsible in court) and that relationships between Iran’s terrorist facilitators the IRGC, Hezbollah and AL Qaeda were forged during the Pan Arab and Islamic Conference held by Sudan in the 1990s? Perhaps they are equally unaware that Hezbollah’s patron, Iran, has been held responsible for its role in 9/11 in federal court, due to its role in facilitating the movement of the hijackers, and that the 9/11 Commission notes the role of Hezbollah’s master terrorist Imad Mugniyeh in assisting the 9/11 attacks? One supposes that given its narrow justification the ICSR would not consider the  Embassy bombings or the 9/11 attacks  “jihadist” violence either.

Then there is the ICSR’s statement on Hamas. Hamas is the wing of the Muslim Brotherhood responsible for engaging in jihad terror against Israel. Hamas is completely open about this connection, having documented it in its original founding charter. Hamas was perhaps best described by leading Hamas representative Ismail Haniyeh who remarked that Hamas is the “jihadi movement of the Brotherhood with a Palestinian face.” From its earliest foundation, The Muslim Brotherhood’s own founder Hasan Al-Banna described his movement as consisting of “a Salafiyya message…”  Prior to founding the Brotherhood Al-Banna was himself a member of the Salafi groups, including the Society for the Prevention of the Forbidden.

Further more, Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb’s most important work “Milestones”, was a major inspiration for Osama Bin Laden (according to the 9/11 Commission report again) and consists entirely of a discussion regarding how to restore the world to Islam, while using the methods of the early Muslims (i.e. Salaf).  The original founder of the MAK (Afghan Service Bureau) Abdullah Azzam together with Osama Bin Laden, and the author of “In Defense of Muslim Lands” the doctrinal work which best established Jihad as an fard al-ayn (individual obligation), was both a Muslim Brother and a co-founder of Hamas.  Azzam’s picture is still visible in the offices of Hamas today.

Besides Sayyid Qutb and Abdullah Azzam,  other Muslim Brotherhood members have also played a key role in creating the very doctrine of Al Qaeda, such as Abdul Mjid Aziz Al-Zindani, the leading cleric of the Yemeni branch of Muslim Brotherhood, was a close mentor of Osama Bin Laden and a contact of the AQ-linked Ansar al-Islam.  Al-Zindani was also a board member of the specially designated entity the Union of the Good, an organization run by Muslim Brotherhood cleric Yusuf Al Qaradawi, whose primary purpose is to fund Hamas.

The claim by ICSR that Hezbollah and Hamas should be excluded from an accounting of Jihadist violence merely because they (at times) have disagreed with Al Qaeda or other jihadist groups is utterly inane. After all Al Qaeda and ISIS are currently locked in a struggle themselves (see for example this video released today by MEMRI featuring ISIS members interrogating Jabhat al Nusra members and denouncing them as apostates), and Muslim Brotherhood-linked militias in the Syrian civil war fight alongside Al Qaeda, and yet the ICSR can’t quite bring itself to declare that Al Qaeda is not a jihadist group.

Jihad as religiously-obligatory warfare to establish Islamic law remains a concept which extends across both Sunni and Shia sects, and amongst all schools of Islamic law. There is no legitimate justification for excluding these groups, and to do so is to reduce the term “jihad” or “jihadist violence” until it is becomes meaningless. The reality is that Jihadist violence is a threat larger than simply just the “Salafi-jihadi” matrix which some insist on shoving it into.

Complaint Filed Over Presbyterian Church USA’s Hezbollah Links

Hezbollah supporters in Lebanon (Photo: © Reuters)

Hezbollah supporters in Lebanon (Photo: © Reuters)

By Ryan Mauro:

Islamist interfaith engagement with American Christians has received significant attention in recent months. Now, an Israeli legal organization has filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service over the Presbyterian Church USA’s meetings with Hezbollah members.

The Israel Law Center’s 38-page complaint with the IRS also accuses the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) of violating its non-profit status with extensive political lobbying along with meeting with a terrorist group overseas.

“There is no mention in PCUSA organizing documents that it perceives fulfilling Christ’s work by meeting with and endorsing statements of a US-designated terrorist organization found to be responsible for the death of United States civilians and marines,” the Center says.

In 2004, the PCUSA’s Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy sent a delegation of two dozen representatives to Beirut, Lebanon to meet with Hezbollah. The terrorist group had a field day with it, showing the meeting on its Al-Manar propaganda station. The clips included one delegate praising Hezbollah.

“We treasure the precious words of Hezbollah and your expression of goodwill towards the American people,” Elder Ronald Stone of East Liberty Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh said.

Stone also appealed to Hezbollah’s anti-Semitism by saying that dialogue with Islamic leaders is easier than with Jewish leaders.

Read more at Clarion Project

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.

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.

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:

The Secret History of Hezbollah

BY TONY BADRAN:

Thirty years ago last month, Hezbollah blew up the barracks of the U.S Marines and French paratroopers stationed at the Beirut airport, killing 241 U.S. servicemen and 58 Frenchmen. It wasn’t Hezbollah’s first terrorist operation, but this attack, the most memorable in Lebanon’s vicious and chaotic 15-year-long civil war, marked the Party of God’s entry onto the world stage.

HOSSEIN DEHGHAN IN PARLIAMENT, 2013 AP / EBRAHIM NOROOZI

HOSSEIN DEHGHAN IN PARLIAMENT, 2013
AP / EBRAHIM NOROOZI

Three decades later, thanks to the efforts of Israeli Hezbollah expert Shimon Shapira, we now know that one of the men responsible for the attack was an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander named Hossein Dehghan​—​the man Iranian president Hassan Rouhani recently tapped to be his defense minister. In other words, Hezbollah and the Islamic Republic of Iran have been joined at the hip from the very beginning, even before the 1979 Iranian revolution.

Of course, that’s not the standard account of Hezbollah, the historical narrative jointly constructed and largely agreed upon by Middle East experts, journalists, some Western and Arab intelligence officials, and even Hezbollah figures themselves. This account holds that Hezbollah was founded in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley in 1982 to fight, or “resist,” the Israeli invasion of that year. On this reading, the belief​—​held by the organization’s many critics, targets, and enemies​—​that Hezbollah is little more than an IRGC battalion on the eastern Mediterranean is simply part of a U.S.-Israeli disinformation campaign meant to smear a national resistance movement fighting for the liberation of Lebanese lands. Sure, Hezbollah was founded with some help from Iranian officials, and still receives financial assistance from Tehran, but the organization is strictly a Lebanese affair. It was engendered by Israel’s 1982 invasion and subsequent occupation of Lebanon. The occupation, as one author sympathetic to the group put it, is Hezbollah’s “raison d’être.” 

Even former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak contends that it was the Israeli occupation that gave birth to Hezbollah. “It was our stay [in Lebanon] that established [Hezbollah],” Israel’s most decorated soldier said in 2010. “Hezbollah got stronger not as a result of our exit from Lebanon but as a result of our stay in Lebanon.” Perhaps Barak was simply keen to defend his decision to withdraw Israeli troops from Lebanon in 2000, for his account is simply not true.

The big bang theory of Hezbollah that puts the Israeli occupation at the alpha point is based not in fact but in legend​—​it’s an Israel-centric myth that makes the Jewish state Hezbollah’s motivation and prime mover. In reality, the story of Hezbollah’s origins is a story about Iran, featuring the anti-shah revolutionaries active in Lebanon in the 1970s, years before Israel’s intervention. Thus, to uncover Hezbollah’s roots, it is necessary to mine the accounts of Iranian cadres operating in Lebanon a decade before Israel invaded.

There we find that, contrary to the common wisdom, Hezbollah didn’t arise as a resistance movement to the Israeli occupation. Rather, it was born from the struggle between Iranian revolutionary factions opposed to the shah. Lebanon was a critical front for this rivalry between Hezbollah’s Iranian progenitors and their domestic adversaries. Accordingly, an accurate understanding of this history gives us not only the true story of Hezbollah’s beginnings, but also an insight into the origins of Iran’s Islamic Revolution. Those early internal conflicts and impulses, played out in Lebanon as well as Iran, also provide a roadmap for reading the nature of the current regime in Tehran, its motivations and concerns, its strategies and gambits as it moves toward acquiring a nuclear weapon and challenging the American order in the Middle East.

Read more at The Weekly Standard

Tony Badran is a columnist for the Beirut-based website NOW Lebanon and a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

The Islamic State Is Here

A82-450x337By Robert Spencer:

During the recent race riots in Ferguson, Missouri, CNN’s Jake Tapper was walking down a street and filming a segment when someone emerged out of the shadows behind him, holding a banner emblazoned, “ISIS is here.” At that point it was just a threat, or a boast, or both, but on Tuesday Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) said that the Islamic State was doing all it could to make it a reality: “At least ten ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas.”

“There’s nobody talking about it,” Hunter added. “If you really want to protect Americans from ISIS, you secure the southern border. It’s that simple…They caught them at the border, therefore we know that ISIS is coming across the border. If they catch five or ten of them then you know there’s going to be dozens more that did not get caught by the border patrol.”

Indeed. And jihadist exploitation of our southern border is nothing new. In June 2014, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) foreshadowed Hunter’s announcement when he said: “This jihadist group ISIS and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi have promised direct confrontation with America. He is looking forward to that day and he has said that publicly, we should believe him when he says that. These folks hate everything about the United States.” What’s more, “Of course the way they would come to the United States would be through the porous border with Mexico. The drug cartels will bring people into the country no matter who they are — for money. Everyone in the world knows that the border between the United States and Mexico is completely porous.”

Jihad terrorists and their enablers and accomplices have been entering the U.S. illegally by means of the Mexican border for many years. According to TheBlaze, “Hezbollah members and supporters have entered the U.S. through the southern border as early as 2002, with the case of Salim Boughader Mucharrafille, a Mexican of Lebanese descent. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison by Mexican authorities on charges of organized crime and immigrant smuggling. Mucharrafille had owned a cafe in the border city of Tijuana, near San Diego. In 2002, he was arrested for smuggling 200 people into the U.S., including Hezbollah supporters, according to a 2009 Congressional report.”

And in May 2010, the Department of Homeland Security warned local police along the southern border about a Muslim named Mohamed Ali who was suspected of being a member of the jihad terror group al Shabaab. An official who spoke to CNN about the warning said that it wasn’t clear whether or not Mohamed Ali was trying to enter the country illegally, but it seems unlikely that such an alert would have been sent out to police along the border if that had not been the case. Ali was, in any case, apparentlyinvolved in operating a “large-scale smuggling enterprise” that had brought hundreds of Somali Muslims into the U.S. illegally.

Top officials in Washington have known about how jihad terrorists have attempted to exploit the vulnerabilities of the southern border for many years now. In 2006, the House Homeland Security Investigations Subcommittee, under the leadership of Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), issued a report entitled A Line in the Sand: Confronting the Threat at the Southwest Border, which stated: “Members of Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based terrorist organization, have already entered to the United States across our Southwest border.”

Nothing changed. Investigative journalist Deroy Murdock reported in 2010 that “according to the federal Enforcement Integrated Database, 125 individuals were apprehended along the US/Mexican border from Fiscal Year 2009 through April 20, 2010. These deportable aliens included two Syrians, seven Sudanese, and 17 Iranians, all nationals from the three Islamic countries that the US government officially classifies as state sponsors of terrorism.” During the same period, border agents also apprehended “two Afghans, five Algerians, 13 Iraqis, 10 Lebanese, 22 Nigerians, 28 Pakistanis, two Saudis, 14 Somalis, and three Yemenis. During FY 2007 and FY 2008, federal officials seized 319 people from these same countries traversing America’s southwest border.”

Murdock grants that these illegals may simply have come to pursue the American Dream, as Leftist dogma would have it. But he notes disturbing signs to the contrary: “Besides Iranian currency and Islamic prayer rugs, Texas Border Patrol agents discovered an Arabic clothing patch that reads ‘martyr’ and ‘way to immortality.’ Another shows a jet flying into a skyscraper.” And for some, their malign intentions were unmistakable: “The Department of Homeland Security issued an April 14, 2010 ‘Intelligence Alert’ regarding a possible border-crossing attempt by a Somali named Mohamed Ali. He is a suspected member of Al-Shabaab, a Somali-based al-Qaeda ally tied to the deadly attack on American GIs in 1993’s notorious ‘Blackhawk Down’ incident in Mogadishu.”

Read more at Frontpage

Also see:

An Emboldened Iran Takes the Stage at the United Nations

rouhani_3048708b-411x350By Arnold Ahlert:

On Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addressed the United Nations in a speech replete with anti-Western sentiments, anti-Semitism, tiresome tropes regarding the genesis of terror, and promises to continue pursuing his nation’s nuclear program.

While acknowledging that terror had become a global issue, Rouhani sought to put the blame everywhere else. “Today’s anti-Westernism is the offspring of yesterday’s colonialism,” Rouhani insisted, proceeding to take a none-too-subtle shot at America, noting that “certain intelligence agencies have put blades in the hands of madmen, who now spare no one.” Apparently omitted from this list of madmen is Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has received direct support from Iran in the form of financial assistance, and despite all denials to the contrary, hundreds of Revolutionary Guard troops fighting in that nation. Iran also supports Hezbollah and Hamas, both of whom have been designated as terrorist organizations by the U.S. State Department.

Thus, it was no surprise that Rouhani characterized the last war between Hamas and Israel as a conflict in which “thousands of innocent Palestinians in Gaza” were victims of the “Zionist regime’s aggression,” even as he characterized his own nation—the one that has openly boasted about sharing missile technology with Hamas to improve their ability to hit Israeli cities—as one of “tranquil secure and stable nations” in the Middle East.

Rouhani also aligned himself with the American left’s thoroughly misguided notions about the root of terror, “that germinates in poverty, discrimination, humiliation and injustice” that “grows in a culture of violence.” Several studies have thoroughly debunked that contention, yet it provides Rouhani and other apologists the opportunity to obscure the reality that Islamic fundamentalism is the primary driver of terror throughout the world. Thus, Rouhani expresses “astonishment” that groups like ISIS “call themselves Islamic” and that the Western media “repeats this false claim, which provokes hatred of all Muslims” and is “part of a (sic) Islamophobic project.” Like every other religion, Rouhani insists Islam is peaceful, and like every other prophet, the taking of even one innocent life is condemned by the prophet Mohammed.

Not quite. The Qur’an is filled with verses promoting violence and death against unbelievers, all the innocence in the world notwithstanding. Furthermore, the concept of abrogation explains that later verses in the Qur’an take precedence over earlier ones. Almost all of the violent verses appear later in the book.

Rouhani nonetheless continued his deceptive characterization of the real problems of the Middle East. “The strategic blunders of the West in the Middle-East, Central Asia and the Caucuses have turned these parts of the world into a haven for terrorists and extremists,” he insists, citing Iraq, Afghanistan and the “improper interference in Syria” as examples. He further insists the Middle East wants democracy—even as it impossible to believe he is unaware of the reality that democracy and Sharia Law are fundamentally incompatible systems of governance.

That reality made itself plain last week, when six Iranians were given suspended sentences of six months and 91 lashes for “obscene behavior” for appearing in a video singing the American pop song “Happy.”

They got off easy. In August, 16-year-old Ateqeh Rajabi was hanged in the Iranian town of Neka. She was executed for having sex with her boyfriend. She was one of several victims executed for sexual “crimes” that violated Sharia Law.

Read more at Frontpage

Foreign policy FUBAR: US providing intel to Hezbollah

hezbollah-300x180By Allen West:

I simply don’t believe in coincidences, especially when it comes to the Obama administration. Remember when we reported here about President Barack Hussein Obama meeting with pro-Hezbollah clerics on 9-11?

And now some very disturbing news has surfaced about American-Hezbollah coordination — let me remind you that Hezbollah is an Iranian-backed Islamic terrorist group based in Lebanon. It was Hezbollah who was responsible for the 1983 Marine Beirut bombing which killed over 250 American Marines, Sailors, and others. It was Hezbollah who was responsible for the hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achilles Lauro and the heinous and barbaric murder of American Jewish citizen Leon Kilnghoffer — a man confined to a wheel chair and pushed off the ship into the Mediterranean Sea.

And despite all this, Hezbollah is indirectly receiving American intelligence aid.

As reported by Arutz Sheva,”Mohammed Afif, the new head of public relations for the Lebanese-based Iranian-backed terror organization Hezbollah, gave a rare New York Times interview as Lebanese experts reveal his group is indirectly receiving American intelligence aid in its fight against Islamic State (ISIS). Following ISIS’s temporary conquest of Arsal last month on the Lebanese side of the Syrian border, the US sent new weapons to the Lebanese army, which coordinates with Hezbollah. Likewise, US intelligence has found its way to Hezbollah according to Lebanese experts. That leaked intelligence may explain some recent impressive achievements against ISIS, including the first known Hezbollah drone strike.”

So let’s have a quick review. The Obama administration released five senior Taliban members to Qatar — where the head of Hamas resides. Obama coordinated with Qatar and Turkey, both major supporters to Islamic terrorist groups. Now apparently Obama is assisting Hezbollah with intelligence — and Hezbollah is a named Islamic terrorist organization.

This ladies and gents is our biggest fear — that the Obama administration would work with nefarious actors in its quest to deal with ISIS — instead of destroying ISIS itself. So Obama may not be dealing with Iran directly, but he’s working with Iran’s proxy terrorist army, Hezbollah.

***

> America is providing intelligence aid to Hezbollah, an Islamic terrorist group that is the avowed enemy of our ally Israel.

> Hezbollah is allied fighting in support of Bashar al-Assad whom Obama said must go.

> Therefore, we are providing intelligence support to Hezbollah who is fighting against the Syrian rebels who we want to arm and train to fight against ISIS who are fighting against Assad who is supported by Hezbollah who is supported by Iran who is the largest sponsor of Islamic terrorism who is responsible for countless attacks against our men and women and is marching towards developing a nuclear bomb capability.

Yep ladies and gents, that is Obama foreign policy — FUBAR!

Read more

DECLARE WAR ON SHARIAH

iraq-machine-guns-held-aloft-afpBreitbart, by FRANK J. GAFFNEY, JR., Aug. 24.2014:

The National Journal called earlier this week for the United States to “declare war on ISIS.” The magazine is right to argue for a new authorization for the use of military force (AUMF), a legislative vehicle that passes these days for a congressional declaration of war. It is wrong, however, to urge that the existing AUMF, which targets al Qaeda and “associated forces,” be replaced by one that focuses just on the Islamic State (also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Sham/Syria, or ISIS, or the Islamic State in the Levant, or ISIL).

Nearly thirteen years after 9/11, it is past time to recognize that we are at war not with one group of “terrorists” or another. Rather, adherents to a doctrine or ideology they call shariah are at war with us. Shariah is, at its core, about power, not faith. While some small percentage (some estimates suggest ten-percent) of its dictates prescribe the religious practices, the rest of it defines comprehensively how every relationship must be ordered – between individuals, families, neighbors, business associates, all the way up to how the world is governed.

Most importantly, shariah obliges its followers to engage in jihad (or holy war). Don’t be misled by those who argue jihad means “personal struggle.” The Koran makes clear that jihad is “holy war.” And for shariah-adherent Islamists that war has two goals: the triumph of shariah worldwide and the establishment of what is, for want of a better term, a theocratic government to rule the entire planet according to that doctrine.

The jihadists may disagree among themselves about some points of theology (notably, differences that divide Sunnis and Shiites). They may be committed to the use of terrifying violence under all circumstances. Or, as in the case of the Muslim Brotherhood, they may believe it is to be used where practicable, but insist on employing not so much non-violent as pre-violent, subversive techniques where terrorism will be counterproductive.

Whatever the banner under which these shariah-adherents wage jihad – for example, the Islamic State, al Qaeda, Taliban, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, Taliban, Boko Haram, Al Shabab, Ansar al-Shariah or Muslim Brotherhood – all these Islamists are our avowed enemies. That is not because of how we view them. That is because of their own doctrine which is endlessly reinforced in their mosques, via the Internet, through social media and other vehicles.

We can no longer kid ourselves, or otherwise avoid a harsh reality: While perhaps hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world – including it seems the majority of those in America – practice their faith without regard for shariah (they don’t want to live under it themselves and they do not seek to impose it on others), the authorities of Islam regard shariah as the true faith and consider these co-religionists to be apostates.

At the moment, fortunately, only a relatively small number are actively engaged in violent jihad. Many more, though, are doing what shariah demands of those unable or unwilling to wield the sword in holy war: underwriting those who do, through the practice of zakat (Islam’s obligatory contributions to approved charitable causes, one of which is jihad).

Unless and until we understand that shariah-adherent Muslims are inherently dangerous, we will be unable to define our enemy correctly. Unless and until we hold such Muslims accountable, we will not only restrict unduly the focus and effectiveness of our countervailing efforts.

Worse yet, we will actually encourage Muslims – whether states like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, organizations or individuals – to associate with, underwrite, or in other ways enable deadly foes of freedom.

Some will respond that an AUMF focused on shariah is a formula for a “clash of civilizations.” The truth is that enemies of civilization – namely, those who adhere to and seek to impose, whether through violence or by stealth, brutally repressive, totalitarian, misogynistic, homophobic, intolerant and anti-constitutional shariah on others – have made no secret of their determination to conquer and destroy us and the rest of the civilized world.

Only by making clear that we are determined to fight back in defense of freedom will we have a chance of protecting our civilization against these enemies. By identifying the political-military-legal ideology of shariah as the defining ideology of those with whom we are at war – much as we did in the past against Nazism, Fascism, Japanese imperialism, and communism – we have a chance of prevailing. And that chance will be greatly enhanced if we bring to bear now, as in the past, not only military but all other instruments of national power.

We will also incentivize Muslims who do not conform to this doctrine to join us in fighting those who accuse them of apostasy, a capital offense under shariah. If they do so, the likelihood of our early success improves still further.

So, by all means, let’s have a new authorization for the use of military force. Or better yet, a proper declaration of war approved by the Congress, authorizing the use of the full array of our economic, political, intelligence, strategic and military means of waging war. But for the sake of our civilization and freedoms, we must ensure that it correctly defines the object of our defensive war: those who adhere to and are trying compel us to submit to shariah.

Israel’s next tunnel threat to the north

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hezbollah’s underground highways

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

North Korea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By John Bolton:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

h2Terror Trends Bulletin, By Christopher Holton, July 27.2014:

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

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

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

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

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

dea-used-car-scam

Picture-117

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

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

tobacco-road-1

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

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• Hezbollah has two major networks operating in Latin America:

1. The Hojjat al-Eslam Mohsen Rabbani Network

2. The Ghazi Atef Salameh Nassereddine Network

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

Hojjat al-Eslam Mohsen Rabbani

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

Ghazi Atef Salameh Nassereddine

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

The Southern Border of the US

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

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

–Hezbollah has close relations with Mexican cartels.

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

–9 Latin American countries have Hezbollah deeply embedded.

20130220_hezbollah_south_america

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

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

The lawless "Tri-Border Area" in South America

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

hezbollah776283

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

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

Hezbollah tunnel

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

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

interstate-35-map

US Highway 59

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

Source: fortressoffaith.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information on general enforcement conditions on the Mexican border:

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

• The majority of border crossers are NOT economic immigrants.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iran’s Proxy War Against Israel

ayatollah_2146641b-450x336Front Page, by Majid Rafizadeh:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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