Brussels, seat of NATO headquarters, held hostage by the Islamic State

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said the decision to keep Brussels on lockdown was based on 'quite precise information about the risk of an attack like the one that happened in Paris' Read more:

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said the decision to keep Brussels on lockdown was based on ‘quite precise information about the risk of an attack like the one that happened in Paris’
Read more:

Center for Security Policy, by John Cordero, Nov. 23, 2015:

After uncovering the Islamic State cell that planned and executed the Paris attacks, Belgian authorities have increased the manhunt for Salah Abdeslam, who is suspected of being one of the gunmen in Paris and whose brother blew himself up in a suicide operation there.  Brussels, the location of NATO and EU headquarters, is now a city under military lockdown.  Subways and schools remained closed on Monday, as the threat of a “Paris-style attack” keeps residents and police on edge.

Hiding in plain sight within the large Muslim community centered in the Molenbeek neighborhood, the IS cell that executed the Paris atrocity may have prepared for another wave targeting Brussels,  according to Belgian authorities.

In response, they have urged the closing of popular bars and clubs, while hotels locked their doors, as a large number of travelers cancelled their stays.

The military personnel and armored personnel carriers now patrolling the streets evoke images of a city under occupation, and although 16 arrests have been made in connection with the attacks, Abdeslam and his accomplices remain at large.

As previously noted, IS has increased its operational capabilities beyond the borders of its self-declared caliphate and affiliated “provinces.”  Whereas, historically terrorist organizations executed operations in order to draw media attention for the announcement of clear political objectives, IS transcends traditional western concepts of terrorism. Instead, it is a global jihadist organization, seeking to goad Western powers into an apocalyptic conflict.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, organizations such as Hezbollah held hostages for years and carried out operations at the behest of Iran, a clear case of state-sponsored terrorism.  Nowadays, a self-declared religious state, with no international recognition and a self-sufficient financial structure, is able to hold entire cities hostage; cities that serve as headquarters for international military and political bodies are now at the mercy of jihadists who reject the Western concept of the nation-state.

In a propaganda masterstroke, the Islamic State has succeeded in achieving one of its key goals: “striking fear in the heart of the enemy.”

ISIS launches its winter terror offensive with first 274 deaths


Debka File, Nov/ 13, 2015:

The US drone strike Thursday night, Nov. 11, targeting the Islamic State’s infamous executioner known as “Jihad John” in the northern Syrian town of Raqqa may or may not have hit the mark – the Pentagon says it is too soon to say. The hooded, masked terrorist with the British accent has been identified as a British Muslim born in Kuwait called Mohamed Emwazi. He appeared on videos worldwide showing the cold-blooded murders of US, British, Japanese and other hostages.
The drone attack occurred shortly after the latest ISIS atrocity: Thursday night, two or three suicide bombers blew themselves up, killing 43 people and injuring at least 240 in the Hizballah stronghold of southern Beirut opposite Burj Barajneh.

Ten days earlier, the Islamic State brought down the Russian Metrojet airliner over Sinai killing all 224 people aboard. This spectacular act of terror was apparently the first strike of the jihadist group’s winter offensive. It achieved its objectives of multiple murder; mortal damage to Egypt’s tourism industry and a blow to the prestige of its president Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi.
The attack also punished President Vladimir Putin for bringing the Russian military into the center of the Syrian conflict.

The next Islamic State assault was aimed to undermine the credibility of Jordan’s King Abdullah and his security services: On Nov. 8,  a Jordanian police captain opened fire at a high-security US training facility outside Amman, killing two American trainers, a South African and two Jordanians. The number of US personnel injured in the attack was not released. This attack was timed to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the massive al Qaeda assault on Amman’s leading hotels, all American owned, which left 61 dead.
In northern Sinai, the murder of a family of 9 Egyptians at El Arish Thursday morning raised the total of ISIS murders in less than a month to 274.
DEBKAfile’s counterterrorism sources discern three objectives in the attack Thursday night in Beirut

1. A lesson for Tehran and Hizballah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah to show them that the Islamic State is able to reach them on their home ground, no matter how many troops they deploy to fight the jihadis in Syria (Iran and Hizballah together field an estimated 13,000 soldiers in Syria). ISIS was capable of inflicting terrible casualties both on the battlefield and in their homeland, first in Beirut and eventually in Tehran.

2.  The day before, Wednesday, Nov. 11, in a speech marking the “Day of the Shahid,” Nasrallah gloated over Hizballah’s triumph in a battle outside Aleppo. He also boasted that his domestic security shield in Lebanon presented an impenetrable barrier against ISIS or Nusra Front terrorist intrusions.

The Islamic State’s tacticians determined to blow up both claims in Nasrallah’s face. He and Iran were to be shown that they could not stop ISIS or prevent the Syrian war’s spillover into Lebanon.

3.  By blowing up the Russian airliner over Sinai, the Islamists sought to underscore this point for Moscow too. Russia might send a powerful military force to Syria, but the Islamists would hit Putin from the rear at a location of its choosing anywhere in the Middle East. Moscow may have opted to defend Bashar Assad, but what can it do to protect Hizballah and its other allies?.

DEBKAfile’s counterterrorism sources note that US and Russia have taken lead roles in the broad military effort to defeat ISIS – often by means of pinpointed operations. At the same time, under their noses, the Islamist terrorists have launched their winter campaign, striking with extreme ferocity and agility in unexpected places that are outside the regular battle fronts in which the big powers are engaged.


Also see:

Russian Intel: ISIS Has 80,000 Jihadis in Iraq and Syria


Breitbart, by Jordan Schachtel, Nov. 12,2015:

Russian intelligence reports are claiming that the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) terror group has amassed 80,000 soldiers in Iraq and Syria for its drive towards the goal of a global caliphate.

A senior Russian official told state-run TASS news agency that 30,000 ISIS jihadis are currently stationed in Iraq, and another 50,000 are fighting the jihad in Syria. Some 7,000 militants are originally from states that were formerly part of the Soviet Union, according to the report.

“According to reports, militants now control around 40 percent of Iraqi territory and 50 percent of Syrian territory,” said Yevgeny Sysoyev, the deputy leader of Russia’s FSB security services, which was formerly the infamous KGB during the soviet-era.

“Among members of the group are citizens of 80 countries, including France, Great Britain, Germany, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the US, Canada, as well as Russia and other [Commonwealth of Independent States] countries. Among them are about 30,000 foreign terrorists. Most of them come from the Middle East and North Africa,” Sysoyev added from a conference in Sochi, Russia.

The estimates did not account for the members of ISIS affiliates throughout the region. The group now sustains terror cells of significant stature in Afghanistan, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, Gaza, and in other countries and territories.

Russian forces are engaged in a campaign to support Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad against all forces that oppose his rule, including ISIS. Russian air power has also heavily-targeted rebel areas where ISIS does not retain a significant presence. Moscow’s military has also worked side-by-side in Syria with forces from the Iranian regime and its proxy, the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.

Russia denies that its forces have targeted groups besides ISIS. But the Pentagon has claimed that over 90% of Russian strikes in Syria have not targeted the Islamic State.

On late Tuesday, Assad-backed forces broke a two-year ISIS siege on Kwairis military airport, which is located near the hotly-contested city of Aleppo.

Assad’s troops killed “hundreds of ISIS terrorists and destroyed their dens and cells with all weapons inside,” Syria’s state-controlled SANA news reported.

“The regime has been fighting since the end of September to break the siege,” Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told CNN. “Taking this airport back from siege means they can advance to ISIS areas. They can use it to shell areas around Aleppo.”


Also see:

Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Begins to Stall-What Now?

  • Putin Gives Assad mid-Nov. deadline for results with Aleppo offensive and that the Russian airstrikes weren’t “indefinite.”
  • Syrian Rebels gaining some ground and pro-Assad forces suffering supply shortages and taking casualties – most notably IRGC commander Hamedani causing low morale.
  • Lack of coordination and competition between IRGC-Qods Force, Hezbollah, SAA and Russian Army causing problems
  • In spite of ops in Ukraine and Syria causing logistical strain on Russia, no sign of opening another air base.
  • Russia’s plan to take Aleppo, forcing a negotiated settlement and then turning attention to hitting ISIS is not going well and the Sinai plane bombing has just made everything more complicated.
  • Russian propaganda aside, can you say “Quagmire”?

The ISIS Study Group, Nov. 7, 2015:

In late-OCT Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a surprise visit to Moscow. Although it was called a “working visit” and the Assad regime did confirm three meetings were held, most people in the international press were caught up with this being Assad’s first visit in a few years. However, something rather important occurred during this visit – Vlad put Assad on notice. Assad was informed by Vlad that he’s expecting results from the Aleppo offensive by mid-NOV since he has Russian military support. That’s mid-NOV as in starting next week. He also told Assad that the Russian airstrikes weren’t “indefinite.”

Syria’s Assad in surprise visit to Moscow

Source: ZB

Source: ZB

Indeed this is a bit of a departure from what Vlad told Prince Salman of Saudi Arabia (“No End in Sight in Fighting on the Arabian Peninsula Front”), but we see it as more of our favorite KGB officer beginning to feel a greater sense of urgency. Basil al-Asad Airbase is operating at full capacity and our sources in Syria have informed us that there are no plans to open up other airbases to expand Russia’s logistical footprint – which is going to come back to haunt them. The ongoing offensive in Aleppo that we discussed in “Pro-Assad Forces Experience Setbacks Despite Russian Military Intervention” has become the new priority for the pro-regime forces looking for a “big win.” The problem with this is it means resources and personnel involved in the operations occurring in Northwest Syria are being redirected. Despite the Russian military support and diverting of resources and personnel to the Aleppo front, the offensive has stalled.

No End in Sight in Fighting on the Arabian Peninsula Front

On Thursday the al-Qaida-flavored Jund al-Aqsa seized control of the Hama Province town of Morek. That town was the last SAA garrison along the main highway between Aleppo and Hama. This was a particularly important event since the anti-Assad factions now have control of a major line of communication from which reinforcements and supplies can be sent to support operations in Idlib and Aleppo. We’ve been covering this multi-pronged pro-regime offensive to retake Aleppo, Idlib, and Russia’s involvement in it from the start (“Russia Supports New Syrian Offensive and Begins Prepping For Russian Ground OPs” and “Pro-Assad Forces Experience Setbacks Despite Russian Military Intervention”). In those articles we discussed the first indicators of things not exactly going as well as Russian propagandists are spinning them out to be. Although its true that pro-regime forces retook multiple villages South of Aleppo, they sustained heavy losses in doing so.

Syria jihadists capture regime town along vital road

Russia Supports New Syrian Offensive and Begins Prepping For Russian Ground OPs

Pro-Assad Forces Experience Setbacks Despite Russian Military Intervention

BG Hamedani in his best pic yet Source: The ISIS Study Group

BG Hamedani in his best pic yet
Source: The ISIS Study Group

The IRGC continues to play a large role on the ground on the Aleppo front, although they haven’t been able to recover (yet) from the death of IRGC BG Hossein Hamedani (Reference – “Pro-Assad Forces Experience Setbacks Despite Russian Military Intervention”). The combined pro-regime forces were already having problems coordinating/prioritizing lines of effort, but BG Hamedani’s death made the situation worse. As of this writing the vast majority of the pro-regime forces are suffering from low-morale and supply shortages that are compounded by that failure to prioritize and coordinate operations – which is why the current Aleppo campaign is stalling. Such problems have watered down all the airstrikes and fire support, so it really shouldn’t surprise anybody that the ground forces are having a hard time seizing and holding territory.

A big indicator of these problems in coordination operations can be seen in the anti-Assad factions’ adapting to the Russian airstrikes that aren’t necessarily being reported up by the guys on the ground. The reason has more to do with personal pride and an overall pissing contest between the officers of the IRGC-Qods Force, Hezbollah, SAA and Russian Army. The establishment of joint-coordination centers have helped some, but thus far it appears to have been the most successful in better stream-lining logistical operations. The reason for the lackluster improvement has to do with the Russian military continuing to maintain their own C2 separate from the SAA, IRGC and Hezbollah. The Russians manage sorties and use embedded LNOs to process strike requests – which chews up a lot of time that the guys on the ground probably don’t have the luxury of wasting. As one would guess, this has only led to increased tensions between the Russians and the Qods Force – who don’t believe they need Vlad’s boys beat down the anti-Assad factions (Gee, that sure looks like a great opportunity for some IO messaging there, CENTCOM – HINT, HINT).

al-Nusra fighters in the Southern part of Aleppo Source: al-Nusra Media Office

al-Nusra fighters in the Southern part of Aleppo
Source: al-Nusra Media Office

The Islamic State (IS) had severed some of the primary supply lines (such as the Khanaser Road) linking support hubs to the Aleppo front. Although the Assad regime is trumpeting its “victory” in regaining control of the Khanaser Road, they had to reallocate units to reopen the line of communication (LOC) just to sustain the offensive. Unfortunately, that also meant losing considerable momentum in other, more critical areas on the front. Assad’s forces were stretched even further when they were forced to eject IS from an oilfield near Hama. Another issue the SAA is running into is the increasing reliance on militias such as the Liwa Abu Fadl al-Abbas (LAFA) as a result of manpower shortages. The problem with relying on the militias is that they’re very hit or miss. Not all of the militias are as capable as Hezbollah, Badr Organization, Kitaib Hezbollah (KH) or Asaib al-Haq (AAH). As a result, the Russian ground force mix of Spetsnaz and conventional troops are seeing more action. Most of their operations (the conventional guys anyways) are centered around convoy security in the Ghab Valley, although their Naval Infantry guys are conducting more small-unit operations at the company-level and lower. The Spetsnaz continue to due their counter-terror raids in conjunction with the Qods Force, although neither side appears to be particularly thrilled with having to “share” responsibilities. Those Russian ground troops have already sustained 10 KIA and another 24 WIA (again, a great opportunity for an IO campaign for the US to regain the initiative – assuming anybody in the Pentagon still has their balls).

Syrian Government Forces Regain Key Aleppo Supply Route

Syrian Regime Makes Gains For Aleppo Supply Lines, Uniting ISIS, Jabhat Al-Nusra, Syrian Rebels

Syrian army, allied Hezbollah militia expel ISIS from key oilfield near Hama

Hollow Victory: The pro-regime forces threw a great deal of time and personnel – their most precious resource – at retaking this piece of real estate Source: George Ourfalian (Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

Hollow Victory: The pro-regime forces threw a great deal of time and personnel – their most precious resource – at retaking this piece of real estate
Source: George Ourfalian (Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

The big problem Vlad is going to face if this war extends beyond 6 months (which we don’t see any end in the foreseeable future) is the strain on the Russian military’s logisitical capabilities. Sure, the talking heads in the media point to Russia’s vast numbers, but what they fail to realize is that Russia’s military is a conscript force – and one that doesn’t have the highest morale. They also overlook the fact that despite the Russian military’s size, they have a hard time providing logistical support to it on campaigns. Russia was beginning to struggle with providing support to the limited presence it has in Ukraine, so what do you think is going to happen in Syria, or Iraq for that matter (should they expand there)? The biggest sign of strain to Russia’s airlift capabilities will be felt in the ordnance-area, in a few months we’ll know why the airstrikes will begin to decline. This is why we find Russia’s decision not to open up another airbase to alleviate the strain placed on Basil al-Assad Airbase (which is currently operating at full capacity) so interesting. The implied task, therefore, would be to use more sealift transport. The problem with that is the Russian Naval base in Tartus may not have the infrastructure to expand that capability. Ultimately, this will lead to a lag in support operations.

So what’s next? With all the resources being thrown into this multi-pronged Syrian offensive with so little in results, Vlad is going to be forced to either invest even more in the regional war by expanding Russia’s military intervention, or lower the bar of what constitutes “success.” Vlad’s original plan was to push for a “big win” in Aleppo to use as a means of forcing the so-called “moderates” into a negotiated settlement on terms favorable to Assad. Once that happens, the combined pro-regime forces would turn their complete attention to IS. However, the bombing of a Russian airliner in Sinai changed all that (Check out “Sinai Plane Crash Update” and “Amplifying Details on the Sinai Plane Bombing and the Egypt-Libya Nexus” for more details). If anything, Vlad almost has to expand his military’s involvement in Syria if nothing else but to continue to push the narrative that he’s the “ironman” of the international community – and the “anti-Obama.” Thing is, by getting more involved in this regional war, Vlad will run the risk of falling into the same trap that his predecessors did in Afghanistan. Vlad may fill the leadership void left by the US government, but all its going to do is increase recruitment to Baghdadi’s cause. Jihadists may hate America, but they have a very special hatred for Russians. As much as the Rand Paul fanboys are excited about the possibility of somebody else carrying the load, region will become much more unstable because of it. This is going to affect both the West and the Russians. Keep in mind that although Russia prefers a more draconian strategy of laying waste to entire populations, that philosophy didn’t particularly work out in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Ingushtia or Dagestan. So welcome to the meat-grinder Vlad – sucks, don’t it?

Sinai Plane Crash Update

Amplifying Details on the Sinai Plane Bombing and the Egypt-Libya Nexus

Source: The ISIS Study Group

Source: The ISIS Study Group

Other Related Articles:

Vlad Uses Saudi Prince’s Thirst for Power to His Advantage Against US Influence

Islamic State Claims to Have Shot-Down Russian Plane in Sinai – But Did They?

Russia Providing Lethal Aid to Syria, Iran and Establishment of Intel Centers in Iraq

Russia Poised to Increase Military Presence in Middle East in Response to Islamic State’s Strength

Remembering 9/11: Defeating and Destroying Iran

2011-09-11-ap-towersjpg-6be5ddc322d0f239Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, September 11, 2015:

On this 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on U.S. soil by jihadi forces, it is right that we honor our war dead and commit ourselves to defeating those primarily responsible, including the government of Iran.

As detailed in the 9/11 report, the recent civil court case in which victims’ families are seeking damages from the government of Iran for 9/11, as well as numerous other reports from intelligence sources around the world, the evidence on the table is that Iran supported Al Qaeda in its preparation and execution of the 9/11 attacks.

Iran also continues to be the largest financial supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Hamas terrorist group.

This should be of no surprise since the U.S. government determined the Iranian government was responsible for the 1996 bombings of the Khobar Towers complex in Dharan, Saudi Arabia which killed 19 U.S. military service personnel.

Yet, none of this seems to matter to our current administration which calls Iran a “good faith partner” in the current negotiations surrounding the Joint Comprehensive Agreement.

Specifically, the 9/11 Report stated:  “In late 1991 or 1992, discussions in Sudan between Al Qaeda and Iranian operatives led to an informal agreement to cooperate in providing support  – even if only training – for actions carried out primarily against Israel and the United States.  Not long after, senior Al Qaeda operatives and trainers traveled to Iran to receive training in explosives.  In the fall of 1993, another such delegation went to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon for further training in explosives as well as intelligence and security.”

The U.S. intelligence community revealed senior Hizbollah leader Imad Mughniyeh worked directly with Al Qaeda operatives prior to 9/11.  Al Qaeda leaders like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed actually lived in Iran with his family for periods of time.

Members of the 9/11 Commission staff testified Iran aided the hijackers by concealing their travel through Iran to access al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. Iranian border inspectors refrained from stamping the passports of 8 to 10 of the 9/11 hijackers because evidence of travel through Iran would have prevented the hijackers from obtaining visas at U.S. embassies abroad or gaining entry into the United States. The 9/11 Commission Report addressed these facts and called for further investigation. (pages 240-241)

Hizbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) are arms of the Iranian government.  They are jihadi organizations directly supported and lead by the leadership of Iran.  There is no question about this.  The Iranian government has a clear and consistent doctrine – stated in their Constitution – of spreading Islamic rule across the planet and hating the United States.

Yet, American government leaders, including the President of the United States, continue down the path of negotiating with Iran to ensure it has access to more money and materials to support the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hizbollah, as well as its nuclear weapons program.

The souls of the victims of 9/11, and all of our men and women who fought and gave their lives overseas in the wars against the jihadis, cry out for real justice.  If it is to be had, real leaders in America must – for once since 9/11 – actually focus on the two nation states on the planet which are driving the global jihadi train including Iran.

We should be obliterating the Iranian government, not talking with them.

Also see:

John Kerry’s Letter to Congress Is a ‘Guilty’ Plea to the Charge That Iran Deal Materially Supports Terrorism

john-kerry-just-gave-russia-a-final-warningPJ Media, by Andrew McCarthy, Sep. 9, 2015:

How could any member of Congress in good conscience support a deal that so blatantly empowers a brazen enemy of the United States — a regime that has killed thousands of Americans, a regime that daily continues to call for death to America and the annihilation of Israel — to the degree that even the Obama administration openly concedes that the deal materially supports terrorism?

No sooner did Obama lock up the Democratic support he needed in the Senate to ensure his deal cannot be defeated under the farcical Corker review process than did his Iran point-man, Secretary of State John Kerry, send a letter to members of Congress promising that more military aid would be given to Iran’s enemies, Israel and the Sunni Gulf states. Let’s put aside the absurdity of vowing, as Kerry does in the letter, that Obama’s deal will promote regional peace while simultaneously acknowledging that Iran’s enemies will need “increase[d] security assistance.” If the Obama administration were charged with committing material support to terrorism, a serious felony violation of federal law, Kerry’s letter would suffice as a “Guilty” plea.

The criminal statute that prohibits “providing material support to terrorists” (section 2339A of the federal penal code, Title 18) provides a jail sentence of up to 15 years — or up to life imprisonment if death results from the offense — for anyone who:

… provides material support or resources … knowing … that they are to be used in preparation for, or in carrying out, [an act of terrorism] … or in preparation for, or in carrying out, the concealment of an escape from the commission of any such violation, or attempts or conspires to do such an act[.]

The statute provides a sweeping definition of “material support or resources”:

The term “material support or resources” means any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel (1 or more individuals who may be or include oneself), and transportation, except medicine or religious materials[.]

With that background, let’s turn to Kerry’s letter to members of Congress. It explicitly admits to:

Iran’s continued support for terrorist and proxy groups throughout the region, its propping up of the Assad regime in Syria, its efforts to undermine the stability of its regional neighbors, and the threat it poses to Israel.

Note that the State Department expressly designates both Iran and Syria as state sponsors of terrorism.

But this admitted “support for terrorist and proxy groups” is going to stop now thanks to Obama’s deal, right? Wrong. Kerry flatly confesses (my emphasis):

We have no illusion that this behavior will change following implementation of the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action– i.e., Obama’s Iran deal.]

Obama’s Iran deal will provide Iran with over $100 billion, and opens the door to its acquisition of sophisticated weaponry (wholly apart from Iran’s nuclear development activities).

It is, in short, the most astronomical provision of material support and resources to terrorism — as that term is defined in federal law (see above) — in the history of the world.

Kerry’s letter to Congress goes on to concede that, after implementation of the deal, there will be a continuing need “to deter and combat regional threats, including terrorism and Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region.” Kerry elaborates that there will be continuing concerns about “arms transfers to Iranian backed Hizballah in Lebanon, Houthis in Yemen, and Shia militants in Iraq, as well as transfers involving North Korea.”

So, while the Obama administration ensures that money and materiel pour into Iran, Iran will continue to provide material support to terrorists, terrorist organizations, and terrorist regimes. In light of Kerry’s blatant acknowledgment of this fact, the State Department’s most recent report on Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism, from 2014, is worth quoting at length:

Designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1984, Iran continued its terrorist-related activity in 2014, including support for Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, Lebanese Hizballah, and various groups in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. This year, Iran increased its assistance to Iraqi Shia militias, one of which is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), in response to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) incursion into Iraq, and has continued to support other militia groups in the region. Iran also attempted to smuggle weapons to Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza. While its main effort focused on supporting goals in the Middle East, particularly in Syria, Iran and its proxies also continued subtle efforts at growing influence elsewhere including in Africa, Asia, and, to a lesser extent, Latin America. Iran used the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to implement foreign policy goals, provide cover for intelligence operations, and create instability in the Middle East. The IRGC-QF is the regime’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.

Iran views Syria as a crucial causeway in its weapons supply route to Lebanese Hizballah, its primary beneficiary, and as a key pillar in its “resistance” front. In 2014, Iran continued to provide arms, financing, training, and the facilitation of primarily Iraqi Shia and Afghan fighters to support the Asad regime’s brutal crackdown that has resulted in the deaths of at least 191,000 people in Syria, according to August UN estimates.

The IRGC-QF, in concert with Lebanese Hizballah, provided training outside of Iraq as well as advisors inside Iraq for Shia militants in the construction and use of sophisticated improvised explosive device (IED) technology and other advanced weaponry.

Iran has historically provided weapons, training, and funding to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups, including Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC). These Palestinian terrorist groups have been behind a number of deaths from attacks originating in Gaza and the West Bank.

[I]n a November 25 speech, Supreme Leader Khamenei highlighted Iran’s military support to “Palestinian brothers” in Gaza and called for the West Bank to be similarly armed. In December, Hamas Deputy Leader Moussa Abu Marzouk announced bilateral relations with Iran and Hamas were “back on track.”

In March, Israeli naval forces boarded the Klos C cargo ship in the Red Sea off the coast of Sudan. On board, they found 40 M-302 rockets, 180 mortars, and approximately 400,000 rounds of ammunition hidden within crates of cement labeled “Made in Iran” and believed to be destined to militants in the region.

Since the end of the 2006 Israeli-Hizballah conflict, Iran has also assisted in rearming Lebanese Hizballah, in direct violation of UNSCR 1701. General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the IRGC Aerospace Force stated in November that “The IRGC and Hezbollah are a single apparatus jointed together,” and Lebanese Hizballah Deputy Secretary General Naim Qassem boasted that Iran had provided his organization with missiles that had “pinpoint accuracy” in separate November public remarks. Iran has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in support of Lebanese Hizballah in Lebanon and has trained thousands of its fighters at camps in Iran. These trained fighters have used these skills in direct support of the Asad regime in Syria and, to a lesser extent, in support of operations against ISIL in Iraq. They have also continued to carry out attacks along the Lebanese border with Israel.

Hezbollah and Hamas have long been formally designated foreign terrorist organizations under federal law.

Obviously, there is no disputing the Obama administration’s patent knowledge that much of the material support its deal will provide to the terror-sponsoring regime in Tehran will be funneled to these and other designated foreign terrorist organizations. This means yet another criminal statute prohibiting material support to terrorism is implicated (Section 2339B of the federal penal code).

That law states:

Whoever knowingly provides material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and, if the death of any person results, shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life.

The statute goes on to require proof that an accused person knows:

 … that the organization is a designated terrorist organization[,] … that the organization has engaged or engages in terrorist activity[,] … or that the organization has engaged or engages in terrorism[.]

It is incontestable that President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and their subordinates know all three things about Hezbollah and Hamas, even though the statute requires knowledge of only one of them to establish guilt.

It bears emphasizing that for all their absurd claims about how the president’s Iran deal reins in Iran’s nuclear program, even Obama administration officials feel compelled to admit that Iran will step up its material support to terrorism while it is receiving the windfall from the deal.

That is not just unconscionable; it is criminal.

How can Obama’s Iran deal conceivably be supported by anyone who claims to oppose international terrorism or support Israel?

Also see:

Hewitt trips up Trump on foreign policy

Hugh HewittWashington Examiner, By AL WEAVER, Sep. 3, 2015:

With the second GOP debate only two weeks away, Donald Trump may need to do some cramming on foreign policy to catch up to his peers.

Trump admitted in a Thursday interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt that he does not know some of the nuts and bolts issues on the world stage, particularly the names of terror leaders and other players in the Middle East. He also didn’t know the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah.

From the outset, Hewitt, who is set to ask questions at the debate on Sept. 16, quizzed the GOP front-runner on a series of issues pertaining to the Middle East. He asked if Trump knew about Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a major general in the Iranian Army.

“Yes,” Trump said with some doubt in his voice. “Go ahead, give me a little — go ahead, tell me.”

When Hewitt explained that Soleimani is the head of the Quds Force, which he likened to the U.S. Navy SEALs, Trump began talking about the Kurdish forces in Turkey.

“I think the Kurds, by the way, have been horribly mistreated by us…” Trump said before Hewitt corrected him. The real estate mogul explained that he heard the name wrong.

“Is he the gentleman that was going back and forth with Russia and meeting with [Vladimir] Putin? I read something — that seems to be, also, where he’s at. He’s going back and forth meeting with other countries, etc. etc.,” Trump asked. Hewitt responded affirmatively.

“Not good. Not good for us,” Trump said. “And what it shows is a total lack of respect, I mean that the other countries would even be entertaining him, and they’re entertaining him big league. Big league.”

Hewitt went on to ask Trump if he knew the “players” in the Middle East “without a scorecard” after rattling off four high-level players from the region such as Hassan Nasrallah, secretary general of Hezbollah, and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State.

“No,” Trump responded. “You know, I’ll tell you, honestly, I think by the time we get to office, they’ll all be changed. They’ll be all gone. I knew you were going to ask me things like this and there’s no reason because, 1.) I will hopefully find Gen. Douglas McArthur in the pack. I will find whoever it is that I’ll find and … but they’re all changing.”

“Those are like history questions. ‘Do you know this one, do you know that one,'” Trump said. “As far as the individual players, of course I don’t know them. I’ve never met them. I haven’t been in a position to meet them. If they’re still there, which is unlikely in many cases — but if they’re still there, I will know them better than I know you.”

Trump went on to tell the host that he was asking “gotcha questions” about the Middle Eastern leaders, adding that by the time he becomes commander in chief, “I will be so good at the military, your head will spin.”

Near the end of the 20-minute segment, Hewitt told Trump that he disagreed with the assertion that he was asking “gotcha” questions. The host said that at the debate on Sept. 16, he may ask the candidates about the leaders of Hezbollah, al-Nusra and Hamas. Does Trump think those are gotcha questions?

“Yes, I do. I totally do,” Trump said to a mystified Hewitt. “I think it’s ridiculous. I’m a delegator. I find great people. I find absolutely great people and I’ll find them in our armed services, and I find absolutely great people.”

“When you start throwing around names of people and where they live and, you know, give me their address — I think it’s ridiculous,” Trump said. “By the way, the names you just mentioned, they probably won’t even be there in six months or a year … First day in office, or before then — the day after the election, I’ll know more about it than you will ever know. I can tell you that.”

“Last question: So the difference between Hezbollah and Hamas does not matter to you yet, but it will?” Hewitt asked.

“It will when it’s appropriate. I will know more about it than you know and believe me, it won’t take me long,” Trump said. “And if you ask any of these candidates, nobody’s going to be able to give you an answer. I mean, there may be one that’s studied it because they’re expecting a fresh question from you. But believe me, it won’t matter. I will know far more than you know within 24 hours after I get the job.”

This isn’t the first time a 2016 Republican presidential candidate has struggled with foreign policy details on Hewitt’s show. Back in May, Ben Carson made repeated missteps in an interview with Hewitt, which led to the host asking the famed neurosurgeon if he “read this stuff?”

Iran: Never Held Accountable

230730e (1)Center for Security Policy, by Christopher Holton, August 30, 2015:

The Obama administration has embarked upon a path to reward decades of bad behavior by the Islamic Republic of Iran in the futile hope that Iran will become benevolent and cease its warlike actions and intentions toward the West in general and the U.S. and Israel in particular.

As futile as the idea of negotiating a nuclear deal with the Ayatollahs seems to sober Americans and our allies today, we must first set the record straight on those policies of the past that Obama and his supporters say that they are determined to change: America has never had a “tough” policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Iran has been allowed to kidnap and kill Americans for decades, whether directly or by proxy, without fear of severe repercussions. For years the U.S. State Department has declared that Iran is the world’s “most active” sponsor of terrorism, yet the Ayatollahs have not been forced to pay a significant price. Iran has armed and aided our enemies –including al Qaeda-and threatened our allies and has gotten away with it.
Iran has killed Americans for over 40 years, sponsored Hezbollah, HAMAS and al Qaeda and has repeatedly threatened America and our allies.
Iran was complicit in the Hezbollah Islamikaze attacks on the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon in April 1983 and the US Marine barracks there in October 1983. In the attack on the Marine barracks, 241 U.S. Marines, sailors and soldiers were killed. In fact, until September 11, 2001, Hezbollah had killed more Americans than any other terrorist organization.
It should be pointed out that Iran is not just a sponsor of Hezbollah. Iran formed Hezbollah and has always trained and continues to train its operatives in Lebanon and inside Iran. Hezbollah basically operates as an Iranian foreign legion.
Worst of all, the Iranians have been developing nuclear weapons in violation of international law (along with the ballistic missiles with which to deliver them) and, still, there has been no tough policy toward Iran.
Though it may seem to many Americans as if the Iranian nuclear program has only come about in the past few years, it has actually been known to policymakers for a very long time.
Consider that over 20 years ago in the January 4, 1994 edition of USA Today, Clinton administration Undersecretary of State Lynn Davis had this to say about Iran’s nuclear program: “Iran’s actions leave little doubt that Tehran is intent upon developing a nuclear weapons capability. They are inconsistent with any rational civil nuclear program.”
What did the Clinton administration do to head off Iran’s nuclear program after this startling admission about Iran’s nuclear intentions? Virtually nothing.
For nearly three decades now since Iranian “students” invaded the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took U.S. hostages, sanctions against Iran have been a widely believed urban legend – and nothing more.
Even during that hostage crisis of 1979-81, President Carter was unsuccessful in convincing our closest NATO allies and Japan to participate in economic sanctions against Iran. Not even Great Britain was willing to cut off trade with Iran during that crisis period.
The U.S. has had to “go it alone” on Iran for decades. But even the U.S. has imposed only limited unilateral sanctions against Iran and never broad, far-reaching sanctions. Three successive administrations, Clinton, Bush and Obama didn’t even bother to enforce our own sanctions against Iran.
The Iran Sanctions Act, authored by Sen. Alphonse D’Amato of New York passed both houses of Congress with virtually no opposition back in 1996. That bill would have placed any foreign oil company with over $20 million in investments in Iran’s oil and gas sector under U.S. sanctions. Companies like Shell and Total would have been forced to choose between doing business in America or in Iran. President Clinton signed it into law – and promptly issued waivers by executive order to every single oil company that would have been affected. Unfortunately, President Bush, on the advice of the geniuses at the State Department, continued that same waiver policy during his eight years in office. Unsurprisingly, Obama has followed suit as the list of foreign oil companies doing business in Iran became more Russian and Chinese in recent years.
Moreover, America has allowed our own corporations to bypass U.S. sanctions laws by using foreign cut-outs and subsidiaries to do business with the Ayatollahs. In fact, during the eight years of the Bush administration, U.S. trade with Iran actually expanded. This is especially shocking given that during much of this period Iran was operating directly in support of Jihadist insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan who were killing American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, providing the terrorists with training, logistics, safe haven and advanced weaponry.
Iran was the primary supplier of deadly EFP-IEDs (Explosively Formed Penetrator-Improvised Explosive Devices) to the insurgents in Iraq and operated training camps for those insurgents inside Iran.
As for sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, they have been even more limited to certain aspects of nuclear technology and arms, with virtually no impact on the Iranian economy. Even these limited sanctions have no teeth at all, which is why Iran’s largest arms suppliers, Russia and China, were willing to allow them to pass in the first place.
The fact is, Iran has felt little economic pressure due to sanctions since that day 21+ years ago in January 1994 when the Clinton State Department admitted to USA Today that Iran was working on nuclear weapons.
Our government has failed us. Our leaders have failed us.
What is so frustrating to those of us who are worried about the Iranian threat and have for years sought a peaceful means of addressing Iran’s nuclear program and its sponsorship of terrorism, is the fact that there have never been any meaningful measures taken to bring pressure on Iran.
It is especially disappointing that America and the rest of the Free World are not willing to apply economic leverage on Iran right now because now President Obama is poised to hand the genocidal Ayatollahs in Qom a windfall of hundreds of billions of dollars in both sanctions relief and freed assets.
President Obama has declared repeatedly that “there’s been a lot of mistrust built up over the years” between the US and Iran.
Given that Iran has made killing Americans its national sport and sponsoring Jihadist terrorist organizations its national pastime, why should America trust the Ayatollahs?
The next time someone tells you that we need to approve the Iranian nuclear deal “because sanctions haven’t worked,” you should point out that tough, comprehensive sanctions have never been imposed on Iran.
One day, we are all going to wake up, turn on the TV news and discover that the Ayatollahs have The Bomb. Our children and our children’s children will always wonder how we let it happen.
Also see:

World View: The Arab World is Disintegrating into War

ISIS video

ISIS video

Breitbart, by JOHN J. XENAKIS, July 19, 2015:

Behind the scenes in the Iran nuclear deal

President Barack Obama and Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei (AFP)

President Barack Obama and Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei (AFP)

I like to reference Debka’s newsletter because it contains valuable insights into what’s going on, but it is written from Israel’s point of view, and sometimes gets things wrong. This week’s subscriber-only newsletter (sent to me by a subscriber) contains an analysis of the behind the scenes activities that led to the Iran nuclear deal:

  • Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has been talking about developing nuclear technology, but it really is a bluff, designed to get the US to negotiate the nuclear deal and remove sanctions. Iran has no intention of developing a nuclear weapon while Obama is in office, since the relationship with Obama is more important. — This is plausible, and probably true
  • The Shah of Iran was overthrown by Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini in 1979 with the support of President Jimmy Carter and his national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. The Shah was double-crossed. — This is plausible, but I have no idea whether it’s true.
  • Brzezinski and his long-time associate Brent Scrowcroft were influential in the new Iran-US deal. — This is plausible.
  • Obama now expects Iran, perhaps naively, to shoulder most of the burden of fighting the Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) in Iraq and Syria. — It’s plausible that Obama believes this.
  • Many Sunni Arab leaders, including Saudi’s new king Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, believe that Obama helped bring about the “Arab Spring” in order to help Iran’s rise. — It’s plausible that Arab leaders believe this, but it’s not possible for Obama or any politician to have caused or prevented the Arab Spring. For that matter, Carter and Brzezinski could not have caused or prevented Iran’s Great Islamic Revolution. These great events were caused by enormous generational changes that could not have been stopped any more than a tsunami can be stopped.
  • Obama turned his back on the Sunni Arab nations because he sees the Arab world as disintegrating into bloody, hopeless wars.
  • The continuing rhetorical fury of Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the Iran agreement has outlived its usefulness, according to some Israeli officials, who feel he should moderate his statements and instead focus on a new strategy to deal with the new world following the agreement.

Generally, the Debka view is consistent with my article “15-Jul-15 World View — Arab views of Iran nuclear deal,” including the fact that Iran is becoming America’s ally, and the Sunni Arabs will be America’s enemy. Debka

The Arab world is disintegrating into war

The same Debka newsletter points out that the number of conflicts in the Arab world is larger than the number of Arab nations involved in the conflicts:

  • Libya has fallen apart and is mired in tribal warfare and war with ISIS.
  • Egypt is plagued by frequent terrorist attacks by both ISIS (as “Sinai Province”) and the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Syria is mired in an endless war pitting Bashar al-Assad’s army plus Hezbollah plus Iran plus Shia militias from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan versus ISIS plus other jihadists and the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
  • Iraq is in full-scale war with ISIS.
  • Lebanon is poised on a knife’s edge from the spillover of the Syrian war.
  • Jordan is ostensibly stable, but Bedouin tribes’ traditional loyalty to the crown is being undermined, and Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and ISIS are each poised to move in on Amman.
  • Yemen is in a civil war, in which Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations are fighting the Iran-backed Houthis. The battle is being exploited by al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS to seize large swathes of land.
  • Saudi Arabia is caught up in three wars — Yemen, Iraq and Syria — with grave domestic challenges from the Shias in the east and from the 16-19 year old Sunni youths, nearly a third of whom are without jobs and have set up clandestine cells across the kingdom dedicated to toppling the House of Saud.

On the other hand, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman have lined up behind the Iran nuclear deal and have maintained good relations with Iran. In particular, the UAE expects to gain from the Iran’s post-sanctions import and export trade by having Dubai become the biggest free port in the Gulf.

Debka says that the Arab governments are, like Israel, in a state of disarray after being swept aside by the Iran deal, and in a state of gloom over all the wars going on. The Arab nations need to focus on creating a new Arab regional structure to replace the outdated Arab League.

As we have been saying for many years, the Mideast is headed for a major regional ethnic and sectarian war with 100% certainty, and events seem to bring that war closer every week. This is particularly true of last week’s major event, the Iran nuclear deal.

It is impossible to predict the sequence of political events that will lead to this regional war, but the concept of “a new Arab regional structure” suggests one possibility. My expectation is that, sooner or later, the Arab states will unite with ISIS to fight Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, and this new Arab regional structure may be the political mechanism that brings all these Sunni and Arab elements together to fight Iran. Debka

Saudi Arabia conducts major anti-terrorism sweep against ISIS

In a major anti-terrorism sweep across the country, Saudi Arabia has arrested 431 people believed to belong to ISIS cells, “as part of a scheme managed from troubled areas abroad and aimed at inciting sectarian strife and chaos.” According to the Saudi statement statement:

The number of arrested to date was 431 … detainees, most of them citizens, as well as participants holding other nationalities including Yemeni, Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian, Algerian, Nigerian, Chadian, and unidentified others.

What combines these cells (which were subjected to security restrictions by not making direct contacts among themselves) is the belonging to the terrorist ISIS organization in terms of the adoption of thought, takfir of society and bloodshed, and then exchanging roles to implement the plans and objectives dictated from abroad.

There have been several terrorist attacks on Shia mosques in eastern Saudi Arabia, and the purpose of the announcement in part was to make it clear to the Shias in the east that the government is doing something. The Saudis claim that they have thwarted six additional planned attacks on Shia mosques.

The fact that over 400 people have been arrested gives an idea of the scale of threat that the Saudis face in ISIS. Saudi Press Agency and AP and Arab News

Massive bomb attack in Iraq market kills over 130

ISIS has claimed responsibility for a massive bomb attack in a crowded open-air market in Khan Bani Saad, a mostly Shia town 20 miles northeast of Baghdad. The death toll is 130 and climbing, making it the biggest ISIS civilian terror attack in the country.

A man in a truck pulled up to the marketplace in the extreme summer heat and said he was selling ice at a discount to celebrate the end of Ramadan. He lured over 100 people to the truck, and the detonated at least one ton of explosives.

Khan Bani Saad is in Diyala province, which borders Iran. It’s the only province in Iraq where Iranian jets are known to have conducted airstrikes against ISIS earlier this year.CNN and AP

Concerns Raised Over US Co-existence with Iranian-Backed Militias in Iraq

Iraqi fighters of the Shiite group Asaib Ahl al-Haq (The League of the Righteous) gesture upon their return to the southern city of Basra, on June 14, 2015. The group is fighting alongside Iraqi security forces against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in an attempt to try to retake the strategic northern town of Baiji. At least 11 members of the Iraqi security forces were killed the previous day near the town of Baiji in a series of suicide attacks claimed by IS jihadists. AFP PHOTO / HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI

Iraqi fighters of the Shiite group Asaib Ahl al-Haq (The League of the Righteous) gesture upon their return to the southern city of Basra, on June 14, 2015. The group is fighting alongside Iraqi security forces against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in an attempt to try to retake the strategic northern town of Baiji. At least 11 members of the Iraqi security forces were killed the previous day near the town of Baiji in a series of suicide attacks claimed by IS jihadists. AFP PHOTO / HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI

Center for Security Policy, by Jennifer Keltz June 30, 2015:

Last week, news reports surfaced that US troops in Iraq have been sharing the Taqqadum military base with Iranian-backed Shia militias, some of which have killed US troops in the past. The Pentagon said that US forces are separated from the militias, which are operating on a different part of the base, though liaisons that are members of the militias have been working with the US and Iraq.

Iran has been a key contributor to the Iraqi fight against the Islamic State (IS), and this fact has been acknowledged by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. In recent a conversation with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Abadi told Khamenei that Iran’s support of Shia militias fighting IS is essential to defeating the organization.

Iraq has also greatly benefited from US involvement in the fight against IS, as the US has been providing training and supplies to Iraqi and Kurdish forces. In March, the US officially began to provide more concrete support, beyond simply training Iraqi troops, for the offensive against IS in Tikrit. The US began providing intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance at the request of the Iraqi government.

Throughout the fight against IS, the US has maintained a military presence of 3,100 troops in Iraq. After the fall of Ramadi, the US decided to deploy approximately 400 more troops, signifying its investment in staying involved in the fight. Along with these additional troops to supplement those already in Iraq, senior members of the military have advised expanding the operational capacities of the US troops to allow them to conduct on-the-ground missions.

An escalation of US involvement in Iraq, coinciding with increased coexistence and cooperation between US and Iranian-backed Shia militias, raises some questions.

The first issue that must be addressed is that of the safety of US forces sharing space with the Shia militias. According to the Pentagon, Shia militias left the base before the US troops arrived. However, they are actually staying in a different area on the base, though the base is reportedly very large (larger than Vienna, VA, a town in the Washington, D.C. suburbs). Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), an Iraq War veteran, is apprehensive of the arrangement because many Americans were killed in Iraq as a result of bombs supplied by Iran. Adding to this concern, the militias are headed by the leader of Hezbollah in Iraq, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and include the League of the Righteous, which still boasts about a roadside execution of five US soldiers near Karbala in 2007. US troops have not clashed with the militias in the 11 months that US special operations forces will be in Iraq, but a senior administration official said that “there’s no real command and control from the central government. Even if these guys don’t attack us … Iran is ushering in a new Hezbollah era in Iraq, and we will have aided and abetted it.”

The second issue regards the potential for an armed offensive jointly led by US, Iraqi, and Iranian-backed forces. The US gives weapons to the Iraqi government only, but knows that many end up being used by the Shia militias. Additionally, some militia commanders have been allowed to be present at US military and intelligence briefings for the Iraqi government-controlled Iraqi Security Forces. As previously stated, the Shia militias have a history of violence toward US troops, which could prove disastrous if they turn on the US on the battlefield.

Additionally, the US is still engaged in nuclear negotiations with Iran. A short-term military alliance between the US and Iranian-backed forces in Iraq could lead to US officials developing a false sense of security over the veracity of Iran’s commitment to peace.

In reality, Iran will almost certainly use the nuclear capabilities it will gain in the deal with the US for military purposes while continuing to spread weapons to Hamas and Hezbollah, terrorizing the Middle East and the world. Iran views itself as a lostempire and the leader of a global Islamic revolution. The Iranian regime seeks to seize territories formerly controlled by the Persian empire, including Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. Iran recently trumpeted its control of four Arab capitals, including Baghdad, San’aa, Damascus and Beirut.

A battlefield alliance with US forces gives an unacceptable appearance of legitimacy to all of Iran’s military and foreign policy goals. The United States must find a strategy to advance its efforts against the Islamic State without empowering Iran’s Islamic revolution.

Also see:

U.S. Arms Sales to Lebanon Empowering Hezbollah, Iran

Hezbollah fighters on parade / AP

Hezbollah fighters on parade / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, June 12, 2015:

Newly announced U.S. arms sales to Lebanon coincide with an Obama administration order to cut funding for an anti-Hezbollah Lebanese group, a move foreign policy insiders describe as empowering the Iranian backers of the terrorist group.

Critics are viewing the cut to anti-Hezbollah efforts as another concession by the administration to Iran—which controls and funds Hezbollah—ahead of attempts to finalize a nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic ahead of a June 30 deadline.

Newly disclosed documents reveal that the Obama administration quietly decided in April to cut funds for Hayya Bina, a leading anti-Hezbollah group in Lebanon, “due to a recent shift in Department of State priorities in Lebanon,” according to a letter notifying the group of the funding cuts.

Soon after this move, the United States announced that it would deliver a slew of new weapons to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), which has come under intense criticism for its close relationship with Hezbollah and its efforts to bolster the group’s activities in Syria.

The timing of these decisions by the Obama administration has prompted Middle East leaders and foreign policy insiders to accuse the administration of endorsing Hezbollah and shifting the United States’ regional priorities to be more in line with Iran’s.

The State Department, in its letter, ordered that “all activities [by Hayya Bina] intended [to] foster an independent moderate Shia voice be ceased immediately and indefinitely.”

This directly affects the group’s efforts to provide an alternative to Hezbollah, which is an extremist Shiite Muslim militant group.

On Wednesday, the State Department marked the delivery of more than 200 TOW-II missiles and “dozens of launchers to the LAF,” according to a statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.

The military hardware cost more than $10 million and was jointly funded by the United States and Saudi Arabia, according to the State Department.

Around $82.5 million in weapons and ammunition have been provided to the LAF since August 2014.

Additionally, the Pentagon announced this week that it is considering selling Lebanon six A-29 Super Tucano aircraft and support equipment as well as logistical support.

The sale is estimated to cost $462 million, the Pentagon said.

“The Government of Lebanon has requested a possible sale of six A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, eight PT6A-68A Turboprop engines, eight ALE-47 Countermeasure Dispensing Systems, two thousand Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems, eight AN/AAR-60(V)2 Missile Launch Detection Systems, non-SAASM Embedded Global Positioning System/Initial Navigation System (EGIs), spare and repair parts, flight testing, maintenance support, support equipment, publications and technical documentation, ferry support, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support,” according to the Pentagon.

The sale “will provide Lebanon with a much needed Close Air Support (CAS) platform to meet present and future challenges posed by internal and border security threats,” according to the Pentagon. “The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”

However, regional experts disagree with this assessment. They argue that given the LAF’s close relationship with Hezbollah, the arms will support the terror group’s military efforts to bolster Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s embattled president.

The LAF is “basically protecting Hezbollah’s rear and flank on the Lebanese side of the border, which in turn allows Hezbollah to run its operations more freely across the border in Syria,” said Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) who first broke the news of the anti-Hezbollah funds being cut.

“They are essentially acting as an auxiliary force for Hezbollah in Lebanon,” he said, adding, the LAF has “taken on the role of securing the same areas Hezbollah is trying to secure. There’s an overlap and it goes to help sustain Hezbollah’s effort in Syria.”

U.S. assistance to the LAF helps Hezbollah continue its fight in Syria, Badran said.

America is “helping the Lebanese seal the border only in one direction, not both directions,” Badran explained. “We’re helping Lebanon, and thus Hezbollah, against anything coming in from the Syrian side, but not to totally seal the border, which would prevent Hezbollah from continuing its war” in Syria.

“We’re facilitating this war in a way,” Badran explained.” That’s the context of the arms. They’re being deployed in a manner that relieves Hezbollah and assists its war effort.”

All of this activity ultimately boosts Iranian interests in the region, where Hezbollah has been propping up Assad at Tehran’s behest.

The Obama administration is “appeasing [Iran] in order to get the nuclear agreement,” said Michael Doran, a former senior director for the White House’s National Security Council (NSC) under George W. Bush.

“The agreement is [Obama’s] absolute top priority, but it is not the strategic goal” said Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. “The goal of the talks was always détente with Iran and that’s what we’re seeing. The nuclear goal is a means to a larger end.”

Badran also warned that ongoing U.S. military support to the LAF is bolstering Iran’s interests.

There is a “consistent attempt by Obama to assure the Iranians that their regional holdings and spheres of influence are recognized and respected,” he said. “He will not cross them and not jeopardize them. That includes in Syria, but by definition, includes it in Lebanon.”

“What we’re doing indirectly is helping Iran secure its strategic objective in Lebanon and Syria,” he said.

U.S. Strategy in Lebanon Stirs Fears

People in Nabatiyeh, Lebanon, holding images of Syria’s president watch Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on a screen during his televised speech last month commemorating the 15th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon. PHOTO: ALI HASHISHO/REUTERS

People in Nabatiyeh, Lebanon, holding images of Syria’s president watch Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on a screen during his televised speech last month commemorating the 15th anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon. PHOTO: ALI HASHISHO/REUTERS

WSJ, by JAY SOLOMON, June 9, 2015:

AMMAN, Jordan—The U.S. cut funding for a civil society program in Lebanon that seeks to develop alternative Shiite political voices to Hezbollah, the powerful Iranian-backed militia and political party.

The group that received the U.S. support and critics said that the Obama administration was curtailing its efforts to counter Hezbollah to avoid confronting Shiite Iran, with which it is negotiating to conclude a historic nuclear accord this month.

These people say the funding cut imperils a program that underpinned criticism in Lebanon of Hezbollah’s growing role in supporting President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil war.

“We are more immediately worried about the message this sends to Shia communities, in Lebanon and the region, about their options for the future,” said Lokman Slim, director of Hayya Bina, the organization that lost the funding.

State Department officials denied pulling U.S. support for the development of alternative Shiite voices in Lebanon, saying the program wasn’t succeeding in its objectives. They said the administration still funds other programs run by Hayya Bina, including one that teaches English to Lebanese Shiite women.

“The U.S. continues to support groups and individuals who share our goal of a democratic, peaceful, pluralistic, and prosperous Lebanon,” said Edgar Vasquez, a State Department spokesman.

But the U.S. move feeds into an alarmed narrative held by many Arab leaders who say that U.S. and Iranian interests appear increasingly aligned—at their expense. Both Washington and Tehran are fighting Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria, with U.S. conducting airstrikes against the militants, but notably not against Mr. Assad’s Iran-backed regime.

Hezbollah, which the U.S. classifies as a terror organization, receives extensive funding and arms from Iran. It has deployed 10,000 soldiers in Syria to back Mr. Assad’s forces and counter Islamic State, U.S. officials estimate.

Saudi Arabia’s leadership, which supports the exiled leader of Yemen, was concerned when the U.S. last month met secretly with the Iran-backed Houthi rebels there that caused him to flee.

Most significantly, the Obama administration is seeking to conclude a deal with Iran by June 30 to curb its nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of international sanctions.

Some pro-democracy activists in Washington also voiced concern that cutting Hayya Bina’s funding will send a message that the U.S. is tacitly accepting Hezbollah in an effort to appease Iran.

“At best, the decision shows poor political judgment,” said Firas Maksad, director of Global Policy Advisors, a Washington-based consulting firm focused on the Middle East. “Coming on the heels of an expected deal with Iran, it is bound to generate much speculation about possible ulterior motives.”

The U.S. government has continued to pressure Hezbollah financially, including teaming with Saudi Arabia in recent months to jointly sanction some of its leaders. “Disrupting Hezbollah’s far-reaching terrorist and military capabilities remains a top priority for the U.S. government,” Mr. Vasquez said.

But the Obama administration has also cooperated with Lebanese institutions—including the armed forces and an intelligence agency—that are considered close to Hezbollah and combating Islamic State and Nusra Front, an al Qaeda-affiliated militia in Syria.

The program in question was budgeted to receive $640,000 between June 2013 and December 2015, according to Hayya Bina. The funding was halted this spring, $200,000 short of the total amount, though the group continues to receive a smaller amount of U.S. funding for the other programs, as it has since 2007.

Two years before, in 2005, a popular uprising, sparked by the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, drove Syrian forces out of Lebanon. U.S. officials believed at the time the uprising would weaken Hezbollah and Iran in Lebanon since both were close Assad allies. Instead, Hezbollah strengthened itself politically and militarily, U.S. and Arab officials say.

The Hayya Bina program in question was funded through the International Republican Institute, which promotes democracy overseas. It sought to support diverse Shiite voices through workshops, publications and public opinion polling. But in April, the institute notified Hayya Bina that the Obama administration was terminating its support for that program.

The State Department “requests that all activities intended [to] foster an independent moderate Shiite voice be ceased immediately and indefinitely,” said the April 10 letter to Mr. Slim, according to a copy seen by The Wall Street Journal. “Hayya Bina…must eliminate funding for any of the above referenced activities.”

Mr. Slim and other Hayya Bina officials said the State Department expressed no reservations about their program’s effectiveness and that the loss forced them to scramble for new funding.

“As Hayya Bina continues to receive State Department support for other projects, we believe the action taken regarding these objectives reflects reservations over the nature of the programming, rather than our organizational integrity,” said Inga Schei, the group’s program director.

Hezbollah has voiced growing criticism of Shiite political leaders and organizations in Lebanon opposed to the militia’s role in supporting Mr. Assad.

Hezbollah’s leader, Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, has publicly branded some of his Shiite political opponents as “Shia of the American Embassy,” in recent speeches, as well as “traitors” and “idiots.”

Mr. Slim said he has been one of those Shiite leaders singled out by Mr. Nasrallah.

“None of us will change our beliefs,” Mr. Nasrallah said in a late May speech, according to the pro-Hezbollah newspaper, Al Akhbar. “From now on, we won’t remain silent [in the face of criticism]; we will accommodate no one. This is an existential battle.”

Also see:

obama-iran-450x286 (2)

ISIS and the Tijuana Drug-Smuggling Tunnels

Gotcha! A soldier of the Mexican Army walks along a trans-border tunnel found near Tijuana Airport, in Tijuana, Baja California State, in the Mexican border with San Diego in the US

Gotcha! A soldier of the Mexican Army walks along a trans-border tunnel found near Tijuana Airport, in Tijuana, Baja California State, in the Mexican border with San Diego in the US

American Thinker, by Dan Gordon, June 5, 2015:

The United States faces a clear and present danger. It is not theoretical, it is actual. The pieces are in place. The relationships are established. The will and capability have been clearly demonstrated. And, if that’s not enough to keep you up at night, a full dress rehearsal was staged less than a year ago. Indeed, to be more precise, some half a dozen full dress rehearsals were staged less than a year ago. My name is Dan Gordon.

I am a screenwriter and author by trade, but I am also a Reserve officer in the Israel Defense Forces, and a veteran of six Middle Eastern conflicts, including last summer’s Hamas/Israel terrorist tunnel war, in which Hamas demonstrated their capability to attempt a mass-casualty terrorist attack by means of tunnels dug beneath the internationally recognized border from Gaza into southern Israel.  If you’d like to see what the first one looked like, click here for a link to a video. You will see thirteen Hamas terrorists rising up, like zombies coming out of their graves, in a recently harvested wheat field only a few hundred meters from the children’s house of the civilian agricultural community they intended to attack. Each one of them was armed with anti-tank missiles, machine guns, grenades, thousands of rounds of ammunition, handcuffs, and tranquilizer shots. The latter two were for the men, women and children, civilian hostages, they meant to take, and drag back through the tunnels, into underground cells in Gaza.

Happily, you will note three things; first, they are coming up in a wheat field which they had every reason to believe would camouflage their advance to the civilian community. Unfortunately for them, and by the grace of a merciful God, the wheat field had been harvested only a few days before, making the terrorists instantly visible to the myriad Israeli observation posts along the border with Gaza.

The second thing you will note is that, upon seeing that their wheat field had disappeared, and perhaps hearing the Israeli aerial military asset that was on patrol and instantly dispatched towards them, the terrorists decided that today was perhaps not the right day, after all, to carry out mass murder. And thus, having risen up from their terrorist attack tunnel, they made a hasty retreat back to what they hoped would be the safety of one of the dozens of tunnels they had spent five years building in preparation for last summer’s war.

The third thing you will note is that the Israeli military aerial asset fires a rocket, and the terrorists, and their tunnel opening, go boom. None of that, however, alters the fact that Hamas had a spectacular plan, prepared for it meticulously for five years, and almost pulled it off. If you are a person of faith, you can attribute their failure to accomplish their goal to the above mentioned gracious and compassionate deity. If you are not a person of faith, you can attribute it to blind luck, and the professionalism and ever-present vigilance of the IDF.

But, here’s the scary part. That attack wasn’t the original plan. The original plan didn’t call for a dozen terrorists attacking one civilian target after an eight-day limited war with Israel. The original plan called for a sneak attack not preceded by any hostilities, in which literally hundreds of terrorists would have been dispatched through ALL of the terrorist attack tunnels in September, on a Jewish holiday, where literally thousands of people would have been gathered in each of the agricultural communities they intended to strike. It was the political leadership of Hamas that vetoed such an attack.

That veto was not issued out of humanitarian concerns; it was issued because the plan violated a basic tenet of Hamas doctrine, which always calls for Hamas to be able to claim victimhood while carrying out terrorist rocket and land-based attacks. Such a sneak attack, the political leadership decided, would rob Hamas of the PR mantle of victimhood that enables them to reap literally tens of billions of dollars in “reconstruction aid” from an ever-gullible international community, which buys the victim thing hook, line, and sinker. Thus, the political leadership opted instead to kidnap and murder three Israeli schoolboys, in the hopes of dragging Israel into a war in which the terrorist tunnel attack could be seen as an answer to the Israeli Air Force’s genocidal bombardment of the helpless Palestinian people. As my Southern Christian friends are wont to say, “Thank you, Jesus.”

Now, why does this pose a threat to the United States?

Because; A – ISIS has announced boldly, clearly, definitively and proudly, their intention to launch not just “Lone Wolf” attacks against the United States, but mass-casualty terrorist attacks, which will dwarf 9/11, and establish them as the preeminent terrorist army in the world, as befits the reborn Caliphate.

B – Unlike Hamas, ISIS possesses no such doctrine of insisting upon the mantle of victimhood to justify their acts of barbarism. Indeed, the opposite is the case. ISIS rejoices in, glories in, is expert in, and uses as a recruiting tool, terrorist attacks that are the very height of barbarism. From beheading Christians, to burning a Moslem Jordanian pilot alive inside of a cage, ISIS knows no constraints in its barbarity.

C – Unlike Hamas, ISIS does not need to dig tunnels between Tijuana and San Diego, or portions of Northern Mexico and Arizona and/or Texas. Those tunnels already exist, and are used by Mexican cartels to smuggle huge quantities of drugs beneath the international border, from Mexico, into the United States. The few tunnels that have already been discovered are easily capable of launching masses of terrorists, as well. Indeed, numbers of them bear signs of Middle Eastern construction. They feature reinforced concrete walls, electricity, airconditioning and, in some cases, railroad tracks, to transport heavy loads.

D – The existence of close ties between terrorist networks and Mexican and South American drug cartels is a matter of record, and not conjecture. They have joined efforts for the sale of narcotics and military-grade weapons.

The clearest example of this is Hezb’allah’s ties with numerous South American cartels. Just as the United States opposes Iran and its proxies in some areas of conflicts, and supports them in others, so too do the various terrorist organizations which, in certain areas, are at each other’s throats, join forces in other areas against the Great Satan. Namely, us. 9781498430982_p0_v1_s260x420I have recently published a book, which is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both print and e-book formats, and which will soon be a major motion picture from the same studio that did Act of Valor. The book is called Day of the Dead Book One: Gaza. If you’d like a fun, Tom Clancy-esque great summer read, I highly recommend it. I recommend it even more, however, if you care to see exactly how realistic the scenario of a mass-casualty terrorist attack, carried out by hundreds of ISIS terrorists against the United States of America via existing drug-smuggling tunnels, actually is.

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How Far Do Iran’s Tentacles of Terror Reach?

A fighter from the Iranian backed Iraqi shiite militia group Asaib Ahl al Haq (The League of the Righteous). (Photo: © Reuters)

A fighter from the Iranian backed Iraqi shiite militia group Asaib Ahl al Haq (The League of the Righteous). (Photo: © Reuters)

Clarion Project, by Elliot Friedland, June 4, 2015:

The Islamic Republic of Iran operates a global network of terrorism, as far away from Iran as South America and the U.S.

It has carried out attacks worldwide on American and Jewish targets. The current defense minister orchestrated the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon which killed 241 American troops.

Iran’s Lebanese proxy Hezbollah was also behind the 2012 Burgas bus bombing in Bulgaria which killed five Israelis and a Bulgarian bus driver, according to an inquiry led by the Bulgarian government.

In May 2013, a 500-page report by an Argentine state prosecutor named Alberto Nisman said Iran has an “intelligence and terrorist network” in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Trinidad, Tobago and Suriname and elsewhere.

He had been investigating a terrorist bombing of a Jewish community center in 1984 that killed 84 people. Iran and Hezbollah are believed to be behind the attack.

Nisman was found shot in the head in his apartment in January 2015, hours before he was due to present evidence that the President of Argentina was complicit in covering up Iran’s involvement in the attack.

So far police have been unable to determine if his death was murder or suicide. Many suspect that it was an organized assassination.

Iran has been on the State Department’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism since 1984 and has consistently ranked as the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.

It supports a plethora of groups of different ideologies and sizes, trying to position itself as a pan-Islamic regional power. Iran has varied support for different groups over the years, depending on which best align with their strategic interests.

Among them are:

·         Al-Qaeda (International: SalafistWahhabi) – Since the early 1990s Iran has allowed members to operate freely in Iran and traffick fighters and materials through Iranian territory.

·         Hezbollah (Lebanon: Shiite-Khomeinist) – founded by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and used as a proxy force against Israel and more recently, to shore up the ailing Assad regime in Syria.

·         Hamas (Gaza: Muslim Brotherhood) – Iran sends tens of millions of dollars as well as missiles and other armaments as part of its proxy-war against Israel.

·         The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) (West Bank: Secular-Left-wing) – Provided financial and logistical support as part of an effort to strengthen all “Palestinian resistance groups” opposed to Israel.

·         Palestinian Islamic Jihad (Gaza: Muslim Brotherhood splinter group) – Funded and trained the group since its foundation in 1981, but recently cut them off as the group failed to condemn the Arab League’s invasion of Yemen, where Iran is backing the Shiite Houthi rebels.

Iran also funds networks of Shiite militias in Iraq. Initially created to fight against the Americans during the Iraqi insurgency, some of the more powerful groups include Jaish al-Mahdi (Army of the Messiah or Mahdi Army) and its splinter group Asaib Ahl al-Haq (The League of the Righteous), Khitaeb Hezbollah and the Badr Organization.

They carried out attacks against the American forces in Iraq and now fight the Islamic State. They have also massacred Sunni civilians and have been accused of war crimes by rights groups.

An Amnesty International report entitled ‘Absolute Impunity’ details the atrocities perpetrated Iran’s Shiite militias in Iraq.

In some cases, Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) directly perpetrates acts of terrorism. Congress has even considered legislation requiring the State Department to label the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

The IRGC is currently on the Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Nationals involved in terrorism. It was added in 2007.

Its support of global terrorism is part of the Islamic Republic’s commitment to jihad, which is enshrined in the constitution. The preamble includes a commitment to “the establishment of a universal holy government and the downfall of all others.”

Unless this commitment changes neither will Iranian support of terror.

Join our campaign to say NO to a nuclear Iran. Join us on the right side of history.

Hezbollah Imam is Father of US Marine

il-313x350Frontpage, June 3, 2015 by Joe Kaufman:

Mohamad al-Halabi, the imam of the American Islamic Center of Florida and father of a United States Marine, has been using his Facebook page to propagate the same type of hatred and fanaticism that his center had forced on the community one decade ago. But the big question is, was he also involved in an international terrorist group?

The American Islamic Center of Florida or AICF was founded in the city of Boca Raton, Florida, in 2003, as the Assidiq Islamic Educational Foundation. Unlike the Sunni mosques which had already been established in Boca, Assidiq was of the Shiite variety.

In April 2005, Assidiq attempted to broaden its following by inviting the community to a free dinner banquet that the mosque was sponsoring at the Boca Center Marriott. But instead of gaining support for Assidiq, the mosque succeeded in alienating a good number of residents by featuring a neo-Nazi as a speaker at the event and a representative of a Hamas-related group as a ‘Guest of Honor.’

The neo-Nazi that the mosque brought to speak was William W. Baker.

In 1984, William Baker was National Chairman of the Populist Party, a white supremacist organization founded the same year by notorious Holocaust denier Willis Carto. Officials from the party included neo-Nazis and former leaders of the Ku Klux Klan. The previous year, in 1983, Baker had given a speech at a function run by the Christian Patriot Defense League, also a white supremacist outfit. Baker’s speech targeted Jews, referring to Reverend Jerry Falwell, a staunch supporter of Israel, as “Jerry Jewry” and discussing a trip he had taken to New York where the first people he came in contact with were “pushy, belligerent American Jews.”

The Hamas-related group was the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

CAIR was established in June 1994 as being part of the American Palestine Committee, an umbrella organization acting as a terrorist enterprise run by then-global Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook, who was based in the U.S. at the time. In September 2001, right after the 9/11 attacks, under a graphic of a burning World Trade Center, CAIR asked its followers to donate money to Hamas charity Holy Land Foundation (HLF) via a link on the CAIR national website. CAIR later was named a co-conspirator for two federal trials dealing with HLF and the raising of millions of dollars for Hamas.

Following the mosque’s neo-Nazi banquet, a little over a year later, Assidiq Islamic Educational Foundation incorporated under a new name, Florida Islamic Education Center. Two years after that, in June 2008, the mosque reincorporated using the name, Al-Huda Islamic Center. And in December 2012, the mosque reincorporated under its most recent name, American Islamic Center of Florida.

From the time the American Islamic Center of Florida (AICF) was founded, there have been three imams leading it. The latest has been Mohamad al-Ali al-Halabi, a radical cleric who was born and raised in Syria and received his Islamic education in Iran beginning in 1987.

Since immigrating to the United States in 1999, Al-Halabi has become a very important figure in the American Shiite community. He is the head of the Education and Research Department of the Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaeya (IMAM), and he sits on the Executive Committee for the Council of Shia Muslim Scholars in North America (CSMSNA).

On al-Halabi’s Facebook page, there are a number of disturbing posts.

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