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

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UNAI:

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

Said UANI CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace:

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

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

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

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

Iran State Sponsor of Terrorism Timeline

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

Iran, Russia Scooping Up Disgruntled U.S. Allies

A U.S. Apache helicopter in flight

A U.S. Apache helicopter in flight

BY RYAN MAURO:

The Iraqi ambassador to the U.S. and a major pro-American Iraqi political leader are voicing their frustration with a lack of counter-terrorism assistance from the U.S.

Former Prime Minister Allawi says a Russian “crescent” has developed over the region and blasted America’s treatment of Iran.

The Iraqi government has requested U.S. military assistance in combating the Islamic State (formerly known as  ISIS) terrorist group that controls significant parts of Iraq and Syria. The Obama Administration has sent about 750 advisors to Iraq. The Iraqis are requesting military equipment and airstrikes, not combat forces.

Iran and Russia are moving in to fill the void. The Iranian regime is ramping up covert operations in support of Prime Minister al-Maliki, and Russia has provided fighter jets and reportedly even pilots.

Ayad Allawi, Iraq’s interim Prime Minister from 2004 to 2005, is widely regarded as one of the most pro-American figures in the country. He is a Shiite, but his secular orientation and staunch opposition to Iran has made him well-liked by Sunnis. His cross-sectarian bloc won the most votes in the 2010 elections.

His voice is precisely the kind we need to be listening to. And he does not speak well of current U.S. policy:

“U.S. policy has been without [a] compass and sailed in rough seas, which the United States helped make rough—whether intentionally or unintentionally, the result in the same,” Allawi said.

He specifically cited the U.S. backing of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in 2010, even though his coalition won the most votes. He cited it as “further evidence of the U.S. disarray, as is siding with Iran.”

Allawi has previously asserted that the U.S. and Iran backed his rival. His account is backed up by Ali Khedery, the longest continuously serving U.S. official in Iraq.

“Many now doubt [American] abilities and whether it has a clear orientation,” Allawi explains.

Read more at Clarion Project

Experts: American Adversaries Work Together Despite Differences

Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) / Reuters

Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) / Reuters

BY: :

American adversaries in the Middle East continue to work together across sectarian and religious divides to harm U.S. interests and security, requiring a more nuanced response from U.S. officials to address the turmoil in the region, experts say.

The Obama administration has claimed in recent weeks that the United States and Iran—a traditional U.S. enemy since its Islamic revolution 35 years ago—have a shared interest in pushing back the advances of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), an al Qaeda offshoot, in Iraq. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said last month that the United States and Iran have “some history here of sharing common interests,” citing early cooperation on the Afghanistan war against al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Iran, led by a Shiite government, is typically viewed as opposing hardline Sunni groups such as the Taliban and al Qaeda as part of an intra-religious dispute among Muslims.

However, Iran has a long history of harboring and supporting al Qaeda. European intelligence reports indicate that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, founder of the group al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) that eventually morphed into ISIL, operated from Iran after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Zarqawi used protection from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to rebuild the terrorist group’s network and prepare for its expansion into Iraq.

The U.S. Treasury Department has called Iran “a critical transit point for funding to support al Qaeda’s activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” The department in February sanctioned three IRGC officers for allegedly providing support to the Taliban as well as to a senior member of al Qaeda who allegedly used Iran to move Sunni fighters into Syria.

“Iran has a long history of fomenting violent conflict and inflaming sectarian divides throughout the Middle East including in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq,” said the group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) in recent press release.

“Depictions of Iran as a source of stability are therefore erroneous and short-sighted, as are assertions that increased Iranian involvement in Iraq will serve American and Iraqi interests,” UANI added.

Michael Rubin, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and a former Pentagon adviser on Iran and Iraq for the George W. Bush administration, said in an email that U.S. diplomats often only view the Middle East through “a sectarian lens.”

“Sunnis and Shi’ites show no compunction working together to screw over America, which their respective extremists consider a bigger threat,” he said. “Heck, sometimes it seems that the State Department never bothered to read the 9/11 report which suggested that the attacks might not have happened had Iran not facilitated the travel to training camps of the 9/11 hijackers.”

“Sure, at first glance, Secretary of State John Kerry may believe that the U.S. and Iran share an interest in Iraq,” he added. “But just because firefighters and arsonists share an interest in fire doesn’t mean they are on the same side.”

In Iraq, ISIL partnered last month with former Baathist generals under Saddam Hussein’s regime to seize the key northern city of Mosul. Religious extremist groups such as al Qaeda have traditionally sought to overthrow secular Middle East regimes such as Hussein’s Baathists.

Top U.S. officials have recently expressed grave concerns about the potential for foreign fighters in ISIL to commit terrorist attacks in the United States.

The secular-religious rift in the Middle East also did not stop Hussein from supporting jihadist groups when it suited the former Iraqi dictator’s interests. Hussein reportedly provided safe haven, training, and arms to these groups as long as they agreed to attack countries he wanted to pressure.

Hundreds of thousands of documents obtained in Iraq since 2003, compiled in a report by the Institute for Defense Analyses, further confirmed Hussein’s links to terrorist groups.

Read more at Free Beacon

Threat of Nuclear Iran Looms Due to the West’s Weak Resolve

Iranian nuclear negotiators (Photo: © Reuters)

Iranian nuclear negotiators (Photo: © Reuters)

BY SHAHRIAR KIA:

The sixth and final round of talks between the Iranian regime and P5+1, which started on July 3, is quickly running its course toward its self-imposed July 20 deadline, at which time world powers and the Iranian regime are supposed to reach a final agreement on Iran’s illicit nuclear program and curb the nuclear capabilities of a regime that has already proven to be a regional and global threat without nuclear weapons.

The talks were initially launched with a lot of pomp and ceremony. Accordingly, a lot of optimism was pumped into mainstream media, mainly centered on the positive changes that would supposedly occur now that the Iranian regime’s new president Hassan Rouhani had assumed office, and his foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was at the helm of Iranian negotiating team.

Western states rushed to the negotiating table, offering the Iranian regime many concessions and not demanding much in return, seemingly forgetting that this same regime has so far defied six U.N. Security Council resolutions, and Rouhani has previously braggedabout how he had duped the West and preserved the Iranian regime’s nuclear project during his 2003-2005 nuclear tenure.

Also being ignored is the proven fact that no matter who is up front, it is the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who has the final say on important matters, the nuclear project included.

Now, after many months of ongoing talks, it turns out that the Iranian regime had nothing new to offer and insists on preserving its nuclear program and its potential to produce nuclear arms.

Even U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who had touted the talks and had high hopes over the prospects of reaching a solution to Iran’s nuclear deadlock, now feels a little disgruntled and dubious about the whole affair.  “What will Iran choose?” he wrote in his June 30 op-ed in the Washington Post, “Despite many months of discussion, we don’t know yet.”

With a few days left on the schedule, many sticking points remain between Iran and world powers, including the number of centrifuges, the much-debated Arak heavy water reactor, the possible military dimensions of the program and the regime’s ballistic missile program, which could be used to launch nuclear warheads to intended targets.

If recent remarks by Khamenei are any indication, the gap between the Iranian regime and world powers is too great and isn’t likely to be bridged within the next weeks. Acknowledging that it is at a critical milestone, the Iranian regime’s supreme leader made it clear in a session with high-profile regime officials that his regime needs 190,000 SWUs (Separate Work Units) as compared to the 10,000 that the international community is willing to concede. He also dismissed any notion of shutting down military facilities or giving up on nuclear research.

Khamenei took advantage of the weak resolve of the international community to taunt the West and affirm that any attempts at further sanctions or possible military action against his regime would fail.

The best result that the talks could yield is a bad deal, one which allows the Iranian regime to preserve its capacity to create a nuclear bomb and make a break for it at a time of its choosing. The only amount of relief U.S. President Barack Obama might draw from the situation is that the catastrophe might not come to pass on his watch.

Read more at Clarion Project

Iranians Flying Russian Planes in Covert Ops in Iraq

Memebers of Iran's Basij, a paramilitary group under the auspices of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. (Photo: © Reuters)

Memebers of Iran’s Basij, a paramilitary group under the auspices of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. (Photo: © Reuters)

BY RYAN MAURO:

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an opposition group dedicated to replacing the Iranian regime with a secular democracy, has provided the Clarion Project with intelligence from its sources inside the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps about its covert operations in Iraq.

The Iranian regime has deployed the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to Iraq to try to stabilize the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Key meetings were held with radical Shiite militia leaders on July 4-5 to plan offensives against the Islamic State (formerly ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) and its Sunni allies.

“The clerical regime [of Iran] is extremely worried about their regional strategy and all of their investment in Maliki is on the verge of collapse, and thus, it is sparing no effort or expense in its attempt to keep Maliki in power,” a spokesperson for NCRI told Clarion Project.

The U.S. government has sent about 750 troops to Iraq to help protect the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and to advise the Iraqi security forces battling the Islamic State. The U.S. is considering airstrikes against the terrorist group because of its direct threats to the West.

NCRI says that the Iranian operatives are flying Sukhoi fighter jets given to Iraq and that helicopters and drones were also transferred to them. Russia has also provided fighter jets and reportedly even pilots. The Syrian regime has also dispatched pilots to Iraq, the organization claims.

Read more at Clarion Project

The Watchman: Jihadists on the March

Published on Jul 8, 2014 by The Christian Broadcasting Network

On this week’s edition of The Watchman, we sit down with Middle East experts Raymond Ibrahim and Tawfik Hamid to discuss the latest developments with the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Iran and what can be done to counter the jihadist.

Netanyahu: Imagine 80 Percent of Your Citizens in Bomb Shelters

 

BY: 
July 13, 2014 11:45 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on Fox News Sunday to detail his country’s fight against Hamas, telling Brit Hume, “I just want your viewers to imagine the United States being bombarded, not in one city or two cities, but in every city between New York and Colorado.

“Maybe 20% of the United States would be exempt from this,” he said, “80% of your citizens would have to be in bomb shelters or ready to go into bomb shelters within a minute to a minute and a half max. No country can accept that, we can’t accept it, and we’ll take the necessary actions to stop it.”

Netanyahu stressed that they are making every effort to make surgical strikes against Hamas, and regret any civilian casualties that still occur.

Netanyahu also addressed Iran’s recent declaration that they are not attempting to develop nuclear weapons, calling their statement “a joke.”

“What are they developing — building these enormous underground nuclear facilities if not for nuclear weapons?” Netanyahu asked.

“This is a sham,” he insisted. “I don’t think anybody could take this seriously.”

The prime minister also expressed the opinion that, when it comes to negotiating a deal with Iran, a bad deal would ultimately be worse than no deal.

Israeli Ambassador: Hamas Using Iranian Rockets to Attack Israel

Israeli soldiers drive a tank to a position near the Israel Gaza border, Thursday, July 10 / AP

Israeli soldiers drive a tank to a position near the Israel Gaza border, Thursday, July 10 / AP

By Adam Kredo:

The terror group Hamas has begun deploying against Israel advanced long-range missiles provided to the militant group by Iran, forcing the Israeli military to specifically target these weapons caches in air strikes, according to Israel’s ambassador to the United States.

The Israeli Defense Forces has begun striking Hamas missile factories that are capable of producing these long-range Iranian rockets, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer told a small crowd of leading pro-Israel officials and other insiders on Wednesday.

“Hamas has a considerable arsenal, some of it has been smuggled in, [and] some of those long range rockets they’ve fired in the last couple days were smuggled in” via illicit shipments sent by Iran, Dermer said on Capitol Hill during the July 9 Symposium, which brought together leading pro-Israel advocates in Washington, D.C.

The deployment of these advanced missiles endangers the majority of Israel and highlights the unseen role that Iran is playing in the latest confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians.

Hamas is believed to possess several dozen Syrian-produced M-302 rockets, which are based on Iranian technology and have the ability to penetrate deep into Israel. One such missile was fired Tuesday on the northern Israeli city of Hadera, which is located near Haifa.

Israel has begun specifically targeting these weapons stockpiles as well as the Gaza-based factories that have been constructing advanced missiles, including the M-302, Iran’s long-range Fajr 5 rocket, and the Iranian-modeled M-75.

Missiles of this sort can only be produced in Gaza due to training, assistance, and technology provided by the Iranians, according to experts and Israel intelligence reports.

“Hamas has extended its range of rockets,” Dermer said, striking well “north of Tel Aviv.” Around six million Israelis, or three-fourths of the population, are now within striking distance, he said.

The Iranian shipment of M-302s intercepted in March just scratches the surface of Iran’s military support for Hamas, Dermer said.

“You remember that ship that we interdicted a few months ago in the Red Sea was carrying 40 long range rockets,” he said. “Well, one of those types of rockets was actually fired yesterday into Israel.”

“But in addition to the rockets being smuggled in—and the smuggling route went from Iran to Sudan and up through the Sinai into Gaza—in addition to that, Hamas has developed a domestic manufacturing capability for these long range rockets and part of Israel’s military operation is to not only go after the missile batteries but to go after these factories that are essentially making these weapons.”

Read more at Free Beacon

Also see:

Fmr POTUS Adviser: Iran Talks Deadlocked Over Enrichment

Illustrative photo of a nuclear reactor. Photo © Reuters.

Illustrative photo of a nuclear reactor. Photo © Reuters.

Clarion Project:

July 8, 2014 – Clarion Project hosted an exclusive briefing for diplomats and journalists from all over the world with Dr. Gary Samore, President Obama’s former adviser for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction and the president of United Against Nuclear Iran.

In light up the upcoming July 20 end of the interim agreement between Iran and the P5+1, Dr. Samore spoke about Iran’s current objectives as well as the differences between the negotiating parties.

The main point of contention is Iran’s nuclear breakout capacity. “Iran wants to have the ability to create nuclear weapons on short notice, while the six world powers are not prepared to accept Iran as a nuclear threshold state,” Dr. Samore explained.

Dr. Samore mapped out the current time it would take for Iran to “breakout” and build nuclear weapons. “Right now, on paper, Iran’s breakout time is two to three months. The six world powers are demanding Iran significantly reduce this capability … to make breakout time over one year and to keep that in place for more than a decade.”

However, on this core issue – enrichment capabilities — neither side is willing to make concessions, says Dr. Samore. Further, he explains, “Both sides are very constrained by domestic politics. President Obama can’t sell a nuclear deal to Congress if it allows Iran to retain a credible nuclear weapons option, and President Rouhani cannot sell a nuclear deal to Supreme Leader Khamenei if it requires Iran to give up its nuclear weapons option.”

“But, even if a deal is impossible,” Dr. Samore continued, “I think all parties appear relatively comfortable with the status quo that has been created by the interim agreement. The U.S. and its allies have essentially succeeded in freezing the most important part of its nuclear program with only modest sanctions relief.”

Further, Dr. Samore says that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency have been highly effective in deterring Iran from breaking their agreements at known nuclear facilities. In terms of covert facilities, ferreting them out is and always has been the job of U.S. and other intelligence agencies.

Due to the current volatile world situation, Dr. Samore expects that the interim agreement will be renewed without changes for another six months. This is due in part, to the political situation in Ukraine, Iraq and the deadlock between the negotiating parties for which a renewal would allow all parties to attain their goals.

Read more at Clarion Project

Iran’s Path to the Bomb

76114095_3c03127b-b8dc-47c0-af9c-66715d0adff4by Charles Bybelezer:

As nuclear negotiations resume between Iran and world powers, it is becoming increasingly clear that any deal signed will be considered negatively by Israel as “ill-conceived.”

According to most estimations, the focus of the talks has shifted from dismantling Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, as demanded by Jerusalem, to creating a verification network that would, ideally, grant inspectors unfettered access to Iranian sites to ensure the peaceful nature of its nuclear operations.

In “Inspections: The Weak Link in a Nuclear Agreement with Iran,” Dore Gold, a former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations and currently an advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, questions “the advisability of erecting a comprehensive agreement with Iran that is so highly dependent upon the efficacy of its inspection system and the willingness of Iran to agree to what some analysts call unprecedented levels of transparency.”

The drawbacks should be evident, especially when considering Iran’s ongoing refusal to grant the IAEA access to its Parchin facility, where the UN nuclear watchdog believes Tehran has conducted military research into the development of atomic weapons. That the underground Fordow nuclear plant remained unknown to the West for years casts further doubt on both the Islamic Republic’s trustworthiness and the ability of monitors to keep tabs on the whole of its nuclear activities.

The fact that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently revealed that Iran’s breakout capacity stands at a mere two months should alone obviate any such deal, as this window is surely too close for comfort.

Nonetheless, it appears as though the prospects of reversing the Islamic Republic’s nuclear progress by significantly reducing the number of its centrifuges is off the table.

In the prescient words of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, the “talks are not about nuclear capability…they are about Iranian integrity and dignity.”

But the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism is undeserving of respect.

Read more at Front Page

 

 

 

Is ISIS Iran’s Proxy to achieve Regional Hegemony?

isisBy Jerry Gordon at NER:

Pinhas Inbari is an astute analyst of rof Arab affairs and regional dynamics at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) in Israel. Periodically, we have published his analysis as it confounds conventional wisdom about the conflicts and actors in a multi-dimensional chess game of geo-politics in the region. Such is the case with his analysis of  the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) whose blitzkrieg has rent asunder the artificial map of both Iraq and the Middle East, “ISIS: Iran’s  Instrument for Regional Hegemony.” A Middle East map whose origins can be found in the secret Sykes Picot agreement of 1915 reflected in the Post World War I Mandates of the League of Nations dividing up the former Ottoman Empire awarded  the French and British at the San Remo Conference in 1920.  The Iraq that arose from the British Mandate was an amalgamation of former Ottoman Empire vilayets encompassing restive Kurds, Sunnis and Shia and minority Assyrian Chaldean Christians, Turkmen and Jews.  The latter were driven out after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

Inbari presents evidence to support a thesis that ISIS is really a creation of the Syrian Mukhabarat (Intelligence) and Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence with the dual purposes of  defeating the  rebel opposition in Syria and forcing the breakup of  Iraq. His key points are:

  • Immediately after ISIS emerged in Syria, sources in the Syrian opposition said, “We are familiar with the commanders of ISIS. Once they belonged to Assad’s intelligence, and now they are operating on his behalf under the name of ISIS.”
  • Why would Shiite Iran support a Sunni jihadist organization like ISIS? Iran wants to be certain that a strong Iraqi state does not emerge again along its western border.
  • The notion that Shiite Iran would help Sunni jihadists was not farfetched, even if it seemed to defy the conventional wisdom in Western capitals.
  •  It is unreasonable to expect Iran to fight ISIS. If Iran does so, it would be turning against a movement that has been a useful surrogate for Tehran’s interests.

Thus, to replace Iraq, Iran would use ISIS to forge a new alignment and map. There would be three sectarian entities, Kurdistan, a  southern Shia satrapy of Iran  encompassing  the holy sites of Karbala and Najif, Baghdad and Basra, as well as  a rump Sunni state comprised of the central and  western provinces.  Inbari’s analysis may explain why the Obama Administration has temporized about committing military assets in the Gulf region in support of the faltering Maliki regime in Baghdad. Moreover, the Administration does not wish to upset its outreach to Iran, especially with regard to the current round of nuclear discussions, while seemingly rejected the Islamic regime’s offer to assist in quelling the turmoil caused by the ISIS blitzkrieg in Iraq.

Inbari presents confirmation in the upending of the official Al Qaeda opposition in Syria, the Al Nusrah Front, and the ISIS siege in Deir al Zour that appears directed at destroying the Free Syrian Army and Islamic Front rebel opposition to the Assad regime.  Inbari presents similar views of prominent Gulf region media analysts corroborating his thesis. Further, he points out the existence of a cache of intelligence on the leaders of ISIS found in digital memory sticks obtained by Iraqi intelligence during the battle for Mosul in northern Iraq.

Inbari’s proposition would fit the Twelver Shia conception of creating turmoil to bring about the return of moribund twelfth Imam to lead the conquest of the Dar al Harb under the Islamic regime’s hegemony ruled under Sharia, Islamic law.  Hence the rise of a Caliphate under the ISIS banner bestride Syria and current day Iraq would fit the Shia theology.

The fact that Sunni supremacist ISIS is leading the charge for creation of a Caliphate under Sharia in the Middle East, as Inbari points, is entirely consistent with Iran’s behavior in the run up to 9/11.  Iranian Intelligence with the aid of the late Hezbollah terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyeh facilitated the training and transportation of the 19 Egyptian, Saudi and Yemeni perpetrators of 9/11 Islamic terror attack in lower Manhattan, Southwestern Pennsylvania and  at the  Pentagon in northern Virginia,. The evidence of that was revealed in the New York Federal District Court “9/11 Iran Links Case”.

downloadThere is more to support Inbari’s thesis in a new book to be published next week by Ken Timmerman, Dark Forces: The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi:

  • The group that took credit for the Benghazi attack, Ansar al Sharia, was trained and equipped by the Quds Force.
  • Both the CIA and US Delta and Special Operations Forces in Tripoli were actively monitoring Iranian operations in Benghazi, and warned their chain of command- including the late US Ambassador Stevens- that the Iranian were preparing a terrorist attack on the U.S. Compound in Benghazi.

Timmerman further notes that the Obama Administration supplied weapons to fight Qaddafi in Libya and Assad in Syria knowing that many rebel leaders were Al Qaeda operatives.  Moreover that Qatar was deeply involved both funding and transporting these weapons and the diffusion of MANPADS throughout North Africa, the Middle East and even Afghanistan.

Timmerman, in an email to this writer, commented that he  found  “curious” the timing this week of  the seizure of Ahmed Abu Khattala on the streets in Benghazi, Libya  by US special forces with the aid of the FBI.   Khatltala was a leader of Ansar al Shariah attack on the Benghazi Legation on 9/11/12.  He hid in plain sight for past nearly two years, as Timmerman notes in his new book.  He even gave interviews to the media.  Reports in the media tells of his telling the history of the terrorist group while slow steaming on the USS New York towards the US for possible detention and prosecution following his interrogation.  The irony is that the US navy vessel was built from the debris of the twin towers of the World Trade Center destroyed on 9/11 that Iran facilitated.

We will review Timmerman’s new book in the July NER.  This weekend we will be interviewing both Timmerman, and Daniel Diker, a colleague of Inbari at the JCPA, on The Lisa Benson Show on Sunday on KKNT960 at 4PM EDT in the US.

Inbari’s analysis of ISIS as the instrument of Iran Hegemony in the Middle East is both fascinating and timely.

Also see:

Shadowy Iranian spy chief helped plan the Benghazi attack

According to the book "Dark Forces," Major General Qasem Soleimani, right, was the powerful figure behind the 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, left. Photo: EPA/Ay-Collection/Rex USA

According to the book “Dark Forces,” Major General Qasem Soleimani, right, was the powerful figure behind the 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, left.
Photo: EPA/Ay-Collection/Rex USA

As a radical Islamic army marches across Iraq, America is making a deal with the devil. Qassem Suleymani, the head of Iran’s secretive Quds Force, is allied with us in Baghdad — but he’s plotted to kill Americans elsewhere.

As Kenneth R. Timmerman reveals in his new book, “Dark Forces,” Suleymani was even the shadowy figure behind the killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya.

He’s the Wizard of Oz of Iranian terror, the most dreaded and most effective terrorist alive.

He is Qassem Suleymani, the head of the Quds Force, an organization that acts as a combination CIA and Green Berets for Iran, and a man who has orchestrated a campaign of chaos against the United States around the world.

Today, the Obama Administration has allied itself with Suleymani to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

In this case, Iran’s goals — a Shi’ite-friendly government in Iraq — coincides with America’s hope that the country doesn’t fall apart.

But don’t be fooled: It’s only a partnership of convenience, and one that won’t last.

“Iran wants chaos. They want to generate anti-American anger, radicalize the rebels, and maintain a climate of war,” a former Iranian intelligence chief for Western Europe told me. “They are very serious about this. They want to damage the reputation of the United States as a freedom-loving country in the eyes of the Arabs.”

Suleymani has orchestrated attacks in everywhere from Lebanon to Thailand. The US Department of Justice accuses him of trying to hire a Mexican drug cartel to blow up the Saudi Ambassador to the United States while he was in Washington, DC.

My sources, meanwhile, say Suleymani was involved in an even more direct attack on the US — the killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya.

Read more at New York Post

 

The Threat Is Blowback

iraq-isisfighter-450x341by Caroline Glick:

Watching the undoing, in a week, of victories that US forces won in Iraq at great cost over many years, Americans are asking themselves what, if anything, should be done.

What can prevent the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) – the al-Qaida offshoot that President Barack Obama derided just months ago as a bunch of amateurs – from taking over Iraq? And what is at stake for America – other than national pride – if it does? Muddying the waters is the fact that the main actor that seems interested in fighting ISIS on the ground in Iraq is Iran. Following ISIS’s takeover of Mosul and Tikrit last week, the Iranian regime deployed elite troops in Iraq from the Quds Force, its foreign operations division.

The Obama administration, along with Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham, views Iran’s deployment of forces in Iraq as an opportunity for the US. The US, they argue should work with Iran to defeat ISIS.

The idea is that since the US and Iran both oppose al-Qaida, Iranian gains against it will redound to the US’s benefit.

There are two basic, fundamental problems with this idea.

First, there is a mountain of evidence that Iran has no beef with al-Qaida and is happy to work with it.

According to the 9/11 Commission’s report, between eight and 10 of the September 11 hijackers traveled through Iran before going to the US. And this was apparently no coincidence.

According to the report, Iran had been providing military training and logistical support for al-Qaida since at least the early 1990s.

After the battle of Tora Bora in December 2001, al-Qaida’s leadership scattered. Many senior commanders – including bin Laden’s son Said, al-Qaida’s chief strategist Saif al-Adel and Suleiman Abu Ghaith – decamped to Iran, where they set up a command center.

From Iran, these men directed the operations of al-Qaida forces in Iraq led by Abu Musab Zarqawi. Zarqawi entered Iraq from Iran and returned to Iran several times during the years he led al-Qaida operations in Iraq.

Iran’s cooperation with al-Qaida continues today in Syria.

According to The Wall Street Journal, in directing the defense of Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, Iran has opted to leave ISIS and its al-Qaida brethren in the Nusra Front alone. That is why they have been able to expand their power in northern Syria.

Iran and its allies have concentrated their attacks against the more moderate Free Syrian Army, which they view as a threat.

Given Iran’s 20-year record of cooperation with al-Qaida, it is reasonable to assume that it is deploying forces into Iraq to tighten its control over Shi’ite areas, not to fight al-Qaida. The record shows that Iran doesn’t believe that its victories and al-Qaida’s victories are mutually exclusive.

Read more at Front Page

Turkish Support for ISIS

by Daniel Pipes
The Washington Times
June 18, 2014

N.B. Washington Times title: “Turkey’s support for ISIS Islamist terrorists. Aiding jihadists could put Ankara at odds with Iran”

The battle in Iraq consists of “Turkish-backed Sunni jihadis rebelling against an Iranian-backed Shi’ite-oriented central government,” I wrote in a recent article.

Some readers question that the Republic of Turkey has supported the “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,” the main Sunni group fighting in Iraq. They point to ISIS attacks on Turkish interests, within Turkey, along itsborder with Syria, and in Mosul and a successful recent meeting of the Turkish and Iranian presidents. Good points, but they can be explained.

First, ISIS is willing to accept Turkish support even while seeing the Islamist prime minister and his countrymen as kafirs (infidels) who need to be shown true Islam.

Second, the presidential visit took place on one level while the fighting in Syria and Iraq took place on quite another; the two can occur simultaneously. Turkish-Iranian rivalry is on the rise and, as the distinguished Turkish journalist Burak Bekdil notes in the current issue of the Middle East Quarterly:

Recent years have often seen official language from the two countries about prospering bilateral trade and common anti-Israeli ideological solidarity. But mostly out of sight have been indications of rivalry, distrust, and mutual sectarian suspicion between the two Muslim countries.

Ankara may deny helping ISIS, but the evidence for this is overwhelming. “As we have the longest border with Syria,” writes Orhan Kemal Cengiz, a Turkish newspaper columnist, “Turkey’s support was vital for the jihadists in getting in and out of the country.” Indeed, the ISIS strongholds not coincidentally cluster close to Turkey’s frontiers.

Kurds, academic experts and the Syrian opposition agree that Syrians, Turks (estimated to number 3,000), and foreign fighters (especially Saudis but also a fair number of Westerners) have crossed the Turkish-Syrian border at will, often to join ISIS. What Turkish journalist Kadri Gursel calls a “two-way jihadist highway,” has no bothersome border checks and sometimes involves the active assistance of Turkish intelligence services. CNN even broadcast a video on “The secret jihadi smuggling route through Turkey.”

Actually, the Turks offered far more than an easy border crossing: they provided the bulk of ISIS’ funds, logistics, training and arms. Turkish residents near the Syrian border tell of Turkish ambulances going to Kurdish-ISIS battle zones and then evacuating ISIS casualties to Turkish hospitals. Indeed, a sensational photograph has surfaced showing ISIS commander Abu Muhammad in a hospital bed receiving treatment for battle wounds in Hatay State Hospital in April 2014.

 

Abu Muhammad of ISIS in Hatay State Hospital in April 2014, recovering from wounds received fighting in Syria.

One Turkish opposition politician estimates that Turkey has paid $800 million to ISIS for oil shipments. Another politician released information about active duty Turkish soldiers training ISIS members. Critics note that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has met three times with someone, Yasin al-Qadi, who has close ties to ISIS and has funded it.

 

The flag of Rojava, or Syria Kurdistan.

Why the Turkish support for wild-eyed extremists? Because Ankara wants to eliminate two Syrian polities, the Assad regime in Damascus and Rojava (the emerging Kurdish state) in the northeast.

Regarding the Assad regime: “Thinking that jihadists would ensure a quick fall for the Assad regime in Syria, Turkey, no matter how vehemently officials deny it, supported the jihadists,” writes Cengiz, “at first along with Western and some Arab countries and later in spite of their warnings.”

Regarding Rojava: Rojava’s leadership being aligned with the PKK, the (formerly) terrorist Kurdish group based in Turkey, the authoritative Turkish journalist Amberin Zaman has little doubt “that until recently, Turkey was allowing jihadist fighters to move unhindered across its borders” to fight the Kurds.

More broadly, as the Turkish analyst Mustafa Akyol notes, Ankara thought “anybody who fought al-Assad was a good guy and also harbored an “ideological uneasiness with accepting that Islamists can do terrible things.” This has led, he acknowledges, to “some blindness” toward violent jihadists. Indeed, ISIS is so popular in Turkey that others publicly copy its logo.

 

An Istanbul-based charity (acronym: HİSADER) has adopted the ISIS logo with the Islamic statement of faith.

In the face of this support, the online newspaper Al-Monitor calls on Turkey to close its border to ISIS while Rojava threatened Ankara with “dire consequences” unless Turkish aid ceases.

In conclusion, Turkish leaders are finding Syria a double quagmire, what with Assad still in power and the Kurdish entity growing stronger. In reaction, they have cooperated with even the most extreme, retrograde and vicious elements, such as ISIS. But this support opened a second front in Iraq which, in turn, brings the clash of the Middle East’s two titans, Turkey and Iran, closer to realization.

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2014 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.

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Qatari: U.S. intervention in Iraq would be seen as war on Sunni Arabs

Iraqi federal policemen watch as Shiite tribal fighters deploy with their weapons in the northwest Baghdad's Shula neighborhood, Iraq, Monday, June 16, 2014.

Iraqi federal policemen watch as Shiite tribal fighters deploy with their weapons in the northwest Baghdad’s Shula neighborhood, Iraq, Monday, June 16, 2014.

By Mohamed Salman:

A former Qatari ambassador to the United States offered up a warning to the Obama administration Monday that any military intervention on behalf of the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki would be seen as an act of “war” on the entire community of Sunni Arabs.

Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa also warned against the United States working with Iran to repulse the advance by the radical Sunni group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, something that Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday the United States would be willing to consider.

“For the West or Iran or the two working together to fight beside Maliki against Sunni Arabs will be seen as another conspiracy against Sunni,” Khalifa tweeted.

Khalifa’s comments via Twitter (@NasserIbnHamad) show the complicated calculations the Obama administration faces as it considers whether to come to Maliki’s aid while insurgents from ISIS consolidate their gains over much of northern and central Iraq and menace the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Maliki’s Shiite Muslim government has angered Sunnis across the Arab world for being close to Shiite-ruled Iran and for what Sunnis describe as widespread mistreatment of their co-religionists in Iraq.

Khalifa retired from Qatar’s diplomatic service in 2007, but he remains an influential voice in Qatari foreign-policy circles.

The sentiments behind his warning were reflected in remarks that Qatar’s foreign minister, Khalid bin Mohammed al Attiyah, made Sunday in Bolivia and that were distributed Monday by Qatar’s official news service.

Attiyah stopped far short of Khalifa’s suggestion that airstrikes would be seen as an act of war by Sunnis outside Iraq, and he didn’t mention Sunnis specifically in the comments released Monday. But he laid blame for the rapid advance of ISIS squarely on Maliki’s rule. He said Maliki had deliberately excluded “large groups of Iraqis” from sharing in power.

Read more at The Sacramento Bee