Iran’s Naval Commander: We Took Extensive Info From American Sailors’ Phones, Laptops

Iran state media

Iran state media

Washington Free Beacon, by Morgan Chalfant, Feb. 1, 2016:

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) naval commander claimed Monday that his men harvested extensive information from cell phones and laptops confiscated from the 10 American sailors held in custody last month, according to Iranian media.

The Tasnim News Agency, which is affiliated with the IRGC, reported that Admiral Ali Fadavi made the admission during a session of Iranian parliament.

“We have extracted extensive information from their [American sailors’] laptops and cell phones,” Fadavi reportedly said. He added that the information could be made public if a decision were made to release it.

The U.S. sailors and their two small Navy boats were arrested by Iran on January 12 for allegedly drifting into Iranian territorial waters. While Iran initially promised to release them promptly, the American personnel were held overnight and released the following morning. A preliminary report om the Pentagon on the events found that Iran returned two of the sailors’ cell phones without their SIM cards.

The U.S. Central Command report also confirmed that the sailors were arrested at gunpoint.

Following the sailors’ release, Iran state media released images and video of the sailors in captivity, their weapons and equipment seized by the IRGC. Some photos also showed Iranian personnel sifting through their weapons and viewing their documents.

Fadavi claimed Monday that the IRGC has more footage–spanning several hours–of the U.S. sailors in detention. He said that the video would humiliate the United States 100 times more than the footage previously released.

However, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said last month that President Obama was not embarrassed by the footage of the sailors released by Iran.

Before his remarks Monday, Fadavi was honored by Iran’s supreme leader for arresting the American sailors. He and four other Iranian navy commanders were awarded the Order of Fat’h (Victory) medal for their actions.

LISTEN: Breitbart’s Klein Warns Shiite-Sunni Mega Confrontation ‘Coming’

Militant website via AP

Militant website via AP

Breitbart, by Aaron Klein, Jan. 28, 2016:

TEL AVIV – The Islamic State, Al-Qaida, and the Muslim Brotherhood are preparing for a major confrontation with Western-backed forces in Libya, Syria, and beyond, reported Breitbart Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein.

Speaking during his regular segment on John Batchelor’s popular nighttime radio program, Klein highlighted recent events that he said indicate a looming confrontation between Shiite and Sunni-armed forces.

Listen to Klein’s interview on Batchelor’s show here:

Klein pointed to a recent report at Breitbart Jerusalem indicting the Libyan branches of the Islamic State, Al-Qaida, and the Muslim Brotherhood are in discussions to complete a “mega merger” in the country.

Klein connected the merger prospects to a report claiming dozens of Russian, American, and British troops have been deployed to Libya ahead of an offensive there against the Islamic State.

Also, on Friday Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, urged decisive military action to halt the progress of IS in Libya, warning the global terrorist group was seeking to use the country as a regional headquarters and staging base.

And Klein discussed Breitbart Jerusalem reports of Iran arming regional terrorist organizations while competing for influence with the larger Saudi/Sunni axis.

Klein told Batchelor’s audience of the possible al-Qaida-Islamic State merger:

Aaron Klein audio

“They are reading the tea leaves. They are seeing the larger Sunni-Shiite divide, which has been escalating exponentially in recent weeks… They are seeing that there are no borders anymore.

There are no borders in Libya, there are no borders in Syria largely to speak of. The Turkish border is quite a mess. Yemen is in question.

So my analysis is that al-Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State and others are seeing some sort of coming confrontation, maybe not between the U.S. and Russia but between proxies backed by the Saudis on the one hand and backed by Iran on the other.

There is a lager confrontation that they understand is coming against them in Libya and then ultimately beyond in Yemen and in Syria.”

Stuart Varney: Europe is Retreating From it’s Core Values

h/t @michaeldweiss

h/t @michaeldweiss

Also see:

The Dangerous Fantasy behind Obama’s Iran Deal

1896925188 (1)Center for security Policy, by Fred Fleitz, Jan. 27, 2016:

On January 16, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced that Iran had satisfied the conditions necessary to achieve a lifting of most international sanctions under its nuclear deal with the Obama administration. In exchange for reducing its number of operational uranium-enrichment centrifuges, sending most of its enriched uranium out of the country, and removing the core of a plutonium-producing heavy-water reactor, Iran received approximately $150 billion in sanctions relief, and the United States returned $400 million in Iranian funds it seized in 1979, plus $1.3 billion in interest. The same day, Iran released five Americans it had held prisoner in exchange for the release of seven Iranian criminals held by the United States.

The White House and its supporters did victory laps, arguing that Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal and its willingness to swap prisoners had proven the wisdom of the president’s Iran policy. But there are many reasons to believe that these developments, far from strengthening American national security, are actually dangerous wins for Iran.

Before all else, it should be noted that American officials had to relax certain requirements of the deal so Iran could receive sanctions relief in the first place. Language barring the testing of ballistic missiles was removed from the agreement’s text and buried in the annex to a UN Security Council resolution. The U.S. also dropped a stipulation that Iran resolve questions about its past nuclear activities, choosing to address those questions in a secret side dealbetween the IAEA and Iran. As a result, even though Iran conducted two ballistic-missile tests last fall and did not fully cooperatewith an IAEA investigation into its nuclear history, the IAEA was able to certify that Tehran met the Implementation Day requirements to have sanctions lifted because these issues had been dropped from the agreement.

The steps Iran did take to roll back its nuclear program in exchange for the suspension of sanctions are limited and easily reversible. Since Iran will continue enriching uranium and developing advanced centrifuges, they’ll continue to get closer to a nuclear weapon while the deal remains in effect. And although Tehran sent most of its enriched uranium out of the country, in return it received an equivalent amount of uranium ore from Kazakhstan, which can be converted into enriched uranium in a few months.

What’s more, the nuclear deal had weak verification provisions to begin with, and the Iranian parliament made them even weaker last October when it ratified an amended version of the deal that calls for Israel’s nuclear-weapons program to be dismantled, requires that sanctions be canceled rather than suspended, and forbids the IAEA from inspecting military installations or interviewing Iranian military officers and scientists. The United States, its European allies, and the IAEA have ignored the Iranian Parliament’s action, and it had no bearing on the lifting of sanctions, but there’s good reason to believe that Iran’s conception of the deal’s terms is quite different from that of its Western partners.

And indeed, though the Obama administration has ignored it, Iran’s belligerence abroad has continued unabated since the nuclear agreement was announced last July. In the last six months, Tehran has stepped up support for the genocidal Assad regime, fired rockets near a U.S. aircraft carrier, and captured and humiliated U.S. sailors. It seems more than likely that the $100 billion-plus the regime received in sanctions relief will go toward its continued efforts to destabilize the Middle East, sponsor terrorism, and inch closer to a nuclear warhead.

There also are growing questions about the prisoner exchange. The five U.S. citizens released by Iran, several of them brutally mistreated while behind bars, were arrested because they are Americans, and thus made good bargaining chips in Iran’s efforts to influence U.S. policy. Iran is still holding at least two other American citizens hostage, and an Iranian official has claimed that the $1.7 billion payment the country received, supposedly a return of its frozen funds plus interest, was actually ransom for the five Americans’ release. (House Republicans plan to investigate this claim.) By contrast, the seven Iranians released by the United States, most of them dual citizens, were convicted of sending technology with military applications to Iran in violation of U.S. trade sanctions. 14 other Iranians accused of similar crimes were removed from an INTERPOL wanted list at the same time.

So how can the White House justify such a lopsided deal?

Legendary national-security expert Richard Perle said it best in a recent interview with Secure Freedom Radio:

Their concept is that the terms of the agreement and the likely consequences if the Iranians choose to do what they are able to do under the agreement don’t matter because this agreement is somehow going to magically transform an Iranian regime that regards the United States as the great Satan and engages us through the subvention of terrorism in many places throughout the world. . . . And so for people who hold this view — and I believe the president is among them — the details of the agreement and the consequences of the agreement are of no significance. They are making an enormous and I think an improvident bet. This bet is that this agreement, which satisfies what the Iranians are looking for, will somehow lead the Iranians to become our friends. In this they are certainly mistaken.

That’s the utter absurdity of the Iran deal in a nutshell: Its details don’t matter, because it is meant only to transform Iran into an American ally, against all reason. Because Obama knows he could never sell such a utopian plan to the American people and the U.S. Congress, his administration used the mostly incoherent agreement as a pretext.

But giving Iran everything it wanted in a nuclear agreement won’t lead it to rejoin the community of civilized nations and become a friend of the U.S. All indications from Tehran say the opposite: the regime’s character remains unchanged, and if anything it has become a more influential and destabilizing actor in the Middle East since it signed the nuclear deal. As a result, America’s friends and allies in the region are increasingly worried about a growing threat to their security and U.S. credibility has been further diminished.

Here’s hoping Obama’s successor can repair the damage.

Dominance and Submission in Cologne and the Persian Gulf

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Crisis Magazine, by William Kilpatrick, Jan.

Under the Islamic dhimmi system, when Christians paid the jizya tax, they were often required to kneel before the local Muslim dignitary as a sign of submission. Sometimes the tax collector would deliver a slap to the face as an added humiliation. This was in accordance with the Koranic injunction that non-Muslims must not only pay the tax, but also “feel themselves subdued” in the process (9:29).

What is the meaning of the word “Islam” again? “Peace?” Er, no. That was what the vast majority of Americans thought it meant circa 2001. But since then, most of us, with the exception of a couple of presidents and Secretaries of State, have discovered that it actually means “submission.”

Islam is a very tolerant religion. It doesn’t require that you convert to it as long as you submit to it. All they are asking for is a little groveling. Thus, if you are a Christian living in the Ottoman Empire you kneel while you pay the eighty-percent tax, and if you’re a sailor in the U.S. Navy whose boat mysteriously falls into Iranian hands you kneel and then offer apologies for your behavior while thanking your captors for their “fantastic” hospitality. Oh, and if you’re a female sailor, all you have to do is don a hijab as a sign of respect for, and submission to, the codes of Islam.

In the meantime, be assured that your Secretary of State will back you up by offering his own profound appreciation for “the quick and appropriate response of the Iranian authorities.” At the same time, your president can be relied on not to mention the incident at all, he having made some sort of gentleman’s agreement with the Iranians which requires him to pretend that everything they do is both fantastic and appropriate.

About two weeks prior to the naval incident, the German nation was subject to another form of humiliation. On New Year’s Eve, a group of 1,000 North African and Arab men sexually assaulted women outside the main train station in Cologne. The total number of victims who were either robbed or sexually assaulted was about six hundred. Many of the women were forced to run through a gauntlet of their tormentors. Similar occurrences took place in about 17 other major European cities that night.

In a sense, this was the logical conclusion to Europe’s inability to resist other Islamic advances. European leaders had opened their borders, their welfare coffers, and their public housing to well over a million Muslim immigrants (seventy percent of whom were male) in less than a year. Coming from cultures where yielding is a proof of weakness, the Muslim invaders concluded that they could take what they wanted—both the welfare and the women.

A large part of the West’s difficulty in dealing with Islamic aggression can be traced to a massive identity crisis. Having traded its traditional identity markers for multicultural ones, the West no longer knows how to act when it is threatened. Being multicultural means being tolerant of every diversity. But if you’re tolerant of everything, the end result is that you stand for nothing.

More and more, it seems that Westerners will stand for just about any humiliation. While Muslims in madrassas are learning that they have the superior culture and the superior religion, Western students learn that no Western value is worth defending—including the traditional notion that women should be protected from rampaging males. At one time, both men and women acknowledged that there are differences between the sexes, that one of those differences is physical strength, and that, as a consequence, there are circumstances where male protection is desirable. Having dispensed with that “quaint” notion, Western societies seem to have fallen back on the notion that, given the right multicultural conditions, people will naturally behave in harmonious ways. When you put that assumption into practice, what you get, of course, is smaller, more multiculturally sensitive police forces.

According to one report, police in Cologne were unable to control events because they were “overwhelmed.” In other words, they lacked the manpower to be of much help that winter’s night. “Manpower.” It’s a curious word. Even today it would seem odd to say that a police force lacked “womanpower,” although men-only police forces are a thing of the past. Women do have various kinds of power, but it’s still understood that “manpower” and “womanpower” are not quite the same thing.

In any event, the Cologne police lacked manpower in both senses of the word. They were lacking in numbers that particular night, but even when in full force they seem to lack the instinctive masculine response that was once expected of civilized males. As I have written elsewhere, “the multiculturalist code is essentially an emasculating code. It has the effect of paralyzing the normal masculine response of coming to the protection of those in danger.”

In the case of the Cologne police and other state authorities, this lack of response would include not having the foresight to anticipate that German women would be at heightened risk once a million-man army newly arrived from misogynist cultures made its appearance. The problem is that European authorities are more committed to protecting multicultural pieties than to protecting ordinary citizens from Islamists gone wild. Thus, the initial police report of the evening’s events read: “A mood of exuberance—largely peaceful celebrations.” That’s “largely peaceful” if you don’t count the thousand marauding Muslims outside the train station and the cathedral. Anyone who follows the goings-on in Europe knows that the authorities’ top priority is to protect the sensitivities of the newcomers from the outrage of “Islamophobia.” As for the common folk, they are expected to do their best to understand the other culture and adjust to it. If they protest, the penalties can be severe. In the UK, when Tommy Robinson, the leader of the counterjihad movement in England, was jailed, it was for the horrific crime of having exaggerated his income on a mortgage application. When he arrived in prison, he was thrown into a cell containing several Muslims who brutally beat him—as the prison warders knew they would.

No doubt there are some tough fellows in the Cologne police force, but their toughness has been enlisted in the service of political correctness. When, a week after the New Year’s Eve assaults, the anti-immigration group, PEGIDA, rallied to protest the attacks, a massive force of Cologne police wearing riot gear broke up the demonstration using water cannons and pepper spray. The PEGIDA people have become used to that sort of treatment. They have been repeatedly attacked by German politicians and the German press as “extremists,” “xenophobes,” “racists,” and “Nazis.” And German police have on several occasions left them to the mercy of the brutal and usually much larger leftist or “anti-fascist” gangs.

The police and the politicians can be quite tough in enforcing multicultural codes, but their toughness is in the cause of cultural soft-headedness. That’s because multiculturalism is basically the process by which a culturally confused society surrenders itself to a more confident and aggressive culture. You can call the current conflict between Islam and the West a “clash of civilizations,” but that’s rather like describing the encounter between a sadist and a masochist as a clash. As I wrote a few years ago:

It’s difficult to conceive of a more disastrous combination of events than the simultaneous emergence on the world stage of a fiercely passionate ideology dedicated to conquering the West, and of another, dangerously naïve ideology, eager to dismantle it from within.

What the West sees as signs of tolerance and sensitivity are seen by Muslims as signs of submission and also as a validation of their belief that theirs is indeed the superior culture. Western appeasement will not garner more respect from the Muslim world, but it will bolster the jihadi recruitment campaign. After the navy crew surrendered in the Persian Gulf, an Iranian commander remarked:

I saw the weakness, cowardice, and fear of American soldiers myself… American forces receive the best training and have the most advanced weapons in the world, but they did not have the power to confront the Guard due to weakness of faith and belief.

Gestures of compliance do not convince Islamists that we are an admirable people, it only convinces them that they have the winning hand. Unless Western leaders get a better grip on the realities of Islamic culture, they will continue to set up their own citizens for one humiliation after another. The only consolation is that after a while, they may learn to adjust to their dhimmi status. When they kneel to pay the jizya, it may well be with expressions of gratitude for the “fantastic” and “appropriate” behavior of their masters.

Also see:

Pastor Saeed ‘Heartbroken’ To See What Iran Did to U.S. Marine

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Town Hall, by Cortney O’Brien, Jan 26, 2016:
In Iran, Pastor Saeed Abedini was guilty as charged for being a Christian. He was imprisoned for three years for practicing his faith until earlier this month, when a prisoner swap guaranteed him and three other American prisoners’ return home, including U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and Nosratollah Khosrawi. A fifth American detainee was released separately. Abedini gave his first tell-all interview about the harrowing ordeal to Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. She shared the compelling conversation with her viewers Monday night.
Abedini offered some new details about how he came to be imprisoned. While he is convinced he was jailed simply for wearing his faith on his sleeve, he says a judge accused him of “using Christianity to remove the government.”
He denied the charge and tried to explain he just came to Iran to help build orphanages and to “pray,” and “love” his neighbors.
Yet, the judge would not relent, nor let Abedini’s lawyer talk. After ten frustrating minutes, Abedini was taken back to prison.
While in captivity, Abedini revealed that for two months he was in the same room as U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati. The pastor said he could not hold back the tears witnessing how the Iranians had treated the veteran.
Abedini was “very heartbroken,” to see a fellow American in so much pain, he recalled.

Abedini didn’t exactly have a comfortable imprisonment, either. The pastor described being beaten during interrogations, as well as the emotional toll of watching other prisoners prepare for execution.

“The worst thing I saw was when they took some Sunnis for execution, it was in front of our eyes, and they took like tens of them to hang, every Wednesday,” he said.

Sadly, the whereabouts of another Iranian prisoner, Robert Levinson, remain unknown.

Watch all of Abedini and Susteren’s conversation below:

***

No incentive for Iran to change despite nuclear deal? Former U.S. Army Intelligence Officer Andrew Peek on the U.S. prisoner swap with Iran and the nuclear deal.

In Sinai, ISIS Grows with Iran’s Help

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The Tower, by Arik Agassi, January 2016:

Most people assume that the Sunni terrorist group ISIS is the natural and mortal enemy of Shia Iran, but this is not always the case. In fact, in at least one part of the Middle East, Iran has become a crucial, if indirect, sponsor of its supposed enemy.

As the world’s eyes are focused on ISIS terrorism in Europe, the Middle East, and even the U.S., the group’s branch in the Sinai has become one of the most powerful, dangerous, and effective in the region. Recent reports indicate that Iran, through the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, is primarily responsible for this.

The Iran-Hamas-ISIS axis is part of Iran’s strategy of using proxy forces against U.S. allies like Egypt and Israel as part of a larger strategy to achieve hegemony over the Middle East. This has resulted in one of the region’s best kept secrets: An intensive cooperation mechanism between Iran, Hamas, and ISIS, based on money, weapons, military equipment, and training.

Iran’s foreign policy goal of hegemony over the Middle East is based on its primary ideological pillar – exporting the Islamic Revolution to other countries using terrorism and political subversion. In pursuing its ambitions, Iran has often put aside its religious differences with radical Sunni groups like ISIS and Hamas. The Islamic Republic is more than willing to cooperate with these groups as long as doing so helps promote its larger interests.

“By directly supporting Hamas in Gaza and indirectly supporting ISIS in the Sinai, Iran is able to gain foothold against Israel and Egypt to destabilize them, undermine America’s regional influence, create another Iranian power base in a Sunni-dominated region, and project its power and influence in its pursuit of regional hegemony,” Major (res.) Dan Feferman, a former senior IDF intelligence officer and Iran specialist, told the Tower. When asked why Iran would indirectly fund a serious rival such as ISIS, Feferman said that Lebanon, Iraq, and especially Syria are more important to Iran than the Sinai, as Iran wants to preserve its influence in states affected by the Syrian civil war – so Iran fights ISIS in those counties. In places where Iran does not have a strong influence, such as Egypt, it feels comfortable supporting ISIS, albeit indirectly.

“Just like Iran needs ISIS in Syria and Iraq to maintain its relevance among world powers such as Russia and the United States, it has no problem with ISIS gaining strength in Sinai for the time being,” added Brigadier General (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, former Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs and former head of Israeli intelligence’s Research and Assessment Division added. “If ISIS gains more power in the Sinai and Iran is able to help demean that power in the future, it will once again position itself as an address to world powers and thus demand something in return. Moreover, as long as Iran is able to weaken the moderate Sunni Arab state alliance of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan by indirectly supporting ISIS Sinai through Hamas, it won’t stop doing so.”

But Iran’s support of ISIS via Hamas goes deeper than mere strategic considerations. Despite the deep ideological rifts between Iran, Hamas, and ISIS in Sinai, as well as the traditional animosity between Shias, Sunnis, and Salafists, all three groups see each other as temporary partners in

1. The destruction of the state of Israel.
2. Undermining the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as well as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ authority.
3. Opposing and destabilizing Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s Western-oriented regime, especially in regard to its peace treaty with Israel.
4. Harming U.S. interests in the region and undermining its presence in the Middle East as a whole.
5. Bridging the Sunni-Shia divide and reconstituting a Muslim caliphate.

For Iran, Hamas and ISIS serve different aspects of these ambitions. Iran uses Hamas to deepen the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians by supporting Palestinian terror and a rejectionist approach to the peace process. It uses ISIS in the Sinai against al-Sisi and to further its vision of a caliphate dominated by Iran.

Iran could not support ISIS in Sinai or pursue its ambitions against Israel and Egypt without Hamas. The relationship between the terrorist organization and Iran is deep and of long standing. Indeed, Iran has provided funding, weapons, training, technology, and political support to Hamas for decades.

This relationship began almost simultaneously with the founding of Hamas, and has intensified every time the peace process appeared to be gaining momentum. In October 1991, Iran convened a conference in Tehran whose purpose was to unite various radical organizations led by Hamas who were hostile to the PLO’s negotiations with Israel at the Madrid peace summit. The groups gathered in Tehran called for the destruction of Israel and pledged to make every possible effort to sabotage the newborn peace process, which was seen as a direct threat to their strategic goals.

Iran-Hamas relations were officially formalized in October 1992, when a Hamas delegation led by then-Secretary General Mousa Abu-Marzuq visited Tehran for talks. Iran permitted Hamas to open an office in Tehran, provided it with millions of dollars in cash, and agreed to have the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps train thousands of Hamas members in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon.

This initially lukewarm relationship became a full-blown alliance when the second intifada began in 2000. Iran began funding, recruiting, directing, training, and supporting Palestinian terrorists and building the infrastructure to support them. This included carrying out suicide bombings, paying the families of terrorists, and providing monthly salaries to terrorists in Israeli jails.

Hamas soldiers take part in a military parade marking the first anniversary of the killing of Hamas’s military commanders Mohammed Abu Shammala and Raed al-Attar, in Rafah, Gaza Strip, August 21, 2015. Abu Shammala and al-Attar were killed by an Israeli air strike during a 50-day war between the terror group and Israel the previous summer. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90

Hamas soldiers take part in a military parade marking the first anniversary of the killing of Hamas’s military commanders Mohammed Abu Shammala and Raed al-Attar, in Rafah, Gaza Strip, August 21, 2015. Abu Shammala and al-Attar were killed by an Israeli air strike during a 50-day war between the terror group and Israel the previous summer. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90

The Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip in August 2005 created a new reality. Hamas won the Palestinian Legislative Council elections in January 2006, which resulted in a significant increase in Iranian funding. Immediately following the elections, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal visited Iran and secured an estimated $20 million per month from the Islamic Republic – enough to cover Hamas’ entire budget. This was followed by a visit from Hamas’ former Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, in which Iran pledged $250 million in aid. The funds were earmarked to pay the wages of civil servants, bankroll Hamas security forces, and compensate Palestinian families that lost their homes during Israeli military operations.

In June 2007, Hamas carried out a putsch in the Gaza Strip, neutralized Fatah and the Palestinian Authority’s military and political power, and set up a radical Islamic government. Following the takeover, Iran became a patron of the new Gaza regime, providing Hamas with military, financial, political, and media support. Iran saw the establishment of Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip as a way to wage an armed campaign against Israel and advance its influence in the Palestinian arena. The exposure of the Israeli home front to rocket fire during three rounds of armed confrontation between Israel and Hamas showed the Iranians the great benefits they could reap by constructing a military infrastructure for Hamas.

As a result, Iranian money, equipment, and military expertise keep flowing to Hamas and then to ISIS.

Despite some rifts between Iran and Hamas’ political wing since 2012 (stemming from Hamas moving its headquarters from Syria and refusing to follow the Iranian line by supporting President Bashar al-Assad), the Times of Israel reported in September that, boosted by the nuclear deal, Iran has increased its funding to Hamas’ military wing with literally “suitcases of cash” sent directly to leaders in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, The Wall Street Journal and The Daily Telegraph quoted top senior Western intelligence officials in April saying that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have transferred tens of millions of dollars to Hamas.

Read more

Listen to Kyle Shideler, Director of the Center for Security Policy’s Threat Information Office, discuss the relationship between ISIS and Hamas in this Secure Freedom Podcast:

Podcast (podcast2): Play in new window | Download

Also see:

UN Plan to Prevent “Violent Extremism” Ignores its Primary Cause

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Frontpage, by Joseph Klein, Jan. 19, 2016:

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is operating from the same playbook as President Obama when it comes to addressing the threat of global jihad. They both deny that such a religiously-based threat exists. Just like Obama, Ban Ki-moon uses the euphemism “violent extremism,” without linking it to its primary ideological source – Islam.

The global terrorist scourge is driven by Islamic supremacy and the jihadist war against the “infidels” that are embedded in sharia law. That is not to say that the jihadists are the only terrorists in the world. However, to diffuse responsibility by contending that violent extremism is found in all faiths ignores the fact that the only global terrorist network threatening our way of life today is bound together by the teachings of Islam.

In the Secretary General’s remarks to the UN General Assembly on January 15th introducing his “Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism,” he said that “the vast majority of victims worldwide are Muslims.” Obama said essentially the same thing last February at his Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, lamenting that it is “especially Muslims, who are the ones most likely to be killed.”

Both Ban Ki-moon and President Obama omitted to say that the killers are also primarily Muslims. Moreover, they left out entirely any mention of the ongoing genocide being conducted by Muslims in the name of Allah against Christians and Yazidis in the Middle East.

When I asked the spokesperson for the Secretary General why the Secretary General did not acknowledge the fact that the vast majority of global terrorists today are Islamists, the spokesperson responded that “the Secretary‑General’s focus is not on targeting or pointing finger at one ethnic group, one religious group, or people who claim to act in the name of a particular religion.”

This begs the question as to why the Secretary General took pains to assert that Muslims constitute the majority of terrorists’ victims but refused to acknowledge that the vast majority of perpetrators are also Muslims.

The Secretary General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism describes what it calls the “drivers of violent extremism.”  These drivers include, according to the UN document, lack of socioeconomic opportunities, marginalization and discrimination, poor governance and violations of human rights, prolonged and unresolved conflicts, radicalization in prisons, collective grievances, and exploitation of social media.

Obama offered essentially the same explanation for the growth of violent extremism put forth by Ban Ki-moon. A key problem, he said, was lack of economic opportunity that trapped people –especially young people – “in impoverished communities.”

Obama added: “When people are oppressed, and human rights are denied — particularly along sectarian lines or ethnic lines — when dissent is silenced, it feeds violent extremism.”

Ban Ki-moon and President Obama both have argued that Islam itself is blameless. It is, in Ban Ki-moon’s words, the “distortion and misuse of beliefs” that are to blame. At his February 2015 Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, President Obama called out what he described as “the warped ideologies espoused by terrorists like al Qaeda and ISIL, especially their attempt to use Islam to justify their violence.”

However, the truth is that Islam itself contains the seeds for the violence that is such a prominent part of jihad. Jihadists using violence as a tactic to impose Islam as the world’s only “legitimate” belief system are following the path laid down by Prophet Muhammed himself and his early followers, according to their literal words and acts.

The proposed actions to address the problem of “violent extremism,” both Ban Ki-moon and Obama agree, include better education, more opportunities for women, better governance, and respect for human rights including freedom of expression and freedom of religious belief.  The UN Secretary General and President Obama base their common strategy on their shared utopian belief that peoples from every country and culture embrace a common set of “universal” human rights, as expressed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Universal Declaration’s preamble states:  “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

However, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, despite its enlightened vision of the inherent dignity and fundamental rights of all human beings, is far from being a truly universally accepted creed. Muslims reject it to the extent that it conflicts with sharia law.

While Muslim member states of the United Nations, with the notable exception of Saudi Arabia, signed the Universal Declaration, they disavow its Western, secular-based principles. Islamists refuse to be ruled by any human rights document that deviates from what they regard as the divinely-inspired sharia law.

As the Islamic response to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation foreign ministers adopted The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam in 1990. After reciting a litany of human rights that it pledges to protect, the Cairo Declaration subjects all of its protections to the requirements of sharia law. “The Islamic Shari’ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification to any of the articles of this Declaration.” (Article 25)

By making Islamic law the sole authority for defining the scope of human rights, the Muslims’ Cairo Declaration sanctions limits on freedom of expression, discrimination against non-Muslims and women, and a prohibition against a Muslim’s conversion from Islam. Such restrictions on freedoms directly contradict the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Saudi Arabia and Iran, the leading Muslim majority countries today representing the Sunni and Shiite branches of Islam respectively, may be at odds with one another regarding certain sectarian and geopolitical issues. However, they both purport to govern according to sharia law, which is used to justify their religious intolerance, brutal suppression of dissent, misogyny and capital punishment for blasphemy, apostasy, adultery and homosexuality. It is Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabism which has helped fuel the jihadists inside and outside of Saudi Arabia seeking to forcibly purify Islam from the influence of “infidels.” And Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, as it seeks to fulfill the vision of Ayatollah Khomeini, the late founder of the Iranian Islamic revolution, to kill the infidels and ensure “that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world.”

Iran’s current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has rejected the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which he claims is reflective of a “culture of dominance.” Instead, he said “the answer is return to Islam, and recourse to Divine revelation.” He called for the use of “Islamic sources (the Quran and the Sunnah) in legal matters.” Presumably, what the Supreme Leader described as the “Islamic mode of thinking in society” would explain the Islamic Republic of Iran’s arbitrary imprisonment, torture and the killing of political dissidents and members of minority groups. The “Islamic sources in legal matters” evidently serve as the basis for the regime’s discriminatory laws against women, among other repressive laws.

In 2013, Iran was rewarded by the UN for its vows of global conquest with a seat on the General Assembly’s disarmament committee. Last year Iran was rewarded for its horrendous record of abuses against women with membership on the executive board of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. And as of January 16, 2016, Iran has been welcomed back into the international community with the lifting of sanctions and the unfreezing of assets worth approximately $150 billion.

The Saudi Sheikh Saleh Al-Lehadan, head of the Supreme Judiciary Council, expressed back in 2008 the religious intolerance that lies at the heart of the leading Sunni country’s practice of Islam: “After getting rid of the Jews in our Arab land, we must turn to the Christians. They have three options: either they convert to Islam, or leave, or pay Jizia (protection taxes).” With the help of the Islamic State and al Qaeda that receive funding from Saudi Arabia, this ambition is on its way to being realized, and even expanded to reach throughout the Middle East and beyond.

The same Saudi sheikh and head of the Supreme Judiciary Council also said: “Women who are raped by men are themselves to blame. They provoke men by the way they dress or walk.”

Last year Saudi Arabia was rewarded for its horrendous human rights record with a seat and leadership position on the UN Human Rights Council.

Coddling the leading jihad exporting countries and pretending that sharia law can ever be reconciled with so-called “universal” human rights values will render all plans of action to prevent “violent extremism” an utter failure.

The Iran nuclear agreement is national security fraud

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Center for Security Policy, by Fred Fleitz,  Jan. 19, 2016:

As the Obama administration celebrates what it claims is a great victory for its nuclear diplomacy with Iran, many Americans are scratching their heads and wondering how we got to this point given the many examples of Iranian bad faith and belligerent behavior since the nuclear deal was announced last July. For example…

  • Because the IAEA declared that Iran met the requirements to roll back its nuclear program to what the nuclear deal calls “Implementation Day,” it will receive approximately $150 billion in sanctions relief even through Iran is still designated by the United States as a state sponsor of terror and was listed in a June 2015 State Department report as the world’s leading terrorist state.
  • Over the last six months, Iran increased its support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Hezbollah, its terrorist proxy.
  • Iran is threatening Saudi Arabia by backing a Shiite insurgency in Yemen.  Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states broke off diplomatic relations with Iran this month after the Saudi embassy and a consulate in Iran were ransacked.
  • Iran tested ballistic missiles in October and November even though President Obama and Secretary Kerry said last July that under the deal Tehran would abide by U.N. Security Council resolutions for eight years calling on it to halt its missile program.  (The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Iran for the missile tests yesterday but Foundation for Defense and Democracy Executive Director Mark Dubowitz called them “symbolic and ineffective.”)
  • Iran fired rockets last month near a U.S. aircraft carrier.  It also detained and humiliated 10 U.S. Navy sailors last week.
  • At the same time, few Americans understand that Iran keeps its nuclear infrastructure under the nuclear deal and will be allowed to expand it.
  • Iran will continue enriching uranium under the nuclear deal with 5,000 uranium centrifuges and will be developing more advanced centrifuges while the deal is in effect. This will occur even though when Barack Obama became president, his administration supported the Bush administration’s effort to stop the spread of uranium enrichment technology and strengthened a nuclear technology sharing agreement with the UAE which required it to not to pursue this technology.  
  • Although Iran agreed to remove the core of a plutonium-producing heavy water-reactor, it will be rebuilt and redesigned with Chinese assistance.  While the redesigned reactor will produce less plutonium, it also will help Iran to master this technology.
  • Although President Obama and Secretary Kerry said Iran sent all of its enriched uranium out of the country, they failed to mention that this was a swap for an equivalent amount of uranium ore that can be converted into enriched uranium in a few months.
  • President Obama said last July that the issue of Iran’s past nuclear weapons work would be addressed. The IAEA issued a report on this issue in December that said Iran failed to fully cooperate and provided some answers to investigators that were false. The report also said Iran engaged in nuclear weapons research until 2009.  Despite this report, the United States voted with other IAEA members last month to close the IAEA’s file on this issue.
  • Although nuclear deal has weak verification provisions, the Iranian parliament made them even weaker last October when it ratified an amended version of the deal containing new language on dismantling Israel’s nuclear weapons program, requiring that sanctions under the agreement be cancelled and not suspended, forbidding IAEA inspections of military installations, and barring IAEA interviews of Iranian military officers and scientists.

And then there is the issue of the “swap” of five American hostages for seven Iranian criminals held in U.S. prisons and the removal of 14 other Iranian criminal and terrorists from the INTERPOL wanted list.  As objectionable as this sounds, President Obama and Secretary Kerry failed to mention that Oman paid Iran $500,000 ransom each for the release of the Americans and that several were brutally mistreated while incarcerated.  At least two other innocent Americans plus a U.S. green card holder are still being by Iran.

Given these factors, how can the Obama administration claim Iran has complied with the nuclear agreement? 

How can it justify providing over $150 billion in sanctions relief that Tehran is likely to spend on terrorism and destabilizing the Middle East?  

How can the United States reward a state that used Americans as hostages to advance its policy goals?

How can Obama officials say this nuclear deal is a great diplomatic success?

The answer to these questions is this: because the Obama administration wanted a legacy nuclear agreement with Iran so badly they made any concession necessary to get one. 

When Iranian officials refused to give up their uranium enrichment program, the U.S. said they could keep it. 

When Iran balked on including restrictions on ballistic missile tests in the agreement, they were removed.  

To get around Tehran’s refusal to answer questions about its past nuclear weapons work, this issue was moved into a secret side deal between the IAEA and Iran.

The Obama administration also took Iran’s sponsorship of terror and its meddling in the Middle East off the table.  The deal drops U.N. and EU sanctions on Iranian terrorist individuals and entities.  Even worse, the U.S. encouraged Iran to play a more active role in Iraq which is driving tensions between the Shiite government and Iraqi Sunnis.

The Iran nuclear agreement is national security fraud. It will not stop or slow Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. 

The deal’s weak verification provision will not detect Iranian cheating. 

Seeing itself as the big winner in the nuclear deal, Iran probably will beemboldened to expand its efforts to destabilize its neighbors and sponsorship of terrorism using the estimated $150 billion in sanctions relief it won in the deal.

How did Iran reach the nuclear deal’s Implementation Day?  Because the Obama administration rigged the game by setting the bar so low that Iranian compliance was assured. 

That’s how desperate President Obama was to get his legacy nuclear deal with Iran. 

That’s what led to a disastrous agreement that will may do enormous damage to international security for decades to come.

Also see:

Gorka: ‘We’ve Sent a Message: Iran, You Can Get Away With Murder, Literally’

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Fox News Insider, Jan. 18, 2016:

On “Hannity” tonight, counterterrorism expert Sebastian Gorka said that President Obama’s prisoner swap with Iran sends a message to bad actors around the world that you can get something meaningful in exchange for American hostages.

“We sent a very clear message that [Iran] – which is the greatest state-sponsor of terrorism for the last 30 years – has carte blanche,” Gorka said.

He said that hundreds of Marines were killed in Beirut by an organization trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and many servicemen and women were maimed or killed in Iraq by IEDs created with the help of Iran.

“We’ve sent a message: Iran, you can get away with murder, literally,” Gorka said.

He added that exchanging Americans who were unjustly imprisoned for their religious beliefs for documented Iranian spies and terrorists is not a fair deal.

“That is empowering the message of the theocratic regime of the mullahs,” Gorka stated. “And they will draw the right conclusions: That we are no longer a leader and we are giving in to their message of terror.”

Cherry on Top: Iran to Get $1.7 Billion Settlement from U.S. in Addition to Sanctions Relief

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President Obama leaves the podium after speaking about the release of Americans by Iran on Jan. 17, 2016, in the Cabinet Room of the White House. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

PJ MEDIA, BY BRIDGET JOHNSON, JANUARY 17, 2016:

President Obama today declared at the White House that “Iran will not get its hands on a nuclear bomb” and that their “tireless” negotiations paid off with several American hostages coming home.

Obama’s Cabinet Room statement came a day after the administration announced the lifting of sanctions on Iran for Implementation Day of the nuclear deal as well as the prisoner swap: seven to Iran, five to the U.S. The administration is claiming the fifth American, student Matthew Trevithick, was released not as part of the swap but as a goodwill gesture by Iran.

Obama called the clemency granted to six Iranian–Americans and one Iranian serving sentences or awaiting trial “a reciprocal humanitarian gesture,” and asserted none of them were “charged with terrorism or any violent offenses.” They were, however, involved in networks procuring illegal components for Iran deemed damaging to national security by the Justice Department and in one case hacked a defense contractor to steal millions in proprietary software.

“And their release is a one-time gesture to Iran given the unique opportunity offered by this moment and the larger circumstances at play,” he said. “And it reflects our willingness to engage with Iran to advance our mutual interests, even as we ensure the national security of the United States.”

“So, nuclear deal implemented. American families reunited. The third piece of this work that we got done this weekend involved the United States and Iran resolving a financial dispute that dated back more than three decades. Since 1981, after our nations severed diplomatic relations, we’ve worked through a international tribunal to resolve various claims between our countries. The United States and Iran are now settling a longstanding Iranian government claim against the United States government. Iran will be returned its own funds, including appropriate interest, but much less than the amount Iran sought,” Obama said.

That payout to Iran from the United States? $1.7 billion.

Secretary of State John Kerry said today that the settlement is $400 million debt and $1.3 billion in interest dating back to the Islamic revolution. That’s separate from the sanctions windfall Iran will receive.

“For the United States, this settlement could save us billions of dollars that could have been pursued by Iran,” Obama claimed. “So there was no benefit to the United States in dragging this out. With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well.”

The president then acknowledged a bit of Iran’s other bad behavior, such as “a violation of its international obligations” with illegal ballistic missile tests.

“But today’s progress — Americans coming home, an Iran that has rolled back its nuclear program and accepted unprecedented monitoring of that program — these things are a reminder of what we can achieve when we lead with strength and with wisdom; with courage and resolve and patience,” Obama said. “America can do — and has done — big things when we work together. We can leave this world and make it safer and more secure for our children and our grandchildren for generations to come.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) called it “a huge relief that these Americans are finally coming home,” and noted that “all of them should have been unconditionally released a long time ago — period.”

“Instead, a disturbing pattern is emerging where the Obama administration is willing to negotiate the release of spies, terrorists and now criminals. I fail to see how this trend will improve the long-term security of the United States and its citizens,” Royce said.

“The Obama administration will need to answer why this policy won’t encourage terrorist groups and regimes to step up their efforts to target Americans. And the Iranians still need to answer for Robert Levinson, an American citizen who has been missing in Iran since 2007.”

The Levinson family was still on a heartbreaking tweetstorm Sunday using the haghtag #WhatAboutBob.

“Let me just say Bob Levinson is still missing,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said this morning on CBS’Face the Nation. “The Iranians know where he is or we believe they do. And they’re not being cooperative about that. We should not forget Mr. Levinson and his situation.”

Obama said what he’s said before: that Iran “has agreed to deepen our coordination as we work to locate Robert Levinson — missing from Iran for more than eight years.”

“Even as we rejoice in the safe return of others, we will never forget about Bob,” he said. “Each and every day, but especially today, our hearts are with the Levinson family, and we will not rest until their family is whole again.”

Iran is also holding on to a couple more hostages: Since the Iran nuclear deal was inked last year, one American citizen, businessman Siamak Namazi, and one permanent U.S. resident, IT expert Nizar Zakka, were arrested by Iran. Iran’s Fars News Agency said they kept Namazi out of the deal because his charges were “not political.”

Zakka, a Lebanese-American, works in Washington as secretary-general of the Dupont Circle-based Ijma3 group, which lobbies for the information and communications technology industry in the Middle East. He last tweeted on Sept. 9 about Internet freedom and free expression.

Zakka received an invitation on Sept. 11 from Iran’s vice president for Women and Family Affairs to attend the 2nd International Conference & Exhibition on Women in Sustainable Development, titled “Entrepreneurship & Employment.” After the conference, while he was trying to return home to D.C., he was seized.

“For decades, our differences with Iran meant that our governments almost never spoke to each other. Ultimately, that did not advance America’s interests. Over the years, Iran moved closer and closer to having the ability to build a nuclear weapon,” Obama declared today.

“But from Presidents Franklin Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan, the United States has never been afraid to pursue diplomacy with our adversaries. And as president, I decided that a strong, confident America could advance our national security by engaging directly with the Iranian government. We’ve seen the results.”

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Also see:

The Global Islamic Jihad Movement is Expanding

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Dr. Sebastian Gorka was on Hannity last night talking about the increasing jihadist threat in America as well as the Iranian detention of US sailors.

More evidence of ISIS’ expansionist mission – FoxTV Business News

Also see:

Iran: U.S. ‘Extended Apology’ Over Captured Sailors

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Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Jan. 13, 2016:

The Obama administration is denying official Iranian reports claiming that U.S. officials “extended an apology” to the Islamic Republic following a Tuesday standoff over the capture of 10 U.S. sailors whose boats reportedly drifted into Iranian territorial waters.

The sailors were released by Iran early Wednesday morning after being arrested by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and being put in detention for the night.

The Revolutionary Guard Corps, which released pictures of the U.S. sailors on their knees with hands over their heads, said Wednesday that it had conducted an investigation into the incident.

Iran asserts the sailors were released after the United States apologized, prompting a flurry of denials from senior Obama administration officials.

“Following technical and operational investigations and in interaction with relevant political and national security bodies of the country and after it became clear that the U.S. combat vessels’ illegal entry into the Islamic Republic of Iran’s waters was the result of an unintentional action and a mistake and after they extended an apology, the decision was made to release them,” the IRGC said in a statement that was carried by Iran’s state-controlled media.

Ali Fadavi, commander of the IRGC Navy, said that Tehran had missiles locked on the United States at the time of the incident.

“They were in sight of our missiles,” Fadavi said in Persian, according to a statement carried by the IRGC’s official news outlet. “If this had happened, it would have led to their annihilation.

“We had high preparedness with coast-to-sea missiles, rocket-firing fast boats, and various capabilities,” he said. “We prevented their additional irresponsible movement with the statements we broadcasted internationally. It was proven to them that the IRGC Navy has the first and final word.”

The U.S. cannot stand up to Iran, according to Fadavi.

“The result of that battle is the annihilation and sinking of their battleships,” he said. “This is while in those 40 minutes [when the U.S. sailors were apprehended], it was clear that Americans were under psychological pressure, to the extent that they did not behave in a manner expected from a professional and responsible force.”

The Obama administration denied that an apology was offered to Iran.

Vice President Joe Biden told CBS that “there was no looking for any apology.”

“When you have a problem with the boat, [do] you apologize the boat had a problem? No,” Biden said. “And there was no looking for any apology. This was just standard nautical practice.”

Iran “realized [the sailors] were there in distress and said they would release them, and released them—like ordinary nations would do,” Biden said.

State Department Spokesman John Kirby also issued a denial on Twitter.

“Absolutely ZERO truth to rumors that @JohnKerry apologized to Iran over Sailors,” Kirby said. “Nothing to apologize for.”

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Secretary of State John Kerry thanked the Iranian for the way they handled the situation.

Kerry offered his “gratitude to Iranian authorities for their cooperation in swiftly resolving this matter.”

“I want to personally thank Secretary of State John Kerry for his diplomatic engagement with Iran to secure our sailors’ swift return,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a statement Wednesday. “Around the world, the U.S. Navy routinely provides assistance to foreign sailors in distress, and we appreciate the timely way in which this situation was resolved.”

However, Iran adopted a confrontational tone, accusing the United States of aggressive behavior. The country also released scores of pictures showing the arrest and incarceration of the U.S. sailors.

The IRGC blamed the United States for its “unprofessional moves,” saying that it defused the situation.

Hassan Firouzabadi, the chief of Iran’s armed forces, said on Wednesday that the incident highlights just “how vulnerable” the United States is to Iran.

“The incident shows how vulnerable they are. Without the good faith and tact of our commanders, the Americans would have faced a new crisis,” Firouzabadi said in Persian language comments.

The military leader also lashed out at the U.S. Congress.

“It seems that those congressional representatives who come up with new plans against Iran every day do not have correct information and act against the interests of the American nation with their hands tied behind their back and far from reality,” Firouzabadi said.

“We hope that this incident in northern Persian Gulf—which probably won’t be the last mistake of U.S. forces in the region—will be a lesson for disrupters in Congress,” he said.

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Also see:

Did North Korea Really Test an H-Bomb?

783680434Center for Security Policy, by Fred Fleitz, Jan. 6, 2016:

After reports of a small, magnitude 5.1 seismic event in the vicinity of North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site on Tuesday, the state-controlled North Korean news service announced a successful test of a miniaturized hydrogen bomb — which it called a “hydrogen bomb for justice.” A North Korean television anchor said the test elevated North Korea’s “nuclear might to the next level.”

It is very unlikely that this was a test of a true H-bomb, a thermonuclear device in which a primary fission reaction ignites a much larger secondary fusion/fission reaction. The technical challenges of constructing a true H-bomb, which could be over 1000 times more powerful than North Korea’s previous three nuclear tests, are far beyond North Korean capabilities. The real meaning of this nuclear test, regardless of its type, may be an attempt by North Korea to get a nuclear deal similar to Iran’s before President Obama leaves office.

It is possible this was a test of a “boosted-fission” nuclear weapon. In such a device, a small fusion reaction of two hydrogen isotopes, deuterium and tritium, is initiated in the core. This reaction releases a flood of high-energy neutrons that causes a more efficient fission reaction by the weapon’s enriched uranium or plutonium fuel resulting in an explosive yield several times higher. Boosted fission enables states to construct smaller and lighter nuclear weapons and to make more efficient use of scarce nuclear fuel.

North Korea has been claiming for several years that it was engaged in nuclear-fusion research. In 2010, North Korean officials even said that their nation had mastered nuclear fusion. In January 2013, the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported that a “new higher level nuclear device” that North Korea was threatening to test might be a boosted-fission nuclear device. Last month, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un said his country had developed a hydrogen bomb.

Although most experts dismissed North Korea’s nuclear fusion claims as bravado, a boosted-fission nuclear test would be the next step in the development of a North Korean nuclear-weapons program. Building such a device would be technically challenging. India, which has a more advanced nuclear-weapons program than North Korea, reportedly conducted a failed test of a booted-fission nuclear device in 1998.

Determining what type of nuclear device this was will be difficult. The United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will try to analyze air samples for evidence of xenon gas, a by-product of nuclear explosions. This will help determine whether the explosion was nuclear and possibly whether enriched uranium or plutonium fuel was used. It probably will not determine whether North Korea detonated a boosted-fission device.

The small 5.1 magnitude of Tuesday’s seismic event suggests either this was not a boosted-fission device or that the boosted-fission reaction failed. 5.1 was the same magnitude of the seismic event that accompanied North Korea’s February 12, 2013 nuclear test and North Korea’s 2009 and 2006 nuclear tests caused seismic events measuring 4.3 and 4.7, respectively.

North Korea’s nuclear tests appear to represent a pattern of trying to get the world’s attention in order to force a resumption of multilateral talks that can be used to extract concessions from the United States and regional states. This could be the case with the North’s latest nuclear test. The North Korean regime knows President Obama entered office hoping to get nuclear agreements with both North Korea and Iran. The North Korean government probably views the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran as a great victory for Tehran and is hoping this test will lure the Obama administration into resuming nuclear talks so it can get a similar deal.

Regardless of North Korea’s motivations for Tuesday’s nuclear test and whether it was a test of a boosted-fission nuclear device, this is still a very dangerous development. Every time North Korea conducts a nuclear test, it gains more experience and data for its effort to construct nuclear warheads for its ballistic missiles. North Korea has made major strides in its missile program over the last ten years, including the December 2012 launch of a rocket to place a satellite in orbit, which most experts believe was actually a test of an ICBM capable of hitting the United States.

I believe there is a strong possibility that North Korea and Iran are collaborating on their nuclear-weapon programs and that Tehran will benefit from any knowledge gained from this nuclear test. Iranian observers reportedly were present at previous North Korean nuclear and long-range missile tests. Determining Iran’s possible role in the recent North Korean nuclear test will be a priority for U.S. intelligence agencies.

Former CIA director James Woolsey and former CIA analyst Peter Pry believe North Korea and Iran may be developing small nuclear warheads to use as electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons to target the U.S. electrical grid. I agree with these concerns since EMP weapons are a way that rogue states with small nuclear-weapons programs could actually attack states with far superior military capabilities by greatly amplifying the destructive power of these weapons. Ted Koppel recently wrote about how devastating an EMP attack on the United States would be in his new book, Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath.

Making this situation worse is the absence of American global leadership under President Obama. “Leading from behind,” the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran, the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, the president’s dismissal of the global threat from ISIS, and numerous red lines drawn — and later ignored — have severely undermined America’s credibility on the world stage. The North Korean regime knows this. Its latest nuclear test may be an attempt to take advantage of Mr. Obama’s weakness before he leaves office.

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The Saudi-Iran spat: What comes next?

Supporters of Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr burn posters of King Salman of Saudi Arabia against the execution of Shi’ite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, during a demonstration in Kerbala January 4, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed al-Husseini.

Supporters of Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr burn posters of King Salman of Saudi Arabia against the execution of Shi’ite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, during a demonstration in Kerbala January 4, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed al-Husseini.

American Enterprise Institute, by Michael Rubin, Jan. 4, 2016:

Make no mistake: Saudi Arabia should be condemned without reservation for the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, perhaps the country’s most prominent Shi‘ite cleric.

The murder is, alas, the sign of more trouble to come as Muhammad Bin Nayyef — Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and interior minister — consolidates control against the backdrop of King Salman’s growing dementia. Nayyef is a sectarian warrior who seldom finds a fire upon which he cannot pour gasoline. There was also cynicism involved in the timing, coming so soon after Saudi Arabia implemented new austerity measures. That so many diplomats in Europe, Washington, and the United Nations also blessed Saudi ambitions to a leadership post on the United Nations Human Rights Council simply convinced Riyadh that they could get away with murder.

That does not mean the Islamic Republic of Iran is blameless. While they have now named the street on which the Saudi Embassy in Tehran sits for Nimr, they did nothing for Nimr during his imprisonment. Nor does Iran have the moral high ground on either religious freedom or executions. Indeed, Iran’s rate of executions in 2015 was an order of magnitude above Saudi Arabia’s. Even as Saudi Arabia is wrong for arresting and executing Nimr, there can be zero tolerance for the sacking and burning of embassies, a practice that has become all too common inside Iran. Iran’s refusal to protect diplomats on its territory risks far more than Saudi-Iranian peace, but rather threatens the mechanism of modern diplomacy.

So what comes next? Nothing good, especially at a time when American diplomatic influence is at its nadir. It’s not simply that neither side trusts the United States. Rather, both Riyadh and Tehran believe that the United States is actively supporting the other side. So here’s a quick look at the crystal ball:

  • That Syria peace process in which Secretary of State John Kerry is engaged? Fahgettaboudit. At the very least Iran and Saudi Arabia are going to take their proxy war in Syria to a new level. That’s the best scenario. The worst is that Iran moves to undercut security in Bahrain and takes its proxy conflict to Iraq, which has quietly been making amends with Riyadh.
  • Nuclear proliferation? Expect Saudi Arabia to pursue that off-the-shelf bomb from Pakistan. And if Riyadh gets a nuclear capability, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — which continues to oppose the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — is simply going to push forward with Iran’s nuclear capability, an easy move since Kerry designed his deal to leave Iran with an industrial program and a $100 billion cash infusion to boot.

So what should the United States do? Unfortunately, there’s no magic solution at this point, but here’s a few places to start:

  • President Obama argued that the United States could have more influence by working with the UN Human Rights Council than by ignoring it. All evidence is to the contrary, however. The Council is a parody of human rights advocacy and gives moral inversion UN imprimatur. It’s time to cut off all funding and support for the Council until human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia are purged from them.
  • Condemn, in unequivocal terms, the murder of Sheikh Nimr and the persecution of anyone on the basis of their religion. Demand that Iran release Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor imprisoned simply because he is a Christian. Free the Bahai men, women, and children from Iranian prisons. Demand Tehran account for the missing Iranian Jews.
  • Crack down on Iran’s ballistic missile program. Desperation is seldom a successful negotiation tactic, as Obama and Kerry might realize if they had any experience in the private sector. By allowing Iran to cheat on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the UN Security Council Resolution which encoded it, Obama and Kerry are only convincing regional states that they must take matters into their own hands.

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Listen: 

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Dr. Sebastian Gorka discusses the risk of war between Iran and Saudi Arabia with Stuart Varney: