In Israel’s hour of need

iranian-bomb-300x225By Caroline Glick, February 27th, 2015

It is hard to get your arms around the stubborn determination of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today. For most of the nine years he has served as Israel’s leader, first from 1996 to 1999 and now since 2009, Netanyahu shied away from confrontations or buckled under pressure. He signed deals with the Palestinians he knew the Palestinians would never uphold in the hopes of winning the support of hostile US administrations and a fair shake from the pathologically hateful Israeli media.

In recent years he released terrorist murderers from prison. He abrogated Jewish property rights in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. He agreed to support the establishment of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River. He agreed to keep giving the Palestinians of Gaza free electricity while they waged war against Israel. He did all of these things in a bid to accommodate US President Barack Obama and win over the media, while keeping the leftist parties in his coalitions happy.

For his part, for the past six years Obama has undermined Israel’s national security. He has publicly humiliated Netanyahu repeatedly.

He has delegitimized Israel’s very existence, embracing the jihadist lie that Israel’s existence is the product of post-Holocaust European guilt rather than 4,000 years of Jewish history.

He and his representatives have given a backwind to the forces that seek to wage economic warfare against Israel, repeatedly indicating that the application of economic sanctions against Israel – illegal under the World Trade Organization treaties – are a natural response to Israel’s unwillingness to bow to every Palestinian demand. The same goes for the movement to deny the legitimacy of Israel’s very existence. Senior administration officials have threatened that Israel will become illegitimate if it refuses to surrender to Palestinian demands.

Last summer, Obama openly colluded with Hamas’s terrorist war against Israel. He tried to coerce Israel into accepting ceasefire terms that would have amounted to an unconditional surrender to Hamas’s demands for open borders and the free flow of funds to the terrorist group. He enacted a partial arms embargo on Israel in the midst of war. He cut off air traffic to Ben-Gurion International Airport under specious and grossly prejudicial terms in an open act of economic warfare against Israel.
And yet, despite Obama’s scandalous treatment of Israel, Netanyahu has continued to paper over differences in public and thank Obama for the little his has done on Israel’s behalf. He always makes a point of thanking Obama for agreeing to Congress’s demand to continue funding the Iron Dome missile defense system (although Obama has sought repeatedly to slash funding for the project).

Obama’s policies that are hostile to Israel are not limited to his unconditional support for the Palestinians in their campaign against Israel. Obama shocked the entire Israeli defense community when he supported the overthrow of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, despite Mubarak’s dependability as a US ally in the war on Islamist terrorism, and as the guardian of both Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel and the safety and freedom of maritime traffic in the Suez Canal.

Obama supported Mubarak’s overthrow despite the fact that the only political force in Egypt capable of replacing him was the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks the destruction of Israel and is the ideological home and spawning ground of jihadist terrorist groups, including al-Qaida and Hamas. Obama then supported the Muslim Brotherhood’s regime even as then-president Mohamed Morsi took concrete steps to transform Egypt into an Islamist, jihadist state and end Egypt’s peace with Israel.
Israelis were united in our opposition to Obama’s behavior. But Netanyahu said nothing publicly in criticism of Obama’s destructive, dangerous policy.

He held his tongue in the hopes of winning Obama over through quiet diplomacy.
He held his tongue, because he believed that the damage Obama was causing Israel was not irreversible in most cases. And it was better to maintain the guise of good relations, in the hopes of actually achieving them, than to expose the fractures in US-Israel ties caused by Obama’s enormous hostility toward Israel and by his strategic myopia that endangered both Israel and the US’s other regional allies.

And yet, today Netanyahu, the serial accommodator, is putting everything on the line. He will not accommodate. He will not be bullied. He will not be threatened, even as all the powers that have grown used to bringing him to his knees – the Obama administration, the American Jewish Left, the Israeli media, and the Labor party grow ever more shrill and threatening in their attacks against him.

As he has made clear in daily statements, Netanyahu is convinced that we have reached a juncture in our relations with the Obama administration where accommodation is no longer possible.

Obama’s one policy that Netanyahu has never acquiesced to either publicly or privately is his policy of accommodating Iran.

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Iran’s Expansive Role In The Middle East And Latin America, And The Nuclear Negotiations

333893762CSP, by Nancy Menges Luis Fleischman, Feb. 26, 2015:

As negotiations move forward on a nuclear arms agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the United States along with the P5+1 appears to be oblivious to activities of Iran in the Western Hemisphere and other regions of the world.

In the Middle East, Iran has most recently supported insurgencies in both Bahrain and Yemen. The pro-Iranian Houthis just overthrew the American backed government in Yemen which we were working with on terrorism related issues.

In Syria, Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah, continue to support the Bashar Al Assad regime with Hezbollah fighting together with Assad’s forces. So far 200,000 people have been killed in Syria with millions dispersed in refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey. Hezbollah now has a perfect excuse to be involved in supporting Assad by invoking the need to defeat the bloody Islamic State. Hezbollah may think that this card could play well in the West which is trying to avoid direct intervention to defeat ISIS and would prefer that local forces to do the fighting.

In Iraq, hundreds of thousands of young Shiites are fighting as part of Iranian-backed militias, with a Shiite sectarian orientation likely to aggravate the sectarian strife prevailing in the country. These militias outnumber the Iraqi security forces, and in addition members of the Iranian revolutionary guards, the pro-Iranian Badr organization, and the pro-Iran Katain Hezbollah are heavily involved, mostly operating outside of Iraqi government control.

In Latin America ever since the election of the late Hugo Chavez to the presidency of Venezuela in 1998, Iran has become more embedded in the region in an effort to spread its influence. Several episodes and activities are illustrative of this point.

A few years ago the late Argentinean prosecutor, Alberto Nisman reported in a 500 page document the presence of Iranian and Hezbollah cells in twelve countries in South America.

For at least ten years if not longer, there have been direct airline flights from Caracas to Tehran. Though these are commercial airlines no passengers are allowed and no one seems to know the cargo they carry but it is believed that weapons and members of Hezbollah or the Iranian Revolutionary Guards might be on those flights. Hezbollah has reportedly trained Venezuelan and other guerillas and has strengthened relations with a number of revolutionary regimes in the region. Likewise, tunnels built across the Mexican-American border are akin to those built by Hezbollah along the Israeli/Lebanese border.

In 2011, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder accused the Iranian Quds Force of plotting to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States. Though Iran vehemently denied complicity, the American government pointed to high officials in the Iranian hierarchy with having approved the plan.

Another Iranian activity that goes largely unnoticed is Iran’s outreach to several small Caribbean nations. In return for financial assistance, these nations have issued passports to Iranian citizens who wish to enter the United States but could not do so using their Iranian passports. Venezuela and a number of other countries connected directly or indirectly to ALBA countries are providing passports to Iranians. One of those holding such a passport is Moshen Rabbani, the man believed to be behind the terrorist attacks against the Argentinean Jewish Community Center (AMIA) in 1994.

Iran has also been the recipient of uranium from Venezuela.

Most recently the government of Uruguay confirmed that an Iranian diplomat left the country after Uruguayan security suspected him of collecting intelligence about the Israeli embassy in Montevideo.

The diplomat was thought to have placed an explosive device near the Israeli embassy early in January. The device was not particularly powerful but investigations carried out by Uruguayan intelligence indicated the possibility of Iran’s involvement in this serious incident. It was not clear to the authorities whether the device was intended to do harm or was just testing their ability to respond.

But what is astonishing about this story is that two months earlier another incident occurred which was intentionally kept out of the public eye by the Uruguayan government. Indeed, on November 24, somebody placed a suitcase near the building that belonged to the old Israeli embassy in Montevideo. Although the suitcase was empty, cameras located a car belonging to the Iranian embassy nearby. Inside there was a man that the police could not identify immediately but it was assumed he was an Iranian diplomat. The police concluded that the empty suitcase was aimed at testing Uruguayan security forces’ ability to respond.

The Uruguayan government apparently decided to expel the diplomat, who himself, is an appointee of the former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. That appointee was a vocal anti-Semite, a Holocaust denier and apparently served as a translator in the conversations between Ahmadinejad and the late Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez. Furthermore, the man was reportedly working in Uruguay with Muslim converts that have been activists in a radical left wing party. These individuals could well have been potential candidates for terrorist recruitment; an activity Iran has been systematically performing.

Interestingly enough, Uruguay has been and is a friendly country towards Iran (without being a close ally like Venezuela and the other ALBA countries). Uruguay’s outgoing president, Jose Mujica, declared in the past that his country would pursue relations with Iran because it is good and convenient for the country. The Uruguayan foreign minister Luis Almagro was a commercial attaché in Teheran for about five years and under his watch commercial relations between the two countries flourished. Likewise, a Uruguayan parliamentary delegation visited Teheran to strengthen relations and Almagro himself defined Uruguay and Iran as “two countries that fight against injustice and oppression”. (Almagro is the most likely candidate to be the next Secretary General of the Organization of American States).

The incident in Uruguay is another instance where Iran once again displays its nature as a terrorist entity that does not hesitate in using its embassies and the good faith of the host countries to apply its lethal methods. This is what Iran did in Argentina previous to the two deadly terrorist attacks against the Israeli Embassy and the Jewish community center.

Why shouldn’t Iran be doing so if there is no demand for Iran to stop supporting and encouraging terrorism? After all, a year ago Argentina signed a memorandum with Iran where representatives from that country would be part of the investigation into a terrorist attack where Iran remains the main suspect. By the same token, the chief investigator of the terrorist attack, Mr. Nisman, is dead because he dared to investigate a suspected cover up by the Argentinean government-a government that allegedly wanted to exonerate Iran.

Furthermore, the Argentinean foreign minister Hector Timerman summoned the American and Israeli Ambassadors and asked that these two countries stop meddling in Argentinean internal affairs and stop bringing Middle East conflicts to Argentina. The irony of this statement is that Iran chose Argentina as the target of its’ own intense hatred and violence.

Iranians probably laugh at these events where they are being given a pass over and over again. So, the fact that Iranians may have considered an attack on the Israeli Embassy in a country that is friendly to them such as Uruguay shows the ruthless nature of the regime and how little relations or agreements mean to them.

The negotiations between Iran and the P 5 +1 are mainly focused on Iran’s nuclear program. Thus, Iran is treated as a partner in a negotiation over a specific issue but Iran’s terrorist and treacherous nature is not a factor being considered in this equation.

At this point the U.S. strategy could well be to try to reach an agreement with Iran where the latter would be allowed to enrich uranium at a low level. However, there could be a possibility that if Iran decides to develop nuclear weapons, it could take the Iranians a short time to develop them from the moment they make the decision to do so.

The examples of Iran’s activities show several negative signs. First, if Iran can betray friendly countries like Uruguay, why wouldn’t it betray the P5+1? Likewise, what makes us think that we can live with a terrorist subversive Iran that not only has good chances of having a dominant role in a post-ISIS Syria and Iraq but also expands its influence and activities beyond the Middle East including regions as far as Latin America (from where Iran can strike the U.S. via a terrorist attack or by placing missiles in friendly countries such as Venezuela or Nicaragua)?

Iran presents a very complex challenge. Iran’s non –nuclear, threat is not being discussed, nor considered. This possible nuclear arms agreement should not be treated, as if it were something comparable to a commercial transaction. After all, as a nation state, Iran for the last thirty five years has been the foremost exporter of terrorism.. As the United States along with the P5+1 continues with its negotiations with Iran, they might question whether as a non-nuclear power, Iran presents a threat to world peace and stability and if so how will that play out once they were to become a nuclear power.

New Docs Reveal Osama bin Laden’s Secret Ties With Iran

osama_bin_ladenWeekly Standard, by Thomas Joscelyn, Feb. 29, 2015:

This week, prosecutors in New York introduced eight documents recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan as evidence in the trial of a terrorism suspect. The U.S. government accuses Abid Naseer of taking part in an al Qaeda’s scheme to attack targets in Europe and New York City. And prosecutors say the documents are essential for understanding the scope of al Qaeda’s plotting.

More than 1 million documents and files were captured by the Navy Seals who raided bin Laden’s safe house in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011. One year later, in May 2012, the Obama administration released just 17 of them.

While there is some overlap between the files introduced as evidence in Brooklyn and those that were previously made public in 2012, much of what is in the trial exhibits had never been made public before.

The files do not support the view, promoted by some in the Obama administration, that bin Laden was in “comfortable retirement,” “sidelined,” or “a lion in winter” in the months leading up to his death. On the contrary, bin Laden is asked to give his order on a host of issues, ranging from the handling of money to the movement of terrorist operatives.

Some of the key revelations in the newly-released bin Laden files relate to al Qaeda’s dealings with Iran and presence in Afghanistan.

A top al Qaeda operative asked bin Laden for permission to relocate to Iran in June 2010 as he plotted attacks around the world. That operative, Yunis al Mauritani, was a senior member of al Qaeda’s so-called “external operations” team, and plotted to launch Mumbai-style attacks in Europe.

As THE WEEKLY STANDARD first reported, the al Qaeda cell selected to take part in al Mauritani’s plot transited through Iran and some of its members received safe haven there after the planned attacks were thwarted.

In the memo to bin Laden, a top al Qaeda manager wrote, “Sheikh Yunis is ready to move and travel.” The file continues: “The destination, in principle, is Iran, and he has with him 6 to 8 brothers that he chose. I told him we are waiting for final complete confirmation from you to move, and agree on this destination (Iran). His plan is: stay around three months in Iran to train the brothers there then start moving them and distributing them in the world for their missions and specialties. He explained those to you in his report and plan.”

Bin Laden’s reply is apparently not included in the documents.

Other intelligence recovered in the raid on the al Qaeda master’s home show that al Qaeda and Iran were at odds in some ways. Iran detained a number of senior al Qaeda leaders and members of Osama bin Laden’s family. Al Qaeda forced Iran to release some of them by kidnapping an Iranian diplomat in Pakistan. Some of the newly-released files provide hints of these disagreements as well, including a suggestion that one of bin Laden’s sons may complain about the jihadists’ treatment in Iran once he was freed.

The same June 2010 memo to bin Laden that includes Yunis al Mauritani’s request also includes a section on the al Qaeda leaders who had returned to Pakistan from Iran. One of them is Abu Anas al Libi, a bin Laden lieutenant who was captured in Tripoli in 2013. Upon being freed, al Libi was reassigned to al Qaeda’s security committee and asked to move to Libya to take part in the anti-Qaddafi revolution. Al Qaeda granted al Libi’s request.

Although Iran and al Qaeda have had significant differences, there is much intelligence showing that the two continue to collude.

During President Obama’s administration, the Treasury and State Departments have repeatedly exposed the formerly “secret deal” between the Iranian regime and al Qaeda that allows the terrorist organization to shuttle operatives around the globe. Some of those operatives included Yunis al Mauritani’s men.

The June 2010 memo to bin Laden indicates that al Qaeda had a significant presence in Afghanistan at the time.

“Our groups inside Afghanistan are the same as for every season for many years now,” bin Laden’s subordinate wrote. “We have groups in Bactria, Bactica, Khost, Zabul, Ghazni and Warduk in addition to the battalion in Nuristan and Kunz.” (Bactria and Bactica may be transliterated incorrectly and actually reference other provinces.)

“We have very strong military activity in Afghanistan, many special operations, and the Americans and NATO are being hit hard,” the memo continues.

The author, who is likely Atiyyah Abd al Rahman (later killed in a U.S. drone strike), says that al Qaeda had recently cooperated with the Haqqani Network in a major operation in Bagram. “We cooperated with Siraj Haqqani and other commander down there (Kabul/Bagram),” Rahman writes to bin Laden. Siraj’s father, Jalaluddin Haqqani, was one of bin Laden’s closest allies. The Haqqani network and al Qaeda have fought side-by-side for years and the Haqqanis continue to provide shelter for al Qaeda’s men in northern Pakistan.

Al Qaeda’s description of its own presence in Afghanistan is directly at odds with the assessments made by U.S. military and intelligence officials, who have portrayed the group as having only a small number of fighters and being geographically isolated.

Other revelations include the following:

Senior al Qaeda leaders discussed potential negotiations with Al Jazeera over the copyrights for the jihadists’ propaganda films and footage. Al Qaeda also wanted to play a significant role in an upcoming documentary produced by the channel.

Al Qaeda believed the British were ready to cut a deal to get out of Afghanistan. If al Qaeda left the Brits alone, one file contends, the UK was willing to pull out from the country.

Al Qaeda was in direct contact with Al Tayyib Agha, a Taliban leader who has served as Mullah Omar’s emissary. The U.S. government has held direct talks with Agha in an attempt to broker a peace deal in Afghanistan. The Taliban has rejected the goals of those talks, however.

Al Qaeda was monitoring the situation in Libya, and noted that the “brothers” in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) were operating in Benghazi, Derna and elsewhere in eastern Libya. Members of the LIFG went on to help form Ansar al Sharia in Derna and other al Qaeda-linked groups, some of which took part in the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attack.

Bin Laden advised his subordinates that they should contact Abu Mohammad al Maqdisi, a well-known jihadist ideologue, to see if Maqdisi would agree to have one of his books shortened before being more widely disseminated. Bin Laden’s words show how much respect he had for Maqdisi. The Jordanians have routinely imprisoned Maqdisi, but recently let him out of detention so that he could denounce the Islamic State, which has emerged as al Qaeda’s rival. This shows how al Qaeda is using the Islamic State to portray itself as being more moderate.

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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David Ignatius Reveals More Disturbing Details of Obama’s Nuclear Sell-Out to Iran

jk2CSP, by Fred Fleitz, Feb. 25, 2015:

In an article published today, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, a notorious Obama administration apologist, provided his latest endorsement of the president’s deeply flawed nuclear diplomacy with Iran.  Ignatius also discussed some worrisome U.S. concessions to Iran that have not been previously disclosed.

During testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry denied that the United States has proposed a final nuclear deal with Iran last only ten years.  Although the ten-year limit has been leaked to many journalists, Ignatius confirmed that Obama officials want a deal with a “double-digit” duration of 10 to 15 years.

Ignatius also confirmed that a final deal will likely allow Iran to operate about 6,000 uranium centrifuges.  He noted the Obama administration’s justification for allowing this: strict monitoring and intrusive inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities that will limit the “break-out time” – the time for Iran to make enough nuclear fuel for one weapon – to a year or more.   (Click HERE to read the Center for Security Policy’s analysis of this issue.)

Ignatius failed to mention that the Iranian government has never fully cooperated with IAEA inspectors, refuses to answer the IAEA’s questions about weapons-treated nuclear activity, and did not allow IAEA inspectors to inspect all of its nuclear facilities during the nuclear talks.  Ignatius also was strangely silent on yesterday’s revelations by the NCRI, an Iranian dissident group, that Iran has been operating a secret facility where it has been developing advanced uranium centrifuges and may be enriching uranium.

Ignatius’ column revealed some shocking new Obama administration concessions to Iran.  According to Ignatius, although Iran will not be permitted to install more advanced centrifuges in a final agreement, it will be permitted to conduct “limited” research on advanced designs.  Existing operational “non-permitted” centrifuges would be “dismantled,” either by pulverizing them or simply unplugging them.

So according to Ignatius, the Obama administration has proposed allowing Iran to continue to enrich uranium with thousands of centrifuges, ‘non-permitted’ centrifuges may only be turned off, and Iran will be permitted to continue to develop new centrifuge designs.  Ignatius does not explain the purpose of Iran’s uranium enrichment.  It can’t be to make nuclear fuel for Iran’s Bushehr power reactor since that would take about 200,000 centrifuges (Iran currently has about 19,000).  As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has explained, there is only one purpose for Iran’s uranium enrichment program: to make nuclear bombs.

Ignatius also revealed the latest Obama administration concession to address Iran’s Arak heavy-water reactor which will be a source of about two weapons-worth of plutonium per year when completed in about a year to 18 months.  Iran constructed this reactor in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.  U.S. and European government previously demanded this reactor be dismantled.  The U.S. and its European allies reportedly backed away from this position over the last year by offering to let Iran operate the Arak reactor if steps were taken to ensure that it produced little plutonium either by a redesign (an irreversible approach) or fueling the reactor with enriched uranium.

According to Ignatius, “negotiators seem to have agreed on a compromise that will halt construction well before Arak becomes ‘hot’ with potential bomb fuel.”  This appears to mean that construction of the Arak reactor will proceed without any alterations to its design or fueling and Iran will be trusted to halt construction just before the reactor is operational.

Ignatius fails to answer two crucial questions about the Arak reactor.  Why does Iran need a plutonium-producing heavy-water reactor?  Why has the United States proposed to let Iran to continue construction of this reactor?

As we learn more about the outline of a possible nuclear agreement with Iran, it is becoming more obvious that the Obama administration has made dangerous concessions that will not prevent or slow Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons out of its desperation to get a nuclear agreement with Tehran.  Ignatius’ column also suggests the Obama administration is kicking several difficult issues down the road for a future president to deal with such as Iran’s uranium centrifuges and its plutonium-producing Arak reactor.

Charles Krauthammer said on Fox News last night that the Iranian nuclear negotiations are “simply catastrophic.”  I agree.  Congress needs to respond to President Obama’s nuclear sell-out to Iran by demanding an end to the nuclear talks and passing new sanctions requiring Tehran to comply with all UN Security Council resolutions on its nuclear program.

Group: Iran Operating Top Secret ‘Parallel Nuclear Program’

Published on Feb 25, 2015 by EnGlobal News World

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Feb. 24, 2015:

An Iranian dissident group known for exposing key aspects of Iran’s secret nuclear work claims it now has evidence of “an active and secret parallel nuclear program” operated by Tehran.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), also known as the MEK, said in areport released Tuesday it has found concrete evidence of an “underground top-secret site currently used by the Iranian regime for research and development with advanced centrifuges for uranium enrichment,” according to a copy of the findings.

The NCRI, an Iranian opposition group, is known for making big reveals about clandestine nuclear work in Tehran, though its findings have been disputed in the past.

In its latest report, which comes as nuclear negotiations between Iran and the West hit a critical juncture, the NCRI presents evidence of a clandestine nuclear site in Tehran that has continued to perform advanced nuclear research in the enrichment of uranium, the key component in a bomb.

The NCRI claims to have found over a decade-long investigation that the secret military site has been covered up by Tehran under the guise of an Intelligence Ministry center, according to the report.

While the information could not be independently verified, the NCRI claims to have vetted and corroborated the information with multiple sources over many years.

“Despite the Iranian regime’s claims that all of its enrichment activities are transparent and under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has in fact been engaged in research and development with advanced centrifuges at a secret nuclear site called Lavizan-3, in a military base in northeast Tehran suburbs,” the report concludes.

The site has operated in secret since at least 2008. Iranian regime scientists have used it to conduct critical research into uranium using highly advanced centrifuges that more quickly enrich the substance to levels necessary for a nuclear weapon, according to the findings.

The Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) is said to be “directly responsible” for guarding the underground site and preventing it from being detected by Western inspectors.

Part of the key concern among critics of the Obama administration’s diplomacy with Iran is that the regime has a history of obfuscating its nuclear program. Many of the research sites have not been fully acknowledged by Tehran, leading some to suspect that even under a nuclear deal, Iran could continue to pursue its controversial work in secret.

The NCRI claims the site is located in the suburbs of Tehran, deep underground and only accessible by an elevator leading to an underground tunnel.

“The underground facilities are dual-layered to prevent radiation and sound leaks,” according to the report.

The NCRI said the site provides firm proof that while negotiators are working to hammer a deal, Tehran’s nuclear work continues unabated.

“Research and development with advanced centrifuges in highly secret sites are only intended to advance the nuclear weapons project,” the report states. “While the regime deceived the world into believing that it had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, it had been in fact heavily involved in excavating tunnels and preparing this nuclear site from 2004 to 2008.”

The dissident organization is urging the United States to make any further talks contingent on Iran admitting to the site and permitting the entry of inspectors.

“If the United States is serious about preventing the Iranian regime from obtaining nuclear weapons, it must make the continuation of the talks predicated on the IAEA’s immediate inspection of the Lavizan-3 site,” it states.

The NCRI’s report was released at a critical time in the Obama administration’s diplomacy with Iran.

Reports emerged earlier this week that the United States is considering allowing Iran to retain the majority of its nuclear infrastructure under a final deal.

The deal is shaping up to be a two-phased agreement, according to the Associated Press. This means Tehran would be subject to restrictions on its work for around a decade before they are lifted.

The NCRI maintains that the Iranian regime cannot be trusted to negotiate in good faith.

“The notion that the mullahs will abandon their nuclear weapons program [through] nuclear talks is a misguided narrative, which is the byproduct of the mullahs’ duplicity and western economic and political expediency,” it states in the report.

The White House, State Department, and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) received copies of the report several hours before it was made public to reporters.

The State Department did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

***

 

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Iran’s Peace Letter from a Poison Pen

In case you haven’t heard, peace is about to break out in the Middle East.

I realize it doesn’t look like that from the headlines: The government just fell in Yemen; Islamic State forces are threatening U.S. Marines in Iraq’s Anbar Province; Hezbollah is vowing revenge against Israel for killing the son of one of their beloved mass murderers.

But then there is Iran. Thirty-six years after the Islamic Revolution, the mullahs may finally be warming up to the Great Satan. On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sent a letter recently to President Barack Obama saying he was open to a more direct alliance against the Islamic State, if negotiators could iron out a deal on Tehran’s nuclear program. Khamenei has even said publicly he was open to a deal. Secretary of State John Kerry has been meeting with his counterpart, Javad Zarif. The meetings! The channels! The back channels! Diplomacy!

It’s the kind of thing that gets the hearts of our Iran-watchers palpitating. Over the years, Iran has sent a string of envoys to meet with Westerners to explain that their country’s war against the U.S., Israel, Sunni monarchies, ethnic minorities, gays, journalists and dissidents is all a big misunderstanding. Deep down, many of Iran’s leaders just want peace, these emissaries say, but they always end up getting undermined by the hardliners. Now, the hardliner of all hardliners, the supreme leader himself, is talking about peace too. And he’s even suggesting an alliance against a common foe. Any day now, he will lead the crowd in chants of “Life to America!”

All of this is tempting. The U.S. has little to show for its on-again-off-again war against Iran, and the two nations’ interests should be aligned in the war on terrorism that began after Sept. 11, 2001. The Sunni Islamists of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State consider the Shiites who run Iran to be apostates of the true faith. Iran has been fighting them in Syria and now is fighting them in Iraq. Why can’t bygones be bygones?

But before declaring Iran’s president his generation’s Gorbachev, it’s worth considering some bad news. To start, Iran has had an opportunistic relationship with al-Qaeda over the years, despite the whole apostasy problem. A year ago, the Treasury Department laid a lot of this out in a designation about al-Qaeda’s network in Iran. Terrorist operatives based in Mashhad, near Iran’s border with Afghanistan, were allowed to facilitate the transfer of al-Qaeda fighters from Pakistan to Syria through Iranian territory. After 9/11, Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, cut a deal with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps to allow family members to live in Iran while they moved from Afghanistan to Pakistan. Iran was also a key base in the last decade for al-Qaeda operatives such as Saif al-Adel, who was kept under a house arrest so loose he was able to write a semi-regular Internet column and help plan al-Qaeda’s war against the Iraqi government.

OK, opportunistic relationships can change. FDR and Stalin were allies against the Nazis, but after the Third Reich collapsed, the U.S. and the Soviet Union fought a cold war. Why can’t Iran and America be new allies in a war against the Islamic State? In many ways they already are.

The problem is: Iran really loves terrorism. Since 1979, it has used terrorism as a tool of statecraft like no other nation. In his testimony Thursday before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Nick Rasmussen, the head of the National Counterterrorism Center, said Iran and Hezbollah “remain committed to conducting terrorist activities worldwide and we are concerned their activities could either endanger or target U.S. and other Western interests.”

Iran’s leaders have been implicated in terrorist attacks in South America, Europe and the Middle East. The Justice Department in 2011 accused Iran of attempting to kill Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington at a popular Georgetown restaurant, Cafe Milano. For the Islamic Republic to give up its predilection for terror would require a cultural revolution inside its defense establishment. What would the Quds Force be without car bombers and kidnapping?

Some might argue that the 2013 election of President Hassan Rouhani, a supposed reformer, signifies just this kind of change. But there is little evidence he is opening up Iranian society. State executions of gays and arrests of dissidents continue. Even though Rouhani tweeted in 2013 a Jewish New Year message to his followers on Twitter, the regime remains steeped in ugly anti-Semitism. In response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris last month, a cultural center in Iran with close ties to the regime announced a Holocaust cartoon contest. Despite Rouhani’s campaign promises, the leaders of the country’s green movement, the people who took to the streets to protest the 2009 elections, remain under house arrest or brutal detention in the country’s prisons. If Iran is unwilling to stop terrorizing its own people, why should anyone think it will stop terrorizing the citizens of its historic enemies?

And this gets to the most important argument as to why an alliance with Iran is a recipe for more war. Iran has been a partner of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as his troops continue to massacre his own people, causing a death toll conservatively estimated to be north of 129,000. In Yemen, Iran-supported Houthi rebels drove the Obama administration this week to shutter its embassy and CIA station in Sana’a, setting back a crucial war against al-Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate. Iran-supported militias in Iraq threaten the Sunni Arab population, driving many potential Sunni allies into the arms of the terrorists. Iran’s participation in a coalition against Islamic State forces, while seemingly helpful, threatens to turn a fight against a terrorist group into a bloody, regional sectarian war.

It’s hard to know exactly what kind of deal, if any, will emerge from Iran’s nuclear negotiations in Geneva with the U.S. and other great powers. But if Obama believes he can purchase Iranian counter-terrorism cooperation with concessions on its nuclear program, he is paying Iran twice and getting very little in return.

It’s also possible that Khamenei’s messages have been lost in translation. With apologies to Mel Brooks, it could be that when Iran’s supreme leader said he wanted “peace,” he meant: a piece of Yemen, a piece of Iraq, a piece of Syria, a piece of Gaza, a piece of Lebanon. You get the picture.

To contact the author on this story:
Eli Lake at elake1@bloomberg.net

SEN. TED CRUZ: ‘ISIS IS THE FACE OF EVIL,’ IRAN PRESENTS ‘GRAVEST THREAT’ TO AMERICA

ted-cruz-AP (1)Breitbart, by JORDAN SCHACHTEL, Feb. 11 2015:

Washington, D.C.– A group of internationally-recognized scholars, national security practitioners, and high-ranking government officials convened at the Defeat Jihad Summit to discuss “The Record to date in Defeating the Global Jihad Movement.”

Among the discussants were Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who urged at length that America must defeat the Global Jihad Movement and prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon through a comprehensive strategy in order to preserve the United States’s freedom.

“This is an important gathering,” stressed Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). “This is a comprehensive, serious strategy in addressing the threat of radical Islamism,” the Senator said in complementing the Center For Security’s Secure Freedom Strategy.

“If you’re not aware of what you’re fighting, you’re not going to defeat it,” said Cruz.

What brings together jihadists groups, such as Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram, is the ideology of “radical Islam,” explained Cruz.

Cruz added that if Christians and Jews tortured and killed people in the name of their religion, he and the surrounding panel would be the first to condemn the attacks as a perversion of their faith.

“It is the radical islamist theology and political philosophy of jihad” that our enemies preach, and “It is dangerous not to acknowledge it,” explained the Senator from Texas.

Cruz commended Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s speech in which he called for reformation in Islam. “He knew well that he was risking his life to say that,” he explained.

Cruz said that while he was at the Munich Security Conference, the President of Kurdistan revealed to him that ISIS was using rape as a political tool to instill fear within minority sects. “ISIS is the face of evil. They are beheading children. They are crucifying Christians. They are beheading journalists,” said Cruz.

Cruz concluded, “The solution to ISIS is not eradicating poverty in the Middle East, or expanding medicaid in Iraq. The solution to ISIS is to hunt down and kill the terrorist leaders,”

The Senator recommended that the United States directly arm and equip the Kurdish Peshmerga, instead of sending the weapons through Baghdad. America needs to arm the Kurds so they can “hunt down and kill the ISIS leaders,” he said.

Cruz said that the nation also needs to recognize the threat posed by Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, which is the “gravest threat” facing the United States. “We are repeating the mistakes of the 1990s with regard to North Korea… but here the dangers are qualitatively greater,” he said. What makes Iran more dangerous is that their country, which is led by Ayatollah Khamenei and the mullahs, are not rational actors

“If Iran acquires a nuclear weapon, the odds are unacceptably high that they will use that weapon,” added Cruz. Even If Iran doesn’t use their nuclear weapon, “the inevitable result will be nuclear proliferation throughout the Middle East,” he concluded.

Worse than no strategy – Obama’s ‘secret strategy’ accommodates the leading sponsor of terrorism

Illustration on Obama's secret strategy to promote Iranian hegemony by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Illustration on Obama’s secret strategy to promote Iranian hegemony by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

, Feb. 10, 2015:

It seems like only yesterday that President Obama was being criticized for having no strategy to counter the jihadi threat. In fact, it was about 10 days ago. Peggy Noonan’s Feb. 1 Wall Street Journal column was headlined: “America’s Strategy Deficit.”

Since then, a different perception has been taking root: Mr. Obama does indeed have a strategy — a “secret strategy,” one that is alarmingly misguided.

According to this theory, he believes that fighting terrorism requires accommodating the regime long recognized by the U.S. government as the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism: the Islamic Republic of Iran.

He may also see the Islamic republic not as a rival to the Islamic State but as a more moderate alternative — despite the fact that Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, has repeatedly declared hostility toward America the foundation of the Islamic revolution.

The president appears to believe that Sunni jihadis can be countered by Shia jihadis. Last week, the Islamic State demonstrated its barbarism by immolating a Jordanian pilot. That should not cause us to forget that Iran’s rulers supplied militias in Iraq with improvised explosive devices used to immolate American soldiers, that they are supporting Syrian dictator Bashar Assad who has used chemical weapons to scorch the lungs of his opponents, and that they are continuing to illicitly develop nuclear weapons capable of immolating millions.

Michael Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, has not just speculated about Mr. Obama’s “secret strategy.” He has painstakingly combed through the record and produced a 9,000-word report persuasively establishing that Mr. Obama, since early in his presidency, has been in pursuit of a “comprehensive agreement” that would allow Iran to become what the president has called “a very successful regional power.”

Understand what that means: Iran would be the hegemon of the Middle East. Some states would accept Tehran’s authority, striking deals and kowtowing in order to survive. Europeans would accommodate Iran, based on its control of the flow of Gulf oil. Israel and Saudi Arabia, nations that Iran’s rulers have threatened to wipe from the map, would be left to fend for themselves.

Some Sunnis would almost certainly turn to al Qaeda and the Islamic State to help defend them from Shia domination. Indeed, the Islamic State rose in response to the extension of Iranian power in Baghdad after America’s withdrawal from Iraq, coupled with Mr. Obama’s decision not to support non-Islamist Syrians who had rebelled against the Assad dictatorship.

Mr. Doran cites evidence that in the first year of Mr. Obama’s first term, there were more White House meetings on Iran than any other national security concern. Detente with Iran was seen as “an urgent priority,” but the president “consistently wrapped his approach to that priority in exceptional layers of secrecy” because he was convinced that neither Congress nor the American public would support him.

A year ago, Mr. Doran further reports, Benjamin Rhodes, a member of the president’s inner circle, told a group of Democratic activists (unaware that he was being recorded) that a deal with Iran would prove to be “probably the biggest thing President Obama will do in his second term on foreign policy.” He made clear that there would be no treaty requiring the Senate’s advice and consent.

The president believes that “the less we know about his Iran plans, the better,” Mr. Doran concludes. “Yet those plans, as Rhodes stressed, are not a minor or incidental component of his foreign policy. To the contrary, they are central to his administration’s strategic thinking about the role of the United States in the world, and especially in the Middle East.”

Those plans also explain why the president has refused to use tough sanctions, or even the threat of tough sanctions, to force Ayatollah Khamenei to choose between his nuclear weapons program and economic collapse. Mr. Doran writes: “For Obama, to force a confrontation with Khamenei would destroy any chance of reaching an accommodation on the nuclear front and put paid to his grand vision of a new Middle East order.”

Mr. Doran’s piece was published in the online journal Mosaic on Feb. 2. Four days later, Mr. Obama released his 2015 National Security Strategy (NSS). It contained nothing about the “secret strategy.” In fact, it contained nothing that could be called a strategy.

That appraisal is widely shared. For example, David Rothkopf — who served in the Clinton administration, “voted for Barack Obama twice” and now edits Foreign Policy magazine — called the NSS “a brief filed by the president in defense of his record to date” and “a mishmash leavened by good intentions but unintentionally spiced up by oversights, misrepresentations, and a bad track record.”

Last Friday, national security adviser Susan Rice reassured an audience at the Brookings Institution that “the dangers we face are not of the existential nature we confronted during World War II or the Cold War.” But if Iran becomes nuclear-armed, other despotic regimes will follow, greatly increasing the likelihood that terrorists will get their hands on nukes and, sooner or later, use them.

Remember that American leaders of both parties similarly minimized the threat posed by al Qaeda prior to Sept. 11, 2001. Is the lesson of that day, as Ms. Rice implies, that we should worry only about existential threats — confident that we can absorb lesser doses of death and destruction? Or should we have learned instead to do all we can to prevent our enemies from inflicting such punishment now and in the future?

This is a debate worth having. But it will be inhibited so long as the president insists on hiding his views, leaving it to a few exceptional scholars to read between the lines.

Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a columnist for The Washington Times.

The Watchman: Iran’s Moves in the Middle East and Why You Should Care

Published on Feb 10, 2015 by CBN News

On this week’s edition of The Watchman, we sit down with former Israeli Ambassador Yoram Ettinger and White House correspondent Bill Koenig to discuss Iran’s dangerous advance throughout the Middle East and what it means for America and Israel.

Will America Put ‘Boots on the Ground’ to Retake Mosul from ISIS?

AFP PHOTO / ALI AL-SAADI

AFP PHOTO / ALI AL-SAADI

Breitbartby JOHN HAYWARD, Feb. 9 2015:

According to comments from a U.S. Central Command official toCNN, a major ground offensive to dislodge ISIS from Mosul could be coming in April, and American ground forces could be part of it.

This ground force would supposedly be small, assisting the Iraqi army in a primarily advisory role. At present, the Pentagon is evaluating the strength of the Islamic State’s defenses to determine if American troops will need to accompany the Iraqis into battle.

Much depends on whether the ISIS offensive into Iraq has truly stalled out, due to logistical problems, casualties, and a slowdown in the number of foreign fighters imported by the Islamic state as reinforcements. Most encouragingly, the official quoted by CNN claimed ISIS members were “protecting their families by sending them out of Mosul,” suggesting that they know an offensive is coming and doubt their ability to hold the crucial Iraqi city. It was also considered a promising development that ISIS gave up on pouring resources into a battle for the Kurdish city of Kobani, which suffered through months of see-saw battles.

The air campaign around Mosul is focused on cutting off its ISIS occupiers from supplies and reinforcements. Kurdish peshmerga units recently seized three important bridgeheads on the west bank of the Tigris River to the north of the city, which should help isolate the ISIS units inside Mosul when the big Iraqi push to recapture the city begins.

The Islamic State has been characteristically horrible in its treatment of the conquered city. Over the past couple weeks, they have been on a rampage against religious sites they find disagreeable, using construction equipment to level buildings after looting them of relics and books. At least one mosque that did not measure up to ISIS standards was destroyed.

As Fox News explains, one of the things that sets off the ISIS terrorists is the presence of mausoleums on mosque grounds, which they consider “heresy” because the “Faithful” might end up offering prayers to the dead, instead of directing all prayers to Allah. Although, the Islamic State has been certified 100 percent Islam-free by the Obama administration.

ISIS has also set about conscripting the youth of Mosul into its army, ordering families with more than one son to surrender one of their boys for military service to fulfill their “sacred obligation to defend Islam against the infidels,” as one resident told NBC News. NBC also relayed claims from the vice president of Iraq that a network of underground resistance fighters in Mosul has been conducting attacks against ISIS.

It will be necessary to soften up Mosul as much as possible for the invasion because, as the Washington Post observes, Iraqi military units have relatively little experience at brutal house-to-house urban combat, and it would be politically difficult for the Iraqi government to send either Kurdish forces or Iran-backed Shiite militia units into the city. U.S. air support would have to be more precisely targeted in an urban battleground, which is why some number of American boots will almost certainly be on the ground when the battle for Mosul begins.

Obama’s Biggest Lie and What It Means

obama_pino-300x180PJ Media, By Roger L Simon On February 8, 2015:

Unlike Nixon and Clinton, who lied in self-defense, Obama lies proactively, which is decidedly more dangerous.  He will say practically anything to achieve his goals without regard to the truth.  The repeated assertion about keeping your doctor and your health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is just one famous example.  But only a few days ago on Fareed Zakaria’s show the president made a statement that dwarfed his claims about Obamacare.  When asked if we were in a war with radical Islam, the president replied:

….I reject a notion that somehow that creates a religious war because the overwhelming majority of Muslims reject that interpretation of Islam. They don’t even recognize it as being Islam, and I think that for us to be successful in fighting this scourge, it’s very important for us to align ourselves with the 99.9 percent of Muslims who are looking for the same thing we’re looking for — order, peace, prosperity.

99.9 percent?!  I will bypass for the moment Obama’s rather self-serving definition of Islam and focus on that outrageous  number, which is absurd on the face of it and not remotely supported by any of the numerous polls on the subject.  Although the data is somewhat fluid, we can assume that out of 1.7 billion Muslims world wide, at least 200 million are sympathetic to the goals and means of the Islamists, many of them, undoubtedly many millions, willing to put their scimitars where their mouths are. By way of comparison, of the approximately 66 million Germans at the beginning of World War II, some 850,000 were card-carrying NazisDaniel Pipes points out the Islamist numbers are diminishing, but the raw totals are still huge and nowhere remotely in the vicinity of Obama’s risible point 01 percent.  No matter how you count it, we’ve got a problem that is not going away anytime soon, possibly not before everyone reading this article has passed from the scene, I’m sorry to say.

So why did Obama lie and what does that mean?  To begin with, he is a moral narcissist.  That means because he knows he’s right and knows what we should do, he’s free to say anything he wishes that he believes will achieve those goals, especially if he thinks he can get away with it.  And Fareed Zakaria would be the last person to question him. (The CNN commentator has problems of his own.)  If all this reminds you of the ends justify the means, it’s not accidental.  Marx was a moral narcissist too — one of the greatest.

Now let’s get back to Obama and Islam.  Is he a Muslim?  Not really. He’s not religious, but he does have an Islamic childhood with which he identifies, undoubtedly on a more profound level than he does with Christianity, which he joined for expedient reasons.  Therefore, he can’t acknowledge to himself and others that Islam is severely sick and in need of serious reformation.  No talk from Obama ever about all the extreme misogyny and homophobia that pervades Islam, nor of Shariah law.  Nothing like this ever passes his lips — at least I’ve never heard it.  To do so would be to say there is something wrong with him.  So he says that 99.9% of Muslims reject the Islamists, which is literally impossible because if it were so, the Islamists wouldn’t be wreaking havoc everywhere from Sydney to Sanaa.

Complicating this psychological disturbance on the part of our president is his overweening desire to make a deal with Iran, almost at all costs.  Bizarre as it sounds, a deal with Iran would prove to Obama that Islam — at least in its Iranian shiite form — is capable of modernity. To the rest of us, it means they’re capable of nuclear war. (I guess that’s sort of modernity.) In any case, Obama’s greatest lie is designed to include Iran and its leaders in the good 99.9%. I can’t imagine a scarier thought.

Bostom Discusses Obama’s Nat’l Prayer Breakfast Speech, Islam as a ROP, Iran, Muslim Reformer M.Z. Jasser, and More

 

110912_dobbs_bostom

By Andrew Bostom, Feb. 7, 2015:

Audio link (just under 40 minutes): https://soundcloud.com/blazebooks/islam-scholar-dr-andrew-bostom-on-whether-islam-is-a-religion-of-peace-iran-and-much-more

Again, I referred to this two part essay “Jihad Begot the Crusades”, from 2005: Jihad begot the Crusades (1); Jihad begot the Crusades (2)

As for “Slavery”, since the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, see this comparison of U.S. and Ottoman Slavery: Sesquicentennial Comparisons: Black Slavery in America and Ottoman Turkey

The Inquisition and its (Prototype?) Antecedents The Muslim Mihna (an intra-Muslim Inquisition imposed by the inappropriately “lionized” Mutazilities), and more immediately (i.e., to the Inquisition) the Almohad Persecutions are discussed in these essays: Mutazilite Fantasies: Dross in Islam’s “Golden Age of Reason” (The Muslim Mihna); Maimonides and the “Meshugga” Prophet; & The Cordoba House and the Myth of Cordoban ‘Ecumenism’ (the Almohad Persecutions)

For additional understanding of my brief discussion of Muslim reformer Mohammed Zuhdi Jasser, see these essays: Sharia Über Alles (polling data of Muslims across the globe, and within the U.S., Jasser uniformly ignores) Blog: Zuhdi Jasser’s Predicament — And Ours (his apologetics, which, when challenged, devolve into angry lashing out)

These recent discussions of Iran (in print and video), and certainly my book Iran’s Final Solution For Israel, cover aspects all of what I alluded to on Iran: Jihad, Najis, & Islamic Jew-Hatred, The 3 Pillars of Iran’s Hegemonic Aspirations: My 1/28 Appearance on The Iran Truth Panel; Message to Michael* Ledeen on Mousavi, Montazeri, and the Soylent Green Movement; End the Bush-Obama Fecklessness: Destroy Iran’s Nuclear Facilities Now; Updated Author’s Preface to “Iran’s Final Solution For Israel”; A True Iranian Reformer, and His Movement?

****

Update, Feb. 9, 2015 : Benjamin Weingarten gives his synopsis of the interview at The Blaze:

Let me start with the Civil War — I mean this is a president who — we can excuse him for his ignorance of Islamic theology and Islamic history, you know despite his nominal background in Islam as a child. But excuse me, but the abolitionists were Christians, and the United States literally went to war with itself, unlike any other society before, to extirpate the longstanding, thousand year longstanding evil of slavery in virtually every human civilization. It’s just appalling that he doesn’t even grasp that fundamental decency about this country.

…[I]f you look at what he’s [President Obama’s] referring to in terms of the Crusades…if I could just share with you something that I wrote ten years ago [from Bostom’s “Jihad Begot the Crusades,” parts 1 and 2]…

The jihad is intrinsic to the sacred Muslim texts, including the divine Qur’anic revelation itself, whereas the Crusades were circumscribed historical events subjected to (ongoing and meaningful) criticism by Christians themselves. Unlike the espousal of jihad in the Qur’an, the constituent texts of Christianity, the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, do not contain a form fruste [incomplete] institutionalization of the Crusades. The Bible sanctions the Israelites conquest of Canaan, a limited domain, it does not sanction a permanent war to submit all the nations of humanity to a uniform code of religious law. Similarly, the tactics of warfare are described in the Bible, unlike the Qur’an, in very circumscribed and specific contexts. Moreover, while the Bible clearly condemns certain inhumane practices of paganism, it never invoked an eternal war against all of the world’s pagan peoples [for example like Koran 9:5does…].

The Crusades as an historical phenomenon were a reaction to events resulting from over 450 years of previous jihad campaigns.

So I just did what I could back then to put some of this…blather in context. And then of course he [President Obama] goes on and talks about the Inquisition.

Well…Islam too has had its inquisitions. It’s had its inquisitions against other Muslims dating back to the 9th century…and it also had a horrific inquisition…in the 12th century, imposed upon the Jews in particular, who were massacred, pillaged and enslaved by the tens of thousands, and then forcibly converted to Islam. And some practiced crypto-Judaism, and they were subjected to the same practices curiously that were adopted by the inquisitioners in the same region, so you could argue this might have even been a historical prototype, just within a couple centuries later.

Bostom added:

And the big difference Ben, I think, is that we in the West, as religious and non-religious people, criticize all of these ideologies — whether they’re religions like Christianity and Judaism, or whether they’re very, very horrible secular totalitarian ideologies like Nazism and Communism.

All of the baggage that we have accumulated — and we have accumulated a lot of baggage, unlike in Islamdom, is open to criticism. And that is a profound difference Ben.

Iran and Nuclear Terrorism

1049 (1)By Justin O. Smith:

Feckless negotiating with Iran over the past decade, especially these past two years, have burned an image of a miserable Chamberlain-style failure in the minds of the American people, as President Obama and Secretary Kerry have allowed the greatest threat in the 21st century to become our reality. For all intents and practical purposes, Iran is now essentially a nuclear armed missile state, and rather than pursue more negotiations, the at risk nations, such as the United States, Britain, Germany, France and much of Europe and Israel, must seriously consider a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, before its weaponry can be perfected and mass produced. And even then, small nukes handed to Iran’s proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah, will remain a threat, as long as the Ayatollahs hold their iron grip on Iran.

All the political analysts have been speaking in terms of “if” Iran achieves a nuclear weapons program, when all the evidence suggests that Iran already has one. Long held Shahab-4 missiles with a 2500 mile range and the February 2, 2009 orbit of the Safir-2 Omid _ “Hope” exhibits that Iran has an intercontinental delivery system. Iran also has received an A.Q. Khan warhead design from North Korea, as well as a Chinese warhead design, and it has a currently undetermined amount of near weapons grade uranium, due to its maintenance of a number of secret facilities.

Iran has acknowledged the existence of 19,000 centrifuges, with 9,000 currently operating. These 9,000 centrifuges can produce enough weapons grade plutonium to produce approximately three nuclear missiles in a year. If Iran reduces this number to 7,000 and keeps much of its uranium enriching technology, as John Kerry and others have suggested, experts warn that any reduction in centrifuge efficiency is reversible more quickly than a straight decrease in the number of centrifuges.

While Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani claimed in his February 4th speech that Iran “neither covets nor aspires to acquire nuclear weapons”, there remain many within the Ayatollah hierarchy who would refute this. Rouhani’s opposition states fairly correctly that Sipah-e-Sahaba, an intensely anti-Shiite Islamofascist group, has close ties to Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment, which stokes Iranian fears of a nuclear first strike by Pakistan. They are also concerned that Riyadh has invested heavily in the Pakistan nuclear program and can get a nuclear weapon at will, which plays a large part in Iran’s nuclear quest.

And, as an unrepentant sponsor of terrorism for thirty-five years, Tehran has made no secret of its desire to wipe Israel/ “Little Satan” and America/ “Big Satan” off the face of the earth, while it has systemized terror as a primary mechanism for accomplishing it goals and exporting its worldview and Islamist ideology. In this context, despite any security issues Iran may have with Sunni nations like Saudi Arabia, the United States must not allow Iran to build an arsenal of nuclear weapons, under any circumstances.

Over the past year the world has seen Iran use its Quds Force and Revolutionary Guard in Iraq and Hezbollah in Syria. We witnessed Iran trade arms and munitions for black-market oil with the Islamic State. And then, Iran threatened to send millions of jihadists to Gaza to fight in the “struggle” against Israel. The news from Iran is never good.

Since Iran already views itself as advancing the Islamic hegemon in the region, just think of the influence Iran will exert throughout the entire Middle East, once it is prepared to fully unveil its real nuclear capabilities. It is already exerting great influence through its finances and military, and in the aftermath of the Iranian backed Shiite Houthis taking control of Sana’a, Yemen, the Arabic media now refers to Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and Sana’a as “the four capitals of Iran”, which Iranian media calls a “victory for the [Islamic] revolution.”

Does anyone believe that the Ayatollahs will not find a way to detonate a nuclear weapon in New York or Chicago, especially with the U.S’s current porous border situation? __ or Tel Aviv?

Although Iran has previously launched several satellites on a south to north trajectory, in an attempt to elude U.S. Ballistic Early Warning Radar, Iran will seek “plausible deniability”. As I wrote on November 30, 2013:

“Utilizing numerous deceptions, such as tramp steamers off the U.S. and European coasts or physically crossing porous borders, it would not be too difficult for Iran to target 29 critical sites in America and the West, identified numerous times by successive Iranian presidents.”

As Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) spoke with Greta Van Sustern (Fox News) on January 27th, he observed:

“If we continue on the path we are with the Iranians, they’ll wind up with a nuclear capability … and one day have a [nuclear] bomb. He’s about to make the biggest mistake of this presidency.”

While Obama has previously stated that a nuclear armed Iran represents a “profound” national security threat to the U.S., his Chamberlain-style appeasement tactics have greatly alarmed opponents of Iran’s nuclear program, especially considering that Olli Heinonen, former IAEA Deputy Director General, warned (Jan. 20, 2014) that Iran could build a nuclear weapon within two to three weeks. They see Iran on the cusp of a rapid nuclear break-out, while Obama gives Iran more time to stockpile more uranium, time that the world can ill-afford to give a rogue regime with so much blood on its hands.

With Iran’s Ayatollahs stalling for time and possibly stockpiling an untold number of nuclear warheads (scores?) and Obama and Kerry legitimizing major pieces of Iran’s nuclear program, this U.S. administration and world leaders are failing at a critical juncture of history that demands decisive action, not an unacceptable bad deal that leaves nuclear capabilities in Iran’s hands. Decisive action is needed to stop a defiant Iran, protect U.S. interests and halt a rising Islamic dawn and an era of nuclear terrorism.

We Still Don’t Know Why Obama Wants Deal with Iran

obama_iran_crossed_fingers_4-20-14-1 (1)PJ Media, By Michael Ledeen On February 3, 2015:

The past few days have produced at least three excellent articles on Obama’s secret agreements, or would-be agreements, with Iran. At the Daily Beast,Michael Weiss and Michael Pregent put it in the framework of the fight against ISIS [1], explaining how our constant catering to Iran’s desires makes it virtually impossible for us to defeat the Islamic State.  Mosaic’s Michael Doran lays out the history [2] of Obama’s Iran dealings (still mostly secret, including the details of the currently-operative interim agreement), which, as Doran puts it, has resulted in the Iranians having “bested the most powerful country on earth on their terms.”  Finally, there’s Jeffrey Goldberg’s musings at the Atlantic, which more or less conclude that, while Obama hopes to strike a deal with Iran that will both end its pursuit of nuclear weapons and moderate its international behavior [3]:

Iran seems as interested as ever in becoming a regional hegemon, on its own terms. And its supreme leader, and his closest confidants, have made it clear, over [4] and over [5] again, that he is not interested in normalizing relations with the United States.

Those who have followed this space over the past several years will not be shocked or even surprised at these revelations, but the fact that four authoritative analysts–and Tony Badran [6] of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies should be added to the list of clear-eyed observers — have all concluded that Obama has been in thrall to Iran for several years now, with frightening consequences for our national interest, is news.  And there are others:  Eli Lake at Bloomberg [7] and Kyle Orton on his own blog [8], for example, are two of the best.

All of these have done outstanding work, and it’s encouraging that they have all come to agree with my essays over the past several years, going back to the earliest days of the Obama administration.  It’s worth dwelling on this point, as Michael Doran of Mosaic, for example, has still not accepted it.  He thinks that the secret American talks with Iran revolve around the 2012 elections, which gave Obama greater freedom in pursuing his Iranian scheme.  But that is wrong.  The secret talks began in 2008, before Obama was even elected, and the back channel, as I was the first to reveal, was retired U.S. Ambassador William Miller, who confirmed the story to me and others.

In other words, Obama entered the White House with the intention of forging an alliance with our most dangerous enemy in the Middle East.  That fact has to be the baseline of any serious analysis of our government’s policies.

Which takes us straightaway to the great unanswered question:  Why does the president want this alliance?

I don’t know the answer.  I suspect there is no single answer, but many components.  No doubt one component is Obama’s well-documented conviction that American misbehavior is responsible for many, if not most, of the world’s problems.  He probably believes the myths about the 1953 events that restored the shah to power in Tehran.  He may well share at least some elements of the Iranian regime’s hatred of past American actions.

But those fairly widespread, basically secular, and quintessentially leftist convictions don’t get us there.  They don’t begin to explain the president’s passion to embrace the Islamic Republic, the world’s biggest killer of Americans, a regime that slaughters and imprisons and tortures its own citizens in record numbers, especially in light of its consistently anti-American behavior throughout the Obama years.

The president is apparently immovable on this matter, regardless of advice from his own people, from our military leaders, and from allies.  Doran elegantly sums up Obama’s Syria policy:

Clearly, the president viewed the anti-Assad movement in Syria just as he had viewed the Green Movement in Iran three years earlier: as an impediment to realizing the strategic priority of guiding Iran to the path of success. Was the Middle East in fact polarized between the Iranian-led alliance and just about everyone else? Yes. Were all traditional allies of the United States calling for him to stand up to Iran? Yes. Did the principal members of his National Security Council recommend as one that the United States heed the call of the allies? Again, yes. But Obama’s eyes were still locked on the main prize: the grand bargain with Tehran.

What is the reason for such relentless pigheadedness?  Most all his people were on the other side, he wasn’t getting any diplomatic cooperation from Zarif and Rouhani, American hostages were suffering in Iranian captivity, yet the president pursued his dream.

Past American sins aren’t nearly good enough.  It seems to me there must be something about Iran itself that draws him into the web of the mullahs.  Perhaps if we knew more about his life it would at least provide a clue.  Did he have a Persian lover?  Did one of his professors glorify Shi’ism?  I haven’t seen a trace of helpful evidence.

I don’t believe the theory that he’s a closet Muslim.  For this “explanation” to work, he’d have to be a closeted Twelver Shi’a, and there’s no good reason to believe that.

Other theories point to Valerie Jarrett, who was born in Iran.  Perhaps the dream comes from her?  She’s the president’s closest adviser, after all, and she’s a central player in the secret talks.  But we know a lot about her, and what we know paints a convincing picture of an American pol, an Obama friend and loyalist, a friend of Michelle, and a practitioner par excellence of Chicago School Politics.  Not a lover of the world’s leading sponsor of terror.

None of his many interviewers has pressed Obama on this central question, nor have our congressional bigwigs seen fit to investigate it.  Maybe that will change, as the media mood evolves toward bafflement and criticism.  It seems to me that we are entitled to know a lot more about the secret talks, and about the White House guidance under which the talks have been conducted.  I am still baffled that Congress has not demanded the text of the current agreement with Iran on the nuclear matter, and I am frustrated that no leading journalist has the slightest interest in the hostage question, which may well be linked to Obama’s dream (maybe he doesn’t want to escalate pressure for hostage releases because he doesn’t want trouble from Khamenei).

I do know that it’s a very big question, and I wish we knew the answer.  It’s urgent.

Concerns Deepen that U.S. Allowing Iranian Takeover of Iraq

[Photo: CBS This Morning / YouTube ]

[Photo: CBS This Morning / YouTube ]

An Iran-backed militia has emerged as the primary Iraqi military force fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), according to a report Tuesday by Bloomberg View’s Eli Lake.

In an interview this week, Hadi al-Amiri, the founder and leader of Iraq’s oldest and most powerful Shiite militia, the Badr Organization, told me the U.S. ambassador recently offered air strikes to support the Iraqi army and militia ground forces under his command. This has placed the U.S. in the strange position of deepening an alliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran for its war against Islamic extremists.

Late last year, the U.S. formally committed to train and equip three divisions of the Iraqi army. While some senior U.S. officials have had positive words for Iran’s role in the fight against Islamic State warriors, official U.S. policy is to support the integration of Iraq’s sectarian militias into the Iraqi Security Forces.

In Diyala Province northeast of Baghdad, however, it’s the other way around. On a tour of areas recently liberated from Islamic State control, General Ali Wazir Shamary told me that ultimately his orders came through a chain of command that originated with Amiri. In other words, the Iraqi army is integrating into Amiri’s Badr Organization in Diyala as opposed to integrating the militias into the army.

Lake writes that Amiri confirmed Shamary’s description of the chain of command. Amiri also told Lake that he meets regularly with Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the elite Qods Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Michael Flynn, a retired American general and former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, warned:

“Members of the Badr Corps are responsible for killing many American Soldiers and they will likely do it again if given the chance. … We built an Iraqi military to defeat all the enemies of Iraq and groups like the Badr Corps represent enemies of a stable, secure, and inclusive Iraq. As soon as we get done helping them with ISIS, they will very likely turn on us.”

The Badr Corps (or, as it is sometimes called, Badr Brigades) also have a troubling record of documented human rights abuses, including “kidnapping and killing [people], driving them from their homes, setting homes on fire.”

In addition to his work with Iraqi militias, Soleimani is reported to have taken control of the Syrian army at the behest of Tehran in 2013.

In a recent article for Mosaic Magazine, Michael Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, outlined the negative implications allowing Iran such great control has for American policy.

With American acquiescence, Iran is steadily taking control of the security sector of the Iraqi state. Soon it will dominate the energy sector as well, giving it effective control over the fifth largest oil reserves in the world. When the announced goal of the United States is to build up a moderate Sunni bloc capable of driving a wedge between Islamic State and the Sunni communities, aligning with Iran is politically self-defeating. In both Iraq and Syria, Iran projects its power through sectarian militias that slaughter Sunni Muslims with abandon. Are there any Sunni powers in the region that see American outreach to Tehran as a good thing? Are there any military-aged Sunni men in Iraq and Syria who now see the United States as a friendly power? There are none.

In theory, one might argue that although an association with Iran is politically toxic and militarily dangerous, the capabilities it brings to the fight against the Islamic State more than compensate. But they don’t. Over the last three years, Obama has given Iran a free hand in Syria and Iraq, on the simplistic assumption that Tehran would combat al-Qaeda and like-minded groups in a manner serving American interests. The result, in both countries, has been the near-total alienation of all Sunnis and the development of an extremist safe haven that now stretches from the outskirts of Baghdad all the way to Damascus. America is now applying to the disease a larger dose of the snake oil that helped cause the malady in the first place.

In How Iraq Became a Proxy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which was published in the December 2014 issue of The Tower Magazine, Jonathan Spyer and Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi document that it was Soleimani who crafted Iraq’s response to ISIS beginning last summer.

Almost immediately, Qassem Suleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the IRGC—the agency tasked with the creation and use of proxy political and military forces—was sent to Baghdad. Very clearly, his task was to coordinate the Iraqi response.

His influence appears to have been decisive in shaping the Iraqi response. Predictably, it involves the use of militias and Shia sectarianism along the lines pioneered in other countries. As an Iraqi official quoted by The Guardian put it, “Who do you think is running the war? Those three senior generals who ran away? Qassem Suleimani is in charge. And reporting directly to him are the militias.” Since then, Suleimani has guided much of the fighting against the I.S., and has even been physically present at a number of key engagements.

Alongside the Quds Force leaders, there are reliable reports of dozens of IRGC and Lebanese Hezbollah advisers on the ground in Iraq. In addition, Iraqi paramilitaries deployed in Syria have been returned to Iraq in order to join the fight.

So, what is happening in Iraq today is directly analogous to what happened in Syria. The Iran-aligned, Shia-dominated government in Baghdad is being protected from Sunni insurgents through the efforts and methods of the IRGC’s Quds Force, the most effective instrument of Iran’s regional policy. This, of course, has major implications for Western policy, which at the current time is acting as the air wing for this campaign.