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

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

The ISIS Study Group, Nov. 7, 2015:

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

Syria’s Assad in surprise visit to Moscow

Source: ZB

Source: ZB

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

No End in Sight in Fighting on the Arabian Peninsula Front

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

Syria jihadists capture regime town along vital road

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

Pro-Assad Forces Experience Setbacks Despite Russian Military Intervention

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Syrian Government Forces Regain Key Aleppo Supply Route

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sinai Plane Crash Update

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

Source: The ISIS Study Group

Source: The ISIS Study Group

Other Related Articles:

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

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

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

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

What the Arrests of Pro-Regime Americans Tells Us About Iranian Leadership in Turmoil


With the recent arrest and detention in Iran of Siamak Namazi, an Iranian-American businessman, and Nizar Zakka, a U.S. legal resident, by intelligence operatives of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), murky jockeying for power at the top levels of the Tehran regime just got murkier.

Set against the backdrop of a nuclear ‘deal’ that nobody in Iran has either approved or signed and a generational shift underway between the by-now very wealthy founders of Khomeini’s 1979 revolution and a lean and hungry younger cohort of hardliners imbued with the zeal of true believers, the arrests seem at first glance to make little sense.

Namazi, a Dubai-based close associate of key Iran Lobby figure, Trita Parsi and his National Iranian American Council (NIAC), and Zakka, an IT executive with Beirut connections (and a checkered past involving Canadian accusations of running an illegal immigration racket), would appear to have all the right connections and credentials to stay out of this kind of trouble.

And yet, Namazi today sits in Evin Prison and Zakka was detained after being lured to a mid-September 2015 conference to promote entrepreneurship in Iran.

While some regime insiders, like President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who have been close to the top leadership since the Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah, now seek a more open business and political environment to develop and protect their economic equities, powerful factions within the IRGC, some of which own (collectively) as much as one-third of the Iranian economy, and some of whom (like former Pasdar President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) oppose any opening whatsoever to the U.S. or the West on ideological grounds, are determined to keep Iran (and its financial assets) firmly within their own grip.

The big question is, where does Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, stand?

If perennial reports about his ill-health are to be believed, he might not be standing at all for long. But at this writing, it is his word that – probably – still defines Iranian policy. Unless elements of the IRGC finally have grown powerful enough to challenge even the Supreme Leader. In any case, these recent arrests are likely as much about the gathering succession struggle as sending a signal to over-excited American officials panting after a nuclear deal that never was and probably never will be.

Adding Namazi and Zakka to the four American hostages already being held by the Tehran regime may not trouble the Obama White House or its hapless negotiating team, but ought to serve as notice on several counts:

  • There will be no gush of reciprocity from Tehran for the abundance of U.S. concessions made during the protracted talks over Iran’s nuclear weapons program
  • Any American hopes for a new dawn of mutual understanding with Tehran on its human rights abuses, regional geo-strategic aggression, support for terrorism, or commitment to development of nuclear weapons and the ballistic missile means to deliver them need to be dashed like pumpkins after Halloween
  • The internal succession struggle over who or what eventually will take the place of current Supreme Leader  is well-underway and we understand next to nothing about it
  • The entire nuclear negotiations process, not to mention more American citizens and U.S. policy in the Middle East itself, could well end up as collateral damage if U.S. national security leadership doesn’t soon get a lot more sober-minded about who and what it is we are dealing with in Tehran: a jihadist regime bent on hegemonic regional power, locked in by a deliverable nuclear weapons capability.

Clare Lopez is Vice President for Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy. Ms. Lopez manages the Center’s counterjihad and shariah programs, bringing with her also an expertise on Iran, Hizballah, and southern border issues.

Also see:

European Influx of Militiamen Loyal To Iran Could Pose Problems

1249by John Rossomando
IPT News
October 19, 2015

Evidence uncovered on social media indicates that members of Iranian-trained Shiite militias may be entering Europe as refugees, a London-based Iraqi émigré group says. The Foreign Relations Bureau – Iraq (FRBI) identified images of 48 men on Facebook and Twitter who it says fought with Iranian-trained Shiite militias in Iraq and now are in Europe.

FRBI came into existence in 2014 and promotes women’s rights, equality, Iraqi independence from foreign control, and a non-sectarian approach to governance.

FRBI’s list shows pictures of militiamen in uniform and carrying weapons. Alongside those images are pictures showing the same people wearing Western street clothes and standing in places such as Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Greece and Finland. This same list also includes 16 people belonging to Iraq’s security services who similarly made their way to Europe and who FBRI accuses of crimes against the Iraqi people.

These militias engaged in serious human-rights abuses in places like Tikrit after they ousted the Islamic State, and Iraqi security forces similarly engaged in unlawful killings, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). FRBI refers to HRW’s research about human-rights abuses in Iraq as a reason why these men should not have been allowed into the E.U.

Images of these fighters began surfacing on social media in August and early September, said FRBI spokesman A. Al-Mahmoud.

“Our lists are compiled with the efforts of some of our affiliate analysts who follow social media of all sorts mainly militia related pages whom suddenly started posting images from within the EU as the refugee situation escalated,” Al-Mahmoud said in an email to the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT). “A public page was then set up on our website to document what can be from these accounts in hope that media would find it easier to have what they need all in one page.”

Thus far, FRBI has no evidence that the influx of Shiite militiamen into Europe has been organized or orchestrated by Iran or any organized crime syndicate in Europe, but the scale of the militiamen’s migration is unprecedented, Al-Mahmoud said.

They may have varying motivations, he said. Some may fear war crimes prosecutions and are trying to remake themselves into refugees. Others may no longer care about their government’s or clergy’s goals.

The men regularly posted images of themselves on the battlefield, Al-Mahmoud said, then suddenly began posting images showing them in Europe, which led FBRI to believe they had infiltrated the wave of refugees.

No matter the reasons for their move, FRBI fears these men are on a collision course with European values and trapped by a vicious sectarian ideology that makes them a potential threat to their host countries. It alleges that some of these men may have participated in war crimes in Iraq.

“[M]ost of the people who did join the militias do have sectarian leanings and they will export their irrational thought of non co-existence outside Iraq, which will collide with other open and liberal societies, so they will bring their problems with them,” Al-Mahmoud said. “Finally, the background they are from is very low and poor with minimal education; unskilled and foreign, they will quickly find it easy to get into the criminal/theft and drug world adding more problems to the European Union immigrant communities already suffering from stereotyping and media pressure.

“They were paid members of organizations that were trained to kill under religious banners; this is the first time they have come out of Iraq in such large numbers.”

The men belonged to deadly militias such as Al-Hashid al-Shaabi and its subsidiaries such as: Kataib Hizballah (aka Hizballah Iraq), Kataib Imam Ali militia, Saraya al-Salam militia (Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s Peace Brigades) – all of which are trained and strongly influenced by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Qods Force under the command of Gen. Qasem Soleimani. He emerged as a controversial figure in the discussions of the Iranian nuclear deal.

Kataib Imam Ali militia formed from splinter elements of al-Sadr’s militia that fought American forces during the Iraq War and remain “extremely anti-American,” said Phillip Smyth, an adjunct fellow at the Washington Institute and an expert on Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria. Kataib Imam Ali militiamen have been implicated in human-rights abuses similar to those carried out by the Islamic State (ISIS), he said. In one case, a video showed a militiaman dismembering the burned corpse of a Islamic State fighter as if he were “shwarma,” which sparked a reprisal video by the Islamic State in which two Shiite fighters were burned to death.

An IPT review of the information provided by FRBI lends credence to its contention that Shiite fighters have entered Europe among groups of refugees.

For example, the Facebook page of Al-Hashid al-Shaabi militia member Ali Spaakishows a clear progression from being on the battlefield in Iraq in June to making his way across Europe throughout September and on to Helsinki, Finland on Oct. 4. Spaaki’s Facebook page shows him getting off a ferry along with a crowd of people in a picture posted to his timeline on Sept. 20 in front of a Greek-flagged ferry and a large crowd. A related photo, also taken Sept. 20, shows him standing in front of a boat that reads “Bodrum” [Turkey] on its stern as its homeport, suggesting the ferry may have departed from that Turkish town. Bodrum has become a “magnet” for refugees, andlarge numbers of refugees have left the town hoping to make it to Greece since the summer, according to news reports. Spaaki’s departure date came weeks after the body of Aylan Kurdi, a toddler refugee, washed up onshore near Bodrum.

A similar story can be told by examining the Facebook page belonging to Al-Hashid Al-Shaabi fighter Mustafa Al-Azawi. There, he explicitly discusses his effort to enter Greece on the island of Lesbos on Sept. 17 via Izmir, Turkey, which news reports say is a common point of departure for refugees. Pictures on Al-Azawi’s timeline of himself posing on the shore of the island and of inner tubes and a crowd of likely refugees happened the same day a Getty Images photographer captured an image of migrants arriving on Lesbos. Days earlier, on Sept. 10, Al-Azawi posted Google Maps images of routes to Lesbos on Facebook, suggesting he planned his route to the island. Like Spaaki, Al-Azawi’s Facebook page shows his travel across Europe before making his to his final destination in Oulu, Finland on Oct. 3.

Al-Mahmoud also worries these militiamen could become entangled in organized crime and become involved in Iranian-controlled social organizations across Europe, and they will be used for Iran’s political ends.

“A lot of them believe in … Iran’s guiding ideology, and that political and social matters are presided over by Ayatollah Khamenei … so they follow what he says,” Smyth said. “They (Iraqi Shiite militiamen in Europe) do pose a risk.

“These groups believe that both America and the State of Israel are their existential foes.”

In the past, Hizballah supporters living in Europe, Canada or the United States have engaged in criminal activities. This includes cigarette smuggling in the U.S. andaccusations of organized crime in Canada and in the E.U. Hizballah supporters also plotted and carried out terrorist attacks in Argentina and Bulgaria. Although these Iraqi militias are not part of Hizballah, they are branches on the same Iranian Qods Force tree – first cousins in effect.

Shiites who support Hizballah and Iran in places like Sweden already have been recruited as foreign fighters by Iranian proxies to fight in Iraq, said Smyth, who traveled to Scandinavia last year on a related research trip. Having a passport from someplace like Sweden means a foreign fighter can come and go from hot zones like Iraq or Syria without the same hassles someone traveling on a Lebanese, Syrian or Iraqi passport.

While most attention has been given to Sunni foreign fighters traveling to Syria and Iraq to fight for the Islamic State and other Sunni jihadist groups, Smyth said, not enough attention has been given to Shiite fighters with ties to Iran.

“You now have a new transnational threat that is loyal to the Iranians, that is anti-American, is anti-Western, is anti-Israel,” Smyth said. “There is a direct threat that’s there.”

It is hard to tell how many people on the FRBI list actually are refugees or if they are in the E.U. vacationing or are there for some other reason. But Smyth sees them as a national-security threat either way.

“Here are examples of these guys when they are out of uniform, when they are possibly still militiamen, and they are traveling to Europe, which says something. How did they get there with a visa? Why, after all of this has been publicized, are they all still going?” Smyth asked in a phone interview with the IPT. “There are already examples of Shia militiamen, Hizballah for instance, who have used Western passports to go different places and to engage in bad deeds.”

This also has U.S. Customs officials concerned. The ease in which these Shia militiamen have entered Europe raises fears that they will be able to travel to the U.S. on E.U. passports, said one Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent who spoke under the condition of not being named. Anyone with a passport from places like Germany, Sweden can easily get on a flight to the U.S. without the sorts of hassles they might experience traveling on an Iraqi or a Syrian passport.

A spokeswoman for Europe’s top law enforcement agency, EUROPOL, told the IPT her agency was unaware of any organized effort by terrorist organizations to infiltrate the E.U. However, none of the Shia militia groups whose members have made their way to Europe are listed as terror groups by the E.U.

“There are however concerns about the use of the Mediterranean routes. While the majority of irregular migrants and refugees are in search of safety, other groups such as returning foreign fighters and other individuals linked to IS (Islamic State), might make use of the services provided by the organized crime groups,” EUROPOL spokeswoman Agnieszka Biegaj wrote in an e-mailed statement. “Given the hazardous nature of the illegal migratory routes, from a terrorists’ perspective, it makes more sense to use regular travel methods and other resources such as false or genuine travel documents.”

Iranian Officials Ratchet Up Genocidal Anti-Israel Rhetoric After Nuclear Deal

by Steven Emerson
IPT News
August 18, 2015

1216A video shows the Revolutionary Guard Corps massing on a hill overlooking Jerusalem.

A conference of religious scholars features speaker after speaker calling Israel’s annihilation inevitable and promising that a “new phase” in that effort is about to begin.

While some in the United States and among its Western allies may hope that a nuclear weapons deal with Iran might steer the Islamic Republic in a new, more responsible direction, hardliners draw new lines and issue new threats.

On Monday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei took to social media to attack the United States and Israel. “We spare no opportunity to support anyone #FightingTheZionists,” wrote the ayatollah, whose regime supplies Hizballah and Hamas with rockets and other weapons of terror.

Perhaps more chilling is an animated video from the Islamic Revolution Design House, a media outfit associated with Iranian hardliners. It shows a soldier preparing for battle. He puts on a Revolutionary Guard patch, and then a Qassam Brigades headband, followed by a ski mask and a Palestinian scarf around his neck, while arming himself with a machine gun and a pistol. As he puts on a helmet, we see him looking over Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, home of the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa mosque. The image pulls back, showing the soldier amid a sea of conquering troops.

A concluding message invokes Ayatollah Khomeini’s threat that Israel must be wiped off the map and promises that day is coming soon.

A conference held in Beirut late last month reinforced that message over and over again. The General Assembly of Islamic Resistance Ulema (Scholars) held its first gathering under the banner “Unity for Palestine.” The weekend meeting included fiery rhetoric from an Iranian ayatollah and Hizballah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah.

“Annihilation of the Zionist regime is a sure thing and Quranic pledge,” Ayatollah Mohsen Araki told the assembly. Araki is secretary general of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought, emphasizing the importance of unifying “Muslims in countering the regime of Zionism and the arrogant World.”

Many of the speeches were uploaded to YouTube and translated by the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

Nasrallah called Israel a “cancerous tumor” and said “It is only a matter of time” before it is defeated.

“We believe with certainty that Israel, this cancerous tumor, is headed for extinction, and that Palestine and Jerusalem will be returned to their people. It is only a matter of time and [this outcome] is linked to the will, action, jihad, and sacrifices of the Ummah, according to the principle: If you achieve victory for Allah, Allah will lead you to achieve victory.” Nasrallah said it was Allah’s will for Muslims to achieve “final victory over the Zionist scheme” and urged the assembly not to waste the opportunity.

“The day in which we will all pray in Jerusalem, Inshallah (God willing) is inevitably coming Inshallah. All of these calamities, conspiracies, and crises are merely trials to strengthen and make fit all those who believe in this project and in this path to enable them to be worthy of the coming victory. Some people may gain victory but then waste it.

Allah Almighty wants our Ummah (nation) in its final victory over the Zionist project and in restoring Palestine and Jerusalem to be worthy of this huge historic victory and to be worthy of preserving this victory and not to lose it as many victories have been lost.”

Muhammad Hasan Zamani, a former Iranian cultural counselor in Egypt who runs the Department of International Islamic Madrasas for the General Assembly of Islamic Resistance Ulema, maintained the theme, insisting there is no peaceful resolution that would end in Iran’s acceptance of a Jewish state.

“Israel must be erased from the map of the world. These are the golden words Imam Khomeini (may God have mercy on him) uttered. Why do we assert the obligation of erasing Israel from the world, and not speak of erasing America and other unjust countries from the world? We in Iran say slogans in marches, Death to Israel, Death to America, Death to the English, and so forth and so on.”

Iran considers America the “greater Satan,” Zamani went on to say, but the Islamic Republic respects other governments which were chosen by their people. By contrast, he claimed Israel is not legitimate: “I say that the example of the rule of the Zionists is the example of thieves who attack a house and occupy the house and the people of the house defend their house.”

Sheikh Abdel Halim Qadhi, a professor at Zahidan University, explained that the conflict is inherently about religion. “[T]he Holy Quran makes it know that Jews are the enemies of Islam and the Muslims, and their holy places and rites,” he said.

“Jihad is the most powerful and only way to liberate Palestine and defend Jerusalem,” he added, saying “God loves those who fight in his way.”

In a final statement from conference attendees, the group emphasized “the first and most important obligation is to unite the Umma to liberate the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque” in Jerusalem, reported Al-Manar, a Lebanese news outlet considered close to Iran’s proxy Hizballah. The group also said “resistance” was the way “to achieve victory in Lebanon and Palestine, despite the unlimited support received by the Zionist enemy and continuing inaction of the countries in the region.”

Meanwhile, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, published a 416-page book earlier this month outlining the destruction of Israel, referring to the Jewish state as an ally of “The American Great Satan.”

The book features a long-term strategy that entails terrorizing Israel in a war of attrition that would lead to Jews leaving Israel for other countries.

Supporters of the nuclear deal say it’s a fantasy to expect a better outcome should Congress override President Obama’s expected veto of a vote to defeat the agreement. The combined statements of Iran and its supporting clerics makes clear, however, that the true fantasy is any expectation Iran will turn away from terror as a result of its engagement with world powers.

Also see:

Iranian Regime, GOI Take Issue With US SECDEF’s Assessment that the IA are Cowards

Screen-Shot-2015-05-25-at-10.18.13-PMMay 26, 2015 /

As we wrote in our 24 MAY article titled “What ISIS Has in Store For Baghdad,” SECDEF Ash Carter stated that the Iraqi Army (IA) “lacks the will to fight.” We agree with his assessment, although its nothing particularly “new.” The IA has a long and not so proud history of cowardice and poor leadership going as far back as the 6-Day War. The Iranian regime is also fully aware of the cowardice of Iraqi Arab “men” (and we do use the term “man” loosely here) from their own personal experiences in the Iran-Iraq War. In that war, the regime found that using human wave attacks utilizing suicide bombers quickly broke the will of the IA to fight. The Islamic State (IS) perfected those TTPs in today’s regional war that has engulfed Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. Yet despite these rather inconvenient truths Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi and IRGC-Qods Force commander GEN Suleimani both came out swinging against Carter’s assessment. Abadi’s spokesman issued a public statement saying that Carter had “incorrect information” while Suleimani is reported to have said that the US “didn’t do a damn thing in Ramadi.”

What ISIS Has in Store For Baghdad

Our staff has been covering how Suleimani has been pushing the narrative that the Government of Iraq’s (GOI) faith in the US was the reason for all the defeats in the country – and to a certain extent he’s right. How so? The US government’s strategy to combat IS has been a total failure and the overall foreign policy is best described as “schizophrenic.” However, Suleimani’s public statements are geared towards one thing: positioning the Popular Mobilization Committee into a stronger standing within the government for the purpose of having them from the core of the new National Guard – which Suleimani and his allies hope to model after the Iranian regime’s own IRGC. And why is he doing this? He’s pushing the PMC becoming the core of the National Guard because he knows the IA are poorly led and plagued with mass cowardice. In fact, Suleimani has privately voiced his frustrations to colleagues about the ineffectiveness of the IA and how deep that yellow coward’s streak runs within the “men” serving in the ranks. Indeed, we have a people who give the French a run for the money for the title of “world’s biggest coward.”

Iraq, Iran push back on US defense chief over Ramadi loss

GEN Suleimani kneels before his master – Ayatollah Khameini Source: Reuters

GEN Suleimani kneels before his master – Ayatollah Khameini
Source: Reuters

The IA was actually much better when it was still an inclusive organization. Unfortunately, Maliki purged the ranks of all Sunni influences as soon as the US military pulled out of the country. Since that time the IA’s capabilities and readiness have deteriorated significantly while competent commanders who were sacked and avoided being arrested joined IS. That said, there’s a culture of cowardice that runs deep in the hearts of the average Iraqi Arab man. In fact, they have a hard time being given the freedom to do what they want and seem to prefer being told what to do. Some countries just do better with a dictator in-charge. Iraq is one of those countries. It doesn’t help that when faced with major battles that the IA tends to collapse with troops breaking ranks in panic. As we’ve stated in several past articles on the matter, the Shia militias (PMC) have become bigger players in the government’s security strategy as a means of addressing this problem. We’re aware that in mid-May Suleimani presented a defense plan to Abadi that calls for a greater PMC role in defending Baghdad and Karbala – which Abadi approved. Regarding the defense of Baghdad, the PMCs have become the security force of choice in these critical areas in the city:

1. al-Khadra
2. al-Amiriyah
3. al-Ghazaliyah
4. al-Bakriyah
5. al-Shula

(Its worth noting that the above-mentioned neighborhoods are viewed as the most at-risk for IS moving into and using as staging areas for sustained attacks throughout the city)

Meanwhile in the North, our friends the Kurds don’t seem to have any of these problems. Our staff has extensive experience in Iraq – Northern Iraq in particular. The author recalls one particular time during a key leader engagement where the Peshmerga commander he was meeting with stated that a Kurdish woman is worth 10 Arabs serving in the active duty IA. From the author’s own personal experience – and that of the Study Group’s staff – the Peshmerga commander’s statement is accurate. The Kurdish women serving in the Peshmerga are as beautiful as they are deadly. Iraqi Arab men seem to have a problem with cowardice contaminating their DNA, so we can’t say that we’re surprised by IS fighters being so scared of being killed by a Kurdish woman. Perhaps Abadi should just fill the IA ranks with Kurdish women? Its not like the IA has any real “men” to begin with so he might as well.

The Kurdish women fighting ISIS

ISIS fighters terrified of being killed by female troops

Meet the female peshmerga forces fighting IS

Modern day Athena: She wouldn’t run from a fight – which is more than we can say for her Arab male counterparts in the IA Source: Vocativ

Modern day Athena: She wouldn’t run from a fight – which is more than we can say for her Arab male counterparts in the IA
Source: Vocativ

Kurdish pop star Helly Luv has recently come out with a new single that has a special message for IS:

She doesn’t seem to have a problem using the sites on her assault rifle Source:

She doesn’t seem to have a problem using the sites on her assault rifle


Maybe the women of the Peshmerga should hold some classes for the ISF on basic rifle marksmanship? Source: Reuters/Stringer

Maybe the women of the Peshmerga should hold some classes for the ISF on basic rifle marksmanship?
Source: Reuters/Stringer

Consequently the Obama strategy for Iraq involves trusting a large quantity of disinterested cowards to maintain unity in a nation where the three major sects hate and distrust each other. As a nation we refuse to accept the idea that Iraq is a failed social experiment. We pretend there’s some hope of creating an “Iraqi melting pot of diversity” where all are welcome to worship as they choose and live in peace. Therefore the US government will continue to promote the wrong Iraq strategy with the smallest number of troops possible ensuring that we will never get the desired result – the fall of IS. If the Iraqi Arab men won’t stand up and fight the nihilistic cult of IS, then they deserve to have their country taken from them and to have their wives and daughters raped and murdered while they watch – after all, a man who won’t defend his home or family isn’t a man at all. That said, the only people worth a damn in Iraq are the Kurds. Every man, woman and child in Kurdistan is willing to lay down their lives in defense of their homeland. We have a great amount of respect and admiration for the Kurdish people. Its about time that the US government start empowering them. The IA? If they haven’t developed a spine by now, they never will.

Helly Luv: IS fighters are more scared of her than the IA – which is a major source of frustration for GEN Suleimani and the Qods Force Source:

Helly Luv: IS fighters are more scared of her than the IA – which is a major source of frustration for GEN Suleimani and the Qods Force

Other Related Articles:

ISIS Moves Against Targets in Haditha, Habbaniyah While Qods Force and Proxies Launch Counterattack

Suleimani’s Gambit: Bid to Deal Crushing Blow to ISIS in Bayji

“JV Team” Solidifies Hold on Anbar With Ramadi Purging

How the Iran lobby sidetracked the nuclear talks: part 2

Photo by: Vahid Salemi FILE - In this Sunday, April 12, 2015 file photo, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a ceremony to commemorate the late Khadijeh Saghafi, wife of late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, in Tehran, Iran. Rouhani has dismissed pressure from the U.S. Congress over a preliminary deal on Iran's nuclear program, saying that Tehran is dealing with world powers not American lawmakers. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Photo by: Vahid Salemi
FILE – In this Sunday, April 12, 2015 file photo, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a ceremony to commemorate the late Khadijeh Saghafi, wife of late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, in Tehran, Iran. Rouhani has dismissed pressure from the U.S. Congress over a preliminary deal on Iran’s nuclear program, saying that Tehran is dealing with world powers not American lawmakers. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

– – Thursday, April 16, 2015:

In the previous article, we saw how the Iranian regime’s panic over the 2002 outing of its theretofore clandestine nuclear weapons program drove its subsequent decisions about how to deal with the publicity and mollify, or at least occupy, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), and the United States (U.S.).

Having been well-trained by its mentors at the Soviet KGB, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) quickly established a two-tier system: those nuclear sites, such as Natanz, Isfahan, Arak, and later Fordow, that had been exposed were turned into show sites. IAEA inspectors were invited in, and the so-called EU-3 (France, Germany, and the United Kingdom), later joined by the rest of the UNSC to form the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, UK, and U.S.), began negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program.

The haggling went on for a decade and counting. At no time from 2003 to this day, however, did Iran itself willingly offer up (as obligated under its nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signatory status) any information about other clandestine sites in its sprawling nuclear weapons program. For unexplained reasons, nor did the IAEA, P5+1, or UNSC compel it to despite an international sanctions regime ostensibly aimed at getting Iran to comply with six UNSC Resolutions demanding it halt all nuclear enrichment and come clean about its past nuclear activities with “possible military dimensions.”

While international trade relationships, intra-UNSC rivalries, and a reluctance to alienate Iran right out of the talks altogether might explain some of the failure to press Iran about the clandestine elements of its nuclear weapons program, at least for the U.S., there was another player involved in the game: the Iran Lobby.

As discussed in a February 2009 occasional paper by this author and published by the Center for Security Policy under the title, “Rise of the Iran Lobby: Tehran’s Front Groups Move On—and into—the Obama Administration,” “a complex network of individuals and organizations with ties to the clerical regime in Tehran” had organized by the early 2000s to influence U.S. government policy towards the Islamic Republic of Iran.

A follow-on paper, “The Iran Lobby: Alive, Well, and Changing the Face of the Middle East,” published by the Center in October 2014, chronicled what I termed “the disastrous fruits of that network’s efforts.” The term “Iran Lobby,” by the way, was first noticed in the Iranian media itself, in 2007. It seemed a most apt description of the circle of influence operators that were pursuing and achieving positions of influence at the upper levels of U.S. national security then, and certainly all the more so, now.

After more than a dozen years of maneuvering behind the scenes of Washington, DC policymaking, the Iran Lobby today has succeeded in infiltrating the Department of State, National Security Council (NSC), and the nuclear negotiations themselves. Led by NIAC (the National Iranian American Council) and its founder and president, the Iranian-born Trita Parsi, the Iran Lobby counts among its affiliates and supporters a Who’s Who list of influential individuals and organizations ranging from former ambassadors and oil executives, to a bevy of Middle East and Iran experts from leading NGOs and think tanks.

The objective was always clear: shift official U.S. policy on Iran to a position supportive of Tehran’s agenda that sought protracted negotiations to buy time for its nuclear weapons development, financial concessions that eased sanctions and released frozen assets, and a conciliatory posture that eschewed any discussion of military options to deal with Iranian intransigence, ignored Iranian support for Islamic jihad (terrorism), pretended its Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) program didn’t exist, turned a deaf ear to non-stop genocidal threats against the Jewish State of Israel, and generally acquiesced in its regional geo-strategic ambitions.

Above all, there was to be absolutely no discussion of Iran’s parallel clandestine nuclear weapons program. Astonishingly, today, the Iran Lobby has achieved all of this and more.

Not surprisingly, the Iranian leadership mocks the Obama administration, especially Secretary of State John Kerry and his hapless negotiating team. In January 2014, just weeks after the supposed landmark ‘breakthrough’ of the November 2013 “Joint Plan of Action,” Kerry’s Iranian counterpart, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, actually laid a wreath at the tomb of Imad Mughniyeh, the Hizballah terror chieftain responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans from the 1983 Marine Corps barracks bombing to 9/11.

The same month, Iran’s ‘moderate’ president Hassan Rouhani tweeted about how, in Geneva, the world powers “surrendered to Iranian nation’s will.” A senior Iranian TV commentator noted with rare honesty that the Geneva agreement was but “the Treaty of Hudaybiyya.” Following the 2015 April Fool’s Day ‘framework’ agreement, Iranian leadership figures were quick to describe the U.S. version as a “U.S. version” “lie” and declare it “not acceptable to Iran.” Meanwhile, Iran’s Bassij commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi declared that “erasing Israel off the map” was “non-negotiable.”

And yet, the American team practically begged the Iranians to keep talking and give them something, anything to hold up as a ‘success.’

To understand this sorry state of affairs, it is only necessary to understand the function and purpose of hostile influence operations and how the Iran Lobby in America has finessed its way to turning U.S. foreign policy with Iran completely on its head. As described above, maneuvering Tehran-regime-friendly figures into positions of power and influence is the name of the game.

One Sahar Nowrouzzadeh could be Exhibit A for how this works: apparently a former NIAC employee, she now appears on a list of senior White House aides who attended a secure video conference on 31 March 2015 with the U.S. negotiating team in Lausanne, Switzerland. She is listed as the National Security Council Director for Iran.

Meanwhile, her former boss, NIAC’s Trita Parsi, appears in a photo published by the Iranian Fars News Agency, greeting Fereydoon Rouhani (the president’s brother) at the Lausanne talks. Parsi’s Facebook page shows another photo of the NIAC leader smiling at the talks alongside his Research Director, Reza Marashi, and NBC reporter Ann Curry. Marashi’s NIAC bio lists his former employment at the State Department’s Office of Iranian affairs. According to reports, at least Parsi has been present at previous nuclear negotiations in Geneva and Vienna, as well.

This is what a successful infiltration operation looks like. Apparently, Parsi thinks so, too, because on 2 April 2015, he posted the following on his Facebook Page:

“Trita Parsi

“April 2 at 5:22pm ·

“Oops. Just realized I haven’t eaten lunch today. Been too busy gloating…”

Clare M. Lopez is the Vice President for Research & Analysis at the Center for Security Policy.

Iranian-backed Shiite militias lead Iraq’s fight to retake Tikrit


Video showing Asaib al Haq fighters taking part in the Tikrit offensive

The Iraqi Security Forces, supported by several Iranian-backed Shiite militias and Sunni tribal fighters, have launched an offensive to retake Tikrit from the Islamic State, which has held the central Iraqi city since June 2014. Massive columns of Shiite militas, including some groups that are listed by the US as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, have been leading the fight in Tikrit.

The operation, which involves more than thirty thousand Iraqi security personnel and militia forces, started on the morning of March 2. According to Al Jazeera, Iraqi forces and allied militias attacked the city from three sides while Iraqi aviation launched an aerial bombardment.

As of yet, the US has not launched any airstrikes in support of the operation. The US has refused to support the Tikrit offensive because Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) elements are actively supporting the operation, anonymous US officials have told The Wall Street Journal

Although the US military has refused to provide air support for the offensive due to Iran’s involvement, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Iran’s involvement could be “a positive thing” if the Shiite militias do not lash out at Sunnis in and around Tikrit. Dempsey also estimated that the militias make up more than two-thirds of the fighting force, The Associated Press noted. Shiite militias have been accused of launching reprisal attacks against Sunni civilians and executing scores of people after liberating areas from Islamic State control.

Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Qods Force, the external operations wing of the IRGC, has been spotted near Tikrit. Soleimani’s forces are tasked with supporting the Iraqi military and Shiite militias, including the Badr Brigade, Kata’ib Hezbollah (Hezbollah Brigades), Asaib al Haq (League of the Righteous), Kata’ib Imam Ali, and Muqtada al Sadr’s Promised Day Brigade (or Peace Brigade). The Shiite militias have been instrumental in reinforcing beleaguered and demoralized Iraqi forces, and have helped retake some areas in Iraq, including Jurf al Sakhar and Amerli.

Soleimani has been spotted with units loyal to the Kata’ib Imam Ali and the Badr Organization. In one photo, a clean shaven Soleimani oversees a military parade of Kata’ib Imam Ali at Camp Speicher, a sprawling base outside of Tikrit. In another photo, Soleimani is seen meeting with militia commanders near the city. Kata’ib Imam Ali, which is allegedly led by Shabal al Zaidi, a former leader in Muqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army, is just one of many Iranian-backed militia taking part in the Tikrit offensive.

The Badr Organization, which is led by Hadi al Amiri, is another such group. In one photo seen on Twitter, Amiri, who is closely allied to Soleimani, is seen meeting with Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, the head of Hezbollah Brigades. In a video uploaded to YouTube, a giant Hezbollah Brigades convoy is seen moving towards Tikrit. The US State Department designated the Hezbollah Brigades as a terrorist organization in July 2009 and described the militia as “a radical Shia Islamist group with an anti-Western establishment and jihadist ideology that has conducted attacks against Iraqi, US, and Coalition targets in Iraq.”

Asaib al Haq has also released a video showing a giant convoy heading towards Tikrit. Asaib al Haq is considered one of the most dangerous Iranian-supported Shiite militias. Several of its leaders are listed by the US as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.

Status of offensive is unclear

The Iraqi military, Shiite militias, and Iranian forces reportedly have been able toretake two districts from the Islamic State, Iraqi military commanders have told the BBC. The reports should be viewed with caution, as in the past, Iraqi commanders provided optimistic reports on previous attempts to retake Tikrit, only to be proven wrong.

The Iraqi forces and its militia allies have allegedly been able to retake Al Tin, a district northeast of the city, as well as al Abeid in the west. The BBC also reported fighting in the nearby district of Qadisiya. In a photo circulating online, the Iraqi flagis seen flying over the town of Al Dor near Tikrit. This photo cannot be confirmed, although fighting in Al Dor has been reported.

Iraqi forces and their Shiite militia auxiliaries may have a difficult time sustaining a prolonged offensive or siege of Tikrit. The city is in central Salahaddin province, a stronghold of the Islamic State. The Iraqi forces and militias must provide logistical support to a large force by securing a long supply line from Samarra, and it will be exposed to attacks from marauding Islamic State forces.

The Military Times has reported that progress in Tikrit has been slowed due to the many improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that have been planted around the town. Quoting the spokesman of Iraq’s Interior Ministry, The Military Times says that the Islamic State has “littered major roadways and routes with mines.” According to Al Mada Press, there are 8,000 IEDs near Tikrit alone. The Islamic State has also countered the offensive with suicide bombings. One suicide bomber who detonated on ISF and Shiite militia personnel as they assembled for the Tikrit offensive near Samarra was allegedly an American citizen. Abu Dawoud al Amriiki, as he was later identified, was said to have “killed and wounded dozens” in an Islamic State video release.

The Islamic State has also released several images purporting to be from Tikrit in a bid to counter positive statements from Iraqi officials. These photos cannot be authenticated. These photos show Islamic State fighters manning a checkpoint near the entrance to the city, as well as its fighters targeting Iraqi and Shiite militia personnel near the city with technicals, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades. In one photo, an Islamic State front-end loader is seen building fortifications near the city.

Other photos released by the Islamic State show its fighters engaging Iraqi and Shiite militia personnel in an unnamed place in Salahadin province. The pictures show mortars being fired on Iraqi positions, as well as RPG’s and fire from technicals. One picture shows a Humvee being hit by an RPG and another shows an Islamic State fighter shooting an RPG at a Humvee that is driving away. Several rockets are also fired on Iraqi positions in these photos.

Read more with photos and videos from Tikrit

Also see:

African Nations to Send 7,500 Troops to Combat Boko Haram – Why is Iran so Interested?

The African Union (AU) has agreed to send a multi-nation force of 7,500 troops to Nigeria to assist the Nigerian military in combating Boko Haram. Interestingly enough, the Iranian regime has offered their “services” to assist this multi-nation force. Apparently Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian has been involved with African nations affected by Boko Haram to provide assistance. Specifically, the regime informed the AU that they’re willing to share their experiences and intelligence gained over the years in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Africa – Nigeria and Somalia in particular. Its also worth noting that Iran had representatives at the two-day summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that the announcement of the troop deployment was made. They were there as “observers.”

7,500 troops to fight Boko Haram

Iran Offers to Help Fight Boko Haram

So why is Iran so interested in Africa? Well, the IRG-Qods Force and Hezbollah have both been very active on the continent over the past decade, so this isn’t a new phenomenon at all (remember, the IRGC has arms production factories in Sudan). Their expansion into the continent began to really expand when the first indicators of foreign fighters were making their way into Syria in the early days of the “Arab Spring.” Since then their objectives have been the following:

1. Keep tabs on the foreign fighter networks providing personnel and weapons to anti-Shia efforts in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

2. Eliminate the key personnel in those foreign fighter networks.

3. Conduct target development for when (and it will happen) the Qods Force and Hezbollah cells in Africa receive the green light to begin attacking American, Israeli and British diplomatic facilities, military personnel and civilians.

IRGC-Qods Force Insignia Source:

IRGC-Qods Force Insignia

The 2011-2013 time period saw a sharp increase in Qods Force and Hezbollah activity in Nigeria with Nigerian security forces having made several arrests of individuals associated with both organizations on terrorism charges. Nigeria is an anomaly, as other African nations have kept their mouths shut on the expansion of the Qods Force/Hezbollah networks in the western and eastern parts of the continent. Much of this has to do with Iran’s increased involvement in the economic, political and cultural fields, thus creating a co-dependent relationship (as the regime has been looking for ways to circumvent sanctions, although this may well be moot now that the Obama administration is on the job). However, there was one incident in JUN 12 where two Iranian nationals – identified as Ahmed Abolfathi Muhammad and Sayid Mansur Mousavi – who were arrested in Nairobi, Kenya for possessing explosive material. Apparently they had a lot more that was shipped into the country that Kenyan security forces weren’t able to find. The two individuals were suspected of plotting to conduct attacks targeting the Israeli, US, British and Saudi diplomatic missions. They received life sentences.

Out of Iran, into Africa: Hezbollah’s scramble for Africa

Nigeria has long been known for being a major hotbed of Qods Force and Hezbollah activity, going as far back as 2004 when an Iranian diplomat was arrested of casing the Israeli embassy in Abuja. In FEB 13, Nigerian security forces arrested Abdullahi Mustapha Berende and two other Nigerians for attempting to establish a proxy group that was reportedly trained in Iran. They were said to have been planning to attack American targets in Lagos. Berende himself allegedly first traveled to Iran in 2006, where he received his Islamic education and returned again in 2011 for weapons and explosives training. His Qods Force handlers tasked him with collecting intelligence on hotels and public places frequented by Americans and Israelis to identify potential targets for future attacks. Berende himself admitted that he worked with the Iranians and had received $30,000 USD to carry out the operations. A few months later, his associate Iranian national Azim Aghajani and another Nigerian accomplice were sentenced to five years for their involvement to smuggle a shipment of weapons into West Africa. The case was opened on them when Nigerian security forces opened 13 containers at Apapa Port in OCT 10 and found the weapons to include 107mm rockets, among other things. The shipment was bound for Gambia. The US government has linked Aghajani to the Qods Forces’ Department 400 External OPs Division. In keeping with the usual Qods Force TTPs, Aghajani was moving the weapons throughout Africa with the use of front companies such as Behineh Trading Co.

Read more at The ISIS Study Group


2743059668Iran in Africa: A Tutorial Overview (

Iran’s activity in Africa is a model of their strategic conduct that allows them an asymmetric advantage over the United States in terms of diplomacy and statecraft. This pattern of behavior is adaptable and observable in Latin America as well as in Africa. Where there are weak governing institutions and fertile soil for anti-American sentiment of any form, the Iranian regime will seek global allies, revenue streams, resources, and capabilities that serve them well on the world stage.

This is an introductory overview meant to give a broad picture of behavior and intention. The open source record of Iranian, Hezbollah, and Quds Force activity in Africa is extensive.

Click here to download pdf of complete overview. See video presentation.

Iran: Unafraid and Undeterred

New-Iranian-President-Hassan-Rouhani-encouraged-by-Obamas-positive-tone-NBC-News-645x325-450x318rontpage, by Caroline Glick, Jan. 30, 2015:

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

Israel’s reported strike January 18 on a joint Iranian-Hezbollah convoy driving on the Syrian Golan Heights was one of the most strategically significant events to have occurred in Israel’s neighborhood in recent months. Its significance lies both in what it accomplished operationally and what it exposed.

From what been published to date about the identities of those killed in the strike, it is clear that in one fell swoop the air force decapitated the Iranian and Hezbollah operational command in Syria.

The head of Hezbollah’s operations in Syria, the head of its liaison with Iran, and Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of Hezbollah’s longtime operational commander Imad Mughniyeh who was killed by Israel in Damascus in 2008, were killed. The younger Mughniyeh reportedly served as commander of Hezbollah forces along the Syrian-Israeli border.

According to a report by Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shimon Shapira, a Hezbollah expert from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the Iranian losses included three generals. Brig.- Gen. Mohammed Alladadi was the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps liaison officer to Hezbollah and to Syrian intelligence. He was also in charge of weapons shipments from Iran to Hezbollah. Gen. Ali Tabatabai was the IRGC commander in the Golan Heights and, according to Shapira, an additional general, known only as Assadi, “was, in all likelihood, the commander of Iranian expeditionary forces in Lebanon.”

The fact that the men were willing to risk exposure by traveling together along the border with Israel indicates how critical the front is for the regime in Tehran. It also indicates that in all likelihood, they were planning an imminent attack against Israel.

According to Ehud Yaari, Channel 2’s Arab Affairs commentator, Iran and Hezbollah seek to widen Hezbollah’s front against Israel from Lebanon to Syria. They wish to establish missile bases on the northern Hermon, and are expanding Hezbollah’s strategic depth from Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley to the outskirts of Damascus.

On Wednesday night, Yaari reported that the Syrian military has ceased to function south of Damascus. In areas not held by the al-Qaida-aligned Nusra Front and other regime opponents, the IRGC and Hezbollah have taken control, using the Syrian militia they have trained since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

The effectiveness of Hezbollah’s control of its expanded front was on display on Wednesday morning. Almost at the same time that Hezbollah forces shot at least five advanced Kornet antitank missiles at an IDF convoy along Mount Dov, killing two soldiers and wounding seven, Hezbollah forces on the Golan shot off mortars at the Hermon area.

While these forces are effective, they are also vulnerable. Yaari noted that today, three-quarters of Hezbollah’s total forces are fighting in Syria. Their twofold task is to defend the Assad regime and to build the Iranian-controlled front against Israel along the Golan Heights. Most of the forces are in known, unfortified, above ground positions, vulnerable to Israeli air strikes.

THE IDENTITIES of the Iranian and Lebanese personnel killed in the Israeli strike indicate the high value Iran and Hezbollah place on developing a new front against Israel in Syria.

The fact that they are in control over large swathes of the border area and are willing to risk exposure in order to ready the front for operations exposes Iran’s strategic goal of encircling Israel on the ground and the risks it is willing to take to achieve that goal.

But Iran’s willingness to expose its forces and Hezbollah forces also indicates something else. It indicates that they believe that there is a force deterring Israel from attacking them.

And this brings us to another strategic revelation exposed by the January 18 operation.

Earlier this week, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdolahian told Iran’s IRNA news agency that the regime had told its American interlocutors to tell Israel that it intended to strike Israel in retribution for the attack. The State Department did not deny that Iran had communicated the message, although it claims that it never relayed the message.

While the Obama administration did perhaps refuse to serve as Iran’s messenger, it has worked to deter Israel from striking Hezbollah and Iranian targets in Syria. Whereas Israel has a policy of never acknowledging responsibility for its military operations in Syria, in order to give President Bashar Assad an excuse to not retaliate, the US administration has repeatedly informed the media of Israeli attacks and so increased the risk that such Israeli operations will lead to counterattacks against Israel.

The US has also refused to acknowledge Iran’s control over the Syrian regime, and so denied the basic fact that through its proxies, Iran is developing a conventional threat against Israel. For instance, earlier this month, Der Spiegel reported that Iran has been building a secret nuclear facility in Syria. When questioned about the report, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf sought to downplay its significance. When a reporter asked if the administration would raise the report in its nuclear negotiations with Iran, Harf replied, “No, the upcoming talks are about the Iranian nuclear program.”

Until this month, the White House continued to pay lip service to the strategic goal of removing Assad – and by inference Iran, which controls and protects him – from power in Syria. Lip service aside, it has been clear at least since September 2013, when President Barack Obama refused to enforce his own redline and take action against the Assad regime after it used chemical weapons against its opponents, that he had no intention of forcing Assad from power. But this month the administration crossed a new Rubicon when Secretary of State John Kerry failed to call for Assad to be removed to power in talks with the UN envoy in Syria Staffan de Mistura. Right before he met with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Kerry told Mistura, “It is time for President Assad, the Assad regime, to put their people first and to think about the consequences of their actions, which are attracting more and more terrorists to Syria, basically because of their efforts to remove Assad.”

IRAN’S PRESENCE on the Golan Heights is of course just one of the many strategic advances it has made in expanding its territorial reach. Over the past two weeks, Iranian-controlled Houthi militias have consolidated their control over Yemen, with their overthrow of the US-allied government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Rather than defend the elected government that has fought side-by-side with US special forces in their Yemen-based operations against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the administration is pretending that little has changed. It pretends it will still be able to gather the intelligence necessary to carry out drone strikes against al-Qaida terrorists even though its allies have now lost power.

The post-Houthi-conquest goal of the administration’s policy in Yemen is to seek a national dialogue that will include everyone from Iran’s proxy government to al-Qaida.

The idea is that everyone will work together to write a new constitution. It is impossible to understate the delusion at the heart of this plan.

With the conquest of Yemen, Iran now controls the Gulf of Aden. Together with the Straits of Hormuz, Iran now controls the region’s two maritime outlets to the open sea.

Far beyond the region, Iran expands its capacity to destabilize foreign countries and so advance its interests. Last week, Lee Smith raised the reasonable prospect that it was Iran that assassinated Argentinean prosecutor Alberto Nisman two weeks ago. Nisman was murdered the night before he was scheduled to make public the findings of his 10-year investigation into the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center and the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires. According to Smith, Nisman had proof that Iran had carried out the terrorist attacks to retaliate against Argentina for abrogating its nuclear cooperation with Tehran.

From the Golan Heights to Gaza, from Yemen and Iraq to Latin America to Nantanz and Arak, Iran is boldly advancing its nuclear and imperialist agenda. As Charles Krauthammer noted last Friday, the nations of the Middle East allied with the US are sounding the alarm.

Earlier this week, during Obama’s visit with the new Saudi King Salman, he got an earful from the monarch regarding the need to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. But it seemed to have no impact on his nuclear diplomacy with Teheran. The administration believes that Iran and Saudi Arabia will be able to kiss and make up and bury a thousand- year rivalry between Sunni and Shi’ite Islam because they both oppose the Islamic State. This too is utter fantasy.

Israel’s January 18 strike on Iranian and Hezbollah commanders in Syria showed Israel’s strategy wisdom and independent capacity.

Israel can and will take measures to defend its critical security interests. It has the intelligence gathering capacity to identify and strike at targets in real time.

But it also showed the constraints Israel is forced to operate under in its increasingly complex and dangerous strategic environment.

Due to the US administration’s commitment to turning a blind eye to Iran’s advances and the destabilizing role it plays everywhere it gains power, Israel can do little more than carry out precision attacks against high value targets. The flipside of the administration’s refusal to see the dangers, and so enable Iran’s territorial expansion and its nuclear progress, is its determination to ensure that Israel does nothing to prevent those dangers from growing – whether along its borders or at Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Death of a Prosecutor

B7y4GYhIIAAH2ad.jpg-large-450x300Frontpage, by Kenneth R. Timmerman, Jan. 21, 2015:

Alberto Nisman, the Argentinean prosecutor who indicted top Iranian regime officials for the July 1994 AMIA Jewish Center bombing in Buenos Aires, was found dead by gunshot in his apartment on Sunday night, in what initially was called a suicide.

Nisman was scheduled to address members of parliament the next day to reveal new information about alleged efforts by Argentinean President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her foreign minister, Hector Timerman, to cover up the responsibility of the Iranian regime in the AMIA bombing that killed 86 people some twenty-one years ago.

Just days before his murder, Nisman publicly accused the President and her foreign minister of taking “the criminal decision to fabricate Iran’s innocence to save Argentina’s commercial, political and geopolitical interests.”

Police found arrayed on a desk in his apartment documents relating to his allegations, but no suicide note.

Nisman issued his initial 801 page indictment in the AMIA case in on October 25, 2006. He asked Interpol to issue international arrest warrants against eight current and former Iranian government officials, including then president Hashemi-Rafsanjani, his foreign minister, the intelligence minister, and the head of the Revolutionary Guards Corps.

He also accused Lebanese Hezbollah leader Imad Mugniyeh, who worked in tandem with the IRGC, of handling the logistics of the truck bomb plot.

Mugniyeh was assassinated in Damascus in February 2008, apparently by Israeli operatives. Mugniyeh has a long pedigree of killing Americans and killing Jews, which I have written about extensively.

He murdered 241 U.S. Marines in Beirut in 1983, hijacked aircraft, murdered U.S. hostages in Lebanon, and helped recruit the al Qaeda terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks.

Early this past Sunday, Israeli helicopters reportedly attacked a Hezbollah outpost in Syria, killing four Hezbollah operatives – including Mugniyeh’s son and terrorist-operative heir, Jihad.

A senior Iranian official told reporters that Israel would be hit at “the right time and right place” in retaliation for the strike.

That same evening, on the other side of the world, the Argentinean prosecutor instrumental in revealing Mugniyeh, Senior’s involvement in the AMIA bombings, died mysteriously of a gunshot wound to the temple, fired from a .22 revolver he did not own, with no apparent powder burns on his hands.

Coincidence? Perhaps.

When police discovered Nisman’s bloody body behind the locked door of his Buenos Aires apartment, they treated the area as a crime scene, not a suicide, and immediately called in forensics investigators.

This and other indicators led the Daily Beast’s Christopher Dickey, a long-time aficionado of Iranian state terrorism, to speculate that Iran might have murdered Nisman to bury the evidence of bigger crimes.

My Iranian sources tell me there is no doubt of Iran’s efforts to coopt Argentinean president Cristina Kirchner, nor any doubt that Nisman’s death was a murder carried out by professionals.

I got involved in the AMIA investigation early on, and corresponded with Nisman’s first boss on the case, Judge Juan Jose Galeano, who eventually traveled to Washington, DC to meet with me. When Nisman ultimately took over the case and issued his indictment against the Iranian regime, he cited my evidence on more than a dozen occasions.

As I reported in 2003, a former Iranian intelligence officer, Abdolghassem Mesbahi, told the court that Iranian officials had paid $10 million into a Banque Degroof Luxembourg bank account in Switzerland that was controlled by then-president Carlos Menem, in exchange for his efforts to impede the AMIA investigation.

Menem’s denials were ultimately put to rest when the Swiss government froze the $10 million in his Banque Degroof accounts. One can only imagine what would have happened to Mrs. Kirschner’s denials had Nisman been able to testify on Monday to the Argentinean parliament.

Nisman has been under pressure from the Argentinean authorities for years. I contacted him again in 2007 to see if he would be willing to testify before the U.S. District for the Southern District of New York about what he had learned of Iran’s overseas terrorist operations, as part of the Iran-9/11 investigation I was involved in.

After several months of back and forth negotiations, he got back to me to say that his superiors had forbidden him from having any contact with the U.S. court, even though we merely wanted him to present the same evidence he had made public in the AMIA indictment.

Nisman had huge amounts of evidence that has not been made public, including transcripts of intercepts between the Iranian cultural attaché and Iranian expat taxi drivers in Buenos Aires who helped transport explosives used in the bombing, and other intercepts detailing the involvement of the Islamic Republic Shipping Lines and their local agents in conveying the explosives to Argentina.

The circumstances of Nisman’s murder – the dubious murder weapon, the door locked from the inside, the apparent absence of a struggle – remind me eerily of the November 2011 murder of Ahmad Rezai, the son of the former commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, Mohsen Rezai.

The younger Rezai was found dead in his room in a residence hotel in Dubai and was immediately declared a suicide by the Dubai police.

Because I had gotten to know him well (so well that he named his first child after my daughter), I flew to Dubai to investigate.

Although Rezai was a U.S. citizen, the U.S. consular authorities had no interest in investigating the case and provided no assistance to me or his U.S. family, who I was representing.

The Dubai authorities stonewalled but I went around them. From the medical examiner, I discovered that the cause of “suicide” – an overdose of anti-psychotic medicine – was not true: the amount found in Ahmad’s blood was normal.

Furthermore, upon interrogating hotel staff, I discovered that a known Russian mafia hitman had checked into a room just down the hall a few hours before Ahmad’s murder and disappeared the next day, even though he had paid a month’s rent in advance.

Needless to say, the Dubai police had never heard of the man, let alone interrogated him.

The morning of Ahmad’s death, an explosion rocked a huge missile facility west of Tehran, killing the father of Iran’s solid-fuel missile programs. I speculatedin these pages that rivals of Ahmad’s father suspected father and son of seeking to reform the regime from within, an effort that is rejected by many Iranian opposition activists who believe that reform is impossible.

On Tuesday, an Iranian website controlled by the IRGC, identified the Foundation that I founded and chair as the regime’s Public Enemy #1.

It’s certainly not the first time the IRGC and their allies among the hardliners have identified me personally and my foundation as “enemies” of their revolution, because we support the right of Iranians to choose their form of government by democratic means.

But the timing of this latest version of the anti-jihadi hit parade seems no accident, coming on the heels of the assassination of Jihad Mugniyeh and the apparent murder of Alberto Nisman.

No one should underestimate the determination of the Iranian regime to use any means at its disposal to achieve its ends. Whether that means dispatching thousands of Revolutionary Guards fighters to Syria to prop up Assad, or murdering Americans in Iraq to hasten our departure, or providing safe haven and logistical assistance to al Qaeda, or funneling arms secretly to ISIS to stoke a fire they can boast to the gullible U.S. officials they are uniquely qualified to put out, the Islamic Republic of Iran is playing for keeps.

They have more case officers working for their intelligence services than we do in the United States, and have developed an entire branch of their military – the Quds Force – to carry out overseas terrorist operations.

They will not hesitate to murder people who get in their way, no matter their nationality or where they might be found.

They are playing hardball, and we are playing tiddlywinks. And yet, successive U.S. administration’s have thrown away advantages won by the blood of patriots – both Iranian and American – for empty promises made by known liars, assassins, and cheats.

When will we ever learn?

Also see:

Inside Iran’s Middle East: The Southeast Insurgency

ITSP logo by :

In this second installment of our Inside Iran’s Middle East series we will be covering the bloody campaign the Iranian regime’s IRGC-Ground Forces Command has been waging in the Northwestern and Southeastern parts of the country.  In the first installment, we covered the regime’s use of “reformers” to keep the west off-balance so that they can further their nuclear weapons program and eliminate the opposition.  We won’t be talking about the toothless “Green Revolution” or the Monarchists or MeK living in exile abroad.  No, we will be discussing the only viable opposition in the country in these next two installments:  the Balochs and the Kurds.

Inside Iran’s Middle East:  The “Reformers”

qods force__1

IRGC-Qods Force personnel in the Sacred Defense Week pass and review for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini (2013)

Source:  Fars News Agency

We will start with the insurgency taking place in the Southeastern part of Iran.  In this part of Iran, the dominate rebel group is Jundalla or “Soldiers of God.”  This is the group of ethnic Baloch fighters.  Their goal is the establishment of a “greater Balochistan” that consists of Southeastern Iran, all of Southern Afghanistan and Southwestern Pakistan.  The organization was founded by Abdul Malik Rigi and his brother Abdul Hamid Rigi, and have between 700-2,000 active fighters with many more reported to be in Afghanistan and Pakistan operating in a “reserve” or support capacity. Financing of operations is done through the narcotics trade, opium specifically.  As a result, Iran has been fighting its very own “War on Drugs” along the border with Afghanistan’s Nimroz Province.

Profile: Iran’s Jundullah militants

Iraq’s shadow on Balochistan

Waking up to the war in Balochistan

Karzai Admits Balochistan Unrest Emanating From Afghanistan, Claims Malik


Jundallah Fighters

Source:  al-Arabiya

Jundallah was formed in 2003, but the group really put itself on the map in 2005 when it ambushed then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s motorcade in Baluchistan Province that resulted in the death of one bodyguard and several more injured.  The following year would see an incident involving Jundallah fighters blocking the main road near the town of Tasooki leaving 21 civilians killed. The year 2007 would see Jundallah increase the frequency and sophistication of their attacks throughout Zahedan, starting with a VBIED attack in 14 FEB 07 targeting an IRGC convoy that resulted in 18 IRGC killed.  Jundallah would follow up two days later by bombing a girls school in Zahedan City.  What came next was mass abductions of Iranian truck drivers, who were brought to one of their bases inside Pakistan.  The Pakistani Army would later free them.  However, this would not stop the Iranian regime from accusing the Pakistani government of providing material support to Jundallah fighters.

Sunni group vows to behead Iranians

Leader of the Jundallah Movemement, Abd Al-Malek Al-Rigi: We Train Fighters in the Mountains and Send Them into Iran

Foreign devils in the Iranian mountains

Guns smuggling on the rise in Balochistan

rigi 33

the late-Jundallah Leader Abdul Malik Rigi

Source:  al-Jazeera

The truth is Jundallah did receive support from the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) by having fighters train at terrorist camps run by the intelligence organization (it is important to note that the ISI has been operating on its own agenda separate from that of the actual government – more on that in a future article).  The Rigi brothers spent the 2005-2009 time period cultivating ties with the Afghan Taliban, Pakistani Taliban (TTP) and al-Qaida senior leadership.  A quid pro quo deal was made where Jundallah fighters would continue to receive training, material support and AQ embeds in exchange for assistance in facilitating the travel of senior leaders across the AF-PAK border. Jundallah also assisted AQ in financing their operations through the drug trade by helping them secure the logistical supply routes.  The AQ operatives who spent time embedded with Jundallah in Southeastern Iran would later become the core of what we know today as the “Khorasan Group,” the special cell AQ senior leadership established to handle “sensitive operations.”

As a whole the American mainstream media got it completely wrong about KG, because they were not in Iran to “work with the Iranians” – they were there to kill Iranians.  In fact, KG leader Muhsin al-Fadhli (who is very much alive contrary to Western media reports) was the point-man for this endeavor.  Fadhli was able to go wherever he pleased with the assistance of Jundallah fighters who had a well-established safe-house network in that part of the country. More importantly, he’s  one of the AQ operatives that has a great deal of experience fighting the Iranian military (thanks to his time spent fighting alongside Jundallah).  The AQ senior leadership decision to deploy Fadhli and an element of KG to Syria was a bid to revitalize al-Nusra Front efforts to regain the initiative against the Assad regime, the IRGC-Qods Force and Basij Resistance Force units supporting regime forces.

The History and Capabilities Of The Khorasan Group

The Khorasan Group:  Threat To The Homeland?

Khorasan Group is a Bigger Threat Than ISIS?

Report: Former head of al Qaeda’s network in Iran now operates in Syria

Who supports Jundallah?

Read more at ITSProject

Believing Obama on Iran

Obama_Iran-450x305by :

Brig. Gen. (ret.) Uzi Eilam is an octogenarian who served as the director general of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission from 1976 until 1985.

Last Friday Eilam gave a head-scratching interview to Yediot Aharonot’s Ronen Bergman in which he claimed that Iran’s nuclear weapons program is a decade from completion. He said it is far from clear that the Iranians even want a nuclear arsenal. He accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of cynically exaggerating the threat from Iran in order to strengthen himself politically.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Eilam’s interview was his absolute certainty in his judgment.

Eilam, who hasn’t had any inside knowledge of nuclear issues since 1985, would have us believe that he knows better than active duty Israeli intelligence chiefs and US intelligence directors about the status of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. He even thinks he knows better than the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Israel assesses that Iran already has sufficient quantities of enriched uranium to produce five atomic bombs. As Netanyahu has said, the interim nuclear deal the US and its allies signed with Iran last November only delays Iran’s bomb making capacity by six weeks.

In January, James Clapper, the director of US national intelligence, agreed with Israel’s assessment. In testimony before the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence Clapper said that Iran is already a nuclear breakout state. In his words, “Tehran has made technical progress in a number of areas – including uranium enrichment, nuclear reactors and ballistic missiles – from which it could draw if it decided to build missile- deliverable nuclear weapons.”

Clapper argued that this doesn’t matter because the US’s monitoring capabilities are so trustworthy and advanced that Iran wouldn’t be able to put nuclear weapons together without the US noticing.

Unfortunately there is no reason to believe Clapper is right. Indeed, Netanyahu said as much to US National Security Advisor Susan Rice when she repeated Clapper’s claim during her visit to Israel last week.

And the UN agrees with Netanyahu.

In two reports released in recent days, UN officials have stated that Iran has developed an advanced capacity to hide its importation of components of its nuclear program. According to a Reuters report, this includes hiding titanium tubs in steel pipes and using its petrochemical industry as a cover to obtain valves and other items for its heavy-water nuclear reactor.

According to an AP report, the IAEA is also concerned because Iran is not cooperating with the watchdog group in revealing information about possible military applications of its nuclear program, or allowing the IAEA unfettered access to all nuclear sites.

Iran’s lack of transparency puts paid to the US’s claim that it can monitor all of Iran’s activities. It is far from clear that the US is even aware of all of Iran’s nuclear sites. So even if the US is capable of perfectly monitoring the known sites, it cannot know what it doesn’t know, and so may very well be monitoring the wrong sites.

And yet, despite US’s acknowledgment that Iran already has breakout capacity, and despite the UN’s conclusion that the Iranians are cheating on their international commitments and bypassing sanctions through smuggling activities, Brig. Gen. Eilam, who left the nuclear business 28 years ago, feels comfortable accusing Netanyahu of deliberately misleading the public and the world community.

What gives? It is hard to escape the feeling that there may be a connection between Eilam’s unhinged broadside against Netanyahu and the US’s assault on the credibility of Israel’s nuclear warnings.

On Sunday Iran’s dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei visited a Revolutionary Guards Corps base. There he was shown what the IRGC claims is a reverse-engineered clone of an advanced US espionage drone that Iran captured in 2011. According to Fox News, after the RAQ-170 Sentinel drone landed in Iran in 2011, the Pentagon presented US President Barack Obama with three different plans to destroy or retrieve the drone.

Obama rejected all of them because “he didn’t want to do anything that could be perceived as an act of war.”

During the same visit, to the IRGC base on Sunday, Khamenei told the commanders to begin mass producing ballistic missiles to use against the US.

In his words, the Americans “expect us to limit our missile program while they constantly threaten Iran with military action. So this is a stupid, idiotic expectation.

The Revolutionary Guards should definitely carry out their program and not be satisfied with the present level. They should mass produce. This is a main duty of all military officials.”

In other words, on Sunday, a declared enemy of the US, that the director of national intelligence acknowledges already has the independent capability to produce nuclear weapons, humiliated and threatened the US.

At a minimum Iran’s capture of the US drone indicates that the US capacity to monitor Iran’s nuclear capabilities is vulnerable and imperfect.

As for the ballistic missiles, they should be of utmost concern to the Europeans and the Americans. Iran doesn’t need ballistic missiles to attack Israel with nuclear weapons.

It can use artillery, not to mention a human being playing the role of Enola Gay.

But rather than condemn Iranian espionage and aggression, over the past week, Obama administration officials have launched a full court press against Israel.

Read more at Front Page

Iran Announces Missiles Equipped with Multiple Warheads

Iranian Fateh-110 series Missiles with alleged  Multiple warhead capabilties  Source FARS news agency 3-5-14

Iranian Fateh-110 series Missiles with alleged Multiple warhead capabilties Source FARS news agency 3-5-14

By Jerry Gordon:

Iran’s Revolutionary guard unveiled a new class of missiles which it alleges has multiple  warhead capabilities.  In our March NER article, has Iran Developed Nuclear Weapons in North Korea? , We reported sources suggesting that   the Islamic regime , in cooperation with North Korea,  were testing a nuclear equipped MIRV warhead and that Iran might have  the capability of fitting one on a ballistic missile  within 4 to 6 months.

If this announcement today by Iran’s FARS agency is confirmed, it will demonstrate that the P5+1 negotiators were blindsided by Iranian demands to exclude ballistic missile development.  As Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman said in a US Senate Foreign Relations hearings in early February 2014 before Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez: “It is true that in these first six months we’ve not shut down all of their production of any ballistic missile that could have anything to do with delivery of a nuclear weapon.”  Jennifer Rubin in her Washington Post blog, “Right Turn” cited Sen. Menendez in his speech before AIPAC’s Annual Policy Conference yesterday, saying:

Menendez repeated a warning he recently gave on the Senate floor that it will “be too late” to enact sanctions six months from now. That reality hangs over AIPAC, the Iran and P5+1 talks, and Congress: Iran by achieving partial relaxation of sanctions and by biding time to continue missile development and advanced centrifuge research is quickly becoming the nuclear-capable state Menendez vows to prevent.

What will the Obama West Wing do in the face of this challenge by the Iranian regime pursuing its diplomatic track?  WE don’t pretend to know. However, both sponsors of the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act, S. 1881, Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) do. That is to overwhelm Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and move on passing the standby sanctions authority.  Even that may be “too late” given today’s announcement. Moreover, with the Israel Navy interception of rockets bound for Gaza in the Red Sea today, Iran is pursuing all means possible to create a nuclear equipped ICBM umbrella demonstrating its hegemony in the global Islamic terrorist war against Israel, the US, Middle East allies and the West.

Those dangers were highlighted in Israeli PM Netanyahu’s speech at the AIPAC Conference yesterday when he said:

Iran says it only wants a peaceful nuclear program. So why is it building a heavy water reactor, which has no purpose in a peaceful nuclear program? Iran says it has nothing to hide. So why does it ban inspectors from its secret military sites? Why doesn’t it divulge its military nuclear secret — the secrets of its military nuclear activities? They absolutely refuse to say a word about that. Iran says it’s not building nuclear weapons. So why does it continue to build ICBMs, intercontinental ballistic missiles, whose only purpose is to carry nuclear warheads?

See, unlike Scud missiles, that are limited to a range of a few hundred miles,ICBMs can cross vast oceans. And they can strike, right now or very soon, the eastern seaboard of the United States — Washington — and very soon after that, everywhere else in the United States, up to L.A.

And the important point to make is this: Iran’s missiles can already reach Israel, so those ICBMs that they’re building, they’re not intended for us. You remember that beer commercial, “this Bud’s for you”? Well, when you see Iran building ICBMs, just remember, America, that Scud’s for you.

Read more at New English Review

Also see:

The Iranian Regime’s American Hostage Habit

Photo sent to Christine Levinson, wife of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who was kidnapped in Iran 6 years ago.

Photo sent to Christine Levinson, wife of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who was kidnapped in Iran 6 years ago.

by Clare M. Lopez

Startling photos of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who disappeared in March 2007 while on a trip to Iran’s Kish Island in the Persian Gulf, are the latest evidence in a litany of American hostages, taken, held and sometimes murdered by the Iranian mullahs and their terror proxies over a period of more than three decades.

Iran Spy Network 30,000 Strong

Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security

Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security


Iran’s intelligence service includes 30,000 people who are engaged in covert and clandestine activities that range from spying to stealing technology to terrorist bombings and assassination, according to a Pentagon report.

The report concluded that Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, known as MOIS, is “one of the largest and most dynamic intelligence agencies in the Middle East.”

The ministry actively supports Iran’s radical Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) that has been involved in terrorist bombings from Argentina to Lebanon, according to the report produced by the Pentagon’s Irregular Warfare Support Program and published last month by the Library of Congress Federal Research Division.

The Washington Free Beacon obtained a copy of the 64-page unclassified report.

“MOIS provides financial, material, technological, or other support services to Hamas, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), all designated terrorist organizations under U.S. Executive Order 13224,” the report said.

The spy service operates in all areas where Iran has interests, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Central Asia, Africa, Austria, Azerbaijan, Croatia, France, Georgia, Germany, Turkey, Britain, and the Americas, including the United States.

Iranian activities in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela have raised alarm among U.S. government officials.

The effort appears part of “Iran’s strategy of establishing a presence in the backyard of the United States for purposes of expanding Shi’a and revolutionary ideology, establishing networks for intelligence and covert operations, and waging asymmetrical warfare against the United States,” the report said.

“In Latin America, Iran’s intelligence agencies—MOIS but mostly the Quds Force—use Hezbollah to achieve their goals.”

Israel also is a major target of the MOIS and support for Hezbollah in Lebanon is a major Tehran intelligence objective.

The ministry is under the direct control of Iran’s theocratic dictator, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and all its ministers must become Islamic clerics as a precondition for the post. However, the agency recruits foreigners, including British nationals and Israeli Jews.

“To advance its goals, MOIS recruits individuals regardless of their beliefs, including Arabs or Jews to spy in Israel,” the report said.

One MOIS deputy minister, Saeed Emami, was appointed to a key post despite being Jewish by birth.

According to the report, Iranian intelligence is expanding operations in the Middle East and Mediterranean by setting up electronic eavesdropping stations.

“Two Iranian-Syrian [signals intelligence] stations funded by the IRGC reportedly have been active since 2006, one in the al-Jazirah region in northern Syria and the other on the Golan Heights,” the report said, noting that additional stations were planned for northern Syria.

“The technology at the two established SIGNIT stations indicates that Iran’s capabilities are still limited, with little scope for high-level strategic intelligence gathering,” the report said, noting they “appear to concentrate on supplying information to Lebanese Hezbollah,” Iran’s main proxy for terrorism and intelligence-gathering in the region.

Iran also has formed a “cyber command” to conduct both offensive and defensive cyber warfare operations following the June 2010 Stuxnet virus that crippled Iran’s uranium-enrichment infrastructure.

“The success of this virus is an indication of the weakness of Iran’s cyber development,” the report said.

The spy agency was linked to a series of assassinations in the 1990s called the “Chain Murders” that exposed it to western criticism.

According to the report, Russia was active in training Iranian intelligence operations beginning in the 1990s.

The Russian SVR spy service, the successor to the Soviet KGB, trained hundreds of MOIS operatives despite the two agencies’ different doctrines.

The cooperation was based on both nations’ goal of limiting U.S. political influence in Central Asia and efforts to stifle ethnic unrest.

“The SVR trained not only hundreds of Iranian agents but also numerous Russian agents inside Iran to equip Iranian intelligence with signals equipment in their headquarters compound,” the report said.

Iran’s intelligence is also cooperating with al Qaeda despite the Sunni-Shiite differences in religious ideology.

“Cooperation between Iran and al Qaeda is based on their shared opposition to U.S. hegemony in the region—Iraq and Afghanistan, chiefly—and dates to the 1990s,” the report said.

Iran helped a number of al Qaeda terrorists travel safely from Afghanistan to Iran after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

“The fact that al Qaeda operates in many countries helps Iran achieve its goal of diverting U.S. attention away from Iran’s immediate neighborhood,” the report said. “In return, al Qaeda uses Iran as a place where its facilitators connect al Qaeda’s senior leadership with regional affiliates.”

“Iranians engage in two types of terrorist attacks,” the report said. “One type includes sabotage, espionage, and bombing of target locations, while the other involves the assassination of dissidents of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Both are perpetrated inside and outside of Iran.”

Read more at Free Beacon