NER, by Jerry Gordon, June 1, 2015:
Without boots on the ground providing intelligence feed, the US led coalition air war is failing to “deter, let alone degrade” ISIS. How else can you explain 7,000 sorties over Syria and Iraq with less than 25% having ‘bomb releases”? That was the key disturbing finding in a Washington Times (WT) article, “U.S. bombers hold fire on Islamic State targets amid ground intel blackout.”
The U.S. conducted 7,319 sorties over Iraq and Syria as part of Operation Inherent Resolve in the first four months of 2015. Of those, only 1,859 flights — 25.4 percent — had at least one “weapons release,” according to data provided by United States Air Force Central Command. That means that only about one in every four flights dropped a bomb on an Islamic State target.
There have been reports of frustration by US Air Force, Navy and Marine pilots engaged in the ISIS air campaign who have acquired targets and yet been commanded to stand down from attacking them. That has led to criticism of the Administration ISIS air war from Members of Congress, most notably, Sen. John McCain who heads the Senate Armed Services Committee cited in the WT report:
The Arizona Republican said at a hearing this year that missions that don’t drop bombs needlessly put American pilots in danger and that U.S. boots on the ground would produce better intelligence that could lead to more effective bombing missions.
The level of air sorties in the US-led coalition air war is far below those of Gulf Wars I and II and even the Balkan Air campaigns during the Clinton era. The question is what is causing this? Many believe it is the restrictive rules of engagement to spare civilian lives, when ISIS fighters move among columns of civilians, effectively using them as human shields. Further, some analysts ironically believe that these strict rules of engagement actually contribute to civilian casualties by to ISIS. Perhaps this also reflects the misguided Obama Administration obsession in both avoiding collateral damage and avoiding putting special teams on the ground to provide better target intelligence.
Perhaps, the Central Command planners and air war commanders might best heed Israeli Air Force Commander Major General Eshel who was cited in a Defense News article saying:
“We have an offensive capability that is unprecedented and extremely significant which we’ve been developing over years and are now able to implement.
“In small wars, it’s a very significant challenge for us to reduce collateral damage on the other side when the enemy is using all he has to elevate the damage we’re forced to inflict on him,” Eshel said.
“First of all, it’s a moral challenge. … It sounds like a slogan, but we are constantly thinking, planning and operating with this challenge in mind.”
The demonstration of that approach was what occurred in Operation Defensive Edge against the Hamas rocket and terror tunnel war threatening Israel when the IAF F-16’s flew missions in attacks against urban targets with precision guided 1 ton bombs within 250 meters of IDF troops. The key is precision strikes based on precise intelligence.
Note these debates about the Pentagon handling of the ISIS air war campaign in the WT article:
Former US Navy Helicopter Pilot, Cmdr. Harmer:
Without ground forces, argues Cmdr. Christopher Harmer, a retired Navy helicopter pilot, U.S. airmen are essentially flying half-blind and, as a result, are returning to base with their bombs still in the bay.
“As long as the body politic or president or whoever is making decisions absolutely refuses to put American air controllers on ground, essentially pilots are flying with one eye closed,” Cmdr. Harmer said. “It’s almost impossible for pilots to designate between [Islamic State] fighters and coalition fighters.”
Cmdr. Harmer, who now serves as a senior naval analyst with the Middle East Security Project at the Institute for the Study for War, said airstrikes can hit big, static targets such as bridges, runways and tanks without on-the-ground guidance. But to be effective in hitting moving targets such as enemy troops in a firefight, U.S. pilots need American joint terminal attack controllers to give specific directions from the ground to guide their missiles precisely.
Fewer targets of opportunity says CENTCOM:
Col. Pat Ryder, spokesman for U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), told reporters Friday that while pilots can often place bombs on targets “within minutes,” it’s very important to be very precise and exercise tactical discipline to protect civilian populations.
“We’re dealing with a hybrid adversary who often hides among the population,” he said. “It’s more important for us to accurately target the enemy with a high degree of precision in order to minimize civilian casualties than it is to strike with such speed or force that would risk disenfranchising the very population we’re there to protect.”
Richard Brennan of RAND Corporation has a more pragmatic assessment:
But to make things work without a ground force and employing only air power, the rules of engagement must change, argues Richard Brennan, a senior political scientist at RAND Corp.
Mr. Brennan said the Islamic State, in adapting and responding to U.S. airstrikes, has started to intermingle its fighters with civilians to frustrate U.S. attacks from the air.
In an effort to protect civilian lives, the strict rules of engagement are doing the opposite by giving the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, the opportunity to kill civilians, he said.
“Even though the United States isn’t doing the killing, by its inability to use force in all but the cases where they’re sure of not having collateral damage, we’re ceding the advantage to ISIS in many situations,” Mr. Brennan said.
Looks to us that CENTCOM needs to whistle up a session with IAF General Eshel to understand how the Israelis do precision hits against Hamas in heavily urbanized Gaza City and Hezbollah Syrian missile and weapons transfers. Both Cmdr. Harmer of the Institute for the Study of War and Brennan of the RAND Corporation are correct about the stringent rules for engagement in the air war against. They are generating more collateral civilian casualties. Something that didn’t dawn on the Metternichean Munchkins in the Obama National Security Council who call the shots over Pentagon objections.
May 9, 2015 / /
Well, we’ve come full-circle. On 08 MAR 15 we came out with an article on the Islamic State (IS) establishing a foreign fighter unit known as the “Anwar al-Awlaqi Battalion” that consists of English-speakers (“The Increasing Role of Aussie Jihadists in ISIS Efforts to Expand into Southeast Asia and Strike the West”). We also discussed how that unit was tasked with getting the personnel within the ranks enough experience to be sent back to their countries of origin within the next 4-5 months. The specific countries our sources said that would be most at risk were the US, UK and Australia. The Successful attack in Kabul, Afghanistan and failed ANZAC Day plot in Melbourne, Australia (check out “Dropping the Hammer: Aussie Police Thwart ANZAC Day Attack Plot” for more details) were merely the opening shots for bringing the “Flames of War” to the west. Recently, a cell attacked a Muhammad Cartoon contest being hosted by Pam Gellar in Garland, Texas. IS claimed responsibility for the attack. We assess that none of this is a “coincidence,” and that these attack plots are part of a much larger campaign to take the fight to the west. Furthermore, we suspect that IS-linked cells will attempt to execute attacks in the US within the next 3-4 days with additional attacks being launched in the UK and Australia – yes, we’ve been saying that for a few months now that we would be seeing this around this time of year. More importantly, we’re seeing American and Aussie foreign fighters synching up their OPs for a coordinated effort – the largest projection of IS terror on the international stage.
The Increasing Role of Aussie Jihadists in ISIS Efforts to Expand into Southeast Asia and Strike the West
Dropping the Hammer: Aussie Police Thwart ANZAC Day Attack Plot
FBI Alerted Garland Police About Elton Simpson Hours Before Shooting
The US Department of Defense has announced that military installations are on “alert” for potential attacks while the professionally-bankrupt US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claims that there isn’t a “specific threat” made to any particular installation. DHS’ statement isn’t completely accurate according to our sources. The individual coordinating the US OPs is Syria-based UK national Junaid Hussein, and he’s reported to have been researching US military installations in Colorado and Ohio, so despite what DHS is saying IS appears to be focusing on a base in one of those two states. Hussein first appeared on the US government’s radar when it was revealed that he was responsible for establishing IS’ cyber-warfare capability. Although most people know him as the leader of the “Cyber Caliphate,” he’s also a prominent recruiter who assisted Australian foreign fighter Neil Prakash aka “Abu Khalid al-Cambodi” in the establishment of the Anwar al-Awlaqi Battalion. Hussein has previously run afoul of the British government and previously jailed in 2012.
ISIS activity prompts threat level increase at bases
Junaid Hussain: CyberCaliphate Leader And ISIS Member Was Behind CENTCOM Hack, Report Says
Hacker who stole Tony Blair’s details and bombarded anti-terror hotline with prank calls is jailed and claims his crime was no worse than those committed by Bullingdon members
Source: The ISIS Study Group
Additionally, Hussein has been passing down guidance to cells operating in western countries on target selection and giving them advice on proper OPSEC procedures. Much of this is being done on social media such as Facebook or Twitter. We find it rather amusing that DHS and the American mainstream media is just now starting to notice how heavily saturated our nation is with IS propaganda. We wrote about this in our article titled, “al-Hayat Media Center Continues to Saturate North America With its Social Media Outreach to Jihadists” that was posted on 25 OCT 15. These cells are domestic in nature in that none of the personnel have traveled to Syria. However, these cells and lone wolves are only the first phase of this campaign as the Syria returnees are expected to start returning to their home countries by the end of the month. In fact, we’ve been hearing that some may have already started to trickle in. This presents a big problem in that these personnel returned with the knowledge and connections to set up their own networks and attack cells – and they will be traveling with western passports that won’t draw as much attention as someone with a Saudi or Pakistani passport.
al-Hayat Media Center Continues to Saturate North America With its Social Media Outreach to Jihadists
The current attack plans appear to be a combination of IED attacks and shootings like what we saw in Garland or even the scenario we discussed last summer in “ISIS: Target America.” We suspect that they may opt to go with the pressure cooker IED design like the one used in the Boston Bombing. IS also took note of the response to he attack by local law enforcement and armed civilians and aren’t likely to make the same mistake. Instead, they appear to be looking at hitting soft targets in American cities in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles in addition to targeting military installations in Colorado and Ohio. Regarding the targeting of military installations on American soil, we assess that individual service members will also be targeted. Hussein and associate Riyad Khan were the guys who released the addresses, identities and photographs of 100 US military personnel in late-MAR that we covered in “Islamic State Urging Attacks on US Military at Home Publishes Personal Information.” This is yet another example of the coordination that’s taking place between Cambodia and Hussein. If you recall, the ANZAC Day plot called for the targeting of an individual police officer in the same manner as the murder of British Soldier Lee Rigby. That is not a coincidence. Hussein and Cambodia are working together.
Australian listed in Isis guidebook as go-to man for recruits
ISIS: Target America
Target America: Hunting the US Military
Islamic State Urging Attacks on US Military at Home Publishes Personal Information
Some of the identities exposed by Hussein and Khan
Source: The ISIS Study Group
Another example of the Hussein-Cambodi campaign can be seen through a militant we’ve identified as Shawn Parson, a Trinidian IS member who has maintained regular contact with Cambodi over the past few months. He’s been making several posts about “plotting revenge” for the arrest of IS sympathizer Keonna Thomas and has shown a preference for targeting US government officials. The threats were made through his Twitter account (@Amriki_Irhabi) but it was taken down. The threats he’s been making appear to be connected to the ongoing threat stream as he had made specific references to US Air Force installations located in Colorado prior to his first account being taken down. When one of our staff came across him through their network analysis, we came across posts that implied that he had prior knowledge of the shootings. We suspect he was privy to this information through his relationship with Cambodi. In fact there’s unconfirmed reporting that Parson was in a photograph with Cambodi that was published in issue 8 of Dabiq Magazine. We hope somebody with some common sense in DHS has already put two and two together – but we’re not holding our breath.
Philadelphia Woman Joins ISIS: How Keonna Thomas’ Alleged Plans To Connect With The Islamic State Group Unraveled
Parson’s new Twitter account @Irhabi_IS_187 (Note that he’s also following the UK’s Pied Piper of Jihad Anjem Choudray – which can be seen on the bottom right part of this screen shot)
Source: The ISIS Study Group
Shortly after setting up the new account more threats began to be posted. He’s quite the charmer, isn’t he?
Source: The ISIS Study Group
The guy on the right is allegedly Parson – we’re still working to confirm/deny
Source: Dabiq Magazine issue 8
Meanwhile in Australia, the Australian security forces continue to drop the hammer on IS cells in the country with another series of raids targeting safe-houses in Melbourne and Sydney. The following individuals were paid a visit by the Australian Federal Police (AFP):
Muhammad Hasan Kollab – The AFP confiscated material that was being used to produce IEDs.
Yassir Ali Bakhit
Ahmed Hussein (no relation to Junaid Hussein)
Isaac Majoub – This individual has been under investigation since November 14 and is described as a “young kid” between 15-17 yrs of age.
These individuals were planning to conduct attacks the Mother’s Day weekend. We have identified the Sydney Opera House as one of the primary targets for this series of attacks. Although the media reports are saying that its uncertain if this is connected to the failed ANZAC Day pot, we can assure you it is. Furthermore, All four individuals were in direct contact with Cambodi, who – along with close associate Muhammad Junaid Thorne – were overseeing that particular operation. We suspect that Thorne was also involved with the Mother’s Day plot. According to our sources in the country, this operation was within hours of being put into the execution phase. Our Aussie allies have once again demonstrated that they’re not professionally bankrupt like their American counterparts at DHS and ensured the safety of the civilian population. The Australian threat appears to have been blunted, for now. However, a key aspect of this strategy is to overwhelm western security forces to where something “falls through the cracks.” In fact With multiple threat streams spanning across multiple countries we see the scenario we discussed in the first installment of our Target America series on an international scale. The month of MAY is only the start with Syria returnees affiliated with the Anwar al-Awlaki Battalion beginning to redeploy back to their home countries. More will begin returning in JUN, at which time we can expect to see some of these personnel embedding themselves with the local cells comprised of individuals who didn’t go to Syria themselves. Hussein and Cambodi have been the main points of contact for linking these cells up with Syria vets. The Australian government “gets it,” but the US and British governments are still plagued with political correctness. In the case of the US, incompetence is another major factor that got us to the current situation. We assess that DHS will continue their reactionary posture which increases the likelihood of another IS attack. Not bad for the “JV Team,” huh?
Melbourne anti-terrorism raids: Police uncover explosive devices at Greenvale house in city’s north
Police conduct anti-terror raid in Melbourne suburb
‘Closest call yet': Police say tip-off sparked Melbourne raids which found alleged improvised explosive devices
President Obama has made numerous exaggerated and misleading statements to promote his nuclear diplomacy with Iran as a good deal. However, in an interview with NPR, the president accidentally told the truth and confirmed what many have been saying about his nuclear diplomacy with Iran:
“What is a more relevant I fear would be that in Year 13, 14, 15, they have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point, the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.”
Because the nuclear agreement being sought by the Obama administration will allow Iran to continue to enrich uranium and develop much more efficient centrifuge machines, it is very likely that the time to an Iranian bomb could shrink to “almost zero” as the president said. This is one of many reasons to stop this deal.
The Center for Security Policy will hold a panel discussion on how the Iran deal is a path for Iran to get the bomb.
- Kenneth Timmerman: Author, Activist and investigative journalist; Executive director of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI)
- Admiral James A. “Ace” Lyons (U.S. Navy, Ret.), former Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and father of the Navy Red Cell counterterrorist unit.
- Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.: President, Center for Security Policy, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy (Acting) under President Reagan.
- Clare Lopez, Senior Vice President for Research and Analysis, Center for Security Policy and former Operations Officer in the CIA’s Clandestine Service
As of this writing most of the Southern Yemeni city of Aden remains contested with heavy fighting all throughout the area. Our sources who remain in the country have informed us that additional UAE SOF personnel have been seen in the city fighting alongside the remnants of the pro-Hadi faction. We’ve also been made aware that the Saudi SOF personnel have also recently conducted a seaborne insertion into the area to bolster the push to seize their main objective: Aden International Airport. UAE SOF personnel on the ground have embedded with what remains of the pro-Hadi faction and appear to be rallying them for an assault on the Houthi forces located at the airport. Central to this strategy is the preservation of the runway, which makes it highly likely that the intent is to use the airport as a hub for bringing in supplies and follow-on forces for a larger ground campaign. We doubt the Houthis will be able to maintain their hold on the Southern part of the country in light of the Saudi-led coalition’s decision to double-down on the ongoing campaign. Already the coalition controls the surrounding airspace, requiring the IRGC-Qods Force to have flights come through Oman (we’re unsure as to why the Saudis haven’t applied more pressure on the Omani government). The Houthis’ hold on the South becomes even less likely if former President Saleh’s forces were to defect. Saleh himself is an opportunist, so if the Saudis were smart they’d be running an effective IO campaign offering economic incentives targeting military units aligned with Saleh. However, this campaign is unlikely to completely reverse the Houthi’s gains. A stalemate is much more likely.
Reports: ‘Limited’ ground force arrives in Yemen’s Aden
Yemen’s foreign minister: Aden troops were Gulf-trained locals
GCC SOF Teams Alerted For Deployment, AQAP Gains Strength and Iran Preps For Attacks Against Saudi Arabia
Yemen isn’t on Verge of Civil War – It Already is – and the Saudi Arabia Will Get Involved
Aden fighting in the distance
Source: Getty Images/AFP/Saleh al-Obeidi
We’ve been covering the Saudi-led coalition’s SOF operations for some time now – and we’ve also been covering the IRGC-Qods Force’s activity in the country. In our piece titled “AQAP and Qods Force Make Their Moves in Yemen as Saudis Struggle to Maintain Coalition,” We mentioned the presence of a senior member of the IRGC-Qods Force’s External Operations Division setting up shop in Sadah. This individual has been identified as BG Abdolreza Shahlai. Never heard of him? Don’t feel bad, most people haven’t – but you’ve probably heard about the operations that he had intimate involvement. He was the architect of the IRGC-Qods Force’s program that provided lethal aid to Shia proxy groups in Iraq during OIF in addition to being one of the primary planners for the 2007 attack on the Karbala Provincial Joint Coordination Center (PJCC) that killed five US Soldiers (check out “The Hezbollah Presence in Iraq” for more details). Indeed, the OIF-era put this guy on the map and led to the start of a strong friendship with Qods Force commander GEN Suleimani. Shahlai is currently a member of Suleimani’s inner circle and holds considerable sway in advocating the more “outside the box” proposals. In fact he gained the most notoriety from his involvement in planning the failed plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US in New York City. That particular operation called for the Qods Force to facilitate a third party – which was the Mexican drug cartel known as Los Zetas – to carry out the operation. His family member Mansur Arbabsiar was the primary facilitator.He’s also a strong advocate of taking more direct action against the US and serves as “Suleimani’s Fist” in overseeing operations inside American borders, Europe and Africa. He’s also no stranger to Yemen, having deployed to the country several times since 2011 to oversee training on the production of Explosively-Formed Projectiles (EFPs) and their implementation. Shahlai’s African connections have also been put to good use with his efforts to establish alternate facilitation ratlines into Yemen coming from Djibouti and Sudan. Needless to say, he’s become quite close to Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi.
AQAP and Qods Force Make Their Moves in Yemen as Saudis Struggle to Maintain Coalition
The Hezbollah Presence in Iraq
Who is IRGC Commander Abdolreza Shahlai, mastermind of attack on Camp Liberty
Treasury Sanctions Five Individuals Tied to Iranian Plot to Assassinate the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States
Man Sentenced in Plot to Kill Saudi Ambassador
Source: Associated Press
Like his colleagues, Shahlai entered Yemen via Oman (YES, he flew Mahan Air). Since setting up shop in Sadah, he’s been accelerating the program to establish a Houthi intel proxy to serve as an action arm for operations inside Saudi Arabia. In fact, he’s already got the ball rolling on targeting the Kingdom. Currently, Saudi Arabia is under heavy threat from cyber attacks targeting critical infrastructure like the infamous “Shamoon” virus that was unleashed by the IRGC-Qods Force Cyber Warfare Division against ARAMCO (check out “Iran Steps Up Cyber Attacks Against the US and its Allies” for more details). We assess that the Saudi oil, gas, telecommunications and aviation sectors are at the most risk for a repeat of the Shamoon incident. Our contacts in the oil industry report that as recently as MAR 15 ARAMCO was made aware of malicious activity against their infrastructure and were reassessing security practices in addition to working on identifying where they may have been compromised. We believe this malicious activity were probing operations being conducted to identify exploitable opportunities.
Iranian Regime Consolidates Yemeni Gains, Begins Work on Forming Houthi Intel Proxy
Iran Steps Up Cyber Attacks Against the US and its Allies
The recent attack launched by the Houthis against the Saudi border town of Najran that killed at least two civilians led to the capture of five Saudi military personnel was merely the opening act of this new phase of the campaign that we’ve been warning about. The next step of this new phase in the Yemen portion of Iran’s campaign may involve the targeting of US citizens stuck in Yemen. Some were lucky and able to leave the country, but many others remain trapped. It would be quite the coup for the Houthis to kidnap a few of them to demonstrate how the Obama administration abandoned them – then pressure the US into ending its support of the Saudi campaign. The five Saudi military personnel were possibly abducted with this in mind as well, although we doubt the Saudis will meet any demands. This country has been a failed state for quite some time, only US Secretary of State John Kerry is in denial. He recently made the claim that Yemen can “avoid ending up a failed state.” The problem with this statement is that Yemen is engaged in a civil war with military personnel from multiple regional powers operating on the ground alongside select factions. He hopes that there will be a “political” solution to this war. Unfortunately, The Iranians and Saudis are already in the process of escalating the violence. Only in the world of “Hope and Change” can a nation at war with itself and experiencing shortages in food, fuel, medical supplies be considered a “success story.” We can assure you that the Obama administration is every bit as wrong about Iran as they are about Yemen. The $1 million dollar question is whether they’ll figure it out before it’s too late? We doubt it.
Washington to Americans Stuck in Yemen: You’re on Your Own
Deaths as Yemeni rebels fire rockets into Saudi Arabia
John Kerry: Yemen not yet a failed state, may ‘hold itself together’ with peace talk
Iraqi Shia during a pro-Houthi rally in Baghdad carrying portraits of Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi and IRGC-Qods Force commander GEN Suleimani
Other Related Articles:
The Yemen Octagon: GCC vs Iran vs Houthis vs AQAP vs Islamic State
Today’s Middle East: The Burning Fuse of the 21st Century’s “Great Game”
President Obama’s Yemen “Success” Story
Poised to Fill Yemen’s Power Vacuum: Iran Tightens Grip on The Peninsula
IRGC-Qods Force: The Arabian Peninsula Campaign and Failure of Obama’s Foreign Policy
Shia Proxy Threat to US ISIS Strategy in Saudi Arabia
Yemen’s Houthi Rebels: the Hand of Iran?
NER, by Jerry Gordon, April 15,2015:
Bill Gertz has a blockbuster expose in today’s Washington Free Beacon of something we have been hammering away for years: the technology transfer of missile and nuclear technology between North Korea and the Iran, “North Korea Transfers Missile Goods to Iran During Nuclear Talks.” The stunning disclosure was that US intelligence has known about the illegal transfer in violation of UN arms sanctions, as apparently did the Obama Administration. You recall the statement that Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman made before a Senate hearing in early 2014. Sherman said, “that if Iran can’t get the bomb then its ballistic missiles would be irrelevant.”
In a March 2014 NER article “Has Iran Developed Nuclear Weapons in North Korea In March 2014, we wrote a New English Review article, we interviewed my colleague Ilana Freedman about her sources on Iran North Korean nuclear cooperation. She noted:
According to my sources, Iran began moving its bomb manufacturing operations from Iran to North Korea in December 2012. Two facilities near Nyongbyon in North Pyongan province, some 50 miles north of Pyongyang, have become a new center for Iran’s nuclear arms program.
Over the last year, Iran has been secretly supplying raw materials to the reactor at Nyongbyon for the production of plutonium. At a second facility, located about fifteen miles north and with a code name that translates to ‘Thunder God Mountain’, nuclear warheads are being assembled and integrated with MIRV platforms. MIRVs are offensive ballistic missile systems that can support multiple warheads, each of which can be aimed at an independent target, but are all launched by a single booster rocket. Approximately 250-300 Iranian scientists are now reported to be in North Korea, along with a small cadre of IRGC personnel to provide for their security.
According to the reports, the Iranian-North Korean collaboration has already produced the first batch of fourteen nuclear warheads. A dedicated fleet of Iranian cargo aircraft, a combination of 747′s and Antonov heavy-lifters, which has been ferrying personnel and materials back and forth between Iran and North Korea, is in place to bring the assembled warheads back to Iran.
Gertz’s WFB reported:
Since September more than two shipments of missile parts have been monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies as they transited from North Korea to Iran, said officials familiar with intelligence reports who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Details of the arms shipments were included in President Obama’s daily intelligence briefings and officials suggested information about the transfers was kept secret from the United Nations, which is in charge of monitoring sanctions violations.
While the CIA declined to comment on these allegations claiming classified information, others , Gertz queried said that “such transfers were covered by the Missile Technology Control Regime, a voluntary agreement among 34 nations that limits transfers of missiles and components of systems with ranges of greater than 186 miles.”
One official said the transfers between North Korea and Iran included large diameter engines, which could be used for a future Iranian long-range missile system.
The United Nations Security Council in June 2010 imposed sanctions on Iran for its illegal uranium enrichment program. The sanctions prohibit Iran from purchasing ballistic missile goods and are aimed at blocking Iran from acquiring “technology related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”
U.S. officials said the transfers carried out since September appears to be covered by the sanctions.
In a June 2014 Iconoclast post we drew attention to Iranian/ North Korean joint development of large rocket boosters sufficient to loft nuclear MIRV warheads and the likelihood that Iran might have that capability within a few years. In June 2014, The Algemeiner reported an Iranian official announcing that it possessed a 5,000 kilometer (approximately 3,125 miles) range missile that could hit the strategic base of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean:
“In the event of a mistake on the part of the United States, their bases in Bahrain and (Diego) Garcia will not be safe from Iranian missiles,” said an Iranian Revolutionary Guard adviser to Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Majatba Dhualnuri.
Gertz cites 2009 State Department Classified cables revealed by Wikileaks confirming the Freedman analysis:
North Korea also supplied Iran with a medium-range missile called the BM-25 that is a variant of the North Korean Musudan missile.
“This technology would provide Iran with more advanced missile technology than currently used in its Shahab-series of ballistic missiles and could form the basis for future Iranian missile and [space launch vehicle] designs.”
“Pyongyang’s assistance to Iran’s [space launch vehicle] program suggests that North Korea and Iran may also be cooperating on the development of long-range ballistic missiles.”
A second cable from September 2009 states that Iran’s Safir rocket uses missile steering engines likely provided by North Korea that are based on Soviet-era SS-N-6 submarine launched ballistic missiles.
That technology transfer was significant because it has allowed Iran to develop a self-igniting missile propellant that the cable said “could significantly enhance Tehran’s ability to develop a new generation of more-advanced ballistic missiles.”
“All of these technologies, demonstrated in the Safir [space launch vehicle] are critical to the development of long-range ballistic missiles and highlight the possibility of Iran using the Safir as a platform to further its ballistic missile development.”
Gertz quotes former US UN Ambassador John Bolton, former CIA analyst Fred Fleitz and former Senate Foreign Relations Committee arms control expert Thomas Moor raising concerns about Administration suppression of missile technology transfers between North Korea and Iran.
Ambassador Bolton said:
“And if the violation was suppressed within the U.S. government, it would be only too typical of decades of practice,” Bolton said. “Sadly, it would also foreshadow how hard it would be to get honest reports made public once Iran starts violating any deal.”
“While it may seem outrageous that the Obama administration would look the other way on missile shipments from North Korea to Iran during the Iran nuclear talks, it doesn’t surprise me at all,” Fleitz said.
“The Obama administration has excluded all non-nuclear Iranian belligerent and illegal activities from its nuclear diplomacy with Iran,” he said. “Iran’s ballistic missile program has been deliberately left out of the talks even though these missiles are being developed as nuclear weapon delivery systems.”
“Since the administration has overlooked this long list of belligerent and illegal Iranian behavior during the Iran talks, it’s no surprise it ignored missile shipments to Iran from North Korea,” he added.
“If true, allowing proliferation with no response other than to lead from behind or reward it, let alone bury information about it, is to defeat the object and purpose of the global nonproliferation regime—the only regime Obama may end up changing in favor of those in Tehran, Havana and Pyongyang,” Moore said.
These stunning disclosures about missile component transfers between North Korea and Iran with the knowledge of the Administration and intelligence echelon confirms the conclusion of our several NER and Iconoclast posts. To wit:
“Who will be able to stop that dangerous development taking place in North Korea’s hermit Kingdom? Who is best able to counter these threats in both Iran and North Korea?” That appears to be foremost from the minds of Secretary Kerry, Undersecretary Sherman and the President intent on perfecting a new paradigm of relations in the Middle East by pivoting to Iran. They appear not bothered by the facts and the national security implications of Iran with nuclear tipped ICBMs courtesy of North Korea.
Add this latest Gertz, WFB reports to the stack of increasing evidence to quote Israeli PM Netanyahu that the nuclear deal with Iran “ is a very bad deal”. Now we have to wait the delivery of a final agreement with Iran may or may not eventuate. Thus raising the question of whether yesterday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimous approval of the Iran Nuclear Review agreement legislation, if passed by both chamber and signed into law by President Obama, will ever be triggered.
Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, April 13, 2015:
A senior Iranian military leader is claiming that the United States has conceded ground on a range of Iran’s so-called nuclear redlines just weeks after agreement between the two sides sparked debates and disagreements in Washington, D.C., and Tehran.
General Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), referred to the United States as “the enemy” and said major ground has been given up by the Obama administration as negotiations continue through June.
“Some solutions have been found and it seems the Islamic Republic’s principles and red lines in technical aspects have been accepted on the side of the enemy,” Jafari was quoted as saying by the Iranian state-controlled Press TV.
Major disagreements remain between the two sides and could kill negotiations before a final deal is reached, he said.
“However, there are still ambiguities regarding the manner of sanctions removal, which should be clarified,” Jafari said, noting that this sticking point “could lead to disagreement too.”
The IRGC commander’s comments continue a war of words between the United States and Iran over what exactly was agreed to during the most recent round of negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland.
While both sides initially hailed a framework agreement as a historic step toward a final deal, the pact broke down just hours after being signed.
Iran maintains that the United States has agreed to allow all nuclear sites to remain operational and that no military sites would be subject to inspections upon the signing of a final deal. The Islamic Republic also claims that economic sanctions on Tehran will be immediately lifted if a deal is struck.
However, the Obama administration disagrees with this description. It claims that Iran would stop most of its most contested nuclear work and that sanctions will only be lifted in a gradual manner.
Much of the disagreement revolves around a fact sheet issued by the White House immediately after the framework agreement was reached. Iran has described this document as a “lie” and said it in no way agreed to any of the conditions outlined.
Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that each side has put its own “spin” on the agreement during an interview Sunday on Face the Nation.
“I would remind you, we had this same dueling narratives, discrepancy, spin, whatever you want to call it with respect to the interim agreement,” Kerry said.
Kerry went on to claim that the Islamic Republic would uphold any deal that is struck.
“Iran has proven that it will join into an agreement and then live by the agreement, and so that is important as we come into the final two and a half months of negotiation,” he said.
Kerry, who will brief members of Congress about the deal on Monday and Tuesday, said critics of the Obama administration’s diplomacy with Iran should remain silent.
“I think people need to hold their fire, let us negotiate without interference, and be able to complete the job over the course of the next two and a half months,” he said.
Meanwhile, one of Iran’s top negotiators on Sunday urged the United States to show “goodwill” and to stop fighting against Iranian demands.
“The solutions have been specified in the Lausanne negotiations and we hope that the other side will not throw the wrench during the future negotiations, and rather pave the ground for reaching a comprehensive agreement by showing good will,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister and senior negotiator Majid Takht Ravanchi was quoted as saying by the Fars New Agency.
Critics of the framework deal said the ongoing debate over what was agreed upon shows the Iranians cannot be trusted to live up to any guarantees made in a final deal.
“It’s entirely possible that both sides are lying about what the Iranians were willing to concede, but that’s not the point,” said one senior official with a Jewish organization that is familiar with the negotiations and concerns on Capitol Hill. “If the Obama administration is actually truthful, then it means the Iranians are already backsliding on what they’ve agreed.”
“That’s not new, and in fact it’s how they always negotiate. They take what they can get and walk away,” the source added. “But that’s exactly why you don’t make deals with these guys. Instead we’re talking about letting them have billions of dollars in sanctions relief, which they’ll use to supercharge their terror and military campaigns, and waiting until they decide to walk away again.”
- OBAMA FLACKS FOR KHAMENEI TO SAVE IRAN DEAL (breitbart.com)
ANALYSIS: OBAMA IS DEAF, AT LEAST TO NETANYAHU (breitbart.com)
Through the looking glass with Barack Obama into the Iran nuclear deal (warsclerotic.wordpress.com)
- Can the US Defend Itself against North Korean and Iranian Nuclear ICBMs? (newenglishreview.org)
- Russia lifts ban on delivery of S-300 missiles to Iran (dailymail.co.uk)
On Sunday the Iranian regime backed away from a critical part of the nuclear agreement the Obama administration is desperately trying to get them to agree to. The part they walked away from was the proposal for them to send a large portion of their uranium stockpile to Russia, where it wouldn’t be accessible for use in a weapons program. The Iranian Foreign Minister’s abrupt announcement on Sunday shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, yet the US State Department (DoS) is still at the negotiating table talking about giving them even more concessions – such as taking inconvenient things off the table like “intrusive inspections” for instance.
Intrusive inspections are a key part of ensuring that the Iranian regime isn’t continuing to move forward with obtaining a nuclear strike capability. The inspections themselves are designed to keep the regime honest and deter any covert activity. Unfortunately, our sources are suggesting that the Obama administration was already moving towards taking intrusive inspections off the table in order to keep the regime engaged. The regime – which smells the Obama desperation to get a deal done as well as some semblance of a “victory” in Iraq – had ordered IRGC-Qods Force commander GEN Suleimani to pull his Ramazan Corps personnel and Shia proxies off the front-lines in the Tikrit offensive in order to apply even greater pressure on the Obama administration, forcing them into making more concessions during the negotiations. As of this writing, those forces remain nearby and are currently holding territory seized from the Islamic State (IS) in the outskirts of the city. They can quickly move back into the fight, but like we said in “Tikrit OP Shows Signs of Falling Apart Despite US Airstrikes,” whether Suleimani orders his forces back into the fight while the US military continues to provide air support will depend entirely on what happens during these nuclear talks. Further south the Iranian regime has dramatically increased their direct support to their Houthi proxies in Yemen in order to gain control of that country’s key port cities – which would enable the Iranian military to potentially disrupt oil shipments in addition to forcing Saudi Arabia to redirect resources originally meant for the anti-Assad war effort in Syria back closer to home.
Tikrit OP Shows Signs of Falling Apart Despite US Airstrikes
The Yemen Octagon: GCC vs Iran vs Houthis vs AQAP vs Islamic State
Iran Backs Away From Key Detail in Nuclear Deal
Iran talks stretch into the night hours before deadline
The hidden truth about Iran’s nuclear program
Sensing they could get even more concessions from the Obama administration, the Iranian regime walked away with a promise of a “final agreement” being reached by the end of JUN 2015. What the west got out of all the time they wasted was a “framework understanding.” Along with intrusive inspections being taken off the table, there was no serious talk about the ICBM program that is a key part of this nuclear weapons program. If the Iranian regime has a “peaceful program” as claimed, then why are they rushing to advance their ballistic missile technology? In fact, why are they working so closely with the North Koreans in joint-nuclear and ballistic missile projects? We wrote back in NOV 14 in “How the North Korean Regime Affects the Middle East” the aspects of these joint endeavors and how they were designed to circumvent the sanctions placed against the two rogue nations. These joint programs have been going on for years where Iran shares their know-how in ballistic missile technology in exchange for DPRK expertise in the nuclear-arena. In fact, the DPRK’s front companies have been instrumental in bringing in equipment to Iran that have been targeted by sanctions. With the DPRK sending officials to Iran for ballistic missile development and Iranian researchers sent to Pyongyang for work on the nuke program, we see how this problem is worsening – and it won’t get better if we give them everything they want like the Obama administration is proposing.
How the North Korean Regime Affects the Middle East
Exclusive: Iran pursues ballistic missile work, complicating nuclear talks
Iranian President Hasan Rouhani and DPRK ceremonial head of state Kim Jong Nam
Source: Forbes Magazine
The Obama administration will charge that the Iranian nuclear weapons program isn’t “that advanced” right now. Although true at the moment, what they neglect to mention is how the Israeli MOSSAD has been the only reason that they don’t have a nuclear strike capability already. As previously stated in “Inside Iran’s Middle East: the Nuclear Weapons Program,” Iran’s current efforts are simply the resurrection of the Shah’s old program – which was designed as a counter-measure to the Soviet’s nuclear strike capability. All the Ayatollah’s regime did was reconstitute that program once the Shah’s regime collapsed. If it was a weapons program then – what suddenly makes it “peaceful” now? The Israelis – led by their dynamic leader Bibi Netanyahu – fully understand the threat for what it is and have been actively waging a cold war of sabotage and assassinations to roll back the program enough to buy them some time. We assess that even if a deal is reached by JUN 15, it won’t keep the Israelis from escalating their operations against the Iranian regime, and we don’t blame them.
Inside Iran’s Middle East: the Nuclear Weapons Program
Mr. Netanyahu Goes to Washington
Bibi has sacrificed much while serving in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and fully knows what it will take to defend his people. Wouldn’t it be nice if President Obama had the same understanding regarding the American people?
There’s a very strong pro-Iran lobby in the Beltway led by Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) asset Trita Parsi and the MOIS front that he runs known as the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). This organization was set up by the MOIS to conduct an IO campaign in America in order to influence American politicians enough to get them to push for the lifting of sanctions against the regime. Parsi serves as the primary lobbyist for the regime’s agenda on Capital Hill and has seen the most success from 2009-the present with several Democrat lawmakers having been wined and dined by the man and his cronies, which is probably why we haven’t seen a whole lot of pushback coming from that side of the aisle. But its not just the members of Congress, its also CIA officials, former-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and former-Secretary of State -now likely 2016 Democrat Presidential nominee – Hillary Clinton. The reason the American people – and their allies – should care is that this implies that Parsi’s organization possibly had a hand in the US government’s current Iran policy (Parsi defended Hagel’s stance on Iran in multiple Op-Eds). Parsi has been invited to the White House on numerous occasions by Valerie Jarrett, for instance. More disturbing is the fact that the Democrat Party’s first choice for President in the 2016 election has been cultivating a relationship with Parsi directly since SEP 09 – which set the stage for the current situation regarding the nuclear talks. Although we haven’t seen a “smoking gun,” we have strong suspicions that these ties to a known MOIS front is the primary reason for her secrecy surrounding the foreign contributions being made to the Clinton Foundation and why she chose to only do email correspondence on a privately-held server. That, our dear readers, would be far more explosive than anything pertaining to Benghazi – and more dangerous. The fact that none of the legitimate Iranian expat groups in the US or Europe wants anything to do with the NIAC should be a huge red-flag on their true intentions. Unfortunately, we doubt that the mainstream media will ever seriously cover this serious charge. To our Republican readers, this is also a good gauge to see if Congressman Trey Gowdy is truly a man of integrity and substance or just another grandstander a la Rand Paul who talks a great game but really stands for nothing other than his own personality cult.
The card the NIAC sent to Valerie Jarrett after their first visit to the White House
Source: NIAC homepage
You can find more on the MOIS’ IO campaign right here:
Inside Iran’s Middle East: the Charm Offensive
Source: NIAC homepage
The Obama administration claims that any push for more sanctions against the Iranian regime would “undermine” their efforts at achieving “peace” with Iran. They couldn’t be more wrong. How so? The Iranian regime’s actions are quite easy to read – they’re maneuvering to dominate the Middle East and view a nuclear strike capability as being the “golden ticket” that will keep the west from intervening as they tighten the noose. They’re fully aware of the fact that nothing happened to India, Pakistan or the DPRK after they announced that they have “the bomb,” so when they make that announcement themselves they fully intend to exploit their newfound immunity. Who’s going to stop them? It won’t be the US since our leadership is too weak and flaccid to do anything to Iran even it wanted to. We may be able to do business with the Iranian people – but the Iranian people aren’t the runs running the current regime. As long as Khameini’s people remain in power there will be no peace. The regime’s interpretation of “peace” is a Middle East that’s purged of all Sunni and non-Muslim influences. In other words, when they say they want to “wipe Israel off the map” – they mean it. All one has to do in order to get a taste of what’s coming is to see how the IRGC-Qods Force is fighting in the Syria, Iraq and Yemen fronts. In each case we’re seeing the Qods Force and their Shia proxy groups waging a very sectarian campaign where the civilian population is targeted just as much as IS and AQ fighters. Its also worth noting that this campaign and the increased targeting of Americans and Israelis living abroad is occurring while a so-called “reformist” occupies the Iranian President position, which adds further weight to what we’ve been saying about Rouhani being nothing more than a “smiling face” that the regime presents to the public while they further their agenda.
The Iranian regime already controls the Arab capitals of Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and Sanaa, and yet we’re being told by the US government that Iran is a “willing partner of peace.” The truth is that Iran has outmaneuvered the Obama administration from the start and are now on the verge of reaching the culmination point of being targeting Saudi Arabia and Israel. Turkey is also learning that they’re no longer immune from the hand of GEN Suleimani (which we’ll discuss in another article to be published in the near future). The new “Arab Army” that the Saudis have been pushing for has the rising Iranian threat in mind. But it won’t stop there. You see, Saudi Arabia will also be pursuing a nuclear strike capability of their own, and don’t be surprised if a back-room deal is made with the Israelis to “deal” with the Iranian nuclear weapon problem with the Saudis granting the Israeli Air Force use of their airspace to launch airstrikes. Yemen is the point from which all the different factions – al-Qaida, IS, Iran and the Arab nations converge in a massive regional war. This is no longer just about Syria or Iraq, no matter how much the US DoS will attempt to dismiss how serious the crisis has become. Don’t get it twisted, the Obama administration isn’t intentionally trying to bathe the Middle East in flames – they’re just really that naive and ignorant on how the world works. Remember, most of the people occupying the most senior positions of the Obama administration are academics who never really held a real job or actually applied any of the things they talk about in lectures in real-world settings until 2009 – and we’ve seen the painful results. Here, the saying of “those who can’t do – teach.” With the possibility of a Saudi-led ground operation being launched against the Iranian proxies in Yemen getting closer to reality with each passing day, we need to reverse course by maintaining sanctions against the Iranian regime, repair the damage done to US-Israeli relations and shutdown the NIAC. Unfortunately, these are academics we’re talking about here, so forget about them ever admitting to being “wrong” an correcting their deficiencies…
Other Related Articles:
Inside Iran’s Middle East: the “Reformers”
Inside Iran’s Middle East: the Southeast Insurgency
Inside Iran’s Middle East: the Kurdish Insurgency
by Daniel Pipes
March 28, 2015
The Middle East witnessed something radically new two days ago, when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia responded to a plea by Yemen’s president and led a 10-country coalition to intervene in the air and on the ground in the country. “Operation Decisive Storm” prompts many reflections:
Saudi and Egypt in alliance: Half a century ago, Riyadh and Cairo were active in a Yemen war, but then they supported opposing sides, respectively the status-quo forces and the revolutionaries. Their now being allies points to continuity in Saudia along with profound changes in Egypt.
Arabic-speakers getting their act together: Through Israel’s early decades, Arabs dreamt of uniting militarily against it but the realities of infighting and rivalries smashed every such hope. Even on the three occasions (1948-49, 1967, 1973) when they did join forces, they did so at cross purposes and ineffectively. How striking, then that finally they should coalesce not against Israel but against Iran. This implicitly points to their understanding that the Islamic Republic of Iran poses a real threat, whereas anti-Zionism amounts to mere indulgence. It also points to panic and the need to take action resulting from a stark American retreat.
Arab leaders have a long history of meeting but not cooperating. From the right: King Hussein of Jordan, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Yasir Arafat of the PLO, and Muammar Qaddafi of Libya in September 1970.
Yemen at the center of attention: Yemen played a peripheral role in the Bible, in the rise of Islam, and in modern times; it’s never been the focus of world concern – until suddenly now. Yemen resembles other once-marginal countries – the Koreas, Cuba, the Vietnams, Afghanistan – which out of nowhere became the focus of global concern.
The Middle East cold war went hot: The Iranian and Saudi regimes have headed dueling blocs for about a decade. They did combat as the U.S. and Soviet governments once did – via contending ideologies, espionage, aid, trade, and covert action. On March 26, that cold war went hot, where it’s likely long to remain.
Can the Saudi-led coalition win? Highly unlikely, as these are rookies taking on Iran’s battle-hardened allies in a forbidding terrain.
Islamists dominate: The leaders of both blocs share much: both aspire universally to apply the sacred law of Islam (the Shari’a), both despise infidels, and both turned faith into ideology. Their falling out confirms Islamism as the Middle East’s only game, permitting its proponents the luxury to fight each other.
The Turkey-Qatar-Muslim Brotherhood alliance in decline: A third alliance of Sunni revisionists somewhere between the Shi’i revolutionaries and the Sunni status-quotians has been active during recent years in many countries – Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya. But now, in part thanks to diplomacy initiated by the brand-new King Salman of Saudi Arabia, its members are gravitating toward their Sunni co-religionists.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia has done something unprecedented in putting together a military coalition.
Isolated Iran: Yes, a belligerent Tehran now boasts of dominating four Arab capitals (Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, Sana’a) but that’s also its problem: abrupt Iranian gains have many in the region (including such previously friendly states as Pakistan and Sudan) fearing Iran.
Sidelining the Arab-Israeli conflict: If the Obama administration and European leaders remain obsessed with Palestinians, seeing them as key to the region, regional players have far more urgent priorities. Not only does Israel hardly concern them but the Jewish state serves as a tacit auxiliary of the Saudi-led bloc. Does this change mark a long-term shift in Arab attitudes toward Israel? Probably not; when the Iran crisis fades, expect attention to return to the Palestinians and Israel, as it always does.
American policy in disarray: Middle East hands rightly scoffed in 2009 when Barack Obama and his fellow naïfs expected that by leaving Iraq, smiling at Tehran, and trying harder at Arab-Israeli negotiations they would fix the region, permitting a “pivot” to East Asia. Instead, the incompetents squatting atop the U.S. government cannot keep up with fast-moving, adverse events, many of its own creation (anarchy in Libya, tensions with traditional allies, a more bellicose Iran).
Impact on a deal with Iran: Although Washington has folded on many positions in negotiations with Iran and done the mullah’s regime many favors (for example, not listing it or its Hizbullah ally as terrorist), it drew a line in Yemen, offering the anti-Iran coalition some support. Will Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamene’i now stomp out of the talks? Highly unlikely, for the deal offered him is too sweet to turn down.
American diplomats meet again with their Iranian counterparts to capitulate on yet another difference.
In sum, Salman’s skilled diplomacy and his readiness to use force in Yemen responds to the deadly combination of Arab anarchy, Iranian aggression, and Obama weakness in a way that will shape the region for years.
Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2015 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.
- Arab summit agrees on unified military force for crises (reuters.com)
Saudis Begin Yemen Military OPs as the IRGC-Qods Force Prepares For Round 2 (isisstudygroup.com)
Yemen is just part of Iran’s Mideast master plan (warsclerotic.wordpress.com)
The Yemen Octagon: GCC vs Iran vs Houthis vs AQAP vs Islamic State (theisisstudygroup.com)
Saudis Pound Yemen as Houthis Seek Strategic Territory (centerforsecuritypolicy.com)
Frontpage, March 18, 2015 by
The Obama administration is shamelessly whitewashing the Iranian regime’s state sponsorship of global terrorism, no doubt to help soften Iran’s image in preparation for trying to foist a bad nuclear deal on the American people. It also did the same thing for Iran’s jihadist proxy terrorist group, Hezbollah.
The administration’s most recent unclassified version of the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community report published on February 26, 2015, delivered to the US Senate by National Intelligence director James Clapper, conspicuously omitted any reference to the ongoing terrorist threat posed by Iran and Hezbollah. While acknowledging that Iran remains “an ongoing threat to US national interests,” the report noted Iran’s “intentions to dampen sectarianism, build responsive partners, and deescalate tensions with Saudi Arabia.” The report also noted Iran‘s commitment of more resources to the fight against the Sunni extremists of the Islamic State.
In the small section devoted to Yemen, the report made no mention of Iranian support for the Huthi rebels. It simply portrayed Iran as a beneficiary of the Huthis’ rise to power: “Huthi ascendency in Yemen has increased Iran’s influence as well.”
By contrast, in the previous Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community report dated January 29, 2014, Iran and Hezbollah figured prominently under a section entitled “Terrorist Activities Overseas.”
In addition to mentioning the large role played by Iran and Hezbollah in propping up the Assad regime in Syria, which they view as “a key partner in the ‘axis of resistance’ against Israel, the earlier intelligence report said that “Iran and Lebanese Hizballah continue to directly threaten the interests of US allies. Hizballah has increased its global terrorist activity in recent years to a level that we have not seen since the 1990s.”
In the specific section of the January 29, 2014 report devoted to Iran, the report stated: “In the
broader Middle East, Iran will continue to provide arms and other aid to Palestinian groups, Huthi rebels in Yemen, and Shia militants in Bahrain to expand Iranian influence and to counter perceived foreign threats.”
What happened between 2014 and 2015 to merit deleting any association of Iran and Hezbollah with continued global terrorist activity in the most recent intelligence assessment report? Did Iran’s leaders suddenly decide to forswear terrorism and join the family of civilized nations? Obviously not. For example, as Middle East and national security expert Daniel Byman testified on February 11, 2015 before the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, Iran’s proxy Hezbollah continued its terrorist operations in 2014 in far-flung locations:
Iran, often working with Hizballah, has repeatedly tried to use terrorism against an array of Israeli and Western targets and interests, and this pattern has continued in recent years. Recent plots reportedly range from plots against an Israeli shipping company and USAID offices in Nigeria in 2013 to reconnoitering the Israeli embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan, for a possible attack. Hizballah operatives planned an attack in 2014 against Israeli tourists in Bangkok and in October 2014 Hizballah operatives were arrested in Peru for planning attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets there.
With respect to Yemen, Iran’s increased influence in the country was not just a by-product of the “Huthi ascendency,” as the February 2015 intelligence assessment report intimated. Iran’s intervention on behalf of its Shiite allies with arms, training and funding made the Huthi takeover of the Yemen government possible. With Iran also heavily involved in Iraq, the proclamation of an emerging Iranian empire by Ali Younusi, an adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei, rings true, at least as to Iran’s hegemonic intentions. “Iran is an empire once again at last, and its capital is Baghdad,” he declared.
However, the Obama administration is willing to fudge the truth to induce Iran to stay at the negotiating table and make some sort of nuclear arms deal that President Obama can trumpet as a major diplomatic achievement. Anyway, in the Obama administration’s calculations, Iran can’t be all that bad since it now helping to fight those truly evil Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria whom we too are fighting.
Max Abrahms, professor of political science at Northeastern University and member at the Council of Foreign Relations, postulated a “quid pro quo” arrangement. “Iran helps us with counter-terrorism and we facilitate their nuclear ambitions and cut down on our labelling of them as terrorists,” he was quoted by Newsweek as saying.
The February 2015 intelligence assessment report does not limit its whitewashing of Iran’s malevolent intentions to the subject of terrorism. It turned a blind eye to Iran’s unwillingness to come clean with international inspectors with regard to the military dimensions of its nuclear program.
The February 2015 intelligence assessment report claimed that the temporary agreement in place with Iran, known as the Joint Plan of Action, has “enhanced the transparency of Iran’s nuclear activities, mainly through improved International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access.” It ignored the International Atomic Energy Agency’s repeated warnings that Iran has not been cooperating with the IAEA’s inquiry into allegations of Iran’s past nuclear-related military development work.
One would think that unfettered inspections to verify compliance with the terms of any final agreement would be absolutely non-negotiable, especially given Iran’s past record of cheating and defying international inspectors. However, according to a report in the New York Times on March 17th, unnamed officials have indicated that “provisions for extensive verification” are still being negotiated. The other issue where there is reportedly a gap is the timetable for removal of the United Nations sanctions and other sanctions.
The February 2015 intelligence assessment report conceded that Iran has “the ability to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons, if it chooses to do so,” but refused to take a position on Iran’s probable intentions. “We do not know whether Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons,” the report stated. “Tehran would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons, if it builds them,” the report added.
Iran has remained free to develop or acquire ballistic missiles and the technology to miniaturize nuclear weapons for delivery by Iran’s “preferred method.” That apparently won’t change with a final deal, since Iran has refused to allow its missile program to be a part of the negotiations. Thus, while the Obama administration is negotiating everything – the scope of inspections, the number of centrifuges that Iran will be able to keep spinning from the get-go, the timing of sanctions relief and the sunset date after which any significant nuclear restrictions will go away – it is being outmaneuvered by the Iranian negotiators who stick resolutely to their red lines. And, in the process, the Obama administration is providing Iran and its proxy Hezbollah a measure of respectability in the eyes of the world by whitewashing their terrorism records in an official U.S. intelligence assessment document.
Dropping Iran and Hezbollah from Threat Assessment a Strategic Error (centerforsecuritypolicy.org)
It is surprising that Iran and Hezbollah were notably omitted from the list of terror threats inthis year’s Worldwide Threat Assessment. The reason for doing so is likely political, tied to negotiation over the Iranian nuclear program and in due to the Obama Administration’s view that Iran has a constructive role to play in the fight against Islamic State. However, both ideas are unsound; Iran can not be trusted, either to surrender its nuclear program nor as an ally against Islamic State.
Many have warned about further Iranian influence in Iraq, and General Petraeus noted to then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates in 2007 that Iran was seeking to expand influence over Iraq and challenge American power in the region. Such fears are not unfounded with the fact that Iran is backing most Shia militias in Iraq and the propensity for said militias to engage in brutal acts on Sunni Iraqis for the crime of simply being Sunni. Iranian support for anti-Islamic State actions in Iraq has been considerable, as seen in the retaking of Tikrit. No US support was requested in the operation, and two-thirds of the troops involved in the offensive to retake Tikrit were from Iranian-backed Shia militias. The head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Major General Qasem Soleimani, is personally overseeing operations in Tikrit.
It is quite possible that Iran may itself be encouraging sectarian conflict in Iraq to drive the Iraqi Shia population to support an alliance with Iran to protect them from the Islamic State fundamentalist Sunni threat. This was done during the second Iraq War, when Iran gave weapons and funding to Al Qaeda in Iraq, Islamic State’s predecessor.
Now, recent reports suggest that terrorist organization Hezbollah will send 800 fighters toIraq in order to participate in a future counterattack against Islamic State in Mosul. Iran has already sent military forces to aid in the battle for Tikrit. Hezbollah’s entry in lieu of further direct Iranian military involvement are concerns from Sunni Arab Iraqis over having further Persian troops in country, and due to the similarity between the terrain of Lebanon with that of northern Iraq. Hezbollah previously had advisors in Iraq, but withdrew them after the Israeli military conducted a strike on a Hezbollah position in the Golan Heights this January.
While ignoring Iranian activity with terrorism, the Worldwide Threat Assessment Report did note that Iran’s nuclear and cyberwarfare programs had become quite advanced, citing the 2012-13 DDOS attacks on the financial sector and noting their recent attempts to develop ICBMs:
We continue to assess that Iran’s overarching strategic goals of enhancing its security, prestige, and regional influence have led it to pursue capabilities to meet its civilian goals and give it the ability to build missile – deliverable nuclear weapons, if it chooses to do so…We judge that Tehran would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons, if it builds them. Iran’s ballistic missiles are inherently capable of delivering WMD, and Tehran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East. Iran’s progress on space launch vehicles — along with its desire to deter the United States and its allies — provides Tehran with the means and motivation to develop longer – range missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
The inclusion of Iran’s nuclear and cyber capabilities, while ignoring their regional strategy of using Islamist proxies and terrorists to advance their interests, which has played so successfully in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, misses the forest for the trees, and provides additional evidence that the Obama administration does not understand the nature of the regime in Tehran.
March 14, 2015 / /
In an update to our piece “The Tikrit Front: Not So Rosy as Claimed by Obama Administration,” the Islamic State (IS) has been conducting steady operations to delay the IRGC-Qods Force-led assault force’s advance towards Tikrit. This is being done by executing a series of IED and VIBED attacks all along the major avenue of approach, which has been narrowed into a single entry point into the city after the destruction of the Tikrit highway bridge that effectively blocked the advance. The move has pushed the assault force into repositioning itself north and south of the city. Currently, the joint-force is prepping to launch the main push into the city, which we assess will occur within the next 3-5 days. We are aware of two IA BDEs have already moved to positions 40 km north of Tikrit and have remained stationary, likely waiting for follow-on forces to arrive.
Iraqi offensive to dislodge Islamic State from Tikrit appears to stall
Iraqi forces pause in battle to drive Islamic State from Tikrit
A Shia militia column forced to halt their advance after the detonation of a VBIED
The move to destroy the Tikrit highway bridge was done to force the advancing Qods Force/Shia Militia/IA units into a “fatal funnel” where they will face even more intense opposition in the form of complex attacks. Setting the nearby oil fields ablaze was likely done to mask the movements of IS units from the view of ISR assets – both American and Iranian – that are attempting to identify for target development. This is indicative of IS commanders possessing formal military experience, no doubt a reflection of Baghdadi’s efforts to recruit members of the Saddam-era military. On the flip side, we fully expect the Qods Force and their Shia proxies to intensify their operations by increasing the brutality of their treatment of the Sunni civilian population in order to “make an example” out of them. In fact, our sources in the country have reported to us that Qods Force commanding general GEN Suleimani – who is the overall commander of this campaign – has passed guidance to the Shia militias involved in the offensive that Ayatollah Khameini issued a fatwa authorizing the “total destruction” of Tikrit and the civilian population – who the Iranian regime views as “heretics that need to be purged from Iraq.” Indeed, there are those in the American intelligence community (IC) who continue with the erroneous thinking that the Iranian involvement in active ground combat operations in Iraq is a “positive thing” (looking at you GEN Dempsey). We submit to them the following video and corresponding reporting that highlights what we’ve been saying throughout the last few weeks (in case they don’t want to take our word for it):
Video shows burning village near Tikrit : “Shiite militias wanted revenge”
CNN and the rest of the American media has been reporting that the Qods Force and its proxies are trying to “win the hearts and minds” of the Sunni populace in a bid to put the most positive spin possible for the Obama administration -but they couldn’t be more wrong. Yes, they point to pro-government Sunni tribal forces participating in this joint-endeavor, but what they either fail to understand or willfully leave out of their reporting is the rather nasty fact that the Qods Force is using them as mere “canon fodder.” They’ve also been diverting ammo and other supplies meant for those tribal forces to their Shia proxies instead. So really, just how hard is GEN Suleimani trying to win those hearts and minds there? Keep in mind that a few days before the start of the Tikrit offensive, IS had abducted over 100 of those pro-GOI tribal fighters and the Qods Force didn’t seem to be very concerned nor did they try to save them. In a way the people on the Beltway are correct that Iran wants “stability” in Iraq – they just fail to realize that the Iranian regime views “stability” as an Iraq purged of all “unmanageable” influences. In other words, “all Sunnnis” are viewed as “terrorists.”
Iraq militia leader hails Iran’s ‘unconditional’ support
Iraqi, allied forces try to win back Tikrit, win over hearts and minds of residents
Qods Force-Led Assault Force Meets Heavy Resistance in Tikrit
The main fight for Tikrit will be a long, hard slog
The Long War Journal put out a great piece two days ago that echoes our sentiments that we’ve been voicing since last summer, pointing out that not only will the Qods Force-led campaign will result in a worsened sectarian crisis, but that the regime is angling to use their involvement in Iraq as another bargaining chip to dupe the Obama administration into giving up even more concessions in the already one-sided nuclear deal that’s being negotiated. Their piece is a damning indictment of the rudderless Obama foreign policy that has led to the rise of IS and further entrenchment of the Iranian regime inside Iraq.
Analysis: Iran is No Partner in the Fight Against the Islamic State
GEN Suleimani on the front-lines in the Tikrit-area
Source: Long War Journal
If you want to see just what the Iranian regime is all about, check out the following:
Inside Iran’s Middle East: the Kurdish Insurgency
Inside Iran’s Middle East: the Southeast Insurgency
Inside Iran’s Middle East: the Charm Offensive
Inside Iran’s Middle East: the “Reformers”
Inside Iran’s Middle East: the Nuclear Weapons Program
The IA will be depending on the Shia militias to hold the terrain they’ve seized and secure the lines of communication (LOCs) while the main force attempts to push deeper into Tikrit itself. The problem with this is that IS has already been receiving reinforcements from Mosul and the Lake Thar Thar-area to begin hitting those LOCs. This dependency on the militias will only increase as it becomes painfully obvious that those “5 new IA BDEs” US advisors are training hasn’t been going as well as advertised. Worse, we have the Sunni civilians – most of whom have no love for IS – not only caught in the cross-hairs of the fighting, but actually being targeted by the very people claiming to be their “liberators.” Apologists claiming that the current foreign policy being implemented by the Obama administration is “the only reasonable plan” are dangerously naive in thinking that the Iranian regime’s involvement is “a good thing.” This is a regime that is brutal to its own people and to the Sunni population in Syria – so what makes them think that Iran is somehow going to be “different” in Iraq? The Qods Force and their Shia proxies are engaging in the same sectarian violence as IS – and the Obama administration just hitched itself to their wagon. Is this the “reasonable plan” the Obama administration’s supporters within the media have been referring to?
Other Related Articles:
ISIS Shaping Operations Against IA Blunts Mosul OP Before it Starts
IA Struggling to Avoid Collapse on Multiple Fronts -Mosul OP in Danger of Failing
GOI Has Big Plans to Retake the Country From ISIS – But Can They Pull it Off???
Tikrit Update as of 22 JUL 14
State of the Iraqi Air Force and Special Operations Forces
ISIS: Regained the Initiative in Northern Iraq
March 4, 2015 / /
On Tuesday Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu went before the US Congress in Washington, DC, to warn them about allowing Iran to go nuclear. Bibi came in and did what he needed to do for his people: speak before the government of his closest ally and warn them about the coming threat from the Iranian regime. The man displayed great wisdom and strength at a time when there’s so much uncertainty and threats emerging in the world. What about President Obama? He snubbed Bibi and many from within his administration and party went public talking to the press about how “disrespectful” Bibi was to President Obama for accepting House Speaker Boehner’s invitation to speak to Congress. Bibi completely outmaneuvered President Obama by praising the man, then following up with laying out his country’s concerns about the deal with Iran, which to be blunt is exactly as one-sided as we’ve been saying it would be throughout our “Inside Iran’s Middle East” series.
Netanyahu Lavishes Praise on Obama in Speech: “I called the President, and he was there”
The full speech can be found here in case you missed it:
One of the individuals who were the most vocal in their disgust for Bibi’s visit was Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, who talked about how “disrespectful” he was to visit and then called out her Republican counterparts for allowing him to “insult” the country. She also accused the Republicans of “politicizing” the Iranian nuclear negotiations. We at the ISIS Study Group find this most interesting since Pelosi didn’t seem to have any problems doing exactly what she’s accusing the GOP of doing when she met with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad during the Bush years:
During Pelosi’s Syria visit, she praised Asad as being “reform-minded.” Is Assad “secular?” Yes, but he’s still a dictator and one that continues to support terror groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas.
US Democrat Pelosi in Syria talks
Despite all the praise she was lavishing on Assad, she did a complete 180 just a few years later when she was advocating US military action against the regime:
The difference between Boehner’s invitation and Pelosi’s Syria visit is that Boehner invited Bibi to lay out his concerns of what a nuclear-armed Iran would mean for his people and the Middle East to Congress while Pelosi’s visit was merely to “punch Bush in the face.” Israel is also one of the few countries that we can actually call an ally. Her incompetence on foreign policy highlights the general ignorance that’s endemic throughout the Obama administration and Democratic members of Congress in general. Bibi addressed Congress because he saw it as an opportunity bypass a dangerously naive Obama administration to speak to the rest of the US government in a public forum. Our staff just recently wrote about how a major Syrian opposition group that was benefiting from US military support was forced to disband – and how that group wasn’t the “moderate” entity it was made out to be. More damming is how the overall strategy to defeat IS has been flaccid at best, with the Iraqi Army’s (IA) ability to retake major population centers Fallujah, Tikrit, Mosul and Bayji in doubt.
As the administration’s allies in Congress and the media mocked Bibi by referring to him as a “child,” they fail to realize the very real threat to both the Israeli and American people that he described on Capital Hill. He rightfully discussed the fact that the current nuclear deal does nothing to address Iran’s development of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMS). If the Obama administration was serious about preventing the Iranian threat from reaching critical mass, wouldn’t it make sense to have that as one of the priorities? We also question the logic of pushing to lift sanctions when its clear that they really haven’t been enforced and were plagued with holes that allowed Iran and the DPRK to circumvent both of their sanctions by working through a series of front companies to develop each other’s nuclear weapons and missile programs in a series of joint endeavors.
The joint-programs involve Iran sharing their know-how in ballistic missile technology in exchange for the Kim regime’s expertise in the nuclear-arena. This allows for both rogue regimes to bypass sanctions on a number of levels, such as enabling Iran to test their methods of producing the required amounts of fissile material for producing a nuclear weapon – of which the DPRK has more than enough installations to facilitate this activity that are beyond Israel’s reach. Since the DPRK has gone fully operational with their nuclear weapons program with no consequences, Iran is pretty much free to continue developing their program unhindered. In the ballistic missile-arena, Iran has a lot of open land that are suitable for missile tests that wouldn’t draw the same levels of unwanted attention as it would on the Korean Peninsula (although Kim Jong Un will test missile in his neighborhood as a means of shaking down the international community for more $$$ – but that’s for another article). Also, the IRGC-Qods Force Cyber-Warfare Division has been training DPRK hackers on cyber-attack TTPs while the Kim regime has been assisting the Iranian proxies Hezbollah and Hamas with the construction of tunnel networks. If you want to know [more] on the Iran-DPRK alliance, read this:
How the North Korean Regime Affects the Middle East
Iran Steps Up Cyber-Attacks the US and its Allies
Sony’s Decision to Pull “The Interview” and the Truth About the DPRK Threat
Hamas and North Korea in Secret Arms Deal
Iranian President Hasan Rouhani and DPRK ceremonial head of state Kim Jong Nam
Source: Forbes Magazine
Is the Obama administration aware of the Iran-DPRK relationship mentioned above? You betcha. They’re also very much aware of Iran’s Twelver ideology that believes in the “return of the 12th Imam.” Twelvers believe that the Imam is descended from Muhammad’s son-in-law Ali Ibn Abni Talib, the fourth Caliph that was assassinated in the year 661, which resulted in the permanent Sunni-Shia split. The Shia continued a line of Imams, members of Muhammad’s household and his prophetic heirs. Each one in turn, over two centuries, was poisoned. According to the traditions of Twelver ideology, the 12th of these Imams – a 5 yr old boy – “disappeared” but remained “alive.” Through communicating with the world through various agents, he entered the state of “occultation” in the year 941 and promised to return when the time was right. An important part of this ideology involves the initiating of a planetary conflagration, meaning “Allah’s kingdom” would be established on Earth by the 12th or “hidden” Imam, aka “the Mahdi,” whose advent can be accelerated by creating the right set of circumstances – fighting between nations and violent upheavals bathed in fire and blood.
Ayatollah Khameini and his loyalists believe that a nuclear weapon capability is the best way to set the conditions to expedite the Mahdi’s return. Unfortunately, when you allow a bunch of academics with no real experience in how the world really works to run a country you get foolish policies trusting rogue regimes that are running well-run IO campaigns. The use of “reformers” serving as the face of the regime is one of the ways that Khameini’s followers lure the west into a false sense of security. Individuals such as current Iranian President Rouhani are only there to advance the regime’s agenda – in this case obtaining a fully operational nuclear weapons capability with a neutralized internal opposition. That man’s sole purpose in life is to ensure the lifting of economic sanctions and getting the west (the US specifically) to agree to a deal where Iran gives up little but gains EVERYTHING.
Inside Iran’s Middle East: The “Reformers”
The IRGC has been tasked with ensuring the nuclear weapons program becomes fully operational
Source: Der Speigel
The IRGC-Qods Force and their proxies (e.g. Hezbollah) are most active in targeting Israelis and Americans whenever there’s a “reformer” as President. We can’t say that we’re surprised by any of this considering the amount of influence that the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) – a Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) front – has within the Democratic party. The NIAC will trot out people like Trita Parsi (the organization’s chief lobbyist on Capital Hill) to do interviews or write articles that appear in Foreign Policy Magazine advocating the lifting of sanctions and “normalization” without holding the regime accountable for its role in sponsoring terror attacks across the globe. Our article titled “Inside Iran’s Middle East: The Charm Offensive” gets into even greater detail on the success that the regime has experienced in its efforts to influence US politicians and the intelligence community which you can find right here:
Inside Iran’s Middle East: The Charm Offensive
Trita Parsi: Chief lobbyist in the Beltway and MOIS asset
Source: NIAC’s homepage
Bibi’s speech was not designed to “stick it” to President Obama or “politicize” the nuclear negations with Iran. He did this speech to air his concerns in a last ditch effort to have the US reconsider the path it chose to take. As we’ve laid out in this piece and throughout our Inside Iran’s Middle East series, the Iranian regime isn’t interested in meeting anybody “halfway” nor do they care to give up their nuclear weapons program. Everything they’ve done over the past 6 yrs has been designed to keep the US at the negotiating table, which bought the regime time to further develop the nuclear weapons program while eliminating all of the rebel groups operating inside Iran’s borders. Once the nuclear program goes fully operational – and it will – they will likely increase the IRGC-Qods Force and Hezbollah external operations throughout the region with a shift towards direct-action missions as opposed to performing the current advise and assist role with the different proxy groups operating in target countries. The US and Israel will find themselves at increased risk of attack on their soil as a result. President Obama made the claim that Bibi didn’t offer an “alternative plan” – but he did, he said we should keep the sanctions in place as long as they continue to sponsor terrorism and attempt to obtain a nuclear weapons capability.
We’re already hearing from our contacts downrange about GEN Suleimani issuing a directive to the Shia militias to begin targeting US military aircraft in Iraq with indicators that anti-air weaponry may have started to be distributed. In fact, a few of our aircraft had been targeting while flying over Shia militia-held territory. What’s worse is the US government is fully aware of this and yet they still continue to hold on to the fantasy that Iran with its current government can be turned into a “friend.” This mindset and the vilification of Bibi Netanyahu is to be expected from the type of people who serve this administration. Bibi is a career military man who firmly believes in things like duty, honor and country. More importantly, this man walked the walk by serving his country and the free world in ways that those in the Obama administration will never be able to comprehend – which is painfully obvious with our country’s suicidal Iran policy and lack of a coherent IS strategy. Bibi knows how high the stakes are, and is not likely to trust this administration with the safety of his people – nor should he. The $1 million dollar question is how many Americans and Israelis will need to die before President Obama finally “gets it?” We’re about to find out…
A tale of two upbringings: One man has extensive experience staring evil in the face while defending innocents and the other aspired to become a “community organizer”
Source: The ISIS Study Group
Here’s the rest of our Inside Iran’s Middle East series:
Inside Iran’s Middle East: The Nuclear Weapons Program
Inside Iran’s Middle East: The Kurdish Insurgency
Inside Iran’s Middle East: The Southeast Insurgency
March 2, 2015 / /
As the Obama administration continues to live in their fantasy world of the Islamic State (IS) being “defeated” by the “Coalition of the Reluctantly Willing” and a ill-conceived Twitter campaign, IS has been busy replenishing its ranks. They’ve been doing this and weakening their enemies by recruiting defectors from the other Syrian opposition factions (such as al-Nusra/Khorasan Group). A big driver for this is the directive Baghdadi put out for the terror organization to build local ties and form alliance in advance of future operations. One such example of al-Nusra/KG losing people to the other side is increased IS presence along the Lebanese-Syrian border. Other reports coming in describe entire opposition units in Halab, Hama, Homs, Idlib and dawr al-Zawr. The reasons for this are obvious:
– IS offers bigger cash incentives for joining its ranks. Money talks.
– The other factions view IS as being the strongest faction in the regional war that will ultimately “crush” all opposition and the best chance to seriously challenge the Asad regime. In other words, everybody wants to be part of a “winner.”
Indeed, IS – or anybody for that matter – will enjoy a huge surge in recruitment when they’re doing well on the battlefield, which gets amplified by an effective IO campaign. This is also a great gauge to see how well the Obama administration’s IS strategy has been working out thus far. So how are they doing? Well for starters we’re hearing that the Gaza-based Mujahidin Shura Council (MSC) has pretty much been “disbanded” and absorbed into IS’ North African affiliates such as the Egypt-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM). The MSC had been working to become a legitimate al-Qaida affiliate and had formed in 2012 (some reports will say as early as 2011) when three Gaza-based Salafi groups merged in response to guidance received from the al-Qaida (AQ) senior leadership. The MSC was very similar to the MSC that was set up in Iraq prior to the formation of the “Islamic State of Iraq” now known simply as the “Islamic State” (Long War Journal did a great piece on this in 2012 that remains applicable to the current situation).
Although primarily based in Gaza, the organization also had a presence in Egypt’s Sinai region and Libya. However, the effort fell through due to unknown reasons, but it may have to do with internal problems the entity had. In fact, by NOV 14 we had began to see elements of the MSC’s branch in Sinai had already defected to ABM. The terror group also made in-roads elsewhere by forming an alliance with its splinter group Ajnad Masr for increased joint-operations in the Cairo-area as discussed in our piece titled “Haftar-Sisi Alliance: The Roadblock to ISIS Bridge Into the Maghreb.” We assess that the addition of MSC personnel into ABM’s ranks will bolster the Sinai group’s capabilities with knowledge of alternative smuggling routes at the local-level coming into play to avoid the Sisi regime’s crackdown on IS affiliates.
Islamic State’s Presence in Gaza
ISIS in Gaza Update
Haftar-Sisi Alliance: The Roadblock to ISIS Bridge Into the Maghreb
Salafi-Jihadists in Gaza Continue to Efforts to Establish Islamic Emirate
Terrorism: What Is The Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem?
Haifa man named as victim of terrorist attack on Egypt border
The infamous Abu Wahib (variant-Waheeb) shown in IS propaganda circulating throughout Gaza
Source: al-Battar Media Foundation
The act of absorbing one’s enemies is not a new phenomenon and is actually part of the long history of the Islamic religion itself. As we’ve seen throughout the Middle East’s extremely violent history of conquest after conquest, the 21st regrettably isn’t any different. ABM itself formed in 2011 as a by-product of the so-called “Arab Spring” that the Obama administration supported that led to installing the Muslim Brotherhood as the new regime in Egypt. The terror group mainly targeted the Jewish population in the Sinai and throughout Israel itself, although this all changed when GEN Sisi came to power and began systematically targeting all jihadist elements in the country that was allowed to flourish under the Morsi regime. Since aligning itself with IS, the group has adopted some – but not all – of Baghdadi’s ideology. The act of beheading enemies (especially those deemed to be “traitors”) is now a recurring theme for the organization after pledging allegiance to Baghdadi’s “Caliphate.”
Egypt attack: Profile of Sinai Province militant group
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis/Wilayat Sinai
Gaza jihadist group praises Ansar Jerusalem fighters, calls for more attacks
The Resurgence of Militant Islamists in Egypt
ABM: The ISIS Cancer spreading throughout the body of North Africa and Gaza
As of this writing ABM has been focused on expanding IS’ influence in Gaza, the Sinai and Libya in order to secure smuggling routes that are supporting the overall effort in Syria against the Assad regime. Central to this is ABM’s Sinai campaign to secure the gateway to Gaza and by extension Syria – the increased presence along the Lebanese-Syrian border is part of this greater strategic vision the senior IS leadership has for the region. A great deal of weapons and foreign fighters coming from Tunisia and Libya are going through Egypt, Gaza and Northern Lebanon to get to Syria (both straight into Syria or through Turkey). Of the Libyan weapons being sent to facilitate the anti-Assad war effort, the majority of them are coming from weapons depots in Misrata and Benghazi. On 29 AUG 14 we stated in “The Strategic Importance of Egypt to ISIS” that the terror group had not yet firmly entrenched itself inside Egypt, but was getting close as the result of ABM aligning itself with Baghdadi. Today, we can say that ABM has made great strides since then despite being targeted by the Sisi regime – and they’re going to become a much greater threat with absorbing the MSC into its ranks.
The Strategic Importance of Egypt to ISIS
Egypt and UAE Launch Airstrikes in Libya: US Kept in the Dark
Is Egypt Planning Military Intervention in Libya?
The borders of terror
Sisi regime declared “open season” for hunting down IS and its affiliates
Source: ISIS Study Group
Economic warfare against members of the “Coalition of the Reluctantly Willing” has also steadily increased in both Egypt and Libya, with oil pipelines being regular targets in IED attacks aiming to disrupt the economies of not just Egypt and Libya, but also that of Jordan and European nations such as Italy. Another reason is that they they can gain access to fuel sources to sell on the black market and supply their forces. This is indicative of the cross-border coordination one can expect from multiple groups that have united under a common umbrella – in this case the Black Flag of IS. Below are a few examples of alleged IEDs emplaced targeting Libyan oil pipeline between Sarir Field and Hergia Port that we received from our in-country sources:
Source: The ISIS Study Group
Source: The ISIS Study Group
The alliance between the Sisi regime and Libyan GEN Khalifah Haftar may have struck IS strongholds inside Libya, but the jihadist organization has answered back with a series of bombings targeting the joint-Egyptian/Haftar faction command center in Quba. They didn’t stop there – they also launched an attack against the Iranian embassy in Tripoli last week. The attack served two purposes:
– To target a major hub for coordinating IRGC-Qods Force and Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) intelligence operations in the country. The Iranian regime will typically coordinate intelligence operations inside of a target country from their embassies and consulates. In fact, cultural centers set up by Iranian diplomatic missions are staffed with MOIS and Qods Force personnel to provide cover.
– Sending a message to Iran and the West that IS has firmly entrenched itself inside Libya. The Iranian Ambassador was not present at the compound when it was attacked, suggesting the target was symbolic in nature.
ISIL-linked group claims Iran embassy attack in Libya
The aftermath of the Iranian embassy attack
In addition to being an avenue from which to target Western economies, Libya is also a potential launching pad for jihadists looking to travel to Europe under the guise of “refugees” to facilitate the execution of attacks on the continent. This will also affect the US due to the naive policy of the Obama administration to admit thousands of refugees from places like Libya, Yemen, Syria and Iraq. Refugees who obtain citizenship to a European nation will also be able to circumvent the largely nonexistent enforcement of US border security laws to enter the country under the guise of “tourists” or “students” – with DHS completely oblivious of their usage of this status to further a much more insidious agenda.
Cultural Suicide: Why Allowing Syrian War Refugees to Enter Western Countries is a Pandora’s Box to More Attacks
The Jews: Europe’s Canary in the Mine on the Growing Jihadist Threat
Attack in Paris, France Kills 12
Islamic State: The French Connection
ISIS Attack Plot Thwarted in Belgium – A Sign of Things to Come?
Jihadist Infestation: Terrorism Results in Copenhagen Chaos
As 2014 was the year that put IS on “the map,” 2015 will be the year that we see greater expansion into North Africa going into Gaza and the border-area with Lebanon. This will also be the year that we will see IS begin reaching out “to touch” Europe and the US with attacks conducted by well-organized cells with extensive experience in Syria and Iraq as opposed to the home-grown jihadist cells we’ve seen in Denmark, French and Belgium attacks. It will also become painfully obvious to those still in denial that the Obama administration has a strong strategy against IS – which it doesn’t. In a time where the world needs a Churchill, Patton and Montgomery we’re getting it – its just coming from GEN Sisi, GEN Haftar, King Abdullah and Bibi Netanyahu instead of the US government. However, these great men have limits in what they can do. They will need much greater US military assistance – far greater than what’s currently being given. The Libyan people have been taking to the streets demanding that GEN Haftar take command of the Army as they view him as the best shot they have at eradicating the IS threat. We should be supporting GEN Haftar and GEN Sisi in their efforts. Considering the fact that the Obama administration still thinks IS fighters are just bored young men looking for jobs while downplaying the significance of Islamic fundamentalism.
Libyan parliament proposes Haftar, a divisive figure, as head of army
Libyan General Khalifa Haftar
The ISIS Expansion into North Africa
Obama’s ISIS Strategy: Failed Before it Started
Another Reason Obama’s ISIS Strategy Has Already Failed
The Sad state of the US government’s IS strategy has become butt of frequent jokes on Twitter and Facebook
Source: The ISIS Study Group
Links to Other Related Articles:
The first article of the Betrayal Papers asserted that the Muslim Brotherhood was not only influential in the United States government, but in fact dominated the administration of President Barack Hussein Obama. This article will name several key people who were or are in the Obama administration and who have various, documented associations with organizations which are directly tied to and/or funded by the Muslim Brotherhood and the State of Qatar (home to Brotherhood’s Spiritual Leader, Yusuf al-Qaradawi). These individuals have helped dictate national security policies that have crippled counterterrorism efforts at home and abroad.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Network of Civic Organizations: Apologists for Terror
In 1963, the first Muslim Brotherhood front group established itself in the United States and Canada: the Muslim Students Association of the U.S. and Canada (MSA), a group based on college campuses in North America. Through this organizational foothold, the Brotherhood has recruited and indoctrinated generations of American and Canadian Muslims into an Islamic belief system that pits Islam against the world. In more than a few cases, Muslims who join MSA chapters at their colleges have taken this ideology to its logical extreme: terrorism.
For example, it was recently reported by the Canadian Military Association that eleven (11) of Canada’s highest profile terrorists were tied to the MSA.
The Muslim Students Association (MSA): The MSA, the first Muslim Brotherhood organization to gain a foothold in the United States, was founded in 1963. Many founding members were Muslim Brothers or had connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. The three most significant founders of MSA were Hisham al Talib, Jamal Barzinji, and Ahmed Totanji, and all of whom were MB leaders of Iraqi descent. While a student at George Washington University, Hillary Clinton’s personal aide Huma Abedin was on the Executive Board of her MSA.
Since the early 1960s, the Muslim Brotherhood’s MSA has birthed a large number of purported “civic organizations,” which are anything but civil. We shall now name some of the groups, and establish the facts that link them to their parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood.
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR): CAIR was founded by two individuals with close ties to a Hamas operative. Hamas, according to its own charter, is the branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. In 2007, founder Omar Ahwad was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorist financing trial. In November 2014, CAIR was designated a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.
Muslim American Society (MAS): MAS was founded in 1992 by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to MAS secretary-general Shaker Elsayed. MAS, and the Muslim Brotherhood, advocate for Sharia law in the United States. MAS identifies the Islamic Society of North American (ISNA) and Muslim Students Association (MSA) as organizations with the same goal: the “Islamic revival movement.” In November 2014, MAS was designated a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.
Islamic Society of North America (ISNA): ISNA was created out of four Islamic organizations, including the Muslim Students Association. Its former president Mohamed Magid was appointed an advisor to DHS and the National Security Council by Barack Obama in 2011, and was a recent guest at the White House.
Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC): MPAC was founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, specifically Hassan and Maher Hathout, both whom were acolytes of Muslim Brotherhood founder, Hassan al-Banna. MPAC supports the Tunisian Ennahda (Muslim Brotherhood) Party leader, Rachid Ghannouchi, whom they termed “one of the most important figures in modern Islamic political thought and theory.” Its current President is Salam Al-Marayati, who represented the US to the United Nations and UNESCO in 2010.
Additionally, a 1991 internal memorandum of the Muslim Brotherhood specifically identifies CAIR, ISNA, and the MSA in “A list of our organizations and organizations of our friends.” (Note: CAIR’s organizational predecessor, the Islamic Association of Palestine, is named.)
Finally, CAIR and ISNA were named un-indicted co-conspirators which materially supported terrorism by a federal court, in connection with the infamous Holy Land Foundation trial, an alleged humanitarian charity for Palestine. An incorporating member of MAS, Dr. Jamal Badawi, was named an unindicted co-conspirator. MPAC and MSA members are on the record supporting the Holy Land Foundation against government terrorism charges.
This evidence begs some questions from the honest reader:
- If these are all independent organizations, why is it that each of them is so neatly tied to the same parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood?
- Why are most of them named by the Muslim Brotherhood in their own memorandum?
- Why were all involved, directly as unindicted co-conspirators or indirectly as ardent supporters of the accused, with the Holy Land Foundation trial?
It doesn’t take a super sleuth to realize that these organizations are in fact fronts and subsidiaries of one organization, the Muslim Brotherhood. All one has to do is glance at the published information on their backgrounds, and the fact reveals itself.
The Anschluss (“Annexation”) of Georgetown and the Brookings Institution
You know the sayings. Money makes the world go ’round, and Follow the money, and Money is the root of all evil. These are important to keep in mind when considering the influence that Qatari money has had on two institutions as American as apple pie: Georgetown University and the Brookings Institution.
In 2005, Georgetown University established a new campus for their prestigious School of Foreign Service in Doha, Qatar (SFS-Q). (It bears stating here that the State of Qatar was the driving Arab force behind the Arab Spring, which resulted in the Muslim Brotherhood coming to power in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt.) Today they have a faculty of more than 35 academics.
As part of Qatar’s Education City, Georgetown has had all SFS-Q campus development costs covered by the Qatar Foundation, a charity with noted links to terrorism. May this, perchance, have some influence over the education that Georgetown is giving to future American diplomats in Qatar? At the very least, it may explain some of the blatant anti-Semitic comments in Georgetown’s student newspaper.
The Brookings Institution is also heavily funded by Qatar. In 2013, they received $14.8 million; in 2012, $100,000; and in 2011, $2.9 million. This explains why Obama had Brookings Vice President (and purported diplomat) Martin Indyk, negotiating the ‘peace terms’ between Israel and Hamas. Today, Indyk is busy negotiating with an aggressive and nuclear-aspiring Iran.
Is it any wonder why Israel doesn’t trust this administration? By all reasonable logic, they are on the side of Qatar and Hamas, which is officially the Palestinian franchise of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Obama Administration’s Agents
Given that these organizations function in a coordinated ideological manner, indeed they derive from the same root, it follows naturally that an individual associated with one organization would likely be associated with many, if not most of the others – not to mention the proxies of Georgetown and Brookings.
An experiment: Let’s choose seven Obama administration appointees with suspected ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Where to pluck these seven from? In December 2013, the Egyptian political magazine Rose El-Youssef, in an article titled Not Huma Abedin Alone, named six additional Obama appointees it claimed were operatives of the Muslim Brotherhood. You can read an English translation of the article here. Let’s see if their claims stack up, based on the information above.
Arif Alikhan – Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security for Policy Development. 2009-2010.
Eboo Patel – Member of the President’s Advisory Council to the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. 2009-Present.
Huma Abedin – Personal Aide/Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 2009-2013.
Mohamed Magid – DHS Countering Violence and Extremism Working Group. 2011-Present.
Mohammed Elibiary – Senior Member of DHS’s Homeland Security Advisory Council. 2010-2014.
Rashad Hussain – U.S. Special Envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). 2010-Present. Deputy Associate Counsel to Barack Obama. 2009-2010.
Salam Al-Marayati – Administration representative to UNESCO and United Nations. 2010.
(Dates in administration are best efforts based on publicly available information.)
Now let’s compare their affiliations and associations, officially and less formally, across the above named organizations. We’ll also include the Department of Homeland Security, which earlier this week was praised by CAIR for identifying “right-wing sovereign citizen extremist groups,” not Islamic terrorism, as the prime terrorist threat facing the United States.
Green: Has worked or works in an official capacity for organization; is a named member of the organization.
Yellow: Has been associated with org., e.g., authored paper on their behalf; spoke on their behalf and/or at their events; proven personal relationship between the individual and organization’s leadership, etc.
Gray: No known or documented association.
Notice the heavy concentration of green and yellow boxes, including for Georgetown and Brookings, in the table above. Notice the relatively few gray boxes. Individually these associations mean little; likewise, had this been just one random appointee in the entire administration, this story wouldn’t warrant the attention of the American public.
The intersection of individuals, organizations, Muslim Brotherhood money, and policy recommendations paint a picture of a carefully constructed conspiracy operating in plain sight. The Muslim Brotherhood has hijacked the American government and military and is using them as a tool to build a global Islamic Caliphate. The conspirators are changing the culture at home to accommodate sharia law and using law enforcement to demonize ordinary American citizens as national security threats.
These are Barack Hussein Obama’s appointees. This is Barack Hussein Obama’s administration and these are people chosen to advise him on national security and Islam.
From expunging DHS training materials of the threat posed by Islamic doctrine, to corrupting American foreign policy – the policy ramifications of these and similar appointments will be explored in the next articles.
* This analysis was completed after a careful survey of available press releases, news reports, and credible published information. They will be published in an upcoming report. Source is material available upon request.
The Betrayal Papers is a collaborative effort by the Coalition of Concerned Citizens, which includes: Andrea Shea King, Dr. Ashraf Ramelah, Benjamin Smith, Bethany Blankley, Brent Parrish, Charles Ortel, Chris Nethery, Denise Simon, Dick Manasseri, Gary Kubiak, Gates of Vienna, Hannah Szenes, IQ al Rassooli, Jeff Bayard, Leslie Burt, Marcus Kohan, Mary Fanning, General Paul E. Vallely, Regina Thomson, Scott Smith, Terresa Monroe-Hamilton, Colonel Thomas Snodgrass
The Islamic State (IS) burned alive 45 Iraqis in the town of Khan al-Baghdadi on Tuesday. It remains unclear who the victims were, but its likely they were a combination of IA personnel and pro-government tribal fighters who were cut off and isolated when the rest of the town’s garrison fled in panic. We also hear that some of the families of security personnel may be among the victims, although that remains unconfirmed at this time. The location of the executions isn’t a coincidence as Khan al-Baghdadi is only 5 miles from al-Asad Airbase. The message IS sent to the Obama administration is clear: “We’re doing this right in front of your American military and there’s nothing they can do about it. In fact, they’re too scared to do anything.” This act throws more fuel on the propaganda fire and it also fuels the whole “Flames of War” theme they’ve been going with these days.
ISIS militants reportedly burn to death 45 people in western Iraqi town
Islamic State militants ‘burn to death 45 in Iraq’
ISIS Launches First Wave of Attacks Against al-Asad Airbase as Kirkuk Heats Up
Islamic state Seizes Town of Khan al-Baghdadi, Threaten US Marines at Ayn al-Asad
Pro-Government Tribal Forces in Anbar Running Out of Steam
Source: al-Hayat Media Center
Every six months we’ve seen an exponential growth for IS. We have about two more years of President Obama’s weak responses and complete lack of understanding the problem that could allow IS to grow somewhere between 4-8 times larger than it is now by the time he leaves office. If one were to overlay the areas AQI/IS controlled during OIF the thing that would be noticed is they controlled very little areas in Iraq such as safe-houses and maybe some specific neighborhoods and desert areas in 2008. From late-2010 you’d begin to see the end of IS’ decline (ISI during this time), overlay that around OCT 12, OCT 13 through OCT 14 and you will see the startling growth pattern. In two more years of limited airstrikes it will control a sizable chunk of Libya, parts of Egypt, Most of Syria and the Kurds of Iraq will be hanging by a thread. By then we’ll probably see Western Pakistan and Eastern Afghanistan carved up between IS and the Taliban/AQ. In Nigeria, Mali, Morocco, Algeria and other Maghreb nations we may see open conflict by the later part of this time frame. Some of them are already in open conflict and others are seeing latent-incipient stages of conflict. What we do know is that Islamic State has been sending cadre of seasoned commanders to organize groups like Boko Haram, which if you look at their strength and growth you will see it gaining momentum in tandem with the Islamic State over the past 12 months. These cadre from Islamic State are likely natives of the lands they are sent to organize already existing movements. Islamic State has also attracted military professionals from some of the 90 plus countries it has been able to recruit from. Some people will look at this with great skepticism, but 5 years ago the Islamic State was a skeleton compared to what it is now. This is something that we here at the ISIS Study Group have been talking about since we started posting articles about the Islamic State in the summer of 2014. The US needs to begin an aggressive campaign to regain the initiative to include providing more material support to Arab allies such as Egypt and Jordan. The United States and indeed the rest of the world cannot afford to have a President Buchanan type in the White House right now which is exactly what Barack Obama is doing. He is doing the minimum hoping to run out the presidential clock without a major incident and pass this problem off to the next president where it could be exponentially worse as we’ve stated.
UAE Strikes ISIS in Iraq – Jordan Masses Troops to Prevent Retaliatory Attacks
Egypt Strikes ISIS Positions in Libya – Moderate Muslims Rise Up Against Terror
Jordan Steps Up Airstrikes Against ISIS, Egypt Launches New Sinai Offensive
ISIS: Still Going Strong Despite Coalition Efforts
Unfortunately, the Obama administration remains oblivious to the threat. Just recently DoS spokeswoman Marie Harf got on TV and said that “we can’t kill our way to victory” and then said that the root cause of the threat is all jihadists really want are “jobs” – just like what the delusional Danish government thinks. Ms. Harf is a reflection of the incompetence that’s endemic throughout the Obama administration’s DoS and National Security Council. Its highly unlikely that she even understands any of the things she gets told to say on TV. Meanwhile, other members of the administration are either downplaying the threat to our 300 Marines stationed at al-Asad Airbase or they’re puffing out their chests claiming how “easy” it will be to “kill more IS fighters because they’ll all be in one place.” However, IS has proven to be extremely resilient and are adapting to US airstrikes and our overly restrictive ROE – which they’re exploiting to the fullest. Yes, al-Asad is a large base and yes, it will take a sizable force – and time – to completely secure it. As the fall of the Syrian Army’s 17th Division and Taqba Airbase have demonstrated, IS has quickly applied lessons learned to refine their TTPs for follow-on operations. The current siege of al-Asad Airbase has already demonstrated several of these lessons. Unless aggressive action is taken now, our troops will be in even greater risk than they are now in the coming days. Ms. Harf and the rest of the Obama administration doesn’t understand this because they’ve never served a day in the lives in the military. If they did, they would know that this enemy can’t be reasoned with, they can’t be bargained with and they absolutely will not stop until they’ve eradicate the world of all “nonbelievers” or “Kufar.” This is how Baghdadi and his followers think – jobs or a free phone is nowhere on their list of priorities. They also only respect strength through instilling fear, which is a common theme with everything they do. Until the Obama administration – and its European counterparts – comes to terms with this, IS will continue to expand and threaten the civilized world.
Harf Truths and Whole Lies
State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf has become the butt of jokes like this one and worse on a near daily basis. This is the only job DoS Spokeswoman Marie Harf is qualified to do
Source: @exjon (twitter)
Other Related Links:
The Main Act: ISIS Tightens its Grip on Anbar Province, Preps to Take al-Asad Airbase
Shia Militias Sent to Reinforce al-Asad Airbase: IA on Verge of Collapse
Obama’s ISIS Strategy: Failed Before it Started
Another Reason Obama’s ISIS Strategy Failed
Interview With Surviving Member of Syrian Army 17th Division
Inside the Islamic State (2nd Installment From Vice News)
Syrian Army 17th Division Barracks Overrun by Islamic State