CAIR Has Always Been Hamas

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo,  Sept. 22, 2016:

The Council on American Islamic Relations was created in 1994 by the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee which is Hamas in America.

CAIR is Hamas.  [See the UTT document entitled “CAIR is Hamas” HERE.]

Hamas is a designated Foreign Terrorist organization by the U.S. government and CAIR is a designated terrorist organization by our allies, including the UAE.

A document recovered from CAIR’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. by UTT Vice President Chris Gaubatz reveals Hamas (doing business as CAIR) is willing to work with Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden:

“Attempt to understand Islamic movements in the area, and start supporting Islamic groups including Mr. bin Laden and his associates”  (Proposed Muslim Platform for 2004 dated 3/08/04)

A declassified FBI document from the Indianapolis, Indiana field office dated 1987 stated:

“The Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) is a secret Muslim organization that has unlimited funds and is extremely well organized in the United States…(an FBI source states) that in this phase their organizations needs to peacefuly get inside the United States Government and also American universities….the ultimate goal of the Islamic Revolution is the overthrow of all non-Islamic Government and that violence is a tool…(An FBI source ) has stated that Muslim in the United States have to be prepared for Martyrdom.”

In a separate declassified FBI document dated 12/15/87:

“The leadership of (MB organizations) are inter-related…having been identified as supporters of the Islamic Revolution as advocated by the Government of Iran (GOI).”

Former Iranian President Khatami being served by Shurat Hadin with a $1 billion legal action on behalf of 12 Persians imprisoned in Iran. This took place at a Hamas (CAIR) function in Northern Virginia 2006. Hamas leader Nihad Awad on the right of Iran’s Khatami.

Former Iranian President Khatami being served by Shurat Hadin with a $1 billion legal action on behalf of 12 Persians imprisoned in Iran. This took place at a Hamas (CAIR) function in Northern Virginia 2006. Hamas leader Nihad Awad on the right of Iran’s Khatami.

awadSo when we see CAIR host the former President of Iran Khatami at a Hamas function in Northern Virginia, it is no surprise.

They are terrorists.  That is what terrorists do.

Keep this in mind as they get in front of the TV cameras to tell us all about the bombings in New York, New Jersey.

CAIR is Hamas.  Hamas is a terrorist organization.

Obama’s Cash-for-Jihad Program

(Dreamstime image: Dmitry Rukhlenko)

(Dreamstime image: Dmitry Rukhlenko)

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, Sept. 17, 2016:

The Obama State Department is convinced that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and his regime’s cronies are financing terrorism. How come? Well, because they conduct business in cash.

In fact, in its most recent annual report on state sponsors of terrorism, State frets “that 60 percent of all business transactions [in Syria] are conducted in cash and that nearly 80 percent of all Syrians do not use formal banking services.” This has created a “vast black market,” the components of which are exploited by “some members of the Syrian government and the business elite . . . in terrorism finance schemes.”

Interesting thing about that: There are only three countries on the list of state sponsors of terrorism — Syria, Sudan, and Iran. That last one is worth highlighting. Iran, after all, is not just the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism; it is also the world’s leading state sponsor of . . . Syria — providing it with lots of that cash the State Department is so concerned about.

Oh, I nearly forgot: Iran also happens to be the jihadist regime that President Obama just gave $1.7 billion to . . . in cash.

Or should I say, at least $1.7 billion.

It is hard to decide what is the most appalling thing about Obama’s $1.7 billion payoff to the mullahs: the ransom for the release of American hostages, which has predictably induced Tehran to take more hostages; the pallets of untraceable currency loaded on multiple planes of the national airline regularly used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to arm Assad and facilitate terror; the withdrawals from a shadowy Treasury Department fund structured in a manner designed to conceal that money was being transferred to Iran. The transaction is so shocking, one can easily forget that it is just the latest in a long series of payoffs.

The payoffs were made in Obama’s pursuit of legacy adornment — the nuclear deal with Iran he coveted at any cost. Beginning in January 2014 and continuing for a year and a half — the period during which the president was quietly folding at the negotiation table on every bold campaign-trail vow to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons — the administration released $700 million per month in escrowed oil funds to the jihadist regime.

In congressional testimony last week, Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) did the math: That’s $11.9 billion. But that, literally, may not be the half of it. In July, U.S. government officials told the Associated Press that Iran had repatriated a sum approaching $20 billion in the half-year following implementation of the nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA).

Is that $20 billion from the JCPOA in addition to the pre-JCPOA $11.9 billion in oil revenues? Is it in addition to the $1.7 billion “settlement of a failed 1970s arms deal” (a.k.a. the ransom for American hostages)? The “most transparent administration in history” is not saying. But as Dubowitz runs the numbers, the “worst-case scenario” is that Iran has gotten its mitts on $33.6 billion — and “worst” assumes that we know about every shady backroom deal, which seems unlikely.

That staggering figure would amount to about 8 percent of Iran’s entire annual GDP. Whatever the true amount is, were the billions transferred in cash?

Remember, when the news first broke of the $400 million cash payment on the same day our hostages were released, the president looked us in the eye and told us he had to pay the mullahs that way — he couldn’t wire the funds or send a check because, owing to his professed respect for sanctions in American law, there is no banking relationship between the U.S. and Iran. As I explained at the time, this was simply false: The cash transfer violated the sanctions every bit as much as a check or wire transfer would have. Plus, the sanctions allow for presidential waivers, so Obama could easily have wired the money. He sent cash only because he chose to send cash.

So if the administration loaded up planes with $1.7 billion in foreign currency for the settlement/ransom, was a similar method used in connection with the $11.9 billion in escrowed oil funds? How about the $20 billion in JCPOA sanctions relief? Again, the administration won’t say — apparently relying on a nonexistent privilege of confidentiality in international relations to justify withholding such information from Congress and the public.

One sadly hilarious aspect of this spectacle is the administration’s tortured claims about Iran’s use of its Obama windfalls. The White House and State Department grudgingly admit that they cannot know for certain how much Iran has diverted to the terrorist activities that the administration even more grudgingly admits Iran continues to underwrite. But rest assured, Obama strongly suspects that very little money makes its way to the jihad, since Tehran must prioritize paying down crushing debt and repairing crumbling infrastructure.

How ridiculous. It is pointless to track how particular dollar streams are spent by a terrorist regime. Iran had crushing debt and crumbling infrastructure before Obama started lining its pockets; yet it was committed to exporting revolutionary jihad, so it spent its sparse resources on terrorism anyway. Consequently, if the new dollars Iran is reeling in are ostensibly spent on infrastructure or debt, the dollars that would otherwise have been spent on those activities are freed up for terrorist activity.

The logic is unassailable: Because money is fungible, not a thin dime can safely be given to an entity that supports terrorism. In the case of Iran, however, we need not rely on logical deduction; we know Iran is channeling funds to the jihad. As the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Saeed Ghasseminejad reports, the Iranian regime requires the transfer to its military of funds it receives from settling legal disputes with foreign countries and companies. That means, for example, that the $1.7 billion settlement that Obama paid when the hostages were released has gone to the IRGC.

That brings us back full-circle to the State Department’s annual report on state sponsors of terrorism. As the report explains, the IRGC, through its notorious Qods Force, “is Iran’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.”

To summarize: The Obama administration explains that when a terrorist regime like Syria prefers to conduct business in cash, that markedly increases the likelihood that its funds will be used to finance terrorism. Concurrently, Obama is providing exorbitant sums to Iran, the world’s worst terrorist regime, and going out of his way to transfer it in the form of cash. And under the Iranian regime’s dictates, a goodly portion of that cash is going directly to the component of the Iranian government that oversees its prodigious international terrorism operations.

Not to worry, though — it’s not like they’re threatening our naval vessels, humiliating our sailors, massing Hezbollah forces on Israel’s border, or chanting “Death to America,” right?

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

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Iran’s Terror Proxy Support Openly Defies Western Pressure

Getty Images

Getty Images

by IPT News  •  Sep 12, 2016

Several high profile Iranian officials recently boasted of the Islamic Republic’s steadfast support for terrorist organizations committed to opposing Western interests and the destruction of Israel, according to the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.

An adviser to Iran’s parliament speaker, Mansour Haqiqatpour, bragged that Iran would continue supporting the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) despite ongoing negotiations taking place with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that seek to curb Iranian hardline behavior. Haqiqatpour referred to Hizballah and Hamas as “freedom fighter” groups, citing Islam and Islamic revolutionary ideology as primary motivations for Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism.

Hardline Iranian factions and leaders accuse the Iranian government of preparing to offer significant concessions in return for the country’s removal from the FATF blacklist. Mohsen Kouhkan, an Iranian parliamentarian, referred to the Iran-FATF negotiations as a “Zionist–American plot.” In July 2015, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi insisted that ceasing support for Hizballah in return for an agreement was out of the question.

Since the July 2015 nuclear deal was signed, Iran has expanded its presence in regional conflicts, leading to mounting IRGC casualties. In the last two weeks, six additional IRGC fighters were killed in Syria, including a high-ranking officer. A leader of an Iraqi Shi’ite militia praised IRGC commander Qasem Soleimani’s support and confirmed that Shi’ite militias would continue their regional operations after Mosul is cleared of Islamic State fighters.

Moreover, on Sept. 1, an Iranian diplomatic delegation met with Ali Barakeh – a Hamas representative living in Beirut – to discuss Iran’s ongoing support for Hamas’ violent fight against Israel. Despite notable disagreements since the outbreak of civil war in Syria, predominately Shi’ite Iran continues to court the Sunni Palestinian terrorist organization. The relationship suggests that defeating the Jewish state remains a common objective that supersedes sectarian divisions.

Click here to read the full report outlining recent developments from the Meir Amit Center.

Proponents of the Iran nuclear deal, including many within the Obama administration, argued that the agreement would moderate Iran’s behavior. Earlier this year, senior adviser Ben Rhodes even admitted that the Obama administration misled the U.S. public to promote the nuclear deal by falsely alluding to the emergence of a more moderate Islamic Republic. On the contrary, Iran immediately enhanced its support for terrorist organizations, while extremist factions within Iran gained more ground. Though some may debate Iran’s long-run trajectory, post-nuclear deal Iran has proved to be even more emboldened to pursue its regional hegemonic ambitions, while more pragmatic Iranian leaders increasingly are silenced.

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US official: Navy aircraft threatened with shoot down by Iran

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Report: Obama Admin Provided Iranian Terror Orgs With $37.4 Million in Cash

John Kerry / AP

John Kerry / AP

Washington Free Beacon, Adam Kredo Sept. 14, 2016:

Iran is estimated to have spent at least $37.4 million in recent U.S. cash payments to fund its global terrorism operation, including organizations responsible for the murder of U.S. citizens, according to new research provided to the Washington Free Beacon by analysts.

The recent $1.7 billion cash payment to Iran—which is being described by many in Congress as a ransom payment to the Islamic Republic—will be used in part to fund Iran’s leading military organization, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is responsible for orchestrating terror attacks that have killed Americans.

The new research comes amid a growing scandal over the Obama administration’s decision to hand Iran billions in cash as part of an effort to secure the release of several U.S. hostages earlier this year.

Leading lawmakers now suspect that the IRGC played a key role in assuming control of this cash, which the White House has admitted to putting directly in Iranian hands, the Free Beacon disclosed Monday evening.

When viewed in light of Iran’s current spending levels, it is expected the Islamic Republic will use at least $37.4 million of this $1.7 billion to fund IRGC operations, which have led to bloody battles in Syria and terrorist attacks across the globe, according to the American Action Forum, a non-profit research organization headed by a former top congressional official.

“Applying the official spending levels to the U.S. payment to Iran, the $1.7 billion would mean $37.4 million for the IRGC,” according to research published by Rachel Hoff, AAF’s director of defense analysis. “Paying ransoms in exchange for Americans held abroad is one bad policy—indirectly funding terrorism is another.”

AAF has determined based on public reports by Iran that the country spends 3.4 percent of its total budget on defense needs, though some experts estimate the number is even higher.

At least “65 percent of that funding [goes] to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Iranian elite paramilitary force,” according to AAF. “That works out to 2.2 percent of Iran’s total budget for the IRGC, which actively supports terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East. It is unlikely that Iran accurately reports its military or paramilitary spending, but the reported budget figures are useful as a baseline.”

These latest estimates are likely to draw further outrage on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers have launched several investigations into the circumstances surrounding the $1.7 billion payment.

While the Obama administration has been forced to disclose some details about the cash payment, it withheld key information from Congress, including the names and affiliations of the Iranian officials who assumed control over the money when it was handed off earlier this year in Europe.

New admissions by the Obama administration that American officials physically handed some $1.7 billion in cash to the Iranian government are fueling a congressional investigation into still-hidden details surrounding the deal.

Lawmakers suspect the Obama administration may have dealt with members of the IRGC and officials from its intelligence ministry when carrying out the cash exchange, which coincided with the release by Iran of several U.S. hostages.

The Obama administration recently disclosed to Congress that U.S. officials participated in the handoff of at least $400 million to Iranian officials, but has withheld key details about which parts of the Iranian government assumed control of the cash, according to discussions with multiple sources familiar with the ongoing congressional investigation.

Sources familiar with the matter told the Free Beacon it is possible IRGC members participated in the exchange, raising new questions about the Obama administration’s dealings with an organization responsible for facilitating terrorism and killing U.S. citizens.

“On January 17, Treasury disbursed the payment to an official from the Central Bank of Iran, for transfer to Tehran,” the Treasury Department recently informed Congress in a communication obtained first by the Free Beacon. “The funds were under U.S. Government control until their disbursement pursuant to the settlement.”

The Obama administration “withdrew the funds from its account as Swiss franc banknotes and the U.S. Government physically transported them to Geneva” prior to the exchange with Iran, according to the letter, which was sent late last week by Treasury Department official Thomas Patrick Maloney in response to questions submitted by Rep. Sean Duffy (R., Wis.).

At least one leading lawmaker told the Free Beacon on Monday that there is little doubt the IRGC played a key role in this cash exchange.

“For the Obama administration to argue that the IRGC was somehow not involved in the U.S. transfer of $1.7 billion—or more—in cash to Iran is totally unconvincing,” Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told the Free Beacon on Monday. “Given the IRGC’s extensive control of the Iranian economy, and its vast influence with Iran’s regime, it was most likely influential in the set-up and execution of the payment. Like other malicious actors, the IRGC is eager to get its hands on cash to fund its terrorist activities.”

Also see:

Tehran Visit Showcases Role of Iranian-Backed Militias in Iraq

ali-akbar-velayati-and-kabi-in-tehranSheikh Akram al Kabi just completed a high-profile visit to Iran, in which he pledged loyalty not to his native Iraq but to Supreme Leader Khamenei.

CounterJihad, Sept. 9, 2016:

The Long War Journal has an excellent piece on the recent visit to Tehran of Iraqi militia leader Akram al Kabi, of the Harakat al Nujaba militia.

Militia officials frequently travel to Iran, but the publicity surrounding Kabi’s visit is unprecedented. This indicates the rising clout of the Iraqi cleric among the political elite in Tehran.

Kabi boldly proclaimed his allegiance to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, as well as the concept of velayat-e faqih, or guardianship of the jurist, which is the political and theological basis of the Islamic Republic as established by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Kabi echoed Tehran’s propaganda claims, and boasted about targeting American forces during the Second Gulf War. He reiterated his commitment to the “Axis of Resistance,” an alliance of state and non-state actors led by Iran. Kabi vowed that the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), the umbrella organization of Iraqi paramilitary groups that includes Iranian-backed groups such as Nujaba, would participate in the anticipated operation to lay siege to Mosul, which has been held by the Islamic State since 2014. Following Mosul, Kabi called for Iraqi militias to shift resources to Syria and chase the Islamic State into the strongholds of Deir ez-Zour and Raqqah. He also threatened to target Turkish forces stationed near Mosul.

The role of velayat-e faqih in Iran’s control of regional militia forces cannot be overstated.  The core theory of the Iranian revolution, it holds that only a specialized class of Shi’ite clerics can properly manage human affairs through government.  Loyalty is thus not properly given to either the elected officials of the semi-modern states of the region, nor to the tribal leaders who are often the real powers in much of the Middle East.  Rather, both the state and the tribe should be subordinated to properly trained religious leaders.  What constitutes a “properly trained” religious leader?  One trained in Iran’s elite schools, of course, preferably holding at least the rank of Ayatollah.

This does not bar the existence of elected governments, to be sure.  Iran has one itself.  However, every aspect of the elected government is placed under the “guardianship” of some cleric or body of clerics.  Iran’s “Guardian Council,” made up of such clerics, determined who was even allowed to stand for office in the last round of elections.  They dismissed 99% of the proposed candidates from the moderate and reformist parties, requiring that those parties recruit cleric-approved hardliner candidates even to participate in the elections.  Thus, while there was still an election, and the ‘moderate and reformist’ parties did fairly well, actual power became even more concentrated among those hand-picked by the clerical leadership.

Kabi, a US-designated foreign terrorist, will be participating in the attack on Islamic State (ISIS) positions near Mosul.  The United States is deploying nearly five thousand troops in the same assault.  Kurdish forces will also be participating.  The aftermath of the battle against ISIS in Mosul will thus be nearly as contentious as the actual battle itself, as Iran, the Kurds, the Turks, and the United States all scramble to try to sort out what the final disposition of the highly-contested and strategic city happens to be.  As the Long War Journal points out, Kabi is vociferously opposed to the United States’ interests, and describes his militia (here labeled “PMF,” an acronym that means “popular mobilization forces”) as a counterweight to American ambitions in Iraq:

During the meeting with Rezai, Kabi claimed that the PMF’s participation in the Mosul operation would foil a U.S. plan to build permanent military bases there. He claimed that the U.S. opposes PMF participation in Mosul because it intends to build such a base. Kabi touted the Iraqi Prime Minister’s decision to deploy PMF forces to Mosul.

Iran clearly intends to use these forces to limit America’s ability to shape the final outcome.  Khamenei’s loyalists are not in any sense swayed to rethink their relationship to the United States, neither by the so-called “Iran deal” nor by the fact that the Obama administration’s policies are supporting Iran’s own ambitions in Iraq and Syria.  They still regard the United States as the enemy, and are acting accordingly.

Also see:

Iran / Saudi Feud Intensifies Over Takfiri Claims

isaud-1Saudi Arabia’s highest cleric declares Iran’s Shi’ite Islam to be non-Muslim. Iranian leaders including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei claim it’s Saudi Wahhabis who are not Muslims, and say they’re unfit to guard Mecca.

CounterJihad, Sept. 8, 2016:

The highest ranked cleric in Saudi Arabia has declared that Iran’s Shi’ite Islam is not a true form of the faith.  The two states are already fighting enthusiastically through proxies in Yemen and elsewhere.  The undiplomatic language can only escalate tensions between the countries.

Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh said[,]  “We have to understand that they are not Muslims. … Their main enemies are the followers of Sunnah (Sunnis)[.]”… He described Iranian leaders as sons of “magus”, a reference to Zoroastrianism, the dominant belief in Persia until the Muslim Arab invasion of the region that is now Iran 13 centuries ago.

Following the statements by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called into question Saudi Arabia’s right to continue to control the territory containing the cities of Mecca and Medina.  Each are considered holy cities by Muslims, indeed the two holiest places on earth.

“The evil family tree of the Saudi dynasty does not have the competence to manage the holy shrines,” Khamenei said.

Al al-Sheikh’s remarks drew an acerbic retort from Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who said they were evidence of bigotry among Saudi leaders.  “Indeed; no resemblance between Islam of Iranians & most Muslims & bigoted extremism that Wahhabi top cleric & Saudi terror masters preach,” Zarif wrote on his Twitter account.

Ironically, these accusations that the other does not practice a true form of Islam only underlines the degree to which these are both Muslim countries.  As we at CounterJihad pointed out when the Islamic State attacked Medina, the accusations of not being a Muslim — a practice called takfiri — is a classic gambit in radical Muslim movements.  Our resident Islamic scholar explained the history of the practice at greater length on another occasion:

ISIS certainly represents a train of thought in the 1,400 year old Islamic tradition, even if it is an extremist train of thought that has not enjoyed prominence in Islamic history.  As a matter of fact, the takfiri mentality is not a novelty in the 1,400 year old Islamic tradition.  One need only look back to the last century to see this takfiri mentality in the likes of influential thinkers as Abul ‘Ala Maududi (1903 – 1979 A.D.), and his protégé Sayyid Qutb (1906 – 1966 A.D.), the main theologian of the Muslim Brotherhood.  One could look two centuries back and arrive at the takfiri attitude of Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab (1703 – 1792 A.D.). One could go even further back—centuries ago—to the likes of Ibn Taymiyyah (1263 – 1328 A.D.), a darling of Islamists the world over, to see the same attitude.

So the takfiri mentality of ISIS is not a novelty in Islamic history. It should be noted that although it is true that Muslims generally shied away from declaring apparent Muslims as non-Muslims (which is why al-Azhar shies away from declaring ISIS members as non-Muslims),  it is nonetheless true that the takfiri mentality follows a centuries-old strain of thought. And it is not just maverick Islamic jurisprudents who theorized and applied this takfiri attitude; whole Muslim states did as well. As Rudoph Peters, a Dutch scholar of Islam who has written multiple treatises on Jihad, states,

Due to the collapse of Islamic political unity, often two Muslim states would be at war with one another.  In such situations muftis would usually find cause to label the enemies either as rebels or as heretics, thus justifying the struggle against them.

Throughout Islamic history, governments and opposition movements have declared their Muslim adversaries to be heretics or unbelievers (takfir, declaring someone to be a kafir, unbeliever) in order to justify their struggle against them.[21]

Thus, the dispute over who is a ‘real’ Muslim is itself a marker of the fact that both aspirants are indeed part of the Islamic political and theological tradition.  And it is a unified, theological and political tradition.  That fact makes it difficult for opponents of the political tradition, which contains many oppressive elements especially for women, as well as religious and sexual minorities.  The unity of the politics with the theology makes it easy to paint such opponents as if they were objecting to the religion rather than to the politics.  This defensive mechanism often insulates even brutal states like Iran and Saudi Arabia from the full scale of criticism that their oppressive practices deserve.

What in fact is happening is that two nation states are fighting for primacy in the Islamic world.  They are likely to divide it between them, and then to suffer friction all along the borders of their zones of influence.  The takfiri language only marks this out as a conflict within Islam, although one likely to have consequences for anyone involved in the region.

Iran May Have Received as Much as $33.6 Billion in Cash, Gold Payments From U.S.

John Kerry, left, and Javad Zarif / AP

John Kerry, left, and Javad Zarif / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Sept. 8, 2016:

Iran may have received an additional $33.6 billion in secret cash and gold payments facilitated by the Obama administration between 2014 and 2016, according to testimony provided before Congress by an expert on last summer’s nuclear agreement with Iran.

Between January 2014 and July 2015, when the Obama administration was hammering out the final details of the nuclear accord, Iran was paid $700 million every month from funds that had previously been frozen by U.S. sanctions.

A total of $11.9 billion was ultimately paid to Iran, but the details surrounding these payments remain shrouded in mystery, according to Mark Dubowitz, executive director at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

In total, “Iran may have received as much as $33.6 billion in cash or in gold and other precious metals,” Dubowitz disclosed.

New questions about these payments are emerging following confirmation from top Obama administration officials on Thursday that it was forced to pay Iran $1.7 billion in cash prior to the release of several U.S. hostages earlier this year. The administration insisted that cash had to be used for this payment.

Top administration officials were adamant that the cash payments were the best way to ensure that Iran got immediate access to this money due to its ongoing difficulty accessing international funds still sanctioned by the West.

Lawmakers and others are now pressing the administration to disclose how a slew of other payments to Iran were made in the years leading up to the final nuclear accord.

“In July, the Associated Press cited U.S. officials who estimated that Iran ‘brought home less than $20 billion.’ Were these funds repatriated to Tehran in cash or in gold and precious metals? Through the formal financial system? Or through some combination?” Dubowitz asked in his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee.

“The administration should also clarify if the $20 billion dollars is inclusive of the $11.9 billion in [Joint Plan of Action] funds, or if the $20 billion was in addition to the $11.9 billion,” he said. “Either way, it is important to understand how funds were sent. The worst-case scenario here is that Iran may have received as much as $33.6 billion in cash or in gold and other precious metals.”

At least some of this money was likely sent in cash and other assets, according to Dubowitz.

The Obama administration was forced to disclose on Thursday that current sanctions and banking restrictions prohibited it from transferring funds to Iran via electronic methods.

The cash payment of $1.7 billion earlier this year was the easiest way to ensure Iran got immediate access to the money, according to these officials.

“Iran had to have it in cash,” Paul Ahern, assistant general counsel for enforcement and intelligence at the Treasury Department, told lawmakers. “Iran was very aware of the difficulties it would face in accessing and using the funds if they were in any other form than cash, even after the lifting of sanctions.”

A cash delivery “was the most reliable way that they received the funds in a timely manner and it was the manner preferred by the relative foreign banks,” Ahren said.

Given the situation, it is likely that the multiple past payments to Iran were conducted in a similar fashion, according to Dubowitz.

“If the White House could only send cash to Iran from the start of the JPOA period through the Tribunal payment that could amount to a grant total of 33.6 billion,” he said. “Did any of this money go through the formal financial system? If so, the administration is not being truthful about the 1.7 billion. If many billions arrived in Iran on pallets [of cash] this would be a pretty astounding revelation.”

Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official and expert on rogue regimes, said that cash payments of this nature are “highly irregular.”

“There’s no reason it needed to be paid now. After all, successive administrations, both Democratic and Republican, have delayed payments so as to avoid funding Iranian terrorism,” Rubin said. “Likewise, if the United States freezes accounts linked to al Qaeda or Hamas, releasing it and saying, ‘It’s their money anyway,’ would not be a tenable explanation. Cash payments are highly irregular.”

The Iranians have been clear that they “perceived the payment to be a ransom” despite the administration’s protestations, Rubin explained.

“Not only has the delivery of the millions of dollars been perceived as a ransom, provided as an incentive to seize more hostages …. but because the money was delivered in cash the payment bolstered the strength of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and augmented its ability to finance and conduct terrorism,” he said.

More U.S. Ransom Payments to Iran Revealed

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Center for Security Policy, by Fred Fleitz, Sept. 7, 2016:

Yesterday the Obama administration finally admitted that, in addition to the $400 million in foreign currency secretly flown to Iran on January 17, 2016, it also sent Iran two more planeloads of $1.3 billion in cash over the following 19 days.

Since these payments coincided with the release of four Americans illegally held by Iran, they have been widely condemned as ransom. The Obama administration disputes this and claims that the payments were to settle a U.S. debt to Iran incurred during the rule of the Shah. However, after initially insisting there was no link between the $400 million payment and the release of the Americans, the administration said on August 18 that it delayed this payment as leverage to ensure that Iran would release the U.S. prisoners.

The additional payments were an open secret in Washington ever since an August 22 New York Sun article by Claudia Rosett revealed 13 transfers of $99,999,999.99 from the Treasury Department to the State Department’s “Judgment Fund” (a fund used to resolve foreign claims) on January 19, 2016, to pay an undisclosed foreign claim. Rosett wrote that the State Department acknowledged in letters to Congress in March that the United States paid $1.3 billion out of the Judgment Fund to Iran as interest on the $400 million payment but did not explain how this money was paid.

The administration continues to peddle the preposterous claim that that the $1.7 billion payment was not linked to the prisoner release and was paid to resolve a dispute pending before the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal at The Hague. Obama administration officials maintain that this payment may have saved the U.S. taxpayer billions because the court was likely to order the United States to pay a much larger settlement. These claims are so ridiculous that even liberal late-night host Stephen Colbert mocked the administration for making them, saying that “a lot of people are saying this sounds like ransom because they know what the word ‘ransom’ means.”

Many Republican Congressmen insist that these payments set a dangerous precedent of normalizing the payment of ransoms to a state sponsor of terror. Senator Marco Rubio yesterday introduced the “No Ransom Act” to prohibit the federal government from paying ransom to Iran. The bill would also stop any further payments to Iran from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Judgment Fund until Iran returns the ransom money it received and pays the American victims of Iranian terrorism what they are owed, a sum estimated to be $53 billion. Rubio’s bill is co-sponsored by Republicans senators Cornyn, Kirk, Ayotte, Barrasso, Capito, Scott, Burr, Johnson, Fischer, Cotton, Perdue, Collins, Isakson, Risch, and Heller. Congressman Mike Pompeo introduced the same bill in the House and will be joined by many GOP co-sponsors.

In addition to last month’s revelation that the Obama administration flew a secret planeload of cash as a ransom payment to win the release of U.S. prisoners without informing Congress, we now know that there were two more secret payments to Iran that also were not disclosed to Congress. This is more evidence, as Andrew McCarthy and I have said many times on NRO, that the nuclear deal with Iran is a dangerous and growing national security fraud.

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Iran’s nuclear timetable … right now!

iran-nuclear-missileWND, by Jerome R. Corsi, Sept. 5, 2016:

NEW YORK – Amid the disclosure this week that the Obama administration has allowed Iran to continue secret efforts to enrich uranium and stockpile the heavy water needed to produce a plutonium nuclear weapon, a leading expert on the Iranian nuclear program remains concerned that Tehran could build a deliverable atomic bomb now.

“I believe Iran already has a nuclear weapons capability,” Clare Lopez, a former CIA career operations officer who serves as the vice president for research and analysis at the Washington-based Center for Security Policy and a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, told WND.

Lopez noted that five years ago the International Atomic Energy Agency published a report on Iran’s nuclear program that listed the various technical components in a nuclear weapon that Iran had under development.

“We know for a fact that Iran already has the nuclear-capable missiles, including nose cones configured to carry nuclear weapons,” she said. “We also know that the IAEA years ago reported that Iran was working on forming the hemispheres of a bomb, as well as experiments testing the explosive charges required to set off a nuclear reaction implosion sequence.”

On Tuesday, Iranian officials announced the country is preparing to launch into space three new satellites, prompting U.S. defense experts to speculate the Iranian satellite program is a cover for pursuing illicit intercontinental ballistic missile technology the Islamic Republic could use to deliver a nuclear weapon over long distances.

Help from North Korea

Lopez pointed out that Iran could easily obtain nuclear weapons technology from North Korea.

“We have documented evidence Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officials have attended North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear tests,” she stressed. “Further, North Korea has offered for sale virtually any technology the country has ever developed.”

On March 10, 2016, retired Admiral William E. Gortney, former commander, United States Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, testified about North Korea’s nuclear weapons capabilities before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“North Korea’s recent hostile cyberspace activity, nuclear testing, and continued ballistic missile development represent a dangerous threat to our national security,” Gortney told the committee in his prepared remarks. “North Korea’s recent nuclear test and satellite launch demonstrate Kim Jong Un’s commitment to developing strategic capabilities, as well as his disregard for United Nations Security Council resolutions.

He said the North Korean communist regime’s “efforts to develop and deploy the road-mobile KN08 ICBM have profound implications for homeland missile defense, primarily because the missile obviates most of the pre-launch indicators on which we have traditionally relied to posture our defenses.”

“While the KN08 remains untested, modeling suggests it could deliver a nuclear payload to much of the continental United States,” Gortney continued.

The Washington Free Beacon reported in March 2015 Iran is believed to be hiding the development of nuclear weapons technology at a mountain military base in North Korea near the Chinese border as part of a technical cooperation pact signed by Iran and North Korea in September 2012.

Iran ICBM capable by 2020

Gortney also testified that he remained concerned about Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

“Iran poses multiple significant security concerns to the United States, and I remain wary of its strategic trajectory. Last year’s conclusion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was a welcome development, but, Iran’s continuing pursuit of long-range missile capabilities and ballistic missile and space launch programs, in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions, remains a serious concern,” Gortney said.

“Iran has successfully orbited satellites using a first- generation space launch vehicle and announced plans to orbit a larger satellite using its ICBM- class booster as early as this year,” he continued. “In light of these advances, we assess Iran may be able to deploy an operational ICBM by 2020 if the regime chooses to do so.”

Lopez also explained she was concerned that North Korea might share with Iran the technology necessary to launch successfully an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) attack against the U.S., even before Iran had an ICBM capable of hitting the continental United States.

On April 24, WND reported that North Korea now has two satellites orbiting over the United States capable of performing a surprise EMP attack at an altitude and trajectory that evade U.S. National Missile Defenses.

An EMP could be triggered by a nuclear weapon detonated at high altitude. The pulse could knock out the U.S. national electrical grid system and all life-sustaining critical infrastructures, including the Internet.

“What A Mess!” – Pentagon At War With CIA In Syria

20160906_syriaZero Hedge, by Tyler Durden, Sept. 6, 2016:

What a mess! In the crazy Syrian war, US-backed and armed groups are fighting other US-backed rebel groups. How can this be?

It is so because the Obama White House had stirred up war in Syria but then lost control of the process.When the US has a strong president, he can usually keep the military and intelligence agencies on a tight leash.

But the Obama administration has had a weak secretary of defense and a bunch of lady strategists who are the worst military commanders since Louis XV, who put his mistress, Madame de Pompadour, in charge of French military forces during the Seven Year’s War. The French were routed by the Prussians. France’s foe, Frederick the Great of Prussia, named one of his dogs, ‘la Pompadour.’

As a result, the two arms of offensive US strategic power, the Pentagon and CIA, went separate ways in Syria. Growing competition between the US military and militarized CIA broke into the open in Syria.

Fed up with the astounding incompetence of the White House, the US military launched and supported its own rebel groups in Syria, while CIA did the same.

Fighting soon after erupted in Syria and Iraq between the US-backed groups. US Special Forces joined the fighting in Syria, Iraq and most lately, Libya.

The well-publicized atrocities, like mass murders and decapitations, greatly embarrassed Washington, making it harder to portray their jihadi wildmen as liberators. The only thing exceptional about US policy in Syria was its astounding incompetence.

Few can keep track of the 1,000 groups of jihadis that keep changing their names and shifting alliances. Throw in Turkomans, Yzidis, Armenians, Nestorians, Druze, Circassians, Alawis, Assyrians and Palestinians. Oh yes, and the Alevis.

Meanwhile, ISIS was inflicting mayhem on Syria and Iraq. But who really is ISIS? A few thousand twenty-something hooligans with little knowledge of Islam but a burning desire to dynamite the existing order and a sharp media sense. The leadership of these turbaned anarchists appears to have formed in US prison camps in Afghanistan.

The US, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey armed and financed ISIS as a weapon to unleash on Syria, which was an ally of Iran that refused to take orders from the Western powers. The west bears heavy responsibility for the deaths of 450,000 Syrians, at least half the nation of 23 million becoming refugees, and destruction of this once lovely country.

At some point, ISIS shook off its western tutors and literally ran amok. But the US has not yet made a concerted attempt to crush ISIS because of its continuing usefulness in Syria and in the US, where ISIS has become the favorite whipping boy of politicians.

Next come the Kurds, an ancient Indo-European stateless people spread across Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. They have been denied a national state by the western powers since WWI. Kurdish rebels in Iraq have been armed and financed by Israel since the 1970’s.

When America’s Arab jihadists proved militarily feeble, the US turned to the Kurds, who are renowned fighters, arming and financing the Kurdish Syrian YPG which is part of the well-known PKK rebel group that fights Turkey.

I covered the Turkish-Kurdish conflict in eastern Anatolia in the 1980’s in which some 40,000 died.

Turkey is now again battling a rising wave of Kurdish attacks that caused the Turks to probe into northern Syria to prevent a link-up of advancing Kurdish rebel forces.

So, Turkey, a key American ally, is now battling CIA-backed Kurdish groups in Syria. Eighty percent of Turks believe the recent failed coup in Turkey was mounted by the US – not the White House, but by the Pentagon which has always been joined at the hip to Turkey’s military.

This major Turkish-Kurdish crisis was perfectly predictable, but the obtuse junior warriors of the Obama administration failed to grasp this point.

Now the Russians have entered the fray in an effort to prevent their ally, Bashar Assad, from being overthrow by western powers. Also perfectly predictable. Russia claimed to be bombing ISIS but in fact is targeting US-backed groups. Washington is outraged that the wicked Russians are doing in the Mideast what the US has done for decades.

The US and Russia now both claim to have killed a senior ISIS commander in an air strike. Their warplanes are dodging one another, creating a perfect scenario for a head-on clash at a time when neocons in the US are agitating for war with Russia.

Does anyone think poor, demolished Syria is worth the price? Hatred for the US is now seething in Turkey and across the Mideast. Hundreds of millions of US tax dollars have been wasted in this cruel, pointless war.

Time for the US to stop stirring this witch’s brew.

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And if that didn’t 1) drive you crazy, and/or 2) confuse you, here is UK’s Channel 4 to explain in pictures…

Justice Against State Sponsors of Terror—But Not Iran?

2016-07-18t111421z_2_lynxnpec6h0qu_rtroptp_4_iran-politics-backlash-e1469297327697Daily Caller, by Clare Lopez, Sept. 6, 2016:

When the House of Representatives returns from summer recess on 6 September, among the urgent things it must consider is the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism (JASTA) bill. It passed the Senate in May and is now before the House Judiciary Committee. In lining up support for the bill, JASTA sponsor Sen. John R. Cornyn (R-TX) and backers like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) appealed to the understandable angst of New Yorkers and others who suffered through the horror of the 9/11 attacks. JASTA aims to limit sovereign immunity for nations and officials accused of being responsible for terrorism inside the United States.

The Iran Lobby, which went into hyperdrive to support the Obama-Kerry nuclear deal with Iran, is now gleefully ramping up support for JASTA as a measure to hold Saudi Arabia to blame for 9/11, hoping it will allow Tehran to continue to evade responsibility for its own documented role in the devastating attacks 15 years ago. The bill’s sponsors also ignore the fallout of JASTA’s curtailing of sovereign immunity: Saudi Arabia may be sued, but the United States will be also sued for claims of terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and a host of other battlefields.

Admittedly, the House of Saud has come late to the counterterrorism battle—and only after its own rule was threatened. There is no doubt that the Saudi government and individuals used their oil billions to fund the Global Islamic Movement by constructing mosques, publishing textbooks, and supporting orthodox Al-Azhar and other top graduates as imams in Islamic Centers across the United States and elsewhere. Riyadh also backs the jihadist Muslim Brotherhood and its swarm of front groups. But when jihad terror took aim at the Saudi royals themselves—with the 2003 bombings, al-Qa’eda attacks, Iranian instigation of unrest in the Shi’ite eastern provinces, and strikes by the Islamic State—their minds concentrated rather wonderfully.

The feared Saudi Mukhabarat security service cracked down hard on internal jihadis, instituted close surveillance of domestic mosques, and arrested imams preaching sedition and violence. Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, a prominent Shi’ite cleric, was executed in January along with 46 others convicted of sedition and promoting terrorism. In 2014, Saudi Arabia even designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.

Clearly shaken by surging aggression from Iran and the Islamic State, Saudi Arabia formed a coalition of 34 Muslim states, declared support of President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi’s Egyptian regime, announced its support for the National Council of Resistance of Iran (a democratic opposition group), and are now in talks with Israel. Their U.S.-educated Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is also shaking things up internally and abroad.

So much for Saudi Arabia’s transformation. It is Iran that continues a nuclear weapons program at a breakneck pace that was supposed to have been halted in its tracks. It is the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps/Qods Force with thousands of foreign Shi’ite mercenaries who fight as a Shi’a ‘Liberation Army’ to defend Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus and Yemen proxies. It is Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah who boasts about funds he gets from a topped-off Iranian treasury. And it is IRGC motorboats that harass U.S. Navy vessels in the Persian Gulf and dare to seize and film U.S. Navy personnel.

Recently, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, fresh from diplomatic successes that saved his country’s nuclear program, took a victory lap around a clutch of Latin American countries. They included Cuba and Venezuela, known for their hostility to the U.S. and for helping to expand the Hizballah footprint. Even the schizoid Department of State belatedly recognized Iran’s hostility, and in mid-August issued a warning to Americans traveling to Iran because of the risk the mullahs might kidnap them for more ransom.

Under the nuclear deal umbrella, egged on by the Iran Lobby, and given carte blanche by a slavish media, the Obama administration is racing to complete its blueprint for a Middle East subordinated to Iran’s nuclear-powered hegemony. Even former senior U.S. military commanders are becoming uneasy with the chaos, compounded by the possibility of a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region on earth.

While the Saudis remain adversaries in the global jihad, that should not inhibit a necessary partnership with the Riyadh government. We and they continue to face the menace of a nuclear-capable Iranian regime whose apocalyptic beliefs include accelerating the return of the 12th Imam to usher in Armageddon and the End Times.

Obama’s desire to burnish his legacy must not be allowed to complete the withdrawal of all American influence and power in a region so desperately in need of sober leadership.

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

Congress Moves to Block Obama Admin’s ‘Ransom Payments’ to Iran

Marco Rubio / AP

Marco Rubio / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Sept. 6, 2016:

Congress is set to consider new legislation that would block the Obama administration from awarding Iran billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars in what many describe as a ransom payment, according to a copy of the legislation obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) will introduce on Tuesday new legislation that would prohibit the Obama administration from moving forward with all payments to Iran, according to the bill, which would also force Iran to return billions of dollars in U.S. funds that have already been delivered to Tehran by the White House.

Rubio’s bill—a version of which is also being introduced in the House by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.)—would mandate that Iran pay American victims of terrorism some $53 billion in reparations for past attacks planned and coordinated by the Islamic Republic.

The legislation comes amid a growing scandal surrounding the Obama administration’s decision to pay Iran $1.7 billion earlier this year as part of an effort to free imprisoned U.S. hostages. The payment, details of which were kept secret from Congress and the American people, is expected to become the focus of several congressional investigations in the coming weeks.

“President Obama’s disastrous nuclear deal with Iran was sweetened with an illicit ransom payment and billions of dollars for the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism,” Rubio said in a statement provided to the Free Beacon. “The U.S. government should not be in the business of negotiating with terrorists and paying ransom money in exchange for the release of American hostages. Doing so puts more Americans in danger, as President Obama himself admitted.”

The State Department recently reissued a travel warning for U.S. citizens traveling to Iran due to the possibility of kidnapping and imprisonment by the Iranian government.

Rubio said his new bill “would stop the Obama administration from making any further payments to Iran from the [Treasury Department’s] Judgment Fund until Iran returns the ransom money it received and pays the American victims of Iranian terrorism what they are owed.”

“President Obama may have attempted to appease our enemy with pallets of cash secretly delivered on an unmarked cargo plane, but Iran continues to cheat on the nuclear deal, harass our military, hold Americans hostage, and fund terrorism around the world,” Rubio added. “Iran should be held accountable, and the Obama administration’s misguided policies must be stopped.”

Rubio’s bill, called the No Ransom Payments Act, is co-sponsored by Sens. John Cornyn (R., Texas), Mark Kirk (R., Ill.), Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.), John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), and Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.Va.).

“Congress is taking a clear stand—demanding Iran return the more than $1 billion the Obama Administration wrongly gave them and putting a stop to any and all future money this administration, or any administration might want to give to state sponsors of terrorism like Iran,” Pompeo, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told the Free Beacon. “The American people know this is an unacceptable use of their taxpayer dollars and we wholeheartedly agree. It is unprecedented and dangerous for President Obama to be doling out millions to the Islamic Republic of Iran—in the dead of night, under wraps, and in cash. Kansans expect and demand better from their government.”

Rubio on Tuesday also filed a separate piece of legislation that would stop the Obama administration from permitting U.S. corporations and banks from selling Iran aircraft and mechanical parts.

The Obama administration has sought to issue waivers to remove sanctions on companies and banks that could facilitate these transactions with Iran.

Congressional leaders and regional experts have warned that Iran routinely uses its national air carrier, Iran Air, to conduct terror operations and transport military forces into war zones in Syria and elsewhere.

Adam Kredo is senior writer for the Washington Free Beacon. Formerly an award-winning political reporter for the Washington Jewish Week, where he frequently broke national news, Kredo’s work has been featured in outlets such as the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and Politico, among others. He lives in Maryland with his comic books. His Twitter handle is @Kredo0. His email address is kredo@freebeacon.com.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Urges Muslim Nations to Take Hajj Away from Saudi Arabia

AFP

AFP

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Sept. 5, 2016:

In a message relayed by Iranian state media, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called on Muslim nations to “fundamentally reconsider the management of the two holy places and the issue of hajj.”

The “two holy places” are the cities of Mecca and Medina, while the hajj is the pilgrimage to visit them, which devout Muslims are supposed to make at least once during their lives. The hajj season begins on September 11.

Reuters notes that Iranian pilgrims will not attend the hajj this year, because talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia broke down in May. The immediate reason for these talks, and Iran’s criticism of the Saudis, was the horrifying stampede that occurred during the 2015 hajj, which killed 769 pilgrims by Saudi Arabia’s count, 131 of them Iranians. (Other sources believe the actual death toll was two or three times higher than Riyadh’s official numbers.)

“Among the suggested causes: pilgrims rushing to complete the rituals, heat, masses of faithful pushing against each other in opposite directions, even confusion among the many first-timers on the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca and Mina,” CNN wrote in September 2015, while the bodies were still being counted.

This was not the first deadly incident to occur during the incredibly crowded pilgrimage, which brings over 2 million visitors to the Muslim holy cities. Critics of Saudi Arabia’s management have long complained about inadequate accommodations, insufficient food and shelter for the throngs of pilgrims, and poor crowd control.

The UK Guardian reports that the Saudis are attempting to address some of these complaints, including increased use of surveillance cameras, more staff with better training, better coordination with hajj missions from other countries, and electronic wristbands for visitors, which will help the authorities monitor crowd movements and detect dangerous buildups.

There is, of course, a political dimension to the dispute between Iran and Saudi Arabia as well, with the two nations conducting a sort of Middle East Cold War that isn’t all that cold, in proxy conflicts like Yemen. The Saudis believe Iran planned to use its hajj pilgrims to stage anti-Saudi demonstrations in Mecca and Medina. Iran has suggested Saudi Arabia deliberately sabotaged the 2015 pilgrimage, or is at best indifferent to the safety of non-Saudi (or non-Sunni Muslim) visitors.

“Riyadh accuses Tehran of destabilizing Arab states and spreading sectarianism by backing militias in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen and fomenting unrest in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Iran denies those charges,” Reuters writes.

Khamenei brought Iran’s broader conflict with Saudi Arabia into his hajj remarks, urging the Muslim world not to “let those rulers escape responsibility for the crimes they have caused throughout the world of Islam.”

He threw in a dash of anti-Americanism, too, as quoted by the Trend news agency: “Those who have reduced hajj to a religious-tourist trip and have hidden their enmity and malevolence towards the faithful and revolutionary people of Iran under the name of ‘politicizing hajj,’ are themselves small and puny devils who tremble for fear of jeopardizing the interests of the Great Satan, the US.”

“The heartless and murderous Saudis locked up the injured with the dead in containers- instead of providing medical treatment and helping them or at least quenching their thirst. They murdered them,” Khamenei thundered. “Because of these rulers’ oppressive behavior towards God’s guests, the world of Islam must fundamentally reconsider the management of the two holy places and the issue of hajj. Negligence in this regard will confront the Islamic Ummah with more serious problems in the future.”

The BBC adds Khamenei referring to Saudi Arabia’s rulers as “disgraced and misguided people” who have “blocked the proud and faithful Iranian pilgrims’ path to the Beloveds’ House.”

Iran’s Secret War in Syria

iran-nuclear-deal.sized-770x415xtPJ MEDIA, BY P. DAVID HORNIK, SEPTEMBER 3, 2016

Since the signing of the nuclear deal on July 14, 2015—now, it turns out, with major secret exemptions for Iran—Iran’s brazenness has only grown. The Obama administration, in its ongoing efforts to coddle and appease, has gone so far as to offer to buy Iran’s heavy water and sell Iran Boeings.

But the reason appeasement doesn’t work is that Iran harbors an intense enmity toward the West and particularly its (still) reigning superpower, America, which it wants to destroy. Anyone still not convinced of that should watch this propaganda video of young Iranians sinking American aircraft carriers.

Lately, with the lame-duck President Obama headed for the finish line as he tightly clutches his “legacy”—the nuclear deal—Iran has further stepped up the brazenness. It has harassed U.S. ships in international waters of the Persian Gulf, forcing one of them to fire warning shots. It has deployed the Russian-made S-300 missile-defense system—one of the most advanced in the world—at its Fordo uranium-enrichment site. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in an address to Defense Ministry staff in Tehran, has said Iran must continue its offensive military buildup and “avoid negotiating with the U.S., [as] experience has proven that instead of understanding, the Americans are seeking to impose their will in negotiations.”

The Obama administration, for which the nuclear deal plays a role like the speed of light in Einsteinian relativity—an absolute, immutable principle—reacts to all this solely by expressing “concern.”

A major exposé in the Daily Mail now reveals that, for years, Iran’s military involvement in Syria has been much more extensive and dangerous than many believed.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an exiled opposition group, has passed information to MailOnline that was apparently leaked by senior figures in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. Among other things, the activists say Iran now commands about 60,000 Shiite troops in Syria—vastly more than the 16,000 that Western analysts had estimated.

The NCRI, which in 2002 exposed Iran’s then-secret nuclear facilities at Natanz and Arak, also says Iran operates a major headquarters near Damascus airport, nicknamed the Glasshouse. About a thousand people work there including Iran’s feared intelligence agencies, and there is also a basement for holding millions of dollars in cash.

The NCRI claims that the total amount Iran has spent on the Syrian war comes to an astounding $100 billion, much of it during years when Tehran was complaining loudly about the ravages of economic sanctions. Western analysts had gauged the sum at only $15 billion.

Most ominously, the activists say Iran is

putting down military roots in 18 locations from northern to southern Syria…, showing how it intends to control large swathes of the country even if Assad is defeated.

Iranian military planners…are said to have divided Syria into “five fronts,” comprising the Northern Front, Eastern Front, Southern Front, Central Command Front and Coastal Front, the NCRI claims.

Revolutionary Guard bases have been established in each of the sectors, which the NCRI says can accommodate up to 6,000 troops, as well as heavy weapons, air power and anti-aircraft missiles.

A situation where, even if the Assad regime falls, Iran would retain effective military control of the country, bristling with offensive and defensive capabilities, would be—as a security source told the Daily Mail—“exactly what many of the region are afraid of. It’s their biggest nightmare.”

All this does not mean Iran is having an easy time in Syria. Of the 60,000-strong Shiite force it is apparently deploying there, only about one-fourth seem to be Iranians. The rest are Shiite mercenaries from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Lebanon (in addition to about 10,000 Hizballah troops with a separate command structure).

One reason there are relatively few Iranians is “growing levels of public unease in Iran at the level of casualties sustained.” As historian Michael Burleigh comments, “[T]he Iranian public has had a bellyful of costly wars, with hundreds of thousands of dead from the 1980-88 war against Iraq.”

Throughout his tenure, however, President Obama has passed up opportunities—starting, most egregiously, with the 2009 Green Revolution that he adamantly refused to support—to leverage domestic discontent to put pressure on Tehran. Even his grudging imposition of sanctions led eventually to the nuclear deal—according to which Iran pockets concessions and cash, at most postpones some aspects of its nuclear development, and continues building a military dominion that could become Obama’s true “legacy,” namely, a 21st-century nightmare fostering conflict on a much more massive scale than what we already see.

Also see:

Iran Arrests Another American, Investigates Dual Nationals as Spies

FeaturedImage_2015-03-17-2015_Flickr_Evin_Prison_4536177373_40dee000c7_b-678x326

The Tower, Sept. 1, 2016:

Iran announced on Wednesday that it arrested another American-Iranian visitor, the same day that a parliamentary committee investigated whether dual nationals are being recruited as spies, Reuters reported.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps detained the individual in the Golestan province in late July. The American-Iranian was charged with “cooperation with countries hostile to Iran, acting against national security, and having links with anti-revolutionary elements and media,” according to Iran’s Tasnim News Agency.

News of the person’s arrest was publicized on the same day that the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy committee met with members of the IRGC’s intelligence service. At the meeting, which was dubbed “the infiltration project,” legislators and intelligence agents discussed the threat posed by dual nationals who they claimed could be recruited as spies by foreign powers.

“In this meeting it was brought up that dual-nationals are under the serious scrutiny of the enemies’ intelligence services and they are used in the infiltration project,” Hussein Naqavi Husseini, a spokesman for the committee, said on Iranian state television. He added that an unnamed dual national who served on Iran’s nuclear negotiating team was under investigation.

Iran’s judiciary announced earlier this week that a member of the negotiating team was arrested and released on bail. Hamid Baidinejad, a nuclear negotiator, defended his colleague Abdul Rasoul Durri Esfahani on social media, writing, “Insisting that he is a spy is an open insult to the intelligence and security services of Iran,” Reuters reported.

Baidinejad’s defense seems to confirm earlier reports that Durri Esfahani, a dual national who negotiated banking related aspects of the nuclear deal, was the team member being investigated.

Reuters reported in July that the six dual nationals arrested in recent months comprised “the highest number of Iranians with dual-nationality detained at one time in recent years to have been acknowledged.”

Other dual nationals currently detained in Iran include British-Iranian citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, an employee of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, who was forcibly separated from her toddler daughter as they prepared to leave Tehran in April; Homa Hoodfar, a Canadian-Iranian scholar who was arrested earlier this year when she returned to Iran to see her family and has recently been hospitalized; American-Iranian businessman Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer Namazi; British-Iranian businessman Kamal Foroughi; and Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese national with U.S. permanent residency.