Iran’s Spymaster Claims Pro-Regime Agents Operating in D.C., London, Canada

Iranian intelligence minister Mahmoud Alavi / Getty Images

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, March 23, 2017:

Iran maintains a network of spies and lobbyists who clandestinely push the Islamic regime’s agenda in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, according to the head of Iran’s ministry of intelligence, who touted the pro-Iran network’s ability to spread its ideology to the West.

Mahmoud Alavi, Iran’s intelligence minister, in recent remarks independently translated by the Washington Free Beacon, bragged about the Islamic Republic’s ability to operate an unnamed “lobby group” in D.C. that helps to push the regime’s hardline agenda.

Alavi disclosed that Iranians with dual citizenship in the United States, Canada, and England, remain devoted to the “Islamic revolution” and are working to promote this agenda in their adopted homelands.

In D.C., Alavi claimed, a “lobby group for the Islamic Republic of Iran” is working to bolster the regime’s international status and help legitimize its nuclear endeavors.

“They have a lobby group for the Islamic Republic of Iran which does not cost us money,” Alavi said, without naming the specific organization. “We should not accuse them and say things that discourage them about the ancestral homeland, this is not good, and losing this capital is not good for the regime.”

Iranian dual nationals living in the West remain devoted to the Islamic Republic, he added.

“It is wrong to say that all dual nationals are traitors, spies, or foreign agents; many of dual nationals love Iran, are a capital for Iran,” Alavi said. “Many who live in Canada, London, or the United States [are devoted] to the [Islamic] revolution and the supreme leader … In those places some attend religious ceremonies. [Those people] love the [Islamic] Revolution.”

While the Iranian official did not name the lobby group in question, the Free Beacon has reported during the past several months that dissident organizations are pushing for a formal investigation into the National Iranian American Council, or NIAC, which has long fought against charges that it lobbies on the regime’s behalf.

A group of nearly 100 prominent Iranian dissidents working to undermine the regime petitioned Congress in February to investigate NIAC’s ties to the Iranian regime and determine if it is actively helping to push a pro-mullah agenda.

“We write to request a congressional hearing on the efforts of Tehran’s theocratic regime to influence U.S. policy and public diplomacy toward Iran,” the dissidents wrote to Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) and Rep. Ed Royce (R., Calif.), the heads of Congress’ foreign affair committees, according to copies of the letter first reported by the Free Beacon.

NIAC’s actions in favor of the Iran nuclear deal and increased diplomacy with Tehran also raised concerns in January, when the Free Beacon first reported that two high-level Iranian government backers, including a former Islamic Republic official and another accused of lobbying on Tehran’s behalf, had been hosted at the Obama White House for more than 30 meetings with top officials.

The meetings came at key points in the Obama administration’s outreach to Iran and efforts to push the nuclear deal.

Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser and expert on rogue regimes, raised concerns about Alavi’s recent remarks. He noted that organizations pushing Iran’s agenda in Washington are obligated to disclose their work under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, even if no money is exchanging hands as part of the relationship.

“The question to ask is whether there is daylight between the foreign policy positions of the Islamic Republic and those of groups of which the Iranian intelligence minister refers,” Rubin said.

“At the very least, it is worth asking whether any individual who is making a couple dozen meetings to the White House and even more to the State Department is acting as what the Iranian intelligence minister might consider a lobbyist,” Rubin added, referring to the former administration’s outreach to pro-Iran interests in the United States. “It’s not a witch-hunt, it’s a matter of law.”

Given Alavi’s recent disclosures, U.S. officials would be wise to “ask the motivations of those fundraising for any group that seems more interested in defending Iran’s ballistic missile work than in human rights and cultural freedom,” Rubin said.

Saeed Ghasseminejad, an Iranian dissident and associate fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Free Beacon that several years ago Iran implemented a formal plan to “strengthen its ties with anti-war and pro-regime lobby groups.”

This included bolstering ties with Iranian dual nationals in the West and certain organizations in Europe and the United States to help “change the unfriendly governments’ policies and actions regarding the regime,” according to Ghasseminejad.

This network is tasked with discrediting Tehran’s opponents and stopping efforts to foster regime change in Iran, Ghasseminejad said.

“They are specifically concerned about any prospect of regime-change and cooperation between the U.S government and Iranian opposition groups,” he said.

Iran also wants these organizations to promote policies that benefit Iran and will help it garner international legitimacy, according to Ghasseminejad.

Also see:

Iran deal architect is now running Tehran policy at the State Department

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, March 14, 2017:

A trusted Obama aide who once worked for an alleged Iranian regime lobbying group is one of the individuals in charge of Iran policy planning at the State Department under Secretary Rex Tillerson.

Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, the Iran director for former President Obama’s National Security Council (NSC), has burrowed into the government under President Trump. She’s now in charge of Iran and the Persian Gulf region on the policy planning staff at the State Department.

To make matters worse, Nowrouzzadeh is a former employee of the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC), a non-profit that is accused of being a lobbying group for the Iranian regime. NIAC’s current president, Trita Parsi, has long held close relationships with top officials in the Tehran dictatorship. In February, a group of over 100 prominent Iranian dissidents called for Congress to investigate NIAC’s ties to the Iranian regime.

One of Nowrouzzadeh’s primary duties under President Obama was to promote initiatives that pushed the Iran deal. As President Obama’s NSC director for Iran, Nowrouzzadeh sat in on high-level briefings along with President Obama, former VP Joe Biden, and former Secretary of State John Kerry, as top White House staff crafted false narratives on the Iran deal to sell to the American public.

According to the head of a state-run Iranian newspaper, Nowrouzzadeh was an essential element to pushing through the Iran deal. Editor-in-Chief Emad Abshenass said that she opened up a direct line of communication with the Iranian president’s brother. “She helped clear a number of contradictions and allowed the entire endeavor to succeed,” Abshenass said of her efforts.

Nowrouzzadeh’s advocacy for President Obama’s directives resulted in an agreement that has done enormous damage to the security interests of the United States and its allies. Iran, the world’s top sponsor of international terrorism, was gifted $150 billion dollars for agreeing to the deal. The deal will not restrict Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. In fact, the regime in Tehran may now have the operational capacity to deploy nuclear warheads within the next decade, according to expert estimates.

Towards the end of President Obama’s tenure, Nowrouzzadeh was embedded into the State Department and for a brief time served as its Persian language spokesperson.

In addition to Nowrouzzadeh, several other prominent Obama officials currently serve under Sec Tillerson at the State Department. A former John Kerry apprentice, Michael Ratney, occupies the Israeli-Palestinian portfolio there. Another trusted Obama aide, Yael Lempert, also serves under Tillerson on the same platform.

Why Secretary Tillerson has decided to keep on a chief Obama policy official remains unclear. The State Department did not return multiple requests for comment seeking additional information on Nowrouzzadeh’s role at the government agency.

Video Clip Shows IRGC Support For Terror Against America

CNS News, By Patrick Goodenough | February 28, 2017

(CNSNews.com) – As Iran’s government claimed that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is widely known to be fighting terrorism in neighboring countries, a newly-emerged video clip purportedly shows an IRGC strategist threatening to unleash terror cells in the U.S., targeting nuclear missile launch facilities, among other things.

At a time when the Trump administration is considering listing the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said at the weekend U.S. efforts to sanction the organization have never benefited the U.S.

Zarif said the world at large agrees that the IRGC has extended the utmost support for neighboring countries in their fight against terrorism.

Iran is supporting Shi’a militias fighting alongside the Iraqi military against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) jihadists. The IRGC is also heavily involved, in conjunction with Tehran’s Hezbollah allies and other Shi’a fighters, in supporting the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war, where combatants include Sunni nationalists, Kurds, Salafists, and ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliated jihadists.

The exiled Iranian opposition group National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) called Zarif’s claim that the IRGC fights terrorism “ridiculous.”

“The IRGC is the most powerful military-security organization that represses internal clashes and exports warmongering plans in the region,” it said Monday. “This organization is almost involved in all key industries and businesses in Iran.”

The NCRI added that Iran’s widely-criticized missile tests are also carried out by the IRGC.

U.S. lawmakers and others pressing for foreign terrorist organization designation for the IRGC point to a long history of involvement in perpetrating and sponsoring terrorism abroad – especially through its Qods Force foreign operations wing.

The State Department says Iran remains the world’s “foremost state sponsor of terrorism.”

A newly-emerged – although undated – video clip purports to show Hassan Abbasi, an IRGC strategist and theoretician associated with the IRGC think tank, “Center for Borderless Security Doctrinal Analysis,” threatening to unleash terror in the United States.

Abbasi says in the poor-quality clip that a small number of Saudi terrorists were able to carry out the 9/11 attacks, and he asks how much more an Iranian “guerilla army” could do, noting that large numbers of Iranians live in the U.S.

“If only 11 [sic] people carried out 9/11, do you realize that the possibility exists for us to execute [what we want]? We don’t need nuclear weapons.”

“You [Americans] possess 6,000 nuclear warheads in your land,” he continued. “These 6,000 nuclear warheads are targets of our plans for our guerilla movements to destroy them right there.”

“It won’t even be an Iranian-only guerilla movement, but from all Islamic countries,” Abbasi said. “You can deport all the Muslims, but we are involving and working on Mexicans as well, and Argentinians too. We will organize anyone who has problems with the United States.”

Abbasi went on to threaten to direct “global guerilla organizations” to target U.S. military and vulnerable targets.

Queries sent to Abbasi by email and via his official website brought no response by press time.

Excerpts of Abbasi’s video clip comments (The translation was reviewed by two first-language Farsi speakers):

“I’ll be brief with you. We have two million Iranians there [in the United States.]  Be assured that I will raise a guerilla army from among them against you. You are fully aware of this.”

“Look how vulnerable you were on 9/11, when four [sic] Arabs from Saudi Arabia who don’t pose the spirit of fighting, managed to endanger your foundations. Yet with us [Iran] you face a nation that is even more deeply rooted.”

“Don’t forget we have 7,000 PhD holders in the United States. If only 11 [sic] people carried out 9/11, do you realize that the possibility exists for us to execute [what we want]?”

“We don’t need nuclear weapons. You possess 6,000 nuclear warheads in your land. These 6,000 nuclear warheads are targets of our plans for our guerilla movements to destroy them right there.”

“It won’t even be an Iranian-only guerilla movement, but from all Islamic countries. You can deport all the Muslims, but we are involving and working on Mexicans as well, and Argentinians too. We will organize anyone who has problems with the United States.”

“… We have identified all of the U.S. Achilles heel: We have all their ground, naval, air, technological, and their other vulnerabilities.  We will let the global guerilla organizations target them.”

***

Iranian Resistance Exposes Iranian Terror Training Camp

Published on Feb 14, 2017 BY NCRI US

On February 14, 2017, the Washington office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI-US) held a press conference to share details of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) terrorist training bases.

Alireza Jafarzadeh, Deputy Director of NCRI-US, explained that the intelligence had come from the NCRI’s main constituent group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK), which had previously exposed key information about Iran’s nuclear weapon program.

The unearthed information concerning the training facilities indicates a rise of recruitment of foreign nationals, an expansion that has been explicitly endorsed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Currently, the Quds Force, an operation division of the IRGC, is designated by the US Government under executive order 13224 as an entity engaged in terrorism, but the IRGC itself is not. The NCRI pointed out that there is no distinction between the IRGC and the Quds Force, either in the Iranian constitution or national budget.

Jafarzadeh showed maps and details of 14 terrorist training centers in Iran. The main headquarter, known as Imam Ali Garrison, is where terrorist training is provided to foreign nationals. He also included specifics on the types of training given to the mercenaries from around the world.

The conference emphasized the IRGC’s deep involvement in each of the “three pillars” upon which the regime’s power rests: the suppression of dissent inside Iran, the export of its Islamic revolution through terrorism and regional military operations, and the amplification of the Iranian military threat through the pursuit of WMDs.

IRGC’s connection to the international terrorist network was also discussed. Trainees were “dispatched to various countries in the Persian Gulf area, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.”

The NCRI said measures like designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization would decrease the likelihood of similar incidents in the West, and would strike a blow against the Iranian theocracy.

In his written statement, Jafarzadeh concluded: “If the day comes when the Tehran regime stops its export of terrorism and religious fascism; and if it reins in the Revolutionary Guards Corps, mandating it only to protect Iran from within Iran’s borders; and if it lets go of its hostility towards the United States and drops its ‘anti-imperialist’ slogans, that day the mullahs’ regime will collapse.”

Arrogant filmmaker snags Oscar, rips America from inside brutal Iranian theocracy

Flickr

Flickr

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, Feb. 27, 2017:

Asghar Farhadi, the Iranian director of “The Salesman,” ripped into America after receiving the Oscar for best foreign language film Sunday night. In effect, he provided propaganda for — and covered up the atrocities committed by — the regime controlling his country.

Farhadi decided to boycott the 89th Academy Awards in protest of President Donald Trump’s recent travel ban on seven terror-tied countries. Instead of attending, he had female Iranian-American Anousheh Ansari — who would have been forced to wear a head covering while delivering the speech in Iran (or jailed and/or beaten for disobeying Iran’s Islamic penal code for women) — read his anti-American screed.

“I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those from other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S.,” Farhadi’s statement said. “Dividing the world into ‘the us’ and ‘our enemies’ categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war.”

A curious statement to make, since Asghar Farhadi’s homeland happens to be the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism. The theocratic regime ruling his country aids and arms several international terrorist organizations, and has helped attempt the overthrow of sovereign countries. And speaking of “dividing the world,” hardliners in Farhadi’s Iran have declared the United States “the Great Satan.” Moreover, Iranian officials lead weekly “Death to America” chants after Friday prayers.

Despite the director’s outrage over President Trump, noticeably absent in his statement was a critique or recognition of his own government’s continuous violations of basic human rights. “These wars prevent democracy in human rights in countries which have themselves been the victims of aggression,” Farhadi said in his lecture to America.

With respect to “preventing democracy,” Iran has provided critical support in propping up the brutal Assad regime in Syria, which has been responsible for the vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of deaths in the Syrian civil war. The Iranian regime also provides support for the Houthi Shiite jihadists in Yemen, who have been responsible for untold deaths.

“Filmmakers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They create empathy between us and others. An empathy which we need today more than ever,” the Oscar statement concludes.

Actually, in Iran, filmmakers cannot simply “turn their cameras” wherever they want. There is zero free media in the country and all outlets are subject to government censorship.

The Iranian filmmaker put his arrogance and hypocrisy on display for the world to see Sunday night. In doing so, he indirectly propped up a truly evil regime that has the fundamental goal of exporting Islamic totalitarianism worldwide.

If Asghar Farhadi really wants to see real change and prevent human atrocity, he should look inward at the gross and endless atrocities committed by the Iranian regime that he lives under.

Iran growing network to train foreign terrorists, dissident group says

Photo by: Hadi Mizban Members of the People's Mujahedeen of Iran boast an extensive spy network, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its special forces wing, the Quds force, and has a track record of exposing clandestine parts of the Iranian security apparatus. (Associated Press)

Photo by: Hadi Mizban
Members of the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran boast an extensive spy network, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its special forces wing, the Quds force, and has a track record of exposing clandestine parts of the Iranian security apparatus. (Associated Press)

The Washington Times, by Rowan Scarborough, February 14, 2017:

Iran’s hard-line Islamic regime has escalated its overseas terrorist operations, establishing a network of over a dozen internal training camps for foreign fighters, the regime’s largest resistance group said at a press conference on Tuesday in Washington.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran issued its intelligence report specifying the camps’ locations and the countries represented.

The council’s largest member is the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK). It boasts an extensive spy network inside the mullah-run government, including the all-powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its special forces wing, the Quds force, and has a track record of exposing clandestine parts of the Iranian national security apparatus.

The Quds force played a significant role in the Iraq War by training Iraqi Shiites on how to make bombs that killed scores of American troops. The Quds force is now directing thousands of Iraqi Shiite militia members in Iraq, some of whom have gone to Syria to fight for the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The U.S. calls Iran the world’s No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism. However, neither the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps nor the Quds force is on the State Department’s list of designated terrorist organizations. The Treasury Department in 2007 designated the Quds force as a material supporter of terrorism, but National Council of Resistance of Iran officials say the U.S. government should go much further.

“The Iranian resistance has emphasized on countless occasions that the source and the epicenter of terrorism, fundamentalism and regional meddling is the fundamentalist regime ruling Iran,” said Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the council’s Washington office.

The council said Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has approved a directorate inside the Quds force “in order to expand its training of foreign mercenaries as part of the regime’s strategy to step up its meddling abroad, including in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, Afghanistan and elsewhere.”

“The camps have been divided based on the nationality of the trainees and the type of training,” the council said. “Both terrorist training and also military training for militias are provided, enabling them to better infiltrate and advance the regime’s regional objectives.”

“Every month, hundreds of forces from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Lebanon — countries where the regime is involved in front-line combat — receive military training and are subsequently dispatched to wage terrorism and war,” the statement said.

In Lebanon, Iran supports, arms and finances Hezbollah, a U.S.-designated terrorist group that is also fighting for Mr. Assad in Syria.

Beyond the Middle East

Some Quds graduates have shown up outside the region and on the U.S. doorstep in Latin America.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly testified before Congress, when he commanded U.S. Southern Command as a Marine Corps general, that Hezbollah operatives had arrived in South America and that Iran had opened scores of Islamic centers there.

Critics of the Obama administration’s negotiated nuclear deal with Iran, which freed up billions of dollars in frozen assets, say the concessions have failed to temper Tehran’s bellicosity or its desire to exert hegemony over the Persian Gulf region.

The council’s report says the Quds force oversees 14 training bases from operation headquarters at the sprawling Imam Ali air base. The commander reports directly to the Quds commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who has been directing operations in Iraq and in Syria.

The largest number of enlistees at Imam Ali are from Syria. They learn how to fire heavy weapons and missiles and to operate drones.

The council listed what it said were the locations and secret code numbers for other camps that conduct training in urban warfare, such as riding motorcycles in terrorist attacks. The council’s report, using satellite imagery, locates each camp on a map of Iran.

The Shahriar Garrison in southwest Tehran, for example, specializes in training Afghan mercenaries, who are then sent to Syria.

At the press briefing, Mr. Jafarzadeh, the council official, called on the Trump administration to add the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its Quds force to the State Department’s terrorist list.

“The IRGC is the backbone of the apparatus established to preserve the dictatorship, which itself rests on three pillars,” he said. “The first is suppression within Iran. The second is export of terrorism and fundamentalism beyond Iran’s borders. And the third is the program to manufacture a nuclear bomb and nuclear-capable missiles to threaten other countries.”

MEK was once on the State Department’s terrorist list, for attacks it was accused of carrying out in the 1970s and 1980s, first against the government of the shah of Iran and later against the clerics who overthrew him and now dominate the regime in Tehran. The group fought a long, battle to get the designation lifted, and the Obama administration delisted MEK in 2012 after attesting that it had not been involved in terrorism for over a decade.

Venezuela’s new Vice-President and Iranian influence in Latin America

elaissami-vicepresidente-980-520x245Although El-Aissami was sanctioned yesterday for narcotics trafficking, there is more to the story.

Center for Security Policy, January 17, 2017:

Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro recently appointed Tareck El-Aissami to be his Vice-President. El-Aissami is suspected by the U.S. intelligence community to have ties with drug-traffickers, Iran, and Hezbollah. Iran is a sponsor of Islamic terrorism while Hezbollah is one of the terrorist organizations Tehran supports.

The new Venezuelan VP has many business dealings with Iran. Joseph Humire, founder of the Center for a Secure Free Society, testified before Congress that El-Aissami owns a network of 40 front companies. These shells have bank accounts set up in 36 countries, including the U.S. His network has been integrated with the Ayman Joumaa money laundering network that launders hundreds of millions of dollars and ships cocaine for Mexican and Colombian drug cartels as well as Hezbollah. So El-Aissami’s “companies” are probably responsible for hiding terrorist drug money and helping cocaine get into the U.S.

El-Aissami’s ties with terrorists do not end there. Between 2007 and 2010 as the country’s Interior Minister he participated in “Aeroterror,” which were flights between Caracas and Tehran with a stop-over in Damascus. According to Congressional testimony these flights carried drugs, arms, cash, and terrorists. All of these are worrying, but especially the last one since El-Aissami took part in a clandestine operation to provide fake Venezuelan passports to Islamic terrorists in Damascus. This could mean that he transported terrorists into Venezuela and then provided them with documentation that would allow them to move freely through Latin America.

This has been made possible partly thanks to Cuba. Tehran and Havana have been allies for decades. When Chavez took power in Venezuela he sought close ties with the Castro. In exchange for oil Cuba provided Venezuela with 200,000 workers, most of whom are intelligence officers. Along with Cubans also came Iranians who turned the country into a terrorist outpost.

Given El-Aissami’s strong ties with Iran and Hezbollah his appointment as Venezuela’s VP probably signals an increase of Iranian influence in the country and through the region. If the country opposition is actually able to recall President Nicolas Maduro effectively removing him from power, as unlikely as it is, El-Aissami would take charge.

This would most likely mean an Iranian and Hezbollah ally in control of a country that is in America’s backyard. Even if El-Aissami does not become President he might end up unofficially running Venezuela. If Maduro becomes bogged down fighting recall attempts, Al-Aissami might have more say in running the country. Also, since President Maduro has shown himself to be incompetent it is likely that he might depend on a seasoned politician like El-Aissami to be his chief decision-maker.

With El-Aissami as VP the Iranian mullahs could use their connections with him and the country’s desperate economic situation to get more Islamic terrorists into Venezuela. Given that Venezuela is strapped for cash and basic resources, it is possible that El-Aissami might agree to let in more terrorists in exchange for Iranian cash, not to mention increase drug-trafficking to make up for the missing revenue.

Iran could also use its ties to Venezuela to ship more terrorist to Maduro friendly countries like Cuba and Nicaragua. This would allow Iran and its ally Hezbollah to export Islamic terror into the Caribbean and Central America. From there these terrorists could try to make their way into the U.S using fake Venezuelan passports.

The long established threat capability of Iran in Caribbean and Latin America will only increase. This is an important factor to calculate in U.S.-Iranian relations.

US-Russian steps vs Iran await new NSC chief

flynnout_eng
DEBKAfile, February 14, 2016

Michael Flynn’s abrupt resignation as National Security Adviser Monday night, Feb. 13, was a crippling blow to Donald Trump’s foreign policy strategy, less than a month after he entered the White House. Flynn was the architect and prime mover of the president’s plans for close cooperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was brought down by misinforming Vice President Mike Pence – and very likely the president too – on the content of the conversation he held with the Russian ambassador before Trump’s inauguration.

Although retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg takes over as acting NSA, the White House is urgently considering a permanent replacement to fill Flynn’s large shoes. Former CIA Director David Petraeus’ name has come up, but his indiscretions over state secrets still count against him. Vice Admiral Robert Harward, a former Navy SEAL, is a strong contender, although more may emerge.

Even before picking his next national security adviser, Trump will need to determine how to proceed with his détente with Putin, the highly sensitive details of which were managed personally and confidentially by Mike Flynn as the centerpiece of the new administration’s foreign policy.

His contacts with Moscow were under heavy fire from the president’s friends and foes alike, both before and after the November election. It was defended stalwartly by Trump himself, Pence and Flynn. However, neither the president nor the vice president can tell exactly what Flynn promised the Russians and to what deals he committed them. Therefore, his successor will be required to start building Washington’s ties with Moscow from scratch.

While Flynn’s departure has caused havoc in the Trump administration, it is a catastrophe for the Middle East, because a core objective of the US-Russian partnership, which he shaped as a model for other regions, was to have been to clip Iran’s wings and cut down its standing down as premier Middle East power conferred by Barack Obama.

(How the Flynn mechanism was to work plus detailed analysis of the fallout from his departure will be covered exclusively in the coming issue of DEBKA Weekly out next Friday).

Flynn alone was privy to arrangements concluded with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh, Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman, President Putin in Moscow, Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisis in Cairo and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

Some of his output began taking shape on the day he stepped down, when Syrian rebel groups led by Jordanian special operations officers attacked Syrian army positions in the southern town of Daraa. This was the start of an operation to drive Syrian government forces and their Iranian and Hizballah allies from the lands bordering on Jordan and Israel.

In Cairo, too, President Michel Aoun of Lebanon and his host, El-Sisi were hashing out a plan for the Egyptian army and Gulf forces to go into action against Hizballah in Syria and Lebanon.
Wednesday, Feb. 15, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is to visit the White House for his first meeting with Trump as president. They too were scheduled to discuss US operations against Hizballah and the role Israel would play.

In the coming hours, Trump will have to decide whether to go ahead with these initiatives in the absence of Flynn and his detailed knowledge of how they should go forward, or simply put them on hold until his successor is in place and has time for a full study of their complicated ins and outs. At the same time, a different national security adviser in the White house might have different plans to those laid out by his predecessor.

Iran, the other ‘Islamic State,’ turns 38. Let’s make this year its last.

Getty

Getty

The Hill, Kenneth R. Timmerman, February 10, 2017:

On Friday, the Islamic “Republic” of Iran celebrated its 38th birthday by bussing hundreds of thousands of Iranians to mosques and public squares to chant “Death to America.”

Some of these celebrations are perfunctory. Without the buses, and without the vacation pay, working people would not show up. But the regime’s television cameras always focus on the front ranks, predictably filled with angry-looking bearded males, chanting and pounding the air with their fists.

So why should Americans care?

For starters, because the Iranian regime continues to kill U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

How many? “Several hundred,” according to the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey.

General Dempsey made that statement in response to a question from Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), himself a veteran who deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq.

But fellow veteran Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), believes the death toll attributable to Iranian-sponsored attacks could be much higher. “You have a regime — people fail to mention — they were responsible for as many as 1500 American deaths in Iraq,” DeSantis told a Congressional panel last year.

Most of these deaths were caused by Iranian-made Explosively Formed Penetrators, which were designed to pierce armor with a slug of molten metal travelling at 6,000 feet per second.

Iran distributed thousands of EFPs to both Sunni and Shiite insurgents in Iraq starting in late 2004, with deadly effect.

I spoke recently to medically-retired U.S. Army Sergeant Robert Bartlett about his encounter with an Iranian EFP. The force of the projectile “cut me in half from the left corner of my temple down to my jaw, came across my vehicle and took my gunner’s legs off and then took the top of my truck commander’s head off,” he said.

“The Iranians were actively in Iraq killing Americans,” he said. “We never invaded Iran. Why were they killing Americans?”

In Afghanistan, Iran has been offering a cash bounty of $1000 to any Taliban fighter who kills an American soldier. For larger attacks, the Iranians paid more money.

According to the Sunday Times, a Taliban paymaster collected $18,000 from an Iranian firm in Kabul, “a reward it said was for an attack in July (2010) which killed several Afghan government troops and destroyed an American armored vehicle.” The Taliban “treasurer” called the relationship to the Iranians a “marriage of convenience.”

I would call it an alliance of Terror.

The Iranian regime also continues its foreign expansion. In Iraq, they command a 100,000 man strong Shiite militia that is hovering on the outskirts of Mosul and dominate the government in Baghdad.

In Yemen, Iran has delivered C-802 anti-ship missiles to Houthi rebels that have fired on U.S. and Arab warships. In Syria, they have sent thousands of IRGC troops to serve the regime of Bashar al-Assad in his ongoing massacre of his own people. And in Lebanon, Iran’s Hezbollah proxies now control the much of the government and have formed an alliance with newly-elected President, Michel Aoun.

So is the Islamic Republic of Iran an all-powerful Hydra-headed monster that the United States would be foolish to oppose?

I think not. Just look at what happened this past week, following the stern warning from National Security Advisor Lt. General Michael Flynn that the Trump administration was “putting Iran on notice” over its latest long-range missile test.

Regime leaders in Tehran huffed and puffed. A top advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called the warning a “useless” threat from “an inexperienced person.”

The commander of the Iranian navy, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, scoffed at the U.S. Navy, which currently does not have an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. “They would not dare enter Iran’s territorial waters,” he said.

Shortly after General Flynn’s warning, FoxNews reported that U.S. satellites spotted a long-range Safir missile at Iran’s main missile test site, being prepped for launch. But by Tuesday, February 7, the missile was gone.

Instead, Iran launched a short-range surface-to-air missile that fell back to earth 35 miles away. As the New York Post described it, “they blinked.”

The Trump administration has a tremendous opportunity when it comes to Iran. This regime has now entered middle age. Its revolutionary ideology is getting old, and its young people — by far, the most sophisticated of any nation in the immediate neighborhood — are looking to the West with expectation and hope.

It’s time to step up pressure on Tehran in meaningful ways, aimed at delegitimizing the “Islamic State,” both at home and abroad. We can do that by using the tools of power diplomacy, from stepped up U.S. broadcasting into Iran, to a credible threat of military force should the regime take aggressive moves on the high seas or elsewhere, and by designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization.

The United States can help to ensure that this anniversary will be the last for the world’s largest Islamic state. Stay tuned.

Kenneth R. Timmerman is a Donald Trump supporter. He was the 2012 Republican Congressional nominee for MD-8 and is the author of Deception: The Making of the YouTube Video Hillary & Obama Blamed for Benghazi, published by Post Hill Press.

The Trump Way of Winning the War

The PLO is disoriented, panicked and hysterical. Speaking to Newsweek this week, Saeb Erekat, PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas’s chief conduit to Israel and the Americans, complained that since President Donald Trump was sworn into office, no administration official had spoken to them.

“I don’t know any of them [Trump’s advisers]. We have sent them letters, written messages. They don’t even bother to respond to us.”

The Trump administration’s shunning of the PLO is a marked departure from the policies of its predecessor. For former president Barack Obama, together with Iran, the Palestinians were viewed as the key players in the Middle East. Abbas was the first foreign leader Obama called after taking office.

Erekat’s statement reveals something that is generally obscured. Despite its deep support in Europe, the UN and the international Left, without US support, the PLO is irrelevant.

All the achievements the PLO racked up under Obama – topped off with the former president’s facilitation of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 against Israel – are suddenly irrelevant. Their impact dissipated the minute Trump took office.

Israel, in contrast, is more relevant than ever.

While Trump occasionally pays lip service to making peace in the Middle East, his real goal is to win the war against jihadist Islam. And he rightly views Israel as a woefully underutilized strategic ally that shares his goal and is well-placed to help him achieve it.

During the electoral campaign, Trump often spoke derisively of Obama’s nuclear pact with Tehran. And he repeatedly promised to eradicate Islamic State. But when asked to explain what he intended to do on these scores, Trump demurred. You don’t expect me to let the enemy know my plan, do you?

Trump’s critics dismissed his statements as empty talk. But since he came into office, each day signals that he does have a plan and that he is implementing it. The plan coming into focus involves a multidimensional campaign that if successful will both neutralize Iran as a strategic threat and obliterate ISIS.

Regarding Iran specifically, Trump’s moves to date involve operations on three levels. First, there is the rhetorical campaign to distinguish the Trump administration from its successor.

Trump launched the campaign on Twitter on Wednesday writing, “Iran is rapidly taking over more and more of Iraq even after the US has squandered three trillion dollars there.”

Shortly before his post, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Abadi appointed Iranian proxy Qasim al Araji to serve as his interior minister.

At a minimum, Trump’s statement signaled an abandonment of Obama’s policy of cooperating with Iranian forces and Iranian-controlled Iraqi forces in the fight against ISIS in Iraq.

At around the same time Trump released his tweet about Iranian control of Iraq, his National Security Adviser Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Michael Flynn took a knife to Obama’s obsequious stand on Iran during a press briefing at the White House.

While Trump’s statement related to Iran’s growing power in Iraq, Flynn’s remarks were directed against its nonconventional threat and its regional aggression. Both were on display earlier this week.

On Sunday, Iran carried out its 12th ballistic missile test since concluding its nuclear deal with Obama, and its first since Trump took office.

On Monday, Iranian-controlled Houthi forces in Yemen attacked a Saudi ship in the Bab al-Mandab choke point connecting the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean.

Flynn condemned both noting that they threatened the US and its allies and destabilized the Middle East. The missile test, he said, violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that anchored the nuclear deal.

Flynn then took a step further. He drew a sharp contrast between the Obama administration’s responses to Tehran’s behavior and the Trump administration’s views of Tehran’s provocative actions.

“The Obama administration failed to respond adequately to Tehran’s malign actions – including weapons transfers, support for terrorism, and other violations of international norms,” he noted.

“The Trump administration condemns such actions by Iran that undermine security, prosperity and stability throughout and beyond the Middle East and place American lives at risk.”

Flynn ended his remarks by threatening Iran directly.

“As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice,” he warned.

While Flynn gave no details of what the US intends to do to Iran if it continues its aggressive behavior, the day before he made his statement, the US opened a major, multilateral, British-led naval exercise in the Persian Gulf. US naval forces in the region have been significantly strengthened since January 20 and rules of engagement for US forces in the Persian Gulf have reportedly been relaxed.

Perhaps the most potent aspect of Trump’s emerging strategy for defeating the forces of jihad is the one that hasn’t been discussed but it was signaled, through a proxy, the day after Trump took office.

On January 21, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a remarkable message to the Iranian people on his Facebook page. Netanyahu drew a sharp distinction between the “warm” Iranian people and the “repressive” regime.

Netanyahu opened his remarks by invoking the new administration.

“I plan to speak soon with President Trump about how to counter the threat of the Iranian regime, which calls for Israel’s destruction,” the prime minister explained.

“But it struck me recently that I’ve spoken a lot about the Iranian regime and not enough about the Iranian people, or for that matter, to the Iranian people. So I hope this message reaches every Iranian.”

Netanyahu paid homage to the Green Revolution of 2009 that was brutally repressed by the regime. In his words, “I’ll never forget the images of proud, young students eager for change gunned down in the streets of Tehran in 2009.”

Netanyahu’s statement was doubtlessly coordinated with the new administration. It signaled that destabilizing with the goal of overthrowing the regime in Tehran is a major component of Trump’s strategy.

By the looks of things in Iran, regime opponents are taking heart from the new tone emanating from Washington. Iranian dissidents have asked for a meeting with Trump’s team. And a week and a half before Trump’s inauguration, regime opponents staged a massive anti-regime protest.

Protesters used the public funeral of former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to denounce the regime. In 2009, Rafsanjani sided with many of the Green Movement’s positions. His daughter was a leader of the protests.

Among the estimated 2.5 million people who attended the funeral, scores of thousands interrupted the official eulogies to condemn the regime, condemn the war with Syria and condemn the regime’s Russian allies.

This then brings us to Syria, where the war against ISIS and the campaign against Iran are set to converge. To date, Trump has limited his stated goals in Syria to setting up safe zones inside the country where displaced Syrians can live securely. Saudi Arabia and the Emirates have agreed to cooperate in these efforts.

Trump is now engaged in a talks with the Kremlin both above and below the radar about the possibility of coordinating their operations in Syria to enable safe zones to be established.

It is fairly clear what the US objective here would be. The US wishes to convince Moscow to effectively end its alliance with the Iranian regime. Trump repeatedly stated that the entire spectrum of US-Russian relations is now in play. Talks between the two governments will encompass Ukraine, US economic sanctions on Russia, nuclear weapons, Russian bases in Syria and Russia’s alliance with Iran and its Hezbollah proxies.

Everything is on the table.

Trump understands that Russia is threatened by Sunni jihadists and that Russia views Iran as a counterweight to ISIS and its counterparts in the Caucasus. A deal between the US and Russia could involve a Russian agreement to end its support for Iran and Hezbollah in exchange for US acceptance of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, cancellation of sanctions and perhaps some form of acquiescence to Russia’s military presence in Syria.

Russia and the US could then collaborate with Arab states with Israeli support to defeat ISIS and end the Syrian refugee crisis.

Combined with actions the Trump administration is already taking in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea, and its telegraphed aim of backing a popular Iranian insurrection, Trump’s hypothetical deal with Russia would neutralize Iran as a conventional and nonconventional threat.

This then brings us back to Israel – the first target of Iran’s aggression. If Trump’s strategy is successful, then the PLO will not be Israel’s only foe that is rendered irrelevant.

Earlier this week it was reported that in the two-and-a-half years since the last war with Hamas, the Iranian-backed, Muslim Brotherhood-affiliate terrorist group has rebuilt its forces. Today Hamas fields assets and troops that match the capabilities it fielded during Operation Protective Edge.

Hezbollah, with its effective control over Lebanon, including the Lebanese military, is a strategic threat to Israel.

To date, Israel has demurred from targeting Hezbollah and Hamas missile arsenals, but not because it is incapable of destroying them. Israel’s efforts to avoid conflict with its enemies, even at the price of their rearmament, also haven’t stemmed from fear of European or UN condemnation or even from fear of the so-called “CNN-effect.”

Israel has chosen not to defeat its enemies – not to mention the EU-backed NGOs that whitewash them – because the Americans have supported them.

The Clinton administration barred Israel from taking decisive action against either Hezbollah or the Palestinians.

The Bush administration forced Israel to stand down during the war with Hezbollah in 2006.

The Obama administration effectively sided with Hamas against Israel in 2014.

In other words, across three administrations, the Americans made it impossible for Israel to take decisive military action against its enemies.

Under Obama, the US also derailed every Israeli attempt to curb the power of EU-funded subversive organizations operating from inside of Israel.

Trump’s emerging strategy on Iran and ISIS, together with his refusal to operate in accordance with the standard US playbook on the Palestinians, indicates that the US has abandoned this practice. Under Trump, Israel is free to defeat its enemies. Their most powerful deterrent against Israel – the US – is gone.

Israel has long argued that there is no difference between al-Qaida and Hamas or between ISIS and Hezbollah. It has also argued that Iran threatens not only Israel but the world as a whole. Hoping to co-opt the forces of jihad rather than defeat them, successive US administrations have chosen to deny this obvious truth.

Unlike his predecessors, Trump is serious about winning. To do so, he is even willing to take the radical step of accepting Israel as an ally.

The PLO is right to be hysterical.

***

Also see:

Thank Obama for Iranian Missile Tests

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PJ Media, by Andrew C. McCarthy, January 31, 2017:

There is great shrieking from the “international community” over Iran’s ballistic missile test over the weekend, the latest of what the Wall Street Journal reports is nearly a dozen such tests since President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal — the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — went into effect last year. The United Nations Security Council, which endorsed the deal even though no party has actually signed it, is set to hold an “emergency meeting” today to discuss the matter.

What is there to discuss?

French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said it best in complaining that such tests are “contrary to the spirit” of the JCPOA.

When they talk about a violation of the “spirit” of a pact, you can be certain that there has been no violation of the letter of a pact — i.e., the thing that is required for there to be a real, actionable violation.

The provocative missile tests further elucidate the obvious: Iran’s nuclear program is about developing nuclear weapons — which Iran will be able to do consistent with the terms of the JCPOA. But regardless of the crying and gnashing of teeth at the emergency meeting, the tests do not violate the JCPOA.

For that, we can thank Barack Obama.

Prior to the JCPOA, Iran’s ballistic missile activities were barred by a series of UN resolutions backed by American and international sanctions. But sensing Obama’s desperation to complete the JCPOA at any cost, and by indulging any fiction, Iran threatened to walk away from the table unless the restraints on missiles were eliminated.

Obama quietly accommodated the mullahs — despite having repeatedly told the American people that the negotiations were confined to nuclear activities, and that his administration would hold a hard line on Iranian missile development and terror promotion.

There was nothing in the JCPOA about ballistic missiles. When Obama brought the deal to the Security Council, however, he used its endorsement vehicle — Resolution 2231 — to undermine the missile sanctions. The pertinent paragraph is buried deep in the resolution (Annex B, Paragraph 3 — scroll all the way down to page 99 of 104). It states (italics is mine):

Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology, until the date eight years after the JCPOA Adoption Day[.] …

Notice three things:

  1. The words “Iran is called upon” not to undertake ballistic missile activity. That is not the same as being forbidden to do so. Because of the way the JCPOA was codified in the resolution – for what the parties will call international law purposes — the former proscription against ballistic missile activity has been watered down to a mere encouragement of Iran not to engage in such activity. In UN-speak, a country’s ignoring what the Security Council “calls upon” it to do does not even rise to the level of a tsk-tsk letter from the principal. It is just a suggestion along the lines of “Pretty please don’t fire missiles after we’ve told everyone how moderate you are.”
  2. Then there is the fiction: the paragraph refers to “missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” Bear in mind the fraud on which the JCPOA is based: Iran has no intention of manufacturing or otherwise acquiring nuclear weapons. Therefore, so the story goes, Iran would not build missiles “designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” We, like the Obama administration, are supposed to ignore what Iran’s missiles are technologically capable of doing and trust the stated intentions of the world’s chief sponsor of jihadist terror.
  3. The resolution not only abandons the prohibition against missile activity; even the insipid suggestion that Iran not engage in such activity is only operative for eight years. After that, they can do what they want … just as, after no more than 15 years, they are free to develop nuclear weapons free and clear.

How could Obama have agreed to such disastrous terms (in addition to giving the mullahs over $100 billion in sanctions relief — including ransom cash)? The Obama administration illusion was that Iran was in the process of a powerful, inevitable reform movement that would, in the course of eight to 15 years, transmogrify it into a normal, reasonable, moderate nation-state. According to this thinking, by the time the JCPOA ran its course, Iran would be so benign it would probably not want nuclear missiles; and even if it did, that would be no problem because, by then, its regime would have evolved into a stable pillar of the international community.

Of course, we now know this was a consciously false narrative that Obama peddled to sell the Iran deal to the public — orchestrated by deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, with the help of an echo chamber media.

Iran ratcheted up missile development almost immediately after the JCPOA went into effect. The missiles test-fired last March were inscribed “Israel must be wiped out.” In Tehran, that’s known as “the spirit” of the agreement.

Trump Should Shred Iran Deal During Netanyahu’s Visit

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Center for Security Policy, by Fred Fleitz, January 27, 2017:

One of President Trump’s many achievements this week was repairing our relationship with Israel. The president told Sean Hannity during an exclusive interview on Jan. 26 that he has already repaired these relations that were seriously damaged by the anti-Israel policies of Barack Obama.

Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke on Jan. 22.

During the call, the president invited Netanyahu to visit the White House in early February. The Israeli leader said after the call that President Trump understands the danger of the Iran nuclear deal.

Here’s a way President Trump can best celebrate his mending of U.S.-Israel relations: Trump and Netanyahu should jointly tear up the nuclear deal with Iran when the Israeli leader visits the White House.

This would be a powerful and meaningful rejection of the dangerous nuclear deal with Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). As I explained in my 2016 book “Obamabomb” and in National Review Online (NRO), the JCPOA is a fraud that has not halted the threat from an Iranian nuclear bomb.

There is clear evidence Iran has cheated on this agreement. Iran also was given secret exemptions for not meeting its requirements. We still do not know the full extent of JCPOA secret side deals that exempted parts of Iran’s nuclear program.

President Obama also promised Americans that the JCPOA would improve both U.S.-Iran relations, and Iran’s behavior. Not only did this not happen, Iran’s behavior significantly worsened.

Iran has conducted several ballistic missile tests since the agreement was announced.

Some of these missiles had the words “Israel must be wiped off the map” written on their sides. Iran also increased its support to terrorist groups, the Assad regime in Syria and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Iran briefly captured and humiliated 10 U.S. sailors and held them at gunpoint last January on the day of President Obama’s last State of the Union address. Other U.S. citizens and green card holders have been taken prisoner by Iran since the nuclear deal was agreed to.

There has been a sharp increase since July 2015 of Iran harassing and threatening ships in the Persian Gulf, including U.S. Navy vessels. Houthi rebels — probably with Iranian assistance — fired anti-ship missiles at American and United Arab Emirates (UAE) ships in the Red Sea last September.

Another reason the JCPOA is a fraud is the fact that President Obama rammed it though without ratification by Congress as a treaty even though it was submitted for ratification by the Iranian parliament. A majority of Congress voted to oppose the JCPOA, including the top Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Congress was unable to block the agreement because of the bizarre Corker-Cardin Act which required JCPOA opponents in Congress to get veto-proof and filibuster-proof majorities.

But the worst aspect of the JCPOA is that even though it would have a huge impact on Israel’s security, the agreement was negotiated over Israel’s objections and behind its back.

It also was negotiated behind the backs of America’s other friends in the Mideast.

It was an act of extreme arrogance for the Obama administration to negotiate this terrible deal with zero input from regional states who are most affected by Iran’s nuclear program.

By contrast, when the Clinton and Bush administrations held nuclear talks with North Korea, Japan and South Korea were always kept full informed and were usually at the negotiating table.

A new nuclear deal with Iran must actually halt its nuclear program and also require that Iran cease its missile program, sponsorship of terrorism and meddling in regional disputes. Such a deal must use a new negotiating group that includes Israel and other regional states.

By tearing up the JCPOA with Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Trump would celebrate America’s important relationship with Israel and make amends to Israel and our Mideast friends and allies on the dangerous nuclear deal with Iran.

Mr. Trump also would declare an important principal of his presidency: the Trump administration will not will not support or stand by fraudulent agreements that endanger American and global security.

Pro-Hezbollah Mullahs at San Jose’s Saba Islamic Center Promote Burning and Beheading Gays

‘Moulana’ Nabi Raza Abidi of Saba Islamic Center, San Jose, California. Nabi Raza is a staunch supporter of the grand Khomeinist mullahs Ruhollah Khomeini and Ali Khamenei. Nabi Raza also audaciously promotes Hezbollah in the United States, in the very heart of Silicon Valley! (via http://hezbollahwatch.tumblr.com/)

‘Moulana’ Nabi Raza Abidi of Saba Islamic Center, San Jose, California. Nabi Raza is a staunch supporter of the grand Khomeinist mullahs Ruhollah Khomeini and Ali Khamenei. Nabi Raza also audaciously promotes Hezbollah in the United States, in the very heart of Silicon Valley! (via http://hezbollahwatch.tumblr.com/)

By Lee Kaplan

Last December, the following announcement appeared on one of the Facebook pages of the Shia Association of the Bay Area (Saba Islamic Center), an extremist Khomeinist organization based in San Jose, California:

“Community Event of Support and Friendship Between Catholics and Muslims, Moulana Abidi and the Saba boards will be hosting Bishop McGrath from the Catholic Church, Imams from bay-area Mosques and Civic Leaders who will gather to offer joint prayers and start mutual dialog for solidarity of the two communities in serving humanity and support justice for all. Bishop McGrath leads over forty Catholic churches in Santa Clara County. This event will mark the first of many events expressing mutual understanding, support and friendship between Muslims and Catholics.

‘When: Monday Jan 16th 2016 (Martin Luther King Day)
Where: Saba Center, 4415 Fortran Court, San Jose CA 95134”

Bishop Patrick Joseph McGrath will no doubt unknowingly be used to put a good face on a bad association by urging his Catholic followers to recognize an Islamist organization that is the antithesis of what his Church seeks to promote when it comes to tolerance and peace. The Bishop will be declaring “solidarity” in the name of his 40 churches with the leaders and educators at Saba’s mosque and madrassa (school).

Saba recently inaugurated its new high school, Saba Academy, right in the heart of the Silicon Valley. Many observers of Saba view this development with alarm, as the Association’s activities have been persistently linked to extremism. Indeed, Saba and its imams, including Rafic Labboun (a.k.a. Wilhelm Dyck) and Nabi Raza Mir (a.k.a. Nabi Raza Abidi), have been shown to support Hezbollah. Labboun was jailed for a time for credit card fraud in a scheme the FBI thought was related to funding the terrorist group. He later was caught trying to flee the U.S. by the FBI with a fake Belizean passport using the identity taken from a dead baby. Homeland Security, Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton tried to keep Nabi Raza Mir from reentering the U.S. after he visited Iran due to suspicions of terrorist links but he was finally readmitted after multiple lawsuits filed by the National Lawyers Guild.

Hamza Sodagar and Farrokh Sekaleshfar, two Khomeinist “superstar mullahs” on the Islamist lecture circuit, are frequent speakers at Saba Islamic Center where Saba Academy’s curriculum is taught. Alarmingly, both mullahs justify the execution of gays under Sharia law.

Both men have lived, lectured and studied in Qom back in Iran. Qom is considered a holy city among Shiite Muslims. Sodagar, while in Qom, filmed a biography in which Sodagar calls Ali Khamenei, the present Supreme Leader of Iran and follower of the late Ruhollah Khomeini, the man who started the Iranian revolution against the West, a role model. He also has lectured on a letter from Khamenei where he discusses the obligations of youth in the West and how they should not be corrupted by the “Zionist controlled media [the Jews].”

Sekaleshfar has been seen lecturing repeatedly at a mosque in Cardiff, Wales next to a portrait of Ayatollah Khomeini, something always displayed at Shiite events back in the Middle East, but not inside the U.S. due to the hostage crisis and animus between the U.S. that followed with sanctions and Khomeini’s dubbing the U.S. “the Great Satan.” His Facebook is packed with praises of the late Supreme Leader of Iran, and Sekaleshfar is his best promoter. In a newsletter sent from Qom, Sekaleshfar admonishes Muslim youth outside Iran to follow Khomeini’s edicts and advice if they are to be good Muslims:

“These people have undergone and tolerated a vast array of sanctions during the last 30 years. What have you done for them? How have you contributed in the solidification of the masses in Iran? There are many Muslims struggling worldwide today, but strengthening the people of Iran has an extra significant bonus, i.e. strengthening Islamic Rule and Propagation worldwide.” This is a call to promote jihad and the Absolute Velayat-e-Faqih regime of Ruhollah Khomeini and is posted under a picture of the late Ayatollah in the newsletter (page7).

Sodagar has spoken at schools as far away as Canada’s York University, and even in the UK, but he appeared on a regular basis at Saba where he lectured about Sharia-compliant methods of executing homosexuals:

“For homosexual men, the punishment is one of five things. One, the easiest one maybe, is chop their head off, stop their heart. Two, burn them to death. Three, throw them off a cliff. Four, tear down a wall upon them. Five, a combination of these things.”

Public outcry over killing gays elicited a response from Sodagar. He explained he does not advocate executing gays in places where it is illegal, but rather in places where Islam is the law of the land. While such an explanation might mollify fears in non-Muslim communities, it nevertheless does not alter what Sodagar is preaching; Sodagar, a U.S. citizen, was born in Washington, D.C., but spent 14 years studying Shiite Islam in Iran, a country that routinely executes gays in public. Fluent in English, Sodagar lectures throughout the English speaking world – advocating the execution of gays as being part of God’s will.
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Farrokh Sekaleshfar also tours the world spreading the word of Islam and has spoken at St. Louis University and the University of Michigan about how to deal with homosexuals. Sekaleshfar also denies that he advocates genocide against gays where it is illegal, yet he has lectured at the University of Michigan in 2013 that “death is the sentence” for homosexuals and that executing them is an act of “compassion,” since “earthly punishment will gain them leniency in the afterlife.”

Sekaleshfar offered the same religious rulings at the Husseini Islamic Center near Orlando, Florida. A few weeks later, Orlando suffered a terrorist attack on a gay nightclub, carried out by Omar Mateen, which left 49 people dead and is listed as the greatest mass shooting in U.S. history. It isn’t clear if Mateen, a confused fan of Hezbollah, Al Qaeda and ISIS, who was previously investigated by the FBI, attended Sekaleshfar’s lecture in Orlando. Like Sodagar, Sekaleshfar was not born in Iran or another Islamic country, but in England and he holds a medical degree from Imperial College in London and has studied Islam extensively in the Middle East.

Sekaleshfar was deported from Australia while on a speaking tour there after he said in an interview with ABC that he had made his comments in an academic setting, and he regretted that they had been made public. He said he advocated the death penalty only for homosexuals who have anal sex in public in a country that abides by Islamic law.

Both these mullahs live and link back to the Khomeinist regime in Iran and promote the Iranian revolution against the West here in America. At SABA they are an inspiration. The facts that a mullah advocated genocide against gays in Orlando not long before the massacre at a gay nightclub while another preaches the same ideas illustrate the threat posed by such imams when speaking to the Islamic community, something Bishop McGrath may not know before he goes there with all his parishes to show “solidarity.”

Lee Kaplan is an undercover investigative journalist who has been published and on radio and television internationally. He has appeared as a contributing editor or regular columnist at FrontPage Magazine, Israel National News, Canada Free Press and IsraCampus. He is also a senior intelligence analyst and communications director for the Northeast Intelligence Network. He is a fellow at Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld’s American Center for Democracy and a member of the advisory council at the Intelligence Summit.

Republicans Propose Bills Designating Iranian Guard And Muslim Brotherhood As Terror Groups

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Daily Caller, by Kerry Picket, January 12, 2017:

Two bills reintroduced in the Congress late Wednesday designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist organizations.

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz re-proposed the two bills in the upper chamber while Texas Republican Rep. Michael McCaul and Florida Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart dropped companion bills in the House.

The bills, according to a press release, will direct the State Department to hold accountable both the IRGC and the Muslim Brotherhood “two foreign entities that espouse a violent Islamist ideology with a mission of destroying the West. Both bills require a report on whether these organizations meet the criteria to be designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, and if so, will enable the U.S. to take action that could stifle the funding they receive to promote their terrorist activities.”

McCaul introduced the IRGC Terrorist Designation Act in the House, which asks the State Department to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization and Diaz-Balart filed legislation for the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act, which urges State to classify the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

The passage and adoption of such legislation would be very different from the Obama administration’s relationship to the Muslim Brotherhood, particularly in Egypt, where the administration supported the previous Muslim Brotherhood Islamist government headed up by Mohamed Morsi.

“I am proud to reintroduce these bills that would codify needed reforms in America’s war against radical Islamic terrorism,” Sen. Cruz said of the legislation. “This potent threat to our civilization has intensified under the Obama administration due to the willful blindness of politically-correct policies that hamper our safety and security.

Rep. Diaz-Balart agreed saying a statement, “I am proud to once again work with Senator Cruz to introduce this legislation in the 115th Congress. The Muslim Brotherhood continues to support terrorist organizations that are responsible for acts of violence around the world.” He added, “This bill would impose tough sanctions on a hateful group that has spread violence and spawned extremist movements throughout the Middle East. This designation is long overdue, and I look forward to working with the incoming administration and the appropriate committees to ensure that this bill becomes law. We have an incoming president who appreciates the threat of terrorism and has vowed to defeat it. Designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization is an important step in defeating violent extremists.”

The IRGC terrorist designation bill comes on the heels of reports that the U.S. and five other world powers that negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran announced delivery of 116 metric tons of natural uranium to the Iranian regime on Monday.

Rep. McCaul said of the IRGC legislation that “If a foreign organization looks like a terror group, operates like a terror group, and supports terrorism, then it should be called for what it is – a foreign terrorist organization.” He added, “As obvious as that seems, for years the IRGC has been allowed to operate clandestinely using front companies and illicit networks to evade formal designation. The Obama Administration has chosen to turn a blind eye to these activities for the sake of a flawed nuclear agreement which Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei stated publicly would not alter Iran’s behavior.”

Dr. Sebastian Gorka: Iran Nuclear Deal Is the Worst of Obama’s ‘Many Catastrophic Legacies’

Associated Press

Associated Press

Breitbart, by John Hayward, January 10, 2017:

Breitbart News National Security Editor Dr. Sebastian Gorka, author of the best-selling book Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, was tasked by SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam on Tuesday’s Breitbart News Daily with choosing the “worst thing Obama is leaving this country, in terms of foreign policy.”

“Oh, that’s easy,” Gorka replied. “It’s the empowering to nuclear threshold status of a nation that his own State Department says is a state sponsor of terrorism. The Iran nuclear deal is – of all the many, many catastrophic legacies, it’s the Iran deal.”

He judged that the empowerment of Iran was a worse Obama legacy than the rise of the Islamic State because “we can wipe ISIS off the face of the earth, if we’re serious, and if we really go to war.”

“I mean, think about it: they’ve got maybe, at best, at this point, 40,000 fighters. We have twice that number of special operators alone in the United States,” he noted. “If we’re serious, we can destroy them, and then follow that up with a counter-ideological campaign. But dealing with an eschatologically informed theocratic republic that now has a crescent of influence from Yemen to Persia, which is on the cusp of nuclear capability, that’s even more dangerous.”

Gorka suggested a dissertation could be written on how the realignment of power in the Middle East became a “secret war,” largely unreported by U.S. media, because President Obama wanted to change American posture towards Iran and other regional powers.

“Obama has a legacy for using more drones to kill people in the first six months of his administration than Bush ever did,” he said. “If you look at the fact that on one day, he has bombed six different nations – but nobody’s reporting about it. During the Bush administration, we had embedded journalists. You remember embed phenomena? That doesn’t exist any more. This is the complicity of the mainstream media, that they preach peace, they preach Nobel Prizes, but this is a truly hyper-engaged administration when it comes to doing what they think is right around the world for ideological reasons. But nobody writes about it, except Breitbart.”

Gorka agreed with author Dinesh D’Souza’s contention that Obama was “the first post-American President.”

“His guiding philosophy was very simple: America is bad. If there are problems in the world, from global warming to you-name-it, we are the cause. America is the new imperial force. As a result, we have to be taken down a peg or two – and my, did he take us down a peg or two,” he said.

Gorka had no patience for Obama’s claim of a “scandal-free” presidency.

“Where to begin? Benghazi, the IRS, the Iran deal, the involvement of drone strikes against U.S. citizens without due process – on and on and on,” he said. “That is perhaps the most bare-faced lie of any of the press reporting in the last eight years, that this was a scandal-free administration.”

Kassam asked for Gorka’s take on how the Trump transition team is handling the Russian hacking story, in particular the assertion in the intelligence community’s public report that Russian President Vladimir Putin directly ordered an effort to influence the 2016 election via media manipulation.

“I can’t talk to the transition, but if you listen to the statements that are being made, I think you’ll understand that the transition team understands better than most: this isn’t about ‘hacking.’ It’s hard to hack somebody whose password is ‘password,’” Gorka replied, making a jab at the notoriously lax security procedures of Hillary Clinton campaign chief John Podesta.

“This is about influence operations and information warfare,” he continued. “The issue is that Russia, for very little investment, managed to question the probity of our elections, without there really being anything that’s occurred to the elections themselves. That’s the big story. This is old, Cold War-style information operations at their worst.”

He said links to Russia could be seen in the penetration of the Democratic National Committee and Podesta’s email.

“If you look at the code that was used, if you look at the various modus operandi, the report from DHS, FBI, the unclassified one is clear. But the important point is, it’s not a ‘hack.’ The election wasn’t undermined. It is the perception of the probity of the election, and that’s called active measures. That’s called dezinformatsiya,” Gorka said.

Kassam noted the IC report has been criticized for offering far-reaching conclusions about Russian involvement without providing any supporting information, much of which would still be classified – the very same criticism that was leveled retroactively, for years, with white-hot passion, against the intelligence reports on pre-war Iraq. “Why are we just sort of accepting this now?” he asked.

“Look, the thing that has to be remembered – and this is the point I always try to make on any interviews – is that we have patriots and good people working inside the national security establishment,” Gorka responded. “For the majority of cases, that is absolutely true. But who runs them? Who is John Brennan? Who is General Clapper? These individuals are politically chosen. John Brennan has carried the water for Obama for eight years. That is important, and as a result, we have to reassess when one agency says something that the other agencies do not agree with. That’s the bottom line, Raheem.”

Kassam recalled that the last time unanimity was supposedly reached between the intelligence agencies, “it was Colin Powell sitting there claiming that everybody believed we had to go to war in Iraq. How’d that work out for us?”

“Yes indeed – another political actor who I’m sure regrets waving a test tube at the United Nations Security Council. Indeed, the ‘sexed-up’ dossier, Colin Powell’s behavior – these are all things we must remember,” Gorka urged.

Also see:

Obama “Gifts” Iran With Massive Uranium Shipment From Russia Sufficient “For More Than 10 Nuclear Bombs”

Zero Hedge, by Tyler Durden, January 9, 2017:

In what amounts to an 11th hour “gift” by the outgoing Obama administration to Tehran’s leadership to keep the country, which on Sunday was involved in yet another shooting incident with a US destroyer, content and compliant with Obama’s landmark “Nuclear deal”, the AP reported that Iran is to receive a huge shipment of natural uranium from Russia to compensate it for exporting tons of reactor coolant. The move was approved by the outgoing U.S. administration and other governments “seeking to keep Tehran committed to a landmark nuclear pact.

AP cites two senior diplomats who said that the transfer which was recently agreed by the U.S. and five other world powers that negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran, foresees delivery of 116 metric tons (nearly 130 tons) of natural uranium. U.N. Security Council approval is needed but a formality, considering five of those powers are permanent Security Council members, they said.

The swap is in compensation for the approximately 40 metric tons (44 tons) of heavy water exported by Iran to Russia since the nuclear agreement went into effect. Another 30 metric tons have gone to the U.S. and Oman.

While Uranium can be enriched to levels ranging from reactor fuel or medical and research purposes to the core of an atomic bomb, Iran has claimed it has no interest in such weapons and its activities are being closely monitored under the nuclear pact to make sure they remain peaceful. As we reported at the time, Tehran previously received a similar amount of natural uranium in 2015 as part of negotiations leading up to the nuclear deal, in a swap for enriched uranium it sent to Russia. But the new shipment will be the first such consignment since the deal came into force a year ago.

The news comes ahead of a meeting in Vienna, where of representatives of Iran, the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany will review Iranian complaints that the U.S. was reneging on sanctions relief pledges included in the nuclear deal.

As AP adds, “the uranium agreement comes at a sensitive time. With the incoming U.S. administration and many U.S. lawmakers already skeptical of how effective the nuclear deal is in keeping Iran’s nuclear program peaceful over the long term, they might view it as further evidence that Tehran is being given too many concessions.”

The diplomats said any natural uranium transferred to Iran after the deal came into effect would be under strict surveillance by the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency for 25 years after implementation of the deal.

 

They said Tehran has not said what it would do with the uranium but could choose to store it or turn it into low-enriched uranium and then export it for use as reactor fuel.

Despite present restrictions on its enrichment program, the amount of natural uranium is significant should Iran decide to keep it in storage, considering its potential uses once some limits on

 

Tehran’s nuclear activities start to expire in less than a decade.

The troubling part, if only for those who see Iran as hell bent on creating nucleaar weapons was noted by David Albright, whose Institute of Science and International Security often briefs U.S. lawmakers on Iran’s nuclear program, says the shipment could be enriched to enough weapons-grade uranium for more than 10 simple nuclear bombs, “depending on the efficiency of the enrichment process and the design of the nuclear weapon.”

While it remains to be seen if Trump will comment on the unexpected delivery, we are certain that Israel, and especially its embattled prime minister Netanyahu, will raise a substantial fuss over the renewed possibility of a nuclear-armed neighbor. Heavy water is used to cool a type of reactor that produces more plutonium than reactors cooled by light water. Like enriched uranium, plutonium can be turned into the fissile core of a nuclear weapon

* * *

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Iranian lawmakers, far from demilitarizing, approved plans on Monday to expand military spending to five percent of the budget, including developing the country’s long-range missile program which U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to halt.  The vote is a boost to Iran’s military establishment – the regular army, the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and defense ministry – which was allocated almost 2 percent of the 2015-16 budget.

But it could put the Islamic Republic on a collision course with the incoming Trump administration, and fuel criticism from other Western states which say Tehran’s recent ballistic missile tests are inconsistent with a U.N. resolution on Iran. The resolution, adopted last year as part of the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear activities, calls on Iran to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons. Tehran says it has not carried out any work on missiles specifically designed to carry such payloads.

Tasnim news agency said 173 lawmakers voted in favor of an article in Iran’s five-year development plan that “requires government to increase Iran’s defense capabilities as a regional power and preserve the country’s national security and interests by allocating at least five percent of annual budget” to military affairs. Only 10 lawmakers voted against the plan, which includes developing long range missiles, armed drones and cyber-war capabilities.

Members of Iran's revolutionary guard look at a missile launched during a war  game near the city of Qom.

Members of Iran’s revolutionary guard look at a missile launched during a war
game near the city of Qom.

The Obama administration says Iran’s ballistic missile tests have not violated the nuclear agreement with Tehran, but Trump, who criticized the accord as “the worst deal ever negotiated”, has said he would stop Iran’s missile program.

“Those ballistic missiles, with a range of 1,250 miles, were designed to intimidate not only Israel … but also intended to frighten Europe and someday maybe hit even the United States,” he told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee AIPAC in March. “We’re not going to let that happen.”

* * *

So one hand, we have Obama desperate to salvage his diplomatic legacy (having already seen TPP implode and Obamacare starting the repeal proess), appeasing Iran in every possible way, even if it means further antagonizing Israel; on the other we have Iran taking advantage of Obama’s weakness, and accelerating the ballistic weapons program which has been banned per the same treasury that Obama wants to see continue. Finally, throw in Trump and Netanyahu in the mix, and the future for US-Iranian relations after January 20 suddenly looks rather volatile.

Also see:

  • Iran Shows Obama, Not Trump, Putin’s Biggest Lackey – Amidst the mainstream media slavering over putative Russian hacks into the U.S. election, far more serious evil is emerging from the former Soviet Union in cahoots with Iran. And Barack Obama, not Donald Trump, is the enabler-in-chief. In his most dangerous act on his way out the door, the outgoing president is paving the way for Vladimir Putin to help the mullahs go nuclear.