Not Just the Saudis: Iran’s Huge Role in 9/11 Also Covered Up

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PJ MEDIA, BY ROBERT SPENCER, JULY 19, 2016

The 28-page section of the 9/11 report detailing Saudi involvement in the terror attack has finally been released (although with substantial portions still redacted). We now know why one president who held hands with the Saudi king and another president who bowed to him worked so hard all these years to keep these pages secret. The 28 pages confirm that the 9/11 jihad murderers received significant help from people at the highest levels of the Saudi government.

However, Saudi involvement in 9/11 was not the only subject of a cover-up: Iran’s little-noted role in 9/11 has been covered up as well.

As I detail in my new book The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran, on December 22, 2011, U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels ruled in Havlish, et al. v. bin Laden, et al., that Iran and Hizballah were liable for damages to be paid to relatives of the victims of the September 11, 2001 jihad attacks in New York and Washington.

Judge Daniels found that both the Islamic Republic and its Lebanese proxy had actively aided al-Qaeda in planning and executing those attacks. He found that Iran and Hizballah had cooperated and collaborated with al-Qaeda before 9/11, and continued to do so after the attacks.

Before 9/11, Iran and Hizballah were implicated in efforts to train al-Qaeda members to blow up large buildings. This training resulted in the bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the attack on the USS Cole in 2000.

Shortly after the Cole attack, the 9/11 jihad plot began to come together — and Iran was involved.

Former MOIS operative Abolghasem Mesbahi, a defector from Iran, testified that during the summer of 2001 he received messages from Iranian government officials regarding a plan for unconventional warfare against the United States. The plot was entitled Shaitan dar Atash (“Satan in Flames”).

“Satan in Flames” was the Iranian’s elaborate plot to hijack three passenger jets, each packed full of people, and crash them into American landmarks: the World Trade Center, which jihadis took to be the center of American commerce; the Pentagon, the center of America’s military apparatus; and the White House.

A classified National Security Agency analysis referred to in the 9/11 Commission report reveals that eight to 10 of the 9/11 hijackers traveled to Iran repeatedly in late 2000 and early 2001.

The 9/11 Commission called for a U.S. government investigation into Iran’s role in 9/11 — but none was ever undertaken.

So Kenneth R. Timmerman of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran was, in his words, “engaged by the Havlish attorneys in 2004 to carry out the investigation the 9/11 Commission report called on the U.S. government to handle.”

Timmerman noted that during the 9/11 hijackers’ trips to Iran, they were “accompanied by ‘senior Hezbollah operatives’ who were in fact agents of the Iranian regime.” Iranian border agents did not stamp their passports so that their having been inside the Islamic Republic would not arouse suspicion when they entered the United States. The CIA, embarrassed by its failure to recognize the import of these trips, tried to suppress this revelation.

However, Timmerman contends that even the available evidence is explosive enough. In his words, he reveals that the Islamic Republic of Iran:

  • Helped design the 9/11 plot
  • Provided intelligence support to identify and train the operatives who carried it out
  • Allowed the future hijackers to evade U.S. and Pakistani surveillance on key trips to Afghanistan — where they received the final order of mission from Osama bin Laden — by escorting them through Iranian borders without passport stamps
  • Evacuated hundreds of top al-Qaeda operatives from Afghanistan to Iran after 9/11 just as U.S. forces launched their offensive
  • Provided safe haven and continued financial support to al-Qaeda cadres for years after 9/11
  • Allowed al-Qaeda to use Iran as an operational base for additional terror attacks, in particular the May 2003 bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

The Ayatollah Khamenei knew about the plot. During the summer of 2001, he instructed Iranian agents to be careful to conceal their tracks. He told them to communicate only with al-Qaeda’s second-in-command — Ayman al-Zawahiri — and Imad Mughniyah of Hizballah.

Mughniyah was Iran’s key player in the 9/11 “Satan in Flames” plot. During theHavlish trial, former CIA agents Clare M. Lopez and Bruce D. Tefft submitted an affidavit stating:

Imad Mughniyah, the most notable and notorious world terrorist of his time, an agent of Iran and a senior operative of Hizballah, facilitated the international travel of certain 9/11 hijackers to and from Iran, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan, and perhaps various other locations for the purpose of executing the events of September 11, 2001.This support enabled two vital aspects of the September 11, 2001 plot to succeed: (1) the continued training of the hijackers in Afghanistan and Iran after securing their United States visas in Saudi Arabia, and (2) entry into the United States.

The Obama-era CIA went to great pains to try to ensure that information about Iran’s role in 9/11 did not come out in the Havlish case.

In August 2010, a CIA official pressured a Havlish witness to withdraw his testimony in exchange for a new identity, new passport, and new job.

In December of that year, another CIA operative approached a different Havlishwitness, showed him documents stolen from the case, and took him to a U.S. embassy where he was subjected to five hours of interrogation. He was finally offered cash if he recanted his testimony. Says Timmerman:

After I reported those attempts at witness tampering to a Congressional oversight committee, they ceased.

Judge Daniels determined that Iran, Hizballah, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security, and other Iranian government departments — as well as the Ayatollah Khamenei himself and former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani — were all directly implicated in Iranian efforts to aid al-Qaeda in its 9/11 plot.

Daniels awarded the plaintiffs in the Havlish case $394,277,884 for economic damages, $94,000,000 for pain and suffering, $874,000,000 for mental anguish and grief, $4,686,235,921 in punitive damages, and $968,000,000 in pre-judgment interest for a total of $7,016,513,805.

The Havlish plaintiffs will not receive a check for that amount from the Islamic Republic of Iran neatly signed by the Ayatollah Khamenei. Still, the judgment provided a small bit of solace for the loss of life and years of trauma these families suffered as a result of the Islamic Republic’s war against the United States.

Most importantly, the judgment stands as an acknowledgment of Iran’s role in the 9/11 attacks.

Clearly, Iran is and has been at war with the United States. Over a period of many years, Iran has conducted that war on numerous unconventional fronts while threatening conventional attacks if its agenda is thwarted in any way.

For the Islamic Republic this war is very real, a principal focus of its energy and expenditures. But it appears that only one side is fighting.

This was underscored in March 2016, when it came to light that Iranian hackers who were accused of being tied to the Islamic Republic had attempted to hack into the operating system of the Bowman Avenue Dam north of New York City, as well as into financial conglomerates Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, and HSBC – and the New York Stock Exchange.

Said Attorney General Loretta Lynch:

These attacks were relentless, they were systematic, and they were widespread.

Such attacks, if they had been successful, could have caused catastrophic damage to New York City and the American economy. Yet true to form, the Obama administration only indicted the accused (none of whom it had in custody).He took no measures against the Iranian government.

After 9/11, the U.S. declared war on terror and entered Afghanistan and Iraq. But if Bush had really been serious about attacking jihad terror at its root, he would have invaded Saudi Arabia and Iran instead. Under Obama, the denial and willful ignorance have only gotten exponentially worse.

US Levies Terror Sanctions Against Iran-based al-Qaeda Leaders

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Tablet Magazine, by Armin Rosen, July 20, 2016:

Three senior al-Qaeda operatives landed on the Treasury Department’s Specially Designated Global Terrorists list on July 20, joining the U.S. government’s international who’s-who of terrorist operatives. What’s perplexing is that two of the three al-Qaeda figures aren’t based in the stereotypical al-Qaeda hangouts of Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Yemen. Instead, they’re hiding out in a country that’s seen its relations with the U.S. and the broader international warm considerably in recent years: Iran.

Abu Bakr Muhammad Muhammad Ghumayn is “a senior al-Qaida leader who has served in several financial, communications, and logistical roles for the group” and who had “assumed control of the financing and organization of al-Qaida members located in Iran” as of 2015, according to a Treasury’s press release. Meanwhile, Yisra Muhammad Ibrahim Bayumi joined al-Qaeda in 2006 and had been based in Iran since 2014. According to the Treasury designation, Bayumi was “involved in freeing al-Qaida members in Iran” and “served as a mediator with Iranian authorities.” He also coordinated al-Qaeda fundraising activities from his Iranian safe-haven, while also providing unspecified other forms of assistance to “al-Qaida members located in Iran.”

Bayumi and al-Qaeda’s other go-betweens with Tehran seem to be pretty effective at the “mediation” aspect of their jobs: In September of 2015, just two months after the announcement of the nuclear deal between the U.S. and Iran, the Iranian authorities released several top al-Qaeda figures they had been holding as part of a prisoner swap.

The Treasury designations reinforce some uncomfortable realities about the Iranian regime—which received at least $56 billion in sanctions relief as the result of the July 2015 nuclear deal and is now the U.S.’s partner in implementing a landmark arms control agreement. Regime elements in Terhan clearly see an advantage in sheltering a fairly extensive al-Qaeda operation that includes professional fundraisers and facilitators like Bayumi and Ghumayn.

Never mind that al-Qaeda is a Sunni group whose Syrian affiliate is fighting the Iranian-backed pro-Shi’ite government in Syria, or that Iran’s potential utility in fighting Sunni extremist groups like al-Qaeda is part of the realist argument for the western powers upgrading their relations with Tehran. There’s still an influential faction within the ideologically anti-American and Shi’ite sectarian regime in Iran that simply doesn’t care about all of that: al-Qaeda bogs down the U.S. and its allies in Afghanistan, and is committed to permanent war against a common enemy, and have thus been allowed to operate on Iranian soil.

The designations also show just how little of an impact Iran’s supposedly moderate political leadership has had in terms of changing the behavior of the more ideologically committed and anti-American hardline elements of the regime. Fifteen years ago, Iranian agents may have helped facilitate the travel of al-Qaeda operatives involved in the September 11 plot, including somewhere between eight and 10 of the 14 Saudi “muscle” hijackers who carried out the attacks. Later in the 2000s, Iran provided a safe haven to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his associates, who then went on to form the core leadership of al-Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS’s predecessor organization. In 2013, the U.S. State Department’s State Sponsors of Terror designation list noted that Iran “remained unwilling to bring to justice senior al-Qa’ida (AQ) members it continued to detain, and refused to publicly identify those senior members in its custody,” and had “previously allowed AQ facilitators to operate a core facilitation pipeline through Iran since at least 2009, enabling AQ to move funds and fighters to South Asia and Syria.”

Tuesday’s designations suggest that the Iranian regime’s calculations towards al-Qaeda haven’t really changed much—even after last year’s diplomatic breakthrough.

Armin Rosen is a New York-based writer. He has written for The Atlantic, City Journal, and World Affairs Journal, and was recently a senior reporter for Business Insider.

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A former CIA clandestine officer’s take on the shariah threat

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Secure Freedom Radio, July 19, 2016:

CLARE LOPEZ, Vice President for Research & Analysis at the Center for Security Policy, former CIA clandestine officer:

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

  • Violence against law enforcement continues – this time in Baton Rouge, LA.
  • Unholy alliance between the US Muslim Brotherhood, Black Lives Matter, and Alinskyite Anarchists
  • Damage done by the US Council of Muslim Organizations and its sister organizations across the Western world

(PART TWO): (podcast2): Play in new window | Download

  • Political agenda of those under the USCMO umbrella
  • Explaining shariah
  • Donald Trump and other GOP leaders’ stance concerning refugee resettlement from Muslim nations

(PART THREE): (podcast3): Play in new window | Download

  • Implications of the failed coup in Turkey
  • How the AKP Party has weakened the Turkish military
  • The Gulenist Movement
  • Aspects of jihad still present in Sufism

(PART FOUR): (podcast4): Play in new window | Download

  • Classified 28 pages of the 9/11 report made public
  • Future implications for the US/Saudi alliance
  • Iran and Hezbollah roles in 9/11
  • Instances of Shia and Sunni cooperation in terrorizing the West

(PART FIVE): (podcast5): Play in new window | Download

  • What to expect from a nuclear Iran
  • Can the MEK Party force regime change in Tehran?
  • Update on Hillary Clinton in regards to Benghazi

Four Reasons Why Iran Is Worse than the Islamic State

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Breitbart, by Robert Spencer, July 14, 2016:

The Islamic State (ISIS) is a gang of thugs who glory in their sadism, videoing their beheadings of their captives, taunting gays with tweets of #LoveWins accompanying photos of their executions of gays, and boasting of their plans to bring about imminent mass murder and destruction inside the United States.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, on the other hand, is a major player in Middle Eastern and global politics, courted by the Obama administration and the recipient of its largesse as sanctions have been lifted.

Yet as I show in my new book The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran, although ISIS is the object of the world’s scorn and horror and Iran is accorded respect and accommodation, in numerous important ways, Iran is worse, and a more significant global threat, than ISIS.

  1. Iran has a nuclear program. The Islamic State would love to get its hands on nuclear material and construct a bomb. By contrast, due to Barack Obama’s disastrous deal with the Islamic Republic, Iran is well on its way to doing so. Even if it abides by all the terms of the nuclear agreement, within ten years, all restraints on its activity will have expired, and it will be free to construct as many nuclear bombs it can afford (and can pay for with the billions Obama has given to Iran in sanctions relief). Given Iranian officials’ oft-repeated boasts that Israel will soon be destroyed, and that the United States will be as well, this prospect is truly chilling.
  1. Iran funds and controls a global network of jihad terror organizations. While the Islamic State’s claim to constitute the restored caliphate – the sole government to which Muslims owe allegiance, according to Sunni Muslim theology – has won it the allegiance of tens of thousands of Muslims (and several existing jihad terror groups) worldwide, Iran already has that to which the Islamic State aspires: a network of jihad terror organizations with a truly global reach, ready to do Iran’s bidding up to and including the killing of its perceived enemies.

This network’s foremost member is Hizballah, which is active not only in Lebanon but in South America’s Triple Frontier region, as well as in Mexico, where there is evidence that it has trained and collaborated with drug cartels. Other members include the Sunni jihad groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as well as the Houthis in Yemen and the Iraqi Shi’ite group Kata’ib Hizballah.

Iran doesn’t work only through jihad terror groups. It has funded the Spanish left-wing populist party, Podemos, and in July 2012, Hamid Mohammadi, the Iranian cultural affairs counselor at the Iranian Embassy in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, gave an extraordinarily revealing Farsi-language interview intimating that Iranians in Canada had “preserved their strong attachments and bonds to their homeland” and should strive to “occupy high-level key positions” so that they could “be of service to our beloved Iran.” Mohammadi’s words sparked an investigation of espionage and subversion in the Iranian embassy in Ottawa that ultimately led to its being shut down.

  1. Iran’s Shi’ite eschatology could make it not just willing, but eager to use nuclear weapons. Shi’ite Iran awaits the return to earth of the Twelfth Imam, the mythical savior figure who will conquer and Islamize the world. One of his predecessors, the sixth Imam, Jafar Sadiq, once prophesied that the Imam Mahdi, or Twelfth Imam, would come at a time when the Shi’ites were experiencing persecution to a terrible, unprecedented degree – indeed, he would not return until, said Jafar, “two-thirds [of the] population of the world is not destroyed.” Presumably, then, the Twelfth Imam will return when one-third of the world’s population has been destroyed.

 Former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who remains influential in the Iranian government, boasted in December 2001 that a nuclear bomb “would not leave any thing [sic] in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.” It could also, with millions of Muslim dead, move the Twelfth Imam to return, to put a stop to this unprecedented persecution of the Muslims.

This could mean that the Iranians might want to nuke Israel in order to draw retaliatory nukes that would induce the return of the Twelfth Imam – and no concessions from Obama or his successor would dissuade them.

  1. Iran was involved in 9/11. The Islamic State has inspired Muslims in the U.S. to kill Americans, but so has Iran, with a much more macabre record of success than ISIS has yet amassed. Although its involvement in the 9/11 jihad plot has received very little notice, it was so unmistakable that in 2010, a federal judge determined that Iran, Hizballah, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security, and other Iranian government departments, as well as the Ayatollah Khamenei himself and former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani were all directly implicated in Iranian efforts to aid al-Qaeda in its 9/11 plot.

That puts the blood of nearly 3,000 Americans on the Iranian mullahs’ hands. And if the mullahs get their way, they will be following up that carnage with many more like it.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.

***

First anniversary of Iran nuclear deal marred by massive cheating (centerforsecuritypolicy.org)

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Top Intel Official: Al Qaeda Worked on WMD in Iran

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New evidence of the bin Laden-Iran connection.

Weekly Standard, by Stephen F. Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn, July 12, 2016:

Al Qaeda operatives based in Iran worked on chemical and biological weapons, according to a letter written to Osama bin Laden that is described in a new book by a top former U.S. intelligence official.

The letter was captured by a U.S. military sensitive site exploitation team during the raid on bin Laden’s Abbottabad headquarters in May 2011. It is described in Field of Fight, out Tuesday from Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Michael Ledeen of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

“One letter to bin Laden reveals that al Qaeda was working on chemical and biological weapons in Iran,” Flynn writes.

Flynn’s claim, if true, significantly advances what we know about al Qaeda’s activity in Iran. The book was cleared by the intelligence community’s classification review process. And U.S. intelligence sources familiar with the bin Laden documents tell us the disclosure on al Qaeda’s WMD work is accurate.

Flynn notes that only a small subset of bin Laden’s files have been released to the public. The “Defense Intelligence Agency’s numerous summaries and analyses of the files remain classified,” too, Flynn writes. “But even the public peek gives us considerable insight into the capabilities of this very dangerous global organization.”

It’s not just al Qaeda.

“There’s a lot of information on Iran in the files and computer discs captured at the Pakistan hideout of Osama bin Laden,” Flynn writes in the introduction. The authors note that the relationship between Iran and al Qaeda “has always been strained” and “[s]ometimes bin Laden himself would erupt angrily at the Iranians.” Previously released documents and other evidence show that al Qaeda kidnapped an Iranian diplomat in order to force a hostage exchange and bin Laden was very concerned about the Iranians’ ability to track his family members.

And yet the book makes clear that Flynn believes there is much more to the al Qaeda-Iran relationship than the public has been told. And that’s not an accident. Obama administration “censors have been busy,” Flynn writes, blocking the release of the bin Laden documents to the public and, in some cases, to analysts inside the U.S. intelligence community. “Some of it—a tiny fraction—has been declassified and released, but the bulk of it is still under official seal. Those of us who have read bin Laden’s material know how important it is…”

Not surprisingly, Obama administration officials bristle at Flynn’s characterization of their lack of transparency and lack of urgency on jihadists and their state sponsors. “Mike Flynn, in true Kremlin form, has been peddling these baseless conspiracy theories for years. Anyone who thinks Iran was or is in bed with al Qaeda doesn’t know much about either,” an Obama administration official told THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

It’s an odd line of attack, given the fact that the Obama administration has repeatedly accused Iran of directly aiding al Qaeda. The Treasury and State Departments publicly accused the Iranian regime of allowing al Qaeda to operate inside Iran in: July 2011, December 2011, February 2012,July 2012,October 2012, May 2013, January 2014, February 2014, April 2014, and August 2014. In addition, in congressional testimony in February 2012, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described the relationship as a “marriage of convenience.”

Asked about the administration’s own repeated statements pointing to the Iranian regime’s deal with al Qaeda, the administration official who dismissed Flynn’s claim as a “baseless conspiracy” theory declined to comment further.

The Flynn/Ledeen claim about al Qaeda’s WMD work in Iran comes with an interesting wrinkle. The authors preface their disclosure of al Qaeda’s work on “chemical and biological weapons in Iran” by suggesting that the revelation was included in documents already public.

But the only document released to date that seems to touch on the subject is a March 28, 2007, letter to an al Qaeda operative known as “Hafiz Sultan.” The letter, which discussed the possibility of Iran-based al Qaeda operatives using chlorine gas on Kurdish leaders and includes a likely reference to Atiyah ‘Abd-al-Rahman, was released by the administration via the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point in May 2012. President Obama’s Treasury Department has claimed that Rahman was appointed by Osama bin Laden “to serve as al Qaeda’s emissary in Iran, a position which allowed him to travel in and out of Iran with the permission of Iranian officials.” It is not, however, addressed to bin Laden and it does not include a reference to biological weapons.

And while the U.S. Treasury and State Department have repeatedly sanctioned al Qaeda’s operatives inside Iran and offered rewards for information on their activities, as noted, statements from Treasury and the State Department do not mention al Qaeda’s “chemical and biological weapons” work inside Iran.

The takeaway: It does not appear that the al Qaeda document referenced by Flynn has been released by the U.S. government.

Flynn and others who have seen the documents say there are more explosive revelations in the bin Laden files kept from the public. Those already released give us a hint. One document, released in 2015, is a letter presumably written by Osama bin Laden to the “Honorable brother Karim.” The recipient of the October 18, 2007, missive, “Karim,” was likely an al Qaeda veteran known Abu Ayyub al Masri, who led al Qaeda in the Iraq (AQI) at the time.

Bin Laden chastised the AQI leader for threatening to attack Iran. The al Qaeda master offered a number of reasons why this didn’t make sense. “You did not consult with us on that serious issue that affects the general welfare of all of us,” bin Laden wrote. “We expected you would consult with us for these important matters, for as you are aware, Iran is our main artery for funds, personnel, and communication, as well as the matter of hostages.”

That language from bin Laden sounds a lot like the language the Obama administration used in July 2011, when a statement from the U.S. Treasury noted that the network in Iran “serves as the core pipeline through which Al Qaeda moves money, facilitators and operatives from across the Middle East to South Asia.”

David Cohen, who was then a top Treasury official and is now the number two official at the CIA, told us back then: “There is an agreement between the Iranian government and al Qaeda to allow this network to operate. There’s no dispute in the intelligence community on this.”

Why, then, is the Obama administration attempting to dismiss the cooperative relationship between Iran and al Qaeda as a “baseless conspiracy?” Good question.

And it’s one that releasing the rest of the documents could help answer.

Note: Flynn’s co-author Michael Ledeen is a colleague of Thomas Joscelyn at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Prince Turki bin Faisal Al-Saud Drops Bombshell at Iranian Opposition Rally

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Center for Security Policy, by Clare Lopez, July 13, 2016:

At the annual gathering of Iranians outside of Paris, France on 9 July 2016, where some 100,000 showed up to express support for regime change in Tehran, one of the guest speakers dropped a bombshell announcement. Even before he took the podium, Prince Turki bin Faisal Al-Saud, appearing in the distinctive gold-edged dark cloak and white keffiyeh headdress of the Saudi royal family, of which he is a senior member, drew commentary and lots of second looks. The Prince is the founder of the King Faisal Foundation, and chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, and served from 1977-2001 as director general of Al-Mukhabarat Al-A’amah, Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency, resigning the position on 1 September 2001, some ten days before the attacks of 9/11.

He took the podium late in the afternoon program on 9 July and, after a discourse on the shared Islamic history of the Middle East, launched into an attack on Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, whose 1979 revolution changed the course of history not just in Iran, but throughout the world. His next statement sent a shock wave through the assembly: Bin Faisal pledged support to the Iranian NCRI opposition and to its President-elect Maryam Rajavi personally. Given bin Faisal’s senior position in the Saudi royal family and his long career in positions of key responsibility in the Kingdom, it can only be understood that he spoke for the Riyadh government. The hall erupted in cheers and thunderous applause.

Iranians and others who packed the convention center in Bourget, Paris came for a day-long program attended by representatives from around the world. Organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the event featured a day filled with speeches and musical performances. A senior-level U.S. delegation included Linda Chavez, Chairwoman of the U.S. Center for Equal Opportunity; former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich; former Governor of Pennsylvania and Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge; Judge Michael Mukasey; former Governor of Vermont and Presidential candidate Howard Dean; and former national security advisor to President George W. Bush, Fran Townsend.

The NCRI and its key affiliate, the Mujahedeen-e Kahlq (MEK), were on the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list until 2012, having been placed there at the express request of Iranian president Khatami. Iranian university students formed the MEK in the 1960s to oppose the Shah’s rule. The MEK participated in the Khomeini Revolution but then was forced into exile when Khomeini turned on his own allies and obliterated any hopes for democratic reform. Granted protection by the U.S. under the 4th Geneva Convention in 2004, remnants of the MEK opposition have been stranded in Iraq, first at Camp Ashraf and now in Camp Liberty near Baghdad since U.S. forces left Iraq. Completely disarmed and defenseless, the 2,000 or so remaining residents of Camp Liberty, who are desperately seeking resettlement, come under periodic deadly attack by Iraqi forces under Iranian Qods Force direction. The most recent rocket attack on July 4th, 2016 set much of the camp ablaze and devastated the Iranians’ unprotected mobile homes. The MEK/NCRI fought their terrorist designations in the courts in both Europe and the U.S., finally winning removal in 2012. The NCRI’s national headquarters are now located in downtown Washington, DC, from where they work intensively with Congress, the media, and U.S. society to urge regime change and a genuinely liberal democratic platform for Iran.

Given the Obama administration’s close alignment with the Tehran regime, it is perhaps not surprising that the NCRI and Riyadh (both feeling marginalized by the U.S.) should find common cause to oppose the mullahs’ unceasing quest for deliverable nuclear weapons, aggressively expansionist regional agenda, and destabilizing involvement in multiple area conflicts, especially its extensive support for the murderous rule of Bashar al-Assad. Nevertheless, the implications of official Riyadh government support for the largest, most dedicated, and best-organized Iranian opposition movement will reverberate through the Middle East.

Although not openly stated by bin Faisal, the new NCRI-Riyadh alliance may be expected to involve funding, intelligence sharing, and possible collaboration in operations aimed at the shared goal of overthrowing the current Tehran regime. The alignment doubtless will change the course of events in the Middle East, and while Saudi Arabia can hardly be counted among the liberal democracies of the world, the woman-led NCRI movement declares a 10-point plan for Iran that does embrace the ideals of Western Civilization. The impact of the Saudi initiative will not be limited to Iran or the surrounding region but at least as importantly, surely will be felt internally as well, among a young and restless Saudi population that looks hopefully to the rule of King Salman and his 30-something son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman al-Saud.

@ClareMLopez Ms. Lopez manages the Center’s counterjihad and shariah programs, bringing with her also an expertise on Iran, Hizballah, and southern border issues. From 2010-2014, she was a Sr. Fellow with the Center. Lopez began her professional career as a CIA operations officer and later applied her national security expertise as a consultant, intelligence analyst, and researcher in various contract positions within the defense sector. She has been an instructor for military intelligence and Special Forces students and lectures widely on Iran, Islam, and the Muslim Brotherhood around the country. Earlier an advisor to EMP Act America, in February 2012 Ms. Lopez was named a member of the Congressional Task Force on National and Homeland Security, which focuses on the Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) threat to the nation and is a member of the Center’s Secure the Grid Coalition.

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Robert Spencer: ‘Iran Is What ISIS Wants to Be When It Grows Up’

Hassan-Rouhani-getty-640x480Breitbart, by John Hayward, July 12, 2016:

Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch joined SiriusXM host Stephen K. Bannon on Tuesday to discuss his new book, The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran.

When Bannon surveyed the current state of Sunni-Shiite tensions in the Middle East, coalescing into a regional conflict with Saudi Arabia and Iran as the respective leaders, and wondered if Western powers might be best advised to just let them slug it out, Spencer replied, “I don’t see why not.”

“In the 1980s, Iran and Iraq fought a war for eight years,” he recalled, describing it as “essentially a stalemate” akin to World War I trench warfare, with “immense casualties for both sides.”

“The Islamic Republic almost fell. Saddam Hussein had his own troubles. And the thing is, during that time, neither one of those were causing trouble for the West,” Spencer pointed out. “So, what’s the downside? We cannot prevent Sunnis and Shia from hating each other. Western leaders need to recover a sense that their primary responsibility is to protect their own citizens.”

Spencer said the arrogance Iran displays toward the West is a fusion of ancient Persian culture and Islamic supremacy. “It’s both. They’ve reinforced each other.”

“There’s no doubt that the Persians had a great civilization, long before Islam, long before they fell to Islam,” he said, adding:

That was a culture and a civilization that was always at odds with the West, always fighting the Roman Empire. So it’s really just a continuation of that ancient conflict. But Islam then reinforces that by giving the idea that Muslims have a responsibility to wage war against non-Muslims, and of course this is the basis on which Khomeini built the Islamic Revolution, and has kept Iran on a war footing against the U.S. ever since 1979, on Islamic principles.

In his book, Spencer makes the case that Iran is a far more dangerous and persistent adversary for the West than ISIS or al-Qaeda.

“Iran is what ISIS wants to be when it grows up,” he said. He continued:

Iran has a global network of terrorist organizations under its control – not only Shiite, but also Sunni Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is also Sunni. And those groups, Hezbollah most notably, have a presence in the West. Hezbollah is working actively in Mexico with the drug cartels, teaching them to behead, teaching them their tactics, and that’s all aimed at getting into the United States.

“They already have sleeper cells in the United States,” he warned. He elaborated:

Nine years ago, there was an FBI report that said there are Hezbollah sleeper cells in the United States – that’s Iran, essentially – and that they were waiting for a time to strike, but right now, they were making so much progress without striking that they were going to lay low because, of course, they didn’t want the police attention that would come from the strikes. Those cells are still in place, and there’s nothing but more of them now.

Spencer said the danger from these long-term terrorist plans is largely ignored by the U.S. government and media, even though it’s a “central” agenda for Iran and its proxies.

“Every week, in the mosques, they chant, ‘Death to America’ during the Friday prayers,” he said. “It is central to them to hate the United States, and to consider themselves to be at war with the United States.”

“Americans don’t know this,” Spencer said, “because it hasn’t been taken seriously by the U.S. military because the Iranian military doesn’t have anything near the capability of ours.” He added that “the idea that they would go to war with us, in an actual shooting war, is something that would just set them up for destruction, and so the military and the political establishment have not taken it seriously.”

He worried that the intelligence community does not take the asymmetrical threat of Iranian terrorist warfare seriously enough, either.

“I think that the Obama administration has made a conscious decision to empower Iran to be the stabilizing force in the Middle East,” Spencer said, adding:

I think they don’t take seriously the Islamic Republic’s ideological basis. They refuse to understand that Islam is not a “religion of peace,” that it is on a war footing with non-Muslims. And so a whole country that’s based on that proposition? They can’t even see it. They refuse to acknowledge the existence of such a possibility.

He described this mindset as a “period of irrationality” regarding Iran, in which the political establishment of the United States has become effectively insane because “they refuse to accept the fundamental premise, which is that this is a religion that counsels war, and that this is a state which is based on those religious teachings.”

Spencer said:

In 1979, when Khomeinei took over, nobody in the State Department had read a single book that he had written. Nobody knew anything about what he was all about. They just thought he was a religious fanatic. Nobody understands, or takes seriously, the depth and the power of the Islamic ideology, whether Shiite or Sunni.

He speculated that since the U.S. government has become ideologically incapable of seeing Islam, it looks at Iran and sees only the faded glory of the Persian Empire. Obama Administration strategic planners view Iran as “a powerful state, the only powerful state left with Saddam gone, in that region, and so if they are kind to it, it will be kind to us, and bring stability to that region.”

“They’re basing their principles on the way Western people think, and thinking we can sit down, and talk out all our differences, and figure this all out,” he said. “The idea that there’s this implacable ideology that will never compromise, never come to terms and be friends with us – they refuse to admit that as a possibility. They think we’re way beyond that stage in the world.”

Spencer found the Saudis, and other Sunni allies of the United States, unsurprisingly “appalled” by the Obama administration’s pivot to Iran – prompting the Saudis, and perhaps Egypt as well, to consider securing their own nuclear weapons as a check against nuclear Iran.

“What was intended to be a stabilizing force for the Middle East is essentially going to set the region even more on fire than it already is,” he predicted.

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Today in History: Happy Sharia Law Day! Iran imposes fundamentalist Islamic moral codes (1980)

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The Rebel, by John Robson, July 7, 2016:

Happy Sharia Day, or not. July 7 is the anniversary of the 1980 introduction of sharia law in Iran.

This attempt to impose virtue and extract happiness by force reflects Islam’s perennial difficulty separating church and state.

And it seems pretty clear, from its impact not just on Iran’s neighbours but within its borders, that it hasn’t worked out very well for anybody.

Homeland Security Advisory Council: Covering for the Enemy Threat Doctrine

Terror Trends Bulletin, by Christopher W. Holton

America is at war and we continue to be prevented from identifying and understanding our enemies as a result of influence operations targeting our bureaucratized counterterrorism apparatus.

The latest evidence of this long-standing and, unfortunately, very effective influence campaign comes from the revelation that the “Countering Violent Extremism Subcommittee” of the Homeland Security Advisory Council to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued a recommendation that urges rejecting use of Islamic terms such as “jihad” and “shariah” in communications about the threats that we face….

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/homeland-security-report-calls-rejecting-terms-jihad-sharia/

This is nothing new. We have heard CIA director John Brennan reject the term “jihadist” and the State Department under Condoleezza Rice rejected the use of the term as well.

We have covered the damaging efforts by our enemies to prevent the actual correct use of the term “jihad” extensively here on Terror Trends Bulletin in the past…

https://terrortrendsbulletin.com/2013/01/13/cairs-new-disinformation-campaign-on-jihad/

But the effort to suppress even mere mention of the word “shariah” is actually much more damaging than the suppression of the word “jihad.” That’s because shariah is THE enemy threat doctrine.

To understand our enemies, their motivations, their intentions and their strategy, one must study shariah. Shariah is everything to the jihadists. It is the code that they follow and its full implementation is their goal.

Forbidding the use of the term shariah, much less suppressing study of shariah in the present conflict is the equivalent of forbidding intelligence agencies from studying Mein Kampf in World War II or the works and words of Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao during the Cold War.

Anyone who would recommend that we avoid studying and talking about shariah simply must have a nefarious purpose.

By way of review, shariah is Islamic law. The terms shariah and Islamic law are completely interchangeable; they refer to exactly the same thing. Shariah is an immutable theo-political-legal-military code derived from the Islamic doctrinal trilogy, made up of the Quran, the Sirah (the biography of the prophet Mohammed) and the Hadith (traditions, sayings and stories compiled about the life of Mohammed).

Every single Jihadist terrorist group in the world–without exception–has as its stated goal the imposition of shariah: the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, HAMAS, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, Lashkar e Taiba, Abu Sayyef, Jemaah Islamiyah, Boko Haram, the Taliban, Al Shabaab–all of them.

So, while the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will be carefully avoiding the use of the term shariah, our enemies have been using it quite commonly, frequently and prominently, as if to illustrate the absurdity of the DHS recommendation.

What follows is a compilation of quotes from jihadi leaders and Al Qaeda and Islamic State documents that reveal the central importance of shariah to their movement. This is why Americans must familiarize themselves with shariah.

SHARIAH ACCORDING TO THE JIHADISTS THEMSELVES

• The sharia has forbidden us from taking infidels as confidants, inducting them into our secrets.
• The sharia forbids us from appointing infidels to important posts.
• The sharia forbids us from adopting or praising the beliefs and views of the infidels.
• The sharia forbids us from assisting infidels against Muslims; even the one who is coerced has o excuse to fight under the banner of infidels.
• The sharia commands us to battle infidels—both original infidels and apostates, as well as hypocrites. As for waging jihad against the infidels who have usurped the lands of Islam, this is a duty considered second only to faith, by ulemaic consensus.
• The sharia does not accept the excuses made by hypocrites—that they befriend the infidels because they fear the vicissitudes of time.
• We are duty-bound by the sharia to help Muslims overcome the infidels.

Ayman al-Zawahiri
Al Qaeda leader

Osama bin Laden sits with his adviser and purported successor Ayman al-Zawahiri during an interview in Afghanistan, Barack Obama

Democracy is based on the principle of the power of creatures over other creatures, and rejects the principle of God’s absolute power over all creatures; it is also based on the idea the men’s desires, whatever they may be, replace God absolutely, and on the refusal to obey God’s law. In Islam, when there is a disagreement or a difference of opinion, one refers to God, his Prophet, and the commands of sharia.

Ayman al-Zawahiri
Al Qaeda leader

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The Non-PC Reason Iran Lies to Obama and the West

index.sized-770x415xtPJ MEDIA, BY ROBERT SPENCER JUNE 10, 2016:

Newly declassified State Department cables revealed that, in January 1979, sent a secret message to the Jimmy Carter White House. He promised that if Carter did not stand in the way of the mullahs taking power in Iran, the new Islamic Republic would safeguard U.S. interests there.

Khomeini was lying, of course.

The Carter administration had not been willing to allow for that possibility, any more than the Obama administration is willing to admit that Iran today is lying about the nuke deal. (Given that Ben Rhodes and the rest of the Obama team was busy lying to the American people about the deal, it is odd they would assume the Iranians were being truthful.)

Washington policymakers in both eras — tightly bound to the politically correct dogma that Islam is peaceful and benign — failed to consider the importance of the Shi’ite doctrine of taqiyya.

Yet if any of our political leaders had dared bring up taqiyya in connection with the deal, it might have been much clearer to the nation why the deal had to be stopped.

No one can say we weren’t warned that the whole thing was a lie. The warning couldn’t have been clearer.

On November 24, 2013, Iran, the U.S., and its allies concluded a preliminary agreement on Iran’s nuclear program that paved the way for the later deal. Several weeks later, Iranian political analyst Mohammad Sadeq Al-Hosseini — who had been a political advisor to the “moderate” Mohammad Khatami, president of Iran from 1997 to 2005 — gave a revealing interview.

Hosseini was contemptuous of the notion that the Geneva deal represented a new friendship between the U.S. and Iran:

There is no honeymoon. We are engaged in a fierce war with the Americans on all levels. This is the Treaty of Hudaybiyya in Geneva, and it will be followed by a “conquest of Mecca.”

This was a clear admission of deception.

Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, concluded the Treaty of Hudaybiyya with the pagan Arabs of Mecca at terms disadvantageous to the Muslims — but only to give them time to gather strength. When the Muslim forces were much stronger several years later, he broke the agreement, marched on Mecca, and conquered it. The treaty, with its unfavorable terms, was based on a lie, and Muhammad discarded it when he didn’t need it anymore.

Hosseini boasted openly about Iran’s long-term plan:

The Geneva agreement was achieved due to three things. The first was our strategic patience. Iran has maintained strategic patience for a very long time — 10 or 11 years. We have been patient, preparing for the day that comes after those 10 years.

Hosseini was referring to the day when the deal lapses, and Iran is completely free to pursue nuclear weapons without the deal’s sham restrictions. More:

When you conduct political negotiations with Iran, you lose even when you think you have won.

Hosseini — again, an advisor on policy for a prior “moderate” Iranian administration — was admitting that deception is a core element of Iranian foreign policy. It has been right from the beginning of the Islamic Republic, when Khomeini sent his secret cable to Washington.

Deception is a frequently used weapon of the Islamic Republic because it is a core element of Shi’ite Islam.

Although deception of unbelievers is found in the Qur’an (3:28) and is thus acceptable among all Islamic sects, taqiyya (concealment) is a particularly Shi’ite doctrine. When he gave his assurances to Carter, Khomeini, as a Shi’ite leader, was using taqiyya in its classic sense.

The concept of taqiyya developed during the time of the sixth Imam, Jafar al-Sadiq, in middle of the eighth century. The Shi’ites were being persecuted by the Sunni caliph al-Mansur. Taqiyya allowed Shi’ites to pretend to be Sunnis in order to protect themselves, as Sunnis were killing Shi’ites.

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***

Here is a great site recommended by Citizen Warrior:

http://www.sneakyislam.com/home.html

State Sponsors of Terror Continue Nefarious Support Unabated

Palestinian fighters of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades rally in Gaza City on Aug. 27, 2014. (Photo by Sameh Rahmi/NurPhoto/Sipa USA)

Palestinian fighters of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades rally in Gaza City on Aug. 27, 2014. (Photo by Sameh Rahmi/NurPhoto/Sipa USA)

PJ MEDIA, BY BRIDGET JOHNSON, JUNE 8, 2016:

WASHINGTON — The State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism for 2015 note that Iran got cozier with Hamas last year while the U.S. admittedly “cannot certify” that Syria complied with the chemical weapons disposal deal that the Obama administration forged to avert acting on the president’s red line.

Cuba was removed from the state sponsors of terrorism list a year ago as part of President Obama’s rapprochement with the communist island. “While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designation,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said on May 29, 2015.

So the state sponsors of terrorism section of the department’s annual report was whittled to three this year: Iran, Sudan and Syria.

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State Dept.: Hezbollah, Islamic State Maintain Presence in Latin America

Getty Images

Getty Images

Breitbart, by Edwin Mora, June 6, 2016:

WASHINGTON, D.C. —The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has determined that Venezuela, which has refused to cooperate with the United States’ antiterrorism efforts in Latin America for nearly a decade, remains a “permissive environment” that promotes ideological and financial support for terrorist organizations, namely Iran’s Lebanese proxy Hezbollah.

Although the “primary threats” to the Western Hemisphere stem from left-wing guerrillas known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), the Islamic extremist groups Shiite Hezbollah, also spelled Hizballah, and Sunni Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) also maintain a presence across the region, according to DOS’ Country Reports on Terrorism 2015, a congressionally mandated assessment of terrorism activities across the world authored by DOS.

The assessment declares:

South America and the Caribbean also served as areas of financial and ideological support for ISIL and other terrorist groups in the Middle East and South Asia. In addition, Hizballah continued to maintain a presence in the region, with members, facilitators, and supporters engaging in activity in support of the organization. This included efforts to build Hizballah’s infrastructure in South America and fundraising, both through licit and illicit means.

[…]

There were credible reports that Venezuela maintained a permissive environment that allowed for support of activities that benefited known terrorist groups… [including] Hizballah supporters and sympathizers.

Moreover, the DOS evaluation highlights the Tri-Border Area (TBA) between Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina, in addition to Peru, as regions where Hezbollah was operating last year.

“Illicit activities within the TBA remained potential funding sources for terrorist organizations, most notably Hizballah,” it says, adding, “The Tri-Border Areas of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay remained an important regional nexus of arms, narcotics, pirated goods, human smuggling, counterfeiting, and money laundering — all potential funding sources for terrorist organizations.”

The TBA border region has long been a hotbed for Hezbollah members.

In its terrorism reports, the DOS also points out that Peruvian authorities in 2014 arrested a Lebanese national and his wife, a U.S-Peruvian citizen, for suspected links to Hezbollah, adding that “there were residue and traces of explosives” in their apartment.

Hezbollah, along with other terrorists and criminals in Latin America, are known to use networks that support illicit activities, such as trafficking drugs, wildlife, bulk cash, weapons, humans, in addition to illegal logging and mining.

The DOS released its assessment Thursday, a day after the U.S. military declared the region’s illicit trafficking networks as one of the greatest security threats facing the United States.

Gen. John Kelly – former commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), which oversees military activities in Latin America and the Caribbean – warned last year that jihadist groups like ISIS could exploit the illicit networks in the region to infiltrate the United States, adding that Hezbollah is already using known routes to traffic drugs and other contraband.

Although Hezbollah is believed to be the most prominent jihadist group in Latin America and the Caribbean due to Iran’s enduring presence in the region, Gen. Kelly warned in March 2015 that a small number of Sunni extremists are actively “radicalizing  converts and other Muslims in the region and also provide financial and logistical support to designated terrorist organizations within and outside Latin America.”

Pentagon and DOS have recently revealed that between 100 and 150 people from Latin America and the Caribbean have traveled to the Middle East to engage in jihad on behalf of ISIS, without specifying the names of any of the countries in the region.

According to the Department of State, some people from Trinidad and Tobago, as well as Argentina, are believed to have joined ISIS in the Middle East.

“More than 70 nationals of Trinidad and Tobago are believed be fighting with ISIL in Syria,” reports DOS, adding, “It is possible small numbers of Argentine citizens may have sought to travel to Syria and Iraq to join ISIL,” without providing any specific figures.

DOS also mentioned an ISIS-related arrest in Brazil involving a money laundering group accused of moving $10 million-plus and having social media ties to the jihadist group.

Iran’s growing presence in Latin America is believed to be facilitated by Venezuela.

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Iran’s Chess Board

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How the Islamic Republic is strategically dominating the Middle East — and the U.S. is assisting.

Front Page Magazine, by Caroline Glick, June 3, 2016

Reprinted from jpost.com.

Strategic thinking has always been Israel’s Achilles’ heel. As a small state bereft of regional ambitions, so long as regional realities remained more or less static, Israel had little reason to be concerned about the great game of the Middle East.

But the ground is shifting in the lands around us. The Arab state system, which ensured the strategic status quo for decades, has collapsed.

So for the first time in four generations, strategy is again the dominant force shaping events that will impact Israel for generations to come.

To understand why, consider two events of the past week.

Early this week it was reported that after a two-year hiatus, Iran is restoring its financial support for Islamic Jihad. Iran will give the group, which is largely a creation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, $70 million.

On Wednesday Iranian media were the first to report on the arrest of a “reporter” for Iran’s Al-Alam news service. Bassam Safadi was arrested by Israel police in his home in Majdal Shams, the Druse village closest to the border with Syria on the Golan Heights. Safadi is suspected of inciting terrorism.

That is, he is suspected of being an Iranian agent.

There is nothing new about Iranian efforts to raise and run fronts against Israel within its territory and along its borders. Iran poses a strategic threat to Israel through its Hezbollah surrogate in Lebanon, which now reportedly controls the Lebanese Armed Forces.

In Gaza, Iran controls a vast assortment of terrorist groups, including Hamas.

In Judea and Samaria, seemingly on a weekly basis we hear about another Iranian cell whose members were arrested by the Shin Bet or the IDF.

But while we are well aware of the efforts Iran is making along our borders and even within them to threaten Israel, we have not connected these efforts to Iran’s actions in Iraq and Syria. Only when we connect Iran’s actions here with its actions in those theaters do we understand what is now happening, and how it will influence Israel’s long-term strategic environment.

The big question today is what will replace the Arab state system.

Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Libya no longer exist. On their detritus we see the fight whose results will likely determine the fates of the surviving Arab states, as well as of much of Europe and the rest of the world.

Israel’s strategic environment will be determined in great part by the results of Iran’s actions in Iraq and Syria. While Israel can do little to affect the shape of events in these areas, it must understand what they mean for us. Only by doing so, will we be able to develop the tools to secure our future in this new strategic arena.

Until 2003, Saddam Hussein was the chief obstacle to Iran’s rise as the regional hegemon.

US forces in Iraq replaced Hussein until they left the country in 2011. In the meantime, by installing a Shi’ite government in Baghdad, the US set the conditions for the rise of Islamic State in the Sunni heartland of Anbar province on the one hand, and for Iran’s control over Iraq’s Shi’ite-controlled government and armed forces on the other.

Today, ISIS is the only thing checking Iran’s westward advance. Ironically, the monstrous group also facilitates it. ISIS is so demonic that for Americans and other Westerners, empowering Iranian-controlled forces that fight ISIS seems a small price to pay to rid the world of the fanatical scourge.

As former US naval intelligence analyst J.E. Dyer explained this week in an alarming analysis of Iran’s recent moves in Iraq published on the Liberty Unyielding website, once Iranian- controlled forces defeat ISIS in Anbar province, they will be well placed to threaten Jordan and Israel from the east. This is particularly the case given that ISIS is serving inadvertently as an advance guard for Iran.

In Syria, Iran already controls wide swaths of the country directly and through its surrogates, the Syrian army, Hezbollah and Shi’ite militias it has fielded in the country.

Since the start of the war in Syria, Israel has repeatedly taken action to block those forces from gaining and holding control over the border zone on the Golan Heights.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s surprising recent announcement that Israel will never relinquish control over the Golan came in response to his concern that in exchange for a cease-fire in Syria, the US would place that control on the international diplomatic chopping block.

A week and a half ago, Iran began its move on Anbar province.

On May 22, Iraqi forces trained by the US military led Iraq’s offensive to wrest control over Fallujah and Mosul from ISIS, which has controlled the Sunni cities since 2014. Despite the fact that the lead forces are US-trained, the main forces involved in the offensive are trained, equipped and directed by Iran.

As Iraqi forces surrounded Fallujah in the weeks before the offensive began, Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds forces, paid a public visit to the troops to demonstrate Iran’s dominant role.

The battle for Fallujah is a clear indication that Iran, rather than the US, is calling the shots in Iraq. According to media reports, the Pentagon wanted and expected for the forces to be concentrated in Mosul. But at the last minute, due to Soleimani’s intervention, the Iraqi government decided to make Fallujah the offensive’s center of gravity.

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‘Radical’ vs. ‘Moderate’ Islam: A Muslim View

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Front Page Magazine, by Raymond Ibrahim, June 1, 2016:

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

After his recent electoral victory, it emerged that Sadiq Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, had described moderate Muslim groups as “Uncle Toms”—a notorious racial slur used against blacks perceived to be subservient to whites, or, in this context, Muslims who embrace “moderate Islam” as a way of being subservient to the West.

One of Iran’s highest clerics apparently shares the same convictions.  After asserting that “revolutionary Islam is the same as pure Muhammadan Islam,” Ayatollah Tabatabaeinejad recently declared:

Some say our Islam is not revolutionary Islam, but we must say to them that non-revolutionary Islam is the same as American Islam. Islam commands us to be firm against the enemies and be kind and compassionate toward each other and not be afraid of anything….

According to AB News Agency, “Ayatollah Tabatabaeinejad stated that revolutionary Islam is this same Islam. It is the Islam that is within us that can create changes. The warriors realized that Islam is not just prayers and fasting, but rather they stood against the enemies in support of Islam.”

How many Muslims share these convictions, one from a Sunni living (and now governing) in London, the other from a Shia living and governing in the Middle East?

An Arabic language article offers perspective.  Titled (in translation) “The Truth about the Moderate Muslim as Seen by the West and its Muslim Followers,” it is authored by Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim Khadr in 2011.

According to the findings of this article,

Islamic researchers are agreed that what the West and its followers call “moderate Islam” and “moderate Muslims” is simply a slur against Islam and Muslims, a distortion of Islam, a rift among Muslims, a spark to ignite war among them.  They also see that the division of Islam into “moderate Islam” and “radical Islam” has no basis in Islam—neither in its doctrines and rulings, nor in its understandings or reality.

Khadr goes on to note the many ways that moderates and radicals differ.  For instance, radicals (“true Muslims”) aid and support fellow Muslims, especially those committed to jihad, whereas moderates (“false Muslims”) ally with and help Western nations.

This sounds similar to Ayatollah Tabatabaeinejad’s assertion that “non-revolutionary Islam is the same as American Islam. Islam commands us to be firm against the enemies [“infidels”] and be kind and compassionate toward each other.”

Among the more important distinctions made in Khadr’s article are the following (translated verbatim):

  • Radicals want the caliphate to return; moderates reject the caliphate.
  • Radicals want to apply Sharia (Islamic law); moderates reject the application of Sharia.
  • Radicals reject the idea of renewal and reform, seeing it as a way to conform Islam to Western culture; moderates accept it.
  • Radicals accept the duty of waging jihad in the path of Allah; moderates reject it.
  • Radicals reject any criticism whatsoever of Islam; moderates welcome it on the basis of freedom of speech.
  • Radicals accept those laws that punish whoever insults or leaves the religion [apostates]; moderates recoil from these laws.
  • Radicals respond to any insult against Islam or the prophet Muhammad—peace and blessing upon him—with great violence and anger; moderates respond calmly and peacefully on the basis of freedom of expression.
  • Radicals respect and reverence every deed and every word of the prophet—peace be upon him—in the hadith; moderates don’t.
  • Radicals oppose democracy; moderates accept it.
  • Radicals see the people of the book [Jews and Christians] as dhimmis [third class “citizens”]; moderates oppose this.
  • Radicals reject the idea that non-Muslim minorities should have equality or authority over Muslims; moderates accept it.
  • Radicals reject the idea that men and women are equal; moderates accept it, according to Western views.
  • Radicals oppose the idea of religious freedom and apostasy from Islam; moderates agree to it.
  • Radicals desire to see Islam reign supreme; moderates oppose this.
  • Radicals place the Koran over the constitution; moderates reject this.
  • Radicals reject the idea of religious equality because Allah’s true religion is Islam; moderates accept it.
  • Radicals embrace the wearing of hijabs and niqabs; moderates reject it.
  • Radicals accept killing young girls that commit adultery or otherwise besmirch their family’s honor; moderates reject this.
  • Radicals reject the status of women today and think it should be like the status of women in the time of the prophet; moderates reject that women should be as in the time of the prophet.
  • Radicals vehemently reject that women should have the freedom to choose partners; moderates accept that she can choose a boyfriend without marriage.
  • Radicals agree to clitorectimis; moderates reject it.
  • Radicals reject the so-called war on terror and see it as a war on Islam; moderates accept it.
  • Radicals support jihadi groups; moderates reject them.
  • Radicals reject the terms Islamic terrorism or Islamic fascism; moderates accept them.
  • Radicals reject universal human rights, including the right to be homosexual; moderates accept it.
  • Radicals reject the idea of allying with the West’ moderates support it.
  • Radicals oppose secularism; moderates support it.

Khadr makes other charges outside of his chart, including that moderates believe religion has no role in public life, that it must be practiced in private, while radicals want it to govern society; that moderates rely on rationalism, while radicals take the text of the Koran and hadith literally; that the first place of loyalty for moderates is the state, irrespective of religion—marveling that the moderate “finds hatred for non-Muslims as unacceptable”—whereas the radical’s loyalty  is to Islam, a reference to the Islamic doctrine of Loyalty and Enmity.

Khadr’s conclusion is that, to most Muslims, “moderate Muslims” are those Muslims who do not oppose but rather aid the West and its way of life, whereas everything “radicals” accept is based on traditional Islamic views.

If true—and disturbing polls certainly lend credence to Khadr’s findings—the West may need to rethink one of its main means of countering radical Islam: moderate Muslims and moderate Islam.

Congress to Compel Obama Disclosure of $1.7 Billion ‘Ransom Payment’ to Iran

Credit: Iranian state media

Credit: Iranian state media

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, June 1, 2016:

New legislation could force the Obama administration to disclose if it paid Iran $1.7 billion in taxpayer funds as part of a “ransom payment” earlier this year to secure the release of 10 U.S. sailors who were abducted at gunpoint by the Iranian military, according to a copy of the legislation and conversations with lawmakers.

The bill, jointly filed by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas), comes on the heels of a Washington Free Beacon report disclosing that the Obama administration has been suppressing potentially “shocking” details related to the January abduction of the sailors, who were held at gunpoint by Iranian soldiers and forced to apologize on camera.

The legislation, dubbed the No Impunity for Iranian Aggression at Sea Act, would compel the Obama administration to issue a report to Congress detailing whether it paid Iran a $1.7 billion settlement as part of the hostage release. It also would level sanctions against Iran for possible breach of Geneva Convention rules governing legal military detainment.

Lawmakers and others have suspected for months that taxpayer money was partly used to secure the release of the sailors and other imprisoned Americans, though the administration has been adamant the issues are not linked.

The new legislation would require the White House to certify whether any federal funds, including January’s $1.7 billion payment, were doled out to Iran as part of a “ransom” to secure the release of these sailors and citizens imprisoned in Iran.

The legislation noted that the administration released the money to Iran just a day after it freed several U.S. citizens from prison.

The bill would further require the White House to determine if Iran’s treatment of the sailors—which included filming them crying—constitutes a violation of the Geneva Conventions or international laws governing innocent passage in international seas, according to the bill.

If it is determined that Iran violated either of these accords, the legislation would force the White House to list and sanction every Iranian complicit in the detainment.

Pompeo, a member of the House’s intelligence committee, told the Free Beacon on Tuesday that the White House continues to stonewall efforts to determine precisely hat happened to the sailors.

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