US Plays Dangerous Islamist Roulette in Syria

Below the fold in today’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ) was a mind numbing article about the Obama Administration caving in to support an Islamic Front opposition group in another desperate move In the volatile Middle East, “U.S., Allies Reach Out to Syria’s Islamist Rebels”.  The motivation is to unite Saudi and Emirate funding to support a fundamentalist militia, Jaysh al-Islam (Islamic Front)  as a Plan B against the two principal Al Qaeda affiliates, the Al Nusra Front and  the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant  (ISIS).   These Al Qaeda affiliates have effectively vanquished the so-called secular opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the country’s North and East adjoining Iraq. The al Qaeda affiliates have been bolstered by foreign fighters from Iraq, Chechnya in Southern Russia and an increasing number of Jihadis from EU countries.

Zahran Alloush, leader of proposed Syrian Islamic Front. Source: AFP/Getty Image

These seemingly desperate efforts are directed at presenting a unified  opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) at an UN-sponsored round of alleged peace discussions in Geneva in late January 2014. The SNC is backed by the London 11, the nations in a loose coalition opposing the Assad regime. Assad is backed by Iran and its proxy Hezbollah with support from Russia. The  Assad military, supplied by Russian weapons and endless flow of arms from Iran,  has scored some successes despite acknowledging the Chemical Weapons disaster in the Damascus suburbs in August 2013.  The Assad regime has advanced in certain areas, while the Al Qaeda affiliates have taken control of swaths of the embattled country now in its 33 month of civil war with over 120,000 dead. The objective of the al Qaeda Affiliates is to create mini-Caliphates ruled under Sharia. The fundamentalist Islamic Front is headed by Syrian Zahran Alloush, whose resume indicates that there may be little difference between his form of fundamentalism and that of the Al Qaeda affiliates. The WSJ report noted this about his background:

The leader of Jaysh al-Islam, Zahran Alloush, is a Syrian educated in Saudi Arabia whose father is a preacher in the Saudi holy city of Medina. Mr. Alloush pledged allegiance late last month to the Islamic Front.

On his purported Twitter feed and in interviews posted on YouTube, he has called for Syria to be ruled by an Islamic council rather than a democratically elected body. He also has spoken in YouTube videos approvingly of the torture of Shiite opponents fighting for Mr. Assad.

His rebel faction—with an efficient media arm that prominently features Mr. Alloush, usually in closely trimmed beard and tight fitting camouflage—denied it has taken funds from Saudi or any other Gulf state. However, Mr. Alloush has in tweets thanked private donors from the Gulf.

Jaysh al-Islam is based in part in Ghouta, the Damascus suburb hit in August by the worst chemical attack of the civil war. At times, it coordinates with the al Qaeda-allied opposition forces on the battlefield, including in fighting this month to try to break regime sieges of Damascus suburbs.

Note what the WSJ article suggests is the underlying rationale for the US abandoning the secular opposition acceding to Saudi requests for formation of the Islamic Front to combat the Al Qaeda Affiliates:

Fractures among Syria’s opposition forces have bedeviled the U.S. effort.

Western diplomats said they are pressing the Islamists to rein in their criticism of moderate leader Gen. Salim Idris and the Syrian National Council, the opposition’s political umbrella group, arguing that tensions between the opposition factions risk undermining the Geneva peace conference.

Gen. Idris and Ahmad Jarba, head of the Istanbul-based SNC, have struggled to maintain discipline among their forces on the ground in Syria, Western diplomats said. And the umbrella group has no say over the activities of the Islamist militias.

A senior opposition official close to Gen. Idris said the general has welcomed the formation of the Islamic Front as a way to unify the opposition and exclude more extremist factions.

[…]

The official … said the two major battalions in the Front will be the key to forming a spearhead for any future campaign to drive al Qaeda-linked ISIS out of northern and eastern Syria.

“It cannot be done without their buy-in. It’s definitely understood by our Gulf partners. The question is do Western policy makers, specifically Washington, realize that the only way to fight back against al Qaeda is to work with these groups,” the opposition official said.

The only ethnic group that has shown pluck and strength in clearing out the Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria has been the Kurds in the country’s Northeast. The Kurds have achieved virtual autonomy in their ancestral homeland, Rojava , abutting both Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan.  The Kurds have control over the commercial breadbasket of Syria and its oil reserves. Not unlike their Kurdish cousins in adjacent Iraq, the Kurds in Syria have discussed the possibility of having oil flow through Turkish pipelines to the Mediterranean.

The Obama Administration’s only gesture of support to quiet things down in Syria has been to assist in the challenge to destroy the Syrian chemical warfare stockpiles cleared by the Hague-based Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Hassan al-Laqqis, Assassinated Hezbollah military leader. Source: IBT

Neighboring Lebanon is now embroiled in a new controversy.  There are reports that Israel may have been behind the assassination of a Hezbollah military leader, Hassan al-Laqqis, who masterminded the transfers of strategic weapons that were the subject of a series of dramatic air attacks inside Syria by the IAF.

Tensions have risen dramatically regarding Syria without any substantive resolution of objectives by SNC and  the London 11 including the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Emirates.  The US and Saudi Arabia partnering in establishment of an Islamic Front  composed of fundamentalist fighters adds a degree of risk that the Geneva talks with the Assad Regime may  break down or be cancelled.  That raises the likely prospect that internecine bloodshed will continue in Syria. The US is now caught up in a dangerous form of Islamist roulette by siding with fundamentalist opposition in Syria to fight against al Qaeda Affiliates both groups supporting Sharia.  This could result in the disintegration of Syria into a failed state divided into warring ethno religious enclaves. Thus fueling massive refugee outflows, causing more problems for adjacent countries like Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Israel.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

Iran is Now Obama’s BFF

News about events in Syria took a nosedive the moment the Russians stepped in to take on the job of destroying Bashar Assad’s arsenal of poison gas. It’s not as if Syrians aren’t still dying.

One of the few reliable journalistic enterprises, The Wall Street Journal, put Syria on its front page on December 3. “U.S., Allies Reach Out to Syria’s Islamist Rebels.” One is tempted to wonder out loud whether the U.S. still has any allies given the way Obama has betrayed those who stuck with us through the Cold War and since, along with the Gulf State nations for whom the U.S. has provided an umbrella of military protection.

“The U.S. and its allies held direct talks with key Islamist militias in Syrian, Western officials say, aiming to undercut al Qaeda while acknowledging that religious fighters long shunned by Washington have gained on the battlefield,” reported the Journal.

Translation: The U.S. has no influence left in the Middle East and President Obama, desperately seeking “a legacy”, has decided to give Iran whatever it wants even though it has essentially been at war with us since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Whatever has passed for his foreign policy these past five years has proved to be a failure. Even Americans have concluded that the nation is no longer the influential force it has been since the end of World War Two.

So, Iran has become Obama’s new Best Friend Forever. Or at least until it acquires nuclear weapons of its own and, by then, he is likely to be out of office and hailed as a “statesman” by the slavish mainstream press. He is the only U.S. President who was given a Nobel Peace Prize for having accomplished nothing in the early months of his first term.

“Some officials in Western capitals remain wary about courting these groups, whose ultimate goal is to establish a state ruled by Islamic law, or Sharia,” noted the Journal article. That did not deter the U.S.-led coalition that signed onto the recent agreement with Iran. It is an agreement that Iran immediately reinterpreted as permission to continue enriching uranium and plutonium. In short, the U.S. has legitimized Iran’s goals, but not without some empty expressions of concern while providing Iran with several billions in money sequestered in earlier years.

The UN sanctions were working, but they have been undercut by the “agreement.”

“President Obama is overseeing a radical rupture with past American policy in the Middle East,” said Tony Badren in a commentary from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “It has become evident that the White House is determined to extract the U.S. from the region and upend the American order that has been in place for decades. In the process, the Obama administration is building up Iran at the expense of historical partners.”

“We now understand that Obama’s decisions in Syria over the last two and a half years were all geared toward a deal with Iran,” wrote Badren. “The U.S. is now effectively hostage to the deal with Tehran.”

The deal with Iran has been widely compared to the deal that Britain agreed to in Munich with the Nazi regime, said to have produced “peace in our time” that was quickly ended when Germany invaded Poland after having signed a secret agreement with the then-Soviet Union to divide the nation between them. It is an accurate comparison, but one made worse by the element of nuclear weapons in the hands of a nation that either has or will have the ability to deliver them anywhere in the Middle East and to Europe via intercontinental missiles.

The fate of Christians in Syria and anywhere else in the Middle East grows more ominous by the day. In late November, the WorldTribune.com reported that “Islamists’ slaughter of Syrian Christians (is) ignored by Obama, major media.” Presumably, the fate of Christians is of less importance in the Middle East than the expansion of what is being called “the Shiite crescent.”

Saudi Arabia—the epicenter of Sunni Islam—fears Iran’s growing expansion of Shiite influence and has been providing support for the Islamic Front, but the Front collaborates with al Qaeda and advocates ethnic cleansing while rejecting democracy.

If all this seems confusing, it is.

There is less confusion about Obama’s aims. He has wanted to get the U.S. out of the Middle East and made no secret of it. Both the Saudis and the Israelis are now on their own and the former is expected to purchase its own arsenal of nuclear weapons, presumably from Pakistan.

Obama’s foreign policy portends some very ugly confrontations in the Middle East along with the growth in influence that al Qaeda and comparable Islamist groups are seeking to acquire.

This is extremely bad news for the West. It raises the question of which side Obama is on. His sympathies for Muslims have long been a matter of record.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Rubio: D.C. Dysfunction Hurting Military and Florida’s Veterans

Florida has over 1.6 million veterans, not including their family members and orphaned children. Florida hosts 21 military bases including Central Command, headquartered in Tampa, FL. Florida Senator Marco Rubio did an op-ed in the Tampa Bay Times concerning a pay raise for the military which in turn impacts the retirement of Florida’s retired military.

Rubio states:

When the Senate reconvenes next week, its dysfunction will again be on display as it considers the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), major legislation that spells out our priorities for most national security and military matters.

Given the complexity of our military and the myriad security challenges we face, this should be an opportunity to have robust debates on a wide range of issues. In the past, this has normally been the case, but there is nothing normal about today’s dysfunctional Senate.

In this case, the Senate’s Democratic majority leadership is drastically limiting debate and amendment opportunities on the NDAA, except for a few hand-picked issues. In the real world, this means that many worthy ideas with bipartisan — in some cases almost universal — support won’t ever see the light of day.

For example, I’ve joined one Democratic colleague, Jon Tester from Montana, in an effort to raise the salaries of active duty military personnel by 1.8 percent. In its current form, the NDAA includes President Obama’s original budget request for a 1.0 percent increase — even though a 2004 law requires that this year’s increase be 1.8 percent. During this time of record debt, we believe doing right by our service members, their families and existing law is our duty to them; therefore, we’ve offered a spending offset that prioritizes this pay increase.

Unfortunately, even with broad bipartisan support, the Senate’s Democratic leadership has decided to block any consideration of this measure, short changing our troops in the process.

Another example of how Washington’s dysfunction stands in the way of helping our military and veterans is evident in a measure I’m pursuing with Elizabeth Warren, one of my Democratic colleagues from Massachusetts.

We’ve proposed stronger financial protections for veterans being targeted by scams in the Department of Veterans Administration’s Aid and Assistance Benefit, which helps pay for assisted living or in-home personal care for eligible veterans. Our legislation directs the VA to work with other federal agencies and states to crack down on scam artists who are exploiting our elderly veterans by charging unnecessary fees for this benefit and sometimes taking control of veterans’ assets.

Read more here.

Secretary Kerry in Jerusalem to Brief Netanyahu on Iran Nuclear and Palestinian Security


Secretary of State Kerry with Israeli PM Netanyahu, Jerusalem

December 5, 2013,  Source: AP Photo

Ever the optimistic diplomat for the floundering Obama Administration, John Kerry, the seemingly indefatigable US Secretary of State, is in Jerusalem today for meetings with Israeli PM Netanyahu and later with PA President Abbas. Kerry has been on a whirl-a gig following the announcement of the P5+1 deal with Iran’s nuclear program on November 24th in Geneva.   His globe girdling schedule has included a stop back in Washington to brief the Administration, media and key Senate Leaders on the P5+1 Iran nuclear deal negotiations.  That was followed by a sudden trip  by Vice President  Biden to Japan and China over the  latter’s sudden assertion of its sphere of influence with the announcement of an air defense zone  covering disputed Islands  in the South China Sea disputed  in a flyover by USAF B-52’s.  This appears to be more of the tilt towards the Pacific Rim startegy fostered by the West Wing in the Obama White House given its apparent failures in the Middle East in Syria and Egypt.

This week, Kerry jetted off to attend NATO Security meetings in Brussels and made hurry up side trip to Moldava to bolster support for EU integration with former Soviet era eastern European countries, most notably the Ukraine. A Ukraine with leaders facing massive opposition to a move nixing EU integration deal while tilting towards Putin asserting Russian hegemony in the region with former Soviet era satellite republics.

Israel’s PM Netanyahu has made it abundantly clear that he is very skeptical about the P5+1 deal   denying  Israel’s primary  national security concerns,  dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program. A program that was on the verge of achieving nuclear breakout having enough fissile material for creation of one or more nuclear weapons. The interim six months  P5+1 deal has only marginally  delayed by a few weeks achievement of nuclear breakout, while enabling Iran to continue nuclear enrichment,  evading start up of plutonium production at the heavy water plant under construction at Arak and development of nuclear triggers at the secret Military research center at Parchin. It is alleged that PM Netanyahu may be seeking to link both the Iran nuclear and Palestinian final status discussions, while Kerry would like to  keep  them on separate tracks. Good luck.

On the final status agreement discussions with the PA Kerry has brought along with him US Marine General John Allen, his special deputy for security in the faltering final status peace discussions with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority.  Gen. Allen was ISAF Commander in Afghanistan and, according to press reports,  has been busy liaising with IDF and Israeli security officials about security arrangements for proposed final status agreements. See his bio, here.

These peace discussions are at the mid-point of a timetable announced on July 30, 2013 in Washington seeking to conclude an agreement by April 2014.  PA President Abbas has basically abandoned interest in the talks broadly hinting US presence is biased towards Israel. Further,  seeing no progress to date he might opt for seeking UN recognition of a Palestinian State in the fall of 2014. Such a Palestinian statelet, would, in his view, be based on the 1949 Armistice line with ‘minor land swaps’ that would divide Israel’s capital of Jerusalem and the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria, the West Bank. That would suborn language in UN Security Council Res. 242, adopted in November 1967, giving Israel the right to conclude “secure and defensible borders”.    Gen. Allen’s presence would appear to be evidence of the Administration ultimately foisting an agreement on both parties, Israel and the PA, given the apparent stalemate in final status discussions.

In an email exchange with Professor Yisrael Medad in Israel, I suggested that perhaps Gen. Allen might cover rumored security arrangements by a multi-national force, led by the US, providing security on the Judean hills overlooking the key approaches from the Jordan River Valley.  The more nettlesome aspects would be use of any proposed international force to police the modified 1949 Armistice line, the alleged pre-1967 June War boundaries. That would divide the Israeli capital of Jerusalem, and  possible jeopardize protection for the more than 350,000 Israelis in towns in Judea and Samaria. Communities that the international media refers to as West Bank ‘settlements’. PM Netanyahu has gone on record rejecting those proposals.

These ruminations about security arrangements and imposition of a US deal on Israel and the PA were raised in both AP and Ha’aretz stories about today’s stop by Kerry and Gen. Allen in both Jerusalem and Ramallah.   The AP report on today’s meetings noted:

The U.S. diplomatic officials said Kerry and his security adviser, retired Gen. John Allen, have been working on security issues in hopes of breaking the deadlock. They believe the absence of any concrete plans so far is a main reason for the lack of progress.

The American officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Kerry has not yet presented his proposals.

[…]

The Ha’aretz daily said that Allen would present his ideas at a meeting with Netanyahu on Thursday. After that meeting, Kerry is scheduled to head to the West Bank for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. It said the American thinking is that if Israeli security concerns can be met, other issues, such as borders, will then fall into place.

One U.S. official said Allen “has been working closely on the ground with his Israeli counterparts.” The official said the Americans realize that security is “paramount” as Israel contemplates taking “calculated risks for peace.”

[…]

The officials refused to provide details on Allen’s work, including whether it might include stationing international forces along the West Bank border with Jordan. Netanyahu has insisted that Israel maintain a security presence in the West Bank as part of any final deal.

Yuval Diskin, former director of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, featured in the controversial film, The Gatekeepers, was quoted by The Times of Israel that failure to achieve a two state solution “dwarfed’ the existential Iranian nuclear threat.  Speaking at a conference on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the discredited faux Geneva Initiative, allegedly based on prior permanent status discussions, Diskin said:

“The alternative to the vision of a two-state solution is one state,” Diskin said. “In a situation like this, the vision of a democratic Jewish state will disappear. This is perhaps the last opportunity to reach a two state solution. The Geneva Initiative provides the basis for an agreement.

“We cannot live in a single state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River and we cannot relate to the conflict as shrapnel in the buttocks, as one of our ministers did,” he added, alluding to widely publicized comments made by Economics and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) in June.

“The question will be who the shrapnel is and who is the buttocks,” he quipped.

”The implications of a lack of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are more existential than the Iranian nuclear [program],” he said, noting that the current state of affairs in the West Bank was like a powder keg.

“It does not seem as if the current government is trying to change the trend regarding the settlement enterprise,” he said, in a jab at Netanyahu. “Our friends in the world are giving up on the prospect of a two-states-for-two-nations solution. There is tremendous frustration in the West Bank. The Palestinians feel that their state is being stolen from them. Soon the Palestinian masses will feel that there is no future, only a bad past.

“We must take into account the relationship between the Palestinians and their Arab-Israeli brethren,” he continued. “The concentration of fumes is so high that a little spark could lead to a big explosion.”

The Netanyahu government immediately dismissed these comments of Diskin, implying perhaps they were motivated by his being passed over for Mossad director.  An official with the Netanyahu government was quoted by The Times of Israel saying:

Anyone who thinks the Palestinian threat is larger than the threat of a nuclear weapon in the hands of Iran, which has made it its goal to destroy the State of Israel, is cut off from reality and lacks any strategic perspective.

The criticism by  the marginalized Israeli left of the Netanyahu government, seeking to assure the country’s national security interests vis a vis final status negotiations with the PA,  neglects the dissimilitude, corruption and total lack of integrity of the PA leadership under President Mahmoud Abbas.  The left in Israel live in a virtual dream world denying the overarching Islamist threat facing Israel on virtually all of its borders.  Diskin is reflecting the disingenuous approach of Israel’s left frantically  promoting  final status agreements that would suborn the national security interests let alone the existence of the Jewish nation.  We trust that Secretary Kerry and Gen. Allen do not take seriously these views as indicative of the majority of Israel’s polity. They are most decidedly not ther case as reflected in Israeli polls.  Most Americans polled support Israel, the only democratic ally and capable military force in the troubled Middle East. That support is reflected in serious questioning of the interim P5+1 Geneva agreement  and strong bi-partisan support in Congress for strengthened sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program in pending Defense Appropriations amendments.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

Outrage! Iran Imprisons Three Americans while US releases Iranian Nuclear Scientist and Others

Robert Levinson, 2011,  Former FBI agent imprisoned since 2007.

Source: Levinson Family

Last Wednesday we posted on Florida Congressman Jeff Miller’s AIPAC sponsored briefing at my Pensacola synagogue on Iran’s nuclear threat to Israel and the US, “Congressman Miller of Northwest Florida Supports Increased Sanctions Against Iran”.

What was given short shrift in the rush to obtain the interim P5+1 deal in Geneva was the fate of three imprisoned Americans by the Islamic Regime.  We noted:

Miller in his remarks to the audience of fellow Pensacolians  made it clear that he viewed the P5+1 agreement, and  reports of Administration’s secret negotiations with Iran as a fantasy.  He stood firmly in support of Israel, America’s ally, who he said was in the gunsight of the Iranian nuclear threat. An Iran governed by radical Twelver Shiite Islamists denying liberty to their own people whose ideology brims with hatred towards Jews and Christians seeking their destruction in an apocalyptic event. An Iran that has currently imprisoned two American citizens, one a former FBI agent and a Jew , [a Marine veteran] and  a Christian pastor arrested when he was endeavoring to build an orphanage in Iran. A pastor was only briefly mentioned in negotiations by the US delegation in Geneva.

Our colleague at the Jewish Policy Center in Washington, DC, Shoshana Bryen and her husband Stephen, a former Reagan era Deputy Defense Secretary, co-authored a highly revelatory article about this issue on the website of the Gatestone Institute, Iran Deal: Was the West Skinned?  Their bottom line:

The Administration’s position is that the nuclear deal is separate from any other conversation with Iran including the fate of the Americans imprisoned there: retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, and Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is currently housed in a “violent offenders” prison.

We get, essentially, nothing. But it is worse than that. Whatever the P5+1 believe it achieved pales in comparison to what the deal cost.

The Bryens further note how lop sided the Iran deal is:

The nuclear-related agreement signed between the P5+1 and the Iranian government is, on its face, one-sided. In essence, according to Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), they get: billions in sanctions relief, 3,000 new centrifuges, a plutonium reactor and enough enriched uranium for one nuclear bomb. We get, essentially, nothing: no centrifuges dismantled; no uranium shipped out of the country; no facilities closed; no delay at the Arak plutonium plant; and no stop to missile testing, terrorism orhuman rights abuses. But it is, actually, worse than that.

The administration’s position is that the nuclear deal is separate from any other conversation with Iran, including the fate of Americans imprisoned there. Asked whether retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, and Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini were discussed in Geneva, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said, “The P5+1 talks focused exclusively on nuclear issues, but we have raised – repeatedly raised [these cases] in our bilateral discussions with Iran.”

They note that the Administration gave away valued poker chips in negotiations:  the release of Iranians involved with their nuclear program and no invasive inspections of the key nuclear weapons development sites like Parchin:

Prisoners

American hikers Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were targets of opportunity, captured and imprisoned as spies by Iran in July 2009. Shourd was released in 2010, Bauer and Fattal in September 2011. As part of an arrangement or not, in 2012, the United States released Iranian prisoners Shahrzad Mir Gholikhan, Nosratollah Tajik, and Amir Hossein Seirafi. Unlike the Americans, however, the released Iranians were clearly working for the Islamic Republic’s military establishment. Gholikhan had been convicted on three counts of weapons trafficking. Tajik, a former Iranian ambassador to Jordan, was caught attempting to buy night-vision goggles from U.S. agents. Seirafi was convicted of attempting to purchase specialized vacuum pumps that could be used in the Iranian nuclear program.

It appears the price for the three hikers was three purchasers of illegal weapons for the Iranian government. The lopsided deal was made considerably odder by the later release of Mojtaba Atarodi, a top Iranian scientist.

The then-secret U.S.-Iranian nuclear talks began in March 2013, after the three-for-three. In April, according to Kerry Picket at Breitbart News, the U.S. released Atarodi, arrested in 2011 for attempting to acquire equipment that could be used for Iran’s military-nuclear programs. The Atarodi case is very problematic, beginning with why such an Iranian scientist was allowed in the U.S. In cases involving theft of technology, charges are generally public and there is a trial. Atarodi’s arraignment was secret and the U.S. attorney refused to provide any public information. It appears Atarodi was to have to have been released to house arrest with electronic monitoring, due to concerns about his health, but the deal fell through and he was kept in a federal detention facility in California. There is no public information on what he was attempting to acquire, but previous cases involving Iran have included very high speed camerasvery high frequency oscilloscopes, and nuclear trigger Krytrons. Atarodi would have been considered a high-value prisoner.

Meanwhile, the three Americans — Levinson, Hekmati, and Abedini — remained in jail in Iran. A balanced deal would have seen these three released. Levinson has been an Iranian prisoner since 2007. Hekmati was sentenced to death as a CIA spy, but while the Iranians set aside the death sentence and decided to have a new trial, it has not taken place. Abedini was sentenced to 8 years in prison for “anti-Iranian activities,” which appears to mean having practiced his Christian faith while in Iran. He is currently housed in a “violent offenders” prison.

The fact that the U.S. negotiators failed to have any of them – let alone all of them – released in exchange for Atarodi could be seen as a harbinger of the unbalanced deal to come. And it came with the Western decision to omit any discussion of the military facility at Parchin.

Parchin

The IAEA has been demanding to inspect the Parchin facility near Tehran since 2005, believing the site was used to test explosive triggers for a nuclear device. Satellite photography of Parchin shows the construction of a special explosives containment building that would serve precisely that purpose. Satellite imagery from August 2013 indicates major alterations in the Parchin site, including paving that would diminish “the ability of IAEA inspectors to collect environmental samples and other evidence that it could use to determine whether nuclear weapons-related activities once took place there,” according to the Institute for Science and International Security.

That would seem to make it essential even to the strictly nuclear-related conversation the State Department claims it was having with Iran. But Parchin was not part of the discussion and not part of the deal. In its “Fact Sheet” the White House alludes to Parchin, saying “a number of issues” involving Iran’s compliance with Security Council resolutions need to be resolved, including “questions concerning the possible military dimension of Iran’s nuclear program, including Iran’s activities at Parchin.”

The Joint Plan of Action, however, says nothing about Parchin or about Marivan near the Iraq border, where large-scale explosive testing is also reported to have taken place. There are probably dozens of other facilities in Iran where work on nuclear weapons is going on. None of the military facilities is part of the deal.

Conclusion

Anything the P5+1 believes it has achieved pales in comparison to what the deal cost. The West gave permission for Iran to continue uranium enrichment; permitted continued secrecy for a military-related facility that the international community had demanded to inspect; and acquiesced to continued imprisonment for three Americans caught in the Iranian prison system, while Iranians who were part of the nuclear program went free. And those are only the debits on nuclear-related issues. If Iran’s human rights nightmare, support for the mass slaughter taking place in Syria, and support for terrorism around the world are factored in, the American pre-payment was a very bad deal for the West.

When the Congress reconvenes from the Thanksgivukkah recess.  The first order of business should be passage of pending amendments to Defense Appropriations bills strengthening sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program.  The second matter to be taken up should be the passage of a Joint Concurrent Resolution directing the President to demand Iran return immediately the three imprisoned Americans –Messrs.  Levinson and Hekmati, and Pastor Abedini.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

The nexus between Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, the Second Amendment and Israel

You may be asking yourself what possible connection is there between Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, the Second Amendment and the state of Israel. The one thing they all have in common can be summed up in two words – self defense.

Christopher Amore, a graduate of Brooklyn Law School and an associate at the law firm of Mound Cotton Wollan & Greengrass in New York, in the National Security Law Journal notes:

The concept of self-defense has long been a part of most legal systems. For example, the Bible endorses the principle of self-defense in its recognition of the right of the homeowner to kill the unlawful intruder. The Talmud acknowledges a right to use force against aggressors who threaten human interests, or threatened to kill. Saint Thomas Aquinas, a thirteenth century Italian Catholic priest and philosopher, reasoned that the purpose of using deadly force in self defense was not to kill, but rather to repel the attacker. “[The] force had to be directed against the attack, not the attacker. The death was a side effect of the legitimate purpose rather than the goal itself.”

“In 1688, English lawmakers, affirming the natural right for people to defend themselves, codified the right to bear arms in the Declaration of Right: ‘the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law.’ The Convention Parliament, the legislative body responsible for the drafting of the Declaration of Right, believed that the right to bear arms for the purpose of self-defense was one of the ‘true auntient and indubitable Rights and Liberties of the People.’ England’s recognition of the inherent right to self-defense in the seventeenth century would be echoed over three hundred years later by the United States Supreme Court. Interpreting this provision of the Declaration of Right in the landmark Second Amendment case District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court explained that ‘the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence’ was necessary in order to protect ‘the natural right of resistance and self-preservation’,” states Amore.

Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws and the Second Amendment are founded on the principle of the right of self defense. Self defense does not always require a gun, but when it does, it’s use is permissible under the law in Florida.

How is Israel part of this discussion?

Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, signed on June 26, 1945, states: “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations . . .” By referring to this right as “inherent” the Charter acknowledges that the right to self-defense predates the drafting of the Charter, and is fundamental to international humanitarian law.

Israel, as a member of the UN, has the “inherent” right to defend itself from those who have repeatedly called for its destruction, e.g. Iran. If a belligerent neighbor threatens you with death and the destruction of your homeland you have “the natural right of resistance and self-preservation.”

President Obama has been consistent in his efforts to keep law abiding citizens of the United States and the world (Israel) from defending themselves.

President Obama interjected himself into the George Zimmerman self defense case, has used the Justice Department and other agencies, like the EPA, to attack the Second Amendment right to defend against tyranny and now is preventing Israel from defending herself from a nuclear armed Iran. The recent agreement with Iran allows for the continuation of nuclear material enrichment and the building of a hard water nuclear plant, one to produce U235 and the other to produce plutonium for a nuclear weapon.

Colorado’s Democrat Senator Evie Hudak, who resigned to avoid a recall, put it best when she said, “You Don’t Need a Gun to Prevent Rape.” This quote is Obama’s domestic anti-gun and anti-Israel policies in a nutshell.

It is the policy of this administration to disarm those who have a right to defend themselves against evil doers and criminals. You see criminals and rogue nations, like Iran, don’t care about anything than becoming better armed than you, your local police, the County Sheriff, state and federal law enforcement and our military.

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Islamic history and culture purged from FBI counter-terror training, but forced on Florida students

Posted on November 30, 2013 by Creeping Shariah

Courtesy of the WashingtonExaminer.com.

A photo of President Obama in a turban and cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad that led to terrorist plots against the Danish newspaper that published them are among documents purged from FBI counter-terrorism training materials, new disclosures from the agency show.

The documents deemed unfit for inclusion in FBI classrooms range from slides showing verses in the Quran favored by terrorists to a video called “God Hates Lady Gaga” produced by a fundamentalist church best known for its intrusive anti-gay protests at veterans’ funerals.

Entire sections dealing with Middle Eastern history, Islamic culture and techniques for interviewing Muslims while being mindful of Islamic customswere removed.

That’s odd, because the Dept. of Justice just two weeks ago forced cancellation of a Florida school board’s meeting to protest a biased, pro-Islam section of a history book. No other religion has an entire section or as much coverage. The DOJ intervention essentially guaranteed continued use of the inaccurate and whitewashed Islamic dawah lesson on unsuspecting school children.

Islamic history and culture is now required for school children in America, but banned from FBI and counter-terrorism operators.

Much more at the link above and examples of purged documents at the link below.

More information

Click here to see the two volumes of removed documents provided to the Washington Examiner by the FBI and the five volumes of explanations for removal provided to Judicial Watch

Appeasement in Geneva?

EU Foreign Relations Commissioner Ashton and Iranian Delegation in Geneva on November 24, 2013 

with Mike Bates, Jonathan Schanzer and Shoshana Bryen

The topsy turvy developments in the Middle East made for high drama on the international and regional stage in the waning months of 2013.

Desperate to stave off swooning  domestic poll approval ratings caused by the unraveling  the Affordable Care Act, the Obama  Administration was hopeful that an Interim agreement via the P5+1 in Geneva might bolster public opinion of its conduct of foreign affairs. On November 10, 2013, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius upended discussions in Geneva calling the interim deal by the P5+1 with a Iranian delegation a “fool’s game.” That was followed by a state visit from French President Francois Hollande and Foreign Minister Fabius to Jerusalem where they were received warmly by Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Hollande spoke before the Knesset saying in effect he had the Jewish nation’s concerns at heart in the P5+1 deliberations with Iran in Geneva. While at the same time suggesting that Israel should make gestures to accommodate the Palestinian Authority (PA) on construction in the disputed territories on the West Bank and possibly sharing its capital, Jerusalem. Some members of the Knesset and Netanyahu’s coalition cabinet were none too pleased about the latter. Israelis were also none too pleased with visiting Secretary of State Kerry who in the midst of Geneva deliberations warned Israel about the possible outbreak of violence in the form of a Third Intifada during a combined Palestinian and Israeli TV interview. Discussions towards a possible final status agreement between the PA and Israel have been facilitated by Kerry. They appear to be faltering, giving rise to the possibility that the PA might choose to declare statehood via the UN should the parties fail to reach a final status agreement. Earlier in November 2013, a forensic report by Swiss scientists of the effects of the late PA leader Yassir Arafat found traces of polonium. His widow Suha raised murky questions about his possible poisoning as a cause of his death in 2004 at the age of 75.

After the November 10th session recessed in Geneva, the P5+1 EU and Foreign Minister Representatives reconvened following the French state visit to Israel. In the early hours of Sunday, November 24th, a deal was announced in Geneva. An agreement that Secretary Kerry and French Foreign Minister Fabius gave a thumbs up to along with the Foreign Ministers of the UK, Russia, China, plus Germany. The announced P5+1  deal  was subject to more frequent inspections of Iran’s nuclear program, while allegedly freezing enrichment for six months at the 3.0 percent level using 10,000 centrifuges and dilution of half of existing stocks of 20 percent enriched fissile materials with the balance converted to an easily reconverted oxide. It also placed a hold on commissioning of a second track of plutonium production for possible bomb making via the Arak heavy water reactor in Iran. David Albright of the Washington, DC-based Institute for Science and International Security calculations that, notwithstanding  these arrangements, there would not be a significant denial of time for Iran to achieve “nuclear breakout.”  He commented in a Reuters report:

Once this is done, the breakout time – how long it would take Iran to produce sufficient highly-enriched uranium (HEU) for one atomic bomb – would lengthen from at least 1-1.6 months to at least 1.9-2.2 months if the Iranians used all their installed centrifuges, Albright said in an e-mail.

“This may seem a small increase. But with the IAEA daily checking the camera film at Nathans and Frodo, this increase in breakout times would be significant,” he said, referring to the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

American David Kay, former UN chief weapons inspector, drew attention in an NPR interview to the daunting task facing the small contingent of 250 of the Vienna based nuclear watchdog agency inspection staff overseeing the monitoring of the P5+1 agreement of just the known sites.

In exchange for maintaining the core of current US and EU sanctions, the P5+1 agreement would provide a modest $1.5 billion of relief for petrochemical, gold trading and aircraft parts. The Administration’s hope was that the deal struck by the P5+1 Foreign Ministers including Secretary of State John Kerry would  block nuclear breakout by Iran enabling achievement of a longer term permanent deal during the six month  hiatus.

For the full text of the P5+1 Iran interim agreement, see here.

Virtually upon announcement by Secretary of State Kerry in the early morning of November 24th, the P5+1  interim pact with Iran came under withering criticism from Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu as “a historic mistake.” He said it gave the Islamic Regime a “deal of the century” to continue its enrichment of fissile material to achieve nuclear breakout. Israel, Netanyahu said, would closely monitor violations of the interim agreement with Iran. Further, he contends that Israel is not bound by the agreement and that it will seek to its own security needs. He immediately dispatched his national security adviser to Washington to confer with Administration national security advisers seeking to pursue dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program in any permanent agreement. Leading Democratic Senators, Charles Schumer of New York and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, proclaimed  their disappointment in the P5+1 agreement and pushed for adoption of stronger sanctions to be considered in early December 2013. This despite White House pleas that doing so could jeopardize further negotiations with Iran.

Experts at the Washington, DC – based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Messrs. Mark Dubowitz, executive director and Senior Fellow Orde Kittrie criticized the pact in a Wall Street Journal op ed calling it a “bad agreement likely to get worse.” They drew attention to the absence of provisions addressing critical development of nuclear warheads, triggers and ballistic missiles. They calculated  the estimated amount of sanctions relief in excess of $20 billion, boosting Iran’s hard currency reserves by  more than $100 billion.  President Rouhani was pleased by the agreement that enabled Iran to continue enrichment at the 3.0 percent level. Further, the Islamic Regime announced that $8 billion in previously frozen assets had been released after the P5+1 interim agreement was signed in Geneva raising questions about Administration’s relief estimates.

As FDD President Cliff May notes in this November 25, 2013 Wall Street Journal video interview the interim P5+1 agreement neither measures up to the standards set existing UN resolution calling for Iran to stop enrichment. Moreover, he concludes that the interim agreement eerily looks like the pattern set in a series of  agreements by both the Clinton and Bush Administrations with North Korea that were breached. Sen. John McCain in a Fox News report echoed this concern when he said:

I am concerned this agreement could be a dangerous step that degrades our pressure on the Iranian regime without demonstrable actions on Iran’s part to end its pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability — a situation that would be reminiscent of our experience over two decades with North Korea.

Watch the WSJ interview with FDD President May:

There was also the matter of the Administration’s back channel discussions with Iran that began several  years ago allegedly hidden from allies France and Israel. However, Israel subsequent to these reports revealed that it knew of these discussions through its own means while maintaining cover in talks with the Administration.

Within days of the P5+1 interim agreement, Iran accused the Administration of ‘lying’ about the terms posted on both White House and State Department websites. The Washington Free Beacon reported:

Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham told the Iranian press on [November 26, 2013] . . . that the White House has “modified” key details of the deal and released their own version of the agreement in the fact sheet.

Iran’s right to enrich uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon, is fully recognized under the draft released by Tehran.

“This comprehensive solution would enable Iran to fully enjoy its right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under the relevant articles of the NPT in conformity with its obligations therein,” the agreement reads, according to a copy released to Iranian state-run media.

The White House admitted in response that “technical terms” for the interim pact have not been finalized.

These developments in Geneva led to reports of the formation of an unprecedented alliance of convenience in the Middle East region between Wahhabist Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Emirates and Israel. A prospect that excited billionaire Royal Prince and international investor, Prince Alaweed bin Talal, in a Wall Street Journal interview. There were even rumored Israeli visits to Saudi Arabia to check out logistics and refueling facilities for a possible unilateral air assault. That prospect and its consequences on Israel were the subject of an important article by former Israeli Military Intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, who was the lead pilot on the 1981 raid  that destroyed Iraq’s Osirak reactor. Yadlin, director of the National Institute for Security Studies at Tel Aviv University had conducted simulations of such an attack and had calculated that Israel  could defend itself against effects of retaliations by Iran and its proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas.

Meanwhile in Egypt there were developments that sharpened the void left by the absence of US involvement, displeased in the wake of the ouster of former President Morsi and his prosecution along with leaders of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. They were accused by the interim government in Cairo of inciting violence. Secretary of State Kerry, as a gesture of conciliation towards the interim government, backed by Army Chief Gen. Al-Sisi, suggested in comments that Morsi and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood may have “stolen” the Egyptian revolution. Gen. Al-Sisi and the interim Egyptian government received the Russian Foreign and Defense Ministers who offered $2 billion in helicopters and air defense systems, amidst speculation about who was going to pay for them. At present, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates have  provided $14 billion in credits for the interim Egyptian government grappling with trying to reignite investment for a struggling economy and to feed its people. Then in an abrupt move in late November 2013, the Egyptian Foreign Minister declared the Turkish Ambassador persona non grata reducing the status of diplomatic relations between the two former allies. That move was in reaction to continuing criticism of the ouster of former President Morsi by Turkey’s Islamist Premier Erdogan an acknowledged supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood in both Egypt and Syria.

With more than 115,000 dead in the 33 month civil war in Syria, the efforts at cleaning up and destroying the Assad regime’s chemical weapons by inspection teams from the Hague Based Office for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons may have hit an impasse. The problem concerns which country would take charge of ultimate disposal. Norway has offered to assist in the effort to destroy the chemical weapons. More than 1,400 deaths and casualties in the Damascus suburbs in August 2013 caused by chemical agents like Sarin gas released by rockets and artillery shells had originally prompted President  Obama to issue US military attack warnings. That was stifled by Russian intervention with UN backing and Assad regime acquiescence to destroy the WMD stockpiles. This came amidst developments in northeastern Syria where Kurdish militia forces appear to have ousted al Qaeda affiliates, the al Nusrah Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) from its homeland. Meanwhile, in other combat areas in Syria Islamist militias have merged  to contend with al Qaeda affiliates. All while facing Assad regime troops, supported by Iranian Qods Force and Hezbollah forces that appear to be gaining control of critical lines of communication. Those continuing battles have spawned the flight of Sunni and Christian refugees to nearby Lebanon. An alleged twin bombing by Al Qaeda operatives near the Iranian Embassy in South Beirut controlled by Hezbollah was seen as retaliation for Iranian Qods Force and Hezbollah units fighting alongside Assad military inside Syria. On November 25, 2013, UN Secretary General Ban Ki  Moon announced the possible start of long-sought peace discussions between the Syrian opposition and the Assad regime would take place in Geneva on January 22, 2014. He characterized it in his statement as “a mission of hope” to end the civil war and agree to a transitional government “with full executive powers.” However, the Syrian opposition immediately suggested that two key provisions, release of prisoner and removal of the Assad government, had not been met.

Against this background, we held one of our periodic 1330amWEBY Middle East Round Tables with panelists, Dr. Jonathan Schanzer, V.P. for Research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and Shoshana Bryen of The Jewish Policy Center, both based in Washington, DC.

Mike Bates

Mike Bates:  Good afternoon and welcome to Your Turn. This is Mike Bates and we are having today our international round table discussion about the Middle East. I have with me in the studio, Jerry Gordon, Senior Editor of the New English Review and its blog “The Iconoclast.” He is online at www.newenglishreview.org.  Jerry, welcome.

Jerry Gordon

Jerry Gordon:  Glad to be here Mike.

Bates:  And joining us by telephone from Washington D.C. is Dr. Jonathan Schanzer, V.P. of Research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He is the author of State of Failure: Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State.  He is online at www.defenddemocracy.org.  Jonathan, welcome.

Jonathan Schanzer

Jonathan Schanzer:  Thanks so much.

Bates:   And also from Washington D.C., Shoshana Bryen. She is Senior Director of the Jewish Policy Center, online atwww.jewishpolicycenter.org. Shoshana, welcome.

Shoshana Bryen

Shoshana Bryen:  Thank you.

Bates:  Let’s open this with the P5-plus-1 talks that recently recessed. The P5 of course being the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. That would be the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom and France and the Plus-1 refers to Germany. They recently recessed after almost having a deal and yet it was France that put a temporary hold on it. What is the story there Jonathan?

Schanzer:  It was quite a drama. We had been hearing rumors about the contours of a possible deal. The Israelis were not happy. Friends of Israel were not happy. Those who were opposed to Iranian proliferation were not happy.  It appeared that there was going to be a deal cut in which Iran was going to be able to continue to enrich uranium. It was going to be able to continue to build its heavy water reactor, its plutonium reactor at Arak. And in exchange the West was really not going to get much at all, other than promises of a cessation of enrichment at a certain level. And so as the chorus began to get louder and louder from proponents of Iran saying that this was the deal of the century, we watched France swoop in. It was a rather remarkable thing, but the French temporarily stopped the deal. They basically said that they did not see the West getting enough from Iran. They warned that it would be the kind of deal that could come back to bite us. And so France’s foreign minister put a halt to it. And now, all of the sudden, the French who have been deeply ambivalent about Israel and the United States in the past were basically the only adults in the room. They prevented a deal that would have certainly led to continued proliferation on the part of Iran.

Bates:  Why would the other five countries go along with this? I’m kind of surprised that France is the one that said no. What did the other five countries think was going to really result from this?

Schanzer:  Look, I think these Western countries just simply wanted to get a deal done. There appears to be some groupthink right now among the top leaders of these Western countries. They all think that just the idea of getting to a place where you can start to talk to Iran and where there could be warming of relations with Iran would effectively empower Hassan Rouhani, the new President of Iran, who is widely hailed as a moderate. They believe that just getting on his good side might empower him and perhaps even enable him to sway some of the more radical powers in Iran. I think this is a house of cards. I think this logic makes very little sense. I think at the end of the day Rouhani will be outgunned by the Supreme leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei. I think he’ll be outgunned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Praetorian Guard of Iran. These are the radical actors who have long dominated Iranian politics. Rouhani does not stand a chance. And yet what we see now from the West is everyone investing in this one individual who has won over the West with Tweets and phone calls expressing moderation.

Bryen:  I would point out that the French were also operating more than a little bit out of pique. It is true that France has always taken a fairly hard line on the Islamic Regime – they gave asylum to the Ayatollah Khomeini and he repaid them by conducting an assassination campaign against the Ayatollah’s enemies on French soil. Its also true that they didn’t like the deal and that Hollande had some conditions that were not met in the first round. But it also needs to be said that the French are very irritated with the United States. President Obama got Hollande to agree that France would support U.S. military action in Syria and then we left him hanging out there when we backed off. The French are very angry about spying in Europe. They do spy themselves by the way, so its a little bit disingenuous, but they were angry about the spying in Europe. They’re still a little bit angry that we were not faster on Libya and more helpful on Mali so some of this represents the French understanding that they could tweak the United States.

Bates:  So France may not have had the global best interest at heart. It was just an opportunity to stick the thumb in the eye of the United States?

Bryen:  I think it’s both. Sometimes your national security interests align with your pique and I think you can’t discount one or the other.

Schanzer:  You know, I would actually push back a little bit. I think the French would certainly like the opportunity to demonstrate their leadership in the world. You know, a lot of people have pointed out that the French recently signed a one billion dollar arms deal with the Saudis and that perhaps it was the Saudis that were exhorting the French to get in there and stop a bad deal. Of course, the Saudis have been in absolute fear that Iran will get that nuclear weapon given the Shiite-Sunni divide. One also has to just look at the track record of the French; they haven’t been wonderful about everything in foreign policy. They are serious about counter proliferation. And I think at the end of the day they saw this as a bad deal that would probably upend international security. We heard some reports of how the French were concerned that it would almost certainly prompt a bombing on the part of the Israelis and they wanted to get a better deal that would be able to put the Israeli populous at rest. That is what we are thinking probably happened more than anything else.

Bates:  Shoshana let me ask a follow-up to what Jonathan just said about the Israeli population being at risk. Without question, an Iranian nuclear weapon poses a threat to the entire planet but the nation that is at greatest risk from that is Israel so why isn’t Israel involved in these talks?

Bryen:  Because Israel is not in the P5-plus-1. There is a great hesitation on the part of the United States to make Israel that important. The United States has said to the Israelis over and over again, “We’ll look out for you. We’ll take your interests into account. We’ll front for you. We’ve got your back.” The Israelis no longer believe that but there is no room for them at the table and the Iranians wouldn’t sit with them in any event. By the way, everything that is said of Israel and to Israel is also said to and about Saudi Arabia. And the Saudis aren’t buying it at the moment either.

Gordon:  Shoshana, we mentioned the current President of Iran, Mr. Rouhani. His track record as a nuclear negotiator on behalf of Iran is not terribly good and he has gone on record of gloating about the fact that he deceived the West back in 2003 to 2005 when he was the nuclear negotiator for Iran. Was that something in the back of the minds of the French?

Bryen:  It is in the back of everyone’s mind. Rouhani was the negotiator who wrote later in his memoirs that he was there talking while the Iranians were at home building. He is someone who understands very well that talk is valuable to the West and can serve as a front for the Iranians to continue doing what they want to do. The West is aware of that. The Israelis are very aware of that. I think there is simply as Jonathan suggested a little bit of “group think” going on here. People who believe that maybe you can get past it, get over it, have a different outcome the second time.

Bates:  Shoshana, Iran is pretty adamant that they believe they have the right to enrich uranium and it looked like most of the P5-plus-1 nations were going to allow that. Is there any way though to allow enrichment of uranium without them ultimately getting closer and obtaining eventually a nuclear weapon?

Bryen:  There is no internationally accepted “right to enrich uranium.” Despite what Zarif is saying after the signing of the deal – that the P5+1 has accepted Iran’s assertion of a “right,” it no more exists than the “right of return” exists. Yet that Palestinians claim the latter and the Iranians claim the former. Countries do have a right to civilian nuclear power, but there are many ways to get it. The enrichment cycle is not necessary for a country to have civilian nuclear power. But you’re asking the question, “Can you keep the level of Iranian enrichment low enough so that they cannot do a dash to a bomb when they’re ready?” Possibly, under certain circumstances, it is theoretically manageable, but it’s highly unlikely because you get involved in a situation where you need inspections and you have to trust people not to be hiding their facilities and not to be doing things behind the curtain. The Iranians do everything behind the curtain. So if you’re asking a technical question, “Can you keep enrichment low and therefore reduce the likelihood of a rush to a bomb?” the answer is yes. However, if you are asking the political question, “How do you ensure that the Iranians don’t cheat when Iranian history is that they DO cheat?” then the answer is no, you can’t do that with any degree of surity.

Gordon:  Jon, your colleague Mark Dubowitz along with Senator Mark Kirk were slammed this past weekend by the New York Times for their position regarding stronger sanctions. What is going on in our nation’s capitol?

Schanzer:  What Mark did is this: Last weekend, as this deal was being put together, he came out and put together a back-of-the-envelope assessment of exactly how much we’d be giving away to Iran in terms of sanctions relief. Everybody just kept talking about how it was either going to be a “good deal” or it was going to be a “bad deal.” But nobody really knew how to quantify that. And so based on what we at least understood at the time, there was going to be a three billion dollar cash delivery to Iran. There was going to be an easing of gold sanctions. Based on what we saw Iran do with Turkey, that came to about a billion dollars a month, perhaps more. Over the six month time period we are talking about six billion dollans. On top of that we took a look at the petrochemical sector, which was also one of the areas where there were going to be sanctions relief. We estimated that that would be another nine billion dollars of a windfall for Iran. If you add that up and it turns out that it’s close to twenty billion dollars. Mark floated that number in a policy brief and that was immediately challenged by the White House and by proponents of Iran. Meanwhile, the Israelis actually said that it was a lowball number. The Israelis estimated that we were talking probably more in line of about forty billion dollars. Just to give you a sense of what our numbers would mean, that would allow for a full twenty-five percent jump in all of Iran’s hard currency reserves.  It would provide enough to be able to hoard cash for a time if they decide to make a dash for a bomb so that they would be able to survive sanctions. That is one thing to consider. And then in terms of the available cash — cash that they can immediately access — it would be a full jump of about 100 percent by our estimates. The figures would be double that for the Israelis. And so there has been a battle that’s been taking place on exactly what those numbers look like. We think we are probably right in the sweet spot. It’s actually in between the Administration, which said that it was about six to nine billion dollars, according to some estimates and then the Israelis saying forty billion. Either way, from our prospective it’s a bad deal. You are not asking the Iranians to stop the enrichment. You are not asking them to halt on construction at Arak. In the meantime, you are giving them enough cash to run for the bomb. If they want to make that dash they can, and that’s why we thought this was probably not a good deal if he goal is to prevent Iran from going nuclear. It just did not look like it had the right components.

Bates:  Jonathan, that’s all looking forward. There was an article in the news within the last couple of weeks that Barack Obama had secretly eased sanctions on Iran months ago. Is there any truth to that?

Schanzer:  We’ve heard these stories. We’ve heard about meetings that took place between Iranian officials and Valerie Jarrett from the White House. I don’t know how much we can trust on these rumors. Some of it appears to have been leaked from the Israelis. You know, I have not seen anything that has persuaded me that this is fact. Again, though, I think what we need to underscore that there is not a lot of trust in the administration. I think it’s important to just take a step back and look at the foreign policies of this Administration over the last several months or even several years. This is a government that failed to swoop in during the Green Revolution in 2009 and ensure the toppling of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. We did not give the support to the Iranian people back then when we should have. We stood by and allowed Hosni Mubarak to fall when he was an ally of the United States. We did nothing to precipitate the downfall of Bashir al-Assad. In fact, when we began to threaten military intervention we actually failed to come through. In other words, this is an Administration that has not done well on the foreign policy front. I can tell you that when the Israelis look on —  in fact, when the Saudis look on, the Emiratis, the Kuwaitis, all of these long time allies of the United States — they don’t see an Administration that they can trust. I believe that’s the source of a lot of these rumors that are starting to come out. There is just not any confidence in this Administration.

Bates:  Jonathan, there was an article in the Sunday edition of The Times of Israel that said that the Saudis were going to give permission to the Israelis to use their airspace to attack Iranian nuclear facilities and that they would give them other logistical and tactical support. Any truth to that?

Schanzer:  We don’t know. We know that the Saudis and the Israelis have been talking for quite some time, and as American leadership in the Middle East has weakened and receded, the Saudis have come to realize that the Israelis are probably their best bet to ensuring that their interests are upheld. We’ve seen this very strange coalition of countries that have all come together. You’re looking at the French now on the side of Israel along with the Saudis, and the Kuwaitis. I would joke Micronesia is a long time ally of Israel or maybe Canada. But, in other words, what you have is a very strange cobbling together of countries that appear to be opposed to the Iranian nuclear threat and are against appeasement. More broadly this gets to an issue that I have written about for Commentary Magazine. It is no longer the Obama doctrine. I’m not sure we ever knew what that was, but the Obama doctrine has become what I would call the “Bizzaro Doctrine,” riffing off of the Seinfeld episode that famously talked about things being topsy turvey. What you have right now is traditional allies of the United States like Israel, Saudi Arabia, maybe to a lesser extent Turkey, and others that are furious with the United States. They feel as if they’ve been left out to dry. On the other hand you’ve got countries like Iran and Syria who seemed somewhat comfortable with the way that things are going in American foreign policy. We are at a point now where the rules have ceased to apply as we know them, and I think it puts us on very dangerous ground.

Gordon:  Shoshana, retired Israeli Major General Amos Yadlin published an article concerning the ability of Israel to survive if it launched an attack on Iran. What is the significance of General Yadlin’s report regarding the ability of Israel to survive retaliation if it launches an attack?

Bryen:  Amos Yadlin was the lead pilot on the Osirak Reactor raid in Iraq in 1981 and has been the leading voice to say that Israel has capabilities that it can exercise even in Iran. The question for Israel would be: At what price? What is it you are going to take out in order to protect your people and what consequence will there be for that? Yadlin’s article was really about the manageability of the consequences. He went through various scenarios for possible Iranian retaliation against Israel, including the possibility that Iran wouldn’t retaliate at all, depending on what it is that Israel hits, the circumstances of the hit, and where they perceive the United States to be. Whether the U.S. was an active partner or a tacit partner or whether Israel did it in opposition to U.S. – which is a distinct possibility. There are other things that people normally calculate as possible retaliation such as a Hezbollah missile attack against Israel. Hezbollah has thousands of missiles in Lebanon and it is a proxy for the Iranians. Would it or wouldn’t it? Yadlin thinks that whatever the Hezbollah could do is manageable. Iranian missiles themselves are not accurate enough to destroy the state of Israel so any scenario that he covers he believes that the consequences are manageable, which is a way of saying don’t talk yourself out of this. There are a great many people who would like Israel to talk itself out of protecting itself by attacking Iranian nuclear capabilities. Yadlin would say don’t do that.

Bates:  Shoshana, the consequences might be manageable. What about the attack itself? These nuclear facilities are very deep underground. They would require bunker busters that to my understanding the Israelis have to get from the United States. Do they have enough bunker busting capability to knock out a sufficient percentage of the nuclear weapons program to make it worth their while or will they just have to go back in a couple of months and do it again?

Bryen:  That is the assumption that Israel will take airplanes and use that Saudi corridor to do it. It’s not clear necessarily that that’s the way it will be done. First of all, Israel has bunker buster bombs. It has the ones it built itself; it does not – to my knowledge – have U.S. bunker busters. But I would point out that the war against Iran has already started. It started with cyber warfare. It started with the untimely deaths of Iranian nuclear scientists. It started with things blowing up in inconvenient places. There are people who believe there are agents inside Iran now who are able to attack certain facilities. So if you are looking for an Osirak-type strike, if you are looking for the airplane that flies across Saudi Arabia and drops a single bomb or a series of bombs, be aware that it may not happen that way. There are many other options for setting back the program and “setting back” is the right term. Israel (and the U.S. for that matter) won’t “destroy” it. The best you can do is take out crucial pieces and set it back for a period of time.

Bates:  But does that then cause the Iranian people to rally behind their government?

Bryen:  I think it’s difficult to imagine the Iranian people rallying behind a government that is as cruel to them as this government is – more than 200 people have been executed in the first 100 days of the so-called “moderate” Rouhani’s term. There is no freedom of speech, religion or conscience. The Iranian people do not like their government. They are unlikely to rush to its defense. It seems to me that you could imagine the Iranians saying, “O.K., this is our moment to rise up.” Particularly if Israel (or the U.S.) strikes, for example, the headquarters of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) or the Basiji police – hated and despised institutions in Iran. There are people who would see weakness in the Iranian government and want to take their shot. Again, don’t talk yourself out of it by assuming the worst possible things will happen as a result. The best possible things may happen. I would point out that the Israelis calculated on Osirak that Iraq’s nuclear program would be set back 18 months to two years. In fact however, the Iraqis never restarted their nuclear program. The French refused to replace the reactor.

Bates:  Shoshana, thank you so much.

Gordon:  Jon, why did Secretary Kerry warn Israel about a Third Intifada during a joint Palestinian/Israeli TV interview?

Schanzer:  Well, Jerry, I don’t know if anybody really knows the answer to that. What we hear right now is that the U.S. Government is pressuring the Israelis to make significant concessions. I think those are concessions that the government of Israel doesn’t want to make. The Palestinians are clamoring for them and it appears that the two sides had reached some sort of a deadlock and a bit of frustration. It appeared that the Secretary of State came out and threatened the Israelis that if they did not yield to some of these concessions there would potentially be a Third Intifada on their hands. This I found to be absolutely unacceptable for a Secretary of State to basically give his permission to the Palestinians to launch an Intifada if and when these talks break down. Very few people have confidence in these talks in the first place. Many people expect them to break down. I didn’t think that the talks would go this far and I’m encouraged to see them go as far as they go. But the idea that an Intifada, a violent uprising, would be warranted if the Israelis do not yield on things that they believe are in their national interests, I found to be deeply disturbing.

Bryen:  This is not the first time that Secretary Kerry has made that sort of comment. When he was with Shimon Peres last summer he said, “People in Israel aren’t waking up every day and wondering if tomorrow there will be peace because there is a sense of security and a sense of accomplishment and a sense of prosperity in Israel.” To me, that sounds like the Secretary believes that Israel would be more inclined to make concessions, more inclined to “make peace” so to speak if it was poor and if it was threatened. Because it is not poor or threatened, he suggests, it doesn’t feel the need to do these things. I think what he was really doing was warning them. “I can make you poor and I can make you threatened.” He didn’t only suggest a Third Intifada. He also suggested isolation from Europe, Israel’s largest trading partner. I think it was a threat at a much more fundamental level.

Bates:  Shoshana, I know what is meant by the Third Intifada but I think that leaves people with an improper perception of what’s really going on because there are uprisings every day. There have been recent reports of several attacks by Palestinians on Israeli civilians including the shooting of a young girl and IDF soldiers. There was a fatal stabbing of an IDF soldier on a bus that was apparently orchestrated by the Palestinian Authority. A Third Intifada or just day to day, every day activities from these people? Israel is constantly under attack is it not?

Bryen:  Yes. Israel is constantly under attack. However, the kind of large scale bus bombings and demonstrations that resulted in massively lethal violence have not been seen in Israel since the Israelis put down the Second Intifada in 2004 and 2005; since they built the Security Fence. It’s much harder for the Palestinians on a day-to-day basis to organize large demonstrations or large-scale violence. However, you do have small scale violence committed every day. I don’t like the phrase “small scale,” because it’s not small scale to the victims and their families. However, the kinds of large-scale violence that you saw in 2002 and 2003 and the beginning of 2004 are very difficult to put together  and that is a big plus for the Israelis. They have solved a lot of the problems having to do with keeping violent people out of Israel and keeping the means for violence, the bomb-making equipment and those sorts of things, out of Israel proper.

Gordon:  Jon, Suha Arafat, the widow of the late Yasser Arafat is in the news with a report about traces of polonium of all things found on his affects. What is the story with that?

Schanzer:  Well, they made it seem like it was a big deal that Al Jazeera broke some sort of major story. But the fact is that we had already gotten a preview of this story. Last year there was a report by Clayton Swisher who is an American citizen. He works for Al Jazeera and he had come up with this story, that there was a possible polonium poisoning. This is, of course, the highly toxic derivative of uranium. I believe just a small tiny piece that is ingested could result in death. And so we heard about it last year. The fingers started to point. Of course the Palestinians blamed the Israelis. Other Palestinians blamed their leadership, the people who had been holed up with Yasser Arafat at his Muqata Presidential Compound before he died back in 2004. We began to hear about the potential for some palace intrigue. at which point it was Suha Arafat, the widow of Yasser Arafat, who came out and called for a full investigation and to have samples taken from the remains of Yasser Arafat. They did that. There were some Swiss Scientists, Russian Scientists, I think French Scientists and they exhumed Arafat, they took samples and then for months we didn’t hear a thing. Now they’ve come out and said that they do believe that again, there are traces of polonium. However, because of the chain of custody of Yasser Arafat’s body after his death in Paris when he died in that hospital, nobody knows when that polonium might have been introduced. Because of the half-life of polonium, it continues to erode over time and becomes extremely difficult to determine how much was there in the first place or whether that was in fact what killed Arafat. What they’ve done is they’ve basically just kicked up a lot of dirt. They have the Palestinians pointing fingers at Israel, potentially trying to spark that Third Intifada. This would, of course, be Al Jazeera trying to stoke this. I have been arguing that there may also be another motive here — that if someone was to poison Yasser Arafat, they had to have been close to him. They had to have been able to put that polonium in his food or in his drink, which means that they had to have been right at his elbow, right at his side. There are only a select number of people from the inner sanctum of the Palestinian leadership who would have been in a position to do that. So what the Al Jazeera report has done is raise questions about whether there was a traitor in the midst of the Palestinian leadership who would have gone out and assassinated the George Washington of the Palestinians. You could imagine how that is playing out on the Palestinian street. Not only are they potentially angry at Israel and blaming Israel, but I think in the back of everyone’s mind they are wondering who did it. Someone who had something to gain from it and why would they have done it? It has really cast a shadow over the Palestinian leadership. And as I have documented on numerous occasions, this is not a leadership that has a lot of credibility already on the Palestinian street. I would say that this polonium episode has actually cast an even darker cloud.

Bates:  Jonathan, you mentioned about the chain of custody of the body. Isn’t it equally plausible that he died of natural causes and the Palestinians themselves contaminated him with Polonium so that one day in the future they could bring it up and go, oh, he was poisoned? It must have been the Israelis.

Schanzer:  Well that’s right. Arafat was 75 years old. He had survived a plane crash. He had lived a hard life of being chased and was nearly assassinated several times. And certainly in the last month of his life, when he was holed up in that Muqata Compound, that presidential compound that was without heat, with holes in the wall, and he was apparently eating cans of tuna fish every night. This was not the picture of health. So it’s quite natural or plausible that he died of natural causes. By the way, we had also heard rumors over the years that it might have been AIDS or some other kind of illness. At the end of the day, the autopsy was kept secret by the French when he died in Paris and so there’s been a lot of intrigue surrounding this, but I think you’re right. I think it’s quite plausible that he did die of natural causes. And the way that the scientists put forth their findings, they said we cannot say for certain whether polonium was involved. It could have been planted on his clothes. It could have been doctored in any way in an attempt to create the kind of intrigue that we are seeing right now.

Bates:  Jonathan is the author of the new book that just recently came out, State of Failure, Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State. Briefly, what can you tell us about it?

Schanzer:  The book just came out on October 29th, so it’s new. But the inquiry itself is basically about the way that the Palestinians have governed themselves. It has always described by the Palestinians that Israeli policies have inhibited their ability to create a state. What I have done with this book is to take a look at what the policies have been in the United States, which, in my view, have become increasingly friendly to Palestinian statehood. I think we’re probably, for better or for worse, on the verge of the fruition of a Palestinian state. But then the question I think immediately after that becomes, have they earned it? Are they prepared for it? Will the state be one that succeeds or will it be one that fails? For that I look at the beginning of the Palestinian nationalist movement, the PLO, which became the Palestinian Authority and how it evolved over these past twenty years. What I have seen is a systematic and constant abuse of power, nepotism, corruption, waste, and misspending. The Palestinian Authority, whether it was under Yasser Arafat or whether it was under Mahmoud Abbas, has a horrible track record of governance. What I found is that all along the way, those who were making peace — whether it was Dennis Roth or Aaron David Miller or Elliott Abrams or even Palestinian negotiators — they continued to focus on what they would call the transaction of making the deal rather than the transformation of a Palestinian state. This is important, at least in my view, because I think the Israelis did it the other way and they probably did it the right way. In other words, Ben-Gurion made sure that the pre-State institutions of Israel, the Yeshuv, as it was called, were fully functional, that they were transparent, that they were devoid of that kind of corruption. So when the Israelis were prepared to flip the switch, they could do so in a way that was successful. And so this was the lesson that I think the Palestinians did not learn. Now, here we are again with the Kerry initiative rounding third. Perhaps if that fails then the Palestinians will certainly try their hand again to declare a state unilaterally. These are all things of concern to me in light of this track record, and in light of our inability here in Washington to help guide the Palestinians to better govern themselves.

Bates:  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently announced the pullback of an authorized construction site in one of the disputed territories. Does that reflect an internal dispute within the Israeli cabinet or are they speaking with one voice?

Schanzer:  No, I think there is a dispute. I think there are those who don’t believe that a deal is coming and that they shouldn’t be dictated to by the Palestinians or by the United States, for that matter. Netanyahu, himself, has decided that we can’t continue to anger the United States. The United States is key to the survival of the State of Israel, and so we have seen some significant differences of opinion within the Israeli government. I think certainly among the Israeli population, as well. One of the real problems here is that I think that our policy in the United States has been to couple the problem of Iran with this question of a two state solution. Netanyahu, in large part, feels constrained in terms of what he can do on the peace front because of what he still would like to request of the United States, namely assistance in the event that an intervention is necessary.

Gordon:  Shoshana, the Russians have appeared in Egypt bearing gifts, offers of weapons that the U.S. perhaps could have supplied if they wanted to. At the same time there is a trial going on of former President Morsi. Is there a position that the U.S. has about his prosecution and if there is are there two positions perhaps?

Bryen:  You nailed it, Jerry. There are two positions. National Security Adviser Susan Rice is very insistent that the United States’ position acknowledge the Morsi election, the coup and the trial. And to stress the need for the Egyptians to have an open justice system, possibly acknowledge that the military’s handling of the Morsi problem didn’t go very well. Then there is the Kerry position. The Kerry position is to try to maximize U.S. influence to the extent that we can with the interim Government on the grounds that it is now the government. When Kerry went to Cairo a couple of weeks ago, Susan  Rice was really demanding that he raise the name of  Mohammed Morsi in public and raise it in private; Kerry did not do that. In fact he did the opposite. In public he said Egypt was on the path to democracy and apparently in his private meetings he said the same thing. Kerry is trying very hard to retain some U.S. influence in Egypt and he’s finding it difficult. The Russians a have discovered a crevice through which they can try to slip back into Egypt and restore their influence, which has been gone for more than forty years. The Russians are now offering to sell helicopters and air defense systems to Egypt.  It will be a first since the Yom Kippur War and the Egyptians have said yes.  Now whether they actually do the deal, this is something else. For the moment, however, you have the Russians trying to capitalize on the lack of U.S. influence in Cairo.

Gordon:  Jon?

Schanzer:  I would just add this: that when you talk to Egyptians right now, I think they were in shock, first of all, that the U.S. cut off the aid. It wasn’t done in a way that was timed with whatever happened with the coup or “coup-volution’ back in July. I think there a good amount of shock that it happened. When you talk to Egyptians now, based on the conversation that I just had last night with someone who has been spending some time on the ground there, they’re making this out to be a possible win. They’re glad that Morsi is gone and to a certain extent they may even be glad that America is gone — not completely gone — but that the all-encompassing power that America exercised is diminished. And so the way they look at this is that they’ve never really had a completely free system that didn’t have influence from the outside. They see this now as an opportunity to work with multiple members of the international community who would be willing to sell them arms and provide aid. The way that I push back on this is to say: we need to be realistic. Now there are perhaps multiple actors involved in arm sales with Egypt. Instead of having a lot of influence from the United States, what they now have is a lot of influence from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Emirates. Those three countries have provided fourteen billion dollars in this year alone to help prop up the regime in Egypt. If they don’t think that they are going to be beholden to those regional powers, they have another thing coming.

Gordon:  Shoshana, Syria has now turned into a virtual bloodbath between Al Qaeda affiliates and the Assad regime with its allies, the Qods force and Hezbollah. There is a bright spot in the Northeast in what is the Kurdish homeland. What has gone on there and what is the contrast between other areas of combat in Syria?

Bryen:  It’s an interesting window into the rest of the Syrian war. The Kurds themselves say that their successes on the battlefield in Northeastern Syria are because they are an indigenous force fighting in their own villages for their own security. This is essential for a guerilla group – the population, as Mao said, is the sea in which the guerillas swim. So in Kurdistan, in Northeastern Syria in the Kurdish region, they are fighting for their own territory and to protect their own people. The Kurds will tell you this is in opposition to the foreign fighters who have entered Syria who are not really fighting to liberate Syria. They are not fighting to govern Syria; they are not Syrian. Those are people who are looking to liberate territory to impose their own particular brand of Islam on the local people and the people don’t necessarily like it. The Kurds certainly don’t like it. While you have the Kurds doing their thing and being very successful, for the moment at least, you also have infighting now among various rebel groups. Specifically, Free Syrian Army members do not want the Al Qaeda or other Islamist militias to have the upper hand. But the fighting among those groups allows Assad to make progress in his war to get rid of all of them. So the Kurds are a window into the rest of the picture of Syria. The more territory they hold for themselves it seems to me the more fighting there will be between other rebel groups in other parts of Syria and this provides a pathway for Assad.

Bates:  Shoshana, is the United States doing anything with Syria right now?

Bryen:  No. Assad is our partner in getting rid of chemical weapons. That’s it.

Bates:  O.K. Very good. Well we are out of time not out of questions though we will do this again. These are always very interesting and informative discussions these Middle East round table discussions that we have. With Jerry Gordon, Senior Editor of the New English Review and it’s blog “the Iconoclast,” with Jonathan Schanzer, V.P. of Research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Shoshana Bryen, Director of the Jewish Policy Center. This is Mike Bates for 1330 WEBY.
Listen to the original November19, 2013  1330amWEBY Middle East Round Table broadcast segments:

Segment 1Segment 2Segment 3Segment 4.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

Marine murders in Afghanistan underscore abhorrent ROE

As we prepare to draw down our forces in Afghanistan we continue to hear stories about the abhorrent ROE (Rules of Engagement). The following story will only serve to increase the angst and question the purpose of our current involvement in that country.

In August of 2012, according to the Marine Times, “Staff Sgt. Scott Dickinson, 29, Cpl. Richard Rivera, 20, and Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley, 21, died Aug. 10, 2012, after an attacker opened fire on them with an assault rifle at a base gym. A fourth Marine, Staff Sgt. Cody Rhode, sustained five gunshot wounds, including one that shattered his elbow. They were all members of a police advisory team attached to 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.”

But the story gets a bit more complicated — not to mention repulsive — when you scratch the surface.

The accused shooter is a 15-year-old Afghan teen who goes by the name of
Aynoddin. It seems Aynoddin was the “tea boy” of an Afghan police chief named Sanwar Jan. As Michael Maloof of WND reported,

“Tea boys” are part of a child-molesting cultural tradition in Afghanistan WND has reported on called bacha bazi, or “boy play.” In the practice of bacha bazi, boys ages 9-17 are dressed up as women to dance for leering Afghan men who then use the boys for sex and make them their property.”

Why would an unvetted teenage boy be allowed on this Forward Operating Base (FOB) Delhi in Helmand province, or any FOB, as it is clearly a breach of security? Of course the obvious other question is why would the United States turn a blind eye to this practice and seemingly condone it by allowing it on a combat outpost?

The father of Marine LCPL Buckley Jr. believes Jan set up his “tea boy” to do the shooting. The serial number of the AK-47 Aynoddin used to shoot the Marines matched Jan’s rifle. Jan has yet to be charged. But it gets worse.

According to CNN,

Maj. Jason Brezler, a Marine Corps reservist, was going to graduate school in Oklahoma “when he received an e-mail from Marine officers in Helmand province, where Brezler had been deployed in 2009-2010.”The subject line of the e-mail he received said in all capital letters with three exclamation marks “IMPORTANT: SARWAR JAN IS BACK.” Kevin Carroll, Brezler’s attorney, said, “When Jason was serving in Afghanistan in 2010, he caused Sarwar Jan to be fired from that position because he was raping children.” Carroll told CNN “within minutes” Brezler wrote his colleagues back at Forward Operating Base Delhi, warning about Jan. He attached to the e-mail a classified document that included allegations about Jan, claiming he had ties to the Taliban. Now the Marines are prosecuting Major Brezler for open sharing of classified information, albeit if his warning had been heeded, Sarwar Jan would not have been allowed back on the forward operating base.

LCPL Buckley Jr’s aunt, Mary Liz Grosseto, described the deadly absurdity of a situation in which, “Marines were not allowed to have loaded weapons on their base. The Afghans that they were training had loaded weapons. They all had AK-47s.” “This is why the boys in that gym were killed,” she insisted. “They didn’t have a weapon on them. They weren’t permitted because the Afghans found it offensive. And, God forbid we offend the Afghans.”

The night before her nephew was buried, the family found out a general ordered that all Marines from then on would carry loaded weapons with them at all times.

Fine, but too late for LCPL Buckley Jr. and the three other Marines who had been killed.

To learn more please visit AllenBWest.com.

Shock report: 10,700 men raped in the U.S. military

By Judith A. Reisman, Ph.D., and Thomas R. Hampson 

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Brian Lewis and several military female victims testified to harrowing sexual abuse at a U.S. Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, March 13, 2013Lewis stated he “was raped by a senior petty officer … told by a commander not to report it, and later was diagnosed with a personality disorder and discharged.”

Lewis says, “As I demonstrated, men are a majority of the victims in the military. DoD’s infamous ‘Ask her when she’s sober’ marginalizes male survivors and sends a message that men cannot be raped and therefore are not real survivors.”

Why is the best-kept military secret that most soldierly sexual assaults are now definitively homo, not heterosexual, male-on-male sexual exploitation?

The corporate dictionary definition of “sexual assault” is “to knowingly cause another person to engage in an unwanted sexual act by force or threat; ‘most states have replaced the common law definition of rape with statutes defining sexual assault.’” [Dictionary.com, WordNet® 3.0. Princeton University]

While men are statistically more loathe to report their sexual victimization than are women, 10,700 male soldiers, sailors and airmen in 2010 actually reported their sexual assaults. What this means is not totally clear, since men are cannot technically be raped, despite the term being regularly used in the recent hearings on the matter.

The Washington Times reported “The Defense Department estimates 19,000 sexual assaults occur each year, but only 17 percent are ever reported. In 2010 … 8,600 victims [who reported were female, an incredible 4 percent of the women in the military that year], and 10,700 victims were male, reported the Service Woman’s Action Network.”

The rape rate of our dedicated servicewomen is documented as unparalleled in our nation’s history and demands candid politically incorrect discussion. This column, however, focuses on the male-on-male sexual assault Mr. Lewis called rape; more accurately defined as forcible sodomy, that is “oral or anal copulation.”

Most likely, the definition of rape was expanded in the hearings to include the use of objects and unwanted masturbation, or other sexual invasion. Whatever definition of homosexual sexual assault is used, the numbers are shocking.

With 1,219,510 men serving in 2010, if only 17 percent of all male “rape” victims reported, does this mean, based on the aforementioned figure of 10,700 victims, that 62,941 military men were sexually assaulted by other men that year?

Does this mean “only” 5.16 percent of our bravest and best male servicemen were sexually violated by other lust-dominance-driven servicemen in 2010? Did some kind of sick form of hazing play a role?

Were these damning data widely known and debated in the public forum, the legislatures and the courts before the ban on homosexuality was lifted in 2011?

If not, why not? Precisely when did this traumatic rate of military sodomite abuse begin? Did it begin increasing when the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was implemented?

Does it coincide with the appearance of hazing by sodomy in high schools across the country in the last 10 years or so? Is the Boy Scouts board aware of the military homosexual abuser data as they debate their gay Scout ban?

Indeed, whether or not such outrageous male sexual assault estimates are 10,700 or 62,941, these crimes would be traumatizing to their victims and their colleagues, and could be a significant cause for the massive increase in military suicides – and revengeful violence.

A Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP) report notes that, “Historically the suicide rates have been lower in the military than those rates found in the general population.”

In an attempt to understand why recent “military suicide rates have been increasing and surpassing the rates for society at large,” the CDP authors wonder if the “continued wars in Iraq and Afghanistan” may account for the increase.

However, the hard data confirm “rape victims are prone to suicide,” although continued deployment would logically exacerbate such depression and despair.

Forcible sodomy of men and rape of women is certainly causally connected to completed and attempted suicides.

Yet, despite the high rates of male and female rape and forcible sodomy, the CDP report dodges the prominent role of both sexual abuse and pornography – that is, how-to sex abuse manuals and videos – in fueling the lust and contempt that spawns both offender sexual abuse and victim suicidal ideation.

Alcohol/drugs, fed and encouraged by pornography, often direct users to penetrate any available proximate object, indifferent to age, gender or political persuasion.

True, “The military is 85 percent men and 15 percent women.” Still, according to the Naval Personnel Command (2012 Sexual Assault Awareness Month Training Guide), “about 56 percent of estimated sexual assaults in our military are men, and 44 percent are women.”

The politically correct Naval report ignores the Big Porn Elephant in the room as normalizing the rapes of women and the homosexist assaults on fellow servicemen.

While “heterosexual” pornography has commonly been used to arouse and then seduce “straights” into homosexual sex, “gay” pornography is widely available in mainstream homosexist publications like The Advocate Classified.

And, buff, “straight” military men are regularly depicted there as preferred, sexual targets.

Begun in 1976, The Advocate, our oldest and largest homosexist publication, always carried pornographic ads and films, but in 1992 shifted these to a separate Advocate Classifieds and later to the Internet.

Now (May 7) comes the Military Times reporting that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered inspection of all military offices and workplaces worldwide to root out any “materials that create a degrading or offensive work environment.”

Last year Air Force officers searched “troops’ desks and cubicles in search of photos, calendars, magazines, screen-savers, computer files and other items that might be considered degrading toward women.”

There was no mention of confiscating pornographic items degrading toward men.

The cleanup is a long time a comin’. In 1998 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld The Military Honor & Decency Act partly due to “the special circumstances of the military environment, in which the appearance of professionalism and proper conduct is critical.”

On July 1, Frank Rush, acting assistant secretary of defense for force management, signed DoD Instruction 4105.70, banning “Sale or Rental of Sexually Explicit Material on DoD Property.”

“We need a cultural change where every service member is treated with dignity and respect,” said Secretary Hagel, announcing new initiatives to prevent sexual assault.

“Hagel also unveiled the Defense Department’s annual report on sexual assault, which estimates that about 26,000 troops experienced some form of “unwanted sexual contact” during the past year. That’s roughly one in every 50 troops in the active-duty force.

But, if 10,700 men and 8,600 women reported the euphemized “unwanted sexual contact” – and if only 17 percent of victims report, how does this reduce to 26,000 military victims?

The official reports seem contradictory.

Secretary Hagel wants to eliminate pornography to “really drive the cultural change.” Of course, we can have no honorable or trustworthy military until all vestiges of pornography – from cartoons to Internet adverts, videos, films, calendars and phones, and the rapists and sodomites it trains and justifies – are excised from military service, from the Pentagon elites to the privates under them.

Now, does this mean the elite 5,200 child pornography users at the Pentagon will finally be arrested and tried? For, indeed there are “charms By which the property of youth and maidhood May be abused.”

Thomas R. Hampson, a licensed Illinois private investigator, is founder of the Truth Alliance Foundation.

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Congressman Miller of Northwest Florida Supports Increased Sanctions Against Iran

US. Rep. Jeffrey Miller (R-FL District 1)

Tuesday night, November 26, 2013, an AIPAC sponsored briefing was presented at B’nai Israel Synagogue in Pensacola, Florida featuring local Congressman, US. Rep. Jeffrey Miller (R- 1st CD FL). Miller is chairman of the US House of Representatives Veterans Affairs Committee as well as a Member of the House Armed Services Committee. His Congressional District includes a number of major US Naval and Air Force reservations and commands with a significant number of active and retired military and veterans.  Miller’s topic was the US-Israel Defense Relationship.  Miller’s focus was on Iran’s threat to Israel and the US, the P5+1 interim agreement supposedly directed at stopping the clock on Iran’s development of nuclear weapons.  That controversial agreement had just been announced over the prior weekend as the first such agreement in more than 10 years with the Islamic Regime in Tehran. Miller joked that perhaps when Reagan said “trust but verify”, he really meant don’t trust but verify. Miller had voted for new strengthened sanctions under Amendments to the Defense Appropriations Act (HR 2414).  In the US Senate a bipartisan group of Senators have sponsored a parallel measure in pending Defense Appropriation bills.

Rabbi Jordan Gerson, spiritual leader of B’nai Israel synagogue in Pensacola had been contacted by AIPAC’s Florida Rabbinic Cabinet director Sam Kalmowicz as to whether he might be able to arrange the Miller talk. Miller was introduced by Gene Rosenbaum, a local businessman and member of the synagogue who has been active as an AIPAC supporter both locally and nationally. Miller’s talk coincided with the synagogue hosting the community annual Thanksgiving ecumenical service. In the audience were spiritual leaders from a reform temple, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist churches, as well as members of the synagogue. The following evening was the onset of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, commemorating the liberation of ancient Judea by Jewish patriots, the Maccabees.

The historical coincidence between the two holidays was not lost on the large audience who attended Cong. Miller’s presentation.   He drew attention to the Administration’s attempt to reign in the Iranian nuclear threat with its acceptance of the interim P5+1 agreement in Geneva endeavoring to stop the clock on development of Iran’s nuclear weapons.   An existential threat directed at destroying the Jewish state labeled as a “Zionist enterprise” by the Supreme Ruler of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei.  A week ago Khamenei had lectured about Iran’s pre-eminent right to nuclear enrichment to  a group of paramilitary Basiji  and Senior Revolutionary Guards at a Mosque dedicated to the memory of  Ayatollah Khomenei, who lead the 1979 Revolution.  Skepticism abounded that the real objectives of newly elected President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, a former nuclear negotiator who fooled  the West in the period of 2003-2005.  During his negotiations Iran secretly expanding nuclear enrichment development.  He is now was pushing for a first steps agreement to lift punishing sanctions while preserving the right to continue uranium enrichment.

There were less than 164 centrifuges deployed in secret by Iran in 2003, now there are rumored to be more than 19,000 centrifuges. Moreover Iran was constructing a heavy water reactor at Arak whose only purpose would be to produce enough plutonium for fissile material to make at least two bombs a year starting in 2014.

Also speaking at the AIPAC briefing by Cong. Miller was Deputy AIPAC director for Florida, Josh Karsh endeavoring to push for bi-partisan support for new sanctions in the pending US Senate Defense Appropriations Amendments. Amendments supported by key Republican and Democrat Senators including Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada disappointed at   the P5+1 agreement.  The Administration suggested that the adoption of new sanctions was premature and to let the next six month be used to negotiate a definitive agreement with Iran endeavoring to stopping its nuclear program.  Israel’s PM Netanyahu had said the interim agreement was an historic mistake and what should be negotiated is the complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear development infrastructure for enrichment and plutonium production.  The Senate might consider new sanctions following the Thanksgiving recess in early December.  That is if there is a political will to do so.

Miller in his remarks to the audience of fellow Pensacolians  made it clear that he viewed the P5+1 agreement, and  reports of Administration’s secret negotiations with Iran as a fantasy.  He stood firmly in support of Israel, America’s ally, who he said was in the gunsight of the Iranian nuclear threat. An Iran governed by radical Twelver Shiite Islamists denying liberty to their own people whose ideology brims with hatred towards Jews and Christians seeking their destruction in an apocalyptic event. An Iran that has currently imprisoned two American citizens, one a former FBI agent and a Jew and the other a Christian pastor arrested when he was endeavoring to build an orphanage in Iran. A pastor was only briefly mentioned in negotiations by the US delegation in Geneva. This was an Iran whose charming new President had ordered several hundred executions in the first three months of his term in office. Miller acknowledged in questions from the audience that Americans supported a strong military in Israel that if necessary could undertake unilateral action against an Iranian nuclear existential threat.  While he generally doesn’t favor foreign assistance, in Israel’s case as he told an audience questioner, he made an exception. Moreover in response to another audience question he acknowledged the important contributions that Israel has made to refinement of US military capabilities and intelligence.

This writer drew attention to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards allegedly building a missile base less than 2,000 miles away in Venezuela.  North Korea has just announced that it may supply boosters for Iranian missiles capable of being launched here in the Western Hemisphere. Those missiles could be equipped with low yield nuclear warheads capable of producing a devastating Electronic Magnetic Pulse effect.   David Kay, a former UN weapons inspector, has questioned how 250 IAEA inspectors could cover all of the monitoring in known, let alone unknown, locations for centrifuges and dilution of existing fissile stockpiles.

The sentiments in support of Israel expressed by Congressman Miller and members of the audience at B’nai Israel synagogue reflected enduring support in Northwest Florida for Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East that shares core Judeo Christian values. The audience rose to applaud Miller’s views. They then participated in an ecumenical Thanksgiving service on the cusp of Hanukkah celebrating freedom and liberty against tyranny.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

Could Iran’s Earthquake Prone Nuclear Program Trigger a Chernobyl Event?

Arak Heavy Water Reactor (IR-40). Source: Reuters.

Yesterday, an earthquake struck Iran killing 8 and injuring 59 in the vicinity of the Bushehr nuclear power plant located on the northern shore of the Persian Gulf.  CNN reported:

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 5.6-magnitude quake was centered about 39 miles (63 km) northeast of the Persian Gulf city of Bushehr, where the nuclear plant is located, and 7 miles (14 km) northeast of Borazjan.

[. . .]

A 6.3-magnitude earthquake in May killed 39 people and injured 850 in Bushehr province, but the reactor was not affected

Iran is very prone to frequent devastating earthquakes given the country’s location at the conjunction of the Arabian and Eurasian plates with several major fault zones.  American Enterprise Institute scholar Michael Rubin  informed this writer at a Yale residential college forum in 2005, the Bushehr nuclear power facility was built on an earthquake fault.

Earthquake Damage, Borazjan, Iran, Nov. 28, 2013.

Iran has suffered devastating earthquakes in the past.  CNN noted:

In August 2012, two earthquakes in northwestern Iran struck 11 minutes apart — the first a 6.4 magnitude, and the second a 6.3 magnitude, killing at least 306 people.

In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 quake struck the city of Bam in southeast Iran, killing some 31,000 people.

A 1990 quake in the northwestern provinces of Gilan and Zanjan killed as many as 50,000.

Given the focus of the world’s interest in the IAEA monitoring of Iran’s nuclear development program under the recently announced P5+1 agreement  and the news that the Islamic Regime will open up the Arak heavy water reactor (IR-40) for a possible visit by IAEA inspectors on December 8, 2013, perhaps the UN nuclear watchdog agency should raise the matter of why Iran hasn’t signed the 1994 Nuclear Safety Agreement regarding both nuclear reactors.  The Bushehr nuclear power facility has been criticized for faulty construction, yet control of it was transferred in September 2013 to Iran by Russian developers of the nuclear power facility.  A possible quake on the fault line under the Bushehr nuclear power plant, in the opinion of critics Khosrow Semnani and Gary M. Sandquist, might lead to a devastating Chernobyl Event with massive collateral damage downwind to the Gulf Emirates, Iraq and Saudi Arabia on the Southern Littoral of the Persian Gulf.  They wrote about this daunting prospect in a New York Times op-ed in January 2013, “The Next Chernobyl”.

The authors noted:

Bushehr sits on an active fault line, raising the risks of a Fukushima-type catastrophe. Unless action is taken, the likelihood of an accident is far too high for the international community to ignore.

A Chernobyl-type nuclear meltdown in Bushehr would not only inflict severe damage in southern Iran, but also in the six oil and gas-rich Gulf Cooperation Council countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Indeed, the capitals of those states are closer to Bushehr than Tehran. Nuclear radiation in the air and water would disrupt the Strait of Hormuz shipping, the world’s most important oil chokepoint. Oil prices would skyrocket. The world economy would face a hurricane.

With prevailing winds blowing from east to west in the gulf, and coastal currents that circle counterclockwise, radiation fallout would contaminate oil fields and desalination plants that provide fresh water for local inhabitants. This would be an unmitigated disaster for the Gulf States that rely on desalination plants for water, and would also threaten the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, stationed in Bahrain.

Further, Messrs. Semnani and Sandquist drew attention to the faulty construction of Bushehr:

The history of Bushehr is troubling. Begun in 1975 with German engineers, halted after the 1979 revolution, and restarted with the assistance of the Russian Atomic Energy Agency, known as Rosatom, it has been plagued with delays and technical problems from the beginning.

In August of 2010, after several years of delay, the plant became officially operational when fuel rods were transported to the reactor. After no more than six months of operation, the reactor had to be shut down due to problems with the cooling system, which were blamed on German-made components. According to Gholamreza Aghazadeh, the former head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, the problems were design anomalies. He stated that 24 percent of the parts and equipment used at the Bushehr plant are German, 36 percent Iranian and 40 percent Russian.

This is not how you make a safe nuclear power plant.

But Iran unlike other developers of nuclear weapons programs, as the authors pointed out,  is not prepared for a possible Chernobyl or Fukushima disaster:

Iran is the only country operating a nuclear power plant that hasn’t signed the 1994 Convention on Nuclear Safety. The international community should push Iran to sign the treaty with the same vigor that it pushes Iran to disclose information about its suspected weapons sites. Even countries like Israel, India and Pakistan — none of which have signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty — have signed the Convention on Nuclear Safety.

The IAEA will be hard pressed to deal with inspections of nuclear weapons programs under the P5+1 interim agreement let alone address safety concerns raised about earthquake threats to the safe operations of reactors at Bushehr and possibly Arak.  American David Kay, former UN chief  weapons inspector, drew attention in an NPR interview  to the  daunting task facing the small contingent of 250 of the Vienna based nuclear watchdog agency  inspection staff overseeing the monitoring of the P5+1 agreement of just the known sites.  Accordingly, Yukio Amano, IAEA director-general Amano has indicated the agency might need more funding for verification work.

The recent earthquakes near the Bushehr nuclear plant in Iran raise additional concerns for any agreement to control Iran’s nuclear program. Concerns that the US Senate might consider taking up in pending amendments containing strengthened sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program when it meets following the Thanksgiving recess. Notwithstanding, the Obama White House might raise  with the UN Security Council the matter of Iran’s failure to sign the 1994 Nuclear Safety Agreement. The Middle East and the world don’t need to face the additional risk of a Chernobyl or Fukushima-type event arising from the Iran’s reckless pursuit of nuclear hegemony.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

The Prospect of World War Three

Let me begin by saying that the deal the U.S. struck with Iran on November 24th is so criminally stupid that mobs with torches and pitchforks should be surrounding the White House and Department of State demanding that the President and Secretary of State resign.

How many times does the United States have to make really bad deals with really bad nations? And then call it progress!

In 1994, former President Clinton announced that a deal with North Korea had agreed to “freeze the major elements of its nuclear program.” A new round of talks was scheduled—in Geneva—to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Virtually the same language was used by President Obama in his late evening announcement of a fundamentally useless, but extremely dangerous agreement with Iran.

Worse than accepting Iran’s deception, it is as if Obama knew nothing of the North Korean deal that subsequently resulted in its development of a nuclear weapon despite some costly bribery exacted for promises it never intended to keep. The worst part of this is Obama’s deception of Congress and the American people. Efforts to grant Iran the status of a new nuclear power had been secretly going on for a year behind the back of Congress.

On hearing of the deal, Rep. Mike Rogers said “That’s the one thing the whole world was trying to stop them from doing,” referring to the permission granted to continue enriching uranium. “We made this mistake in Pakistan. We made this mistake in North Korea. History is a great judge here and great teacher. Why would you make the same mistake to a nation that will proliferate a nuclear arms race in the Middle East if they are successful at getting a nuclear weapon?”

It is important to keep in mind that not just the U.S. is a signatory to this agreement, but also the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China. It was facilitated by the European Union. The lessons of history were totally ignored. The sanctions imposed by the United Nations on Iran were ignored.

For years many have taken comfort in the knowledge that, in the past, Israel destroyed the nuclear reactors that were being built in Iraq and more recently in Syria. An attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities was assumed to have the support of U.S. military power in the event that Iran would retaliate either directly or through its terrorist proxies, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

It is clear now that Obama has abandoned Israel as well as Saudi Arabia which also regards Iran as its enemy. Obama has embraced America’s enemy since the Islamic revolution in 1979. He has not brought us closer to peace. He has brought the world closer to World War Three.

I am not a military strategist, but one need not be to understand Israel’s peril or the limits on its ability to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, many of which are underground or heavily defended.

Here are some comparisons:

  • Iran has a population of 78,868,711. Israel has a population of 7,765,700.
  • Of these, those fit for military service are 39,556,497 in Iran and 2,511,190 in Israel.
  • Comparing active military personnel, Iran has 545,000 and Israel has 187,000.
  • Iran has 650,000 in military reserves. Israel has 565,000.
  • Iran’s annual defense budget (in USD) is $10,687,000,000 and Israel’s is $15,209,000,000.

The comparison of their military capabilities is equally daunting. A sobering analysis is offered on the website of the Jewish Virtual Library.

Even if Israel were to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, it would also have to fend off massive rocket attacks from Hezbollah and Hamas.

What defies Obama’s reasoning is Iran’s long history of attacks on the West. It has specialized in taking hostages, initially in Lebanon from 1984 through 1992. It seized the American embassy in 1979 and held American diplomats for 444 days. It holds an American cleric as this is being written.

In 2011, the U.S. discovered that Iran had conceived and funded a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. in Washington, D.C. At the time, the State Department said that the thwarted plot “underscored anew Iran’s interest in using international terrorism—including the United States—to further its foreign policy goals.”

Obama’s ability to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions and its intent to become a Middle East hegemon through diplomacy does not exist.

A race to acquire nuclear arms has begun in the region where Israel and Pakistan already have them, as does India and China. Saudi Arabia has announced its intent to secure nuclear weapons.

One can only conclude that this interim agreement is a repeat of the appeasement that occurred in Munich when European nations sought a similar agreement with the Nazi regime. The lessons of history are unforgiving.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

VIDEO: The global threat of a Red (Marxist) on Green (Islamist) alliance

Tom Trento, National Security Expert, Director of The United West.

Tom Trento, National Security Expert, Director of The United West.

Tom Trento, Florida talk show host, author and internationally known speaker on national security issues, spoke at the Villages TEA Party on September 17th. The topic was the global threat facing the United States, our allies and Israel. Trento covered topics including Syria, Iran, the 9/11 remembrance and the threat to Western civilization posed by a new/old alliance. This Red (Marxist) and Green (Islamist) alliance has strengthened recently with the reemergence of the role of Russia in the Middle East.

Trento takes questions from the TEA Party members and put into perspective what is happening in this and previous administrations. Please watch Trento’s presentation (video courtesy of The United West):

ABOUT THE UNITED WEST:

The United West is dedicated to defending and advancing Western Civilization against the kinetic and cultural onslaught of Shariah Islam, so that America remains a land of freedom, justice and opportunity grounded in the principles of our Constitutional Republic.The United West has taken up this challenge because the ever increasing forces of darkness, whether political, social, or philosophical seek to destroy, subvert or subjugate all that Americans hold to be right and true.The United West will succeed in this mission by educating, training and activating Americans to stand on proven principles, guide public opinion and amend public policy so that leadership is selected on November 6, 2012 which affirm the canons of jurisprudence.

Specifically, TUW educates and activates freedom minded people, wherever they may live, to effectively develop strategies and tactics which propagate the exceptionalism of Western Civilization over against the totalitarian choke-hold of shariah Islam. Immediately, our objectives include the mobilization of Americans and Europeans to stand firmly for the defense and protection of the State of Israel.

The United West combines top-shelf academics with a military-grade activism to distinguish itself from every counter-jihad organization. There is no other nongovernmental organization like it, in the world. Visit TheUnitedWest.org to learn more.

One Florida man’s successful war against Al Jazeera

David Caton is soft spoken and looks like Clark Kent but to many he is Superman when it comes to taking on the Goliaths and winning. Caton is the Executive Director of the Florida Family Association (FFA).

David Caton is one man in Florida who has been single handedly waging a war against Al Jazeera.

Procter & Gamble products.

CurrentTV officially became Al Jazeera America and started airing Al Jazeera content on August 20, 2013. Because of the efforts of FFA all major companies except Procter & Gamble stopped advertising on CurrentTV before its official name change to Al Jazeera America. One hundred eighteen (118) companies stop advertising.

According to Caton, “Florida Family Association tapes ten hours of programing on Al Jazeera America every day. The Florida Family Association office communicates with each advertiser no less than once per week. This monitoring effort and contact with companies influenced 105 companies to stop advertising on Al Jazeera America.”

“Companies that continue to advertise after receiving emails from the Florida Family Association office are categorized as a major corporation, smaller company or non-profit organization (free) and rated from most frequent to least frequent.  Florida Family Association features the top advertisers in email campaigns and web articles.  Major companies were targeted one at a time because there were so few of them.  Some smaller companies, even with frequent ads, may never be targeted with a campaign because of their inferior reputation,” states Caton.

The Florida Family Association launched twelve email campaigns that were all successful in influencing the thirteen companies to stop advertising on Al Jazeera America thanks to thousands of emails sent by FFA supporters.  All of the following companies, targeted in an email campaign, stopped advertising:  ADT, Allstate, Chrysler Group (Dodge Dart, Fiat) E-Trade, Foster Grant, Hershey, KIA, Nestle (Gerber Life Insur. Co.), Pfizer, Reckitt Benckiser plc, Red Lobster and Reputation.com.

The power of the internet is not unlike Superman’s super powers.

Caton states, “Regardless of how much oil money Al Jazeera spends to keep their American channel alive corporate America must be vigorously challenged not to support the channel.”

ABOUT THE FLORIDA FAMILY ASSOCIATION:

The Florida Family Association is a national organization that is made up of thousands of supporters across America who share in the same goal of defending American values and improving America’s moral environment.  These supporters send more than one million emails every month to Corporate America officials associated with issues posted on this web site.  Florida Family Association’s accomplishments are a direct result of the dedicated people across the country who support the efforts of this organization.

RELATED:

Snowden Document: NSA Spied On Al Jazeera Communications – DER SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International

Egyptian Court’s Bold Move Against Al Jazeera

The following one hundred eighteen (118) companies stopped advertising on Al Jazeera America:

21st Century Insur. Co.
ABC network promotions
Acorn Stairlifts, Inc.
ADT
Allstar Products (Buyperfectpancake.com,Getforevercomfy.com, Sidesocket.com)
Allstate
American International Group (AIG Direct)
AmeriStar Tax Center
Amgen (Enbrel)
Anthony Huffman (Approvedcolleges.com)
Approved Colleges
Arriva Medical
BASF
Beachbody, LLC (P90X, Rockinbody.com, Try10now.com)
Beezid
Binder and Binder Law Firm
Blue Buffalo (True Blue Test)
Bosley Hair
Cancer Treatment Centers of America
Certified Financial Planner Board
(Letsmakeaplan.com)
Chrysler Corporation (Dodge Dart, Fiat)
Consumer Cellular (Exclusively at AARP)
Craftmatic Adjustable Beds
Credit Kharma
Custom Ink (Trycustomink.com)
Darden Restaurants (Red Lobster)
Denny’s,
DeVry University
Dollar Shave Club
Dr. Pepper (A&W Rootbeer, Dr. Pepper)
DreamBrands MDrive
E*Trade
Earth School  Educational Foundation(Carbonnationamovie.com)
EncoreDental (Ageon USA, Inc.)
Esurance
EveryMemorabilia.com,
Exceptional Products, Inc. (Getcellens.com)
Expedia.com
FabriClear
Fast Auto Loans, Inc.
Fernando Becattini (Getneaterneeder.com)
Floororthopedic.com
Foster Grant
General Mills (Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, Fiber One, Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamed Vegetables, Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Nature Valley Crunchy Granola, Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, Pillsbury Grand Biscuits, Pillsbury Toaster Strudel, Progresso Soup, Totino’s Pizza, Trix, Yoplait)
Global Wireless Entertainment (Skinit.com)
Greenlight Financial Services
Harvest Direct (Buycuttingedge.com, Go Go Pillow)
Healingsmith (Eczenil)
Heineken
Hershey
Hoffman-LaRoche, Inc. (AccuCheck)
Home Box Office (Strikeback on Cinemax)
Home Delivery Incontinent Supplies Company (HDIS.COM)
Honda North America
Hoveround
Hubbard Media Group (Reelz.com)
iCan Benefit
Ideastream Consumer Products
(Buymagictape.com)
IdeaVillage Products (Microtouchmax.com)
Ilva Saronna SPA (Disaronno)nvent Help
James C. Ferrell, PC
Jay Mebane (Getthunderleash.com)
Johnson & Johnson (Rogaine, Skinid)
JP Morgan Chase (Chase Ink)
KIA
Kiva Microfunds
LaserSpine Institute
Lawyers Works
Lesson Nine GmbH (Babbel.com)
Liberator Medical Holdings (cath.com)
Life Alert
Little Caesar
Luminosity
Marvel Enterprises, Inc. (X-Men Destiny)
Microsoft (Bing)
Microtouchmagic.com
Mr. Lid,
National Collector’s Mint
NBC network promotion
Nestle (Gerber Life Insur. Company)
News Corp. (The Following)
Oasis Legal Finance LLC
Pfizer
Plymouth Direct
PODS
Pulaski and Middleman, LLC (PMMESO.com)
Q.E.P., Inc. (Getinstagrip.com)
Quicken  Loans
Range Rover
Reckitt Benckiser, plc (Airwick, Cepacol, Clearasil, Delsym, Finish, Finish Power Up, Lime Away, Lysol, Mucinex, Resolve Bright and White, Resolve Easy Clean, Rid X, Scalpicin and Woolite),
Reputation.com
Samsung Electronics (Galaxy Note 10.1, Galaxy  Camera)
Scion (Toyota)
Select Quote
Senior Life Insur. Company
Shakespeare Co. LLC (Pivotrim.com)
Shell
Simplex Healthcare (Diabetescareclub.com)
St. Jude Children’s Hospital
State Farm
Steve Tolman (Buyeazycovers.com)
Sweetdreamblackberries.com
TD Ameritrade
The Weather Channel Reel Rivals promotion
Turner Broadcasting (CNN promos)
T-VScissors.com
United Benefits Direct
United Stated Department of
Energy (Energysaves.gov)
United States Marine Corps
United Way
Vapore (Trymypuremist.com)
Verizon
Viacom (Centric network, Star Trek into Darkness, WWZ)
Vistaprint
Wounded Warrior Project
Ziprecruiter.com

Advertising time as of August 20, 2013 was used for the following:

Percent of 
Subjects commercial time
Network and cable company promotions 18%
Free ads for non-profits
Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation 2%
Fannie Mae (Makinghomeaffordable.com) 1%
Habitat for Humanity 1%
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America IAVA 2%
Volunteers of America (Actionteam.org) 1%
   Total free ads 7%
Small companies
A Place for Mom 1%
CashAmerica International, Inc. (Cashnetusa.com) 7%
Connect America (Medical Alert) 3%
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services 1%
E. Kenneth Wall & Associates 2%
Endless Pools 3%
Guthy-Renker Corporation (Proactive and Mycleanpc.com) 23%
Hampton Direct (Chillow, WaxVac) 11%
Kowa Corp. (Okinawa Life) 2%
Neat Company (Tryneat.com) 2%
Radiancy (Trynono) 3%
REVshare (Tax10000.com) 1%
Swift Maintenance Supply (Flex seal) 4%
Telebrands (Aeroknife.com, Greatkitchensecrets.com,
      Kansascitypocketwatch.com, Orgreenic, Pestcures,
      Stone Wave Cooker) 7%
Wipenew.com 5%
   Total small companies 75%