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REPORT: Iran Paid Taliban Fighters To Attack U.S. Assets In Afghanistan, Leading To Trump Ordering Killing Of Soleimani

Iran reportedly paid bounties to a Taliban-backed Haqqani terrorist network for at least six attacks carried out against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

U.S. intelligence identified the link between Iran and Haqqani following the December 2019 suicide attack at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, which killed two civilians and injured dozens more, CNN reported Monday morning.

Two Trump administration officials said, according to CNN, that the bounties led to President Donald Trump’s decision to kill former Quds Force General Qasem Soleimani by drone strike in January. Trump cited Soleimani and Iran allegedly planning further attacks against U.S. forces in the region as a justification for killing him.

CNN’s report comes after U.S. intelligence reports leaked accusing Russia of paying bounties to Taliban-backed fighters for attacks against U.S. soldiers. The White House said Trump did not act, arguing that there was a lack of consensus within the intelligence community (IC) over the veracity of the information. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters at a press briefing in June that Trump would act if the IC reached a consensus on the intelligence.

WATCH:

The president stated during his hour-long interview with Axios’ Jonathan Swan that he did not raise the issue during a recent phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The White House, National Security Council, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and Department of Defense did not return Daily Caller’s inquiries on the report by press time.

COLUMN BY

CHRISTIAN DATOC

Senior White House correspondent. Follow Christian on Twitter and Instagram

RELATED ARTICLES:

Trump Administration Still Looking To Reduce US Troop Levels In Afghanistan

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews likens jihad terror mastermind Soleimani to Princess Diana and Elvis Presley [Video]

Matthews is of course correct, except for the minor detail that when Soleimani covered “Don’t Be Cruel,” he sang “Be Cruel.”

These people’s intense hatred of President Trump has driven them mad.

“Chris Matthews Compares Soleimani to Elvis Presley and Princess Diana,” by Andrew Kugle, Washington Free Beacon, January 8, 2020 (thanks to the Geller Report):

MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews on Wednesday night compared deceased Iranian terror master Qassem Soleimani to Elvis Presley and Princess Diana.

“When some people die, you don’t know what the impact is going to be. When Princess Diana died, for example, there was a huge emotional outpouring,” Matthews said. “Elvis Presley in our culture—it turns out that this general we killed was a beloved hero of the Iranian people to the point where—look at the people, we got pictures up now—these enormous crowds coming out. There’s no American emotion in this case, but there’s a hell of a lot of emotion on the other side.”

Soleimani led the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps which trained, funded, and armed Iran-sympathetic terrorist groups in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and around the Middle East, killing thousands, including hundreds of Americans.

“Should our leaders know what they’re doing when they kill somebody?” Matthews asked Rep. Joaquin Castro (D., Texas).

Castro replied that Trump’s strategy of pulling out of the nuclear deal and putting pressure on Iran has failed.

“They very much could have anticipated that Iranians would react in this way, both the Iranian public but also that the government would strike back,” Castro said. “This speaks to a much larger issue, Chris, which is the president has had a very chaotic and erratic foreign policy, especially with respect to Iran.”…

RELATED ARTICLES:

Sadiq Khan’s London: Islamic Student Association brands US ‘Terrorist State’ at embassy protests

Hamas-linked CAIR claims “discrimination” over Iranian-Canadian complaints about being detained at US border

Soleimani’s Death a Body Blow to the Islamic Republic

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column with video is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Kerry: No Sanctions Against Conventional Arms and Missile Technology in Iran Nuclear Deal

Secretary of State Kerry appeared on a Reuters Newsmaker interview today with the apt title of Iran: Moment of Truth. He dropped another bombshell, this time about the lifting of UN sanctions barring Iran’s purchase of conventional arms and missile technology. Kerry indicated there would be snap back of arms sanctions. However, during a recent House Armed Services Committee Hearing, he admitted lifting of financial sanctions would enable deliveries of arms to terror proxies in the Middle East threatening both Americans and Israelis.

Iran demanded and the Administration negotiating team consented to lift bans on Iranian purchases of conventional arms and missile technology adopted under 2010 UN Security Resolution 1929. At the time of the adoption of those UN sanctions both Israel and the US had objected to the sale of the Russian S-300 system to Iran. This comes in the wake of a trip to Moscow on July 24th by Qod’s Force commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani to expedite the delivery of the advanced Russian S-300 air defense system . Russian’s Putin had lifted the ban in mid- April 2015 following the announcement of the framework for the final Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).  The JCPOA was announced in Vienna on July 14th and unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council on July 22nd. This was just prior to Gen. Soleimani’s trip to Moscow to meet both Putin and Russian Defense Minister Shogui. Add to that the announced $10 billion dollar oil barter deal with China for stealth fighter jets and it would appear that once again, Iran has been allowed to breach conventional arms sanctions. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov had suggested that expediting lifting these arms sale bans would enable sales would enable Iran and Syria to combat the Islamic State.

Reuters reported these latest revelations by Kerry:

Violations of an arms embargo by Iran or restrictions on its missile program would not force an automatic reinstatement or “snapback” of United Nations sanctions under a landmark nuclear deal, although other options would be available, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday.

“The arms embargo is not tied to snapback,” Kerry said. “It is tied to a separate set of obligations. So they are not in material breach of the nuclear agreement for violating the arms piece of it.”

“There is a specific U.N. resolution outside of this agreement that prohibits them from sending weapons to Hezbollah. There is a separate and specific U.N. resolution that prohibits them from sending weapons to the Shia militia in Iraq,” he said.

Kerry added that similar U.N. restrictions banned arms sales to the Houthis in Yemen, North Korea and other potential recipients of weapons from Iran.

Tehran has consistently violated the U.N. arms embargo and missile sanctions. Since 2010, those breaches have been documented by the U.N. panel of experts on Iran.

Kerry said a new U.N. monitoring mechanism would have to be created to replace the panel of experts, suggesting that much of the monitoring work could be done by the United States and its allies on their own.

“We’re not dependent on the U.N. to do that and I think Israel and others are much happier that we’re not,” he said. “We will depend on our own intel community, on our own military, on our own information, we will work with Israel, and we will work with others.”

Iran’s senior nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi made clear last month that Tehran had no intention of complying with the arms embargo and missile sanctions.

“Whenever it’s needed to send arms to our allies in the region, we will do so,” he said. “We are not ashamed of it.”

Watch the Washington Free Beacon YouTube video of Secretary Kerry’s Reuters Newsmaker interview:

Watch this response by Kerry to this issue in this C-Span video clip during a House Hearing Armed Services Committee Hearing:

Syrian made M-302 missiles captured by Israeli Naval Commandos from Klos-C March 2015  Ariel Schalit AP

M-302 missiles captured by Israeli Naval commandos on display in Eilat March 2014Source:  AP/Ariel Schalit.

Notwithstanding and even before the 2010 UN conventional arms sanctions were adopted, Israel has unilaterally intercepted shipments attacked arms deliveries to Iranian proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas. Israel is not waiting around for implementation of UN arms control and missile technology sanctions or any Presidential executive orders by the Obama Administration to defend against Iran violations. Israel naval commandos intercepted Iranian shipments of conventional arms and missiles in both the Mediterranean off Gaza and in the Red Sea.  In March 2014 the Klos C  was boarded by Israeli Naval commandos in the Red Sea and brought to the Port of Eilat.  Multiple IAF attacks on missile and other weaponry  prevented deliveries for proxy to Hezbollah in both Syria and Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.

In an NER/Iconoclast post yesterday on” Obama’s Dangerous Spin on Iran Nuclear Deal,” this writer suggested the latest conventional arms sanctions by Iran with the connivance of both Russia and China may have jeopardized any military option by the U.S. or Israel. I suggested that this was a breach of both UN travel bans on the Quds Force Commander as well as the UN Resolution 1929 sanctions against purchase of conventional weapons and missile technology precluded by both five and eight year  sunsets under the JCPOA.  It makes any military option harder by orders of magnitude. While both the U.S. and Israel aren’t without resources of their own, Iran’s  breaches of sanctions makes the decision to use American of Israeli military power more complicated.  Kerry’s Reuters Newsmakers interview comments today virtually confirmed that assessment.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in New York August 11, 2015. Source: Reuters/Brendan McDermid.

Obama’s Dangerous Spin on the Iran Nuclear Deal

There was a spirited panel discussion on  the August 9, 2015 Lisa Benson Radio Show for National Security stemming from President Obama’s  remarks on the Iran nuclear deal  during  his interview on CNN’s Farid Zakaria’s Global Public Square (GPS) Sunday morning program.  Panelists Barry Shaw in Israel, Shoshana Bryen of The Jewish Policy of the Washington, D.C. based Jewish Policy Center and this writer. The interview was recorded last Thursday following the President’s speech at American University and contentious meeting with a select group of American Jewish leaders. It was alleged that he told them that “if they left  off criticizing his deal, he would leave off criticizing them. That was a warning to the major American Jewish lobby group , the American Israel Political Action Committee. (AIPAC) and an affiliate, Concerned Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran have funded a multi-million ad campaign opposing the President’s Iran nuclear deal up for a vote in Congress in  Mid-September.

President Obama  also asserted during the interview that the Republican opposition to the Iran nuclear deal was ideological and political and not dissimilar from so-called hardliners in Iran. In response to a question on this from Zakaria he said:

The reason that Mitch McConnell and the rest of the folks in his caucus who oppose this jumped out and opposed it before they even read it, before it was even posted, is reflective of an ideological commitment not to get a deal done. And in that sense they do have a lot in common with hard- liners who are much more satisfied with the status quo. What I said was that there are those who, if they did not read the bill before they announced their opposition, if they are not able to offer plausible reasons why they wouldn’t support the bill or plausible alternatives in preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon other than potential military strikes, then that would indicate that they’re not interested in the substance of the issue, they’re interested in the politics of the issue.

Zakaria asked, “Is it appropriate for a foreign head of government ( a reference to Israeli Pm Netanyahu] to inject himself into a debate that is taking place in Washington?“  The President  responded:

You know, I’ll let you ask Prime Minister Netanyahu that question if he gives you an interview. I don’t recall a similar example. Obviously the relationship between the United States and Israel is deep, it is profound, and it’s reflected in my policies because I have said repeatedly and, more importantly, acted on the basic notion that our commitment to Israel security is sacrosanct. It’s something that I take very seriously, which is why we provided more assistance, more military cooperation, more intelligence cooperation to Israel than any previous administration.

But as I said in the speech yesterday, on the substance, the prime minister is wrong on this. And I think that I can show that the basic assumptions that he’s made are incorrect. If in fact my argument is right that this is the best way for Iran not to get a nuclear weapon, then that’s not just good for the United States, that is very good for Israel. In fact, historically this has been the argument that has driven Prime Minister Netanyahu and achieved consensus throughout Israel.

So the question has to be, is there in fact a better path to preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon than this one? And I’ve repeatedly asked both Prime Minister Netanyahu and others to present me a reasonable, realistic plan that would achieve exactly what this deal achieves, and I have yet to get a response. So, as I said yesterday, I completely understand why both he and the broad Israeli public would be suspicious, cautious about entering into any deal with Iran.

Notwithstanding the President remarks in the CNN Zakaria interview, New York Democratic Senator Charles E. Schumer and Bronx New York House Member, Elliott Engel, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Relations Committee and several other leading Democrat members of both the New York and California delegations have also opted to oppose the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action announced in Vienna on July 14th and unanimously endorsed by the UN Security on July 22nd.  Congress will reconvene after Labor Day for more Hearings and a vote to either approve or reject the Iranian nuclear deal. President Obama has threatened veto it if a majority of both the Houses of Congress vote to reject it.

Watch these CNN Video clips of President Obama interview with Farid Zakaria on August 9, 2015

On Israeli PM Netanyahu

On Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei

On his American University Speech

LBS Soundcloud August 9 correctedThe following were important takeaways from  the August 9th Lisa Benson Radio Show:

Israel’s History of Unilateral Actions against Iraqi and Syrian nuclear programs despite US Objections.

Barry Shaw speaking from Israel drew attention to Israeli attacks on the Osirak reactor in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 1981 and Syria’s al-Kibar reactor in September 2007. He noted that Israeli PM Menachem Begin suggested that  his order for the so-called Raid on the Sun in Iraqi would set a precedent for future similar actions by his successors.  Shaw noted the objections by the Reagan Administration and even US media  characterizations of Israel’s actions  as state sponsored terrorism . However a decade later in the 1990’s Dick Cheney , then Secretary of Defense expressed  the thanks of the US  for Israel’s action in 1981 during the Gulf War in 1991.  Following, the 2007 Syria reactor raid, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticized Israel for not exhausting diplomatic efforts. Shaw noted that following the raid Syria let in the IAEA to inspect the reclaimed site of the former Al-Kibar nuclear bomb factory Shaw also reflected the views of a  significant majority of Israelis backing PM Netanyahu’s intervention criticizing the Iran nuclear pact.

The Dangers of Obama’s Withdrawal of US Assets in the Region.

Shoshana Bryen drew attention to the dangers of withdrawal of US military assets in the Persian Gulf abetting the hegemonic objectives of Supreme Ayatollah Khamenei  and the Islamic Regime IRGC. As of the fall, the US will have no carrier battle group in the Persian Gulf for the first time in decades. She went to note  the President postulated that Saudi Arabia and Iran might find themselves coming closer on certain issues. If the Gulf States see their future with Iran, rather than with the US, we will not have a base in the Persian Gulf. The US Fifth Fleet in Bahrain and US facilities in Kuwait and Oman may not be able to use those facilities to attack Iran if, in fact, their governments see Iran as the key power for the future.

Military Option  may have been  taken Off the Table with Iran Weapons Purchases from Russia and China.

This  writer  drew attention to the Moscow trip of Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani to meet with Russian President Putin and Defense Minister Shogui to speed up deliveries of the S-300 air defense system and the $10 billion oil barter deal with China for delivery of stealth fighters.  He suggested that this was a breach of both UN travel bans on the Quds Force Commander as well as the UN resolution 1929 sanctions against purchase of conventional  weapons and missile technology precluded on both five and eight sunsets under the JCPOA.  It makes any military option harder by orders of magnitude. While both the US and Israel  aren’t without resources of our own, Iran breaches  of  sanctions  makes the decision to use American military power more complicated.

Iran North Korea Nuclear and ICBM Development Cooperation may already have developed a bomb

Host  Lisa Benson drew attention to a recent American Thinker article co-authored by Bryen and her husband,  Stephen, “Does Iran Already Have Nuclear Weapons?”  The Bryens suggest that Iran may already have developed a nuclear weapon in cooperation with North Korea.  This writer interviewed analyst Ilana Freedman regarding the same issue in a March 2014  NER article, “Has Iran Developed Nuclear Weapons in North Korea ?”   The Bryens postulate that Iran may already have a small nuclear bomb that might be used  as a threat in the region to provide a nuclear cover for hegemonic objectives. The motivation on the part of the North Korean, who earn hard currency through illicit transactions is receipt of funds from Iran, a member of the same original A.Q. Khan network that provided techno logy for the North Korean bomb making and Iran’s uranium enrichment centrifuges.

Plan B –Restoring Military Funding in support of National Security Objectives in the Middle East and NATO Allies in Eastern Europe and the Baltic States Threatened by Putin’s Russia

Notwithstanding , a possible veto of a Congressional  resolution rejecting the Iran nuclear deal, Bryen and Gordon suggested that the Congress has to stop the hollowing out of our military capabilities under sequestration. That should be addressed in September when National Defense Act Appropriation bills come up for approval in both chambers.  Bryen noted Plan B is precisely to end sequestration – which has to happen for American national security reasons including Iran and beyond Iran. The size of the Army has to increase (it is projected to decrease by another 40,000) and the drain of mid-level officers (Captains, Majors and LT Colonels) has to stop. Our Navy has to begin to restore ship building. She noted the fleet size is he smallest since WWI.

Poland and the Baltic States have requested a stronger NATO presence out of fear that Russia will do to them what it did to Ukraine. Ukraine was NOT a member of NATO, so there were mixed ideas about what to do, but Poland and the Baltic States are. If Russia thinks it can intimidate or even occupy parts of those states, simply because it sees the US as a waning power, NATO will be finished. With that, the remnants of American influence will be finished. We have to put troops in those places and do exercises in those places and we should reconsider installing the radars that President Obama declined to place in Poland and the Czech Republic when he first took office.

Listen to the Soundcloud of the August 9, 2015 Lisa Benson Radio Show

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Iran Violates Sanctions

Fox News reported that Quds Force Commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani visited Putin shortly following UN Security Council unanimous approval of the Iran nuclear pact, Exclusive: Quds Force commander Soleimani visited Moscow, met Russian leaders in defiance of sanctions:”

The shadowy Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani recently visited Moscow to meet with senior Russian leaders, according to two Western intelligence sources, despite a travel ban and U.N. Security Council resolutions barring him from leaving Iran.

On July 24, one week before Secretary of State John Kerry testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee and faced questions about the newly struck nuclear deal, Soleimani arrived in Moscow for meetings with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and President Vladimir Putin. It was not immediately clear what the Iranian leader discussed, but the revelation comes as the United Nations and European Union arms embargo against Iran is slated to be lifted in five years as part of the comprehensive nuclear agreement announced July 14 from Vienna.

Soleimani was first designated a terrorist and sanctioned by the U.S. in 2005 for his role as a supporter of terrorism. In October 2011, the U.S. Treasury Department tied Soleimani to the failed Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States at a popular restaurant in Washington, D.C. The Quds Force is the Special Forces external wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, responsible for supporting terrorist proxies across the Middle East. It reports directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Watch this FoxNews video report:

You remember Secretary Kerry telling Senator Cotton at a Senate Iran deal Hearing that Quds Force commander Gen. Soleimani would never be taken off travel bans and asset restrictions? It was when it was confirmed that Soleimani was among the list of 800 individuals and institutions to have their sanctions lifted included in an annex to the JCPOA. Now it is revealed that following the unanimous endorsement of the Iran nuclear pact by the UNSC Soleimani traveled to Moscow to meet Putin and senior Defense Ministry officials. This demonstrates contempt for Obama and Kerry illustrative of how incompetent they were in negotiating the Iran nuclear pact. As our colleague Omri Ceren of The Israel Project pointed out in our August NER interview Soleimani has the blood on his hands of 500 Americans killed in Iraq. Ceren referenced a Weekly Standard article by Lee Smith about Obama and Soleimani:

Smith’s argument in The Weekly Standard article is that Obama likes Soleimani and admires his work. Smith goes on to cite the President telling Arab officials that they really need to get their business together and “learn from Iran’s example.” Qasem Soleimani stands in for the idea that Iran is taking over the region. The fact that we’re lifting his travel ban and unfreezing his assets is being read by a lot of people as evidence that this deal is explicitly designed to reintegrate Iran into the regional structure of the Middle East and into the community of nations. The President sees the Islamic Republic as a stabilizing force. Lifting the travel ban and asset restrictions on Qasem Soleimani more than anyone else, stands in for Iran’s regional expansionism and its efforts to take over the Levant, to take over the Gulf and bring the entire Middle East under Iran’s thumb.”

We’re waiting for Sen. Cotton’s response, as he originally confronted Kerry. The JCPOA deal has been effectively shredded by Iran before Congress even votes to accept or reject it in September.

Is the ball game over for President Obama on this misadventure of his foreign policy legacy?  Stay tuned for developments.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.