Posts

The Crimes of Qassem: The U.S. should shut down Iran’s top terrorist

He might not be a household name in America — at least, not yet. But throughout the Middle East, Qassem Suleymani makes the righteous and the innocent tremble.

To the righteous — meaning, from his perspective, the Shiite zealots who believe the Islamic state of Iran should establish the caliphate and dominate the world — he is an awe-inspiring figure.

He is powerful. He is brash. He brazenly shows up on the battlefield to encourage his troops. In Iraq, he has become the maker of prime ministers and governments, and commands a militia of 100,000 men.

To his innocent victims, he is the face of Terror, Inc. As head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps – Quds Force (IRGC-QF), Qassem Suleymani is Iran’s top terrorist.

The Quds Force is euphemistically in charge of “extraterritorial” operations for the IRGC. I call it their expeditionary overseas terrorist wing.

In the early days, they were the ones who sent terror trainers to Lebanon to teach Hezbollah how to build better car bombs. Later, they knocked off a Lebanese prime minister and launched an all-out war on Israel in the summer of 2006, firing thousands of rockets at Israeli schools, hospitals and towns.

When Iran’s leaders decided in the early 1990s to forge an alliance in terror with a Saudi dissident named Osama bin Laden, they turned the file over to the Quds Force for action.

The Quds Force has been implicated in terror plots all around the world, including a failed 2011 attempt to blow up the Saudi ambassador at a Washington, D.C. restaurant. Suleymani and his operatives were also implicated in the September 11 plot, helping 10 to 12 of the Saudi “muscle” hijackers travel clandestinely through Iran to Afghanistan and providing logistical and other support.

In February 2007, Pentagon officials briefed reporters in Baghdad on Quds Force assistance to insurgents in Iraq.

The briefing included information and documents seized from Quds Force operatives detained by U.S. forces in Iraq, and photographic evidence of Iranian-made roadside bombs, known as Explosively Formed Projectiles, or EFPs.

The introduction of EFPs onto the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan by Suleymani and his men changed the scope and scale of U.S. casualties, ultimately accounting for as many as 1,500 U.S. battlefield dead.

I spoke recently to medically retired U.S. Army Sgt. Robert Bartlett about his encounter with an Iranian EFP. The force of the projectile “cut me in half from the left corner of my temple down to my jaw, and took my gunner’s legs off. Because of this Iranian bomb, I died three times in five days.

“Only my faith kept me alive,” he said.

The U.S. Army told Samantha Balsely that her 23-year old husband Michael had been killed in Iraq by an Improvised Explosive Device. Later, it became apparent that he, too, had been killed by an Iranian EFP.

“When I found out the government had given Iran billions of dollars, it was the biggest slap in the face,” Samantha told me. “How can you say you respect what our men and women do when you order them over there and then you pay their killers. It’s not right.”

Samantha Balsley is right. It’s just not right for the U.S. government to continue rewarding the Iranian regime, when they continue to kill Americans.

We know who these killers are. They have names. And they work for an organization: the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and its “expeditionary” Quds Force.

As an immediate step, the Trump administration should follow through on hints that it is contemplating designating the IRGC and the Quds Force as international terrorist organizations.

The United States should take additional steps against Suleymani personally, blocking his assets, punishing businesses that transact with him or his Quds Force killers, and seeking an international travel ban.

Beyond that, the U.S. intelligence community should investigate reports from officials and media in Iraqi Kurdistan that Suleymani and the Quds Force facilitated the ISIS takeover of Mosul and the Nineveh Plain in June 2014, acts that could qualify as war crimes.

The crimes of Qassem Suleymani are many. After Osama bin Laden, he has more American blood on his hand than any terrorist. It’s time we shut him down for good.

Did Iran Order the Rocket Attack from Syria on Northern Israel?

Yesterday, four rockets fired from the Syrian side of the Golan frontier hit near Kfar Sold in Northern Israel causing fires in the area. In response the IAF dispatched aircraft and attacked 14 positions inside Syria, while the IDF on the Golan opened up artillery fire on suspected targets. According to aTimes of Israel  (TOI) report six civilians were killed, seven wounded in an IAF  attack on a vehicle 10 kilometers from the Syrian Israel frontier  in the Quneitra region of  Southern Syria.  That Israeli attack may have targeted members of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad cell. However, Daud Shihab a spokesman for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad continued claiming no responsibility for the attack. Nevertheless, he suggested that they knew were to attack saying:

We’ll know when to respond to an Israeli attack — and that will be where the Iron Dome was installed yesterday,” he said, referring to Israeli missile defense systems deployed the southern cities of Ashdod and Beersheba on Thursday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in London suggested five of the casualties may have been members of the National Defense Force.  Early Friday morning, August 21, 2015, the Syrian military fired a missile at an Israeli aircraft.

An IDF senior officer contend that the group behind these attacks the Palestinian Islamic Jihad based in Gaza, with headquarters in Damascus, was ordered by Iran to execute the attacks. The TOI cited an Israel source who said:

We were monitoring this cell and it was attacked some 10-15 kilometers from the border, on territory firmly in the control of the Syrian military. This is an Islamic Jihad cell directed by Iran.

The Iran-controlled Al-Mayadeen TV in Damascus reported that three of those killed were Palestinian.

The pretext for these attacks may have been the hunger strike, just ended, by an Israeli held prisoner, Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader, Mohammed Allan. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad said it would undertake reprisal attacks of its own choosing in response to those killed and wounded in the Israel drone attack.  Israel PM Netanyahu cautioned that he didn’t want this incident to escalate into a wider conflict saying:

We have no intention of ratcheting up this confrontation, but our policy [of retaliating for attacks against Israeli civilians] remains as it was.

Notwithstanding Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said:

The strike against the cell was proof that Israel will not tolerate efforts to harm the security of its citizens.

“We have no intention of compromising on this issue, and I suggest no one test our resolve on this matter,” he said in a brief statement after the attack.

i24News reported  an IDF officer commenting:

It’s clear that Iran is behind all of the terror attacks here [in the Golan] in the past two years. The Iranians are using the border – they establish units – whether it’s [Imad] Mughniyeh, [Samir] Kuntar, and more – to carry out [the attacks].

The officer added that the Iranian regime was transferring funds, providing training and sending advisers to Syria to help the Islamist group Hezbollah.

Remember the IAF attack in January 2015 on the Syrian side of the Golan frontier that took out a senior Iran IRGC general and Hezbollah officers including Jihad, the son of the late master terrorist Imad Mughniyah? That led to an abrupt series of clashes with Hezbollah in the disputed Shebaa Farms area on the Lebanese border.  Today’s rocket attacks in Israel’s north  and immediate IAF air attacks and IDF artillery fire demonstrates both resolve and concern by Israeli PM Netanyahu and his security cabinet to stifle a possible rocket war in the country’s North. Given the huge arsenal  of rockets and missiles  held by Hezbollah, Israel wants to  avoid a much larger onslaught than  the Hezbollah rocket attacks during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 that displaced over a million Israelis during the 34 day war.

We have argued that Israel may have to undertake incursions across the UNDOF demilitarized zone to clear out Iranian Quds force supported Palestinian Jihad fighters. As my colleague Ilana Freedman and  this  writer noted in a  January 2015, NER article the IDF also needs to address detection and destruction of  possible cross border tunneling  in Israel’s north by Hezbollah. Given Tehran ” success” with the P5+1 nuclear deal and this week’s sale of S300 Russian advanced air defense systems to Iran’s Quds Force commander Gen. Soleimani feels emboldened to foment more proxy conflicts destabilizing the Middle East region. Clearly with this week’s attacks in the country’s north Israel is in the Quds Force gun sights. Ayatollah Khamenei’s playbook called “Palestine” suggests that Israel will be routed not with nuclear weapons but low intensity warfare.

Back in January we noted this comment from Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Armidror and former National Security Advisor:

Yaakov Armidror, former IDF Maj. Gen. (ret.) and National Security Advisor in a recent strategic evaluation of  Terrorist  threats  facing Israel, published by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies , reported by the Jerusalem Post, noted Hezbollah capabilities:

Looking ahead to 2015, Israel faces threats posed mainly by non-state entities motivated by Islamic ideology.

“The strongest of them is Hezbollah, which was formed with a dual purpose in mind.  It represents Iran’s long reach in the area and against Israel, while at the same time it aims to control Lebanon, where the Shi’ites are the largest ethnic group,” Amidror added.

Hezbollah most closely resembles an army, and its arsenal totals some 150,000 missiles and rockets, several thousand of which can target any area in Israel.

“This rare and substantial firepower apparently even exceeded the firepower possessed by most of the European states combined,” Amidror said in the report.

Additionally, Hezbollah is armed with surface-to-sea missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, drones and modern anti-tank missiles.

“It is well organized into a military-style hierarchy and appears to possess command and control systems of high quality. It was established by Iranian leaders, but its leadership has always consisted of Lebanese people who were closely linked to Iran’s interests,” the report continued. “Hezbollah assisted the Shi’ites by providing for their needs in the civilian sphere as a base for building its military power.”

We concluded:

Hezbollah’s possible invasion threat would be costly to the Shi’ite terrorist army.  Especially in view of both Israeli intelligence penetration of the Iranian proxy. Nonetheless, the Israel’s military command must be on alert for possible retaliation by Hezbollah in the Shebaa Farms area adjacent to the Golan and in the Galilee.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on a tour of the northern border, August 18, 2015. Source: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.

Why Israel was Stunned by Discovery of the Tunnels in Gaza

The ground incursion by the IDF into Gaza that began on July 16th was triggered by the emergence of 13 Hamas commandos from a tunnel underneath the Gaza Israel frontier. They were detected by an armed IAF drone and quickly dispatched by a missile strike scattering both survivors and equipment near the opening of the tunnel. 17 days into the tough slog of the ground phase with 33 IDF soldiers fallen, including two Americans, more than 35 tunnels have been uncovered. A number of these were found to have entrances in homes, schools, apartment buildings and mosques. The Givati brigade has been assigned the dangerous tasks of inspecting these tunnels. After sending in small tactical robots detecting booby traps, the tunnels are destroyed.

However, the obvious question is why was the IDF caught flat footed by the enormity of the Hamas tunnel network when there were means available to map them? Despite their being excavated more than 25 meters below the surface.

Sheera Frenkel, Buzzfeed’s correspondent in Israel reported this comment:

Israeli military officers described an “underground city” in Shujayeh, made up of a labyrinth of tunnels in which Israeli soldiers clashed with Hamas fighters.

“Even with the intelligence the Israeli military keeps on Gaza, they were caught by surprise at the extent of what they found below ground,” said Amir Bohbot, a military affairs correspondent with Walla, a news site. “There were traps, explosives everywhere. There is no way for them to continue their operation without taking the risks of even heavier casualties.”

A source in Jerusalem told us this week that Tzahal was jarred  by the extent of the tunnels under the Gaza Israel frontier, and the purpose. Dan Diker, Executive Producer for the Voice of Israel sent my colleague Lisa Benson this chilling email message:

The news here is that Hamas was planning a doomsday mega attack for Rosh Hashanah, Sending hundreds , HUNDREDS OF Hamas Suicide commandoes via the underground terror tunnel networks to conquer Israeli towns and cities. This was planned to be  the equivalent of five 911’s .

That is the meaning of the tunnel threat. It is the most serious strategic threat Israel has faced since the 1973 war. The failed conception is also notable as there is a real question as to whether the intelligence echelons recognized the seriousness of the threat.

The Three Kidnapped and murdered teens saved Israel literally by mobilizing the IDF and public opinion to fight Hamas. We were saved by the skin of our teeth from strategic disaster.

But should Tzahal  have been surprised by this news?  A noted Israel geologist was cited in a Telegraph U.K. article complaining that the tunnel threat had been overlooked by the Israeli Ministry of Defense:

“For 10 years I’ve been crying and screaming to the highest possible levels – to the Defense Ministry, the chief of staff, the commanding officers of southern and northern command,” Dr Joseph Langotsky, an Israeli geologist who has long advocated greater attention to the issue of the tunnels, said in an interview with the Jerusalem Post.

“Although the tunnels are a low-tech option, they might be a strategic threat to our security,” said Dr Langotsky.

The heavily fortified areas of southern Lebanon that the IDF encountered in the 2006 Lebanon War should have raised alarm bells. Hezbollah with the alleged technical assistance of Iranian Quds Force engineers had prepared tunnels connecting command and control centers in villages, rocket launching areas, armories and firing positions.  Moreover, there were rumors that  Hezbollah with the aid of Iran and possibly North Korea had also dug tunnels underneath the northern frontier of Lebanon and Israel.

Ilana Freedman, veteran intelligence analys, raised the issue of the threat of tunnels crossing the Lebanon Israel frontier. The IDF was warned about the Hezbollah tunnels as early as April 2010, including a large tunnel which was being constructed from southern Lebanon to central Haifa. They were also informed of a number of small bore tunnels that were being built, to emerge in northern Israeli towns and kibbutzim. These were designed for Hezbollah’s child warriors who would be sent heavily armed and would be instructed to fire on anyone they see once they emerge in these towns. This information came from eye-witness sources in southern Lebanon.

When the Givati brigade went into Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, they also encountered tunnels. The tunnels uncovered by Golani and Givati brigades in the current Operation Protective Edge were well prepared with concrete, steel reinforced with lighting and ventilation. A few were even large enough to accommodate trucks. The longest one discovered was over 2.5 kilometers in length. The average cost of the tunnels was estimated at $1 million each. It appears that the Hamas tunnel networks in Gaza may have expertly planned and executed using the Hezbollah playbook, possibly with both Hezbollah and Quds Force assistance.

When the eight day Operation Pillar of Defense ended on November 21, 2012, a cease fire was brokered by the former Egyptian President Morsi, a supporter of Hamas. The Obama Administration pressured the Netanyahu government to permit the delivery of cement and steel for the reconstruction of Gaza. Jerusalem had objected to the demands of Washington suspecting that the delivery of the materials to Gaza would be used for military purposes. Given what has been uncovered, those suspicions have been confirmed. Qatar put up more than $405 million for the alleged reconstruction of destroyed areas of Gaza. Those funds may have been substantially diverted for purchase of equipment and materials to construct the tunnel network.

The Telegraph U.K, article disclosed that the Israeli Ministry of Defense was working on the tunnel problem.  However, the means of detecting them would not be available until after the current conflict, “Israel tests hi-tech tunnel detection system to fight threat from underground.”  The report noted:

In a bid to find a solution, the IDF’s elite Talpiot unit has been working on developing a tunnel detection system which was tested in Tel Aviv. Its costs are estimated to be $59 million.

“The high-tech system, which uses special sensors and transmitters, is still in its R&D phase, and if all goes well, should be operational within a year”, notes a report on Israel’s I-24 news.

The most common type of technology for tracking down tunnels is focused on listening for sounds of digging, notes Inbal Orpaz in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz.

Another Israeli company, Magna, already provides defense systems for the Israel-Egypt border. It proposed digging a 70-km tunnel along the Israel-Gaza border, equipped with a sensitive alert system.

This “will provide real-time alerts of any tunnel digging that crosses our tunnel, whether above or below it. The IDF will know exactly where the attack tunnel is and how many people are in it, and can monitor the progress of digging it in real time, and decide how to respond to the threat,” the company’s founder and CEO Haim Siboni told Israel’s Globes publication.

An interview with a Canadian expert in Start –Up Israel reveals that Israel may have already had the means of mapping the tunnels, IDF ‘didn’t follow up’ on MRI-style, below-surface technology to find tunnels”:

Paul Bauman, a Canadian who is one of the world’s foremost experts on discovering underground tunnels and voids, insists that the technology exists and has been used in the US, Canada, Korea, and other places. “We actually did some work with the IDF some years ago, showing them how the technology we’ve developed works,” Bauman told The Times of Israel in an interview. “They were interested, but there was no follow-up. Why, I couldn’t say.”

[…]

Had the army worked with Bauman, using the sophisticated methods he has developed and successfully employed over the past decade, things might have been different. While there is no foolproof, single tech solution to discovering tunnels, a combination of several techniques — radar, tomography, and seismic measuring — could give Israel a technological advantage over Hamas, creating a map of what is happening under the surface, and making it much easier to find tunnels and the terrorists who dig them.

Bauman noted  the off the shelf technology that might have been used for detection and mapping of the tunnels:

It was on one of his exploration trips to Israel that Bauman showed the IDF some of the techniques it could use to discover underground tunnels. At the time, after another Gaza flare-up, Operation Cast Lead in 2009, a Teknion team led by researchers Dr. Raphael Linker and Dr. Assaf Klar were developing a system that uses a fiber optic cable buried one or two meters beneath the surface to detect underground movement. The system builds what is essentially an underground fence using BOTDR (Brillouin optical time-domain reflectometry) technology, which measures the stress on the cable underground.

The amount of stress may be very small, the team said, and its research shows that even small levels of deformation can be detected, making the system perfect for keeping tabs on tunnel builders. The cable is cheap, and as much as 30 kilometers of the border can be monitored simultaneously using one device. It’s not clear if the IDF considered that system as well, and in an email this week, Linker said that the system is still under development.

Also considered was ground penetrating radar:

Much better, than an Israeli concept of building a moat around Gaza, polluting the ground aquifer,  Bauman said, would be a technique like underground radar to find tunnels. “Israel has been very interested in this, and Israeli companies are working on underground radar systems,” said Bauman. “In an underground radar system, you aim the wave down below the ground, and when you get back a signal that is an anomaly — indicating that there is something different about the area you just checked than other areas — you know you’ve found something worth investigating.”

There are limitations to the system, though. “Depending on the frequency of the radar wave, you can have a system that can ‘see’ as far down as 100 meters, but at low resolution, or just 10 meters at a better resolution,” Bauman said. Radar could be very useful in discovering larger concrete tunnels, which have metal rebar in them — concrete and metal being much denser than the gypsum and salt-rich soil around the Gaza border — but not for the simpler, smaller wood-reinforced tunnels.

If the warnings and advices of Israeli geologist Dr. Langotsky and Canadian researcher Bauman had been heeded then could the surge in IDF casualties been avoided?  That is unfortunately past history. The issue before the IDF ground commanders is how most efficiently to destroy those tunnels that are encountered. Some experts have suggested use of Fuel Air Explosives (FAE). Russia’s Putin authorized used of FAE weapons against Chechen Islamists extremists when the provincial capital of Grozny (terrible in Russian) was virtually flattened in 2002.  Others recall napalm used to clear out tunnels on the Island of Iwo Jima from which suicide Imperial Japanese forces would sally forth to inflict heavy casualties on US Marines and soldiers. Perhaps this comment in the Buzzfeed article from an Israel Intelligence officer best sums up the military campaign that the IDF is waging against another group of fortified fanatics this time in Gaza:

‘“We are no longer looking at just dismantling the tunnel network [from Gaza to Israel]. The goals of Operation Defensive Edge are now to cripple Hamas so they will not be able to strike us again in a few years,” said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He also told Buzzfeed that Israel’s military was now preparing a timeline for its offensive in Gaza that could go on for “several weeks” and see the Israeli military create a “buffer zone” up to a mile into Gaza.

“We may suffer heavy losses doing this, but their losses will be heavier, I can assure you,” said the officer.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the New English Review. The featured photo is of an Israeli Givati Brigade Soldier at entrance of Hamas tunnel, July 23, 2014. Source: IDF Spokesperson/FLASH90.

Dark Forces: The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi

Dark Forces: The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi by veteran investigative author Kenneth R. Timmerman is a gripping expose, replete with evidence of deception and cover up about who perpetrated the Benghazi attack that killed four Americans; Ambassador Chris Stevens, communications aide Sean Smith, ex-Navy Seals CIA-contractors, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty on 9/11/2012.

dark forces book cover

Broadside Books, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. Published June 24, 2014

Dark Forces presents a thoroughly researched investigative dossier on the events behind the crime that took the lives of  four  valiant Americans who perished in the attack that night.  Timmerman discloses a major cover-up by the Obama Administration of possible violations of the National Security Act of 1947 related to covert activities in the Libyan rebellion and overthrow of the Qaddafi regime. Those Administration actions opened a literal Pandora’s box spawning  dangerous illicit arms trade with jihadist forces in Africa, the Middle East and even Afghanistan.  Based on his research, Timmerman believes the Administration engaged in a purposeful diversion  about the real facts to deflect inquiries during a critical phase of the 2012 Presidential campaign. That cover up began unraveling with a late night news release by the White House  accusing a US made internet video of  offending Muslim sensibilities triggering the planned Benghazi  terrorist attack. It has subsequently been revealed that former Secretary of State Clinton told the President  that the draft statement “was not credible” nevertheless acquiescing to the deception.

That cover up by the Administration may not be lost on  South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, an experienced former federal prosecutor. His appointment to Chair the House Select Committee on Benghazi was announced on May 2, 2014. Gowdy is charged with conducting  investigations and ultimate Hearings about the Benghazi episode. A few days prior to the publication of Dark Forces, Timmerman personally delivered a copy to Chairman Gowdy.

Praise for  Dark Forces comes from several retired military experts. Col. Richard F. Brauer, Jr. USAF (Ret.), founder of Special Operations Speaks,  endorsed Dark Forces as a “must read” saying that it is “ packed with new and previously undisclosed information. It asks the right questions and provides answers to some that have yet to be asked. If you want to know what the Obama Administration does not want you to know about Benghazi.”  Charles Woods, father of Navy Seal Tyrone Woods killed while defending the  CIA annex in Benghazi said, “it is clear from the facts as described in Ken Timmerman’s account that the lives of my son and three other American heroes could have been saved.” Admiral James A Lyons, Jr. USN (Ret.) praised Dark Forces saying, “he presents clear insight on the illicit transfer to Syrian rebels.”

Dark Forces  is a fast paced factual thriller in which  Timmerman reveals the deaths  of these Americans in Benghazi  was the result of  a deliberate  state act of  terrorism planned and organized  by Iran’s Quds Force.  It is the Islamic Regime’s  equivalent  of  CIA and Special  operations covert force headed by Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleymani.   The Iranian regime allegedly coordinated the Benghazi attack. The group that took credit for the Benghazi attack, Ansar al-Sharia, was trained and equipped by the Quds Force, the overseas expeditionary arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps. Both the CIA in Benghazi, the Delta Force and Special Operations troops in Tripoli were actively monitoring Iranian operations in Benghazi. They warned their chain of command – including Ambassador Stevens – that Iranians were preparing a terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi. However, they were deceived by a faked kidnapping of Quds Force operatives posing as humanitarian workers by paid Ansar al-Shariah operatives.

Timmerman  said in an interview we published at the New English Review that “in Libya  Iran’s  agenda was primarily to kick the Americans out, to smash any semblance of normality to keep the country from recovering.  They did not want to see Libya become a modern pro-Western Arabic/Muslim country at peace.  So they were really hoping to  perpetuate the violent civil unrest in Libya. Going after our legation, driving the American diplomatic force out of Libya was part of that plan”.

As to why Iran would coordinate attacks with Sunni terrorist groups, Timmerman responded,

“The thing to remember is the Iranians will work with whoever they need to accomplish their goals.  For many years the U.S. intelligence community said because they are Shia they won’t work with Al Qaeda because they are Sunni fundamentalists.  In fact we learned that they did,  in 9/11 and they did  in Benghazi.  They are doing it with Hamas.  They are working with Sunnis in the Taliban.   Iran will work with whomever they need to kill Americans and kill Jews.”

Timmerman’s Dark Forces  questions the recent seizure of Ansar al Shariah operative Ahmed Abu Khattala off the streets of Benghazi  by the FBI and US Delta Force. Khattala recently pled not guilty in a US court to charges of committing terrorism and remains in federal detention awaiting prosecution. Timmerman noted in a Lisa Benson Radio Show interview:

“The FBI was looking only at the surveillance tapes  at the Libyans who were out  in front of the legation and Annex. The Iranians were across the street. They were across the street up in a building observing from a short distance. The Iranians put the Ansar al-Shariah militia force in the forefront.  I think the FBI is going to be very interested to follow the Hezbollah operatives from Lebanon who were there on the ground. They know very well the Iranians who I named in the book because these people are on their radar screen. They have been out killing Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq and now as I reveal in Dark Forces in Libya as well.”

Dark Forces conveys the thesis that the attacks in Benghazi were preventable. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bears responsibility for ignoring those warnings, and preventing a military response. Ambassador Stevens and his security team had repeatedly warned Clinton of the precarious security situation in Tripoli and Benghazi requesting additional resources. Clinton for reasons of her own opposed any military response to the attacks. U.S. Special Forces operators on the ground 9/11/2012  might  have saved the Americans who perished.

Benghazi was the hub of the U.S. covert arms smuggling to Islamist groups in Libya and Syria. The Administration supplied weapons to fight Qaddafi in Libya and Assad in Syria knowing full well that many of the rebel leaders were al Qaeda operatives. The White House sent members of the National Security “Staff” (ex NSC) to Libya on operational missions to negotiate arms buybacks from Libyan rebel leaders in an apparent violation of the National Security Act of 1947.  An estimated  2,500 surface to air missiles (MANPADS) went “missing” in Libya. Many of them – upgraded with CIA Technology- fell  into the hands of al Qaeda terrorists.  In an episode in Dark Forces, called John Brennan’s Iron Claw, Timmerman reveals how a former CIA deputy Station chief  in Baghdad  brought evidence MANPADS filtering into the hands of terrorist groups to former CIA Director Gen. Petreaus.  However, a CIA internal investigation was quashed by Brennan, then Obama White House Counterterrorism Czar.  Timmerman in the recent interview said, “If this was going on with John Brennan’s awareness or his approval and there was no Presidential Finding then John Brennan f has a lot to answer for. He should be brought before Congress to give a full accounting.”

Timmerman is the New York Times bestselling author of earlier exposes Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iranand Shadow Warriors: The Untold Story of Traitors, Saboteurs and the Party of SurrenderHis thriller fiction Honor Killing dealt with an Iranian plot to secret a nuclear device into Washington, DC.  St.  Peter’s Bones, is a novel that conveys  the dire  threats to the ancient Assyrian Chaldean Christian community in Iraq driving them  to secure refuge in their diaspora. Timmerman spent 24 days in a PLO-Fatah dungeon as a captive during the First Lebanon War in 1982. That episode did not deter him from returning to Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq and Israel to report on arms trafficking and state and non-state terrorism. Both he and former UN Ambassador John Bolton were nominated by a former Swedish Foreign Minister for a Nobel Peace Prize their work disclosing Iran’s nuclear program.

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

The Growing Missile Threat to Israel

Dr. Ronen Bergman, intelligence and military columnist for Israeli daily Yediot Ahronoth confirmed, Wall Street Journal reports that Syria and Iran’s Qod’s Force may have successfully disassembled and  transferred  to Hezbollah 12 Russian Yakhont anti- ship cruise missiles. See New York Times article, “Hezbollah Moving Long-Range Missiles From Syria to Lebanon, an Analyst Says”.

This despite the IAF five attacks conducted against Syria facilities and supply trains in 2013 using advanced missiles fired on targets from Lebanese airspace. The IAF attacks reported to have destroyed a shipment of  advanced mobile air defense  Russian SA-17’s in January 2013, Iranian Fateh-110 surface to surface missiles in May and  a shipment of  Russian Yakhont missiles in July. Further, according to the New York Times account, Bergman said:

Hezbollah, which is also Lebanon’s strongest political party, has a network of bases that were built inside Syria, near the border with Lebanon, to give the group strategic depth and to store the missiles, Mr. Bergman said. But with a nearly three-year insurgency threatening President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, an ally of Hezbollah, keeping the missiles in Syria is no longer as secure, Mr. Bergman said.

The missiles being moved, he said, include Scud D’s, shorter-range Scud C’s, medium-range Fateh rockets that were made in Iran, Fajr rockets and antiaircraft weapons that are fired from the shoulder.

Bergman also noted the comments of former Mossad head, Meir Dagan about Hezbollah bases in Syria during the Second Lebanon War in 2006:

 Meir Dagan, advised the government not to start an attack on Hezbollah in Lebanon without first hitting the militia’s bases in Syria, which were built on the strategy that Israel would not dare to strike Syria. The bases were believed to contain much of Hezbollah’s long-range missile capability,

The Wall Street Journal report,  “Hezbollah Upgrades Missile Threat to Israel” noted the potential game changer on Israel’s strategy to counter this missile threat on its doorstep:

Hezbollah already has around 100,000 rockets, according to Israeli intelligence estimates, but those are primarily unguided weapons that are less accurate. Its longer-range rockets are spread across Lebanon, meaning Israel’s next air campaign—should one come—would have to be broad, Israeli officials have told their U.S. counterparts, according to American officials in the meetings.

Hezbollah’s possession of guided-missile systems would make such an air campaign far riskier.

Current and former U.S. officials say Iran’s elite Quds Force has been directly overseeing the shipments to Hezbollah warehouses in Syria. These officials say some of the guided missiles would allow Hezbollah to defend its strongholds in Lebanon, including Beirut, and attack Israeli planes and ground targets from regime-controlled territory in Syria.

Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system can intercept and destroy short-range rockets. Its Arrow missile-defense system can intercept the sort of long-range ballistic missiles Iran possesses. A third system the Israelis are developing to deal with mid range guided missiles, called David’s Sling, won’t be operational until 2015 at the earliest.

                                 Arrow Anti-Missile System

Coincidentally, Israel completed another successful test of the  Arrow III anti-Missile system over the Mediterranean today. The Arrow III is a joint development of Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and Boeing. According to a Defense News, article,  “US-Israel Arrow-3 Marks Milestone Test”, “ IAI also provides the Super Green Pine fire control radar, while Elbit’s Tadiran provides the system’s battle management control center.” Defense News  further reported:

The US-Israel Arrow-3 upper tier intercepting missile passed another developmental milestone with a successful exo-atmospheric maneuvering flight after launch over the Mediterranean Sea on Friday.

In a joint statement, Israel’s Defense Ministry and the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency said the Arrow-3 “successfully launched and flew an exo-atmospheric trajectory through space, according to the test plan.”

The fly-out of the two-stage, hit-to-kill missile marked the second in a series of developmental milestones aimed at readying the system for a full-up intercept test in early 2015. It follows a successful maiden flight in February 2013.

Planned for initial fielding in late 2015 or early 2016, Arrow-3 is designed as Israel’s first line of defense against emerging threats from Iran. Supported by the samefire control radar and battle management systems developed for Israel’s operational Arrow-2, the smaller and much more agile Arrow-3 aims to destroy advanced, maneuvering, unconventionally tipped Shahab-class missiles in space before they re-enter Earth’s atmosphere.

Hezbollah with upwards of  80,000 rockets and missiles would be a formidable threat for Israel to reduce to assure that its rocket and missile  defense umbrella can safeguard its population should it elect to undertake a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. This is presuming no final agreement is reached with Iran under the current P5+1 interim agreement.  Moreover, a recently introduced bi-partisan US Senate bill, the Nuclear  Weapons Free Iran Act directed at prodding  Iran to reach an agreement  may be posed for action when Congress returns from its holiday recess. Given Iran’s addition of so-called hard liners to the Islamic regime’s negotiating team, the prospects for achievement of a definitive agreement  quickly seized upon by Obama Administration could be illusory.

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