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Will Syria’s Kurds join with Israel and the U.S.?

kurdnasLogoHiSherkoh Abbas , President of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria (KURDNAS), raised in  a recent Jns.com article the tantalizing prospect of a Kurdish- Israel- US Alliance to complete the work of destroying the Islamic State, “Are Syrian Kurds the missing ingredient in the West’s recipe to defeat Islamic State?” The thoughts expressed in this article reflect a recent conversation the author held with Sherkoh Abbas and Dr. Mordechai Nisan, author of  Minorities in the Middle East: A History of Struggle and Self-Expression.

The Kurds have earned political and military capital in both Iraq and Syria as the most effective boots on the ground combating the extremist Salafism of the Islamic State. This largest non Arab ethnic group in the Middle East has long been denied the promised statehood at the Versailles conference of 1919 that ended the First World War and the Lausanne Treaty of 1923 that established the modern Republic of Turkey.

Nevertheless, the Kurds have been resilient despite numerous tragic setbacks in their history over the past century. The establishment of a no fly zone in northern Iraq under US auspices led to the creation the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) and its much praised fighting force, the Peshmerga.

Further, it demonstrated the capabilities of the Kurds to govern themselves, overcoming internal differences and external geo- political threats from a hegemonic Iran and the Ba’athist regime of the late Saddam Hussein. Having vast energy resources helped to fuel the KRG’s development. KRG’s Peshmerga exemplary role in the current battle to retake Mosul from the Islamic State, in coordination with Iraqi national security and US forces, demonstrated its proficiency. Its humanity was demonstrated providing safe havens for Yazidis, Chaldean Christians and other ethnic non Muslim minorities that brought the KRG global recognition and respect.

On the surface the situation in Syrian Kurdistan, while complicated, has the potential for fostering the development of an autonomous Kurdish region extending across northern Syria from the KRG frontier to the Mediterranean, despite the objections of Erdogan’s Turkey.

We only have to look at recent actions by both Russia and the US. Russia and the YPG concluded an arrangement potentially protecting the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in Northwest Syria. Further, Russian meetings with Syrian Kurdish representatives in Moscow have evinced Kremlin interest in a federalized Syria in any agreement to end the seven year civil war with the Assad regime. After WWII, the Russians established a short-lived Kurdish Republic in Mahabad, Iran.  US Army Brig. General (ret.) Ernie Audino in our December 2015 New English Review interview, “No War Against ISIS Without the Kurds”, noted that history:

The well-educated and well-respected Qazi Muhammad was elected to serve as president of the Mahabad Republic, history’s first and only sovereign, Kurdish state. Knowing he needed a capable army to protect the state he requested help from the great Kurdish nationalist, Mustafa Barzani, who showed up with 5,000 of his peshmerga. During this period, a son was born to Barzani who named him, Masud. That son is now Masud Barzani, the current President of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq.

The U.S. has acted as an umpire between Turkish forces of President Erdogan and Islamist Sunni opposition militia from entering Manbij, liberated by the YPG on the west bank of the Euphrates River.

Moreover, the US sent a message to Ankara that it was backing the YPG led Syrian Democratic Force in the battle to retake the Islamic State administrative capital of Raqqa. The Pentagon has dispatched a US Marine artillery unit. It also alerted a reinforced brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division for possible deployment in Syria.

On the political side of the Syrian Kurdish conundrum there is the daunting task of unifying the tribes, political parties, and the Kurdish National Council.

As Sherkoh Abbas of KURDNAS has pointed out that will require the delinking of the YPG/PYD leadership from outreach and involvement with the PKK, the Assad regime, Iran’s Qods Force, and its proxy, the Iraqi Hashd Shiite Popular Mobilization Force militia. There are indications that the YPG/PYD might consider doing this if there were US, Russian and potentially, Israeli auspices.

Israeli PM Netanyahu, a year and a half ago, issued a statement supporting the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in the region; welcomed by the Kurdish communities.

The benefits would include having a reliable ally in a post Assad Syria with both political and military capacities and a secure source of oil to meet the Jewish nation’s growing domestic and regional demand.

Israel has to take an important step to achieve these desirable results. It has to reach out to both the Syrian Kurds and the Trump Administration to recognize the significant Kurdish role in the final destruction of the Islamic State threatening the security of Israel’s northern Golan frontier.

If that succeeds then both the US and Israel would have an important stable alliance with the largest non Arab ethnic polity in the troubled Middle East.  With the defeat of the Islamic State, that would turn attention to reining in the threat posed by a hegemonic Iran. With the possibility of a triple entente composed of both Iraqi and Syrian Kurdistans, Israel and the US, it raises the future prospect of fostering regime change in Tehran giving rise to the aspirations for autonomy of minorities in Iran- the Kurds, Azeri, Ahwaz and Baluch.

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

Nineteen U.S. Muslims inspired or directed by ISIS since 2014

ISIS has a dedicated  group of Western jihadis based out of Iraq and Syria who specifically focus on encouraging attacks against the U.S. homeland. The group is known to the FBI as “the legion.” It is “the legion,” which preys on U.S. residents who express sympathy for ISIS on social media, by reaching out to them and nurturing their jihadi beliefs.

The Islamic State adheres to a puritanical and violent form of Islam which we are told that Muslims in the U.S. and the West in general reject. Yet it still attracts some Muslims who adhere to the Salafist understanding of Islam. Despite the fact that some Muslims reject Salafism, and leftists frequently deny its appeal to Muslims or even its existence, it remains influential within Islamic communities, even in the U.S.

In some cases, “legion”-affected zealots would express a desire to travel to the core caliphate in Syria, or affiliates in Libya, and the virtual entrepreneurs would redirect them towards plotting attacks at home.

As the response to this threat develops, it is unlikely the world has seen the end of virtual entrepreneurs with the deaths of Legion members and others associated with them.

Those Westerners who fail to see the threat and the need to address “radical Islamic terrorism” persist in thinking that the Muslims who are attracted to the Islamic State actually hold to or respect Western cultural norms.

ferguson isis“How ISIS ‘Virtual Entrepreneurs’ Inspire US Citizens to Carry Out Terror Plots”, by Saagar Enjeti, Daily Caller, March 10, 2017:

Nineteen U.S.-based individuals have been inspired or directed by Islamic State virtual entrepreneurs since 2014, warn two senior members of the George Washington University’s “Program on Extremism” in a new report.

The rise of social media and encrypted communications platforms like Whatsapp, Telegram, and Signal, enable ISIS recruiters from around the globe to communicate directly with U.S.-based would-be terrorists, the report explains.

ISIS has a dedicated group of Western jihadis based out of Iraq and Syria who specifically focus on encouraging attacks against the U.S. homeland. The group is known to the FBI as “the legion.” It is “the legion,” which preys on U.S. residents who express sympathy for ISIS on social media, by reaching out to them and nurturing their jihadi beliefs. The legion’s role is to encourage “their contacts to take on more extreme positions and helping them make connections in real-world foreign fighter networks.”

The group encourages U.S. citizens to plot heinous attacks, including beheading an American soldier in the U.S., bombing a police station, and buying assault weapons to kill as many as many innocent civilians as possible. Each plot involves an ISIS recruiter communicating, guiding, nurturing, and in some cases, sending money to would-be terrorists in the U.S.

In some cases, “legion”-affected zealots would express a desire to travel to the core caliphate in Syria, or affiliates in Libya, and the virtual entrepreneurs would redirect them towards plotting attacks at home. Where it concerned an ISIS-sympathizer based in New York City, an ISIS recruiter told the individual he would vouch for his entry into the caliphate only after he successfully carried out an attack.

“As the response to this threat develops, it is unlikely the world has seen the end of virtual entrepreneurs with the deaths of Legion members and others associated with them,”…….

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Did Terrorism Take Down EgyptAir Flight 804?

EgyptAir Flight 804 took off from Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris at 11:09 PM Wednesday, May 18, 2016 with 56 passengers and 10 crew members, including 3 security personnel aboard on the final leg of a journey scheduled to arrive in Cairo at 3:15 am local time. During May 18th Flight 804 flew from Asmara, Eritrea to Cairo and then onto to Tunis before arriving in Paris.  The aircraft may have been cleaned, catered and refueled at stops in Asmara and Tunis.  At Charles de Gaulle it went through a security sweep.

After takeoff, Flight 804 reached a cruising altitude of 37,000 feet. It checked in with Athens air traffic control (ATC) at 1:24 AM, Thursday, May 19th.  At 2:27 AM it failed to check in with Athens ATC as it was transiting into Cairo air traffic control.  It catastrophically dropped from its cruising altitude of 37,000 feet plunging into the Mediterranean with all 66 passengers and crew aboard approximately 173 miles from Egypt.

The Airbus A320-200 is a workhorse for major international airlines. The EgyptAir version used on Flight 804 was fairly well maintained. Most importantly it uses a computerized fly by wire system, not susceptible to manipulation from the flight deck. Moreover, both the flight captain and co pilot had 6,000 and 4,000 hours of flight experience, respectively; 2000 of which were on the A-320.  Hence the violent swerving motions alleged caught by Athens ATC on radar were either due to mechanical failure or a bomb exploding on board.  Flight accident experts contend that only a small amount of explosives at that altitude could lead to breakup of the aircraft.

The hunt is on with U.S. Navy P-3 Orion air craft, Egyptian C-130’s and naval vessels, Greek Air Force and Navy frigates, and UK Royal Navy vessels combing the vicinity of the target area of the Flight 804 crash in the Eastern Mediterranean.  They are searching for wreckage, passenger effects and most importantly the audio signals of the pinging locator identifying the flight recorder black boxes.  The latter may be a daunting task as the Mediterranean is more than a mile deep in the crash area.   Egyptair is in the midst of receiving the relatives of French, Egyptian and other nationalities among the passengers on board. They were flown to Cairo for briefings on Friday before an official press conference.

Early on both the U.S. and later Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority officials speculated that information they have received suggest that it may not have been mechanical failure, but likely terrorism.

In the meantime, neither suspected terrorist groups ISIS or Al Qaeda have claimed responsibility.  You may recall just after the downing of the Russian MetroJet A321 with 224 passengers  and crew aboard  in the Sinai Peninsula on October 31, 2015, ISIS claimed responsibility for what allegedly was a soda can bomb placed in a baggage hold.  Terrorism experts speculate that  master bomb maker Saudi Ibrahim al-Asiri of Al Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula has been heavily involved in development of unique explosives barely detectable.   As one example the laptop that exploded aboard a flight in Somalia last summer that blew a hole in the aircraft skin killing the terrorist using the device.

U.S. intelligence has shared watch list information with the French and Egyptian services.  Passenger manifests on each segment of Flight 804 will be reviewed to check out the relatives of passengers aboard.  Perhaps there are also data transmissions from the INMARSAT systems might be reviewed. Data from the INMARSAT tracking system, you may recall were retrieved following the downing of Malaysian Air MH-370.   Mary Schiavo, aviation safety expert nd former Inspector General of the US Department of Transportation,  indicated in a CNN interview that in 2014 the US implemented so-called enhanced safety inspection system on international flights to the US. These entailed checking aircraft baggage holds, washroom and catering waste disposal bins.  A spokesperson for Egyptair queried by CNN on the sweep conducted at Charles de Gaulle airport indicated that cockpit, air service and security teams were screened as well as inspection of the aircraft baggage hold, disposal and storage bins.

Knowledgeable counterterrorism sources have suggested that it might have been an inside job, meaning aircraft cleaners, caterers and fuelers who  had access to the aircraft during intermediate landings.  The issue at Charles de Gaulle is acute.  French authorities have been  airport workers at Charles de Gaulle after revelations about Paris ISIS massacre perpetrators.  The authorities  withdrew credentials from more than 70 airport workers engaged in radical Islamic activities.  The other possibility is that there may not have been security sweeps conducted at intermediate flight destinations in Asmara, Eritrea and Tunis.

This is a concern that was discussed  on  Lisa Benson Radio programs  last fall with Ambassador R. James Woolsey alerting listeners and social media about domestic and international airport insecurity.

Listen to the PODCAST: Is it Safe to Fly?:

Investigations by the National Security Task Force of America at more than 13 U.S. airports revealed non competitive contracts for maintenance, baggage handling and aircraft cleaning and refueling. Many of the contractors employed refugee émigrés. A major international maintenance contractor with contracts in 70 municipalities and airports has hired over 500,000 refugee émigrés, globally.  An ISIS fighter killed in Syria was a Somali émigré employed with a cleaning and fueling contractor at the Twin Cities airport in Minneapolis.  He had complete access to the airport tarmac with his SIDE badge. The Atlanta Hartsfield airport reported the theft of dozens of these SIDE badges.  Further, the US Department of Homeland Security revealed that 73 TSA screeners were found on no fly lists. Investigations by the French Interior Ministry revealed that one of the Paris massacre perpetrators in November 2015 was employed as an airport maintenance worker at Charles de Gaulle airport. Then there was the evidence from the March 2016 Brussels airport bombing, that one of the ISIS perpetrators was  a returning fighter. He had been employed at both the airport and the European Parliament building adjacent to the subway bombing site in Brussels.

Thus, while we wait for further developments on the mysterious downing of EgyptAir 804, we might express concerns to Congress requesting them to hold hearings on airport security including the clearance of maintenance, aircraft cleaning, baggage handling and fueling contractors.

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EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Nat Sec Daily Brief. The featured image is of an EgyptAir Airbus A320 taking off from Vienna International Airport. Photo: Thomas Ranner/Associated Press

Kurds with Russian Support Cross Turkey’s “red lines” in Syria

The Munich Communique reached by 20 countries last week imposed a cessation of hostilities by the opposing forces in the Syrian civil war with its mounting death toll. It has been breached by Erdogan, Russian backed Assad regime forces and their allies, Iran and proxy Hezbollah. The latter have successfully blocked Syrian opposition forces in both Latakia and Aleppo provinces. There are enough holes in the Agreement to permit freedom of action by Russia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

This weekend   brought news concerning Turkey’s cross border shelling of Syrian Kurdish YPG/PYD forces with Russian air support violating Erdogan’s “red line” crossing the Euphrates and seizing another strategic  air field.  This occurred despite Obama’s Special Middle East envoy in the war against the Islamic State (IS),  Brett Mc Gurk, meeting with Syrian Kurdish YPG/PYD forces in Syria and Vice President Biden’s meeting with Erdogan and Premier Davutoglu in Ankara last week.  Erdogan considers the YPG/PYD forces as an extension of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) that Turkey, the EU and US consider as a ‘terrorist group”. This despite his breaking a cease fire agreement with PKK head Abdullah Ocalan under house arrest.  Erdogan’s security forces have a real battle on their hands in predominately Kurdish Southeastern Turkey trying to subdue stubborn urban resistance, a change from the 30 year war with Turkey’s Kurds. The advent of a Kurdish party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party, the HDP, in the Ankara parliament, that Erdogan has endeavored to isolate but failed to vanquish. is a reflection of the growing Kurdish minority flexing its political strength.

These developments in both Syria and Turkey underline the Administration’s virtual abdication of the countervailing power vacuum in the Middle East that Putin has seized possibly bolstering the regional Kurdish aspirations for a long sought independent resource rich state.  This might be viewed as further pushback against the Islamist AKP regime of Turkey’s Erdogan.  All of these developments arose following Turkey’s shoot down of a Russian SU -24 bomber in October 2015 and dramatic break off in relations and joint economic projects between Russia and Turkey. Now, there are rumblings from Russian Prime Minister Medvedev in an interview indicated that the rising conflict with Turkey might possibly lead to “new Cold War era.”  Frederica Mogherini, EU Foreign Relations Commissioner downplayed that saying she had seen any evidence of that  in the last few days. Meanwhile both Poland and the Baltic States aren’t so sanguine. Turkey is a NATO member which can invoke an Article in the Charter of the mutual defense group requiring all members to come to its aid should there be an alleged attack by Russia.

Note this background  in a EUobserver report, “Turkey clashes with allies over attack on Syria Kurds:”

France and the US have urged NATO ally Turkey to stop firing on Kurdish groups in Syria, putting at risk a new “cessation of hostilities” accord.

The French foreign ministry appealed on Sunday (14 February) for an “immediate halt to bombardments, by the [Syrian] regime and its allies in the whole country, and by Turkey in Kurdish zones”.

It added that the “absolute priority is the implementation of the Munich communique” – a deal to pause fighting agreed by almost 20 states at a security congress in Munich last week.

The White House said US vice president Joe Biden had made a similar appeal to Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu by phone on Saturday.

“The vice president noted US efforts to discourage Syrian Kurdish forces from exploiting current circumstances to seize additional territory near the Turkish border, and urged Turkey to show reciprocal restraint by ceasing artillery strikes in the area,” it said.

Brett McGurk, a US special envoy on the fight against Islamic State (IS), said on Twitter: “We have … seen reports of artillery fire from the Turkish side of the border and we have urged Turkey to cease such fires.”

Turkey warns Kurds have crossed its red lines in Syria:

The appeals came after Turkish howitzers shelled Kurdish PYD and YPG groups in northern Syria, killing dozens of people, after Kurdish fighters, helped by Russian air strikes, seized territory including the Menagh air base near the Turkish border.

The US and EU powers see the Kurdish militias as allies in the fight against IS. But Turkey says they are a branch of the PKK, a Kurdish group designated by the US and EU as a terrorist entity, which has been fighting a 30-year insurgency against Turkish authorities.

The Turkish leadership has refused to back down.

Davutoglu told German chancellor Angela Merkel over the phone on Sunday that his forces “gave the necessary response and will continue to do so”, according to his office.

He added that the PYD-YPG offensive was aimed “not just at Turkey but also the European Union” and that it would prompt a “new wave of hundreds of thousands of refugees” from Syria.

Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, speaking in Munich to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily, urged the US and EU to back safe zones for refugees inside Syria if they wanted to stem the flow of people.

Turkey’s deputy PM, Yalcin Akdogan, told the Kanal 7 TV broadcaster:.

“The YPG crossing west of the Euphrates is Turkey’s red line.”

The comments follow strident words by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week, who told the US: “Are you together with us, or are you with the PYD and YPG terror groups?

The February NER featured a discussion with Dan Diker and Shoshana Bryen  about what motivated Putin’s entry into Syria,Russian Intervention in Middle East Conflicts .” One is the ability to attack radical Sunni Islamists; the other is achievement of  Russian national  security and economic interests. Further,  as pointed  out the alliance with Iran and proxy Hezbollah is tentative at best.

Obama in his final year in office has abdicated the traditional Sunni alliances creating a power vacuum via the rapprochement with Islamist Iran to achieve a fragile equilibrium in the Middle east.   Putin allegedly has no intentions of threatening Israeli national security on its northern frontier or engaging in support of Palestinian aspirations.

The Russian  aerial assault on Turkmen and rebel Sunni forces supported by Turkey and  Saudi Arabia in Syria’s north sealing off  Sunni rebel opposition groups and supporting  Syrian Kurds is also part of Russian strategic moves in the region.   It threatens Erdogan’s and US aspirations of creating a no fly zone to stem the tide of further Sunni Muslim refugee  flight to Turkey and hence to Europe. It may also enable the closure of the remaining gap in the northern frontier of Syria between the autonomous Kurdish enclaves of Rojava and Afrin. This would cut off the open border through which foreign Sunni jihadis and smuggled oil and other trade with Turkey from ISIS has poured. Erdogan is also under enormous economic pressure given Russian economic sanctions and the suspension of the gas pipeline deal struck in 2014.

Erdogan has euchred baksheesh in billions of Euros from the EU to stop Muslim migration to no avail. Erdogan blusters about invading Syria to block irredentist Kurdish aspirations in Syria while conducting an inflammatory counterterrorism campaign against stubborn Kurdish resistance in the urban centers of the country’s Kurdish dominant Southeast. Putin is poised to support Kurdish autonomy aspirations on both sides of the Syrian/Turkish border as leverage against Erdogan.

That would enable the Syrian Kurdish forces to vanquish Sunni rebel and ISIS forces in Syria’s north blocking the Islamic state. This offensive operation might set the stage for a massive Russian aerial campaign against the Caliphate. That is something the US led coalition has failed to achieve because of the Administration’s rules of engagement and failure to supply both Iraqi Peshmerga and Syrian Kurdish forces with heavy arms. Thus, Putin is using his playbook from the seizure of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine in the Middle East. Russia is fast becoming the strong horse that Israel, the Gulf Sunni States and the Saudis must come to some form of accommodation.  Netanyahu’s trip to Moscow in September 2015 enabled the Jewish nation to exercise its sovereign national security interests attacking Iranian supply of strategic arms to proxy Hezbollah. Netanyahu’s security concerns on his northern frontiers are complicated with Russian support of Assad operations aimed at retaking Daraa in the country’s south not far from the Golan frontier with Israel.  That might raise the possibility of Iranian Basij paramilitaries and Quds Force based along the Syrian side of the Golan threatening cross border terrorist actions. That would add to the mix of threats there including al Nusra and ISIS units.

This is the 21st Century version of the classic great game that Czarist Russia played in the 19th Century against imperial Britain in Russia’s march to the Far east and Pacific that failed to achieve warm water ports in the Mediterranean and South Asia.  See:  Peter Hopkirk’s, The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia.

The difference in the 21st Century is that Putin has his warm water bastions in the naval and air bases he has built on the Mediterranean coast of the Alawite Latakia province in Syria.

As to the blustering statements made by Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump during primary debates suggesting a strategic alliance between Russia and the US in the Middle East, that awaits the outcomes of the fractious nomination process for both the Republican and Democratic parties in the run up to the 2016 elections in the US. Suffice to say 2016 exemplifies the ancient Chinese curse. May you live in interesting times.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Kurdish YPG fighters: Seen as allies by the US and EU, but as PKK-linked terrorists by Turkey. Photo: Kurdishstruggle.

For the West to Survive ‘Stop Islamic Immigration’

Hon. Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) in the Hague Parliament is rightfully concerned about the future of the West in this Breitbart Report article, Geert Wilders: Stopping Islamic Immigration Is a Matter of Survival.”

The massive flood of Muslim flight to Europe from the conflicts in the hotspots of the Ummah in Africa, the Middle and South Asia threatens both the demography and Judeo Christian values that are the foundation of laws of Europe and the West.

Last weekend on The Lisa Benson Show we heard evidence of Wilders’ arguments in the stark figures of how this historic Dar al Hijrah immigration wave has literally swamped Sweden resulting in thousands of instances of lawlessness, sexual assault, and murder by hordes of Muslim young men and unaccompanied minors. The Hon. Kent Ekeroth, deputy of the Sweden Democrat party in the Riksdag, the national parliament, revealed that 35,000 unaccompanied youths now constitute 50 percent of students in the country’s high schools. The upwards of 200,000 migrants and asylees that Sweden received in 2015 and early 2016 as US international affairs commentator Barry Nussbaum indicated is equivalent to receiving the equivalent here of the population of the State of Indiana.

The Swedish tolerance for this wave of Muslim immigration has resulted in the Interior Minister issuing an expulsion order for 80,000 of these unwanted arrivals. Neighboring Finland has issued an expulsion order for 20,000 migrants. Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel once welcomed one million Muslim migrants has reached near rebellion with public opinion polls demanding that she resign. Community leaders in Germany, Norway and other locations in the broken borderless Schengen system have advised young women not to dress provocatively effectively adhering to Sharia demands of domestic Imams.

But Europe is not alone in being threatened. Our neighbor to the north, Canada, under the new Liberal government of Justin Trudeau is admitting 25,000 Syrian refugees with many being put up in Canadian Forces bases around the country. Given Canada’s 35 million in population that complement of Refugees would be the equivalent in the US of over 225,000, according to recent testimony by Canadian counterterrorism expert, David B. Harris. Then there are the 10,000 Syrian refugees to be admitted here in the US over the next two years distributed in more than 190 communities in the US.  The difficulty is, as Dr. Sebastian Gorka, son of Hungarian Refugees from the 1956 Revolt against Russian tyranny, said on a recent Lisa Benson Show program, how can we possibly vett these refugees, if there isn’t a data base to confirm the documents?

Whether Europe can stop the flight of Muslim migrants is the challenge that Wilders argues if his native Holland, Europe and the West are to survive. Right now that prospect is teetering on the brink unless concerted action is taken to stop Muslim flight at its source in the warring lands of extremism in the Ummah. Yet, the West rejects any concerted multilateral strategy to reverse the great wave of Muslim migration. If it doesn’t adopt such a strategy then the future could be a dystopian realm of unimaginable oppression and chaos for our children and grandchildren.

In April last year, the renowned nonpartisan Pew Research Center released a report on the future growth of world religions. The content was shocking. The report states that, if current trends continue, Islam will almost equal Christianity by 2050. While the world’s population is expected to rise by 35 per cent until the middle of this century, Islam will grow with a staggering 73 per cent.

The consequences of future Islamic growth are frightening. Islam is not a religion like Christianity, but rather a totalitarian political ideology. Its goal is primarily political. Islam wants to make the whole world submit. It aims to establish a worldwide Islamic state and bring everyone, including “infidels,” such as Christians, Jews, atheists, and others, under Sharia law. This is the barbaric Islamic law which deprives non-Muslims of all rights, treats women as inferior beings, condemns apostates and critics of Islam to death, and condones terror. More Islam equals more violence, more intolerance, more terrorism.

With the growth of Islam, the world will become a less safe place. And so will America. According to Pew, the United States will see its number of Christians decline from more than three-quarters of the population today to two-thirds in 2050, while Islam will more than double in size and replace Judaism as America’s largest non-Christian faith. The consequences of the Islamic presence in America have already been visible in several murderous attacks, such last December’s San Bernardino shooting, but also the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, and several other acts of terrorism. If Islam doubles in size, the threat of terrorism will only grow.

In the past, the totalitarian ideologies of Nazism and Communism have both been defeated by the common efforts of America and Europe. Without America, Europe would have been lost. But without Europe, America would have been isolated. If Europe had fallen to either Nazism or Communism, there is no doubt that America would have become the next victim. The Transatlantic alliance between Americans and Europeans has been the key to the survival of our common Western civilization. This alliance is in danger today, because the more Islamic Europe becomes, the less reliable it will be as an ally of America.

Though the predicted future rise of Islam in the US is worrying, the situation in Europe is far worse. The Pew figures show that Islam has already gained a significant foothold on the European continent and is growing rapidly. Europe’s Islamic population, boosted by higher birth rates and immigration, will nearly double, from 43 million people in 2010 to 71 million people in 2050. In the Netherlands, Muhammad is currently already the second most popular name among newborn boys nationwide and even the most popular name in our three largest cities, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. This is also the case in the Belgian capital Brussels, the Norwegian capital Oslo, and the British capital London. As a matter of fact even in the whole of Great-Britain, Muhammad has become the most popular name for newborn boys.

The Islamization of Europe will profoundly influence European politics. Winning the Islamic vote will become the goal of ever more European politicians. As a result, Europe’s policies will become even less friendly towards Israel and the United States than they already are. The Atlantic alliance is in danger.

The Islamic vote has already decided at least one major European election: the 2012 French presidential elections. These were won by the Socialist Francois Hollande over the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy by only 1.1 million votes. Since an estimated 2 million Islamic votes participated, of which 93 per cent – 1.7 million votes – went to Hollande and only 7 per cent to Sarkozy, it was the Islamic vote which gained Francois Hollande the Elysée Palace.

According to Pew, the growth of Islam in Europe is caused by several factors, including the young age of the Islamic population. However, more than half the growth can be attributed to immigration. In other words, stopping all immigration from Islamic countries would reduce the growth of Islam in Europe, but also in America, by more than half. The easiest way to limit the growth of Islam in the West is to stop Islamic immigration.

Islam is an existential threat to our Western freedoms and our Judeo-Christian civilization. It also threatens the Atlantic partnership between America and Western Europe. It is our duty to limit this threat. It is our mission as patriots to protect our nations. The first measure we must take to stop Islam, reduce the risk of terrorism and save our civilization, is to stop all immigration from Islamic countries. It is a matter of survival.

RELATED ARTICLE: Iraqi Journalist Dispels Myth that ISIS Has No Ties to Islam

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

Is the North Korean Satellite Launch a Game Changer?

FoxNews reported these developments following the success of North Korea’s satellite launching confirmed by the Pentagon:

We’ve been able to determine that they were able to put a satellite or some space device into orbit,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.

He said the Pentagon will, in light of this, begin “formal consultations” with South Korea over improvements to their own missile defense systems.

“We’d like to see this move as quickly as possible, but we’re beginning the consultations now in the coming days with the South Koreans and we expect that this will move in an expeditious fashion,” Cook said.

The U.S. and other world powers have condemned the launch of a long-range rocket, describing it as a banned test of ballistic missile technology.

At an emergency meeting Sunday of the U.N. Security Council which includes the U.S., all 15 council members approved a statement condemning the launch and pledging to “expeditiously” adopt a new resolution with “significant” new sanctions.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said a new U.N. resolution targeting North Korea over its rocket launch and recent nuclear test must be adopted very quickly and include “unprecedented measures” that its leader, Kim Jong Un, doesn’t expect.

The United States and China have been trying to agree on a new sanctions resolution since North Korea conducted a nuclear test on Jan. 6.

Gordon Chang in a Fox News interview said the North Korean satellite launch is something to worry about. Chang is a veteran North Korea and China analyst, Forbes columnist  author of Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World.  He said the Hermit State “demonstrated the mastery of missile technology.” He was referring to the three stage Unha-3 space vehicle launcher (SLV) that successfully placed a satellite in orbit. Chang further commented that the North Koreans demonstrated they have the means to successfully develop a true ICBM. An ICBM  , as we wrote in an NER/Iconoclast post, yesterday, that  both North Korea and its ready customer Iran could use at attack both coasts of this country. Where yesterday, we posted the news of the North Korean satellite launch with the question“is this a game changer?”  Chang’s comments and the reaction from the Obama White House suggest maybe it is.  US UN Ambassador Samantha Power, called it a missile launch because the SVL and a true ICBM she shared the same technology. That meant in the Administration’s view the successful satellite launch violated UN sanctions against missile testing. However, given the track record will the UN Security Council do anything about this latest North Korean action?

Chang holds that sanctions don’t work with North Korea. Instead He suggested that we might control the aid to North Korea endeavoring to separate the people from the autocratic ruling Kim family. He also suggested that South Korea move 143 companies out of the Kaesong industrial shared with North Korea.  He noted that after the January 6, 2016 nuclear test, no further sanctions were proposed at the UN because China would effectively block them. China he pointed out does a fair amount of banking with North Korea.

The success of the North Korean orbit prompted GOP hopeful Texas Senator Cruz at Saturday night’s to raise the question of whether we should pre-emptive attack North Korea’s missile launches.  Ironic, as this proposal was suggested by the current Administration Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and former Clinton Pentagon Chief William Perry, a decade ago.

DS-north-korea-13000-km-769x1024

The Administration is scrambling now that the Pentagon confirmed that the North Koreans successfully launched a satellite. Launched in a southerly direction, the 200kg.observational satellite is in polar orbit. That means it passes over the US every 95 minutes, perhaps providing imagery and GPS coordinates for possible later use. Yesterday, it missed the window of opportunity, by an hour, to pass over the stadium for 50th Super Bowl Championship game with tens of thousands of fans intent on watching the Denver Broncos beat the North Carolina Panthers for the title.

The Pentagon is talking about providing South Korea with Theater High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) system to complete the shorter range missile defense umbrella that the Republic of Korea has in place.

As we said on the Sunday Lisa Benson Show yesterday “it’s great that the U.S. has THAAD and ship borne X band radar floating in the Pacific and both ship and shore based Aegis installations in Eastern Europe (Romania) protecting us from missiles fired towards the East Coast. However, we have nothing in place to provide missile defense our vulnerable Gulf of Mexico coast.”  Ambassador Hank Cooper, the Reagan era SDI chief, warned about the absence of Aegis missile defense installations on our Gulf coast in November 2015 and most recently in a Feb.2, 2016 High Frontier alert. He argues that that our ballistic missile defense shield  on the Gulf coast lacks  the means  to combat the threat of a possible North Korean bomb in a satellite (Fractal Orbital Bomb) or missiles launched from either ships in the Gulf or those silos that allegedly Iran has been building in the Paraguana Peninsula in Venezuela. Ex- CIA director R. James Woolsey and Dr. Peter Pry discussed  in a July 2015 article the threat from FOBS that could trigger an Electronic Magnetic Pulse (EMP) effect over the US sending us back to the dark ages of the 19th Century before the advent of electricity.

This issue came up in the ABC GOP New Hampshire debates, Saturday night. Sen. Cruz raised the matter of a preemptive attack against a future North Korean ICBM launch during those debates. We may have had a hand in prompting it. A twitter rally was held last week by the Nation Security Task Force of America (NSTFA) of the Lisa Benson Show on the missile defense issue. The twitter rally sent out messages at the rate of 400 an hour, one of which caught the attention of a South Carolinian with a close connection to the Senator’s campaign staff. Another NSTFA twitter rally is on deck this Thursday night on the same issue.

The irony is the preemptive attack proposal originated a decade ago in 2006 in a Time Magazine article co authored by then Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, now Pentagon Chief and former Clinton Pentagon chief William Perry. Four nuclear and several space launches and missile tests later, we have a President whose response is to hold more UN sanctions talks with China at the UN that North Korea continually violates.

Meanwhile the North Korean satellite launch coupled with the January 6, 2016 nuclear test exposes the vulnerability of the US to possible missile attack by rogue regimes like North Korea and ally Iran. The lack of a Ballistic Missile Defense demonstrated by this latest successful North Korean satellite launch now vaults the issue to the top of national security issues along with Islamic terrorism for serious discussion in the 2016 Presidential campaign.

Watch, the Fox News report with the Chang interview:

RELATED ARTICLE: In One Graphic, What Countries North Korea’s New Missile Could Hit

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

PODCAST: GOPe Led Congress Quadruples Foreign Worker Visas

Listen to an extraordinarily informative Lisa Benson Show for National Security that aired Sunday December 20, 2015 on KKNT 960 The Patriot on ISIS CBW threat to EU, America, while Israel protects its citizen.  The program also addresses the surprise quadrupling of US foreign worker visas in the Omnibus spending bill abused by leading U.S. companies.  Lisa Benson and New English Review Senior Editor Jerry Gordon co-hosted this show with the assistance of Board of Advisors member, Richard Cutting.

Our Guests were:

Dr. S. Jill Bellamy, member of the UN Counterterrorism Task Force and noted international expert of biological warfare threat reduction made some stunning revelations. She spoke of ISIS Libyan-based units, comprised of Dutch and Belgian foreign fighters who may have accessed UN sealed Gaddafi era Chemical and Biological toxin caches and may have stolen large quantities of dangerous Sarin gas.  She noted that the recent EU Parliamentary research report highlighted the possible deployment by ISIS foreign fighters of CBW toxic agents and nuclear material in the EU. Bellamy spoke of the lack of preparedness of EU and American airports to possible ISIS CBW attacks.  EU counterterrorism echelons, she noted, have not prepared civilian defense programs against these threats as they don’t wish to upset their civilian populations. Israel, alone among Western countries, conducts annual exercises against CBRN threats actively involving its civilian population and even school children. Bellamy also disclosed that US intelligence declined to obtain a veritable treasure trove of information from an accredited NATO country defense source on both Syrian and Iranian bio-warfare offensive weapons programs.

Leo Hohmann, a senior editor at World Net Daily disclosed the quadrupling of H-2B Visas for guest foreign workers in seasonal business sectors to 250,000 buried in the 2,009 pages of the $1.1 trillion Omnibus spending bill signed off by President Obama before he left on his Christmas vacation in Hawaii.  He noted that the expansion of the dramatic expansion of H-2B foreign workers Visas had the active support of the US Chamber of Commerce.  Recipients of these H-2B Visas can stay in the US for up to two years. Hohmann also discussed the H-1B Visa program for foreign workers with “critical special skills” that has been abused by a number of major American companies, among them Disney, Northeastern Utilities, Hertz. In one graphic example Disney,  Hohmann spoke of how Disney gave Florida workers pink slips on condition that they train their H-1B replacements who typically are paid less than half of salaries of these technical positions and can stay in the US for up to six years and in some instances ultimately acquiring green cards for permanent residency.

Note this comment from one of our European listeners:

Dr. Jill Bellamy is excellent. The leaks on Daesh (ISIS) having their members taken over the sealed and buried Libyan chemical weapons are being discussed in some EU countries. They are scared that suicide bombers with chemical bombs in their boats could ram a naval vessel or have it smuggled through containers from Tunisia or Algeria to Europe. For Daesh to hit at any western country would be a major means of propaganda for them, which is their main aim, as well as killing as many infidels.

The lawmakers in the EU are still skeptic of any biological attack and they do not want to spend money on it because their budget deficits are lousy. They all do not care of the dangers facing their populations. I also think that the same lack of clear thinking is missing from the US administration and law makers.

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

PODCAST: Is it Safe to Fly?

Listen to this podcast of The Lisa Benson Show on National Security  that aired  Sunday, November 8, on KKNT 960 The Patriot and SMARTPHONE iHEART App: 960 the Patriot. Lisa Benson and New English Review Senior Editor Jerry Gordon  co-hosted this show.

Our guests were:

Amb. R. James Woolsey, Chairman of the Washington, DC –based Leadership Council of Foundation for Defense of Democracies on Global aviation and airport insecurity with the ISIS terrorist bombing of Metrojet Flight 9268  in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and  lax screening of  refugee airport workers at 13  US  airports revealed in a Lisa Benson National Security Task Force of America investigation as reported onFoxNews, CNN, MSNBC, NewsMax  and The Blaze.

Dr. Raymond Stock, Shillman/Ginsburg Fellow at Middle East Forum and noted Egyptian expert on the aftermath of the security issues facing President el-Sisi in the Sinai from ISIS and Muslim Brotherhood terrorism in the wake of the downing of Metrojet Flight 9268.

Additional contributions on this broadcast were made by Board of Advisor members, Richard Cutting and Michael Weiser on calls for US  Congressional heatings on airport security and refugee employees screenings, as well as Isareli airline and airport security.  As a result of the broadcast interest has been expressed in doing a documentary of the issues raised arising from the terrorist bombing of Metrojet Flight 9268 as well as an op ed for a major media publication. Stay tuned for further developments.

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

The Islamic State poses a Global Airline Security Threat

metrojet flight plan

Metrojet 9268 Flight Schedule, October 31, 2015.

Saturday morning, October 31st, Flight 9268 a Metrojet Airbus A321 with 224 largely Russian tourists, and crew aboard were bound on a course for St. Petersburg from Sharm el-Sheikh on Egypt’s Sinai Red Sea. The aircraft reached an altitude of 31,000 feet at 430 knots, when something catastrophic occurred at 23 minutes into the flight. Communications with the pilot abruptly ended, the plane struggled to gain altitude and just as suddenly plummeted earthward with the tail section broken off and the rest of fuselage sent crashing into the desert and mountains were a flash was seen via satellite.

All 224 passengers and crew aboard were killed. The crash occurred less than 300 miles from the resort area at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula at the mouth of the Red Sea. The passenger remains and  aircraft debris were scattered over a wide area. All of this was recorded in real time on satellite flight status internet reports and satellite imagery. Forensic teams from Egyptian, Russian and Airbus air safety organizations were dispatched to retrieve the flight data recorders. Egyptian military and Red Crescent teams were engaged in recovery of the remains, personal effects and luggage of those killed in the crash.

Grief was overwhelming at funerals held in Russia this week with the arrival of the remains of the victims.  The immediate questions were what caused the aviation catastrophe and who may have been behind it.

Watch this CNN video on “Did a Bomb take down Metrojet Flight 9268?”:

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Metrojet Flight 9268  Tail section. Source: AFP

If the emerging facts surrounding the fate of Metrojet Flight 9268 are confirmed this aviation disaster, possibly perpetrated by Islamic terrorists,  could well be Russia’s 9/11.  Shoshana Bryen of the Washington, D.C.-based Jewish Policy Center suggested that in an American Thinker blog, “Could the destroyed Russian plane be jihadi payback?” The inference being that the bombing of Metrojet Flight 9268 was a deadly rebuke to Russian President Putin for his entry in the Syria conflict attempting to bolster the faltering Assad Regime in alliance with Shia extremist Iran and its proxy Hezbollah. Boaz Bismuth writing in Israel Hayom  penned an op ed about the alleged bombing with the prescient title, “ISIS aims for the global skies.”

A lot is at stake, as the Sinai had become a veritable Islamic terrorist venue with Al Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS echelons attacking Egyptian security forces. Sharm el-Sheik is  a major European tourist destination attracting millions of visitors annually from the EU, Russia and other countries. For the El-Sisi government, terrorist involvement in the aviation disaster in the Sinai would have a chilling effect on billions in income from tourism. For Russia it could be an un-reckoned threat arising from its entry in the Syrian conflict. It is seeking to keep at bay Caucasian and other Russian Muslims from flocking to join the self-declared Caliphate, the  Islamic State.  For the international airline industry it may have profound implications for assuring security for passengers and operations both at home and in destinations adjacent to jihadist conflict zones.  If airport or airline servicing contractors were involved, then a major security gap would be opened by this latest aviation terrorism episode.

Several theories were developed as to what caused the aircraft to go through  violent maneuvers. The aircraft may have been hit by a shoulder held air defense heat seeker missile or MANPAD, it might have suffered a high altitude structural failure which caused it to break apart or the aircraft could have suffered an internal bomb explosion. Both the MANPAD and structural failure explanations were dismissed in view of the altitude at which the incident occurred, 31,000 feet , exceeding the maximum  altitude of MANPADs, 15,000 feet. Moreover the high altitude structure failure possibility was obviated by the service record of the Metrojet aircraft indicating that it had undergone structural repairs after a 2001 incident that occurred on a rough landing.  The bombing possibility, while initially dismissed, became a palpably plausible on Wednesday, November 4th. Both UK and U.S. intelligence suggested they had intercepted electronic information indicating that an explosive device may have been secreted on board Metrojet Flight 9268 by possible operatives of ISIS groups active in the Sinai Peninsula. Perhaps they were posing as local catering and cleaning contractors with access to the aircraft. Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood  or ISIS operatives could have secreted a bomb in the rear lavatories or rear luggage holds on the Metrojet A321.

Evidence is mounting to the ultimate conclusion that this might have been  a bombing.  Shoshana Bryen  indicated that photographs of the aircraft wreckage in British media “show some of the holes in the wreckage. They are outward-facing – meaning something inside the plane moved out. A blown fuel tank – which is on the outside – would have caused inward-facing holes.” Then there were reported  forensic evidence of metal shards among the clothing and effects of the victims.  Bryen also cited reports “indicating  that security at Sharm el-Sheikh was totally lax; which helps make the case that someone inside did the job. Since Egyptian tourism and Russia are targets of the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS respectively, and since ISIS came from the MB root, collaboration here is a twisted “win-win” for them.”

‘UK PM Cameron underlined the increasing evidence of a bomb plot to destroy, Metrojet  Flight 9268, saying, “It is ‘more likely than not” that a bomb brought down  the Metrojet over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula”. He took extraordinary measures grounding all UK charters for a security sweep at Sharm el Sheikh airport leaving more than 3,500 British passengers delayed until given clearance. CNN cited Cameron’s  office issuing a statement saying,  “Outbound flights from the UK to Sharm el-Sheikh remain suspended and the Foreign Office continues to advise against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el-Sheikh airport, but we are continuing to work with the Egyptians to get back to normal service as soon as possible.” Similar announcements came from Irish authorities and Lufthansa.  Sharm el-Sheikh is visited by more than 1 million tourists, annually.

The Israeli resort of Eilat at the head of the Red Seas also is a major European and international tourist destination.  ISIS Sinai affiliate formerly known as Ansar Bait al-Maqdis has targeted Eilat for a possible bombing attack. The possible ISIS terror bombing of the Metrojet  could have rippling effects there to assure the usual tight security arrangements of Israel international carrier, El Al, and  domestic ones like Arkia.  El Al aircraft are already equipped with electronic counter measures like the Elbit C-Music anti- missile system to foil possible MANPAD attacks. Doubtless, the Israelis may also have better security clearances for aircraft maintenance, catering and cleaning employees, as well as barriers and surveillance of the Egyptian border to thwart infiltration of MB and ISIS terrorists.

ISS Facility Services Receives State of Utah Refugee Services Employer of the Year 2009

ISS Facility Services Receives State of Utah Refugee Services Employer of the Year 2009.

ISS Facility Services Receives State of Utah Refugee Services Employer of the Year 2009

The downing of the Metrojet with its innocent Russian victims  has more than just Russian, Egyptian and Israeli concerns. From investigations by the Wall Street Journal,  CNN and others, security clearances for baggage handlers, catering, and cleaning personnel with access to the tarmac and aircraft here in the U.S. is lax.

Further investigations by the Lisa Benson Radio Show National Security Task Force of America  have revealed employment of Somali refugees  by major international groups like ISS Worldwide A/S headquartered in Copenhagen. The US subsidiary  ISS Facility Services, Inc. is based in San Antonio. ISS Worldwide employs over a half million through their outsourced network of airport and commercial facilities maintenance contracts. ISS specializes in a broad range of facility management services including janitorial services, especially for airport authorities and major manufacturing  companies.

The Somali Muslim émigré population has been the source of both Al Shabaab and increasingly ISIS recruitment in the U.S.  One illustration of the inherent ISIS risk among U.S. Somalis employed at US airports was  the reported death in September 2014  of  American Somali Émigré ISIS  Jihadi

The late ISIS Fighter a former Twin Cities airport cleaner

The late ISIS Fighter a former Twin Cities airport cleaner.

The late ISIS Fighter a former Twin Cities airport cleaner

Abdirahmaan Muhumed, 29.  That revealed his employment as a cleaner for Delta Global Services, Inc.  that gave him security access to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.  Muhumed left behind 9 children in the Twin Cities to become an ISIS jihadi, before his death in Syria. Muhumed had unfettered access to jetliners at the airport, which handles 90,000 passengers a day. He also had access to the tarmac and special security clearance to other parts of the airport. Muhumed had no criminal record in the United States that would have prevented him from getting a job at the airport.

This revelation following the death of Somali émigré ISIS fighter Muhumed, should raise the concerns of both the TSA and Homeland Security regarding screening of airport and aircraft maintenance personnel at U.S. Many of who have contracts with groups like ISS Worldwide A/S and Delta Global Services, Inc.  Moreover, without active community policing programs in the major U.S. communities recruitment of Muhumed and other ISIS recruits could not have been detected.  Thus, the downing of the Metrojet in Egypt by alleged ISIS perpetrators reverberates here in the U.S.  FBI Direct James Combey has warned that ISIS jihadis lurk among us in all 50 states.

RELATED ARTICLE: ‘Unvetted foreigners’ working as U.S. baggage handlers

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

Are we witnessing the end of Syria?

French Mandate of SyriaReuters has a report on how Quds Force Commander Gen. Soliemani mapped out Russian involvement to save beleaguered Syrian President Bashar Assad, “How Iranian general plotted out Syrian assault in Moscow.”  The strategy unraveling now is a joint air and ground assault to carve out an Alawite bastion in Western and Northwestern Syria ejecting CIA and Coalition-trained opposition, Al Qaeda Al Nusrah Front and Free Syrian Army forces. The air assault to date has focused on attacking these units in a strategic line north out of Damascus. The ground component is composed of fresh Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah units. The Russian air assault contingent based in Latakia province is being bolstered by Russian “volunteers” a page out of Putin’s playbook for seizure of the Crimea and invasion of Eastern Ukraine. In the absence of significant US trained Sunni opposition contingents in this scenario; it would appear that Syria may devolve into a series of sectarian cantons akin to the  French Mandate for Syria granted by the League of Nations in the early 1920’s.

The objective of Iran is to build a virtual Shia crescent from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean coast including bringing in Shia extremist Imams and resettling  Shia refugees from Afghanistan and Pakistan in Syrian areas depopulated of Sunnis and Christians. The Alawites, who are secular, are troubled by this development and many have fled abroad. The Kurds have their de facto canton in Northeastern Syria abutting the Kurdish Regional Government in neighboring Iraq.

Turkey is clearly upset with the Russian presence in Syria, as is NATO, while the US is clearly dithering on what to do. Once again Obama has been outfoxed by Soliemani and Putin. That leaves allies like Israel, the Saudis and the Emirates seeking alternatives for their own sovereign protection. The Saudis and Emirates are talking about a jihad akin to that they funded in Afghanistan with CIA and Pakistan’s ISI in a secret war in the 1980’s that led to the rout of the Soviet 40th Army and gave rise to Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda.

A Der Spiegel article, “The Iranian Project: Why Assad Has Turned to Moscow for Helpportrays  President Bashar al-Assad as caught in a dilemma; “fear of friends”, meaning Iran versus “fear of opposition.”That former fear stems from reliance on Iran Revolutionary Guards, Shia auxiliaries from Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Sadr Brigade in Iraq and Shia fighters from Afghanistan and  Pakistan. They are under the command of Quds Force Commander Soliemani and make up for the decimation and desertions of draftees from the Syrian National Defense Forces. Iran’s intention is to build an Islamic Revolutionary State within  the areas along the Mediterranean coast and Mountains of Northwest Syria. To that end Iran has sent in radical Imams to create Shia religious centers directed at conversion of secular Alawites and Sunnis causing them to flee the country.  Thus, Assad has welcomed the Russia military assistance as Putin has allegedly no such interests in the current campaign, excepting protecting Russian interests in naval and military bases, as well as offshore gas developments.

Note these excerpts:

“Assad and those around him are afraid of the Iranians,” the Russian says. Anger over the arrogance of the Iranians, who treat Syria like a colony, is also part of it, the Russian continues. Most of all, though, the Syrians “mistrust Tehran’s goals, for which Assad’s position of power may no longer be decisive. That is why the Syrians absolutely want us in the country.”

Tehran’s goals go far beyond merely reestablishing the status quo in Syria. In early 2013, Hojatoleslam Mehdi Taeb, one of the planners behind Iran’s engagement in Syria, said: “Syria is the 35th province of Iran and it is a strategic province for us.” For several decades, the alliance between the Assads and Iran was a profitable one, particularly in opposition to the Iraq of Saddam Hussein, which long had the upper hand in the region. But today, Assad depends on Iran to remain in power, and Tehran is taking advantage of the situation.

It is, however, primarily in the civilian sector where significant changes are afoot. Just as in Damascus, Latakia and Jabla, increasing numbers of hosseiniehs — Shiite religious teaching centers — are opening. The centers are aimed at converting Sunnis, and even the Alawites, the denomination to which the Assads belong, to “correct” Shiite Islam by way of sermons and stipends. In addition, the government decreed one year ago that state-run religion schools were to teach Shiite material.

All of this is taking place to the consternation of the Alawites, who have begun to voice their displeasure. “They are throwing us back a thousand years. We don’t even wear headscarves and we aren’t Shiites,” Alawites complained on the Jableh News Facebook page. There were also grumblings when a Shiite mosque opened in Latakia and an imam there announced: “We don’t need you. We need your children and grandchildren.”

Talib Ibrahim, an Alawite communist from Masyaf who fled to the Netherlands many years ago, summarizes the mood as follows: “Assad wants the Iranians as fighters, but increasingly they are interfering ideologically with domestic affairs. The Russians don’t do that.”

Putin may have been prompted by Quds Force Commander Soliemani to aid mutual client Assad because he saw an opportunity to make a power play against the US in the region.  However, the secular Ba’athist Syrian tradition has been virtually suborned by the influx of Iranian Revolutionary Guards ‘and Shia proxies’ with the objective of creating a Khomeinist Revolutionary state. The confluence of those opposing interests, secular and religious, may ultimate end the decades’ long rule of the Assad family. That might lead to an ultimate apocalyptic conflict in Syria between nuclear equipped Shia Iran and the Sunni Salafist Islamic State.

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

The Senate Must Sue Obama to Block the Iran Nuclear Treaty by Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. and Lee S. Bender, Esq.

When we published “How Best to Overturn the Iran Nuclear Pact” in the August 2015 New English Review, we reviewed several options. One proposal suggested by Dr. Robert B. Skalorff entailed direct litigation by Congress before the Supreme Court under provisions of the US Constitution seeking a ruling  treating   the Iran nuclear pact as a  treaty requiring  advise and consent of the Senate . We  wrote:

That proposal entailed independent Congressional litigation on demonstrable Constitutional legal grounds regarding executive overreach. If the Senate was granted standing on direct appeal, based on the B. Altman SCOTUS ruling, it might result in a predisposed SCOTUS rendering a positive ruling thus quashing the Iran nuclear pact. Further, the ruling might unfetter the hands of any successor to President Obama on inauguration day in 2017 to undertake remedial actions. Such actions might reduce the current existential threats to both the US and Israel.

In furtherance of that original proposal we are publishing  the following article by Dr. Robert A. Sklaroff and Lee S. Bender, Esq. which expands upon the original concept noting support from  Constitutional law experts and applicable case citations.

The Senate Must Sue Obama to Block the Iran TREATY

By Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. and Lee S. Bender, Esq.

When Congress returns from recess after Labor Day, one of the most pressing issues on the agenda is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known commonly as “the Iran deal.” Much has been discovered since the Corker-Cardin-Menendez bill was enacted, including the White House’s and State Department’s deceit which influenced the Senate to abandon its constitutionally-provided role regarding treaties.

Now it might take a lawsuit spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to reverse not only the damage to the Constitution but also potential damage to America and our allies as a result of the provisions of the Iran nuclear-deal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has overwhelming justification to sue President Obama over the JCPOA which constitutes a treaty and thereby must be ratified by a 2/3-vote of those present prior to implementation.

Such a suit could ultimately prompt the Supreme Court to disclaim Obama’s portrayal of this document as an Executive Agreement. It could also sustain the overwhelming will of the American people–according to polling data—to trash this “legacy” effort, for reasons that have been exhaustively detailed.

Blocking implementation of the Iran nuclear-deal would thereby necessitate the legislative branch triggering a confrontation between the judicial and the executive branches.

Two essays {authored by RBS} published in The Hill explored the legalities of this initiative, focused on its “treaty” [July 29] and “rule-of-law” [August 25] components.

In the interim [USA Today, August 5], Professor Alan Dershowitz recognized that a Supreme Court opinion challenged the President’s power to enter into long-term deals with foreign powers without the consent of Congress. He cannot avoid Congressional oversight by simply declaring an important deal with foreign powers to be an executive agreement rather than a treaty [Gibbons v. Ogden]:  “[G]eneral and permanent commercial regulations with foreign powers must be made by treaty, but…the particular and temporary regulations of commerce may be made by an agreement of a state with another, or with a foreign power, by the consent of Congress.”

Two other authors, legal-authority Andrew C. McCarthy [National Review Online, July 17] and accomplished-author Caroline B. Glick [Jerusalem Post, July 21] also claimed the deal is a treaty, but none of these columnists proposed a remedy that would force a clash with this out-of-control Obama Administration. Jerry Gordon has detailed, comprehensively, “How Best to Overturn the Iran Nuclear Pact” [New English Review, August 2015].

The drip-drip-drip of news about details of the deal as well as “secret” side arrangements that has emerged this summer congeals into two major rationales for such litigation, addressing both specifics and lack of transparency. Specifically, multiple side-deals between Iran and the IAEA satirize the concept of “anytime, anywhere surveillance” but, perhaps more important, Obama and his cabinet-members “inexplicably” failed to reveal this information to Congress as secrets.  Moreover, the Administration also misled Congress and the American public about the nature of the deal and the resulting preservation of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and right to continue advanced research that will provide it with a bomb when the pact expires in a mere decade to 15 years.

The “legislative intent” of the Corker-Cardin Bill (Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015) was focused exclusively on Iran’s nuclear program, contrasting with the final pact the Administration concluded that was expanded to allow lifting of conventional-weapon sanctions. Iran sought—and was granted—this specific concession at the very end of the negotiations.  This was outside what the Administration had originally advised Congress about the parameters of this deal, focused on nuclear-weapons capability and not conventional weapons (or ICBMs). Thus, the final version of the Iran nuclear-deal encompassed issues, such as weaponization, that the Administration did not disclose to Congress before it debated and passed the Corker-Cardin Bill.

(Other facets of the negotiation were also misrepresented by the Obama Administration prior to when Kerry inked the deal. For example, although release of American prisoners was not ultimately achieved, Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on  January 21, 2015 that the Administration’s negotiators “continue to insist” that Americans held in detention be released.)

This pattern of deception started before the Corker-Cardin Bill was passed in May. It was even maintained by Iran when the Tasmin News agency reported [June 15] “Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani reiterated that negotiations between Tehran and six major world powers solely focus on nuclear topics, dismissing any talk of military subjects in the talks.” And, reflecting the persistence of the deception,  it was manifest one week prior to when the deal was signed [July 14] during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing via testimony from Defense Secretary Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dempsey that the arms embargo, pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1929, was not to be lifted [July 7].

Thus, overall, absent the ability to review all relevant data, the Senate (1)—cannot render an informed judgment, consistent with its “advise/consent” role, and (2)—cannot be viewed to be facing a 60-day deadline, for the Corker-Cardin Bill mandates that this “clock” start “ticking” only after the database has been completed.

Refusal to provide copies of side-agreements to Congress continues unabated, as per testimony on August 5 by chief-negotiator Wendy Sherman and IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. We now know why normally-sedate Senator Corker exploded (“We cannot get him to even confirm that we will have physical access inside of Parchin”) because such inspections have been serially outsourced by Obama to the IAEA and then, we learned more recently, by the IAEA to Iran.

The “toughest inspections-regime in history” forces America (and the world) to allow Iran to provide proof that Iran is not making nukes in Iran.

Perhaps more ominous is the dismissive posture adopted by Secretary of State Kerry [July 28] when confronted by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. The innocent hypothetical was unambiguous:  Would he “follow the law” governing existing congressional sanctions if Congress voted to override a veto? The elitist reply challenged rule-of-law:  “I can’t begin to answer that at this point without consulting with the President and determining what the circumstances are.”

Could BHO go rogue?

The ability of the Supreme Court to exercise “judicial review” is rooted in the Supremacy Clause, was affirmed in 1803 [Marbury v. Madison], and has never been tested again to this day.

But, because the Supreme Court does not command any enforcement-military, the remedy for potential lawlessness is unclear. Indeed, this concern would extend to any nullification effort by the President related to the prospect that the Supreme Court would declare the Iran-Nuclear Deal to be a “treaty” rather than the “executive agreement” the President has potentially improperly considered it to be, to skirt congressional oversight and approval.

These concerns were predicted [May 7] and corroborated [July 23] in essays that presage the current crisis [by RBS, both published in The American Thinker]. They were confirmed in an e-mail exchange by noted constitutional scholar, Dr. John C. Eastman [the Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service at the Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University and Founding Director of The Claremont Institute’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence]:First, because only a ‘treaty’ is the Supreme law of the land, a mere executive agreement could not overturn statutorily-imposed sanctions.” Eastman continued in an e-mail, “And neither, in my view, could a change in the constitutionally-mandated default rule for adopting a treaty.  Second, if that is true, then members of the Senate who, collectively, had the votes to prevent ratification of a treaty would have standing to challenge the process that negated their vote.  That’s the Coleman v. Miller case on all fours.” This 1939 landmark decision ensured that Congress was empowered to specify a deadline by which an external entity was to affirm proposed legislation, such as a Constitutional amendment.

The Ottoman-Islamic defeat at the “Gates of Vienna” in 1683 is on the verge of being reversed by Obama/Kerry and their P5+1 partners, again in Vienna; the irony is that the West is validating Iranian-Islamic supremacism. It seems only the U.S. Senate can rescue (Judeo-Christian) Western Civilization from the Administration’s collaboration and perfidy.

The Senate must definitively impose a limit to the President’s executive lawlessness before a constitutional crisis erupts. Resolution by the courts may be the most effective way to check and to balance the scales that Obama has usurped.

Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. is a physician-activist and may be contacted at rsklaroff@gmail.com.  Lee S. Bender, Esquire, is an attorney, activist and co-author of the book, “Pressing Israel: Media Bias Exposed From A-Z.”

RELATED ARTICLE: Iranian national arrested in Hancock County, Mississippi accused of tackling deputy, making terroristic threats

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

Time for a March in Washington, D.C. to Stop the Iran Nuke Deal

President Obama may be on a vacation with the family, however his West Wing political operatives are busily trying to line up Democrat votes in both the Senate and House enabling him to veto anticipated Republican majority resolutions.

While New York Democrat Senator Charles Schumer has come out against the pact, he demurred from active advocacy of his position. The Hill noted in its Whip List count that Rep. Pete Roskam (R-IL) has signed up 218 of 243 Republican colleagues for a resolution opposing the Iran nuclear pact. The Hill Whip List vote tally, as of  August 14, 2015, on the Democrat side of aisle shows Democrats divided with 48 “Yes”, 16 leaning in that direction, 11 “No,”  2 leaning towards “No” and 58 “undecideds.”  The resolutions are likely to be voted on by both Chambers before September 17th following Congress reconvening just after Labor Day.

The ultimate choice of which way the undecideds will go will depend on what they learn from Town Hall meetings and constituent calls, tweets and emails.  If respected polls are any indication, millions of Americans have voiced concerns that Iran’s track record as a cheater on nuclear weapons developments and state support for terrorism preclude trusting it.  The JCPOA will immediately release tens of billions for Iran to expand hegemony in the Middle East. In  10 years it will add over 1 trillion dollars in additional sanctions relief to Iran and the Mullahs that run it.

Already the international sanctions regime has been shredded by Iranian Quds Force commander Soleimani’s  violation  of travel bans and purchases of Russian advanced air defense systems and Chinese stealth  fighter jets. Italian, French and other Foreign Ministers have led trade delegations to Tehran to ink billions in pre-approval deals. Just this week, the Swiss lifted some of their financial sanctions, doubtless both the Russians and Chinese will follow suit, as their sequestered funds comprise the majority of off shore resources .  Moreover, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif is endeavoring to broker the Syrian Crisis.  With the nuclear deal, the Islamic regime is gaining traction in the Middle East courtesy of Obama’s outreach and the pending nuclear pact.

While many Congressional Democrats and liberal media pundits contend that the nuclear pact is not perfect, they suggest it is better than the alternative.  Orde Kittrie, Senior Fellow and leading expert on non proliferation law and policy at the Washington, DC Foundation for Defense of Democracies  in a Wall Street Journal  opinion piece, yesterday  contends that  the unsigned political agreement can be and should be amended by Congress. He cites as evidence  the 200 plus incidents, include ing nuclear test ban and arms control agreements with Russia during the Cold War era. There is also the recent 2009 nuclear cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates, where Congress demanded changes and material improvement to international agreements before granting consent.

Eli Broad, Matthew Weiner and Norman Lear

Eli Broad, Matthew Weiner and Norman Lear Hollywood Jewish Backers of Iran Nuclear Pact Source: Hollywood Reporter.

Testimonials from Prominent Hollywood Jewish Backers of Iran Nuclear Deal

The White House has been bombarding media with ‘testimonials’ in favor of the Iran nuclear deal. There was one from three dozen retired generals and admirals, another from 29 of the nation’s leading scientists, and still yet another from 100 former ambassadors.   The argument from the former senior officers in the military was the agreement is “the most effective means currently available to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.” The scientists called the Iran deal “technically sound, stringent and innovative”.

The other voice heard from was the liberal Jewish Hollywood mogul crowd and J Street rabbis’ who bought an ad in the L.A Jewish Journal, and other newspapers of record. Israel National News (INN) noted  among them were leading campaign financial bundlers for Obama’s Presidential elections:

Among the seven lead signatories are billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad; Walt Disney Concert Hall architect Frank Gehry; and legendary TV writer-producer Norman Lear.

[…]

“I just felt that some of the mainstream Jewish organizations weren’t speaking on behalf of a large segment of the community that has a different point of view,” Matthew Velkes told The Hollywood Reporter, adding that LA’s Jewish population is “as diverse a community as one might imagine.”

INN drew attention to the letter signed by these Hollywood Jewish supporters of Obama published in the Hollywood Reporter:

We appreciate that many have reasonable concerns about the risks of a complex nuclear weapons development agreement with an untrustworthy adversary like Iran. We too hold these concerns, but the deal that was reached is not founded on trust; it is grounded in rigorous inspections and monitoring.

They view killing the deal as a “tragic mistake.”

us energy secretray

U.S. Energy Secretary Earnest Moniz

Secretary of Energy Moniz discusses the Iran deal on a National Jewish Federation Webcast

I watched a National Jewish Federation live interview with Secretary of Energy, Dr. Earnest Moniz, extolling the virtues of the Iran nuclear deal from technical aspects. Retired MIT physics professor Moniz knows the subject well.  He was an official in the Clinton Administration during the failed attempt to reign in North Korea from achieving nuclear breakout. The on-line audience was a third of the 10,000 viewers  when Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu expounded his thesis about why the nuclear pact was a bad deal given existential threats to both the US and Israel.

The Hill cited Moniz saying on the webcast that the Iran nuclear deal “would aid in fighting terrorism.”  The Administration’s primary concern he said was to cut off all paths for Iran from achieving a bomb. A path, he acknowledged, currently would take less than two to three months to achieve with the 80 tons of fissile material on hand.  However, he suggested that when the existing stock of fissile material was reduced by 98 percent under the current proposal it would set back by a decade  industrializing nuclear development.  He also told the on-line audience that there were no secret side deals.  Rather he characterized them as confidential arrangements between the IAEA and Iran that would allow for close monitoring of Iran nuclear developments.  He suggested, when asked by viewer, not to worry about the Parchin military test site, as the Energy Department’s labs have developed the technical means of identifying even trace amounts of nuclear residue. The Problem is the Ayatollah has barred the IAEA and any US inspectors from visiting Parchin and ‘known’ military development sites.   Further, Moniz suggested the US was supplying the 24/7 monitoring technology to the IAEA covering the entire Iranian nuclear production pathway from mine through enrichment.

Watch Secretary Moniz’s Jewish National Federation Vimeo video presentation:

ambassidor yoriWhat the polls of Americans show.

Yoram Ettinger, former Israeli Congressional liaison with the rank of Ambassador, in an  Israel Hayom column highlighted the findings of several polls. They reflected Americans’ deep concern about the nuclear deal with Iran.  Here are the highlights of what Ettinger addressed in his Israel Hayom column:

According to RealClearPolitics’ most recent polls, a major wedge has evolved between the US constituents, on the one hand, and US policy-makers, on the other hand, when it comes to foreign policy and national security: a mere 38.5% approval rating of President Obama’s foreign policy.  For instance, a CNN poll documented a majority disapproval of Obama’s handling of Islamic terrorism, and a majority backing the use of military force against ISIS.

The voters’ deep distrust of the Ayatollahs is documented by the annual Gallup poll of Country Rating.  …  Iran is rated as the second least favored country by Americans with 11% favorability, ahead of North Korea – 9% and behind Afghanistan (14%), Syria (14%) and the Palestinian Authority (17%), compared with Israel’s 70%.

In addition, Gallup shows that 77% and 84% of US constituents regard nuclearized Ayatollahs and international terrorism, respectively, as “critical threats.”  Gallup indicates that “Americans’ views on [the Ayatollahs] have remained unchanged for 26 years.”

According to the August 3, 2015 poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, “American voters oppose the nuclear pact negotiated with Iran 57 to 28 percent, with only lukewarm support from Democrats and overwhelming opposition for Republicans and independent voters.”

nyt times front page

New York Times Front Page April 16, 2002.

The 2002 Washington Rally to Stand with Israel.

I recently exchanged thoughts with the AIPAC Florida regional director about a possible march in Washington, just after Labor Day when Congress reconvenes to address the looming vote on the Iran deal. I recalled vividly my personal impressions of being in the multitude estimated at over 100,000 at the Stand with Israel Rally on April 15, 2002 gathered to hear speakers on the back lawn of the US Capitol.  The rally was the genius of current executive vice chairman of the Conference of President of Major American Jewish Organizations, Malcolm Hoenlein, that despite daunting logistics and busing arrangements organized the event in less than five days.

That rally occurred in the wake of the Second Intifada that witnessed the horrific suicide bombing on March 27, 2002, the Passover Massacre at the Park Hotel in Netanya, Israel.  30 elderly holocaust survivors were killed and over 140 injured and maimed.  The Washington Rally in 2002 was directed at Palestinian terrorism occurring less than a year after 9/11 in lower Manhattan.  Clearly, there was solidarity among Christians and Jews gathered in support of Israel who listened to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO) and  Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), now departing Senate Minority leader. The small contingent of pro-Palestinian advocates were swamped, but not abused by the attentive crowd.  Pictures and reports of the rally were front page items the following day in newspapers of record like the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and the New York Times. In the wake of the 2002 Washington Rally Christians United for Israel was formed.   I suggested to the Florida AIPAC regional director, we needed to do that again, now.

The March to Save America in Washington, September 9, 2015

Serendipitously, Tom Harb, an Orlando businessman and leader in the Lebanese diaspora, sent me an email introducing the group currently organizing a March to Save America for which it has been given a permit in Washington, scheduled for Wednesday, September 9th. That led to a discussion with a  Los Angeles-based spokesperson for the March.  She indicated that starting this weekend and early next week, the March organizers will issue press releases and break news of the March on a major cable news network.  She referred me to their website at: www.marchtosaveamerica.org with a statement from founding Committee Chairman, Barry Nussbaum. Here are some key excerpts:

Congress is about to vote on a deal with Iran that essentially consents to their belligerent military goals, with some delays specified.  …. There is no historical precedent for Iran’s compliance.  Nor, does the deal require “anytime, anywhere” inspection.  Rigorous verification of Iran’s adherence to the deal is virtually impossible.

[…]

The deal does not require Iran to materially dismantle its nuclear infrastructure while it includes, practically speaking,  the irreversible dismantling of the sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place.  Easy circumvention of the deal’s restrictions can only lead to the war that Iran has promised.  A majority of Americans (2/3 as of August 2015) have learned enough details to oppose it.

[…]

The only way to stop the deal, at this stage, is to put major pressure on Congress to reject it.  While many organizations are working tirelessly through lobbying individual Members of Congress to stop the deal, we feel that the strongest statement America can make is to unite through a march on Washington: The March To Save America, September 9, 2015.

Stay tuned for developments! Watch this brief YouTube video on The March to Save America:

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

What Israeli Intelligence Knew About Iran Nuclear Negotiations

Dr. Ronen Bergman is the Intelligence affairs columnist for Israeli daily Yediot Ahronoth. He’s the author of The Secret War with Iran: The 30-Year Clandestine Struggle Against the World’s Most Dangerous Terrorist Power, 2007In February 2012, we published an interview with him on a possible Israel attack on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, “Is the Clock Ticking on a Nuclear Iran?” At the time, some Israeli action appeared imminent, which did not materialize that year, perhaps because of the intervening U.S. secret discussions with Iran.

Bergman, published a dossier in The Tablet, July 29th, obtained from Israeli intelligence on Iran and from Western intelligence sources on U.S. capitulation on concessions repeatedly over the past several years, “What Information Collected by Israeli Intelligence Reveals About the Iran Talks.”

There was also evidence that the U.S. was not immediately forthcoming with ally Israel as to the timing, scope and content of these secret discussions with Iran.  This is reflected in the run up to the climactic JCPOA announced on July 14th and endorsed by the UN Security Council on July 22nd. The JCPOA is presently undergoing review by  both U.S. Senate and House Committees under The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (INARA) with a votes by both the Senate and House targeted by mid-September.  Recent Congressional revelations about secret side deals between the UN nuclear watchdog, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and last minute lifting of conventional arms and ballistic missile technology have raised questions about the circumstances behind U.S. and world powers capitulations to demands of Iranian negotiators. This has given rise to both Congressional and public skepticism. Public  opinion polls suggest that a majority of Americans want  Congress to reject the Iran nuclear pact.

The following are excerpts from Dr. Bergman’s Tablet article:

bergman

Dr. Ronen Bergman. Source Dror Malka.

What Information Collected by Israeli Intelligence Reveals About the Iran Talks

By Ronen Bergman

The West’s recognition of Iran’s right to perform the full nuclear fuel cycle—or enrichment of uranium—was a complete about-face from America’s declared position prior to and during the talks. Senior U.S. and European officials who visited Israel immediately after the negotiations with Iran began in mid 2013 declared, according to the protocols of these meetings, that because of Iran’s repeated violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, “Our aim is that in the final agreement [with Iran] there will be no enrichment at all” on Iranian territory. Later on, in a speech at the Saban Forum in December 2013, President Barack Obama reiterated that in view of Iran’s behavior, the United States did not acknowledge that Iran had any right to enrich fissile material on its soil.

In February 2014, the first crumbling of this commitment was evident, when the head of the U.S. delegation to the talks with Iran, Wendy Sherman, told Israeli officials that while the United States would like Iran to stop enriching uranium altogether, this was “not a realistic” expectation. Iranian foreign ministry officials, during meetings the Tehran following the JPOA, reckoned that from the moment the principle of an Iranian right to enrich uranium was established, it would serve as the basis for the final agreement. And indeed, the final agreement, signed earlier this month, confirmed that assessment.

The sources who granted me access to the information collected by Israel about the Iran talks stressed that it was not obtained through espionage against the United States. It comes, they said, through Israeli spying on Iran, or routine contacts between Israeli officials and representatives of the P5+1 in the talks. The sources showed me only what they wanted me to see, and in these cases there’s always a danger of fraud and fabrication. This said, these sources have proved reliable in the past, and based on my experience with this type of material it appears to be quite credible. No less important, what emerges from the classified material obtained by Israel in the course of the negotiations is largely corroborated by details that have become public since.

In early 2013, the material indicates, Israel learned from its intelligence sources in Iran that the United States held a secret dialogue with senior Iranian representatives in Muscat, Oman. Only toward the end of these talks, in which the Americans persuaded Iran to enter into diplomatic negotiations regarding its nuclear program, did Israel receive an official report about them from the U.S. government. Shortly afterward, the CIA and NSA drastically curtailed its cooperation with Israel on operations aimed at disrupting the Iranian nuclear project, operations that had racked up significant successes over the past decade.

On Nov. 8, 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry visited Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saw him off at Ben Gurion Airport and told him that Israel had received intelligence that indicated the United States was ready to sign “a very bad deal” and that the West’s representatives were gradually retreating from the same lines in the sand that they had drawn themselves.

The West’s recognition of Iran’s right to perform the full nuclear fuel cycle—or enrichment of uranium—was a complete about-face from America’s declared position prior to and during the talks. Senior U.S. and European officials who visited Israel immediately after the negotiations with Iran began in mid 2013 declared, according to the protocols of these meetings, that because of Iran’s repeated violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, “Our aim is that in the final agreement [with Iran] there will be no enrichment at all” on Iranian territory. Later on, in a speech at the Saban Forum in December 2013, President Barack Obama reiterated that in view of Iran’s behavior, the United States did not acknowledge that Iran had any right to enrich fissile material on its soil.

In February 2014, the first crumbling of this commitment was evident, when the head of the U.S. delegation to the talks with Iran, Wendy Sherman, told Israeli officials that while the United States would like Iran to stop enriching uranium altogether, this was “not a realistic” expectation. Iranian foreign ministry officials, during meetings the Tehran following the JPOA, reckoned that from the moment the principle of an Iranian right to enrich uranium was established, it would serve as the basis for the final agreement. And indeed, the final agreement, signed earlier this month, confirmed that assessment.

One of the promises made to Israel was that Iran would not be permitted to stockpile uranium. Later it was said that only a small amount would be left in Iran and that anything in excess of that amount would be transferred to Russia for processing that would render it unusable for military purposes. In the final agreement, Iran was permitted to keep 300kgs of enriched uranium; the conversion process would take place in an Iranian plant (nicknamed “The Junk Factory” by Israel intelligence). Iran would also be responsible for processing or selling the huge amount of enriched uranium that is has stockpiled up until today, some 8 tons.

The case of the secret enrichment facility at Qom (known in Israel as the Fordo Facility) is another example of concessions to Iran. The facility was erected in blatant violation of the Non Proliferation Treaty, and P5+1 delegates solemnly promised Israel at a series of meetings in late 2013 that it was to be dismantled and its contents destroyed. In the final agreement, the Iranians were allowed to leave 1,044 centrifuges in place (there are 3,000 now) and to engage in research and in enrichment of radioisotopes.

At the main enrichment facility at Natanz (or Kashan, the name used by the Mossad in its reports) the Iranians are to continue operating 5,060 centrifuges of the 19,000 there at present. Early in the negotiations, the Western representatives demanded that the remaining centrifuges be destroyed. Later on they retreated from this demand, and now the Iranians have had to commit only to mothball them. This way, they will be able to reinstall them at very short notice.

Israeli intelligence points to two plants in Iran’s military industry that are currently engaged in the development of two new types of centrifuge: the Teba and Tesa plants, which are working on the IR6 and the IR8 respectively. The new centrifuges will allow the Iranians to set up smaller enrichment facilities that are much more difficult to detect and that shorten the break-out time to a bomb if and when they decide to dump the agreement.

The Iranians see continued work on advanced centrifuges as very important. On the other hand they doubt their ability to do so covertly, without risking exposure and being accused of breaching the agreement. Thus, Iran’s delegates were instructed to insist on this point. President Obama said at the Saban Forum that Iran has no need for advanced centrifuges and his representatives promised Israel several times that further R&D on them would not be permitted. In the final agreement Iran is permitted to continue developing the advanced centrifuges, albeit with certain restrictions which experts of the Israeli Atomic Energy Committee believe to have only marginal efficacy.

As for the break-out time for the bomb, at the outset of the negotiations, the Western delegates decided that it would be “at least a number of years.” Under the final agreement this has been cut down to one year according to the Americans, and even less than that according to Israeli nuclear experts.

Over the past 15 years, a great deal of material has been amassed by the International Atomic Energy Agency—some filed by its own inspectors and some submitted by intelligence agencies—about Iran’s secret effort to develop the military aspects of its nuclear program (which the Iranians call by the codenames PHRC, AMAD, and SPND). The IAEA divides this activity into 12 different areas (metallurgy, timers, fuses, neutron source, hydrodynamic testing, and warhead adaptation for the Shihab 3 missile, high explosives, and others) all of which deal with the R&D work that must be done in order to be able to convert enriched material into an actual atom bomb.

The IAEA demanded concrete answers to a number of questions regarding Iran’s activities in these spheres. The agency also asked Iran to allow it to interview 15 Iranian scientists, a list headed by Prof. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, whom Mossad nicknamed “The Brain” behind the military nuclear program. This list has become shorter because six of the 15 have died as a result of assassinations that the Iranians attribute to Israel, but access to the other nine has not been given. Neither have the IAEA’s inspectors been allowed to visit the facilities where the suspected activities take place. The West originally insisted on these points, only to retreat and leave them unsolved in the agreement.

In mid-2015 a new idea was brought up in one of the discussions in Tehran: Iran would agree not to import missiles as long as its own development and production is not limited. This idea is reflected in the final agreement as well, in which Iran is allowed to develop and produce missiles, the means of delivery for nuclear weapons. The longer the negotiations went on, the longer the list of concession made by the United States to Iran kept growing, including the right to leave the heavy water reactor and the heavy water plant at Arak in place and accepting Iran’s refusal of access to the suspect site.

The intelligence material that ‘[Prime Minister Netanyahu] was relying on gives rise to fairly unambiguous conclusions: that the Western delegates crossed all of the red lines that they drew themselves and conceded most of what was termed critical at the outset; and that the Iranians have achieved almost all of their goals.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of U.S. and Iranian Negotiators, Vienna, June 2015. Source: Reuters.

American Jewish friends: Are we talking about you or someone you know?

Netanyahu obama israel

Bibi tête-à-tête Obama.

We were prompted to post an earlier version of this on my Facebook page in response to a Jewish Press op-ed by Varda Meyers Epstein, “How Could we Have Known: Jews who voted for Obama.” A native of Pittsburgh who made aliyah to Israel; she ably cataloged a number of warning signals about President Obama who has proven to be a cunning transformationalist.  Here are Ms. Epstein’s opening and closing tropes.

Beginning in 2007, those of us who saw the writing on the wall began campaigning against Obama. We knew he was bad for Israel from the things he said in interviews and from the people he hung out with, past and present. We posted articles that slammed him on social media and we lost friends for our insistent and incessant need to make our case: the one that would save Israel and Israeli Jews.

[…]

You want to tell me you really didn’t know about Obama’s hatred for the Jews and for Israel? Sorry, but I’m having trouble buying that story. But at the very least, you need to come out from under that rock and get a little, um, daylight. You’ve been looking a little pale since Tuesday.

We added to Ms. Epstein’s dossier with those of our own  thereby expanding on her theme.  After posting it on my Facebook page we received a welter of  “likes” and positive comments  from Australia, Canada, Israel and the U.S.  My chaver, ZoA stalwart in Philadelphia, Steve Feldman, who runs the Israel Activism Facebook page, thought it was “stupendous”.  A bit of hyperbole that, but thanks for the compliment, Steve.  However, I was brought up short by another chaver in Calgary, Bill Narvey, who, while he agreed with what I said, could we please “paragraph “it.  So here is a suitable presentation for Narvey and others.  The title for this piece was borrowed from a headline on Feldman’s Facebook post of what we originally wrote:

[H]ow could normally sensible Jewish Democrats have believed all that hokum about “Hope and Change” back in 2007 from an untried US Senator from Illinois who never completed a full term in office after leveraging a speech at the 2004 Democratic convention and two ghost written New York Times biographies allegedly by Bill Ayres . Who as a State Senator from Chicago voted present 100 times in the Illinois state legislature?

Or allied himself to the anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian crowd at annual dinners of the Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee with Michelle and him seated at a table back in 1998 with one of his alleged mentors, the late Columbia Professor Edward Said.  Or when he told his Chicago Pal Ali Abunimah of The Electronic Intifada blog, during his run for US Senate backed by the gullible Chicago Jewish billionaires from the Pritzker and Crown Families of the Standard Club, that he wouldn’t forget both Abunimah and the Palestinian cause when he got to Washington.

Tell them how Obama lied about he had Israel’s back or that there was no diplomatic daylight between the US under his helm with Israel the only democratic ally in the Middle East. Tell them how he undertook secret negotiations with Iran back in the fall of his 2012 re-election using his Chicago mentor Valarie Jarrett to discuss a possible Iran nuke deal with Ali Akbar Salehi in Dubai, her childhood friend from living in Iran with her Chicago doctor father and mother after her birth in Shiraz.

Or ask them to explain how the July 14th announcement of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to cut off Iran from a bomb was followed by a UN Security Council unanimous endorsement a week later. That was less than a day after the Iran nuke pact was submitted to Congress for a review and vote by Rosh Ha Shanah in 2015.

Ask them why Iran’s nuclear infrastructure remains in place and the EU-3 will commit to hardening it preventing Israel from sabotaging it. Ask them if they ever thought a sitting President would use his executive powers to transform this country into just another member of the multilateral Euro-trash socialist club. Ask them why he cozyied up to the Muslim Brotherhood both in the Middle East and here in the US, only to dump them for apocalyptic End times Shiite Iran giving them a free pass to arm Hamas and Hezbollah and boost the Islamic State ranging on Israel’s borders.

Yes, tell your talented chaverim v mispochim who funded and voted for Obama, not once, but twice, that he is laughing at them behind their backs now that he honored his commitment to his Chicago radical and Palestinian fellow travelers. Tell them to watch out for the Palestinian State UN Resolution that may be introduced for a vote soon now that his Iran nuke pact legacy has been endorsed by the Security Council even before the General Assembly UN meetings in September in Manhattan. Tell them to watch him manipulate gullible Jewish Democratic Members of Congress securing a yes vote for the Iran nuke deal enabling him to veto any negative majority GOP and minority Democrat vote by Rosh Ha Shanah.

Tell them all that and ask them finally, why they voted for this destroyer of their children and grand children’s futures here in America and in Israel. Go ahead, ask them that.

Then tell them to watch this NER You Tube video interview with contributing NER editor, Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein in June 2010.  Tell them to note his prescient bottom line assessment of Obama, as “the the most radical President, ever:”

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