Posts

VIDEO: J Street — Pro-Peace, Pro-Israel, Pro-Iran?

The J Street Challenge jpeg_ 2-19-14Charles Jacobs of Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) posted this hard hitting YouTube video part of APT’s  J-Street Challenge film, Pro-Peace, Pro-Israel, Pro-Iran?  The focus in this brief YouTube  is on the interlock between J-Street and the alleged pro-Islamic Regime lobby group in Washington, National Iranian American Council headed by Swedish Iranian citizen Dr. Trita Parsi.  Parsi has deep connections inside the Obama White House, Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, a former NIAC employee who is now the NSC Director for Iran.

You may have noticed the President’s remarks in a joint Press Conference with Italian President Renzi about  ‘creative negotiations over lifting ‘sanctions’ should a final agreement surface by June 30, 2015, a big if. After all, as Ayatollah Khamenei said this weekend, its “just a myth” that Iran is intent on creation of a nuclear weapon.

Breitbart News in a March 31st, 2015 dossier article on Ms. Nowrouzzadeh reported:

Found that a person with the same name has previously written several publications on behalf of NIAC. According to what appears to be her LinkedIn account, Nowrouzzadeh became an analyst for the Department of Defense in 2005 before moving her way up to the National Security Council in 2014.

A NIAC profile from 2007 reveals that Sahar Nowrouzzadeh appears to be the same person as the one who is currently the NSC Director for Iran. The profiles indicate that she had the same double major and attended the same university (George Washington).

Critics have alleged that NIAC is a lobby for the current Iranian dictatorship under Ayatollah Khamenei. A dissident journalist revealed recently that NIAC’s president and founder, Trita Parsi, has maintained a years-long relationship with Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif.

NIAC was established in 1999, when founder Trita Parsi attended a conference in Cyprus that was held under the auspices of the Iranian regime. During the conference, Parsi reportedly laid out his plan to introduce a pro-regime lobbying group to allegedly counteract the influence of America’s pro-Israel and anti-Tehran regime advocacy groups.

NIAC has been investing heavily in attempts to influence the talks in favor of an agreement with the state sponsor of terror. In recent days, its director, Trita Parsi, has been spotted having amiable conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s brother.

The APT J Street Challenge You Tube Video has appearances by Lenny Ben- David, former Deputy Mission Chief of the Israeli Embassy in Washington and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz.  Ben David surfaced a few names George Soros, and Genevieve Lynch.  Soros is a major donor to J Street and anti-Israel and pro-Islamic Regime related NGOs.  Ms. Lynch is a board member of both NIAC and J Street.  Dershowitz even offered to donate money to J Street if they could explain their support for lifting Iran sanctions and being pro-Israel in the light of comments during Iranian Army Day of “Death to Israel” and “Death to America”  or the comment by the commander of Iranian Basij paramilitary groups saying that “destroying  Israel was non-negotiable.”

Ben-David did his homework over the last several years and combed the J Street IRS Form 990 that lists major donors, the names of both Ms. Lynch and billionaire hedge fund mogul Soros popped up.

Back in 2010, Ben-David wrote this about Ms. Lynch interesting Middle East connections in a Jerusalem Post op-ed, “J Street Has No Shame”:

In August 2009, the Jerusalem Post first reported, “Muslims, Arabs among J Street Donors.” Among the donors, the Post article revealed was “Genevieve Lynch… a member of the National Iranian American Council board.

Lynch, the NIAC board member and a member of J Street’s Finance Committee, is listed contributing $10,000 in October. At one point last year, J Street and NIAC leaders worked together to block anti-Iran sanctions measures proposed by Congress. Belatedly, J Street changed its position and supported sanctions.

For more about Ms. Lynch, see here.  For more about Trita Parsi and NIAC, Read  NER contributor Michael Curtis’ American Thinker article, “Friends of Iran in America,” here.

Watch the APT J Street Challenge YouTube video:

RELATED ARTICLE: Communist Cuba’s Alliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran

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

Schaden Freude Alert! Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei Rushed to Hospital in Critical Condition

Schaden Freude Alert! This is NOT Purim Shpiel.  Supreme Ruler Ayatollah Khamenei rushed to hospital in critical condition. This may be evidence that sometimes Ha Shem does work in less than mysterious ways. The report of Ayatollah Khamenei’s ‘critical condition gives heft to the magnificent address by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s address before a joint meeting of Congress.

Purim-groggerIf confirmed it should bolster support for the real deal that Bibi spoke of – regime change in Tehran. That message should not be lost on President Obama, Secretary Kerry and the rest of the P5+1 intent on cutting a deal with this malevolent apocalyptic Mahdist regime fomenting chaos to awaken the moribund Twelth Imam in the holy well in the holy city of Qom, Iran. We trust that my cioreligiionists last night shook that grogger  (Purim noisemaker) (during the reading of Esther’s Megillah, but substituted Khamenei for Haman. Chag Purim Sameach.

Note  this Israel National News report on this ‘revoltin’ development, Report: Iran’s Supreme Leader Hospitalized in Critical Condition:

Just in time for Purim, the Jewish holiday celebrating the redemption of the Jewish people from plots of genocide in ancient Persia, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was reportedly hospitalized in critical condition on Wednesday.

According to Arab media reports cited by Israel Hayom, Khamenei was urgently brought to a hospital in Tehran after several of his bodily systems had already failed.

The reports add that the 76-year-old supreme leader of the Islamic regime has undergone surgery and remains in critical condition.

Recently it has been reported that he was suffering from prostate cancer which had spread to additional parts of his body, and due to his poor health condition he had largely ceased taking part in public events.

The hospitalization comes just days after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed Congress on Tuesday to warn of the existential threat to Israel and the world that Iran poses, urging America to avoid the deal being formed on Iran’s nuclear deal ahead of a March 31 deadline for talks.

Lending some credence to the reports is the fact that Khamenei’s official Twitter account hasn’t been updated since Netanyahu’s speech on Tuesday, when he wrote the “US is now facing a #dilemma. It should either stop unlimited services to #Israel or they’ll lose more face in the world.”

RELATED ARTICLE: Admiral “Ace” Lyons: The Threat is not “Radical Islam, it is Islam Itself”

 

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

Obama’s Phased Nuclear Deal with Iran: Kicking the bomb down the road?

This column is co-authored with Ilana Freedman who is a veteran intelligence analyst and specialist in counter-terrorism. Ilana is Editor of FreedmanReport.com.

When we posted late Monday night, February 23, 2015, on breaking news about the phased deal resulting from bilateral discussions between U.S. Secretary of State Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif, we knew from our sources that more shoes would be likely to drop. Last night we received information from these reliable sources on the extent to which the Administration had strayed from its original mandate. The information was:

  • Secretary of State John Kerry is poised to sign a secret Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the U.S. and Iran that was completed by negotiators on Saturday, February 14.
  • The State Department has received a decision from Eric Holder’s Department of Justice that the MoU does not require approval by the U.S. Senate in the Constitutionally defined process of Advise and Consent for treaties between the United States and other nations, and that therefore Congress will not be consulted.
  • The agreement does not cover the subject of inspections, removing the requirements of having inspections at any of the sites covered by the memorandum.
  • The agreement will allow Iran to have 10,000 enhanced centrifuges that will increase their nuclear program capacity by upwards of 50%.
  • Of the 10,000 centrifuges allotted, all of Iran’s 6,000 existing centrifuges will be converted to the enhanced, next generation versions. The conversion can begin immediately after the agreement is signed. This will enable Iran to achieve a nuclear threshold state in less than two years. The balance of 4,000 centrifuges will, according to our sources, be supplied by Russia.
Alireza Jafarzadeh Deputy Director of Natioal Council of Reskistance of Iran National Press Club  @-24-15 Source AFP

Alireza Jafarzadeh, Deputy Director, Washington Office of NCRI, National Press Club, Feb. 24, 2015.

It is not known whether other Iranian nuclear sites will likewise fall under this inspection exemption, including military test sites like Parchin and the secret parallel Lavizan site, which was disclosed in Washington on Tuesday, February 24th by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in a National Press Club briefing. At the NPC briefing, Alireza Jafarzadeh, Deputy Director of the NCRI’s Washington D.C. office, reported on a secret test site which has been previously identified in reports of the Washington, D.C. based, Institute for Science and International Security.

“Despite the Iranian regime’s claims that all of its enrichment activities are transparent … it has in fact been engaged in research and development with advanced centrifuges at a secret nuclear site called Lavizan-3,” he said.  Jafarzadeh said the site was hidden in a military base in the northeastern suburbs of Tehran.

According to the presentation, the complex was described as a facility 164 feet underground. The Lavizan-3 site was apparently constructed between 2004 and 2008 and has underground labs connected by a tunnel, and lead-lined doors to seal out radiation leaks.  The facility itself is heavily shielded from radiation and insulated against noise and radiation leaks to avoid detection.

“Since 2008, the Iranian regime has secretly engaged in research and uranium enrichment with advanced… centrifuge machines at this site,” Jafarzadeh said.

The NCRI called the existence of the site “a clear violation” of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as well as UN resolutions and an interim November 2013 deal struck with the P5+1 group, he said.

When asked about the NCRI findings at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the bi-lateral discussions with Iran, Secretary Kerry commented:

That U.S. officials knew of charges related to the site prior to this week, but that “it has not been revealed yet as a nuclear facility.”

“It is a facility that we are well aware of, which is on a list of facilities we have,” the Secretary of State said during a Capitol Hill budget hearing on Wednesday morning. “I’m not going to go into greater detail. . . .But these things are obviously going to have to be resolved as we go forward.”

Rep. Brad Sherman, ranking Democrat on the House Affairs Committee replied to Kerry:

 “The MEK sometimes gives us accurate information.”

“They are the ones that told the world about the Iranian nuclear program,” Mr. Sherman said. “They now say that there’s a secret facility at Lavizan-3.”

A credible independent expert monitoring Iran’s nuclear program raised questions about the NCRI findings.  David Albright of the Washington, DC-based Institute for Science and International Security commented in a USA Today article, February 27, 2015:

“The basic story raises questions about its authenticity. They may have answers but the questions raise further doubts,” Albright said. “The claims are so controversial that any manipulated evidence casts doubt on the whole story.”

The matter of possible violations of the P5+1 interim agreements, the lack of inspections of military applications facilities like Parchin, the Arak heavy water reactor and the Lavizan-3  site near Tehran underlines the evidence of Iran’s  retention of significant uranium enrichment  centrifuge capabilities under the suggested 10 year phase deal the Administration announced  earlier this week.  It begs the question of why any enrichment capabilities are provided to Iran under the proposed arrangement, given that the principal use of centrifuges is for enrichment of uranium into fissile materials for bomb making.

That was a point made by Dan Diker, executive producer of the Voice of Israel “National Security” program during a Middle East Round Table discussion on 1330am WEBY Northwest Florida’s Talk Radio, “Your Turn” with co-hosts Mike BatesJerry Gordon of the NER and Shoshana Bryen , senior director  of the Washington, D.C. based Jewish Policy Center.

Diker of the VOI noted:

The notion that Iran would be able to enrich any uranium is completely unacceptable.  The civilian nuclear programs around the world hosted by Canada and other western countries have nothing to do with centrifuges.  They are just not part of the nuclear file.  Many countries want to have peaceful civilian nuclear power.  The notion that the Iranians would claim that they need centrifuges to produce peaceful nuclear power is an absurdity.  The fact that the P5+1 have allowed any uranium to be enriched is an extremely dangerous proposition.  That is the message that Prime Minister Netanyahu is going to bring to the American people and by extension to the world community.

As to why President Obama and Secretary Kerry would sanction the phased program, Bryen of the JPC suggested:

“[The President’s] thinking appears to be that ten years from now the Mullahs will have fallen, young Iranian democrats will have taken over, and it will be OK.  The big piece of this that he missed is that the Mullahs only represent one part of the Iranian body politic and that is the religious part. Iran is also Persian and Persians are empire-oriented.  Even if we get rid of the Mullahs, even if we get rid of the religious basis for governance in Iran and we have secular people, secular people in Persia believe in a Persian Empire. If we kick this can down the road ten years and the Mullahs are gone, Obama thinks that will be a good thing. I’m not sure that’s true.”

Listen to the February 24, 21015 1330am WEBY Middle East Round Table discussion on the Iranian nuclear program: Segment 1Segment 2Segment 3Segment 4.

An article based on the 1330am WEBY Round Table program will be published in the March 2015, NER.

The WEBY panel will also be heard on a separate Voice of Israel “National Security” program, Sunday, March 1, 2015 at 1PM Israel Standard Time ( 6:00 AM EST in the U.S.).  A sound cloud of that VOI broadcast will also be available on March 1st.

Iran’s provocative activities during the so-called Great Prophet-9 maneuvers this week raised questions about the untimely demonstrations of force directed at the US Fifth Fleet presence in the Persian Gulf. The first episode was the destruction by Iranian cruise missiles on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 launched at a replica of a U.S. aircraft carrier as a target near the international oil/gas choke point, the Straits of Hormuz, at the entrance to the Persian Gulf.  Watch the video, here.

Then on Friday, February 27, 2015, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy announced the successful launch of a cruise missile from a submerged Ghadir midget-submarine with a range of 150 miles. Watch the video, here.   Sepah news service quoted Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, commander of IRGC-N saying:

The new weapon would be critical in any future naval war against the U.S.

“The new weapon will have a very decisive role in adding our naval power in confronting threats,” he was quoted as stating in Sepah News.

Iran’s latest operations in the Persian Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz raises many questions. Why mount exercises in which a mock US aircraft carrier is destroyed by the Iranian navy? Or launch cruise missiles designed to take out a US naval destroyer just as the US is about to give them everything they want without a shot fired?  It may be a show of arrogance, a finger in the eye of the Obama administration (which it believes to be weak and foolish), or a move beyond the MoU into a new level of saber rattling to show its neighbors the seriousness of its ambitions. Or it might be all three, a typical multi-dimensional Persian chess play by the IRGC.

What the US must learn – and fast – is that this is not an enemy one can toy with. As in most Middle East politics, the weak are despised and the game goes to the powerful. As the secrets of Obama’s secret negotiations are revealed (or leaked), and the truth comes out about our feckless policies of negotiations and appeasement, the outcome is likely to be devastating for the region and the world.  Iran revels in its possible conquest of American might and moves a giant step closer to achieving its nuclear ambitions with America’s assistance – and blessings.

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

Good or Bad? Obama’s Phased Deal with Iran’s Nuclear Program

Earlier today, the New York Times (NYT) had breaking news about a phased deal that may be the basis for an agreement with Iran on or before March 24th.   We understand from sources in Geneva that Secretary of State Kerry had apparently been in discussions with Iranian negotiations over proposed terms. According to the Times report by Michael Gordon (no relation) and David Sanger, American and Iranian officials have concluded talks on limiting Iran’s nuclear program for “at least” ten years.

The proposed plan would limit Iran’s ability to produce nuclear material during the ten year period but slowly ease restrictions on their program. According to the article, “By phasing in a gradual easing of limits on Iran’s production, Mr. Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz, who joined the negotiations for the first time, aim to extend the length of a potential deal. American officials said they would insist that Iran face hard constraints for ‘at least a double-digit number of years.'”

The reality is rather different according to reliable sources, who report that t he United States has concluded an agreement with Iran on a nuclear deal which allows them to advance their nuclear capability, even as it appears to limit it.

The deal calls for a ten year program which will include the replacement of all of their existing centrifuges with next generation centrifuges in addition to 3,000 additional units, all to be supplied by Russia. Public reporting of this is supposed to show the imposition of limitation of Iranian nuclear development, but in reality it will open the door to their nuclear capability in ten years or less.

Our sources report that the deal was completed on Saturday (not Monday as reported by the NYT ) and is likely to be confirmed by the State Department later this week.

According to U.S. law, the deal has to be ratified by an advise and consent process in U.S. Senate. However, our sources report that the Administration may try to avoid this requirement through Executive Order. It appears that the President is determined to complete this deal one way or another as part of his legacy. In part, the deal may have facilitated by Valerie Jarrett, a close personal adviser to the President with friends in the Iranian hierarchy. They draw from her childhood years in Shiraz, Iran where her father, a physician, was on staff at Nemazee Hospital. Our sources confirm that during the 2012 Presidential re-election campaign, Jarrett had opened up back-channel discussions with Iranian contacts that may have resulted in the Interim agreement in November 2013.  Should an official announcement appear this week, it may likely set the stage for Congressional hearings with Secretary Kerry, Undersecretary Wendy Sherman, and Mr. Moniz of the Department of Energy and independent experts about whether this is a deal that this nation can accept.

This announcement comes just before the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been invited to speak before a Joint Session of Congress on March 3rd.  Where an Iranian nuclear capability may seem like a danger to the US, half a world away, to Israel an Iranian bomb is an existential threat; Iran has on many occasions openly threatened Israel with annihilation.

It was particularly disturbing that just prior to the announcement about the agreement in Geneva, the U.S. announced that it would no longer share intelligence about the talks with Israel.

In a speech to a meeting of the Council of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem last week, Netanyahu said,  “If  an Iran deal is good, why hide it from Israel?” and then reiterated that he will “do everything in my power to prevent the conclusion of a bad deal that could threaten the survival of the State of Israel.”

The text  of the agreement has not yet been made public. When it does, the details will likely be shrouded in language that will obscure the deeper intentions of the Obama administration. An Iranian nuclear capability will be a threat to the Middle East and Europe whenever it comes, and only a complete and enforceable prohibition will be an acceptable conclusion to the talks that hold the future stability of the region, and perhaps the world, in the balance. It seems, however, that the Obama administration does not share this view, and in agreeing to it, will open the door to a new and deadly nuclear weapons race.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

‘Destructive’ Obama’s National Security Advisor slams Netanyahu for damaging the U.S.-Israel alliance

As U.S. Grapples With Global Threats, This Is How We Should Approach National Security

AP: Obama Gives Iran the Bomb

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured photo is of Secretary Of State John Kerry in Geneva. Source: Credit Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone, via AP.

Are Lone Wolf Jihadis Islamikazes?

There is a debate afoot about what to call Salafist Jihadi perpetrators of such recent spectacular murders that we have graphically seen in Ottawa, Montreal, New York, and Oklahoma.   Counterterrorism officials have called them lone wolves to emphasize that they are not affiliated with known foreign sponsors of Islamist terrorism.  They may be ‘self-actualized’  by the jihadist doctrinal aspects of their new found faith espoused by  Salafist preachers  and the social media of  terrorist groups Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, and most prominently the Islamic State, formerly ISIS.

According to Dr. Rich Swier, publisher of the eponymous e-Magazine, noted U.S. counter terrorism expert, Patrick Poole has suggested calling them “known wolves”.  “Cowboy”, a former CIA covert officer and counterterrorism consultant wrote us after we posted on “The Danger of Lone Wolf Jihadists Among Us,” saying, “we still perpetuate the false myth of Islamic lone wolf terrorists. If the counter-terrorists can’t even get their story straight, how can anyone else?”

islamikaziThat led me to ponder both Poole’s and Cowboy’s remarks. I thought it over and reached out to someone I know in Israel. That is Islamic and Eastern Studies scholar, former Hebrew University professor and author, Raphael Israeli. You may recall our New English Review interview with him about the  lecture he gave in January 2012 at B’nai Israel Synagogue in Pensacola, Florida, Islam, Democracy and the Arab Spring: An Interview with Raphael Israeli. He and his wife Margalit were passing through from a trip to New Orleans and we prevailed upon him to set the record straight about Islamic doctrine.

We had first encountered Professor Israeli during a sabbatical term he spent in 2003 at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. He was substituting for a member of the faculty Dr. Vera Schwarcz, who, like Israeli,  is a specialist in East Asian studies. I encountered Israeli in Schwarz’s office at Wesleyan in the midst of compiling footnotes for his latest book at the time, Islamikaze: Manifestations of Islamic MartyrologyThe focus of Islamikaze was on what motivated Muslim suicide bombers in the Middle East and the 19 perpetrators of 9/11. The term Islamikaze was modeled on the Japanese suicide Kamikaze (meaning divine wind) pilots of World War II. They, not unlike the Islamikaze, were motivated by the bushido doctrine of self sacrifice and death without surrender exemplified by the Samurai that was adopted by the Japanese militarists.

These questions raised by counterterrorism consultants about what to call the Salafist Jihadis prompted me to write Professor Israeli in Jerusalem and ask him if these lone wolf jihadis weren’t one and the same as Islamikazes.

Here is Professor Israeli’s response:

Of course they are Islamikaze.  Because even if in these cases  they acted  alone, they must have been indoctrinated and motivated, or shown the example by someone. No lone wolf just gets up in the morning and decides to murder human beings. Besides, Islamikaze has an element of  self-sacrifice. A common murderer would do it for personal gain of some sort. Here, in both Canadian  and US cases, they committed the murder, being aware  of the danger of risking their lives, and they were not deterred.

So, perhaps instead of calling the Salafist perpetrators of  Islamic terrorist attacks, lone wolves, Islamikaze may be what they really are. Given these Islamic terrorist developments here in America, this may prompt Professor Israeli and his publisher to update and re-issue, Islamikaze.

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

The Danger of Lone Wolf Jihadis Among Us

The final weeks of October 2014 were devastating for America. We had lone wolf jihadis in Ottawa and Montreal killing and wounding Canada Forces service personnel. In New York we had a Muslim convert and former U.S. Navy serviceman shot dead in the midst of a deadly hatchet attack on two NYPD officers in Queens. All three appeared to be operating below the radar screen of surveillance  inspired by Islamic State jihadist social media imploring Salafist brethren in the West to mount attacks on uniformed military and law enforcement officers. These were  so-called ‘citizen jihadists’ wreaking havoc against any means of law enforcement stopping them from their spectacular  suicidal missions. There is a coming Detroit federal court trial on November 4, 2014 against a naturalized US citizen, Rasmieh Odeh. She was a member of a Palestinian terror group, who lied on her application about a prior conviction and incarceration in Israel for a 1969 bombing in Jerusalem that killed two university students.

To answer questions about what drives lone wolf Jihadis undertaking such murderous acts, The Lisa Benson Show on Sunday, October 26, 2014 heard from three prominent experts. They  noted US terrorism expert Steven Emerson, executive director of Washington, DC-based, The Investigative Project, Ottawa-based David B. Harris Canadian consultant on Islamic terrorism and former official at Canada’s Security and Intelligence Service, and Dr. Michael Welner, founder of the Manhattan based, The Forensic Panel, a noted US Forensic Psychiatrist frequently called as an prosecution witness in mass killing and terrorist cases. Dr. Welner was joined by his mother, a holocaust survivor and trained gerontology nurse who presented her views noting their participation in the recent protest of the Met Opera production of The Death of Klinghoffer. This was more information for our listeners packed into 43 minutes of air time than many two hour cable TV documentaries.

Watch video of Attack on Ottawa Parliament, October 22, 2014.

The Odeh case

On Monday, October 27, 2014  Steve Emerson ‘s IPT released the first  in a five part series, “Spinning a Terrorist into a VictimRasmieh Odeh a Chicago area Palestinian activist is the subject that report. She was arrested by the FBI for not reporting on her application for US citizenship  her incarceration in Israel for her participation in a 1969 bombing by the terrorist group the  Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). They bombed a supermarket in Jerusalem that killed two Hebrew University students, injuring several others. A second bomb planted at the British consulate did not explode. Odeh was sentenced by an Israeli military court in 1970 to life in prison for her participation in the bombing. Odeh was released in 1979 as part of a group of 76 PFLP terrorist prisoners in exchange for an IDF soldier captured in Lebanon. Odeh came to the US in 1994 from Jordan, settling in Evergreen Park, a suburb of Chicago. She received her US citizenship in 2004. Odeh was arrested on October 22, 2013 under a Federal indictment for not disclosing her prior Israeli conviction, sentencing and incarceration for the PFLP terror bombing. If convicted, Odeh, now 66, may face a 10 year sentence and deportation. Odeh has been vigorously defended by the Council on American Islamic Relations, Students for Justice in Palestine and other so-called human rights groups. Emerson pointed out that Odeh defended her misrepresentations on her application for citizenship on the grounds that she had been tortured while incarcerated in Israel. The IPT team, Emerson said, had interviewed a number of the relatives and friends of the students killed and injured in the PFLP bombing, many now in their 50’s and 60’s.

Canada’s exposure to Islamic terrorism

David B. Harris told about appearing before a US Congressional Committee with Steve Emerson in 1999. He told the Committee had Canada had perhaps the largest number of foreign terrorist groups in the West, surpassed only by the US. That is reflected in the rapid growth of Canada’s Muslim population, a reflection of the ruling governments’ multi-cultural agenda of aiding immigration. This conscious policy is reflected in the following figures he cited. In 1981 Canada had 98,000 Muslim citizens. By 2001, that had risen to about 580,000 and in 2017 projections are that the number will reach 1.4 million. In two decades it is reported that 1 in 13 Canadians will be Muslim and by 2031, 2.9 million Canadians will be Muslim. In 1981, Jews in Canada outnumbered Muslims by two or three to one. In less than sixteen years, Muslims in Canada will outnumber Jews by almost seven to one. Canada’s estimated  current Jewish population is 380,000. So we are seeing the result of laws and policies that have brought about a substantial liberalizing of immigration access, over the last three or four decades.

Against the backdrop of the mushrooming Muslim population, Harris cited a 2007 Environics poll showing that approximately 12 percent of Muslims in Canada would be willing to support a plot in Canada to undertake simultaneous mass casualty attacks. That could include bombing and invading certain government and media premises, including the parliament buildings of Canada. That would translate into at least 49,000 Canadians, which should  concern reasonable Muslim and non-Muslim Canadians alike.

Referring to the two Canadian lone wolf jihadis, he said that in the case of Martin Couture-Rouleau there is evidence the mosque he attended was frequented by an extremist Imam who cited Shariah law mandating both mutilation and beheading as appropriate punishments for alleged crimes under Sharia. In the instance of the late Michael Zehaf-Bibeau there are indications that he may have been applying for Libyan citizenship to supplant his Canadian passport that was withheld in view of his “high risk traveller” designation. Denial of passports may have been a motivating factor for both of these individuals coupled with the broadcast of ISIS social media calling for attacks on military and law enforcement in Canada.

A fascinating exchange referenced a long term outreach effort by the RCMP to Muslim groups and leaders tied to the Muslim Brotherhood that began in 2005 following the events of 9/11 in the US. On  September 29,  2014, two Canadian Muslim groups, Islamic Social Services, Inc. (ISS) and  the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), published a so-called de-radicalization manual, “United Against Terrorism: A Collaborative Effort towards a Secure, Inclusive Canada.” The manual was supposed to be a collaborative effort among the RCMP and the two Canadian Muslim groups. NCCM is the renamed Canadian branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations, a Muslim  Brotherhood Front and unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Dallas Federal Holy Land Foundation trial. The objective of the 21 page document was to dissuade Canadian Muslim youths from joining Islamists. Instead, the manual suggested that “terrorists were not Jihadists “and  Jihad was a  “Noble” cause. The RCMP immediately dropped it like the proverbial hot potato calling it “adversarial” and not distributing to its officers.

At the conclusion when prompted by a question on how vulnerable our Northern border is he commented that there are not enough agents to cover likely crossings. As one indication he cited the example of the Millennium plot by an Al Qaeda operative who came to Canada as a refugee and was caught by an inquisitive US border agent. Thus began the unraveling of the Millennium plot, an attempt by al Qaeda using sleeper cells in the US and Canada, to conduct an attack on the Los Angeles International Airport. For more comments about Canada’s Islamist threats, see our August 2012 New English Review interview with him, “A Self-Inflicted Injury: Immigration, Infiltration and Canada’s Growing Islamist Threat.

What motivates the Jihad of Lone Wolves?

Dr. Michael Welner addressed the question of whether there are so-called lone wolves who undertake actions influenced by, yet not part of terrorist groups. His research into mass killing and terrorist cases has evolved a paradigm as to how these should be viewed professionally. First are instances involving attacks directly planned and organized by designated terror groups like, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Islamic State using specifically trained recruits for these missions. The second are attacks that are undertaken by foreign affiliates of terror group such Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Al Shabaab and Boko Haram. The third are what he termed “dead enders”, recent converts who are susceptible to undertaking spectacle planned attacks using weapons at their disposal to gain celebrity hood as jihadist terrorists. They may be motivated by doctrinal influences and social media exhortations to demonstrate fealty to their new found faith of Islam committing deadly jihad against innocent unbelievers.

That would explain a host of recent and historic Islamic extremist actions in America. The list would prominently include Maj. Nidal Hassan’s jihad against fellow US Army personnel at Fort Hood, Texas, the killing of US Army Private Andy Long at a Little Rock, Arkansas recruiting office by Muslim convert Carlos Bledsoe (Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad). See our October 2014 New English Review interview with Dr. Welner regarding the Oklahoma beheading by Alton Nolen or Jah’ Keem Israel.

Barbara Welner Comments

Barbara Welner’s appearance on the Lisa Benson show was an inspired emotional moment as a holocaust survivor who ran away from Nazi killer in a Polish ghetto and survived innumerable threats to the life until liberated.  Lisa Benson father was honored as a liberator of a Nazi  death camps during the last weeks of WWII. Ms. Welner is one of the few persons of her background who has recognized the threat of Islamic Jihadism to both Israel and the Jewish people. See my 2007 Israpundit post, “Moral Clarity from a Holocaust Survivor: Yom Ha Shoah comments of Barbara Welner”. Note this telling comment:

If the Holocaust and the sacrifice of the many millions of innocent lives are to have any meaning for future generations, then our immediate lesson should be to insure our resolve.

I recognize the same intense desire to dehumanize the Jews to utterly destroy them from all quarters of Arab and Muslim life today. The only difference between what I saw from the Nazis is that the Nazis were coy to the outside world about how much they wanted to kill the Jews. The Arabs are quite loudly and vocally advertising how they plan to annihilate Israel.

She recognized that the program provided vital information about a new danger among us here in America. She chastised the Met Opera for conveying a thoughtless production of the Klinghoffer Opera that, as her son said humanized the Palestinian terrorists who killed the defenseless wheelchair bound New York Jew, killing him in cold blood and dumping his body overboard the Italian Cruise vessel, the Achille Lauro. She couldn’t understand why more people in a liberal city like New York with millions of fellow Jews that more people like her son and she didn’t protest the Klinghoffer opera.

Conclusion

What this discussion illustrates is the fatal myopic mindset of counterterrorism  agencies in both Canada and the US reflecting  prevailing multi-culturalism.  In order to secure both countries, a revitalized effort has to be made to understand the threat of Islamic Jihad. Further this may require intrusive community and social media surveillance and targeting  of potential jihadists in our midst.

Listen to the October 26, 2014 Lisa Benson Show with Steve Emerson, David B. Harris, Dr. Michael Welner and his mother Barbara.

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

Turkey Exchanges Jihadists with ISIS for Release of Diplomats

The veil was lifted on how Turkish President Recep Erdogan was able to get 49 Turkish diplomats captured in Mosul when ISIS conquered Iraq’s second largest city in June. He exchanged more than 180 Jihadists, including two British citizens to obtain the release of Turkish diplomats and their families.  Those jihadists had been caught on the so-called  Turkish Jihadist highway that Erdogan had provided emboldening the foreign fighter contingents for Al Qaeda affiliate  al Nusra and ISIS.

Yesterday, I listened with interest to an NPR  interview with a Syrian ‘guide’ who had  run a profitable business infiltrating those foreign jihadists into Syria to join up with the Al  Nusra and ISIS, until Erdogan’s security forces  were commanded to shut it down. Perhaps, the ability of ISIS to smuggle oil from captured fields in Syria may also have played a role in providing baksheesh to keep the jihadist highway in operation bringing in both recruits and the  cash to pay them.

turkish tanks

Turkish Tanks at Syrian Border. Source IBTimes.

Our friends at Erdogan Failure sent us this Hurriyet Daily report  excerpted from a Times of London  article, on the exchange, “180 jihadists traded by Turkey for hostages: report”:

Some 180 jihadists, including two British citizens, were handed over to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the deal to secure the release of the hostages abducted from Turkey’s consulate in Mosul, The Times has reported.

A total of 49 Turkish Embassy staff were held hostage by ISIL for 101 days before being released on Sept. 20.

The Times reported that 18-year-old Shabazz Suleman and 26-year-old Hisham Folkard are thought to be among the 180 jihadists returned in exchange, and are being investigated by British counter-terrorism officers.

The report said it has gained access to the list of the swapped jihadists, which also includes three French citizens, two Swedish citizens, two Macedonians, one Swiss and one Belgian.

Turkey contacted tribes in the region and other armed groups to achieve the deal, it added.

The world’s media provided a rostrum for President Erdogan, an elected Islamist autocrat,  to exercise ultimate chutzpah at the border town of Suruc teeming with 180,000 Kurdish and other Syrian refugees.  Reported by the UK The Independent, Erdogan predicted the imminent fall of Kobani to ISIS. Further, that he would only put troops on the ground, if he could secure a corridor inside Syria fighting to overthrow the Assad regime. All while US supplied tanks of the Turkish army, the largest land force member of NATO,  were poised on the border capable of firing rounds at US tanks  and mobile artillery captured by  ISIS  battering the lightly armed Kurdish YPG forces.

This is eerily akin to  Stalin’s orders for Russian forces in August of 1944 to remain on the east bank of the Vistula River when the Polish Resistance  Uprising  in Warsaw against Nazi forces, only to be decimated virtually destroying what remained of the city.  As we know from the history of that valiant episode by  Polish resistance, allied air drops to supply Polish contingents landed in the possession of  German forces.  Moreover, Stalin denied use  by  US  air force units  based in Poltava in the western Ukraine to make those  air drops.  Consider the limited  air attacks by the US-led coalition air forces on ISIS in the outer precincts of Kobani to be the contemporary equivalent.

 In Erdogan’s case, his appearance at the Syrian border backfired, as Kurds rose up in anger inside Turkey and throughout emigre communities in Europe. Many in the West were troubled by Erdogan’s stance.  Interviews with Former Pentagon and CIA chef under Obama, Leon Panetta, based on his new book, Worthy Fights,  suggested ineffective leadership by  President Obama .Obama who took  advice from what a Wall Street Journal called the “Mettenich Munchkins” in the West Wing in an editorial,” Who  Really Lost Iraq?”.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured photos is of the freed Turkish hostages being welcomed at the airport in Ankara, the Turkish capital, on Sept. 20, 2014. AP Photo

Israel’s “Long War”

Tom Jocelyn, the American counter terrorism expert and Senior Fellow at the Washington, DC-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies is the editor of The Long War Journal. It is a chronicle of the global Islamic jihad in the 21st Century, now in its 13th year. The global jihad was sparked by what the US State Department has taken to calling “core Al Qaeda”, most dramatically with 9/11. Subsequently it has metatisized driven by the Salafist doctrine seeking to replicate the great barbarism of the first jihad that burst out of the Arabian peninsula 14 Centuries ago. In many instances it has been a long war against indigenous populations, both Muslim and not. In the later case, it has witnessed the self-declared Caliphate of the Islamic State, formerly ISIS, confronting non-Muslims with the choice to convert, be subjugated, leave or be killed. It is sacralized barbarity emboldened with arms and advanced military technology abandoned by fleeing armies. It is financed by extortion and billions in booty, money seized in conquered territories and oil resources.

Mideast Israel Palestinians

Israeli Merkava tank leaving Gaza staging area August 5, 2014. Source: The Guardian.

Virtually alone and surrounded by these Jihadist forces is the Jewish nation of Israel. Israel has conducted a long war of its own over the 21 years since the conclusion of the 1993 Oslo Accords with the Palestinian Authority. An agreement orchestrated by former President Clinton between Israeli Prime Minister, the late Yitzhak Rabin and the late Yassir Arafat, first President of the Palestinian Authority. Arafat went on to ignite the Second Intifada in September 2000 using the excuse that the late Israeli PM Ariel Sharon had made an unauthorized visit to the Temple Mount. That intifada saw thousands of Israeli causalities, both dead and wounded,  that morphed into a seemingly unending series of military Operations. It began with Operation Defensive Shield following the bloody Park Hotel Passover suicide bombing in March 2002 that killed many Holocaust survivors. It culminated in the siege of Arafat in the Mukata in 2004 in Ramallah. A brief hiatus following the demise of Arafat saw Israel build a security barrier in the disputed territories that virtually brought to a close the Second Intifada. The late PM Sharon left Likud to found a new coalition party, Kadima, on the strength of a letter in 2004 with former President Bush giving Israel permission to defend itself with US assurances.

That led Sharon in 2005 to order the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza of 9000 settlers and 10,000 IDF personnel under the misguided pretext that it would make Israel more secure. The Bush Administration was preoccupied in the Long War in both Iraq and Afghanistan. It sought to foist the myopic view that the Islamist world could be transformed into budding western style democracies. This despite the rise of anti-democratic Muslim Brotherhood elements in Gaza, Egypt and other adjacent Muslim countries. They had been kept in check by autocracies supplied with both US and Russian military assistance and aid. Thus, the Bush Administration thought it had a willing peace partner in Arafat’s successor, the long serving PA President, Mahmoud Abbas. The Bush Administration prevailed upon Israel to relinquish its control over the strategic Philadelphi corridor along the Egyptian Gaza frontier installing Fatah bureaucrats. 2006 saw the one vote, one time election in Gaza of a Hamas dominated Palestinian Legislative Council. That  lead to the June 2007 ejection and literal defenestration of Fatah from Gaza, leaving Hamas virtually in control. Israel was forced to engage in a series of air assaults that resulted in assassinations of Hamas leaders, co-founder Sheik Yassin and Dr. Rantisi. Hamas took over the Rafah border with Egypt through which arms, rockets and missiles were infiltrated along with huge infusions of cash from foreign Muslim charities and backers, Iran and Qatar.

In 2006 Israel was embroiled in the Second Lebanon War with Iran proxy Hezbollah supplied by the former with thousands of rockets. That conflict was triggered by a kidnapping of two IDF soldiers followed by massive  Hezbollah artillery rocket barrages. The 34 day War with Hezbollah saw more than 4,000 rockets rain on Israel setting a pattern that was copied by Hamas in Gaza in 2009, 2012 and 2014. In that first clash with Hezbollah saw Israel’s population in the north sweltered in crude shelters or displaced to the central Mediterranean shore. It also sparked the development of technical countermeasures to protect the both Israel’s population and IDF defense. Those developments included the now recognized Iron Dome system of batteries equipped with Tamir anti-rocket missiles, and the less well known, Trophy system, used effectively in the most recent 2014 Operation protecting armored vehicles against anti-tank rockets and missiles. Just prior to the Second Lebanon War, a cross border raid by Hamas operatives kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, holding him hostage until released in an October 2011 exchange for 1,027 Palestinian terrorist prisoners held by Israel.

In June 2009, President Obama made a dramatic speech at Cairo University extending outreach, many believed that emboldened Islamist elements in the Muslim ummah. In December,2011 the self-immolation of a fruit vendor in Tunisia sparked the so-called Arab Spring that erupted in North Africa and the Middle East. Autocracies in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt were overturned. The latter witnessed the ousting of strongman Mubarak with rise of the Muslim Brotherhood that saw the election of one if its prominent leaders, Mohammed Morsi as its President in June 2012. Morsi was backed by a National Assembly  composed of dominate Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist parties. They sought to impose Sharia law on women, secular elements and the country’s ancient minority Coptic Christian community. Virtually, a year later, Morsi and thousands of Muslim Brotherhood leaders were ousted, jailed and killed during a coup by his Defense Minister Gen.Abdel- Fattah El-Sisi. He was engaged in a counter terrorism campaign against Hamas linked Salafist terror groups in the Sinai.

The overthrow of the Libyan strongman Qadaffi, with aid from the US and NATO, spawned chaos with warring tribal and jihadist militias. That culminating in the Benghazi attack that killed the US Ambassador and three other Americans, a communications aide, and two CIA-contractors on 9/11/2012.

Meanwhile, Israel was concerned about security on its southern border with Egypt in the Sinai. Following cross border attacks near the Red Sea resort of Eilat it constructed a 200 mile security barrier seeking to prevent intrusion, only to be left exposed to rocket attacks. On Israel’s north eastern Golan frontier a raging civil war in Syria, now well into its third year, saw the Assad regime forces ranging across the Golan frontier fighting opposition rebel groups. These included al Qaeda affiliates the Al Nusrah front and the extremist Salafist spinoff, the Islamic State, formerly ISIS.

The latest IDF Operation Protective Edge that began on July 8th with barrages from Gaza from both homemade and Iranian supplied long range rockets covered fourth fifths of Israel. It was triggered by a botched kidnapping by Hamas operatives and that resulted in the murder of three Jewish yeshiva students, whose remains were discovered on June 30th. The Palestinian Authority in late April had announced a unity government with Hamas that scuppered any chances of a possible final stage agreement sought by US Secretary of State Kerry. Hamas is a foreign terrorist group so designated by the US, Canada and the EU. Its 1988 Charter, had sought not only the destruction of Israel but the killing of Jews globally. Israeli PM Netanyahu and his coalition cabinet had no choice but to call up what ultimately would be a massed IDF force of 80,000 elite brigades and reservists to conduct the ground phase of Operation Protective Edge. That culminated in the launch of ground operations in Gaza that ended with the seventh truce on August 5th that is holding for the moment. That truce occurred ironically on the Jewish Fast Day of Tish B’Av commemorating historic catastrophes that have befallen the Jewish people over the millennia.

Jocelyn’s FDD Long War Journal had this entry:

Israel

Israel accepted a Gaza ceasefire plan that will start with a preliminary 72-hour truce beginning tomorrow morning. Israeli officials will work out further details of the ceasefire over the next few days in Egypt. As of Aug. 1, at least 2,909 rockets had been fired at Israel from Gaza and 66 Israelis had been killed. In the first fatal attack in Jerusalem in three years, a Palestinian construction worker drove an earthmover into a bus, flipping it over and killing one Israeli and wounding five more. PM Netanyahu’s spokesman said Israel’s military campaign to destroy the Gaza tunnels is coming to a close, but that the overall operation will not cease until Israel experiences an extended period of quiet and security.

Jonathan Spyer, of the GLORIA Centre in Herzliya, published an assessment of Israel’s Long War in a PJ Media article, “Netanyahu’s Long War Doctrine.”  In it he paid tribute to Netanyahu’s cautious, but resolute position, overwhelmingly supported by Israelis, to bring to a conclusion the Hamas genocidal threat to the Jewish nation. A threat backed and financed by Qatar, a wealthy gas-rich emirate, a supporter of Muslim Brotherhood and extremist Salafist al Qaeda spinoffs. Qatar and the terrorist Salafist groups it funded and gave sanctuary to, including Hamas leaders, are viewed by Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia as a dire threat to their regimes. That created a coalition of interest with Israel tacitly condoning the latter’s war against Hamas. The Administration in Washington and the UN were desperate to end hostilities seeking to engage MB supporting regimes in Turkey and Qatar to convince Hamas to stand down. Newly elected Egyptian President El-Sisi, who had ousted MB President Morsi and closed Gazan smuggling tunnels, had endeavored to broker several cease fires during the 28 day Operation Protective Edge. It became evident that Hamas had been seriously degraded, nearly three dozen terror tunnels neutralized, sustaining an estimated $5 billion in destruction of buildings and infrastructure in the 25 mile square area of Gaza. All while the world media falsely portrayed Israel as perpetrating mounting civilian casualties most graphically at UNWRA- run schools and refuge centers where over 180,000 Gaza residents had sought shelter. These schools were reported to have held rocket caches, that enabled Hamas rocketeers to launch barrages some of which misfired resulting  in civilian casualties. This barbaric strategy was confirmed in a captured combat manual of Hamas uncovered by the IDF in Gaza City.

As to Israeli PM Netanyahu’s conduct of Operation Protective Edge Spyer observed:

Netanyahu, in stark contrast to his image in Europe and to a lesser extent in North America, is deeply cautious when it comes to the use of military force.

Indeed, the record shows that Israel elected to begin a ground campaign on July 18th only when it became clear from its actions and its statements that Hamas was not interested in a return to the status quo.

Netanyahu’s caution derives, rather, from his perception that what Israel calls “wars” or “operations” are really only episodes in a long war in which the country is engaged against those who seek its destruction. In the present phase, these forces are gathered largely under the banner of radical Islam.

Spyer concludes his assessment of Netanyahu:

Netanyahu’s vision is a chilly one, though it is not ultimately pessimistic. It aims to provide firm, durable walls for the house that the Jews of Israel have constructed. Within those walls the energies of Israeli Jews will ensure success — provided that the walls can be kept secure, thus believes the Israeli prime minister. It is from the point of view of this broader strategic picture that the current actions of Israel need to be understood. Operation Protective Edge — like Cast Lead and Orchard and Lebanon 2006 and the others — is intended as a single action in a long and unfinished war.

The Tish B’Av truce concluding Operation Protective Edge saw IDF forces leave Gaza, remaining ready if the truce is broken to return, if recalled. The current truce may still hold, but, will not last, unless and until Gaza is demilitarized and its leadership dispatched.

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

Benghazi: An Iranian Act of State Sponsored Terrorism?

Sunday, Lisa Benson and I interviewed Kenneth R. Timmerman, author of Dark Forces: The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi. It is a gripping expose, replete with evidence of deception and cover up, about who perpetrated the Benghazi attack that killed four Americans Ambassador Chris Stevens, communications aide Sean Smith, ex-Navy Seals CIA-contractors, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty on 9/11/2012. Dark Forces conveys the thesis that the attacks in Benghazi were preventable. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bears responsibility for ignoring those warnings, and preventing a military response. Ambassador Stevens and his security team had repeatedly warned Clinton of the precarious security situation in Tripoli and Benghazi requesting additional resources. Clinton for reasons of her own opposed any military response to the attacks. U.S. Special Forces operators on the ground 9/11/2012 could have saved the Americans who perished, but were told to “hold in place” during the opening moments of the attack.

Benghazi was the hub of the U.S. covert arms smuggling to Islamist groups in Libya and Syria.

  •   The Administration supplied weapons to fight Qaddafi in Libya and Assad in Syria knowing full well that many of the rebel leaders were al Qaeda operatives.
  •  The White House sent members of the National Security “Staff” (ex NSC) to Libya on operational missions to negotiate arms buybacks from Libyan rebel leaders in an apparent violation of the National Security Act of 1947.
  •  A Minimum of 2,500 Surface to air missiles (MANPADS) went “missing” in Libya. Many of them – upgraded with CIA Technology-have fallen into the hands of al Qaeda terrorists.

The Iranian regime coordinated the Benghazi attack.

  • The group that took credit for the Benghazi attack, Ansar al Sharia, was trained and equipped by the Quds Force, the overseas expeditionary arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.
  • Both the CIA in Benghazi, the Delta Force and Special Operations troops in Tripoli were actively monitoring Iranian operations in Benghazi. They warned their chain of command – including Ambassador Stevens – that Iranians were preparing a terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi. However, they were deceived by a faked kidnapping of Quds Force operatives posing as humanitarian workers by paid Ansar al-Shariah operatives.

Timmerman called the Benghazi attack “an act of state terrorism” by Iran’s Quds Force on yesterday Salem Radio Network program. Listen to the Lisa Benson Radio Show interview with Timmerman, here.

This weekend, Timmerman authored a New York Post article drawn from his book to be published tomorrow. In it he revealed the shadowy figure who planned and paid for the Quds Force attack that killed the four Americans; its commander, Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleymani, The shadowy Iranian spy chief who helped plan Benghazi . Suleymani is the nexus of the Iranian global terrorism campaign aimed at destabilizing the Middle East.

Source:  New York Post composite graphic 6-22-14

In the New York Post article, Timmerman reveals the extensive planning, deception and use of the Ansar al-Shariah militia for the Quds Force attack on the night of 9/11/12.

Here are some excerpts:

Qassem Suleymani is the head of the Quds Force, an organization that acts as a combination CIA and Green Berets for Iran, and a man who has orchestrated a campaign of chaos against the United States around the world.

Today, the Obama Administration has allied itself with Suleymani to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

In this case, Iran’s goal — a Shi’ite-friendly government in Iraq — coincides with America’s hope that the country doesn’t fall apart.

Timmerman cites a former Iranian intelligence source saying:

“Iran wants chaos. They want to generate anti-American anger, radicalize the rebels, and maintain a climate of war,” a former Iranian intelligence chief for Western Europe told me. “They are very serious about this. They want to damage the reputation of the United States as a freedom-loving country in the eyes of the Arabs.”

“In Libya, Iran wanted to block US influence, which they saw as a threat,” the intelligence chief said. “They saw the uprising against Khadafy — and the Arab Spring more generally — as an opportunity to accomplish this.”

Timmerman reveals Suleymani’s central role in the Iranian global terrorism campaign and the murders in Benghazi:

Suleymani has orchestrated attacks everywhere from Lebanon to Thailand. The US Department of Justice accuses him of trying to hire a Mexican drug cartel to blow up the Saudi Ambassador to the United States while he was in Washington, DC.

My sources, meanwhile, say Suleymani was involved in an even more direct attack on the US — the killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya.

Suleiymani’s record of killing Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan:

“The team in operational command in Benghazi were Qassem Suleymani’s people,” the former Baghdad deputy chief of station, John Maguire, told me. “They were a mature, experienced, operational element from Iran. These guys are the first-string varsity squad.” And they were playing for keeps.

Maguire had matched wits with Suleymani, the Quds Force commander, for two years in Iraq and came away with a healthy respect for his capabilities. “He is talented, charismatic. His people are competent and well trained. They have all the operational traits we used to value. And they are committed to this fight for the long haul.”

[…]

The faked kidnapping in Benghazi was a typical Quds Force op. They used a local militia that on the surface detested Shias, just as they used the Taliban in Afghanistan and manipulated al Qaeda.

“They are very good at deception operations,” Maguire told me.

And our side didn’t have a clue. The CIA chief of base and his deputy fell for it hook, line and sinker.

The details of planning, recruitment of the Ansar al-Shariah militia and the leaders of the Benghazi, Quds Force officer Ibrahim Mohammed Joudaki and Hezbollah operative Khalil Harb are detailed in Timmerman’s New York Post article.  Timmerman concluded with this comment:

This is the deadly deception we face from Iran. Suleymani may work with us to battle ISIS, but don’t believe for one moment that he’s our friend.

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

The Syrian Constellation before the Geneva 2 Peace Talks

Pinhas Inbari  published this timely Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) brief on the issues and dramatis personae at the opening round of the Geneva II talks in Montreux, Switzerland that began today.

We consider insightful Inbari’s analysis of the roiling seemingly intractable, inconclusive  civil war in Syria now in its 35 month. Israel is concerned about what may arise from these fractious discussions given the presence of both Assad regime and Syrian opposition, including  potentially intrusive  Al Qaeda-affiliates operating in the demilitarized zone on the Golan plateau. Further, as Inbari points out in this brief, should , mirabile dictu, should  an agreement  be reached and a new government installed in Damascus  are the be renewal of demands for return of the Golan, annexed by Israel in December 1981.

There have also been reports of both Israeli Arab Muslim extremists and Palestinians from Gaza  joining those al Qaeda opposition militias in Syria.  The Syrian Kurds have abiding concerns regarding attainment of possible hard fought  regional autonomy that has apparently vanquished Al Qaeda militia threatening their Rojava heartland in Syria’s North East.

This post should assist you in identifying the contending parties, including the Islamic regime in Tehran and its proxy Hezbollah, whose presence at the meeting was considered unhelpful. vigorous objections raised by the Syrian opposition, the US, UK and others forced  UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon  to abruptly ‘disinvite’ the Iranian delegation from attending this session.  Nevertheless, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, who lauded the UN Secretary General’s invitation extended to Iran, may be both the assad regime;s and its  Shiite hegemon’s diplomatic proxy auditing the proceedings for the Islamic Regime.

The Syrian Constellation before the Geneva 2 Peace Talks

by
Pinhas Inbari
Vol. 14, No. 2    22 January 2014

* This report is based on telephone conversations with members of the Syrian opposition.

  • The Geneva 2 peace conference was convened after an agreement between the United States and Russia that the main danger posed by the situation in Syria is that of al-Qaeda, and that the course of events should be steered in order to obviate this danger.
  • The Syrian opposition sees a danger that the two powers will prefer to leave Assad in place since, if the choice is between him and al-Qaeda, then Assad is the better option.
  • The powers’ need to convene the Geneva 2 conference stemmed primarily from the failure of the Free Syrian Army under General Idris to defeat Assad’s army and bring about regime change.
  • Ironically, the success of the al-Qaeda groups against the Syrian army and the Free Syrian Army helped Russia convince the United States that, at least for the time being, Assad should be left standing. The result is that Assad’s loyalists will be in attendance at the conference.
  • If the Syrian opposition has trouble accepting the presence of Assad loyalists at the peace conference, it cannot accept an Iranian presence at all. They say their real opponent on the Syrian battlefield is the Iranian army, and they view Iran as an invading country that is also deploying Hizbullah against them.
  • Israel must pay attention to two possible outcomes: A Middle Eastern inter-bloc agreement may at some stage include the Palestinian issue. Another possible scenario may involve renewed pressure on Israel to give up the Golan Heights in order to “strengthen” the new Syrian government.

A U.S.-Russian Agreement

Geneva 2, the international peace conference on the future of Syria, began on January 22, 2014, in Montreux, Switzerland. Sources in the Syrian opposition say the conference has come about because of agreement between the United States and Russia that the main danger posed by the situation in Syria is that of al-Qaeda, and that the course of events should be steered in order to obviate this danger.

This inter-bloc agreement has put most of the Syrian opposition under great pressure. They see a danger that the two powers will meanwhile prefer to leave Assad in place since, if the choice is between him and al-Qaeda, then Assad is the better option.

The problem is that the opposition is very fragmented and the two powers can force it to accept their dictates. On the issue of Geneva 2, there indeed is such a dictate. Whereas, at first, the Syrian opposition refused to participate in the conference with Assad loyalists, after heavy pressure that included American threats to cease assistance to them, much of the Syrian opposition acceded to the two powers’ demand that they attend.

Who’s Who in the Syrian Opposition

What elements make up the Syrian opposition, what do they seek, and who stands behind them?

First, the Geneva conference will not represent the fighters on the battlefield; neither the different al-Qaeda groups nor the Free Syrian Army will be in attendance. Al-Qaeda will not be there because the talks are aimed at counteracting it, and in any case al-Qaeda does not ordinarily take part in gatherings of this kind. As for the Free Syrian Army and its commander Salim Idris, they still are not prepared to sit in the same room with Assad’s loyalists, though there are reports of enormous pressure on Idris to attend.

Basically, however, the talks will be attended by parties that are not active on the Syrian battlefield. Who are they?

One large body, known as the National Coalition of Syrian and Regional Forces (also called the Syrian National Coalition), will be representing the opposition that is based outside of Syria. It is headed by Ahmed al-Jarba, a scion of the leading families of the large Shammar Bedouin tribe, which migrates among Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, and is considered pro-Saudi. Saudi Arabia indeed supports this organization.

Another group within the “coalition” is the representative body of the Syrian opposition before the “coalition” was formed. Called the Syrian National Council (SNC), it includes the Muslim Brotherhood and pan-Arab nationalists and is supported by Turkey and Qatar. Although it is formally within the “coalition” framework, the competition between Qatar and Saudi Arabia influences its relations with the coalition. All this was evident when decisions had to be made on whether to attend Geneva 2. After al-Jarba announced that he would go, his rivals in the SNC declared that they would not. The reasons for al-Jarba’s decision are not clear. Whereas one would have expected that, given the Saudis’ anger at Washington, the pro-Saudi faction would try to impede the conference, the opposite is what happened. Sources in the Syrian opposition said the Saudis did not want to bring tensions with the United States out in the open, and perhaps also did not want to be associated with al-Qaeda; instead the talks could always be undermined from within.

Russia, too, has its favored groups, and there is no surprise in the fact that they agreed to attend. These groups are old leftist factions that were part of the Syrian Ba’ath party. Syrian opposition sources point to the “Internal Opposition Group” headed by Kadri Jamil and Ali Haidar, two veteran Ba’athists who abandoned Assad. Alongside them is another group of veteran Arab nationalists headed by Haitham Mana’a and Hassan Abd al-Azim, called the “Coordinated Administration,” an array of coordinating committees for the rebels in the field. This group maintains its independence and does not receive aid from any party; it opposes Assad and will not attend Geneva 2.

The powers’ need to convene the Geneva 2 conference stemmed primarily from the failure of the Free Syrian Army under General Idris to defeat Assad’s army and bring about regime change. Instead, the different al-Qaeda organizations have now prevailed in the local arena, and not long ago they handed Idris a defeat near Aleppo, taking over his main arms depot. The Free Syrian Army is also supported by Turkey and Qatar.

Al-Qaeda Forces in Syria

Who are the al-Qaeda forces operating in Syria? There are about forty groups with numerous names, but two are playing the main role on the ground. One is the Al-Nusra group led by Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani; the other is “Daash” – the Islamic State of Iraq and Ash-Sham (the Levant), also called ISIS. Al-Nusra is made up of Syrian and Jordanian mujahideen, while the Syria and Iraq group has an Iraqi leadership.

Ironically, the success of the Salafi groups has worked in Assad’s favor. He claimed from the start that he was not dealing with a rebellion but with “terror,” and the al-Qaeda groups’ successes against the Syrian army and the Free Syrian Army helped Russia convince the United States that, at least for the time being, Assad should be left standing. The result is that Assad’s loyalists will be in attendance at the conference.

The opposition groups claim, however, that at least the ISIS organization is actually in league with Assad. They say the al-Qaeda fighters in this group were originally Syrian intelligence agents who were infiltrated into Iraq to operate against U.S. forces there, and after the revolt in Syria erupted, Assad’s intelligence service implanted them among the rebels as a way of proving that the revolt is nothing more than terror. These al-Qaeda groups have also acted against the Free Syrian Army and diverted it from the anti-Assad struggle.

The Kurds of Syria

The Kurds of Syria are a special case. They, too, are fragmented into many groups; among the leading ones is the Democratic Union Party (PYD). A radical-left organization that is a twin sister of the Turkish PKK, it is close to Assad’s Ba’ath regime and loyal to it. The Syrian army was able to withdraw from Kurdish areas and concentrate its forces against the rebels because the PYD managed Kurdish affairs on Syria’s behalf. There are now reports that under the PYD’s “administrative autonomy,” pictures of Assad have again appeared in the streets.

The PYD is opposed by the Yakiti party, which is close to Kurdnas – a large coalition of Kurdish parties that triggered the Kurdish revolt against Assad in the previous century. In contrast to the PYD’s radical leftism, Yakiti and Kurdnas are pro-Western parties that advocate a federal regime in Syria. The space between the PYD, at one end, and Yakiti and Kurdnas, at the other, is filled by numerous other parties. These, however, were concocted by Syrian intelligence as a means of fragmenting the Kurds. One “real” group that is not an invention of Syrian intelligence is the Azadi party.

All the Kurdish parties are demanding autonomy within the framework of the Syrian state. The difference between them and the Sunni parties (the Muslim Brotherhood, former Ba’athists, Arab nationalists) is that, whereas the Kurdish groups call for a decentralized regime of autonomous districts for the ethnic communities and minorities, most of the Sunnis favor retaining the centralized regime in Damascus.

Whereas the Kurds demanded to come to Geneva 2 as a separate delegation, the United States insisted that they attend as part of the “coalition.” The Kurds refused and will not be at Geneva. They see the U.S. refusal to recognize their separate delegation as stemming from its support for a centralized Syrian regime even after Assad’s departure.

If the Syrian opposition has trouble accepting the presence of Assad loyalists at the peace conference, it cannot accept an Iranian presence at all. They say their real opponent on the Syrian battlefield is the Iranian army, and they view Iran as an invading country that is also deploying Hizbullah against them. Saudi Arabia, too, can barely tolerate the Assad loyalists and rejects any Iranian role at the conference altogether.

The Question of Assad’s Future

Regarding Assad’s future, while the first Geneva peace conference in June 2012 came up with a plan for a temporary government and elections for a new president, Assad insisted on his right to run in these elections. Geneva 2, as well, will likely propose a temporary government and elections while offering Assad an honorable departure from political life in return for his physical survival. Whether such elections can be held, however, is in doubt since forces on the ground will reject any such plan.

Meanwhile, there are initial signs of a deal taking shape outside the framework of the conference, in which Iran, Russia, and the United States would agree on a new president while forcing Assad to acquiesce. But such an initiative – if it takes shape at all – will have to wait until Assad hands over all his chemical weapons.

Israel must pay attention to two matters. First, a Middle Eastern inter-bloc agreement may at some stage include the Palestinian issue; Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will fly to Moscow to clarify this option with the Russians. Israel must prepare for a scenario where a new central government is established in Damascus and the powers begin to pressure Israel to give up the Golan Heights in order to “strengthen” the new Syrian government.

About Pinhas Inbari

Pinhas Inbari is a veteran Arab affairs correspondent who formerly reported for Israel Radio and Al Hamishmar newspaper, and currently serves as an analyst for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

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

All Praises due Sens. Kirk and Menendez on Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act

Yesterday, as I entered a December monthly luncheon meeting of the Tiger Bay Club in Pensacola I was taken aside by a fellow member who told me how much he valued the work of Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) on the latest Iran sanctions effort.  We were there to hear David Wasserman of the Cook Report and assistant editor of the National Journalgive a presentation on the 2014 electoral map for the crucial midterm elections for President Obama. He is seemingly in trouble over the debacle of his keystone domestic program, the Affordable Care Act.  We have great respect for Sen. Kirk given our September 2008 NER interview with him when he was a Member of the US House of Representatives from a suburban Chicago  Congressional District, involved with the bi-partisan effort working on early Iran nuclear sanctions legislation.

My Tiger Bay colleague was referring to new bipartisan sanctions legislation, the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act co-sponsored by Sen. Kirk, a ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  Prominent among the 26  co-sponsors of the new sanctions legislation were Sens. Casey (D-PA), Graham (R-SC), McCain (R-AZ), Rubio (R-FL), Schumer (D-NY), Warner (D-VA). Clearly, these Senators are skeptical that an ultimate agreement can be achieved with the Islamic Regime in Tehran based on the P5+1 interim agreement and Joint Plan of Action (JPA). This despite President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry’s lobbying effort aimed at providing a hiatus to resolve issues with Iran. They are not the only ones; French Foreign Minister Fabius also renewed his dour prediction that a final agreement to prevent nuclear breakout and a weapons delivery capability may not be possible.  The US Senators and French Foreign Minister Fabius can point to a Press TV news release with comments by Ali Akbar Salehi, Iranian head of their Atomic Energy Organization.  Salehi said the country’s nuclear facilities, including Arak heavy water reactor, will continue running, dismissing Western governments’ call on Tehran to suspend activities at the facility”.

Kirk’s and Menendez’s statements introducing the new legislation reflected a deepening skepticism on Capitol Hill and in polls across America and in Israel that Iran will honor any agreements.  This is based on its track record of deception, relentless pursuit of nuclear hegemony in the Middle East and its global reach of terrorism against the West.  They commented:

“The American people rightfully distrust Iran’s true intentions and they deserve an insurance policy to defend against Iranian deception during negotiations,” Sen. Kirk said. “This is a responsible, bipartisan bill to protect the American people from Iranian deception and I urge the Majority Leader to give the American people an up or down vote.”

“Current sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table and a credible threat of future sanctions will require Iran to cooperate and act in good faith at the negotiating table,” said Sen. Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “The Iranians last week blamed the Administration for enforcing sanctions; now, they criticize Congress. The burden rests with Iran to negotiate in good faith and verifiably terminate its nuclear weapons program. Prospective sanctions will influence Iran’s calculus and accelerate that process toward achieving a meaningful diplomatic resolution.”

Jennifer Rubin in a Washington Post column, Friday, “Congress is trying to stop a war, not start one”, outlined what the new bi-partisan sanctions legislation contains:

. . . to enact sanctions if Iran cheats during the interim agreement or fails to reach a final deal and to reaffirm the parameters of a final deal (terms embodied in United Nations resolutions and articulated by three presidents, including this one).

Those parameters include “dismantl[ing] Iran’s illicit nuclear infrastructure, including enrichment and reprocessing capabilities and facilities, the heavy water reactor and production plant at Arak, and any nuclear weapon components and technology, so that Iran is precluded from a nuclear breakout capability and prevented from pursuing both uranium and plutonium pathways to a nuclear weapon.” In addition, Iran must come into compliance with all U.N. resolutions and allow round-the-clock inspections.

The bill includes broad waiver authority for the Administration. (This had been a concern for some Democrats.)

At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, President Obama’s Press Spokesman Jay Carney fired back, “We don’t think this action is necessary. We don’t think it will be enacted. If it were [passed] the president would veto it.”

President Obama in his year end press conference, prior to his departure for a vacation with family in Hawaii, responded to questions about the new Senate sanctions initiative, saying:

What I’ve said to members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, is there is no need for new sanctions legislation, not yet.

Now, if Iran comes back and says, we can’t give you assurances that we’re not going to weaponize, if they’re not willing to address some of their capabilities that we know could end up resulting in them having breakout capacity, it’s not going to be hard for us to turn the dials back, strengthen sanctions even further. I’ll work with members of Congress to put even more pressure on Iran. But there’s no reason to do it right now.

Referring to a recent Administration action black-listing 12 Iranian companies following the P5+1 interim agreement, Jonathan Schanzer of the Washington, DC –based Foundation for Defense of Democracies commented in a Politico column, “The White House Can’t Have it Both Ways on Iran”:

Actively punishing Iran for its mendacity while trying to selectively reduce other sanctions (in this case, automotive, petrochemicals and precious metals) for the sake of diplomacy projects two competing messages. It should come as no surprise that this dual approach has inspired the confidence of neither Iran nor Congress. Indeed, the only actors out there who are heartened by Washington’s conflicted policies are the companies eyeing investments in Iran. They see confusion, and therefore ambiguity. And that’s a whole lot better than the investment environment of just a few months ago, when Iran appeared to be completely off limits.

Watch this Wall Street Journal video interview with Schanzer of FDD by Mary Kissel discussing “Totaling up Iran’s Sweet Sanction Deal”:

In our recent post on the efficacy of sanctions we concluded:

…military force coupled with improved sanctions may be the only option that brings the Islamofanatics in Tehran to heel.  Israel demonstrated that in both Iraq (Operation Opera 1981) and Syria (Operation Orchard 2007). Despite initial criticism, the US subsequently showed begrudging respect. That is not lost on the worried Saudis and the Gulf Emirates, critical of US policies in the roiling Middle East.

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