The American Kafir

2012/03/29

State Department Refuses to Say Jerusalem is Israel’s Capital

Source Arutz Sheva

State Department Refuses to Say Jerusalem is Israel’s Capital

U.S. State Department spokeswoman refuses to say outright that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital during daily press briefing.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on Wednesday refused to say that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, according to a report by The Weekly Standard.

The report said the exchange took place at the daily State Department press briefing. The questions Nuland was asked were regarding a Washington Free Beacon story that highlighted the State Department’s refusal to list Jerusalem as part of Israel.

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Earlier in the week, the Washington Free Beacon had shown an official State Department communication which labeled Jerusalem and Israel as separate entities.

The official press release stated that “Acting Under Secretary Kathleen Stephens Travels to Algeria, Qatar, Jordan, Jerusalem, and Israel.”

After the Washington Free Beacon reported on this, the communication was altered to read, “Acting Under Secretary Kathleen Stephens Travels to Algiers, Doha, Amman, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv.”

On Wednesday, a reporter asked Nuland about this, saying, “Yesterday there was a bit of a kerfuffle over an announcement that was made by the department about the travel of your boss. Is it the State Department’s position that Jerusalem is not part of Israel?”

Nuland said in response, according to the State Department transcript, “Well, you know that our position on Jerusalem has not changed. The first media note was issued in error, without appropriate clearances. We reissued the note to make clear that undersecretary, acting undersecretary for — our — Kathy Stevens will be travelling to Algiers, Doha, Amman, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. With regard to our Jerusalem policy, it’s a permanent-status issue.  It’s got to be resolved through the negotiations between the parties.”

The reporter did not let up and asked Nuland whether it was the view of the United States that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, to which Nuland responded, “We are not going to prejudge the outcome of those negotiations, including the final status of Jerusalem.”

The reporter then asked, “Does that — does that mean that you do not regard Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?” and Nuland responded, “Jerusalem is a permanent-status issue.  It’s got to be resolved through negotiations.”

Q: That seems to suggest that you do not regard Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  Is that correct or not?

Nuland: I have just spoken to this issue — and I have nothing further to say on it.

Later on during the briefing, the same reporter asked once again, “I want to clarify something, perhaps give you an ‘out’ on your Jerusalem answer. Is it your — is it your position that all of Jerusalem is a final-status issue, or do you think — or is it just East Jerusalem?”

The irritated Nuland, according to The Weekly Standard, then responded, “Matt, I don’t have anything further to what I’ve said 17 times on that subject. OK?”

The issue of Jerusalem being recognized by the U.S. as Israel’s capital has been at the forefront for many years. It is centered on whether Israel has sovereignty over Jerusalem.

The U.S. Congress defined Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1955, passed by the 104th Congress on October 23, 1995, (PDF copy of the Full Text and Summary are below) to have the US Embassy moved to Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999, The act called for Jerusalem to remain an undivided city and for it to be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel. The proposed law was adopted by the Senate (93–5) and the House (374–37), but not implemented by the State Department and the Executive branch.

Attorney Harvey Schwartz, Chair of the American Israeli Action Coalition, explained in an interview with Arutz Sheva several months ago, “United States policy has been consistent since 1948 that Israel is not sovereign over Jerusalem. Rather, the question of Jerusalem’s sovereignty is to be determined, ultimately, by resolution between the parties. That’s been consistent U.S. policy.”

The question of Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem is central to the Menachem Zivotofsky v. Hillary Clinton case. The case involves Menachem Zivotofsky, who was born in Jerusalem and whose parents requested that the place of birth on his U.S. passport and Consular Report of Birth Abroad be listed as Israel.

The State Department refused the request, leading the Zivotofskys to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court returned the decision on the issue to the lower court.

In their decision, the justices wrote, “Congress enacted a statue providing that Americans born in Jerusalem may elect to have “Israel” listed as the place of birth on their passports. The State Department declined to follow that law, citing its longstanding policy of not taking a position on the political status of Jerusalem. When sued by an American who invoked that statute, the Secretary of State argued that the courts lacked authority to decide the case because it presented a political question. The Court of Appeals so held.

“We disagree. The courts are fully capable of determining whether this statute may be given effect, or instead must be struck down in light of authority conferred on the Executive by the Constitution.”

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Indonesia jails Islamic school principal for terrorism

Filed under: Indonesia, Islam, Jihad, Shari'a Law, Terrorism — Tags: — - @ 2:27 pm

Source Malaysian Digest

Indonesia Jails Islamic School Principal for Terrorism

JAKARTA: An Indonesian court on Wednesday jailed an Islamic boarding school head for 17 years for preaching on jihad that led to terrorism and possessing more than two dozen home-made bombs and inciting terrorism.

Abrory M Ali, who was the head of the Umar bin Khatab boarding school in West Nusa Tenggara province, eastern Indonesia, was arrested in July when some of his home-made bombs went off accidentally, killing a school employee, according to China’s Xinhua news agency citing local press reports.

Following the blast, police tried to raid the school but students attempted to stop them in a bid to prevent the discovery of the explosives and firearms.

This prompted a three-day standoff during which the students, armed with machetes and swords, barricaded themselves inside.

“The defendant’s deeds caused many people to suffer from injuries and he tainted the good reputation of Indonesia which has promoted the eradication of terrorism,” presiding judge Iman Gultom read in the verdict on Wednesday.

Abrory’s lawyer, Asruddin said the punishment as too harsh.

Indonesia has successfully cracked down on terrorist activities in the wake of major terrorist bombings leaving more than 270 people dead, by killing and bringing terrorist top figures and their followers to justice.

But in recent years the militants movement have turned to small- scale acts and larger targets, such as government official and vital objects.

Anti-terror chief says Frenchman suspected in attack on Indonesian embassy

Filed under: France, Indonesia, Islamist, Terrorism — Tags: — - @ 2:06 pm

Source StarTribune

Anti-terror chief says Frenchman suspected in attack on Indonesian embassy

by: NINIEK KARMINIJAKARTA, Indonesia – A Frenchman who studied with Islamic militants in Indonesia allegedly orchestrated last week’s bombing at the country’s embassy in Paris, a top anti-terrorism official said Thursday, citing intercepted emails and online chats.

The package bomb that exploded March 21 did not cause any injuries or major damage to the building.

Indonesia’s anti-terrorism agency chief Ansyaad Mbai told The Associated Press that French investigators had confirmed that the main suspect is Frederic C. Jean Salvi, who also is believed to have studied for several years with Islamic militants in this predominantly Muslim nation.

The attack was apparently meant as a warning to Indonesia to stop a U.S. and Australia-funded security crackdown that has resulted in the arrests, convictions and imprisonment of hundreds of Islamic militants in recent years.

“There were strong indications he was involved in the bombing at our mission in Paris,” Mbai said.

The Frenchman has been on Indonesia’s wanted list since 2010 when police raided a home in West Java province.

Salvi and several other members of a small terror cell — who had allegedly been planning a car bombing when police swooped in — managed to escape

Indonesia, a secular nation of 240 million people, most of whom are Muslim, has been battling terrorists since 2002 when the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah attacked two nightclubs on Bali island, killing 202 people, many of them foreign tourists.

Though the group carried out several other deadly attacks in the years that followed, it has since been largely dismantled, replaced by several smaller, less organized cells.

Mbai said emails and internet chats intercepted by Indonesian investigators indicated Salvi was involved in the embassy blast and that Indonesian militants helped him.

The bomb appears to be linked to a similar, October 2004 attack on the embassy that injured 10 employees, he said.

Both devices went off at around 5 a.m. and were placed beneath the same window.

Salvi has also been targeted by Interpol for crimes he committed at home, Mbai said. He’s presumed to be in France.

Pakistan acid attack victim commits suicide

Filed under: Acid Attack, Honor Killings, Oppression, Pakistan — Tags: , , — - @ 1:55 pm

Source Telegraph

Pakistan acid attack victim commits suicide

One of Pakistan’s most high profile victims of domestic acid attacks has committed suicide in Rome where she had been undergoing cosmetic surgery to rebuild her face.

By Dean Nelson

Fakhra Yunus Before and After acid attack by her ex husband Bilal Khar

Fakhra Yunus, 34, leapt from the sixth floor of an apartment building to her death just weeks after Saving Face, a film on the plight of the 100 women per year disfigured in acid attacks in Pakistan, won an Oscar.

Ms Yunus was a beautiful 22 year old when her estranged politician husband, the son of one of Pakistan’s most powerful political families, who allegedly poured battery acid over her face and body in front of her five year old son.

Following the attack she endured 38 surgical operations in 12 years to reconstruct her face and repair severe wounds on her arms and body.

But according to friends the years of surgery had failed to restore her striking looks and she still regularly burst into tears after catching her face in the mirror.

Her close supporter, the leading Pakistani author and her husband’s former step-mother, Tehmina Durrani, described the attack had left her mutilation as so horrific that she “was confronted by open disgust and contempt by everyone who set eyes on her in Pakistan.” Parts of her body had been “melted to the bone,” she said.

Her husband Bilal Khar, who is the son of former Punjab governor and cousin of foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar, initially went into hiding after the attack while police officers sought to frustrate attempts to bring him to justice. He was later arrested in 2002 but released shortly after when relatives paid £2,000 bail.

Since Fakhra’s death there have been fresh demands for him to be jailed, but he denies any involvement in the attack.

In an article in The News International newspaper, her supporter Tehmina Durrani said she had met many women victims of ‘acid terrorism’ but none as brave and disfigured as Fakhra.

“She had not just become faceless; her body had also melted to the bone. Despite her stark and hopeless condition, the government of the Islamic Republic Of Pakistan was not in the least God fearing. She was provided nothing..but disdain..and trashed,” she wrote.

The Italian government, by contrast, had provided free accommodation, schooling for her son, and the medical care of one of the country’s best surgeons.

Despite her extremely disturbing ‘image’, the gracious people of Italy never ever made her feel she was any different to any one of them! In the beautiful city of Rome, Fakhra “She was able to walk the streets, laze in the parks, and enter a shop or a restaurant in the most prestigious of places, without an iota of embarrassment. In fact every waiter served her more respectfully than he did any other, and every person who looked her way smiled and nodded with respect,” she explained.

Professor Charvelli, the surgeon who had spent years trying to recreate her face, said he could not treat the biggest scars. “I tried to mend her physical scars. but was unable to heal her soul,” he said.

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Crude “Solidarity Movement” Poster Exploits Rape

Filed under: anti-Semitism, “Solidarity Movement”, Israel, Vulgarity — - @ 12:05 pm

Source NGO Monitor

Crude “Solidarity Movement” Poster Exploits Rape

Pretense of human rights used for demonization

Update: According to a statement issued by Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity on March 14, 2012 and published on the JTA website, the group claimed that the Vaseline rape poster was on their Facebook page for approximately 30 minutes, and the poster depicting the rape of a woman was accessible only on the poster designer’s private Facebook page.

The title of both posters, “Migron Amok,” is a crude play on words referencing the 1970s pornographic film, “Deep Throat” (the word Migron, a West Bank settlement, is similar to the Hebrew word for throat, garon).  The text on both posters read:

“If they were residents of Haifa, Beer Sheva or Ashdod they would be in jail. But they are settlers. So shut up, bend down, swallow, you probably know that you want it.”

In the wake of the controversy surrounding the “rape” posters, the Israeli daily Ha’aretz published an exposé on sexual harassment within “leftist organizations.”  The story explains that the poster, featuring a jar of Vaseline and inflammatory rape rhetoric, “angered activists, almost as much as the incidents of sexual harassment.” The exposé also includes a letter sent from an activist to her friends at Anarchists Against the Wall, “in which she wrote of the incidents of sexual harassment she had experienced in Kfar a-Dik, a West Bank village where the organization holds protests in support of the Palestinians from time to time.”

Ha’aretz obtained other testimonies that tell “of a wider phenomenon of sexual harassment and assault of Israeli and foreign protesters in the West Bank. In the past two years, at least six incidents were recorded in the West Bank and East Jerusalem: two in Sheikh Jarrah, four more in the Mount Hebron area, in Masra, in Kfar a-Dik, and an alleged case of attempted rape in Umm Salmona, near Bethlehem, that was revealed in Haaretz.”

NGO Monitor originally reported on this story in August 2010 following a July 14, 2010 article in Ha’aretz.  The human rights NGO community in Israel has generally ignored this problem because they view it as a distraction from their political activism.  

In addition to the Ha’aretz story, numerous activists have spoken out against the exploitation of rape in both posters, as seen here, here, and here.

JERUSALEM – A poster published on the official Facebook page of the political advocacy NGO known as the “Solidarity Movement” depicts a woman being raped, as a metaphor for Israel allegedly being “raped” by “settlers.” This image is highly offensive and represents the antithesis of tolerance, dialogue and human rights, according to Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor.

“The poster is a vitriolic, offensive, and highly distorted depiction of Israeli society and the legal process,” says Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “By publishing this, the Solidarity Movement has completely dropped the pretense of promoting human rights and tolerance. This is not the first time that an NGO claiming a human rights agenda has exploited a crude rape image as part of the wider political assault against Israel.”

The poster depicts a woman forcefully pinned down with her mouth held open, with the poster title a takeoff of the film “Deep Throat.” The text, referring to the controversy over the Migron settlement, proclaims: “If they were residents of Haifa, Beer Sheva or Ashdod they would be in jail. But they are settlers. So shut up, bend down, swallow, you probably know that you want it.”

“Since its inception as the Sheikh Jarah Solidarity Movement, (named after a Jerusalem neighborhood characterized by intense property disputes) this NGO has become increasingly inflammatory in its rhetoric and activities,” Steinberg added. “Sara Benninga, a leader of the group, has accused Israel of ‘fascism’ and ‘ethnic discrimination against its residents,’ and protesters at rallies hold up signs declaring ‘Apartheid is here.’ [Note: A webpage with the “Apartheid is here” poster was later removed from the Solidarity website.] Such language fundamentally contradicts the declared principles of one of its main donors, the New Israel Fund, and demonstrates the urgent need for foundations and governments to closely monitor and hold grantees accountable.”

Adds Steinberg: “Individuals and organizations that claim to promote human rights and liberal values in the context of a broader conversation have a moral obligation to condemn this, and ensure that their funding does not enable such flagrant abuses. Indeed, some Solidarity members have spoken out, but not enough.”  The image on the rape poster, which appeared on the official Solidarity Movement Facebook page, was changed (though the language remained the same) after criticism by some members.  The original and new version can be viewed here and below:

2012/03/28

European-government funded NGOs lobby for latest UNHRC investigation

Source NGO Monitor

European-government funded NGOs lobby for latest UNHRC investigation

Summary

On March 22, 2012, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a resolution calling for “an independent international fact-finding mission, appointed by the President of the Council, to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.” This was one of five resolutions at the 19th UNHRC Session focused on allegations of Israeli violations (more than any other country); Israel is also the only country targeted by a permanent agenda item at the UNHRC. In response to this consistent violation of the universal human rights framework, the Israeli government announced an end to all contacts with the UNHRC.

As with the 2009 UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (led by Judge Richard Goldstone), the 2002 pseudo-investigation on the basis of the “Jenin massacre” myth, and many other examples, this resolution reflects the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working with the powerful Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). This alliance was also responsible for the infamous UN Durban Conference, in which the NGO Forum adopted a strategy for the “complete isolation of Israel” using false allegations of “war crimes” and pseudo-investigations, and the one-sided 2004 International Court of Justice advisory opinion on Israel’s security barrier.

Before the latest UNHRC session, the Ramallah-based Al Haq, funded by Norway, Ireland, and the NDC mechanism (joint funding from Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, and the Netherlands) submitted a written statement on behalf of 11 Palestinian NGOs, lobbying for “a UN Fact-Finding Mission to investigate the widespread and systematic nature of Israel’s policies and practices that lead to the forcible transfer of the protected Palestinian population.” These NGOs include European-funded Palestinian activist groups, Al-Dameer, Al-Mezan , BADIL, and Defence for Children International-Palestine Section.

Additionally, during the session, NGOs – Al-Haq, BADIL, Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues (also on behalf of Palestinian Centre for Human Rights), and Nord-Sud XXI (North-South XXI) – made oral statements in support of the anti-Israel resolutions, using demonizing rhetoric and advancing a one-sided and biased agenda.  These NGO statements ignore or contradict the Oslo framework, jointly negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians, which regulates the administration of the West Bank. European governments and the EU played a significant role in establishing and preserving the Oslo framework.

Reflecting the lobbying and language in NGO statements, the UNHRC resolution condemned Israel for: “the wall”; “expansion of settlements, the expropriation of land, the demolition of houses, the confiscation and destruction of property, the expulsion of Palestinians and the construction of bypass roads”; “Israel’s announcement that it will retain the major settlement blocks in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the settlements located in the Jordan Valley”; and “The Israeli decision to establish and operate a tramway between West Jerusalem and the Israeli settlement of Pisgat Zeev.”

As a result of this and similar campaigns, these NGOs and their European government sponsors share in the responsibility for the exploitation of the UNHRC as a framework for political warfare and discrimination against Israel.

Excerpts from NGO oral and written statements:

Al-Haq, Al Mezan, BADIL, DCI-PS, Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling, and others, joint written statement, February 23, 2012:

  • “We urge (s) this Council to form a UN Fact-Finding Mission to investigate the widespread and systematic nature of Israel’s policies and practices that lead to the forcible transfer of the protected Palestinian population.”
  •  “[We] urge the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons to conduct a visit to the OPT without delay and to report on his findings to the Council.”

Al Haq representing 11 Palestinian NGOs, oral statement, March 19, 2002:

  • “The international community cannot continue to ignore Israel’s practices of apartheid, as they are part and parcel of the denial of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people. We call upon this council to recognize that Palestinians in the OPT are subject to practices of apartheid and to establish a fact finding mission to examine Israel’s violations and to indicate how best to ensure respect for international law.”
  • “These abuses are part of a systematic practice of apartheid, which has seen the noose grow tighter and tighter around the neck of the Palestinian people.”

BADIL, written statement, February 27-March 23, 2012:

  • “Israel’s discriminatory land laws constitute a pillar of its colonial apartheid system.”
  • “In order to achieve this aim, Israel has implemented various land and planning laws. These laws were formulated with two general policies in mind: (a) the ‘confiscation and colonization’ of the vast majority of Palestinian owned land; and (b) the ‘concentration and containment’ of the Palestinian population within small pockets of land, which are dispersed and fragmented across the OPT and within Israel.”
  • Quoting a B’Tselem publication: “Israeli space has been highly dynamic, but the changes have been mainly in one direction: Jews expand their territorial control by a variety of means including on-going settlement, while Arabs have been contained within an unchanged geography.”

BADIL, oral statement, February 27- March 23, 2012:

  • “This [the killing of 28 Palestinians and 75 injured during recent fighting in Gaza] confirms that Israel fails to take sufficient precautions to avoid the loss of civilian life…they represent Israel’s ongoing strategy to debilitate and devastate the Palestinian population in Gaza. These frequent attacks are an intensified effort to intimidate and traumatize the Palestinians living there.”
  • We therefore urge the Human Rights Council to draw urgent attention to Israel’s continued impunity and its ongoing aggression against Gaza.”

Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), oral statement, March 22, 2012:

  • “PCHR AND IADL note that the collective punishment of the prisoners, and the imprisoned population of the Gaza strip, graphically illustrates the consequences of the impunity extended to Israel and responsible Israeli officials.”

EAFORD (International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination), written statement, February 16, 2012:

  • “The international community wants both sides to have a better future, but could the Israeli leadership ever respect the resolutions of the United Nations and Security Council as long as it can rely on United States veto power which so far has encouraged Israel to ignore its responsibility and trample on international law? How many more Palestinians need to be made homeless before the wolf is no longer entrusted with the hen house? [sic]”
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Obama’s Support for Pro-Islamist Syrian Opposition and the Duplicity of Turkey

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Israel sees new advantage in Iron Dome anti-missile system

Filed under: Iran, Iron Dome, Israel, Missile Defense, National Security, Obama — - @ 9:14 am

Source McClatchy

Israel sees new advantage in Iron Dome anti-missile system

By Sheera Frenkel |

ASHKELON, Israel — Israel’s newest weapon sits squarely along the border of this southern Israeli town. The Iron Dome, a rocket interception system built by Israel, guards many of the cities that lie within the range of rockets fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

The system, considered among the most advanced in the world, fires a missile to intercept incoming rockets after it gauges whether a rocket will fall in an area where it can cause damage. It is, according to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, a “game changer.”

When violence flared along the Israel-Gaza border earlier this month, the effectiveness of the Iron Dome was tested, and Israeli officials couldn’t have been more pleased.

Of the approximately 250 rockets and mortars fired at Israel from Gaza, 166 entered Israel’s airspace, officials said. Of those, 74 would have struck civilian areas or buildings. The Iron Dome system intercepted 56 before they could land, a success rate of 75 percent. Israeli officials argue, however, that the Iron Dome also identified rockets that were headed for open areas, such as fields, and let them land harmlessly. Factoring those in, Israeli military officials argue that only 18 of the 166 landed anywhere on target, giving the system a success rate of nearly 90 percent.

Israeli military officers and politicians said the success of the system gave Israel “diplomatic maneuverability” that it didn’t have previously.

Israel Defense Forces chief Benny Gantz described the Iron Dome’s impact as a “serious and historical military change.”

Gantz said the ability to protect Israeli population centers from rocket attacks removed one of the key factors that the military had always seen as a limitation on its operations: what the likelihood was of reprisals.

Now, Gantz added, the Israeli military can operate relatively undeterred without concern about rocket attacks. The barrage of rockets earlier this month was triggered by the targeted killing in a drone strike of Zuhair al Qaissi, a senior member of the Popular Resistance Committee, an umbrella group that includes militants from various Palestinian factions.

Iron Dome is just the beginning, Gantz said. While it focuses on smaller rockets with a relatively short range, such as those from the Gaza Strip, Israel is installing other systems that are intended to stop larger missiles, fired from farther away.

David’s Sling, a system built in conjunction with the U.S. military, is designed to intercept medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles, such as those possessed by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Another system, the Arrow, also developed with the United States, would intercept ballistic missiles fired from hundreds of miles away.

Israeli military officials said they hoped the systems would deter militants from firing rockets.

“If they know we have the ability to stop their rockets from hitting their targets, they might abandon this method,” said one Israel Defense Forces officer, who spoke to reporters recently on the condition of anonymity. “In the long run we can hope for this.”

Already though, the impact on Israeli residents of the south has been felt. Writing in The Jerusalem Post, military analyst Yaakov Katz said that, “Israel’s political leadership is under less pressure from the public that is under the rocket fire. As a result, neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor Defense Minister Ehud Barak feel a need to escalate the operation.”

Meira Cohanim, a 56-year-old resident of Ashkelon, said she felt comforted that the military was trying to intercept missiles from Gaza, even if the system wasn’t 100 percent effective.

“Before, you had this feeling that the rockets were just pounding away,” she said. “And they would land wherever they did and your home was hit or it wasn’t. Now there is a feeling that something might be changing; we might be protected.”

Iron Dome, she said, might give the Israel Defense Forces more leeway to operate in Gaza, but she hoped that it wouldn’t mean another war.

“The people in Gaza don’t have Iron Dome or even bomb shelters. I know some people here think it’s good for us to attack them, but there are innocents and children there, too,” she said. “I hope Iron Dome brings peace, not one-sided war.”

(Frenkel is a McClatchy special correspondent.)

Pentagon presses Congress for more Iron Dome systems

Source The Hill

Pentagon presses Congress for more Iron Dome systems

By Carlo Munoz –

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is pushing for congressional funding to ship more Iron Dome missile defense systems to Israel.

“The Department of Defense has been in conversations with … Israel about U.S. support for the acquisition of additional Iron Dome systems and intends to request an appropriate level of funding from Congress to support such acquisitions based on Israeli requirements and production capacity,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement released Tuesday.

DOD had set aside more than $200 million to help Israel purchase and field the Iron Dome system in fiscal 2012. Israel already has three Iron Dome systems deployed in the country.

They have been key in deterring counter short-range rocket and mortar attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip, according to Little.

The system “has played a critical role in Israel’s security,” successfully intercepting 80 percent of the 300 rockets and mortars fired into southern Israel earlier this month, Little said.

The Pentagon’s vote of confidence has spurred on advocates on Capitol Hill, who are pressing for additional sales of the weapons system.

“I am pleased that the President now acknowledges the need to increase funding to counter a deadly threat, and I look forward to working together to identify the additional resources necessary to help defend our Israeli friends,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said in a Tuesday statement.

Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.), a member of the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee, said he will push for more Iron Dome funding, noting the weapon has been “remarkably successful in saving lives and preventing all-out war.”

“Iron Dome helps give Israel the ability to protect its civilians while giving its leaders the strategic space and time to take the appropriate action to root out terrorists and carefully plan their next steps,” Rothmansaid in a statement issued Tuesday.

“Iron Dome is a game changer,” said Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.). “The threats Israel faces from incoming, indiscriminate terrorist rocket attacks are countered by this cutting edge anti-missile system. Iron Dome is fundamentally shifting political, diplomatic and military realities on the ground.”

Berman, a ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has pushed a number of pro-Israeli measures, including an extension of an Israeli loan guarantee program and further sanctions against Iran, along with more funding for Iron Dome systems.

Most recently, he introduced a bill to allow additional sales of the Iron Dome system to Israel. Co-sponsored by House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the “Iron Dome Support Act” has garnered 21 additional co-sponsors since its introduction on March 21.

2012/03/27

Whitewashing Islamic Terror in Toulouse

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Toulouse attacks expose, and overexpose, French jihadism

Source France 24

Toulouse attacks expose, and overexpose, French jihadism

Toulouse attacks expose, and overexpose, French jihadism

The recent attacks by Toulouse gunman Mohamed Merah have put the spotlight on the threat of French Islamist terrorism. But how widespread is the phenomenon of French-born jihadists and why have they not risen up the terror ranks?

By Leela JACINTO

Shortly after September 11, 2001, a French-born jihadist, Zacarias Moussaoui – sometimes called “the 20th hijacker” – shot into the spotlight when US prosecutors charged him as a conspirator in the 9/11 attacks.

More than a decade later, another French-born, self-confessed jihadist, Mohamed Merah, captured international headlines during a nail-biting, 32-hour siege in Toulouse after he killed seven people – including three children – in a shooting spree in southwest France.

Merah was killed in a police commando raid in Toulouse at the end of the siege while Moussaoui was convicted and is currently serving a life sentence in a Florida prison.

In death and in life, Moussaoui and Merah share similarities in more ways than one.

Both French nationals of North African origins, Moussaoui and Merah were brought up by single mothers in southern France. Like most European-born militant Islamists, their radicalisation process involved at least one trip to the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. By most accounts, the two men felt marginalized in the country of their birth.

In the shocked aftermath of the Toulouse attacks, French as well as international news organisations were quick to highlight the fact that Moussaoui and Merah were not the only ones with a shared background.

Concentric circles of Islamisation

Stirred by a plethora of Islamist contents on the Internet, some young French Muslims with bleak socio-economic prospects in the suburbs of France’s cities are being increasingly radicalised.

Their disenchantment with the French state has been stoked on the domestic front by the government’s ban on the niqab (the full Islamic veil) and the ruling party’s focus on French identity, which critics say fuels resentment against the country’s Muslim community.

On the foreign policy front, the presence of French troops in Afghanistan is a common grievance among French Islamists – as is the Palestinian issue.

Estimates of the number of French Islamist militants in global jihadist circles are hard to come by and vary depending on the source.

French authorities believe that between 20 and 30 French nationals are tied to jihadist groups in the Afghanistan-Pakistan area. But according to CNN, a 2010 French intelligence estimate put the potential number as high as 200 or 250.

Mathieu Guidère, a professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at the University Toulouse II-Le Mirail, breaks down Islamists according to their ideological fervor into what he calls four concentric “circles” of extremism.

“The largest circle, that of radical Islamists, are against Western culture and democracy because they believe in the presence of divine law,” said Guidère, adding that these radical Islamists are not violent. He estimates that there are between 400 and 500 French Muslims worldwide in this group.

A smaller circle of Salafists are those revivalists who emphasise the salaf (ancestors), referring to the 7th century companions of the Prophet Muhammed. Guidère believes that there are between 150 and 200 Salafists of French origins.

Islamist jihadists, or the ones who take up jihad or violent action to achieve their goals, number between 10 and 20, according to Guidère’s count.

Finally, there’s the terrorist who has actually turned ideology into lethal action. Guidère believes that since the mid-1990s, there has been just one example of a French-born terrorist who has successfully applied violence, taking it past the plotting or the conspiracy to plot stage: the Toulouse gunman.

Effective security and the influence of ‘French culture’

In a country that is home to Europe’s largest Muslim community – estimates range from 3 to 5 million since the French state does not officially tally religious groups – that is not as alarming as some news reports suggest.

Noman Benotman, a former Libyan jihadist who now works for the London-based counter-extremism think tank, the Quilliam Foundation, notes that, “As far as I can see, there has not been a single incident of a French national conducting a suicide attack – neither in Iraq nor Afghanistan nor Europe”.

Benotman believes there are two reasons for the absence of French-born suicide bombers. “The first definitely has to do with security,” he said. “Security is very effective in France, there’s no doubt about that. The second is the influence of French culture, I believe it’s still very powerful.”

When asked what exactly he meant by the influence of French culture, Benotman chuckled, “You know when you’re French, it’s the way you dress, the taste of food, the way you enjoy the finer things, it’s a lifestyle. This kind of influence will shape your worldview. I believe that French individuals, regardless of their ethnic group, are still under the influence of French culture, including the French values of liberty and democracy. Despite their feelings or their grievances about their situation, they are still within the context of a French culture,” he said.

Ironically, despite the well-documented identity crisis that many children of immigrant parents in the West undergo, Benotman suggests that the strong French cultural identity makes them less willing to offer themselves up on suicide missions and even less disposed to the austerity of jihadist training camps.

A former commander of the now defunct, al Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Benotman had met with senior al Qaeda leaders such as Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri before he publicly renounced violence after the 9/11 attacks.

Benotman is familiar with the rigors of jihadist training camps such as the ones in the Pakistani border region. “It’s not easy at all. They’re in a camp, you can’t do whatever you like, you have to follow orders even if you don’t like it. You think what the hell is this? Why should I listen to all this?” he explained.

French-born jihadists have not risen high up the ranks in global terrorist groups such as al Qaeda, unlike some of their fellow French-speaking comrades who were born and raised in Muslim-dominated former French colonies such as Algeria.

“I think there is a difference within the francophone sphere,” said Benotman. “The Algerians are part of francophone culture but they have a very different experience. They have come out of the 1990s jihad [in Algeria] and the terrorist campaigns there,” he said, referring to the brutal Algerian civil war between the Algerian military and government-backed security services on one side, and various Islamist groups including the GIA (Armed Islamist Group), which splintered into the GSPC (Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat), which in turn merged with al Qaeda’s North African branch, AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb), on the other.

The ‘lone wolf’ as a model

In the Toulouse gunman’s case, security experts have noted that Merah was a classic example of the “lone wolf” operator who is not closely linked to an organized network, making it easier for him to slip through security radars.

A ‘small minority’ of French jihadists

Like the case of Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistan-born US citizen who attempted the failed May 2010 Times Square attack, Merah was an individually radicalised, legal resident of a Western country who sought training in the Pakistani border region.

But Benotman is careful to note that, “Tactically they are lone wolves, but strategically, in terms of theory and philosophy, they are part of the global jihadist insurgency led by al Qaeda. This is very important,” he said. “Without this, you can do nothing.”

Following the Toulouse attacks, jihadist websites have been inundated with praise, according to Benotman, with many followers quoting Merah’s boast of bringing “France to its knees”.

Benotman however does not believe Merah’s attack will increase the profile or the respect accorded to French-born jihadist recruits. That, he noted, depends on an individual’s commitment and training. But, he adds Merah’s case could serve as a model for radicalised young men seeking the path to jihad. “That’s the danger,” said Benotman. “If you’re a French Muslim looking for a war with French society, maybe you will look to Merah as a model.”

Syrian violence drives 50,000 Christians from homes

Source Catholic News Agency

Syrian violence drives 50,000 Christians from homes

Damascus, Syria, (CNA).- Almost all Christians in the conflict-torn Syrian city of Homs have fled violence and persecution, amid reports that their homes have been attacked and seized by “fanatics” with links to al-Qaida.

With ninety percent of Christians having reportedly left their homes, the violence is driving fears that Syria could become a “second Iraq” with church attacks, kidnappings and forced expulsions of believers.

The exodus of 50,000 or more Christians has taken place largely in the past six weeks. It is part of al-Qaida-linked militant Islamic groups’ “ongoing ethnic cleansing” of Christians, according to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.

Homs has been home to one of Syria’s largest Christian populations and Church sources say that the faithful have borne the brunt of the violence. They have escaped to villages, many of which are in mountains 30 miles outside the city.

Islamists have allegedly gone from house to house in the Homs neighborhoods of Hamidiya and Bustan al-Diwan and have forced Christians to leave without giving them a chance to take their belongings.

The crisis in Homs has increased fears that Islamists are gaining influence in the region in the power vacuum left by the overthrow of other Arab governments in the “Arab Spring.”

The comparisons with Iraq are also ominous. Anti-Christian violence in Iraq has helped drive the Christian population from 1.4 million in the late 1980s to less than 300,000 today.

In both Syria and Iraq the Church is being targeted for its perceived close links with regimes under attack from opposition parties and rebel groups.

The uprising in Syria started in March 2011 with protests advocating political reform. The uprising has become increasingly militarized. More than 8,000 people have been killed in the conflict in the past year, U.N. figures say.

Many in the opposition are from the country’s Sunni majority, while religious minorities continue to back President Bashar al-Assad. The exiled Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has said it will not monopolize power in a new regime but will back a democratic state with equality for all citizens and respect for human rights.

On March 26, Syrian government forces shelled Homs and carried out arrest raids. A human rights group says that government forces appear to be preparing to retake rebel-held parts of the city, the Associated Press reported.

The government has accused insurgents of terrorism and international conspiracy, while the government itself faces accusations of torture and massacres of civilians.

The Christian community has suffered from terrorist attacks in other cities.

On March 18, a car bomb explosion targeted the Christian quarter of Aleppo, close to the Franciscan-run Church of St. Bonaventure. Aid to the Church in Need is helping families of the victims.

“The people we are helping are very afraid,” said Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, who is overseeing the aid program. “The Christians don’t know what their future will hold. They are afraid they will not get their homes back.”

The displaced people of Homs are desperate for food and shelter. Aid to the Church in Need has announced an urgent $100,000 aid package to relieve their needs.

Each family will receive $60 each month for basic food and lodging. Organizers of the assistance hope that they can return home by the summer.

Bishop Audo told Aid to the Church in Need that it is very important to help those in distress.

“Pray for us and let us work together to build peace in Syria,” he said.

2012/03/26

France’s Jihadist Shooter Was No Lone Wolf

Filed under: al Qaeda, France, Jihad, National Security — Tags: , — - @ 5:42 pm

Source Wall Street Journal

France’s Jihadist Shooter Was No Lone Wolf

Mohamed Merah was practically a prince in violent extremist circles.

By Jytte Klausen

Zuma Press
Mohamed Merah

Mohamed Merah, the Frenchman who assassinated three French paratroopers of North African background and then launched a terrible attack on a Jewish school—murdering a teacher, his two young sons and an 8-year-old girl—claimed to act for al Qaeda. Skeptics have dismissed the claim, saying al Qaeda barely functions anymore. But Merah was no “lone wolf” and did indeed bear the imprint of al Qaeda.

Young and alienated, Merah had served two years in a juvenile prison for robbery. Was he rejected by French society because of his Algerian background? “He snapped,” say friends. After prison, he was completely cut off from reality, said his lawyer.

In fact, Merah was practically a prince in French jihadist circles. His mother is married to the father of Sabri Essid, a leading member of the Toulouse radical milieu who was captured in Syria in 2006. Essid and another Frenchman were running an al Qaeda safe house in Syria for fighters going to Iraq. In a 2009 trial that came to be known in the press as “Brothers for Iraq,” they and six others were convicted in France of conspiracy for terrorist purposes. Essid was sentenced in 2009 to five years imprisonment.

Family contacts could have been instrumental in setting up Merah’s jihadist contacts and facilitating his travels to South Asia. Le Monde reports that the Pakistani Taliban and the Uzbek Islamic Movement trained Merah to become a killer. In 2010, he was captured in Afghanistan (reportedly by Afghan forces) and handed over to the French government, yet French media report that he was able to return to Northwest Pakistan in 2011.

The French police have confirmed that Merah was under periodic surveillance in recent months. That he slipped through and was able to carry out his attacks will become a source of criticism and self-recrimination on the part of the generally efficient French police. It certainly suggests that he had help from a network.

In executing his attacks, Merah did everything by the jihadist textbook. He made sure he would die a martyr’s death that would be witnessed on television screens around the world. He murdered with a video camera strapped to his body, making him star and director of his own epic. He told journalists his videos would soon be uploaded. In the attack at the Jewish school Monday morning, Merah held a little girl by her hair while he paused to reload his gun. He then shot her. In a recording found in his apartment he tells another victim, a soldier: “You kill my brothers, I kill you.” This is theater.

The Internet was his friend. “I have changed my life . . . on video,” said one of his last tweets (in French) during the siege. His account ID featured a black knight on a horse holding high the flag of jihad.

He signed that last tweet “Mohamed Merah-Forsane Alizza.” Forsane Alizza, or “Knights of Glory,” is a France-based jihadist media organization that was banned in January by French authorities after they discovered members preparing to train in armed combat. The ban made little difference, as content was uploaded to new sites. A website using the Forsane Alizza alias is still active—and registered with a domain name registrar and Web hosting company based in the state of Washington.

Two hours before the police arrived at his apartment, Merah was calling a French TV station. He appears to have had the media on speed-dial and was an active user not only of Twitter but of Facebook and YouTube. (Authorities took down his online outlets one-by-one on Wednesday.)

Merah’s shootings in Toulouse again shatter the illusion that counterterrorism can be 100% successful. Jihadist terrorism exploits our freedoms and opportunities in a global campaign linking foreign insurgencies and extremist activism in the West. Highly scripted and planned with the assistance of accomplices in and outside of France, Merah did not act in isolation.

Ms. Klausen. a professor of politics at Brandeis University and author of “The Cartoons That Shook the World” (Yale University Press, 2009), is founder of the Western Jihadism Project, which tracks and analyzes the development of jihadi networks in the West.

Egypt working to prevent Iran attacks on Israeli targets, sources say

Filed under: Egypt, Iran, Israel, MIddle East, National Security, Nuclear — - @ 5:33 pm

Source Harretz

Egypt working to prevent Iran attacks on Israeli targets, sources say

A high-ranking official in Jerusalem said last week that Iranian military experts have been active on Israel’s southern border, as well as in Sinai and the Gaza Strip.By Avi Issacharoff

Egyptian security forces thwarted an attempt by Iran to blow up an Israeli ship in the Suez Canal, the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram reported on Saturday.

The attack was being planned by two Egyptians who were recently arrested and interrogated, the prosecution in Egypt’s state security court reportedly claimed.

An investigation allegedly revealed that the men, Suleiman Razek Abdul-Razek and Salameh Ahmed Salameh, had received their instructions from Iranian agents. They reportedly asked a third person, Mohammed Zakri, to carry out the attack in exchange for 50 million Egyptian pounds.

The two men denied any involvement.

Hezbollah terror cells in Egypt – including the Suez Canal – have been found to be planning terror attacks in the past. Israeli officials have recently warned that Iran is setting up terror infrastructure on Egyptian soil to prepare for an operation.

Sources said on Saturday that they have no information to support the Egyptian newspaper’s report. However, they attribute importance to the very fact that the claim was published. Although a few months ago Egypt allowed Iranian destroyers though the Gulf of Suez to the Mediterranean – the ships docked at a Syrian port – it prohibited Iranians from striking Israeli targets in its territory; Egypt also threatened to prosecute anyone who was found to be attacking Israeli targets in coordination with the Iranians, according to a report.

A high-ranking official in Jerusalem said last week that Iranian military experts have been active in Sinai and the Gaza Strip.

“We can see signs that Iran is building a terror infrastructure throughout Sinai,” he said. The official added that although Israel has responded to every Egyptian request to beef up its forces in Sinai, no significant Egyptian operation has taken place in Sinai since the Egyptian revolution last year.

Several terror groups are now at large in Sinai, the source claimed: local Bedouin, who are adopting the ideology of the Global Jihad; groups supported by Iran who are trying to recruit and train militants not only in Sinai but throughout Egypt; and Palestinian organizations. Joining them are Global Jihad militants from Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the official said, adding that Israel and Egypt share a common interest in combating these terrorist elements. The official said the Iranians are urging and directing Palestinians to carry out attacks, and that they have tried to encourage Hamas to do so as well.

“It must be remembered that a host of Palestinian organizations are using Sinai to carry out attacks,” the official said, adding that since ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi’s fall, Libya has become a huge arms depot, where weapons are transferred to Egypt and then the Gaza Strip.

Iranian intelligence has been increasingly involved in events on Israel’s southern border, both in Gaza and Sinai. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week directly accused Iran for the escalation on the Gaza border two weeks ago.

Most Jewish Israelis say Iran strike less risky than nuclear threat

Filed under: Iran, Israel, Nuclear — - @ 5:21 pm

Source Haaretz

Poll conducted by Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs finds 60% believe that only military action could stop Iran’s nuclear program.

By Ophir Bar-Zohar

Nearly two-thirds of Jewish Israelis believe that attacking Iran to stop its nuclear program would be less harmful to Israel than living under the shadow of an Iranian nuclear bomb, a new survey shows.

The poll, conducted by Prof. Camil Fuchs for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, showed that 65 percent of those asked agreed with the claim that the price Israel would have to pay for living with the threat of an Iranian bomb would be greater than the price it would pay for attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities. Only 26 percent disagreed with this claim, with nine percent saying they weren’t sure.

The poll questioned 505 Jewish Israelis, representing five different populations: secular, traditional, religious, ultra-Orthodox and Russian immigrants. When breaking down the response into sectors, 72 percent of the religious Zionist respondents agreed with the statement, compared to 65-66 percent of the secular and traditional respondents. Men were also more likely to support the statement than women, with 73 percent of the men questioned preferring an attack on Iran, as opposed to 56 percent of the women.

Most of those polled (60 percent) agreed that only military action could stop Iran’s nuclear program, compared to 37 percent that did not agree. In this instance, too, the religious respondents were much more decisive, as were male ones, with 70 percent of the men agreeing that military reaction was the only way, compared to 50 percent of the women who agreed.

This gender gap raises the question of whether the more moderate women’s viewpoint would be taken into account by the security cabinet, which would have to decide whether to actually attack. There are no women in that cabinet; Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat is an observer but has no vote.

Sixty-three percent of those questioned believe the Israeli home front will suffer equally whether Israel attacks Iran or the United States does, compared to 29 percent who disagreed with that statement. Sixty-four percent expressed confidence that the Israel Defense Forces could significantly damage Iran’s nuclear program, compared to 29 percent who disagreed. The religious and traditional respondents were much more supportive of the IDF than the other population groups (secular, Russians and ultra-Orthodox ).

U.S. Policy on Preventive Military Action against Iran

Filed under: AIPAC, Barack Hussein Obama, Iran, Israel, Laws, National Security — - @ 5:13 pm
Source JCPA
by  Dore Gold

Published March 2012

Vol. 12, No. 3    25 March 2012

U.S. Policy on Preventive Military Action against Iran

Dore Gold

  • During his March 4 AIPAC speech, President Barack Obama came closer than ever before to declaring that, should sanctions fail, he was prepared to use military force to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Did this mean that the Obama administration is indeed prepared to launch a preventive strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities in the future?
  • If that is the case, this would represent a sharp break from the position of many of the critics of the 2003 Iraq War who rejected the legal right of the U.S. to undertake such attacks.They includedhighly respectedscholars like Harold Koh, the Dean of Yale Law School, who would become the legal adviser to the State Department under Obama.Koh wrote in the Stanford Law Review in 2003 that the Iraq War “was illegal under international law.” These legal questions from the Iraq War are likely to have an impact on how the Obama administration treats the Iranian issue.
  • Former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, who headed the CIA in the 1990s,has noted that by the time the U.S. may know whether Iran has crossed the nuclear threshold, it might be too late to take any action. “If their policy is to go to the threshold but not assemble a nuclear weapon, how do you tell that they have not assembled? I don’t actually know how you would verify that.”
  • Historically, past U.S. governments have used force without any UN authorization: from Kennedy’s naval quarantine around Cuba to Reagan’s air attack on Libya to Clinton’s missile strikes on the El-Shifa chemical plant in Sudan which was suspected of being a weapons factory. The same is true of NATO’s war against Serbia over Kosovo. None of these attacks involved an imminent threat of attack on the U.S.

During his March 4 AIPAC speech, President Barack Obama came closer than ever before to declaring that, should sanctions fail, he was prepared to use military force to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He explicitly rejected the idea that the U.S. should base its approach in the future on deterring a nuclear Iran, stressing that his policy was preventing a nuclear Iran instead: “Iran’s leaders should know that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”1

Obama then listed the efforts his administration had undertaken against Iran, at the end of which he said: “and yes a military effort to be prepared for any contingency.” He repeated, “I will take not options off the table,” adding, “and I mean what I say.” There was no explicit guarantee that the U.S. would attack Iran if Tehran reached the point of assembling a weapon. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta further clarified the administration’s policy two days after Obama spoke: “Military action is the last alternative if all else fails, but make no mistake: When all else fails, we will act.”

Did this mean that the Obama administration is indeed prepared to launch a preventive strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities in the future? If that is the case, this would represent a sharp break from the position of many of the critics of the 2003 Iraq War who rejected the legal right of the U.S. to undertake such attacks.

Is Preemption Legal?

These critics were mostly found in the halls of American academia and a number of leading law schools, which had been Barack Obama’s milieu before he entered politics. They included highly respected scholars like Harold Koh, the Dean of Yale Law School, who would become the legal adviser to the State Department under Obama. Koh wrote in the Stanford Law Review in 2003 that the Iraq War “was illegal under international law.”2 These legal questions from the Iraq War are likely to have an impact on how the Obama administration treats the Iranian issue.

In the shadow of 9/11, it was the 2002 Bush Doctrine that asserted most forcefully the U.S. right to engage in preventive attacks when it spoke about “taking the battle to the enemy…to confront the worst threats before they emerge” [emphasis added]. In contrast, the famous Article 51 of the UN Charter asserts an “inherent right of self-defense if armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations.” As a result of this language, there has been a school of thought in the legal community that insists that the use of force is only permitted after an armed attack has actually occurred.

But the legal implications of the language of Article 51 are not so clear-cut. In fact, there has been a second school of thought which recognized the right of preemption in armed conflict, which is sometimes called “anticipatory self-defense,” on the basis of customary international law.3 Historically, the right of preemption was recognized as far back as the nineteenth century, when Secretary of State Daniel Webster detailed the preconditions for preemptive strikes after the British attacked an American steamer, the Caroline, along the U.S.-Canadian border.4

According to this second school of thought, the right of preemption that existed in international customary law was not superseded by the strict language of Article 51 of the UN Charter. For example, Sir Humphrey Waldock, who would become President of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, delivered a lecture in 1952 in which he stated: “it would be a travesty of the purposes of the Charter to compel a defending State to allow its assailant to deliver the first and perhaps fatal blow.”5 Israel’s attack in the 1967 Six-Day War demonstrated again the legitimacy of preemption when it appears that war is about to break out.

The Bush Doctrine

Bush took this a step further, past preemption to prevention, by saying that America was not going to wait until the last minute before acting, but rather would neutralize threats well before they became imminent. His National Security Strategy document argued: “We must adapt the concept of imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives of today’s adversaries.”6

Within two years, Bush’s ideas were forcefully rejected, especially in liberal circles, as U.S. forces became bogged down in the Iraqi insurgency. The New York Times published an editorial in September 2004 entitled: “Preventive War: A Failed Doctrine.” Along with Harold Koh, Prof. Michael Doyle from Columbia University convened a seminar in 2008 under the prestigious Carnegie Council, which he opened by saying, “talking about preventive self-defense today, in the wake of the Iraq fiasco, is something like interviewing the passengers in the lifeboats of the Titanic about their views on ocean travel.”7 It seemed that the U.S. was not again going to take military action so quickly against a rogue state developing nuclear weapons, as in the case of Iraq.

There were two main legal arguments repeatedly voiced against preventive military actions by the U.S. First, the threat they were seeking to neutralize was not imminent, as in the case of a preemptive strike, but rather was still undergoing a process of formation. Alan Dershowitz explained in his 2006 book, Preemption, that there was a consensus that such preventive attacks against non-imminent threats were very problematic under international law. But should preemption and prevention be treated so differently, considering that the real difference between them is how far away the threat they are addressing appears on a timeline?

Today, moreover, there is a growing problem with waiting until the last minute for an imminent threat. In the conventional battlefield, imminent threats are visible. There are classical signs that intelligence services can pick up weeks before a war, like reserve mobilization and the movement of forces from their normal bases to the front with their ammunition stocks. In any event, if state practice since World War II is carefully examined, states have been prepared to take preventive military action against non-imminent threats when facing the prospect of an eventual change in the balance of power.

Will the U.S. Intelligence Community Give a Warning in Time?

But in the push-button era of missiles, it is much harder to know that an enemy is preparing an imminent attack, in which case a preemptive strike might be considered. Moreover, the risks of waiting until those preparations become evident are much too great with nuclear weapons. For that reason, there have been efforts underway to update international law.

Up to this point, President Obama has not been prepared to take preventive action against Iran precisely because he believes he has plenty of time. He told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg in a recent interview: “Iran does not yet have a nuclear weapon and is not yet in a position to obtain a nuclear weapon without us having a pretty long lead time in which we will know that they are making that attempt.”

But is Obama’s sense of confidence warranted regarding the ability of the intelligence services to warn him in time? Two years ago, Robert M. Gates, then the secretary of defense, was discussing the Iranian nuclear program and he asked himself: “If their policy is to go to the threshold but not assemble a nuclear weapon, how do you tell that they have not assembled? I don’t actually know how you would verify that.”8

Gates fully understood the limits of intelligence; in the 1990s he headed the CIA. The import of what Gates was saying is that by the time the U.S. may know whether Iran has crossed the nuclear threshold, it might be too late to take any action. The intelligence issue feeds into the legal analysis of the Iranian question, for if the administration understands U.S. intelligence agencies as saying that there is still a great deal of time before Iran completes an operational atomic weapon, then the Iranian threat is not imminent and the chances that Obama will take action are not very great.

Can the U.S. Act Unilaterally?

The second legal argument against the doctrine of preventive operations from the Bush era is that they were unilateral, without the backing of the UN Security Council. The Obama administration’s official National Security Strategy allows for American unilateralism. But in reality the situation is more complicated, as in the case of Libya, in which the U.S. still relied on a UN mandate with NATO support. Critics of the administration noted that President Obama delayed the air war against Gaddafi’s forces until he had UN Security Council approval.9

Legal scholars who are now grappling with ways to advance the legitimacy of preventive strikes often insist that the evidence against rogue states be first presented to the UN Security Council, despite the well- known delays that the UN machinery has demonstrated in repeated crises. It should be stated that historically, past U.S. governments have used force without any UN authorization: from Kennedy’s naval quarantine around Cuba to Reagan’s air attack on Libya to Clinton’s missile strikes on the El-Shifa chemical plant in Sudan which was suspected of being a weapons factory. The same is true of NATO’s war against Serbia over Kosovo. None of these attacks, moreover, involved an imminent threat of attack on the U.S.

At this point, the Obama administration is not so willing to shed the requirement of UN authorization. During testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 7, Secretary of Defense Panetta stated that in the case of Syria, before the U.S. could get militarily involved, “our goal would be to seek international permission.” Certainly, the Syrian people who are under siege would prefer not to have their rescue dependent on the goodwill of Russia and China in the Security Council. By the same reasoning, would effective action against Iran be made dependent on an international consensus at the UN that does not even exist on sanctions?

Undoubtedly, the Obama administration’s declarations indicate that it has shed much of its reluctance to consider preventive military action, especially in the context of counter-terrorist operations, even if the threat is not imminent. For example, as Peter Berkowitz of Stanford University points out, John Brennnan, Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, stated during a September 2011 speech at Harvard Law School that “a more flexible understanding of ‘imminence'” was needed.10 Attorney General Eric Holder made the same point in a major speech on March 5, 2012, with respect to targeted strikes against individual terrorists.11 These remarks were significant, given the strong opposition that used to be expressed against any military action against non-imminent threats, such as preventive strikes.

Looking at the administration’s rhetoric, it appears that U.S. military policy is clearly undergoing a transition. But how far it has come is difficult to establish. The rhetorical shifts that are evident are noteworthy, for they reflect a change of attitude. But the new approach being sounded comes up against strong predispositions against any preventive military operations in the specific context of nuclear proliferation, in the aftermath of the Iraq War.12 In practice, it appears that even if it becomes clear that sanctions have had no impact on Iranian decision-making with respect to nuclear weapons, it will still take a very long time before the decision is taken to use U.S. force to halt Iran.

*     *     *

Notes

1 Text of President Barak Obama’s Speech at Aipac, Associated Press, March 4, 2012.

2 Harold Hongju Koh, “On American Exceptionalism,” Stanford Law Review, Volume 55, May 2003, p. 1523. Koh objected to the Bush administration’s reliance on previous UN Security Council resolutions, as opposed to a new resolution, but he said at least that this argument was better that “unmoored claims of ‘preemptive self-defense,'” which he clearly did not accept.

3 Ian Brownlie, Principles of Public International Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), p. 733.

4 In December 1837 there was an armed revolt in Canada against the British, during which the insurgents were receiving supplies on the American side of the border. The Caroline was a U.S. steamer that was being used for reinforcing the insurgents. A British-commanded team boarded the ship, setting it on fire, and casting it adrift until it went over Niagara Falls. In Britain, Lord Palmerston regarded it as an act of self-defense. Secretary of State Daniel Webster rejected the British claim, but argued in a letter to the British minister in Washington in 1841 that there were conditions under which the use of force would have been justified. This became part of customary international law.

5 Cited by Ambassador Yehuda Blum, “Israel’s Statement Before the Security Council Concerning Its Actions Regarding the Osirak Reactor, June 12 1981,” in John Norton Moore (ed.), The Arab-Israeli Conflict: Volume IV: The Difficult Search for Peace (1975-1988) (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), p. 993.

6 Anthony Clark Arend, “International Law and the Preemptive Use of Force,” Washington Quarterly, Spring 2003, p. 96.

7 Michael W. Doyle, Harold H. Koh, Joanne J. Myers, “Striking First: Preemption and Prevention in International Conflict,” Public Affairs Program, Carnegie Council, September 23, 2008.

8 David E. Sanger, “On Iran, Questions of Detection and Response Divide U.S. and Israel,” New York Times, March 6, 2012.

9 John Yoo, “An Unavoidable Challenge,” National Review, January 3, 2012.

10 Peter Berkowitz, “Would a Military Strike Against Iran Be Legal?” Real Clear Politics, March 2, 2012.

11 U.S. Department of Justice, Attorney General Eric Holder Speaks at Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, March 5, 2012.

12 See comment by Harold Koh in Michael W. Doyle, Striking First: Preemption and Prevention in International Conflict (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008), p. 101.

*    *    *

Ambassador Dore Gold is the President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is the author of the best-selling books: The Fight for Jerusalem: Radical Islam, the West, and the Future of the Holy City (Regnery, 2007), and The Rise of Nuclear Iran: How Tehran Defies the West (Regnery, 2009).

Qaeda group claims kidnap of German in Nigeria: report

Filed under: al Qaeda, Germany, Nigeria — - @ 4:52 pm

Qaeda group claims kidnap of German in Nigeria: report

Source Modern Ghana

A map locating the northern states in Nigeria. By (AFP/Graphic)

A map locating the northern states in Nigeria. By (AFP/Graphic)

NOUAKCHOTT (AFP) – Al-Qaeda’s north Africa branch said Wednesday it was holding a German engineer kidnapped in Nigeria two months ago, and that it wanted to swap him for a jailed Muslim woman, a private news agency in Mauritania said.

“We inform you that your compatriot Edgar Fritz Raupach is a prisoner of fighters from AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb),” the group said in a statement published by the ANI agency, demanding the release of a woman who it said had converted to Islam.

The woman, Felis Lowitz, whose Muslim name was given as Um Seiv Al-Islam-Al-Ansariya, was said to be detained in Germany where she was being “tortured”.

A video obtained by ANI and seen by AFP showed Raupach, his hands tied behind his back, surrounded by masked gunmen.

In the video he called on his “parents, friends and German public opinion” to convince Berlin to “bring an end to the torture of our Muslim sister”, adding that only her liberation will save his life.

AQIM warned that any attempt to rescue Raupach will lead to his death, as happened in the case of Italian engineer Franco Lamolinara and British colleague Chris McManus, killed earlier this month during a failed rescue bid by Nigerian forces.

Raupach, ANI said, is an engineer who was kidnapped in northern Nigeria on January 25.

Germany has confirmed one of its nationals has been kidnapped in northern Nigeria, and the German construction company Bilfinger Berger has said he is one of their employees.

At CIA, a convert to Islam leads the terrorism hunt

Filed under: Uncategorized — - @ 12:31 pm

H/T Internet Haganah

Source WaPo

At CIA, a convert to Islam leads the terrorism hunt

By ,

For every cloud of smoke that follows a CIA drone strike in Pakistan, dozens of smaller plumes can be traced to a gaunt figure standing in a courtyard near the center of the agency’s Langley campus in Virginia.

The man with the nicotine habit is in his late 50s, with stubble on his face and the dark-suited wardrobe of an undertaker. As chief of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center for the past six years, he has functioned in a funereal capacity for al-Qaeda.

Roger, which is the first name of his cover identity, may be the most consequential but least visible national security official in Washington — the principal architect of the CIA’s drone campaign and the leader of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. In many ways, he has also been the driving force of the Obama administration’s embrace of targeted killing as a centerpiece of its counterterrorism efforts.

Colleagues describe Roger as a collection of contradictions. A chain-smoker who spends countless hours on a treadmill. Notoriously surly yet able to win over enough support from subordinates and bosses to hold on to his job. He presides over a campaign that has killed thousands of Islamist militants and angered millions of Muslims, but he is himself a convert to Islam.

His defenders don’t even try to make him sound likable. Instead, they emphasize his operational talents, encyclopedic understanding of the enemy and tireless work ethic.

“Irascible is the nicest way I would describe him,” said a former high-ranking CIA official who supervised the counterterrorism chief. “But his range of experience and relationships have made him about as close to indispensable as you could think.”

Critics are less equivocal. “He’s sandpaper” and “not at all a team player,” said a former senior U.S. military official who worked closely with the CIA. Like others, the official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the director of CTC — as the center is known — remains undercover.

Remarkable endurance

Regardless of Roger’s management style, there is consensus on at least two adjectives that apply to his tenure: eventful and long.

Since becoming chief, Roger has worked for two presidents, four CIA directors and four directors of national intelligence. In the top echelons of national security, only Robert S. Mueller III, who became FBI director shortly before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, has been in place longer.

Roger’s longevity is all the more remarkable, current and former CIA officials said, because the CTC job is one of the agency’s most stressful and grueling. It involves managing thousands of employees, monitoring dozens of operations abroad and making decisions on who the agency should target in lethal strikes — all while knowing that the CTC director will be among the first to face blame if there is another attack on U.S. soil.

Most of Roger’s predecessors, including Cofer Black and Robert Grenier, lasted less than three years. There have been rumors in recent weeks that Roger will soon depart as well, perhaps to retire, although similar speculation has surfaced nearly every year since he took the job.

The CIA declined to comment on Roger’s status or provide any information on him for this article. Roger declined repeated requests for an interview. The Post agreed to withhold some details, including Roger’s real name, his full cover identity and his age, at the request of agency officials, who cited concerns for his safety. Although CIA officials often have their cover identities removed when they join the agency’s senior ranks, Roger has maintained his.

A native of suburban Virginia, Roger grew up in a family where several members, across two generations, have worked at the agency.

When his own career began in 1979, at the CIA’s southern Virginia training facility, known as The Farm, Roger showed little of what he would become. A training classmate recalled him as an underperformer who was pulled aside by instructors and admonished to improve.

“Folks on the staff tended to be a little down on him,” the former classmate said. He was “kind of a pudgy guy. He was getting very middling grades on his written work. If anything, he seemed to be almost a little beaten down.”

His first overseas assignments were in Africa, where the combination of dysfunctional governments, bloody tribal warfare and minimal interference from headquarters provided experience that would prove particularly useful in the post-Sept. 11 world. Many of the agency’s most accomplished counterterrorism operatives, including Black and Richard Blee, cut their teeth in Africa as well.

“It’s chaotic, and it requires you to understand that and deal with it psychologically,” said a former Africa colleague. Roger developed an “enormous amount of expertise in insurgencies, tribal politics, warfare — writing hundreds of intelligence reports.”

He also married a Muslim woman he met abroad, prompting his conversion to Islam. Colleagues said he doesn’t shy away from mentioning his religion but is not demonstrably observant. There is no prayer rug in his office, officials said, although he is known to clutch a strand of prayer beads.

Roger was not part of the first wave of CIA operatives deployed after the Sept. 11 attacks, and he never served in any of the agency’s “black sites,” where al-Qaeda prisoners were held and subjected to harsh interrogation techniques.

But in subsequent years, he was given a series of high-profile assignments, including chief of operations for the CTC, chief of station in Cairo, and the top agency post in Baghdad at the height of the Iraq war.

Along the way, he has clashed with high-ranking figures, including David H. Petraeus, the U.S. military commander in Iraq and Afghanistan, who at times objected to the CIA’s more pessimistic assessments of those wars. Former CIA officials said the two had to patch over their differences when Petraeus became CIA director.

“No officer in the agency has been more relentless, focused, or committed to the fight against al-Qaeda than has the chief of the Counterterrorism Center,” Petraeus said in a statement provided to The Post.

Harsh, profane demeanor

By 2006, the campaign against al-Qaeda was foundering. Military and intelligence resources had been diverted to Iraq. The CIA’s black sites had been exposed, and allegations of torture would force the agency to shut down its detention and interrogation programs. Meanwhile, the Pakistani government was arranging truces with tribal leaders that were allowing al-Qaeda to regroup.

Inside agency headquarters, a bitter battle between then-CTC chief Robert Grenier and the head of the clandestine service, Jose Rodriguez, was playing out. Rodriguez regarded Grenier as too focused on interagency politics, while Grenier felt forced to deal with issues such as the fate of the interrogation program and the CIA prisoners at the black sites. Resources in Pakistan were relatively scarce: At times, the agency had only three working Predator drones.

In February that year, Grenier was forced out. Rodriguez “wanted somebody who would be more ‘hands on the throttle,’ ” said a former CIA official familiar with the decision. Roger was given the job and, over time, the resources, to give the throttle a crank.

Grenier declined to comment.

Stylistically, Grenier and Roger were opposites. Grenier gave plaques and photos with dignitaries prominent placement in his office, while Roger eschewed any evidence that he had a life outside the agency. Once, when someone gave him a cartoon sketch of himself — the kind you can buy from sidewalk vendors — he crumpled it up and threw it away, according to a former colleague, saying, “I don’t like depictions of myself.”

His main addition to the office was a hideaway bed.

From the outset, Roger seemed completely absorbed by the job — arriving for work before dawn to read operational cables from overseas and staying well into the night, if he left at all. His once-pudgy physique became almost cadaverous. Although he had quit smoking a decade or so earlier, his habit returned full strength.

He could be profane and brutal toward subordinates, micromanaging operations, second-guessing even the smallest details of plans, berating young analysts for shoddy work. “This is the worst cable I’ve ever seen,” was a common refrain.

Given his attention to operational detail, Roger is seen by some as culpable for one of the agency’s most tragic events — the deaths of seven CIA employees at the hands of a suicide bomber who was invited to a meeting at a CIA base in Khost, Afghanistan, in December 2009.

An internal review concluded that the assailant, a Jordanian double-agent who promised breakthrough intelligence on al-Qaeda leaders, had not been fully vetted, and it cited failures of “management oversight.” But neither Roger nor other senior officers were mentioned by name.

One of those killed, Jennifer Matthews, was a highly regarded analyst and protege of Roger’s who had been installed as chief of the base despite a lack of operational experience overseas. A person familiar with the inquiry said that “the CTC chief’s selection of [Matthews] was one of a great number of things one could point to that were weaknesses in the way the system operated.”

Khost represented the downside of the agency’s desperation for new ways to penetrate al-Qaeda, an effort that was intensified under President Obama.

Roger’s connection to Khost and his abrasive manner may have cost him — he has been passed over for promotions several times, including for the job he is thought to have wanted most: director of the National Clandestine Service, which is responsible for all CIA operations overseas.

‘A new flavor of activity’

Read the rest at WaPo

2012/03/25

In His Own Words- Dividing Not Uniting

In His Own Words- Dividing Not Uniting

Written By Walt Long

Over the years I have always expected  Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrahkan to pimp for media attention (Mainstream media is always glad to help) and their racist remarks thus stirring up hate and division in America. The Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrahkan‘s of the world have become the Judge and Executioner when someone is of a lighter skin does something to someone of the darker skin.  BUT, to come from the President of the United States really shows his bigotry for White America, and does nothing more than divide our great country. I have to ask where are Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrahkan and Barack Hussein Obama when Black Teens Douse 13 Year Old With Gasoline, Set Him on Fire Or this news item from Barack Hussein Obama, Jessee Jackson and Louis Farrakhan town of Chicago Total bloodbath in Chicago: 10 dead, 40 wounded, below is a video about the bloodbath and a picture of the little girl, but then maybe it is because she looks to white for all of these so called leaders, (Obama, Jackson, Sharpton and Farrakhan).

Photo of Aliyah Shell murdered by Chicago, IL Gangbangers

Video

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

“They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or * antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

This statement by Obama concerning rural America, small town people from the midwest and Pennsylvania are racist, by the definition of antipathy, most of the rural area of Pennsylvania and the Midwest are white. This statement clearly shows who really is the bigot, and it sure isn’t all of small town USA…

*an·tip·a·thy

[an-tip-uh-thee] Show IPA

noun, plural -thies.

1.

a natural, basic, or habitual repugnance; aversion.
2.

an instinctive contrariety or opposition in feeling.
3.

an object of natural aversion or habitual dislike.
Origin:
1595–1605;  < Latin antipathīa  < Greek antipátheia. See anti-, -pathy

Related forms

an·tip·a·thist, noun

Synonyms
1.  disgust, abhorrence, detestation, hatred.

After the arrest of Henry Louis Gates , a black professor and long time friend of Obama’s who verbally abused the police.

“Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home,”

Obama’s most recent comment concerning the Trayyon incident in Sanford FL

“When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids,” he said. “I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative to investigate every aspect of this and that everybody pulls together – federal, state and local – to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened. But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin: If I had a son he’d look like Trayvon. And I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are gonna take this with the seriousness it deserves and that we’re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”

Related article’s Witness counters Trayvon Martin media narrative   and    Zimmerman was on the ground being punched when he shot Trayvon Martin

Just in case you think I am taking any of these atrocities lightly you are wrong, anytime there is murder they all should be looked at as equal and not what color of their skin was, as well as we should not allow the Trial by Media interfere with the TRUTH of the whole mishap in it entirety. Walt

2012/03/24

Iran: The leading state sponsor of int’l terrorism

Source JPost

Iran: The leading state sponsor of int’l terrorism

By IRWIN COTLER

By training, arming, financing and instigating groups like Hezbollah, the Iranian regime gives violent expression to the genocidal narrative of its leadership.

There is increasing – and compelling – evidence of Iranian footprints in a series of recent aborted terrorist attacks in India, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Thailand.

The Indian police have just reported that the Iranian connection to the bombing of the Israeli Embassy car has been “conclusively established” and that the bombing was connected to a botched attack targeting Israeli consular staff in Bangkok.

Thai officials have now detained three Iranian nationals in connection with the plots, while a fourth has been detained in Malaysia. Similarly, an Indian journalist with close ties to Iran’s notorious Quds Force was also arrested last week for facilitating the New Delhi attack. An Indian court has now issued arrest warrants for three other Iranian nationals in connection with the bombing.

Two other Iranian nationals suspected of involvement in the Thai attack, including the alleged mastermind who is presently in Iran, remain fugitives.

Moreover, Thai investigators have released photos of unexploded bombs found in the home of one of the suspects, which are strikingly similar to those used in the Georgian and Indian attacks. And in what is perhaps the most shocking – albeit least reported – development yet, Azerbaijani police are reporting that they are detaining nearly two dozen people for allegedly plotting attacks on the country’s U.S. and Israeli Embassies and other Jewish and Western targets. According to initial reports, a number of the operatives were trained in Iranian military camps and armed by its intelligence agency.

Given the evolving evidence of Iranian involvement, these attacks constitute a major Iranian escalation in its state sponsorship of international terrorism and in the systematic targeting of diplomatic missions in defiance of preemptory norms of international law.

Such an escalation dovetails with the converging Iranian fourfold threat – nuclear, incitement, terrorism, massive domestic repression – and its corresponding incendiary rhetoric which finds increasing expression in the regime’s serial use of terrorist violence as a central tenet of its foreign policy.

Indeed, the recent web of attacks comes in the aftermath of ominous warnings by Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, the spokesman for Iran’s Joint Armed Forces Staff that “the enemies of the Iranian nation, especially the United States, Britain and the Zionist regime have to be held responsible for their activities.” Senior Iranian officials have also recently warned of their intention to strike Israeli and Jewish targets worldwide.

In particular, since the fraudulent election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, Iran’s escalating rhetoric has been accompanied by increasingly brazen terrorist acts and attempts. In what has become an annual tradition, Iran was once again designated by the US State Department’s Country Report on Terrorism as “the most active state sponsor of terrorism.”

The United States’ recent indictment of senior Iranian officials, accused of orchestrating an elaborate plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador in Washington is but the latest example.

Indeed, as part of the same plot – though this has gone largely unremarked – the indicted Iranian officials also conspired to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Washington and the Saudi Embassy in Argentina. By striking at diplomatic targets – indeed, all four of the February attacks targeted Israeli Embassy and consular officials – Iran demonstrates not only its hatred and rejectionism of Israel but its violent rejection of the principle of diplomatic immunity, a foundational principle of international law.

It should be noted that the notorious Quds Force has been at the forefront of Iranian state terror, and has been implicated in the planning, arming or carrying out of attacks against civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe, the United States and Asia. Indeed, the IRGC remains the epicenter of threats to international peace and security – to regional and Middle East stability –and is now involved also in the brutal Syrian crackdown on its people, in the beatings, killings and torture, constitutive of crimes against humanity.

US officials have recently acknowledged that aid from Iran to Syria “is increasing, and is increasingly focused on lethal assistance.” Syrian army defectors tell of Iran’s involvement in summary executions, torture and other atrocities carried out against civilians, including the torture of hospital residents.

WHAT IS more, the Revolutionary Guard Corps has been at the forefront of a long-standing global campaign of terror against perceived opponents of the regime. The Iran Human Rights Documentation Center has linked senior regime officials to the extrajudicial murder of at least 162 political activists in 18 countries from East Asia through Western Europe to the United States. In a particularly brazen incident, Iranian agents assassinated four Kurdish activists at a Berlin restaurant in 1992.

A Berlin court concluded that “Iran’s political leadership ordered the crime.”

By its ongoing and escalating statesponsored terror on foreign soil, Iran is in standing violation of every cannon of domestic and international law. Iran also continues to act as chief patron of Hamas and Hezbollah. These groups are not just terrorist entities, though this would be bad enough. But they have an objective which is genocidal – an ideology which is anti-Jewish – not because I say so but because their charters proclaim it – and where terrorism is an instrument for the implementation of their objectives. The recent attacks – all of which targeted Israeli and Jewish institutions – also bore the hallmark of Hezbollah, and follow the January arrest of one of the Hezbollah operatives suspected of planning the attacks in Bangkok. Hezbollah has also been accused of acting at the behest of Iran in the escalating terrorism in Homs, Syria.

The spate of violence is particularly worrying given the recent and incendiary pronouncements by Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, to the effect that Israel is a “cancerous tumor” that must be eradicated, and will be eradicated.

Lest there be any ambiguity as to the genocidal intent of Iran’s clerical and political leadership, the supreme leader explained in a subsequent interview that there is a “jurisprudential justification to kill all the Jews and annihilate Israel and that Iran must take the helm.”

By training, arming, financing and instigating groups like Hezbollah, the Iranian regime gives violent expression to the genocidal narrative of its leadership.

Indeed, the convergence of Iranian state-sanctioned incitement to genocide and its state-sponsored terrorism has not suddenly emerged in the context of the current standoff with the West over the Iranian nuclear weaponization program. Rather, since the early days of the Islamic Revolution, Iranian terrorist threats have materialized into attacks against civilians around the globe.

The regime’s anti-Jewish brutality was witnessed most vividly on 18 July 1994, when a bomb tore through Argentina’s Jewish Community Center (AMIA) in Buenos Aires. The Argentinean minister of justice advised me that “this was the worst terrorist atrocity in Argentina since the Second World War.”

The Argentine Judiciary concluded that the attack, which killed 85 people and wounded 300 others, was planned, orchestrated and implemented at the highest echelons of the Iranian leadership, including both the office of the president and the Iranian Embassy in Argentina – yet no Iranian official has been brought to justice for the attack.

On the contrary – and reflective of the culture of impunity that reigns in Iran – Ahmed Vahidi, wanted by Interpol for his role as an organizer of the Argentinean bombing, currently serves as Iran’s Defense Minister, and was appointed in 2009 – Ahmadinejad’s defiant response to Obama’s “outstretched hand” during his year of engagement with Iran.

In a particularly chilling reminder of Iran’s no-holds-barred capacity to engage in state-sponsored terrorism in association with the most deadly of terrorist groups, a New York Federal District Court ruled in December that Tehran materially and directly supported al-Qaida’s devastating September 11 attacks on the United States.

The court’s findings included:

  •  Proof that a Revolutionary Guard contingency plan for unconventional warfare against the US included a plan to crash hijacked airlines into the World Trade Centres and the Pentagon.
  •  Proof of coded messages from an Iranian government official during the weeks before 9/11 to the effect that the aforementioned plan had been activated.
  •  Evidence that Iran facilitated the escape of al-Qaida leadership from Afghanistan during the US invasion.
  •  Evidence that Ali Khamenei was aware of the 9/11 attacks as early as May 2001.
  •  Evidence that senior Hezbollah operatives met with the 9/11 hijackers in the months leading up to the attacks.

Given the evidence of the escalating Iranian state sponsorship of international terrorism – and the increasing targeting of diplomats – all states have the responsibility to invoke the legal, diplomatic, economic and political instruments at their disposal to confront Iranian terrorist aggression. These instruments include, but are certainly not limited to: increasing bilateral and multilateral diplomatic and economic sanctions; the mobilization of political pressure to isolate the Iranian regime as a pariah among nations; and invoking legal remedies against the Iranian regime and its terrorist agents.

Specifically, State Parties to the Genocide Convention should initiate interstate complaints before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Iran – also a state party to the Genocide Convention – for its incitement to genocide, a violation of the Convention.

Similarly, states may bring Iran before the ICJ for its attacks against diplomats, pursuant to the Islamic Republic’s obligations under Article 13 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents, which it ratified in 1978.

States should also list the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, an organization that has been at the vanguard of the Islamic Republic’s campaign of state terrorism, as a terrorist entity. The Argentinean Judiciary’s decision – and resulting Interpol arrest warrants – should be enforced. Civil suits should be instituted where appropriate against Iran and its terrorist agents for its perpetration of acts of terror; and the principle of universal jurisdiction should be invoked to hold Iran’s leaders – under indictment for war crimes and crimes against humanity – accountable.

Ahmed Vahidi, such an indicted criminal, should not be able to travel freely with impunity.

Simply put, the recent wave of terrorist attacks must serve as a wake-up call for the necessary action to be taken by the international community to combat this culture of incitement, terror and impunity. Indeed, history teaches us that a sustained and coordinated international response is required in combat such grave threats to peace and security. We must act now to hold Iran’s state-sanctioned terror to account, lest more lives be lost. Such Iranian statesanctioned terror is a chilling warning of what dangers await the international community should Iran become a nuclear power.

Irwin Cotler is a member of the Canadian Parliament, emeritus professor of law at McGill University and a former minister of justice and attorney-general of Canada. He is the Canadian representative on the International Parliamentary Coalition Against Terrorism and has initiated a series of civil and criminal remedies to combat terror.

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