The American Kafir

2012/05/14

Iran threatened to arrest two Christian converts in Christian Community

Article Translated by Google Translator

Source Link Deutsche Persian

Human Rights

Iran threatened to arrest two Christian converts in Christian Community

Persian editor of Christian News Network in an interview with Deutsche Welle about the arrest of two Christian converts explained. Resourceful in recent months, according to Priest, “Army 400” Some Christians have threatened refugees abroad.

The Persian Christian News Network (Mhbtnyvz) the names of two Christian converts “Hooman Laden 26 years old and 27 years”, 26 Persian date Farvardin 91 security forces stormed their home in Tehran were arrested without judicial warrant.

According to the report, security officials question the mother of Christian converts, who asked her where you’re living, you have “to” Jesus “come to your rescue!”

Listen: Rev. MR resourceful editor of Persian Christian News Network (Mhbtnyvz)

Christian News Network Farsi speakers, according to a report issued Monday, Persian date Ordibehesht 11 days during the last days in prison by the Court Ahzaryhay for parents to send their children to the questions also refer to the activities of prosecutors to respond.

MR resourceful editor of the Christian priest Persian News Network (Mhbtnyvz) in an interview with Deutsche Welle about why two weeks after the arrest of two Christian converts have been published, says: “There are many reasons. Arrest the same day due to family problems that may or may not bring their own news releases. ”

The Rev. MR resourceful and accurate statistics that Christian converts arrested in Iran are no different cities because of Christian organizations to prevent pressure on the families of those arrested refused to publish the name of Christian converts.

He says: “Some Christian converts as well as individual work, and when news of the arrest of these individuals will not be published, but can say that the exact number of arrests at 2 or 3 times is what the news is released.”

“Threatens to kill Christian converts in Iran»

While in recent years, various news of arrests and pressure on Iran, published in the Christian converts, many of these converts were forced to leave Iran.

Resourceful about the Pastor of Christian converts after leaving the pressure on Iran: “The living conditions for Christian converts who are out of Iran is very difficult and tragic. Unfortunately in recent months that his group “Army 400″ is introduced via telephone or email Pyamkhay Christian servants are threatening to kill or Sybzdn families. Unfortunately, these threats, concerns some Christians, who are of refugee problems, is more. ”

Resourceful priest saying that such threats in the past there have been periodic threats she says, but “Army 400” on the spectrum is affected a lot of Christians out of Iran.

Iranian intelligence agents target, arrest Christian converts

Source The Daily Caller

Iranian intelligence agents target, arrest Christian converts

By Reza Kahlili

FILE – In this Monday, Nov. 26, 2007 file photo, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, bottom center, reviews troops at a gathering of Basij militia forces, in Tehran, Iran, as Revolutionary Guards commander Mohammad Ali Jafari salutes, at right, and army commander Ataollah Salehi salutes, at left. (AP Photo, File)

Iran’s ayatollahs are showing frustration with Iranians leaving Islam for Christianity in large numbers despite the threat of execution for apostasy.

A former intelligence officer in the Guards, who has now defected to Europe, told The Daily Caller that the country’s regime has ordered the domestic intelligence apparatus to use drastic measures to stop them — including imprisonment, torture and the mass-burning of Bibles.

According to a report by Mohammad Reza Modaber, the chief editor of the Christian Farsi language Mohabat News, two Christian converts in their mid 20s were arrested in April after intelligence agents entered their home in Tehran without warrants.

One agent, responding to the mother of the arrested who asked where they were taking her children and why, responded mockingly, “Tell Jesus to come and rescue them.”

TheDC’s source who was formerly an Iranian intelligence officer indicated that in the city of Shiraz alone, with a population of over one million, there were 30,000 files at the intelligence headquarters on individuals who had converted to Christianity.

“The Guards intelligence has assigned a unit in major cities, across the country, with the order to infiltrate their groups, identifying pastors and the members, then make arrests, forcing them under torture to agree to appear on TV confessing to criminal activities and having connection with Israel or America,” he said.

Among other torture methods, spouses of the arrested converts are brought in and beaten in front of them to make them collaborate, while others are kept in total darkness in dungeon-type cells for weeks with no human contact, so that they lose sense of time.

The April 30 Mohabat report indicates that in recent days prosecutors at the notorious Evin prison have introduced a new tactic: ordering parents of arrested Christian converts arrested to appear at the prison to explain their children’s activities.

Tens of thousands of Bibles smuggled into the country have been confiscated and burned by the Guards under the order of the Islamic regime. In one case, TheDC’s source said, the office of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ordered the Guards to burn all confiscated Bibles in order to further stop conversions.

The Bible, Khamenei’s office insisted, is not considered a holy book.

Grand Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani, in a recent statement to Hawzah News that reflected the views of the Iranian ayatollahs in the holy city of Qom, said that the Quran was the last holy book providing the most complete religion to the world, and that the prophet Muhammad was the last prophet. There is no authorization in Iran, he said, for following previous books.

“There are no accurate figures as to the number of Christian converts who have been arrested in different cities in Iran,” Pastor Modaber said, “because Christian organizations, in order to lessen the pressure by the regime on the families of arrested, do not reveal the names.”

“The situation for Christian converts leaving Iran is no different and has become quite difficult,” he said. “In recent months a group calling themselves the Revolutionary Guards Unit 400, through voice mails and emails, have threatened the converts with death and harm to their families.”

Though these threats have existed before, the pastor said, now they have increased — with a focus on Christian converts who have left Iran.

The case of one Christian pastor convert, Youcef Naderkhani, a father of two who was arrested more than two years ago and sentenced to death, made international headlines that forced the Islamic regime to delay the sentence, though he remains on death row.

Naderkhani’s attorney, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, was himself recently arrested and sentenced to 9 years in prison. He told reporters that he was “convicted of acting against the national security, spreading propaganda against the regime and keeping banned books at home.”

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and the author of the award winning book ”A Time to Betray.” He teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA) and is a member of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security.

2012/05/09

Arming Iraq is a mistake

Arming Iraq is a mistake

Source Article Link: Israel Hayom

By Dore Gold

As Tehran became increasingly frustrated with Turkey earlier in the week, and Iran was looking for alternative locations, besides Istanbul, to hold its nuclear talks with the West, one of the options that came up was Baghdad. It appears that since the U.S. completed the withdrawal of troops from Iraq at the end of 2011, Iran has grown increasingly comfortable, in the diplomatic sense, in the Iraqi capital. There are multiple signs indicating that Iraq is increasingly becoming a satellite state of Iran.

To begin with, there is a considerable Iranian military presence within Iraq, which commands significant political influence. In January 2012, the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards, General Qassem Sulemani, was widely quoted by the Arab press as boasting that Iran today is in control of Southern Lebanon as well as Iraq. Dr. Amal al-Hazani, a professor at King Saud University in Riyadh, wrote in al-Sharq al-Awsat on January 28, 2012, that “even Sunni politicians in Iraq confessed meekly that the Quds Force is the absolute master of Iraqi affairs.”

If that is the present state of affairs, then U.S. plans to build up the new Iraqi Air Force are particularly troubling. A senior IDF officer told Yaakov Katz, the Jerusalem Post’s military correspondent and defense analyst, that Israel is increasingly concerned with intelligence reports that the Revolutionary Guards are solidifying their presence in Iraq. The context of the Israeli concern is the Obama administration’s decision to go ahead with the sale of 36 advanced F-16 Block 52 fighters, which have the same capabilities as the F-16 fighter jets sold to Israel. Iraq is expected to need a total of six fighter squadrons to defend its airspace, which could lead to a force of up to 96 aircraft.

At this time, the commander of the Iraqi Air Force doesn’t expect the F-16s to be operational until 2015, but Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri al-Malaki, is pressing for accelerated delivery by 2013. There are reports that the Iraqi F-16 weapons systems, like its air-to-air missiles, will have “slight downgrades,” but these can be easily fixed. With the Iranian penetration of Iraq continuing, no one should be surprised if there are reports in the future that Iranian pilots are inspecting the Iraqi F-16s in order to develop their own countermeasures to Western aircraft and weapons systems. If the administration is equipping Iraq to be a counterweight to Iran, then somebody in Washington is making a big mistake.

Arms sales to the Iraqi Air Force present a difficult dilemma for the U.S. On the one hand, arms sales are one of the oldest methods employed by the U.S. to develop pro-American attitudes among the officer corps of Arab military establishments. Early this year, Iraqi pilots arrived at an airbase in Tucson, Arizona to begin learning how to fly the F-16. They will develop relationships with their American trainers. Today in Egypt, with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, the time the U.S. has invested in training, equipping and exercising with the Egyptian Army undoubtedly has helped preserve its pro-Western orientation.

On the other hand, building close ties with the officers of Arab air forces does not guarantee the political orientation of their country in the future. In Iran, after the fall of the Shah, Ayatollah Khomeini purged the officer corps of the Iranian armed forces. In Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered the arrest of dozens of Turkish officers who he suspects might plot a coup against his Islamist government. In Iraq, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are right there on the ground, while the U.S. is thousands of miles away with only an embassy, which has been reduced in size, in Baghdad.

Israel is not the only country which should be raising its eyebrows at the prospect of a U.S.-equipped Iraqi Air Force emerging in the years ahead. Saudi Arabia should also be concerned with the Iraqi military buildup. Politically, the two countries belong to competing axes in the Arab world. Iraq is not only pro-Iranian, it also backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Indeed, when the U.S. asked Prime Minister al-Maliki to close off Iraqi air space to Iranian aircraft resupplying Assad, he refused and opted to help Iran instead.

Many forget that al-Maliki lived in exile in Iran for eight years; his party, al-Dawa, was close with Hezbollah. The Iraqi prime minister’s recent actions will undoubtedly reconfirm the suspicions of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who once called al-Maliki “an Iranian agent,” according to a March 2009 Wikileaks cable that was noted on an earlier occasion in this column.

Now the “Iranian agent” will be getting state-of-the-art American aircraft. It should be recalled that Saudi Arabia is Iran’s main adversary in the Arab world and it is a leading opponent of the Assad regime. Indeed, right after the recent Arab summit in Baghdad, al-Maliki launched a verbal tirade criticizing Saudi Arabia and Qatar for their hostile attitude toward the Assad regime. Along with its growing political differences with Baghdad, Saudi Arabia will have to face new Iraqi military capabilities along its northern border, which it hasn’t had to deal with since 1990. The new situation will allow Iran to encircle Saudi Arabia with pressures on three fronts: Bahrain in the east, Yemen in the south, and Iraq in the north.

Israel will need to carefully monitor political and military developments in Iraq. It is imperative that Israel raise this sale with Washington when the issue of Israel’s qualitative military edge is raised. Iraq has been absent from the strategic balance in the Middle East for two decades. Besides investing in its air force, the Iraqi government hopes to build a land army of 14 divisions. It is also buying Abrams tanks from the U.S.

But as much as Washington will still try to control events in a country where its army once ruled, it will have to recognize that, unfortunately, Iran, at present, is emerging as the dominant power in Baghdad, which will ultimately influence what strategic objectives the Iraqi Army will serve along Israel’s eastern front.


(From left) Prof. Joshua Teitelbaum, Efraim Inbar, Ze’ev Maghen and Eytan Gilboa .“We’re realists, not just conservatives.”Photo credit: KOKO

Sanctions or strike: Five Israeli experts weigh in on Iran

Source Article Link: Israel Hayom

By Shlomo Cesana

Israel Hayom presents a special roundtable discussion in which five Israeli experts in Middle Eastern and international politics discuss the Iranian nuclear threat, whether Israel can trust the U.S. and whether the era of American deterrence in the region is over • Meanwhile, 60 percent of Israelis believe the only way to stop Iran is by means of a military strike, according to a new poll.

Seven years ago, Professor Efraim Inbar wrote a document whose bottom line could be summed up as advocating for Israel to attack Iran to stop it from attaining a nuclear capability. This week, Inbar, a political scientist who currently serves as the director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, is somewhat encouraged that more and more Israelis have now reached the same conclusion.

To bolster this line of thinking, a poll commissioned this week by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the think tank headed by Dore Gold, indicates that 60 percent of the Israeli public believes the only way to stop Iran is by means of a military strike. Inbar agreed to Israel Hayom’s request and invited four research fellows to take part in a discussion aimed at re-examining the Iranian issue.

“We are realists, not just conservatives,” Inbar said. He also offered a reminder of how his scholar colleagues were correct in their analyses of the Arab Spring, the proliferation of the arms race, the peace process, and Turkey’s shift in policy.

Every semester, Inbar begins the first lesson in his war and strategy course by informing students that there are two significant factors that govern relations between states: Who can hurt the other more; and who can withstand the pain more. He wants to apply these two equations to the Iran issue. “We need to ask ourselves, what goal have the Iranians chosen for themselves and what is the price in pain that they are willing to pay?” he said. “That is the only way we will be able to understand what it is they want to do tomorrow.”

“The way to stop Iran is by means of a military assault,” Inbar said. “I don’t believe that sanctions will help. Officials in Tehran view the bomb as their regime’s insurance policy. Their opinion was reinforced by the West’s behavior toward the Libyan regime. The former ruler of Libya, Moammar Gadhafi, gave up nuclear weapons and eventually was removed from power. If he would have developed nuclear weapons, it would be reasonable to assume that the West wouldn’t cause him any trouble.”

“If the Ayatollahs’ regime comes into possession of nuclear weapons, it will be very difficult to create an effective level of deterrence in the future,” he said. “I also don’t agree with assessments that a second strike is effective enough since this is a dynamic process that requires [Israel] to improve itself in relation to the enemy’s capabilities. Iran’s development of the bomb would trigger a nuclear arms race. In a relatively compact region [like the Middle East], deterrent systems and short distances bear critical significance.”

Trust no one

Inbar minces no words, in expressing his unequivocal view that Israel cannot trust the United States. The era of American deterrence in the region is over. In the short term, the Americans are preoccupied with elections. In the long term, it is uncertain as to whether there will still be a window of opportunity for an attack. Yet even if that window closes, the Americans still believe negotiations can solve everything.

The promises the Americans are making now will not stand up in another month. A history of U.S.-Israel relations teaches us that there have been a great number of promises that haven’t been honored, like the Bush letter regarding settlement blocs that has not been adopted by President Barack Obama.

“States act according to their interests, and they are flexible,” Inbar said. “At the end of the day, you have to be realistic. The world wants quiet. The world wants oil at a reasonable price. If Israel disrupts this calm and upsets global economic stability, the international community will do everything to prevent us from launching a military attack. Another thing is that there are people who say the Iranians are rational. But what if the person who makes this assessment is 10 percent wrong? There is no reason to trust the Iranians.”

Despite his firm beliefs, Inbar knows that the enemy can be unpredictable when it comes to its response to an Israeli or American attack. “It is reasonable to assume that Iran would react with missiles and terrorism,” he said. “We’ve already seen this. People should always remember what price we will have to pay if we don’t attack and if we don’t have nuclear weapons. There’s also the possibility that they won’t do anything and not respond at all.”

Still, Inbar does add a caveat. “On the other hand, I believe that the regime in Iran, in the event that it knows it will one day no longer be in power, is capable of fomenting destruction, and it would want to exit the stage and go down in history as the one who did damage to Israel,” he said. “That is why we mustn’t allow them to reach the stage [of getting a nuclear weapon].”

Worthless sanctions

Professor Eytan Gilboa, who also teaches at Bar-Ilan University and whose area of expertise is U.S. policy in the Middle East as well as international diplomacy, believes the U.S. cannot afford to allow Iran to gain a nuclear bomb. “If Iran goes nuclear, the U.S. would for all intents and purposes lose its position in the Middle East and its hegemony on a global level,” he said. “The Americans are aware of this possibility, and that is why they are constantly declaring they won’t allow it to happen.”

“A nuclear Iran would mean that from now on, Iran is the actor that wields the most influence on governments in the Middle East, not the U.S.,” he said. “Obviously this would give a boost to all of the extremists in the region, which would result in damage to the global economy, the world’s energy markets, and the ability of states to monitor the spread of atomic weapons by way of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.”

To boost his argument, Gilboa also cites America’s guiding principles. “The administration vows that it won’t allow Iran to go nuclear,” he said. “Here we are dealing with the credibility of the U.S. government. They say they will employ whatever means they have at their disposal. To me, this sounds more like an empty slogan. Many within the administration as well as those outside it say that it is impossible to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon. They say the price of a non-nuclear Iran would be higher than that of a nuclear Iran.”

“In the event that Iran does go nuclear, there are two choices: Either halting the program and bolstering deterrence, or containment and deterrence,” he said. “On the surface, the Americans say that containment is not an option. But in the next breath they talk out of both sides of their mouth and begin leaking stories about how they won’t allow an attack on Israel and don’t support it. Officials in Washington don’t want to reach a fork in the road where they’ll have to decide between a nuclear Iran or a military operation.”

“At this stage, the Americans want to exhaust the option of negotiating with the Iranians, and the Iranians, for their part, are not ruling out talks,” Gilboa said. “The question remains: What do you base the negotiations on? The Iranians want talks so that they can move forward with their nuclear program. The Americans want negotiations so that they can stop the nuclear program. And then you have people in Israel and abroad who say, ‘Give negotiations a chance.’ But why? Germany, the U.K., and France held talks with Iran for five years that went nowhere, and eventually they came to the conclusion that Iran was being deceptive in order to continue with its plans. So any attempt by the West to hold talks is playing into Iranian hands.”

“The sanctions and negotiations could work only if the threat of military action was hovering over the Iranians’ heads,” he said. “Since the Americans aren’t wielding this threat, the Iranians understand that while life may be a bit tougher with sanctions, that’s it. They could still move forward with their nuclear program.”

The U.S. has lost its way

Professor Joshua Teitelbaum, an expert on the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia, is less optimistic. In his view, the Americans and the Israelis are both a long way away from understanding the reality in the Middle East. “Since 2003, when the Americans invaded Iraq, the Saudis have gradually lost faith in their most important ally, the U.S. The results of American policy in the Gulf have all proven detrimental to the Saudis,” he said. “The situation has gotten so bad in the wake of the Arab Spring that Saudi Arabia finds itself considerably weakened. Riyadh has understandably asked itself, ‘Is this how the U.S. supports its allies in the region? This is how Washington supports Hosni Mubarak? This is how it supports [deposed Tunisian president Zine El Abidine] Ben Ali?”

“The Saudis are worried about the Iranian nuclear issue, but they understand that the current administration in power in the U.S. is very limited in its capabilities,” he said. “One of the results of the failed U.S. policies in the region was the Shiite uprising in Bahrain that was staged by just 12 percent of the population that lives near a wealthy, oil-producing region. Saudi Arabia views Bahrain as a kind of protectorate, so the massive Iranian presence there is akin to deploying Soviet missiles in Cuba.”

“The U.S. conduct there led them to the conclusion that they need to be more independent,” he said.

A lack of understanding

According to Prof. Ze’ev Maghen, an expert on Islam and modern Iran who currently sits as the chair of the Department of Middle Eastern History at Bar-Ilan University, the West is suffering from a terrible case of ignorance on everything taking place in Iran as well as its relationship with the West and Israel. He was irked by President Shimon Peres’ speech in Washington last month, during which he called on the Iranian people to return to their illustrious past and abandon Islamization.

“The ignorance is also evident in the intelligence assessments in the West as well as the attempt to search for a bomb,” he said. From his standpoint, one can clearly reach the conclusion that the Iranians are building a bomb just by listening to what they are saying.

“They have every reason in the world to build an atomic bomb,” he said. “If I were the president of Iran, I would also make sure my country would have a nuclear weapon. Iran is surrounded by traditional enemies, like Russia and the Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia. The Iranians are using Israel to try to unite the Muslim world under its leadership.”

“Since Mecca, which belongs to the anti-Sunni Wahhabi movement, cannot be the focal point of the Muslim world, there is one place that can unite all the aspirations of various sects in Islam, and that place is Jerusalem,” he said. “That explains [the Muslim] desire to conquer it. We are speaking in completely different languages and our worldviews are also totally different. It is hard for us to understand what a theocracy really is. The West doesn’t understand this reality, one in which a country’s population views the Quran and holy scripture as the last word.”

“Here in Israel, people are always looking for the hidden meaning behind statements,” he said. “They ask, ‘Okay, but what is really happening? Is this a political issue? An economic issue?’ This is where we make the same mistake time and again. The same goes for our attempts to understand the process taking place in Egypt. Here there were those who interpreted the events in Egypt as an oppressed population that rose up to demand its rights. There are obviously masses of people there who want their rights protected, but what they really want is the deeper meaning of life that is predicated on Islam. This is the significance of what is taking place, and it is obvious, but people here can’t quite manage to understand this.”

“From Egyptians’ standpoint, we in Israel have for a while now missed the gist,” he said. “There was a time when they referred to us as the ‘Zionist entity.’ Now they are calling us the ‘shopping mall entity.’ In other words, their reason for being is to take a trip to the shopping mall. They look at us and say, ‘They’ve lost it.’”

America’s strength

Professor Hillel Frisch is a political scientist and expert in Middle Eastern politics who teaches at Bar-Ilan University. He is a fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and the author of a book on security relations between Israel and the Palestinians. His main line of thinking is that over the last 20 years the violent struggle between Israelis and Palestinians has been replaced by an Arab cold war.

There is an ongoing struggle between the camp comprising Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and Syria, and the camp of moderate Arab states. “There is one dimension that is gaining steam all the time, and that is the Sunnis being pitted against the non-Sunnis,” he said.

According to Frisch’s theory, the Americans have adopted the view that empires fall at precisely the moment they have the upper hand, which means that they collapse from within. The sun never set on the British Empire, but the British Empire grew dark from within.

According to Frisch, the Americans are preoccupied with battling another empire – China. Still, he notes: “We have the Iranian problem, which threatens to change the reality in the cold war between Sunnis and Shiites. The Americans know there is a tremendous gap between the economic might of the Saudis and their allies and their military capabilities. So they will continue to preserve their superiority.”

Frisch diverges from his colleagues on this issue. “The Americans have an obligation,” he said. “People think that the U.S. is on the decline from the standpoint of being ready to act, but still they have the ability to do this.”

“The U.S. in the era following its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is a country with significant power,” he said. “I believe that the U.S. will take care of the Iranian threat if necessary, and it wouldn’t be a difficult battle for the Americans. In my view, the Iranians understand the balance of power perfectly. Unfortunately for us, they are smart enough to get the U.S. not to attack.

2012/05/07

The Genocide that Obama Refuses to Prevent

Source Article Link: FrontPageMag

The Genocide that Obama Refuses to Prevent

By Daniel Greenfield

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Obama unveiled an “Atrocities Prevention Board” to, in his own words, “prevent and respond to mass atrocities”.  The “Atrocities Prevention Board” is notable mainly for what it is not and his speech was notable for the topic that it avoided. Genocide.

While Obama mentioned ‘atrocities’ twelve times in his speech, he only mentioned ‘genocide’ three times and one of those times he was quoting from the mission statement of the Holocaust Museum. The list of examples from his own policies contained only one example of genocide, the mass murder program carried out by the Sudanese government.

Tellingly Obama described this actual genocide as a ‘conflict’ rather than an atrocity and urged both sides to negotiate, a sharp contrast with his next three examples, in Cote D’Ivorie, in Libya and in Uganda, where he clearly placed the blame on three leaders and described military and pseudo-military actions that he had taken to end the violence.

President Omar al-Bashir, whom he urged in his speech to have the “courage” to negotiate and make peace, is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. There is no comparison between the actions of Gaddafi or Gbago and those of Bashir. Yet Obama ignored actual genocide, and defiled the Holocaust Memorial Museum by using it as a stage for whitewashing one of the world’s worst ruling mass murderers.

Obama was equally unwilling to call out Iran’s mass murdering thugs, Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, by name. He briefly mentioned that his administration would continue to apply diplomatic pressure on Iran to prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon, but refused to make the connection to the events of the day.

“The uniform shout of the Iranian nation is forever ‘Death to Israel,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has said that, “The Zionist regime is a cancerous tumor on this region that should be cut off. And it definitely will be cut off.”

Mohammad Hassan Rahimian, the personal representative of the Supreme Leader, appeared on Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television to boast that, “We have manufactured missiles that allow us, when necessary, to replace (sic) Israel in its entirety with a big holocaust.”

Israel holds the largest Jewish population in the world. The threat to destroy it is an open threat of genocide. But while Obama repeated his false claim that the entire population of the Libyan city of Benghazi had been at risk, motivating him to act, there was no acknowledgement that Israel does actually a face a threat of genocide.

At an event commemorating the attempted extermination the Jewish people, Obama spoke at length about the plight of the Syrian rebels, who are dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, a group whose spiritual leader has praised Hitler for carrying out the Holocaust and called for the extermination of the Jews.

“The last punishment was carried out by Hitler…” Yusuf al-Qaradawi had said of the Holocaust. “This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hands of the believers.”  And at the Holocaust Museum, all Obama could think of was how to put Qaradawi’s cronies into power in Syria, as he had already put them into power in Egypt.

There is no genocide in Syria. At best there are “atrocities”, a vague word that can mean just about anything. Nor is there any actual threat of genocide. Not in Syria or Libya or Egypt, or any of the other places that Obama intervened. The only place in the Middle East that lies under the shadow of genocide is the Jewish State.

There is no serious prospect that the majority of Arabs will be wiped off the face of the earth. Nor the majority of Persians or Turks. There is only one group in the Middle East whose extermination is called for in every Muslim capital, whose murder is preached in mosques, whose massacre is written in blood on the pages of Islamic scripture.

Mohammed began his rise to power with the persecution of the Jews. He ended it with the ethnic cleansing of Jews and Christians and his successors have perpetuated his crimes, generation after generation, teaching their children to hate and kill, grooming them with cartoons and songs to make genocide seem virtuous.

Today there are more Jews living in Germany than there are in the Muslim nations of the Middle East. There are more Jews living in Poland, where over 90 percent of the Jewish population was exterminated during the Holocaust, than there are in Iran. Within a generation the Muslim world was emptied of Jews more comprehensively than even Poland and the Ukraine had been after the Holocaust.

Not satisfied with an ethnic cleansing that Hitler could only envy, the Muslim world dreams of a final orgy of death, the genocidal vision so often quoted by its Imams and incorporated into the Hamas charter, “The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him said, ‘The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!’”

You can read the rest of the article at FrontPageMag

All Emphasis added

2012/04/08

Iran lawmaker: Country can produce nuclear weapons but will never do so

Source FoxNews

Iran lawmaker: Country can produce nuclear weapons but will never do so

| Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran –  Iran has the knowledge and scientific capability to produce nuclear weapons but will never do so, a prominent lawmaker has said.

Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghadam is a parliamentarian not a government official and his views do not represent the Iranian government’s policy. It however is the first time that such a prominent Iranian politician has publicly stated that Iran has the technological capability to produce a nuclear weapon.

His assertion published on parliament’s website late Friday suggests that Iran is trying to show unity in its political establishment around its often repeated claims that it seeks world-class technological advances including nuclear expertise, but does not want to develop atomic arms as the U.S. and its allies claim.

The statement comes before planned talks beginning next week with the U.S. and other world powers over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Moghadam said Iran can easily produce the highly enriched uranium that is used to build atomic bombs, but that it is not Tehran’s policy to go that route.

“Iran has the scientific and technological capability to produce (a) nuclear weapon, but will never choose this path,” he said in remarks carried by the parliamentary website icana.ir.

The U.S. and its allies accuse Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charges, saying its program is peaceful and geared toward generating electricity and producing medical radioisotopes to treat cancer patients.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has repeatedly insisted that his country is not seeking nuclear weapons, saying that holding such arms is a sin as well as “useless, harmful and dangerous.”

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has also asserted that if Iran one day decides to build nuclear weapons, it will do so openly and won’t fear anybody. However, he has also emphasized that Iran has no intention to weaponize what he describes as a peaceful nuclear program.

Director of U.S. National Intelligence James Clapper asserted in a January report to the Senate Intelligence Committee that Iran has the means to build a nuclear weapon but has not yet decided to follow through.

U.S. intelligence officials say they generally stand by a 2007 intelligence assessment that asserts Iran stopped comprehensive secret work on developing nuclear arms in 2003. But Britain, France, Germany, Israel and other U.S. allies think such activities have continued past that date, a suspicion shared by the IAEA, which says in recent reports that some isolated and sporadic activities may be ongoing.

However, the IAEA says there is no evidence to prove that Iran’s nuclear materials have been diverted towards weapons.

Iran says it is enriching uranium to about 3.5 percent to produce nuclear fuel for its future reactors and also to around 20 percent to fuel a research reactor that produces medical isotopes to treat cancer patients. Uranium has to be enriched to more than 90 percent to be used for a nuclear weapon.

The U.N. nuclear agency has also confirmed that centrifuges at the Fordo site near Iran’s holy city of Qom are churning out uranium enriched to 20 percent, and says uranium enriched to that level can more quickly be turned into weapons-grade material.

Moghadam, the lawmaker, said that Iran has the means to produce 90-plus percent enrichment.
“There is a possibility for Iran to easily achieve more than 90 percent enrichment,” icana.ir quoted Moghadam as saying.

2012/04/07

Obama’s signal to Iran

Filed under: Iran, National Security, Sanctions — - @ 11:56 am

Source WaPo

Obama’s signal to Iran

By David Ignatius

President Obama has signaled Iran that the United States would accept an Iranian civilian nuclear program if Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei can back up his recent public claim that his nation “will never pursue nuclear weapons.” (Emphasis added)

This verbal message was sent through Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who visited Khamenei last week. A few days before traveling to Iran, Erdogan had held a two-hour meeting with Obama in Seoul, in which they discussed what Erdogan would tell the ayatollah about the nuclear issue and Syria.

Obama advised Erdogan that the Iranians should realize that time is running out for a peaceful settlement and that Tehran should take advantage of the current window for negotiations. Obama didn’t specify whether Iran would be allowed to enrich uranium domestically as part of the civilian program the United States would endorse. That delicate issue evidently would be left for the negotiations that are supposed to start April 13, at a venue yet to be decided.

Erdogan is said to have replied that he would convey Obama’s views to Khamenei, and it’s believed he did so when he met the Iranian leader on Thursday. Erdogan also met President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other senior Iranian officials during his visit.

The statement highlighted by Obama as a potential starting point was made on state television in February. Khamenei said: “The Iranian nation has never pursued and will never pursue nuclear weapons. . . . Iran is not after nuclear weapons because the Islamic Republic, logically, religiously and theoretically, considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous.”

The challenge for negotiators is whether it’s possible to turn Khamenei’s public rhetoric into a serious and verifiable commitment not to build a bomb. When Obama cited this statement to Erdogan as something to build on, the Turkish leader is said to have nodded in agreement.

But the diplomatic path still seems blocked, judging by recent haggling over the meeting place for negotiations. Istanbul was expected to be the venue, but the Iranians last weekend balked and suggested instead that negotiators meet in Iraq or China. U.S. officials see this foot-dragging as a sign that the Iranian leadership is still struggling to frame its negotiating position.

The Erdogan back channel to Iran is the most dramatic evidence yet of the close relationship Obama has forged with the Turkish leader. Erdogan, who heads an Islamist party that is often cited as a model by Muslim democrats, has been a key U.S. partner in handling Syria and other crises flowing from the Arab Spring uprisings.

A sign of Erdogan’s role as intermediary is that he was accompanied, both in the meeting with Obama and on the trip to Iran, by Hakan Fidan, the chief of Turkey’s intelligence service. Fidan is said to have close relations with Qassem Suleimani, who heads Iran’s Quds Force and is probably Khamenei’s closest adviser on security issues. Also joining Erdogan was Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish foreign minister.

Syria was another big topic in Erdogan’s discussions with Obama and his subsequent visit to Iran. The Turkish leader told Obama he would press Iran to reduce its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom Erdogan once championed but is now determined to oust. Erdogan said he planned to tell Khamenei that Syrian attacks on Muslim opposition forces must stop. The Turks have been trying, meanwhile, to bolster the opposition so that it can provide a credible alternative to Assad’s rule.

Some Arab analysts see a weakening of support for Assad in recent days from Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, whose leader Hasan Nasrallah last week called for a “political solution” with the opposition. The key player in any such managed transition would be Russia’s president-elect, Vladimir Putin. U.S. officials hope he can broker a Syria deal before he meets Obama at the G-8 summit next month.

As Iran’s leadership debates its negotiating stance, the squeeze of Western sanctions is becoming tighter. Nat Kern, the editor of Foreign Reports, a leading oil newsletter, forecasts that Iran will lose about a third of its oil exports by mid-summer. It may get even worse for Iran after July 1 if China and the European Union follow through on recent warnings that they might stop insuring tankers carrying Iranian crude.

U.S. officials believe that if Iran refuses to negotiate, it will be easier to tighten sanctions even more.

davidignatius@washpost.com

2012/04/03

Iran Sanctions Exemptions Leave Room for Doubt About Obama’s Intentions

Source Commentary Magazine

Iran Sanctions Exemptions Leave Room for Doubt About Obama’s Intentions

Jonathan S. Tobin

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced today that the United States was granting exemptions to Japan and several European countries from sanctions that are intended to prevent the sale of Iranian oil. However, Clinton represented the waivers as part of the administration’s effort to tighten the vise on Iran. This makes some sense, at least as far as Europe is concerned. The European Union has already forbidden its member nations from signing new oil contracts with Iran and has pledged itself to ending existing obligations by July 1. As for Japan, Clinton said the exemption was a reward for their efforts toward reducing their dependence on Iranian oil.

If these exemptions really part of an integrated strategy aimed at tightening the noose around Iran’s economy then it is fair to say that President Obama is keeping his word to implement the sanctions Congress passed last year over his objections. However, it is worth noting that the administration has history of non-enforcement of sanctions on Iran as well as the possibility that such waivers will be used as a way to prolong negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. There is also the likelihood that the exemptions have more to do with a desire to stabilize oil prices than a campaign to force the ayatollahs to renounce their nuclear plans.

Assuming that Clinton means what she says about sticking to a tough policy on Iran, the exemptions are a way to gradually achieve an oil embargo of Iran without causing a major disruption of oil markets that would harm America’s allies. And while avoiding a spike in oil prices is an imperative for the president’s re-election campaign, it is also desirable to avoid any actions that would create windfall profits for Iran.

That said, as the New York Times notes, the real test of the administration’s intentions is whether it is prepared to apply the law to China and India, the nations that are the primary consumers of Iranian oil. China has already committed itself to buying more Iranian oil in the future.

The danger here is not only that Iran doesn’t believe that President Obama has the guts to risk raising oil prices in an election year and thus will continue to defy international efforts to get it to back down. Though the waivers allow the administration some flexibility in implementation of the sanctions, the fear is that when push comes to shove, the president will lack the nerve to punish nations that still prefer to do business with Tehran. The waivers may also encourage the Iranians to use the promise of negotiations to string the West along without them ever having to give up their nukes. As with everything else about the administration’s Iran policy, the key issue here is trust. The Treasury Department has already issued thousands of exemptions to American companies who want to do business with Iran in violation of the law. So long as Obama and Clinton can keep talking tough, they may assume that the public will be unaware of the fact that the crippling sanctions Congress imposed on them are full of holes.

Given Washington’s ardent desire to prevent Israel from taking action against the existential nuclear threat from Iran on its own, the administration will have every incentive to keep granting exemptions while continuing to indulge in bellicose rhetoric aimed at Iran but really intended for the ears of American voters. An American government that is more committed to maintaining a window for dubious diplomacy with Iran than actually forcing Tehran to give up its nuclear ambitions may well use the exemptions to avoid a confrontation rather than to achieve their intended purpose.

all emphasis added

N. Korean satellite launch pretext for Iran missile test

N. Korean satellite launch pretext for Iran missile test

Western defense officials say upcoming launch is a continuation of Iran and North Korea’s nuclear and missile cooperation • Seoul warns it might shoot down North Korean rocket if it violates South Korean territory.

Yoav Limor

The satellite that North Korea intends to launch into space next month is apparently merely a front, with the real reason behind the planned launch being to test a long-range ballistic missile for another country – apparently Iran. This, at least, is what defense officials in the West have come to believe. The launch is also intended to possibly test a new launcher.

North Korea has moved a long-range rocket to a launching site, apparently determined to press ahead with its plan to launch a satellite in defiance of international condemnation, the South Korean military said Sunday, The New York Times reported. The Times article said that the North Koreans moved the main body of the Unha-3 rocket to the newly built launching station in Dongchang-ri, a village in northwest North Korea.

The satellite launch is expected to take place between April 12 and 16. North Korea has claimed that the launch is for “peaceful purposes only,” and to celebrate the April 15 centenary of the birth of its founder, Kim Il Sung. Kim’s grandson, Kim Jong Un, has led the nation of 24 million since his father, Kim Jong Il, died in December. North Korea has also claimed that the launch will not affect its neighbors and that it wasn’t violating an agreement with the West under which North Korea has agreed to suspend its nuclear program in exchange for food shipments. Within the agreement, North Korea has agreed to halt the testing of ballistic missiles and to stop enriching uranium at its nuclear facility in Yongbyon.

Pyongyan’s neighbor and nemesis, Seoul, warned Monday that it might shoot down parts of the North Korean rocket if they violate South Korean territory, as worries about what Washington calls a long-range missile test overshadowed an international nuclear security summit, AP reported on Monday.

Western security officials now believe that sending the satellite into space is only a pretext for the primary goal of the launch, and that the actual purpose is to test a long-range ballistic missile belonging to another country. Suspicions, as stated, have fallen on Iran.

The Islamic Republic has close ties to North Korea, depending on it during different stages of its nuclear and long-range missile program. Based on this assessment, Iran is concerned that testing its long-range missiles from its own territory will be interpreted by the West as another sign that it is advancing its nuclear weapons program, including an accelerated effort to develop its arsenal of long-range missiles.

Read all of the article Click Here

2012/03/28

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

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

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).

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.

Former Iraqi PM Warns Iran ‘Swallowing’ His Country

Source CNS

Former Iraqi PM Warns Iran ‘Swallowing’ His Country

Iraqi former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi warned Iran is “swallowing” his country and the United States is ignoring it. He said he believes Iran is working through its Shiite allies in Iraq.

According to The Washington Times, Allawi said Iran is mostly responsible for what he calls an “emerging dictatorship” in Iraq.

Attacks have rocked the country since Iraqi leaders told all U.S. troops to leave last December. Meanwhile, Allawi said there is no democracy in Iraq.

“To be honest, people speak about Arab Spring,” Allawi said. “What spring is this?”

“Spring is associated with green, renewal of life. We are having blood pouring everywhere in the region and destruction and dismemberment of countries, and chaos is happening,” he told the Times.

Iraq’s vice-president is in hiding after being charged with terrorism against Shiites, a charge some say is politically motivated.

Allawi, who is Sunni, claimed the U.S. allowed the Shiite majority in Iraq to violate a power sharing agreement two years ago. The U.S. State Department has rejected Allawi’s claims.

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2012/03/12

PALESTINIAN ROCKET ATTACKS FORCE 500,000 ISRAELIS INTO BOMB SHELTERS

Filed under: Gaza, Iran, Iron Dome, Israel, Missile Defense — - @ 4:24 pm

Source Link: Joel Rosenbergs Blog

PALESTINIAN ROCKET ATTACKS FORCE 500,000 ISRAELIS INTO BOMB SHELTERS: Worst violence in 6 months

Here are the latest developments the Palestinian rocket offensive against Israel, in what is being described as the worst violence on Israel’s southern border in six months:

* More than 150 rockets and missiles have been fired from Gaza at southern Israel in the last 3 days.

* On Sunday alone, about 50 rockets were fired at Israel.

* Israeli schools in the south have been closed, keeping more than 200,000 school children at home.

* The Israeli Air Force has been bombing Hamas rocket launchers and weapons warehouses, and has eliminated four top terror leaders.

* CNN reports that “eight Israelis have been wounded and 500,000 have been forced into shelters.”

* CNN reports that among the Palestinians in Gaza, ”at least 21 people have been killed in strikes since Friday, while at least 75 people have been wounded.”

* The good news is that “the Iron Dome system has intercepted 90 percent of missile attacks on urban centers during the latest rocket bombardment from Gaza,” reports Israeli channel 7. “The expensive systems were inaugurated last year amid controversy over its worth. A primitive Kassam rocket costs terrorists only a few hundred dollars while each Iron Dome anti-missile missile costs $50,000. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated Saturday night, ‘We will continue to improve home front defense including by means of additional Iron Dome systems, the effectiveness of which was shown again over the weekend.”

Continue Reading it all at Joel Rosenbergs Blog and Read this article as well MORE THAN 200 ROCKETS FIRED AT ISRAEL: No let up yet in Palestinian offensive against the Jewish State.

Front Page Magazine has this article Game Changer: Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense System

Below is from my archive on SCRIBD explaining the Iron Dome.

View this document on Scribd

2012/03/08

Detecting Terrorist Surveillance

Source Article Link: STRATFOR

Detecting Terrorist Surveillance

By Scott Stewart

As we noted last week, terrorist attacks do not materialize out of thin air. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Those planning terrorist attacks follow a discernable process referred to as the terrorist attack cycle. We also discussed last week how terrorism planners are vulnerable to detection at specific points during their attack cycle and how their poor surveillance tradecraft is one of these vulnerable junctures.

While surveillance is a necessary part of the planning process, the fact that it is a requirement does not necessarily mean that terrorist planners are very good at it. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at surveillance and discuss what bad surveillance looks like.

Eyes on a Potential Target

As noted above, surveillance is an integral part of the terrorist planning process for almost any type of attack, although there are a few exceptions to this rule, like letter-bomb attacks. The primary objective of surveillance is to assess a potential target for value, security measures and vulnerabilities. Some have argued that physical surveillance has been rendered obsolete by the Internet, but from an operational standpoint, there simply is no substitute for having eyes on the potential target — even more so if a target is mobile. A planner is able to see the location of a building and its general shape on Google Earth, but Google Earth does not provide the planner with the ability to see what the building’s access controls are like, the internal layout of the building or where the guards are located and what procedures they follow.

The amount of time devoted to the surveillance process will vary depending on the type of operation. A complex operation involving several targets and multiple teams, such as the 9/11 operation or 2008 Mumbai attacks, will obviously require more planning (and more surveillance) than a rudimentary pipe-bomb attack against a stationary soft target. Such complex operations may require weeks or even months of surveillance, while a very simple operation may require only a few minutes. The amount of surveillance required for most attacks will fall somewhere between these two extremes. Regardless of the amount of time spent observing the target, almost all terrorist planners will conduct surveillance and they are vulnerable to detection during this time.

Given that surveillance is so widely practiced, it is amazing that, in general, those conducting surveillance as part of a terrorist plot are usually terrible at it. There are some exceptions, of course. Many of the European Marxist terrorist groups trained by the KGB and Stasi practiced very good surveillance tradecraft, but such sophisticated surveillance is the exception rather than the rule.

The term “tradecraft” is often used in describing surveillance technique. Tradecraft is an espionage term that refers to techniques and procedures used in the field, but the term also implies that effectively practicing these techniques and procedures requires a bit of finesse. Tradecraft skills tend to be as much art as they are science, and surveillance tradecraft is no exception. As with any other art, you can be taught the fundamentals, but it takes time and practice to become a skilled surveillance practitioner. Most individuals involved in terrorist planning simply do not devote the time necessary to master the art of surveillance, and because of this, they display terrible technique, use sloppy procedures and generally lack finesse when they are conducting surveillance.

The main reason that people planning terrorist attacks are able to get by with such a poor level of surveillance tradecraft is because most victims simply are not looking for them. Most people do not practice situational awareness, something we are going to discuss in more detail next week. For those who do practice good situational awareness, the poor surveillance tradecraft exhibited by those planning terrorist attacks is good news. It provides them time to avoid an immediate threat and contact the authorities.

Keying on Demeanor

The behavior a person displays to those watching him or her is called demeanor. In order to master the art of surveillance tradecraft, one needs to master the ability to display appropriate demeanor for whatever situation one is in. Practicing good demeanor is not intuitive. In fact, the things one has to do to maintain good demeanor while conducting surveillance frequently run counter to human nature. Because of this, intelligence, law enforcement and security professionals assigned to work surveillance operations receive extensive training that includes many hours of heavily critiqued practical exercises, often followed by field training with a team of experienced surveillance professionals. This training teaches and reinforces good demeanor. Terrorist operatives typically do not receive this type of training — especially those who are grassroots or lone wolf militants.

At its heart, surveillance is watching someone while attempting not to be caught doing so. As such, it is an unnatural activity, and a person doing it must deal with strong feelings of self-consciousness and of being out of place. People conducting surveillance frequently suffer from what is called “burn syndrome,” the belief that the people they are watching have spotted them. Feeling “burned” will cause surveillants to do unnatural things, such as hiding their faces or suddenly ducking back into a doorway or turning around abruptly when they unexpectedly come face to face with the person they are watching.

People inexperienced in the art of surveillance find it difficult to control this natural reaction. A video that recently went viral on the Internet shows the husband of the president of Finland getting caught staring down the blouse of a Danish princess. The man’s reaction to being caught by the princess was a textbook example of the burn syndrome. Even experienced surveillance operatives occasionally have the feeling of being burned; the difference is they have received a lot of training and they are better able to control their reaction and behave normally despite the feeling of being burned. They are able to maintain a normal-looking demeanor while their insides are screaming that the person they are watching has seen them.

In addition to doing something unnatural or stupid when feeling burned, another very common mistake made by amateurs when conducting surveillance is the failure to get into proper “character” for the job or, when in character, appearing in places or carrying out activities that are incongruent with the character’s “costume.” The terms used to describe these role-playing aspects of surveillance are “cover for status” and “cover for action.” Cover for status is a person’s purported identity — his costume. A person can pretend to be a student, a businessman, a repairman, etc. Cover for action explains why the person is doing what he or she is doing — why that guy has been standing on that street corner for half an hour.

The purpose of using good cover for action and cover for status is to make the presence of the person conducting the surveillance look routine and normal. When done right, the surveillance operative fits in with the mental snapshot subconsciously taken by the target as the target goes about his or her business. Inexperienced people who conduct surveillance frequently do not use proper (if any) cover for action or cover for status, and they can be easily detected.

An example of bad cover for status would be someone dressed as “a businessman” walking in the woods or at the beach. An example of bad cover for action is someone pretending to be sitting at a bus stop who remains at that bus stop even after several buses have passed. For the most part, however, inexperienced operatives conducting surveillance practice little or no cover for action or cover for status. They just lurk and look totally out of place. There is no apparent reason for them to be where they are or doing what they are doing.

In addition to plain old lurking, other giveaways include a person moving when the target moves, communicating when the target moves, avoiding eye contact with the target, making sudden turns or stops, or even using hand signals to communicate with other members of a surveillance team or criminal gang. Surveillants also can tip off the person they are watching by entering or leaving a building immediately after the person they are watching or simply by running in street clothes.

Sometimes, people who are experiencing the burn syndrome exhibit almost imperceptible behaviors that the target can sense more than observe. It may not be something that can be articulated, but the target just gets the gut feeling that there is something wrong or odd about the way a certain person is behaving toward them. Innocent bystanders who are not watching someone usually do not exhibit this behavior or trigger these feelings.

Principles of Surveillance Detection

The U.S. government often uses the acronym “TEDD” to illustrate the principles that can be used to identify surveillance conducted by counterintelligence agencies, but these same principles also can be used to identify terrorist surveillance. TEDD stands for time, environment, distance and demeanor. In other words, if a person sees someone repeatedly over time, in different environments and at a distance, or someone who displays poor surveillance demeanor, then that person can assume he or she is under surveillance.

However, for an individual, TEDD is really only relevant if you are being specifically targeted for an attack. In such an instance, you will likely be exposed to the time, environment and distance elements. However, if the target of the attack is a subway car or a building you work in rather than you as an individual, you likely will not have an opportunity to make environment and distance correlations, and perhaps not even time. You will likely only have the demeanor of the surveillant to key on. Therefore, when we are talking about recognizing surveillance, demeanor is the most critical of the four elements. Demeanor also works in tandem with all the other elements, and poor demeanor will often help the target spot the surveillant at a different time and place or in a different environment.

Time, environment and distance also have little bearing in an instance like the Fort Hood shooting, where the assailant is an insider, works at a facility and has solid cover for action and cover for status. In such instances, demeanor is also critical in identifying bad intent.

The fact that operatives conducting surveillance over an extended period can change their clothing and wear hats, wigs or other light disguises — and use different vehicles or license plates — also demonstrates why watching for mistakes in demeanor is critical. Because of a surveillant’s ability to make superficial changes in appearance, it is important to focus on the things that cannot be changed as easily as clothing or hair, such as a person’s facial features, build, mannerisms and gait. Additionally, while a surveillant can change the license plate on a car, it is not as easy to alter other aspects of the vehicle such as body damage (scratches and dents). Paying attention to small details can be the difference between a potential attacker being identified and the attacker going unnoticed.

One technique that can be helpful in looking for people conducting long-term surveillance is to identify places that provide optimal visibility of a critical place the surveillant would want to watch (for example, the front door of a potential target’s residence or office, or a choke point on a route the potential target frequently travels). It is also important to look for places that provide optimal visibility, or “perches” in surveillance jargon. Elevated perches tend to be especially effective since surveillance targets rarely look up. Perches should be watched for signs of hostile surveillance, such as people who don’t belong there, people lurking, or people making more subtle demeanor mistakes.

Paying attention to the details of what is happening around you (what we call practicing good situational awareness) does not mean being paranoid or obsessively concerned about security. Living in a state of paranoia and looking for a terrorist behind every bush not only is dangerous to one’s physical and mental health but also results in poor security. We are going to talk more about practicing a healthy and sustainable level of situational awareness next week.

2011/12/16

Electromagnetic pulse a real threat

Source Article Link: Washington Times

Electromagnetic pulse a real threat

Time to correct U.S. vulnerability is now

By Ilan Berman

Electromagnetic Pulse Grid Flow Chart

Is electromagnetic pulse a real threat to American security? On the heels of recent Republican primary debates, the danger to U.S. electronics and infrastructure posed by a high-altitude nuclear blast suddenly has emerged as a campaign issue. So has concerted opposition to it, with both liberal and conservative skeptics ridiculing the idea as an overblown, even fabricated, distraction. Yet there is ample evidence that the danger is both clear and present. Far and away the most authoritative assessment in this regard is that of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States From Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack, colloquially known as the EMP Commission. That blue-ribbon panel, convened by Congress a decade ago, outlined the nature of the challenge as follows:

“EMP is one of a small number of threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences. EMP will cover the wide geographic region within line of sight to the nuclear weapon. It has the capability to produce significant damage to critical infrastructures and thus to the very fabric of U.S. society, as well as to the ability of the United States and Western nations to project influence and military power.”

America’s vulnerability to such an attack is growing. As the EMP Commission explained, our heavy – and mounting – dependence on high technology, from cellphones to laptops to GPS, makes the United States disproportionately vulnerable to the disruption that would result from an EMP event. The commission concluded its work in 2004 with a dire warning: “The current vulnerability of our critical infrastructures can both invite and reward attack if not corrected.”

This fact has not gone unnoticed. A number of rogue states and strategic competitors are actively investing in the development of precisely this sort of capability. Thus, Russia, which during the Cold War carried out extensive experiments relating to EMP, has actively contemplated its use on a number of occasions since the Soviet collapse. China, too, is investing in EMP weapons as part of its “assassin’s mace” – an asymmetric military arsenal through which Beijing seeks to challenge U.S. primacy in the Asia-Pacific region. North Korea, for its part, is believed to have tested a “super-EMP” weapon powerful enough to create massive disruption in the continental United States back in 2009. Iran, which carried out EMP-related ballistic-missile tests in the Caspian Sea in the late 1990s, has since publicly explored the possibility of using such a capability against America.

The United States, meanwhile, is only marginally closer to remedying its vulnerability to EMP than it was in 2004. The George W. Bush administration did not take decisive action to systematically harden critical infrastructure and assets against electromagnetic pulse. Neither has Team Obama, which has ignored the issue as a matter of public policy almost entirely since taking office. Indeed, it has made America’s vulnerability worse because its September 2009 missile defense plan pushes off serious additional investments in technologies of the kind that could help neutralize a nuclear EMP attack on the U.S. homeland until 2016 – or significantly later.

Congress at least has attempted to do more. A number of lawmakers, notably Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, Maryland Republican, and Rep. Trent Franks, Arizona Republican, have emerged as vocal advocates of robust defense against EMP, and a legislative vehicle – the SHIELD Act – even has been crafted for it. But the SHIELD Act has languished in the House since being introduced back in February, and no fresh movement is on the horizon. Defense against electromagnetic pulse, in other words, was and remains an unfunded mandate.

To be sure, the likelihood of an EMP attack on America remains remote. Conventional terrorism, even of the large-scale variety, is considerably more likely, and a biological or chemical event is marginally more so. Yet, if an EMP incident does occur, the costs would be astronomical. Commission Chairman William Graham, a former science adviser to President Reagan, told the House Armed Services Committee in 2008 that an EMP attack had the potential to devastate the country’s electronic infrastructure to such a degree that it would no longer be capable of sustaining the country’s population.

Such a cataclysm, however, can be prevented with the necessary investments in hardening, infrastructure protection and redundancy in key sectors (from finance to electricity to water supply). As Mr. Graham told lawmakers at the time, “Correction is feasible and well within the nation’s means and resources to accomplish.”

That the U.S. government has not yet done so amounts to a serious dereliction of duty. The next U.S. president will need to recognize this dangerous vulnerability – and move decisively to address it.

Ilan Berman is vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington.

Venezuela, Iran Linked to Alleged Cyberattack Plot

Source Article Link: FamilySecurityMatters

Venezuela, Iran Linked to Alleged Cyberattack Plot

By Trevor Westra

U.S. Spanish-language television network, Univision, has released an investigative documentary in which it is claimed that Venezuelan and Iranian diplomats negotiated with Mexican hackers to break into White House, Pentagon, and FBI databases, as well as U.S. nuclear facilities. Critical to these allegations are a series of recordings made by one of the hackers, who went undercover and attempted to document the conspiracy.

According to the report, Juan Carlos Munoz Ledo, a computer instructor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, was recruited in 2006 to participate in cyber attacks on US government websites. In later years he met with former Iranian ambassador to Mexico, Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri, and former cultural attaché of the Venezuelan Embassy in Mexico, Livia Acosta, to give updates on the project’s advance. In a recording from one of these meetings, Acosta, who is now the Venezuelan consul in Miami, can be heard saying she could get information from the hackers sent directly to Hugo Chavez.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner says his government is probing the report but hasn’t confirmed its claims.  However, he suggested Tuesday the implications were “very disturbing.”

Solomon Chang, a researcher on cyber security for strategic planning and forecasting consultancy Wikistrat, suggests the report raises “alarming” uncertainties as it remains unclear exactly what the hackers were trying to achieve. “Were they trying to advance their technological capabilities at the expense of the U.S. military? Are they simply trying to explore U.S. cybernetic structural weaknesses? Sabotage the infrastructures? These questions remain unanswered,” he said.

In response, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida) has written Secretary of State Hilary Clinton asking for an investigation into Acosta as a result of her alleged “willingness to undermine U.S. interests.”

Earlier this year, Chairmen of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)  called for hearings on Iranian activities in Latin America. This week’s report comes just months after U.S. prosecutors accused factions in the Iranian government of a plot to recruit a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. by bombing a Washington-area restaurant.

In response to the Univision report, Venezuelan opposition leader Pablo Medina has called ties between his country and Iran troubling, and the latest allegations “very serious.” Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, meanwhile, has called the report “lies.”

Family Security Matters Contributor Trevor Westra is a Canadian blogger whose on religion and modernity have been featured at the New Media Journal and online Global Politician. He frequently on international affairs at the blog, the Theo Log (www.theolog.ca), and writes for World Threats. A graduate in Religous Studies from Canada’s Laurentian University, he has lectured on Indian religious traditions in Canada at the University of Sudbury and he specializes in the religions of South Asia.writesmagazinewritings

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