The American Kafir

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.

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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.

2011/11/22

Because the State Department wants to make sure…

Very interesting posting at Internet Haganah concerning stats of Iranian Students studying in the United States. Walt

Source Link: Internet Haganah
The Open Doors program is funded by the US Department of State:

Open Doors, supported by a grant from the Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, provides a comprehensive information resource on international students and scholars studying or teaching at higher education institutions in the United States, and U.S. students studying abroad for academic credit at their home colleges or universities.Every year, U.S. embassies, the Departments of State, Commerce, and Education, and U.S. colleges and universities use Open Doors data to inform policy decisions about educational exchanges, trade in educational services and study abroad activity.

To mark the start of International Education Week, the Institute of International Education released Open Doors 2010 data on November 15, 2010. The report contains statistics and trends regarding international students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities during the 2009 through 2010 academic year and U.S. students who studied abroad for academic credit at their home institutions in the 2008 through 2009 academic year, including summer of 2009.

Of particular note is that Iran is among the top 25 countries to send students, with 5,626 enrolled in US academic institutions[1]. 83% of those students are in graduate level programs meaning, among other things, that they have likely also completed their compulsory military service. Perhaps more importantly, it seems reasonable to presume that all have been carefully screened by the IRI prior to being allowed to sally forth to the Great Satan. And it is also reasonable to suspect that some have even been tasked with gaining entry into the United States.

Now, I’d happily caveat all this by noting I’m in the suspicion business, but as I looked more closely at the data… Let’s just say that nothing gets attention like something that isn’t there.

They’ll allow that there are Iranian students in the USA, and that Iran ranks 22 among countries with students here.


Archive of data

Open Doors Data

International Students: Leading Places of Origin

2009/10 – 2010/11

TOP 25 PLACES OF ORIGIN OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS, 2009/10 – 2010/11
Rank Place of Origin 2009/10 2010/11 2010/11 % of Total % Change
WORLD TOTAL 690,923 723,277 100.0 4.7
1 China 127,822 157,558 21.8 23.3
2 India 104,897 103,895 14.4 -1.0
3 South Korea 72,153 73,351 10.1 1.7
4 Canada 28,145 27,546 3.8 -2.1
5 Taiwan 26,685 24,818 3.4 -7.0
6 Saudi Arabia 15,810 22,704 3.1 43.6
7 Japan 24,842 21,290 2.9 -14.3
8 Vietnam 13,112 14,888 2.1 13.5
9 Mexico 13,256 13,713 1.9 2.0
10 Turkey 12,397 12,184 1.7 -1.7
11 Nepal 11,233 10,301 1.4 -8.3
12 Germany 9,548 9,458 1.3 -0.9
13 United Kingdom 8,861 8,947 1.2 1.0
14 Brazil 8,786 8,777 1.2 -0.1
15 Thailand 8,531 8,236 1.1 -3.5
16 Hong Kong 8,034 8,136 1.1 1.3
17 France 7,716 8,098 1.1 5.0
18 Nigeria 6,568 7,148 1.0 8.8
19 Indonesia 6,943 6,942 1.0 0.0
20 Malaysia 6,190 6,735 0.9 8.8
21 Colombia 6,920 6,456 0.9 -6.7
22 Iran 4,731 5,626 0.8 18.9
23 Venezuela 4,958 5,491 0.8 10.8
24 Pakistan 5,222 5,045 0.7 -3.4
25 Kenya 5,384 4,666 0.6 -13.3

Suggested citation: Institute of International Education. (2011). “Top 25 Places of Origin of International Students, 2009/10-2010/11.” Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. Retrieved from http://www.iie.org/opendoors

But when you look to see what those folks are studying?

Open Doors Data

International Students: Fields of Study by Place of Origin

2010/11

FIELDS OF STUDY FOR THE TOP 25 PLACES OF ORIGIN, 2010/11
PERCENT OF TOTAL
Rank Place of Origin Business/ Management Education Engineering Fine/ Applied Arts Health Professions Humanities Intensive English Math/ Computer Science Physical/ Life Sciences Social Sciences Undeclared Other TOTAL
1 China 27.5 2.1 19.2 3.4 2.0 1.2 4.3 10.6 11.5 7.0 2.3 8.9 100.0
2 India 15.2 1.0 36.9 1.3 4.9 0.6 0.7 19.8 11.4 3.0 0.5 4.7 100.0
3 South Korea 17.0 3.7 10.8 12.2 5.4 4.6 5.2 5.0 8.0 10.1 3.3 14.7 100.0
4 Canada 15.3 9.1 7.7 7.8 16.1 4.8 0.2 2.4 8.0 12.0 2.5 14.1 100.0
5 Taiwan 23.4 4.9 14.7 11.5 3.7 2.1 4.8 6.0 10.0 7.0 1.6 10.3 100.0
6 Saudi Arabia 18.4 2.0 21.8 1.1 5.3 1.3 29.1 8.1 3.4 2.3 1.7 5.5 100.0
7 Japan 19.8 3.4 4.4 8.6 3.9 5.4 10.8 2.9 5.7 13.7 4.7 16.7 100.0
8 Vietnam 41.3 1.7 10.7 2.6 5.2 2.4 4.2 8.5 7.1 4.6 2.9 8.8 100.0
9 Mexico 21.7 3.7 14.7 7.5 2.9 4.9 3.4 4.8 8.2 10.0 2.7 15.5 100.0
10 Turkey 17.3 3.7 22.9 4.0 1.2 3.1 5.1 9.6 8.1 12.5 2.6 9.9 100.0
11 Nepal 23.5 1.1 16.9 1.2 8.1 1.2 0.2 12.1 18.5 5.6 1.1 10.5 100.0
12 Germany 26.7 2.1 7.6 4.4 3.0 7.3 0.9 3.6 7.6 12.3 5.7 18.8 100.0
13 United Kingdom 19.9 4.3 4.7 6.4 4.5 6.2 0.4 3.1 8.0 17.8 6.5 18.2 100.0
14 Brazil 26.1 2.9 7.9 7.9 5.5 4.7 3.9 3.0 6.2 10.1 3.0 18.8 100.0
15 Thailand 24.2 2.7 17.6 6.6 4.5 1.7 4.9 8.0 7.4 6.2 2.1 14.1 100.0
16 Hong Kong 31.2 1.4 6.7 8.4 2.5 3.5 1.6 5.6 7.5 13.6 2.5 15.5 100.0
17 France 30.7 1.1 9.4 4.9 1.9 7.8 1.7 2.9 6.4 8.6 5.5 19.1 100.0
18 Nigeria 18.6 1.5 24.7 1.9 13.9 3.2 0.2 6.9 11.9 6.8 1.4 9.0 100.0
19 Indonesia 30.2 2.8 18.0 8.1 4.0 2.8 0.8 5.5 6.1 7.4 1.5 12.8 100.0
20 Malaysia 19.8 2.1 29.1 3.4 3.9 2.1 0.2 7.6 11.2 7.7 3.8 9.1 100.0
21 Colombia 20.1 3.5 16.3 6.0 3.0 5.2 7.6 4.0 10.0 10.1 1.5 12.7 100.0
23 Venezuela 26.6 2.7 15.7 5.5 3.5 2.2 11.9 3.6 5.6 6.7 2.0 14.0 100.0
24 Pakistan 21.5 2.8 24.7 2.1 5.0 2.1 0.6 9.7 7.3 11.6 2.9 9.7 100.0
25 Kenya 17.1 4.5 10.0 1.7 19.6 3.8 0.4 4.6 13.3 9.3 2.1 13.6 100.0
26 Russia 28.0 3.2 5.4 7.6 3.4 7.0 3.0 5.4 11.8 11.5 2.5 11.2 100.0

____________________

Suggested citation: Institute of International Education. (2011). “Fields of Study for the Top 25 Places of Origin, 2010/11.” Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. Retrieved from http://www.iie.org/opendoors

Not only does this raise the question of why someone doesn’t want us to know what Iranian students are studying (physics? engineering? metallurgy? other weapons related subjects?), but also leaves us to wonder what else might have been done to the data.

[1] To put this in perspective, the number one country is the People’s Republic of China, with 157,558 students in the USA (and the number one major for Chinese students is Business Management at 27.5%).

2011/11/03

Iran’s growing presence in region (Latin America) a menace

Source Article Link: Miami Herald

Iran’s growing presence in region a menace

BY MATTHEW LEVITT

www.washingtoninstitute.org

Quirky though it was, U.S. officials are convinced that the recently exposed plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to Washington was the work of the vaunted Quds Force, the special operations branch of the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC). As policymakers consider how best to respond to Iran’s increasingly dangerous behavior they should look first to our own back yard south of the border.

To be sure, this plot demands a response. Pointing to the 1983 and 1984 Beirut bombings, the CIA reported in 1987 that “many Iranian leaders use this precedent as proof that terrorism can break U.S. resolve” and view “sabotage and terrorism as an important option in its confrontation with the United States in the Persian Gulf.” It is critical that the United States and the international community take concrete steps in response to the planned assassination of a foreign ambassador in the U.S. capitol to signal the international community’s resolve to confront Iranian state sponsorship of terrorism.

One step the United States and its allies could pursue would send a strong message to Tehran and at the same time have a tangible impact on U.S. security: Press allies to restrict the size of Iranian missions to the minimum needed to conduct official business. Over the past few years, Iran has vastly expanded its presence in South and Central America, opening new missions and populating them with far more people than required for normal diplomatic duties.

Consider the finding of Argentine officials investigating the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires by Hezbollah operatives working in tandem with Iranian intelligence agents. Argentine intelligence discovered that prior to his posting in Buenos Aires, Iranian Ambassador Hadi Soleimanpour served as chargé d’affaires and then Ambassador in Spain from 1985 to 1989. “During this period,” investigators determined, “Soleimanpour was instructed by the Iranian government to take charge of the collaboration of a group of five residents of Spain with a view to providing Pasdaran (IRGC) with support in the event a reprisal action was carried out against the U.S. and Israel.” He engaged in similar activities in Argentina, according to prosecutors.

A few weeks after the 1994 AMIA bombing, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism expressed concern that Iranian embassies in the region were stacked with larger than necessary numbers of diplomats, some of whom were believed to be intelligence agents and terrorist operatives: “We are sharing information in our possession with other States about Iranian diplomats, Iranian terrorist leaders who are posing as diplomats, so that nations will refuse to give them accreditation, or if they are already accredited, to expel them. We have had some success in that respect, but we have not always succeeded.”

Amazingly, Iran’s intelligence penetration of South America has expanded significantly since the AMIA bombing.

Five years later, the commander of U.S. Southern Command indicated the Iranian presence in the region had grown still larger by expanding the number of embassies in the region from just a handful to 12 missions by 2010. Taken together with other developments, such as the now regular flights between Tehran and Caracas, Venezuela, which law enforcement officials have taken to calling “Aero Terror,” Iran’s increased presence in the southern half of the Western Hemisphere presents a clear and present danger to U.S. security.

According to press reports, the Quds Force plot to murder the Saudi ambassador may have also included plans to target Saudi or Israeli diplomats in Argentina. To execute the attack in Washington, the Quds Force apparently approved a plan to subcontract the attack to someone tied to a Mexican drug cartel.

Now is the time for the United States to galvanize allies and collectively press our friends south of the border to severely restrict the size of Iran’s diplomatic missions to the minimum needed to conduct official business. Such action is not only an appropriate response to Iran’s clear disregard for the Vienna Convention and its protections for international diplomats, it would also have an immediate impact on U.S. and regional security.

Matthew Levitt, former Treasury deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis, directs the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence.