Nebuchadnezzar Is Ready To Take The Bait



Ray Takeyh, who served in the Obama administration focusing on Iran, has an illuminating piece on how Iran’s “Supreme Leader” is “patiently negotiating his way to a bomb.” Absent military intervention, Ayatollah Khamenei was always going to pursue his nuclear bomb. But it now looks like he will be able to pursue it in the most advantageous manner possible — with American cooperation. 
Takeyh explains:
After years of defiance, Khamenei seems to appreciate that his most advantageous path to nuclear arms is through an agreement. To continue to build up his atomic infrastructure without the protective umbrella of an agreement exposes Iran to economic sanctions and the possibility of military retribution. . . .
It was a daunting task as long as the West viewed Khamenei’s negotiating position — an agreement of limited duration during which Iran could construct a vast nuclear infrastructure in exchange for a leaky inspection regime — with great skepticism. But then, along came President Obama, and the Ayatollah’s prayers were answered:
Washington conceded to Iran’s enrichment at home and agreed that eventually that enrichment capacity could be industrialized. The marathon negotiations since have seen Iran attempt to whittle down the remaining restrictions, while the United States tries to reclaim its battered red lines. 
For Khamenei, the most important concession that his negotiators have won is the idea of a sunset clause. Upon the expiration of that clause, there would be no legal limits on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. If the Islamic Republic wants to construct hundreds of thousands of sophisticated centrifuges, build numerous heavy-water reactors and sprinkle its mountains with enrichment installations, the Western powers will have no recourse.
What happens then?
Khamenei. . .can also be assured that technical violations of his commitments would not be firmly opposed. Once a deal is transacted, the most essential sanctions against Iran will evaporate. . .And as far as the use of force is concerned, the United States has negotiated arms-control compacts for at least five decades and has never used force to punish a state that has incrementally violated its treaty obligations. 
As the reaction to North Korea’s atomic provocations shows, the international community typically deals with such infractions through endless mediation. Once an agreement is signed, too many nations become invested in its perpetuation to risk a rupture.
Takeyh concludes that “Iran’s achievements today are a tribute to the genius of an unassuming midlevel cleric” who has “routinely entered negotiations with the weakest hand and emerged in the strongest position.” But Iran’s achievements are just as much a tribute to the egomania of a pretentious U.S. president who entered negotiations with the strongest hand and refused to play his best cards because he considered himself above the game, and imagined that there is bigger contest only he is able to perceive.

The Iranian Horn Joins Fight Against ISIS (Daniel 8:3)

US Intelligence Official: Iran Involved in Fight Against IS
March 3, 2015

WASHINGTON — America’s top intelligence official says Iran is involved in the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says Tehran has “a very robust commitment to the fight” and has people there in an advisory capacity.

In an interview broadcast Tuesday on CBS, Clapper says the Iranians have “brought in large amounts of weaponry” to Iraq.

Clapper also says Iran already has the “technical competence” to make a nuclear weapon and a decision will be up to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Clapper tells CBS “it’s a political decision for them” and predicts Iran “will maintain the expertise and the capability in all the realms” to produce such a weapon.

Khamenei has said Iran would accept a “fair and sensible” outcome of nuclear talks.

The Shia Horns: Khamenei in Iran and the Antichrist in Iraq (Dan 8:3)

Tehran’s Political and Military Hegemony Over Baghdad
Mahdi Army Protecting Baghdad
Written by :
on : Tuesday, 3 Mar, 2015

As the world focuses its attention on fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), from Syria and Iraq to Libya, the serious dangers posed by Iran-backed Shi’ite militias in Iraq are barely noticed.
US President Barack Obama’s clear enthusiasm for the war on ISIS and his recent overtures towards Tehran have created for the latter an opportunity to tighten its grip in Syria and Iraq as well as other regional countries.

Any steps aimed at fighting ISIS, particularly in Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul which the radical group still holds, should therefore be conducted with the participation of Sunni fighters. Even those steps are not guaranteed success as long as the international community, particularly the US, continues to turn a blind eye to such violations by militias and their submission to the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

With the emergence of ISIS, Washington found itself in a contradictory position: fighting in the same trench with one of its archenemies, Iran, and the allied Shi’ite militias who stand accused of committing sectarian crimes in Iraq.

As the anti-ISIS international campaign took off, Washington started to provide, whether directly or indirectly, the needed aerial cover not just for the Iraqi army but the Iran-backed militias, despite their poor human rights record across Iraq.

Both Obama and the UN Security Council have long ignored the deteriorating crisis in Iraq, turning a blind eye to countless reports relating to allegations of torture and ethnic cleansing at the hands of Shi’ite militias.

Nevertheless, Obama’s administration never ceased to sign multi-million-dollar weapon deals with the Iraqi government under former Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki—known for his sectarian policies as well as his full support for Iranian-backed militias.

Such militias include some of the most influential Shi’ite figures in Iraq, such as Hadi Al-Amri who heads the Badr Organization, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis who stands accused of masterminding the bombing that targeted the US and French embassies in Kuwait in 1980, and the Asa’ib Ahl Al-Haq leader Qais Al-Khazali.

On the other hand, not all Shi’ite-majority militias in Iraq are backed by Iran. Saraya Al-Salam (Brigades of peace) is one of them and operates under the authority of Iraq’s senior Shi’ite leader Moqtada Al-Sadr, who fought alongside Sunni tribes against the US occupation.

“Sadr opposed the policies of Asa’ib Ahl Al-Haq that emerged from the Mahdi Army he established a few years ago,” Renad Mansour of the Carnegie Middle East Center told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The two groups fell out after Sadr accused some of Asa’ib’s radical members of committing sectarian crimes in 2006.

The continuous coordination between those militias and the Quds Force, an elite sub-unit of Iran’s paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has undermined the authority of Iraq’s state institutions. Iran’s powerful Gen. Qassem Suleimani is known for commanding the Quds Forces on several frontlines in Iraq. His powerful command has enabled Tehran to fill the vacuum left by the self-distancing approach followed by the Obama administration in Iraq.

In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Sinan Adnan from the Institute for the Study of War maintained that US policy towards the role of Shi’ite militias in Iraq remained vague and that “much ambiguity” surrounded US officials’ statements on the matter.

“So far there has been no clear [US] policy towards the Iranian-backed militias, and when a US official was questioned recently about the role of Shi’ite militias they only answered that they should be integrated into security forces, without giving further clarifications,” he said.

“Iranian-backed militias have carried out operations in cooperation with Iraqi security forces on local levels but we have not seen such cooperation and coordination on higher levels such as with the Ministry of Defense,” he added.

Several influential militia figures have become part of the Baghdad government’s hierarchy. Al-Hakim Al-Zamily, the leader of an Iranian-backed militia accused of running death squads, now chairs the Security Committee in the Iraqi parliament. Incumbent Minister of Interior Mohammed Al-Ghabban is a key figure at the Badr Organization, the Shi’ite militia that stands accused of committing sectarian crimes.

Adnan also highlighted the need to differentiate between militias who display absolute loyalty to Tehran and those with a nationalistic character, such as Saraya Al-Salam and the Shi’ite volunteers who responded to the call of Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani after it became clear that ISIS was posing an existential threat to the Shi’ite-led Iraqi government.

The international community in general and the Baghdad government in particular face the difficult task of restoring national stability and unity to a country that has seen its state authority diminished and future endangered thanks to the growing influence of radicalism in its Sunni and Shi’ite versions.

“When I recently spoke to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi he said he knew well that the democratic process was enough to put an end to those militias,” Mansour added.

Libya: The Fourth Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8:8)

EXCLUSIVE: ISIS will carry out ‘9/11 in Europe within two years’ and fanatics are recruiting migrants in Libya with the promise of ‘white virgins’, claims Gaddafi’s exiled cousin and former Special Envoy
Libyan yellow cake still available

Libyan yellow cake still available
  • Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam is most senior figurehead of deposed dictator’s clan
  • Gaddafi’s former Special Envoy gave dramatic warning of the terror threat posed by ISIS in Libya, in an interview with MailOnline
  • Claims terror group will flood Europe with 500,000 migrants this year
  • Gaddaf al-Dam, exiled in Cairo, wants to hold a conference for all sides – including ISIS – to decide the future of the country
  • He uses alarm over ISIS in a bid to gain influence in Libyan politics and allies claim he is tipped to be the chaotic country’s next leader
  • Gaddaf al-Dam claims that third of population still support the Gaddafis
  • Calls his dead cousin a ‘saint’, says Hillary Clinton should ‘return to the kitchen’ and that the UK leaders follow America ‘like a dog’
The Gaddafi clan’s most senior figurehead has warned of ‘a 9/11 in Europe within two years’, while claiming that ISIS forces in Libya are now recruiting migrants to their terror cause with promises of ‘white virgins’.
Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s cousin and former intelligence official, has professed that ‘not less than half a million’ migrants will set sail from Libya to European shores this year.
Among them, he claims, are thousands of terrorists, who will soon be running amok in Europe culminating in a terror strike on the same scale as the September 11th attacks.
Mr Gaddaf al-Dam, one of several high-profile regime figures who fled to Egypt during the 2011 revolution, gave an interview to MailOnline as the North African state descends into ever-worsening chaos and bloodshed.
The Islamist groups are bringing them into the camps and turning them into soldiers. They give them money, tell them about Allah and heaven and the many white virgins waiting for you there
Ahmed Gaddafi al-Dam
ISIS sent shockwaves across the world recently when they released a video of the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians with bloodcurdling brutality on the shores of the Mediterranean.
The jihadist cutthroats have since pointed their sabres towards Europe, vowing ‘we will colour the Mediterranean Sea red with your blood.’
Colonel Gaddafi’s 42-year-rule which ended in 2011 was characterised by tyranny. He murdered political opponents and dissidents, and replaced law with his ‘Green Book’ of rambling political philosophy, taught in all Libyan schools.
He saw himself as the leader of the Third World and used Libya’s vast oil wealth to sponsor terror, shipping Semtex to the IRA and sending agents to bring down a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie in Scotland.
By the 1990s he had become a pariah, but was rehabilitated in 2004 under the British Labour government with the despot signing an £120million gas contract for Shell with Tony Blair. The Lockerbie bomber was allowed to return to Libya from a UK prison and Gaddafi intelligence officers were even allowed to operate in Britain.
He held out for eight months during the Libyan revolutions of 2011, but was eventually found hiding in a drain, dragged out by rebels, beaten and executed.
Now Mr Gaddaf al-Dam, Gaddafi’s one-time Special Envoy, is bidding to use the alarm over the rise of ISIS as a platform to make the dictator’s name a powerful force again in Libyan and international diplomacy. And he even suggests talks, which he hopes to broker, should include ISIS.
While European authorities have acknowledged that they cannot rule out that there are some jihadis hidden among boatloads of immigrants, there is little evidence that the real threat comes from migrants.
Most major terror strikes on European cities, including the Charlie Hebdo shootings and the attack on Copenhagen last month, were committed by homegrown terrorists.
The exile, now living in Cairo, also claims that the Islamist militants have begun conscripting sub-Saharan Africans – would-be migrants on their way to Europe – to swell their ranks.
He explained: ‘The Islamist groups are bringing them into the camps and turning them into soldiers. They give them money, tell them about Allah and heaven and the many white virgins waiting for you there.’
The uranium, I think they already have it, ISIS, because they control this territory. They are not stupid anymore. They know how to make money. They will try and sell it
However the uranium, which is estimated to be worth as much as $400 million, could be sold to it to a rogue state such as North Korea to raise further funds for terrorism.
Gaddaf al-Dam said: ‘The uranium I think they already have it, ISIS, because they control this territory. They are not stupid anymore. They know how to make money. They will try and sell it.’
The whereabouts of the uranium remains a source of concern. Inspectors from the watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency were scheduled to visit in December 2013 to verify the size of the stockpile and ‘conditions of storage’ but it is unclear whether or not they were able to locate it.
Undoubtedly Gaddafi’s brutal methods served Europe’s interests at one time suppressing militant Islamism and blocking migration boats from setting off. And alarmism over the chaos emanating from Libya serves Mr Gaddaf al-Dam’s interests as a key former member of the Gaddafi regime.
It is clear that he dreams of a return to power for his clan, and whipping up fear of the terrorists’ capabilities, while invoking a vision of the Gaddafis as Libya’s saviours, is an angle that he hopes will get the family a seat at the negotiating table.
‘We are working to save Libya’, he insists several times. ‘If we don’t do it today, tomorrow it may be too late.’
But in the last elections in June 2014 a contentious law banned any Gaddafi supporters from public office, and exiles from voting, a law condemned by Mr Gaddaf al-Dam.
Many Libyans regret their revolution and would now welcome them back, he claims.
In the only nod to the brutality with which his cousin ruled, he acknowledges that the Gaddafi administration ‘made mistakes’, but insists that Libya ‘is now a thousand times worse’.
‘We have to be part of the solution. People want us back’, he said.
‘In Libya the social bond is bigger than the political. And we were not a political party we were a social structure, the biggest tribe.’
The pro-Gaddafis represent two million people, one third of the population, he claims.
Mr Gaddaf al-Dam, who allies hope will be the next president of Libya, has a bold two-part peace plan.
We are working to save Libya. If we don’t do it today, tomorrow it may be too late
While the UN have tried to organise peace talks between some groups his aim is a comprehensive reconciliation conference including Islamists and even jihadis from ISIS.
‘Let the mafia sit together’, he said.
He claims that he is already ‘in contact with all sides’, adding: ‘We are not waiting for western powers. We are not waiting for the sky to rain gold. We are working together to save Libya. If we don’t do it today tomorrow it may be too late.’
He also called for international community to provide arms to bolster the struggling national army.
Mr Gaddaf al-Dam claims he plans to undertake a trip to the UK and other European countries in the coming weeks to drum up support for his conference.
Until September he was under a travel ban while facing extradition to Libya for crimes against the people, as well as counterfeiting, forgery, fraud and money laundering.
The EU said that since 1995 he had commanded ‘an elite army battalion in charge of Qaddafi’s personal security.’
Additionally, he was accused of being ‘involved in planning operations against Libyan dissidents abroad and was directly involved in terrorist activity.’
But Mr Gaddaf al-Dam insists the allegations are untrue and alleges Libyan authorities paid $2million to the previous Egyptian Muslim brotherhood government to arrest him.
He was arrested in 2013 for attempted murder, on the same day as Ali Maria, former Libyan ambassador to Egypt, and Mohamed Ibrahim, brother of former Libyan information minister Moussa Ibrahim, as well as dozens of others linked to the regime as part of a prisoner transfer deal.
But Libyan exiles came to his defence, firing on police in a dramatic eight hour seige at his home in the leafy and well-to-do district of Zamalek in Cairo.
Somehow he managed to avoid being extradited while 100 of his fellow supporters were imprisoned.
Supporters insisted that he held Egyptian nationality and had fought in the 1973 Arab War against Israel.
He was jailed in Egypt eventually ending up being joined in custody by his former enemies in the Muslim Brotherhood, when they were ousted in a military coup.
After nine months he was released to his home in Cairo, which is lined with pictures of the late dictator.
Mr Gaddaf al-Dam can’t let go of his family’s history. He still reveres Gaddafi as a great man and even ‘a saint’.
Remembering his gruesome death at the hands of rebels in 2011 he said: ‘I knew this would be the ending. He himself knew, it was his decision. To leave the country would have been surrender and would have been a black page in history.’
It is when talking about his cousin, who he grew up with and saw as an older brother, that the former soldier seems to lose his grip on reality.
He even goes so far as to accuse the West of orchestrating the revolution as a plot against Gaddafi as they feared he would realise his dream of creating a United States of Africa to rival the power of the US.
He explained: ‘I believe the west sees Africa as a mine for raw material all the future riches of the world’, he said.
A United States of Africa would have been able to demand better prices for their raw material, put wealth to serve people and put an end to internal struggles and diseases, to the detriment of the west, he claimed.
He recalled travelling with Gaddafi around Africa to meet leaders and tribal kings on a mission to put this plan into action.
Mr Gaddaf al-Dam reminisced: ‘We drove for 30,000 miles around the continent, we slept in the desert, the jungle, we ate their food, we wore their clothes.
‘Millions of Africans came to hear him speak. He controlled their hearts – he gave them hope that they could have a US of Africa as big and powerful as the USA.’
For years Gaddafi pushed for a single African military force, a single currency and a single passport for Africans to move freely around the continent.
But many of the other states said the idea was impractical and would encroach on their sovereignty.
A week before Gaddafi’s death South African president Jacob Zuma expressed relief at the regime’s downfall, complaining that Gaddafi had been ‘intimidating’ many African heads of state in an effort to gain influence throughout the continent.
In case such conspiracy theories don’t damage his already modest chances of winning meetings with western leaders, he threw in some choice words for them.
He said that British leaders like Tony Blair ‘follow Americans like a dog’.
Hillary Clinton ‘should get back in the kitchen’, he said, while Bush ‘the father is good, the son is crazy.’
We have to be part of the solution. People want us back. In Libya the social bond is bigger than the political. And we were not a political party we were a social structure, the biggest tribe
Only Silvio Berlusconi, with whom Gaddafi had a special bond, with the disgraced Italian premier even naming a bedroom after the despot, seems, initially, to emerge well, as ‘a good guy’.
‘He used to be our friend’, he remembers, ‘Then he bombed us.’
Pointing to Berlusconi’s community service sentence for tax fraud, he joked: ‘Now he is sweeping the streets of Rome.’
With the rest of the clan either dead, languishing in jail or exiled to the Gulf, Mr Gaddaf al-Dam has emerges as uniquely well positioned to lead the new-look Gaddafis.
Several of Gaddafi’s sons were killed in the uprising, including former National Security Adviser Mutassim Gaddafi, who died at the hands of the rebels on the same day as his father.
Saif al-Arab, the most low profile of Gaddafi’s offspring who studied in Munich, was killed in a NATO airstrike in 2011.
The survivors have had mixed fortunes. Gaddafi’s former heir apparent Saif al-Islam, who once had a mansion in Hampstead and graduated from the London School of Economics, was captured by rebels in 2011 and is being held in the mountain town of Zindan in western Libya.
Likewise his brother Saadi, who at one time played professional football in the Italian Serie A, and later commanded Libyan Special Forces, is languishing in a separate jail in Tripoli.
They are both charged with masterminding a campaign of murder and torture during the revolution.
Mr Gaddaf al-Dam’s own brother Sayyid Mohammed, who was allegedly involved in the 1980s assassination campaign against dissidents in Europe, is also in custody in Libya.
Meanwhile, Colonel Gaddafi’s other surviving son Hannibal, a renowned playboy who was once arrested for drink-driving in his Porsche on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, now lives in Algeria with his wife.
The other Gaddafis including Muammar’s widow Safiya Farkash, his daughter Aisha, a lawyer, and adopted daughter Hanaa, a doctor, have been given sanctuary in Oman on condition that they don’t talk to the media.
While the rest of the clan have kept a low profile until now, Mr Gaddaf al-Dam still wields considerable influence in Libya, according to some experts.
Hafed al Gwell, a liberal political analyst said: ‘He is the most senior and most capable of the Gaddafi clan.
‘His advantage is that he is moderate and is not seen as having blood on his hands as he was not involved in domestic politics. His problem is that he looks and sounds like Muammar Gaddafi.’
He still carries enormous influence in Libya, al Gwell argues, as his mother is from the Awlad Ali tribe, which dominates large segments of the Sahara while on the other side he is from the prominent Gaddafi tribe.
‘He is treated almost like a head of state by these tribes,’ al Gwell said.
His position as a former special envoy also gives him credibility abroad, al Gwell explains. ‘Having acted as Gaddafi’s interlocutor he is also a unique character on the international Arab scene with relationships extending over 40 years. The Saudis have blind trust in him.’
A conference involving all sides is a credible aim, he said. ‘It is vital to bring the old regime into the process, he said. ‘We have learned in Iraq the cost of excluding large chunks of the population who were linked to Saddam. We are still paying the price.’

11th Hour: Iran Still Withholding Information (Daniel 8:3)

UN nuclear watchdog says Iran still withholding key information
The head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said Monday that Iran had still not handed over key information to his staff, and that his body’s investigation into Tehran’s atomic program could not continue indefinitely.

“Iran has yet to provide explanations that enable the agency to clarify two outstanding practical measures,” chief Yukiya Amano told the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Board of Governors in Vienna, echoing a report seen by Reuters last month.

The two measures relating to alleged explosives tests and other measures that might have been used for bomb research should have been addressed by Iran last August.

“The Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities,” Amano said.

The West has related concerns that Iran wants to develop nuclear warheads. Tehran has vehemently denied those allegations, saying its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.

Amano added that the IAEA remains ready to accelerate the resolution of all outstanding issues, but “this process cannot continue indefinitely.”

The United States and five other powers are seeking to negotiate an agreement with Iran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions. They have set a March deadline for a framework deal and a June deadline for a final one.

The IAEA is likely to monitor any possible deal between Iran and the six powers in addition to its own investigation into Iran’s nuclear program. Amano said he proposed a 1.8-percent increase to the body’s $386 million budget given increased demand for its services.

He added that he remained seriously concerned about the nuclear activities of North Korea, which quit the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1993. The IAEA has not had inspectors on the ground there since they were expelled by North Korea in 2009.