Khamenei Calls for Jihad in Pakistan

Iran’s Khamenei names Kashmir, calls for jihad

Written by Manish Tewari | Updated: June 29, 2017 8:10 pm

Iran, Iran presidential elections, Iran elections, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran voting, iran news, indian express news Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks to the audience in Tehran, Iran May 17, 2017. (Source: Reuters)Even before the holy month of Ramzan could conclude and Eid spread its munificent blessings over the vale of Kashmir, a deputy superintendent of the Jammu & Kashmir police was stripped, brutally assaulted and killed on the premises of the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar. Just as the faithful had gathered to mark the Shab-e-Qadr or the Night of Power, Mohammed Ayub Pandith’s body was dragged out of the mosque and dumped in a drain.
Only six weeks ago, on May 10, Lt Ummer Fayaz was abducted by militants and killed in Shopian district. Even as the pall-bearers carried the dead body of the slain soldier to a nearby orchard, the mourners talked in whispers about the marks of torture on Ummer’s back, his broken jaw, broken ankles, his missing teeth, and the bruises and cuts on his body.
The lynching and the gruesome murder of both these officers made the nation recoil in horror. Justified outrage and calls for retribution filled the airwaves.
Growing up on the front lines of another battle against terror, this time in Punjab in the 1980s, and having lost a parent to the depredations of that ghastly violence, the ongoing violence in Jammu & Kashmir is but a sickeningly familiar story of the brutalization and dehumanization of society’s psyche brought about by the cycle of violence.
Perhaps, we should try and imagine the mindset of a child who was born in 1990 in Kashmir and is today 27 years old. All that he has seen in his life are curfews, cordon and search operations, stone pelting, enforced disappearances, and torture and fake/real encounter killings. For him, violence is the new normal. The face of the Indian state is someone clad in olive green or khaki carrying an AK-47, kicking the front door down. This is the dominant narrative in any militancy-prone, terror-infested, freedom-struggle area –- give it the label of your choice.
In such an environment of fear, terror, intimidation, coercion and death lurking around the next corner, it is easy for the likes of Burhan Wani to become folk heroes and legends. As the ‘Washington Post’ said about him “Burhan Wani was just 22 when he died, but he was already a folk hero to many in Indian-administered Kashmir. The telegenic insurgent — a leader of a group designated a foreign terrorist organisation by the State Department — played his social media persona to the hilt, mugging for pictures with automatic weapons and posting videos on WhatsApp and Facebook exhorting other men to join the separatist cause. He also threatened attacks on police convoys and military housing.”
There were others after him. Sabzar Ahmad renowned as ‘SAB DON’, became the new poster boy of terror in the Kashmir Valley. Taking forward the cult of Wani, Ahmad guided Hizbul terrorists until the security forces neutralised him in an encounter on May 27. More such poster children will, unfortunately, emerge, the reason for which is not difficult to discern.
Some months ago about 40-odd young people from various districts of Kashmir, under the aegis of an organisation called Jammu Kashmir People’s Alliance that has an interesting tagline, “We serve, We settle,” came to meet a Concerned Citizens Group in Delhi. This is led by former finance and external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha, who led two highly visible and successful outreach efforts to estranged sections in the Kashmir valley.
During the interaction these young boys and girls told us a very disturbing story. Apparently among the most wanted stone pelters in the valley is a gentleman called “DK” and he is all of SEVEN years old. If the average age of stone-pelters is between 7-17 years, irrespective of who is paying them, the Indian state is sitting on a volcano that is belching lava but has not really exploded. When and if it does, a lot of people entrusted with the remit of handling Kashmir both in the Centre and the state, will not have the time to say goodbye.
Then there is an international dimension to the Kashmir situation that has suddenly manifested itself. It has everything to do with the turmoil that US President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia has plunged the Islamic/ Arab world into. The calling out of Qatar for its links with Iran and subsequent developments has further divided the already fractured polity of the Middle East.
On Eid, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran gave a very chilling address in Teheran. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei publicly called for Jihad. “According to Islamic jurisprudence, when an enemy takes over Muslim lands, jihad in any possible form becomes everyone’s duty,” he said. “Palestine is the number one issue of the Islamic world, but some Islamic countries are acting in such a way as if the Palestinian case had been ignored and forgotten,” he added.
Then came the coup de grace. “Muslims the world over should also openly support the people of Bahrain, Kashmir and Yemen and repudiate oppressors and tyrants who attacked people in Ramadan,” Khamenei said.
Though Iran has earlier voted against India on the issue of Kashmir in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), this is the first time the situation in the Valley has been given a religious colour by Iran’s Supreme leader. Even those who are fighting against the Indian establishment in some districts of J&K have refrained from labelling their movement as “Islamic,” much less “jihadi.”
It is only one or two Hizbul Mujahideen “activists,” Zakir Rashid Bhatt among them, who have tried to give militancy an Islamic colour. In a video that went viral, he said, “When we pick up stones or guns it should not be with this intention that we are fighting for Kashmir (as a nation). The sole motive should be for the supremacy of Islam so that Shariah is established here.”
But Zakir Bhat was quickly denounced by the other separatist leaders.
However, the fact that a Shia religious leader of Iran has clubbed Kashmir, a predominantly Sunni area with causes like Yemen and Bahrain should worry New Delhi, because Iran backs up its rhetoric with logistical support, be it to the Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad or the Houthis in Yemen, to name but a few.
This support from Iran coincidentally comes at a time when the predominantly Sunni ISIS, or Daesh, is trying to strike roots in Jammu & Kashmir.
On his forthcoming visit to Israel, Prime Minister Modi would be well advised to ask his interlocutors about the activities of General Qasem Soleimani, the once reclusive head of the Revolutionary Guards and its elite Quds Force. General Soleimani has suddenly surfaced from an era in the dark leading clandestine processes overseas, to attain virtually iconic prominence in Iran. He and the Quds Force have successfully converted erstwhile territorial struggles into religious battles. One can only hope that Kashmir is not their next frontline.
The government should abandon its excessive reliance on hard power in J&K. Hard power should only be used to soften the recalcitrant so that soft power can take over. Jammu & Kashmir is crying out for the healing touch. All the leaders of the state cutting across the political divide, including chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, are urging the Central government to initiate an outreach to the alienated.
The Prime Minister will ignore their sage advice at his own peril. Terms like “final solution” do not help, as that may mean very differently from what the Central government has in mind.

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US Tells Pakistan to Stop Terrorism

US, India tell Pakistan: Don’t let terrorists use your territory

The new direction in the bilateral relationship came during the summit meeting on Monday night between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump who met for the first time six months after the host’s election to the top office.
The two leaders also told Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used for terror attacks on other countries and asked it to bring to justice terrorists blamed for attacks in Mumbai and other places in India.
“The leaders stressed that terrorism is a global scourge that must be fought and terrorist safe havens rooted out in every part of the world. They resolved that India and the US will fight together against this grave challenge to humanity.
“They committed to strengthen cooperation against terrorist threats from groups including Al Qaeda, ISIS, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), D-Company and their affiliates,” said the joint statement issued after their meeting.
India appreciated the US designating the Pakistan-based Hizbul Mujahideen leader Syed Salahuddin as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist — just ahead of the Trump-Modi meet of Monday — “as evidence of the commitment of the US to end terror in all its forms”.
The statement specifically referred to the terror attacks in Mumbai (2008) and Pathankot (2016) that it said were perpetrated by Pakistan-based groups and said the terrorists must be expeditiously brought to justice.
The LeT was blamed for the Mumbai mayhem of November 2008 that killed 166 Indians and foreigners including Americans. The Jaish was accused of attacking the Indian Air Force base at Pathankot in Punjab, leaving seven security personnel dead.
Also, in their joint remarks to the media after delegation level talks, both Modi and Trump spoke of their commitment to combat terrorism.
Modi said battling terror and destroying terrorist hideouts would be an important part of mutual cooperation.
“We will enhance the intelligence exchange to boost coordination to address our common concerns over terrorism and will deepen our policy coordination accordingly.”
Modi said the two countries had agreed to increase cooperation to tackle increasing radicalisation, extremism and terrorism.
Trump said both India and the US had been struck by terrorism, “and we are both determined to destroy terrorist organisations and the radical ideology that drives them.
“We will destroy radical Islamic terrorism,” he said.
“Our militaries are working every day to enhance cooperation between our military forces. And next month, they will join together with the Japanese navy to take place in the largest maritime exercise ever conducted in the vast Indian Ocean.”
Answering questions later, Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said the US move to declare Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist had sent a clear signal.
“You should take the step for what it is. It is in a sense fixing responsibility, highlighting a problem.
“There is a context to it… It is focusing on a particular group and a particular individual… I think none of us can really miss that message.”
The Foreign Secretary said there was a broad discussion on Pakistan. It was also extensive and very detailed on certain issues.
“We had very much converging viewpoint of what is the problem, let us diagnose the problem. And it is not just the Indian situation… A lot of discussion related to what was happening in Afghanistan.”
On economic cooperation, the two countries said they plan to undertake a comprehensive review of trade relations to expedite regulatory processes and increase market access in areas such as agriculture, information technology and manufactured goods and services.
They also resolved to pursue increased commercial engagement in a manner that advances the principles of free and fair trade.
“Prime Minister Modi and President Trump looked forward to conclusion of contractual agreements between Westinghouse Electric Company and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India for six nuclear reactors in India and also related project financing,” the statement said.
Against the backdrop of Trump’s remarks against India and China regarding the Paris climate change agreement, the statement said the two leaders called for a rational approach that balances environment and climate policy, global economic development and energy security needs.
The US cleared the sale of Guardian drones to India with the two countries pledging to deepen their defence and security cooperation.
The statement said that the two countries look forward to working together on advanced defence equipment and technology “at a level commensurate with that of the closest allies and partners of the United States.”
“Reflecting the partnership, the United States has offered for India’s consideration the sale of Sea Guardian Unmanned Aerial Systems, which would enhance India’s capabilities and promote shared security interests,” it said.
The United States expressed strong support for India’s early membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group.
It also reaffirmed the support of the United States for India’s permanent membership of a reformed U.N. Security Council .

Korea Continues To Build Nukes

Kim In Ryong told the U.N. Security Council that the more than 50-year confrontation between North Korea and the United States came closer to the brink of nuclear war than ever before when the U.S. military held what he called its largest-ever “aggressive” maneuvers with South Korea in April and May.
Since then, he said, the United States has sent B-1B nuclear bombers into South Korean airspace, deployed the THAAD anti-missile system in the country, imposed new U.S. sanctions against North Korea, and spearheaded another U.N. sanctions resolution.
Kim said the Trump administration is pursuing an outdated “hostile policy” toward the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which is North Korea’s official name.
He said the United States is modernizing its nuclear weapons but other countries aren’t allowed “to test or launch any object which goes with the words of nuclear or ballistic.”
“This is really the height of shameless arrogance, self-righteousness and double standards,” he said.
Accusing the U.S. of trying to hold down North Korea and retain a military edge in Asia as part of “its dream of world domination,” Kim said the North Korean people have concluded that to defend their rights and sovereignty they must respond in kind.
“No matter what others say, whatever sanctions, pressure and military attack may follow, we will not flinch from the road to build up nuclear forces, which was chosen to defend the sovereignty of the country and the rights to national existence,” he said.
The North Korean ambassador was making a rare appearance in the Security Council at an open meeting on implementation of a resolution adopted in 2004 aimed at keeping terrorists, extremists and other “non-state actors” from obtaining nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. He has boycotted council meetings dealing with U.N. sanctions against North Korea.
A statement read at the council meeting by Spain’s U.N. ambassador, Roman Oyarzun Marchesi, on behalf of 51 countries that strongly oppose the spread of weapons of mass destruction condemns “proliferation in all possible forms by anyone” — and vows to “make every effort to prevent it.”
“In this connection, we condemn in the strongest terms the nuclear weapons and ballistic missile development activities conducted by the DPRK in flagrant violation of the Security Council’s resolutions,” said the statement, whose signatories include the United States and countries from Asia, Africa, the Mideast, Latin America and Europe.
The U.N. disarmament chief, Izumi Nakamitsu, warned the Security Council that advancements in science and technology in an increasingly interconnected world are making it more difficult to prevent “the disastrous scenario” of terrorists using nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. She said that while globalization brings new opportunities for economic growth and development it also facilitates the rapid movement of materials and the latest scientific and technological discoveries as well as people with expertise.
“Non-state actors including terrorist organizations will exploit any loophole to obtain these technologies,” she said.
“While there are still significant technical hurdles that terrorist groups need to overcome to effectively use weapons of mass destruction, a growing number of emerging technologies could make this barrier easier to cross,” Nakamitsu said.
She pointed to the use of drones, 3D printers and the exploitation of “dark web” as a marketplace to buy dual-use equipment and materials.
“Dual use is further complicating our efforts to address the risk posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” Nakamitsu said.

Iran Remains Nuclear Ready confirms: U.S. nuke deal to allow Iran 6,000 centrifuges for continued uranium enrichment

Posted at 11:21 am on March 19, 2015
So the rumors last month were true: Six thousand centrifuges will continue to spin, which is supposedly a great victory for the U.S. since it would mean — assuming Iran isn’t covertly operating even more centrifuges under the UN’s nose — that Iran would need a solid year to “break out” and refine enough uranium to power a nuclear bomb. Which means Barack Obama would have a year to prepare and execute a U.S. attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities to stop them.Oh, minor footnote: Barack Obama’s never going to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Ever. And both sides understand that.

[Six thousand is] less than the 10,000 such machines Tehran now runs, yet substantially more than the 500 to 1,500 that Washington originally wanted as a ceiling. Only a year ago, U.S. officials floated 4,000 as a possible compromise…
It’s unclear how complete the draft agreement is. Iran’s deeply buried underground enrichment plant remains a problem, officials said, with Washington demanding the facility be repurposed and Tehran insisting it be able to run hundreds of centrifuges there. Iran says it wants to use the machines for scientific research; the Americans fear they could be quickly retooled for enrichment…
Any March framework agreement is unlikely to constrain Iran’s missile program, which the United States believes may ultimately be aimed at creating delivery systems for nuclear warheads. Diplomats say that as the talks move to deadline, the Iranians continue to insist that missile curbs are not up for discussion…
After the deal expires [in 15-20 years], Iran could theoretically ramp up enrichment to whatever level or volume it wants.

So Iran gets to keep enriching, maybe gets to keep using its heavily fortified Fordow facility, gets to keep perfecting its ICBMs while all of this is happening, and then is free to get crazy with the nuclear cheez whiz in 15 years — and amid all this, a variety of American and international sanctions would be gradually relaxed. In return for all that, the U.S. gets a handful of magic beans. Pet the Gatestone Institute, even the French — the French! — think Obama’s a sucker who’s unwittingly kickstarting a nuclear panic among the Middle East’s Sunni powers. The same guy who’s spent years talking up “nuclear zero” may end up leaving a legacy of Islamic states arming themselves to the teeth with civilization-destroying bombs:

[French Foreign Minister Laurent] Fabius himself, in a meeting last week, made extremely clear his deep distrust (“contempt, really,” one MP says) of both John Kerry and Barack Obama. Another of the group quotes Fabius as saying: “The United States was really ready to sign just about anything with the Iranians,” before explaining that he himself had sent out, mid-February, a number of French ‘counter-proposals’ to the State Department and White House, in order to prevent an agreement too imbalanced in favor of Iran…
French diplomats are no angels, and they haven’t suddenly turned 180 degrees from their usual attitude of reflexive dislike toward Israel. They worry, however, that if Iran gets nuclear weapons, every other local Middle East power will want them. Among their worst nightmares is a situation in which Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia join the Dr. Strangelove club. French diplomats may not like Israel, but they do not believe Israelis would use a nuclear device except in a truly Armageddon situation for Israel. As for Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Turkey going nuclear, however, they see terrifying possibilities: irresponsible leaders, or some ISIS-type terrorist outfit, could actually use them. In other words, even if they would never express it as clearly as that, they see Israelis as “like us,” but others potentially as madmen.

I said most of what I had to say about this in this post but let me reemphasize an obvious point: All this is, really, is a punt. Obama’s stuck between two unpalatable options, bombing Iran and starting (or escalating) a hot war across at least three countries in the region, namely, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, or doing nothing and being known to history as the Man Who Let Iran Get the Bomb. A 15-year deal with sunset provisions is as explicit an attempt as you can get to push the ultimate disposition of Iran’s nuke program onto some future president. Maybe the mullahs will be deposed by then and the problem will solve itself (although it’s naive to think even a friendlier regime in Tehran will be willing to capitulate on enrichment). Maybe the U.S. will have developed new weapons by then, cyber or otherwise, that will permit a more effective attack on Iran’s facilities than we’re capable of right now. Maybe the Israelis will figure something out. Or maybe the status quo will hold, more or less, and President Hillary or President Jeb or whoever will have to make the sort of tough decision that Obama’s incapable of making. Whatever the answer, it won’t be his problem anymore. Unless of course Iran violates the agreement before January 2017. And why would they do that and risk alienating O when he’s busy reorienting America’s entire Middle East policy towards detente with the Shiite menace?
Two other points here. One: After all the Democratic screeching about Tom Cotton’s unprecedented, historic, near-treasonous Logan-Act-smashing letter to Iran, it did squat to disrupt the deal. And that was predictable, of course, since Cotton’s letter said nothing that Iran didn’t already know. It was cheap left-wing demagoguery from the word go, designed to bolster a guy whose committed the sort of sins against separation of powers that would have liberals demanding impeachment if a Republican had committed them. Take nothing these people say seriously. Two: All lefty defenses of doing a deal with Iran boil down to “the mullahs are rational.” Even if the worst occurs and they build a bomb on the sly — a prospect Obama’s Democratic supporters are clearly already preparing for rhetorically — it’s not a huge deal because Iran’s rulers haven’t made any suicidal moves to date. They didn’t fight to the bitter end against Saddam in the 80s, they preferred Shiite proxies and arms shipments to direct battlefield confrontation with the U.S. in Iraq — they know their limitations, so they won’t do anything dramatic with Israel knowing the scale of nuclear retaliation that awaits. The problem with that defense is that it assumes that things can’t get worse in Iran; the current regime is the craziest Iran is capable of, supposedly, and since they’re kinda sorta rational, that means there’s no worst-case scenario. Rule one of Middle Eastern regime change, though, is that things can always get worse (and usually do). In fact, the left’s criticism of Cotton’s letter tacitly acknowledges it: Cotton’s letter allowed “hardline” opponents of the nuclear deal in Iran’s parliament to proclaim that the negotiations were doomed and shouldn’t continue. What happens if Khamenei dies and one of those “hardliners” ascends the throne? Lefties and righties alike recognize what a nuclear clusterfark it would be if Pakistan’s leadership was deposed by something more Taliban-esque. We all understand it’d be a terrible idea to let the Saudi royals have the bomb knowing what’s waiting in the wings to replace them. What if something similar happened in Iran, with the fanatics di tutti fanatics within the regime suddenly inheriting a supply of highly enriched uranium? Why does Iran get such a weird benefit of the doubt as to its enduring stability and rationality?
Update: Ah, here’s a nice catch by Jeff Dunetz. If Iran’s nuclear production is all about supplying power plants, why on earth would they settle for only a few thousand centrifuges but insist on more than 4,000, per the AP excerpt above? Your answer:

If you are going to have a nuclear weapons program, 5,000 is pretty much the number you need,” [former CIA deputy director Mike] Morell, now a CBS analyst, said on Charlie Rose. “If you have a power program, you need a lot more. By limiting them to a small number of centrifuges, we are limiting them to the number you need for a weapon.”