Iranian Terrorism is Here to Stay

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Military Intelligence head: Terrorism is here to stay
Arutz Sheva Staff, 22/06/17 19:11
The head of the IDF’s Intelligence Directorate, Major General Hertzi Halevi, spoke at the Herzliya Conference and addressed the security threats to Israel.
“Terror is here to stay,” Halevy said. “ISIS has lost territory and shrunk, but instead of an Islamic Caliphate, we see a virtual Caliphate. There is a clear connection between the pressure on Mosul and al-Raka and the wave of terrorism in Europe.”
According to him, the likelihood of an initiated war against Israel is low. “Power-building processes, especially in Gaza and Lebanon, transfer military power into irresponsible hands.Our enemies, who seek to deter Israel, are liable to bring upon themselves the next war.”
Today, Halevi said, wars begin and end differently. “These are wars with organizations. They do not start with a decision, but rather with a deterioration between the organizations. They do not end with a unilateral decision by paratroopers at the Western Wall.”
The head of Military Intelligence said that Iran, the Assad regime and Hezbollah constitute the main threat to the region, “with global funding and a major danger to the State of Israel. Iran is problematic not only because of the nuclear issue. It is in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.”
We see clearly that Hezbollah is building a military industry with Iranian knowledge, producing weapons and transferring them to southern Lebanon.
He said the terrorist attacks in Europe would continue for the foreseeable future.
Maj. Gen. Halevi said that Iran has been working in the past year to establish an infrastructure for the production of precise weapons in Yemen and in Iraq. “The nuclear agreement prohibits Iran from creating a certain weapon, but it produces other weapons. 20 countries are threatened by the deployment of Iranian Zelzal missiles.”
Addressing the recent Iranian missile strikes on ISIS targets, he said: “We saw it from medium range missiles. I think ISIS was hit hard. I ask myself: if Iran is so involved in Syria – why did not they strike from there? If it’s a show, it’s not clear it was so successful and it’s still disturbing.”
He also said that Israel has allowed more than seven million tons of construction material into Gaza in the three years since Operation Protective Edge. “How much of this has gone to the benefit of the civilians in Gaza? Do the children in Gaza receive a better education system? The answer is usually no. This is really a dilemma, since Israel has an interest in not having a crisis in Gaza.”
“The electricity dilemma reflects this well. On the one hand, the oxygen masks in the hospitals are connected to electricity, but the digging machines in the Hamas tunnels are connected to the same electricity. We have to let Hamas choose. We cannot let Hamas build an army so easily.”

Iran Will Support The Shia Horn To The End (Daniel 8)

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Mon Apr 25, 2016 9:56AM
 
Here is a round-up of global news developments:

  • A top adviser to the Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says Tehran will continue to support the Syrian government and nation if the ceasefire breaks down there. Ali Akbar Velayati, however, noted that the Syrian people would like to see peace and security take hold in their country.
  • Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has criticized a US court ruling that calls for the disbursement of a part of Iran’s frozen assets to families of Americans killed in the 1983 Beirut bombing. Addressing a joint news conference with his Macedonian counterpart, Zarif said Tehran doesn’t recognize the politically motivated verdict.
  • Americans have marched through the city of Baltimore, Maryland to commemorate a black man who died in police custody last year. Hundreds of local residents, clergy, politicians and media attended the march. Freddie Gray’s death last April sparked days of clashes, arson and looting in Baltimore.
  • Britain is considering a plan to send ground combat troops to Libya. The Foreign Secretary says the deployment will be necessary, considering Libya’s proximity to Europe. Philip Hammond says the southern Mediterranean is an important security interest as terrorists operating there would be a threat to all of Europe.
  • The United States is planning to send more troops to Syria under the pretext of fighting terrorism. A Wall Street Journal report says Washington will send 250 personnel to join 50 American forces already deployed in the war-torn Arab country. President Barak Obama will reportedly make the announcement on Monday.
  • Yemenis have rallied in the port city of Hudaydah to call for an end to Saudi Arabia’s naval blockade. Chanting anti-US and anti-Israel slogans, the protesters pledged to resist the military aggression that has caused huge damage to their city. The blockade has pushed Yemen to the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe.
  • Serbia’s pro-Western Prime Minister Aleksandar Vouchich has claimed victory in general elections. Initial projections show Vouchich’s Progressive Party has won more than 50-percent of the vote. The premier called for an early poll in order to get a mandate to continue with reforms required to join the European Union.
  • Brazilians in Sao Paulo have held yet another rally in support of embattled President Dilma Rousseff, who’s facing a possible impeachment. The protesters pledged to continue their rallies until the Senate votes against the impeachment. Last week, Rousseff lost an impeachment vote in the lower house.

Iran Talks About the Great Shia Cresent (Daniel 8)

Iran says Iraq, Syria conflicts gateway to spreading Islamic revolution worldwide

In front of a portrait of the late Iranian revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, mourners carry a flag draped coffin of an unknown Iranian soldier who was killed during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, whose remains were recently recovered, during a ceremony commemorating the death anniversary of Fatima, the daughter of Islam's Prophet Muhammad, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, March 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
In front of a portrait of the late Iranian revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, mourners carry a flag draped coffin of an unknown Iranian soldier who was killed during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, whose remains were recently recovered, during a ceremon
– The Washington Times – Tuesday, March 15, 2016
The chief of the hard-line Iranian military force that sees its mission as protecting the regime said Tuesday that Iran’s insertion into regional conflicts is helping Tehran spread its Islamic revolution around the world.

Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, who commands the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said in Tehran that “foreign military and security threats have all turned into an opportunity for Iran to spread the Islamic Revolution’s dialogue across the globe.”

Gen. Jafari’s stated goal is just the latest statement from a top Iranian figure about the country’s continued expansionist objectives and warlike rhetoric. The Obama administration has hoped for a softening of Iranian behavior in the wake of the nuclear deal in July hammered out by Secretary of State John F. Kerry and representatives from five other powers, but critics say there are signs that the agreement has emboldened Iran.

“The nuclear deal was a turning point,” said Michael Rubin, a Middle East analyst at the American Enterprise Institute who strongly opposed the accord.

“It convinced the Iranian government that they could act without consequence, and it ended any budgetary constraints the Revolutionary Guards might have had,” Mr. Rubin said. “The Iranians played Kerry like a fiddle. His ambition is only matched by his naivete.”

The Revolutionary Guard includes the Quds Force, a combined special operations-intelligence unit that has been deployed to disrupt unfriendly other states in the region. The Revolutionary Guard is now fighting in Iraq and Syria, menaces Israel from Lebanon and aided the Houthi rebels in Yemen who toppled a pro-U.S. government there.

In Iraq, Iran is working with the Shiite Muslim-dominated government in Baghdad in the fight against the Sunni extremist Islamic State. In Syria, Iran is battling pro-Western rebels, as well as Islamic State and al Qaeda forces, to support its autocratic ally, President Bashar Assad.

Mr. Assad has committed atrocities against his own people with chemical and conventional weapons.
Iran is set to receive tens of billions of dollars in freed-up cash as a result of the lifting of international sanctions in exchange for curbing its nuclear programs. The Obama administration has conceded that there is no way to prevent some of that windfall from funding Iran’s overseas operations. The U.S. deems Iran the No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism.

Gen. Jafari’s remarks at a ceremony in Tehran were reported in a brief dispatch by the semi-official FARS news agency.

Its headline: “IRGC Commander: Military Threats Turned into Opportunities for Iran.”
Bent on revolution?

Analysts say Iran seems determined, by actions and words, to signal that it remains a revolutionary regime bent on following through on threats to destroy Israel, bring “death to America” and one day raise an Islamic flag over the White House.

In a major provocation this month, Iran test-launched multiple ballistic missiles from ground silos capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Iran’s critics quickly responded by saying such tests violated a U.N. resolution calling for a halt, but not prohibition, on such tests. They said the launches were evidence that Iran would violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the nuclear accord is known.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, a key figure in the nuclear talks, insisted this week that the missile tests were for defensive purposes only and did not violate U.N. resolutions.

In January, the Revolutionary Guard seized two U.S. Navy patrol boats and 10 American sailors who wandered into Iranian waters of the Persian Gulf after suffering mechanical trouble. In violation of international law, Iran exploited the detention by showing photos of surrendering Americans.

Said Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee: “I’m not sure which is worse — the ayatollah pinning medals on the chest of IRGC henchmen who conducted this illegal and provocative action or the shameful and dangerous lack of condemnation by senior administration officials.”

Gen. Ali Razmjou, a top naval commander in the Revolutionary Guard, said Tuesday that Iran had obtained thousands of pages of information from devices used by the U.S. sailors who were briefly held, according to The Associated Press, after probing the sailors’ laptops, GPS devices and maps. Gen. Razmjou told Iranian state television that the collection of information was within Iran’s rights under international law.

But the U.S. Navy’s chief of operations swiftly rejected that claim.

“They should not have been seized,” Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

In another provocation, Iran in January fired a rocket within 1,500 yards of a U.S. Navy carrier in the Persian Gulf.

A year ago this month, Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, chief of U.S. Central Command, told Mr. McCain’s committee that Iran “continues to act as a destabilizing force in the region, primarily through its Quds forces, and through support to proxy actors such as Lebanese Hezbollah.”

This month, eight months after the nuclear deal was reached, Gen. Austin told the same panel, “We’ve not yet seen any indication that they intend to pursue a different path. The fact remains that Iran today is a significant destabilizing force in the region.”

Iran’s next big event may be the first launch of its “Simorgh” two-stage rocket to place a satellite in space, the Union of Concerned Scientists reports.

It would underscore that Iran may one day have an arsenal of rockets capable of striking the U.S.
The Simorgh is designed to carry a heavier payload than existing expendable rockets and was supposed to be launched six years ago. There is speculation that international trade and banking sanctions left Tehran with insufficient funds to keep to that schedule. Iran no longer faces those financial restrictions.

Iran first launched a satellite in space in 2009.

The scientists group said Iran appears ready to put a relatively crude reconnaissance satellite into space.

“Iran’s goal is presumably to learn and improve satellite construction, control and communications, and to systematically improve its launch capabilities,” the organization said in its blog All Things Nuclear, by scientist Laura Grego.

Assad Will Remain In The Shia Crescent (Daniel 8:3)

An advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the removal of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad was a “red line” that Iran would not cross, Reuters reported on Sunday.

“Bashar al-Assad is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s red line because he was elected president by the Syrian people,” said Ali Akbar Velayati, the top foreign policy advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“The Syrian people must decide their own fate, and nobody outside Syria’s borders can choose for the Syrian people,” he added.

Various analysts have cited Iran’s backing of Assad, and the Syrian dictator’s tacit support of ISIS, as some of the main factors behind the ascendance of the terror group. Assad’s failure to step down from power is likely to further entrench ISIS and exacerbate sectarian violence in Syria and the region.
Last week, while evaluating U.S. interests and strategy in Syria, Tony Badran of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies observed that ISIS is “allied militarily and economically with Assad against other rebel groups.”

This past June, the Obama administration accused the Syrian regime of striking anti-Assad rebels but leaving ISIS alone while it was advancing on the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. That same month, Elliott Abrams, a former deputy national security adviser and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, called Assad “a recruiting device for ISIS and a manufacturer of jihadis,” and added, “As long as Assad is dropping chlorine bombs, killing women and children, and destroying Sunni communities in Syria, ISIS cannot be defeated.

In December, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry remarked that, “while Assad claims to be the last line of defense against a terrorist takeover in Syria, the truth is his relationship to Daesh has been symbiotic. It was Assad’s ruthless reign that fueled Daesh’s rise and enabled terrorists to portray themselves as the only alternative Syrians had to their dictator.”

There is also evidence that Iran has supported ISIS directly for some time.

Last month, Reuel Marc Gerecht and Ray Takeyh wrote in Foreign Affairs that Iran has not attempted to roll back ISIS’s territorial gains, and observed that sectarian violence in Syria and Iraq allowed Tehran to achieve “more influence than at any time since the 1979 revolution.” By being seen as an indispensable partner in the fight against terrorism, they argued, Iran’s “cynical strategy…will likely do just enough to make sure the Sunnis don’t conquer the Shia portions of Iraq and Assad’s enclave in Syria, but no more. Meanwhile, in ISIS’ wake, Tehran will strengthen its own radical Shia militias.

In May, former U.S. military intelligence officer Michael Pregent explained that Iran and its allied militias did not extend themselves to fight ISIS, and concluded that “Iran needs the threat of ISIS and Sunni jihadist groups to stay in Syria and Iraq in order to become further entrenched in Damascus and Baghdad.”

Last year, reports surfaced that Iranian agents were arming ISIS in exchange for oil. This came two years after the U.S. Treasury Department exposed Iranian funding of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the terrorist organization that later evolved into ISIS.

In Iran Is More Deeply Tied To ISIS Than You Think, which was published in the December 2015 issue of The Tower Magazine, Benjamin Decker detailed the heavy Iranian financial and material support that fueled the rise of AQI.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the rise of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the predecessor to the Islamic State, has been well documented; comparably little attention has been given to the group’s global reach. While the Islamic State was born out of Osama Bin Laden’s global jihad against the West, many overlook the importance of another player in the equation – Iran.
This may seem surprising given that Iran, the stalwart of the Shi’a Crescent, is currently embroiled in a regional war against the Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq. However, Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, described as one of the “largest and most dynamic intelligence agencies in the Middle East” by the Pentagon’s Irregular Warfare Support Program, has, over the past 20 years, provided financial, material, technological, and other support services to AQI. The man responsible for fostering this unexpected relationship was Imad Mughniyeh. While his name may not carry the same perceived significance as Osama Bin Laden, Mughniyeh commanded a vast international terror network that included Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, Hamas, and a myriad of others, spanning over five continents.

In early 2014, Iranian chief nuclear negotiator and foreign minister Mohammad Javid Zarif paid tribute to Mughniyeh, who was responsible for the deaths of more Americans than any other individual before 9/11, during a visit to Beirut.

Iran Establishing The Shia Crescent (Daniel 8)

Khamenei advisor: Assad’s fate a ‘red line’ for Iran 
Protesters carry an image of Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad during a demonstration against U.S. military action in Syria, Monday, Sept. 9, 2013. (File photo: AP)

Reuters, DubaiSunday, 6 December 2015

A top advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader on Sunday said the future of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad could only be determined by the Syrian people and this was a “red line” for Tehran.

Assad’s fate is a sticking point in talks between world powers aimed at finding a political solution to the crisis in Syria. Iran and Russia want him to stay in power until elections are held, while Western and Arab powers say he must go.

Bashar al-Assad is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s red line because he was elected president by the Syrian people,” said Ali Akbar Velayati, the top foreign policy advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“The Syrian people must decide their own fate, and nobody outside Syria’s borders can choose for the Syrian people,” he added.

Velayati also said Iran would try to ease tensions between Turkey and Russia. Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet last month that it said had violated Turkish airspace while flying a mission in Syria.

“There is no benefit to tensions mounting up in the region. We must not take the side of either party, and have a duty to reduce tensions between these two countries,” he said.

Forming The Shia Horn (Dan 8:8)

 

Iran, Syria and Iraq will form alliance against terror: Velayati

Tehran Times Political Desk

TEHRAN – Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, says Iran, Syria and Iraq will form an alliance against terrorism in the future. 

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of his meeting with Syrian Interior Minister Mohammad al-Shaar on Tuesday, Velayati said Iran, Iraq and Syria can defeat terrorism through cooperation. 

“The first circle of resistance and campaign against terrorism has been formed by Iran, Iraq and Syria, and we are certain that with the unity of the three countries we can win over terrorism, and in the future a close relationship will take shape among the three countries.”

Velayati said Syria and Iraq are fighting terrorism on the behalf of all countries in the region since terrorism has no borders.

“If the government and people of Iraq and the government and people of Syria are fighting terrorism it is a ‘defense’ from the entire regional countries. Campaign against terrorism is a regional campaign and it is not restricted to the borders of one country.”

Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli and Shaar signed a security agreement in Tehran on Monday.

Iran, Syria and Iraq plan to hold a trilateral summit in Baghdad next week to coordinate efforts against terrorists.

“Some terrorist groups cross between Iraq and Syria and if they are going to be confronted with to be rooted out there should be regional cooperation and we are happy that the interior ministers of Iraq, Syria and Iran have reached the conclusion to hold a joint meeting in Baghdad so that through interaction and cooperation of the three countries we can win over terrorism which have been created” by arrogant powers and their allies in the region, said Velayati who served as Iranian foreign minister in the 1980s and 1990s.

Velayati also said if any of the regional countries remain passive in the fight against terrorists “finally the flames of the fire of terrorism” will engulf them.

Velayati said regional cooperation is required to root out terrorism.

The physician-turned politician also praised cooperation between the Syrian government and Syrian Kurds in fight against Daesh, saying the Syrian Kurds strongly defend their country’s territorial integrity.

——Any nuclear agreement should be ratified by Majlis—–

Commenting on nuclear talks between Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany), he said that Iran supports talks.

He expressed hope that an agreement that safeguards Iran’s nuclear rights would be reached.

He also said that signing any nuclear agreement and protocols by Iran should be approved by parliament.

“The joining of Iran to any protocol should be approved by Majlis,” the veteran politician noted in reference to the Additional Protocol to the NPT.

NA/PA

The Shia Horn Will Eliminate ISIS (Dan 8:3)

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Iran’s Support Can Eliminate ISIS From Middle East: Iraq

By Sounak Mukhopadhyay
on June 17 2015 3:52 PM EDT
Iran said that it would continue to support Iraq’s battle against Islamic extremism. Iranian President Hasan Rouhani said that Iraq’s security was closely linked to Iran’s.
Rouhani met Wednesday with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Tehran, the Iranian capital. While he extended support for Iraq’s cause, he clarified that it was Iraq and its army that would have to win the battle against terrorism in that country.
Abadi was highly appreciative of Iran’s support in its battle against terrorism. He said that Iran’s support would eventually help eliminate Islamic State group forces from Iraq and other countries in the Middle East. He added that there should be an expansion of business relations between Iraq and Iran.
“The main responsibility for combating terrorism and finally defeating it falls undoubtedly on the shoulders of the Iraqi nation and army,” Iran’s Press TV quoted Rouhani as saying. “Nevertheless, the people and government of Iran have been and will continue to be beside the government and nation of Iraq.” The Iranian president emphasized that peace, security and stability in the region would ensure development and progress there.
The Iranian president said that some countries were trying to spread hostility among Iraq’s people in order for those countries to promote their own interests. Rouhani said that Iraq should stay together and act against those who would like to weaken its national integrity.
The Iraqi prime minister also met with Iran’s First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri on Wednesday. Abadi suggested to Jahangiri that Iran and Iraq should form a “united front” to battle terrorism. Jahangiri echoed Rouhani’s support for Iraq and said that his country would extend support for development and stability in Iraq.
While Iran’s nuclear negotiations with six world powers are approaching a June 30 deadline for a deal, Israel has been skeptical about Iran’s intentions. Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz earlier told Reuters that Israel was “very worried” that there was “crumbling” during the negotiation process. He indicated that the United States should be more vigilant about inspecting Iran’s nuclear sites.
Even though Israel has been campaigning against Iran, it has not found any support from the Arab nations that have a Sunni majority. One of the most important nations in the region, Saudi Arabia, does not recognize Israel as a nation and refuses to support its causes.

The Prophecy Of Ishmael: Brother Against Brother

  

The wounds may never heal in a fractured region
Ali Hashem Jun 09, 2015

In his book A Line in the Sand, James Barr explains why the Sykes-Picot deal was struck in 1916 to divide most of the Ottoman Empire between Britain and France.

After the Second World War, the political systems that appeared following the Sykes-Picot agreement had undergone several changes. The two colonial powers had to step back and the kingdoms in Syria, Iraq and Egypt fell one after the other.

A wave of nationalism hit the region helping some young army officers climb the ladder of power. An effort to reunify the Arab countries was exerted, mainly by the Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser. He succeeded at the beginning, then failed and later, after his country’s defeat in the 1967 war with Israel, what had been a dream for many became a nightmare.

Forty-eight years later, the trend in the region is to talk how new sectarian states could solve the region’s problems.

Some defend the idea by claiming that the Sunni-Shiite strife that is now so widespread has reached an unprecedented point.

These same people believe that pushing each sect apart could diffuse tension and this might help build a peaceful future.

In fact, some of the bloodiest wars in this region were fought between people of the same sect.
Lebanese Shiite groups, Amal and Hizbollah, fought each other in a three-year war from 1987 to 1990. Both groups come from the same areas, sect and families and have Imam Moussa Sadr as a common spiritual influence. Yet when they struggled for power, thousands of fighters were killed, sometimes two brothers from the same house fought on opposite sides.

In the Kurdish region, both the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan contested a similar war. Thousands of people lost their lives in the Iraqi Kurdish Civil War despite the fact they shared the same objective of having an independent Kurdish state one day.

Many people may have forgotten these conflicts because of the time that has passed, but one only has to look at Syria for further evidence.

The struggle against Bashar Al Assad hasn’t prevented rebel fighters from forming dozens of groups, some of whom are only copying each other, and later launching wars against each other. The Syrian civil war – and the conflicts among the rebels themselves – has given more life and confidence to the regime.

Shiitestan, Sunnistan and Kurdistan are the proposed three states of Iraq suggested by those who would have the country splinter into smaller pockets of land and influence. But what would happen if it did?

In this scenario, the Shiite state would have plenty of room for conflict. For starters, there is Muqtada Al Sadr’s army and about five rival groups that have defected from his ranks. Along with Sadr there would be former prime ministers Nouri Al Maliki and Iyad Allawi, as well as the Hakim dynasty, all competing for supremacy. Taken together, all of these political figures make the possibility of forming a new and stable government almost impossible.

As for Sunnistan, there would potentially be ISIL, former Baathists, Islamists, former vice president Tarek Hashemi, former speaker Ossama Nujeifi and others seeking primacy.

The Kurdistan Regional Government already enjoys a form of autonomy, but many Kurds are preoccupied by the threat posed by ISIL. Additionally, a few days ago clashes between Iranian Kurds and the PKK brought some fatalities, suggesting continuing tension.

But it is not just about the three states of Iraq. To these should be added another three states within Syria if not more, and two states in Yemen, three in Libya, two in Lebanon and so it goes on.

All these new states would mean a potential civil war in each one of them. And that would result in tens of thousands of fatalities. The end result of that would be deep scars that might never heal – not in decades, not even in centuries.

Ali Hashem is chief correspondent for Lebanese satellite television channel Al Mayadeen News
On Twitter: @alihashem_tv

It’s All About The Shia Horn (Daniel 8)

The U.S. and Gulf are confused over Yemen and Iraq

The Great Islamic Schism

The Great Shia Horn

Raghida Dergham
Sunday, 1 March 2015

The return of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to bloodily shaping the country’s history has not come overnight, on the eve of the house arrest imposed by the Houthis on current President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi before they allowed him to flee to Aden – the capital of South Yemen before reunification. Ali Abdullah Saleh, since he agreed to step down three years ago, has been planning to return to power either on the Houthi bandwagon or through elements in the military establishment, not to mention deploying his huge influence and financial assets to buy loyalty and empower his party, family, and son to retake power at any cost.
Another man in the Arab region preparing behind the scenes and plotting in secret to return to his devastating role in Iraq’s history is former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
The common denominator between Yemen’s strongman and Iraq’s strongman is that they both left power as a result of regional and international pressures and bargains in which the United States and the GCC countries, as well as Iran, played important roles. The difference is that the Iraqi event attested that Tehran had to sacrifice Nouri al-Maliki in what appeared as signs of strategic accords between Iran and key Gulf powers, especially Saudi Arabia, as well as the United States. By contrast, the event in Yemen is a clear indication of the absence of accords and reconciliatory strategies.

Parallels

The Iranian role backing the Houthis in Yemen emerged in parallel with the Iraqi event, in tandem with the determination of Ali Abdullah Saleh to enter into an alliance with the Houthis and Iran to settle scores with Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries, which had helped remove him from power. The two men have an ugly agenda for Iraq and Yemen. If the Gulf leaders are serious and vigilant, they must develop a comprehensive strategy for both Iraq and Yemen, two majorly important countries for the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf. Otherwise, the GCC countries will pay a heavy price, and not just Iraq and Yemen.
This week, a U.N. Security Council expert team said in a report that Saleh had amassed close to $60 billion in 30 years as Yemen’s president, through corruption, embezzlement, and commissions imposed on oil companies. According to the experts, he has stashed away these funds across 20 countries using other figures and companies as fronts.
The experts who report to the U.N. Yemen sanctions panel told the Security Council that Saleh facilitated it for the Houthis and al-Qaeda to expand their control in northern and southern Yemen, and that he continues to run a broad network of financial, security, military, and political interests in Yemen that allowed him effectively to avoid the effects of the sanctions imposed on him under U.N. Security Council resolution 2140. The panel’s report said, “It is also alleged that Ali Abdullah Saleh, his friends, his family and his associates stole money from the fuel subsidy program, which uses up to 10 per cent of Yemen’s gross domestic product, as well as other ventures involving abuse of power, extortion and embezzlement.” “The result of these illegal activities for private gain is estimated to have amounted to nearly $2 billion a year over the last three decades,” it adds.

Changing loyalties

These funds were instrumental in changing the partisan loyalties to the extent of forming “unexpected alliances between former enemies, such as the Houthis and former President Saleh; the weakening of dominant political parties like the Islah party; the departure of leading political and influential figures like Hamid al-Ahmar and Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar from Yemen; an increase in al-Qaeda activities in the south and Hadramaut; and an increased call for separation by the south,” the report argues.
So how did a panel of experts with a specific mission manage to understand the equations and developments in Yemen, while Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia were not able to ascertain and prepare for what was obvious in Yemen?
The question is important to identify whether the flaw is fundamental, or whether it was an exception, and – as it is being said – was possibly related to the health of the late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and the transition in the kingdom.
Either way, what happened is extremely dangerous, not only for Yemen, but also for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. However, if the events in Yemen are the result of a deliberate policy based on mutual attrition, then this is an unwise policy similar to the unwise policy on Syria. Its risks would be twofold for Yemen and the Gulf region, led by the Saudi kingdom.

Mutual attrition

Indeed, mutual attrition or destruction has failed in Syria, and has helped destroy the present, future, and even past of the nation – if we consider the archaeological and cultural heritage of the country now in ruins – at the hands of the regime and the terrorists like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Nusra Front, with local, regional, and international enablement from which no-one emerges innocent. Attrition is a foolish policy because it helped terrorism grow, and created an opportunity for ISIS to proliferate until it drew attention away from what is happening in Syria.
If an international team was able to obtain detailed information and produce a logical and realistic analysis of the Yemeni situation, while the Gulf countries – as it is claimed – were taken by surprise by the events in Yemen and are still unable to develop a strategy to deal with them, then this is a frightening testimony of the utter lack of intelligence and analysis capabilities in the Gulf region.
The international report to the U.N. Security Council stated that according to a confidential source, al-Qaeda is taking advantage of such sensitivities and is recruiting Sunni tribesmen to fight on its side against the Houthis. The report also states, “The geographical proximity of Eritrea to Yemen lends itself to licit and illicit activities, and several trusted interlocutors mentioned confidentially the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) training of Houthi forces on a small island off the Eritrean coast.”

Close ties

According to the same report as well, there is a close relationship between Saleh, his family and al-Qaeda. The report quotes sources as saying that Mohammad Nasser Ahmed, the former Minister of Defense, saw al-Qaeda leader Sami Dayan in the-then President Saleh’s office with the president, in 2012. This is in addition to the quasi-alliance between Saleh and the Houthis.
That’s right. The paragraph may need to be read two or three times to comprehend the strange alliances in Yemen today, with a central role played by a former president who wants to return to power. He is completely disregarding the sanctions imposed on him under a U.N. Security Council resolution, moving ahead with a clear strategy and goals, with a calculated cost.
If the Gulf countries have a deliberate strategy to address the agendas of Saleh, the Houthis, and al-Qaeda – the three are enemies and not allies – then this strategy requires elucidation. The GCC countries appear today in a state of loss, denial, and dithering. This carries a bad message on multiple levels.
Today, Saleh in Yemen, and tomorrow Maliki in Iraq both intend to return to power. Both have partners or allies in Iran. In Yemen, there is a transitional alliance between the Revolutionary Guard in Iran, Saleh, and al-Qaeda for transient mutual interests, and a structural alliance between Tehran and the Houthis. The Houthis can claim to be the party that defeated a major regional power like Saudi Arabia, and that it can threaten it at its border. The Houthis are the group that toppled a legitimate government and put Yemen on the road to secession and fragmentation. Yet this is not the sin of the Houthis alone, because of the failure of the Gulf and the U.S. in Yemen contributed greatly in stoking its internal tragedies and exacerbating geopolitical risks beyond its borders.

Faltering policies

The pace of the coming shifts in the balance of achievements vs. implication will be dictated to some degree by the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 countries (the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China).
No one knows accurately if these negotiations are on the brink of collapse or are on the eve of making history. If they produce an agreement, this would be the first time both the West and the East agree to give a non-nuclear state the right to possess military nuclear capabilities in return for postponing the manufacturing date of said capabilities. In turn, this will give Iran the euphoria of belonging to the nuclear club, which will most likely increase its confidence in fulfilling its regional ambitions, however, there is a small possibility that reining in regional ambitions would be part of the nuclear accords.
However, if the nuclear deal fails, the United States will lay trap after trap to implicate Iran in regional quagmires, to create Iran’s own version of Vietnam in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.The region is entering a critical phase soon, during which men addicted to power are aligning with tribes taking advantage of alliance in the regional absence of strategies.
This article was first published in al-Hayat on Feb. 27, 2015 and was translated by Karim Traboulsi.

Babylon Loses Another Country To The Shiite Horn (Daniel 8:8)

Yemen’s US-backed president quits; country could split apart
Sunni-Shia-Map-PEW

Presidential officials said Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi submitted his resignation to parliament rather than make further concessions to Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, who control the capital and are widely believed to be backed by Iran.
The prime minister and his cabinet also stepped down, making a thinly veiled reference to the Houthis’ push at gunpoint for a greater share of power. Houthis deployed their fighters around parliament, which is due to discuss the situation on Sunday.

Yemeni law dictates that the parliament speaker — Yahia al-Rai, a close ally of former autocratic ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh — will now assume the presidency. Saleh still wields considerable power and is widely believed to be allied with the Houthis.

There were conflicting reports suggesting that authorities in Aden, the capital of southern region of Yemen, would no longer submit to the central government’s authority. Even before the Houthis’ recent ascendance, a powerful movement in southern Yemen was demanding autonomy or a return to the full independence the region enjoyed before 1990. Southerners outrightly reject rule by the Houthis, whose power base is in the north. The Houthis are Zaydis, a Shiite minority that makes up about a third of Yemen’s population.

Concerns were also mounting about an economic collapse. Two-thirds of Yemen’s population are already in need of humanitarian aid, according to reported U.N. figures. Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia, which has long been Yemen’s economic lifeline, cut most of its financial aid to Yemen after the Houthis seized the capital in September. The Houthis deny receiving any Iranian support.

The Houthis’ recent encroachments on Sunni areas have also fanned fears of a sectarian conflict that could fuel support for al-Qaida, a Sunni movement that has links to some of the country’s tribes and is at war with both the Shiites and Hadi’s forces. U.S. officials say the developments are already undermining military and intelligence operations against al-Qaida’s Yemen-based affiliate, which made its reach felt in this month’s deadly Paris attacks.

Hadi’s resignation comes four months after President Barack Obama cited Yemen as a terrorism success story in a September speech outlining his strategy against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, which involves targeted U.S. strikes on militants with the cooperation of a friendly ground force. Obama called it an approach “that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.”

In Washington on Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. was still trying to sort out what was happening on the ground and had made no decisions yet regarding embassy staffing.

The resignations mark the collapse of an internationally backed transition that compelled Saleh, who ruled for three decades, to resign in 2012 following months of Arab Spring protests.

Hadi’s rule was deeply undermined by Saleh loyalists who retained posts in state institutions and the security apparatus. Last year the U.N. Security Council imposed targeted sanctions on Saleh and two top Houthi leaders, accusing them of obstructing the political transition.

Despite widespread fears, some observers said Thursday’s resignation of the elected president could encourage Yemenis to take to the streets just as they did in 2011 in against Saleh.

“The coming hours will be decisive for Yemen for decades to come. Either they will usher in a new path, new openings, or we say our death prayers,” said Yemeni writer Farea Al-Muslimi.

Shortly after Hadi’s resignation, the Supreme Security Committee, the top security body in Aden, the capital of the south, issued orders to all military bases, security bodies and popular committees composed of armed civilians to be on a state of alert and take orders only from Aden central command.

It was not immediately clear how much mandate the security authorities have over the southern region, and analysts predicted that internal conflict among southern secessionist leaders would probably delay action toward a split with the north.

The greater threat, they said, is fragmentation of other regions.

“We are not talking here about split of north and south, but the fracture of the state to small pieces where each tribal region disintegrates,” said Al-Muslimi.

Hadi’s resignation came despite efforts by U.N. envoy Jamal Benomar to implement a deal reached Wednesday to resolve the crisis.

“We reached a deadlock,” Hadi said, according to a copy of his letter of resignation obtained by The Associated Press. “We found out that we are unable to achieve the goal, for which we bear a lot of pain and disappointment.”

Presidential adviser Sultan al-Atawani told AP that the Houthis refused to withdraw from the presidential palace, the republican palace where the prime minister lives or from the president’s house. They also refused to release a top aide to Hadi whose abduction earlier this week set the violence in motion.
Military officials close to the president said the Houthis also pressured Hadi to deliver a televised speech to calm the streets. They said the Houthis also demanded appointments in his own office, the Defense Ministry and provincial capitals. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Shortly before Hadi’s resignation, Prime Minister Khaled Bahah submitted his own resignation, saying he feared “being dragged into an abyss of unconstructive policies based on no law.”
Three ministers of his cabinet told AP that they were subjected to heavy pressures from Houthi gunmen who visited them in their homes with list of names of people they want to appoint in their ministries. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.