The Iranian Shia Empire (Daniel 8)

Iran is building an Empire-How Dangerous? (part 1)

Josef Olmert
PM Netanyahu of Israel is intensifying his campaign of threats against the Iranian’s increasing role in Syria, and after his last failed meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow, the rhetoric assumes a sense of urgency. Some Netanyahu watchers will dismiss this campaign as a diversionary tactic at a time of huge domestic political pressure in Israel, due to the criminal investigations that he and his family are embroiled in. Some will refer to the deja vu element, as a lot of the rhetoric now sounding so similar to the one used in 2012-15 in an effort to prevent the Iran nuclear deal, which lead to a huge volume of hot air but no action. Some will take it at face value and start the count down to another Middle East war. This time between Israel and Iran , to be fought in Lebanon and Syria, possibly elsewhere, maybe in Israel and Iran themselves. No kidding so far as Israel is concerned, and Iran is taken to be now the enemy. In this first of two pieces, I will analyze the realistic state of affairs with regard to Iran, basically reality versus impressions, perhaps myths.. The second piece will deal directly with the Syrian-Lebanese situation and the Israeli response.
Iran is now involved either directly or indirectly, in actual fighting and in subversive activities in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, making use primarily of the Shi’ite population in these countries, or religious sects close to the Shi’a , such as the Alawites in Syria. Here is a point of strength for Iran-This is the only Shi’ite state in the Middle East, while the Sunni world is split, with various claimants to power and dominance such as Saudi Arabia, and recently also Turkey under President Erdohan. Here is also a point of weakness, as the near total reliance on Shi’ites emphasizes the sectarian nature of the Iranian regime. Speaking about an Islamic revival, meaning a Shi’ite revival. Shi’ite revival in the 21st Century is an historic aberration, as it will the first after many centuries of Sunni domination of the world of Islam in the Middle East. Shi’ism flourished in the region in the 10-11 th Centuries, when even Egypt under the Fatimids was Shi’ite, but then it is the exception, and Sunni Muslims cannot and will not accept a Shi’ite revival now . Yes, this is to emphasize both history and sectarianism, and most Westerners, especially in the Liberal/Left Wing do not like these reminders and terminology, but in the Middle East this is the political discourse and this is what matters . The Iranian regime refers to Israel as the enemy, predicting its annihilation, claiming its collapse within the next 25 years, and here again there is a point of strength and one of weakness. There are still many in the Middle East, surely among the Palestinians, who view Israel as the ultimate ,inevitable nemesis. There are however many Arabs, in the Gulf and elsewhere who view Shi’ite Iran as the bigger problem. and behind close doors, sometimes even in public, view Israel as the solution to the Iran problem. This is a new emerging phenomenon, not one which is irreversible, but one with a potential to move from talked-about to an actual alliance of interests. Then the Iranians have oil, a lot of it, but much to their chagrin, their oil is enough to give a Per Capita income of few thousand dollars only, and Iran is still a poor country, and it is becoming poorer as it invests so much in its expansionist plans. Saudi Arabia can still afford its own military build up and the gigantic arms orders from the US, but Iran cannot. Iran is also stretching its influence in a wide range of areas which are different from each other, and using the Shi’ite card will not prove enough of a unifying force for too many years to come. It is also an ethnic/national problem for the Iranians, as they are extending their influence in Arab territories. An interesting situation is developing in Iraq, one which may signal a future and significant resistance to their plans.The blistering Shi’ite cleric Muqtada Al Sadr, an hitherto Iranian ally is starting to play his own game. Yes, he wants a Shi’ite Iraq, but should it be Iranian-dominated? He just completed a visit in Saudi Arabia after which the Saudis asked the Iraqi -Shi’ite government to establish a Consulate in the Shi’ite holy city of Najaf. Somewhat surprising and even strange development. Stay tuned to the fall out, but may be an indication of more to come which will not please the Iranians. Ethnic problems can still plague Iran itself, where the Iranian-Farsi population is a little more than half of the entire population. It is ‘’only ‘’ 90% Shi’ite, with 5-6 million Sunni Kurds, 2-3 Million Sunni Baluchis and others, but with a quarter of the population who are Azeris and Shi’ites. When sectarianism and ethnic divisions exist among their neighbors, the Ayatollahs in Tehran need to keep a very watchful eye over their own house. So, Iran is looking as a key player these days, with a growing and seeming unstoppable influence, but in this case , what catches the eye may be the wrong impression. The modern history of the Middle East provides us with examples of an attempt by one actor to become a regional dominant power. Nasser of Egypt comes to mind, and he was a Sunni Arab, representing the force of Arab nationalism. It failed miserably, and the failure started with the Iraqi revolution of 1958 becoming hostile to Nasser, Syria breaking away from the United Arab Republic in 1961 and the Egyptian intervention in the Yemeni civil war. Iran is heavily invested in all these countries right now. The shape of things to come? Time will tell, but coming back to where we started-PM Netanyahu seems to be impatient, and he does not favor waiting for history to repeat itself.

Iranian Hegemony and the Hamas


Iran’s Zarif hosts Hamas officials
By TAMAR PILEGGI
August 7, 2017, 2:20 pm 1
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met on Monday with a delegation of officials from the Palestinian terror group Hamas, which has been struggling with the continued erosion of its foreign backing.
During the meeting, Zarif reiterated Tehran’s support for the Palestinians as “principled and unchangeable,” according to reports in Iranian state media.
The delegation of diaspora-based members of Hamas’s politburo was visiting Iran to attend the swearing-in ceremony of President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday.
Iran was once Hamas’s key political and financial backer, but ties began to unravel in 2012, largely due to differences over the civil war in Syria.
In May, Iran agreed in principle to renew its funding for Hamas, and senior Palestinian officials were said to be traveling to Tehran to repair relations.
Last week, Palestinian Authority officials claimed Iran provided aid to Palestinian protesters demonstrating against Israeli security measures at the Temple Mount last month. The aid reportedly included boxes of food and drink, which came with a flyer attached depicting the Dome of the Rock and a quote attributed to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reading, “With the help of God, Palestine will be freed. Jerusalem is ours.”
A PA intelligence official told an Israeli newspaper at the time it was clear the Iranian regime was behind the aid packages, and estimated the initiative cost several million shekels. The move angered the PA leadership, with the unnamed official telling the Israel Hayom daily it was a mistake to allow Iran to reach into the West Bank with its “tentacles.”
Monday’s meeting in Tehran comes as Qatar, one of the other few foreign backers of Hamas, continues to face massive pressure from its Gulf neighbors to cut ties with the terrorist group. If it does, the result could be disastrous for the Gaza Strip, a territory Hamas has ruled for a decade.
توزیع شیرینی و بسته های غذایی مردم ایران بین جوانان مقاوم فلسطینی در مقابل #مسجد_الاقصی
همراه با جمله رهبری:#فلسطین_سوف_تحریر#القدس_لنا pic.twitter.com/s5UcfRUcxt
— امیر طاها صالحی (@Taha_salehi20) July 29, 2017
Qatar has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in roads, housing and a major hospital in the tiny enclave. Its infrastructure projects are one of the few job-creators in a beleaguered economy.
Gaza already suffers from an Israeli-Egyptian blockade — imposed to prevent the group from importing weaponry — economic misery and chronic electricity shortages. For Hamas, Qatar’s money pumping into the economy is a vital lifeline bolstering its rule.
Closer ties between Hamas and Iran are hardly likely to mollify the Gulf states and Egypt. One of the main factors driving the crisis is Qatar’s close ties to Tehran and fears of expanding Iranian influence further destabilizing the region.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

Iran Steps Up Hegemony In Middle East (Daniel 8:4)

Bahrain’s rulers have long sought confirmation from Washington that their country faces a terrorist threat sponsored by Iran. In March, the US finally validated them by sanctioning two Bahraini individuals as Specially Designated Global Terrorists. One of those sanctioned individuals evidently resides in Qom, the ideological center of Iran’s revolutionary regime.
The US designation comes amid increasing evidence showing that Tehran’s regional terrorist network is targeting the island kingdom, which hosts America’s most important naval base in the Middle East.
The State Department announced the sanctions on Mar. 17, describing the two individuals as linked to the Ashtar Brigades, a Bahraini group that it said has carried out terrorist acts targeting Bahraini, Saudi, and Emirati security officials. As such, the sanctions were also an important signal of support to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, whose leaders visited Washington just three days before the State Department’s announcement.
The designations are even more important given a Washington Post report last month that Western intelligence agencies believe Iran has attempted to smuggle into Bahrain enough C-4 explosives to sink a warship, as well as equipment to manufacture explosively formed penetrators  that can tear through tank armor.
Mortada al-Sanadi’s Radical Politics
The State Department was relatively terse in its description of the two newly designated terrorists, merely calling the more prominent one “an affiliate” of the Brigades, which it said receives money and other support from the government of Iran.
However, by validating Manama’s argument that this individual, Mortada al-Sanadi, is linked to the Brigades and confirming the group’s Iranian sponsorship, the US significantly bolstered Bahrain’s narrative about Sanadi, the Brigades, and the broader terrorist threat it faces.
Sanadi is spokesperson and a central committee member of the Islamic Loyalty Movement (ILM), a radical Bahraini political faction. The Movement is virulently anti-American, with its recent messages on social media calling the US “the mother of terrorism,” setting fire to images of President Donald Trump and the American flag, and displaying a cartoon of crosshairs targeting the Capitol Building. (The image can be seen above.)
In 2016, Bahrain’s government accused Sanadi and the ILM of having links to the Bahraini terrorist cell called the Basta Group, which ILM denied. According to Bahraini authorities, Basta also had ties to the Ashtar Brigades and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Bahrain’s government alleged that Basta’s leadership constituted the ILM’s armed wing, with terror capabilities under Sanadi’s command.
By accusing a leader of the ILM of links to terrorism, the recent US action seems to confirm that some of Bahrain’s more radical political opposition is also complicit in acts of violence against the state.
Disrupted Terrorist Plots
If Bahrain’s claims about Sanadi’s activities are correct – which the new US action appears to at least partly corroborate – then he is a key leader in the country’s terrorist insurgency.
Ten days after the US sanctioned Sanadi, Bahraini authorities accused the cleric of co-directing a terrorist cell linked to a February bus bombing that injured five police officers. That bombing came shortly after Sanadi’s announced that his movement was “beginning a new stage” by “seizing the public square and grasping the trigger.”
Manama alleged that the cell’s fourteen members plotted political assassinations and traveled to Iran nearly 70 times in three months. Six cell members are accused of receiving IRGC training in Iran, and five others are accused of being trained in Iraq by the US-designated, Iranian-proxy terrorist group Kata’ib Hizballah. According to Reuters, the Brigades announced an alliance with Kata’ib Hizballah earlier this year.
Previously, Bahraini authorities have accused Sanadi of playing a prominent role in terrorist plots in 2015. One was a July 2015 bombing that killed two policemen and injured six others. Bahrain’s Interior Ministry identified him as one of the plotters, calling him a religious leader for several Bahraini terrorist groups, and asserted that he receives monthly payments from the IRGC. Weeks earlier, Manama described Sanadi as one of the IRGC’s coordinators for a plot to smuggle explosives from Iraq into Bahrain, and from there into Saudi Arabia.
Tehran’s Ideological and Military Fingerprints
The ideology of Sanadi’s Islamic Loyalty Movement reflects Iran’s efforts to export its revolution. For example, Sanadi told a pro-Hizballah Lebanese newspaper in 2014 that the ILM’s ideology is modeled after that of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and first supreme leader of the Islamic Republic. The ILM website features 30 statements from Khomeini’s successor Ali Khamenei that are described as “golden commandments for a jihadist administration.” The group also promotes a book by Lebanese Hizballah’s deputy leader, which teaches its approach to military jihad and vilayat-e faqih, the Iranian regime’s draconian system of clerical rule.
In speeches delivered in Qom in 2015 and 2016, Sanadi himself embraced vilayat-e faqih and recognized Khamenei as amir al mu’minin, or leader of the faithful. He also authored an anti-American article on Khamenei’s official website in December 2016. Other than a brief appearance in the Iraqi city of Karbala in late 2013, virtually all of Sanadi’s public appearances for propaganda purposes seem to have been made from Qom, including as recently as March of this year.
Last year, Sanadi gave a lecture on Bahrain to the Masoumieh Religious Seminary, a top institution for training clerics to serve in Iran’s military and security services, including the IRGC. According to Reuters, Sanadi was even allowed in September 2016 to deliver a Friday sermon at the most prestigious mosque in Qom. His activities in Qom highlight the overlap between Iran’s extremist ideology and his Bahrain-oriented activism.
Iran has been known to host other IRGC-backed violent extremists in Qom, including Abu Dura, an Iraqi national designated by the US Treasury who was known as “the Shiite Zarqawi,” a reference to former al-Qaeda in Iraq chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Laith Khazali, an Iraqi who was imprisoned on charges of leading an operation that killed five American soldiers in the Iraqi city of Karbala, reportedly was hosted in Qom immediately upon his release in 2009. Another suspected leader in the 2007 Karbala attack, Azhar al-Dulaimi, purportedly received his training beforehand from Lebanese Hezbollah under IRGC supervision near Qom.
Militarily, the Ashtar Brigades appear linked not just to the IRGC but also other IRGC terrorist proxies throughout the region.
Manama claims Sanadi co-directed Bahraini terror cells in 2015 and 2017 with Qassim Abdullah Ali, who it said is based in Iran and Iraq, where he allegedly coordinates the training of Bahraini terrorists by Kata’ib Hizballah. Manama also asserts that leaders of the Ashtar-linked Basta Group received $20,000 from Lebanese Hizballah’s chief Hassan Nasrallah to support the ILM and launch attacks in Bahrain.
Bahrain’s broader landscape
As these allegations suggest, Sanadi is not the only Bahraini individual Manama accuses of playing a top role in the Ashtar Brigades, and the group is not the only Bahraini extremist group aligned with Iran.
For example, the State Department indicated in its 2013 Country Reports on Terrorism that Manama intercepted a speedboat with arms and explosives linked to Iran and thought to be bound for the 14 February Youth Coalition, a radical Shiite opposition faction that has praised Khamenei.
Other Bahraini groups such as the Saraya al-Karar and the Revolutionary Struggle Organization have used imagery based on the IRGC logo of a hand reaching up to grasp a Kalashnikov rifle, according to Caleb Weiss. Weiss adds that another Bahraini terrorist group, Saraya al-Mokhtar, has demonstrated support for numerous IRGC proxies inside Iraq.
When the State Department sanctioned Sanadi, it took care to discourage Manama from perceiving its action as carte blanche for a domestic crackdown on the country’s Shiites, who form the majority of the population but are marginalized by its Sunni monarchy. Indeed, the announcement urged Bahrain’s government “to clearly differentiate its response to violent militia groups from its engagement with peaceful political opposition.”
This is particularly relevant given that the head of Bahrain’s main opposition party, al-Wefaq, is serving a four-year prison sentence for acts the US describes as “peaceful expression.” However, the State Department could undermine its own message if it moves ahead with its plan to drop human rights conditions from a proposed $2.8-billion sale of US fighter jets to Bahrain.
Bahrain’s regime has yet to address its serious domestic challenge from nonviolent Shiite opposition groups and a disaffected Shiite-majority public. But it also faces a genuine security threat from violent extremists. Washington’s recent counterterrorism sanctions against Sanadi and its confirmation of Tehran’s support for the Ashtar Brigades confirms one of the pivotal pieces in the Bahraini government’s narrative about Iran’s role sponsoring terrorism inside the kingdom. But if Bahrain’s rulers don’t find a constructive outlet for legitimate Shiite dissent, then they risk driving more of the opposition into Iran’s arms.

David Andrew Weinberg is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He specializes on Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Amir Toumaj is a Research Analyst at Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Completing The Shia Horn (Daniel 8)

Image result for shia crescent 
Iranian militia leader talks of full Middle East dominance

JEDDAH: A notorious sectarian leader in Iraq has claimed that the Shiite project of encircling and dominating the Middle Eastern states is on track.
Delivering a speech in Arabic, at a graduation ceremony of Shiite clerics in Iraq on Thursday, Asaib Ahl Al-Haq militia commander Qais Al-Khazali said: “The reappearance of Imam Mahdi will mark the completion of the Shiite project. Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Asaib Ahl Al-Haq and the Houthis are working hard to make the ground fertile for Imam Mahdi.
Al-Khazali was referring to the Shiite belief that Imam Mahdi — the 12th and last Shiite imam who disappeared in the 9th century — will one day appear in order to bring justice to earth.
Asaib Ahl Al-Haq, which Al-Khazali leads, is one of the most violent Shiite militias in Iraq. It is aided and abetted by Iran. Al-Khazali reportedly said: “We’ll continue to work toward our project of a Shiite full moon, not a Shiite crescent as our enemies say.”
The phrase “Shiite crescent” was first coined by King Abdallah of Jordan 10 years ago. At that time, he meant Iranian control over Lebanon via Hezbollah, Syria via the Bashar Assad regime, and Iraq through the new Iran-allied government in Baghdad. Al-Khazali is now talking of a “Shiite full moon.”
“They (Iran and its allied militias) are looking for complete regional dominance,” said political analyst and former US diplomat Ali Khedery.
Talking to Arab News on Thursday, Khedery explained the background of Al-Khazali and the implications of his statement.
“Al-Khazali is the commander of Asaib Ahl Al-Haq. It used to be part of Muqtada Al-Sadr’s Jaish Al-Mahdi but then splintered off. It was specially cultivated by Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ special forces unit, the Al-Quds Force.
“Asaib Ahl Al-Haq is one of the most violent Shiite militias that has operated in Iraq alongside, for example, Kata’ib Hezbollah and the Badr Corps, and they report directly to Al-Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani,” said Khedery.
According to Khedery, Al-Khazali was responsible for the kidnapping and then the killing of five American soldiers from a joint Iraqi-American Operations Center in 2007 in Karbala.
“As a result of that kidnapping and murder operation, US forces arrested him and held him for several years in a facility called Camp Cropper — the same high-value detainee facility where the Americans held Saddam Hussein. Al-Khazali was later released at Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s personal request,” Khedery told Arab News.
He said during the Iraq war, the Asaib Ahl Al-Haq militia was responsible for killing and wounding hundreds, if not thousands, of US soldiers and then also kidnapping or killing probably thousands of Iraqis.
“After the rise of Daesh, it became very active again and is now part of Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) to which the Iraqi government pays billions of dollars annually. It is now a virtual extension of the Iraqi Army,” he said.
Khedery said he would advise the international community against doubting the words and statements of these militia leaders.
“I take Iranian generals or the supreme leader or the militia commanders at their word because they have always — almost always — followed through on their threats. So, for example, when the Iranian supreme leader promises to wipe out Israel or when the Iranian defense minister threatens Saudi Arabia, or when Qassem Soleimani promises to change the regime in Bahrain or when Al-Khazali, in this case, promises to complete the Shiite crescent and make it a moon, I take them at their word,” said Khedery. “They are intent on exporting (former Iranian leader Ruhollah) Khomeini’s revolution across the Middle East.”
Since King Abdallah’s coinage of the phrase “Shiite crescent” 10 years ago, “the Iranians have unfortunately consolidated their grip over Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and the Iranian forces (have) further expanded into Pakistan and Afghanistan. Now they take Pakistani and Afghan recruits and send them to wage Khomeinist jihad in places like Iraq and Syria,” said Khedery. “They want to keep going with the export of the Khomeinist revolution. So their next targets are Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and then probably eventually Qatar and the UAE. And obviously, the Iranian-allied Houthis have taken control of Sanaa.”
Harvard scholar and Iranian affairs expert Majid Rafizadeh echoed Khedery’s words and said Asaib Ahl Al-Haq was an Iranian-backed Shiite militia, which has reportedly received significant financial, military and political support from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.
“Al-Khazali’s statement highlights three critical issues,” Rafizadeh told Arab News. “First of all, Iran and its proxies’ political agenda is anchored in sectarianism: Shiite versus Sunni. Second, although Iran views itself as leader of all Muslims, Tehran has been working effortlessly to export its particular version of Shiite ideology and revolutionary ideals. Third, Iran is determined to export its Shiite ideology through any possible means, including supporting many militias and designated terrorist groups.

Iran And The Shia Horn (Daniel 8:4)

Image result for SHIA CRESCENT

Tehran Backs Syria, Iraq to Ensure Regional Stability

The foreign policy advisor to the Leader of Islamic Revolution said Iran’s efforts to defend regional countries, including Syria and Iraq, are in line with the policy of promoting regional stability.

Ali Akbar Velayati was also quoted as saying by ISNA on Saturday in a meeting with German State Secretary Markus Ederer that if terrorism succeeds, “another Libya could take shape”.
“The Islamic Republic has always resisted [destabilizing forces] in the region and such moves [to support regional states] have obviously been made for the sake of peace and stability in the international arena and fighting terrorism,” he said.
He said regional states and the wider international community should not allow terrorists present in Syria and Iraq to repeat what they did to Libya.
Libya has been in complete chaos since the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi by western-backed forces, with two rival administrations and armed groups fighting for control of the country.
Velayati referred to Iran’s role in protecting the Middle East from the extremism and stressed that any country that attaches importance to global peace should follow the same path.
“We consider defending Syria and Iraq and their leadership as defending ourselves since preventing their disintegration is the key to maintaining regional stability,” he said.
The senior official explained that the Islamic Republic’s military advisory support to Iraq and Syria in their campaign against terrorism has been offered at the request of the two countries’ governments.
Iraq and Syria have been facing the growing threat of terrorism, mainly posed by the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group that made swift advances in much of northern and western Iraq in mid-2014, after capturing large swaths of northern Syria.  Backed by their allies, the two Arab countries have in recent months made significant gains in the fight against terror and violence.
Velayati called Germany a major player in the global arena, especially in Europe, and said, “We hold great respect for Germany’s position in  the European Union and this can have a great impact on [Iran-Germany] bilateral ties.”
Ederer pointed to longstanding relations between the two states, which could help deepen ties. He also voiced Berlin’s positive stance on Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with major powers and looked forward to improvement of the country’s relations with the global community.
Germany was among the major powers that helped conclude the nuclear accord with Iran, which led to sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran scaling down its nuclear activities.

The Iranian Horn Will Defend The Shia Crescent (Daniel 8:3)

News ID: 3955982 – Tue 18 April 2017 – 10:43
TEHRAN, Apr. 18 (MNA) – Hassan Rouhani said Iran’s defensive Army is not a threat to region and is ready to defend the whole critical and pivotal region of the Middle East.

Speaking at the massive military parade on Tuesday morning to mark Iran’s Army Day, President Rouhani said “I would like to extend my warm congratulations on the National Army Day to all staff, commanders, their respected families as well as the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei.”
“Army Day marks a reminder for sacrifice of brave Iranians during eight years of Imposed War against Iraq as well as protecting the country’s borderlands for almost 30 years after the war,” he continued.
“Virtuousness and grandeur have always been attributed to the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran both in the regions and in the world. Some armies in the world are associated with interference in internal affairs of other countries, genocide, protecting terrorists, coup, disrespect for view of people and the law while the Iranian Army is reminiscent of order, discipline, faith and holy defense of territories within the framework of law and national interests,” Rouhani said.
“The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran requires the Army to protect the country’s independence and territorial integrity as well as to maintain the Islamic Revolution,” he underscored.
Rouhani highlighted that capabilities of Iranian armed forces are now incomparable to the time of Imposed War since eye-catching achievements have been made in the meantime; “Iran’s defense industry and armed forces are becoming more powerful on a daily basis.”
The Iranian President rejoiced to note that one major objective of his government had been strengthening the country’s defense capabilities as evidenced by the 45% rise in the budget for defense sector despite tough economic conditions.
He recalled that the amount of progress in the past three and a half years were equal to the 10-year period before that saying “Iran’s armed forces are more prepared than any other time though they would never pose threat to others.”
Hassan Rouhani emphasized that the Army mainly seeks to prevent tensions and conflicts while at the same time maintains vigilance against conspiracies and boosts its deterrent power.
The senior official reassured neighboring countries that Iranian armed forces were ready to defend the whole critical and pivotal region of the Middle East; “other states can be confident that Iran’s Army holds defensive rather than offensive power.”
“Nevertheless, we have shown how vigorously will the Army defend people and the country in the face of aggression by invaders.”
Later at his speech, Iran’s President enumerated unique characteristics of the country’s Armed Forces including faith and divine inspiration since Army personnel are devoted and has always had sacrifice.
“Another distinguished feature of Iranian armed forces is their close relations with the nation which is a mutual relation indeed,” he stressed.
Rouhani said enjoying a Commander in Chief was another distinguished aspect of the Armed Forces, a leadership which stems from Islamic jurisprudence and moderation and possesses a legal and religious position.
He recalled the remarks made by Imam Khomeini and the Leader Ayatollah Khamenei who urge the armed forces to keep away from political games as a means of gaining more power and enjoying support of the nation.
Rouhani expressed hope that, by implementing religious orders of the Leader, unity will increase in Armed Forces in order to give sense of safety and calmness to the people.
HA/3955828

Babylon Wants More Long Range Nukes

Get Ready, Russia and China: The U.S. Air Force Wants 400 New ICBMs
Kris Osborn
November 7, 2016
Air Force plans to build at least 400 new high-tech ICBMs intended to preserve millions of lives by ensuring annhiliation of anyone choosing to launch a nuclear attack. The idea is to prevent major power wars.
The Air Force is now evaluating formal proposals from three vendors competiting to build hundreds of new, next-generation Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles designed to protect the US homeland well into the 2070s and beyond, service officials said.
Submissions from Northrop, Boeing and Lockheed are now being reviewed by Air Force weapons developers looking to modernize the US land-based nuclear missile arsenal and replace the 1970s-era Boeing-built Minuteman IIIs.
If one were to passively reflect upon the seemingly limitless explosive power to instantly destroy, vaporize or incinerate cities, countries and massive swaths of territory or people — images of quiet, flowing green meadows, peaceful celebratory gatherings or melodious sounds of chirping birds might not immediately come to mind.
After all, lethal destructive weaponry does not, by any means, appear to be synonymous with peace, tranquility and collective happiness. However, it is precisely the prospect of massive violence which engenders the possibility of peace. Nuclear weapons therefore, in some unambiguous sense, can be interpreted as being the antithesis of themselves; simply put – potential for mass violence creates peace – thus the conceptual thrust of nuclear deterrence.
It is within this conceptual framework, designed to save millions of lives, prevent major great-power war and ensure the safety of entire populations, that the U.S. Air Force is now vigorously pursuing a new arsenal of land-fired, Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles, or ICBMs
(This first appeared in Scout Warrior here.)
In an interview with Scout Warrior several months ago, Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration, cited famous nuclear strategist Bernard Brodie as a way to articulate the seismic shift in thinking and tactics made manifest by the emergence of nuclear weapons.
Considered to be among the key architects of strategic nuclear deterrence, and referred to by many as an “American Clausewitz,” Brodie expressed how the advent of the nuclear era changes the paradigm regarding the broadly configured role or purpose of weaponry in war.
Weinstein referred to Brodie’s famous quote from his 1940s work “The Absolute Weapon: Atomic Power and World Order.” — “Thus far the chief purpose of our military establishment has been to win wars. From now on, its chief purpose must be to avert them. It can have almost no other useful purpose.”
The success of this strategy hinges upon the near certainty of total annihilation, should nuclear weapons be used. ICBMs are engineered to fly through space on a total flight of about 30 mins before detonating with enormous destructive power upon targets.
“If another nation believes they can have an advantage by using a nuclear weapon, that is really dangerous. What you want to do is have such a strong deterrent force that any desire to attack with nuclear weapons will easily be outweighed by the response they get from the other side. That’s the value of what the deterrent force provides,” Weinstein said in an exclusive interview with Scout Warrior.
Althought Weinstein did not take a position on current administration considerations about having the U.S. adopt a No First Use, or NFU, nuclear weapons policy, Air Force Secretary Deborah James has expressed concern about the possiblity, in a news report published by Defense News. Limiting the U.S. scope of deterrence, many argue, might wrongly encourage potential adversaries to think they could succeed with a limited first nuclear strike of some kind.
Ground-Based Strategic Deterrence – New ICBMs:
It is within the context of these ideas, informing military decision-makers for decades now, that the Air Force is in the early stages of building, acquiring and deploying a higher-tech replacement for the existing arsenal of Minuteman III ICBMs.
Weinstein pointed out that, since the dawn of the nuclear age decades ago, there has not been a catastrophic major power war on the scale of WWI or WWII.
“When you look at the amount of people who died in WWI and then the number of people who died in WWII, you’re talking about anywhere between 65 and 75 million people. WWI killed about 1.8 percent of the world’s population. WWII killed 2.8 percent of the world’s population. “What you want is to have a really strong capability so that they’re used every day to prevent conflict. If you use one, then you’ve failed,” Weinstein said.
Weinstein added that, in total, as many as 45 million people died during WWII.
“All you need to do is look at pictures of what Dresden looked like and what Stalingrad looked like. These are major powers fighting major powers,” he said.
Nevertheless, despite clear evidence in favor of deploying nuclear weapons, modernizing the US arsenal has long been a cost concern and strategic liability for US strategic planners. In fact, Weinstein said there is concern that both Russian and Chinese nuclear arsenals are now more modern and advanced than existing U.S. Minuteman IIIs.
The new effort to build ICBMs, what the Air Force calls “Ground Based Strategic Deterrence,” aims to construct durable, high-tech nuclear-armed missiles able to serve until 2075.
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Why Iraqis Hate Babylon The Great


Some Iraqis Still Hate America More Than ISIS

By Gilad Shiloach
Jul 18, 2016 at 11:50 AM ET

Muqtada al-Sadr doesn’t want U.S. troops in Iraq, even to fight ISIS. — REUTERS

A leading Shiite cleric in Iraq said U.S. troops would be targeted by Shiite militias, a threat prompted by last week’s announcement that the Obama administration plans to deploy additional troops to the country to help local forces take on ISIS.

Muqtada al-Sadr, whose Mahdi Army was instrumental in the civil war that erupted in Iraq in 2006-2008, was asked in a letter by a follower to respond to U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announcement that Washington would dispatch 560 more troops to help Iraqi forces retake the northern city of Mosul from ISIS, which has held it since August 2013.

On Sunday, Sadr posted this ominous answer to his official Facebook page: “They are a target for us.” The popular cleric didn’t elaborate further, but his followers have been hugely supportive of this apparent threat, which circulated on social media and in Facebook groups and pages that back him. Dozens on Facebook and Twitter answered with the slogan “No, no to America,” and posted an image of Sadr alongside a burned U.S military tank. Users on a pro-Sadr group page shared the threat, quoting the Quranic verse: “if you return [to sin], We will return [to punishment]. We will shake the land beneath their feet.” Others said: “We are at your service Muqtada,” and posted images allegedly showing American troops being targeted in Iraq.

Sadr has been fiercely anti-American since the U.S.-led military invasion ousted former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in 2003. Since then, Sadr and his many followers have battled coalition forces across Iraq and he has continually pressed to have all U.S. and Western influence removed from the country.

Sadr’s followers said “America is the great Satan, no, no to America” and dismissed the announcement as “a new occupation, one time in the excuse of Saddam, and later because of ISIS.” Another said “America is actually ISIS.” An Iraqi user tweeted that “Sadr’s threat to target American forces in Mosul is a wise decision because the Iraqis can liberate their land, Iraq isn’t a colony.”
Alongside the support, several social media users in Arabic also criticized Sadr’s new threat and mocked him. “Are you kidding? Without America you and your corrupt government wouldn’t be able to last a day in Iraq,”one user wrote. Another criticized Sadr “like he doesn’t know that Americans are taking part in the liberation of his country while bombing ISIS day and night,” or that “without America, Sadr would become chicken food.”

كلا كلا امريكا…كلا كلا اسرائيل pic.twitter.com/O1bYGQFPBV

— صوت العراق الناطق (@sawtalaraq) July 18, 2016
No, no to America. No, no to Israel

According to Reuters, other Shiite militias have made similar pledges to attack U.S. soldiers in the past year, but any casualties that have struck the U.S. have come during battles with ISIS fighters in the north.

The Danger Of The Scarlet Woman (Revelation 17)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gives an address on national security, Thursday, June 2, 2016, in San Diego, Calif. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gives an address on national security, Thursday, June 2, 2016, in San Diego, Calif. (AP Photo/John Locher)

We can’t have more of the same: The very real dangers of Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy
Trump may well be dangerous. But know what you’re getting with Hillary: American hegemony that’s hated worldwide

Patrick L. Smith

Hillary Clinton gives an address on national security, June 2, 2016, in San Diego. (Credit: AP/John Locher))

Just what we needed: another foreign policy speech from Candidate Clinton. This one arrived last Thursday in San Diego—well-chosen ground, given the Navy’s immense base on the city’s shore and the Marine Expeditionary Force garrisoned at Camp Pendleton. It has a long military tradition, San Diego, and the projection of American power is what drives the local economy. Perfect for Clinton. Her speech to this crew-cutted, right-wing town was, of course, “major”—as all of her speeches on the foreign side cannot help but be.

Clinton’s people advised the press beforehand that, major or not, this presentation was not intended to break any new ground—no new positions, no new policy initiatives or ideas. This hardly had to be explained, of course: Hillary Clinton has no new ideas on American foreign policy. That is not her product. Clinton sells continuity, more of the same only more of it because it is so good. In continuity we are supposed to find safety, certainty and security.

I do not find any such things in the idea that our foreign policy cliques under a Clinton administration will simply keep doing what they have been doing for many decades. The thought frightens me, and I do not say this for mere effect. In my estimation, and it is no more than that, the world is approaching maximum tolerance of America’s post–Cold War insistence on hegemony. As regular readers will know, this is why I stand among those who consider Clinton’s foreign policy thinking, borne out by the record, the most dangerous thing about her. And there are many of us, by the evidence.

Nominally, as advertised in the advancers published before Clinton spoke, Clinton’s speech was a rolling barrage against Donald Trump’s various assertions on foreign policy questions. It was that. She hacked into Trump’s “America First” stance and a few of his specific positions. But I question whether this was her true point. I find evidence in her remarks to suggest Clinton’s more fundamental intent was to counter all the talk of “Hillary the hawk” and “Killary.” It is catching up on her; the givenness to invasions, bombing campaigns, “regime change” and conjured-from-nothing hostility may well prove a serious burden as she tries to line up the Sanders people—that vast segment of the Democratic Party she has so thoroughly alienated—behind her.

Clinton’s tactic was to go long on her claim to gravitas. She is for a “smart and principled” foreign policy that preserves American primacy. She favors maintaining Washington’s network of global alliances—with friends, clients and those in between—and avoiding any temptation to lapse into isolation. She spoke in such terms as “the stakes in global statecraft” to evoke complexities that only a closed coterie of mandarins could possibly understand. Interestingly, she promised to reduce income inequality at home and rebuild domestic infrastructure, which is fine, but note why: We must do these things because America cannot lead the rest of world if its own people are falling down holes.

“I’m going to keep American security at the heart of my campaign,” Clinton asserted. Just the thing in a military town, of course. And Clinton’s people are right to surmise that global disorder is starting to get on many American voters’ nerves.

On offer in San Diego, then, was a comforting—if this is your flavor—defense of “the bipartisan pillars of American diplomacy that every president has adhered to since World War II,” as The New York Times put it in last Thursday’s editions.

Wow. That is a rich phrase. It seems intended to confer some historical legitimacy on the Clinton record, some foreign policy lineage, and to arouse in us some confidence in the tried-and-true of our nearby ancestors—nostalgia, even, for the supposed wisdom of our supposedly “greatest generation.” People who listen to too much NPR will buy into this as “sensible.” But it requires exploration beyond this kind of dim silliness, surely.

One, we have suffered as against benefited from bipartisan consensus in the foreign policy sphere since 1945. Even the Democrats’ very late opposition to the Vietnam War was rooted not in its immorality, racism, inhumanity and illegality but in the judgment that we could not win it.

One can say now that foreign policy thinking in Washington is ossified only by risking the assumption that anyone is doing any serious thinking. In consequence, there are no alternative perspectives in the foreign policy space. People who entertain them can generally forget about eating lunch in our nation’s capital. There is no comfort to be found in this. It is, rather, the source of very large problems—problems Clinton effectively proposes to prolong rather than address.

Two, continuity in American foreign policy is the last thing Americans need now for a few reasons.
It is time now to recognize that the incessant crises that rattle our window sashes ever more loudly result often—though not always, of course—from the global ambitions American policies express. We Americans ought to travel more for the sake of seeing more clearly. Polls in Europe and elsewhere taken by Pew and other such organizations show that majorities in many places identify America as the primary cause of global disorder. Hillary Clinton is a million miles from grasping this point.

Finally, she is equally far from acknowledging the intimate connections between foreign and domestic policy. She has no intention of reversing the flow of power to the military within the policy-planning elites and no intention of challenging the Pentagon’s voracious appropriation of the resources needed to underwrite even a domestic program as pitifully modest as hers. A little more philosophically, when are we Americans going to wake up to the fact that the violence-as-first-resort now embedded in our foreign policy process cannot be understood separately from the violence that plagues us at home? Do these two not arise from the same culture—our unconscious but prevalent belief in “regeneration through violence,” as Richard Slotkin titled his examination of the phenom back in the 1970s?

There are times in history when the continuity card is the right one to play. As a value, continuity cannot be judged except in historical context, which ought to be obvious. Hillary Clinton now flings this card face-up on the table. It is a lurch rightward, which can surprise us in only one way: Wasn’t she going to wait at least until Sanders exited stage left?

My conclusions: One, Clinton’s operatives and advisers now conclude there is richer political ground to be plowed over her right shoulder than there is over her left. There is evident concern that the Sanders wing is not going to come her way.

Two, in her remarks Thursday Clinton asserted that electing Trump would be “an historic mistake.” This it may be, but in the San Diego context it was mere rhetoric with an odd irony in it: Clinton betrays a very poor understanding of what time it is in history. The world spins into a new era, no matter whether anyone wants it to, making this a truly awful moment to talk about continuity in foreign policy. It is what we might call “reactionary,” is it not—a recidivist lunge into a past that cannot be reconstructed but in the dreams of conservatives? Autumn of the matriarch: Is this what awaits us?

It is interesting to consider the term “conservative” in the context of Clinton’s attack in San Diego on Donald Trump’s ideas, or instincts, or impulses, or passing thoughts—whatever they are—on foreign policy. You have a figure who calls herself “progressive,” if only when it suits her, berating a conservative because he thinks our foreign policy needs to be rethought.

Clinton singled out a number of Trump’s positions—the banning of Muslims from American soil, a risky assertion of military force against the Islamic State—but hitting The Don on these points is like shooting at the side of a barn. These things will never come to be and are meant only to project the tough, Jacksonian affect his supporters like. I do not take them as serious, thought-through positions. Only two of Clinton’s policy critiques are interesting enough to consider briefly, in my read.

One concerns NATO. Clinton went full-tilt at Trump’s suggestion that the organization is outmoded and requires a reinvention if it is to survive sensibly. In such a case, Trump has said on numerous occasions, the U.S. cannot continue paying more than a fair share of its costs. Three transgressions, in the Clintonian view.

I have taken up the NATO question previously in this space and will reiterate the established only briefly. NATO spent its first post–Cold War years wandering in the desert, bereft of purpose, and has now settled on Russia’s “aggressions” as its enduring raison d’être. Fine, except there are none other than those NATO and Washington have provoked. Never forget the gem John Kirby, the State Department’s latest spokesman, delivered a few months ago: Russia, he explained to The AP’s ever-dogged Matt Lee, is simply too close to NATO to be tolerated. That is where this line of logic leads you.

The part that interests me now is the question of funding. It is against the orthodoxy to raise the question of who pays what in the NATO budget. The U.S. does indeed shoulder far and away more of the organization’s costs than any other member. Why should this not be raised? Why not corrected? This is Trump’s question, and he is probably the only one around who does not know the answer.

Because NATO is a creature of the Pentagon and the American defense industries and the Europeans are force-marched members—this is why. No other member, at least among the original signatories in Western Europe, would consider contributing a eurocent more to this wasteful paranoia factory than it absolutely must to keep the peace with Washington.

Press the Continentals on this and you lift the lid on the fragility of an alliance for which they have long had only an attenuated enthusiasm. The French, as an interesting piece in the Times noted the other day, are subtly reverting to the Gaullist position: NATO’s an infringement on sovereignty and we are thinking about stepping out altogether.

Second issue: Trump also asserted recently that he would talk to Kim Jong–un to persuade him to abandon North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. Talk to Kim Jong–un? This is another faux pas in Clinton’s book. Same question: Why would this be?

Since we Americans are such accomplished forgetters, best to recall a little of the past. It is only since the Bush II years as they unfolded after the 2001 attacks that refusing to talk to adversaries has been elevated into one of the stupidest principles ever to be enshrined in official Washington.

Bill Clinton ended an 18-month standoff with Pyongyang in 1994 by negotiating what was called the Agreed Framework, alert readers will recall. Kim Jong–un’s father, Kim Jong–il, consented to freeze nuclear development and construction of reactors that might have been capable of weaponizing enriched uranium. Remember when the North blew up a reactor on television? It was during this period. In exchange, the U.S. agreed to supply the North with shipments of fuel oil while it developed alternative sources of energy.

The regrettable ending here is that the Agreed Framework came undone in 2003 amid mutual recriminations. Washington asserted that Pyongyang was not living up to its obligations, and Pyongyang asserted the reverse. The net of it is North Korea withdrew from the Non–Proliferation Treaty that year. Read the fine print in the 139th paragraph of the historical accounts and you find that the U.S. never delivered an ounce of oil. I know: I covered this affair at close range.

After the framework agreement collapsed, what are known as Six-Party Talks commenced. These had the U.S., South Korea, China, Russia and Japan sitting across the mahogany table from North Korea to negotiate the nuclear question in another format. There were six rounds of talks, with intermittent signs of promise, before they ended under none other than Barack Obama in 2009. Resuming the talks remains the only serious way to address Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions effectively.

Now think again about Hillary Clinton’s shrill blasts at Trump for his willingness to talk to the North’s new leader.

One cannot sign on to the idea that Trump brings a fresh, imaginative voice to American foreign policy debates. No. This is not the point. Know what you are buying when you buy into Hillary Clinton’s ripostes. This is the point.

Patrick Smith is Salon’s foreign affairs columnist. A longtime correspondent abroad, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune and The New Yorker, he is also an essayist, critic and editor. His most recent books are “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century” (Yale, 2013) and Somebody Else’s Century: East and West in a Post-Western World (Pantheon, 2010). Follow him @thefloutist. His web site is patricklawrence.us.

The Dysfunctional Character Of The Scarlet Woman (Revelation 17)

Secret Service officer’s book details Clintons’ ‘crisis of character’

Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the 2014 meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative. (Reuters)

A forthcoming book from a former Secret Service officer assigned to the White House during Bill Clinton’s presidency alleges that presumptive 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “lacks the integrity and temperament to serve in the office.”

The book, “Crisis of Character,” is due to be released June 28 – a month before Hillary Clinton is likely to take the stage to accept the Democratic presidential nomination in Philadelphia. Written by ex-Secret Service Officer Gary J. Byrne, who was “posted directly outside President Clinton’s Oval Office,” the 285-page book describes Hillary Clinton’s “appalling leadership style” as being “volcanic, impulsive, enabled by sycophants, and disdainful of the rules set for everyone else.”
While most of the book’s contents have remained under wraps so far, the Amazon.com preview features large sections from the introduction, first two chapters and afterward. It also shows the title page, featuring a Chapter 11 titled “Wild Bill.”

In the introduction, Byrne said he “personally observed” President Clinton’s infidelities and was complicit in covering them up.

“I even secretly disposed of sordid physical evidence that might later have been used to convict the president,” Byrne wrote.

Byrne recalled an alleged fight between the first couple during the summer of 1995 in Chapter 1, “The Vase.” Byrne said a vase was smashed during the loud argument and the next morning President Clinton sported “a shiner, a real, put-a-steak-on-it black eye.” Clinton’s personal scheduler Nancy Hernreich allegedly told Byrne the eye condition was a result of Clinton’s allergy to coffee.
The book is not solely about the Clintons, however.

While writing about his career prior to the Oval Office post, Byrne revealed an incident on May 30, 1983, when he said Russian bombers were spotted 5 miles off the U.S. coast while President Ronald Reagan was holding an economic summit in Williamsburg, Va. Byrne said U.S. fighter jets ended up shooting a warning missile “right past a bomber’s nose” and the Soviet bombers turned around.

“The media never heard of it,” Byrne wrote.

While books about the Clintons written by supposed insiders are plentiful, Byrne’s credibility is bolstered by reporting at the time of the Monica Lewinsky-Bill Clinton sex scandal. A New York Times article from April 1998 reported that Byrne, “a uniformed member of the Secret Service assigned to the White House,” told the deputy chief of staff in 1996 about concerns he had regarding Lewinsky’s visits to the West Wing of the White House. A CNN article from April 1998 said Byrnes’ complaints about Lewinsky ultimately led to her being transferred to the Pentagon.

Byrne said in the introduction to “Crisis” that what he saw in the 1990s “sickened me.”

“We were supposed to lay our lives – not our consciences – on the line,” he wrote.
Neither Clinton has commented on the book.