Iran: 2014 Archives
Iran is playing the U.S. as a fool. Its goal is nuclear weapons and Obama is poised to give them to him.
Why Rouhani loves New York
Caroline Glick, published in the Jerusalem Post
Friday, September 19th, 2014
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s trip to New York next week will be a welcome relief for the Iranian leader. Finally, he’ll be somewhere where he’s appreciated, even loved.
Ahead of his trip to America, the US media continued its practice of presenting Rouhani as a moderate, and a natural ally for the US. NBC News’ Anne Curry interviewed Rouhani in Tehran, focusing her attention on his dim view of Islamic State.
Rouhani told Curry, “From the viewpoint of the Islamic tenets and culture, killing an innocent people equals the killing of the whole humanity. And therefore, the killing and beheading of innocent people in fact is a matter of shame for them and it’s the matter of concern and sorrow for all humans and all the mankind.”
The US media and political establishment’s willingness to take Rouhani at his word when he says that he’s a moderate is one of the reasons that Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz was in such a desolate mood on Wednesday.
During a briefing with the foreign media, Steinitz described the state of negotiations between the US and its negotiating partners – Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – and Iran regarding its illicit nuclear weapons program.
The briefing followed the latest round of the biennial Israeli-US strategic dialogue. Steinitz led the Israeli delegation to the talks, which focused on Iran, the week before nuclear talks were scheduled to be renewed.
One of Steinitz’s chief concerns was the US’s insistence that Rouhani is a moderate.
In his words, “The only thing that has changed [since Rouhani replaced president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] is the tone. The only difference is that the world was unwilling to hear from Ahmadinejad and [his nuclear negotiator Saeed] Jalili, what it is willing to listen to from Rouhani and [Iranian Foreign Minister Javad] Zarif.”
Unlike the Americans, the Iranian people are through with the fiction that Rouhani is a moderate, which is why he no doubt will be happier in New York than in Tehran.Continue reading "IRAN PLAYS THE U.S. FOR A FOOL TO GET ITS NUCLEAR WEAPONS."
Rouhani’s trip to New York coincides with his one-year anniversary in office. Since he took power, a thousand Iranians have been executed by the regime. Forty-five people were executed in just the past two weeks.
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CAROLINE GLICK: THE U.S. MUST CONTAIN BOTH IRAQ AND IRAN AND PREVENT IRAN'S ACQUISITION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS
The Middle East's most perceptive observer is Caroline Glick, an American-Israeli living in Israel. Her rare ability to see the Middle East as an American and an Israeli provides us with valuable insight.
The threat is blowback
by Caroline Glick in the Jerusalem Post
Friday, June 19, 2014
Watching the undoing, in a week, of victories that US forces won in Iraq at great cost over many years, Americans are asking themselves what, if anything, should be done.
What can prevent the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) – the al-Qaida offshoot that President Barack Obama derided just months ago as a bunch of amateurs – from taking over Iraq?
And what is at stake for America – other than national pride – if it does?
Muddying the waters is the fact that the main actor that seems interested in fighting ISIS on the ground in Iraq is Iran. Following ISIS’s takeover of Mosul and Tikrit last week, the Iranian regime deployed elite troops in Iraq from the Quds Force, its foreign operations division.
The Obama administration, along with Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham, views Iran’s deployment of forces in Iraq as an opportunity for the US. The US, they argue should work with Iran to defeat ISIS.
The idea is that since the US and Iran both oppose al-Qaida, Iranian gains against it will redound to the US’s benefit.
There are two basic, fundamental problems with this idea.
First, there is a mountain of evidence that Iran has no beef with al-Qaida and is happy to work with it.
According to the 9/11 Commission’s report, between eight and 10 of the September 11 hijackers traveled through Iran before going to the US. And this was apparently no coincidence.
According to the report, Iran had been providing military training and logistical support for al-Qaida since at least the early 1990s.
After the battle of Tora Bora in December 2001, al-Qaida’s leadership scattered. Many senior commanders – including bin Laden’s son Said, al-Qaida’s chief strategist Saif al-Adel and Suleiman Abu Ghaith – decamped to Iran, where they set up a command center.
From Iran, these men directed the operations of al-Qaida forces in Iraq led by Abu Musab Zarqawi. Zarqawi entered Iraq from Iran and returned to Iran several times during the years he led al-Qaida operations in Iraq.
Iran’s cooperation with al-Qaida continues today in Syria.
According to The Wall Street Journal, in directing the defense of Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, Iran has opted to leave ISIS and its al-Qaida brethren in the Nusra Front alone. That is why they have been able to expand their power in northern Syria.
Iran and its allies have concentrated their attacks against the more moderate Free Syrian Army, which they view as a threat.
Given Iran’s 20-year record of cooperation with al-Qaida, it is reasonable to assume that it is deploying forces into Iraq to tighten its control over Shi’ite areas, not to fight al-Qaida. The record shows that Iran doesn’t believe that its victories and al-Qaida’s victories are mutually exclusive.
The second problem with the idea of subcontracting America’s fight against al-Qaida to Iran is that it assumes that Iranian success in such a war would benefit America. But again, experience tells a different tale.
The US killed Zarqawi in an air strike in 2006. Reports in the Arab media at the time alleged that Iran had disclosed Zarqawi’s location to the US. While the reports were speculative, shortly after Zarqawi was killed, then-secretary of state Condoleezza Rice floated the idea of opening nuclear talks with Iran for the first time.
The Iranians contemptuously rejected her offer. But Rice’s willingness to discuss Iran’s nuclear weapons program with the regime, even as it was actively engaged in killing US forces in Iraq, ended any serious prospect that the Bush administration would develop a coherent plan for dealing with Iran in a strategic and comprehensive way.
Moreover, Zarqawi was immediately replaced by one of his deputies. And the fight went on.
So if Iran did help the US find Zarqawi, the price the US paid for Iran’s assistance was far higher than the benefit it derived from killing Zarqawi.
This brings us to the real threat that the rise of ISIS – and Iran – in Iraq poses to the US. That threat is blowback.
Both Iran and al-Qaida are sworn enemies of the United States, and both have been empowered by events of the past week.
Because they view the US as their mortal foe, their empowerment poses a danger to the US. But it is hard for people to recognize how events in distant lands can directly impact their lives.
In March 2001, when the Taliban blew up the Bamiyan Buddha statues in Afghanistan, the world condemned the act. But no one realized that the same destruction would be brought to the US six months later when al-Qaida destroyed the World Trade Center and attacked the Pentagon.
The September 11 attacks were the blowback from the US doing nothing to contain the Taliban and al-Qaida.
North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic-missile tests, as well as North Korean proliferation of both nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles to rogue regimes, like Iran, that threaten the US, are the beginnings of the blowback from the US decision to reach a nuclear deal with Pyongyang in the 1990s that allowed the regime to keep its nuclear installations.
The blowback from Iran’s emergence as a nuclear power is certain to dwarf what the world has seen from North Korea so far.
Yet rather than act in a manner that would reduce the threat of blowback from Iraq’s disintegration and takeover by America’s worst enemies, the Obama administration gives every indication that it is doubling down on the disastrous policies that led the US to this precarious juncture.
The only strategy that the US can safely adopt today is one of double containment. The aim of double containment is to minimize the capacity of Iran and al-Qaida to harm the US and its interests.
But to contain your enemies, you need to understand them. You need to understand their nature, their aims, their support networks and their capabilities.
Unfortunately, in keeping with what has been the general practice of the US government since the September 11 attacks, the US today continues to ignore or misunderstand all of these critical considerations.
Regarding al-Qaida specifically, the US has failed to understand that al-Qaida is a natural progression from the political/religious milieu of Salafist/Wahabist or Islamist Islam, from whence it sprang. As a consequence, anyone who identifies with Islamist religious and political organizations is a potential supporter and recruit for al-Qaida and its sister organizations.
There were two reasons that George W. Bush refused to base US strategy for combating al-Qaida on any cultural context broader than the Taliban.
Bush didn’t want to sacrifice the US’s close ties with Saudi Arabia, which finances the propagation and spread of Islamism. And he feared being attacked as a bigot by Islamist organizations in the US like the Council on American Islamic Relations and its supporters on the Left.
As for Obama, his speech in Cairo to the Muslim world in June 2009 and his subsequent apology tour through Islamic capitals indicated that, unlike Bush, Obama understands that al-Qaida is not a deviation from otherwise peaceful Islamist culture.
But unlike Bush, Obama blames America for its hostility. Obama’s radical sensibilities tell him that America pushed the Islamists to oppose it. As he sees it, he can appease the Islamists into ending their war against America.
To this end, Obama has prohibited federal employees from conducting any discussion or investigation of Islamist doctrine, terrorism, strategy and methods and the threat all pose to the US.
These prohibitions were directly responsible for the FBI’s failure to question or arrest the Tsarnaev brothers in 2012 despite the fact that Russian intelligence tipped it off to the fact that the 2013 Boston Marathon bombers were jihadists.
They were also responsible for the army’s refusal to notice any of the black flags that Maj. Nidal Hassan raised in the months before his massacre of his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, or to take any remedial action after the massacre to prevent such atrocities from recurring.
The Muslim Brotherhood is the progenitor of Islamism. It is the organizational, social, political and religious swamp from whence the likes of al-Qaida, Hamas and other terror groups emerged. Whereas Bush pretended the Brotherhood away, Obama embraced it as a strategic partner.
Then there is Iran.
Bush opted to ignore the 9/11 Commission’s revelations regarding Iranian collaboration with al-Qaida. Instead, particularly in the later years of his administration, Bush sought to appease Iran both in Iraq and in relation to its illicit nuclear weapons program.
In large part, Bush did not acknowledge, or act on the sure knowledge that Iran was the man behind the curtain in Iraq, because he believed that the American people would oppose the expansion of the US operations in the war against terror.
Obama’s actions toward Iran indicate that he knows that Iran stands behind al-Qaida and that the greatest threat the US faces is Iran’s nuclear weapons program. But here as well, Obama opted to follow a policy of appeasement. Rather than prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, or stem its advance in Syria and Iraq, Obama treats Iran as though it poses no threat and is indeed a natural ally. He blames Iran’s belligerence on the supposedly unjust policies of his predecessors and the US’s regional allies.
For a dual-containment strategy to have any chance of working, the US needs to reverse course. No, it needn’t deploy troops to Iraq. But it does need to seal its border to minimize the chance that jihadists will cross over from Mexico.
It doesn’t need to clamp down on Muslims in America. But it needs to investigate and take action where necessary against al-Qaida’s ideological fellow travelers in Islamist mosques, organizations and the US government. To this end, it needs to end the prohibition on discussion of the Islamist threat by federal government employees.
As for Iran, according to The New York Times, Iran is signaling that the price of cooperation with the Americans in Iraq is American acquiescence to Iran’s conditions for signing a nuclear deal. In other words, the Iranians will fight al-Qaida in Iraq in exchange for American facilitation of its nuclear weapons program.
The first step the US must take to minimize the Iranian threat is to walk away from the table and renounce the talks. The next step is to take active measures to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration appears prepared to do none of these things. To the contrary, its pursuit of an alliance with Iran in Iraq indicates that it is doubling down on the most dangerous aspects of its policy of empowering America’s worst enemies.
It only took the Taliban six months to move from the Bamiyan Buddhas to the World Trade Center.
Al-Qaida is stronger now than ever before. And Iran is on the threshold of a nuclear arsenal
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The insanity of making a deal with Iran to contain ISIS is clearly spelled out by Melanie Phillips, Britain’s top analyst of the Islamic threat to the western world.
With Iran, my enemy's enemy is still my enemy
Melanie Phillips in the Jerusalem Post
June 20, 2014
Rub your eyes. One minute Iran is a principal enemy of civilization – sponsoring terror around the world, arming the Assad regime’s mass slaughter in Syria, developing nuclear weapons to further its war against the West and its declared aim of exterminating Israel. The next minute it has become America’s ally and the West’s new best friend.
The US says it is “open to engaging the Iranians” over the crisis in Iraq. The reason for the volte-face is that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a savage terrorist army previously known as al-Qaida in Iraq, has routed the Iraqi army and now controls territory from the outskirts of Aleppo in Syria to Fallujah and Mosul in Iraq, even threatening Baghdad.
The prospect of such a well-equipped and financed fanatical force controlling a swath of Iraq is an unconscionable threat to the West. It puts oil supplies in jeopardy, creates an enormous territorial infrastructure for holy war and will serve as Indoctrination Central for even more Muslim youths pouring in from the UK and Europe to be trained and sent back to their host countries to perpetrate terrorist atrocities.
Notwithstanding this catastrophe, the US has no intention of getting sucked back into Iraq. Enter Iran, which has offered its ally, Iraq’s Shia Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the use of its army, its spies and its fearsome Revolutionary Guards to deal with the ISIS Sunni insurgency.
There are many Western voices saying that, despite Iran’s record, the West should ally with it in dealing with their common enemy in ISIS and stabilizing Iraq. But any cozying up to Iran would be astonishingly short-sighted. For sometimes my enemy’s enemy is also my enemy. And Iran remains the West’s deadly enemy.
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran has been in a state of self-declared war against the West. The State Department considers it to be the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. It supports Hamas and Hezbollah, and has been behind countless murderous attacks against US, Jewish and other Western interests.
The idea that Iran has an interest in stabilizing Iraq is the opposite of the truth. Iran has every interest in destabilizing Iraq. Since the fall of Saddam, it has been doing precisely that.
After years of supporting Shia militias fomenting sectarian strife in Iraq and blowing up US and coalition soldiers there with its roadside bombs, Iran signed a deal last February to sell Iraq arms and ammunition worth $195 million, in violation of international arms trade laws. The aim was to continue to support the Shia militias in terrorist violence against the Sunni minority.
If Iran now embeds itself in Iraq, the country will be permanently destabilized.
Saudi-backed Sunni militias will fight back, with the risk of dividing Iraq into two armed camps, Shia and Sunni. These would not only fight each other, but would create two separate Iraqi terrorist bases for jihadi attacks against the West.
At the same time, if the West allies with Iran it will also be helping keep its murderous puppet Assad in power in Syria. And if the US really is desperate to use Iran as its proxy against ISIS, that will undermine what remains of the West’s bargaining power in the negotiations to destroy Iran’s capacity to make nuclear weapons.
Such an unholy alliance could therefore end up handing Iran a double victory on a plate. Indeed, it’s almost as if it is behind the whole thing.
Although this must be purely speculative, it is not entirely fanciful. For in the Arab and Muslim world, forces can simultaneously be allies and enemies.
Although ISIS is a Sunni force and is supposedly at war with the Assad regime in Syria, there is evidence to suggest that both Iran and its Syrian puppet regime may have cooperated with it. In 2012, the US Treasury Department identified Iran as supporting the ISIS precursor, al-Qaida in Iraq. And ISIS is thought to have done oil deals with the Assad regime itself, which some analysts speculate may have wanted to boost jihadi fighters in order to discredit the opposition in Western eyes.
It is possible, therefore, that having used ISIS for its own devious ends Iran now finds its activities have got out of hand. Even if Iran had nothing to do with ISIS, however, any Western overtures to the clerical regime would be a serious error.
This week, the Iranian leadership suggested the price of its “help” in “stabilizing” Iraq would be a deal over its nuclear program. State Department denials that these two issues would be in any way linked lack a certain credibility. This is because, since the start of the Geneva negotiations, it has appeared that the US and the rest are determined to do a deal with Iran, even if this is a rotten deal that won’t prevent it from reaching nuclear breakout capacity.
Indeed, it is not too cynical to suspect that the Obama administration may be eyeing the Iraq crisis as potential diplomatic cover for a nuclear sell-out to Iran for which it always intended to settle.
Moreover, by his own admission Obama aims to achieve a strategic realignment in which Iran is transformed from the enemy of the West into its ally, stabilizing the region by creating a supposed equilibrium of power against Iran’s Sunni enemy, Saudi Arabia.
This is a strategic error of the first magnitude.
To give Iran the edge will not produce regional stability. The more Iran is empowered, the more Saudi Arabia will fight it. The outcome will be a hugely increased likelihood of war and endemic tribal conflict engulfing the region.
In addition, both Iran and Saudi are working not just against each other but to destroy and dominate the West. As such, both should be seen as the West’s mortal enemies. The Western aim, therefore, should be to defeat or at very least box in both of them.
Iraq has turned into a catastrophe because, when the US pulled out, the Obama administration left a vacuum in which Maliki pumped up tribal conflict and paved the way for the ISIS insurgency.
Iran, the most manipulative and sophisticated geopolitical strategic player in the world, understands that Obama’s desperation to turn his back on the threats from the Islamic world has left the US weakened and exposed. Whatever its origins, the Iraq crisis offers Iran an opportunity to exploit that weakness, a threat with which the West now seems too paralyzed to deal.
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