01/16/20

Daily Gas Pump Prices are Based on the Strait of Hormuz

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Experts said Iranian officials are trying to demonstrate to the U.S. and its allies that the Islamic Republic is able to push back and gain leverage against the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” policy, which intensified after President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the landmark nuclear deal in May 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions, making it difficult for Iran to export oil, the foundation of the country’s economy.

China, Russia and leading Western European countries have sought ways around the U.S. sanctions, but it has been difficult to bypass them.

“The message that Iran is sending is that it is capable of making international waters unsafe not just for the U.S., but for international trade,” said Reza H. Akbari, a program manager and Iran expert at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting.

These are the reasons for oil tanker seizures and attacks by Iranian limpet mines.

Tensions between the West and Iran bubbled to a historic height in recent days after the assassination of top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani and Tehran bombed two Iraqi bases that housed US troops.

They have sparked fears of wider US-Iran attacks in the greater region, which could take place in and around the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow body of water linking the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, which feeds into the Arabian Sea and the rest of the world.

strait of hormuz jan 2020

A satellite image of marine traffic passing through the Strait of Hormuz as on January 9, 2020. MarineTraffic.com

While Iran’s leaders claim to have “concluded” their revenge for Soleimani’s death — and President Donald Trump appears to believe them — many regional experts and diplomatic sources say Iran could unleash other modes of attack, which include unleashing allied militias to disrupt the Middle East.

One strategy could include Iran closing the Strait of Hormuz, which would stop oil tanker traffic, disrupt global oil supply, and send prices shooting up.

Here’s what you need to know about this valuable strait.

Some 21 million barrels of crude and refined oil pass through the strait every day, the EIA said, citing 2018 statistics.

That’s about one-third of the world’s sea-traded oil, or $1.2 billion worth of oil a day, at current oil prices. The majority of Saudi Arabia’s crude exports pass through the Strait of Hormuz, meaning much of the oil-dependent economy’s wealth is situated there. Saudi state-backed oil tanker Bahri temporarily suspended its shipments through the strait after Iran’s missile strikes in Iran, the Financial Times reported.

Last June Iran shot down a US drone flying near the strait, and a month later a US warship — USS Boxer — also shot down an Iranian drone in the same area.

Shortly after Iran’s drone attack, President Donald Trump questioned the US’ presence in the region, and called on China, Japan, and other countries to protect their own ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz.

Trump noted that much of China and Japan’s oil flow through the strait, and added: “So why are we protecting the shipping lanes for other countries (many years) for zero compensation.”

While a large proportion — 76% — of oil flowing through the chokepoint does end up in Asian countries, the US still imports more than 30 million barrels of oil a month from countries in the Middle East, Business Insider has reported, citing the EIA.

That’s about $1.7 billion worth of oil, and 10% of the US’s total oil imports per month.

Iranian leaders, who have also vowed retaliation for the death of Soleimani, have threatened to close down the strait multiple times in the past.

If Iran followed through with these threats, it would likely cause a huge disruption to the global oil trade. As the strait is so narrow, any sort of interference in tanker traffic could decrease the world’s oil supply, and send prices shooting up.

Global oil prices have proven vulnerable to tensions between Iran and the West before. After the Trump administration said in April 2019 it would stop providing sanctions waivers to countries who purchase Iranian oil, prices rose to their highest level since November the year before, Axios reported.

How likely is Iran to shut down the strait?

Iran is more likely to disrupt traffic in the Strait of Hormuz than to engage in an all-out conventional war with the US, which is much stronger militarily.

But doing so comes with high costs to Iran.

To close down the entire strait, Iran would have to place at least 1,000 mines with submarines and surface craft along the chokepoint, security researcher Caitlin Talmadge posited in a 2009 MIT study. Such an effort could take weeks, the study added. (taken in part from here)

01/16/20

U.S. Killed AQ Leader in a Taliban Stronghold

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Asim Umar (1974/1976 – 23 September 2019) was an Indian militant and the leader of alQaeda in the Indian Subcontinent. AlQaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri announced the creation of AQIS and introduced Asim Umar as its leader in a video posted online in September 2014.

Though the Taliban or al-Qaeda has not given an official confirmation of their own, the Afghan government has released pictures and confirmed his death alongside six other AQIS operatives in a joint U.S.-Afghan operation (Al Jazeera, October 8).

Umar was killed in an Afghan Taliban hideout in Musa Qila district, a known Taliban stronghold in Helmand province. The circumstances are indicative of long-running Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda ties and their collaboration in the Afghan insurgency. The idea that the Taliban would deny a safe haven to foreign fighters in Afghanistan after reaching a peace deal with the United States, as was suggested during negotiations, has been proven unlikely following Umar’s discovery in Taliban-held territory. More details here.

***

The U.S. Department of Defense suppressed a press release that would have announced the death of Asim Umar, the emir of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, because it “would complicate future negotiations with the Taliban,” military officials have told FDD’s Long War Journal.

The U.S. military killed Umar in the Taliban stronghold of Musa Qala in Helmand province, Afghanistan on Sept. 23, 2019. Umar was killed just two weeks after President Donald Trump canceled a possible deal between the U.S. and the Taliban. As part of that accord, the U.S. was willing to accept the Taliban’s supposed counterterrorism assurances.

The Sept. 23 raid exposed the ongoing ties between the Taliban and al Qaeda’s branch in South Asia. Among the 17 people killed was Haji Mahmood, the Taliban’s military commander for the neighboring district of Naw Zad, which is also controlled by the Taliban.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, has claimed throughout “peace” negotiations that the Taliban would sever ties with al Qaeda. But Umar’s presence with the Taliban cast further doubt Khalilzad’s claim that the Taliban is truly willing to split with its longtime battlefield allies.

Umar was not the only al Qaeda operative killed in the raid. Raihan, Umar’s courier to Zawahiri; Faizani, the AQIS chief for Helmand and an ‘explosives expert;’ and Madani, Faizani’s deputy, also perished during the raid, which including intense airstrikes that killed more than a dozen civilians.

Umar’s wife was identified as one of six Pakistani women detained during the operation. Fourteen other “terrorists” were also captured, according to Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security.

The NDS confirmed Umar’s death on Oct. 8, 2019, and released photographs of Umar, both dead and alive. AQIS itself had previously obscured images of Umar, likely due to its concerns over operational security.

Al Qaeda and AQIS have not released a martyrdom statement confirming his death, but have not denied that he was killed. The Taliban, which has a vested interest in hiding its ties with al Qaeda (although it occasionally slips up) called the reports of his death “a part of enemy fabricated propaganda.”

Umar’s presence with the Taliban was “inconvenient”

The U.S. military was aware of Umar’s death and the Department of Defense was prepared to announce it a week after the statement by the NDS, military officials and officers who are familiar with the events told FDD’s Long War Journal on condition of anonymity.

A press release announcing Umar’s death was drafted and currently resides at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, military officials have confirmed. Yet, three months after OSD drafted the press release, it remains hidden from the public.

FDD’s Long War Journal has contacted the OSD several times over the past three months requesting comment on the press release, but has not received a response.

The U.S. military has suppressed the report of Umar’s death as “his presence with the Taliban during the late stage of talks would complicate future negotiations with the Taliban,” one defense official said.

“Asim Umar, his staff, his courier to [Al Qaeda emir Ayman] Zawahiri, and even his wife, were embedded with the Taliban, in the Taliban’s heartland,” a military officer said. “When you want to sell a split between the Taliban and Al Qaeda, these facts become inconvenient.”

01/13/20

Pelosi Says ‘No War’ But What About The Gerasimov Doctrine?

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

The 800 lb. gorilla in the room, meaning in Congress, is the 2002 AUMF, Authorization for Military Force. That was 18+ years ago and since that time warfare has changed. No longer will we see conventional forces take the battlefield that looks that of Ramadi, North Korea or driving the Taliban from power in Afghanistan.

Modern warfare is best described today by the doctrine developed by Russian General Valery Gerasimov. This site has published several items on Gerasimov in recent years where in summary his military paper lays out theories of modern warfare and the new rules. The strategies include politics, cyber, media, leaks, space, fake news, conventional, and asymmetrical tactics of extortion and influence.

The United States does not want war but bad guys do and they often get it.

As long as the United States responds and remains defensive on all fronts, we are in a forever war and the bad guys multiply.

The adversaries of our nation watch us more than we watch ourselves, there are divisions, departments, teams, units and various skill sets that are assigned and dedicated to all things United States all to pinpoint our weaknesses and fractures in our systems. They DO find them.

When third in the line of succession to the presidency, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calls President Trump and ‘insecure imposter’ and an ‘assassin’, it becomes one of many jumping-off points for our adversaries to exploit. When the media calls Trump a liar, members of Congress use racist, unfit and unstable, the enemy takes delight.

So, taking out General Soleimani was long overdue and as for bad guys multiplying?

Source IISS report

Enter the cyber trolls, the deep fakes, the false news stories, hacks, ransomware, espionage, theft, plants, drones, terrorists embedded with migrants, illicit transfer of goods including weapons, money, and people generated by rogue nations.

So, while there is little debate about the AUMF, there is a past due need to update and define all lanes of modern warfare and for a full new unanimous vote on military force which does now include cyber and space.

When Speaker Pelosi announced last week ‘NO WAR’ and the House passed a non-binding resolution to limit President Trump’s war powers against Iran, you can bet Russia was listening as were North Korea, Syria, China, and even Iran.

This is a pre-911 mentality regarding foreign policy, United States doctrine and national security. Such was the case several days ago when Iran launched its cyber operation to begin brute force attacks against several targets inside the United States. The Department of Homeland Security’s CISA division (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) sent out several advanced warnings nationally for state and local governments as well as private business and corporations to be on the ready and harden systems with robust firewalls. They are asked for information regarding intrusions and attacks, Well, Texas Governor Abbot did respond. A few Texas state systems were the victims of brute force cyber hits. The extent of that action appears to be rather minimal but no computer system network ever wants to reveal the damage such that it would or could invite more resulting in more ransomware.

Noted in the Gerasimov Doctrine, hard and soft power across many domains, past and over any boundaries, Russia collaborating with China, Iran, and North Korea counter-balance conventional warfare with hybrid tactics and it is cheaper and often missed by experts and media until the real damage is noted.

Congress has held many hearings on what is an act of war against the United States and yet, here we are stuck with a tired and outdated AUMF that does not address gray zone operations. Just ask Ukraine, East Europe, and Crimea how Russia was successful in applying hybrid warfare tactics. Maybe we should just rename the Gerasimov Doctrine civilian-military operations, perhaps the Democrats and Pelosi would better understand the burdens of the Commander in Chief and that of the Secretary of Defense along with the intelligence agencies. It is an ugly world.

01/6/20

Hey Hollywood/Democrats, Killing Soleimani Was Legal

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Quds force commander, Qassim Soleimani’s death by drone strike approved by President Trump is legal. That decision was not a decision to go to war or launch additional military conflict(s) with Iran. How about referring to General David Petraeus confirming that killing Soleimani is more significant and consequential than taking out Osama bin Ladin and al Baghdadi?

Image result for Kata'ib Hezbollah

Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary and lawyer, Jeh Johnson also confirmed the order/approval to kill Soleimani by President Trump is legal without Congressional knowledge or approval.

Revised in 2016, from the Judge Advocate General, the laws of armed conflict defines the rules.

AFD-160210-019  (2 pages) During a time of conflict, you may only attack lawful targets, which include certain people, places, and things. Combatants are lawful targets. A combatant is anyone engaging in hostilities in an armed conflict on behalf of a party to the conflict. All members of the military are combatants except for medical personnel, chaplains, POWs, wounded and sick, shipwrecked, and parachutists escaping disabled aircraft.

Further: The War Powers Resolution requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30-day withdrawal period, without a congressional authorization for use of military force (AUMF) or a declaration of war by the United States. The resolution was passed by two-thirds each of the House and Senate, overriding the veto of the bill by President Richard Nixon.

Further to the media, the Democrats and to Hollywood –>

THE PRESIDENT’S CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY TO CONDUCT MILITARY OPERATIONS AGAINST TERRORISTS AND NATIONS SUPPORTING THEM

       The President has broad constitutional power to take military action in response to the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. Congress has acknowledged this inherent executive power in both the War Powers Resolution and the Joint Resolution passed by Congress on September 14, 2001.

The President has constitutional power not only to retaliate against any person, organization, or State suspected of involvement in terrorist attacks on the United States, but also against foreign States suspected of harboring or supporting such organizations.

The President may deploy military force preemptively against terrorist organizations or the States that harbor or support them, whether or not they can be linked to the specific terrorist incidents of September 11.

It cannot be understated that the United States under President Trump and in collaboration with U.S. Treasury and the U.S. State Department which hold the terror list along with the Department of Defense that there are more targets, least of which is al Shabab, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and the Islamic State.

The exact reference listed them as an FTO, Foreign Terror Organization on July 2, 2009. Click here for the FTO list.

***

Meanwhile:

Abu Ali al Askari’s Twitter statement calling for volunteers for suicide operations in Iraq.

Abu Ali al Askari, the security official for Iraq’s Hezbollah Brigades (or Kata’ib Hezbollah, KH), purportedly released a statement earlier today calling for volunteers for suicide bombings against U.S. forces in Iraq.

On Askari’s Twitter account, which has been utilized in the past to distribute KH statements, the official says that: “I call for the opening of the door of registration for the lovers of martyrdom, to conduct martyrdom operations [suicide bombings] against the foreign Crusader forces.”

This short statement was then republished by social media channels affiliated with KH on both Twitter and Telegram. In addition, a Lebanese Hezbollah-affiliated Telegram account has also republished the statement.

No official word has been made on KH’s website as of the time of publishing, however.

The US-designated Hezbollah Brigades were led by Abu Mahdi al Muhandis until his death by a US drone strike yesterday alongside Iranian Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.

01/5/20

Iraq Parliament Vote to Remove US Forces, Symbolic So Far

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

The vote is hardly final and the United States military forces would likely not begin to exit Iraq for a year or more. In the meantime, the U.S. military has suspended all consular operations at the embassy in Baghdad and suspended all training operations of the Iraqi military.

Iraq parliament passes resolution to expel US troops

For the details of the Iraq parliamentary vote, read on.

Key Takeaway: Iraq’s Parliament, the Council of Representatives (CoR), passed a non-binding resolution to cancel the request for military aid from the government of Iraq to the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition. The resolution does not require a U.S. withdrawal, which only the Prime Minister can order by rescinding the Status of Forces Agreement with the U.S. It is unclear whether caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mehdi has the authority to do so. The CoR resolution sets political conditions to justify subsequent Iranian proxy attacks on U.S. forces and installations, however. Nationalist Shi’a Cleric Muqtada al Sadr also called for the mobilization of new “resistance” groups to support such attacks.

Iraq’s parliament passed a non-binding resolution rejecting the presence of U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. 172 members of the Iraqi Council of Representatives (CoR) convened on Sunday, January 5 in an “extraordinary session” to discuss the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian IRGC Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi Popular Mobilization Committee Deputy Chief and Kata’ib Hezbollah commander Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis on January 3, 2020. Kurdish political parties boycotted the session, as did many Sunni political parties. Caretaker Prime Minister (PM) Adel Abdul Mehdi submitted the resolution. It passed with 170 votes.[1]

The resolution does not require an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces. The CoR’s resolution asks the Government of Iraq (GoI) to cancel the 2014 military aid request from the GoI to coalition forces. The resolution does not explicitly ask the GoI to revoke the State of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the U.S. and Iraq.[2] It does, however, say the GoI “must work to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using its land, airspace or water for any reason.” [3] It also calls on the Iraqi government to establish a timetable for the withdrawal of all foreign troops. The CoR cannot itself cancel the 2014 request for coalition support or the SOFA, which requires executive action from the PM. It is unclear if PM Mehdi has the legal authority to do so given his status as a caretaker PM. Mehdi resigned on November 29, 2019 during mass protests.

Nationalist Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr may participate in attacks on US forces and installations. The leader of Sadr’s Toward Reform bloc issued a statement to the CoR on Sadr’s behalf that included demands for an even greater response. In addition to withdrawing from U.S. security agreements, Sadr called for the immediate closure of the “Embassy of American Evil in Iraq,” the closure of U.S. bases in the country, the “humiliating expulsion” of U.S. troops, the “criminalization” of any communication with the U.S. government, and the boycott of American products.[4] In a tweet following the session, Sadr condemned the CoR resolution as insufficient and called on “the Iraqi resistance factions in particular and the factions outside of Iraq for an immediate meeting to announce the formation of “international resistance groups.”[5]

Implications: This resolution renders the maintenance of a U.S. or coalition military presence in Iraq politically difficult but does not yet legally require a U.S. withdrawal. However, it solidifies the Iranian narrative of a U.S. “occupation” of Iraq and sets political conditions to justify subsequent attacks on U.S. forces across the Middle East. These escalations will likely come not only from Iran’s direct proxy militias, but also from a pan-Shi’a resistance movement that Muqtada al-Sadr is now attempting to generate. The Iraqi Security Forces have up until this point depended on coalition military support to sustain pressure on the Islamic State (ISIS). Any withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq offers ISIS increased freedom of movement and improves conditions for ISIS to reconstitute itself inside of Iraq and Syria.

[1] DO NOT GO TO SITE: “Shiite MPs draft legislation seeking to expel US troops from Iraq” Rudaw, 05 January 2020. https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/05012020

[2]“Iraqi Lawmakers Urge End U.S. Troop Presence as Iran Mourns a Slain General,” New York Times, 05 January 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/05/world/middleeast/iran-general-soleimani-iraq.html

[3] “Iraqi Parliament Passes Resolution to End Foreign Troop Presence,” Voice of America, 05 January 2020. https://www.voanews.com/middle-east/voa-news-iran/iraqi-parliament-passes-resolution-end-foreign-troop-presence

[4] DO NOT GO TO SITE: Iraqi Council of Representatives Readout of CoR Session, 05 January 2020. http://ar.parliament.iq/2020/01/05/%d9%85%d8%ac%d9%84%d8%b3-%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%86%d9%88%d8%a7%d8%a8-%d9%8a%d8%b5%d9%88%d8%aa-%d8%b9%d9%84%d9%89-%d9%82%d8%b1%d8%a7%d8%b1-%d9%86%d9%8a%d8%a7%d8%a8%d9%8a-%d8%a8%d8%a5%d9%86%d9%87%d8%a7%d8%a1/

[5] Muqtada al-Sadr Twitter 05 January, 2020: @Mu_AlSadr https://twitter.com/Mu_AlSadr/status/1213829592789782529

01/5/20

Iran Announces No More Compliance With Nuclear Deal

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Let’s begin with some side deals made that John Kerry, Barack Obama, and Europe never admitted to shall we? Check the date of that tweet… I have been calling for President Trump to declassify documents related to all the years of negotiations since early 2017.

At least three media sources are reporting:

*Iran Says Will No Longer Comply With Nuclear Enrichment Limits Under 2015 Deal – Iran Media

*Iran Says Won’t Respect Nuclear Deal Commitments on Enrichment Uranium Stockpile, Purity, Research – Iran Media

*Iran Says Will Continue to Work with U.N. Atomic Agency Inspectors – Iran Media

There are written steps Iran must take to make changes to the JCPOA. There is no indication of what the steps are and when the steps will be taken. Iran is at the 5th and final step regarding non-compliance/commitment. Of particular note, since May, Iran has been reducing its nuclear commitments with a series of steps every 60 days already. Last November, Iran gave Britain, France, and Germany yet another 60-day extension to salvage the deal or face further non-compliance. The deadline came and went.

The European Union has continued attempts for a diplomatic salvage, so far to no avail. Now, leaders are meeting in Brussels to discuss the nuclear deal and how to de-escalate tension since the strike to kill General Qasim Soleimani.

France is especially committed to the Iran nuclear deal and is urging Iran to stay with the landmark 2015 agreement.

Iran’s President Rouhani made a state television appearance stating it remains open to negotiations with European partners. Iran is desperate to sell its oil to Europe and to maintain trade with Europe as the Iranian economy is in a financial free-fall. Watch for epic smuggling directed by Iran.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has not yet responded regarding Iran’s assertion. Iranian officials are to meet in the coming days to discuss that final 5th step in separating from the nuclear deal. Iran has already previously broken limits of enrichment, stockpiles, and centrifuges.

Meanwhile, to further complicate tensions in the Middle East, Iran is pulling out the whole cultural protections law noted in the 1954 Hague Convention.

The 1954 Hague Convention, of which the U.S. is a party, bars any military from “direct hostilities against cultural property.” However, such sites can be targeted if they have been re-purposed and turned into a legitimate “military objective,” according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Iran, home to 24 UNESCO World Heritage sites, has in the past reportedly guarded the sprawling tomb complex of the Islamic Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, with surface-to-air missiles.

This past November:

The head of Iran’s nuclear program said that Tehran was now operating double the amount of advanced centrifuges than was previously known in violation of its atomic deal with world powers.

The announcement came as Iranians marked the 40th anniversary of the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover and start of the 444-day hostage crisis.

The decision to operate 60 IR-6 advanced centrifuges means that the country can produce enriched uranium 10 times as fast as the first-generation IR-1s allowed under the accord.

The nuclear deal limited Iran to using only 5,060 first-generation IR-1 centrifuges to enrich uranium by rapidly spinning uranium hexafluoride gas. Salehi also said Tehran was working on a prototype centrifuge that’s 50 times faster than those allowed under the deal.

By starting up these advanced centrifuges, Iran further cuts into the one-year time limit that experts estimate Tehran would need to have enough material to build a nuclear weapon, if it chose to pursue one.

01/5/20

The Pig-Ignorance of Tim Kaine & The Pro-Iran Left

By: Frank Salvato

“Soleimani was a despicable killer, but this drastic escalation of hostilities, waging a military attack on Iraqi soil over the objections of that country and without congressional authorization, will increase the threat to American troops, diplomats, and families in the region,” US Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), said in a tweet.

This is the kind of opportunistic pig-ignorance that passes for statesmanship today in the Progressive wing of the Democrat Party; opportunistic because his statement is politically motivated, ignorant because it dismisses the reality on the ground in the Iranian-influenced Middle East.

Kaine, the failed vice-presidential candidate on Hillary Clinton’s ticket, has a history of making politically opportunistic statements for their shock and pander value including insisting that President Trump wanted every nation to have nuclear weapons. He is on record as saying, “We trust Hillary Clinton, my wife and I, and we trust her with the most important thing in our life.” That says quite a bit when you take into consideration Clinton’s trustworthiness.

So, when we look at Kaine’s catalyst (or any of the usual suspect Democrat obstructionists) for introducing legislation that would require the military’s Commander in Chief to get authorization from Congress for any military measure taken against Iran’s terrorist regime it must be seen as a move that targets the President politically, not ethically or procedurally, and puts the immediate well-being of our military personnel in-theater in jeopardy without support.

Soleimani’s existence was the existence of a physical threat to not only US military and civilian personnel in the Middle East, but Americans and Westerners everywhere. His chief terror organization – Hezbollah – was not pigeonholed to formal nation-state acts of war; it operates in the deathly shadows where terrorists lurk. They operate across the Middle East in cities as well as battlefields. They operate in Europe. They operate in Asia, South America, Central America, and right here in the United States.

This understood, how incredibly ignorant is Kaine’s statement that actions like taking out Soleimani will “increase the threat to American troops, diplomats, and families,” that threat is a constant. The elimination of Soleimani represents the removal of what the sycophantic Left in the US is calling the “mastermind” of Iranian military and terrorist operations. That makes American troops, diplomats, and families safer, not placed in more danger.

As for Iraqi “sovereignty.” There is none. The fact that anyone in Baghdad is mourning Soleimani’s death means that the Iraqi people have been subjugated to their historical enemy, Iran. The US presence in Iraq is meant to safeguard a government for the Iraqi people, not for the political elites who see opportunity in aligning with the terrorist regime in Tehran.

Therefore, there was no “attack on Iraqi soil,” but there was an attack that killed a bloodthirsty international terrorist in Iranian occupied Iraq.

It would serve the political opportunists of the Progressive Left well to stop playing games with the Iran issue. If the US is made to play the Left’s political game of “stall, politicize, and slow-walk” when military action is needed – and especially with Iran being nuclear-capable (and we all know they are) – should a massive loss of life occurs at Iran’s hand because we couldn’t respond in a timely and effective manner…well, let’s just say that Democrats will be cast into a hundred years of political darkness for the blood on their banner, if, in fact, the party survives at all.

Best for the political Left, as they did in the aftermath of 9/11, to shut up, sit down, and not draw attention to their terrorist sympathies.

Frank Salvato is a managing partner at TR² Consulting Group, LLC, an organizational and media strategies group. He is the host of The Underground podcast as heard on iHeart Radio, Pandora, Spotify, and anywhere podcasts are heard. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His analysis has been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times, and Accuracy in Media, and is nationally syndicated. Mr. Salvato appeared on The O’Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel and is the author of six books examining internal and external threats facing our country. He can be heard twice weekly on “The Captain’s America: Third Watch” radio program syndicated nationally on the Salem Broadcasting Network and Genesis Communications affiliate stations.

01/5/20

DHS Website Hacked with Pro-Iranian Messages

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

It seems with the timing, that as I was publishing an article yesterday about Iran’s robust cyber operations, they or their proxies were at work taking down our own Department of Homeland Security website. Another thought is a domestic Iranian sympathizer took down the site.

A website within the Department of Homeland Security was offline Sunday after a hacker uploaded photos onto the site that included an Iranian flag and an image depicting a bloodied President Donald Trump being punched in the face.

The images appeared on the Federal Depository Library Program program’s website late Saturday before the site was taken offline. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, said it was monitoring the situation.

“We are aware the website of the Federal Depository Library Program was defaced with pro-Iranian, anti-US messaging,” the cybersecurity agency said in a statement. “At this time, there is no confirmation that this was the action of Iranian state-sponsored actors. The website was taken offline and is no longer accessible.”

The statement added that “in these times of increased threats” all organizations should increase cyber monitoring, back up IT systems, implement secure authentication and have an incident response plan ready should a hack take place.

DHS also issued a two-week National Terrorism System advisory noting the U.S. drone strike in Iraq last week that killed Iran commander Qassem Soleimani. That spurred Iran and several affiliated extremist organizations to state publicly they intend to retaliate against the U.S.

“Iran maintains a robust cyber program and can execute cyberattacks against the United States,” DHS warned. “Iran is capable, at a minimum, of carrying out attacks with temporary disruptive effects against critical infrastructure in the United States.”

The library program website essentially had been replaced with a page exclaiming “Iranian Hackers!” An image of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also was posted, along with a message that “martyrdom was (Soleimani’s) reward for years of implacable efforts.

A graphic showed Trump being punched by a fist from Iran amid a flurry of missiles.

“With his departure and with God’s power, his work and path will not cease and severe revenge awaits those criminals who have tainted their filthy hands with his blood and blood of the other martyrs,” a message on the website read.

Another message claimed the hack was the work of an Iranian “security group,” adding that “this is only a small part of Iran’s cyber ability!”

Iran has promised a military response to Soleimani’s killing. Trump has vowed that if Iran attacks an American base or any American, “which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before!”

I also received the following bulletin yesterday from the DHS email system.

01/5/20

Thanks Mr. President for Placing American Lives Above Politics

By: Lloyd Marcus

I awoke around 7:30 am, turned on the TV and flipped through channels. I briefly stopped on CNN and MSNBC. True to form, both fake news outlets were lying. They were selling the lie that by killing Iran’s top general, Soleimani, Trump recklessly put the U.S. in danger. While I realize that fake news medias’ mission is to spin everything to make Trump look mean, incompetent and insane, it is amazing that they never take a break; laser-focused on destroying Trump 24/7.

Ninety-two percent of media coverage of Trump is negative, designed to have him removed from office.

Thank God we have a president who places American lives above politics. In response to Iran-backed raiders attacking our U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Trump said, “This will not be Benghazi.”

Allow me to succinctly explain what Trump is talking about by referencing Benghazi.

It was reelection time for Obama. His Administration was spreading the narrative that Obama fixed terrorism, making it no longer a threat. As another 9/11 anniversary approached, Ambassador Chris Stevens at our U.S. Embassy in Benghazi alerted the Obama Administration to his concerns about a possible terrorist attack. Ambassador Stevens requested extra security. His request was denied because adding more security would undermine Obama’s narrative that terrorism is over.

Consequently, our U.S. Embassy was attacked, overtaken and Ambassador Stevens was raped and killed; his mutilated dead body was paraded through the streets.

So rather than celebrating President Trump for immediately stepping up to protect American lives in our U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, fake news media rushed to spread the lie that Trump behaved irresponsibility.

Folks, these people in fake news media are scum-of-the-earth. They don’t give a rat’s derriere about American lives or our nation’s best interests. Fake news media and their Democrat counterparts are laser-focused, obsessed with removing Trump, punishing his supporters and repealing our Constitutional power. If they can get rid of their major stumbling block, Donald J. Trump, they can transform America into their socialist/Godless dream.

Folks, we must defeat this wicked enemy within by kicking their butts in November.

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American
Help Lloyd spread the Truth
http://LloydMarcus.com

01/4/20

Iran Identifies 35 Targets to Avenge Soleimani’s Death

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

For reference, the United States has an estimated 65,000 military personnel deployed in various locations throughout the Middle East.

Afghanistan: 14,000
Bahrain: 7,000
Iraq: 5200
Jordan: 3000
Kuwait: 13000
Oman: 300
Qatar: 14,000
Saudi Arabia: 3000
Syria: 700
Turkey: 2000
United Arab Emirates: 5000

If the tensions continue to rise, the United States has approved of 120,000 total troops in the region.

Iran does not have the resources or infrastructure to compete, but they can cause chaos.

So, as the Democrats are predicting and wrongfully so the makings of a full military conflict with Iran, there just won’t be one.

Iranians typically won’t fight outside their own country and hardly would inside it… so much so that their fighters are desperate to recruit Arabs from all kinds of countries willing to do so for any kind of paycheck. That is what Qassim Soleimani built with his political charm and promises.

This is not to say that the Supreme Leader of Iran along with his President Hassan Rouhani won’t certainly continue with attacks and some terror targets. They will ensure that the new Quds leader Esmail Ghaani has his orders. Any more robust military action by Iran won’t happen anytime soon but the West must prepare the potential battle-spaces and harden soft targets as well as collect all intelligence possible. The United States has for some time been collecting information on Iran and the reach the country has across the globe including our homeland. We share information with Israel and where needed with other allies.

The death of Soleimani won’t result in any ground war offensive. It would take on the normal uses of drones, short-range missile launchers, and even counter-cyber measures.

 The flag was unfurled on top of the Jamkaran Mosque, in Qom

The United States does expect more attacks and Iran has leaked out a general list along with their hoisting of the ‘red flag’ which indicates war above the Jamkaran Mosque in Qom.

Brigadier Ghulam Ali Abu Hamza, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps

The targets (35) can be anywhere that Iran has a footprint including Central and Latin America, Tel Aviv, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus, Thailand, and even Africa. Military personnel, diplomatic staff, and corporate civilian personnel have all been advised by both the U.S. State Department and the Department of Defense.

Based on previous attacks by Iran, they will likely continue to use limpets to strike oil tankers in the Straits of Hormuz. They may also use short or medium-range missiles or drones to hit any of our naval fleet in the region including the Persian Gulf. Iran does have two classes of submarines, the Fateh Class and the Ghadir Class. The submarine fleet is a variation of the Russian Kilo-class of ships equipped with Chinese EM-52 rocket-assisted mines. Arming civilian fishermen with explosives such as those used to strike the USS Cole is an option. Iran does maintain anti-ship missiles launched from shore and it has a modest fleet of warships. Britain is said to ensure its commercial ships are escorted by at least two Royal Navy ships, the HMS Montrose and the HMS Defender.

Freighter ships and oil tankers are on alert for any of the above and have been given orders to report anything including waterway blockades.