Tag Archives: Hamas
Israel’s Enemies in Washington and Moscow
By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
Angry over President Obama’s abandonment of Israel in the Iranian nuclear deal, several commentators are now proposing that Israel work with Russia in the Middle East for their mutual interests and concerns. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is too knowledgeable about the roots of international terrorism to fall into such a trap.
Caroline Glick, Director of the Israel Security Project at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and adjunct senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Center for Security Policy, writes in The Jerusalem Post that while Israel can’t depend on the United States with Barack Obama as its president, Israel can work with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. She writes that “…we need to recognize that Russia is not the Soviet Union. Yes, Russia has superpower aspirations, which include projecting its power in the Middle East. But unlike the Soviet Union, Russia’s actions are not informed by an overarching world view that is inherently anti-Semitic.”
Let’s look at the record.
Putin is a former Soviet KGB colonel and his regime is based on the remnants of the old Soviet Union, including its military and intelligence establishment. In a very real sense, Russia is the Soviet Union. Russia sponsors Iran’s nuclear program and considers the regime a Russian ally in the Eurasian geopolitical project conceived by influential Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin. His vision of “Eurasianism” is a revival of the Russian empire that includes Islamic Iran. Dugin has explained in the article, “Eurasianism, Iran, and Russia’s Foreign Policy,” that a “strategic alliance” exists between Iran and Russia, and that Russia “will not cease its efforts to reduce sanctions against Iran” over its support for terrorism and pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Former KGB officer Konstantin Preobrazhensky says Dugin has been backed by the KGB and his vision is regarded as a replacement for, or supplement to, the old Soviet ideology. In fact, he writes that “the ideology of Eurasianism was developed by Soviet intelligence in the 1920s and seeded among the Russian immigrants in Europe.”
As noted by the anti-communist Brazilian writer Olavo de Carvalho, who has debated Dugin, the Jewish state is regarded by Dugin as “a modern capitalist and Atlantist entity and an ally of American imperialism.” This view helps explain why Moscow backs the government of Iran with weapons, nuclear technology and diplomatic support.
Glick writes, “Today Israel has only two threats that it really needs to worry about: the Iranian threat and the Palestinian threat to Jerusalem.” However, both of these threats are backed by Russia. Russia stands behind Iran as well as the Palestinian Authority, the governmental body of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
While Putin has refrained from open anti-Semitism, he made the controversial assertion that at least 80 percent of the members of the first Soviet government were Jewish—a claim exposed by Jewish journalist Yori Yanover as an anti-Semitic lie. A popular view held by so-called Russian nationalists is that communism was imposed on Russia by a conspiracy of Jewish bankers. Dugin was photographed meeting with former American Ku Klux Klan leader and neo-Nazi David Duke in Russia.
Glick argues that Israel and Russia can somehow come to an understanding about their mutual interests, and that Israel can help Russia “fight anti-Russian jihadists operating out of Syria.”
Pro-Israel commentator David Singer agrees, writing that “Russia and America now need to solely focus on defeating Islamic State—whilst putting their support for [Syrian dictator] Assad or his overthrow on the backburner until Islamic State is defeated.”
Russia is establishing major bases in Syria and doesn’t need any help in fighting those jihadists, should it want to do so. However, Russia has not joined the international coalition fighting Islamic State terrorists in Syria. In fact, there is substantial evidence of Russian involvement with those same jihadists, who are increasingly targeting Europe and the United States. It appears that at least one very important leader of the “anti-Russian Jihadists” is quite possibly a Russian agent.
On the surface, this seems strange, since some of the jihadists are fighting the Russian-backed government in Syria. But the dialectical approach to world events employed by Marxist-Leninists has been to manipulate both sides of a conflict, in order to come out on top. There is no reason to believe the Russians have discontinued this approach and have given up on the Arab and Islamic assets they maintained in the Middle East during the Soviet era.
Since the days of Lenin, the Russians considered Muslims of the world to be included in the “oppressed peoples” capable of being incited toward world revolution. Lenin told the Muslims in 1920, “Support, then, this Revolution and its sovereign Government. Comrades! Brothers! Let us march towards an honest and democratic peace. On our banners is inscribed the freedom of all oppressed peoples.”
In reality, the Muslims have been repressed and co-opted for the cause of world revolution. The Russians rule their Muslim-dominated region of Chechnya with an iron fist today. When you examine a list of countries where the thousands of Muslim refugees fleeing the Middle East want to go, Russia is not a place they seek or desire. Europe, especially Germany under Angela Merkel, has been far more accommodating toward this foreign invasion.
The Soviets created the PLO for the purpose of destroying Israel, but were also influential with al-Qaeda, whose current leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was trained by the KGB. The Iranian Ayatollah was trained by the Russians at Patrice Lumumba University.
An excellent analysis of the Soviet/Russian hand in the Middle East, “Do traces of KGB, FSB and GRU lead to Islamic State?,” was written by Marius Laurinavi?ius, a senior analyst at the Eastern Europe Studies Center. The acronyms represent Russian intelligence agencies.
To buttress her claim that the Russians are threatened by the jihadists in Syria, Glick writes that “One of Islamic State’s senior commanders in Syria is Tarkhan Batirashvili, a former Georgian special forces commander trained by the U.S. According to McClatchy, Batirashvili fought against the Russians in both South Ossetia and in Chechnya. In 2012 he traveled to Turkey where he joined other jihadists in founding IS. Today, Chechens form one of the largest groups of foreign fighters in Islamic State.”
The more thorough analysis provided by Laurinavi?ius looks at the evidence of how Tarkhan Batirashvili, also known as Abu Omar al-Shishani, is connected to the Russian secret services and is working on their behalf. It looks like the Russians may have flipped him at some point in his career.
Russian-speaking jihadists make up a significant number of foreign fighters in the Islamic State. One estimate puts their number at 800 to 1,500. But it appears they are leaving Russia with the cooperation of the authorities. A study by the Zurich-based Center for Security Studies says that while Russian anti-terrorism legislation makes it a criminal offense to participate in an armed group abroad “whose aims are contrary to Russian interests,” only one prosecution has been launched. This suggests the Russians joining the jihad are working on behalf of Russia and its interests.
The “anti-Russian Jihadists” seem to be extremely weak, in comparison to the anti-Western faction that makes news with kidnappings of Western hostages. The New York Times reported in October 2014 that a jihadist faction had shot dead a Russian hostage named Sergei Gorbunov, but questions soon emerged about the identity of the Russian and whether he did in fact exist or was killed.
Caroline Glick, an influential and highly respected columnist, should join with Laurinavi?ius in urging more research into the “KGB traditions” that authorize the Russians to use and direct their agents “towards weakening Western states” through the phenomenon of Arab and Islamic terrorism.
Since the Russians have dirty hands and appear to be playing both sides, a proposed deal between Israel and Russia would only benefit Russia and further damage Israeli and Western interests. Israel would be falling into a trap that would backfire on the Jewish state.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has extensive knowledge of the Soviet role in international terrorism, having edited or written the books, Terrorism: How the West Can Win (editor, 1987), and Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorism (1996).
It is significant that Netanyahu did not attend Russia’s victory parade on May 9 to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. And since that time, tensions have increased even further with Russia’s decision this month to ship its S-300 air-defense missile system to Iran. Such a system can be used to protect Iran’s nuclear facilities.
In regard to the September 21 “working visit” to Russia, Netanyahu’s officereports that he will discuss with Putin “the stationing of Russian forces in Syria” and “the threats posed to Israel as a result of the increased flow of advanced war materiel to the Syrian arena and the transfer of deadly weapons to Hezbollah and other terror organizations.”
Netanyahu surely recognizes the fact that Russia is not only behind Iran, but is also reinforcing Syria and various terrorist groups in the region, with the ultimate objective of targeting Israel for destruction. In blunt talk, Netanyahu can be expected to tell Putin that he understands that Soviet support for international terrorism and terrorist regimes has been replaced by Russian support of the same. Hence, Israel has to regard Russia has an avowed enemy of the Jewish state, even more dangerous than Iran, its sponsored terrorist groups, and the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
Ted Cruz Challenges Obama to Debate Iran Deal
Hat Tip: BB
Forum: What Was Your Reaction To The Chattanooga Attack?
Every week on Monday morning, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: What Was Your Reaction To The Chattanooga Attack?
Don Surber: C-in-C should order every officer (commissioned and non-com) to carry a sidearm when on duty stateside. Exemptions for chaplains and working physicians. Maybe a few other MOS. National Guard and reservists would be up to the discretion of commanders as a matter of protocol, while preserving the authority to order so. Any civilian who feels uncomfortable can kindly resign/retire from DoD.
Puma By Design: Courtesy of the dysfunction in the present administration, America’s enemies are at war with us on U.S. soil empowered by our so-called leaders who are in denial, stupid and in the pockets of our enemies while at the same time, refusing to call this evil by its name.
America’s enemies are targeting our service members and their families because it is a known fact that they are not armed.
ARM THEM. They have the right to defend themselves…and us ON American soil.
GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: Gun free zones get people killed.
In Chattanooga, the dark one liner is “From DUI and weed to J!had in 90 days.” Busted in April, it appears he made a fast conversion to violence.
We often prided ourselves here about our easy going laissez-faire attitude. Not anymore. Was this cat self radicalized? Inspired by the mosque? Both? Doesn’t really matter now as armed vigilance is replacing the Coexist stickers and memes.
We really need all the prayers and good vibes y’all may send.
JoshuaPundit: Unfortunately, the minute I heard about this atrocity, I knew exactly what was coming. The theme by the media, assorted political figures and the Obama Regime, as always, was to repeat the mantra of ‘senseless violence.’ Hillary Clinton said it, as did the president, Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Florida senators Bill Nelson (Democrat) and Marco Rubio (Republican).
And of course, no one can imagine why this happened. Nothing to do with Islam, surely! The Pentagon will investigate this for months to let everybody forget about it, and our president will determine what they’ll say. They can’t call it workplace violence like Fort Hood this time, but maybe they can work the mental health angle. Never mind that every attack involving Muslims resulting in mass casualties or attacks on military facilities like this has been jihadist in nature.
These attacks are not senseless violence. They are directed attacks, whether carried out by so-called lone wolves or otherwise. The orders are in the Qu’ran, and there’s enough evidence on Mohammed AbdulAzeez’s computer thus far to show the usual pattern – jihadist social media, and as I’m sure we’ll eventually find out, a jihad preaching mosques with a radical, Islamist imam somewhere in the picture.
Since 9/11. we, or at least the people we’ve chosen to lead us have made the point time and time again that we’re ‘not at war with Islam.’ Maybe, but anyone observing the world as it is would have to be in a coma not realize that a significant part of Islam’s adherents consider themselves at war with us. That, or willfully deceptive.
A normal country faced by these kind of facts would secure its borders, limit visas to countries where jihadists and Islamists tend to thrive, and vet very carefully those visas that were approved. It would place Islamist front groups as well as mosques and madrassahs under close scrutiny and eliminate those preaching jihad, radicalizing young Muslims and/or thought to be a security risk. Most important, government facilities like military recruiting offices or bases that are obvious targets would be hardened and guarded with armed security.
We are doing none of these things. In fact, since Barack Hussein Obama became president, we’re doing exactly the opposite. There have been numerous attacks, planned and executed against U.S. military facilities on his watch, and yet, the mantra coming out of the White House is always the same..’senseless violence.’
Here’s a thought as uncomfortable for me to write as it may be for you to read. The four Marines and the Navy Petty officer whom were murdered in Chattanooga may be mourned by us, but in a very real sense, we have their blood on our hands for not calling our elected officials to account…especially this president.
The one covenant a leader has with those he or she rules is to protect a country’s sovereignty, its people and its borders. America does not have that.
If we had any national self respect we would be thronging by thousands in the Capital, and flooding the congressional switch boards demanding this president’s impeachment. We would be insisting on immediate action to remedy this situation rather than sitting back placidly waiting for the next attack.
We would be screaming bloody murder.
The Right Planet: My initial reaction was one of outrage, followed by profound sadness for the families and friends of those murdered in cold blood in Chattanooga. You know, it’s not like ISIS and its ilk haven’t expressed their desire and intent to kill members of our military right here at home. Furthermore, there have been some 34 service personnel killed at military facilities within the United States on Obama’s watch—specifically, one soldier killed at a Little Rock recruiting station in 2009, 13 murdered at Fort Hood in the same year, three more killed at Fort Hood in 2014, 12 killed at the Washington Navy Yard two years ago, and now four Marines and one Navy petty officer are dead in Chattanooga. Several state governors, including my own, have ordered their National Guardsmen to start carrying weapons. But, to my knowledge, no such orders have been given at the federal level to allow U.S. troops the ability to defend themselves.
Via the LA Times:
Despite being active-duty servicemen with military weapons training, few of the victims in these attacks had an opportunity to defend themselves, thanks to Department of Defense Directive 5210.56, enacted in 1992 under President George H.W. Bush.
That policy strictly limits the military and civilian personnel who can carry firearms at military facilities to those in law enforcement or security roles. U.S. bases and recruiting centers have been “gun-free zones” ever since.
There have been recent reports of civilians with legal-carry permits standing guard at a few recruitment centers. How messed up are things in this country when civilians must provide security for own troops? Enough, already … ARM OUR TROOPS!
Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason: What is my reaction to this terrorist attack? I am at once saddened at the tragic loss of life of four Marines and one sailor, yet angered that this has happened again on America soil.
The shooter’s name was Muhammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, a 24 year old Kuwaiti born naturalized American citizen whom friends described as a “devout Muslim.” It is reported he traveled to Jordan in 2014 and to Kuwait and Jordan in 2010. Friends said he changed after his last trip to the Middle East.
In a media/theater of the absurd, we are being told not to jump to any conclusions about his motivation for these attacks. Isn’t it time we got past wanting to know the shooter’s motivation in these all too familiar scenarios? No one questioned Dylan Roof’s motivation for his slaughter of nine Black church members in Charleston, South Carolina. It was racism – end of story.
Reports are coming out that Adbulazeez suffered from depression. Perhaps a religion that teaches hatred of all non-believers and rewards martyred jihadis with seventy-three virgins might lead to depression… and violence.
I am mad that the rules on military bases and these recruitment centers prohibit our service members from being armed. At the very least, this policy should be changed immediately. They must be able to carry firearms, especially knowing they have been specifically targeted by ISIS for attacks. To have served heroically overseas and then to return home only to be attacked in a store front recruiting center should send chills down everyone’s spines, and maybe wake up some. President Obama says we are not at war with Islam, but we should be past the point of acknowledging radical Islamists are at war with us.
The Glittering Eye: It’s early days in the investigation yet and I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. I say at this point let the investigation takes its course.
I’m willing to let the Pentagon decide whether soldiers in recruitment centers or on military bases carry sidearms or whether they should be ordered to do so.
As of this writing whether there are ties to Al Qaeda or DAESH, whether the perpetrator of the murders was mentally ill or not, and just what lead him to kill people are all unknown. Policy considerations need to be conditioned on actual circumstances rather than imagined ones. Maybe he was radicalized on the Internet or self-radicalized or had some conversion experience on a visit to family in Jordan. We just don’t know.
Ask Marion: ARM THEM! ARM THEM! ARM THEM! Arm all military personnel on American soil!!
The wolf is no longer at the door, America’s enemies are at war with us on U. S. soil!! America’s enemies are targeting our service members and their families and they know they are not armed. Let them carry a sidearm when on duty stateside.
ARM THEM… They have the right to defend themselves…and us ON home soil. As Judge Jeanine Pirro said in her opening statement this past weekend: They Want To Kill Us, They Determine To kill Us… And They’re Here.
Some of the governors have already stepped up in wake of the Chattanooga attacks. Governor Fallin of Oklahoma, has authorized their adjutant general to arm full-time military personnel. Arkansas, Texas and several other state governors have also already stepped up or in the process. Some other groups like Oathkeepers are also meeting.
For anyone who thinks this is extreme, just look at Switzerland, a neutral and one of the most peaceful countries in the world. Every adult is a trained member of the Swiss militia and they keep their weapons at home on the ready. In 2011 the Swiss law and tradition was tested and put to a vote. Let us remember our own history and minutemen who were armed and ready to defend themselves and freedom at a minutes notice and step back to using common sense!!
Well, there you have it.
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.
It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it.
And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?
Details Emerging on Chattanooga Shooter and Family
By: Denise Simon
According to CNN Arabia:
Amman, Jordan (CNN) – Jordanian official said that the shooter in the American civil Chattanooga Tennessee, which led to the deaths of four US Marines Thursday, [was] not a Jordanian citizen, but [held] a Palestinian passport temporarily and without a national number.
The source explained that “after investigations show that the name of the person who launched the attack in Tennessee in the United States, is Mohammed Yousef Saeed Ali Haj, who was born on September 5 / September” in 1990, according to the source. His father moved to live in the United States in 1982.
He added that Mohammed’s father had changed his name to Abdul Aziz in 1990, so that became his son’s name is Mohammad Yousuf, Abdul Aziz, according to the Jordanian government source, who added that the gunman holds a US passport, and that the son was in Jordan in 2014 on a visit to his uncle.
According to a tip that came into WDEF, Muhammad Abdulazeez was spotted at a gun range just weeks before killing four Marines and one Navy Petty Officer.
Abdulazeez was reportedly spotted with three other men who were wearing long beards like Abdulazeez. All four were reportedly practice shooting.
The claim has not been confirmed by law enforcement but several sources told WDEF the men were likely spotted at Prentice Cooper Gun Range.
When News 12 arrived at the gun range, several men who were practicing shooting said a man who claimed to be a former Marine arrived at the range Saturday morning and said he was doing his own investigation to see if Abdulazeez had been shooting at that location.
The men said he asked multiple groups of people who were at the range.
CBS News is also reporting that Abdulazeez told his co-workers that he and a group of guys recently went shooting at a gun range. CBS News got its information from law enforcement sources who interviewed Abdulazeez’s co-workers.
According to a published CBS News report, the men reportedly shot rifles, BB guns and pistols last month.
Abdulazeez had purchased three guns after returning from Jordan, including an AK-74, an AR-15, and a Saiga 12. In the home was also a 9mm and a .22 caliber weapons, it is unclear in whose name those weapons were registered.
From the Center for Security Policy:
As we reported Friday, the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga (ISGC) is tied to the Muslim Brotherhood through the Hamas-linked North American Islamic Trust (NAIT.) Now new evidence has been revealed showing that ISGC actually raised funds for the building of their new mosque in 2009, by referencing jihad and key Muslim Brotherhood figures.
According to a 2009 Iftar fundraising dinner slide show, first apparently noticed by Twitter user @alimhaider, contained an overt reference to key Muslim Brotherhood figure Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
Shooter’s mosque run by MB? http://t.co/lCTuEp6XiZ#Chattanoogapic.twitter.com/d2JsRt8FGs
— A.M.H. (@alimhaider) July 17, 2015
The title of the slide, “In the cause of Allah” is an English translation of Fi Sabil Allah, as in the phrase “Jihad Fisabilallah”, which means violent jihad against unbelievers. Classic Islamic law reference book, the Reliance of the Traveller, notes in its index, “Fisabilallah: See Jihad”. There is no other reasonable interpretation of the phrase in context.
The reference to jihad in the fundraiser related to the Mosque, was done as a means of explaining that a contribution to the building of the mosque qualified under “Zakat” (annual tithe which is obligatory in Islam), under the category of funding Jihad.
Reliance of the Traveller notes, “The seventh category is those fighting for Allah, meaning people engaged in Islamic military operations for whom no salary has been allotted in the army roster (O: but who are volunteers for jihad without remuneration)…”
The slide “Cause of Allah” references Yusuf Al Qaradawi, and S.A.A. Maududi, founder of Pakistani Islamist group Jamaat-e-Islami. Both Qaradawi and Maududi are prolific on the subject of Jihad.
Qaradawi has been noted for his avid support for the terrorist group Hamas and their jihad against Israel, including issuing fatwas authorizing suicide bombing, and has supported jihadist movements in Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and most recently in Egypt. Qaradawi is the leader of the Hamas financing network known as the “Union of the Good”, which utilizes Zakat funds received by its charities in order to support Hamas.
In his work, “Islamic Education and Hassan Al Banna,” Qaradawi discusses how it was the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) which revitalized the classical concept of Jihad for a modern age:
The aspect of Ikhwani training which makes it eminent and unique is Jehad or crusade i e. : Crusader·like training…The real implication of · Jehad (crusade) had been dismissed from Islamic training and way of life, before its conception among the lkhwans.
And in his “Priorities of the Movement in the Coming phase” Qaradawi says:
…it is a duty to defend every land invaded by infidels, stating that such jihad is imperative for Muslims in this land as an individual obligation and that all Muslims must support them with money, arms and men as required until all their land has been liberated from any aggressor who usurps it. Therefore, the Islamic Movement cannot stand idle and watch while any part of Muslim land is occupied by a foreign aggressor.
The other modern Islamic scholar referenced by the document, Maulana S.A.A. Maududi, was famous for successfully merging classical Islamic concepts of Jihad with a modernist language of revolution. He noted the following in his work “Jihad in Islam”:
It must be evident to you from this discussion that the objective of the Islamic ‘Jihād’ is to eliminate the rule of an un-Islamic system and establish in its stead an Islamic system of state rule. Islam does not intend to confine this revolution to a single state or a few countries; the aim of Islam is to bring about a universal revolution. Although in the initial stages it is incumbent upon members of the party of Islam to carry out a revolution in the State system of the countries to which they belong, but their ultimate objective is no other than to effect a world revolution.
So the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga announced in 2009 that it openly aligned its views of Jihad with the views of Qaradawi and Maududi, and told its Muslim congregants that donating to the construction of ISGC was permissible, because it represented funding jihad.
Chattanooga shooter Mohammed Yusuf Abdulazeez and his family were regular attendees as ISGC. Despite claims by the mosque leadership that Abdulazeez was a rare attendee or little known there, a photo from a family Facebook account shows that Abdulazeez held his graduation party at the mosque, and that it was well attended, indicating they were well known regulars.
This fundraising document was publicly available information, three years before U.S. District Attorney William Killian attended the grand opening in 2012 and expressed his friendship with a mosque leadership who built their mosque with a promise that funding them represented an investment in jihad.
Now that investment appears to have matured.
U.S. District Attorney William Killian should recuse himself from this case, because of his association with ISGC, and the investigators must begin to conduct a detailed and through investigation of ISGC itself, and what role its support for violent jihad may have played in the attack in Chattanooga which claimed the lives of five servicemen.
In Secret: Obama Returned Iranian Prisoners, but Ignored Ours
By: Denise Simon
There are 4 Americans in prison in Iran for which there have been countless calls and efforts for their release. Major Garrett of CBS asked Barack Obama during a press conference if he was content with leaving those Americans behind to which Obama responded by shaming Garrett for even asking the question.
It should also be noted that the Palestinian Authority demanded that thousands of terrorists in prison in Israel be released for a scheduled round of peace talks between Israel and the PA. Barack Obama forced Israel to comply for face financial extortion. Israel complied where later many of those terrorists were re-arrested in Qatar. The betrayal continues. The secrets were effective.
So the secret deals began and continued.
‘US freed top Iranian scientist as part of secret talks ahead of Geneva deal’
Mojtaba Atarodi, arrested in California for attempting to acquire equipment for Iran’s military-nuclear programs, was released in April as part of back channel talks, Times of Israel told. The contacts, mediated in Oman for years by close colleague of the Sultan, have seen a series of US-Iran prisoner releases, and there may be more to come
The secret back channel of negotiations between Iran and the United States, which led to this month’s interim deal in Geneva on Iran’s rogue nuclear program, has also seen a series of prisoner releases by both sides, which have played a central role in bridging the distance between the two nations, the Times of Israel has been told.
In the most dramatic of those releases, the US in April released a top Iranian scientist, Mojtaba Atarodi, who had been arrested in 2011 for attempting to acquire equipment that could be used for Iran’s military-nuclear programs.
American and Iranian officials have been meeting secretly in Oman on and off for years, according to a respected Israeli intelligence analyst, Ronen Solomon. And in the past three years as a consequence of those talks, Iran released three American prisoners, all via Oman, and the US responded in kind. Then, most critically, in April, when the back channel was reactivated in advance of the Geneva P5+1 meetings, the US released a fourth Iranian prisoner, high-ranking Iranian scientist Atarodi, who was arrested in California on charges that remain sealed but relate to his attempt to acquire what are known as dual-use technologies, or equipment that could be used for Iran’s military-nuclear programs. Iran has not reciprocated for that latest release.
Solomon, an independent intelligence analyst (who in 2009 revealed the crucial role played by German Federal Intelligence Service officer Gerhard Conrad in the negotiations that led to the 2011 Gilad Shalit Israel-Hamas prisoner deal), has been following the US-Iran meetings in Oman for years. Detailing what he termed the “unwritten prisoner exchange deals” agreed over the years in Oman by the US and Iran, Solomon told The Times of Israel that “It’s clear what the Iranians got” with the release of top scientist Atarodi in April. “What’s unclear is what the US got.”
The history of these deals, though, he said, would suggest that in the coming months Iran will release at least one of three US citizens who are currently believed to be in Iranian custody. One of these three is former FBI agent Robert Levinson.
Solomon told The Times of Israel that the interlocutor in the Oman talks is a man named Salem Ben Nasser al Ismaily, who is the executive president of the Omani Center for Investment Promotion and Export Development and a close confidant of the Omani leader Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
Educated in the US and the UK and fluent in English, Ismaily has authored two books. “Messengers of Monotheism: A Common Heritage of Christians, Jews and Muslims” and “A Cup of Coffee: A Westerner’s Guide to Business in the Gulf States.”
The latter tells the fictional tale of John Wilkinson, a successful American businessman who fails in all of his business endeavors in the Gulf until he meets Sultan, who explains to him, according to the book’s promotional literature, how to forgo his hard-charging Western style and “surrender to very different values rooted in ancient tribal customs and traditions.” Those mores have been central to the murky prisoner swaps surrounding the nuclear negotiations, Solomon said.
Solomon said he identified Ismaily’s role back in September 2010, when Sarah Shourd, an American who apparently inadvertently crossed into Iran while hiking near the Iraqi border, was released, for what were called humanitarian reasons. She was delivered into Ismaily’s hands in Oman and from there was flown to the US — the first release in the series of deals brokered in Oman. One year later, in September 2011, her fiancé and fellow hiker, Shane Bauer, was set free along with their friend, Josh Fattal. The two men were also received at Muscat’s Seeb military airport by Ismaily before being flown back to the US.
The US began reciprocating in August 2012, Solomon said. It freed Shahrzad Mir Gholikhan, an Iranian convicted on three counts of weapons trafficking. Next Nosratollah Tajik, a former Iranian ambassador to Jordan — who, like Gholikhan, had been initially apprehended abroad trying to buy night-vision goggles from US agents — was freed after the US opted not to follow up an extradition request it had submitted to the British. Then, in January 2013, Amir Hossein Seirafi was released, also via Oman, having been arrested in Frankfurt and convicted in the US of trying to buy specialized vacuum pumps that could be used in the Iranian nuclear program.
Finally, in April, came the release of Mojtaba Atarodi.
The facts of his case are still shrouded. On December 7, 2011, Atarodi, a faculty member at the prestigious Sharif University of Technology (SUT) in Tehran — a US-educated electrical engineer with a heart condition, a green card and a brother living in the US — arrived at LAX and was arrested by US federal officials.
He appeared twice in US federal court in San Francisco and was incarcerated at a federal facility in Dublin, California and then kept under house arrest. The US government cloaked the contents of his indictment and released no statement upon his release. His lawyer, Matthew David Kohn, told The Times of Israel he would like to discuss the case further but that first he had to “make some inquiries” to see what he was allowed to reveal.
In January, shortly after Atarodi’s arrest, his colleagues wrote a letter to the journal Nature, protesting his detention. “We believe holding a distinguished 55-year-old professor in custody is a historical mistake and not commensurate with the image that America strives to extend throughout the world as a bastion of free scientific exchange among schools and academic institutions,” they said.
Solomon, who compiled a profile of Atarodi, believes that the scientist, prior to his arrest, played an important role in Iran’s missile and nuclear programs. Atarodi, he said, has co-authored more than 30 technical articles, mostly related to micro-electric engineering and, in 2011, won the Khwarizmi award for the design of a microchip receiver for digital photos. “That same technology,” he said, “can be used for missile guidance and the analysis of nuclear tests.”
Solomon further noted that the then-Iranian defense minister and former commander of the revolutionary guards, Ahmad Vahidi, attended the prize ceremony and that Professor Massoud Ali-Mahmoudi, an Iranian physics professor who was assassinated in 2010, was an earlier recipient of the prize.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Atarodi came to the US at the behest of the logistics wing of the IRGC [the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps],” Solomon said.
On April 26 Atarodi was flown from the US to Seeb military airbase in Oman, where he met with Ismaily, and onward to Iran. “The release of someone who holds that sort of information and has advanced strategic projects in Iran is a prize,” Solomon said. The US, said Solomon, must have already received something in return or will do so in the future.
Thus far, US-Iran prisoner swaps have been conducted in a manner utterly distinct from the old Cold War rituals, in which, as was the case with Prisoner of Zion Natan Sharansky, spies or prisoners from either side of the Iron Curtain walked across Berlin’s old Glienicke Bridge toward their respective home countries. Instead, with Iran claiming it knows nothing about the whereabouts of former FBI agent Levinson, for instance, and the US eager to show that it will not barter with hostage-takers, the deals have taken the form of a delayed quid pro quo.
There are currently three US nationals — Levinson, Saeed Abedini, and Amir Hekmati — still believed to be held in Iran.
US President Barak Obama raised the issue of the imprisoned Americans in his historic September phone call to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor, Tony Blinken, told CNN that aside from the nuclear program it was the only other issue that was brought up in the call.
The interim deal in Geneva did not include any reference to prisoner dealings. Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, told CNN, “you’ve got to decide how much you’re going to try to accomplish, and just tackling all the dimensions of the nuclear agreement is ambition enough.” A spokeswoman for the National Security Council added that the “talks focused exclusively on nuclear issues.”
The omission prompted the chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, Jay Sekulow, who is representing Pastor Saeed Abedini’s wife Naghmeh, to charge Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry with turning their backs on an American citizen. On the center’s website, he called the decision “outrageous and a betrayal” and said it sends the message that “Americans are expendable.”
Abedini, who was born in Iran and later converted to Christianity, was arrested earlier this year in Iran for what would seem was strictly Christian charity work and sentenced to eight years in prison. He was recently transferred from Evin Prison, a notorious jail for political prisoners in Tehran, Sukelow wrote in a letter to Kerry, “to the even more notorious and brutal Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj.”
Amir Hekmati, a 31-year-old former Marine from Flint, Michigan, who allegedly obtained permission to visit his grandmother in Iran in 2011, was charged with espionage and sentenced to death in 2012. In September, Hekmati managed to smuggle a letter out of prison. Published in the Guardian, it contended that his filmed admission of guilt had been coerced and that his arrest “is part of a propaganda and hostage-taking effort by Iranian intelligence to secure the release of Iranians abroad being held on security-related charges.”
Levinson, a 65-year-old veteran of the FBI, was last seen on March 9, 2007, on Kish Island, Iran. According to Solomon, Levinson was stationed in Dubai at the time as part of a US task force comprised of former officers operating in the United Arab Emirates, training officials there to combat weapons trafficking, and was tempted to come to Kish for a meeting.
The last person he is known to have had contact with, and with whom he shared a room the night before his abduction, according to a Reuters article from 2007, is Dawud Salahuddin, an American convert to Islam, who is wanted in the US for murder. According to a New Yorker profile of the Long Island-born Salahuddin, he showed up at the home of Ali Akbar Tabatabai’s Bethseda, Maryland door in July 1980, dressed as a mailman, and shot Tabatabai, a Shah supporter, three times in the abdomen, killing him. From there he fled to Canada and on to Switzerland and Iran.
Salahuddin has indicated that Levinson had come to Kish to meet with him.
In September, Rouhani denied any knowledge of Levinson’s whereabouts. In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, he said that, “We don’t know where he is, who he is. He is an American who has disappeared. We have no news of him.”
This is highly doubtful. In 2010 and 2011 Levinson’s family received a video and photographs respectively of him in captivity. In January of this year the AP reported that “despite years of denials,” many US security officials now believe that “Iran’s intelligence service was almost certainly behind the 54-second video and five photographs of Levinson that were emailed anonymously to his family.” The photos and the videos traced back to different addresses in Afghanistan and Pakistan, suggesting, perhaps, that Levinson, the longest-held hostage in US history, was imprisoned in Balochistan, a desert region spanning the borders of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, Levinson’s son Dan wrote a column in the Washington Post calling Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif “well-respected men committed to the goodwill of all human beings, regardless of their nationality.”
Several hours later, White House Spokesman Jay Carney published a statement saying that the US government welcomes the assistance “of our international partners” in attempting to bring Levinson home and, he added, “we respectfully ask the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to assist us in securing Mr. Levinson’s health, welfare, and safe return.”
As was the case with the Geneva negotiations, and as is likely happening with the upcoming round of talks regarding Syria, there is good reason to believe, and in this case to hope, that the movements played out under the spotlights of the international stage have been choreographed well in advance, perhaps in the sea-side city of Muscat, under the careful tutelage of Salem Ben Nasser al Ismaily.
Iran Deal: Be sure of this much – With Obama’s help, Evil is Winning
By: William Palumbo
The American Report
What began in 2012 with secret negotiations between Valerie Jarrett and Iran has now borne its toxic, likely nuclear, fruit. It is now all but certain, excepting an unlikely Congressional intervention, that the Obama administration will officially legitimize the world’s most prolific sponsor of Islamic terror. This follows on the heels of a surprise announcement that Obama would normalize relations with Cuba.
From Tehran to Havana, evil is winning, and Obama is leading the way.
Let’s recall a few things about the Iranian and Cuban deals, and their negotiators:
Obama’s Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett was born in Shiraz, Iran in 1956. A personal friend of Barack and Michelle since she introduced the couple, Jarrett is widely assumed to be the most powerful person in the White House. The subject of an FBI investigation, Jarrett’s family is connected with old guard Chicago Communists, including Obama’s political mentor, Frank Marshall Davis.
If that weren’t enough to make you question this “deal,” Secretary of State John Kerry’s daughter is married to an Iranian man with family in Iran. Conflict of interest, anyone?
Barack Obama is the president who backed the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood into power during the Arab Spring. After issuing Presidential Study Directive Eleven (PSD-11), Obama allied the U.S.A. with terrorists in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and is still backing anti-Assad terrorists in Syria. His administration, through the DOJ, has purged all mention of “Islam” and “Muslims” from counter-terrorism. With Obama’s approval, the Department of Homeland Security and the Internal Revenue Service have been weaponized against conservatives and Republicans. Yes, that means Obama views American citizens, not Islamic terrorists, as the most dangerous threat to national security.
Likewise, domestic counter-terrorism efforts have been hampered against Muslim Brotherhood front Islamic organizations, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who are now regarded as friends and invited to the White House. Finally, Obama has crippled the U.S. military and intelligence agencies, and left the southern border completely open to whatever murderer, rapist, or terrorist wants to walk in.
Iran, for its part, has been the preeminent sponsor of Islamic terrorism since 1979. Its current leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, personally translated into Farsi the works of Sayyid Qutb, the Muslim Brother who developed the ideology of modern Islamic terror. Iran funds both Hezbollah and Hamas. Iran has a friendly relationship with the terrorist regime of Omar Bashir in the Sudan, where there is ongoing Christian genocide.
Through Hezbollah, they operate narcotics and terrorist networks around the world, including in Latin America. Hezbollah is remarkably powerful in Venezuela and Mexico, and was behind the 1994 bombing in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which targeted Argentine Jews.
Cuba, an Iranian ally, is home to another other rogue anti-American regime that welcomes Hezbollah terrorists. Bill Ayers, the domestic terrorist who launched Obama’s political career, helped organize trips to Cuba for the Students for a Democratic Society with the infamous Venceremos Brigade.
Not only have the Ayatollahs and Castro brothers been rewarded for their treachery, they are being rewarded handsomely: Cuba will now have full diplomatic relations with the United States, and Iran is expected to receive $100 billion in previously frozen funds.
Do you now start to get a picture of what Obama and the U.S. State Department have accomplished?
2016: A Vote for Republicans, or more Terrorists
In a rare show of wise solidarity, GOP Presidential candidates have denounced the disastrous Iranian deal. Indeed, to listen to Republicans today is almost like listening to former Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, who has publicly blamed Obama for ruining the close relationship between the United States and Israel.
Hillary, who will almost assuredly be the Democratic nominee, is supportive of the deal. Unsurprising, as Clinton was a fellow architect of the Arab Spring, and her personal aide Huma Abedin is tied to the Muslim Brotherhood through her immediate family.
For Americans at all concerned with the future of their country, it should be very clear that the Democrat Party stands with terrorists. Choose wisely in 2016.