House Democrats put complete trust in a gang of Pakistani crooks 14

… who exploited them, cheated them, robbed them, mocked them, and seriously endangered them, the government, and the nation.

It’s not fake news. It really happened.

From the Daily Caller, April 1, 2018:

Every one of the 44 House Democrats who hired Pakistan-born IT aides who later allegedly made “unauthorized access” to congressional data appears to have chosen to exempt them from background checks, according to congressional documents.

All of them appear to have waived background checks on Imran Awan and his family members, even though the family of server administrators could collectively read all the emails and files of 1 in 5 House Democrats, and despite background checks being recommended for such positions, according to an inspector general’s report.  But it also includes a loophole allowing them to simply say that another member vouched for them.

No background checks? So what sort of people were the Awans? What could have been found out about them? What reputations did they have?

Among the red flags in Abid’s background were a $1.1 million bankruptcy; six lawsuits against him or a company he owned; and at least three misdemeanor convictions including for DUI and driving on a suspended license, according to Virginia court records. Public court records show that Imran and Abid operated a car dealership, referred to the CIA, that took $100,000 from an Iraqi government official who is a fugitive from U.S. authorities. Numerous members of the family were tied to cryptic LLCs [Limited Liability Companies] such as New Dawn 2001, operated out of Imran’s residence, Virginia corporation records show. Imran was the subject of repeated calls to police by multiple women [complaining of abuse] and had multiple misdemeanor convictions for driving offenses, according to court records.

How did they exploit their position and betray the trust reposed in them?

If a screening had caught those, what officials say happened next might have been averted. The House inspector general reported on Sept. 20, 2016, that shortly before the election members of the group were logging into servers of members they didn’t work for, logging in using congressmen’s personal usernames, uploading data off the House network, and behaving in ways that suggested “nefarious purposes” and that “steps are being taken to conceal their activity”.

A pair of closely-held reports on Imran Awan, his brothers Abid and Jamal, his wife Hina Alvi, and his friend Rao Abbas, said, “the shared employees have not been vetted (e.g. background check).”

Were they highly qualified and thoroughly experienced?

No.

“Shared employees” means they were all hired as part-time, individual employees by individual members, cobbling together $165,000 salaries. Jamal began making that salary at only 20 years old, according to House payroll records; Abid never went to college, his stepmother said; and Rao Abbas’ most recent job experience was being fired from McDonald’s, according to his roommate. (“Whether they had formal training or not, they were trained on the job by Imran,” one of Imran’s lawyers said.)

Who first brought them into the confidence of the House Democrats?

Among the 44 employers, the primary advocate for the suspects has been Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, who  … was also chair of the Democratic National Committee when Wikileaks published its emails. (The Wikileaks emails show that DNC aides called Imran when they needed the password to her device.) Since then, she and other Democrats have described cyber breaches in the strongest possible terms, such as “an act of war” and “an assault on our democracy.”

But there is no indication Democrats put those concerns into practice when they entrusted the Pakistani dual citizens with their data, nor when suspicious activity was detected.

Once the crooks had been rumbled, did the Dems who’d employed them at least  take immediate steps to find out how much damage they’d done and repair it as best they could?

Well, Debbie didn’t. She kept Imran in his job.

Police banned the suspects from the network after the IG report, but Wasserman Schultz kept Imran on staff anyway. He was in the building and in possession of a laptop with the username RepDWS months later, according to an April 6, 2017 police report.

Was there no security policy that could have prevented this outrage, or at least discovered it sooner?

The House security policy, HISPOL16, says “House Offices shall… ensure background checks, as defined in this policy, have been conducted on Privileged Users”. It includes quarterly reviews of privileged accounts’ appropriateness. By the time the policy was enacted, some members had dropped the Awans for assorted reasons …

What reasons? None given, except –

… including Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona in early 2015 for what her spokesperson called “incompetence”. 

So they weren’t even competent at the job they were paid to do by the Representatives? Kyrsten Sinema may not have been able to judge that. “Incompetence” was probably just her excuse for dismissing the Awans. The real reason seems to be was that she was afraid of them. So were they all – all  the Democratic Representatives who irresponsibly entrusted their computers to the Awan gang.  

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to all 44 members, and none disputed that they had not conducted a background check. Not a single one of the 44 would say which of their colleagues vouched for the Awans, nor stated what criteria they used to determine that it was prudent to give them access to all their data.

Besides Wasserman Schultz, Imran has longstanding personal relationships with Reps. Gregory Meeks and Marcia Fudge of New York, Politico reported.

“Personal relationships”? He was their friend?

Employers also include Rep. Ted Lieu of California on the Foreign Affairs Committee and three members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: Reps. Andre Carson of Indiana, Jackie Speier of California and Joaquin Castro of Texas. …

Two of their employers said not a word when they were robbed by the Awans.

The Awans’ employers also included Rep. Yvette Clarke of New York, who saw $120,000 in computer equipment disappear under Abid Awan’s watch but “wrote off” the taxpayer funds rather than make an issue of it, according to the IG report and multiple senior government officials.

Xavier Becerra, now attorney general of California, ran the House Democratic Caucus, and his server was physically stolen shortly after the IG report named it as evidence in a hacking probe, three senior government officials said.

But wait, there’s more:

The Daily Caller reported on October 2, 2017:

A now-indicted IT aide to various House Democrats was sending money and gifts to government officials in Pakistan and received protection from the Pakistani police, multiple relatives claim.

A Democratic aide also said Imran Awan personally bragged to him that he could have people tortured in Pakistan. Awan’s lawyer acknowledged that he was sending money to a member of the Faisalabad police department, but said there was a good explanation.

The relatives said Awan and his brothers were also sending IT equipment, such as iPhones, to the country during the same period in which fraudulent purchase orders for that equipment were allegedly placed in the House, and in which congressional equipment apparently went missing.

Awan’s stepmother, Samina Gilani, said the brothers were paying police officer Azhar Awan and that he is their cousin.

Facebook confirms that Azhar works for the police and is Facebook “friends” with the former congressional aides, who worked for 45 Democratic House members until the aides were banned Feb. 2, following the discovery of 5,400 unauthorized logins to congressional servers and the funneling of “massive” amounts of data off the congressional network. …

A fellow Democratic House IT aide … recounted a conversation between Awan and three colleagues in a House cafeteria several years ago in which Awan seemed to relish bragging about his ability to have people harassed in Pakistan.

“He wanted to build a CRM [customer relationship management software] but he wanted to do it in Pakistan,” the aide told TheDCNF. “But the government doesn’t allow that. They have to be American, but Imran said, ‘Well, we can say that they’re American, but really they’ll be in Pakistan. I have these guys that work for the Faisalabad police department, and all we have to do is pay them $100 a month and they take them over to the police station, strip their clothes off, hang them upside down and beat them with a shoe. And that person will work hard and be loyal from then on.’  …

In early 2016, $120,000 in equipment, including iPads, were discovered missing from the office of Democratic Rep. Yvette Clarke of New York, for which Abid ran IT. Equipment billed to other congressional offices was shipped to their house, and invoices were falsified to show prices as $499 — just under the cutoff at which equipment would be inventoried by central administrators. …

Awan’s younger brothers Abid and Jamal were also on the House payroll, but have not been charged with any crimes. …

According to one witness:

Imran Awan introduces himself [in Pakistan] as someone from U.S. Congress or federal agencies … [so that he] manages to have police to escort him during his visits to Pakistan.”

But:

The Washington Post reported that the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force was investigating the Awans, but that “according to a senior congressional official familiar with the probe, criminal investigators have found no evidence that the IT workers had any connection to a foreign government”.

If true, that raises questions about how thoroughly agents have probed.

Dan Perrin, a former staffer for the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations who had studied foreign actors, told TheDCNF there is a risk that the payments to the local police department signal a relationship to Pakistani authorities, such as the intelligence agency ISI, which he said “often works with or is embedded in the major city police forces in Pakistan.”

While they were working on Capitol Hill, the brothers set up a car dealership that took $100,000 from Ali Al-Attar, an Iraqi politician who has been tied to Hezbollah and is wanted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Imran Awan has been indicted for fraud in connection with a crooked car-dealership.

Their former business partner, Nasir Khattak, testified in Virginia court that the car dealership’s finances consisted of byzantine transfers in which staff and cars were often swapped between it and a dealership next door. …

Perrin said the family’s numerous car-related LLCs deserve special scrutiny because car dealerships are a favorite front for people with ties to foreign governments, providing the opportunity for money laundering and “giving the owners access to credit reports on all Americans”. 

To sum up: These Pakistani crooks were engaged by Democratic members of Congress, without any enquiry into their background, to “look after” their computers which contained highly confidential information concerned with the protection of Americans. The Democrats never apparently considered the possibility that their data was being stolen and sent to Pakistani authorities. When their hardware was stolen by the crooks – and they knew it was the Awan gang who had stolen it – they did not go to the police. When the FBI did finally arrest Imran Awan on charges of fraud in a car-dealership – and denied that the gang “had any connection with a foreign government” – Imran Awan continued to be on the payroll of Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The Democrats were putty in the hands of the foreign criminal gang. Helpless as babies. They feared to offend them by reporting them to the police or firing them.

Yet these people, for whom large numbers of Americans voted to represent them in the federal government, want, yearn, ache to rule the country. To conduct US relations with foreign powers. To be in charge of the world’s mightiest military force … 

How and why Obama protected a global crime syndicate 1

Obama protected Hezbollah drug ring to save Iran nukes deal.

Here’s the New York Post’s report on yet another scandal from Obama’s cuckoo-occupation of the White House. We choose it because it is a short account of a very long story.

The Obama administration protected members of notorious terror group Hezbollah from prosecution to save the Iran nuclear deal …

A team at the Drug Enforcement Administration had been working for almost a decade to bring down the Lebanon-based militant organization’s sophisticated $1 billion-a-year drug ring — which it found was smuggling cocaine into the US and laundering the profits by buying used cars stateside and shipping them to Africa for resale …

But the departments of Justice and Treasury delayed and rejected prosecution and sanctions requests from the team that had exposed the Iran-backed criminal network because the Obama White House feared “rocking the boat” with Tehran ahead of the deal … .

The taskforce, named Project Cassandra, worked for eight years out of a top-secret facility in Virginia with help from 30 American and foreign security agencies, unraveling the global crime syndicate that was funding Hezbollah’s Jihadi operations, the site reports.

Among those the team sought to bring to justice were Abdallah Safieddine, the group’s envoy to Tehran and a shadowy operative nicknamed “Ghost”, who it considered one of the biggest cocaine smugglers in the world.

But the administration repeatedly stymied efforts to prosecute Safieddine — even though the team had eyewitnesses willing to testify that he’d overseen big weapons and drug deals — and ultimately shut Project Cassandra down once the nuclear deal was settled

A  long report on the whole horrible story may be found here at Politico.

It includes this:

The man who would become Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser and then CIA director, John Brennan … recommended in a policy paper that “[Obama] has the opportunity to set a new course for relations between the two countries” through not only a direct dialogue, but “greater assimilation of Hezbollah into Lebanon’s political system”. 

By May 2010, Brennan, then assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, confirmed in a speech that the administration was looking for ways to build up “moderate elements” within Hezbollah.

“Hezbollah is a very interesting organization,” Brennan told a Washington conference, saying it had evolved from “purely a terrorist organization” to a militia and, ultimately, a political party with representatives in the Lebanese Parliament and Cabinet …

That was his spin on Hezbollah’s coup d’état by force. Brennan shared Obama’s warm feelings for Islam.

Obama was willing to pay any price (with tax-payers’ money), make any concession or sacrifice, bow as low as he could bend to the ayatollahs, to get a “deal” that permitted Iran to develop nuclear weapons and accumulate a nuclear arsenal, under the guise of a “deal” that it would not do so – for ten years.  After which, it would be equipped and free to attack the United Sates and destroy Israel and Saudi Arabia – its Sunni rival for power in Islam.

It could not be writ more large and clear on the Obama years that he wanted the victory of Islam in its jihad against the rest of the world.

A nuclear armed Iran was the most likely to achieve that high objective.

Meanwhile Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, now the ruling power in Lebanon, grows in strength and threatens the Arab states as well as Israel.

Iran and Hezbollah need to be disarmed – and that can only be done by force.

Posted under Arab States, Iran, Islam, Israel, jihad, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Treason, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Monday, December 18, 2017

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Obama forgives and condones Islamic terrorism 4

Q: When is a terrorist organization not a terrorist organization?

A: When Barry Obama says so.

This is from Front Page, by Daniel Greenfield:

You know the country responsible for killing hundreds of marines, which provided sanctuary to Al Qaeda and whose terrorist proxies helped give Al Qaeda the skills to carry out 9/11? They’re no longer terrorists. Sure their terrorist groups currently control parts of Lebanon and Yemen, but they’re not terrorists.

Because if Iran was a state sponsor of terrorism, then Obama letting them have the bomb might look bad. This way it’s fine.

An annual report delivered recently to the US Senate by James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, removed Iran and Hezbollah from its list of terrorism threats, after years in which they featured in similar reports

In describing Iran’s regional role, the report noted the Islamic Republic’s “intentions to dampen sectarianism, build responsive partners, and de-escalate tensions with Saudi Arabia”, but cautioned that “Iranian leaders — particularly within the security services — are pursuing policies with negative secondary consequences for regional stability and potentially for Iran”.

The only time the report mentions Hezbollah is when describing it as a victim of attacks.

Lebanon faces growing threats from terrorist groups, including the al-Nusrah Front and ISIL. Sunni extremists are trying to establish networks in Lebanon and have increased attacks against Lebanese army and Hizballah positions along the Lebanese-Syrian border. Lebanon potentially faces a protracted conflict in northern and eastern parts of the country from extremist groups seeking to seize Lebanese territory, supplies, and hostages.

That clarifies that Obama no longer considers Hezbollah an enemy (not that he ever did). Instead it’s an ally that is classed together with Lebanon, rather than a threat to it.

Here’s what Obama chose to turn his back on.

“The worst part for me is that nobody remembers,” Mark Nevells said last year on the anniversary of the Hezbollah bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut.

A Marine had thrown his body in front of the truck to try and stop the vehicle. And afterwards, for five days, Nevells and other Marines had dug through the rubble for the bodies of the men they had served with.

One of the first Marines on the scene heard voices coming from underneath the rubble. “Get us out. Don’t leave us.”

The Marines lost more people that day than at any time since Iwo Jima and the number of Americans murdered that day by a terrorist group was a record that would stand until September 11.

And more of it still.

The Marines who died in the bombing were lucky. Another Marine did not die as quickly.

Colonel William R. Higgins was captured by Hezbollah, the terrorist group acting as Iran’s hand in Lebanon, and tortured for months until his body was dumped near a mosque.

An autopsy report found that he had been starved and had suffered multiple lethal injuries that could have caused his death. The skin on his face had been partially removed along with his tongue and he had also been castrated.

Fred Hof, a diplomat who had been a friend of the murdered man, said, “I am one of a small handful of Americans who knows the exact manner of Rich’s death. If I were to describe it to you now – which I will not – I can guarantee that a significant number of people in this room would become physically ill.”

Like Higgins, William Francis Buckley, the CIA station chief, was also captured and tortured for months. On video tapes released by his Hezbollah captors, he was incoherent and his mind had been broken by the horrors inflicted on his ravaged body and his soul.

“They had done more than ruin his body,” CIA Director William Casey said. “His eyes made it clear his mind had been played with. It was horrific, medieval and barbarous.”

Robert Stethem, a Navy diver, was brutally murdered when Hezbollah terrorists took over TWA flight 847. The Iranian-backed terrorists, one of whom was Imad Mughniyah, beat and kicked him to death.

“They were jumping in the air and landing full force on his body. He must have had all his ribs broken,” Uli Derickson, the stewardess, described. “I was sitting only 15 feet away. I couldn’t listen to it. I put my fingers in my ears. I will never forget. I could still hear. They put the mike up to his face so his screams could be heard by the outside world.”

Obama wants you to believe that the 47 Senators who stood up to him on Iran are traitors. The truth is he’s the traitor.

And he is a terrorist. To condone acts of terrorism is to co-author them. 

Ending the pax Americana 2

We are in principle against intervention in the internal affairs of other countries. But we are not for isolationism or pacifism – we regard either philosophy as a formula for national suicide. If other countries become belligerent, build up their armed strength, send their warships towards our shores, establish bases in countries on our borders, and declare their aggressive intentions towards us, the politics of those countries become our business. That is happening now. We are under threat – because Obama is deliberately weakening America. And his reaction to the result is to weaken America even more.

The conditions for major war develop much more easily when the U.S. is too weak. They are developing as we speak. 

To a meaningful extent, the significant increase we’ve seen in unrest around the globe since 2010 has been made possible, and inevitable, by the retraction of American power. Even where we still have power in place, it has become increasingly obvious that we aren’t going to use it. 

We quote from a website interestingly named Liberty Unyielding. The article on the extreme folly of the Obama administration’s moves to weaken America is by Commander Jennifer Dyer, now retired from the US navy. (Her own blog is at Theoptimisticconservative.wordpress.com):

The collapse of order in the Arab nations in 2011 was the first significant stage of the process. The perception that the United States would do nothing about a Hezbollah coup in Lebanon was tested in January of that year. The perception proved to be true, and when protests erupted in Tunisia and Egypt, for causes both natural and manufactured, a set of radical Islamist actors – the “establishment” Muslim Brotherhood, Sunni jihadists, Iran – saw an opportunity. The establishment Muslim Brotherhood has largely won out in Tunisia, but the battle still rages among these radical actors for Egypt, Syria, and now Iraq. Lebanon is being incrementally sucked into the maelstrom as well.

In multiple venues, Russia has watched the U.S. and the West effectively back Islamists in Russia’s “near abroad”: in Turkey (with support for the now struggling Erdogan government); in the Balkans, especially Bosnia and Kosovo; and in Syria. …

There was a time when the implicit determination of the U.S. to enforce the “Pax Americana” order – the post-World War II alignments of the region – held Russia in check. The Russians still derived some security benefit from that order, after all … It appears to me, however, that 2014 will be the year in which it becomes clear that, according to Russians’ perception, they no longer benefit from the old order. If we’re not going to enforce it, Russia will do what she thinks she has to.

In fact, Moscow’s pushback against the plan for Ukraine to affiliate with the EU constitutes just such a blow for perceived Russian interests. It is of supreme importance for Westerners to not misread the recent developments. The EU and the U.S. did back down when Russia pushed hard last fall. The only ones who didn’t back down were the Ukrainian opposition. I predict Vladimir Putin will try to handle the opposition factions cleverly, as much as he can, and avoid a pitched battle with them if possible. He respects what they are willing to do. But he has no reason to respect Brussels or Washington.

And that means he has more latitude, not less, for going after the regional props to the old order, one by one. As always, Russia’s inevitable competition with China is a major driver, along with Russia’s concern about Islamism on her southern border. The whole Great Crossroads – Southwest Asia, Southeast Europe, Northeast Africa, the waterways that snake through the region – is, if not up for grabs, at least in ferment. Look wherever you like: there are almost no nations where there is not a very present menace from radicalism, or where governments and even borders are not gravely imperiled by internal dissent.

Israel is the chief standout for politically sustainable stability and continuity. Romania and Turkey seem likely to at least retain their constitutional order in the foreseeable future, but Turkey’s geopolitical orientation, in particular, is less certain. Greece and Kosovo – even Bosnia – have serious internal problems. Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia all remain in crisis at various levels. Jordan and Saudi Arabia are relatively stable, and the Arab Persian Gulf states relatively so as well. But their neighborhood is going downhill fast. Iran is riding a wave of radical confidence, and the Taliban are resurgent in Afghanistan.

In this tumultuous region, it’s actually a little funny that Pakistan looks stable and staid compared to Iran, Afghanistan, and neighbors west. We can hope that Islamabad’s perceived need to maintain a symmetrical stance against India will keep Pakistan’s loose federation of intransigents federated, and the nukes under central control. But as we move across South Asia, we near another boiling pot. Thailand – long an American ally and pillar of stability in the region – has been rocked in recent months by national unrest of a kind not seen in Southeast Asia for decades. Islamist radicalism is a growing threat in Indonesia, and an unpacified one in the Philippines, after more than a decade of U.S.-Philippines collaboration in fighting it.

And, of course, China is making real, transformative moves against regional security with her proclamations about air space and maritime rights off her southeast coast.

This disruptive process, like the battles for many of the Arab nations, is already underway. We’re not waiting for something to happen; it’s started.

China assumes, quite correctly, that there will be no effective pushback from the United States. But two other nations with power and means will regard it as intolerable for China to dictate conditions in Southeast Asia: Japan and Russia. The dance of realignment among these nations has implications for everyone in Central Asia and the Far East. The day may be on the horizon sooner than we think when maintaining a divided Korea no longer makes sense to at least one of the major players. The day is already here when Chinese activities in Central Asia are alarming the whole neighborhood, just as Chinese actions are in the South China Sea. …

Russia and Iran are advancing on the US through Central America:

It’s no accident that as radical leftism creeps across Central America (falsely laying claim to a noble “Bolivarian” political mantle), the maritime dispute between Nicaragua and American ally Colombia heats up – and Russia shows up to back Nicaragua and Venezuela – and so does Iran – and unrest turns into shooting and government brutality and violence in Venezuela – and Hezbollah shows up there to openly support the radical, repressive Maduro government.

Now Iran has a naval supply ship headed for Central America, very possibly with a cargo of arms that are not only prohibited by UN sanction, but capable of reaching the United States if launched from a Central American nation or Cuba.

We’re not still waiting for the shocks to start to the old order. They’ve already started. I haven’t surveyed even the half of what there is to talk about …

She looks at the latest defense cuts with dismay and considers what the consequences will be:

This is the world in which the United States plans to reduce our army to its lowest level since before World War II, and eliminate or put in storage much of its capabilities for heavy operations abroad (e.g., getting rid of the A-10 Warthogs, moving Blackhawk helicopters into the National Guard). It’s in this world that DOD proposes to cease operating half of our Navy cruisers, while delaying delivery of the carrier-based F-35 strike-fighter to the Navy and Marine Corps. These cutbacks come on top of cuts already made to training and maintenance expenditures in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force that will affect unit readiness for years to come. …

Then comes what should be a shocking observation:

By cutting back on defense so drastically, America is deciding, in essence, to “fight fair”: to give whatever opponents emerge more of a chance to kill our soldiers, damage our interests, and drag out conflicts.

That would be hard to believe of any American leadership – until now. It is ludicrous. Worse, it is lunatic. But Obama has never concealed or disguised his wish to weaken America’s military capacity.

The decision “to further limit our capabilities to use power in politically relevant ways” will result in “even more global unrest: more conflict, more shooting, more blood, more extortion and political thuggery menacing civil life in the world’s poorer and more vulnerable nations”, and that cannot be good for America. The point is that –

These unpleasant trends will spill over into civil life in the wealthier nations soon enough

As it has, she points out, in Ukraine, Thailand, and Venezuela, “whether directly or through second-order consequences”.

Peace and freedom have to be tended constantly; they are not the natural state of geopolitical indiscipline, but its antithesis. …

We’re extraordinarily unprepared for the world that is shaping up around us. …

[And] a world that doesn’t want quiescent trade conditions, tolerance of dissent, the open flow of ideas, and mutual agreements, peacefully arrived at, will not have them.

That’s the world we are sentencing ourselves, for now, to live in. Perhaps we will learn from the consequences how to think again: about what it takes to guard freedom, and indeed, about what freedom actually is. 

It is Obama who needs to think again, but there is no reason to hope that he will. It could hardly be more obvious that he does not care for freedom.

Rewarding evil 4

“Resist not evil”, Christianity teaches. “Forgive.” “Love your enemies.”

Thus does Christianity absolutely repudiate the principle of justice.

One would think that Obama really is a Christian, the way he’s treating the evil despots of Iran.

What does Iran deserve? What would be just?

This is from Front Page, by Daniel Greenfield:

“The worst part for me is that nobody remembers,” Mark Nevells said last year on the anniversary of the Hezbollah bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut.

A Marine had thrown his body in front of the truck to try stop the vehicle and afterward for five days, Nevells and other Marines had dug through the rubble for the bodies of the men they had served with.

One of the first Marines on the scene heard voices coming from underneath the rubble. “Get us out. Don’t leave us.”

The Marines lost more people that day than at any time since Iwo Jima and the number of Americans murdered that day by a terrorist group was a record that would stand until September 11.

In Washington, the murder of 220 Marines and the Iranian, Ismail Ascari, who drove the truck full of explosives that tore through their barracks, are inconvenient truths and lost memories. And it has always been that way.

Before the attack, the NSA intercepted a message from Iranian intelligence in Tehran to the Iranian ambassador in Damascus ordering “a spectacular action against the United States Marines.”

Mohsen Rafiqdoost, Khomeini’s bodyguard who helped found Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and served as Minister of Revolutionary Guards during the bombing, boasted, “both the TNT and the ideology, which in one blast sent to hell 400 officers, NCOs, and soldiers at the Marines headquarters, were provided by Iran.”

Today Mohsen is a millionaire and stands to make a huge profit from the flow of goods after Obama’s weakening of sanctions on Iran. He also boasts of being the “father of Iran’s missile program” …

The Marines who died in the bombing were lucky. Another Marine did not die as quickly.

Colonel William R. Higgins was captured by Hezbollah, the terrorist group acting as Iran’s hand in Lebanon, and tortured for months until his body was dumped near a mosque. An autopsy report found that he had been starved and had suffered multiple lethal injuries that could have caused his death. The skin on his face had been partially removed along with his tongue and he had also been castrated.

Fred Hof, a diplomat who had been a friend of the murdered man, said, “I am one of a small handful of Americans who knows the exact manner of Rich’s death. If I were to describe it to you now – which I will not – I can guarantee that a significant number of people in this room would become physically ill.”

The State Department, not the Defense Department, had the lead. That meant diplomacy, not military might. It meant no retribution, no retaliation, no rescue,” Robin L. Higgins, his wife, wrote.

Colonel Higgins’ wife and daughter sued Iran for the murder and won a $355 million judgment from seized Iranian assets. The court found that, “Although an act of cruel savagery, the mutilation of the Colonel’s body was apparently consistent with the Islamic Guard’s fulfillment of Iranian foreign policy.”

Like Higgins, William Francis Buckley, the CIA station chief, was also captured and tortured for months. On video tapes released by his Hezbollah captors, he was incoherent and his mind had been broken by the horrors inflicted on his ravaged body and his soul.

“They had done more than ruin his body,” CIA Director William Casey said. “His eyes made it clear his mind had been played with. It was horrific, medieval and barbarous.”

Imad Mughniyah was reportedly one of Buckley’s main interrogators and Iran passed along messages offering to trade Buckley in exchange for weapons sales. Robert Stethem, a Navy diver, was brutally murdered when Hezbollah terrorists took over TWA flight 847. The Iranian-backed terrorists, one of whom was Imad Mughniyah, beat and kicked him to death.

“They were jumping in the air and landing full force on his body. He must have had all his ribs broken,” Uli Derickson, the stewardess, described. “I was sitting only 15 feet away. I couldn’t listen to it. I put my fingers in my ears. I will never forget. I could still hear. They put the mike up to his face so his screams could be heard by the outside world.”

Stethem’s screams, like those of the other American victims of Iran, have yet to be heard in Washington.

After the bombing of the American embassy in Beirut, the terrorist group that took credit for the attack warned, “This is part of the Iranian revolution’s campaign against imperialist targets throughout the world.”

It may be tempting to dismiss all this as ancient history, but the terror never stopped. In 1996, 19 Air Force airmen were killed in the bombing of the Khobar Towers with another truck bomb. “The Khobar Towers bombing was planned, funded, and sponsored by senior leadership in the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the judgment in yet another case by victims of terrorism against Iran found.

President Clinton responded to the Iranian act of terror with a conciliatory message to Mohammad Khatami, another newly elected phony reformer playing the part of the President of Iran. “The United States has no hostile intentions towards the Islamic Republic of Iran and seeks good relationships with your government,” Clinton wrote. “In order to lay a sound basis for better relations between our countries, we need a clear commitment from you that you will ensure an end to Iranian involvement in terrorist activity.”

The Iranians rejected the call for peace and Clinton, who had earlier told advisors, “I don’t want any pissant half-measures”, backed down, as he usually did when confronted with Islamic terror.

The 9/11 Commission found evidence that the majority of the “muscle” operatives who would terrorize the crews and passengers had “traveled into or out of Iran between October 2000 and February 2001.” After September 11, top Al Qaeda officials fled to Iran as part of its policy of covertly allowing Al Qaeda terrorists to travel across its border without passport stamps. The key figure in the cooperation between Iran and Al Qaeda was once again Imad Mughniyah who met with and influenced Osama bin Laden.

The 1998 indictment of Al Qaeda stated that the terrorist group had “forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with representatives of the government of Iran, and its associated terrorist group Hezbollah, for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States.”

After the Israelis finally took out Mughniyah with a bomb in his headrest, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declared, “The pure blood of martyrs like Imad Mugniyah will grow hundreds like him.”

Last week, even while the pro-Iran leftist activists of MSNBC and the Huffington Post were furiously defending Obama’s Iran nuke sellout, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs placed a wreath on Mughniyah’s grave thereby pledging allegiance to everything that the terrorist mastermind stood for.

Even as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani boasted that the nuclear deal meant that the United States and other world powers had “surrendered before the great Iranian nation” and its true ruler, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, described the United States as “Satan” and declared it an enemy, the cloud of wishful thinking still lingers in Foggy Bottom breathed by the career diplomats of the State Department.

Jimmy Carter, whose empowerment of the Ayatollah Khomeini left his hands covered in the blood of Americans murdered by Iranian terror, has come out to praised Obama and Kerry for “doing the right thing” while warning that sanctions on Iran would be a “devastating blow”.

All these horrific acts of terror took place as a result of Jimmy Carter’s appeasement of Iran.

What blood price will be exacted for Obama’s appeasement of Iran?

Ignominy without umbrellas 5

Two admirable journalists write about the agreement reached last Saturday by the Great Powers (“P5+1”) with the evil Iranian regime, both comparing it to the agreement Neville Chamberlain thought he had secured with Adolf Hitler in 1938.

Bret Stephens writes at the Wall Street Journal:

To adapt Churchill : Never in the field of global diplomacy has so much been given away by so many for so little.

Britain and France’s capitulation to Nazi Germany at Munich has long been a byword for ignominy, moral and diplomatic. Yet neither Neville Chamberlain nor Édouard Daladier had the public support or military wherewithal to stand up to Hitler in September 1938. Britain had just 384,000 men in its regular army; the first Spitfire aircraft only entered RAF service that summer. “Peace for our time” it was not, but at least appeasement bought the West a year to rearm.

The signing of the Paris Peace Accords in January 1973 was a betrayal of an embattled U.S. ally and the abandonment of an effort for which 58,000 American troops gave their lives. Yet it did end America’s participation in a peripheral war, which neither Congress nor the public could indefinitely support. “Peace with honor” it was not, as the victims of Cambodia’s Killing Fields or Vietnam’s re-education camps can attest. But, for American purposes at least, it was peace.

By contrast, the interim nuclear agreement signed in Geneva on Sunday by Iran and the six big powers has many of the flaws of Munich and Paris. But it has none of their redeeming or exculpating aspects.

Consider: Britain and France came to Munich as military weaklings. The U.S. and its allies face Iran from a position of overwhelming strength. Britain and France won time to rearm. The U.S. and its allies have given Iran more time to stockpile uranium and develop its nuclear infrastructure. Britain and France had overwhelming domestic constituencies in favor of any deal that would avoid war. The Obama administration is defying broad bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress for the sake of a deal.

As for the Vietnam parallels, the U.S. showed military resolve in the run-up to the Paris Accords with a massive bombing and mining campaign of the North that demonstrated presidential resolve and forced Hanoi to sign the deal. The administration comes to Geneva fresh from worming its way out of its own threat to use force to punish Syria’s Bashar Assad for his use of chemical weapons against his own people.

The Nixon administration also exited Vietnam in the context of a durable opening to Beijing that helped tilt the global balance of power against Moscow. Now the U.S. is attempting a fleeting opening with Tehran at the expense of a durable alliance of values with Israel and interests with Saudi Arabia. …

That’s where the differences end between Geneva and the previous accords. What they have in common is that each deal was a betrayal of small countries — Czechoslovakia, South Vietnam, Israel — that had relied on Western security guarantees. Each was a victory for the dictatorships: “No matter the world wants it or not,” Iranian President Hasan Rouhani said Sunday, “this path will, God willing, continue to the peak that has been considered by the martyred nuclear scientists.” Each deal increased the contempt of the dictatorships for the democracies: “If ever that silly old man comes interfering here again with his umbrella,” Hitler is reported to have said of Chamberlain after Munich, “I’ll kick him downstairs and jump on his stomach.”

And each deal was a prelude to worse. After Munich came the conquest of Czechoslovakia, the Nazi-Soviet pact and World War II. After Paris came the fall of Saigon and Phnom Penh and the humiliating exit from the embassy rooftop. After Geneva there will come a new, chaotic Mideast reality in which the United States will lose leverage over enemies and friends alike.

What will that look like? Iran will gradually shake free of sanctions and glide into a zone of nuclear ambiguity that will keep its adversaries guessing until it opts to make its capabilities known. Saudi Arabia will move swiftly to acquire a nuclear deterrent from its clients in Islamabad; Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal made that clear to the Journal last week when he indiscreetly discussed “the arrangement with Pakistan.” Egypt is beginning to ponder a nuclear option of its own while drawing closer to a security alliance with Russia.

As for Israel, it cannot afford to live in a neighborhood where Iran becomes nuclear, Assad remains in power, and Hezbollah — Israel’s most immediate military threat — gains strength, clout and battlefield experience. The chances that Israel will hazard a strike on Iran’s nuclear sites greatly increased since Geneva. More so the chances of another war with Hezbollah.

After World War II the U.S. created a global system of security alliances to prevent the kind of foreign policy freelancing that is again becoming rampant in the Middle East. It worked until President Obama decided in his wisdom to throw it away. If you hear echoes of the 1930s in the capitulation at Geneva, it’s because the West is being led by the same sort of men, minus the umbrellas.

The article is valuable as an erudite and accurate assessment of the Geneva sell-out. But Stephens’s visualization of what the “after Geneva” Middle East will look like, bad though it is, is too mild. We predict that Iran will become armed with nuclear weapons and will use them.

Douglas Murray writes at the Spectator (UK):

America and Europe’s overwhelming desire to declare a deal meant that there had to be a deal to declare. The P5+1 countries, with the ludicrous Catherine Ashton speaking for Europe, have indeed made a historic and terrible mistake.

The mullahs did not come to Geneva because they wished to give up their capability. And they did not come to the table because after 34 years of revolutionary Islamic governance they have seen the error of their ways. They came because international sanctions were beginning to hurt. Those sanctions – which took years to put in place – have now fallen apart thanks to a few days of incompetent negotiating on the part of the P5+1 plus some simple common sense from Tehran. People tend to say at this stage that the Iranians are ‘master negotiators’. They aren’t especially. They are simply fortunate to be playing against Catherine Ashton and a generation of other weak and short-sighted American and British politicians.

The result is that the Iranian regime has managed to walk away with a deal to relieve the pressure of sanctions at the very moment that the pressure was working and the very moment that it should have been kept up and ultimately used to break them. They now have the breathing hole they need to reinforce their power at home and continue their search for nuclear weaponry.

At the root of this debacle is the fact that the Iranians went into the sanctions knowing exactly what they wanted: time and the bomb. The P5+1 countries, by contrast, were riddled by doubt and muddled thinking.

There should only ever have been two aims with regard to the Iranian regime.

The first is to ensure that it never ever gains the capability to develop nuclear weapons: not only to ensure that the world’s most destabilising regime never possesses the world’s most dangerous weaponry, but to ensure that it cannot precipitate a nuclear arms race across the Middle East.

The second aim, and one which appears to have slipped even further down any international agenda, is to see the end of the brutal rule of the mullahs. Sadly this does not even appear to be on the table any more. Ever since President Obama failed to come out in support of the brave Iranian protestors who rose up in 2009, the basic human rights of the Iranian people have been ignored utterly. So what that the regime promotes terror around the world? So what that it oppresses, rapes, tortures and executes its opponents at home? By negotiating with this regime and allowing it off the hook at this moment America, Britain and our allies have not only given a stay of execution to the mullahs, we have further undermined the hopes of any opponents of the regime inside Iran.

I was watching and listening to [British foreign secretary] William Hague earlier today and I must say that it was a pathetic experience: a diminished figure trying to persuade a sceptical nation to support a demeaning deal. All he lacked was a winged collar, a piece of paper and the slogan: ‘nuclear peace in our time.’

And the umbrella.

The rising possibility of war between major powers 6

So it’s coming – war? The big one?

As the Syrian war rages on – now a religious battle between Sunnis and Shiites as much as an armed rebellion against Bashar Assad’s tyranny – the Russians have offered troops to replace the withdrawing Austrian contingent of the UN’s “peace keeping” force on the Golan border between Syria and Israel. It looks likely that Fijian troops will be preferred by the UN, but Putin is nevertheless going ahead and preparing a Golan brigade. He is committed to helping the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad by supplying advanced weaponry, and he has warships near the Syrian coast.

At this juncture, Obama has decided that the US must send military aid to the rebels, composed of al-Qaeda affiliated and Muslim Brotherhood Sunnis. Assad himself is an Alawite, but his main support comes from Shia Iran and Iran’s Shia proxy, Hezbollah.

We quote from the (British) Mail Online .

The chilling headlines:

Could Syria ignite World War 3? That’s the terrifying question as the hatred between two Muslim ideologies sucks in the worlds superpowers.

  • Syrian conflict could engulf region in struggle between Sunni and Shia
  • Already claimed 93,000 lives and made 1.6million people refugees
  • UK, France and U.S. taken different side to China and Russia

The article proceeds:

The crisis in Syria may appear to be no more or less than a civil war in a country many people would struggle to place on a map.

But it’s much more than that: it is rapidly becoming a sectarian struggle for power that is bleeding across the Middle East, with the potential to engulf the entire region in a deadly power struggle between two bitterly opposed Muslim ideologies, Sunni and Shia.

Already, the war inside Syria has resulted in 93,000 dead and 1.6 million refugees, with millions more displaced internally. And those figures are escalating rapidly amid reports of appalling atrocities on both sides.

Fearing that Syria faced the kind of protests that had toppled the rulers of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya during the “Arab Spring”, Bashar al-Assad’s security forces used tanks and gunfire to crush the demonstrations. But it only stoked the fires.

The opposition developed into an armed insurgency, and now Syria has been engulfed in a civil war which has degenerated into a vicious sectarian conflict.

On one side are those who follow President Assad, who belongs to the Alawites — a splinter sect from Shia Islam.

On the other are a loose affiliation of insurgents drawn from the majority Sunni population, some of whom have close links to the Sunni jihadists of Al Qaeda.

The level of savagery is appalling. This week, up to 60 Shia Muslims were reported to have been slaughtered in an attack by opposition fighters in the eastern Syrian city of Hatla. …

Syria might fragment into three or four pieces on sectarian lines, with anyone marooned in the wrong enclave liable to face vicious ethnic cleansing.

And because the conflict is driven by religion, it could easily leap Syria’s frontiers to draw in regional powers.

So who is aligned with whom? Broadly speaking, Assad is supported by Iran (the main Shia power in the Middle East) and its militant Lebanese ally, the terrorist group Hezbollah.

The latter is Iran’s main weapon in any fight with Israel.

As a result, Assad is advised (and protected) by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, and there are also between 5,000 and 8,000 seasoned Hezbollah fighters inside Syria. …

The forces against Assad are joined by thousands of fighters flooding the country every week from across the region.

The rebels have also benefited from the ferocious will-to-die of an Islamist group called Jabhat al-Nusra, which is allied with Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Many more rebels are Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood persuasion.

They are supported with guns and money from Sunni states such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Such are the complex connections between modern nations, and the globalised nature of international politics, that repercussions could be felt around the world.

What happens in Syria affects Israel, with which it shares a militarised border on the Golan Heights. …

Although President Obama wants to downgrade America’s involvement in the Middle East now the U.S. can rely on reserves of cheap shale oil and gas at home, his own somewhat ostentatious concern for human rights keeps sucking him back in to side with the rebels.

We would correct that to (newly appointed Ambassador to the UN) Samantha Power’s and (newly appointed National Security Adviser) Susan Rice’s concern to be concerned gives Obama the excuse he needs to side with the rebels.

Why do we say “excuse”? In his role as pacifist and demilitarizer he is reluctant to have the US actively involved in another war so soon after the Iraq war ended and the Afghanistan war started winding down. But he is (we are convinced) on the side of the Arabs in their endless hostility to Israel, and he is a consistent supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood (sending, for instance, lavish aid to the MB government in Egypt). We guess he would not be sorry to see a Sunni victory – or an Israeli defeat. Regardless of his own prejudices, however, the US has commitments to NATO.

That [“concern for human rights”] is also broadly the position of Britain and France, whose leaders seem swayed by lurid and unverified social media footage of atrocities.

But while leading NATO nations line up in sympathy with the rebels, on the other side President Assad is being backed by Russia — a long-time friend of Syria — and by China.

Russia and China feel they were tricked by the West over the way the Libyan regime was overthrown with Western aid two years ago, and are determined Assad won’t be ousted and murdered like Gaddafi.

The war in Syria therefore has had a destabilising effect on the entire region, and could exert a terrifying domino effect as states disintegrate.

Whether such a nightmare scenario can be avoided — and global superpowers can be persuaded to keep their powder dry — we must wait to see with baited breath.

Obama, having said that if Assad used chemical weapons he would be crossing a “red line”, and having now acknowledged that sarin gas has been used, announced that the US will provide military aid to the Syrian rebels.

While there’s nothing new about the US aiding the Muslim Brotherhood (lavish aid to Egypt’s MB government is a case in point), it will be a strange development for the US to be allied with al-Qaeda. (How, we wonder will the survivors and bereft families of 9/11 feel about it?)

The most fearsome fact is that the powers are lined up now as the Mail reports: China and Russia on the side of the Shias,  Britain and France and the US – which is to say NATO – on the side of the Sunnis. And the West cannot allow Russia and China to become dominant powers on the edge of the Mediterranean.

Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah 2

Two major terrorist groups are going about their savage work: al-Qaeda and Hezbollah. Both are Islamic, one Sunni and one Shia.

They are in violent conflict with each other in Syria, and other Islamic states. Both are at war with the non-Islamic world.

Cliff May writes (in part) at Townhall:

Back during the Bush administration, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage famously called Hezbollah the “A Team of terrorists,” adding, “al-Qaeda is actually the B Team.” How do these two organizations compare today? …

Hezbollah and Iran [are] joined at the hip: the former is financed and instructed by the latter. That has not always been understood, despite the fact that, prior to 9/11/01, Hezbollah was responsible for more American deaths than any other terrorist organization. And Hezbollah’s secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, has proclaimed, “Death to America was, is, and will stay our slogan.”

It’s well known that Hezbollah has been sending combatants into Syria in support of Bashar Assad, the dictator and Iranian satrap. Less publicized are Hezbollah’s operations in other corners of the world. A Hezbollah attack on a bus in Bulgaria last July killed five Israelis and one Bulgarian. In Nigeria, authorities recently broke up a Hezbollah cell, seizing what one Nigerian official called “a large quantity of assorted weapons of different types and caliber.” …

A 500-page report issued last week by Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman reveals that Iran has established an archipelago of “clandestine intelligence stations and operative agents” in Latin America that are being used “to execute terrorist attacks when the Iranian regime decides so, both directly or through its proxy, the terrorist organization Hezbollah.” The following are South American countries in which Iran or Hezbollah has set up intelligence/terrorism bases: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname.

Nisman provides additional evidence — not that more is needed — that Iranian officials and one Lebanese Hezbollah operative were responsible for two terrorist bombings in Argentina in the 1990s. There’s an American nexus too: Nisman charges that Mohsen Rabbani, Iran’s former cultural attaché in Buenos Aires — implicated in the 1994 attack on a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in which 85 people were killed — directed “Iranian agent” Abdul Kadir, now serving a life sentence in connection with the 2010 plot to bomb John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

Connect the dots, Nisman argues, and they draw a picture of Iran “fomenting and fostering acts of international terrorism in concert with its goals of exporting the revolution.”

All this considered, can al-Qaeda (AQ) still be considered a serious competitor? Yes, it can! Last weekend, my colleague, über-researcher Tom Joscelyn, pointed out that AQ and its affiliates now “are fighting in more countries than ever.”

In Afghanistan, AQ maintains safe havens in the provinces of Kunar and Nuristan. The Taliban, its loyal ally, is responsible for a level of violence “higher than before the Obama-ordered surge of American forces in 2010,” according to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.

AQ and its affiliates have bases in northern Pakistan. The Pakistani government, Joscelyn notes, “continues to be a duplicitous ally, sponsoring and protecting various al Qaeda-allied groups. The Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or Pakistani Taliban, remains a threat after orchestrating the failed May 2010 bombing in Times Square. The State Department announced in September 2010 that the TTP has “a ‘symbiotic relationship’ with al Qaeda.”

The AQ-affiliated al-Nusrah Front may be the most effective force fighting against Assad’s troops and against Hezbollah and Iranian combatants in Syria. AQ is resurgent in neighboring Iraq, with April 2013 being the deadliest month in that country in nearly five years, according to the U.N.

AQ has expanded operations in Yemen. In Somalia, Shabaab — which formally merged with AQ last year — is far from defeated and has managed to carry out attacks in neighboring Kenya and Uganda as well.In Nigeria, Boko Haram continues to slaughter Christians. In Egypt, al-Qaeda members and associates — including Mohammed al-Zawahiri, the brother of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri — are operating more freely than ever. On 9/11/12 they hoisted an AQ flag above the U.S. embassy in Cairo.

Libyan groups closely linked to al-Qaeda were responsible for the 9/11/12 attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb easily took over northern Mali until French forces pushed them out of the population centers. Al-Qaeda affiliates are becoming more visible and perhaps viable in Tunisia, too.

Despite all this, the State Department report asserts that “core” al-Qaeda “is on a path to defeat.” I am not convinced that there is sufficient evidence to substantiate that thesis. And even if it does prove to be accurate, who’s to say that a weakening core can’t be compensated for by a stronger periphery?

In the final analysis, “Which is the A Team of terrorism?” is not the paramount question. What is: in the years ahead, does the U.S. have what it takes to be the A Team of counterterrorism?

Better still, will America recognize and name the enemy at war with it – Islam? And at last begin to take effective steps to defeat it?

UN Force in Lebanon teaches baking and knitting 0

instead of doing its job, defined by the UN as keeping southern Lebanon free of Hizbollah, and preventing that huge terrorist organization from re-arming.

The hobby lessons are paid for in large part by US tax payers.

This is from PJ Media, by Claudia Rosett – the most reliable authority on all things UN:

The news is full of reports that Israeli air strikes have targeted Iranian-supplied missiles in Syria, which Israeli officials believe were intended for Hezbollah — Iran’s satellite terrorist organization in Lebanon. Midway through a New York Times story on this development comes a reminder that:

“Hezbollah is now believed to have more missiles and fighters than it had before its 2006 battle with Israel, when Hezbollah missiles forced a third of Israel’s population into shelters and hit as far south as Haifa.”

“More missiles” may be putting it modestly. In 2011, Israeli authorities said that Hezbollah had rearmed to the extent of amassing more than three times the weapons it had prior to the 2006 war. Supplementing their allegations with detailed maps, Israeli officials charged that Hezbollah had created a network across southern Lebanon of almost 1,000 rocket and missile facilities, including 550 bunkers and 100 weapons storage units.

All of which raises the question of what’s going on with the UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, known as UNIFIL (UN Interim Force in Lebanon). UNIFIL was beefed up, at significant cost, after the 2006 war, with the professed aim of ensuring that Hezbollah would not rearm. As spelled out in 2006 in UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which was supposed to secure peace, UNIFIL’s mandate included helping Lebanon’s armed forces ensure that southern Lebanon, bordering on Israel, would be — to quote from the UNIFIL web site — “an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL deployed in the area.”  …

Obviously … that mandate for ensuring an area free of Hezbollah munitions has not worked out. …

UNIFIL remains in southern Lebanon, on an annual budget now totaling almost $550 million (more than 27% of that funded by U.S. taxpayers), with more than 11,000 peacekeeping troops. …

“So,” Claudia Rosett asks rhetorically, “what is UNIFIL doing?” And she tells us:

Well, they are embodying diversity, with troops from 38 countries. They have put out a 2013 calendar featuring “Women of UNIFIL.” And according to UNIFIL’s web site, they have been providing quite an array of services to the local community:

UNIFIL contingents provide free medical, dental, veterinary and such other assistance to the local population.” Beyond that. they have been providing training programs for the locals, “in such fields as computers, languages, bread making, knitting, yoga, taekwondo and so on.”

So, while UNIFIL has proved unable to stop Hezbollah from amplifying its previous military facilities into a warren of hundreds of bunkers stuffed with thousand of rockets and missiles, UNIFIL has been toiling away to provide everything from computer instruction to free medical care to yoga, knitting, and taekwondo lessons to the local population that hosts these Hezbollah weapons facilities. Should we really call this peacekeeping? Sounds more like free services for Hezbollah.

The UN must be destroyed.

*

What is Israel doing about the massive arming of Hezbollah?

The following paragraph is a digest of quotations from this article, and was first posted on our TAC Facebook page:

[Yesterday, May 5, 2013] Israel conducted a second round of strikes in three days on advanced weapons including Iranian F-110 weapons bound for Hizballah in transit at Damascus international airport. Syrian TV reported only an attack on the Jamraya military research center just north of Damascus. This was the same facility which Israeli planes attacked in January. Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said that the strike on Syria overnight represented a “declaration of war” by Israel. Russian and Iranian media earlier predicted full-scale Middle East hostilities involving Israel erupting in the coming hours, in the wake of Israel’s renewed strikes against Iranian missiles bound for Hizballah and other targets around Damascus. Russian sources reported rumors that President Bashar Assad was on the point of declaring war on Israel. Russia Today claimed that an Israeli rocket strike caused heavy Syrian casualties – according to rumors, at least 300 members of the Syrian Army’s 501st Unit dead and hundreds filling four Damascus hospitals. If this is confirmed, then the unit which operates the chemical weapon facility at the Barzeh district north of Damascus at the foot of Mt. Qassioun was hit. Israel’s security cabinet holds emergency session.

While Obama dithers, Israel bombs Syria 1

Obama swore that there would be “enormous consequences” if Bashar Assad, presently at war with al-Qaeda in his own country, used chemical weapons.

Bashar Assad has now used chemical weapons. So Obama has snapped into dithering over whether to do anything about it and if so what.

Meanwhile Israel, being in the region actually threatened by Assad’s lethal chemistry, took to the air and bombed Syrian chemical weapons stores.

This is from The Tower:

Syrian opposition forces reported that IAF [Israeli Air Force] strikes had taken place on Syrian territory. The opposition reports also indicated that the Israeli attack targeted Syria’s chemical weapons program.

Since it is impossible to bomb a program, it is to be understood that Israel targeted chemical weapons. Targeted and destroyed (some of) them.

Israeli officials have been increasingly explicit in warning that Jerusalem would act to prevent the Syrian regime from crossing the double red line that Israeli officials had set at the onset of the Syrian conflict: no transfer of advanced Syrian weapons to terrorist allies of the embattled Bashar al-Assad and no seizure of those weapons by Al Qaeda-linked opponents fighting to overthrow the regime.

President Barack Obama has endorsed the Israeli position [in a manner of speaking]:

“That’s an issue that doesn’t just concern Syria. It concerns our close allies in the region, including Israel. It concerns us,” Obama said, also acknowledging the possibility that militant groups might acquire some of those weapons. “We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people.”

The president noted that he has not ordered any armed U.S. intervention yet, but said: “We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region, that that’s a red line for us, and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front, or the use of chemical weapons. That would change my calculations significantly.”

A great threatener, President Obama.

The odds of transfer or seizure have dramatically increased in recent weeks.

Israeli officials publicly worried earlier this week that Assad’s forces had already transferred small amounts of chemical weapons to the Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah. For its part Hezbollah is thought to have poured literally thousands of fighters into Syria, and has become deeply embedded in the Syrian army’s battles against opposition forces. The regime has kept much of the Syrian army out of the fighting due to fears of defection. There are no such worries with Hezbollah’s fighters, and Hezbollah forces had already been deployed to guard Syrian WMD arsenals months ago. Iran and Hezbollah have also reportedly built an enormous force to seize control of Syria if necessary.

The risk of chemical weapons seizure has also spiked. Areas evacuated by Syrian forces, especially those around the border area with Israel, have been filled in by fighters from the Al Nusra Front. The beginning of April saw the largest redeployment of Syrian army forces in 40 years, and rebels are now within striking distance of Syria’s largest WMD caches. The Al Nusra Front is, according to the the State Department, merely an alias for Al Qaeda, and Al Nusra fighters have pledged allegiance to the global terrorist group. Islamist rebels in Syria have pledged to attack Israel and top Israeli military officials believe those attacks would include the use of chemical weapons. …

As the White House mulls whether Syria has crossed President Obama’s red line and used chemical weapons, the U.S. military and intelligence community are quietly acknowledging that the United States does not know where many of those weapons are located… At the heart of the concern is that the Syrian military has transferred more and more of its stock of sarin and mustard gas from storage sites to trucks where they are being moved around the country. … Also worrisome … is intelligence from late last year that says the Syrian Scientific Research Center — an entity responsible for Syria’s chemical-weapons stockpile — has begun to train irregular militias loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad [namely Hezbollah] in how to use the chemical munitions.

Now Obama can claim that he took action through Israel. So Israel is his right hand. (He is left-handed). He can also, if he thinks it expedient, claim that his left hand doesn’t know what his right hand is doing.

Posted under Israel, News, Syria, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Saturday, May 4, 2013

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