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Iran the Destabilizer

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A world in turmoil, thank you Mr. Trump!

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By Philip Giraldi 

The real Donald Trump has been exposed. The man who promised a sensible and non-interventionist Middle Eastern policy and a reset with Moscow has now reneged on both pledges. His nitwit United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley has directly linked Russia and Syria for punishment by the omnipotent Leader of the Free World lest anyone be confused.

The unconscionable attack on Syria based on the usual unsubstantiated allegations has shifted the playing field dramatically, with the “new sheriff in town” apparently intent on proving he is a real man who can play hardball with the rest of them. Last week Syria was blamed by all and sundry in the Establishment for an alleged chemical weapons attack just two days after the White House backed away from the Obama Administration demand that President Bashar al-Assad be removed. Was Syria dumb enough to use chemical weapons in a war that it is winning at a point when the overt hostility from Washington had been ratcheted down? Or was it staged by the so-called rebels?

And who benefits from weakening al-Assad of Syria? ISIS and al-Qaeda. Now that Trump has the bit between his teeth on how abysmal approval ratings can skyrocket if one starts a war, look forward to more of the same with my sources telling me that establishment a no-fly zone is currently being discussed in the Pentagon. A no-fly zone would be toe-to-toe with the Russkies to see who would blink first.

Meanwhile an aircraft carrier battle group is making its way to confront North Korea, which is being warned with the good old “all options are on the table” rhetoric which will almost certainly produce a schizophrenic result of some kind. If I were a resident of Seoul I would be moving out of the city tout suite as it is within range of Pyongyang’s massed heavy artillery batteries along the DMZ.

Trump, regarded by many including myself as the sensible “peace candidate,” appears to be preparing to engage militarily on multiple fronts worldwide. And things are particularly heating up in the Middle East and South Asia. More U.S. troops are being deployed to Iraq and also to Syria, in that latter case without any invitation from Damascus or legal justification or even a phony United Nations mandate, and thousands more soldiers will be returning to Afghanistan to “stabilize” the situation. Meanwhile Yemen continues to suffer as the U.S. supports Saudi aggression.

And it doesn’t help to look for enlightenment from the cheerleading Fourth Estate, which has been completely coopted by the Establishment point of view. In the eyes of the mainstream media the Syria narrative is all about the evils of its government which Washington is now pledging to remove. Russia meanwhile is indicted without evidence for trying to overthrow our democratic system and the recent terrorist attack in St. Petersburg would have been reported more extensively but for the fact that those Soviet holdovers probably deserved it. No one is asking why the United States should believe itself to be empowered to intervene anywhere unless it is actually being directly and seriously threatened by some other nation.

So it is all a mess, largely of our own creation due to our tendency to get involved in places regarding which we know nothing and could really care less about. And by supplementing all of that with our inclination to believe in the myth of our national Exceptionalism as a genuine force for good, you wind up with a witch’s brew that has fueled anti-Americanism worldwide, led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands and emptied our treasury. Ambassador Chas Freeman has aptly perceived the U.S. government as the “foreign relations equivalent of a sociopath – a country indifferent to the rules, the consequences for others of its ignoring them, and the reliability of its word.”

As bad as that all seems, if I had to pick one place where our inability to discern right from wrong is likely to lead to the next major armed conflict, i.e. a real war, in fairly short order it would have to be Iran. The recent increase in tension between Washington and Tehran combined with the lack of any diplomatic dialogue mean that an actual shooting war might now be a “false flag,” fake intelligence report, or accidental naval encounter away. And once things start to sour, no one would stand up and say “Stop!” as the Trump Administration, Democrats, Republicans and the media all hate Iran.

I have long viewed this visceral hatred of Iran on the part of many Americans as a byproduct of the Iranian revolution and the occupation of the U.S. Embassy. Revolutionary Iran became overnight the dangerous “other,” a source of nightmares for the Washington Establishment. During my time in government, when the hostage taking at the embassy was still fresh, hating Iranians was almost a requirement in the national security community. More recently, Israel and its supporters have used Iran as a punching bag to maintain the myth that the Jewish State is existentially menaced by Tehran and its minions in the region. Being threatened in a serious way insures that the money tap from the U.S. Treasury will continue to be open and it also justifies many of Israel’s other transgressions as it chooses to portray itself as a nation under siege, ever the victim. More recently Saudi Arabia has jumped onto pretty much the same Iran band wagon, blaming Iran for all regional problems and providing justification for the ongoing slaughter in Yemen.

All of that is understandable enough, so far as it goes, but the generation of government officials who were around during the Iran hostage crisis is now retired, while the pleas of Israel and Saudi Arabia are generally best received while holding one’s nose if one has even a basic understanding of what is going on in the Middle East. But that would require some ability to establish a reasonable perspective on what is taking place and what is particularly disturbing is that some people in the government hierarchy who should know better apparently are just as delusional as some junior straight out of college scribbler for The Washington Post.

During his campaign Donald Trump repeatedly denounced the Iran Nuclear Agreement, to my mind one of only two foreign policy accomplishments of the outgoing Obama Administration. Trump said he would tear the agreement up and require Tehran to come up with something better “or else.” He has since backed off the tear-up theme, but has unfortunately appointed to high office a group of former military officers who appear to have swallowed the Iran-as-threat proposition hook-line-and-sinker.

There are some similarities between what is happening with Iran and what has been going on with Russia. Russia, it is being claimed, has been responsible for hundreds military intrusions that required a response from NATO in the Baltic. But Russia borders on the Baltic and it is part of its territorial waters, so what is really being said is that Moscow is operating in and around its own maritime coastal zone and it is NATO that is responded to as if it were a threat. Similarly, Iran, which sits on top of the Straits of Hormuz is accused of being aggressive when its small boats patrol in and around its coastal waters. It is the American Sixth Fleet that is the out of region intruder. Both Iran and Russia are being subjected to Washington’s belief that its writ runs worldwide and that it has a right to be the hegemon wherever it seeks to plant the flag.

I first encountered the Iran-as-threat crowd back in December 2015 when I listened in disbelief to a rambling speech by retired General Michael Flynn in Moscow. Ignoring the fact that Iran cannot actually threaten the United States or any genuine vital national interests, Flynn explained his concept of 21st century geo-political-economic strategy. At the time, I knew little about Flynn and his views, but I was particularly taken aback by a random shot he took at the Iranians, stating very clearly that they were responsible for “fueling four proxy wars in the Middle East.” He was presumably referring to Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen. The audience, which included a number of international journalists and genuine foreign-policy experts, became somewhat restless and began to mutter. Two minutes later, Flynn returned to the theme, mentioning the “terrible nuclear deal with Iran.”

Later, in December, Donald Trump’s then national-security adviser Michael Flynn, “officially” put Iran “on notice” while declaring that “The Trump Administration will no longer tolerate Iran’s provocations that threaten our interests. The days of turning a blind eye to Iran’s hostile and belligerent actions toward the United States and the world community are over.” He did not elaborate on what those “actions” were.

Trumps’ Pentagon Chief General James Mattis and his new National Security Adviser Lt. General H.R. McMaster have also taken shots at Iran, making clear their own assessments that Tehran constitutes a major threat both regionally and against the United States. But the most recent diatribe by an American General against Iran is perhaps one of the oddest indictments of that country. It came in a briefing provided by Army General Joseph Votel, Commander of the U.S. Central Command. Votel was testifying before the House Armed Services Committee regarding security issues relating to the greater Middle East. Votel told the congressmen, who were of course delighted to hear bad things about the Mullahs, that Iran is “one of the greatest threats to the U.S. today” and that it has increased its “destabilizing role” in the entire region.

How Iran, with its miniscule defense budget and complete inability to project power greatly threatens the United States has to remain a mystery, though Votel provided some elaboration. He said that Iran operates in “a gray area… just short of open conflict.” Per the general, Iran engages in “lethal aid facilitation,” uses “surrogate forces” and carries out cyber attacks. He also cited Iranian small boats harassing incidents involving U.S. warships, some of which “could be considered ‘unprofessional’ or ‘unsafe.’” Put it all together and Iran is “the greatest long-term threat to stability” for the entire Middle East. Votel then advocated disrupting Iran “through military means or other means.”

One has to ask if Votel or the congressmen cheering him on are mentally defective. I was a bit thrown by the Pentagonese expression “lethal aid facilitation,” but it must mean supplying weapons to Syria and other Iranian allies. Some congressman who had not had his brain phasered should have asked Votel if his indictment of Iran wasn’t for doing precisely what the United States has been doing only orders of magnitude greater. The United States arms the entire region and also provides lethal weapons to so-called rebels in Syria. And those rebels are U.S. surrogates, are they not? And as for cyber attacks, no one is better at it than the United States and its good buddy Israel. Does Stuxnet ring a bell? And what is the Sixth Fleet doing in the Persian Gulf in any event? Send the ships home and there won’t be any “incidents” involving Iranian speedboats.

Iran’s government admittedly is not to everyone’s liking for good reasons, but the country itself is only the enemy because we have been making it happen after empowering it’s government in the first place by bringing down Saddam Hussein. Iran’s own perspective appears to have evaded American critics. It is a country surrounded by enemies, constantly threatened, which views its relations with its few friends in Syria and Lebanon as defensive measures. I am accustomed to seeing and hearing nasty things about the Mullahs, but they usually come from Israeli and Saudi partisans who persist in falsely describing the Iranians as a global threat. It is in their interest to do so, and many pliable American politicians and media talking heads have picked up the refrain, so much so that a U.S. attack on Iran would likely be endorsed overwhelmingly by Congress and applauded in the media. The danger here is that there is a groupthink about Iran and war could happen in a heartbeat if someone does or says something really dumb to trigger it. Votel sounds stupid enough to do just that.

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“The Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB) Slated to be Used against Iran and North Korea?

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The article below  first published in May 2013 focussed on the Mother of all Bombs (MOAB).

Breaking News, April 13, 2017: the US Air Force has used a MOAB officially “for the first time in history”.

According to the Pentagon, the MOAB  bomb was dropped over an area in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan bordering onto Pakistan “where ISIS forces are suspected of holding a series of tunnels and buildings.”

The Massive Ordinance Air Blast bomb or “Mother Of All Bombs” is the largest conventional “non-nuclear weapon ever designed.”

These are WMDs in the true sense of the word. The not so hidden objective of the “mother of all bombs” (MOAB) is “mass destruction” and mass civilian casualties with a view to instilling fear and despair.

It has never been deployed in an active war theater according to the Pentagon. What is not mentioned in recent reports is that it had been envisaged for use against Iran and North Korea.

What’s the purpose of dropping it in a remote area of Afghanistan as part of an alleged “counter-terrorism” operation against ISIS?

Is this MOAB bomb test in Afghanistan a “dress rehearsal”, prior to its actual military use?  

It’s all for a good cause, savings civilian lives, going after the terrorists

See details and analysis below  as to the nature of the MOAB.

The explosion of a conventional monster MOAB bomb would result in a nuclear mushroom cloud similar to that of a tactical nuclear weapon.

The MOAB was slated to be used against both Iran and North Korea.

Michel Chossudovsky, April 13, 2017.

Under the title Pentagon bulks up ‘bunker buster’ bomb to combat Iran: U.S. Upgrades Weapon to Penetrate Key Nuclear Site; Push to Persuade Israelis,  The Wall Street Journal reports that the US military is planning to use its “biggest” conventional bunker buster bombs against Iran:

The Pentagon has redesigned its biggest “bunker buster” bomb with more advanced features intended to enable it to destroy Iran’s most heavily fortified and defended nuclear site.

The newest version of what is the Pentagon’s largest conventional bomb, the 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP, has adjusted fuses to maximize its burrowing power, upgraded guidance systems to improve its precision and high-tech equipment intended to allow it to evade Iranian air defenses in order to reach and destroy the Fordow nuclear enrichment complex, which is buried under a mountain near the Iranian city of Qom. […]

The improvements are meant to address U.S. and Israeli concerns that Fordow couldn’t be destroyed from the air. […] Fordow has long been thought to be a target that would be difficult if not impossible for the U.S. to destroy with conventional weapons. (WSJ, May 3, 2013)

The official explanation for the possible use of the MOP bomb is that Israel does not have the military capabilities within its own weapons arsenal to permanently disable Iran’s nuclear facilities:

“U.S. officials see development of the weapon as critical to convincing Israel that the U.S. has the ability to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb if diplomacy fails, and also that Israel’s military can’t do that on its own.” (op cit)

The Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB) 

MOPThe MOP Massive Ordinance Penetrator is nicknamed the “mother of all bombs”. Its use would inevitably trigger an an out war against Iran with a scenario of military escalation.

The GBU-43/B or Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB) version was categorized in 2003 “as the most powerful non-nuclear weapon ever designed” with the the largest yield in the US conventional arsenal.  The earlier 21,500 pound MOAB bomb was first tested in March 2003 before being deployed to the Iraq war theater.

According to US military sources, The Joint Chiefs of Staff  had advised the government of  Saddam Hussein prior to launching the 2003 that the “mother of all bombs” was to be used against Iraq. (There were unconfirmed reports that it had been used in Iraq).

“The Department has an Urgent Operational Need (UON) for the capability to strike hard and deeply buried targets in high threat environments. The MOP [Mother of All Bombs] is the weapon of choice to meet the requirements of the UON [Urgent Operational Need].” It further states that the request is endorsed by Pacific Command (which has responsibility over North Korea) and Central Command (which has responsibility over Iran).” (ABC News,  op cit, emphasis added). To consult the reprogramming request (pdf) click here

More years ago, at the outset of the Obama administration, the Pentagon confirmed (October 2009) that it intends to use the “Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB) against Iran.

The MOAB is said to be  ”ideally suited to hit deeply buried nuclear facilities such as Natanz or Qom in Iran” (Jonathan Karl, Is the U.S. Preparing to Bomb Iran? ABC News, October 9, 2009). The truth of the matter is that the MOAB, given its explosive capacity, would result in extremely large civilian casualties. It is a conventional “killing machine” with a nuclear type mushroom cloud.  The latest version of 30,000 pounds is substantially large than the earlier version.


“Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB)

GBU-57A/B Mass Ordnance Penetrator (MOP)

MOAB: screen shots of test: explosion and mushroom cloud (right)

The broader issue of civilian casualties is not mentioned. The explosion of a conventional monster MOAB bomb would result in nuclear mushroom cloud similar to that of a tactical nuclear bomb.

The MOP is described as “a powerful new bomb aimed squarely at the underground nuclear facilities of Iran and North Korea. The gargantuan bomb—longer than 11 persons standing shoulder-to-shoulder [see image above] or more than 20 feet base to nose” (See Edwin Black,Super Bunker-Buster Bombs Fast-Tracked for Possible Use Against Iran and North Korea Nuclear Programs”,  Cutting Edge, September 21 2009, emphasis added)

These are WMDs in the true sense of the word.

The not so hidden objective of the “mother of all bombs” (MOAB) is “mass destruction” and mass civilian casualties with a view to instilling fear and despair.

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Saudi Zio-Wahhabi family-Iranian rivalry fuels potential nuclear race

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Saudi-Iranian rivalry fuels potential nuclear race
Nuclear destination Riyadh

By James M. Dorsey

Saudi Arabia is developing nuclear energy and potentially a nuclear weapons capability.

The Saudi focus on nuclear serves a variety of the kingdom’s goals: diversification of its economy, reduction of its dependence on fossil fuels, countering a potential future Iranian nuclear capability, and enhancing efforts to ensure that Saudi Arabia rather than Iran emerges as the Middle East’s long-term, dominant power.

Cooperation on nuclear energy was one of 14 agreements worth $65 billion signed during last month’s visit to China by Saudi King Salman. The agreement is for a feasibility study for the construction of high-temperature gas-cooled (HTGR) nuclear power plants in the kingdom as well as cooperation in intellectual property and the development of a domestic industrial supply chain for HTGRs built in Saudi Arabia.

… Saudi Arabia’s close ties to the Pakistani military and intelligence during the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s gave the kingdom arms-length access to his country’s nuclear capabilities.

The agreement was one of number nuclear-related understandings concluded with China in recent years. Saudi Arabia has signed similar agreements with France, the United States, Pakistan, Russia, South Korea and Argentina.

To advance its programme, involving the construction of 16 reactors by 2030 at a cost of $100 billion, Saudi Arabia established the King Abdullah Atomic and Renewable Energy City devoted to research and application of nuclear technology.

Saudi cooperation with nuclear power Pakistan has long been a source of speculation about the kingdom’s ambition. Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, asserts that Saudi Arabia’s close ties to the Pakistani military and intelligence during the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s gave the kingdom arms-length access to his country’s nuclear capabilities.

“By the 1980s, the Saudi ambassador was a regular guest of A.Q. Khan” – Abdul Qadeer Khan, the controversial nuclear physicist and metallurgical engineer who fathered Pakistan’s atomic bomb, Mr Haqqani said in an interview.

Retired Pakistani Major-General Feroz Hassan Khan, the author of a semi-official history of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, has no doubt about the kingdom’s interest.

“Saudi Arabia provided generous financial support to Pakistan that enabled the nuclear programme to continue, especially when the country was under sanctions,” Mr. Khan said in a separate interview. Mr Khan was referring to US sanctions imposed in 1998 because of Pakistan’s development of a nuclear weapons capability. He noted that at a time of economic crisis, Pakistan was with Saudi help able “to pay premium prices for expensive technologies”.

The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said in a just published report that it had uncovered evidence that future Pakistani “assistance would not involve Pakistan supplying Saudi Arabia with a full nuclear weapon or weapons; however, Pakistan may assist in other important ways, such as supplying sensitive equipment, materials, and know-how used in enrichment or reprocessing.”

There is little reason to doubt that Saudi Arabia will more actively seek nuclear weapons capabilities…

The report said it was unclear whether “Pakistan and Saudi Arabia may be cooperating on sensitive nuclear technologies in Pakistan. In an extreme case, Saudi Arabia may be financing, or will finance, an unsafeguarded uranium enrichment facility in Pakistan for later use, either in a civil or military programme,” the report said.

The report concluded that the 2015 international agreement dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to curb Iran’s nuclear programme had “not eliminated the kingdom’s desire for nuclear weapons capabilities and even nuclear weapons… There is little reason to doubt that Saudi Arabia will more actively seek nuclear weapons capabilities, motivated by its concerns about the ending of the JCPOA’s major nuclear limitations starting after year 10 of the deal or sooner if the deal fails,” the report said.

Rather than embarking on a covert programme, the report predicted that Saudi Arabia would, for now, focus on building up its civilian nuclear infrastructure as well as a robust nuclear engineering and scientific workforce. This would allow the kingdom to take command of all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle at some point in the future. Saudi Arabia has in recent years significantly expanded graduate programmes at its five nuclear research centres.

Saudi officials have repeatedly insisted that the kingdom is developing nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes such as medicine, electricity generation and desalination of sea water. They said Saudi Arabia is committed to putting its future facilities under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Saudi Arabia pledged to acquire nuclear fuel from international markets in a 2009 memorandum of understanding with the United States. In its report, ISIS noted, however, that the kingdom could fall back on its own uranium deposits and acquire or build uranium enrichment or reprocessing plants of its own if regional tension continued to fester. It quoted a former IAEA inspector as saying Saudi Arabia could opt to do so in five years’ time.

Saudi Arabia’s nuclear agency has suggested that various steps of the nuclear fuel cycle, including fuel fabrication, processing and enrichment, would lend themselves to local production. Saudi Arabia has yet to mine or process domestic uranium.

“The current situation suggests that Saudi Arabia now has both a high disincentive to pursue nuclear weapons in the short term and a high motivation to pursue them over the long term…” (Institute for Science and International Security)

Saudi insistence on compliance with the IAEA and on the peaceful nature of its programme is designed to avoid the kind of international castigation Iran was subjected to. Saudi Arabia is likely to maintain its position as long as Iran adheres to the nuclear agreement and US President Donald J. Trump does not act on his campaign promise to tear up the accord. Mr Trump has toughened US attitudes towards Iran but has backed away from tinkering with the nuclear agreement.

“The current situation suggests that Saudi Arabia now has both a high disincentive to pursue nuclear weapons in the short term and a high motivation to pursue them over the long term,” the ISIS said.

Saudi ambitions and the conclusions of the ISIS report put a high premium on efforts by Kuwait and Oman to mediate an understanding between Saudi Arabia and Iran that would dull the sharp edges of the two countries’ rivalry.

They also are likely to persuade Mr Trump to try to put pressure on Iran to guarantee that it will not pursue nuclear weapons once the JCPOA expires in a little over a decade. That may prove a tall order given Mr Trump’s warming relations with anti-Iranian Arab autocracies evident in this week’s visit to Washington by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and an earlier visit by Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.

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Iran-Contra Zionist Funds Kept Secret

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Iran-Contra Israeli Funds Kept Secret, Magazine Says : Investigation: Senators also agreed before the highly publicized hearings not to ‘go after’ Ronald Reagan, the article says.

Congressional Iran-Contra investigators discovered but kept secret a diversion to Israeli intelligence of more than $1 million in proceeds from the Ronald Reagan Administration’s sale of arms to Iran, the New York Times Magazine reports.

Today’s issue of the magazine also reports, in an article by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, that senators decided before the much-publicized Iran-Contra hearings that they would not “go after” President Reagan. They agreed they would avoid seeking impeachment unless it seemed Reagan had been fully aware of the diversion of arms sale money to the Nicaraguan Contras, the article said.

The decisions were governed by a desire to avoid jeopardizing the release of U.S. hostages held in Lebanon and to protect the emerging strategic arms negotiations with the Soviet Union, as well as by Reagan’s age and immense public popularity, Hersh writes.

According to the article, Senate and House committees learned that former Gen. Richard V. Secord and his partner, Albert A. Hakim, who worked for White House aide Oliver L. North in the affair, had diverted Iranian arms sale profits to the Israelis for the covert actions.

The committees obtained documents that showed four cash transfers between Hakim’s Swiss bank account and an account controlled by Amiram Nir, an Israeli counterterrorism adviser, Hersh writes.

This transfer was not mentioned in the panels’ joint report in November, 1987. The report devotes three paragraphs to the subject and describes the efforts by code-names “TH-1, TH-2 and so on.” It says North testified that the efforts “had not progressed beyond the planning stage” and that he therefore did not seek presidential authorization.

But Hersh says “highly placed American intelligence officials,” whom he did not identify by name, told him that several of the North-Nir operations did take place in 1985 and 1986.

These included covert electronic monitoring of the highway between Damascus and Beirut, a series of attempts to penetrate the Shiite Amal militia and the Druse sect inside Lebanon and a continuing effort to locate Arab terrorists suspected of blowing up the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983, Hersh reports.

He adds that Secord acknowledged in an interview he was aware of the payments to Nir and said of them, “This is black money–Israeli black money,” a term used to describe the financing of covert operations.

Senate committee chief counsel Arthur L. Liman is quoted by Hersh as saying there were limits on what he could publish from the investigation. Other sources told Hersh that both House and Senate chairmen told Liman not to make anything public that might disrupt continuing efforts to gain the release of U.S. hostages held in Lebanon.

Liman told Hersh that the question of whether the diversion to the Israelis was legal without written presidential authority–a finding–was referred to the Senate and House intelligence committees. Neither has made any public report on the matter.

The desire to protect Reagan and the strategic arms negotiations motivated senators, Hersh says.

According to one participant, Hersh writes: “At an early caucus in January (1987) . . . the senators reached one easy consensus. ‘We don’t want to go after the President,’ the participant said. ‘He was too old.’ ”

The witness also told Hersh that senators believed Reagan could not understand what had happened.

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Iran Sanctions 15 US Firms, Blasts I$raHell Ties and Imperialism

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  • A man carries a giant flag made of flags of Iran, Palestine, Syria and Hezbollah, while marking the Islamic Revolution anniversary, Tehran, Feb. 11, 2016.
    A man carries a giant flag made of flags of Iran, Palestine, Syria and Hezbollah, while marking the Islamic Revolution anniversary, Tehran, Feb. 11, 2016. | Photo: Reuters.

A senior Iranian lawmaker said Iran would consider a bill branding the U.S. military and the CIA as terrorist groups.

As provocative aggression against Iran amps up under U.S. President Donald Trump, Iran has responded by announcing sanctions against 15 U.S. firms, citing ties to apartheid Israel and other rampant human rights abuses in the region.

RELATED: US to Impose Provocative New Sanctions on Iran

According to the state-run news agency IRNA, Iran’s foreign ministry said the companies had “flagrantly violated human rights” and cooperated with Israel in its “terrorism” against Palestinians.

The sanctions bar the companies from making any agreements with Iranian firms, a seizure of their assets, as well as banning visas for its former and current directors.

The Iranian move came two days after the United States imposed sanctions on 11 companies or individuals from China, North Korea or the United Arab Emirates for technology transfers that could boost Tehran’s ballistic missile program.

Dozens of Iranian entities have also been subjected to U.S. sanctions following an Iranian missile test in February. In addition, a bill announced Thursday by U.S. senators is set to place more restrictive sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile launches and other non-nuclear activities.

The companies on Iran’s sanctions list include Bent Tal, United Technologies Products, ITT Corporation, Raytheon, Re/Max Real Estate, Magnum Research Inc., Oshkosh Corporation, Kahr Arms and Elbit Systems.

RELATED: Israeli PM to Lobby Trump for Sanctions on Iran in US Visit

A senior Iranian lawmaker also said Iran would consider a bill branding the U.S. military and the CIA as terrorist groups if the U.S. Congress designates Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization.

Back in January, when Trump announced his first travel ban on Iran and six other Muslim-majority countries, Iran responded by announcing a retaliatory ban on U.S. citizens.

“While respecting the American people and distinguishing between them and the hostile policies of the U.S. government, Iran will implement the principle of reciprocity until the offensive U.S. limitations against Iranian nationals are lifted,” a Foreign Ministry statement said at the time.

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Naziyahu Furious Over Non-existent Threat of ‘Iranian Naval Base’ in Syria

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Sputnik 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to play up the ‘Iranian threat’ are gaining steam. Last week, officials claimed that Iran was looking to build a naval base in Syria. A week earlier, Netanyahu went to Moscow to say that Iran was a threat to the region. Mideast politics expert Hassan Hanizadeh says Netanyahu’s theories are absurd.

Following his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow earlier this month, Netanyahu told reporters that conveying to Putin the threat posed by Iran was one of main goals of his visit.

“I clarified to President Putin our vehement opposition to the establishment of Iran and its tentacles in Syria,” Netanyahu said. “We see Iran is trying to build up a military force, with military infrastructure, in order to establish a base in Syria, including attempts by Iran to set up a sea port,” he added.

Netanyahu noted that Iran’s presence in Syria was contrary to Israel’s interests, and suggested that it actually “doesn’t match the long-term interests of anyone except Iran.”Iranian officials soon refuted the prime minister’s claims, and similar claims made by US media over the weekend about Iran’s supposed plans to establish a naval base in Syria’s Latakia. Officials stressed that the Iranian presence in Syria was limited to military advisers, and added that these are in the country at the request of Syria’s legitimate government. Iran has no plans to create any military bases in Syria, they said.

Asked to comment on Netanyahu’s diplomatic offensive, and why he picked Russia to complain to about Tehran’s alleged ambitions, Middle East expert Hassan Hanizadeh, the former editor-in-chief of the Mehr News Agency, explained that the move was little more than an attempt to drive a wedge into the Russian-Iranian strategic partnership.

Speaking to Sputnik Persian, Hanizadeh said that there was good reason for Netanyahu to be concerned about Russian-Iranian ties.

“The relationship between Moscow and Tehran can be assessed as strategic. The two countries have a unified position on a number of issues, particularly as far as the Middle East and Syria are concerned. Israel, in turn, is trying to drive a wedge into these relations, to destroy them,” the observer said.

Hanizadeh suggested that this was played out during Netanyahu’s trip to Russia, where the prime minister tried to set the Russian president against Iran. “Netanyahu attempted to show, using these deceitful tricks, that Iran was looking to expand its territories, or its sphere of influence, by establishing a naval base in Syria, which in turn would be a direct threat to Israel.”

Furthermore, the analyst pointed out that even though the naval base rumors were false, Iran, like any other country, has the right to establish whatever kinds of relations it wants to with friendly nations.

“Any country, on the basis of international law, has the right to establish and independently develop diplomatic relations with other states,” Hanizadeh stressed. “Israel has dozens of [secret] air and sea bases in different parts of the world, yet no one is indignant over this fact. Even if Iran did want to build a base in Syria, at the request of or in agreement with the government of this country, this would be legal. Nevertheless, for some reason [even rumors of such bases] immediately cause alarm and anger from the Israeli leadership.”

In reality, Hanizadeh reiterated, Tehran does not have any plans to create permanent bases in Syria. “There is no such goal. But Iran reserves its right to cooperate with friendly countries.” And that includes military cooperation, pending that it is approved by the partner country’s internationally recognized government.

Ultimately, Hanizadeh stressed that Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu “have no right to talk about or judge relations between other countries – or to make any claims toward a power like Russia. Russia is a sovereign state, and has the right to make decisions independently, to build relationships on the basis of its national interests with whomever and however it wants. Israel has no right to interfere in this process.”

Therefore, the analyst suggested that as far as Moscow was concerned, “the statements by Benjamin Netanyahu [about the ‘Iranian threat’] will be ignored, and a wise leader like Vladimir Putin simply won’t pay them any heed.”

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Nazi regime seeks pound of flesh in Syria, ‘nyet’ is the answer

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Israel seeks pound of flesh in Syria, ‘nyet’ is the answer
By M K Bhadrakumar 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ‘working visit’ to Moscow last week had a key objective relating to the conflict in Syria — a demarche at the highest level with President Vladimir Putin over Iranian presence in that country. Before emplaning for Moscow, Netanyahu told his cabinet in public remarks,

  • In the framework of a (future peace agreement) or without one, Iran is attempting to base itself permanently in Syria – either through a military presence on the ground or a naval presence – and also through a gradual attempt to open a front against us on the Golan Heights. I will express to President Putin Israel’s vigorous opposition to this possibility.

In characteristic style, he cornered Putin in his very opening statement as they sat down in the Kremlin,

  • One of the things that unites us (Israel and Russia) is our common fight against radical Islamic terrorism. Substantial progress has been made over the last year in fighting radical Sunni Islamic terrorism led by ISIS and Al-Qaeda, and Russia has made a great contribution to this result and this progress. Of course, we do not want to see Shia Islamic terrorism led by Iran step in to replace Sunni Islamic terrorism.

The Russian readout faithfully quoted Netanyahu but left out Putin’s brusque response. The Kremlin later chose to convey via an RT report,

  • Putin noted that those events had taken place “in the fifth century BC,” added that “we now live in a different world” and suggested discussing the actual up-to-date problems in the region.

In short, Putin urged Netanyahu to get real instead of digging up the ancient legend of an Iranian forefather’s attempt to eradicate the Jewish people. (RT) The Russians are familiar with Netanyahu’s style of functioning — his swagger and capacity to dissimulate. He was obviously hoping to complicate the Russian-Iranian relationship at a time when Moscow and Tehran are working to put together a Syrian settlement. Evidently, Putin saw through the ploy. (Moscow is preparing for an official visit by the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.)

Netanyahu keeps playing up the Iran bogey to divert attention away from the Palestine problem. However, importantly in the current context, Israel wants a say in the Syrian settlement. Israel’s motivations here are complex.

Israel’s preference is that the al-Qaeda affiliates fighting in Syria, who are its proxies, should be allowed to retain the swathe of land straddling the occupied Golan Heights so that its annexation of the Syrian territory remains unchallenged.

Russia simply will not acquiesce with the presence of any al-Qaeda affiliate in any residual form on Syrian soil. In fact, Jordan is involved in talks with Russia, which appears to be geared to battle plans under preparation to evict the Islamic State and the al-Qaeda from the Jordan-Israel-Lebanon borderline. Israel is getting frantic that the Russian-Iranian juggernaut proposes to put its al-Qaeda surrogates shortly into the meat grinder.

The alliance with Iran becomes vital for Russia in the coming weeks and months before a complete destruction of terrorist groups on Syrian soil is achieved and the peace process reaches the home stretch. However, this does not mean that Russian-Iranian relationship is smooth as silk. There strong convergence of interests at this point, but, as Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Rahimpour said on Saturday in Tehran,

  • We will interact with the Russians to the extent that they cooperate with us and we will not be willing to cooperate with them when they are not willing to do so.

The two countries have their respective long-term objectives and agenda in a future Syrian settlement. Clearly, the Syria that emerges in a settlement can very well be a federated country. The US seems to be working toward a federal Syria and Russia may live with it as the realistic outcome of the brutal conflict. Thus, both US and Russia have dealings with Syrian Kurds whose top priority is the establishment of a Kurdish autonomous region in northern Syria bordering Turkey.

Now, it is entirely conceivable that a federal Syria may overlap the ‘spheres of influence’ of foreign powers. Without doubt, the US intends to keep the military bases it has established in the two Kurdish cantons on the eastern part of the Euphrates in the recent years. Russia too has a big presence along western regions of Syria facing the Mediterranean coast and in the Damascus region. The Russian bases in Latakia and Hmeimim in Syria are on permanent footing.

Therefore, how the emergent scenario of federal Syria would grate on the Russian-Iranian relationship remains a ‘known unknown’. After all, Iran made huge sacrifices to defeat Islamic State and al-Qaeda in Syria. A report last week put the casualty figures of Iranians killed in the fighting as exceeding 2000 military personnel.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Iran, Russia, SyriaComments Off on Nazi regime seeks pound of flesh in Syria, ‘nyet’ is the answer

Walking a tightrope: China manoeuvres between Saudi Arabia and Iran

NOVANEWS

President Xi Jinping and King Salman

By James M. Dorsey

This week’s imposition of sanctions on one of China’s largest telecom equipment manufacturers, ZTE, by the US Commerce Department, and an investigation of Huawei, ZTE’s foremost Chinese competitor, could not have come at a more auspicious moment for Saudi King Salman as he visits China on the third leg of his month-long Asian tour.

Fishing in murky waters

King Salman’s visit aims to strengthen economic and military ties and persuade China that Saudi Arabia rather than Iran is its most useful regional ally. The penalties and investigation of the two Chinese companies related to violations of US sanctions on Iran and North Korea signal the Trump administration’s intent to adopt a tough stance toward the Islamic republic. ZTE pleaded guilty to the US accusation that it sold US-made electronics to Iran and agreed to pay a $1.19 billion fine.

“We are putting the world on notice: The games are over. Those who flout our economic sanctions and export control laws will not go unpunished – they will suffer the harshest of consequences,” said US Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross.

Speaking days before King Salman’s arrival in Beijing and immediately after the imposition of sanctions on ZTE, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi positioned his country as a friend of both Saudi Arabia and Iran. Mr Wang urged the countries to “resolve the problems that exist between them through friendly consultations” between equals and offered to play a mediating role.

There is little prospect for successful mediation with Saudi Arabia and Iran, given the zero-sum nature of their global rivalry and the kingdom’s hope that a tougher US policy towards Iran will extend its window of opportunity in what is fundamentally an uphill battle against the Islamic republic. The imposition of sanctions on ZTE sends China a message that the US does not endorse business as usual with Iran and that this could have consequences for future US-China trade negotiations.

King Salman’s quest is further enhanced by the fact that China, which has close, long-standing military ties to Iran, last year agreed to upgrade cooperation with the kingdom. “China is willing to push military relations with Saudi Arabia to a new level,” Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan told his visiting Saudi counterpart, Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman last August. Special counter-terrorism forces from the two countries held the first ever joint exercise between the Chinese military and an Arab armed force two months later.

Closer military relations and Saudi hopes that US sanctions will complicate Chinese engagement with Iran counter perceptions that Chinese President Xi Jinping was tilting towards the Islamic republic when he visited the Middle East in early 2016.

Iran’s strategic advantage

King Salman hopes to exploit this window of opportunity while in Beijing in what is fundamentally an unequal battle with Iran that brings assets to the table that Saudi Arabia lacks. Those assets, no matter how degraded, include a large population, an industrial base, resources, a battle-hardened military, a deep-rooted culture, a history of empire and a geography that makes it a crossroads. Saudi custodianship of the Muslim holy cities, Mecca and Medina, and money will in the medium and long term not be able to compete.

Iran’s strategic advantage is nowhere more evident than in global competition to shape the future architecture of Eurasia’s energy landscape. Energy scholar Micha’el Tanchum argues that Iran is pivotal to the success of China’s trans-continental, infrastructure-focused One Belt, One Road initiative in ways that Saudi Arabia is not.

In a study published in 2015, Mr Tanchum suggested that it would be gas supplies from Iran and Turkmenistan, two Caspian Sea states, rather than Saudi oil that would determine which way the future Eurasian energy architecture tilts: China, the world’s third largest liquid natural gas (LNG) importer, or Europe. The ability of Iran to capitalise on the fact that it boasts the world’s second largest natural gas reserves and its fourth largest oil reserves was significantly enhanced with the lifting in 2015 of international sanctions.

Liquid Natural Gas importers

Liquid Natural Gas importers

According to Mr Tanchum:

Iran, within five years, will likely have 24.6 billion cubic metres of natural gas available for annual piped gas exports beyond its current supply commitments. Not enough to supply all major markets, Tehran will face a crucial geopolitical choice for the destination of its piped exports. Iran will be able to export piped gas to two of the following three markets: European Union (EU)/Turkey via the Southern Gas Corridor centring on the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), India via an Iran-Oman-India pipeline, or China via either Turkmenistan or Pakistan. The degree to which the system of energy relationships in Eurasia will be more oriented toward the European Union or China will depend on the extent to which each secures Caspian piped gas exports through pipeline infrastructure directed to its respective markets.

In other words, Mr Tanchum argued that to determine the balance of power in Eurasian energy and establish One Belt, One Road as the key determinant of Eurasia’s energy architecture, China would need to position itself as the main recipient of Iranian and Turkmen gas. That, in turn, would enhance China’s growing economic influence in Central Asia, and further extend it to the Caucasus and the eastern Mediterranean.

China has already many of the building blocks needed to make that a reality: close and long-standing relations with Iran, significant investment in Turkmen gas production and pipeline infrastructure, and the construction of Pakistan’s section of the Iran-Pakistan pipeline. Hooking the pipeline to One Belt, One Road would allow China to receive Iranian gas not only by sea on its eastern seaboard but also in its land-locked, troubled north-western province of Xinjiang.

Pakistan’s top military commander, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, appeared to acknowledge Iran’s pivotal role by noting that “enhanced Pakistan-Iran military-to-military cooperation will have a positive impact on regional peace and stability”. Pakistan, which hosts One Belt, One Road’s flagship project, the $51 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), has refrained from fully engaging with a 41-nation, Saudi-led military alliance perceived to be partly directed at Iran, while the Pakistani parliament rejected a Saudi request for military support in its war in Yemen.

Linking the Iran-Pakistan pipeline to CPEC would increase Iran’s importance for the success of China’s Eurasian infrastructure play. Iran’s geopolitical strengths are, however, not wholly dependent on aligning the Islamic republic with China. With the development of Iran’s Indian-built Chabahar port and the undersea Iran-Oman-India pipeline that would potentially create an alternative Asia-to-Europe energy corridor, Iran is, according to Mr Tanchum, well-positioned to play both ends against the middle as well as adopt a key role in the trans-Atlantic community’s effort to strengthen relations with India as an anti-dote to the rise of China.

Iranian bargaining power

Iran’s geopolitical significance is further enhanced by the fact that competition for Iranian gas favour occurs against the backdrop of expectations that Iranian cooperation with Russia in Syria and elsewhere is opportunistic and unlikely to prove sustainable. Iranian-Russian competition is already visible in the Caucasus and Central Asia that ironically mitigates in Europe’s rather than China’s favour. Iran is likely to deepen energy cooperation with Turkey in a bid to enhance its influence and curtail Russian inroads in the Islamic republic’s northern neighbours, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, China’s principle gas supplier, and Armenia where Russia’s state-owned Gazprom has invested in an Iran-Armenia gas pipeline.

For now, King Salman’s mission in Beijing is facilitated by the fact that Mr Trump is signalling that Iran’s return to the international fold based on the nuclear agreement is not a foregone conclusion. The Saudi king may also be banking on the fact that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani could be fighting an uphill battle in presidential elections in May because the lifting of international sanctions has been slow in benefiting Iran and Iranians economically. The king’s problem, however, is that Chinese strategists are likely to see obstacles to doing business with Iran as a short-term problem and that China recognizes that in the medium and long terms Iran has assets China cannot afford to ignore.

Posted in China, Iran, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Walking a tightrope: China manoeuvres between Saudi Arabia and Iran

Why Russia, Iran Are Frozen Out of Anti-Daesh Meeting in US

NOVANEWS
Commenting on the news that neither Russia, nor Iran, two key countries in the fight against Daesh, have been invited to the anti-Daesh meeting of 68 countries to be hosted by the US, Russian political analysts suggested that the coalition wants to downgrade their roles and is reluctant to share any success with the two states.
Washington is set to host a ministerial meeting of 68 US-led coalition nations fighting against Daesh (Islamic State/ ISIS) on March 22-23.
However two key players in the region actively fighting against the jihadists, Russia and Iran, have not been invited to the gathering because, according to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, “they’re not part of the global coalition.”

Russian Senator Alexei Pushkov commented that it is quite possible to discuss the fight against Daesh without Russia’s participation, but it is impossible to defeat them without Russia.

Meanwhile, Semyon Bagdasarov, Head of the Center for Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies suggested that Russia has not been invited in order to show that it does not play any role in the fight against the terrorists, however this is far from true, to put it mildly.

In his interview with Russia’s online newspaper Vzglyad he suggested that this is part of the information against Russia, and it is set to continue in the future.

The political analyst also said that there are military operations currently being planned to liberate Mosul and Raqqa. If these offensives are successful, he suggested, the members of the coalition will claim all the success to themselves and will blame Russia for not doing enough in the fight.

The real aim, he then said, is not to “share the victory.” Trump, he said, is a tougher leader than Barack Obama hence he won’t make any concessions in the sharing of the victory.

Meanwhile, Evgeny Satanovsky, head of the Moscow-based Middle East Institute said that there are countries within the US-led coalition which are actually supporting the terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

“What anti-terrorist coalition can there be which includes Saudi Arabia and Qatar, when the first is financing al-Qaeda and the second – the Islamic State? What anti-terrorist fight could they be talking about sitting in the same very room with the sponsors of the terrorists, pretending that nobody understands and notices it?” he questioned.

He further recalled that these particular countries have been sending their money until the terrorists grew to such a number that Russia had to fly to Syria to fight with them.

The expert however added that, nevertheless, Washington is cooperating with Russia in Syria, recalling the recent meeting of Russian, Turkish and US military chiefs in Antalya.

On March 7, Turkey’s military chief of staff, General Hulusi Akar, was hosting a meeting with the heads of the US and Russian armed forces in the southern Turkish province of Antalya to discuss the Syrian conflict, among others.

“Why should Trump reveal that the US is cooperating with Russia? They have already been claiming that he, with the help of our hackers and our money has been elected president. Hence it would be suicide to initiate any official negotiations with Russia in the political arena,” he said, adding that meanwhile, the military of the two countries continue “cooperating closely and fruitfully.”

Posted in USA, Iran, Russia, SyriaComments Off on Why Russia, Iran Are Frozen Out of Anti-Daesh Meeting in US

A Dose of Very Nasty Truth: Trump Clears Rearming Al Qaeda in Yemen, US Troops to Train Terrorists

NOVANEWS

This is why Trump made such a big deal of hiding behind a dead Navy SEAL

Al-Qaeda Receives New Saudi Arms Cargo in Southern Yemen

TEHRAN (FNA)- The al-Qaeda terrorists stationed in the Southern parts of Yemen received a new cargo of American and British weapons from Saudi Arabia where newly arrive American instructors are replacing the Saudi and Israeli special forces in Yemen.

France 24 news channel quoted local Yemeni sources as saying that a truck carrying a large number of weapons and ammunition moved to the Lodar region in Abyan province and delivered its cargo to al-Qaeda.

According to the sources, the truck was loaded in one of the Saudi-led coalition bases in Ma’arib province and sent to the Northern parts of Abyan province and included Stinger surface to air missiles like the one used to shoot down a US Marine Corps Osprey aircraft with up to 30 onboard.

The US is still withholding casualty figures on that failed “raid” against forces the US helped train and organize and continues to arm.

The al-Qaeda-affiliated Ansar al-Shari’ah terrorist group received the cargo of weapons and ammunition, according to the report.

Earlier this week, a Yemeni intelligence source disclosed Saudi Arabia’s attempts to reinvigorate al-Qaeda terrorist group in Abyan province through excessive arms shipments and aids.

“The al-Qaeda terrorists have received a cargo of weapons sent by the Saudi mercenaries stationed in Ma’arib, near Akad heights in Lodar city of Abyan province,” the source told FNA on Tuesday.

According to the Yemeni activists in the Southern parts of the country, the forces loyal to General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar (fugitive president Mansour Hadi’s deputy commander of armed forces) have sent the arms to al-Qaeda after the terrorist group’s recent defeats in different cities of Abyan province, the source added.

The al-Qaeda terrorist group is fighting against the Yemeni army and popular forces in Yemen, while multiple reports and documents show that the terrorists are operating for the Saudi army after working out a deal last year.

Local sources in Yemen disclosed earlier this month that several members of the al-Qaeda terrorist group, including a senior commander, have been killed in an ambush operation of the Yemeni army and popular forces in Ta’iz province.

“Notorious al-Qaeda commander, Mohsen al-Aoulaqi, was among a number of the terrorists killed in the Yemeni army’s ambush operation East of al-Mukha region in Ta’iz province,” a Yemeni military source said.

From 2015:

Israeli Officers Captured, Killed in Yemen Attacks

Tens of Israeli, Saudi Officers Killed in Yemen Missile Attacks

TEHRAN (FNA) – Some 20 Israeli officers and 63 Saudi military men and officials were killed and many others taken captive in a special military operation of Yemen’s Ansarullah movement in Amir Khalid airbase in Southern Saudi Arabia, a top security official announced on Wednesday.

“The Ansarullah fighters backed by the Yemeni army hit Amir Khalid airbase in Khamees al-Mushait region in Southern Saudi Arabia with a scud missile and several Najm al-Saqeb (Striking Star) missiles last week, killing over 20 senior Israeli officers and 63 Saudi military men and capturing 35 others,” Mehdi Nasser al-Bashi told FNA on Wednesday.

He mentioned that the Israeli officers were agents of the Mossad spy agency and were in the region to help the Saudi army, and said, “At the time of the attack the Israeli officers were working on a plan to attack some regions of Yemen with prohibited Israeli-made weapons.”

The Yemeni army targeted Amir Khalid military base in Khamees al-Mushait region by Scud missiles last week. The Saudi army claimed that it had intercepted the Scud by two Patriot missiles, but the Arabic-language Al-Mayadeen news channel showed footage of the missile attack, reporting that it had hit the target. Following the attack the Saudi army evacuated the passenger terminals of two airports in nearby areas.

Later reports revealed that Saudi Arabia’s Air Force Commander Lieutenant General Muhammad bin Ahmed al-Shaalan had been killed in the missile attack. Earlier today, a senior commander of Ansarullah confirmed that the Yemeni popular forces and the army had killed the Saudi Air Force Commander in the missile attack.

“Shaalan was killed 5 days ago in the Yemeni army’s special operations against Amir Khalid airbase in Khamees al-Mushait border area in Saudi Arabia,” Colonel Salih Mohammad told FNA on Wednesday.

“The attack against Khalid airbase was waged by missiles and weapons systems that were not very special; the operation was planned by Ansarullah and the Yemeni army conducted it after Ansarullah provided it with the information about Muhammed Shaalan’s presence at Khalid airbase in Khamees al-Mushait,” he added.

Colonel Mohammad, meantime, said that the Yemeni army has also come in possession of advanced US-made weapons systems after capturing the Saudis’ Khalid airbase following the initial missile attack.

Last Wednesday, the official Saudi Press Agency quoting the Ministry of Defense declared the death of Lieutenant General Muhammad bin Ahmed al-Shaalan, but asserted that the commander had died of a heart attack during a work trip outside the kingdom.

Only a few hours later, informed sources in New York challenged the Saudi news agency’s report, and said the General had been killed in Yemen’s missile attacks. An informed Yemeni source who called for anonymity said in New York last Wednesday that “Shaalan was killed in the Yemeni army’s missile attacks against Saudi Arabia’s Khamees al-Mushait region five days earlier”.

Then later on Wednesday, another well-known Saudi source rejected the reports that Shaalan had died of a heart attack, and disclosed that his body was charred showing that he has been killed in an enemy attack.

Jamal Bean wrote on his Tweeter page that Shaalan and his accompanying team have been killed in the Yemeni army’s missile attack since their corpses were scorched by the fire of a blast.

Background, an Israeli run propaganda site:

Senior Iranian Officials: Close Straits, Attack U.S. and Gulf Targets

Following the January 23, 2012 announcement that Europe would boycott Iranian oil, Iranian Majlis National Security Committee deputy chairman Hossein Ebrahimi said that Iran would close the Strait of Hormuz and would not allow other countries to export oil via the strait if it was not allowed to export its oil. He added, “The Persian Gulf will become a graveyard for all the forces that will come from all corners of the earth to this sensitive region.”[1] Another committee member, Isma’il Kowsari, said, “If there is any disruption of Iran’s oil sales, we will doubtless close the Strait of Hormuz.” He added, “If the U.S. tries to prevent the closure of the strait, Iran will within a short time strike at American targets across the world, and it will not allow U.S. forces to escape from the region.”[2]

During Friday prayers on January 27, 2012, in Mashhad, northeastern Iran, preacher Ahmad ‘Alam Al-Hoda, a member of the Assembly of Experts, said: “Do not doubt that Iran has the capability to blockade the UAE and Saudi tankers departing for Europe via the Strait of Hormuz.”[3]

Prior to the announcement of the European boycott, senior Iranian officials had threatened to strike at U.S. sites in the Gulf states. At a November 15, 2011 Basij convention, Basij commander Mohammad Reza-Naqdi said, “The U.S. Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, the American land forces [base] in Kuwait, and the U.S. Air Force [base] in Qatar are entirely surrounded by holy fighters of the Islamic ummah who are counting the minutes in anticipation of the command to wipe out the U.S.” He added, “The U.S. is so wretched that if Iran launches a military attack [against it] it will not respond militarily and will beg for negotiations.” [4]

Another army official, Iranian Army Self-Sufficiency Jihad commander Rear Adm. Farhad Amiri, stressed that the American aircraft carriers were easy pickings for Iranian submarines. He explained that because of how the submarines were equipped, they could lie in wait for the Americans undetected and could strike at them from the bottom of the sea.[5]

Article on Iranian Website: “We Welcome War”

On the eve of the Iranian Navy’s extensive Gulf maneuvers in December 2011, the conservative Serat News website, which is close to Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of the Kayhan newspaper, published an article by blogger Ali-Reza Forghani titled “We Welcome War.” The article glorifies jihad and martyrdom against the U.S. and warns it and its leaders that not only do the Iranians have no fear of war, but they long to die in it. The article also set out details of threats, including suicide missions against American targets. The following are highlights of the article:

Ali-Reza Forghani[6]

Photo accompanying article: Fighters kiss the Koran before setting out for battle

“America needs to know that if it attacks Iran – the Muslims must [attack] it in response, based on the instructions of the religion, and they will not hesitate for a moment to carry out this religious duty. America needs to know that while [the American administration] was preparing the American people for the wars of 2001 [apparently a reference to the war declared by President Bush on Afghanistan after 9/11], 2012 and 2035… which will demand a high price, the Shi’ite youths were anticipating the appearance [of the Hidden Imam] and, as a result, they are ready for war and jihad.

“America needs to know that, while it tempts its young people with monthly salaries of $9,000 to fight in other countries, we have learned that if we do not carry out jihad or aspire to do so, then we die in a kind of hypocrisy, [and] death of this kind is shameful for us, [for] the aspiration to wage jihad [and to die] in war is our pride.

“America needs to know that the children of [founder of the Iranian Revolution Ayatollah] Ruhollah [Khomeini] and the companions of Ali [Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei] are not like the young people of the neighboring countries. Although they [too] are Muslims, they have never internalized the [words of the] Imam Ali, [father of the Shi’a], who said ‘No people was attacked in its home unless [it first became] wretched.’ We have learned that there is no need to drag war [into our] home and that we must locate the playing field [i.e. battlefield] anywhere outside our home, as quickly and safely [as possible].

“America needs to know that there are young people of Hizbullah who have located [the battlefield] outside Iran, and that they will carry out attacks and martyrdom operations within less than 48 hours [if America attacks,] in every one of the 112 countries in which America has a military base.

“America needs to know that while the American youth shouts the slogan ‘Stop the war,’ for fear of dying, the children of Ruhollah never flee from war and always pray ‘Allah, give us martyrdom for Your sake.’”[7]

Iranian Website: This Is How We’ll Strike At the American Bases in the Region

On December 14, 2011, the Mashregh News web site, which is close to Iran’s security circles, published an article examining Tehran’s ability to strike at U.S. bases in the region. The article included statistics about the bases and their respective distances from Iran’s borders, and about the missiles that Tehran would use against them. The list included U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Bahrain, the UAE, Oman, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan.

The article stated also that the U.S. air defense systems across the region were inefficient and that they would be quickly targeted by Iran’s missiles. The following are the highlights of the article and the images that accompanied it:[8]

“This report will examine the distances of the important U.S. bases [from Iran’s borders], particularly its Air Force bases along Iran’s borders, along with Iran’s missile capability to threaten these sites.

“The U.S. has bases, or uses bases, in the following countries: Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Kyrgyzstan…

 

“These are the rockets manufactured by Iranian experts: the Naza’at H10 with a maximal range of 130 km, the Zilzal 3 with a range of 200 km, and the Zilzal B3 with a range of 250 km, suitable for striking the bases of the enemy in the region.

“These are the missiles that can threaten the more distant enemy bases: Fath 110, Qiam, Shihab 2, Shihab 3, Qadr, ‘Ashoura, Sejjal 1, Sejjal 2…

“Kuwait, a small country which is [less like a country and] more like a large American military base, has two air force bases and six military camps. The Ali Al-Salam air force base, which is 115 km from Iran’s borders, can be easily threatened by any of the above [Iranian] rockets and missiles… The runways at this air force base are about 3,000 meters long, suitable for most light and heavy aircraft.

Ali Al-Salam AFB

“Another airfield in Kuwait open to the Americans is the Ahmad Al-Jabr air force base, located 134 km from Iran, and within range of [Iran’s] Zilzal rockets and various Iranian ballistic missiles…

Ahmad Al-Jabr AFB

“The camps at which U.S. military forces are stationed are Camp Doha, located 94 km from Iran; Camp Buehring, located 104 km from Iran; Camp Spearhead, located 109 km from Iran; Camp Patriot, located 123 km from Iran; and Camp Arifjan, located 126 km from Iran. All of these sites are within range of all the surface-to-surface missiles and rockets presented above, so Iranian artillery forces will have an easier task.

“East of Iran… in Afghanistan, there are four military airfields in use by American forces… Bagram Airbase, in which most of the American transport and attack aircraft are deployed… is 730 km from Iran. Kabul airfield is 732 km from the Iranian border… These targets can all be hit by Qiam missiles, with a range of 800 km; Shihab 3, with a range of 1,300-1,800 km; and Qadr, Sejjil, and ‘Ashoura missiles with a range of 1,800-2,000 km.

Bagram AFB. The photo clearly shows C-130 transport aircraft and A-10 Warthog tactical attack aircraft

“Other bases and airfields in Afghanistan are Kandahar Airbase, located 387 km from Iran; Shindand Airbase, located 124 km from Iran; and Herat Airbase, located 122 km from the Iranian border. The first of these bases is threatened by Shihab-2 and Qiam missiles, and the two other bases are easily threatened by Zilzal rockets and the highly accurate Fath 110 missiles, as well as by other models.

Shindand AFB, where RQ-170 detection drones are stationed

“However, the American super base in the region is Al-Udeid air force base in Qatar. Despite good relations between the two countries [Qatar and Iran], recent stances taken by Qatar vis-à-vis Syria show that the U.S. can still utilize [Qatar to attack Iran].

Al-Udeid AFB in Qatar

“This base, situated in the center of the small nation of Qatar, is located 278 km from the Iranian coast, and has a large number of American aircraft. Spotted at the base were B1-B Stealth Bombers; C-17 and C-130 transport aircraft; KC-135 and KC-10 refueling tankers; [P-3] Orion marine surveillance aircraft; and [E-8] Joint STARS [Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System]. Reports indicate that F-16 fighter jets are also stationed there. This base is within range of the Fath-110 and several other medium- and long-range Iranian missiles. The open air aprons, where dozens of expensive aircraft are parked, are the optimal target for the ballistic missile warheads, and thanks to the wide deployment [of the missiles], most of these aircraft will undoubtedly be destroyed or seriously damaged.

Photo shows KC-135 tankers, P-3 Orion aircraft, and B-1 bombers

“In addition, we should mention the U.S. Fifth Fleet naval base in Bahrain, located only 200 km from Iranian shores. Deployed to the base are several missile boats and warships, including equipment and ordnance. Aside from Zilzal rockets, all [Iranian] short- to long-range missiles can target this location, and considering the nature of the target, using missiles to ensure accurate hits would be more effective.

“The Khalij-e Fars missile – the marine version of Fath-110 missile, with a range of 300 km – is specially designed to hit ships, which makes it highly suitable for threatening this naval base. The Qadr anti-ship cruise missile, which according to [Iranian] Defense Minister [Ahmad Vahidi] has a range of over 200 km, can be launched from several points on the Iranian coast, and [can] hit ships stationed at this base if they move a small distance from it.

U.S. Fifth Fleet naval base in Bahrain

“Another important American site in Bahrain is the Bahraini Air Force Sheikh Isa Airbase. The base is located 238 km from the Iranian coast and lies within range of all [Iranian] ballistic missiles, as well as the Zilzal-3B rockets. This airbase has two 3,800-meter runways, and spotted there were C-17 [Globemaster III transport aircraft], P-3 Orions, F-16 and F-18 fighter jets, and EA-6B Prowler Electronic Warfare aircraft.

Sheikh Isa AFB with F-18 and Prowler aircraft

“Another large U.S. base in the region is the Al-Dhafra Air Base in the UAE, which has two main runways 4,200 meters in length… and is located 253 km from Iranian shores and 184-255 km from Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf…

Al-Dhafra AFB, UAE

“This base lies within range of Iran’s ballistic missiles. The KC-135 tankers and AWACS [Airborne Warning and Control System] E-3 Sentry aircraft are extremely high value targets for Iranian ordnance.

AWACS, refueling tankers, and covered hangers (on the right) at Al-Dhafra Airbase
24 fighter jet hangars at the UAE Airbase

“There is widespread American activity taking place at Thumrait air base in Oman. Located 963 km from Iran, it lies within the range of the long-range Shihab-3, Qadr, ‘Ashoura, and Sejjil missiles. Another base used by the Americans, albeit mostly for transportation and espionage, is Manas Airbase in Kyrgyzstan, located 1,433 km from Iran. Upgraded Shihab-3 missiles, as well as ‘Ashoura, Qadr, and Sejjil missiles, can take care of enemies in the home of our old friend[s].

C-17 transport aircraft and KC-135 refueling tankers in Manas

“Incirlik Airbase in Turkey is the pinnacle of U.S. military bases in the region, comparable to Al-Udeid air base [in Qatar]. Although the longstanding presence of U.S. aircraft at this base is a source of shame for Turkey, it seems that the base will also be hosting mercenaries for the arrogant U.S. government, along with long-range bombers and atomic bombs. The base is located 875 km from Iran on the northwestern Syrian border, and the largest aircraft in the U.S.’s arsenal are deployed there. It can be threatened by Iran’s long-range missiles.

“The Americans also use bases in Pakistan, including the important Shamsi Airbase, located 199 km from Iran, and Shahbaz Airbase, located 527 km [from Iran]. According to information in the professional military media, [the U.S.] uses Shamsi Airbase for drone aircraft. Despite the current good relations between the Pakistani government and Iran, in light of the political instability there over the past two decades Iran could be threatened from that area as well. Shamsi Airbase can be threatened by Zilzal B3 rockets, as well as all Iranian ballistic missiles. Shahbaz Airbase can be hit by medium- and long-range ballistic missiles…

“After Iraq conquered Kuwait, many bases in Saudi Arabia were transferred to the Americans but were later evacuated. Now there is only a limited presence of U.S. air units at Prince Sultan Airbase, located 575 km from Iran, which can be hit by Iranian medium- and long-range missiles.

“Although U.S. aerial defense systems have been deployed in several countries in the region, launching accurate long-range missiles from deep inside Iranian territory as a first strike, with the missile velocity at mach 10-12, makes the enemy’s attempts to destroy them impossible. In addition, some of these aerial defense systems could be part of the initial target in Iran’s missile response.

“Moreover, simultaneous launches of a large number of missiles and rockets from different locations are another way to overcome these [defense] systems. Additionally, Iran possesses long-range air-to-surface missile systems, and anti-Radar missiles to suppress enemy aerial defense… and facilitate the work of Iran’s ballistic missiles.”

Endnotes:

[1] Al-‘Aalam TV (Iran), January 24, 2012. See MEMRI TV Clip No. 3284, Iranian MP Hossein Ebrahimi, Deputy Chairman of Iranian Majlis National Security Committee: “The Persian Gulf Will Be Turned into a Graveyard” for International Forces, http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/3284.htm. Ali Akbar Velayati, advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, stressed that Tehran would not permit a situation in which it could not sell oil while other oil producters could do so. Press TV, Iran, January 26, 2011. Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of Kayhan and an associate of Khamenei, called for inspections for vessels in the Strait of Hormuz and for the subsequent closure of the strait to all E.U. vessels. He said that the West would be harmed more by the boycott than Iran would. Kayhan, Iran, January 25, 2012. Kayhan itself mocked U.S. President Barack Obama’s statement that all options against Iran were on the table, calling it a “bluff” because the American threats were aimed at persuading Tehran to agree to negotiations. It added that the Americans had no option other than begging for negotiations with Iran. Kayhan, Iran, January 29, 2012.

[2] Fars (Iran), January 23, 2012. It should be noted that Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast, as well as Iranian Navy deputy commander Mahmoud Moussavi, clarified in December 2011 that Iran has no intention of closing the strait. This, apparently out of awareness that any military aggression of this sort would be tantamount to a declaration of international war, and also due to the clear U.S. military supremacy in the Gulf. Iran (Iran), December 14, 2011 (Mehmenparast) and Press TV, Iran, January 2, 2012 (Moussavi).

[3] Al-Hoda added that President Obama’s emphasis in his letter to Khamenei that the U.S. would not attack Iran reflects Tehran’s might versus Washington’s weakness. ISNA, Iran, January 27, 2012.

[4] Fars (Iran), January 15, 2011; Iranian TV interview on November 27, 2011, http://www.lenziran.com/2011/11/basij-commander-if-united-states-is-attacked-by-islamic-republic-it-will-be-not-able-to-fight-back/

[5] Khorasan (Iran), January 19, 2012.

[6] http://alireza-forghani.blogfa.com/

[7]Serat News (Iran), December 12, 2011.

[8] Mashregh News (Iran), December 14, 2011.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, Iran, Saudi Arabia, YemenComments Off on A Dose of Very Nasty Truth: Trump Clears Rearming Al Qaeda in Yemen, US Troops to Train Terrorists

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