They Said We Were Safer

The Huffington Post, just last week (Sept. 8, 2012), wrote the following glowing article about how Barack “George Patton” Obama has kept his flock safe from terror.

Lolita C. Blador of the Huff Post writes, “As Americans debate whether they are better off now than they were four years ago, there is a similar question with a somewhat easier answer: Are you safer now than you were when President Barack Obama took office? By most measures, the answer is yes.”

“…Americans have stopped fretting daily about a possible attack or stockpiling duct tape and water…”

“While the threat of a terrorist attack has not disappeared, the combined military, intelligence, diplomatic and financial efforts to hobble al-Qaida and its affiliates have escalated over the past four years and paid off. Terrorist leaders, including Osama bin Laden, are dead and their networks in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia disrupted.”

“…Obama pursued a more aggressive drone campaign to target terrorist leaders, broadening efforts to help at-risk nations bolster their own defenses, and put in place plans to end the war in Iraq and bring troops out of Afghanistan.”

“As a result, terrorism worries have taken a back seat to the nation’s economic woes. Unlike previous elections, national security is not a big campaign issue this year.”

Phil Mudd, a senior research fellow at the nonpartisan New America Foundation said, “But I would say today that al-Qaidaism is on the decline. By any balance, the number of places where people want to come after us has declined in the past four years.”

James Lewis, with the Center for Strategic and International Studies claimed, “through diplomatic efforts by the Obama administration that level of fear has been tamped down. The global perception of the U.S. is better.”

Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council stated, “The U.S. is absolutely safer now than four years ago.”

We were apparently so safe, the U.S. Marines defending the American embassy in Egypt were not permitted by the State Department to carry live ammunition, limiting their ability to respond to attacks like those this week on the U.S. consulate in Cairo.

Yes!! You read that correctly. The Ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson “did not permit U.S. Marine guards to carry live ammunition,” according to multiple reports on U.S. Marine Corps blogs spotted by Nightwatch. “She neutralized any U.S. military capability that was dedicated to preserve her life and protect the US Embassy.”

I’m sure she figured diplomacy would always be more effective than bullets.

As I’ve stated many times, diplomacy never has and never will work. Especially when dealing with an enemy that doesn’t mind dying, or at least encourages others to die for them. 

What makes this tragedy even worse is that it may have been prevented.

Sources have recently come forth, claiming the U.S. State Department knew of the potential for attacks up to 48 hours prior to 9-11.  They evidently did nothing about it. They took no precautions, no heightened security.

The threat was apparently not specific to any location.   Well, you say, if that’s the case, how could anyone be held responsible? Do you how many consulates and embassies we must have? How can one blame the Obama administration for such a vague threat?

Easy! Here’s how. The State Department receives notice of a threat on consulates and embassies. The threat is of  possible terrorist attacks corresponding to the 9-11 anniversary. The State Department alerts the The White House. The White House looks at the embassies around the globe. They then ask themselves where a terror threat is most eminent or more likely to occur. Then, by deductive reasoning, they eliminate all but those in suspected terror hotspots.

So the embassies in Barbados and Fiji are probably safe, where as the ones in, say Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Syria, etc. are more at risk.

The Commander-in-Chief would then bid David Letterman adieu, leave the campaign trail, rush back to the White House and send out orders to beef up security at those embassies deemed high risk. He might even order that they be issued ammunition.

I’m not saying that these attacks and subsequent deaths could have been prevented or even lessened. Yes I am. I’m saying exactly that. These poor souls were not even given a fighting chance. That’s the real tragedy here.

With this information of prior notification coming to light, might this be the reason the Administration and the cheer squad in the media keep harping on the dopey YouTube video as the sole cause of mayhem, when any reasonable person knows it had nothing to do with it? Of course it is!

If the mainstream media actually did their job and reported that the Obama State Department had prior notice and didn’t act, there would be hell to pay. If this happened during a Romney administration, you know they would shouting it from the tree tops.

Attribution: PJ Media, Huff Po, Daily Mail

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Britain and US ‘have no moral right to prevent Israel acting against Iran’

by:: , Jerusalem and David Blair of the UK Telegraph

The Israeli prime minister’s words followed a secret visit by an unnamed British official last month, who is understood to have delivered a warning from David Cameron against attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Mr Netanyahu wants America to lay down clear “red lines” beyond which Iran would risk war by pressing on with its nuclear ambitions. He fears that Iran is successfully playing for time while the nuclear programme advances. In response, Mr Netanyahu is pressing Washington to impose a deadline on diplomatic efforts to resolve the confrontation.

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, appeared to turn him down on Monday, saying publicly that America was “not setting deadlines for Iran”.

Mr Netanyahu delivered a caustic response Monday, saying that under these circumstances, no one could expect Israel to remain patient. “The world tells Israel to wait because there is still time,” said Mr Netanyahu. “And I ask: wait for what? Until when? Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.”

This approach would only embolden Iran, warned Mr Netanyahu. “If Iran knows that there is no red line or deadline, what will it do? Exactly what it is doing today – continuing to work unhindered towards obtaining nuclear weapons capability and, from there, nuclear bombs,” he said

The prime minister’s language will increase fears that Israel is intent on launching a unilateral strike on Iran.

Some observers see Mr Netanyahu’s threats to attack Iran as hollow, believing that Israel does not have a viable military option. They judge that Mr Netanyahu’s real aim is to ensure that the US and European powers continue to maximize the pressure on Tehran,

Peace…Right

particularly by imposing tougher sanctions.

However, his threats were taken seriously enough for Mr Cameron to send a senior British envoy to Israel to convey his concern. Sources confirmed that this official, whose identity has not been disclosed, saw Mr Netanyahu about two weeks ago. A British diplomat in Jerusalem and the Israeli prime minister’s office declined to comment.

Mr Netanyahu’s tough approach has apparently earned Washington’s displeasure, with reports in the Israeli press last night claiming that President Barack Obama has turned down a request from Mr Netanyahu for a meeting during the United Nations general assembly later this month. An unnamed Israeli official said the Israeli prime minister had been told by the White House that there was not room in the presidential schedule.

Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for Mr Obama, dismissed the report, saying that the President and Mr Netanyahu were not meeting because they would not be in New York at the same time.

However, he did not address the claim that Mr Netanyahu was prepared to travel to Washington in order to meet at the White House.

The two leaders have had a testy relationship, with Mr Netanyahu once lecturing the president in the Oval Office on the importance of US support for Israel. Obama officials have also expressed frustration at how Mr Netanyahu has consistently pressurised them to adopt an aggressive posture towards Tehran.

The US believes diplomacy can still deliver a solution before Iran achieves the ability to build a nuclear weapon. Leon Panetta, the US defence secretary, said this threshold would be reached in “a little more than a year”. He said: “We think we will have the opportunity, once we know that they’ve made that decision, to take the action necessary to stop [Iran].”

Mr Panetta told CBS: “We have the forces in place to be able to not only defend ourselves, but to do what we have to do, to try to stop them from developing nuclear weapons.”

Note from the Common Constitutionalist: They all have to go, Obama, Clinton, Panetta, et al. Diplomacy will not work with Iran. Heck, it never works anywhere with anyone. Iran will simply never stop until they reach their goal or are forced to stop.

America and the UK are willing to chatter on and wait until Israel is annihilated and then simply point fingers and blame someone else. What is Netanyahu to do? The fate of his entire nation rests on this decision. He does not have the geographic luxury to fiddle about with a bunch of idle talk. Iran is less than 1,000 miles from Israel. With one strategically placed short-range nuclear missile, Israel is effectively gone.

Frankly, they may not even wait to produce a weapon. Considering the recent alliances they have or are forging with the Brotherhood controlled countries, effectively surrounding Israel, Iran will be able to attack Israel from all sides.

Considering all that has transpired in the past few days, might the Obama and Cameron administrations see the light and stand with Israel? The short answer; NO! 

 With extermination a possibility, I wouldn’t wait either.

Act of War?

by: the Common Constitutionalist

The attack on the Libyan and Egyptian embassies are said to be a response to an anti-Muslim YouTube movie titled, “Innocence of Muslims” that derides the leader of the Muslim faith, Mohammed and also the Islam holy book, the Koran. (I’ve seen at least

Mohammed depicted in “Innocence of Muslims”

some of it. It’s pretty funny; not the content, that was spot on, but the cinematography. It’s like one of those old Godzilla movies.)  

Anyway, the U.S. ambassador to Lybia that was killed was the same man who was instrumental in the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi , thus clearing the way for the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood . That’s some thanks for a job well done. It’s like 1979 in Iran, but instead of American hostages, there are just corpses. And instead of Carter we have Obama.

Now, no one is ever allowed to make light (or tell the truth) of the Koran, Mohammed, or anything Islam.

Anyone, anywhere is, however, allowed to mock, degrade and subvert the Christian or Jewish faiths with impunity. The United States government is allowed to command the Catholic faith toss out one of the most precious tenets of their faith with forced

Piss Christ and the Jackass who created it

contraception, and most likely, abortions on demand. Yet, these same people would never dare speak ill of the Muslim community, for fear of merely cause the Muslims to feel bad, much less having their heads cut off.

I wonder if the raid by the Brotherhood (and make no mistake, this was the Brothers, or a wholly owned subsidiary of) was caused by viewing the Democrat National Convention? How is that, you say?

At said Convention, the peace-loving leftists joyously and publicly exclaimed that they killed Osama bin Laden no less than 21 times.

Those who attacked were actually shouting “Obama, Obama; there are still a billion Osama’s”. Remember, it was the anniversary of 9-11 on that day. This dopey little movie had very little or nothing to do with it. Obviously, this is just an excuse, for violence against the infidels. It is also my firm belief that this was not just some spontaneous riot. This was a premeditated, coordinated attack.

There is evidence unfolding that the ambassador and staff were told the area of the embassy they were in was not safe and they should be moved to a more secure location. The Brotherhood was then told where the Americans were moved to, affording the opportunity to attack. Another question, that will surely ruffle some feathers is, were the Brothers, in any way, facilitated by those Brotherhood members in the U.S. administration or State Department. It has to be asked! 

And how did our, tough on terrorists, government react? Here is the statement issued:

“The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”

So, instead of taking a hard line agianst the terrorists, we essentially apologize to the them. They have to just be laughing at how pitifully weak we are.

Mitt Romney’s response to the Obama administration statement was a tad more apropos:

“I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

I believe it is fact that our embassies in every foreign land throughout the globe, are sovereign U.S. territory, just as foreign embassies in this country are not within U.S. jurisdiction. That being the case, is not an attack on our embassy considered an attack on United States soil? Is that not then a defacto, act of war?

Now we have yet another glimpse at our Commander in Chief, who is charged with protecting us. Heck of a job he’s doing, eh.

I almost forgot to mention that Obama is currently funneling taxpayer money to the “rebels” in Syria, who are tools of the Muslim Brotherhood and on the day our diplomatic facilities were being attacked, it was also revealed that the Obama Administration was negotiating a deal with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood that would give them $1 billion to buy German submarines.

So who’s side is this guy really on anyway?

Attribution: Tad Cronn at Political Outcast

Cecil Beaton’s World War

In artistic terms they were at polar opposites of the photographic spectrum.

The wanton destruction and grim resilience of war is not a subject you would associate with high fashion glamor shots of the rich and beautiful.

But when flamboyant photographer Cecil Beaton was enlisted during the Second World War, his striking collection showed the six-year conflict in a new, more graceful, picturesque light.

The photographer, whose most notable subjects included Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, was commissioned for an altogether grittier photographic project that could be used as propaganda

Moving him away from his usual fare of royalty and fashion models, the Ministry of Information asked Beaton to document Britain’s war effort.

The renowned photographer pictured young men and women in a typically glamorous light, in spite of the ravages, destruction and chaos engulfing Britain in 1940.

His eye-catching portfolio stays away from corpses, blood and the unimaginable horror of the front line, featuring instead photogenic soldiers presenting a united front for the Allied Forces.

Even so, Beaton does tug on the heartstrings in his collection: one of the most memorable images shows wounded three-year-old Eileen Dunne at Great Ormond Street Hospital, in an evocative picture which would later grace the cover of Life magazine in September 1940.

The picture was clearly effective – as it was taken with the aim of generating sympathy for the British and helping sway America into intervening in the war.

She recognized them as being similar in style to the work of Beaton, and confirmed they were his work by matching them to his diary records.

She said: ‘The Ministry was in disarray in those days and the records weren’t kept well.

‘It was not practice to record the name of the photographer. But we always knew these images existed somewhere.’

After ceasing wartime operations, the Ministry of Information deposited Beaton’s war photos with the Imperial War Museum, London.

The photographer was briefly reunited with his vast body of work shortly before his death.

Describing the experience, he wrote in his diary: ‘Yesterday I went to the Imperial War Museum, not my favourite place, to see the collection of photographs that I had taken during the war for the Ministry of Information.

‘It was an extraordinary experience to relive those war years; so much of it had been forgotten, and most of the people are now dead.

‘It was fascinating to see the scenes in old Imperial Simla, the rickshaws drawn by uniformed servants, the grandeur of the houses, the palaces, the bar scenes, the men on leave swigging beer, I had not realised that I had taken so many documentary pictures, some of purely technical interest.

‘Looking at them today, I spotted ideas that are now ‘accepted’, but which, thirty years ago, were before their time. The sheer amount of work I had done confounded me.’

Relaxed: A soldier orders a cup of tea in the Forces Canteen at Victoria Station in 1942. The soldier pictured was the butler of a close friend of photographer Cecil Beaton

As well as glamorous portraits of British soldiers, Beaton’s portfolio also catalogues famous landmarks, such as a war-ravaged Bloomsbury Square in London

War effort: A female welder works on the deck of a new ship in Tyneside in 1943

A sailor on board HMS Alcantara uses a portable sewing machine to repair a signal flag on a voyage to Sierra Leone

A British sailor on shore leave in Harrogate looks natural in front of the camera in 1941

War heroes: Squadron Leader M L Robinson of No 609 Squadron RAF sits on the wing of his Hawker Hurricane at RAF Biggin Hill in 1941 for a relaxed portrait picture

Three men of the Long Range Desert Group enjoy a moment’s relaxation with cigarettes after returning to headquarters in, Siwa, Libya, in 1942

Battle of Britain pilot Neville Duke, who later broke the World Air Speed record, pictured with his Spitfire at RAF Biggin Hill in 1941

A woman made homeless by the Blitz receives a hot meal at a welfare centre in Bermondsey, London, in 1940

Attribution: Chris Parsons

Unfriendly Skies

British Airways passengers were left stuck without their luggage after a pipe burst in Heathrow Terminal 5 – drenching their bags in sewage.

About 100 suitcases were covered in the raw filth when a pipe in the sewage system burst in Terminal 5’s baggage hold on Monday.

Many passengers were still waiting to be reunited with their suitcases today after the airport sent them off to be cleaned.

A source told The Sun: ‘The smell was absolutely foul, as was the mood of the passengers who had to leave without their bags.’

It has been suggested the leak could be linked to the Terminal being built on a former sludge works.

A spokesman for the airport operator, BAA Heathrow, said: ‘There was a leak from the sewage system in the baggage area of Terminal 5 on Monday which affected around a hundred bags.

‘We appreciate this will be upsetting for passengers. The bags have now been cleaned and are being reunited with their owners.’

British Airways also apologized to its passengers for the incident and any inconvenience caused.

Attribution: Mail Online

Puty Pute, Man of the People

By Tom Parfitt, Moscow

A dossier drawn up by a political rival of the Russian president suggests that he has 58 planes and helicopters at his use, that he has a collection of watches worth $635,000, and that he relaxes at more than 20 palaces and country retreats.

The report also claims that Mr Putin uses an Ilyushin jet with a $176 million cabin that includes a bathroom that has gold fittings and a $80,000 toilet.

Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister, concluded in his report that Mr Putin’s existence, “can be compared with that of the monarchs of the Persian Gulf or the most outrageous oligarchs”.

The Russian leader, 59, has often played on his humble beginnings to popular effect. He once described how, as a child, he had to beat aside rats with a stick at the entrance to his parents’ communal apartment in St Petersburg.

Mr Putin, a judo black belt and amateur ice hockey player, has also projected his job as a punishing challenge fraught with austerity. Mr Nemtsov’s report is titled “The Life of a Galley Slave”, in reference to a comment by Mr Putin on finishing his second term as president in 2008, when he said: “I’m not ashamed before the citizens who voted for me. All these eight years I’ve been toiling like a galley-slave, with every ounce of my strength. And I’m pleased with the results.”

The report, published online, suggests an altogether more cushioned reality.

Among the perks said to be available to the president are a $950 million Italianate palace at Gelendzhik on the Black Sea coast and a $41 million yacht called Sirius with whirlpool baths, a cinema and an artificial waterfall.

Another 176 ft yacht includes a spa pool, waterfall and wine cellar, but “the real diamond of the Kremlin flotilla,” the report claims, is a five-decked boat with a jacuzzi, barbecue, a maple wood colonnade and a bathroom faced in marble.

A 2,300-acre residence on Lake Valdai in north-western Russia has a cinema, a bowling alley and a “presidential church”, and it is said a little-known three-storey residence near Saratov, on the Volga river south-east of Moscow, has German chandeliers and Italian furniture, and features a billiard room, a winter garden, a pool and sauna.

According to his official income declaration Mr Putin earned $111,000 last year, making his suggested watch collection alone worth almost six times his annual salary. Mr Nemtsov and Leonid Martynyuk, his co-author, wrote: “In a country where 20 million people can barely make ends meet, the luxurious life of the president is a brazen and cynical challenge to society from a high-handed potentate.”

They added: “We must not put up with this. We believe that the way of life of those in power must become a topic for public discussion and that all expenditure from the budget and all their incomes must be published.”

Mr Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, was unavailable for comment but he told the Kommersant newspaper he had not read the report.

“The information about the president’s state residences and transport is absolutely open to all, there are no secrets here,” he said. “This is all state property and as the elected president Putin uses it according to the law. What’s more, he’s obliged to in many cases.”

Brotherhood Taking Total Control of Egypt

Has anyone, anyone at all, gone back and asked the wizards of smart what they make of their sacred “Arab Spring” now?

I’ve been publishing a lot of articles regarding the middle east and in particular, Egypt. There’s a reason for it. Egypt has always been a major player in the middle east. As Egypt goes, so goes the region, so goes Israel and so goes our vital interests in that part of the world. It’s not just Iran and certainly not Syria folks.

While the world persists in looking for signs of pragmatism in the Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi is quietly taking over all the power bases in the country.

Having gotten rid of the army old guard, he replaced them with his own men – officers belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood or known sympathizers. Then he turned his attention to the media, replacing 50 editors working for the government’s extensive and influential press empire – including Al- Ahram, Al-Akhbar, Al-Gomhuria. He is now busy appointing new governors to the 27 regions of the country.

Hosni Mubarak used to choose retired generals he could depend on for these sensitive posts; Morsi is hand picking party faithful. At the same time upper echelons in government ministries and economic and cultural organizations are methodically being replaced. The Muslim Brotherhood is fast assuming total control. For many observers, the deployment of army units in Sinai is more about proclaiming Egyptian sovereignty in the face of Israel than actually fighting Islamic terrorism.

Drafting the new constitution is their next objective. Brothers and Salafis make up an absolute majority in the Constituent Assembly. Liberal and secular forces are boycotting its sessions, and the Supreme Constitutional Court is examining a request to have it dissolved since it does not conform to the constitution because of its overly Islamic composition; a decision is expected in September.

The assembly, however, is not waiting. According to various leaks, it is putting the final touch to a constitution where all laws have to conform to the Shariah and special committees will supervise the media and forbid any criticism of Islam and of the Prophet. In the wings, is the creation of a Committee of Islamic Sages supervising the law-making process and in effect voiding of substance the parliament elected by the people, though it is not clear yet if, when and how it will work. What is clear is that a parliament made of flesh and blood individuals is against the very nature of the Shariah, where all laws are based on the Koran and the hadiths. This is a far cry from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Morsi has been careful to speak about creating “a civil society”; it is now obvious that what he meant was a society not ruled by the army, and not a secular society. Indeed he had promised to appoint a woman and a Copt as vice presidents, but chose Mohamed Maki, a Sunni known for his sympathy for the Brotherhood and incidentally or not, the brother of the new minister of justice, Prof. Ahmed Maki, known for his independent stands and opposition to Mubarak, but who had carefully concealed his support for the Brothers.

It is worth stressing that the Brotherhood is still operating under conditions of utmost secrecy, as it had been doing during the decades of persecution. How it is getting its funds, who are its members and how they are recruited is not known, nor is its decision-making process. The movement has no legal existence since Gamal Abdel Nasser officially disbanded it in 1954.

That state of affairs was not changed while the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces ruled the country, since apparently the movement did not apply for recognition, fearing perhaps it would have to reveal some of its secrets. Now that it has created its own political party, that the members of that party make up nearly 50 percent of the parliament and that one of their own has been elected president, can the movement remain in the shadows?

Morsi did announce that he was resigning from the Brotherhood, but there is no doubt that he will remain true to the tenets and the commands of its leaders. This is making people increasingly uneasy. They had other expectations of the revolution.

Opposition to an Islamic regime is growing, though it is far from being united. The three small liberal parties that had had very little success in the parliamentary elections have now set up a new front, The Third Way, to fight the Brotherhood’s takeover. Hamdeen Sabahi, leader of the nationalistic Karama (Dignity) Party, who had garnered 18% of the votes in the first round of the presidential election, has launched “The Popular Current” promoting the old Nasserist pan-Arab ideology.

Some of the nongovernmental media are vocal in their criticism of Morsi, though it can be costly: Private television station Al- Pharaein – “the Pharaohs” – was shut down after it called to get rid of Morsi; its owner, Tawfik Okasha, well known for his hostility to the Brothers (and to Israel) and who called for a massive demonstration this Friday, was put under house arrest, as was the editor of the daily Al-Dostour that had criticized the president. The editors of two other dailies – Al-Fajer and Saut el-Umma – were questioned. Other papers such as Al-Akhbar stopped publishing opinion pieces from their regular collaborators known for their opposition to the Brothers; well-known publicists left their page blank in a gesture of solidarity for their colleagues.

Morsi knows that his takeover will strengthen the opposition. He has not forgotten that he barely mustered 25% of the votes in the first round of the presidential election – down from the nearly 50% who voted for his party’s candidates in the parliamentary elections. He also knows that the people are no longer afraid to take to the streets to protest – and that it is now said that a new dictatorship is replacing the old – the only difference being that the new ruler has a beard….

However, for now he is devoting all his energy to his fight with the judiciary, long known for its independent stands. The Supreme Constitutional Court is being asked to rule the Brotherhood Movement illegal, and therefore to proclaim that the Liberty and Justice party it created – and which won 50% of the seats in the parliament – is illegal as well, and therefore to invalidate the election of Morsi, candidate of a movement and a party that are both illegal. Morsi sent his new justice minister to browbeat the court, but the judges refused to back down. The president is now working to limit the prerogatives of the court in the new constitution and will start “retiring” senior justices appointed by Mubarak.

Friday’s demonstration will be the first real test for the Brotherhood. It is taking no chances and security forces will be deployed around its institutions throughout the country. A cleric at Al-Azhar issued a fatwa calling for the killing of whoever protests against the rule of the Brotherhood; the resulting uproar was such that he was disavowed by some of the leaders of the movement. However, whatever happens Friday will not deter them from their goal – a thoroughly Islamist Egypt.

Attribution: ZVI MAZEL (former ambassador to Egypt), Jerusalem Post

Nothing to See Here

According to Western intelligence officials, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave the order to the elite Quds Force unit following a recent emergency meeting of Iran’s National Security Council in Tehran held to discuss a specially-commissioned report into the implications for Iran of the Assad regime’s overthrow.

Syria is Iran’s most important regional ally, and the survival of the Assad regime is regarded as vital to sustaining the Iranian-backed Hizbollah militia which controls southern Lebanon.

The report, which was personally commissioned by  Khamenei, concluded that Iran’s national interests were being threatened by a combination of the U.N. sanctions imposed over Iran’s nuclear program and the West’s continuing support for Syrian opposition groups attempting to overthrow the government.

Intelligence officials say the report concludes that Iran “cannot be passive” to the new threats posed to its national security, and warns that Western support for Syrian opposition groups was placing Iran’s “resistance alliance” in jeopardy, and could seriously disrupt Iran’s access to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

It advised that the Iranian regime should demonstrate to the West that there were “red lines” over what it would accept in Syria, and that a warning should be sent to “America, the Zionists, Britain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others that they cannot act with impunity in Syria and elsewhere in the region.”

Khamenei responded by issuing a directive to Qassem Suleimani, the Quds Force commander, to intensify attacks against the West and its allies around the world.

The Quds Force has recently been implicated in a series of terror attacks against Western targets. Last year U.S. officials implicated the organization in a failed assassination attempt against the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington. It was also implicated in three bomb attacks against Israeli diplomats in February, planning to attack the Eurovision song contest in Azerbaijan while two Iranians were arrested in Kenya last month for possessing explosives.

Intelligence officials believe the recent spate of Iranian attacks has been carried out by the Quds Force’s Unit 400, which runs special overseas operations.

“Unit 400 seems to have been involved in all the recent Iranian terrorist operations,” said a senior Western intelligence official. “The Iranian regime now seems determined to retaliate for what they regard as the West’s attempts to influence the outcome of the Syrian unrest.”

Iran has been actively supporting the Assad regime’s attempts to suppress the wave of anti-government protests that erupted in March last year. Iranian opposition groups claim teams of experienced Revolutionary Guard officers have been flying to Damascus on specially-chartered Iranian aircraft on a weekly basis to advise the Assad regime.

The extent of Iran’s support for the Assad regime was exposed earlier this month when 48 Iranians were captured and taken hostage by Syrian opposition fighters. The Iranians, who are said to include senior Revolutionary Guard officers, claimed they were conducting “reconnaissance missions”, and their capture by Syrian opposition fighters was deeply embarrassing for Tehran, which is demanding their immediate safe return to Iran. Syrian rebels have threatened to kill the hostages unless Iran ends its support for the Assad regime.

Attribution: UK Telegraph