Archive for February, 2006

The New US Strategic Middle East Foci: Israel and Iran

By Sean Osborne

This is a brand new, revised strategic assessment, and has been a work in progress due to very recent developments. This assessment has only firmed up within the past coupe of days. In my last, which was posted on 15 December 2005 and entitled “Contingency Planning for the Iranian Nuclear Threat,”  I spoke of an apparent necessity that any strike against Iranian nuclear facilities be a joint US/Israeli mission. This is no longer the case.Quite frankly, due to these new developments, my previous assessment has apparently been rendered moot. The fact is, there has occurred a paradigm shift in US strategic plans for the Middle East, specifically as regards the State of Israel and the so-called “Road Map to Peace” and the principle obstacle to peace found in the Hojjatieh sect of Shi’a Islam running the show in Tehran.

Bluntly stated, my assessment is that the US currently has no pending executable plan nor the logistics to conduct and support sustained combat operations against Iran in the near term - which I believe would be a most certain prerequisite to consider when attacking the current regime of Hojjatieh Shi’a.

What has led me to this current assessment?

It is the realization that the Hojjatieh Shi’a like President Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad and his spiritual mentor Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi believes in the necessity to facilitate a global apocalypse in order to realize their religious goal of the return of Imam Mahdi. It is my assessment that the President of the United States will not hand them their most fervent desire on a silver platter by striking the critically vulnerable nuclear facilities at Natanz, Esfahan and Bushehr. I believe President Bush is determined to avoid the “Armageddon” scenario for as long at is it within our power to do so.

Specifics upon which I base this assessment:

1. The US recently deployed about 80 F-16 aircraft to the Southwest Asian Area of Operations. I will not go into detail on these aircraft as it is imprudent to discuss capabilities and other specifics of deployed US combat power. However, this is a key component in that while the US military certainly has a ready and validated executable plan to strike the main nuclear vulnerabilities in Iran - we are not going to execute that plan at this time.

2. The critical issue is the paradigm shift I mentioned above. This is a paradigm shift in US-Israeli military relations and for the entire region. The United States has very recently extended our strategic nuclear umbrella to encompass the State of Israel. This extension of the US umbrella is specifically intended to counter the explicit Iranian threat to nuke Israel and wipe the nation off the map. Israel is now officially a military protectorate of the United States - much more so than it has ever been in the past.

3. Look at SECSTATE Condi Rice’ statements during the Washington DC press conference with new Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni this past Wednesday. This is the central plank or girder upon which we will attempt to move forward to achieve a comprehensive peace and Final Status agreement. Additionally and according to various Israeli news sources, FM Livni’s Wednesday meeting with National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley was postponed until Thursday when officals learned that President Bush would be in the White House. President Bush has a habit of “just passing by” when meeting with the foreign ministers of various nations while they are present in the White House. On Thursday the President “just happened by” for a 30-minute meeting with Livni in the midst of her metting with NSA Hadley. Of the two topics reportedly discussed one was “the Iranian nuclear issue.”

What the President has done is a bold step forward. We all know Russia, Red China, North Korea and Syria support Iran. We’ve seen that and raised the ante - we will defend Israel exactly in the same way we have conducted the defense of Europe since 1945.

Here is an excerpt from a recent Washington Post article on this new paradigm shift from one week ago, bold or italics mine for emphasis:

“Israel is a solid ally of the United States. We will rise to Israel’s defense, [b]if need be[/b]. So this kind of menacing talk is disturbing. It’s not only disturbing to the United States, it’s disturbing for other countries in the world, as well,” [US President George] Bush said.

Asked whether he meant the United States would rise to Israel’s defense militarily, Bush said: “You bet, we’ll defend Israel.

The Jewish state sought some sort of military alliance with the United States shortly after it was founded in 1948, but was rebuffed by several presidents, partly out of fear of offending Arabs. Since then, Israel has established the principle of securing its own defense, including a nuclear deterrent, backed by large weapons sales by the United States.

Past presidents have spoken elliptically about helping Israel, a close ally, in a conflict. The United States has no military alliance with Israel, though President Bill Clinton dangled the prospect of a military alliance as part of a final peace deal, said Dennis Ross, a senior Clinton adviser on the region.

Ross said he could not recall a president ever saying so clearly the United States would come to Israel’s defense. But he said it is a “logical extension” of existing policy, because Israel has never before faced the threat of a foe with a possible nuclear weapon.

“This proves once again the United States is the best friend and ally of Israel,” said Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon. “We are very proud of this special relationship, which is the cornerstone of stability in the Middle East, for the mutual benefit of Israel, the U.S. and all peace-loving countries in the region and beyond.”

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte…6020102134.html

And there you have it… the as-adopted geo-strategic plan of the so-called “Road Map to Peace” between Israel and the Arabs includes an all-facets military guarantee from the United States in defense of Israel’s right to exist. A second plank of this is the two-state solution - an independent Palestine whose right to exist will also be similarly guaranteed within the framework of a Final Status arrangement. We can call this new reality “Oslo II” because it will be based heavily on the framework of the 1993 Oslo Accord.

While some regional governments also look at Iran’s achievement of nuclear weapons capability with trepidation, we have embarked on a determined course to contain and deter Iran much as we contained and deter Russia or Red China from launching their nukes against us. It’s called, in this specific instance - Assured Destruction - and notice that in this instance there is nothing mutual about said destruction when it comes to Iran and its nuclear capability. As President Bush has stated, “if need be… we’ll defend Israel”. This means that if Iran moves to implement its Hojjatieh beliefs of precipitating an Islamic Armageddon we will swat them down swiftly and decisively.

“You bet…”

Senate Russell Office Building in DC Evacuted: Possible Chemical or Bio Agent

[UPDATE] 9 February 2006; 0545 AM ET]: According to a source close to the Capitol Police Haz-Mat unit all sampling of the suspected agent was negative.

A possible cause of False/Positive detector activation is suspected to be cleaning material. It was noted by the source that just about any cleaning agent with “a wintergreen base” would give a False/Positive for GA or GB Nerve Agent.

Read our reports directly from a Senate staffer as the event unfolded…

**[UPDATE 8 February 2006; 9:55 PM ET]: “All clear issued” as test results reportedly found no harmful agents.

[UPDATE 8 February 2006; 8:58 PM ET]: A staffer in the Russell Office Building provided the following information directly to the Northeast Intelligence Network:

- Alarm originated in attic sensor; a test was conducted that indicated a “positive result for foreign agent” IN ADDITION to initial alarm.

- Staffers were immediately moved to West Legislative Parking Garage by Capitol police.

- Evacuees received two different and conflicting briefings - one from Capitol Police, another from HAZMAT officials. There appeared to be an initial problem with “jurisdiction.”

- This alarm was handled “much differently” than previous alarms of similar types. Evacuees were told at one point that the sensor might have recorded “biological agent.” Names of all individuals in isolated containment area have been taken by authorities.

-Latest information suggests that all evacuees are expected to be released by 10:00 p.m., pending official results of tests being conducted off-premises.

**********

8 February 2006; 7:35 p.m ET: Detectors have been activated - two-(2) “POSITIVE HITS” for “undefined chemical agent…”

Confirming test underway - results expected in 30 minutes.

Northeast Intelligence Network investigator Doug Hagmann is currently talking with a staffer being kept in quarantine in a “safe zone” due to this ‘HAZMAT” alarm.

According to staffer:

No one is showing physical symptoms;
EMS Teams response described as uncharacteristically “intense;”
Treatment area “set-up” in garage area;
One responding officer indicated third test underway, second test was actually “inconclusive.”
Alarms have gone off before, but this level of response was never seen to-date.

U.S. Man Linked to Terrorist al-Zarqawi, Attacks Against U.S. Troops

Northeast Intelligence Network Investigates: “Template of a Terrorist”

9 February 2006: Meet Shawqi OMAR, 43, born in Kuwait but came to the U.S. on a student visa in 1979 at the age of 17. He attended several colleges across the country and lived in Utah and Minnesota before moving to North Carolina. He married an American woman and fathered six children. OMAR became a full-fledged U.S. citizen in 1986 and even served 11 months in the Minnesota National Guard.

Sometime in 2002, OMAR traveled to Iraq to become involved in the construction business and established a home in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. His family, however, including two of his brothers, his sister, mother and father currently live in the Raleigh, North Carolina area.

On October 29, 2004, Shawqi OMAR was one of twelve people arrested and charged with plotting a chemical attack in Jordan that was disrupted before it could be launched. The Jordan Times reported that the 2004 plot, which was part of a larger conspiracy to attack the Jordanian Prime Ministry and the U.S. Embassy in Amman, involved using trucks carrying 20 tons of chemicals. Experts told the newspaper that the chemicals could have killed 80,000 people and injured 160,000 others.

According to military sources, OMAR was in possession of numerous weapons and materials for making Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) when arrested. He was also harboring Jordanian terrorists when arrested at his Baghdad home in 2004. Information also indicates that OMAR is related to terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi by marriage and has met with the terrorist on numerous occasions.

Newly filed documents in U.S. District Court in Washington claims that Omar assisted terrorists and planned attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq. He was also reportedly involved, with al Zarqawi, in conducting surveillance of potential kidnap victims within Baghdad. OMAR reportedly used his English skills “to visit Baghdad hotels in order to entice foreigners to return to OMAR’S home for the purpose of their kidnap and ransom.” He has been in custody in Iraq as an “enemy combatant” since his arrest and faces charges in the Central Criminal Court of Iraq.

His family in North Carolina denies that OMAR has any ties to terrorism and is upset over his detention because of his status as a U.S. citizen. One of Shawqi’s brothers, Essama OMAR, works at a convenience store in Carborro, North Carolina and another, Ahmed OMAR, works for Budget Rent-a-Car in Raleigh. According to media reports, Essama Omar said his brother has no terrorist ties. Bassam OMAR, another brother who currently resides in San Diego, California told reporters “It makes me very mad. This is a country of laws, and a person, a U.S. citizen, gets held for 15 months, most of it in solitary confinement without being charged, without any merit to all of this.”

Castro invites Iran’s Ahmadinejad to Cuba

Havana, February 8, 2006: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accepted an invitation to visit Cuba from President Fidel Castro, in gratitude for Cuba’s support of Iran’s nuclear program, the official Granma newspaper said on Tuesday.
Ahmadinejad accepted the invitation in Tehran from Cuban Ambassador Felipe Perez Roque. During his visit, the Iranian leader will attend the September 11-16 Non-Aligned Summit in Havana, the daily said.

On Saturday in Vienna, Cuba, Venezuela and Syria voted against a resolution of the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer Iran to the UN Security Council over a nuclear program the West suspects is weapons-oriented.

The Iranian President recently publicly thanked Cuba for its “dignified and principled” position during the IAEA’s special meeting, which ended in a 27-3 vote in favour of reporting Iran to the UN council.

Separately, Granma announced that Iranian Parliament President Ghulam Ali Haddad Adel has accepted an invitation to visit Cuba from Cuba’s National Assembly.

UPS Flight Makes Emergency Landing With Major Fire in Cargo Hold

8 February, 2006: (AP) UPS Flight 1307 made a 12:22 AM emergency landing in Philadelphia with a major fire in the hold. The Aircraft was identified as a UPS DC8-71F Tail Number N748UP.

The incident took place during a regularly scheduled flight between Atlanta and Philadelphia.

Flight 1307 Aircraft Technical Details:

Compartment Load Capacity Main: 18 - 88? x 125? positions (224cm. x 318cm.) 7,850 cu. ft. (222.4 cu. m.)

Belly A: 855 cu. ft. (24.2 cu. m.)
Belly B: 435 cu. ft. (12.3 cu. m.)
Belly C: 780 cu. ft. (22.1 cu. m.)
Belly D: 430 cu. ft. (12.2 cu. m.)

Cargo Door Dimensions :
Main Cargo Door 140? x 85? (356cm. X 216cm.)
Lower Forward Door A 63? x 54? (160cm. X 137cm.)
Lower Forward Door B 44? x 36? (112cm. X 91cm.)
Lower Aft Door C 63? x 54? (160cm. X 137cm.)

Lower Bulk Door D 36? x 44? (91cm. X 112cm.)

The fire was fought for at least four hours while it sat on the tarmac, interfering with flight schedules across the country. Luckily, both pilot and co-pilot escaped unharmed.

Escapee from Yemen Prison Might Have Ties to Buffalo, NY Terror Cell

One Leader of “Lackawanna Six” Might be Among Escapees

8 February 2006: On Tuesday, the Yemen Times published a list of terrorists who escaped from prison last week, using a tunnel that emerged in a mosque about 500 feet from the prison (See related article below). Included on that list was a man identified as Gaber Al-Bana’a, who is believed to be Jaber Elbaneh, a member of the Buffalo, NY area terror cell busted in 2002 and dubbed by the media as the “Lackawanna Six.” Elbaneh is the nephew of Mohamed Albanna, who is an outspoken advocate for the six, who has continually proclaimed their innocence. Albanna himself was arrested and charged with sending more than $480,000 to Yemen without the proper license and is a named defendant in a three trillion dollar civil suit filed by some of the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Jaber Elbaneh, formerly of Lakawanna and one of the leaders of the Lackawanna terrorists, had a $5 million price tag on his head. Although not confirmed, reports indicated that Elbaneh was arrested in January, 2004 in Yemen and was reportedly being held in the prison where the escape occurred.

The Yemen Times provided an official list of prisoners as distributed by the Ministry of the Interior (excluding terrorist leader Hamdi Al-Ahdal.

The official list consisted of the following names: Yaser Naser Al-Homikani, Mohammed Sa’eed Al-Omda, Fawzi Mohammed Al-Wajeh, Zakria Hasen Al-Baihani, Abudlrahman Ahmed Basora, Abdullah Ahmed Al-Remi, Fawaz Yahya Al-Rabe ai, Hizam Saleh Mugli, Gamal Mohammed Al-Badwi, Zakria Hasen Al-Baihani, Abdulrahman Ahmed Basurah, Ibrahim Mohammed Al-Hoidi, Ibrahim Mohammed Al-Mukri, Aref Saleh Mugli, Shafik Ahmed Zaid, [b]Gaber Al-Bana’a,[/b] Hamza Salem Al-Kuaiti, Omer Sa’eed Gar Allah, Abdullah Yahya Al-Wa’ adi, Khaled Mohammed Al-Batati, Kasem Yahya Al-Remi, Mohammed Ahmed Al-Remi, Mansour Naser Al-Baihani.

Get the LATEST & MOST ACCURATE news on Buffalo terror ties - Listen to The Tom Bauerle Show every day.

Mohammed Cartoons Lead to More Riots, Deaths

8 February, 2006: The White house has made it clear that they think Iran and Syria have been fanning the flames of worldwide Muslim protests and riots in the wake of a Danish newspaper’s release of cartoon drawings of Mohammed last week.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a statement today, expressing confidence that the two nations had an active role in inflaming the current Muslim unrest, which has lead to multi-nation rioting, boycotts, and at least 11 deaths to this date.

The cartoons in question were originally published in September of 2005, in Denmark. Since then, other European countries have also published the cartoons with intent to draw attention to the fear that many hold of facing retribution from Islamics for expressing themselves through the concept of free speech.

Islam forbids illustrations or images of its prophet Mohammed. Even while some Muslim scholars and other world leaders (including President Bush) are calling for a peaceful end to these violent Muslim riots, this incident continues to present to the world a strong example of the basic incompatibility of Islam and a free Democratic society.

Iranian Ballistic Missile Threat: More Advanced and Lethal Than Most Realize

By Sean Osborne, Associate Director, Military Affairs Specialist

8 February 2006: Here are two recent articles based on western intelligence sources suggesting that Iranian ballistic missiles are far more advanced and lethal than is acknowledged in most western media sources.

German Newspaper: Iran Tested Missile Secretly in January

February 6, 2006 :: News

The German daily Die Welt cites western intelligence sources as reporting that Iran secretly tested a new surface-to-surface ballistic missile last month. The purpose of the test, which allegedly took place on January 17, was to collect electronic and aerodynamic measurements from the long-range missile during its flight. The test was conducted by a 15-person engineering team under the direct control of the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and was attended by commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as well as some high-ranking employees of the Iranian aviation industry. Diplomatic sources in Iran are cited as saying the test was a success.

The German news agency DDP speculates that the above-mentioned missile may have been the Shahab-4, an intermediate-range weapon similar to the older Shahab-3 except for its increased range of over 2,000 km (approx. 1,250 miles) and its improved accuracy based on more modern digital guidance systems. Although the Shahab-4 project has been shrouded in secrecy in recent years, it is most likely an attempt to make Iran’s missile program less dependent upon foreign materials.

Source: http://www.missilethreat.com/news/200602061133.html

January 18, 2006

Purchase of North Korean Missiles Extends Iran’s Force Projection Capability

A little-noticed story from late 2005 could prove quite significant as conflict with Iran draws closer. On December 16, the German newspaper Bild reported on the German secret services’ claim that Iran had bought 18 disassembled BM-25 missiles from North Korea.

The BM-25 missile is based on the Soviet SS-N-6 (R-27) submarine-launched ballistic missile. Although Bild said that the missiles Iran purchased have a range of 2,500 kilometers, Jane’s Defense Weekly reported that North Korea, with the help of Russian specialists, has developed two new versions of the R-27 with extended ranges. Analysts believe that the land-based version has a range of 2,500 to 4,000 kilometers. Consistent with this report, Bild reported that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wanted to have the missiles’ range “extended to 3,500 kilometers.” The German secret service report warned that “with a longer range, and the probability that (Tehran) would try to equip the missiles with nuclear warheads, there is the risk that Iran could strike at Israel and parts of central Europe.”

Reader Timothy Thompson, who is always able to provide keen insight into weapons systems, comments on the missile purchase:

[The BM-25 missiles that Iran purchased] can easily be launched from [a] freighter modified with launch tubes and blast channels. They give Iran a projection of force capability far beyond the 2000-3000 km range of the missiles. It is possible — though not confirmed — that Iran may not use the BM-25’s but only bought them to get the R-27 rocket motors for a missile of their own design.

The countries most concerned about these developments are Israel and Turkey. Israel’s concern is obvious: Anytime a country whose president has vowed to wipe you off the map improves its ability to strike, that is a worrisome development. Turkey’s concern stems from three major factors. First, it shares a large border with Iran. Second, Iranian missiles can reach vital Turkish military and industrial targets. Third, the NATO treaty obligates Turkey to treat any attack on another NATO country as an attack on its own territory. In the event this were to occur, we may see the use of Turkish ground forces.

Iran’s ability to strike at longer range makes military options against that country increasingly perilous.

Source: http://counterterror.typepad.com/the_counterterrorism_blog/2006/01/purchase_of_nor.html

The New Cold War

Russia is out to support every enemy of America, regardless…

A “Must Read:”

7 February 2006: Excerpted: Last week, Mr Putin was boasting about his brand new nuclear missile, which can zigzag in space, thereby foiling America’s missile defence system. The Topol M (SS-X-27) is the most advanced and deadliest nuclear missile ever developed; it can be launched from a submarine or a road and would have 75 times the impact of the Hiroshima bomb. To the surprise and alarm of the White House, the roll-out of the Topol M has been described by Russian officials and their state-controlled media in blatantly anti-American terms. Welcome to the new Cold War between Russia’s offensive capacity and the defensive ability of America.

The Business Online

Zacarias Moussaoui: Outbursts During Jury Selection

“I am Al Qaeda!”

7 February 2006: Last April, Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, pleaded guilty to six criminal charges that he played a part in the September 11, 2001 attacks on America. Yesterday, he mimicked the actions of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein with his consistent outbursts that disrupted the jury selection process - a jury that will determine whether Moussaoui will live or die. Despite his numerous outbursts, proclaiming “I am Al Qaeda,” “this trial is a circus,” and “I want to be heard,” U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema continued forward with the lengthy process of selecting a sentencing jury.

The judge began the jury selection process by bringing about 500 potential jurors into her courtroom and asking them to fill out lengthy questionnaires on a number of issues, such as their attitudes toward Muslims, whether they believe it is safe to fly, and the attacks of September 11th, 2001. As jurors filed into the courtroom, Moussaoui repeated attempted to disrupt the proceedings, and each time was ordered removed by the judge.

Moussaoui insisted that he will testify on his own behalf when the jury is seated on March 6. “For four years I have waited. I will tell them the truth I know. I will take the stand,” stated the convicted terrorist.