The Satellite Tells The Real Story

Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air today about a recent explosion in Iran. The Iranian government claimed that the explosion that rattled nearby Tehran on Friday took place in a civilian area of Parchin and not at their secret nuclear-weapons research or missile research facilities. They even supplied photos of a burnt industrial gas tank, photos which turned out to be not entirely convincing.

The article reports:

An explosion that rattled Iran’s capital came from an area in its eastern mountains that analysts believe hides an underground tunnel system and missile production sites, satellite photographs showed Saturday.

What exploded in the incident early Friday that sent a massive fireball into the sky near Tehran remains unclear, as does the cause of the blast.

The unusual response of the Iranian government in the aftermath of the explosion, however, underscores the sensitive nature of an area near where international inspectors believe the Islamic Republic conducted high-explosive tests two decades ago for nuclear weapon triggers.

…Western analysts viewing the European Commission satellite photos believe that the explosion took place in a missile-building or missile-assembly area underground. The Iranians have moved a substantial part of their missile program underground over the years to hide it from these same kinds of satellites, but intelligence agencies have a pretty good idea where those locations are and what the Iranians are doing with them.

Still, the missiles aren’t a secret themselves; the Iranians openly brag about their capabilities, even to the point of photoshopping to make them look even more impressive. Why not just tell the truth, if this was an industrial accident? Perhaps because it wasn’t an industrial accident. Iran’s militias in Syria have come under attack by air over the last 24 hours, with Israel being suspected of launching the strikes:

The article concludes:

This brings us back to Parchin and Iran’s missile production and development. Right now, Iran has the missile technology to target Israel, but not a nuclear warhead to put on one of them — we think, anyway. Israel might have decided to slow down their missile production with an act of sabotage at Parchin, perhaps in part just to demonstrate they can do it. Iran has spent the last few years creeping up on Israel via the civil war in Syria, and Israel might have just delivered a kidney punch in return.

That might be why Iran isn’t too keen on admitting that they have holes in their security, let alone have suffered a setback on military production. Theocratic tyrannies don’t last long when their subjects realize their incompetence, and this one’s already on thin ice after shooting down a Ukrainian passenger flight a few months ago. Or so we hope.

Israel (and a number of Arab countries in the Middle East) have a vested interest in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power with missiles and warheads. Iran has made known its ambitions to create a caliphate in the area. Missiles and warheads would probably make that possible. Israel will do all it can to prevent that.

Mixed Emotions On This

Just the News updated its article about Michael White, a Navy veteran who was recently returned to the U.S. from Iran.

The article reports:

An Iranian doctor living in Florida has in recent days been allowed to return to his country in an apparent exchange with Tehran in which a U.S. Navy veteran was returned last week to America.

The doctor, Matteo Taerri, pleaded guilty late last year in connection with attempting to export a filter to Iran that he said was for vaccine research. However, U.S. authorities said the filter required a license because it could be used for chemical and biological warfare, according to the Associated Press. Taerri was also accused of orchestrating a series of bank deposits less than $10,000 to evade federal reporting requirements.

The article further reports:

Last week, Michael White, the Navy veteran, was returned to the U.S.

White, of California, was detained in July 2018 while visiting a girlfriend in Iran. He was convicted of insulting the country’s supreme leader and putting private information online, the wire service also reports. White had been released from prison in March on a medical furlough and was awaiting his return.

Earlier last week, Iranian scientist named Sirous Asgari returned to Tehran after being acquitted in a federal trade secrets case and deported. He was working on a U.S. Navy project at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

I am glad that Michael White was able to return to America, but I am concerned about the price we paid for that return. How many more Americans will Iran take hostage in order to get their intelligence assets out of America?

Who Is Paying Our Colleges?

On Friday, The National Review posted an article titled, “U.S. Colleges Have Accepted $6 Billion in Undisclosed Donations from Foreign Governments, DOE Probe Finds.” Great. No wonder we are sending children to college respecting America and getting them backl home hating America.

The article reports:

The Department of Education has discovered at least $6 billion in unreported donations to American universities from adversarial foreign nations, Townhall reported on Friday.

The DoE revealed its updates in a May 19 letter to Congress and a subsequent briefing to several ranking House Republicans who are conducting an investigation into the foreign funding of U.S. educational institutions.

The investigation was spurred by increasing reports of Chinese funding at U.S. educational institutions, including the prevalence of Confucius institutes on U.S. campuses. Confucius institutes are Chinese-government funded centers which ostensibly promote Chinese language and culture, but which U.S. agencies have warned spread propaganda for China’s government.

“Some [Institutions of Higher Education] leaders are starting to acknowledge the threat of foreign academic espionage and have been working with federal law enforcement to address gaps in reporting and transparency,” the letter from the DoE’s Office of the General Counsel reads. “However, the evidence suggests massive investments of foreign money have bred dependency and distorted the decision-making, mission, and values of too many institutions.”

The letter also states, “Certain institutions have yet to produce requested emails, metadata, and other information regarding business relationships with, and faculty funding from, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Russian foreign sources.”

The DoE had already announced its own investigation into foreign funding of U.S. universities in February. Besides China, officials are looking into funding from Qatar, Iran, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.

America is a unique experiment. We have survived past the normal 200 years that a democracy can exist without self-destructing. The main reason for that is that we are a representative republic–not a democracy. But we need to remember that our freedom is always one generation away from being lost. If we continue to mis-educate our children from kindergarten through college, we will lose our freedom. We definitely need to remove foreign money from all of our education–from kindergarten through college. America is quite capable of teaching its own children and educating them on the value of their freedom and the great gift this country is.

 

Whoops

MSN is reporting today that 19 sailors were killed and 15 others wounded when an Iranian warship accidentally fired upon another warship during a training exercise.

The article reports:

The incident took place during training in the Gulf of Oman, a sensitive waterway that connects to the Strait of Hormuz through which about a fifth of the world’s oil passes. Iran regularly conducts exercises in the area.

The frigate Jamaran fired at a training target released by a support ship, the Konarak. However, the support ship stayed too close to the target and was hit, state broadcaster IRIB said.

“The incident took place in the perimeter of Iran’s southern Bandar-e Jask port on the Gulf of Oman during Iranian Navy drills on Sunday afternoon, in which 19 sailors were killed and 15 others were injured,” state TV said, quoting the navy.

Fars news agency quoted an unidentified military official as denying some Iranian media reports that the Konarak had sunk. The navy statement said investigations were undergoing regarding the cause of the incident, student news agency ISNA said.

IRIB said the Dutch-made Konarak vessel, which was purchased before Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, had been overhauled in 2018, and is equipped with four cruise missiles.

My sympathies to the families impacted, but not to the government that made this possible.

This Is A Dangerous Game

Yesterday American Military News posted an article (and pictures) about a group of Iranian warships playing ‘chicken’ with American warships in international waters of the North Arabian Gulf. That is a dangerous game.

The article reports:

The U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said late Wednesday that 11 Iranian ships harassed multiple U.S. warships in international waters today, and captured the dangerous encounter in photos and a video.

USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3), USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60), USS Firebolt (PC 10), USS Sirocco (PC 6), USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332) and USCGC Maui (WPB 1304) were conducting joint operations along with U.S. Army AH-64E Apache helicopters when the encounter occurred.

The Iranian vessels came within 10 yards of USCGC Maui’s bow, and 50 yards from USS Lewis B. Puller. U.S. ships were forced to take action to avoid colliding with Iranian boats.

U.S. crews issued radio warnings, five blasts from ships’ horns, and sounded acoustic noise makers, but were ignored by Iranian crews.

After an hour, Iranian crews finally responded and turned away from the U.S. warships.

“The IRGCN’s dangerous and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision, were not in accordance with the internationally recognized Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) ‘rules of the road’ or internationally recognized maritime customs, and were not in accordance with the obligation under international law to act with due regard for the safety of other vessels in the area,” U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said in a statement.

There are a number of possible motives for this harassment of American ships. If the Iranian government can focus its population on a common enemy, the Iranian people might overlook the severe economic problems the country is currently having. Also, if the Iranian government can drag America into a war in the Middle East, that will significantly drain America’s wealth and resources. We have seen that principle at work for the past twenty years. Either way, Iran is playing a dangerous game–they are not dealing with Barack Obama or Jimmy Carter–they are dealing with a President who believes in America and its right to defend itself. I expect there will be some reaction to this from the White House. We may not see it–it may happen behind closed doors, but I do believe President Trump will hold Iran accountable for their actions.

Going Further Into Debt To Support Terrorism

On Friday, The Daily Wire posted an article about some of the recent discussions happening in Congress. The article notes the Senator Ted Cruz has criticized Senator Diane Feinstein because she is trying to appropriate money to send to Iran (the world’s major fund source for terrorism).

The article reports:

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz unloaded on his Democratic colleagues on Friday in response to Sen. Dianne Feinstein sending a letter to President Trump declaring that she is “disappointed” in his administration’s plan to block funding to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, Iran. The Democrats’ demand of Trump to help Iran get $5 billion in aid, Cruz noted, comes “at the exact same time” that they are “blocking desperately need relief to small businesses in America.”

The article continues:

In late March, a group of Democratic lawmakers — among them Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Ilhan Omar (MN), and Rashida Tlaib (MI), and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin calling for the easing of U.S. sanctions on Iran during the coronavirus pandemic, a request that was dead on arrival. Iran has since requested $5 billion in aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In response to the Trump administration indicating that they have no intention of allowing the terror-sponsoring state to get the massive infusion of money, Sen. Feinstein sent her own letter on Thursday expressing her disappointment.

The timing of the letter was unfortunate for Senator Feinstein:

Feinstein’s letter was issued the same day that Senate Democrats blocked an urgent request from Sec. Mnuchin to increase the amount of cash in the emergency small business loan program recently established by Congress from $350 billion to $600 billion.

In response to the pair of moves, Cruz called out Feinstein and the Democrats for what he suggested were some backward “priorities.”

When Secretary Mnuchin asked for more money to help small business, the  Democrats in Congress acted the same way they have in the past:

As the New York Post’s editorial board explains, instead of agreeing to the desperately needed increase in cash on Thursday, the Democrats “issued partisan demands”: “They insisted the new money include $60 billion for ‘community-based lenders’ that serve minorities, women, nonprofits and other groups. And the bill also had to OK an immediate $250 billion for cities, states, hospitals, food stamps and other needs.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) explained in response that “everything is an opportunity.” This was an “opportunity” to address “disparities” she suggested are plaguing the country.

“And if they don’t get their way, no one gets a dime more,” the Post’s editorial board noted. “Never mind that businesses face bankruptcy or that 17 million people filed for jobless benefits in recent weeks.”

We don’t need term limits–we need intelligent voters who remember these antics when they vote in November.

I Suppose This Is Good News

Fox News reported yesterday that ISIS is advising terrorists not to travel to Europe for jihad. It’s a little ironic to me that ISIS is protecting its members from the flu while instructing them to engage in suicide missions.

The article reports:

ISIS’ al-Naba newsletter contains “sharia directives” urging its healthy members not to enter “the land of the epidemic” to avoid becoming infected, the New York Post reported Sunday.

But any sick jihadists already in Europe should stay there — presumably, to sicken infidels, the paper reported. The Sunday Times of London first reported on the newsletter, according to the paper.

The “healthy should not enter the land of the epidemic and the afflicted should not exit from it,” the ISIS newsletter advises, according to the Post.

…Ten people have died from the coronavirus in Iraq, where 110 cases have been reported, according to John Hopkins University which is tracking the endemic. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Europe is now the virus’ epicenter.

Iran has also become an epicenter for the coronavirus.

On February 28, The New Yorker reported:

Iran, a country of eighty-three million people, has now become one of the global epicenters of the coronavirus—with the highest mortality rate in the world. Based on official numbers, the mortality rate in Iran has fluctuated daily, between eight and eighteen per cent, compared to three per cent in China and less everywhere else. Iran is also unique, because a disproportionate number of confirmed cases are senior government officials. On Thursday, the Vice-President, Masoumeh Ebtekar—who gained fame in 1979 as Sister Mary, the spokeswoman for the students who seized the U.S. Embassy and took fifty-two Americans hostage—announced that she, too, had contracted the coronavirus. The day before, she had attended a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet. Two members of parliament, including the chairman of the Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, have also been infected, as has the mayor of a district in Tehran and a senior cleric who had served as Iran’s Ambassador to the Vatican. One of the lawmakers, Mahmoud Sadeghi, tweeted on Tuesday, “I send this message in a situation where I have little hope of surviving in this world.” The former Vatican Ambassador, who was eighty-one, died on Thursday.

The article in The New Yorker notes:

The first mention of the disease by the government was a report of two deaths in the city on February 19th. Initial reports indicate that the carrier of the virus may have been a merchant who travelled between Qom and Wuhan, in China, where COVID-19 is believed to have originated. The outbreak is estimated to have begun between three and six weeks ago, which would mean that the two Iranians who died could have been sick and infecting others for weeks.

The fact that the virus has impacted many high-level officials in Iran might be the result of the close relations between the Chinese government and the Iranian government. It seems that China’s failure to tell the truth about the virus has impacted both their friends and their enemies.

All Cultures Are Not Equal

The political left has made a career of criticizing western culture. Somehow they have avoided noticing the scientific advancements western culture has been responsible for, the modern conveniences that help protect our rivers from pollution, and the clean energy that helps with carbon emissions. Somehow the critics have also overlooked the women that have contributed to the scientific knowledge of the west. Well, every now and then an article comes to light that illustrates that the knowledge of science and germs is so much a part of western culture that we take it for granted.

Breitbart posted an article today that illustrates what happens when science gets overruled by religious extremism.

The article reports:

Devout Iranian Muslims are releasing online videos showing the faithful licking and kissing shrines to show they have no fear of infection during the country’s escalating coronavirus outbreak.

Officials have confirmed 978 cases in Iran and 54 deaths, the highest death toll of any country outside China. But religious leaders continue to reject advice from the Health Ministry to close holy sites to help stop the spread of infection.

Instead the videos, which have reportedly emerged from Iran’s coronavirus epicentre of Qom, show Islamic devotees spreading misinformation about the virus while forcing young children to also take part.

…Touching and kissing surfaces in shrines is a common practice for pilgrims, and religious hardliners argue the holy sites of Qom are “a place for healing.”

But many Iranians are worried the clerical establishment is not taking the outbreak seriously, while Iranian health workers have reportedly admitted the number of people that have died from coronavirus could be five times more than government figures claim.

Still many hold a contrary view that Islamic faith will beat any virus.

“There are people who say that this shrine spreads coronavirus. I’m here to lick the tomb so that I can fall ill. This way, I’ve removed the virus. You can come and visit,” one man says in a video.

U.S. Department of State senior advisor for public affairs Len Khodorkovsky shared a clip, captioning it: “Don’t do this. Ever. But especially during the coronavirus outbreak.”

Another video from the city of Mashhad, where the Imam Reza shrine is located, shows a man licking the shrine and reportedly saying: “I have come to lick the Imam Reza shrine so that I contract this disease and allow others to visit the shrine with peace of mind”.

That is so sad.

The Law Of Unintended Consequences At Work

Evidently the coronavirus has been around since December. China kept quiet about it, and when it spread to Iran in January, Iran kept quiet about it. One of the ‘advantages’ of a totalitarian regime is the ability to keep the public from knowing about a pending epidemic. Well, there seem to be some consequences of the fact that China and Iran chose to remain silent about the problem. As of now, Iran has the highest number of deaths outside of China.

The Gateway Pundit is reporting today that after the death of Commander Soleimani,  Democrat Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif in a secret meeting in Munich. The meeting was in February.

The article includes a quote from the Israel National News:

This year’s Munich Security Conference may go down in history as the COVID-19 viral super-spreader “event of the century,” if not in all of recorded history. That’s because the Munich 2020 event took place from February Friday 14-Sunday 16, and Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif attended.

Unknown to apparently all the high security-minded attendees, FM Zarif was likely carrying much more than the dark secret that the COVID-19 virus had already begun rampaging through the highest echelons of the Iranian government and society. FM Zarif , or one of his minions, was likely carrying the actual COVID-19, and infected who knows how many of the world’s highest and most influential politicians at the Munich event.

In fact, US Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat from Connecticut, not only met FM Zarif, but met him in Zarif’s hotel suite where there was likely a rat’s nest of COVID-19. Unless drastic steps are taken, Sen. Murphy may become the Typhoid Mary of COVID-19, and infect the entire US Senate and House of Representatives.

As of February 28, 2020 there were officially 210 actual deaths in Iran. Unofficially, there have been over 500 reliably reported Iranian deaths. But, what is very unusual about the Iranian deaths is that a large number of extremely high ranking government officials in Tehran, the capital, have actually caught the disease and have died. The officially “First reported” Iranian case was on February 19. Working backward from the 19th, that means COVID-19 was likely already circulating in Iran from middle-to-late January when FM Zarif, or one of his staff, could have caught the disease.

I don’t wish anyone ill, but it seems like violating the Logan Act might be the least of Chris Murphy’s problems.

Ignoring The Law Because You Think You Can

On Tuesday, CNS News reported the following:

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) confirmed Tuesday that he met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on the sidelines of a security conference in Germany at the weekend, justifying his decision to do so by saying that “if [President] Trump isn’t going to talk to Iran, then someone should.”

There is little doubt that Iran is an enemy of America. Why is a member of Congress meeting with their Foreign Minister?

The article continues:

Murphy said he also wanted to request the Iranian regime’s help in bringing the civil war in Yemen to an end; and to push for the release of Americans incarcerated in Iran.

“I don’t know whether my visit with Zarif will make a difference. I’m not the President or the Secretary of State – I’m just a rank and file U.S. Senator,” Murphy wrote.

“I cannot conduct diplomacy on behalf of the whole of the U.S. government, and I don’t pretend to be in a position to do so.”

“But if Trump isn’t going to talk to Iran, then someone should. And Congress is a co-equal branch of government, responsible along with the Executive for setting foreign policy. A lack of dialogue leaves nations guessing about their enemy’s intentions, and guessing wrong can lead to catastrophic mistakes.”

Senator Murphy may consider Congress a ‘co-equal branch of government,’ but the President is the person who conducts foreign policy. Congressmen on their own do not have that authority.

The article concludes:

The 1799 Logan Act prohibits unauthorized persons from negotiating with foreign governments which have a dispute with the United States. No-one has been convicted for violating the act.

In 2015, 47 Republican senators signed a letter to the Iranian regime suggesting that a nuclear agreement between President Obama and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would be an executive agreement which another president or Congress would be empowered to abrogate.

The initiative prompted some critics to invoke the Logan Act.

Among the Democrats who condemned the letter was Murphy, who accused the signatories of “undermining the president.”

“I can’t even imagine the uproar if Democratic senators [had been] writing to Saddam Hussein in the lead up to the Iraq War,” Murphy told the National Journal at the time.

I guess that was then and this is now. It’s amazing how quickly the rules change for the Democrats.

Did The American Press Cover This?

The U.K. Daily Mail posted a video today of Iranian students refusing to walk of American and Israeli flags. Please follow the link to view the video. It is an amazing step forward for protesters in Iran. There have been a lot of protests in Iran lately–some sponsored and paid for by the government and some protesting that government. The thing to remember about Iran is the population demographic. Because of the tremendous loss of life during the war with Iraq from 1980 to 1988, there is a generation of Iranians that is essentially missing. The median age of the Iranian population is 30.1 years, and generally speaking these young people want to westernize the country. The government represents a generation that is dying and desperately trying to hold on to its power.

The article at The U.K. Daily Mail reports:

This is the incredible moment hundreds of Iranian students refuse to step on the American and Israeli flags amid anti-government marches in the country and a warning to its leaders from Donald Trump to ‘not kill protesters’. 

The clip taken at Shaheed Beheshti University on Sunday shows crowds deliberately avoiding walking over the Stars and Stripes and the Star of David before furiously berating those that do. 

Ali Khamenei’s regime is said to have painted the flags at the main entrance of the university for students to walk over as a sign of disrespect. 

In 2016, Iranian professor Sadegh Zibakalam, who has avoided walking on the flags in the past, said: ‘It is a sign of disrespect toward that nation. Placing the flag of a country on the ground and stepping on it is an error, a sign of disrespect toward that nation.’

Thousands had on Saturday gathered in front of the gate of the Amirkabir University of Technology near the former US embassy in Tehran to protest the government and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for mistakenly downing a civilian passenger plane.  

President Trump issued a stark warning to the leaders of Iran Sunday, tweeting: ‘To the leaders of Iran – DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching. 

‘More importantly, the USA is watching. Turn your internet back on and let reporters roam free! Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!’

Stay tuned. America is once again standing up for freedom. We can’t and shouldn’t ‘nation build,’ but we can certainly encourage other people to work for freedom in their own countries.

Sometimes I Just Have No Words

We need to keep in mind that Qasem Soleimani was a terrorists. He was responsible for the killing and injuring of hundreds of American soldiers in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was responsible for killing hundreds of Iranian civilians who were protesting the current regime. He was the coordinator of various terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East and in other parts of the world. He was not simply a high-ranking government official in Iran–he was a cold-blooded murderer.

Below is some of the insanity of the American media in dealing with the death of Soleimani (posted on YouTube January 10th):

 

A Serious Mistake

U.S. officials are stating that they are confident that the Iranian airline that crashed in Tehran, Iran, on Tuesday night was hit by an Iranian missile.

Scott Johnson posted the following at Power Line Blog today:

Taking into account the Iranian regime’s obvious lying about the cause of the downing of the Ukrainian jetliner leaving Tehran this past Tuesday combined with the regime’s subsequent refusal to turn over the aircraft’s black boxes, and a reasonable person — say, the American Spectator’s Scott McKay — would infer that the regime shot it down one way or another.

Now comes word that “U.S. officials said Thursday it was ‘highly likely’ that an Iranian anti-aircraft missile downed a Ukrainian jetliner late Tuesday, killing all 176 people on board….The crash came just a few hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack against Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops amid a confrontation with Washington over the U.S. drone strike that killed an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general last week. Two U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence, said they had no certain knowledge of Iranian intent. But they said the airliner could have been mistaken for a threat.”

The Gateway Pundit reported the following today:

Al Hadath Dubai News reported a missile took down the Ukrainian flight after the crash on Wednesday.

(Tweets were translated)

Al Hadath: Preliminary images of the Ukrainian plane suspected of being hit by an Iranian missile

The majority of the passengers on the plane were Canadians and Iranians. It will be interesting to see if Canada responds to this at all.

Follow The Money And The Speaking Engagements

On Friday, The Gateway Pundit posted an article with the following headline, “Dem Senator Chris Murphy – Who Lashed Out at Trump Following Soleimani’s Death – Is Frequent Speaker at NIAC Council – the Iranian Regime’s US Lobby House.”

The article reports:

On Thursday the United States killed General Qassim Soleimani, a top commander of Iran’s al-Quds Force, in an airstrike at Baghdad’s International Airport. The strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces. Seven people were reportedly killed in the airstrike.

Following the death of Commander Soleimani Democrat Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) lashed out at President Trump for assassinating the Iranian al-Quds terrorist leader.

The Senator Tweeted an objection to the fact that Soleimani was killed without the assent of Congress and that he felt the assassination would set off a war.

The article continues:

Senator Murphy has been has a history of supporting Iran’s mullahs.
Murphy is a routine speaker at the NIAC Council, the regime’s lobby house in the US.

In fact, Trita Parsi, the regime’s top activist at NIAC, has praised Senator Murphy for his support of NIAC’s efforts.

NIAC’s Trita Parsi praised Sen. Murphy for being a hero of the Iran deal.

I wonder how much of the money involved in the Iran deal somehow found its way into the pockets of some of our Congressmen.

The Person Not Mentioned

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article posted an article about the other major terrorist that was killed in the attack on Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Qasem Soleimani.

The article reports:

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Qasem Soleimani wasn’t the only major-league terrorist killed in the drone strike ordered by Donald Trump. Also killed was Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a top Iraqi paramilitary leader whose long, bloody career includes attacks on American and other Western embassies, as well as being a founder of Kata’ib Hezbollah, a group responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers in Iraq.

In 2009, the U.S. sanctioned both al-Muhandis and Kata’ib Hezbollah as terrorist entities.

In some ways, killing al-Muhandis was more significant than the death of Soleimani. He’s been an active terrorist against the U.S. since the occupation of Iraq and helped create the umbrella Shia militia group Hashd al-Shaabi. Hashd was originally founded to fight ISIS in Iraq, but has morphed into a shadow organization exercising political and military control of Iraq on behalf of Iran.

The article concludes:

The Popular Mobilization Force (PMF) is ostensibly part of the Iraqi security services. But Muhandis ran it as his own little fiefdom, defying the Iraqi government on occasion in order to do the bidding of his masters in Tehran.

Today the PMF and allied militias control large parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria, where they are allied with President Bashar Assad and the Lebanese Hezbollah. Israel and the U.S. view the groups as part of an aggressive Iranian campaign to dominate the region.

Over the summer, PMF groups blamed Israel for mysterious drone attacks that targeted their positions in Iraq. The strikes eventually lead to the restructuring of the PMF to integrate them into the Iraqi military. The restructuring was approved by Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi.

The death of Muhandis is a tremendous blow to Iranian influence in Iraq. Since Hashd exercised influence throughout the region, his death will be felt from Damascus to Beirut to Tehran. Muhandis was seen as something of a hero by many Shias in Iraq. But the fact is, he was a murderous, hateful fanatic who was an enemy of the United States and a threat to American interests and personnel.

We need to leave Iraq. However, eliminating some of the Iranian terrorists working in that country would be a really nice legacy.

The View From The Iranian People

The Gateway Pundit reported the following yesterday:

Iranians online are cheering the assassination of Iran Quds Force leader Major General Qassem Soleimani by a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad early Friday local time, with many thanking President Trump with a hashtag that reads: #TnxPOTUS4Soleimani. Many observers regarded Soleimani as the second most powerful person in Iran behind the Supreme Leader.

It was just Wednesday that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei trash talked President Trump, saying, “That guy has tweeted that we see Iran responsible for the events in Baghdad & we will respond to Iran. 1st: You can’t do anything. 2nd: If you were logical —which you’re not— you’d see that your crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan… have made nations hate you.”

Please follow the link above to the article to see all of the Tweets from Iranian citizens thanking President Trump for his actions. Soleimani was part of the tyrannical regime that the Iranians are trying to overthrow, and Soleimani had no problem killing his fellow countrymen.

 

The Insanity Of The Mainstream Media

Yesterday The Washington Free Beacon reported the following:

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper compared Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps killed in an American airstrike on Thursday, to French president Charles de Gaulle, a leader of the French resistance against Nazi occupation during World War II.

“Soleimani is—it’s difficult to convey how revered he is in Iran. Imagine the French Foreign Legion, at the height of the French empire. This guy is regarded in Iran as a completely heroic figure, personally very brave,” CNN host Fareed Zakaria said.

“I was trying to think of somebody, and I was thinking of de Gaulle, although he became the leader of the country,” Cooper said.

Soleimani was a terrorist. He has a lot of American blood on his hands. He was planning further attacks on Americans around the world.

A friend on Facebook noted the following:

The UN Security Council banned Soleimani from leaving Iran because of his extensive use of surrogates in other countries to commit terrorist acts. His presence in Iraq was in and of itself an act of war. He was there organizing part of a group of about 20,000 IRANIAN soldiers planning to attack the US embassy in military fashion. The first attacks were just to evaluate our defenses before the real attack they were planning.

Not any more.

It is wonderful having a leader who stands up to our enemies instead of sending them planes loaded with millions of dollars in cash to fund their killing of Americans.

It is a shame that our media has become so biased that they complain when our President protects Americans.

The Quest For Freedom

Hong Kong protests have been in the news for a while, but there is not a lot being written about what is currently happening in Iran. The protests in Iran are the largest since the protests nine years ago. This time the protesters know that America is cheering for them.

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line about the protests in Iran.

The article reports:

The New York Times reports on the protests against Iran’s repressive regime. It calls them the most intense since 1979. The 1979 protests, of course, led to the overthrow of the Shah.

The mullahs were the target of strong protests in 2009. But the Times supplies evidence that the current wave is even more intense.

The 2009 protests are believed to have resulted in 72 deaths over a period of many months. The current protests have led to 180 to 450 deaths in just four days.

More significantly, the nature of the protesters appears to be different. Students led the 2009 protests. Reportedly, the current protesters are mainly unemployed or low-income men between the ages of 19 and 26, and the protests are centered not at universities but in working class neighborhoods.

This makes sense because the current protests were triggered by economic grievances, especially an increase in gasoline prices. The Times acknowledges that the Trump administration’s sanctions against Iran are “a big reason” for the economic squeeze.

The difference in the nature of the protests is significant because unemployed and low-income youths have less to lose than university students. They are less likely to cowed for long.

The article states that it is doubtful that this protest will lead to an overthrow of the mullahs, but it may be a step toward that end.

A Policy That Is Working

It is not really in the interest of anyone (other than Iran) for Iran to successfully build an atomic bomb. Iran is a major supporter of terrorism around the world, and no person on earth will be safe if Iran successfully builds a nuclear weapon capable of reaching Europe or North America. The Iran nuclear deal did not stop Iran’s nuclear program–it simply postponed it until President Obama was out of office.

John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article today about the impact of President Trump’s Iran policy on the economy of Iran.

The article reports:

Iran has been roiled by demonstrations against the dramatic increase in the price of gasoline that was dictated by the government earlier this month. The demonstrations have been brutally suppressed, with somewhere between 100 and several hundred protesters killed by police. For several days, the mullahs pulled the plug on internet service to prevent videos of the protests and police brutality to be seen by the outside world.

So why is Iran in turmoil?

The article explains:

In other words, the Trump administration’s sanctions are working. Iran’s government, short of cash, was forced to dramatically raise the price of fuel, even though it knew what the reaction would be. And the resulting explosion–the analogy to the Yellow Vest protests in France is obvious–has shaken the regime.

Trump’s policy of using sanctions to starve the mullahs of cash contrasts favorably with Barack Obama’s inexplicable policy of sending $100 billion dollars to the regime in exchange for empty promises.

President Trump’s policy toward Iran is working.

Can I Help You Pack?

Yesterday Fox News reported the following:

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Thursday that his country’s delegation would vote for the United Nations headquarters to be moved out of New York if given the chance, in the latest sign of escalating tensions with the United States on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

“If we’re ever asked, we will, of course, vote for it, for the United Nations headquarters to be transferred to a more secure and better country that does not have the narrow viewpoints that we have been witnessing,” he said in response to a question at a press conference. There appears to be no significant movement to move the U.N.

This is probably the first and last time I will agree with President Rouhani.

The article continues:

He mentioned a number of instances of Iranians being barred from entering the U.S. The Trump administration this week restricted senior Iranian government officials and their family members from entering the U.S.

“For years, Iranian officials and their family members have quietly taken advantage of America’s freedom and prosperity, including excellent educational, employment, entertainment, and cultural opportunities in the United States,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Thursday.

“Under this proclamation, designated senior regime officials and their families will no longer be allowed entry into the United States. No longer will elites reap the benefits of a free society while the Iranian people suffer under the regime’s corruption and mismanagement.”

Rouhani accused the U.S. of capitalizing on its position as host nation for the U.N.

“This is the house of peace and house of communications with one another and America must not take advantage of its position as a host and only grant visas to whom America likes,” he said.

Rouhani spoke at a lengthy press conference in which he blamed the U.S. for the collapse of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and called on the U.S. to remove sanctions before talks can occur between the two countries. President Trump had opened the door to talks with the Iranian regime, but has also kept up his “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions against Tehran.

“If these preconditions are taken off the table and then of course the possibility exists to talk with America,” Rouhani said.

Would the UN just leave if all the delegates were asked to pay their parking tickets?

The Threat Is Still There

Yesterday NJ.com posted an article about Alexei Saab, 42, of Morristown, New Jersey, who was also known as Ali Hassan Saab, Alex Saab, and Rachid. Mr. Saab has been arrested for offenses related to his support of Hezbollah. He has been in custody since July.

The article reports:

A LinkedIn page identifies Saab as the director of information technology at a Morristown energy firm, which said he was terminated in July, but would not say why. He was also listed as an adjunct lecturer at Baruch College. Officials there did not immediately return calls for comment.

But the 33-page federal criminal complaint unsealed in New York on Thursday, replete with photos and diagrams purportedly collected as part of his alleged intelligence gathering mission, outlined a long-running operation that began long before he swore allegiance to the United States, and continued for years.

“Even though Saab was a naturalized American citizen, his true allegiance was to Hezbollah, the terrorist organization responsible for decades of terrorist attacks that have killed hundreds,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman.

The article also notes:

Earlier this year, a federal court in New York convicted Ali Kourani, 34, a Lebanese-born U.S. citizen of charges that he bought weapons and plotted attacks in the city on behalf of Hezbollah. He was said to be surveying targets that included JFK International Airport and a federal building in Manhattan.

Cohen said with the current escalation of tensions with Iran, it is not surprising that the Federal Bureau of Investigation would be taking a hard look at known Hezbollah operatives and networks in the US “and if warranted, taking aggressive enforcement action.”

The article concludes:

While the U.S. Attorney’s office said Saab was a Morristown resident, records only show a Morristown post office box, listed as his residence for his voter registration. At two other addresses in Jersey City associated with Saab in public records, there was no answer when a reporter knocked on the doors. Several living in the neighborhood said they did not know him.

The charges against Saab include providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, conspiracy, receiving military-type training from a foreign terrorist organization, unlawful procurement of citizenship to facilitate international terrorism and citizenship application fraud.

Hezbollah is funded by Iran. Much of the money paid to Iran in the Iran deal brokered by President Obama has gone to various terrorist groups. Iran is one of those groups. For further information on the behind-the-scenes strategy that sold the Iran deal, see the following article posted on May 10, 2016. The article cites a New York Times interview of Ben Rhodes, the former creative writer who worked in the Obama administration to sell foreign policy to journalists and thus to the American public.

Sometimes Warnings Are There For A Reason

Common sense is not a flower that grows in everyone’s garden. When someone warns you about something, they may actually know something you do not.

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article about bloggers Jolie King and Mark Firkin. They announced in 2017 that they would be going on an international trip to “try to break the stigma around travelling to countries which get a bad rap in the media.” What could possibly go wrong?

Last Thursday, the BBC reported:

Two Australian citizens detained in Iran have been identified as Jolie King and Mark Firkin.

Ms King, who also holds a UK passport, and Mr Firkin were blogging their travels in Asia and the Middle East.

They were reportedly arrested 10 weeks ago near Tehran but news of the arrest, and that of another British-Australian woman, came to light on Wednesday.

Australia said it had repeatedly raised their cases with Tehran, including in a meeting between officials last week.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said she had lobbied on their behalf in a meeting with her Iranian counterpart.

She described the detentions as “a matter of deep concern” on Thursday, and confirmed that assistance had been offered to the families of the three detainees.

“[We] hope to see Mark and Jolie safely home as soon as possible,” their families said on Thursday.

The situation comes amid growing tensions between the West and Iran.

Several dual nationals have been detained in Iran in recent years, including the British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Relations between the UK and Iran have also been strained in recent months by a row over the seizure of oil tankers in the Gulf.

I guess maybe the media discourages people from traveling to certain places for a reason. We need to remember that not every country in the world plays by the same rules.

 

If You Wondered Why Energy Independence Is Important

The Wall Street Journal posted an article yesterday about the drone attack on Saudi oil fields. The Iran-allied Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen have claimed credit for the attack.

The article reports:

The production shutdown amounts to a loss of about 5.7 million barrels a day, the kingdom’s national oil company said, roughly 5% of the world’s daily production of crude oil.

Officials said they hoped to restore production to its regular level of 9.8 million barrels a day by Monday. Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said lost production would be offset through supplies of oil already on hand.

The strikes mark the latest in a series of attacks on the country’s petroleum assets in recent months, as tensions rise among Iran and its proxies like the Houthis, and the U.S. and partners like Saudi Arabia. The attacks could drive up oil prices if the Saudis can’t turn production back on quickly and potentially rattle investor confidence in an initial public offering of Saudi Aramco, the national oil company.

The article concludes:

The Yemen war is a central front in a new and more aggressive foreign policy overseen by Prince Mohammed, who launched the intervention with a coalition of allied states in 2015. Under the prince’s watch, the kingdom also applied a blockade on neighboring Qatar, detained Lebanon’s prime minister, and sent a team of men to kill exiled journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018.

A conservative kingdom with a Sunni Muslim majority, Saudi Arabia has been an opponent of Iran in a struggle for power across the broader Middle East since the 1979 revolution that toppled Iran’s monarchy.

The attacks on Aramco’s facilities are poorly timed for Aramco’s coming IPO and pose a challenge to oil officials after a changing of the guard in their leadership. Aramco last week picked seven international banks to help it list on Saudi Arabia’s domestic exchange, an IPO that could value the company at about $2 trillion dollars and come before the end of the year.

There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes here. This is part of the conflict between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. At their core, both the Saudis and the Iranians want to bring back the former caliphate. The Ottoman Empire (which was that caliphate) existed until the early 1900’s. Many Muslims want that Empire restored. The argument is over who will rule the caliphate when it is established. Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood are players in this conflict, as is ISIS. Jamal Khashoggi was a part of the Muslim Brotherhood. Descriptions of him as simply a journalist were misleading. Another part of this puzzle is the fact that Saudi Arabia is drawing closer to aligning with Israel because of the fear of a nuclear Iran. That also would be a cause for increased aggression from Iran.

Generally speaking, any terrorism that goes on in the Middle East can be traced back to Iran. They have been training and funding terrorists since the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

I have no idea what impact this will have on world oil prices. I do know that Saudi Arabia will work to repair the damage as soon as possible. I have no doubt that Iran is violating the sanctions on its oil exports, so if the price of oil rises significantly, Iran may be able to pull itself out of its current economic difficulties and calm its population. America will continue to prosper as oil prices rise because we are now a net exporter of oil rather than a net importer. Because of the policies of President Trump, we are in a very different situation than we were during the oil crisis of the 1970’s.

This Might Be A Problem For The Obama Legacy

On Wednesday, The Washington Examiner posted an article about Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead, a book written by General James Mattis about his time as leader of U.S. Central Command from 2010 to 2013, overseeing military operations in the Middle East and Central Asia. Some parts of the book do not portray President Obama in a positive light.

The article reports:

“From my first day at CENTCOM, I knew we faced two principal adversaries: stateless Sunni Islamist terrorists and the revolutionary Shiite regime of Iran, the most destabilizing country in the region,” he writes. “Iran was by far the more deadly of the two threats.”

That’s not how the president under whom Mattis served saw it, though, and Barack Obama eventually fired the storied Marine general for what Mattis believes were his insistent warnings about the Iranian threat.

Mattis says Washington didn’t even inform him when Iran committed an “act of war” on American soil.

The duty officer at his Tampa, Florida, headquarters on Oct. 11, 2011 told him that the attorney general and FBI director had held a press conference to announce the arrest of two Iranians who had planned a bomb attack on Cafe Milano, a high-end restaurant in Washington that was a favorite of the rich and famous, including Saudi Arabia’s ambassador, Adel al-Jubeir.

As Mattis writes, “Attorney General Eric Holder said the bombing plot was ‘directed and approved by elements of the Iranian government and, specifically, senior members of the Qods Force.’ The Qods were the Special Operations Force of the Revolutionary Guards, reporting to the top of the Iranian government.”

The article concludes:

Mattis says his reaction to the Cafe Milano bomb plot contributed towards Obama’s decision to fire him abruptly.

“While I fully endorse civilian control of the military, I would not surrender my independent judgment. In 2010, I argued strongly against pulling all our troops out of Iraq,” Mattis writes. (Earlier in the book, he recounts a discussion he had on the subject in Baghdad with Vice President Joe Biden, who was in charge of Iraq policy but “ignoring reality” and uninterested in the considered opinion of the general in charge of operations there.) “In 2011, I urged retaliation against Iran for plotting to blow up a restaurant in our nation’s capital. In 2012, I argued for retaining a small but capable contingent of troops in Afghanistan. Each step along the way, I argued for political clarity and offered options that gave the Commander in Chief a rheostat he could dial up or down to protect our nation.”

The commander in chief chose another option: fire the CENTCOM leader.

“In December 2012, I received an unauthorized phone call telling me that in an hour, the Pentagon would be announcing my relief,” Mattis writes. “I was leaving a region aflame and in disarray.”

And the biggest threat in the region, Mattis says, then as now, was Iran. He predicted the Obama administration’s reluctance to punish Tehran for its bad behavior while the two sides negotiated a nuclear deal would come back to haunt the U.S. He concludes that “the Iranians had not been held to account, and I anticipated that they would feel emboldened to challenge us more in the future.”

Unfortunately I think that in the future we will see more situations where President Obama put his own search for a diplomatic victory ahead of the safety of Americans.

Dealing With A Country Whose Economy Is Collapsing Is Not Unlike Dealing With A Cornered Animal

The sanctions placed on Iran by the United States have created severe economic problems for the country. The people of the country are being hurt by the sanctions, the rules are still doing quite well due to black market dealings. A rebellion is brewing. The rebellion will probably be successful if the sanctions continue. The rulers of Iran know that and are trying almost anything to make the sanctions go away. Thus, the recent seizure of oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz.

One America News posted an article today with the headline, “Britain weighs response to Iran Gulf crisis with few good options.”

The article reports:

Britain was weighing its next moves in the Gulf tanker crisis on Sunday, with few good options apparent as a recording emerged showing that the Iranian military defied a British warship when it boarded and seized a ship three days ago.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said she would chair a meeting of Britain’s COBR emergency response committee on Monday morning to discuss the crisis.

Little clue has been given by Britain on how it plans to respond after Iranian Revolutionary Guards rappelled from helicopters and seized the Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday in apparent retaliation for the British capture of an Iranian tanker two weeks earlier.

Footage obtained by Reuters from an Iranian news agency on Sunday showed the tanker docked in an Iranian port — with Iran’s flag now hoisted atop.

The British government is expected to announce its next steps in a speech to parliament on Monday. But experts on the region say there are few obvious steps London can take at a time when the United States has already imposed the maximum possible economic sanctions, banning all Iranian oil exports worldwide.

“We rant and rave and we shout at the ambassador and we hope it all goes away,” said Tim Ripley, a British defense expert who writes about the Gulf for Jane’s Defence Weekly.

“I don’t see at this point in time us being able to offer a concession that can resolve the crisis. Providing security and escort for future ships is a different matter.”

A day after calling the Iranian action a “hostile act”, top British officials kept comparatively quiet on Sunday, making clear that they had yet to settle on a response.

“We are going to be looking at a series of options,” junior defense minister Tobias Ellwood told Sky News. “We will be speaking with our colleagues, our international allies, to see what can actually be done.

“Our first and most important responsibility is to make sure we get a solution to the issue to do with the current ship, make sure other British-flagged ships are safe to operate in these waters and then look at the wider picture.”

Seizing a ship in international waters is an act of war. The question is, “What are the western countries going to do about it?” War with Iran is not really a good idea–it’s what the rulers want–feeling that a war would unite the country. We have in the past used military escorts through the Straits of Hormuz. I suspect we will be doing so again. The good news is that America is energy independent and can help dilute the impact of the difficulties in getting oil through the Strait of Hormuz. Meanwhile, I am hoping we have some cyber experts that could make the life of the Iranian rulers a little more difficult.