Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Former DEA chief warns of cooperation between Hezbollah and drug cartels

From CNS News.

Excerpt:

The Iranian-supported Shi’ite terrorist group Hezbollah has spread its influence all the way to the U.S. border with Mexico, a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Iran’s influence in the Western Hemisphere heard on Thursday.

Michael Braun, a former chief of operations at the Drug Enforcement Agency, said Hezbollah had developed relationships with the powerful Mexican drug cartels to “move their agenda forward.” He cited a plot, recently uncovered by the DEA, involving an Iranian operative in Mexico allegedly planning to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C.

“Hezbollah are absolute masters at forming close relationships with existing organized crime groups around the world that helps them facilitate what they need to do to move their agendas forward,” Braun told CNSNews.com following the hearing. “And if anyone thinks for a moment that they don’t have their eye on the southwest border and all of our country, then they couldn’t be more wrong.”

In his prepared remarks Braun, who also served as interim director of the Department of Justice’s Drug Intelligence Fusion Center, said Hezbollah and other terrorist groups understand that the Mexican cartels are already operating successfully inside the United States.

“If anyone thinks for one moment that these terrorist organizations do not understand that the Mexican drug trafficking cartels now dominate drug trafficking in our country – reportedly in more than 250 cities – than they are very stupid or very naive,” he said.

“And these groups most assuredly recognize the strategic value of exploiting that activity, and all that has been built to support it, for moving their vision forward in this part of the world.”

This is disturbing particularly given the news of Iran’s new Spanish-language TV channel in Venezuela.

Iran and Hezbollah

The Washington Times reports on arms sales from China to Iran.

Excerpt:

China is continuing to provide advanced missiles and other conventional arms to Iran and may be doing so in violation of U.N. sanctions against the Tehran regime, according to a draft report by the congressional U.S.-China Commission. “China continues to provide Iran with what could be considered advanced conventional weapons,” the report of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission says. According to the report, which will be made public Nov. 16, China sold $312 million worth of arms to Iran, second only to Russia, after Congress passed the Iran Freedom Support Act in 2006 that allows the U.S. government to sanction foreign companies that provide advanced arms to Iran. The report also noted that, after Russia began cutting back arms transfers to Iran in 2008, China became the largest arms supplier to the Iranian military. Most of the weapons transfers involved sales of Chinese anti-ship cruise missiles, including C-802 missiles that China promised the United States in 1997 would not be exported to Iran. China also built an entire missile plant in Iran last year to produce the Nasr-1 anti-ship cruise missile.

The Nasr-1 has a range of 19 miles. The C-802 has a range of 75 miles. That means that the C-802 has about the same range as a Harpoon SSM. Not good. I am not worried about the Nasr-1, but the C-802 is a problem. These weapons could be used by terrorists to attack allied naval vessels. In fact, the New York Times reported that Hezbollah, a terrorist group linked to Iran,used the C-802 missile to sink an Israeli Saar 5 corvette back in 2006.

Excerpt:

The power and sophistication of the missile and rocket arsenal that Hezbollah has used in recent days has caught the United States and Israel off guard, and officials in both countries are just now learning the extent to which the militant group has succeeded in getting weapons from Iran and Syria.

While the Bush administration has stated that cracking down on weapons proliferation is one of its top priorities, the arming of Hezbollah shows the blind spots of American and other Western intelligence services in assessing the threat, officials from across those governments said.

American and Israeli officials said the successful attack last Friday on an Israeli naval vessel was the strongest evidence to date of direct support by Iran to Hezbollah. The attack was carried out with a sophisticated antiship cruise missile, the C-802, an Iranian-made variant of the Chinese Silkworm, an American intelligence official said.

At the same time, American and Israeli officials cautioned that they had found no evidence that Iranian operatives working in Lebanon launched the antiship missile themselves.

But neither Jerusalem nor Washington had any idea that Hezbollah had such a missile in its arsenal, the officials said, adding that the Israeli ship had not even activated its missile defense system because intelligence assessments had not identified a threat from such a radar-guided cruise missile.

[...]Officials said it was likely that Iran trained Hezbollah fighters on how to successfully fire and guide the missiles, and that members of Iran’s Al Quds force — the faction of the Revolutionary Guards that trains foreign forces — would not necessarily have to be on the scene to launch the C-802.

At the same time, some experts said Iran was not likely to deploy such a sophisticated weapon without also sending Revolutionary Guard crews with the expertise to fire the missile.

Note that this is the same Quds force that likely trained Iraqi terrorists in the use of IEDs and is suspected of being involved with the recent attack on the Saudi ambassador on American soil.

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Full video of the CNN Republican primary debate on foreign policy

The video is here:

I highly recommend this debate.

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Michele Bachmann wins foreign policy debate, Santorum second

Here’s a summary from the highly-biased pro-Romney Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post.

Excerpt:

The foreign policy debate Tuesday night was a surprise on many counts. It was lively and serious, which many debates haven’t been. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) exceeded expectations. Rick Santorum showed personal restraint (not complaining about the lack of attention) and displaying his depth of knowledge.

[Bashes Gingrich for a while]

[...]At the other extreme was Bachmann who was poised, informed and knowledgable throughout. She made clear that Obama’s lack of leadership is responsible for Iran’s progress on a nuclear weapon. She defended aid to Pakistan which is in our national security interest. She made an excellent point about sending our dollars to China, which in effect builds up its military at the expense of ours. She pivoted on an energy question to chide Obama for delaying on the Keystone pipeline. If she performs this well in future debates, look for her to make progress reclaiming support in Iowa.

[Praises Romney for a while]

[...]Santorum also had a strong night. He turned the conversation on the “war on terror” to a discussion of jihadism. He defended foreign aid (a smart, but not popular position). On the immigration issue he wove in his support for an economic plan focused on reviving American manufacturing. And he got Romney to agree in the closing round that we have an acute national security problem in this hemisphere. He was calmer and more presidential than he has been in past debates.

However, Gingrich definitely got stung by his support for amnesty. He may be smart, but he’s quite moderate on many issues. Not as liberal as Romney, though.

I think it’s time that the Republican party give Michele Bachmann another look. And I think Santorum is a solid on social and foreign policy issues. He’s just moderate on fiscal issues.

More about Michele Bachmann

Speeches:

Reactions from her first debate performance:

Profiles of Michele Bachmann:

And here are some of her media interviews and speeches in the House of Representatives.

Related posts

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IAEA report expected to show that Iran now has the ability to build a nuclear bomb

Map of the Middle East

Map of the Middle East

From Fox News.

 Pakistan, North Korea and a former weapons scientist from the Soviet Union reportedly all helped Iran with its nuclear weapons quest, according to an impending U.N. nuclear watchdog report expected to show the Islamic regime has mastered the science of building a bomb.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s report due out this week will lay out findings collected over years of intelligence gathering. It is expected to reinforce concerns that Iran didn’t actually abandon its weapons-related research in 2003, as indicated by a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate given to then-President George W. Bush.

U.S. intelligence agencies reported in 2007 that they believed Tehran halted its experiments in response to international and domestic pressures. But an ongoing investigation by the Fox News Specials Unit concludes that more than 600 entities were working inside Iran to support its program, and at least 40 sites where the work is taking place are suspected to exist across the country.

For British, French and American investigators, one of the most concerning sites is the Qom uranium enrichment construction site, hidden deep in the mountains. The latest intelligence shows that security walls have doubled around the site. Its scale cannot be explained by any known civilian nuclear energy use.

David Albright, a former IAEA official and president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security who reviewed the intelligence files, told The Washington Post that Iran’s nuclear weapons program “never really stopped” and also concluded that Iran “has sufficient information to design and produce a workable implosion nuclear device.”

Western diplomats and nuclear experts briefed on the findings in the IAEA report also told the Post that foreign scientists offered assistance in overcoming key technical hurdles.

The documents reportedly show that a former Soviet weapons scientist named Vyacheslav Danilenko allegedly tutored Iranians for several years on building high-precision detonators needed to trigger a nuclear chain reaction. The Post reported that Pakistani and North Korean officials also gave to Iran mathematical formulas and codes as well as a so-called neutron initiator, which shoots a stream of atomic particles into the weapon’s fissile core at the start of the chain reaction.

There are two things to point out about this story. The first thing is that it was a strategic disaster for us to back out of Iraq, because that’s where we need to be to be able to gather intelligence, mount covert ops, run interdiction on attempts to transfer WMDs to Syria, etc. We really need to be in theater in order to deal with Iran, Syria and groups like Hezbollah, Iran’s Quds force and Muqtada Al Sadr’s Mahdi Army.

Unfortunately, I think that David Axelrod is running our national security now, which is why Obama pulled out forces out of Iraq.

Excerpt:

Three years, two abject failures. The first was the administration’s inability, at the height of American post-surge power, to broker a centrist nationalist coalition governed by the major blocs — one predominantly Shiite (Maliki’s), one predominantly Sunni (Ayad Allawi’s), one Kurdish — that among them won a large majority (69 percent) of seats in the 2010 election.

Vice President Biden was given the job. He failed utterly. The government ended up effectively being run by a narrow sectarian coalition where the balance of power is held by the relatively small (12 percent) Iranian-client Sadr faction.

The second failure was the SOFA [Status of Forces Agreement] itself. U.S. commanders recommended nearly 20,000 troops, considerably fewer than our 28,500 in Korea, 40,000 in Japan and 54,000 in Germany. The president rejected those proposals, choosing instead a level of 3,000 to 5,000 troops.

A deployment so risibly small would have to expend all its energies simply protecting itself — the fate of our tragic, missionless 1982 Lebanon deployment — with no real capability to train the Iraqis, build their U.S.-equipped air force, mediate ethnic disputes (as we have successfully done, for example, between local Arabs and Kurds), operate surveillance and special-ops bases, and establish the kind of close military-to-military relations that undergird our strongest alliances.

The Obama proposal was an unmistakable signal of unseriousness. It became clear that he simply wanted out, leaving any Iraqi foolish enough to maintain a pro-American orientation exposed to Iranian influence, now unopposed and potentially lethal. Message received. Just this past week, Massoud Barzani, leader of the Kurds — for two decades the staunchest of U.S. allies — visited Tehran to bend a knee to both President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The second thing to point out is the question of what we should be doing to restrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Click here for a run-down of some of our options. There are a lot of things we could do short of all-out war, but that would require that we had a statesman in the White House – someone who takes foreign policy seriously and treats it as more than a political issue.

A previous post I wrote showed how arms that China sells to Iran make their way to Hezbollah to be used against Israeli assets. That’s what we can expect will happen with nuclear weapons that Iran develops. Are we willing to accept that? There is also the matter of the Mexican drug cartels, the Quds force, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and our porous border with Mexico. Are we willing to risk that?

We need to take the gloves off our national security agencies, especially the CIA, and do what has to be done.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

China continues to sell advanced anti-ship cruise missiles to Iran

Firing a Chinese-manufactured C-802 anti-ship cruise missile

Firing a Chinese-manufactured C-802 anti-ship cruise missile

The Washington Times reports.

Excerpt:

China is continuing to provide advanced missiles and other conventional arms to Iran and may be doing so in violation of U.N. sanctions against the Tehran regime, according to a draft report by the congressional U.S.-China Commission. “China continues to provide Iran with what could be considered advanced conventional weapons,” the report of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission says. According to the report, which will be made public Nov. 16, China sold $312 million worth of arms to Iran, second only to Russia, after Congress passed the Iran Freedom Support Act in 2006 that allows the U.S. government to sanction foreign companies that provide advanced arms to Iran. The report also noted that, after Russia began cutting back arms transfers to Iran in 2008, China became the largest arms supplier to the Iranian military. Most of the weapons transfers involved sales of Chinese anti-ship cruise missiles, including C-802 missiles that China promised the United States in 1997 would not be exported to Iran. China also built an entire missile plant in Iran last year to produce the Nasr-1 anti-ship cruise missile.

The Nasr-1 has a range of 19 miles. The C-802 has a range of 75 miles. That means that the C-802 has about the same range as a Harpoon SSM. Not good. I am not worried about the Nasr-1, but the C-802 is a problem. These weapons could be used by terrorists to attack allied naval vessels. In fact, the New York Times reported that Hezbollah, a terrorist group linked to Iran, used the C-802 missile to sink an Israeli Saar 5 corvette back in 2006.

Excerpt:

The power and sophistication of the missile and rocket arsenal that Hezbollah has used in recent days has caught the United States and Israel off guard, and officials in both countries are just now learning the extent to which the militant group has succeeded in getting weapons from Iran and Syria.

While the Bush administration has stated that cracking down on weapons proliferation is one of its top priorities, the arming of Hezbollah shows the blind spots of American and other Western intelligence services in assessing the threat, officials from across those governments said.

American and Israeli officials said the successful attack last Friday on an Israeli naval vessel was the strongest evidence to date of direct support by Iran to Hezbollah. The attack was carried out with a sophisticated antiship cruise missile, the C-802, an Iranian-made variant of the Chinese Silkworm, an American intelligence official said.

At the same time, American and Israeli officials cautioned that they had found no evidence that Iranian operatives working in Lebanon launched the antiship missile themselves.

But neither Jerusalem nor Washington had any idea that Hezbollah had such a missile in its arsenal, the officials said, adding that the Israeli ship had not even activated its missile defense system because intelligence assessments had not identified a threat from such a radar-guided cruise missile.

[...]Officials said it was likely that Iran trained Hezbollah fighters on how to successfully fire and guide the missiles, and that members of Iran’s Al Quds force — the faction of the Revolutionary Guards that trains foreign forces — would not necessarily have to be on the scene to launch the C-802.

At the same time, some experts said Iran was not likely to deploy such a sophisticated weapon without also sending Revolutionary Guard crews with the expertise to fire the missile.

Note that this is the same Quds force that likely trained Iraqi terrorists in the use of IEDs and is suspected of being involved with the recent attack on the Saudi ambassador on American soil. I have no idea why we were dicking around in Libya and Egypt when we have major problems with Iran, and, by extension, Syria and Lebanon.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration sends $47 million a year to China for foreign aid.

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