Friday, July 21, 2006

Lebanon, Hezb'allah, Iraq: All Roads Lead Back To Tehran

Ayatollah Khomeni & Carter

Jeffers at Free Republic has written -- by framing the subject matter within a series of questions -- a marvelous synopsis of the duplicity and terror-supporting activities by the Fascist regime in Iran, clearly the puppet master in this latest Mideast Crisis, with their support of Syria, Hezb'allah, Hamas, and infilitration of Lebanon and Iraq.

1. In what country did Hamas, the first terrorist organization to recently kidnap an Israeli soldier, originate?

2. In what country did Hezbollah, the next country to kidnap Israeli soldiers, thereby opening a second front for the IDF, originate?

3. From what country did the C-802 cruise missile which nearly sank Israel's radar picket ship originate?

4. Had it not been for Hamas and Hezbollah kidnappings, what country's nuclear program was scheduled to be Priority Topic One at the G8 Summit conference?

5. What country is North Korea's largest missile client, North Korea being the country that recently dragged most or all of the United States' anti-ballistic missile assets well out of range of the Persian Gulf?

6. What country has threatened to use ballistic missiles to crack containment at Dimona, Israel's largest nuclear facility, sending a plume over that tiny country similar to the one released by Chernobyl?

7. What country therefore benefits most by having US anti-ballistic missile assets far from the Persion Gulf?

8. What country is currently host to Sayed Bin Laden, operational commander of the Al Qaeda terrorist organization, since the retirement of Osama Bin Laden in 2002?

9. What country is currently host to between 200 and 600 bayat members of the terrorist organization Al Qaeda, essentially a modern day Al Qaeda Brigade 055?

10. What country is currently host to the operational leadership of Al Qaeda, the terrorist organization best known for multiple simultaneaus attacks, like the recent train bombings in India?

11. What country is Russia's largest nuclear client, Russia being that country most reluctant to impose sanctions on a certain nuclear aspirant in the Middle East?

12. What country stands to benefit most from Russia's unprecedented offer to send peacekeeping troops to Lebanon to prevent the annihilation of Hezbollah?

13. What Axis of Evil country is almost certainly next in line to be dealt with in the ongoing war on terror?

14. What State Sponsor of Terrorism for over 30 years has most frequently threatened to initiate terrorist attacks on US interests in 2006?

15. What country recently signed a Mutual Defense Treaty with Syria?

16. What country's protection is the only thing which prevents Israel from destroying the pathetic Syrian army in one month or less?

17. Which Syrian ally has suddenly imbued Bashir Assad with the courage to warn Israel against utterly destroying Hezbollah?

18. What country would Saudi Arabia, who recently astounded almost everyone on earth on laying responsibility for the current crisis on Hezbollah, least like to see in charge of the Persion Gulf?

19. What oil rich nation, other than Saudi Arabia and Iraq, both of which the US has come to terms with, has repeatedly threatened to disrupt the US economy through its use of oil as a weapon?

20. What oil rich nation has an adjacent border with Turkey, the country which today threatened to invade Iraq?

21. What oil rich nation has repeatedly threatened to close the Persian Gulf?

22. Of the two nations sending terrorists and insurgents to attack Coalition forces in Iraq, which one has the largest economy, the largest military, and the largest political influence; in effect, of the two countries sending terrorists into Iraq, which is the senior partner?

23. What country's President has the longest history of any President on earth, of terrorist involvement, from the US Embassy hostage crisis until terrorist threats made today, July 19th, 2006?

24. What country is best known for labeling the US the "Great Satan", and Israel "Little Satan", and regularly stages demonstrations in which thousand of people chant "Death to America"?

25. What country, more than any other on earth, stands to benefit most from planning every single military threat from the last two months, from North Korea's missile launches, to India and Pakistan threatening each other with nuclear war, to incidents which have led Israel and Syria to the brink of war, to Turkey's threats of war with Iraq, what country planned all of this, in a manner so obvious that the only way you can avoid seeing it is by closing your eyes? {...}

You can't lay out an implication better than that. While the government and citiziens of Saudi Arabia with their contributions, support, and export of Wahabbist causes, al Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations also endanger the West, Iran meanwhile remains the largest state sponsor of terrorism.

And their tentacles reach deep via proxy groups like Hezb'allah, whose members operate in the U.S. and North America. The Counterterrorism Blog chronicles Hezb'allah criminal activity in North America (via Brian Hecht of The Investigative Project on Terrorism):

Racketeering, Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing:

* U.S.A. v. Mohamad Youssef Hammoud et al., Charlotte, North Carolina: 25 individuals charged in connection with cigarette smuggling, money laundering, credit card fraud, marriage fraud and immigration violations. Four individuals were charged with providing “material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization,” Hizballah, specifically providing “currency, financial services, training, false documentation and identification, communications equipment, explosives, and other physical assets to Hizballah, in order to facilitate its violent attacks.” In 2003, Mohamad Hammoud was sentenced to 155 years in prison, while his brother, Chawki, was sentenced to 51 months.

* U.S.A. v. Elias Mohamad Akhdar et al. (pdf), Dearborn, Michigan: 11 co-defendants charged with racketeering related to the Charlotte, North Carolina scheme. In January, 2004, Akhdar was sentenced to 70 months in prison and was fined over $2,000,000 after having pled guilty in July, 2003.

* U.S.A. v. Imam Mohamad-Musbah Hammoud, et al., Michigan, Canada (Ontario, Quebec), Lebanon: In March, 2006, 19 co-defendants charged with a racketeering scheme involving contraband cigarettes, counterfeit Zig Zag rolling papers and counterfeit Viagra, counterfeit cigarette tax stamps, transporting stolen property, and money laundering. A percentage of the profits derived from the illegal enterprise were given to Hizballah. On July 7, two of the defendants, Imad Majed Hamadeh and Theodore Schenk, 73 pled guilty (pdf). Hamadeh and Schenk face a maximum possible penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

Weapons and Planning:

* U.S.A.. v. Mahmoud Youssef Kourani (pdf), Dearborn, Michigan: In November, 2003, charged with being a “member, fighter, recruiter, and fundraiser” for Hizballah. In June, 2005, Kourani was sentenced to 4 ½ years in prison.

* U.S.A. v. Naji Antoine Abi Khalil, Montreal, Quebec; New York: Canadian/Lebanese dual citizen conspired with an Israeli, Tomer Grinberg, and charged with attempting to export military night vision goggles and infrared aiming equipment to Hizballah. In February 2006, Khalil was sentenced to 60 months in prison.

* U.S.A. v. Ali Boumelhem, Dearborn, Michigan: Man convicted in September 2001 of attempting to smuggle two shotguns, 750 bullets and assault weapon parts in a conspiracy to aid Hizballah, and 5 weapons violations. He was sentenced to 44 months in jail.

Tax Evasion:

* U.S.A. v. Talal Khalil Chahine et. al, Dearborn, Michigan: Restaurant owner and wife, Elfat El Aouar, in May 2006, charged with four counts of tax evasion and the concealment of more than $16,000,000 of cash from the federal government. The U.S. government, in a written proffer of evidence (in U.S.A. v. Elfat El Aouar, Cr. No. 06-20248, EDMI, 5/22/2006), states that Chahine and his wife attended a fundraising event in Lebanon in August 2002 with Hizballah Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, a Specially Designated Terrorist (see page 8), where the two men were the keynote speakers. The proffer also claims that a search of El Aouar’s residence turned up a “thank you letter” for sponsoring 40 “orphans,” as well as images of Chahine and his family in front of a Hizballah outpost. According to the proffer, “[t]he government is aware that the sponsorship of orphans is a euphemism used by Hizballah to refer to the orphans of martyrs. This is a common public relations and recruitment tool used by Hizballah. Hizballah gains favor with the public in Lebanon by supporting ‘orphans,’ while at the same time recruiting others into the terrorist organization willing to sacrifice their lives in terrorist operations based in part on the promise that Hizballah will take care of their families.” The government has yet to charge Chahine or his wife with any terrorism-related offense.

Drug Running:

* U.S.A. v. Mohammad Shabib, Cleveland, Ohio: Federal prosecutors charged Mohammad Shabib with hiding his role in a drug ring which profits were funneled to Hizballah. Shabib, a gas station owner, had $8,000,000 in a Chicago bank account, which authorities say Shabib amassed by shipping roughly 3 tons of pseudoephedrine from Canada to California, which he would sell to Mexican gangs who would use the drugs to produce methamphetamine. (See: Amanda Garrett, “Terrorists’ Money Takes Convoluted Path in U.S.,” The Cleveland Dealer, January 18, 2004).

Mexico: Human Trafficking:

* Mexico v. Salim Boughader Mucharrafille, Tijuana, Mexico: Boughader, proprietor of a Lebanese restaurant in Mexico, ran a smuggling ring into the U.S. Before he was arrested in December 2002, Boughader had trafficked roughly 200 Lebanese nationals, including Hizballah-linked individuals, across the border and into the U.S. Boughader admitted transporting a former employee of al-Manar television, which is owned and operated by Hizballah and currently designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist entity. Boughder is quoted as saying, “[f]or us, Hezbollah are not terrorists."


* U.S.A. v. Nemr Ali-Rahal et. al. (pdf), Dearborn, Michigan: Husband and wife pled guilty in January 2006 to credit card and bank fraud worth more than $500,000. Ali-Rahal was sentenced to 33 months in prison (see right side text box). While he was not charged with any terrorism related offenses, when FBI agents arrested Ali-Rahal, they discovered, in his home, Hizballah-related materials including a videotape of a 2002 Hizballah rally in Lebanon at which Rahal was present in Lebanon, as well as a collection of books, posters and videos including one titled “A Martyr Speaks About Martyrs” and a photo showing Rahal burning an American flag.

* Hizballah-linked Counterfeit Goods Ring in Los Angeles (pdf), Los Angeles, CA: Testimony of Lieutenant John C. Stedman, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, May 25, 2005: “There are also indicators that some associates of terrorist groups may be involved in (Intellectual Property Right/)IPR crime. During the course of our investigations, we have encountered suspects who have shown great affinity for Hezbollah and its leadership. The following are just two examples: during the search of a residence pursuant to an IPR related search warrant, I saw small Hezbollah flags displayed in the suspect’s bedroom. Next to the flags was a photograph of Hassan Nasrallah whom I recognized as the leader of Hezbollah. The suspect’s wife asked me if I knew the subject of the photograph. I identified Nasrallah and the wife said, ‘We love him because he protects us from the Jews’. Also in the home were dozens of audio tapes of Nasrallah’s speeches. During the search, one of my detectives also found a locket which contained a picture of the male suspect on one side and Sheik Nasrallah on the other. In 2004, detectives served an IPR search warrant at a clothing store in Los Angeles County. During the course of the search, thousands of dollars in counterfeit clothing was recovered as were two unregistered firearms. During the booking process, the suspect was found to have a tattoo of the Hezbollah flag on his arm.”

All roads may also lead back to Iraq. That is the case
DEBKA lays out in the latest round of Iran-U.S. machinations:

The green light flashing in Washington may give Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert a latitude never before granted any Israeli premier. But it also tells the Islamic Republic that its rulers’ meddling in Iraq carries a high price tag. By pulverizing Iran’s surrogate, Israel is articulating America’s determination to smash Iran’s strength and positions of influence around the Middle East and the Persian Gulf.

This determination was sparked by an unnoticed incident in Iraq on July 4, 2006.

On that day, for the first time in the Iraq War, Nasrallah activated the three-year old sleeper terror and sabotage networks Iranian and Hizballah intelligence had established across Iraq shortly after the US invasion. He was obeying orders from Iranian supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
America’s Day of Independence 2006 was selected for this group to make its first low-key attacks against US forces in Baghdad and British units in Basra and break surface under the name of The Abu al Fadal al Abas Brigades. No one had heard of it because Tehran had kept this Iraqi arm of Hizballah dark as the ultimate weapon to spring on the Americans in Iraq at the appropriate moment.

President Bush saw that if he looked away and let Iran’s challenge burst into full-blown action without responding, America’s standing in Iraq and the rest of the region would be forfeit. He was further stirred into a response by Tehran’s developing appetite for quick gains. On July 12, believing they had got away with it in Iraq, Iran and Hizballah followed it up by opening a second front against Israel, America’s ally: the Shiite terrorists kidnapped two Israeli soldiers.

Obviously, Iran misalculated and now has a front row seat to the bloodying, perhaps eventual destruction of their Hezb'allah proxy in Lebanon. Michael Ledeen speaks out on this miscalculation:

And so they struck, first in Gaza, then in northern Israel, and, as always, in Iraq and Afghanistan and India. They imagined, just as Osama had prophesied five years earlier (almost to the Muslim day; according to their calendar Wednesday the 19th was the anniversary of our 9/11), that the regional assault would bring our allies and us to our knees. We would lose our will to fight, and abandon the battlefield to the army of Allah, and Hamas, and Moqtada, and the Badr brigades, and all the others.
It’s the same misunderestimation as before, for tyrants have always been unable to imagine the remarkable ability of free people to respond to challenge, and to organize quickly, voluntarily, and effectively to fight their enemies. Hwzbollah now risks rout, and Assad, sensing his peril, is whispering promises of betrayal in order to ensure his own survival. The Iranians still threaten Armageddon, but, so far at least, have been unable to demonstrate the capacity to provoke it.

A fine line separates charisma from buffoonery, and, instead of spreading revolutionary hegemony over the region, the mullahs risk being seen as unacceptably dangerous clowns. Never before have Saudis, Egyptians, Jordanians, Kuwaitis, and Iraqis spoken so forcefully against the terrorists (Hamas and Hezbollah, Sunni and Shiite) and their state sponsors in Tehran and Damascus. Instead of driving us from the battlefield, they now must contend with the very real danger that their former prey will unite against the mullahs and the Baathist remnant.
The terror masters risk the same terrible humiliation and defeat as befell Osama, and as things stand, only we can save them from the logical and moral consequences of their folly.

A folly it has been, but the Iranians remain dangerous. Their burgeoning Nuclear capability must be eliminated. Only time will tell what events will play out, but we will all be watching.

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