Friday, August 31, 2007


IRGC: Iran’s Old Dogs

David Johnson - 8/30/2007

You can’t teach old dogs new tricks; so the saying goes. This tired cliché’seems to fit the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) very well. The organization, scorned by majority of Iranians as the “rabid dogs of ayatollahs”, has been unwilling to be domesticated, no matter how delicious the incentive.

The IRGC’s top commander, Rahim Safavi, has repeatedly threatened the United States, Israel , Arab and Muslim states, andinternational shipping lanes with violence. Increased, tangible interference in Iraq ’s affairs has been repeatedly and consistently attributed totheIRGC by the United States Army and the U.S. Embassy in Iraq.

As aresult,reports indicate the Administration of the President of the UnitedStatesintends to designate the IRGC a Specially Designated Global Terrorist(SDGT)organization.

Also known as the Pasdaran-e Enqelab, meaning the Guardians ofRevolution,the IRGC was established May 5, 1979 . Its purpose remains the same. It is an organization created to protect the Iranian Revolution, which in reality is meant to shield the theocratic regime first and foremost from domestic opponents.

Inside Iran and out, the IRGC wrote the book on terror tactics. Experienced in hunting down dissidents at home, assassinating dissidents on foreign soil, organizing insurgencies across the Middle East and recruiting suicide bombers to murder United Nation’s peace keepers, the IRGC is master of asymmetric warfare.

It would be naïve to pretend the IRGC achieved so much skill in their craft without practice. Preceding the Iran-Iraq War, a war in which many brave Iranian school children and teen-agers were senselessly slaughtered in human wave attacks by the suicidal orders of IRGC leaders,the IRGC conducted a thorough purge of Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iranian detractors.

From its very inception the IRGC has ambitiously murdered its opposition lowering the bar to guarantee the clerics always stay on top.

The way to understand the IRGC is to see them through the lens of what the organization has done since 1979. Looking at them that way, policy makers can see the old dogs of the IRGC are an effect of the Iran ’s ruling theocracy, not the cause of it. The entire notion of the Iranian Revolution as an Islamic Revolution did not gain its momentum until just several months before the revolution succeeded.

The IRGC does not support a single tenet of the Iranian Revolution; popular sovereignty and freedom. The Islamic component was made a permanent feature shortly after Khomeini’s usurped the revolution with a brutal consolidation of power.

The “government of the oppressed and the poor” was making a killing, literarily, fulfilling its claim when in 1992 and 1993 unleashed the full might of the Revolutionary Guards and its paramilitary offshoot, the Bassij, to crush a series of riots by poverty stricken residents of many cities in Iran .

In August 1994, the Economist reported that the clerical regime responded to the four-day long riots in northern town of Qazvin by pounding the city mercilessly by air and land.

The 1995 riot in of Islamshar, an impoverished suburb in south of Tehran , was similarly put down where locals reported the IRGC and Bassij had killed nearly 100 of the residents. Since then popular riots and uprising have met a similar response from the regime and its Guardians, the IRGC.

In the midst of student-led uprising in 1999 which shook the clerical regime to its foundations, 24 senior commanders of the IRGC threatened to take matters into their own hands. “Our patience is at an end. We do not feel itis our duty to show any more tolerance,” they wrote in a letter, declaring their readiness to completely crush the students and thousands of ordinary people who had joined them.

A day later, Khatami abided by the IRGC’sdemandand completed the crackdown of protestors.

The IRGC have muscled their way into power using religion as one of many weapons in their expanding arsenal. Islam and Allah, to the IRGC, are about recruiting and maintaining organizational cohesion.

In so doing, they have taken Allah hostage. The IRGC have made Allah their slave here on earth. Ithas been said that Iran ’s President Mahmood Ahmadinejad, a former commanderof the IRGC, appears to “worship the bomb more than he’s worshipping God in heaven”.

It is wrong to categorize institutionalized religious hegemony as worship. With their suicidal tendencies, blatant lies and ruthless tactics Mahmood Ahmadinejad and the IRGC corrupt the concept of spiritual faith for all religions including Jews, Christians and Muslims.

The IRGC is an Iranian junta which is key to survival of the theocratic government of Iran . Adding the IRGC to the U.S. list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations is an important step in the campaign for Middle East stability. Designating the IRGC terrorist will accomplish three important goals.

First, it will demonstrate to the IRGC and people of Iran that the United States sees the former as an enemy and the latter as an ally. Second,it will authorize the United States to take economic action against the IRGC. Third, it is an essential step to protect Iraqi sovereignty in the near and long term, as the IRGC are the most likely and most able organization in the region to interfere with all levels of Iraqi

A)religious expression,

B) security operations and

C) government policy.

In some ways, designating the IRGC terrorist is even more effective than branding the Iranian regime a member of “axis of evil” since this designation triggers specific and practical financial, political, and legal measures against the primary operator and spine of Tehran ’s rogue regime. It is time to put Iran ’s Revolutionary Guard dogs on a short leash.

David Johnson currently serves as the Director of Operations of the U.S.Alliance for Democratic Iran. He has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Front Page Magazine, Intellectual Conservative and AmericanDaily.

Our organization is based in Washington DC and can be found online at

Saturday, August 25, 2007


SCO Summit Confirms Military Function and Strategic Objective of Removing US, EU Influence from Central Asia

Analysis. By Gregory R. Copley, Editor, GIS.

Reports on August 3 and August 7, 2007, by GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs to the effect that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was moving rapidly toward becoming a new power bloc, specifically aimed at removing US and European Union (EU) influence from Central Asia took on new meaning with the 2007 Summit of the SCO in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, on August 16, 2007.

That the Summit’s hostile tone toward the US should come from the Bishkek Summit also highlighted the reality that the US State Department and the EU had very specifically failed in Central Asia in their support for “color revolutions” against Central Asian former Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) members.

See Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, August 3, 2007: The Growing Strategic Significance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, August 7, 2007: Iran Scrambles for SCO Participation to Invoke Mutual Defense Clause.

The US State Department was, with the US financier George Soros and his “Open Society” initiative, and supported by the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), instrumental in ousting Kyrgyz President Dr Askar Akaev in March 2005, putting in place Kurmanbek Bakiyev, covertly paying Bakiyev some quarter-billion dollars in incentives.

Bakiyev, however, proved to be a mistake for the US, while Akaev had been extremely pro-US. Bakiyev, who had also been backed by narco-traffickers, immediately began moving the Kyrgyz Republic away from the US and toward a more comfortable position between Russian and Chinese (PRC) pressures.

[See Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, July 13, 2005: As Forecast by GIS, Newly-Elected Kyrgyz President Bakiyev Starts Process of Removing US Military from Manas Air Base.

As well, see Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, March 29, 2005: Myths and Reality of the Kyrgyz “Democratic Revolution”: How OSCE and US Officials Influenced Situation, and March 5, 2007: Kyrgyz Republic: Pres. Bakiyev Faces a Splintering Nation in Run-Up to Parliamentary Elections.]

The US, in its “colour revolution” approach toward gaining dominance in Central Asia by installing its own governments, flirted with, and either failed or gave up, attempts to change the governments of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. [See Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, May 24, 2005: Uzbek “Protests” Organized and Paid-For by Narco-Traffickers Who Arranged Kyrgyz Coup, and Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, August 22, 2005: US Taking Steps to Bring Down Kazakhstan’s Nazarbeyev Government.]

The SCO began its two-stage 2007 military exercises, codenamed Peace Mission 2007, on August 9, 2007, in the Xinjiang region of the PRC. Peace Mission 2007 ended in Chelyabinsk, Russia, on August 17, 2007, and more than 6,500 military personnel participated, mainly from the PRC and Russia. Uzbekistan sent observers; Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan sent small numbers of troops to participate.

Several of the presidents attending the SCO Bishkek Summit, including Chinese Pres. Hu Jintao, went to Chelyabinsk to watch the final day of large-scale SCO military exercises before going on to Bishkek. Russian Federation Pres. Vladimir Putin used the occasion to announce that Russian strategic bombers would resume regular long-range patrols for the first time since the end of the Cold War. He noted: “Starting today, such tours of duty will be conducted regularly and on the strategic scale. ...

Our pilots have been grounded for too long. They are happy to start a new life.”

Some Western, and particularly US State Department, analysts have attempted to obscure the reality that the West has now forced Russia back into a firm strategic alliance with the PRC, and that this now forms the basis of the “New Cold War”, which GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs identified as becoming crystallized earlier in 2007.

[See Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, June 14, 2007: The Friction of a New Cold War; and Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, May 21, 2007: Toward Victory in the New Cold War.]

An August 20, 2007, report in the Global Intelligence Brief, entitled The Looming Central Asian Battleground, highlighted the Western misperception that Russia and the PRC were once again moving into confrontation in Central Asia, rather than into cooperation. That report noted:

After 16 years of relative quiescence, Central Asia is about to become a major field of competition between the Russians and the Chinese.

Over the weekend [of August 18-19, 2007], the Chinese Government sealed a series of energy deals with the governments of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Airy promises of cooperation on the windswept Asian steppe are about as common as cold winters, but these deals are different. China's offers are monumental in scope, strategic in nature and backed up by cold, hard cash.

The two most critical projects involve the final phase of an oil pipeline to link China to Kazakhstan's sector of the Caspian Sea. Once the line is completed, China will be able to tap multiple oil-producing regions throughout Kazakhstan, and ultimately ship 1.0 million barrels per day into western China. The 2,000-mile project is already two-thirds complete -- and over the weekend, Beijing bellied up to finance the final leg.

The second project would link Turkmenistan to China via a natural gas line. This project has been under discussion for some time, but the Chinese have always been coy in public about the deal’s prospects. Now their interest is public and firm. Beijing also has explicitly said it wants the line to transit Uzbekistan, which would link Tashkent's energy and political desires into China's policy.

Taken together, the two projects mark a sea change in the geopolitics of the region. For the past several years, Central Asia has witnessed incessant maneuvering between Russia -- the region’s most recent colonial power — and the United States, which seeks to harness the region’s energy potential to Western purposes — in addition to staking out strategic outposts between Russia, China and the Middle East.

This is a fight that the Russians have more or less won. The region’s autocratic governments’ one-time friendliness to Washington disintegrated after the United States backed the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. (They feared they were next — and one, Kyrgyzstan, actually was.) Add in that distance prevented the United States from coming to anyone’s aid and that all meaningful pre-existing infrastructure from the Soviet period led north to Russia, and Central Asia quickly fell into lockdown.

That is, it would have if not for China. Moscow considers the presence of Central Asia in Russia’s tight geopolitical orbit as the one bright spot on its list of ongoing geopolitical realities. As such, Moscow has focused the bulk of its military and economic efforts elsewhere. In contrast, China knows full well that it is working from an institutional, linguistic and infrastructure deficit — and so has been spending billions to improve its chances.

The report went on to imply that Chinese acquisition of Central Asian energy would detract from Russia’s energy interests. But this, in reality, is a small price for Russia to pay for participating in a unified Eurasian marketplace complex which includes the New Silk Route infrastructure. Certainly, Russia lost ground with the break-up of the USSR in 1990-91, but, with the help of the SCO, it has begun to rapidly regain influence over the territory it once controlled, and, in this new iteration, has become part of a much more viable economic framework.

The SCO Summit, not surprisingly, included Iranian Pres. Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad, given that Iran is a candidate member of the SCO. And Pres. Ahmadi-Nejad supported the line of Russian Pres. Putin opposing the US bid to place anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems close to SCO countries, and to Iran. He attacked the “threats of one of the powers [ie: the US] to deploy elements of antimissile systems in several areas of the world.”

Turkmenistan Pres. Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov and Afghanistan Pres. Hamid Karzai also attended the Summit as observers, and the US Embassy in Bishkek closed for two days during the Summit.

The “Bishkek Declaration” issued at the conclusion of the Summit included an SCO commitment to increase cooperation with Afghanistan, and to create an “anti-drug zone” around the country, despite the fact that the man now in power in Bishkek, Pres. Kurmanbek Bakiyev, was already committed to supporting the narco-trafficking criminal groups bringing Afghanistani-grown narcotics in through the South (Ferghana Valley) of the Kyrgyz Republic even when the US, Soros, and the OSCE stepped in to help him mount his coup against Dr Akaev in 2005.


Iran Scrambles for SCO Participation to Invoke Mutual Defense Clause

There is growing evidence that the clerical leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran is pushing for early entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), in order to gain a measure of protection against possible military attack from the US or Israel.

US officials have attempted to underplay the mutual defense aspects of the SCO, but Russian and Chinese (PRC) officials have pointedly highlighted the mutual defense aspects of the organization, but equally pointedly, Russia has highlighted the fact that candidate member states do not qualify for the obligations of mutual defense support from other SCO states.

The reality that the SCO is shaping up as a mutual security pact — albeit one which specifically states that has no specific adversaries — is being ignored by the West.

The Growing Strategic Significance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

This report, by Iranian analyst Fariborz Saremi, based in Hamburg, Germany, highlights this particular aspect of Iran’s interest in the SCO.

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Russia are cooperating more closely on Central Asian and the Middle Eastern issue than on any other region. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) provides the Russian Government the official means to acknowledge the legitimacy of the PRC’s interests in Central Asia, while Beijing in turn has installed institutions designed to promote its objectives in cooperation with the Russian Government.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was formally founded — after a period when it was known as the Shanghai Five grouping — in Shanghai on June 15, 2001, by six countries: the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Russia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Its member states cover an area of more than 30-million square kilometers, or about three-fifths of Eurasia, with a population of 1.455-billion, about a quarter of world’s total.

Though the declaration on the establishment of (SCO) contained a statement that “it is not an alliance against other states and regions and it adheres to the principles of openness”, many observers believe that one of the original purposes of the SCO is to serve as a counterbalance to NATO and the United States and in particular to avoid conflicts which would allow the United States to intervene in areas near both Russia and the PRC.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has made it clear that it is increasingly interested in joining the SCO and form a powerful axis with its twin pillars, as a counterweight to a US power.

Russia and the PRC have already signed military cooperation agreements with — and are the main suppliers of advanced weaponry to — Iran and Syria.

1 Russia plans to sell 250 advanced long-range Sukhoi Su-30 advanced combat aircraft to Iran in what would have been an unprecedented billion dollar deal. According to those reports, which have subsequently been questioned,

2 in addition to the fighters Tehran also planned to purchase a number of aerial fuel tankers that are compatible with the Sukhoi and capable of substantially extending its range.

[The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) may already have at least one Ilyushin Il-78 tanker in service.]

A major Sukhoi sale would grant Iran long-range offensive capabilities [and, indeed, its capabilities were already being extended by current and ongoing MiG deliveries]. Russia also recently supplied Iran with advanced anti-aircraft systems used to protect Iran’s nuclear installations. [The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, significantly, is more MiG-29-oriented than Sukhoi-oriented, although it does retain some Su-27 models, including some former Iraqi Air Force models.— Ed.]

The RPC, meanwhile, shares many important goals with Russia in the Middle East and Central Asia such as exploiting the region’s energy resources, and balancing influence. The two countries economic activities in this region thus far have been more complementary than competitive.

The Islamic Republic of Iran supports the PRC-Russian grand strategy. At the same time, the clerical leadership in Iran has proven determined to pursue an aggressive nuclear policy. In doing so it has consistently transgressed non-proliferation commitments.

It has lied to IAEA inspectors while secretly trying to enrich uranium and plutonium over the past 20 years. Thus it has failed to meet its NPT obligations. Russia’s nuclear marketing toward Iran has also raised concerns in the United States.

While Russia exports to Iran cold-water reactors which are of little use in the production of weapons-grade fuel, a civilian reactor of any kind can serve as cover for dabbling in weapons-related activities. Iran has used its Russian supplied reactor as an excuse to insist on developing its own means to enrich fuel for the plant, despite Russian offers to provide fuel, or even to enrich Iranian uranium on its soil.

Still, the international community has suspicions and has some evidence that Russia’s Federal Security Service had sent rocket scientists to Iran to help develop Iran’s medium range ballistic missiles, the
Shahab-3 and -4 (which, although developed largely from North Korean designs, are based on original Russian/Soviet Scud technology).

At least 20 Russian research institutes and companies have been under US boycott since 1999 for their alleged transfer of controlled missile and nuclear technology to rogue states such as Iran.

Iran does not seem to comprehend that the International Community cannot tolerate and will not permit a regime which funds International Terrorism and provides it moral, financial and logistical support, to be armed with nuclear weapons.

With its President having repeatedly announced that the state of Israel should be wiped off the world map has developed the Shahab- 3 and -4 missiles with ranges up to 2000 km and has purchased BM-25s from North Korea with a reach of 2500 km, enough to cover much of the Arab world as well as Israel and even Eastern and Central Europe.

The Islamic Republic has made its long-term plans quite apparent by buying six KH-55 cruise missiles — with some 2,975km range — from the Ukraine. Iran possess, with the KH-55, a cruise missile powerful enough to deliver a 200 kiloton nuclear weapon, or biological, chemical, or conventional payloads, over substantial distances, quite accurately.

See Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, March 7, 2006: Iran Achieves Multi-Tiered Military Nuclear Readiness, Ignored by Washington.

Meanwhile, the clerical Administration of Iran is the most active state sponsor of terrorism, aiding and training both Sunni terrorism such as Ansar-al-Islam and Ansar-al-Sunna in Iraq, HAMAS in Palestine, Taliban in Afghanistan and factions of al-Qaida network around the globe. Iran has always maintained close relations with al-Qaida, even though the Shia Muslim state is known to have ideological and strategic differences with this network. Iran is trying to cultivate a new generation of al-Qaida leaders who will be prepared to work closely with Tehran when they eventually take control.

Iran, besides directly supporting the Shi’ite Mahdi Army and Badr Brigade in Iraq, manipulates Shi’ite communities in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Somalia. According to the US State Depatment’s Patterns of Global Terrorism report of 2005, Iran remains “the most active state sponsor of terrorism in the world”.

While this judgment mainly reflects Iran’s very active involvement in sponsorship of the terrorist groups which reject the Arab-Israeli peace process, the Islamic Republic maintains dormant but highly effective unorthodox capabilities in the Persian Gulf area.

Such capabilities were first demonstrated during the Iran-Iraq war, when Iran manipulated Shi’ite communities in Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia in seeking to undermine or overthrow the northern Gulf Cooperation Council States.

For masterminding terrorist activity, the key executive bodies are the Persian Gulf affairs section of the intelligence Directorate of the IRGC and the al-Quds special operations wing. The Ministry of Intelligence & Security (VEVAK: Vezarat-e Ettela'at va Amniat-e Keshvar) maintains foreign intelligence directorate of some 2,000 personnel, and is active in intelligence collecting and network building in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the remaining Persian Gulf states.

The Shi’ite Lebanese HizbAllah is under the direct control of the Islamic Republic of Iran. With the help of Iran, the Lebanese HizbAllah was established in 1982 by two members of the local Shi’ite political organization Amal.

With the consent of Syria, Khomeini also sent about 1,000 Revolutionary Guards to Baalbek, in the Beqaa Valley, to train the party’s members. HizbAllah has established close ties to all Palestinian radical groups such as HAMAS and Islamic Jihad, whose leaders often visit Tehran and receive orders.

The Lebanese HIzbAllah receives arms from Iran through Syria and enormous amount of financial support.

See Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis,
June 30, 2007: Iran, Syria Make Strenuous Preparations for Combat-Readiness, Partly Reflecting Major Internal Leadership Schisms. This report highlights recent arms shipments from Iran into HizbAllah, via Damascus.

HizbAllah has also an international network and even in Germany has some 800 to 1,000 Muslim followers and supporters.

The strategy of the clerical leadership of Iran, the Revolutionary Guards and its operational al-Quds special operations wing is to weaken US-backed target states in the area. This strategy is also indirectly of benefit for the main sponsors of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in trying to increase their sphere of influence in this strategically important geopolitical region.

US-Iran negotiations will not solve the current security problems in Iraq and will not change the behavior of the Iranian clerics. The US foreign policy establishment looks at this as an issue between two nation states with differing agendas and so they look for common agendas.

However, the clerical leadership of Iran has deep ideological differences with the West, and particularly with the United States. Iranian secular opposition elements have indicated their belief that if the US Government was serious in its declared intention to solve the issues of terrorism and WMD while also opposing Iranian clerics, it should back the Iranian people in their determination to engineer “regime change”.

The "C" change in world public opinion, which is now clearly against the Iran clerics, is, according to opposition elements inside and outside Iran, ready to be harnessed by the US and EU governments to create a basis for secular democracy in Iran.

Iranian history has shown how decisive International support for any emerging national leader is. Iran society by tradition is hierarchical/vertical and looks to strong leaders to guide it through crisis and trauma. Such leaders require, however international backing to cement their legitimacy.

The international community has not, in the past, supported any Iranian opposition leaders and yet, ironically, gave safe-haven and tacit support to exiled “Ayatollah” Ruhollah Khomeini to return to Iran, when secular revolts toppled the Shah in 1979, to assume power.


Fariborz Saremi is a Graduate of Schiller International University in Heidelberg, Germany; Boston University’s overseas Program in Heidelberg; and the University of Houston-Texas, in the US. He majored in International Relations, specializing in the Principles of Political-Military Strategy, Foreign and Security Policy and Terrorism. He was a member of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy from 1996 to 2000.

For the past 28 years, since the age of 13, he has been an activist in various Iranian nationalist movements and since 1994 he has been an active member of Azadegan Foundation.

He is the author of numerous articles on Iran and the Middle East and a commentator on TV and Radio (German ARD/NDR TV, Voice of America/Persian Service, Radio Israel) regarding issues involving the Middle East and Northern Tier.
1. See Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis,
June 30, 2007: Iran, Syria Make Strenuous Preparations for Combat-Readiness, Partly Reflecting Major Internal Leadership Schisms. This report noted:

Syria reportedly took delivery in June 2007 of five MiG-31E advanced combat aircraft, and may have already begun accepting delivery of further MiG-29 variants — reportedly MiG-29M/M2s — for possible on-shipment to the IRIAF. The IIRAF already had some 25 Mikoyan MiG-29 and 15 two-seat MiG-29UB Fulcrum fighters in its inventory.

The Syrian Air Force (Al Quwwat al Jawwiya al Arabiya as Souriya) had appr. 42 MiG-29A Fulcrum fighters, 14 MiG-29SMT Fulcrum air defense and air superiority aircraft, and six Mikoyan MiG-29UB Fulcrum operational trainers in its inventory.

The MiG-31 is a development of the MiG-25 series, and it is reported that the MiG-29M/M2 is, in fact, similar in its subsystems and capabilities to the model being offered as the MiG-35 for the Indian Air Force. It is probable that Russia took back some of Syria’s older MiG-25 Foxbat high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft as trade-ins for the MiG-31Es.

The MiG-31E is the export version of basic MiG-31 prototype (“903”), which was first noted in 1997; it has simplified systems over the MiG-35, with no active jammer, downgraded IFF, as well as downgraded radar and DASS.

The Syrian Air Force has less than 15 Mikoyan MiG-25PD Foxbat air defense aircraft in its inventory; eight Mikoyan MiG-25RB reconnaissance; and two MiG-25RU Foxbat operational trainers.

It is possible that Tehran and Damascus have been awaiting delivery of the advanced models of the MiG-25 and MiG-29 series before declaring readiness for a major, coordinated upsurge in confrontation with the US and Israel. Certainly, Syrian and Iranian aircrew and technicians have been undergoing training in Russia on the new systems.

2. The Israeli DEBKA Reports of July 27, 2007, noted: “Tehran and the Russian Rosoboronexport arms group are about to sign a mammoth arms deal running into tens of billions of dollars for the sale to Tehran of 250 Su-30MKM warplanes and 20 Il-78 MKI fuel tankers.” On August 2, 2007, however, Russian officials denied the report, and Iran’s official Fars news agency noted: “Deputy Director for the Russian Center for Analysis and Technologies Konstantin Makiyenko said the news was a ‘pure lie’ adding that it was impossible to buy 250 warplanes with one billion dollars.”

GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs sources also were sceptical of the report’s accuracy, given the output capabilities of the Russian aerospace industry at this time, as well as the stated value of $1-billion for the contract, an amount which would be substantially insufficient.

The value of such an order would be at least $3-billion. However, it was true that Iran was buying additional combat aircraft from Russia, as noted by earlier GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs reports.

Thursday, August 23, 2007



Thinking About the Resurgence of Muslim Aggression

(Originally from October 9, 2006)

by Col. Gerry Hickman

Islam began in the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula. From the outset, the religion was spread by military force. Aggression was justified as a holy war, or jihad, that the Muslims believed sanctified by God.

Although conversion to Islam was by force, some conquered peoples not only accepted Islam but also joined in its mission. Most notable perhaps were the Ottoman Turks.

The rise of Islam occurred at what was for its followers a propitious time. Byzantium, the last outpost of Roman rule, was in final collapse. When Constantinople fell to the Turks, few other states or rulers were strong enough to resist the Muslim tide.
Yet, a fragmented Europe fought valiantly. When Muslim aggression finally was halted at the gates of Vienna, and restricted to the Iberian Peninsula, its vigor was dissipated. For many centuries, Western Civilization would be safe.

Stopped in Europe, Islam moved on to conquer large parts of Asia. Today, centuries after the first Muslim horsemen brought war to the Middle East, Islam dominates countries from Africa’s west coast to the eastern tip of Indonesia.

Reportedly, some 1.5 billion people subscribe to the Islamic faith.

Obey the Sharia

In countries controlled by Islam, nonbelievers must bow to Islamic dominion. All must obey the Sharia, i.e., Islamic laws drawn from the Koran and interpreted by Islamic priests. The culture created under the Sharia disapproves of thought and progress not sanctioned by the priesthood.

Possibly it is this development more than any others that accounts for the widespread impoverishment of Muslim countries. Islamic intellectuals deny it, while blaming the problems of its peoples on Europe and America, i.e., the West.

During the past century Islamic intellectuals, principally clerics, began preaching a Muslim resurgence, calling for a reawakening of Muslim militancy and resumption of Islam’s ancient holy war.
Perhaps to make their goal more acceptable, the activists asked Islamic populations, ‘If Allah intends an earthly paradise for his followers, why is it that the world’s most prosperous peoples are those of the corrupt West?’

For the 0Islamic man, the question was answered in no uncertain terms. Western countries, particularly America, it was said kept the Muslim man and his family poor, and caused all his problems.
While the material progress of the West was frustrating to Muslim intellectuals, far more infuriating to them was the growing influence within Islamic society of Western values. Rightly, they foresaw that liberalizing philosophies would weaken Islam.

The original solution offered in rising Islamic thought was to sternly reinforce Shariah law within Muslim countries, while driving Westerners out of them. Such thinking led directly to the spread of radical Islamic teaching.

Today, aggressive Muslim resurgence continues to be fueled by radical Islamic thought, promulgated throughout much of the huge Muslim community. In practice, such thinking has already resulted in the Iranian Revolution, the Taliban, and among other violent groups, al Qaeda.

War Between Civilizations

Thus was born what Harvard University professor Samuel Huntington has called ‘The Clash of Civilizations’ The liberal Western Civilization and the Shariah of Islamic Civilization are perhaps so different as to make their clash inevitable.

In her book, Knowing the Enemy: Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror, Mary Harbeck of Johns Hopkins University, writes of current Islamic intellectuals:

‘…all assume that Muslims have a duty to spread the dominion of Islam, through military offensives, until it rules the world…’

Harbeck notes that Azzam, perhaps foremost among modern
Islamic activists, believes that ‘The jihadist is obliged to perform with all available capabilities until there remain only Muslims or people who submit to Islam’.

Presumably, ‘all available capabilities’ is supposed to justify the premeditated murder of women, children, and indeed anyone who does not subscribe to Islam.

It would seem then, that the nineteenth-century goals of reinforcing the Shariah within Islamic countries, while expelling Westerners from them, have morphed into a much larger objective.

In the event, the resurgence of Muslim aggression, asleep for centuries, is now fully awake and on the move. Hugely funded, already in control of Iran, and believing that they are doing what God wants them to do, those who invoke jihadism probably cannot be stopped by military force alone.

Yet a united West, relying at the least on its diplomatic, economic, cultural, and military strengths should be able to once again contain the jihadist movement. Every possible tool will be needed because religious revolutions have throughout history been hard to stop. At stake are Western Civilization and the continued evolution of mankind.

Scoffing at Warnings

While many scoff at such warnings, one need only refer to the Muslim activist question, ‘If Allah intends an earthly paradise for his followers, why is it that the world’s most prosperous peoples are those of the corrupt West?’

The question implies correctly that Muslims, once the world’s foremost astronomers, mathematicians, and scientists, are now among the world’s most intellectually starved and impoverished peoples. Conquest of the West and establishment of Shariah would surely halt progress not sanctioned by the jihadists.

Western peoples are only gradually awakening to the threat posed by the resurgence of Muslim aggression. The best-selling book in Denmark today, written by two of the nation’s leading progressive intellectuals, almost stridently issues a wake-up call. Yet, only vicariously have most people now benefiting from the philosophies of Western Civilization known war. Nor have most known poverty.

Having grown up in affluent societies based on liberalizing philosophies, it is perhaps hard for Westerners to grasp their growing peril.

Too often Americans, as well as Europeans, dispute with each other about parts of the developing struggle. Lost in the contention is the broader need of the West to find ways to stop the Islamic jihad before it has the capability of truly mass destruction.

Even now, Iranian jihadists are reportedly working feverishly to create a nuclear weapon. Compared to the explosion of a nuclear bomb, even the al Qaeda attack on New York would be found exceedingly minor.

Strategic and Tactical: Understanding the Difference

Thus it is that when Americans urge a speedy U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, they display purely tactical thinking. Either willingly or unwillingly, they fail to see the conflict in Iraq for what it actually is —only part of a much broader war.

‘A profound ability to think small’ is an old saying that describes those who can only see the tactical elements of any wider, strategic struggle.

A profound ability to court disaster might be a better way to put it.
Although difficult to achieve in an environment of political discord, more Americans and Europeans must learn to focus on the overall ‘War on Terror’. Failure to do so could trigger bad consequences —untoward events that are probably still preventable.

By keeping a larger view always in mind, Westerners might be less distracted by events in Iraq, or other single pieces of a much broader struggle. Learning to think in strategic terms could help the West unite against the serious peril that now threatens it.

Perhaps in time the big picture will materialize for most Americans. Within it, Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, Iraq, President Bush, the Taliban, liberals, conservatives, and other individuals and entities are but pieces. Altering a tactical element of the big picture, such as withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq, might somehow benefit the enemy but will not alter his goals.

While early removal of U.S. power from Iraq might encourage and even embolden the enemy, its strategy as attributed to Azzam will remain unchanged.

It is enemy strategy that the West must defeat. To achieve victory, a Western strategy with a clear goal must be developed.

Seemingly, the goal should be to protect Western Civilization –a goal so sweeping in scope that it might be difficult for some to countenance.

Identifying the Enemy

Opposing Western Civilization is at the least a violent, ruthless, and determined segment of the Muslim world. No meaningful reports about its actually size within Islam apparently exist. Claims that only a small percentage of Muslims are involved in what they call a holy war must therefore be discounted or at least seriously questioned.

Western strategy must take into account that the size and strength of the Muslim force might be larger than current speculation suggests. The strategy should also address the proper way to identify the enemy.

While our adversaries indeed commit terroristic acts, simplistic labeling of a readily identifiable enemy as ‘terrorists’ obscures the true nature of the enemy and makes understanding of the broader war extremely difficult.

As an early step in helping Westerners to think of the war in strategic terms, the governments should abandon the meaningless term ‘War on Terror’. Confusing at best and meaningless at worst, the term was apparently coined to appease the supposed large majority of Muslims opposed to the allegedly few radicals among them.

Whether or not Western governments are willing to admit it publicly, the fact remains that the Western world is engaged in a great religious conflict that could grow into a significantly larger worldwide struggle. Muslims constitute the enemy force that the West must somehow dismember.

Perhaps not all Muslims are involved in the struggle, as Western political and other thought leaders proclaim, but the enemy force is indisputably Muslim.

Rather than calling the struggle a ‘War on Terror’, Western governments might better call the conflict what it is: Defense Against Muslim Aggression. No doubt this would instigate protests from supposedly peaceful Muslims, but their remarks should be measured against the value of helping Americans and Europeans to focus on the threat.

Some Muslims have proclaimed a ‘holy war’, and correctly reject the idea that they are merely nihilistic terrorists. The sooner the West comes to accept this self-proclaimed, true nature of its adversaries, as well as the broader context of the struggle thrust upon it, the better its nations can equip themselves –politically, economically, socially, and militarily —to contain it.

Western Civilization is the ultimate target of Islamic jihadism. As a foremost beneficiary of Western culture, America is identified by Muslims, whether peace loving or not, as the epitome of all that their customs proscribe. The aggressors have openly declared war on America, with the avowed intention of destroying its culture and converting its people to their Islamic forms.

Meanwhile, because Muslim aggressors expect Europe to be easier than America to overcome, it is expected by Islamic intellectuals to be the first part of the West to capitulate. Inroads there are being made, and the anticipated appeasement is being achieved.

The Muslim Strategy

While I have not seen a Muslim strategy enunciated, it clearly involves several discernible aspects. The ultimate goal, the spread of Islam, appeals to all members of the faith –whether or not they are radicals. The idea of converting hopelessly corrupt societies to Islam is universally seen as worthwhile.

What the allegedly peaceful Muslims fail to recognize is that the jihadists intend not only to spread Islam, but also to purify it from within according to the Shariah.

States that embrace Islam but not Islamic jihadism might suffer severe penalties.

Recognizing that the list is incomplete, following are several identifiable elements of Muslim aggressor strategy:

1) Patience. Some Muslim religious leaders talk of a war to the death that might take more than a century.

(Whether or not the U.S. withdraws soon from Iraq must seem fairly inconsequential to an enemy strategist who thinks in terms of decades. The withdrawal might help, hinder, or have no effect on the aggressor, but would not in the event be viewed as an end to his holy war.)

2) Teach virulent radicalism in Muslim schools and mosques by arousing and nurturing abiding hatred of America, Europe, and indeed Western Civilization.

(Saudi Arabia reportedly has not lived up to its commitment to suppress such instruction. Other nations, such as Iran, never made such promises.)

3) Teach young Muslims that the murder of non-believers as well as the sacrifice of their lives guarantees their entry into paradise.

(Again, Muslim countries reportedly are not taking steps to curb such preaching.)

4) Assure relatives of those thus sacrificed that they will be compensated.

(Both Saudi Arabia —and formerly Iraq— reportedly pay or have paid families of suicide bombers as much as $25,000 in honor of their sacrificed children.)

5) Recruit, train, and heighten the indoctrination of young Muslims to murder, destroy, and intimidate.

(This element of Muslim aggressor strategy is apparently spreading. Young Muslims born in Britain, for instance, committed murder by bombing subways.)

6) Without apology, seek every opportunity to kill all who do not subscribe to the radical beliefs of the Muslim aggressors. While the main target will always be Western Civilization, Muslims who fail to support the radicals are also targeted.

(Through such intimidation, the Muslim aggressors earn at least passive acceptance of other Muslims.)

7) Develop both willing supporters and unwilling supporters among Muslim and other peoples, thereby creating an obscure and supportive sea in which the jihadist might swim until sufficiently strong to abandon secrecy.

(The quiet takeover of Lebanon by radical Muslims while the Lebanese either offered aid or passive non-resistance is an example.)

8) Encourage Muslim immigration into Western countries, many of whose native populations are shrinking due to declining birth rates, thereby forming separate and rapidly growing cultural enclaves and developing the ability to turn Western liberal philosophy to gains for Islam.

(The influx of Muslims into Europe and America is large, and ongoing. Some reports claim more than eight million Muslims now live in the United States. Western failure to appreciate the danger of this element of Muslim aggressor strategy could result in increasing numbers of killings by homegrown Muslim jihadists.
London subway bombings and the plot to destroy 10 U.S. airliners by English born and raised Muslims are examples. )

7) Rely on the Western news media to serve its propaganda aims.

(The news media reportage of fighting in Iraq has focused largely on casualties without accounts of Allied military achievements and heroism. Such day-by-day reports have gradually discouraged many Americans and Europeans and obscured the true nature of the enemy.)

8) Use the Western news media as a source of intelligence.

(Revelations of previously secret U.S. efforts to counter funding, communications, and other radical Muslim activities allow the jihadist aggressor to reduce losses and shift tactics.)

9) Use the West’s own liberality against it.

(Capitalize on liberal ideals –ideals that Muslim aggressors consider corrupting influences— to create confusion among Western peoples. Example: Inspire efforts to extend to Muslim aggressors captured by Western forces all conceivable Constitutional rights enjoyed by Americans and Europeans in their own countries.)

10) Intimidate Western leaders into appeasement.

(According to the Paris edition of the New York Herald-Tribune, the European Union announced that it will ‘investigate’ European banks that have helped the U.S. track the flow of funds to Muslim aggressors.)

11) Continuously push non-radical Muslims to become radical.
Understanding Enemy Organization

For centuries, discernible hierarchies have led Western peoples. Chains of command have existed whether in kingdoms, empires, or republics. Yet there is no such hierarchy within the Islamic jihadist movement.

Instead, both nation states and lesser groups, some of which are exceedingly small, independently plan and conduct Muslim aggression. Inspiration for the formation of aggressor cells, each operating on its own but often supported by established jihadist entities, is apparently spread by roving clerics. The United Kingdom recently expelled one such priest, but the task is made difficult by the Western belief in freedom of religion.

As shown by the London subway bombings, the operations of a homegrown aggressor cell might also be at least partially planned by other Muslim radicals, but the British cell was independent.
That the cell was part of modern Muslim aggression is indisputable, but the fact is that no chain-of-command issued orders to it.

Even the roving clerics who convince young Muslims become jihadists seemingly operate independently.

What Aggressor Strategy Seems to Envision
Through intimidation wrought by cold-blooded murder in both Muslim and Western countries, the Muslim strategist seems to envision ever increasing numbers of willing supporters among Muslims, growing numbers of Western converts to Islam, and increasing civil discord throughout the West.

By the time the West awakens to his overall strategy, the aggressor strategist must anticipate that Islamic countries will already by purified by the stern enforcement of Shariah. Assuming that the West at last responds meaningfully, a battle to the death between the clashing civilizations would then occur.

Islamic intellectuals, the true Muslim strategists, believe Western Civilization is so corrupt that it is incapable of defending itself against a determined Islam. They believe that Muslim forces will take control of Western countries. Those Westerners who refuse to convert to or else bow to Shariah law will be killed.

With the West conquered, the rest of the world would then be targeted.

Note that since it was not America who declared war on Muslim aggressors, we Americans cannot of ourselves now declare the conflict ended. The war will end only after Muslim jihadism has been thoroughly discredited in the community of 1.5 billion believers, and recalcitrant jihadists have been defeated.

An end to the conflict might take a long time. Radical Islamists have stated that the war might last 100 years or more.

Although the U.S. Government, news media, and Western
intellectuals tell us repeatedly that the majority of the Muslim religion’s huge membership is peace loving, careful examination of the larger picture reveals that within those populations at least some of the apparent jihadist strategy is working. There appear to be insignificant numbers of Muslims who actively oppose the radicals.

The heart of Muslim aggressor resurgence seems to lie in Saudi Arabia and Iran. While the Saudi government has forcibly restrained Muslim attacks, it reportedly continues to tolerate the schools that might be central to the entire jihadist movement.

Meanwhile, Iran openly ignores appeals to halt nuclear weapons production, and reportedly has supported aggressor operations in Afghanistan, Palestine, and Iraq.


In the West, despite a beginning awareness of the broader problem, most of the focus remains on Iraq. Lightning rods of contention are the president of the United States and the prime minister of the United Kingdom.

Given the threat of broader Islamic jihad, it seems pointless to castigate either a sitting U.S. president or a British prime minister. While it is possible that different leaders might more effectively combat the jihadist movement, any administration will face a far broader conflict than that now occurring in Iraq.

Whether under the leadership of George W. Bush, Tony Blair, or others, the West should unite against a graver peril than any posed by Iraqis alone.

Until the West acknowledges the real nature of Islamic resurgence and the war that it pursues, Western leaders will probably appear uniformly weak, indecisive, or worse.

One discernible aspect of Western strategy is that of creating democracies in Islamic countries presently under totalitarian forms of government. Ultimate goal of Western strategists is to get help from governments based on the Western model of popular rule.

While this approach has appeal in parts of the West, and might eventually be helpful in suppressing the jihadist movement, in light of events it to be somewhat forlorn. Free elections were achieved in both Iraq and Palestine.

Violence in Iraq continues despite a massive turnout on its election day. And some ask, ‘What good did it do to democratize Palestine only to have Hamas elected overwhelmingly?’

Perhaps what America and its allies should recognize that above all the jihadist movement must be discredited and contained. To achieve that purpose America and European countries might be forced to work with totalitarian governments rather than seeking to overthrow them.

Defeating the modern Muslim aggressor is where the vital interest of America and its European allies lie. The West might have little choice in choosing partners to help protect the mutual vital interests of both.

Sense of Urgency

The West it would seem must soon develop a sense of urgency. It cannot long continue to dither. The enemy is identifiable, as is his goal. To reach it, the Muslim jihadist movement has shown itself capable of the most abhorrent acts. Now, it stands at the threshold of achieving incalculable destruction.

Iran we are told may soon have a nuclear bomb. Western leaders plead with the Iranians to stop development of the weapon, yet development seemingly continues apace.

Those who would withdraw our forces from Iraq now must overlook or else ignore Iranian nuclear developments. Should the West eventually be forced to use military power to stop Iran, would it not be tactically advantageous to have bases and lines of communication operating in the country next door?

Overlooked in most reporting is the danger of Pakistan falling into the control of Muslim aggressors. What Americans and Europeans should not forget is that Pakistan already has nuclear weapons, and a sizeable population of radical Moslems.

Should Muslim jihadists come to power in Pakistan, the nuclear problem there would immediately become even more serious than that posed by Iran.

Just as its ancient predecessors, the modern Islamic jihadist movement seeks to rebuild the Muslim world in its own image, destroy Western Civilization, and eventually convert the remaining people of the world. The movement has developed a clearly perceptible strategy designed to achieve its ultimate goal.

In the meantime, our European friends and we Americans appear to be weak and indecisive. Measured against the broader threat, attacks on the sitting U.S. president and British prime minister are at best simply expressions of frustration. Changing Western leaders might lead to greater effectiveness in combating the resurgence of jihadism, but will hardly change its goal.

Appeasement of Muslims by the West is foolish. Those who have historically sought to appease their enemy have found themselves only encouraging further aggression. Like the men trapped by crocodiles, the strategy of the appeaser is to be the last one eaten.
Having identified the enemy and examined his strategy while reviewing the Western response, one might shudder at thoughts of the future.

Yet, there is still time for the beneficiaries of Western Civilization to unite, bring all possible resources to bear, and once again contain ages-old Muslim expansionism.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Terrorists May Strike Oil

Realizing that oil is the lifeblood of the West oil facilitiesconstitute atempting target that is under-secured
Sam Elrom (8/20/2007)


As terrorists changed their global war paradigm, infrastructure targetsarenow in their cross hair and a shift from hardened targets to targetsthatare more vulnerable is more visible.

Terrorists have kept the oil andenergyindustry up high on their target acquisition list and from theirstandpointfor very good operational reasons:

* Firstly, the common belief that very sensitive sites, such asrefineries, processing facilities, offshore rigs, pipelines and tankersarewell protected is in many cases false.

* Secondly, it is presumed that there is a correlation between thevery high turnover and profits in the business and the industry’sability toprotect itself. After all, it makes sense that the protection of the“goosethat lays the golden eggs” would be protected at the maximum levelavailable; again, it is far from reality.

* Thirdly, terrorists were unhappy with the fact, that in spite ofhundreds of worldwide attacks during the last decade against the oilindustry, their actions did not attract the expected attention of theinternational media. They tend to blame the unsatisfactory coverage on the fact that the attacks were conducted mainly in remote regions. Many considered the attacks to be an integral part of the business and industry’s natural risks.

* Least but not last, as part of the projected West demise, terroristsrealized that a shortage of oil supply is extremely painful for theWest tocope with because it affects the entire nerve system of the Western economy and shatters the very basics of our life style and culture. It alsocreateshuge loses for American and foreign investors and cracks-open the very foundations of the new, westernized global political and economicstructure.

More so, it has an immediate negative impact on young, yet unstabledemocracies and their economies mainly in several ex-Soviet countrieswhereoil is the only natural resource.

* In addition, it magnifies and intensifies the fears of a terrorattack and creates an atmosphere of new investments abstinence, thusaddingadditional difficulties to the anyway fragile economies. It also galvanizes a domestic sense of instability and uncertainty seen by Jihadists as the beginning of the end of the Western civilization. Not to lose time, Al-Qaeda has defined precisely in 2003 their goals in an instruction manual found in Afghanistan which reads: the umbilical cord (the oil supply-SE) and lifeline of the crusader (infidels - SE)community, (is) the object ofthenext major assault on the West, an assault that could wreak havoc with America’s economy and way of life”.

Changes in terror strategy

Observations and analysis of more than twenty years of a vast array ofterror attacks and related events allow us to draw a comparison chart showing a strategic change in patterns, which are actually adaptations and responses to the changes we’ve made in our strategic approach of”“search and destroy” initiative policy. Hereafter are the changed guidelines adoptedby Al-Qae da and its surrogates:

* Aiming at soft targets is the most effective way to achieving massfear, chaos and distress and scoreless casualties

* Target Infrastructure because the impact is of immense magnitude andlong-lasting

* Take advantage of transportation natural vulnerabilities andprotection difficulties

* Focus on supply lines because of the abundance of targets relativelyeasy to reach and hit

* Focus on high risk-high value poorly protected sites because of thepropaganda added value and the immediate impact on the industry andcommerce”

*Exploit the psychological factor and wage a propaganda warfare; keepthe momentum going by daily terror events in various location in theworld,using the loose connections of transnational networking and connection with local terror factions as initiators.

The oil industry is under an imminent threat

There is an abundance of easy targets in the US yet terrorists wereunableto generate an attack on a major facility since 9/11, but the belief-spread by interested parties - that the reason lies in the superior protection of the critical infrastructure is a purely baseless.
We know retroactively that the real reason was a false perception that high risks-high value targets inthe US are much better protected than in Kazakhstan, Nigeria or Yemen where attacks on similar industrial sites and oil facilities were successful and continue today.

This interim five years long of zero attacks in the US led politicians and business leaders to the wrong conclusion that at least for now the infrastructure is not a priority on terrorists’ hit list, therefore there is no need to heavily invest in upgrading and reinforcing existing prevention and protection systems.

It took the terrorists, and more specifically Al-Qeida, several years to realize that the same terror attacks they carried out in remote locations in Africa or Kazakhstan are executable in the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, etc.

Bottom line: oil & energy industries are extremely vulnerable and not prepared yet to meet the challenges that the transnational revived organizations like Al-Qaeda present.

Furthermore, significant benign events such as the huge power out age generated in Canada a few years ago, coupled by several in-depth chemical facilities investigations by TV networks which exposed the naked truth to the public (and the terrorists), have shown how easy it is to penetrate and retreat from a highly protected facility without being detected.”Although the investigative journalists intended well, public exposure showing how extremely unprotected those critical sites are, were an encouragingwakeupcall to the terrorists to rethink and refocus again on those industries.

The napping sentinel

Terror groups are aware of the increased security measures that were taken in western countries to protect national, historical and symbolic sites. Butthey are aware as well of the security gaps, the lack of national coverage of security needs for the protection of critical infrastructure and there luctance to invest in security unless the government pays a big chunk of it. A terror organization cannot afford to fail because they can choose the staging location, the target and the timing.

Terrorists are always insearchof targets that will focus the whole media attention, inflict as many as possible casualties, have an immediate impact of public safety, create a sense of insecurity, and generate chaos, confusion and fear.

Obviously, loosing the safe haven of Afghanistan coupled by the US policy of pursuing the enemy wherever, has forced the terrorists to change strategies looking for easier, more effective attack options.

As a result, a strategy shift is taking place in recent years, moving from targeting national symbols towards softer targets and under protected critical infrastructure sites. The oil industry, with its industrial ramifications and vast array of related sub-industries are on the top list of this new pragmatic approach because the vulnerabilities are visible and many sites still don’t have adequate protection.

Partially, this lack of protection is because it is very difficult to develop and manage a system that provides an overall superior protection all the time while maintaining the same high level of alertness and readiness for long periods. Nonetheless, poorly coordinated attempts are so evident only to be year after year be criticized by the media, the experts and the internal investigative units. As it stands today,attacking an infrastructure site is easier than hijacking a plane, and that is a very disturbing fact because we know how many gaps exist in aviations ecurity.

Security is in many aspects an invisible high-value asset. Thus, there is a reluctance to allocate the needed budgets for such an amorphous volatile goal defined as physical security which does not create any tangible profits. More so, convincing corporate, stock holders and investors that better security actually means higher profits in the long run is equally difficult. It becomes an even more daunting task when in some cases the profit lost due to a terror attack is lower than the investments needed to put in place a system that may prevent such attacks.

This “short memory syndrome” from which many businesses suffer from is more prevalent the more we distance ourselves from 9/11 and without any significant sign of a terror attack in mainland USA. But if such a major attack occurs in the heartland of any critical infrastructure conglomerate such as an oil port, the economic and homeland security implications are economically disastrous, not to mention the lose of life, the wounded and maimed and the impact on their families and on national morale.

With figures showing that the U.S. imports over 52% of its oil amounting to more then 12 million barrels per day, and with a projected dependency expected to grow to nearly 70% in the next 20 years, the acute problem America is facing today is obvious.

A terror attack using a “dirty bomb pales in comparison to the devastation created by a ship loaded with acargoof common grade LPG, or industrial explosives and chemicals beingdetonatedin one of US main highly congested oil ports. This is more than a viable scenario and from the terrorists’ point of view, the results will likely be catastrophic and more effective than other non-nuclear or bio WMD.

It is thesimplest and shortest way to reach an already available source of materialwhich otherwise would have been impossible to buy or prepare in such enormous quantities without creating suspicions. These are common highly commercialized materials available everywhere and a trained and motivated terrorist needs only to board the ship, plant a detonator and activate it wirelessly at the right moment

Monday, August 20, 2007

TERROR NEWS August 20th

US-backed campaign against Hamas expands to charities

(Afghanistan) Taliban Talks: German Secret Negotiations with the Islamists Proved Fruitless,1518,500809,00.html

(Afghanistan) Taliban, US in new round of peace talks

(Iraq) Mehdi fighters 'trained by Hizbollah in Lebanon'

(Iraq) US military struggles to 'defeat' IEDs

(Egypt) Eight Muslim Brotherhood members remanded in custody in Egypt

Iranian clerics goose-step over American flag

(Lebanon) Cluster bomb kills Hezbollah guerrilla in Lebanon

Israeli strike kills six Hamas militants in Gaza

(Gaza) Electricity is latest Gaza battleground - EU cut off power donations because Hamas diverting supplies;_ylt=AiO8s3INVnPOZpYEpUcdvZis0NUE

(Russia) Two militants detained in Chechnya

(Morocco) The "engineers cell" dismantled in Morocco

Other News:

Nazi documents promised to U.S., Israel

(UK) Midland Mosque plans to sue Channel 4 documentary on hold

(UK) BBC drops fictional terror attack to avoid offending Muslims

(UK) ITV Documentary 'The Muslim Jesus' Draws Fiery Debate

Pakistan: Religious Minorities Told To Convert Or Die

(Canada) Islamic income fund to launch

(Australia) The Australian interview with Wafa Sultan (my title),25197,22279722-2702,00.html

(Iraq) Roadside bomb kills second Iraqi governor -- Mohammed Ali al-Hassani, governor of Muthanna province;_ylt=ApXa6hdri5MvICtSXCiEy2tX6GMA

Iraqi-US forces arrest 31 suspected terrorists during Qaeda meeting

(Iraq) Baghdad explosion leaves 3 dead, 12 injured - motorcycle rigged with explosives parked in Al-Rasafi square

(Iraq) Rocket attacks on Basra airbase increase

(Iran/Iraq) Iranian Guards training Iraqi militants: US general\08\20\story_20-8-2007_pg7_6

(Iran/Iraq) Ahmadinejad plans to visit Iraq;_ylt=Ag0hhRGm7OhgpiUU7AfaSYRX6GMA

(Afghanistan) 10 Taliban said killed in base attack - Sangin district of southern Helmand province;_ylt=ApwEvoH6RP7UGNOCz55Jxg3OVooA

Afghanistan: Korean hostages on hunger strike

(Afghanistan) Kidnappers of German woman arrested in Afghanistan

(Pakistan) Violence in northern Pakistan kills 4, wounds several others - in Hungu town - north of Islamabad -- also roadside bomb in Tank and driveby shooting of intelligence official in Dera Ismail Khan district

Pakistan: Suicide bombing kills 3 troops -- outskirts of Thal,in the North West Frontier Province;_ylt=Al09shDnp40B.d5LEoCWam3zPukA

Pakistan: Military attacks militants in North Waziristan - in three villages - Eisuri, Hurmez and Khushali

Pakistan frees al-Qaida computer expert Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan after three years in custody

Pakistan: Pro-Taliban militants agree to free soldiers

Pakistan govt, militants agree on ceasefire in South Waziristan

'Pakistan is world's most dangerous country' -- per US' Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

(Pakistan) Bhutto links Pakistan terrorism to Musharraf regime;_ylt=Al5AUTQg.LXmMSPb2H7nKVoTv5UB

(Turkey) Turkish police: Egyptian hijacker of Turkish plane attended al-Qaida camps

(Turkey) Hijacker of Turkish plane had links to al-Qaeda - reports -

(Turkey) Reports: Turkish plane hijacker trained by Qaeda

Turkish plane hijack bomb 'block of clay'

Bosnia: International official under fire over al-Qaeda statement

Bosnian Minister denies Al-Qaeda presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina

(India) 15 suspected al-Qaeda operatives arrested in India

(India) Manipur: 15 Al Qaeda operatives arrested - 10 were Myanmarese and 5 were Bangladeshi nations - entering Bangladeshthrough India's Assam

(India) Manipur: 15 Al Qaeda operatives arrested - list of names of those arrested, one had Thailand work permit

(India) Pakistan-based Jaished-e-Mohd plans to launch sleeper cells across India: Police

(India) 1993 Bombings Conviction: Bollywood star Dutt released on bail;_ylt=Ai9uJZsujOqxPvVDt4fLoqRA7AkB

(India) Two arrested for Naxal links from Govandi

Yemen arrests 3 suspects in July terrorist attack on Spanish tourists

Somalia: Roadside Bomb Blast Wounds Three in Mogadishu

Somali elder shot dead,23599,22272503-23109,00.html

(Somalia) Aid agency: Violence in Somali capital forces doctors, patients to stay home

(Egypt) Four Islamists sentenced to 25 years in prison for 2005 Cairo bombs

(Bahrain) Two terror suspects freed

Lebanon: 2 troops die; army drops bombs on camp

Lebanon soldier killed as siege enters fourth month;_ylt=AiUi_SIkIR_51b7TbL.H5JHagGIB

'Hamas has formed West Bank cells'

West Bank 'could soon fall to Hamas';jsessionid=GG5R2DN5RXACFQFIQMGCFFWAVCBQUIV0?xml=/news/2007/08/20/wmid120.xml

Hamas's approach to jihad: Start 'em young

(Gaza) EU cuts funding to Gaza plant;_ylt=AgRqYpLNHjE93RGy7WO6ghvuyucA

(Israel) Amnesty agreement result: Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group will not disarm or cease attacks (my title)

(Israel) Two Kassam rockets fired into the western Negev

(Ohio) Report: Hilliard Man Shares a Moment with Global Terrorist Yousef Al-Qaradawi

(U.S. - Oregon) New nuclear terror drill sparks conspiracy scare

Iran says 12 hostages freed in Pakistan§ion=middleeast&col=

Iran wants IAEA to highlight atomic cooperation;_ylt=AnAGnAM08n3aS5QPVsHzWdhSw60A

(Iran) Commentary: Hitting Tehran where it hurts

Australian court to decide on Haneef's work visa appeal

(UK) Glasgow Bomber Kafeel Ahmed had sent email wanting martyrdom

(UK) Final email of Glasgow airport bomber: 'I want to die for Allah'

(UK) Terror suspect's family claims he was tortured by Spanish police,,2152471,00.html

UK more suspicious of Muslims than America and rest of EU

(UK) Britain: Population 'more suspicious' of Muslims

(UK) A third of Britons believe: 'You can't be British AND Muslim'

Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamist propaganda on YouTube -- update,23599,22272200-2,00.html?from=public_rss

Malaysia frees 4 Islamic terror suspects held without trial, rights group says

(Thailand) Soldier, villager wounded in South blast

Philippines: Summit between govt. and Muslim rebels 'cancelled'

(Philippines) Terrorists hit back in Philippines,25197,22271933-31477,00.html

(Sri Lanka) Five dead in Sri Lanka rebel attack;_ylt=AlJglIgKCtYQqe0KHrFsAwotM8oA

(New Zealand) Police investigate Christchurch bomb scare

(Columbia) Chavez to visit Colombia to push for hostage swap;_ylt=ApzEVHDbEKWjCQLf1uniwyiwv7kA

Survival skills for an era of terrorism,,2152315,00.html

Analysis: Emerging maritime security net

(Spain) American anarchist faces charges in Spain

Other News:

Stop the NYC madrassa - by Daniel Pipes

Italy: New mosque to open in Rome next to church

(Netherlands) Wilders won't talk with Muslim Council

(U.S.) CAIR Says ADL Seeks to Hinder Legal Rights of U.S. Muslims

(UK) Terror victims are BBC licence-payers, too

Belgium: Speaking Dutch

Norway: Interest in interest-free banks