Confident strikes on Syria send a message to the nervous US

NEW YORK – On a visit to the Pakistani capital Islamabad in 2006, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, then a Republican senator from Nebraska, warned that “a military strike against Iran, a military option, is not a viable, feasible, responsible option.”

Hagel reiterated that view in November 2007 in a speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. “The answer to dealing with Iran will not be found in a military operation,” he cautioned.

And it isn’t just then-senator Hagel.

“We’ve thought about military options against Iran off and on for the last 20 years,” former top White House counterterrorism official Richard Clarke admitted that same year, “and they’re just not good, because you don’t know what the endgame is. You know what the first move of the game is, but you don’t know what

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Iran May Hang Imprisoned U.S. Pastor

An American-Iranian pastor imprisoned in Tehran since September may face hanging because of his Christian faith, the Washington Free Beacon reports. Saeed Abedini sent a letter to his family Jan. 10 detailing his torture and treatment by Iranian authorities, and the U.S. State Department expressed “serious concerns” about his situation on Friday. Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice said: “This is an extremely critical time for American pastor Saeed and his family. We now know with certainty, from his own words, the brutality and life-threatening danger he faces in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison.

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Israeli attack on Iran ‘would damage UK economy’

The Defence Secretary said that a “third party attack” on Iran’s nuclear programme could choke oil supplies from the Gulf, driving up oil prices.

That would then have “a direct effect” on the UK economic recovery, he told MPs and peers.

Mr Hammond was giving evidence to Parliament’s joint committee on national security strategy when he was asked about the consequences of an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear programme.

He replied: “Firstly, the Government firmly believes we should continue to pursue the diplomatic route in persuading Iran to abandon its nuclear ambtions, but in doing so we should take nothing off the table.”

However, he added, a military confrontation with Iran could have harmful economic consequences.

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Is Egypt about to become the new Iran?

It is not only the anti-government protesters in Egypt’s Tahrir Square who should be concerned about President Mohammed Morsi’s audacious power grab. Mr Morsi’s claim at the weekend that “God’s will and elections made me the captain of this ship” has echoes of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s claim during the 1979 Iranian revolution that his mission to overthrow the Shah enjoyed divine guidance.

Since his announcement that he was granting himself sweeping new powers, Mr Morsi has been trying to reassure sceptical Egyptian voters that he has no ambition to become Egypt’s new Pharaoh. But you only have to look at the violent scenes that have once again erupted in Tahrir Square to see that the majority of Egyptians remain unconvinced.

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Israel under siege

The dictators have fallen one by one. Several more look likely to fall soon, and few will miss them. But as popular revolutions approach their demise, something else has come along. In one country after another, the Muslim Brotherhood — the fundamentalist revolutionary Islamic party founded in 1920s Egypt — and other Islamist parties have used the ballot box for their own ends. After decades of repression and opposition, they have finally come to power. The era of the Islamists has begun, and as recent events in the Middle East have demonstrated, the world they create will not only look very different but be far more dangerous for Israel and beyond.

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Iranian officers reshape Assad’s Shabbiha militia into a second al-Qods

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has leapt into the Syrian battle arena, undertaking the task of transforming the Alawite Shabbiha militia, which has carried the brunt of Bashar Assad’s brutal suppression of the Syrian opposition for 18 months, into a new corps, retrained and reorganized on the model of the elite Al Qods Brigade.

Al Qods is the IRGC’s arm of clandestine and terrorist operations in Iran’s foreign arenas.

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Ahmadinejad plays the apocalyptic card

Well you weren’t expecting that, were you? When the American contingent decided that it wasn’t going to listen to the UN speech of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran yesterday, it wasn’t because they were going to get a lecture on the principles of Twelver Shi’ism.

They can’t have foreseen (can they?) that Mr Ahmadinejad would get through an entire half hour without any reference to wiping Israel off the map, Jewish evil, or 9/11 conspiracy theories. He didn’t even talk about that video.

Instead, he gave us a lecture about the return of the Mahdi, the Shia Messiah, in the company of Jesus Christ, at the end of time, and the new reign of justice and peace he would unveil.

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Iran near self-sufficiency in submarine industry: Navy cmdr.

Iran’s Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari says the Islamic Republic is on the threshold of self-sufficiency in the submarine industry.

“Today, the Islamic Iran has reached the threshold of self-sufficiency in manufacturing, equipping and repairing the most complicated and modern types of submarines in the world,” Sayyari said Wednesday.

He added that the production of submarine equipment has also been completely localized over the past decade.

Iran has so far launched different classes of advanced submarines including Fateh, Ghadir, Qaem and Nahang.

On Tuesday, Iran’s Navy also launched the super-heavy Tareq 901 submarine, overhauled by Iranian experts.

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Iran pours more troops into Syria, ready to target Israel from Syria and Lebanon

Iran continues to fly military personnel and quantities of weapons into Syria by civilian aircraft which cut through Iraqi airspace, American intelligence sources disclosed early Thursday, Sept. 20. UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon also said that, “Unfortunately, both [Syrian] sides, government and opposition forces, seem to be determined to see the end by military means.”

Clearly, Iran is augmenting its military involvement in the constantly escalating Syrian civil war, broadening it into a multinational conflict which threatens to drag Lebanon in, by means of the Iranian-Syrian ally, Hizballah.

The UN Secretary General’s statement implying that the two Syrian sides are determined to fight to the bitter end is echoed in Iran’s resolve to fight to the bitter end for Assad, on Syrian soil.

Tehran is not hiding its actions. Sunday, Sept. 16, Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Commander Gen. Ali Jafari said openly that Al Qods Brigades units were present and operational in both Syria and Lebanon.

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Iran to target makers of anti-Islamic film

The video made in California and posted on YouTube portrayed the Prophet Mohammad as a womaniser and a fool. It has ignited a week of violent protests across the Muslim world.

“The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran condemns … this inappropriate and offensive action,” First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi said, according to the Mehr news agency.

“Certainly it will search for, track, and pursue this guilty person who … has insulted 1.5 billion Muslims in the world.”

The Islamic Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, condemned to death the Indian-born British novelist Salman Rushdie in 1989 for his novel “The Satanic Verses,” saying its depiction of the Prophet Mohammad was blasphemous.

Iranian officials have demanded that the United States apologise to Muslims for the movie, saying it is only the latest in a series of Western insults aimed at Islam’s holy figures.

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