Military News: Second Navy Officer Fired Over Iran’s Detention of 10 Sailors

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It’s unconscionable that the Navy is making Rasch and Moses the fall guys for this incident after the Obama Administration pretended that nothing amiss had happened in the first place. After the sailors were released, Vice President Joe Biden dismissed the entire incident as the routine treatment of boats with mechanical difficulties. Denying that the U.S. had apologized to Iran, as had been widely rumored, Biden said: “When you have a problem with the boat, (do) you apologize the boat had a problem? No. And there was no looking for any apology. This was just standard nautical practice.” The sailors were blindfolded, made to kneel at gunpoint, and interrogated for hours. But Biden maintained that the entire situation was routine: “The Iranians picked up both boats — as we have picked up Iranian boats that needed to be rescued.” The Iranians, he said, “realized they were there in distress and said they would release them, and released them — like ordinary nations would do.”

Defense Secretary Ash Carter sounded similar notes, thanking Secretary of State John Kerry “for his diplomatic engagement with Iran to secure our sailors’ swift return. Around the world, the U.S. Navy routinely provides assistance to foreign sailors in distress, and we appreciate the timely way in which this situation was resolved.”

Kerry, in turn, was grateful to the Iranians: “All indications suggest or tell us that our sailors were well taken care of, provided with blankets and food and assisted with their return to the fleet earlier today.” He ascribed the Iranians’ swift release of the sailors to communications channels that had been opened during the nuclear negotiations: “I think we can all imagine how a similar situation might have played out three or four years ago, and in fact it is clear that today this kind of issue was able to be peacefully resolved and officially resolved, and that is a testament to the critical role that diplomacy plays in keeping our country safe, secure and strong.” He thanked the Iranians for their “cooperation and quick response.”

So if everything was that wonderful, why fire Rasch and Moses?

There needs to be a thorough housecleaning of the Obamoid military. But will it be forthcoming?

 

“2nd US Navy officer fired over Iran’s detention of 10 sailors,” by Lolita C. Baldor, Times of Israel, June 25, 2016:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The US Navy has fired a second commander in connection with the 10 American sailors who wandered into Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf in January and were captured and held by Iran for about 15 hours.

Vice Adm. Kevin M. Donegan, commander of Naval Forces Central Command, has relieved Capt. Kyle Moses of his duties as head of the command’s Task Force 56. Moses has been reassigned.

A US official says additional punishments against seven other sailors are under review and decisions will be announced next week. The seven include the squadron commander who already was fired and reassigned, and his executive officer, as well as three of the sailors who were detained.

Donegan says he initially took administrative action against Moses based on the preliminary results of the investigation into the Iran incident. He says that after going over the results of the final investigation he decided that more action was necessary.

The US official says that Rear Adm. Frank Morneau, head of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, is considering whether additional actions should be taken against Cmdr. Eric Rasch, who was executive officer of the unit when the incident occurred. He was reassigned last month, before the final investigation was completed.

To date, no action has been taken against Cmdr. Greg Meyer, who was serving as commander of the squadron when the incident happened. He is no longer in a command job, but he is one of the seven who is facing possible discipline.

The official said that in addition to Rasch, Meyer and three of the detained sailors, there also may be action taken against an officer and an enlisted sailor who were based in Kuwait and had oversight of the boat teams.

Several other sailors have already received administrative reprimands in connection with the January incident.

The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.

Iran detained the sailors, nine men and one woman, after their boat drifted into Iranian waters off Farsi Island, an outpost in the middle of the Persian Gulf that has been used as a base for Revolutionary Guard speedboats since the 1980s.

The sailors were on two small armed vessels, known as riverine command boats, on a 300-mile journey from Kuwait to Bahrain, where the Navy’s 5th Fleet is located. The incident, while brief, raised tensions between the US and Iran because of images Iran published of the soldiers kneeling with their hands on their heads. It caused political uproar at home, too, coming on the day of President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address and months after the signing of a deal with Iran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for relief from financial penalties.

An early account of the incident said the crew stopped when a diesel engine in one of the boats appeared to have a mechanical issue. The second boat also stopped….

Read the Original Article at Jihad Watch

 

Military News: 10 Wars That Could Break Out In The Next Four Years

The incoming Commander-in-Chief already has a handful of issues waiting for him or her on January 20th and surely doesn’t need any more foreign policy headaches. Unfortunately, the job is “Leader of the Free World” and not “Autopilot of the Worldwide Ramones/P-Funk Block Party.”

Inevitably, things go awry. Reactions have unintended consequences. If you don’t believe in unintended consequences, imagine landing on an aircraft carrier emblazoned with a big “Mission Accomplished” banner. By the middle of your replacement’s second term, al-Qaeda in Iraq is now ISIS and the guy who starred on Celebrity Apprentice is almost in charge of deciding how to handle it.

Think about that . . .

Here are ten imminent wars the incoming Chief Executive will have to keep the U.S. out of… or prevent entirely.

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1. China vs. Everyone in the Pacific

In 2013, China declared the Senkaku Islands (or Diaoyu Islands, depending on which side of the issue you’re on) to be part of its East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone. Since then, Chinese and Japanese air and naval assets have taken many opportunities to troll each other. The Chinese people see these provocations as violations of their sovereignty and anti-Japanese demonstrations erupted in China. World War II memories die hard.

The islands themselves are just an excuse. The prominent ideology espoused by Chinese President Xi Jinping is that of the “Chinese Dream,” one that recaptures lost Chinese greatness and prestige. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is a hardline nationalist, is unlikely to bow to Beijing just because of a military buildup. On the contrary, Japan’s legislature just changed the constitution to allow Japanese troops to engage in combat outside of a defensive posture for the first time since WWII.

Elsewhere, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam are all vying for control of the Spratly Islands. The Spratlys are a small, seemingly unimportant set of “maritime features” in the South China Sea that would extend each country’s maritime boundary significantly. They sit on trade routes. Oh, and there are oil and natural gas reserves there. China started building artificial islands and military bases in the Spratlys, which is interesting because the U.S. now has mutual defense treaties with Japan, the Philippines, and Taiwan. So the next U.S. President will also have to be prepared for…

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2. China vs. The United States

The term “peaceful rise” isn’t thrown around quite as much as it used to be. That was Chinese President Hu Jintao’s official ideology, but he left power in 2012. China under Xi Jinping is much more aggressive in its rise. Chinese hackers stole blueprints for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter just before China’s military revealed a homegrown design, which looked a lot like the F-35. The People’s Republic also finished a Russian-designed aircraft carrier, its first ever. It now has a second, entirely Chinese one under construction.

The Chinese specially developed the DF-21D Anti-Ship missile for use against carriers and other advanced ships of the U.S. Navy. The ballistic missile looks a lot like nuclear missiles and can carry a nuclear payload. Once a Chinese anti-ship ballistic missile sinks its first U.S. carrier, there’s no going back – a downed carrier would kill 6,000 sailors. This is why China develops weapons to deny the U.S. sea superiority and deter American aggression in their backyard before a war begins.

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3. Russia vs. NATO

The expansion of NATO as a bulwark against Russian hegemony in Eastern Europe is a challenge to the status quo of the last thirty years. While the end of the Cold War should have changed the way the Russians and the West interact, Russian influence is still aggressive. Russia does not take kindly to the idea of NATO’s expansion into former Eastern Bloc countries like Ukraine, which resulted in the 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

Now the Alliance is deploying thousands of troops to Poland and the Baltic countries as a counter to Russian aggression. Threats made by Russian President Vladimir Putin are always serious. He didn’t just annex Crimea. In 2008, he invaded the former Soviet Republic of Georgia to “protect Russian-speaking minorities” in the Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Putin claims the right of Russia to protect the rights of Russian-speaking minorities abroad and uses military force to do so.

Read the Remainder at We Are The Mighty

Know Your Weapons: The “Toophan”; The Iranian TOW Missile Knockoff

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The CIA program to supply Arab rebels in Syria has made TOW anti-tank guided missiles a nearly ubiquitous sight in media coming from the conflict. But the United States might not be the only country waging a covert war with TOW (or TOW-like) missiles in the Middle East.

Iranian reverse-engineered TOW anti-tank guided missiles, dubbed “Toophan,” have been been sighted headed toward Yemen with additional suspected appearances in Iraq and Syria — all in the hands of Tehran’s allies and proxy groups.

Iran’s production of reverse-engineered TOW missiles is no great secret. In official news outlets, documentaries and on Iran’s official arms export website, the Islamic Republic has touted its production of a series of different Toophan missiles derived from TOW variants.

It has produced at least a handful of different Toophan models, including the Toophan 1 through 3. According to Armament Research Services, the three systems appear to copy the TOW BGM-71A, BGM-71C and BGM-71F missiles. Iran makes two other variants, dubbed the Toophan-5 and Qaem.

In addition to the basic infantry launch platform, Iran has equipped some of its vehicles to fire the missiles. The basic Safir 4×4 tactical vehicle often appears in military parades equipped with a Toophan launcher.

Iran’s unhelpfully-named Toufan-2 helicopter, based on the Bell Sea Cobra, also appears able to fire Toophan anti-tank missiles.

Read the Remainder at War is Boring

Espionage Files: Elite Hamas Commander Reportedly Defects to Israel

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A senior member of the military wing of Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that governs the Gaza Strip, is believed to have defected to Israel. News of the rumored defection first appeared on the website of Al-Hayat al-Jadida, the official newspaper of the Palestinian Authority, which is based in the West Bank. On Tuesday, Al-Hayat said that the man, a member of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, had not been seen for several days.

The alleged defector was later named as Bassam Mahmoud Baraka, and reportedly comes from a well-known family in Kahn Younis, on the southern sector of the Gaza Strip. Baraka’s father is believed to be a religious judge that serves in Gaza under Hamas’ jurisdiction. According to Al-Hayat, the missing man is an elite member of the al-Qassam Brigades and specializes in operating inside the numerous underground tunnels that are said to span the entirety of the Palestinian enclave. The tunnels are of strategic importance to Hamas, as they secretly connect it with the outside world, despite Israeli efforts to prevent the trafficking of goods and people to and from the Gaza Strip. Some Israeli military officials believe that Hamas operatives are able to travel from one end of the Strip to the other without having to emerge from the ground. Since the 2014 Israeli invasion of Gaza, Tel Aviv has said that it views the elimination of Hamas’ vast underground tunnel network as a national security priority.

According to Palestinian websites, Baraka told members of his family that he was stepping out for a brief hike but never returned. He is believed to have voluntarily approached the border fence that separates Gaza from Israel and surrendered himself to a group of Israeli soldiers. Al-Hayat reports that Baraka’s family has already been informed from representatives of the Red Cross that he is in Israeli hands. Palestinian sources suggest that the Israeli soldiers that took in Baraka were aware of his pending defection and were waiting for him at the border. He was also reportedly carrying a laptop computer with him.

Israel is known to aggressively recruit informants in the Gaza Strip, many of them affiliated with Hamas. In 2010 it was revealed that Mosab Hassan Yousef, whose father is a senior Hamas official, was a secret informant for Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security agency. Yousef defected to Israel and is now believed to be living in the United States.

Read the Original Article at Intel News 

American History: How Ayatollah Khomeini Suckered Jimmy Carter (And How Obama Got Suckered Too)

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The Ayatollah Khomeini was using taqiyya in its classic sense. The concept of taqiyya as such is specifically Shi’ite, developed during the time of the sixth Imam, Jafar al-Sadiq, in middle of the eighth century, when the Shi’ites were being persecuted by the Sunni caliph al-Mansur. Taqiyya allowed Shi’ites to pretend to be Sunnis in order to protect themselves from Sunnis who were killing Shi’ites. Until the conversion of Persia to Shi’ism, taqiyya was an important element of Shi’ite survival, for Sunnis, in the majority almost everywhere, would not infrequently take it upon themselves to cleanse the land of those whom they referred to as Rafidites, that is, rejecters — those who rejected the caliphates of Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman.

Some Shi’ite thinkers turned the secrecy that had become a necessity into a virtue. The medieval Shi’ite scholar Ali ibn Musa ibn Tawus, who died in 1266, taught that Allah had revealed Shi’ism secretly, and it was incumbent upon the believers to practice it in secret. At the end of days, Allah will admit them secretly into Paradise. Some secrets were never to be revealed under any circumstances. The fifth imam, Muhammad al-Baqir, who died in 732, once gave a book to one of his disciples, telling him, “If you ever transmit any of it, my curse and the curse of my forefathers will fall upon you.”

The sixth Imam, Jafar Al-Sadiq, who died in 765, had a servant who was suspected of having revealed some of the secrets of the faith. The Imam lectured, “Whoever propagates our tradition is like someone who denies it.…Conceal our doctrine and do not divulge it. God elevates in this world one who conceals our doctrine and does not divulge it and he turns it in the next world into a light between his eyes which will lead him to Paradise. God abases in this world one who divulges our tradition and our doctrine and does not conceal it, and in the next world he removes the light from between his eyes and turns it into darkness which will lead him to hell. Taqiyya is our religion and the religion of our fathers; he who has no taqiyya has no religion.”

Other Imams also emphasized the cardinal importance of taqiyya, apparently not only because Shi’ites were under constant threat from Sunnis, but because Shi’ite Islam contained doctrines that must stay hidden from outsiders. Some sayings of the Imams include, “He who has no taqiyya has no faith”; “he who forsakes taqiyya is like him who forsakes prayer”; “he who does not adhere to taqiyya and does not protect us from the ignoble common people is not part of us”; “nine tenths of faith falls within taqiyya”; “taqiyya is the believer’s shield (junna), but for taqiyya, God would not have been worshipped.”

“How Ayatollah Khomeini suckered Jimmy Carter,” by John Bolton, New York Post, June 4, 2016:

New depths to Jimmy Carter’s fecklessness have emerged through the declassification of State Department cables relating to the fall of the Shah of Iran.

As reported by the BBC, the Ayatollah Khomeini, in January 1979, secretly sought Carter’s assistance in overcoming opposition from Iran’s military, still loyal to the shah. Khomeini promised that if he could return to Iran from exile in France, which the United States could facilitate, he would prevent a civil war, and his regime would not be hostile to Washington.

The soon-to-be Supreme Leader of Iran certainly knew a sucker when he saw one. What Carter did in response to Khomeini’s pledge is not entirely clear from the newly declassified materials, but Khomeini did return; the military either fell into line or was ruthlessly purged; and Iran switched 180 degrees from being a strategic US ally to being one of our most implacable adversaries.

Carter’s unwillingness to back the shah, a staunch American ally, has long been well-known, despite constant protestations of support at the time. Khomeini could not then, however, have relied on that for certain. Within Carter’s administration, hostility to the shah over his human-rights record, a centerpiece of Carter’s policy, was certainly extensive.

Iran thus posed one of the first clear tests of an American administration’s devotion to abstract principles over concrete US military and political interests.

The shah was no Jeffersonian democrat, but can anyone seriously argue that 35 years of authoritarian rule by religious extremists have been more favorable to human rights in Iran? And can anyone doubt that Iran’s seismic shift from being a strategic ally of the United States to being a terrorist-sponsoring nuclear proliferator has not left the Middle East and the wider world a more dangerous and unstable place?

The new documents, sadly, reveal how gullible an American president can be, how naïve and otherworldly and how oblivious to the real-world consequences of his decisions. Apparently, we have learned precious little from the shah’s overthrow.

Barack Obama’s 2015 deal with Khomeini’s successors over Iran’s nuclear-weapons program is a textbook lesson in getting our pockets picked diplomatically. Ayatollah Khamenei knew how to manipulate Obama just as Ayatollah Khomeini manipulated Carter. And the consequences could be even worse than the shah’s downfall.

The failures of the Iran nuclear deal are already all too evident. Iran’s ballistic-missile program continues unabated (providing delivery vehicles for nuclear weapons); Tehran is already renegotiating the deal to its advantage; and Iran’s malign influence in the Middle East continues to spread.

It comes as little surprise that Iran’s current Supreme Leader has already denounced the newly released documents as forgeries. After all, Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 efforts to secure American assistance dramatically undercut the urban legend that Khomeini was always implacably anti-American, the only attitude appropriate with regard to “the Great Satan.”

Of course, Khomeini’s unrestrained duplicity is hard to disguise for anyone with eyes to see. For a supposedly holy man, Khomeini brought new meaning to the saying, “The end justifies the means.”

What does defy credulity is that Jimmy Carter was so detached from reality that he would fall for Khomeini’s line of chatter, and that subsequent American leaders right down to the present day would do so as well. And it’s not just the American left that is taken in by such nonsense, but all too many Republicans as well. As Casey Stengel might have asked about Washington, “Don’t nobody here know how to play this game?”…

The striking similarities between the naïve failures of both the Carter and Obama administrations should, in all seriousness, give us pause. Time and time again, in Iran and far more broadly, the United States fails to understand both its adversaries and their objectives.

Foreign governments of all sorts see negotiations not as a means to resolve mutual problems, but as a way to gain advantage over America. Like Carter, Obama has fallen prey to his illusions in ways that will harm our country for decades to come.

Especially in a presidential election year, it is important for American voters to ask themselves who they want to see bargaining with the likes of the ayatollahs. That is definitely a debate worth having.

Read the Original Article at Jihad Watch and New York Post