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War Blog By: FrontPage Magazine
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, October 22, 2008


BELOW THE HORIZON

By Richard Fernandez

The New York Times reports on training camps inside Iran teaching people to kill Americans:

WASHINGTON — They wake before dawn, with time to exercise, eat and pray before the day’s first class in firing Kalashnikov rifles. Over the next eight hours, they practice using bazookas or laying roadside bombs, with a break for lunch and mandatory religious instruction. There is free time in the evening to watch television or play Ping-Pong.Lights out at 11 p.m.

Such is a typical day at a dusty military base outside Tehran, where for the past several years members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force and Lebanese Hezbollah operatives have trained Iraqi Shiites to launch attacks against American forces in Iraq, according to accounts given to American interrogators by captured Iraqi fighters. American officials have long cited Iranian training and weapons as reasons for the lethality of attacks by Shiite fighters in Iraq. Iranian officials deny that such training takes place.

Now, more than 80 pages of newly declassified intelligence documents for the first time describe in detail an elaborate network used by Iraqis to gain entry into Iran and train under Iranian supervision.

Well not quite just now and not quite just for the first time. Bill Roggio has been describing the process for nearly a year. In December 2007 he wrote: “The Long War Journal has spoken to several mid-level and senior US military and intelligence officers, all of whom have declined to go on the record due to the sensitive nature of the Iranian issue. Based on these conversations as well as other information, The Long War Journal has learned the nature of the Qods Force operations in Iraq and how they move resources into the country.” The article is accompanied by a diagram showing the Iranian ratlines into Iraq.

In August 2008, Bill Roggio had a further article with a more detailed map and noting the location of the Qods camps.  And the AP knew it too.

Qods Force and Hezbollah currently run training camps for the “Special Groups” as well as the Hezbollah Brigades in at least four locations inside Iran, at Qom, Tehran, Ahvaz, and Mashhad, the senior military officer told the AP. The camps are co-run by Iran’s Qods Force and Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy in Lebanon.

The concept of an engagement queue came out of fire control literature to describe the order in which the commander paid attention to things.  In the case of Iran’s involvement in attacking Iraq, the public already has a vague knowledge of Teheran’s actions. People who read Bill Roggio’s site, for example, would have been well informed. Many people in the media would have known the same set of facts too. But for editorial reasons it wasn’t important enough to make the top of the fold. Technically speaking the problem of Iran’s aggression is a ‘known known’. But the lack of emphasis on it in the MSM means it is way back in the public policy engagement queue. In a way it is like the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac problem: known, but who cares?

Someday we may all care, but no one can predict when or whether. Only when something dramatic happens will something in back of the queue jump to the fore. Then MSM can write, ‘in October 2008, the New York Times warned about the impending disaster …’  There are a lot of things which we know, but whose relative importance is denigrated by current assessments.  They are known, but are dismissed as inconsequential.  Tuesday, October 21, 2008

http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez


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Iraqi police and border guards have arrested seven members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps since Oct 18. The arrests come as the senior US commander in Iraq accused Iran of attempting to bribe Iraqi members of parliament to vote against the status of forces agreement that will allow US forces to remain in Iraq past 2008.

Iraqi police captured three armed Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps officers today in the city of Al Kut in Wasit province, a police official told Voices of Iraq. "Three Iraqi Revolutionary Guards along with their guide were detained on the border region between Iraq and Iran in eastern Wasit after entering Iraq illegally," said Police Major Aziz Latief al Imara. "The forces seized amounts of ammunitions found in their possession."

On Oct. 18, Iraqi border guards captured four more members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps in the Mandali district in Diyala province. "A force from the 4th contingent of the Iraqi border brigade in Diyala province arrested last night four members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard inside the Iraqi territories," an anonymous official told Voices of Iraq. "The four were in military uniform with guns in their possession and were moving within the Iraqi territories."

The seven Iranians were likely members of Qods Force, the elite special operations branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. The unit reports directly to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader.

Qods Force has supported various Shia militias and terror groups inside Iraq, including the Mahdi Army, which it helped build along the same lines as Lebanese Hezbollah. Iran denies the charges, but captive Shia terrorists admit to being recruited by Iranian agents, and then transported into Iran for training.

Iran established the Ramazan Corps immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime to direct operations inside Iraq. The US military says Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah have helped establish, fund, train, and arm, and have provided operational support for Shia terror groups such as the Hezbollah Brigades and the League of the Righteous. The US military refers to these groups as well as the Iranian-backed elements of the Mahdi Army as the "Special Groups." These groups train in camps inside Iran.

US and Iraqi forces have captured several high-level Qods Force officers inside Iraq since late 2006. Among those captured are Mahmud Farhadi, one of the three Iranian regional commanders in the Ramazan Corps; Ali Mussa Daqduq, a senior Lebanese Hezbollah operative; Qais Qazali, the leader of the Qazali Network; and Azhar al Dulaimi, one of Qazali's senior tactical commanders. The US has imposed sanctions on Major General Ahmad Foruzandeh, the former Qods Force commander, and Abdul Reza Shahlai, a deputy commander in Iran's Qods Force, for backing Shia terror groups inside Iraq.

Iraqi and Coalition forces have maintained the pressure on the Iranian-backed terror groups operating inside Iraq during the month of October. Two Iranian-trained Special Groups fighters have been killed and fifty-six have been captured during since Oct. 1, according to numbers compiled by The Long War Journal. Thirty-three have been captured since Oct. 13.

Eleven of those captured were members of the Hezbollah Brigades. The Hezbollah Brigades is an Iranian-backed terror group that has been behind multiple roadside bombings and rocket attacks against US and Iraqi forces in Baghdad. The group films these attacks and posts them on the internet. More than 40 Hezbollah Brigades operatives have been captured since the beginning of August. The group is estimated at having several hundred members.  October 20, 2008

For more information on Iran’s involvement in supporting the Shia terror groups in Iraq, see:

Iranian Qods Force Agents Detained in Irbil Raid,
Jan. 14, 2007
The Karbala attack and the IRGC,
Jan. 26, 2007
Iran, Hezbollah train Iraqi Shia "Secret Cells",
July 2, 2007
Surging in Wasit Province,
Sept. 18, 2007
Captured Iranian Qods Force officer a regional commander in Iraq,
Oct. 3, 2007
Iran's Ramazan Corps and the ratlines into Iraq,
Dec. 5, 2007
Sadr forms new unit to attack US forces,
June 13, 2008
Sadrist movement withdraws from political process,
June 15, 2008
Mahdi Army decimated during recent fighting,
June 26, 2008
Iraqi forces detain Sadrist leaders, uncover Special Groups headquarters in Amarah,
July 2, 2008
US sanctions Iranian general for aiding Iraqi terror groups
Sept. 16, 2008
US, Iraq step up operations against Iranian terror groups
Sept. 27, 2008

www.longwarjournal.org


*

THE MESSAGE

By Gary Varvel


Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

www.townhall.com/funnies 


*

WHY HAS BIDEN TAKEN A DAY OFF THE TRAIL?

By Ed Morrissey

According to campaign sources, Joe Biden has no events planned for today — despite the election being only two weeks away.  What happened?  Could Team Obama have pulled Slow Joe off the trail after telling people that Barack Obama’s election would provoke our enemies into a confrontation with us, and maybe more than one?

Bill Kristol interprets Biden’s comments not as perceived weakness, but as Biden predicting a weak response to any provocation:

Biden expects a test of the kind Kennedy faced after his disastrous meeting with Khrushchev in Vienna in June, 1961, less than five months into Kennedy’s presidency. Biden’s presumably thinking of the Soviet-backed construction of the Berlin Wall a couple of months later. Kennedy did nothing, and was criticized for his weakness back home.

So–leaving aside the merits of what Kennedy did or didn’t do in 1961–Biden is forecasting that Obama will have what seems to be a weak response to a provocation from, say, Iran or Russia, and he’s urging the liberals of Seattle and elsewhere to stand with Obama against the expected domestic criticism.

In other words, Biden is forecasting inaction by Obama in the face of testing by a dictator. I suspect he’s right in this forecast. McCain might want to clarify this point. It’s not just that Obama’s own running mate expects an international crisis early in his presidency. It’s not just that Obama has a weak foreign policy record. It’s that Biden himself expects what will appear to be a weak response from Obama to testing by a dictator.

I’m not sure why this will surprise anyone.  I’ve said for months that Obama would serve the second term of the Jimmy Carter administration on both economics and foreign policy.  Carter’s inaction on Afghanistan and Iran certainly worked out well for us, didn’t it?  Both gave rise to Islamic fundamentalism, and eventually forced us to go to war to fight it at great cost and difficulty.

We could have snuffed out the Iranian mullahcracy in its infancy after the sacking of our embassy, an explicit act of war which Carter left unanswered.  That would qualify as a test of a President viewed as weak, and who confirmed it in the face of a provocation that consisted of an open act of war.  Had we acted, the Soviets would probably not have risked the invasion of Afghanistan, which would have ironically saved them a lot of money and heartache but would also have avoided the creation of al-Qaeda.

Team Obama need not worry about Biden’s gaffes.  The media has all but buried the relevant portions of Biden’s offering.  Consider this report from MS-NBC’s Andrea Mitchell yesterday, from John Ziegler:

ANDREA MITCHELL: …Sunday McCain’s long-time friend Colin Powell endorsed Obama and criticized the choice of Sarah Palin.

COLIN POWELL, ON MEET THE PRESS: I don’t believe she’s ready to be President of the United States, which is the job of the Vice President.MITCHELL: Powell could boost Obama’s foreign policy credentials. But today the McCain camp seized on something Joe Biden said, that Oama would be tested in his first months in office.

AUDIO OF JOE BIDEN: They’re going to want to test him, just like they did young John Kennedy. They’re going to want to test him. And they’re going to find out this guy’s got steel in his spine.

JOHN McCAIN: We don’t want a President who invites testing from the world at a time when our economy is in crisis.

MITCHELL: Meanwhile, McCain’s running mate, fighting the image war, confronted her double on Saturday Night Live…

That leaves out quite a bit from the clip:

It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking…. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy….

I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate… And he’s gonna need help. And the kind of help he’s gonna need is, he’s gonna need you - not financially to help him - we’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re right.

In fact, the media used a portion of a different speech rather than repeat the actual Biden gaffe.  So, perhaps, Team O can remove the gag from Biden and allow him back out onto the campaign trail.  With the help of the Tanning Bed Media, Team O has nothing to fear from its running mate.  Tuesday, October 21, 2008

http://hotair.com

*

THREE LETTERS

By Eric Allie


Political Cartoons by Eric Allie

www.townhall.com/funnies  

*

NYT: DODD SHOULD RELEASE MORTGAGE PAPERS NOW

By Ed Morrissey

The New York Times sets its sights on an unfamiliar target — a liberal Democrat.  Chris Dodd has still not released his mortgage records to the public to show how much money his “Friends of Angelo” loans saved him on two different properties financed by Countrywide, despite his promises to do so.  The Times’ editorial board wonders what excuses Dodd will offer next:

After reports emerged in June about him having received favorable treatment on two home mortgages from the Countrywide Financial Corporation, Senator Christopher Dodd, a Democrat from Connecticut, promised that he would release documents to support his contention that he never benefited financially from the terms of the loans.

The senator has failed to keep his promise, and his excuses are wearing ridiculously thin. …

The Senate Ethics Committee is investigating whether the terms of the loans violated its rules on disclosing gifts. But such an investigation does not preclude Mr. Dodd from being candid.

Mr. Dodd admits he was extended “courtesies” by Countrywide. It’s time for him to extend some courtesy to his constituents and the rest of the nation and release the records on the mortgages, without delay.

An honorable man would have released the records immediately after the cozy relationship got uncovered.  On the other hand, an honorable man would never have put himself in that position in the first place.  Accepting gift mortgage rates under a VIP plan from a company Dodd helped regulate is such an obvious conflict of interest that it should result in criminal prosecution, not an Ethics Committee ruling.

It’s past time for Dodd to release the records.  It’s time for Dodd to resign his seat in the Senate.  It’s time for Barney Frank to resign his seat in Congress, along with the other Representatives who blocked regulators from doing their jobs — like Lacy Clay, who flat-out called them racists for reporting on the fraud that Franklin Raines was committing under their noses, and Maxine Waters, who hailed Raines as a genius while Raines set the stage for the collapse and tried to hide the losses to get bigger bonuses.

Then again … there’s no honor among thieves.  Tuesday, October 21, 2008

http://hotair.com


*

DID YOU KNOW 'SOCIALIST' IS A CODE WORD?


By Charles Johnson

Did you know that “socialist” is a code word for “black?” No? Lewis Diuguid, Kansas City Star Editorial Page columnist, sets you straight: Shame on McCain and Palin for using an old code word for black.

McCain and Palin have simply reached back in history to use an old code word for black. It set whites apart from those deemed unAmerican and those who could not be trusted during the communism scare.

Shame on McCain and Palin.

(Hat tip: Killian B.)

PALIN-HATRED REACHING RABID LEVEL

By Charles Johnson

The media keep yammering on about John McCain and Sarah Palin’s imagined “subtle racism,” but they’re silent about the ugly, in-your-face demonization and hatred you can easily find everywhere Obama supporters hang out. This morning’s example: A Truly Frightening Prospect.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

http://littlegreenfootballs.com


*

THE END OF JOURNALISM AS WE KNEW IT

By John Hinderaker

I'm not familiar with columnist Orson Scott Card, but his open letter to journalists is must reading. It appeared first in The Rhinoceros Times of Greensboro, North Carolina. Via InstaPundit:

This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans. ...

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.

Furthermore, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were making political contributions to the very members of Congress who were allowing them to make irresponsible loans. (Though why quasi-federal agencies were allowed to do so baffles me. It's as if the Pentagon were allowed to contribute to the political campaigns of Congressmen who support increasing their budget.)

Isn't there a story here? Doesn't journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout? Aren't you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefiting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal. "Housing-gate," no doubt. Or "Fannie-gate."

Instead, it was Senator Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, both Democrats, who denied that there were any problems, who refused Bush administration requests to set up a regulatory agency to watch over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who were still pushing for these agencies to go even further in promoting sub-prime mortgage loans almost up to the minute they failed. ...

Yet when Nancy Pelosi accused the Bush administration and Republican deregulation of causing the crisis, you in the press did not hold her to account for her lie. Instead, you criticized Republicans who took offense at this lie and refused to vote for the bailout!

Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth. That's what you claim you do, when you accept people's money to buy or subscribe to your paper.

But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie -- that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain, and the Republicans. You have trained the American people to blame everything bad -- even bad weather -- on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.

If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth -- even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.

But the mainstream media--which is to say, most reporters and editors who work for "mainstream" news organizations--have no honor and are not interested in truth. They are, as Card says, "the public relations machine of the Democratic Party." It's time to accept that fact and move on. Our existing news organizations--the New York Times, the Associated Press, NBC, CNN, CBS, and so on--can't be reformed, they can only be ignored. It is time for conservatives, libertarians, moderates, and normal citizens who are interested in straightforward reporting of the news to build their own news organizations in competition with the corrupt ones that now exist.  Tuesday, October 21, 2008

www.powerlineblog.com




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