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Should America Intervene In The Defense Of Asia Bibi?


Written by Andrew Linn on December 3, 2018

Over a month ago, a Christian woman in Pakistan named Asia Bibi was acquitted on appeal to the Supreme Court of Pakistan on the charge of blasphemy, of which a lower court had sentenced her to death in 2010. Such charges were the result of an argument that Bibi had with some farmhands back in 2009. It started when she went to fetch some water for the other farmhands (who were Muslim) from a well, but before doing so, stopped to take a drink by using a metal cup near the well. Her actions were noticed by the Muslim farmhands, who angrily informed her that it was forbidden for Christians to drink from the same cup as Muslims, since Muslims in Pakistan consider Christians to be unclean. They then demanded that Bibi convert to Islam. But Bibi refused, even asking why it should be her and not them who should be converting to another religion.

This remark led to a heated discussion, of which Bibi was accused of blasphemy by making derogatory comments about Mohammed. Such accusations are most likely trumped-up charges, a common occurrence in Pakistan when Muslims have disputes with non-Muslims. Bibi was later attacked by a mob and later arrested and charged with blasphemy.

A year later, she was sentenced to death by hanging- in a trial that lasted only thirty minutes and with no cross-examination of any witnesses. The sentence resulted in celebration among the attendees.

In 2014, the Lahore High Court upheld the lower court’s decision. But the Supreme Court acquitted Bibi of the charges due to discrepancies among the witnesses for the prosecution.

Bibi’s acquittal resulted in rioting throughout Pakistan. Muslims have called for her death, and are conducting searches of various homes in an attempt to find her. So far she has managed to stay ahead of them by moving from safe house to safe house.

Despite the acquittal, Bibi is unable to leave Pakistan due to the prosecution filing a petition against the Supreme Court’s decision, claiming that the ruling was “erroneous” and should be reversed.

Needless to say, Asia Bibi (and her family for that matter) are in grave danger as long as they as they remain in Pakistan. They could go to Britain, but British authorities rejected that idea for fear that Muslims might riot in Britain (note: they are already causing havoc there anyway, e.g. terrorist attacks, rapes), and possibly put its embassy and consulates in danger (hence a repeat of the American Embassy in Iran being stormed by Islamists in 1979).

Other countries (e.g. Australia, Italy) have apparently offered Bibi asylum. But as Hugh Fitzgerald of Frontpage Magazine pointed out, it would be best if she was offered asylum in America or the Vatican.

Whether or not Asia Bibi is given asylum and makes it out of Pakistan alive is yet to be seen.

So in the meantime, she will be living in fear for her life.

Farrakhan in Iran: ‘Death to America!’ ‘Death to Israel!’


Reported by Michael F. Haverluck (OneNewsNow.com) | Monday, November 5, 2018

Iran nuclear dealDuring his “solidarity” visit to Iran this weekend – staged the day before the United States reimposes sanctions against the jihadist regime – Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan incited and led other Muslims to chant “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!”

The prominent anti-Semite also took aim at America’s government.

“America has never been a democracy,” Farrakhan insisted before a cheering Iranian crowd, according to The Algemeiner – a U.S.-based Jewish community newspaper.

Rallying Muslims against America

Farrakhan also called the U.S. a liar during a meeting over the weekend, implying that the governments of the U.S. and Israel are devising a conspiracy against Iran – essentially accusing President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of scheming toward the Islamic Republic’s destruction.

“I understand how the enemies have plotted against the Iranian people, and I would like to stay alongside you to stop their plots,” Farrakhan claimed at a meeting with the Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei, according to Mehr – Iran’s semi-official state news agency.

The virulent Muslim then took aim at another one of America’s allies in the Middle East – before condemning the U.S. for leading a war in 2011 against the Ghadafi regime in Libya.

“He also blasted American support for Saudi Arabia – Iran’s arch-rival in the region,” The Algemeiner’s Benjamin Kerstein reported.

Farrakhan tried to unite Muslims under Allah – the god of Islam – against those waging war against jihadists.

“Satan seeks to divide Muslims and wants them to kill each other, while God tells us in the Quran to be united,” Farrakhan argued during the meeting, according to the Iranian agency.

Through this quote, Farrakhan was said by The Jerusalem Post as directly comparing Trump to Satan.

Trump Jr. blasts Dems, Farrakhan

After Farrakhan’s pro-Iranian rant against the U.S., Donald Trump Jr. took to social media to call out Democrats for not condemning the anti-Semitic, anti-American Muslim activist.

“When will the Democrats disavow this guy? Answer: NEVER,” Trump Jr. tweeted Monday, complete with a link to a report on Farrakhan’s “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel” chants in Iran.

This was just the Muslim leader’s latest attack on the Jewish people.

“Farrakhan – who has long been accused of being an anti-Semite – drew condemnation last month for remarks he made on Twitter in which he said, ‘I’m not an anti-Semite. I’m anti-Termite,’” The Hill recounted.

The Muslim American leader said this during a recent sermon video posted on Twitter, which received much backlash and public outrage, but those associated with the Democratic Party continue to withhold their condemnation of the Islamic activist.

“Leaders of the Women’s March – an anti-Trump organization aligned with the Democratic Party – are unapologetic about their ties to Farrakhan,” Breitbart News reported.

Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz blasted the Nation of Islam leader for his racist remark on Twitter.

“All good people have to come out and condemn, but especially people who participated in the Million Man March in 1995, headed by Farrakhan – which really made him prominent in American politics,” Dershowitz wrote about Farrakhan’s controversial comment.

Obama and Democratic National Convention’s (DNC) Keith Ellison – the first Muslim representative who is currently facing domestic abuse charges made by his ex-girlfriend – have been specifically targeted by President Trump’s son for continuing their allegiance to Farrakhan.

“Trump Jr. has taken aim at some on the left for their association with Farrakhan,” The Hill’s Megan Keller pointed out. “Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and former President Obama came under fire for their participation in and defense of the Million Man March in 1995, led by Farrakhan.”

Just last month, Dershowitz also called out Obama and Ellison for failing to disassociate themselves from Farrakhan and his virulently anti-Semitic and anti-American rhetoric.

“People like Barack Obama participated in the March and proudly defended it,” Dershowitz noted in October, according to The Hill. “People like Keith Ellison – who worked closely with Farrakhan – these folks have a special obligation to condemn.”

Rallies against America

Besides visiting Iran the day before the U.S. renews sanctions on its key oil sector over Iran’s rogue militant nuclear program, Farrakhan’s timing also coincided with the Islamic Republic’s ongoing rebellion against America, as his visit marked the 39th anniversary of Iranians commemorating the seizure the U.S. Embassy in Iran during the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

“Farrakhan expressed happiness with his visit to Iran, saying the goal of his visit is to demonstrate real friendship with Iran,” Breitbart’s Joel B. Pollak noted.

Masses gathered all over Iran to voice their hatred of the U.S. over the weekend.

“Thousands of students in the government-organized rally in the capital Tehran – broadcast live by state television – burned the Stars and Stripes, an effigy of Uncle Sam and pictures of President Donald Trump outside the leafy downtown compound that once housed the U.S. mission,” The Jerusalem Post announced. “Iranian state media said millions turned out for rallies in most cities and towns around the country – swearing allegiance to the clerical establishment and its hardline top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.”

For nearly four decades, there has been unrest between the U.S. and Iran in the Middle East, which has kept the volatile Powder Keg stoked over the region.

“Hardline students stormed the embassy on Nov. 4, 1979, soon after the fall of the U.S.-backed Shah, and 52 Americans were held hostage there for 444 days,” the Israeli daily recounted. “The two countries have been enemies – on opposite sides of Middle East conflict – ever since.”

Hostility toward the U.S. has been especially high in Iran after the Trump administration vowed to get tougher on the Islamic Republic in its augmented war on terror – as opposed to former President Barack Obama’s foreign policy of appeasement toward the outspoken and virulently anti-American jihadist regime.

“Rallies replete with ‘Death to America’ chants are staged on the embassy takeover anniversary every year, but U.S.-Iranian rancor is especially strong this time round following Trump’s decision in May to withdraw the United States from world powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose sanctions on Tehran,” the report published on The Jerusalem Post noted. “The deal brought about the lifting of most international financial and economic sanctions on Iran in return for Tehran curbing its disputed nuclear activity under UN surveillance, [as] the restoration of U.S. sanctions on Monday targeting Iran’s oil sales and banking sectors is part of a wider effort by Trump to force Tehran to halt its nuclear and ballistic missile programs outright – as well as support for proxy forces in conflicts across the Middle East.”

Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari – the top commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard – declared at the rally in Iran’s capital city of Tehran that the Islamic Republic will resist and defeat a “psychological war” with the U.S. and win out over the return of U.S. sanctions aimed at crippling his nations’ financial institutions and oil exports.

“America has launched an economic and psychological war as a last resort,” Jafari proclaimed, according to the Post. “But America’s plots and its plans for sanctions will be defeated through continued resistance.”

Khamenei also claimed that Trump’s newly enforced sanctions against Iran have been rejected by world governments, insisting that his regime has always had the upper hand in its ongoing conflict with the U.S.

“America’s goal has been to re-establish the domination it had [before 1979], but it has failed,” Khamenei asserted during a speech Saturday, according to the Israeli paper. “America has been defeated by the Islamic Republic over the past 40 years.”

Pakistan acquits Christian woman facing death for blasphemy


Associated Press

URL of the original posting site: https://www.onenewsnow.com/ap/religion/pakistan-acquits-christian-woman-facing-death-for-blasphemy

ISLAMABAD (October 31, 2018)- Pakistan’s top court on Wednesday acquitted a Christian woman who was sentenced to death on blasphemy charges in 2010, a landmark ruling that sparked protests by hard-line Islamists and raised fears of violence.

Asia Bibi releasedChief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar announced the verdict to a packed courtroom and ordered Asia Bibi released. She has been held at an undisclosed location for security reasons and is expected to leave the country.

The charges against Bibi date back to a hot day in 2009 when she went to get water for her and her fellow farmworkers. Two Muslim women refused to drink from a container used by a Christian. A few days later, a mob accused her of blasphemy. She was tried, convicted and sentenced to death.

The mere rumor of blasphemy can ignite mob violence and lynchings in Pakistan, and combatting alleged blasphemy has become a central rallying cry for hard-line Islamists.

Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab province, was shot and killed by one of his guards in 2011 for defending Bibi and criticizing the misuse of the blasphemy law. The assassin, Mumtaz Qadri, has been celebrated as a martyr by hard-liners since he was hanged for the killing, with millions visiting a shrine set up for him near Islamabad.

Ahead of the verdict, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, a hard-line cleric who has brought tens of thousands of people into the streets for past rallies, called on his supporters to gather in all major cities to express their love for the prophet and to protest if Bibi is released. Authorities have stepped up security at churches around the country.

Shortly after the ruling, hundreds of Islamists blocked a key road linking the city of Rawalpindi with the capital, Islamabad. Islamists gathered in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, in the northwestern city of Peshawar and elsewhere. Police urged demonstrators to disperse peacefully.

In the eastern city of Multan, police arrested several demonstrators after clashes.

Paramilitary troops deployed in Islamabad to prevent protesters from reaching the Supreme Court, where security for the judges was being beefed up.

Bibi’s family and her lawyer say she never insulted the prophet. In previous hearings her attorney, Saiful Malook, pointed to contradictions in testimony from witnesses. The two Muslim women who pressed charges against Bibi denied they quarreled with her, saying her outbursts against Islam were unprovoked.

Chaudhry Ghulam Mustafa, a lawyer for one of the plaintiffs, rejected the verdict, saying Bibi had confessed to making derogatory remarks against the prophet to seek pardon.

The three-judge panel upheld the blasphemy law itself, saying it was consistent with verses from Islam’s holy book, the Quran. But they said prosecutors had failed to prove that Bibi violated the law. In addition to citing the Quran, the judges also referenced Shakespeare’s King Lear, saying Bibi was “more sinned against than sinning.”

Critics of the blasphemy law have said it is used to settle personal scores or to attack minority communities. Bibi’s case was closely followed internationally amid concern for Pakistan’s religious minorities, who have frequently come under attack by extremists in recent years.

Bibi’s husband hailed Wednesday’s verdict.

“I am very happy. My children are very happy. We are grateful to God. We are grateful to the judges for giving us justice. We knew that she is innocent,” said Ashiq Masih.

“My wife spent so many years in jail and we hope that we will soon be together in a peaceful place,” he said.

“We are so excited to finally see Asia get justice. It took nearly a decade, but finally justice has been done. Our prayers now are with Asia and her family as they are in extreme danger until they are safely out of Pakistan.

“We are also very concerned for the safety of Pakistan’s Christian community at large. Asia’s case remains highly sensitive and the ignition point for many acts of religious hatred. It is our hope that Pakistan’s security forces will be able to secure all Pakistani Christians, as extremists will likely seek revenge against their community.

“It is also [our] hope that this decision will lay a foundation for reforming Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws and signal to both Pakistan and the world that justice will prevail over extremism, even when a religious minority is accused of blasphemy.”

William Stark, regional manager
International Christian Concern


“We welcome the decision of the Pakistani Supreme Court to overturn the conviction and death sentence of Asia Bibi. Ms. Bibi has been on death row since 2010 after being convicted of blasphemy based on comments she allegedly made related to her Christian faith while drinking water by a well. Blasphemy laws criminalize the exercise of fundamental human rights, including freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

“Blasphemy laws directly violate international law. All people have the right to freely choose, and live out, their faith. We, therefore, urge all governments to uphold this right by ceasing enforcement and initiating repeal of their blasphemy laws.”

Kelsey Zorzi
Director of advocacy for global religious freedom
ADF International

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

French City Refuses To Honor Slain Police Officer for Fear of Offending Muslims


Reported By Lisa Payne-Naeger | October 17, 2018 at 5:04pm

Under any other circumstances, a law enforcement officer who sacrificed his life to save that of another, whether or not it was in the line of duty, would be widely heralded as a hero. No question.

Arnaud Beltrame was a lieutenant colonel with the National Police in Marseille, France, and he lost his life in the line of duty. He was killed by 25-year-old Radouane Lakdim, a Moroccan-born Muslim terrorist.

Beltrame was certainly a man worthy of honors. But according to Voice of Europe, recognition for his bravery doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

CNN reported the incidents that led to Beltrame’s death in March.

“Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said the officer, a lieutenant colonel with the National Police, offered to exchange himself for one of the female hostages being held inside the Super U supermarket in Trèbes.

“When the officer went inside the supermarket, shots were fired. The lieutenant colonel had his phone on, so police could hear his interactions with the gunman, Collomb said. As soon as they heard gunfire, police went in,” reported CNN.

The standoff lasted more than three hours. Lakdim was killed by police and Beltrame died later of stab wounds.

American Military News reported that the 15th district in Marseille is said to have a significant population of jihadists. Just five months prior to Beltrame’s death, two women were killed by an ISIS terrorist in the same area.

“ISIS-linked news outlet, Amaq News Agency, published a statement in which they referred to the terrorist as a ‘soldier’ of ISIS who carried out their attack on a U.S. ally involved in efforts against ISIS in Syria and Iraq,” AMN wrote.

President Emmanuel Macron had high praises for the slain officer.

“Our country has suffered an Islamist terrorist attack. We’ve paid the price of the danger of the terrorist threat in blood for several years,” Macron said, according to CNN.

“The forces of order intervened with remarkable speed, both to contain the individual who hid away with his hostages, to help one of the victims who was still alive who he had left in the surrounding area. He has saved lives, and done his role and his country proud.”

So, what problem could there be in honoring such a brave man?

In March, the people of France were attempting to honor the bravery of Beltrame after his death and preparing for a “day of tribute,” but sentiments soon changed. As officials in Marseille worked to make a memorial to Beltrame, they hit a road block. Political correctness run amok.

“Attempts to name the city’s 15th district after Beltrame were recently rejected over concerns of offending the Muslim community, AMN reported.

Marseille’s 7th district National Rally mayor Stephane Ravier said the proposal was refused during a town council meeting. Ravier exclaimed that it was the first time the “Leftist elected officials, socialist and communist” refused such an honor in the 15th district. He claimed their excuse for denying Beltrame a place of honor was because they were afraid of offending the Muslim population and possible retaliation for their public praise of Beltrame.

“Leftist elected officials, socialist and communist, refused that a place in the 15th district be named after Arnaud Beltrame, in the first time, they’ve said, under fallacious pretext, that this place wasn’t prestigious enough, before telling the truth in these terms: we are on the field, we witnessed that the population has changed and if we give the name of Arnaud Beltrame in this district, the population will take that as a provocation,” Ravier said, according to Voice of Europe.

Americans should take a swift lesson from this politically correct travesty in France. Such a sad ending to a tragic story for Beltrame, a true hero. He deserves better. And so do the people of France who are living under the threat of terror.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

An enthusiastic grassroots Tea Party activist, Lisa Payne-Naeger has spent the better part of the last decade lobbying for educational and family issues in her state legislature, and as a keyboard warrior hoping to help along the revolution that empowers the people to retake control of their, out-of-control, government.

ClashQuiz: How Many ‘Sweet Refugees’ Were Arrested In England & Wales For Child Rape Last Year – 3? 461? 900?


Reported By Wes Walker |

Why is a ‘free press’ so vital to a nation? Here’s a hint: Tommy Robinson spent time in solitary because he dared to report on an issue the Government would rather he shut up about. Tommy lost 40 lbs in just two months spent in prison for daring to tell this story. The rest of the news outlets were far too candy-assed and politically correct to even acknowledge there was a systemic problem.

News is breaking — gradually, and LONG after the fact — about how the very government officials charged with enforcing the law and keeping the peace were far more concerned about whether or not they appeared to be ‘intolerant’. Because ‘intolerant’ people face unpleasant consequences.

Public humiliation. Lawsuits. Career-ending disgrace.

Meanwhile, the people — CHILDREN! — they routinely failed to protect didn’t get the unpleasant business of being called intolerant. They got gang-raped by strangers. Children who tried to go to the police found no justice there. All too often, the police did nothing.

It all comes down to a bureaucratic fear of pissing off the wrong well-connected grievance-monger and their activist lawyers. Of course, that only emboldens whatever misbehavior they are too gutless to investigate and prosecute.

How big of a problem have they been turning a blind eye to all this time?

SHOCKING police figures released for England and Wales have shown nearly 900 Syrians have been arrested in just one year.

Now critics say they are concerned that the thousands of Syrians entering Britain each year under resettlement schemes are being allowed to enter the country unchecked.
[…]

“The UK Government continues to commit a significant amount of international aid to assistance programmes in the regions neighbouring Syria, arguing that this is preferable to encouraging Syrian refugees to make dangerous journeys to Europe.

“The UK has committed over £2.3 billion to helping refugees in Syria and the region, making it the second largest bilateral donor to the Syrian refugee crisis.”

The figure of 900 came from a Freedom of Information request by the Sun on Sunday.

But UKIP MEP Ray Finch has said: “The Government seems have not to have vetted those it has invited into the country.”
Source: Express

That number isn’t ALL ‘sweet migrants’. It doesn’t account for people showing up as ‘refugees’ from countries elsewhere in the Middle East, or North Africa.

The ‘grooming gang’ (a typically polite and English way of child-trafficking soulless bastards) that Tommy was reporting on didn’t have any Syrian connections. Those were, in English speak ‘Asian’. For those of us West of the Atlantic, that term does include people we would call ‘middle-eastern’, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc.)

A think tank has claimed that 84 per cent of people convicted of child grooming-gang offences since 2005 were Asian.

In a new study, Quilliam says its researchers discovered differences in the way paedophiles from different backgrounds operated.

It said white offenders often acted alone, while child abusers from Asian backgrounds were more likely to work in so-called grooming gangs.

The organisation, which usually focuses on counter-extremism, said it found 222 of 264, or 84 per cent, of people convicted of specific grooming-gang crimes in the UK since 2005 were Asian.
Source: Independent

Is there any problem with their refugee plan, beyond the sheer number of people who never mastered that kindergarten skill of ‘work and play well with others’? Here’s one. While the UK is setting up a long-term plan to import all of these healthy unmarried men (where ARE all those ‘vulnerable’ women, children, aged and infirm Europe was supposedly giving shelter to?)

Here’s a Reuter’s story that may be relevant to the conversation.

Syria’s foreign minister, Walid al-Moualem, told the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday that the country was ready for the voluntary return of refugees who fled during the more than seven-year conflict.
Source: Reuters

The money they are spending on helping them integrate into the UK might be more helpfully spent in helping them rebuild.

Even the Dalai Lama agrees with that logic.

The left, on the other hand… they’ve got other ideas.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Wes Walker is the author of “Blueprint For a Government that Doesn’t Suck”. He has been lighting up Clashdaily.com since its inception in July of 2012. Follow on twitter: @Republicanuck

Exclusive: Iran moves missiles to Iraq in warning to enemies


PARIS/BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iran has given ballistic missiles to Shi’ite proxies in Iraq and is developing the capacity to build more there to deter attacks on its interests in the Middle East and to give it the means to hit regional foes, Iranian, Iraqi and Western sources said.

FILE PHOTO: A display featuring missiles and a portrait of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seen at Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran September 27, 2017. Nazanin Tabatabaee Yazdi/TIMA via REUTERS

Any sign that Iran is preparing a more aggressive missile policy in Iraq will exacerbate tensions between Tehran and Washington, already heightened by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. It would also embarrass France, Germany and the United Kingdom, the three European signatories to the nuclear deal, as they have been trying to salvage the agreement despite new U.S. sanctions against Tehran.

According to three Iranian officials, two Iraqi intelligence sources and two Western intelligence sources, Iran has transferred short-range ballistic missiles to allies in Iraq over the last few months. Five of the officials said it was helping those groups to start making their own.

“The logic was to have a backup plan if Iran was attacked,” one senior Iranian official told Reuters. “The number of missiles is not high, just a couple of dozen, but it can be increased if necessary.”

Iran has previously said its ballistic missile activities are purely defensive in nature. Iranian officials declined to comment when asked about the latest moves.

The Iraqi government and military both declined to comment.

The Zelzal, Fateh-110 and Zolfaqar missiles in question have ranges of about 200 km to 700 km, putting Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh or the Israeli city of Tel Aviv within striking distance if the weapons were deployed in southern or western Iraq.

The Quds Force, the overseas arm of Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), has bases in both those areas. Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani is overseeing the program, three of the sources said.

Western countries have already accused Iran of transferring missiles and technology to Syria and other allies of Tehran, such as Houthi rebels in Yemen and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Iran’s Sunni Muslim Gulf neighbors and its arch-enemy Israel have expressed concerns about Tehran’s regional activities, seeing it as a threat to their security. Israeli officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the missile transfers. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that anybody that threatened to wipe Israel out “would put themselves in a similar danger”.

MISSILE PRODUCTION LINE

The Western source said the number of missiles was in the 10s and that the transfers were designed to send a warning to the United States and Israel, especially after air raids on Iranian troops in Syria. The United States has a significant military presence in Iraq.

“It seems Iran has been turning Iraq into its forward missile base, the Western source said.

The Iranian sources and one Iraqi intelligence source said a decision was made some 18 months ago to use militias to produce missiles in Iraq, but activity had ramped up in the last few months, including with the arrival of missile launchers.

“We have bases like that in many places and Iraq is one of them. If America attacks us, our friends will attack America’s interests and its allies in the region,” said a senior IRGC commander who served during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

The Western source and the Iraqi source said the factories being used to develop missiles in Iraq were in al-Zafaraniya, east of Baghdad, and Jurf al-Sakhar, north of Kerbala. One Iranian source said there was also a factory in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The areas are controlled by Shi’ite militias, including Kata’ib Hezbollah, one of the closest to Iran. Three sources said Iraqis had been trained in Iran as missile operators. The Iraqi intelligence source said the al-Zafaraniya factory produced warheads and the ceramic of missile moulds under former President Saddam Hussein. It was reactivated by local Shi’ite groups in 2016 with Iranian assistance, the source said. A team of Shi’ite engineers who used to work at the facility under Saddam were brought in, after being screened, to make it operational, the source said. He also said missiles had been tested near Jurf al-Sakhar.

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon declined to comment.

One U.S official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Tehran over the last few months has transferred missiles to groups in Iraq but could not confirm that those missiles had any launch capability from their current positions.

Washington has been pushing its allies to adopt a tough anti-Iran policy since it reimposed sanctions this month.

While the European signatories to the nuclear deal have so far balked at U.S. pressure, they have grown increasingly impatient over Iran’s ballistic missile program. France in particular has bemoaned Iranian “frenzy” in developing and propagating missiles and wants Tehran to open negotiations over its ballistic weapons.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Thursday that Iran was arming regional allies with rockets and allowing ballistic proliferation. “Iran needs to avoid the temptation to be the (regional) hegemon,” he said.

In March, the three nations proposed fresh EU sanctions on Iran over its missile activity, although they failed to push them through after opposition from some member states.

“Such a proliferation of Iranian missile capabilities throughout the region is an additional and serious source of concern,” a document from the three European countries said at the time.

MESSAGE TO FOES

A regional intelligence source also said Iran was storing a number of ballistic missiles in areas of Iraq that were under effective Shi’ite control and had the capacity to launch them. The source could not confirm that Iran has a missile production capacity in Iraq.

A second Iraqi intelligence official said Baghdad had been aware of the flow of Iranian missiles to Shi’ite militias to help fight Islamic State militants, but that shipments had continued after the hardline Sunni militant group was defeated.

“It was clear to Iraqi intelligence that such a missile arsenal sent by Iran was not meant to fight Daesh (Islamic State) militants but as a pressure card Iran can use once involved in regional conflict,” the official said.

The Iraqi source said it was difficult for the Iraqi government to stop or persuade the groups to go against Tehran.

“We can’t restrain militias from firing Iranian rockets because simply the firing button is not in our hands, it’s with Iranians who control the push button,” he said.

“Iran will definitely use the missiles it handed over to Iraqi militia it supports to send a strong message to its foes in the region and the United States that it has the ability to use Iraqi territories as a launch pad for its missiles to strike anywhere and anytime it decides, the Iraqi official said.

Iraq’s parliament passed a law in 2016 to bring an assortment of Shi’ite militia groups known collectively as the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) into the state apparatus. The militias report to Iraq’s prime minister, who is a Shi’ite under the country’s unofficial governance system. However, Iran still has a clear hand in coordinating the PMF leadership, which frequently meets and consults with Soleimani.

Additional reporting by Phil Stewart and Jonathan Landay in Washington; editing by David Clarke

Iran moves ballistic missiles to Iraq

Tehran’s move likely to exacerbate tensions with Washington

Published: 16:37 August 31, 2018 Gulf News

Reuters

Paris/Baghdad

Iran has given ballistic missiles to Shiite proxies in Iraq and is developing the capacity to build more there to deter attacks on its interests in the Middle East and to give it the means to hit regional foes, Iranian, Iraqi and Western sources said.

Any sign that Iran is preparing a more aggressive missile policy in Iraq will exacerbate tensions between Tehran and Washington, already heightened by US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

It would also embarrass France, Germany and the United Kingdom, the three European signatories to the nuclear deal, as they have been trying to salvage the agreement despite new US sanctions against Tehran.

According to three Iranian officials, two Iraqi intelligence sources and two Western intelligence sources, Iran has transferred short-range ballistic missiles to allies in Iraq over the last few months. Five of the officials said it was helping those groups to start making their own.

“The logic was to have a backup plan if Iran was attacked,” one senior Iranian official said. “The number of missiles is not high, just a couple of dozen, but it can be increased if necessary.” Iran has previously said its ballistic missile activities are purely defensive in nature. Iranian officials declined to comment when asked about the latest moves.

The Iraqi government and military both declined to comment.

The Zelzal, Fateh-110 and Zolfaqar missiles in question have ranges of about 200 km to 700 km,.

The Quds Force, the overseas arm of Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), has bases in both those areas.

Quds Force commander Qassem Sulaimani is overseeing the programme, three of the sources said.

Western countries have already accused Iran of transferring missiles and technology to Syria and other allies of Tehran, such as Al Houthis in Yemen and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Gulf neighbours and its arch-enemy Israel have expressed concerns about Tehran’s regional activities, seeing it as a threat to their security.

The Western source said the number of missiles was in the 10s and that the transfers were designed to send a warning to the United States and Israel, especially after air raids on Iranian troops in Syria. The United States has a significant military presence in Iraq.

“It seems Iran has been turning Iraq into its forward missile base,” the Western source said.

The Iranian sources and one Iraqi intelligence source said a decision was made some 18 months ago to use militias to produce missiles in Iraq, but activity had ramped up in the last few months, including with the arrival of missile launchers.

“We have bases like that in many places and Iraq is one of them. If America attacks us, our friends will attack America’s interests and its allies in the region,” said a senior IRGC commander who served during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

The Western source and the Iraqi source said the factories being used to develop missiles in Iraq were in Al Zafaraniya, east of Baghdad, and Jurf Al Sakhar, north of Karbala. One Iranian source said there was also a factory in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The areas are controlled by Shiite militias, including Kata’ib Hezbollah, one of the closest to Iran. Three sources said Iraqis had been trained in Iran as missile operators.

The Iraqi intelligence source said the Al Zafaraniya factory produced warheads and the ceramic of missile moulds under former president Saddam Hussain. It was reactivated by local Shiite groups in 2016 with Iranian assistance, the source said.

A team of Shiite engineers who used to work at the facility under Saddam were brought in, after being screened, to make it operational, the source said. He also said missiles had been tested near Jurf Al Sakhar.

The US Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon declined to comment.

One US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Tehran over the last few months has transferred missiles to groups in Iraq but could not confirm that those missiles had any launch capability from their current positions.

Washington has been pushing its allies to adopt a tough anti-Iran policy since it reimposed sanctions this month.

While the European signatories to the nuclear deal have so far baulked at US pressure, they have grown increasingly impatient over Iran’s ballistic missile programme.

France in particular has bemoaned Iranian “frenzy” in developing and propagating missiles and wants Tehran to open negotiations over its ballistic weapons.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Thursday that Iran was arming regional allies with rockets and allowing ballistic proliferation. “Iran needs to avoid the temptation to be the [regional] hegemon,” he said.

In March, the three nations proposed fresh EU sanctions on Iran over its missile activity, although they failed to push them through after opposition from some member states.

“Such a proliferation of Iranian missile capabilities throughout the region is an additional and serious source of concern,” a document from the three European countries said at the time.

A regional intelligence source also said Iran was storing a number of ballistic missiles in areas of Iraq that were under effective Shiite control and had the capacity to launch them.

The source could not confirm that Iran has a missile production capacity in Iraq.

A second Iraqi intelligence official said Baghdad had been aware of the flow of Iranian missiles to Shiite militias to help fight Daesh militants, but that shipments had continued after the group was defeated.

“It was clear to Iraqi intelligence that such a missile arsenal sent by Iran was not meant to fight Daesh militants but as a pressure card Iran can use once involved in regional conflict,” the official said.

The Iraqi source said it was difficult for the Iraqi government to stop or persuade the groups to go against Tehran.

“We can’t restrain militias from firing Iranian rockets because simply the firing button is not in our hands, it’s with Iranians who control the push button,” he said.

“Iran will definitely use the missiles it handed over to Iraqi militia it supports to send a strong message to its foes in the region and the United States that it has the ability to use Iraqi territories as a launch pad for its missiles to strike anywhere and anytime it decides, the Iraqi official said.

Iraq’s parliament passed a law in 2016 to bring an assortment of Shiite militia groups known collectively as the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) into the state apparatus. The militias report to Iraq’s prime minister, who is a Shiite under the country’s unofficial governance system.

However, Iran still has a clear hand in coordinating the PMF leadership, which frequently meets and consults with Sulaimani.

The Clarion Project Newsletter for Friday, August 24, 2018


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