Wednesday, October 7, 2015

ALERT: ISIS jihadis posing as migrants 'smuggle deadly undetectable NERVE GAS into Europe'

ALERT: ISIS jihadis posing as migrants 'smuggle deadly undetectable NERVE GAS into Europe'

ISLAMIC State militants posing as migrants could have smuggled deadly nerve gas into Europe on boats filled with refugees, an insider has warned.

Islamic StateIG•GETTY

ISIS terrorists may have smuggled deadly gas into Europe

The chemical weapon Sarin can cause death in minutes but is undetectable because it has no taste, no smell and no colour.

It was used most recently in an attack during the Syrian civil war, with up to 1,800 people killed.
The shocking claim was made by Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam, Colonel Gaddafi's cousin.
It is the latest in a string of warnings that the terror group has taken advantage of the humanitarian crisis to launch attacks against Europe.

Mr Gaddaf al-Dam also warned that ISIS could spark a global "catastrophe" and "nobody will be spared" if the West does not follow Russia in propping up Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

The former Syrian intelligence official said European countries would be powerless to stop "suicide bombers from hell" and the flow of oil through the Suez Canal would be blocked.


Revealed: Saudi Arabia warns Twitter and Facebook 'rumour-mongers' they risk DEATH PENALTY in first ruling of its kind



Revealed: Saudi Arabia warns Twitter and Facebook 'rumour-mongers' they risk DEATH PENALTY in first ruling of its kind

  • The rules were announced by a government source to a state-run website
  • They claimed sites like Facebook and Twitter 'cause confusion in societies'
  • The punishments will range from a social media ban to the death penalty 
  • It is the first rule of its kind although Saudi law does censor 'mass media' 

Saudi Arabia has threatened to execute those who 'spread rumours' about the government on social media, a state-run website has reported.

It is the first time the Gulf nation, which has come under fire for issuing death penalties to protesters, has created a rule to punish ordinary people for what they say on Twitter and Facebook, human rights campaigners Reprieve told MailOnline.

There are already laws and departments to censor mass media in the country, which is known to crush dissidence with capital punishment. 

Only the worst 'rumour-mongers' will be executed, while lesser offenders will be punished with lashes, imprisonment, travel bans, house arrest and a social media ban, a Ministry of Justice source is quoted to have said.
Punishment: Saudi Arabia has threatened to execute those who spread rumours about the government on social media (file photo of a state execution) 
Punishment: Saudi Arabia has threatened to execute those who spread rumours about the government on social media (file photo of a state execution) 
In an interview with the Saudi-based Makkah Online website, which was translated for MailOnline by Reprieve, the anonymous source said social media websites 'set the common view alight' and 'cause confusion in societies'. 

They said a senior judge would be in charge of sentencing but the kind of post which would warrant a death sentence was not made clear - and there is no precedent because the rule is brand new.

MailOnline has not been able to independently verify these claims. 

The director of Reprieve's death penalty team, Maya Foa said the new law is a way for the government to control a young, tech-savvy population.

She said: 'This looks like yet another heavy-handed attempt to crush dissent in Saudi Arabia, especially among the young.'

This disturbing development comes just weeks after a Saudi prince, who chose not to disclose his real name, revealed that a vicious power struggle was taking place at the very top of the Kingdom.

In two letters published by the Guardian, he said the royal family, tribal leaders and the general population opposed the reign of current ruler King Salman, 79, and the ascension of his son Mohammed bin Salman, 30, to the throne.

The prince, who is believed to be one of the grandsons of the state's founder, Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, said: 'They [opponents] say you have to do this [abdicate] or the country will go to disaster.' 

Saudi Arabia has recently been criticised for its 'mismanagement' of Mecca, where a stampede killed 1,000 during the Hajj pilgrimage last month.

It also drew widespread condemnation last week, when a Saudi-led coalition which has been carrying out airstrikes on Shi'ite rebels in Yemen since March struck a wedding party and killed 28

BREAKING: Iraq Won’t Wait Any Longer… Finally Turns To Putin To Do What Obama Refuses To Do

BREAKING: Iraq Won’t Wait Any Longer… Finally Turns To Putin To Do What Obama Refuses To Do

When President Barack Obama stuck to an arbitrary deadline and withdrew all American forces from Iraq, it left a chaotic power vacuum that allowed for the rise of the Islamic State terror group in Iraq and Syria.

Now, thanks in large part to Obama’s weak and half-hearted military campaign to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State group, a campaign that’s seen little if any progress over the past year, another world leader is stepping in to stabilize the region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has deployed troops and equipment into Syria, mostly to help prop up the embattled Bashar al-Assad regime, but also to combat the Islamic State group, which poses a threat to restive Islamic regions in Russia like Chechnya.

It appears that Putin won’t be limited to conducting operations in Syria alone though, as the Iraqi government has stated it would welcome Russian airstrikes against Islamic State group targets in Iraq.

Though the Iraqis have not yet formally requested Russia’s assistance in their country, they have already agreed to share intelligence with Putin’s government regarding the fight against the terrorists.

According to the Air Force Times, the Iraqi government reached out to Putin because it was frustrated by the slow movement and lack of progress by the U.S.-led coalition in pushing back the Islamic State group jihadists.

According to the report, an unnamed diplomat made it clear, though, that Iraq does not want Russian combat troops on the ground in the country — only airstrikes and intelligence.

The Iraqis are also looking for more tanks and heavy weapons to replace those captured or destroyed in clashes with the Islamic State group. If they can’t obtain them from the United States, it is quite likely they will purchase the equipment from the Russians, further solidifying Putin’s influence in the region.

Russian warships attack ISIS positions in Syria from Caspian Sea (VIDEO)

Russian warships attack ISIS positions in Syria from Caspian Sea (VIDEO)

Russia’s Defense Ministry has published a video of its warships firing cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea to hit the positions of Islamic State militants in Syria.

Follow RT's LIVE UPDATES on Russian anti-terror operation in Syria

[Last] night the ship strike group of the Russian Navy, consisting of the Dagestan missile ship, the small-sized missile ships Grad Sviyazhsk, Uglich and Veliky Ustyug launched cruise missiles against ISIS infrastructural facilities in Syria from the assigned district of the Caspian Sea,” the ministry said in a comment under the video.
READ MORE: 4 Russian warships launch 26 missiles against ISIS from Caspian Sea
According to the ministry, the Russian military attack was conducted “by high-precision ship missile systems Kalibr NK, the cruise missiles of which engaged all the assigned targets successfully and with high accuracy.
On September 30, Russia launched its military operation against Islamic State at the request of the Syrian government. Since the start of the operation the Russian military have destroyed at least 112 objects, including commanding pints, ammunition depots and armored vehicles belonging to jihadists.
READ MORE: Hollande suggested idea to unite forces of govt army & FSA to fight ISIS – Putin

Syrian gang rape victim who fled to Germany after her ordeal is stabbed to death 'in honour killing ordered by her own mother because she was seen as unclean after her sex assault'

Syrian gang rape victim who fled to Germany after her ordeal is stabbed to death 'in honour killing ordered by her own mother because she was seen as unclean after her sex assault' 

  • Victim, named only as Rokstan M, 20, found in a shallow grave on allotment
  • Detectives believe she was stabbed to death by her father and two brothers
  • She fled to Germany two years ago after being raped by three men in Syria
  • Once said: 'My mother and brothers mistreat me and say I deserve to die'
  • Mother denies ordering killing, saying: 'I had nothing to do with her death'

'My family regarded me as unclean': Syrian migrant Rokstan M was allegedly stabbed to death by her father and brothers in the twisted logic she brought disgrace on her family after being gang raped
'My family regarded me as unclean': Syrian migrant Rokstan M was allegedly stabbed to death by her father and brothers in the twisted logic she brought disgrace on her family after being gang raped
A woman whose family branded her 'unclean' after she was gang-raped in her Syrian homeland has been found murdered in Germany – allegedly on the orders of her own mother.

Police believe the victim, named only as Rokstan M, 20, was stabbed to death by her father and brothers in the twisted logic that she had brought disgrace on her family through the sex attack.

Shortly before she was found dead in an allotment garden in the eastern German city of Dessau, she apparently had a premonition of her fate.

Writing on her WhatsApp profile, she said: 'I am awaiting death. But I am too young to die.'

Rokstan had been living in a house for single women before returning to her family a few days before she was murdered and buried in a shallow grave.

The killing has served to pull into sharp focus the cultural gulf between Germans and the more than one million refugees expected to arrive in the country this year.
Rokstan had arrived in Germany two years ago following her ordeal. 

Authorities say she was well integrated into society and worked as a translator for asylum seekers navigating their way through German bureaucracy.

Author Mark Krüger, who employed her to interpret interviews he conducted with refugees for a book he is writing, said: 'Rokstan told me her terrible fate after she had helped me with translations.'
He listened to a tape she made in which she said: 'I was taken by three men. Ever since that time my family have regarded me as unclean. 

'My mother and my brothers mistreat me. They say that I deserve to die.'

Her body was found on Friday in the family's allotment in Dessau. An autopsy showed she had been stabbed several times.
Rokstan's father Hasso
One of Rokstan's brothers
One of Rokstan's brothers
Suspects: Rokstan's father (left) and two brothers (pictured centre and right) are wanted for questioning. The Federal Police believe the father, Hasso, has fled Germany and is now in either Turkey or Syria

Local prosecutor Christian Preissner said: 'There is the suspicion that the act was carried out by persons in her close circle with a culture motive in the background.'
The father and brothers are wanted for questioning but are nowhere to be found. 
The Federal Police believe the father, Hasso, has fled Germany and is now in either Turkey or Syria.

But author Krüger claimed the mother actually ordered the killing and once tried to hire a hit man to carry it out.

'Rokstan heard this from a friend,' he said.

The mother Roda insisted: 'I had nothing to do with her death.' Police have made no arrests in the case so far.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

TUESDAY Security Update: Putin’s moral clarity on radical Islam at the UN – Did I just say that?

Click below for today's....

FSM Must Reads + 2012 site

Putin's moral clarity on radical Islam at the UN - Did I just say that?

Yes Putin is calling us out. He has announced his role as global statesman, sheriff, and arbiter.

"This is something we should politicize." - Barack Obama, remarking on the Umpqua Community College shootings

One question remains about President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran now that congressional members of his party refused to vote down a terrible agreement.

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tip O'Neill, once said "all politics is local."

The liberal media and the Democrats have had a field day. This, they say, provides absolute confirmation that the whole Benghazi investigation has been a partisan effort, a "witch hunt."

President Obama's notorious ambitions to "fundamentally transform" America don't stop there. It seems he is determined to...

As a reporter, you really ought to check the authoritative Islamic sources yourself, even if just for "balance."

Don't miss out on the latest

FSM video  picks + 2012 site

·  Brother of Oregon Shooting Survivor Has a Strong Message for Obama
·  Napolitano: Legal Noose Around Clinton's Throat Tightening
·  Is the U.S. Now the 'JV Team' in the Middle East?
·  Jesse Watters heads to Dearborn, Michigan to visit the largest Arab-American community in the U.S.
·  Savannah Guthrie Asks Hillary About Server: "Do You Get How Bad It Looks?"
·  Angry Hillary Clinton Talks About Benghazi On Today Show

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Eye on Iran: Iran Nuclear Deal Fails to Ease Middle East Rifts

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WSJ: "Russia's move to cement its alliance with Iran in Syria during last week's meeting of 200 world leaders here underscored a troubling development for the Obama administration and its European allies: Despite July's nuclear deal, battle lines have deepened in the Middle East. Russia appears increasingly willing to strengthen ties with Tehran to prop up the Assad regime in Damascus and cooperate on other issues. Meanwhile, the region's proxy wars have intensified as Saudi Arabia seeks to stymie Iran's push for wider regional clout before Tehran gains a major economic boost from the easing of Western sanctions early next year. Saudi officials made it clear at the U.N. that they wanted no part of any regional discussions involving Iran. After the July 14 deal, President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials publicly voiced hope that the nuclear accord could open a window for greater cooperation between the West and Tehran, while European officials said it showed the West could work with Russia to soothe international tensions, despite discord over Ukraine... So far, none of these efforts has borne fruit. Despite a string of high-level talks with Western leaders, including two bilaterals between Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Iran has displayed little interest in cooperation with the West."

WSJ: "Iran's economy stands to profit from the nuclear deal it struck with six world powers this summer but only if the government makes major revisions to economic and fiscal policies, an International Monetary Fund official said Monday. 'The agreement on Iran's nuclear program and the envisaged lifting of economic sanctions bring a unique opportunity to build on and broaden the achievements of the past two years,' Martin Cerisola, the assistant director of the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia Department, said in a statement following a September visit to assess the country's economy. But Mr. Cerisola said Iran's economy was weak and warned that officials needed to make structural changes if they want to reap the full benefits of the nuclear deal. The political will to make these changes, which include withdrawing subsidies, reducing public-sector debt and pursuing a prudent monetary policy, was essential, he said. 'The complexity and extent of the problems require strong political leadership and support for decisive and coordinated action,' Mr. Cerisola said... Iranian leaders hope sanctions relief spurs better economic performance. Under President Hassan Rouhani, who took office in 2013, inflation has fallen to an annual rate of around 12%, and the Iranian rial has stabilized against major global currencies. However, the fall in oil prices over the past year has been a challenge for Iran, where oil exports account for most of foreign trade. Due in part to the decline, the IMF estimates that Iran's economy may have contracted during the first half of the 2015-16 Iranian fiscal year, which began in March. The full-year projection for economic growth is between -0.5% to 0.5%, Mr. Cerisola said. The future looks brighter, however."

Guardian: "The possibility of a major British oil company regaining access to one of the world's great hydrocarbon markets rose on Friday with officials in Tehran saying Shell would be allowed to build 100 petrol stations in Iran. In a separate move, BP confirmed that it had sent a team of managers to a country which has been out of bounds since western sanctions were imposed over Iran's nuclear programme. These developments coincided with the arrival of a 30-member delegation of UK businesses in the Iranian capital for a four-day visit to meet officials... A Shell spokesman in London said: 'We have not sought, or been granted, any licences to operate retail sites in Iran. We remain in full compliance with all international sanctions.' But if any such deal were to be agreed, it would mark the first time Iran would overcome its previous reluctance to allow foreign companies access to its retail energy market. Trade union officials have significant influence in the signing of such agreements... BP, which started life as the Anglo-Persian Oil company through its assets in the Middle East country, sent technical and commercial managers on a fact-finding mission to the country last month. A spokesman for the company said: 'BP has met with oil industry officials in Iran recently. The details of those discussions are confidential. We have said for some time that we would be interested in reviewing opportunities in Iran once sanctions permit it. We are fully in compliance with the current sanctions regimes in place.' ... Abbas Beyad, international business development executive at the drilling support company, Britannia Petroleum, said his firm had visited Iran several times this year and was hoping to be part of another trade mission expected to be led by the chancellor George Osborne early next year."

Military Matters

Fars (Iran): "Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazzayeri underscored that the country will not implement any part of the nuclear agreement between Tehran and the world powers that could debilitate its defensive power. Asked to comment on the statements of a number of politicians who have said the nuclear agreement between Iran and the world powers would undermine Iran's military capabilities, Jazzayeri told FNA on Monday that enemies' schemes to weaken the Islamic Republic of Iran's defensive power will fail, 'and fortunately, there is not even the slightest doubt about the ascending trend of the Armed Forces' capabilities and skills,'. He referred to the war rhetoric against Iran by the US and Israel, and said, 'Therefore, we should increase our military power to safeguard the national security of Iran and our friends and this important issue will not be affected by any other phenomenon.' 'Any parts of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which could leave (negative) impacts on the country's defensive power will not be implemented; I tell this to both the Iranians and the foreigners,' Jazzayeri stressed. Noting that the Armed Forces have special plans after the approval of the JCPOA, he said Iran will soon stage several missile drills."

Sanctions Relief

IRNA (Iran): "President Hassan Rouhani said Iran is to destroy the wall of incorrect sanctions in coming weeks. Talking in a gathering to mark the National Village Day here on Monday, the President commented on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and said no one on earth could claim Iran has failed in the talks."

Press TV (Iran): "Volkswagen officials are visiting Iran to discuss possible joint cooperation with local companies which have the Middle East's biggest car market under their belt. The German car manufacturer has sent its officials to Iran with Olaf Lies, minister of economic affairs, labor and transport for the federal state of Lower Saxony, where VW is headquartered. Their visit indicates the carmaker's determination to press on with its new plans in Iran despite fallout from revelations that VW had fitted 11 million diesel vehicles around the world with devices designed to mask the level of emissions. Volkswagen's last venture in Iran involved its production of the Gol compact with Iran's Kerman Khodro before withdrawing under US pressures. VW officials accompanied German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel in a July visit to Iran along with representatives of Daimler, Siemens, Linde, BASF and GIZ. Last month, a VW official said the group was grooming its Skoda brand for the Iranian market of 80 million people who bought 1.1 million cars last year. 'Iran is a very interesting market with great opportunities,' VW brand R&D chief Heinz-Jakob Neusser said. A company source was quoted as saying that VW was considering a move into Iran with the mass-market Skoda and Seat brands."

NYT: "Oil companies need to go where the oil is. And with the increasing likelihood that international sanctions on Iran will be lifted, it is no surprise that European oil executives like Ben van Beurden, chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, and Claudio Descalzi, chief executive of Eni of Italy, have met in recent months with Iran's oil minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh. European companies have been sending small teams to Iran to find out what might be available once they receive a green light, probably in early 2016... But oil experts caution that it may be some time before major new oil and gas projects get underway. 'The level of interest in Iran will be high, but actual investment will be slow,' said David Goldwyn, who served as international energy coordinator in the United States Department of State under Hillary Rodham Clinton. These are among the reasons that Iranian oil production is likely to rise more slowly than the sudden surge to one million barrels a day that some Iranian officials have forecast... If these prospects do not sound like a bonanza, that is because they may not be. As one Western oil executive put it, for international companies most of the opportunities in the Middle East are about helping national oil companies extend the lives and the production of aging fields."

Al-Monitor: "Four ministers from the administration wrote a letter to President Hassan Rouhani warning him that Iran's economic situation could turn into a 'condition of crisis' that would take many years to recover from. The most surprising signature on the letter was that of Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan, who is not known to get involved in nonmilitary matters... The letter stated that there are eight reasons for the 'rare decline' in Iran's economy, such as sanctions and the drop in oil prices, but added that 'uncoordinated decisions and policies' of various governmental agencies is the primary reason for the current economic situation... Shargh daily asked why the four ministers would write to the president to address issues for which they themselves are responsible. According to experts who spoke with Shargh, the letter was meant to serve as a warning to Iranian parliamentarians to vote in favor of implementing the final nuclear agreement. Iranian officials opposed to the nuclear agreement, which would remove economic sanctions in return for reduced nuclear activity, have argued that Iran can pull itself out of its current economic situation by relying on domestic production rather than international markets. Zahrah Karimi wrote in Shargh daily that the defense minister's signature on the letter suggests that it was a message to Iranian officials and agencies that if the economic situation worsens or is not improved, it could lead to a security crisis for the country, either through mass migration or mass poverty."

Reuters: "Iran's crude sales are on track to hit the lowest in seven months in October, according to a source with knowledge of its preliminary shipping plans, showing how Tehran is struggling to boost oil exports even after reaching a landmark nuclear deal. The weaker sales come despite offers of price discounts to stimulate purchases by Asian buyers as Iran tries to regain market share lost to rivals such as Saudi Arabia over the last 3-1/2 years of Western sanctions. September and October loadings - for arrivals mostly in October and November - indicate purchases by Iran's main buyers in Asia are set to fall a third consecutive month, hit by refinery turnarounds and projections for mild winter weather. China, the biggest buyer of Iranian oil, is taking the lowest volumes in about a year. The drop counters expectations that Iran's exports would rise after Tehran and six world powers reached a nuclear agreement on July 14, although the sanctions are unlikely to be officially relaxed until next year... Iran's crude exports, excluding condensate, are set to fall to around 830,000 barrels per day (bpd) this month, down 14 percent from revised figures for September and the lowest since March, according to the source."

Bloomberg: "When Mahdi Yazdizadeh tried to import and sell a type of high-tech robot that stocks warehouses, he found himself running from one Tehran office to the next, having to answer a stream of questions to get the needed approvals. 'The customs department doesn't have advance guidelines so they just pass you from person X to person Y because they haven't dealt with such things before,' said Yazdizadeh, director of corporate business development at Shekofa Manesh Co., a leading retail group and franchisee in Iran. 'You have to almost educate them.' His words are a warning for companies such as France's Alstom SA, Germany's RWE AG and others that have expressed interest in investing in Iran once economic sanctions are removed following a historic nuclear accord... International investors will have to cope with obstacles including government control of as much as 70 percent of the economy, a judicial system deemed unfavorable to foreigners, a dual exchange rate and a culture in which tough negotiations often go hand-in-hand with doing business."

Tehran Times: "In its recent report, the World Bank has forecasted Iran's gross domestic product will grow by 0.6 percent in 2015. It is while in its June report, the bank predicted a 1 percent GDP growth for the country in 2015 and a 2 percent GDP growth in 2016... The Central Bank of Iran has announced that the national economy expanded by 3 percent in the previous Iranian calendar year, which ended on March 20, 2015."

Tasnim (Iran): "State-run Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) said the July 14 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers and the ensuing lifting of sanctions against Tehran could revive Irano Hind Shipping Company.  Irano Hind Shipping Company is a joint venture between Shipping Corporation of India and Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines which was partly dissolved in the face of the anti-Iran sanctions. 'Call for dissolving was taken because sanctions were eroding the company and sanctions were affecting me (SCI) also,' SCI's Chairman and Managing Director A K Gupta said, Business Standard reported on Sunday. 'The sanctions on Iran are to be lifted, we need Iran,' he added."

Syria Conflict

Al-Monitor: "Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that ongoing discussions are focused on whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad 'will step down at the beginning of the transitional stage or whether he will stay in Syria without any powers or privileges.' ... Jubeir added that Iran 'has become an occupying force in Syria,' and that 'it has already sent thousands of Quds Force fighters and Shiite militias, such as [members] of Hezbollah and other militias from the region, to support Assad's regime.' According to Jubeir, 'If Iran wants to play a role in finding a political solution in Syria,' it ought to withdraw its forces and militias from Syria. He noted that this is 'not a condition, rather, it is the most important role Iran can play in helping Syria get over its ongoing crisis.' Regarding the dialogue between Saudi Arabia and Iran, he said, 'The issue is linked to Iran's actions, not words,' referring to the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries that have been facing, since the Iranian revolution, the hostile policies of Iran that 'interferes in the region's affairs in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. It is also trying to smuggle explosives to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, while seeking to build cells inside Arab countries with the goal of destruction.' He added that Iran 'is the biggest sponsor of terrorism in the world, and it is working on destabilizing the region. If it wants to build good relations with its neighbors, it ought to deal with them based on the good neighborliness principle and not to interfere in their affairs. We [would] welcome such a step.'"


Tasnim (Iran): "Iran's Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani rejected the notion of any normalization of ties between Tehran and Washington, warning Iranian officials to be mindful of the US hostility towards the country.  'We recommend the (Iranian) politicians and diplomatic body to adjust their behavior proportional to the Americans' conduct, and to be aware that it is impossible to make friends with the enemy,' Ayatollah Amoli Larijani said in a gathering of senior judiciary officials on Monday. Enumerating a litany of US crimes and hostile actions against Iran, the top official stressed the need for Iran's reaction on the basis of realities and the West's approach."

Tasnim (Iran): "Head of Iran's Civil Defense Organization Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali raised the alarm about a shift in the nature of threats following the implementation of a final nuclear deal between Iran and world powers...  Calling for plans to study the new threats in the post-JCPOA era, General Jalali referred to industrial espionage and foreign access to data on the country's infrastructures as some of these threats. He also stressed the need for the formation of a body to specifically monitor the US moves as well as American officials' words and deeds after the JCPOA."


AFP: "Iran has threatened to boycott next week's Frankfurt Book Fair because organisers have invited the author Salman Rushdie, who still has a fatwa against him, as a guest speaker. Rushdie, a British citizen who now lives in the United States, was made subject of the fatwa -- a religious edict that called for his killing -- in 1988, when his fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, was published. The Islamic republic's founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued the order after he and many others in the Muslim world said Rushdie had depicted the prophet Muhammad irreverently... Iran's Deputy Culture Minister Abbas Salehi told the ISNA news agency on Monday that it was against Rushdie's presence at the Frankfurt fair, one of the world's largest book festivals. 'When we learned of the presence of Salman Rushdie at the book fair in Frankfurt, we sent a letter of protest and called on other Muslim countries to do the same,' Salehi was quoted as saying. 'In the coming days, we will try to convince the leaders of the fair to change their mind. We will seriously consider not participating,' he said of the October 14-18 event in Germany."

Foreign Affairs

Press TV (Iran): "Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan says Muslim countries need to keep vigilant against Saudi Arabia's crimes, including the recent deadly Mina crush and Riyadh's military aggression against Yemen. In a Sunday message to his Lebanese counterpart Samir Moqbel, the Iranian minister said Saudi rulers' lack of foresight and mismanagement are the reasons behind the tragic stampede in Mina during the Hajj pilgrimage rituals. 'This terrible catastrophe along with inhumane crimes by Saudi rulers against the oppressed and defenseless Yemeni people, which are a reminder of the Zionist regime's cruel crimes in Lebanon and Palestine, raises the alarm that [such crimes] should be stopped through absolute vigilance and prudence of Muslim countries,' Dehqan said."

Mehr (Iran): "Secretary for the Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaie stated that Saudi government should not misuse Iran's gentleness and patience and advised them not to play with fire. With high preparedness, the Iranian nation counter and thwart any threatening attacks in the same way it did in the past decades when Israeli regime and USA failed to reach their goals in their attacks against Iran, Mohsen Rezaie said addressing special law enforcement units... He said those sponsoring attacks to Yemen and killing Yemeni people, are those who are in charge of the Holy Shrines in Saudi Arabia. They are now pioneering division and are acting as servants of their Israeli and US masters."

Opinion & Analysis

Robert Satloff & James Jeffrey in The American Interest: "After lamely calling for Assad's departure for four years, one cannot fault America's regional allies for interpreting President Obama's cynical acceptance of Assad's continued and open-ended rule as a blessing of sorts for the muscular defense of the embattled Syrian leader by the new Russia-Iran axis. How did we get caught in this muddle? How did the perfectly natural American outrage at the brutal nihilists of ISIS shape-shift into a supine response to the most direct and serious Russian challenge to America's global position in four decades, a nonchalant acceptance of Iran's deployment of troops and materiel to the Mediterranean littoral, and a willingness to legitimize the continued rule of a maniacal despot responsible for more than a quarter million killed and the depopulation of nearly half his entire country? The answer is that this policy is the logical extension of a principle that has been at the heart of President Obama's approach to the Middle East for the past seven years. This is the idea that the world had consigned to history '20th-century threats' to global peace - especially, the appetites for power, prestige, and wealth of voracious states-leaving in its wake only the still serious but very different '21st-century challenges' of failed states, climate change, and so on. As applied by the Obama Administration, this idea has had three corollaries. The, first, following the Bush Administration and public opinion in the wake of the September 11 attacks, is that Sunni jihadist terrorism-represented first by al-Qaeda and now by ISIS, a threat fueled by the blinding corruption, ideological extremism, and gross mismanagement of Sunni-led states-represents an existential threat to the West, akin to the thousands of Soviet warheads once aimed at American cities. Against this threat, it is legitimate to deploy American military assets, but only in targeted and limited ways, such as dispatching Seal Team Six to kill Osama bin Laden. That is because of the second corollary, which holds that America cannot and should not wield power to navigate the threats of disorder the way it wielded power to confront traditional aggressors; indeed, wielding such power (so the argument goes) only aggravates some of the most dangerous threats we face and diverts us from the alleged real job of 'fixing' the root social and political causes of disorder. But the 21st-century world is also one of opportunities, not just limitations. One such opportunity was the third corollary-the opportunity to bring Iran in from the cold, where it could be transformed from a radical, nuclear-proliferating, renegade state into a rule-abiding, status quo partner in the fight against the jihadists. Each of these ideas is wrong. Some are obviously wrong; clearly, for instance, rapacious states have survived into the postmodern era, and old-fashioned force must sometimes be used to protect our allies and interests against them. As for Iran, whatever the wisdom of a narrow arrangement to postpone its nuclear weapons ambitions, it is farcical to believe that the Supreme Leader can be a true partner of the United States in any common enterprise. The spectacle of American diplomats chasing after the Iranians at the United Nations last week to engage their help in an array of regional concerns, only to be rebuffed, was both sad and revealing... The important priority is preventing the Russian-Iran alliance from demolishing the regional security system by establishing a substantial security presence inside Syria, from which the two could-separately and together-project power throughout the Levant, cynically exacerbate the refugee crisis, and advance security, diplomatic, and possibly even energy policies to protect their friends and interests. Taken together, the Administration's wrong assumptions led it to an analysis that misreads the Middle East situation and a set of policies that misprioritizes the urgent (rolling back ISIS) over the important (preventing anti-American, anti-Western powers from rearranging Middle East security to their benefit). But it's not too late. If the Russian-Iranian power-play in Syria, like the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan a generation ago, compels the President to reassess his policy, he will find that has realistic options."

Phillip Smyth in WINEP: "Recent online activities show that various Iranian-backed Iraqi Shiite militias have greatly expanded their recruitment efforts in support of the Assad regime, including numerous reports of significant battlefield action. On September 21, the Wall Street Journal reported that forces under the command of Iran, Russia, and Bashar al-Assad were coordinating efforts to secure the Syrian regime. As Moscow sends advanced aircraft, armored vehicles, and more, Iran's Iraqi Shiite proxies have simultaneously stepped up their recruitment and deployment for the Syria war. Since July, their Syria-focused online campaigns have jumped significantly (see chart), morphing from infrequent mentions in late 2014/early 2015 to a full-fledged recruitment program involving a number of newer Iranian-backed groups. These Shiite fighters are now spread across Syria, primarily in the western part of the country, launching operations from the suburbs of Damascus to Idlib.  Following the June 2014 seizure of Mosul and much of northern Iraq by the so-called Islamic State/ISIS, a group called Kataib al-Imam Ali (KIA) announced its creation (for more on this militia, see PolicyWatch 2352, 'Kataib al-Imam Ali: Portrait of an Iraqi Shiite Militant Group Fighting ISIS'). Formed by Iranian-controlled splinter elements from Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, KIA is probably best known for its fierce battlefield reputation and particularly gory videos featuring severed heads and men being cooked above open flames. When compared to other organizations, KIA's Syria-focused recruitment and propaganda campaign has been the largest. Using messages issued via its offices, billboards, and social media, the group has actively recruited new members, especially around Najaf, Iraq. These efforts began with online imagery connecting its fighters with Sayyeda Zainab, an important Shiite shrine near Damascus. Other posts have announced that Jaafar al-Bindawi, the militia's former head of training and logistics, would be leading the deployment in Syria, while Ali Nizam would serve as the new logistical director for Syrian affairs. While this effort marks the group's first publicized deployments to Syria, KIA is no newcomer to the war. Prior to its formal creation, and with Iranian assistance, elements of the militia were very active in Syria beginning in 2013. Alaa Hilayl, one of the group's heavily glorified 'martyrs' and leader of its submilitia Kataib Malik al-Ashtar, was one of the first Shiite commanders to publicly announce combat operations in the Aleppo area in spring 2013. Meanwhile, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba (HHN, a.k.a. 'The Hezbollah Movement of the Outstanding,' or simply Harakat al-Nujaba) has been the other main Iraqi Shiite player in Syria recruitment, and its background is similar to KIA's. HHN emerged from Iranian-controlled Sadrist splinter group Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) in 2013 and is led by that group's cofounder, Sheikh Akram Kaabi. The militia was an early provider of fighters to Syria and one of the first Iraqi Shiite forces to announce its involvement in battles in the Aleppo area. Initially, HHN had three submilitias operating in Syria, but these units have received less attention of late. Demonstrating the interconnected nature of KIA and HHN, both groups posted images of KIA secretary-general Shebl al-Zaidi and HHN's Kaabi going over maps and targets in late July. The connection was further emphasized following the September 19 death of HHN's Aleppo commander Alaa al-Musawi -- both groups commemorated him as a 'martyr' who had fallen during the 'defense of sacred sites' in Syria...  Attrition is eating away at Assad's forces, and pressure has also increased on Iran's main proxy, Lebanese Hezbollah. Following Sunni jihadist and other Syrian rebel advances over large tracts of territory, particularly those close to the coastal Alawite heartland, more pro-Assad forces were needed to secure these zones and push the enemy back. Iran's Iraqi Shiite proxies are helping to provide those numbers. And given the legitimacy that HHN and especially KIA have gained from battlefield successes, their recent recruitment campaigns are bolstering the Iranian narrative that deployments in Syria are key to defeating ISIS in Iraq. Although Iran could call on other loyal and established Iraqi Shiite proxies, newer groups have been given control of some recruitment efforts, at least temporarily. In addition to the fact that established proxies are still fighting hard in Iraq, creating new groups to do this work allows Iran to further obfuscate its role in Syria. The shared organizational origins and ongoing close relations between some of these groups also indicates that they are not as fragmented as they appear, and their operations in Syria may be a way to build loyalty and showcase their role in the larger Iranian-controlled 'Islamic Resistance' network. Furthermore, as the presence of Iraqi Shiite fighters in Syria becomes more commonplace, the sense of a unified front, devoid of other political realities and goals held by Iran, may become a reality."

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