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What Obama Didn’t Mention in Counterterror Speech: Iran, Hezbollah Activity Surging Worldwide

State Department report to Congress comes day after Argentinian prosecutor drops massive indictment accusing Iran of plotting attacks from Latin America: "These are sleeper cells. They have activities you wouldn't imagine."

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

May 30, 2013 - 6:31 pm

A Congress in recess received the State Department’s country-by-country annual report on international terrorism today with a warning that sponsorship of terror by Iran and Hezbollah has surged to “a tempo unseen since the 1990s” with attacks spanning three continents.

The assessment comes just a day after an exhaustive, scathing report by an Argentinian prosecutor accusing Iran of planning attacks from Latin American soil.

And as President Obama tried to do in his national security speech last week, Secretary of State John Kerry’s department tried to highlight a weakening al-Qaeda core in Pakistan “as its leaders focus increasingly on survival” while acknowledging that the terror organization has metastasized with active affiliates in North Africa and beyond.

The report noted al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s plunge into Mali, Boko Haram’s continued attacks in Nigeria, and Al-Shabaab’s “asymmetric tactics” after being driven out of some southern population centers in Somalia.

“Suspected [Boko Haram] attackers killed Nigerian government and security officials, Muslim and Christian clerics, journalists, and civilians. Of particular concern to the United States is the emergence of the BH faction known as ‘Ansaru,’ which has close ties to AQIM and has prioritized targeting Westerners – including Americans – in Nigeria,” the report states.

AQIM was “largely limited” to Algeria’s rural areas, the State Department noted, but “have increasingly taken advantage of chaos and rebellion to expand their areas of control and assert autonomy of action.”

While painting a picture echoing Obama’s claim that “the AQ core is on a path to defeat,” a fact sheet  accompanying the report notes “recent events in the region have complicated the counterterrorism picture.”

“The dispersal of weapons stocks in the wake of the revolution in Libya, the Tuareg rebellion, and the coup d’état in Mali presented terrorists with new opportunities,” it said.

“AQ affiliates are increasingly setting their own goals and specifying their own targets…we are facing a more decentralized and geographically dispersed terrorist threat,” the State Department continued. “…In the long term, we must build the capabilities of our partners and counter the ideology that continues to incite terrorist violence around the world.”

Obama’s speech, which largely advocated a return to pre-9/11 threat strategy, last week described the new threat as “more diffuse.” The president didn’t mention Iran once in the lengthy counterterrorism strategy address at the National Defense University. In its single mention, he painted Hezbollah as a politically motivated actor. “In some cases, we continue to confront state-sponsored networks like Hezbollah that engage in acts of terror to achieve political goals,” Obama said.

“And while we are vigilant for signs that these groups may pose a transnational threat, most are focused on operating in the countries and regions where they are based,” the president added.

The State Department recorded terrorist attacks in 85 countries in 2012, with 10 U.S. citizens killed and more than half of all the attacks occurring in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan.

The report walks a distinct political line, including crediting Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government with being “opposed to violent extremism” and tipping a hat to Saudi Arabia for continuing “its long-term counterterrorism strategy to track and halt the activities of terrorists and terrorist financiers, dismantle the physical presence of al-Qa’ida, and impede the ability of militants to operate from or within the Kingdom.”

It’s a bit tougher on Iran, implicating the Islamic Republic in attacks in India, Thailand, Georgia, and Kenya, as well as the plot to murder the Saudi ambassador in Washington. “The thwarted plot demonstrated Iran’s interest in using international terrorism – including in the United States – to further its foreign policy goals,” the State Department said.

“Since the end of the 2006 Israeli-Hizballah conflict, Iran has assisted in rearming Hizballah, in direct violation of UNSCR 1701. Iran has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in support of Hizballah in Lebanon and has trained thousands of Hizballah fighters at camps in Iran. Iran actively supported members of the Houthi tribe in northern Yemen, including activities intended to build military capabilities, which could pose a greater threat to security and stability in Yemen and the surrounding region,” the report continues.

And while the administration touts looming al-Qaeda defeat in Pakistan, the report makes clear that the Sunni terror group has a home and a friend in Shiite Iran.

“Iran remained unwilling to bring to justice senior al-Qa’ida (AQ) members it continued to detain, and refused to publicly identify those senior members in its custody. Iran allowed AQ facilitators Muhsin al-Fadhli and Adel Radi Saqr al-Wahabi al-Harbi to operate a core facilitation pipeline through Iran, enabling AQ to move funds and fighters to South Asia and to Syria. Al-Fadhli is a veteran AQ operative who has been active for years. Al-Fadhli began working with the Iran-based AQ facilitation network in 2009 and was later arrested by Iranian authorities. He was released in 2011 and assumed leadership of the Iran-based AQ facilitation network.”

The State Department’s assessment came a day after Alberto Nisman, Special Prosecutor for the 1994 attack on the Argentina Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, released a 500-page indictment accusing Tehran of reaching its tentacles deep into several Latin American countries to plan and orchestrate terror attacks.

Eighty-five people were killed in the AMIA suicide bombing. As cardinal in Buenos Aires, Pope Francis led a charge on the 11th anniversary of the attack to discover and bring the attackers to justice. The following year, in 2006, prosecutors accused Iran and Hezbollah of being behind the bombing.

Two candidates running in Iran’s presidential election this year, Mohsen Rezai and Ali Akbar Velayati, stand accused of planning the bombing. Rezai, cur­rently Iran’s sec­re­tary of the Expe­di­ency Council, is wanted by Interpol in the case.

“This report shows clearly that the 1994 AMIA bombing was not an isolated event, but rather that it was part of a larger and still ongoing scheme by the Iranian regime and its proxies to expand their influence in the Western Hemisphere and threaten U.S. security interests in the region,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said today of the indictment.

“This indictment reaffirms the fact that Iran’s dual use of diplomatic and cultural offices is utilized to deepen its infiltration into the Hemisphere,” she added. “In particular, the indictment implicates the fugitive Mohsen Rabbani, the mastermind behind the AMIA bombing, as the primary coordinator of Iran’s nefarious activities in the region.”

The indictment notes as another example of Iran’s reach the 2010 conviction of two Guyanese men for conspiring to carry out a terrorist attack on JFK airport in New York.

“These are sleeper cells. They have activities you wouldn’t imagine,” Nisman said when he unveiled his indictment, backed up by a massive file of evidence. “Sometimes they die having never received the order to attack.”

Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, invited Nisman to come to Washington “to educate Congress and this administration on the real threats that Iran and its proxies pose to the U.S. and our hemisphere.”

“I urge this administration and all responsible nations in the region to dedicate their law enforcement and counterterrorism efforts to rooting out this grave threat once and for all,” she added.

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (14)
All Comments   (14)
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Soon we will all have to understand that 'all of Islam is exactly the same, there is no moderate and there is no peaceful, there is only ISLAM'.
The Muslim is taught form birth who he must be, he is taught at the Mosque, which is the Center and heart of Islam. They are steeped in the thought of never ending war on all of humanity until there is only Allah and Islam.
If we plan to survive this diabolical creed then we must get serious and separate ourselves from this terror. We must deport all of this ideology from our shores and never let one Muslim back on our soil, ever.
There is no other way to survive...... And if we want Israel to survive, then we must have a 51st State and plan on a never ending war forever with the Muslim people. Read the Koran and pay attention to the words.....
Obama is our worst enemy and we must survive his administration.... first.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Would obama have said anything differently if he was/is a closet muslim?
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
What Obama and apparently not a few Americans fail to understand is that, while they must be fought wherever they fester Islamofascists are not the primary, existential threat we face.

China already has nuclear weapons, an increasingly powerful and outspoken military, and a cultural memory of 300+ years of humiliation at the hands of the West. They are actively preparing to fight the US; some would argue that the current hacking attacks are in fact the first phase of their war against us.

We seem to be in a way repeating the same mistake the Athenians did in the second phase of the Peloponnesian War. They attacked Syracuse, which in some ways did pose a threat, but they ignored the real threat -- Sparta's alliance with Persia -- and went down in defeat.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
China? Wha..?

The U.S. is China's #1 go-to for selling their crummy, well, everything.

Orders from China to the EU have all but collapsed with the Euro nonsense.

China's trade surplus is flush because of the U.S.

“ It is much easier to be critical than to be correct. ”
— Benjamin Disraeli

Barack Kardashian LIVES by the above quote. Sadly he's not critical of our plain as day enemies. Instead the dude's on the attack of but our Constitution, Bill of Rights and the tens of millions of law abiding citizenry whom hold our liberties sacred. That's the tens of millions of U.S. Independents, Conservatives, Libertarians and Blue Dog Democrats, respectively.

The pinhead's said, instigated as much multiple times. The kool-aid drinkers at the IRS, DoJ, State Department have done our empty vessel's bidding.



45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
At the rate he is going, soon now, Barack Obama will know nothing about everything and everything about nothing. He seems to be evolving into a potted plant.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sleeper cells. Isn't that like the Boston Bomber brothers, or the Fort Hood Maj. I could give more examples, but it is the Mosques that they got their arse in the air at that I want.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
"He [that would be Muhammad, the founder of Islam and Islam's "Perfect Man"] declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion [that would be Islam, not "Islamism", nor "Radical Islam", nor 'Islamists" nor "Islamofascism", nor "Hijacked Islam", but ISLAM!], against all the rest of mankind." (John Quincy Adams - who unlike both Obama and Bush had a brain and a clue)
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Muslim activity in general is surging world wide.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Meanwhile Barry is off on a nationwide tour of discovery about what Muslims really want from him - first stop Chicagostan. Iran and the OIC really DO think that they have a true friend in the WH. I'm miffed because Barry's executive order and resulting committees and tours cost taxpayers millions of dollars at a time when our country needs healing.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
----- "What Obama Didn't Mention ... "

Yes. That's right. So we simply cannot wage a war on radical Islam so long as Obama and the leftist-progressives hold power. The best thing to do is to stand down. Secure the homeland. And play the defensive until such point as we have a pro-American, pro-military, anti-jihadi government to extend American power and protect the American people. We have 3 & 1/2 years of Obama rule to endure before we have any chance of turning this national security disaster around. In short: I say: bring the troops home and keep them home until we have a president and a Congress that is worthy to RISK them in defense of the country. Remember that stupid cartoon guy who held the placard: We have met the enemy and it is us? What he meant to say was "...and it is spineless elites who pretend to represent us."
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
well, you have to admit that he has repeatedly sold a dripping, smelly sack of schit to the amerikan people for top $$. why would he worry that his rocket scientist followers would catch on now?

he could photo-shop himself into the last supper, present it at the oscars to a standing ovation, and polls would attest that 17% of the general population believed it was real. don't laugh, they already believe there were computer generated everyday legal documents produced in 1961, because he says so; and, everybody knows he would never lie to the American people.

what a bunch of maroons.

45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are certainly some appallingly ignorant people in this country. A couple of years ago, I read an anecdote told by an employee in a book store. A customer came in and asked if they carried books on tape where the author read his/her own work. The employee ensured the customer they had such books. The customer was relieved and said great, take me to the Shakespeare books on tape. Apparently the customer actually thought that Shakespeare had been recorded reading his own works, even though he died three hundred years before the invention of anything that would record voices.

Somebody like that - and I fear there are more such people than we would like to think - could be made to believe just about anything Obama said.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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