Have Wars Strengthened Iran?

While cognizant of the fact that the United States has spent much of the past 25 years engaged in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some statistics I came across today about population migration left me dumbstruck.

PeopleMovin IraqThe United States has had troops in and around Iraq since the early 1990s when I was still wearing the uniform of an Air Force officer.  Since then, we’ve rid the country of an evil dictator and brought about something akin to democratic rule.  As a result, one might think the good ol’ USA a top choice among the 1.5 million Iraqi emigrants.

But it’s not.  Instead, Iran is the top migrant destination of Iraqis — 379,356 in fact!

Not far away, the U.S. has had troops in Afghanistan in a big way since just after Sept. 11, 2001.  Almost a dozen years!  During that time, we’ve purportedly made inroads toward ridding the country of evil Taliban fighters who oppress the Afghan citizenry.  As a result, one might think the good ol’ USA might be a top destination of Afghans opting to leave their war-torn country for better lives.

PeopleMovinAfghWrong again.  The leading designation of Afghan emigrants is, once again, Iran — to the tune of 1.7 million choosing to live there!

Makes one wonder if, by choosing to wage war in Iraq and Afghanistan, we ended up strengthening Iran instead.

Just a thought as we enter another weekend.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice, a nonfiction book that’s available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com. His second book, The CLAPPER MEMO, is coming soon was released May 2013.

 

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Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Barack Obama Makes Jimmy Carter Look Good

Jimmy Carter owes Barack Obama a debt of gratitude.  Why?  Because Obama’s response to recent attacks against U.S. diplomatic outposts in places like Benghazi, Cairo and Khartoum makes Carter’s handling of the Iran Hostage Crisis almost 33 years ago look pretty good by comparison.

Recently-freed Americans held hostage by Iran disembark from their aircraft upon arrival Jan. 27, 1981, at Andrews AFB, Md. (DoD photo)

Carter’s crisis began Nov. 4, 1979, when Iranian revolutionaries invaded the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took 52 Americans — including several members of the Marine Security Guard Battalion — as hostages and held them for 444 days.  It ended Jan. 20, 1981, moments after President Ronald Reagan was sworn into office and completed his inauguration speech.

Though Carter’s presidency will forever be remembered as much for the ill-fated “Desert One” rescue attempt as for anything else, one has to give the peanut farmer from Plains, Ga., credit for having recognized that the violation of U.S. soil and sovereignty that took place in Iran constituted an act of war.

Michael Wardell

The soil upon which each U.S. embassy stands has been considered sovereign U.S. territory, regardless of location, for more than 200 years, according to Michael Wardell, a 47-year-old retired Marine who’s military experience included serving embassy duty at posts in Central and West Africa and Japan.

“Each embassy represents a place where diplomacy can and should take place between representatives of the United States and the host nation — even if relations are strained or past the tipping point of war,” said Wardell.

If you think Wardell’s observations are a bit strong, consider the point of view from which he offers it; Wardell’s job, he said, was to secure and defend the Chancery and then wait for help to arrive.  Until then, he and his fellow Marines were to stand ready to bring pain or death upon anyone who breached the perimeter and violated American sovereignty.

Marine Cpl. Michael Wardell, right, works with a fellow Marine to raise the U.S. flag following the July 11, 1987, presentation of credentials by U.S. Ambassador Stephen R. Lyne in Accra, Ghana.

“Standing ready” in the central African republic of Burundi during the early 1990s meant being prepared at all times as turmoil, Wardell said, even as more than 800,000 host-nation citizens (i.e., Hutu and Tutsi tribesmen), were dying amidst civil strife outside the gates.  Further, it meant being ready to use all means available to stop anyone from breaching the embassy’s perimeter and violating sovereign American soil.

As a result of what happened in Tehran more than three decades ago, Wardell said, the Marine Corps changed forever how it would handle matters of security at embassies around the world.  Likewise, those events resulted in Marines preparing, over and over again, for scenarios exactly like those that have played out in the news media in recent days.

As a result of these most-recent violations of our national sovereignty, Wardell holds some strong feelings about the handling, or mishandling, of recent events.

“Do I believe we should go to war with these countries over these invasions to our sovereign territory? No,” he explained.  “Not yet at least.

“The first thing that needs to happen is we need to boot all of their personnel out of our country,” he continued, “and, if we decide to leave their country as well, so be it; because, once we leave, they have nowhere else to attack.”

In addition, Wardell said, the United States should ignore leaders of countries like Sudan when they tell us our Marines cannot assist in the evacuation of American diplomats.

“We send them in anyway,” Wardell said.  “There will be plenty of time to repair diplomatic relations later.  And on our terms.”

What Was Going On In Israel Today? (Update)

At 4 p.m. Central Thursday, a Google Alert for the term, “Israeli Air Force,” arrived in my inbox.  The alert contained a link to an article purportedly published today on the Jewish Telegraphic Agency blog.

The summary of the article caused quite a bit of concern in my mind:

… Benjamin Netanyahu, has just ordered roughly one hundred F-15Es, F-16Is, F-16Cs, and other aircraft of the Israeli air force to fly east toward Iran—possibly by crossing Saudi Arabia, possibly by threading the border between Syria and Turkey, ….

When I clicked on the article’s headline, Jeff Goldberg & the attack on Iran, I was whisked to a JTA web page minus any sign of the article:

Upon arriving at the site, several explanations for what might have taken place and resulted in the faulty link crossed my mind:

Did the Israeli government put the kabosh on the folks at JTA for publishing the article?

Did something far less controversial — perhaps, a web site design error or problem with a link — cause today’s case of the mysterious disappearing article?

Did Israel conduct some sort of information warfare exercise against Iran?

Or did something else happen?

I’d be interested in your thoughts.

Meanwhile, I wait for a response to an inquiry I sent to the JTA newsroom, asking for an explanation.  I’ll let you know if I receive a reply.

NOTE: Just before deciding to publish this article, I ran a Google Advanced Search for “Benjamin Netanyahu” and “Israeli Air Force.”  That search produced 33 results, including a link to the aforementioned JTA article which appeared twice among the six most-recent results.

UPDATE 6/24/11 at 10:56 p.m. Central: It appears the Jeff Goldberg story is now “live” at the website.  Still waiting for an explanation as to why the story took so long to appear on the site.  Police officer:  “Alright, citizens, nothing to see here.  Move along.”

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Islamic Countries Most Dangerous for Christians (Update)

Despite communist North Korea topping the list for the ninth consecutive year, the most dangerous countries in which to practice Christianity are overwhelmingly Islamic ones, according to the annual Open Doors World Watch List.

Of the top 10 countries on the 2011 WWL, eight have Islamic majorities and persecution of Christians has increased in seven of them. They are:

  • Iran, which clamps down on a growing house church movement;
  • Afghanistan, where thousands of believers cluster deep underground;
  • Saudi Arabia, which still refuses to allow any Saudi person to convert to Christianity;
  • Somalia, ruled by bloodthirsty terrorists threatening to kill Christian aid workers who feed Somalia’s starving, impoverished people;
  • Maldives, which mistakenly boasts it is 100 percent Islamic;
  • Yemen with its determination to expel all Christian workers; and
  • Iraq, which saw extremists massacre 58 Christians in a Baghdad cathedral on Oct. 31.

Click to view Top 50.

Of the top 30 countries on the list, only seven have a source other than Islamic extremists as the main persecutors of Christians.

The top 10 in order are North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Maldives, Yemen, Iraq, Uzbekistan and Laos, which has a Communist government. Iraq is new to the top 10 list while Mauritania dropped out, going from No. 8 to No. 13.

The annual World Watch List is compiled by the research department of Open Doors International. It tracks the shifting conditions under which Christians live in 77 societies and then ranks the top 50 where it is hardest to practice the Christian faith.

“Being a Muslim Background Believer or ‘Secret Believer’ in a Muslim-dominated country puts a bulls-eye on the backs of Christians,” said Dr. Carl Moeller, president and CEO of Open Doors USA. “There is either no freedom to believe or little freedom of religion. And as the 2011 World Watch List reflects, the persecution of Christians in these Muslim countries continues to increase.

Asia Noreen

The country with the largest Christian community on the list is Pakistan with more than 5 million believers.  One of those is Asia Noreen who was sentenced to death on a false blasphemy charge, Moeller said.

Pakistani Christians also faced a sharp erosion of their religious liberty with the country leaping from No. 14 to No. 11 on the current list, according to the news release announcing the 2011 list. Twenty-nine Christians were martyred in the reporting period with at least one killing occurring every month. Four Christians were sentenced to long terms in jail for blasphemy against Islam, at least 58 Christians were kidnapped, more than 100 Christians were assaulted and 14 churches and properties were damaged.

Other countries that rose markedly on the new WWL were Afghanistan, up from No. 6 to No. 3, especially in the wake of ugly demonstrations when footage of Muslims being baptized was shown on network television. Dozens of Christians from the tiny Afghan church have had to move due to subsequent death threats, and in August a 10-person medical aid team from a Christian organization was slaughtered.

The year’s grisliest headlines were found in No. 26 Nigeria, however, where a staggering 2,000 Christians lost their lives in riots caused by Muslim extremists in some of the northern states in the country. Tension has been growing for more than a generation in northern Nigeria, and escalated after 1999 when 12 northern states adopted Sharia (strict Islamic law). On Christmas Eve Compass Direct News reported the killing of a Baptist pastor and five other Christians in northern Nigeria. More killings of Christians were also reported in the last two weeks.

Egypt is ranked No. 19 on the WWL and could be a focus of persecution this year as 21 Christians were killed in a bomb blast on New Year’s Day outside the Church of Two Saints in Alexandria.

FYI: If you enjoy this blog and want to keep reading stories like the one above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right. Thanks in advance for your support!

UPDATE 1/6/11 at 6:33 p.m. Central: Cross-posted at Andrew Breitbart’s BigPeace.com.

Obama Administration Working to Disarm Israel?

Israel National News is reporting today that the United States is working with both Egypt and Russia to rid Israel of its nuclear weapons, as part of a comprehensive plan to neutralize Iran’s nuclear power.  If true, this implications are enormous.

This news, courtesy of Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit, dovetails perfectly with the revelation that surfaced almost two years ago about the inclusion of Israel in Barack Obama’s Seven Mystery States Coin Collection developed almost one year ago.  As depicted on one side of the collection’s State of Israel coin (shown above), President Obama sees no future for the Jewish State.

Missile Defense Documentary Demands Action

Former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent (D-Mo.) and Ambassador Ann Wagner hosted a screening Saturday afternoon of the Heritage Foundation-produced documentary, 33 Minutes: Protecting America in the New Missile Age (see trailer below).  When the film ended and the overhead lights came on inside the St. Charles (Mo.) Convention Center meeting room, many in the audience appeared dumbfounded and upset.

Why?  Because they learned that, despite present and growing dangers related to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles to rogue states such as Iran and North Korea, our government has moved too slowly to build the missile defense systems capable of defending us against such attacks.

Things didn’t get any better when Senator Talent and Ambassador Wagner shared more grim news after the lights came on.

Ambassador Wagner, whose experience includes years of missile defense treaty negotiations, told the crowd President Barack Obama had recently cut the U.S. Missile Defense Agency budget by $1.2 billion, cut overall defense spending by 4.9 percent and had stuck knives in the backs of the leaders of Poland and the Czech Republic, European nations to whom the U.S. had only recently pledged to provide missile defense capabilities.

Senator Talent used a plausible scenario to outline what is at stake.

“It’s one thing if you’ve got a bilateral standoff between two stable regimes that have good communications, a la the Cuban Missile Crisis,” said Talent, who recently served as vice chair of the bipartisan Commission for the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism established by Congress. “What if you’ve got a multi-lateral confrontation between, let’s say, India and Pakistan, who’ve come within an eyelash of war anyway.  And Iran.  And China.   And they all have nuclear weapons,” he explained.  “The odds of a launch go up geometrically.  Well, a missile defense, a multi-layer completed missile defense system is a defense against all of that.”

I don’t want to spoil the rest of the documentary for you.  Instead, I highly recommend you attend a screening of the film and/or host a screening so that word gets out.  At a minimum, watch the videos on the 33 Minutes You Tube Channel.

Cyber Attack on USA Expected Tuesday?

It was almost 9 p.m. in Tehran as I published this post, and people around the world are still trying to decide what Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s threatened “punch” against the West is going to be.  Some influential Americans appear to think it might come as a cyber attack.

For more information, I direct your attention to an article by Marc Ambinder published yesterday at TheAtlantic.com.  It begins this way:

On February 16, at about 10:00 am ET, the U.S. will be hit by a massive, crippling cyber attack from an unknown entity. Key players will convene in the White House situation room and plan the response, from mitigation to (possibly) retaliation. It’ll be live on television — G.N.N.

Ambinder goes on to inform readers of an event — not an attack — that’s been dubbed “Cyber ShockWave” by its creators at the Bipartisan Policy Center and will take place Feb. 16 at 10 a.m. Eastern.

If this event’s list of participants — which, among others, includes former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff — is any indication of its newsworthiness, then I’d have to conclude this is a must-follow event.  Unfortunately, however, the exercise’s credibility is tarnished by the inclusion of at least two individuals — Jamie Gorelick, former Deputy Attorney General, and Joe Lockhart, former White House Press Secretary — who’s political “baggage” tends to sully the supposed bipartisan nature of the exercise.