Archive for the ‘Putin and Iran’ category

Informant provided FBI evidence Russia aided Iran nuclear program during Obama years

March 27, 2018

By John Solomon and Alison Spann – 03/26/18 06:39 PM EDT via The Hill

Source Link: Informant provided FBI evidence Russia aided Iran nuclear program during Obama years

{It figures. – LS}

A former undercover informant says he provided evidence to the FBI during President Obama’s first term that Russia was assisting Iran’s nuclear program even as billions in new U.S. business flowed to Moscow’s uranium industry.

William Douglas Campbell told The Hill his evidence included that Russia was intercepting nonpublic copies of international inspection reports on Tehran’s nuclear program and sending equipment, advice and materials to a nuclear facility inside Iran.

Campbell said Russian nuclear executives were extremely concerned that Moscow’s ongoing assistance to Iran might boomerang on them just as they were winning billions of dollars in new nuclear fuel contracts inside the United States.

“The people I was working with had been briefed by Moscow to keep a very low profile regarding Moscow’s work with Tehran,” Campbell said in an interview. “Moscow was supplying equipment, nuclear equipment, nuclear services to Iran. And Moscow, specifically the leadership in Moscow, were concerned that it would offset the strategy they had here in the United States if the United States understood the close relationship between Moscow and Tehran.”

A spokesman for former President Obama did not return multiple requests for comment.

Congressional Democrats have written a memo questioning Campbell’s credibility and memory while Republicans say his story calls into question the favorable treatment the Obama administration gave Russia.

Notes of Campbell’s FBI debriefings show he reported in 2010 that a Russian nuclear executive was using “the same kind of payment network” to move funds between Russia and Iran as was used to launder kickbacks between Moscow and Americans.

Campbell worked from 2008 to 2014 as an undercover informant inside Rosatom, Russia’s state-controlled nuclear giant, while posing as a consultant. He helped the FBI put several Russian and U.S. executives in prison for a bribery, kickback, money laundering and extortion scheme.

He said he became concerned the United States was providing favorable decisions to the Russian nuclear industry in 2010 and 2011 — clearing the way for Moscow to buy large U.S. uranium assets and to secure billions in nuclear fuel contracts — even as he reported evidence of Moscow’s help to Iran.

“I got no feedback. They took the reports and the reports, I assume, went to specific people assigned to analyze the reports and that was the last I heard of it,” he said.

In 2012, FBI agents asked Campbell to press a top Russian nuclear executive about the Iran assistance, providing a list of detailed questions. The Russians became suspicious about Campbell’s inquiries and fired him from his consulting job, he said

“It raised a red flag almost immediately and within a matter of weeks thank God I was out of harm’s way,” he said.

 

Iran is on board new US-Russia truce deal in Syria

July 8, 2017

Iran is on board new US-Russia truce deal in Syria, DEBKAfile, July 8, 2017

The limited deal struck by Trump and Putin provides Israel and Jordan with a partial measure of relief, because Iran will certainly be allowed to complete its military intervention in other parts of Syria in return.

[W]hen the dust settled from the fanfare surrounding it, it began to be realized that the US and Russian presidents had reached very little consent on any issue excepting only the limited Syrian truce.

That too affects only a single limited front on which the US president focused to demonstrate loyalty with US regional allies, Israel and Jordan. But given the ephemeral nature of all former truces agreed between the two powers – and the strategic goals Iran and Hizballah are pressing for in Syria – DEBKAfile’s military sources, expect the fighting in southwestern Syria to flare up pretty soon after the ceasefire goes into effect.

 

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“The United States, Russia and regional countries reached a ceasefire deal in southwestern Syria,” a US official said on Friday, July 7 after the Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin ended their hotly-anticipated first encounter in Hamburg. He was referring to Iran and its consent to a ceasefire going into effect Sunday, July 9.

DEBKAfile reports that this was a significant breakthrough in one the most volatile fronts of the six-year Syrian war with direct impact on Israeli and Jordanian security. Our sources reveal that Tehran was persuaded to come on board this limited ceasefire in urgent phone conversations ahead of the summit between Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Iran’s National Security Adviser Adm. Shamkhani.

Russia and Iran are the main international backers of Syrian President Bashar Assad while Washington supports some of the rebel groups fighting for his ouster.

Tehran’s consent to giving up the military operations it has been sponsoring along Syria’s borders with Israel and Jordan is no doubt part of a US-Russian tradeoff for Iranian gains on other Syrian fronts which would be of equal or greater value to its interests.

For Iran, the big gain would be its military control of the eastern front along the Syrian-Iraqi border, as the key to opening up its coveted land corridor from Iraq into Syria.

“Still a lot of work to be done,” the US official said

Reporters expected US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to provide more details of the deal, including how the US and Russia proposed to extend the ceasefire in southwestern Syria to other war fronts.

The limited deal struck by Trump and Putin provides Israel and Jordan with a partial measure of relief, because Iran will certainly be allowed to complete its military intervention in other parts of Syria in return.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who attended the summit along with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, was upbeat:  “I think this is our first indication of the US and Russia being able to work together in Syria, and as a result of that, we had a very lengthy discussion regarding other areas in Syria that we can continue to work together on to de-escalate the areas and the violence.

Tillerson went on to say: “Once we defeat ISIS, we will work together toward a political process that will secure the future of the Syrian people.” He added: “We see no long-term future for Bashar Assad.”

Tillerson also disclosed that Trump confronted Putin, at the start of their meeting, with the allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The Russian leader flatly denied the charge. However, Secretary Tillerson said that this confrontation should relieve some of the pressure on the president at home.

Regarding the North Korean missile crisis, Tilleson said shortly that the present situation is “unacceptable” but very few options remain. “We are asking North Korea to come to the table, and still calling upon China to act on North Korea.”

The Putin-Trump encounter scheduled for 30 minutes on the sidelines of the G20 summit ran on to two hours, 16 minutes. But when the dust settled from the fanfare surrounding it, it began to be realized that the US and Russian presidents had reached very little consent on any issue excepting only the limited Syrian truce.

That too affects only a single limited front on which the US president focused to demonstrate loyalty with US regional allies, Israel and Jordan. But given the ephemeral nature of all former truces agreed between the two powers – and the strategic goals Iran and Hizballah are pressing for in Syria – DEBKAfile’s military sources, expect the fighting in southwestern Syria to flare up pretty soon after the ceasefire goes into effect..

Trump Calls Putin’s Bluff, In Syria and Beyond

April 14, 2017

Trump Calls Putin’s Bluff, In Syria and Beyond, PJ MediaMichael Ledeen, April 14, 2017

(“Putin’s puppy” does not wag his tail; he bites. — DM)

(Sergey Guneev/Sputnik via AP)

[A]ll those pundits who belittled the Tomahawk attack have missed a very important point. Over the past eight years, Russia’s effective power in the world had grown far beyond its real power. That has now changed, and you can expect our actual and would-be allies, and our global enemies, to change their recent tunes.

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You may have noticed that Vladimir Putin is distinctly annoyed with us, and he is right to be. For we have deprived him of his great dream to join, and perhaps even lead, the ranks of the world’s most important leaders. Today, following the attack on the Syrian air base, Putin is just one more dictator.

During the Obama years, the Russian tyrant had grown accustomed to getting his way most everywhere. Invade Crimea? Fine. Grab slices of eastern Ukraine? No problem. Open military bases in Syria and Libya? You bet. We wouldn’t challenge him.

Along with these actions was a kind of implied Brezhnev Doctrine (according to which, once a country joined the Soviet bloc, it would never leave it): If you allied with Putin, he’d protect you. Nobody would invade, and Russian antiaircraft missiles would defend against air attack.

As Richard Perle has said, Putin’s Russia is not a major military power.

“The appearance that Vladimir Putin is strong is largely the result of weakness displayed by the United States in the [Barack] Obama years. Russia is not a very strong country.

“Its military is relatively weak and ineffective, even though they spend a lot of money. It’s true they have nuclear weapons, but no one can quite imagine those being brought to play.”

So Putin’s posture as the leader of a major power was blown up in Syria, along with the airplanes and jet fuel storage tanks, and you can be sure that the Russian antiaircraft systems do not seem to have functioned at all.

Thus, all those pundits who belittled the Tomahawk attack have missed a very important point. Over the past eight years, Russia’s effective power in the world had grown far beyond its real power. That has now changed, and you can expect our actual and would-be allies, and our global enemies, to change their recent tunes.

When America moves decisively, the whole world changes. It is now likely that countries like Egypt, which had taken out insurance against American weakness by buying Russian weapons and permitting Russian special forces to operate on Cairo’s side of the Egyptian/Libyan border, will find it easier to support the United States. And you can see the same effect in recent declarations from NATO, bragging about the increases in defense spending throughout the alliance.

On the other side of the global war, the Iranians have of course enlisted in Putin’s disinformation campaign, accusing Trump of falsifying the evidence of Syrian chemical weapons, and thumping their chests, warning of dire consequences if the United States dares to move against Tehran.

But if you think Russia’s not a credible military threat to us, Iran is much more toothless, and Khamenei faces a far greater internal threat than Putin does. All Iranians understand that if Trump is willing to strike Syria, he is likely willing to strike Iran, without whose fighters and weapons the Syrian dictatorship would be doomed. They are also impressed with the deployment of the Mother Of All Bombs in Afghanistan. That sort of thing resonates with the Persians. If they had such power, they’d certainly use that sort of language. Thankfully, they don’t have the power, and so they resort to fantasies.

Exciting times, and not nearly so bad as the old Chinese curse would have you believe. As I’ve said for years, we’re in the midst of a paradigm shift. Nobody knows how it will turn out, but the news is certainly not all bad.