Posted tagged ‘Iran Qods Force’

Iran Using U.S. Cash to Fund Unprecedented, Massive Military Buildup

May 3, 2017

Iran Using U.S. Cash to Fund Unprecedented, Massive Military Buildup, Washington Free Beacon, , May 3, 2017

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gives a press conference in the capital Tehran on April 10, 2017. Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran is using the billions in cash resources provided under the landmark nuclear deal to engage in an unprecedented military buildup meant to transform the Islamic Republic’s fighting force into an “offensive” juggernaut, according to a largely unreported announcement by Iranian military leaders that has sparked concern among U.S. national security insiders and sources on Capitol Hill.

Iranian officials announced late last month that Iran’s defense budget had increased by 145 percent under President Hassan Rouhani and that the military is moving forward with a massive restructuring effort aimed at making it “a forward moving force,” according to regional reports.

Iranian leaders have stated since the Iran deal was enacted that they are using the massive amounts of cash released under the agreement to fund the purchase of new military equipment and other armaments. Iran also has pursued multi-million dollar arms deals with Russia since economic sanctions were nixed as part of the deal.

Leading members of Congress and U.S. officials working on the Iran portfolio suspect that at least a portion of the Obama administration’s $1.7 billion cash payment to Iran  has been used to fund and support terrorists in the Middle East.

The latest disclosure about Iran’s military buildup is further fueling concerns that U.S. cash assets returned to the country—which were released with no strings attached by the Obama administration—are helping Iran pursue a more aggressive military stance against U.S. forces in the region.

“President Obama flat-out caved in to Iran when he handed them the disastrous nuclear deal and $1.7 billion in cash payments that could assist Iran’s military,” Rep. Sean Duffy (R., Wis.), an opponent of the nuclear deal, told the Washington Free Beacon. “So it’s no surprise that the world’s lead sponsor of terrorism would feel emboldened to become more aggressive in the region and flex its military muscle.”

Iranian Brigadier General Kiumars Heidari announced the military buildup during Iran’s annual Army Day. While the announcement did not grab many headlines in the Western media, national security insiders have been discussing the announcement for weeks, according to conversations with multiple sources.

Iran’s goal is to turn its army into an “offensive” force, a major shift from its historic role as a support agent for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, or IRGC, Iran’s extremely well funded primary fighting force.

Iran hopes to revamp its army from top to bottom, including improving logistical capabilities, weaponry, and other armaments.

Mahan Abedin, an Iran analyst writing in Middle East Eye, described the announcement as a major shift in Iranian military policy that would allow the Islamic Republic to intervene in the Persian Gulf region, where the U.S. military has a significant presence.

“This is a major policy announcement with far-reaching consequences for foreign policy and internal defense-related power dynamics,” Abedin wrote. “If implemented properly, Heidari’s proposed modernization policy would not only radically alter Iranian defense doctrine, but just as importantly, it would also reverse the army’s subservient relationship to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).”

Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser and expert on rogue regimes, told the Free Beacon that it should come as no surprise that Iran is diverting the cash it received under the nuclear deal to its military industry.

The disclosure comes as “no surprise to anyone who studied Iran” and should have been anticipated by the Obama administration, which largely sought to downplay the importance of giving Iran billions in cash resources, Rubin said.

“First, there’s history: Between 1998 and 2005, European Union trade with Iran more than doubled and the price of oil quintupled,” Rubin explained. “Iran took that hard currency windfall and invested the bulk of it in its nuclear and missile programs. The person coordinating Iran’s strategy? Hassan Rouhani who was at the time secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.”

“Obama and Kerry might as well have wired the money directly into the accounts of those seeking to enhance Iran’s military, kill Sunnis, or sponsor terrorism,” Rubin said.

One senior congressional source tracking the matter expressed concern about the safety of U.S. forces in the region, which already are routinely harassed by Iranian military personnel.

“This is certainly grounds for concern,” the source said. “An Iranian military buildup coupled with an offensive posture is a threat to the United States and our allies. This also serves as an important reminder of why the Obama administration’s cash infusion to Iran was so dangerous.”

The cash windfall provided by the United States and European countries is “fungible and hence can be used for everything from sponsoring terror proxies to developing ballistic missiles,” the source warned. “Congress will continue to take action to counter Iranian terrorism and ensure this regime never acquires a nuclear weapon.”

Iran’s military announcement has already sparked a renewed push on Capitol Hill to reimpose economic sanctions on Iran.

“The Iranians know that the party will end this fall, when Congress will pass bipartisan legislation that begins to roll back Iran’s military growth,” one senior congressional adviser working on the sanctions effort told the Free Beacon.

“The Obama administration avoided any serious action for years, and so Iran kept growing its arsenal and using it against our allies, against Syrian civilians, and increasingly against our military,” said the source. “Now they’re rushing to accomplish as much as they can before Congress and the Trump administration get around to reversing Obama’s policies.”

Resistance Axis Opponents Enraged At Photos Of Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani In Aleppo: The Photos Are Proof Of Iranian Expansion In Syria, Are Reminiscent Of Nazi Generals Strolling Through Cities They Destroyed

January 5, 2017

Resistance Axis Opponents Enraged At Photos Of Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani In Aleppo: The Photos Are Proof Of Iranian Expansion In Syria, Are Reminiscent Of Nazi Generals Strolling Through Cities They Destroyed, MEMRI, January 4, 2017

Several days after the Syrian regime and its allies retook eastern Aleppo, one of the Syrian opposition’s main remaining strongholds, with siege and heavy bombardment, the Iranian press published photos of Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Qods Force, which is part of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as he toured the ruined city, including the medieval citadel at its center.

The photos enraged opponents of the resistance axis, which is headed by Iran and the Syrian regime. They perceived the photos as proof that Aleppo is now occupied by Iran and a signal that Iran is also aiming to occupy other cities in Arab countries, particularly in the Gulf. Articles in the Arab press, especially in the Gulf, called Soleimani a “modern-day Hitler,” and argued that the world is not stopping him, just as it had not stopped Hitler and other mass murderers in modern history.

6728aSoleimani tours Aleppo (Qasemsoleimani.ir, December 16, 2016)

Following are excerpts from major reactions in the Arab press to the photos of Soleimani in Aleppo:

Iran Is Signaling Its Intent To Occupy More Cities In The Middle East

Hamad Al-Majed, a Saudi columnist for the London-based daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, wrote: “The well-known photo of the Gen. Qassem Soleimani arrogantly walking the empty streets of Aleppo that his forces destroyed and whose residents they killed and expelled… is a massive propaganda message that Iran has leaked to the media, and holds within it thousands [more] messages. It is as if Soleimani, a military peacock arrogant over his victories, is muttering: ‘Yesterday we liberated Baghdad and the other Iraqi cities, and after that Sana’a [in Yemen], and after that we took over Beirut [in Lebanon], and today we are liberating Aleppo. It is only a matter of time before [we] dismantle the other cities in Syria, and then, sooner or later, you will see me strolling through the rubble of other Arab cities in the Middle East…”[1]

‘Ali Al-Husseini, a columnist for the Lebanese daily Al-Mustaqbal, which is affiliated with pro-Saudi and anti-Assad elements in Lebanon, wrote: “Two days ago, the Iranian expansion plan was revealed, [which has now] reached Aleppo after [reaching the Syrian cities of] Al-Qusayr, Al-Zabadani, and Madaya, [occupied by Hizbullah]. [What revealed this plan was] IRGC [Qods Force] commander Qassem Soleimani, who emerged strolling the neighborhoods of Aleppo that reek of destruction, witnessed the killing of children, and are littered with the bodies of dead residents. There is no doubt that this was a painful picture for residents of the city…

“With the aid and assistance of [Afghani, Pakistani, and Iraqi] mercenaries, Soleimani yesterday stepped on the body parts and in the blood of Aleppo residents, and also on the emotions of its orphaned children. This photo birthed, in their souls, a desire for vengeance, and a dream to return [to Aleppo] with fire in their eyes…”[2]

Arabs Should Awaken And Act – Because Iran Poses A Danger To The Gulf States

Saleh Al-Sheikhi, a columnist for the Saudi daily Al-Watan, called on Arabs to awaken and act, in light of what is perceived as an Iranian takeover of yet another Arab city. He wrote: “Two days ago, I stood for nearly an hour, no less, looking at the photo of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani strolling through the streets of Aleppo – which are no longer streets but ruins and piles of rubble. I struggled, no less, to put out of my mind my visions of Soleimani’s false dreams about strolling through cities in the Gulf [countries]… I searched out society’s reaction to this shocking photo, and what I found was sad: [Instead of reactions to this photo, I found reactions to] Sheikh ‘Abdallah Al-Suwailem, [who,] with all the esteem in which I hold him and his colleagues, has launched an argument that is out of place, with his statement that a sexual relationship between family members who are prohibited from marrying each other is less [grave] than abandoning [the commandment] of prayer. This [statement of his] opinion triggered thousands of debates, tweets, recriminations, gossip, and widespread debates that preoccupied the public.

“Qassem Soleimani is strolling through Syria with his eye on the other Arab capitals – while Sheikh ‘Abdallah Al-Suwailem is arguing with the public on the issue of abandoning morning prayers and sexual relations between relatives who may not marry! If we do not act now and feel our important national responsibility, then when will we act?”[3]

Soleimani Is A “Modern-Day Hitler”; The World Is Not Stopping Him – Just As It Did Not Stop Hitler At The Time

Some resistance axis opponents called Soleimani a “modern-day Hitler,” and argued that the world is not acting to help the Syrian people, just as it did not act to help victims of other massacres throughout modern history. Lebanese MP Muhammad Kabbara, of the Al-Mustaqbal party, stated: “History will show that what happened in Aleppo has surpassed the myths of the Nazi crematoria. The coming generations will never forget that the Persians, Russians, and the Assad regime were the ones who conducted massacres in Aleppo. They will never forget the sight of the modern-day Hitler, Qassem Soleimani, touring, and gloating over, the ill-fated neighborhoods of Aleppo in the company of an officer from Assad’s [army].”[4]

Amr Hamzawy, a former Egyptian MP and a columnist for the London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, wondered: “Why does the world leave the Syrian people on its own to be massacred by the dictator Bashar Al-Assad, and by Russia and Iran, which sponsor him? Because our evil world only knows how to massacre the weak while turning them into the perpetual victims of criminals and tyrants…

“Any serious action to save Syrians from slaughter would be contrary to the norm in our world, [which kept silent in light of] the massacres of Armenians and Jews in Europe; the extermination of 27 million in the former Soviet Union during WWII, [and] the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan on the pretext of ending World War II… Any true effort by those who monopolize the industries of weapons, killing, and bloodshed to stop the Syrian massacre would be a bizarre deviation from their past policy and conduct.

“In the late 1930s, didn’t the governments of Britain, France, and the Soviet Union make it possible for the Nazis to spread murder and destruction across several parts of Eastern Europe to avoid a fight, and out of concern for their own interests? Didn’t Hitler emerge due to global disregard for his first crimes, and [didn’t] U.S. neutrality cause him to carry out further attacks and crimes?… Don’t the photos of Nazi generals in areas destroyed by their weapons in Soviet cities… remind you of the photos of Soleimani in Aleppo a few days ago?…”[5]

 

Endnotes:

 

[1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), December 20, 2016.

[2] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), December 18, 2016.

[3] Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), December 19, 2016.

[4] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), December 18, 2016.

[5] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), December 20, 2016.