Tag: Khomeinist

A Different Focus: Briefing with Two Teams

 

“It would be a mistake, a mistake with terrible consequences, for any adversary to attempt to do us harm during this health crisis, or ever for that matter.” — National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien

“This is the United States military. You will not penetrate this country. You will not get past Jump Street. You’re not going to come in here and kill additional Americans. And we will marshal whatever assets are required to prevent your entry into this country to kill Americans.” — General Milley

President Trump brought two teams with him to the press room on April 1, 2o2o. The first team looked very different. The focus: stopping international criminal cartels from exploiting the pandemic to ramp up illegal drug shipments. President Trump had already identified the threat of increased drug addiction and overdoses caused by sudden economic despair, a lethal side effect of the prescription by Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx for battling the Chinese coronavirus. The president then riffed through his introductory remarks while the regular crew gathered backstage and entered for the familiar themes, and some really good questions.

Winter of Discontent Prolonged for Dictators?

 

The pattern of precision strikes this past year against ISIS leaders, the IRGC Quds Force commander, and one or more senior proxy militia commanders not only has put the Khomeinist regime on notice but also serves as a useful object lesson to Little Rocket Man, Kim III. Notice that the promised “Christmas surprise” never arrived through the full 12 days of Christmas. Whatever Kim’s calculations, the American military just reminded him, and everyone else, that there is nowhere the eagle’s talons can’t strike.

Chris Wallace asked Secretary Pompeo if impeachment trial talk was weakening the president’s hand in foreign policy. Pompeo’ deadpan answer: “You should ask Soleimani.” Kim has enjoyed a family tradition of acting the mad dog and getting thrown nice meaty bones time after time. Suddenly he has an opponent who gets showmanship and high-pressure negotiations. And the man just had a senior official in the old axis of evil snuffed out, an official all had believed untouchable; off-limits as the game was being played.

If Kim is ever to get past the winter of his discontent, it is now less likely to be with the artificial sunshine of an open hydrogen bomb test, at least so long as Donald J. Trump is president of these United States.

Christmas Present for Hezbollah? [UPDATE: 1 January 2020]

 

Secretary of State Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Esper announced on December 29 that F-15E Strike Eagles bombed several Khomenist Iranian regime proxy force sites in Iraq and Syria. This apparently followed repeated provocations, attacks on Iraqi government forces where there were also U.S. forces in the vicinity. Such attacks would be intended to push U.S. forces into more and more protective isolation or withdrawal from the region, ceding regional influence to the Iranian ayatollahs.

The airstrikes back the increasing campaign of economic and diplomatic pressure, which is squeezing the thugocracy as the population increasingly shows unrest and discontent with the regime.

A Tale of Three Nukes

 

Maps of Ukraine, Libya, North KoreaI recently urged “Don’t Say You Want a Revolution,” reviewing the sad and terrible consequences of American presidents talking up “regime change” or “revolution” in other countries. As the people of 1956 Hungary and 1991 Iraq discovered, the United States does not back up such talk with our own blood and treasure, even when local people put their own fortunes, sacred honor, and lives on the line. Now let us shift perspective, from the people to the governing elite.

What lessons should Kim Jong-Un draw from recent history? Does U.S. policy, as it has actually played out, cut against North Korean denuclearization? What of the Khomeinist regime in Iran? Consider Libya and Ukraine as cautionary tales for other governments considering what to do with their own weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs.

Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was only very technically not “targeted” by a bomb dropped on one of his residences on orders from President Reagan. Gaddafi was briefly chastened and then proceeded to develop both chemical and nuclear weapons programs. These programs were the subject of much international posturing by so-called arms control agencies and various governments. Then President George W. Bush sent the full might of the United States military crashing down on Saddam Hussein, on the claim that he had been defying arms control programs and had some really bad weapons of mass destruction. Gaddafi suddenly became entirely compliant and opened Libya to arms control inspectors:

Ayatollah Air Power

 

If push comes to shove, could American air power lay waste to the Iranian regime in a cake walk, a turkey shoot? Consider what we know, publicly, of Iranian military capabilities in the air. They have aircraft from the pre-stealth era, drones, and extensive surface-to-air missile defenses. Perhaps, however, their best “air” assets are computer coding and diplomatic shuttle flights.

RQ-170

Photo by Gene Blevins/LA DailyNews

It was not big news when fairly rag-tag forces shot down a low and slow flying armed MQ-9 Reaper drone. After all, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has a wing dedicated to advising foreign forces, including the Yemeni forces fighting other Yemeni forces backed by Saudi Arabia. This is not secret, so the U.S. Central Command was willing to claim Iranian participation in the June 2019 shoot-down:

Former CIA Operative Unloads on Brennan and Politicized IC

 

For this week’s Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten podcast, I had former CIA operative and leader of CIA’s Counter Terrorism Center’s WMD unit, author of the must-read and highly relevant 2009 book Beyond Repair: The Decline and Fall of the CIA and outspoken critic of the politicized leadership in America’s intelligence and national security apparatus, Charles Sam Faddis on to discuss among other things:

  • Why Faddis supports revoking John Brennan’s security clearance — and the bureaucratization and politicization of the leadership of the intelligence community versus the rank-and-file analysts and operatives in the field
  • Whether politics dominates over merit in the ranks of intelligence and the national security apparatus more broadly
  • What members of the national security establishment really mean when they talk about “protecting the institutions
  • Why President Trump has been deemed a threat to the power of the political leaders within the national security establishment in a qualitatively different way than any of his predecessors — and that’s a positive thing
  • What Faddis would do to reform intelligence
  • The poor state of America’s counterintelligence capabilities
  • The lessons of Iraq regarding U.S. intervention and the national interest
  • Whether America has the capability to use intelligence to engage in ideological warfare and bring down Iran’s Khomeinist regime
  • How China’s liquidation of our spy network reflects the problems plaguing America’s intelligence apparatus
  • The long-term dire ramifications of China’s OPM hack
  • The implications of China’s attempt to infiltrate Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office
  • The threat to the U.S. homeland of a collapsing Venezuela and Mexico, combined with drug cartels, organized crime groups and Hezbollah in our hemisphere
  • Faddis’ optimistic assessment of the Trump administration’s North Korea policy
  • Why China poses the greatest long-term threat to America of all, and our willful blindness towards it

You can find the episode on iTunes, everywhere else podcasts are found, and download the episode directly here.