Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hizbullah's Role in Attacks Against U.S. and British Forces in Iraq Part 1.


By Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi


1st part of 2


  • Asharq Alawsat reported on August 18, 2008, that Hizbullah operatives were involved in attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces in four Iraqi provinces. In June 2006, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield disclosed that Hizbullah cadres had attacked U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq. Hizbullah units claimed responsibility for operations against coalition forces and Iraqi security personnel as early as the latter part of 2005.


  • A senior U.S. intelligence officer said that activists of the “Special Groups” (Shiite terror cells in Iraq) undergo training and military instruction administered by the Iranian Revolution Guards’ Qods Force and Lebanese Hizbullah at training camps in the cities of Qom, Tehran, Ahwaz, and Mashad.


  • The official website of the Hizbullah Brigades in Iraq features scores of video clips depicting the setting off of a number of sabotage charges in one place; the use of two explosive charges in succession in order to harm rescue forces as well; the use of mortars mounted on trucks in order to make a quick getaway, and the launching of a shoulder-fired Strela missile against helicopters.


  • Hizbullah’s deep involvement in terror throughout Iraq demonstrates that the organization does not view itself purely as a Lebanese factor with national and local objectives, but as an arm of Iran in spreading the Shiite Islamic Revolution throughout the Middle East and in the long term throughout the entire world. Hizbullah's strategic ties with Iran's Revolutionary Guards for the purpose of operations in Iraq once again illustrate how Iran, in general, and its Revolutionary Guards, in particular, directly promote international terrorism globally.




Britain Designates Hizbullah’s Military Wing as Terror Group


The U.S. and Britain have increasingly singled out Hizbullah as one of the most serious threats to coalition forces in Iraq. Asharq Alawsat reported on August 18 that Hizbullah operatives were involved in attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces in four Iraqi provinces.1 British Home Office Minister Tony McNulty announced on July 2 that Britain has included the military wing of Hizbullah on its list of terror organizations. The import of the announcement is that membership in or providing assistance to the military wing of Hizbullah will be considered a criminal act. Prime Minister Gordon Brown explained that London had received “new evidence” concerning Hizbullah’s involvement in Iraq and in areas under Palestinian jurisdiction.


The decision as reported does not apply to the political or social activity of Hizbullah. However, the British minister noted that this decision conveyed a clear message of condemnation for Hizbullah violence and the assistance that the organization is providing for terror. “The military wing of Hizbullah provides active assistance to militants in Iraq who are responsible for attacks against coalition forces and Iraqi citizens, including training in the use of roadside bombs,” said McNulty, who added that “the military wing of Hizbullah also provides assistance to Palestinian terror groups in the occupied Palestinian territories such as, for example, Islamic Jihad.”2



Hizbullah Training Camps in Iraq and Iran


U.S. military and intelligence bodies have uncovered many details in the past year regarding Hizbullah involvement in terror throughout Iraq. Relying on a briefing by a senior U.S. intelligence officer, the Associated Press reported on August 15,  that the activists of the “Special Groups” (Shiite terror cells in Iraq that split off from the Mahdi Army and circumvented the cessation of hostilities called for by its head, Muqtada a-Sadr) undergo training and military instruction administered by the Iranian Revolution Guards’ Qods Force and Lebanese Hizbullah at training camps in the cities of Qom, Tehran, Ahwaz, and Mashad.3 The training includes intelligence-gathering, use of light weaponry, basic combat training, terror cell operations, the use of explosives for sabotage, and antitank fire, including use of the RPG-29 launcher.


Lebanese Hizbullah members are particularly useful to Iran for training Iraqis because both groups speak Arabic, while the Iranians speak Farsi. Lebanese Hizbullah may also have additional credibility with Iraqi Shiites because of what is viewed as their success. Hizbullah training was intended to ready Iraqi Shiite operatives for assassination and terror attacks in Iraq. According to Iraqi members of parliament and military figures, Hizbullah trainers operated training camps in northern Iraq until April 2008, and were then forced to transfer to Iran due to Iraqi army activity against the armed militias.4



Hizbullah Attacks Inside Iraq


Thus, Hizbullah does not only interface with Iraqi Shiite militias on Iranian soil, but within Iraq itself. Indeed, Hizbullah units claimed responsibility for operations against coalition forces and Iraqi security personnel as early as the latter part of 2005.5 In June 2006, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield disclosed that Hizbullah cadres had attacked U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq.6 Hizbullah operations chief Imad Mughniyeh had been tasked to organize Shiite militias in southern Iraq already in 2005. Reportedly, he had been seen in Basra, facilitating the movement of Iraqi Shiite militiamen from the Mahdi Army into Iran.7 He was also responsible for establishing Hizbullah cells outside of Lebanon, especially in Iraq, Kuwait, and Bahrain.


Testimony regarding the extent of Hizbullah involvement in terror throughout Iraq has been gathered from the interrogation of prisoners by U.S. forces. In August 2008, the U.S.-led Multinational Force-Iraq forces command reported the arrest of nine activists from the Hizbullah Brigades in Adhamiyah (Baghdad). One of them is suspected of operating a terror organization in Basra and smuggling weaponry from Iran. Another activist is suspected of involvement in launching missiles and mortar shells. War materiel and electronic equipment were discovered at his home.8


Previously, information was divulged about the commander of a terror cell who had undergone training in Iran. This activist trained sabotage experts in Baghdad and was responsible for terror attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces in Baghdad.9 Likewise, two activists from “the Hizbullah Brigades in Iraq” were arrested. They carried out propaganda activities in Baghdad on behalf of the organization, and in this framework they uploaded video clips to the Internet documenting terror attacks against U.S. forces.10 In September 2007 it was reported that U.S. forces had arrested a Hizbullah activist from Lebanon who functioned as an emissary on behalf of the Iranian Qods Force in Iraq.11


In his testimony before the Armed Services Committees of the Congress on April 8, 2008, General David Petraeus, the commander of the multinational forces in Iraq, reported that the Iranian Qods Force, with the assistance of Lebanese Hizbullah’s Department 2800, was training, arming and guiding the “Special Groups” in Iraq.12 Rear Admiral Gregory Smith, head of the Communications Division for the multinational forces in Iraq, also noted a month previously that terror operatives arrested at the end of 2007 reported they had undergone training in Iran directed by Hizbullah activists.13 Two activists of Lebanese Hizbullah (one of them Abu Mousa Dukduk) operated in the framework of the “Special Groups.”14 U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker said in August 2008 that the interrogations of Hizbullah activists within the secret cells of the Mahdi Army (Jaish al-Mahdi) demonstrated the deep involvement of Iran in terror attacks against coalition forces and attempts by Iran to “create a Lebanonization or Hizbullahzation in parts of southern Iraq.”15


The official website of the Hizbullah Brigades in Iraq provided background data on the organization and its patterns of operation. The organization took credit for initiating terror attacks against coalition forces on October 23, 2003, when it attacked a Hummer vehicle belonging to American forces in Baghdad. The Hizbullah organization in Iraq operates a number of “brigades.” The Abu Fadel al-Abbas Brigade and the Karbala Brigade operate in the area of Baghdad, while the Zayd bin Ali Brigade operates in the area of the southern city of Basra. The prototypes of the terror attacks that the organization carries out can be deduced from official press announcements and scores of video clips the organization has disseminated that include:


  • The use of explosive charge theaters (setting off a number of sabotage charges of various types in one place in order to increase the vulnerability of armored vehicles and infantry forces).
  • The use of two explosive charges in succession in order to harm the rescue forces as well.
  • The use of mortars mounted on trucks in order to make a quick getaway.
  • The use of heavy stationary mortars.
  • The launching of missiles mounted on separate launchers (one or two at a time).
  • The massive launch of missiles (sometimes scores of missiles in a single attack).
  • Sniper fire at soldiers and foot patrols.
  • Launching a shoulder-fired Strela missile against helicopters (the downing of one American helicopter was documented on July 31, 2006).
  • The use of antitank launchers of the RPG-29 model with high armor penetration capability.16


Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi


Hizbullah's Role in Attacks Against U.S. and British Forces in Iraq Part 2.


By Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi


2nd part of 2


Hizbullah’s Ideological Platform


The ideological platform of Hizbullah in Iraq is predicated on the Shiite faith and the path of Imam Khomeini. It sets forth three fundamental principles – “resistance, Jihad, liberation.” The major avowed goal is the removal of the “occupation” from Iraq. “From the very first minute our objective was to defeat the occupation within Iraq and subsequently expel it from Iraq, humiliated and defeated….The enemy will witness in the future things that will cause him great pain and the loss of many soldiers…that he has largely assembled from the back streets of New York, Texas and Hollywood. We swear by Allah that we have chosen this path and we will not abandon it until these invaders have been defeated.” This statement appeared on the group’s official Internet site in an announcement regarding the organization’s objectives.


Another announcement on February 13, 2008, was devoted to the memory of Imad Mughniyeh, the head of Hizbullah’s military wing who was assassinated in Damascus on the previous day. “We the Hizbullah Brigades in Iraq have sworn to avenge his death and continue on the path of struggle and Jihad until the removal of the Americans from the region,” the “liberation of Palestine,” and “the restoration of dignity and sovereignty to the Arab and Islamic homeland.”17 The Hizbullah Brigades also announced that any security agreement that would be signed between the Iraqi government and the American forces would be considered null and void and that Iraq had to adopt a policy that defined the United States as a threat to the region, defended Islam, and prevented any foreign control over its natural resources.18


Hizbullah has never concealed its support and sympathy for terror organizations operating in Iraq. When the Fourth Congress in Support of the Resistance was convened in Beirut on March 30, 2006, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah supported “resistance” in Iraq and Palestine.19 Hizbullah television station Al Manar provided ongoing coverage, surveying the terror attacks that the Hizbullah Brigades were carrying out in Iraq.20



Summary and Implications


Hizbullah’s deep involvement in terror throughout Iraq demonstrates that the organization does not view itself purely as a Lebanese factor with national and local objectives, but as an arm of Iran in spreading the Shiite Islamic Revolution throughout the Middle East (the Shiite crescent) and in the long term throughout the entire world. Over the last few decades, Hizbullah branches have appeared in several Arab countries with substantial Shiite populations like Bahrain, Kuwait, and the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The military arm of Hizbullah, as the British Home Office Secretary termed it, is a dexterous arm of terror that is spreading its tentacles to various countries in the West for the purpose of fundraising, recruitment and establishing a network of sleeper terror cells to be activated by Tehran at the appropriate time.


The distinction between the military wing of Hizbullah and the political or social wing is an artificial distinction that is fundamentally flawed. Hizbullah views all wings of its organization as parts of a single body that are intended to achieve the identical strategic goal of spreading Islam and waging constant war against the apostates until their defeat. Decision-making on the military level is the purview of Hizbullah leaders headed by Hassan Nasrallah. The major objective of Hizbullah’s social-educational network, as Nasrallah’s deputy Naim Qassem has testified, is to create a new generation that will follow the path of the Imam Hussein, by “yearning for death in the love for Allah and craving for Jihad in the path of Islam.”21 In other words, the educational network of Hizbullah serves as an assembly line for the brainwashing of the younger generation to make them fit for their role as fighters prepared to serve as live bombs and suicide terrorists in the struggle against the apostates.


Western countries as well as international organizations have been collaborating with Hizbullah front groups and economic entities. Western aid funds help reinforce the Hizbullah infrastructure in Lebanon that is attempting to take over the country by exploiting the protection of democracy, in order to establish an extremist Islamic Shiite regime, similar to Iran, that will abolish democracy.


Hizbullah’s Jihad al-Bina (Jihad for development) construction company is in contact with European bodies and it receives funding, inter alia, from Lebanese municipalities that are supported by the West. This organization was apparently a partner in the establishment of Hizbullah’s clandestine military communications infrastructure and other projects set up in the context of Hizbullah’s attempts to establish the institutions of a “state within a state” prior to its final takeover of the Lebanese government.


Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi is a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is a co-founder with Brian Falkenstein of the Orient Research Group Ltd. and is a former advisor to the Policy Planning Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.



 [1]. Ali Nourizadeh, “Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to Train Iraqi Shiite Youths,” Asharq Alawsat, August 18, 2008.


3. Refers to the organization Asaib al Haq (The “Bands of the Righteous”) and Hizbullah Brigades in Iraq that split off from the Mahdi Army.


5. Yaakov Katz, “"Hizbullah Operatives Caught in Baghdad,” Jerusalem Post, August 1, 2008,

6. Matthew Levitt and David Schenker, “Who Was Imad Mughniyeh?” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, PolicyWatch #1340,

7. Ali Nouri Zadeh, “Imad Mughniyeh: Hezbollah’s Phantom,” Asharq Alawsat, August 11, 2006,









16. The website of the Hizbullah Brigades in Iraq operated at and is currently unavailable.








Friday, August 29, 2008

The Reality of a Palestinian State.

By Joseph Puder -


Dean Acheson, the American statesman and President Truman’s Secretary of State, was quoted as saying: “No people in history have ever survived who thought they could protect their freedom by making themselves inoffensive to their enemies.”  Since the Oslo Accords of 1993, Israeli leaders have sought to appease the Arab-Palestinians with various concessions.  The current Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has gone a step further and is determined to create a Palestinian State

In order to be “inoffensive,” Olmert released an additional 200 Palestinian terrorists this week from Israeli prisons, some with Israeli blood on their hand.  The recipient of these good will gestures, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority President and Fatah leader, is committed to Israel’s disappearance as a Jewish State.

President George W. Bush, like his predecessor Bill Clinton, has become a victim of the “legacy seeking mania” – trying to be a peacemaker in the intractable Middle East conflict.   Except that in America’s case, being “inoffensive” to the Palestinians who seek to expel America’s interests from the region places Israel’s freedom on the line.

Since Oslo neither the Israeli governments nor the U.S. administrations have understood the simple truth that the Palestinian struggle against Israel is not about land, it is an armed struggle that aims to replace Israel with an Arab Islamic terrorist state that would undermine American and European interests in the region.

The 1937 Peel Commission offered the Palestinian leadership a significant portion of Palestine for a state, and they rejected it.  Through the years, other offers have been made, and the Palestinian leadership has opted for war and violence instead.  Under the Peel Commission, the Arab-Palestinian share of Western Palestine would have been larger than the landmass proposed in 1947 by the U.N. Partition Plan, and the Partition Plan would have given the Palestinians more land than they would have had under the Armistice Lines of 1949, following Israel’s War of Independence.  Subsequent agreements including the Oslo Accords, Camp David II Summit (with Arafat, Barak and Clinton) and current negotiations between Olmert/Livni and Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) and Abu Ala, have involved gradually shrinking landmasses.

The reasonable assumption is therefore simple: if the Palestinians refused settlement when they could have had 82% of the land under the Peel Commission, why would they now settle for a tiny portion of land that is seemingly ungovernable and without any natural resources? The answer is, of course, that they did not settle for the favorable Peel Commission recommendations of 1937 because they rejected the idea of a sovereign Jewish homeland, however small and untenable, and continue to refuse to accept the idea of a permanent sovereign Jewish State today.

At the June 1974 Palestinian National Council (PNC) in Cairo, the PNC inaugurated the “Phased Plan,” a strategy that called for the liberation of all of Palestine (in effect the land of Israel) through both armed struggle and diplomatic double-talk.  A Palestinian state would therefore be a base of operation to dismantle the Jewish State.  Such a state would be a haven for assorted jihadist terror groups, including al-Qaeda and would work closely with Hezbollah operatives.  In Hamas-governed Gaza, this is not merely a possible scenario, but a living reality.  

Any future Palestinian state would be unstable and violent at best.  The Fatah controlled gangs would clash with Hamas armed gangs not over ideology as much as over turf and profits.  Again, this is not a guesstimate but a present reality.  Egypt, Jordan, Saudi and Arabia would each seek to control such a state, while Shiite Iran would try to create a second Hezbollah in Gaza if not in the West Bank – all of which would eventually lead to regional wars, increased terrorism and possibly nuclear war.  Iran, moreover, would use jihadist elements in Gaza and the West Bank to destabilize the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and replace it with a jihadist regime.

Under the 1933 Montevideo Treaty, a state must satisfy four specific requirements: It must have a permanent population, a defined territory, a government, and the capacity to enter into peaceful relations with other states.  The Palestinian Authority under Abbas does not satisfy any one of these requisites.  While it has “permanent residents,” it has also a large portion of unsettled refugees.  And it certainly does not have “a defined territory” as evidenced by its official maps. Its display of all of Western Palestine is indicative of its intentions to undermine the Jewish State.  As to a “government,” Abbas is running a gang rather than an acceptable government; it lacks legitimacy, as large portions of the Palestinians do not accept him as the leader.  The fourth criterion is absolutely clear- it lacks the capacity to live in peace with its neighbor - Israel.

As we approach our elections in the U.S., it is imperative that we hear the presidential candidates reject the current futile negotiations for the establishment of a Palestinian state.  The only reasonable solution to the Palestinian’s plight is to have Jordan negotiate with Israel over borders, and absorb the Palestinian territories and people in a Jordanian-Palestinian confederation.  American interests and Israel’s freedom are at stake, and to paraphrase Dean Acheson’s words: being “inoffensive” towards a Palestinian terrorist state would destroy the oldest, most vibrant democracy in the Middle East.

Joseph Puder


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


The Ramifications of a Palestinian State.

By professor Louis Rene' Beres


With many issues now surfacing in the US presidential campaign, few are more important than the next president's position on "Palestine" To date, neither candidate has been open on this issue. Would one or the other (or both) feel the current president's commitment to a Palestinian state? Significantly, any such continuance would enlarge the terror threat to Western democracies in general, especially to Israel and the United States.

Even before George W. Bush, the formal US mantra had called for a "two-state solution." Yet the official maps of the Palestinian Authority (an authority with no proper electoral basis and no clearly fixed territory) still include Israel only as a part of Palestine.

This inclusion refers to all of Israel proper - not merely to Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The so-called road map still favored by President Bush offers a devious and ironic cartography. Everything about this plan presumes Israel's disappearance. Not even the irreconcilable and bloody divisions between warring Palestinian factions has diminished the overriding commitment of all of them to Israel's demolition. It is notably ironic, therefore, that the current government of Israel is on record in favor of a Palestinian state. What can Olmert be thinking? From the Oslo agreements onward, prime ministers from Rabin to Olmert have failed to understand that the true struggle with Arab enemies is less about territory than about God.

TODAY, EACH Palestinian faction remains utterly loyal to a strategy for the "liberation of all Palestinian territory." This "phased plan" was first adopted by the Palestinian National Council in Cairo in June 1974. Under it, any Palestinian state would welcome assorted jihadist terror groups, including al-Qaida. Such cooperation is already on full display in Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Israel, of course, would be the primary target. Additionally, a Palestinian state would aim to undermine the essential security interests of the US. Most perilous would be the inevitable competition for control of such a fragile and anarchic state by the various Sunni Arab regimes now being armed by Washington, and by Shi'ite Iran, being armed by Russia. Candidates McCain and Obama should be made aware of certain ominous linkages between a Palestinian state and regional war. Here, together with Israel's prime minister, they should also consider plausible connections with nuclear war.

A PALESTINIAN state would have no proper authority under international law. Whatever its mode of self-declaration, any such presumption of Palestinian sovereignty could not satisfy the authoritative expectations of statehood. Candidates John McCain and Barack Obama should understand and acknowledge that every state must satisfy four specific requirements of the 1934 Montevideo Treaty: (1) a permanent population; (2) a defined territory; (3) a government; and (4) the capacity to enter into relations with other states.

Although the PA could satisfy none of these criteria, it will argue otherwise. Almost certainly, this will involve incorrect legal references to "fundamental rights of self-determination and national liberation." The right of statehood under international law is never contingent upon goodness. For better or worse, there are no moral or ethical considerations that must be taken into account in the granting of sovereignty.

This means that the openly declared and indisputable Palestinian goal of Israel's forcible destruction and America's incremental destabilization will have no legal bearing on whether or not a Palestinian state is created. Nor will unending and widespread Palestinian acceptance of violence. International law does not insist on any standard of decency for aspiring states, not even the most rudimentary acceptance of peaceful coexistence. While it is true that such acceptance is required for membership in the UN, the logically prior expectations of statehood are less stringent.

In law, all that matters in establishing statehood are certain identifiable demographic, geographic and political facts. It is these particular facts on the ground, defined at Montevideo - not the codified and far-reaching Palestinian indifference to comity and civility - that would make any Palestinian declaration of statehood illegitimate.

A Palestinian state remains contrary to America's strategic interests, and to the binding claims of both national and international law. Naturally, and notwithstanding the incomprehensible government stance in Jerusalem, such a state would be especially dangerous to Israel. It should, therefore, be rejected by both presidential candidates, and by Israel's next prime minister.

Louis Rene' Beres  is professor of international law at Purdue, and was chairman of Project Daniel, which presented its final report on Iran to former prime minister Ariel Sharon. He is also the academic advisor to the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Iran plans to knock out U.S. with 1 nuclear bomb .


By Joseph Farah - WorldNetDaily


WASHINGTON -- Iran is not only covertly developing nuclear weapons, it is already testing ballistic missiles specifically designed to destroy America's technical infrastructure, effectively neutralizing the world's lone superpower, say U.S. intelligence sources, top scientists and western missile industry experts.

The radical Shiite regime has conducted successful tests to determine if its Shahab-3 ballistic missiles, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, can be detonated by a remote-control device while still in high-altitude flight.

Scientists, including President Reagan's top science adviser, William R. Graham, say there is no other explanation for such tests than preparation for the deployment of electromagnetic pulse weapons – even one of which could knock out America's critical electrical and technological infrastructure, effectively sending the continental U.S. back to the 19th century with a recovery time of months or years.

Iran will have that capability – at least theoretically – as soon as it has one nuclear bomb ready to arm such a missile. North Korea, a strategic ally of Iran, already boasts such capability.

The stunning report was first published over the weekend in Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin, the premium, online intelligence newsletter published by WND's founder.

Just last month, Congress heard testimony about the use of such weapons and the threat they pose from rogue regimes.

Iran has surprised intelligence analysts by describing the mid-flight detonations of missiles fired from ships on the Caspian Sea as "successful" tests. Even primitive Scud missiles could be used for this purpose. And top U.S. intelligence officials reminded members of Congress that there is a glut of these missiles on the world market. They are currently being bought and sold for about $100,000 apiece.

"A terrorist organization might have trouble putting a nuclear warhead 'on target' with a Scud, but it would be much easier to simply launch and detonate in the atmosphere," wrote Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz., in the Washington Post a week ago. "No need for the risk and difficulty of trying to smuggle a nuclear weapon over the border or hit a particular city. Just launch a cheap missile from a freighter in international waters – al-Qaida is believed to own about 80 such vessels – and make sure to get it a few miles in the air."

The Iranian missile tests were more sophisticated and capable of detonation at higher elevations – making them more dangerous.

Detonated at a height of 60 to 500 kilometers above the continental U.S., one nuclear warhead could cripple the country – knocking out electrical power and circuit boards and rendering the U.S. domestic communications impotent.

While Iran still insists officially in talks currently underway with the European Union that it is only developing nuclear power for peaceful civilian purposes, the mid-flight detonation missile tests persuade U.S. military planners and intelligence agencies that Tehran can only be planning such an attack, which depends on the availability of at least one nuclear warhead.

Some analysts believe the stage of Iranian missile developments suggests Iranian scientists will move toward the production of weapons-grade nuclear material shortly as soon as its nuclear reactor in Busher is operative.

Jerome Corsi, author of "Atomic Iran," told WorldNetDaily the new findings about Iran's electromagnetic pulse experiments significantly raise the stakes of the mullah regime's bid to become a nuclear power.

"Up until now, I believed the nuclear threat to the U.S. from Iran was limited to the ability of terrorists to penetrate the borders or port security to deliver a device to a major city," he said. "While that threat should continue to be a grave concern for every American, these tests by Iran demonstrate just how devious the fanatical mullahs in Tehran are. We are facing a clever and unscrupulous adversary in Iran that could bring America to its knees."

Earlier this week, Iran's top nuclear official said Europe must heed an Iranian proposal on uranium enrichment or risk a collapse of the talks.

The warning by Hassan Rowhani, head of the Supreme National Security Council, came as diplomats from Britain, France and Germany began talks with their Iranian counterparts in Geneva, ahead of a more senior-level meeting in London set for April 29. Enrichment produces fuel for nuclear reactors, which can also be used in the explosive core of nuclear bombs.

"The Europeans should tell us whether these ideas can work as the basis for continued negotiations or not," Rowhani said, referring to the Iranian proposal put forward last month that would allow some uranium enrichment. "If yes, fine. If not, then the negotiations cannot continue," he said.

Some analysts believe Iran is using the negotiations merely to buy time for further development of the nuclear program.

The U.S. plans, according to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, to allow the EU talks to continue before deciding this summer to push for United Nations sanctions against Iran.

Last month, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security chaired by Kyl, held a hearing on the electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, threat.

"An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the American homeland, said one of the distinguished scientists who testified at the hearing, is one of only a few ways that the United States could be defeated by its enemies – terrorist or otherwise," wrote Kyl "And it is probably the easiest. A single Scud missile, carrying a single nuclear weapon, detonated at the appropriate altitude, would interact with the Earth's atmosphere, producing an electromagnetic pulse radiating down to the surface at the speed of light. Depending on the location and size of the blast, the effect would be to knock out already stressed power grids and other electrical systems across much or even all of the continental United States, for months if not years."

The purpose of an EMP attack, unlike a nuclear attack on land, is not to kill people, but "to kill electrons," as Graham explained. He serves as chairman of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack and was director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and science adviser to the president during the Reagan administration.

Graham told WorldNetDaily he could think of no other reason for Iran to be experimenting with mid-air detonation of missiles than for the planning of an EMP-style attack.

"EMP offers a bigger bang for the buck," he said. He also suggested such an attack makes a U.S. nuclear response against a suspected enemy less likely than would the detonation of a nuclear bomb in a major U.S. city.

A 2004 report by the commission found "several potential adversaries have or can acquire the capability to attack the United States with a high-altitude nuclear weapons-generated electromagnetic pulse (EMP). A determined adversary can achieve an EMP attack capability without having a high level of sophistication."

"EMP is one of a small number of threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences," the report said. "EMP will cover the wide geographic region within line of sight to the nuclear weapon. It has the capability to produce significant damage to critical infrastructures and thus to the very fabric of U.S. society, as well as to the ability of the United States and Western nations to project influence and military power."

The major impact of EMP weapons is on electronics, "so pervasive in all aspects of our society and military, coupled through critical infrastructures," explained the report.

"Their effects on systems and infrastructures dependent on electricity and electronics could be sufficiently ruinous as to qualify as catastrophic to the nation," Lowell Wood, acting chairman of the commission, told members of Congress.

The commission report went so far as to suggest, in its opening sentence, that an EMP attack "might result in the defeat of our military forces."

"Briefly, a single nuclear weapon exploded at high altitude above the United States will interact with the Earth's atmosphere, ionosphere and magnetic field to produce an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) radiation down to the Earth and additionally create electrical currents in the Earth," said the report. "EMP effects are both direct and indirect. The former are due to electrical systems, and the latter arise from the damage that 'shocked' – upset, damaged and destroyed – electronics controls then inflict on the systems in which they are embedded. The indirect effects can be even more severe than the direct effects."

The EMP threat is not a new one considered by U.S. defense planners. The Soviet Union had experimented with the idea as a kind of super-weapon against the U.S.

"What is different now is that some potential sources of EMP threats are difficult to deter – they can be terrorist groups that have no state identity, have only one or a few weapons and are motivated to attack the U.S. without regard for their own safety," explains the commission report. "Rogue states, such as North Korea and Iran, may also be developing the capability to pose an EMP threat to the United States and may also be unpredictable and difficult to deter."

Graham describes the potential "cascading effect" of an EMP attack. If electrical power is knocked out and circuit boards fried, telecommunications are disrupted, energy deliveries are impeded, the financial system breaks down, food, water and gasoline become scarce.

As Kyl put it: "Few if any people would die right away. But the loss of power would have a cascading effect on all aspects of U.S. society. Communication would be largely impossible. Lack of refrigeration would leave food rotting in warehouses, exacerbated by a lack of transportation as those vehicles still working simply ran out of gas (which is pumped with electricity). The inability to sanitize and distribute water would quickly threaten public health, not to mention the safety of anyone in the path of the inevitable fires, which would rage unchecked. And as we have seen in areas of natural and other disasters, such circumstances often result in a fairly rapid breakdown of social order."

"American society has grown so dependent on computer and other electrical systems that we have created our own Achilles' heel of vulnerability, ironically much greater than those of other, less developed nations," the senator wrote. "When deprived of power, we are in many ways helpless, as the New York City blackout made clear. In that case, power was restored quickly because adjacent areas could provide help. But a large-scale burnout caused by a broad EMP attack would create a much more difficult situation. Not only would there be nobody nearby to help, it could take years to replace destroyed equipment."

The commission said hardening key infrastructure systems and procuring vital backup equipment such as transformers is both feasible and – compared with the threat – relatively inexpensive.

"But it will take leadership by the Department of Homeland Security, the Defense Department, and other federal agencies, along with support from Congress, all of which have yet to materialize," wrote Kyl, so far the only elected official blowing the whistle this alarming development.

Kyl concluded in his report: "The Sept. 11 commission report stated that our biggest failure was one of 'imagination.' No one imagined that terrorists would do what they did on Sept. 11. Today few Americans can conceive of the possibility that terrorists could bring our society to its knees by destroying everything we rely on that runs on electricity. But this time we've been warned, and we'd better be prepared to respond."


Joseph Farah


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.