Make your tax deductible contribution today to The Middle East Initiative.
Is the new “axis of evil” Al-Qaeda, a global terrorist movement, and Iran, a state sponsor of international terrorism? As reported in my 10.29.12 post at Facebook.com/StrategicSolutionsforanewMiddleEast, following the Arab uprisings, a violent resurgence of Al-Qaeda’s Islamic terrorism is at work. However, increased terrorism includes operations by more than just Al-Qaeda and Al-Qaeda affiliates.
On President Obama’s watch, Iran has significantly expanded its terrorist operations and grown its military capabilities. The Persian nation now represents a greater threat to Americans and our allies at home and abroad than ever before.
In point of fact, the State Department’s Office of the Coordinator of Counterterrorism has labeled Iran “the world’s leading sponsor of terrorist activity,” an active state sponsor of terrorism providing funds and support for terrorist and militant groups throughout the Middle East. [See http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2011/195547.htm].
This State Department document, coupled with a report out of Israel today, highlights Tehran’s latest act of terrorism. Iran has shipped to Hizballah in Lebanon, dismantled stealth attack drones, the Ababil-T unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs. Recall the official Iran Islamic Republic News Agency, IRNA, reporting in December of last year that they were in possession of the $6+ million United States RQ-170 stealth UAV.
Iran has since reversed engineered that highly sophisticated U.S. unmanned air system and as a result is now producing drones with more capabilities and longer ranges.
The Ababil-T, is now Iran’s most advanced operational drone. It has electronic warfare, military intelligence-gathering, and online transmission capabilities and is prepared for battle against Israel and American personnel and installations. Moreover, Iran’s Ababil-T is designed to disable enemy electronic systems in combat, including those of the United States and Israel. [See http://www.virtualjerusalem.com/news.php?Itemid=8379].
President Obama should have had the U.S. RQ-170 stealth drone destroyed rather than allow the Iranians to sabotage America’s cutting edge military air system. Iran’s scientific gains are also believed to be a result of Iranian students “returning home from studies at MIT and other universities in the United States, Britain and Germany. They are offered attractive salaries to work hard on the goals set before them.” [For more information on the Ababil-T again see http://www.virtualjerusalem.com/news.php?Itemid=8379].
Furthermore, the September plot of 2011 to kill Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States also underscores Iran’s desire to use terrorism against the United States to further its foreign policy goals.
Moreover, by providing arms and training to Hamas, other Palestinian extremist groups, as well as Hizballah, Iran has been equipping these terrorist groups with advanced weaponry to attack Western targets.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are also training Taliban militants in Afghanistan and are allowing Al Qaeda to use its territory to funnel funds and operatives into Southeast Asia. [For more on Al-Qaeda’s continued growth and outreach see http://www.memri.org/subject/en/90.htm. Also see televised clip on Al-Qaeda’s newest stronghold in Yemn #3273 – Yemeni Militant and Al-Awlaki’s Brother-in-Law, Who Led Takeover of Yemeni Town of Rida: The Arabian Peninsula Will Be Liberated Soon, January 18, 2011].
The National Counterterrorism Center, an arm of the US intelligence community, reported the number of terrorist attacks worldwide fell to 10,283 last year in 2011. Is this figure correct? While not able to independently verify the Center’s conclusions, it will be instructive to see the number of terrorist incidents in 2012 which appear to be at an all time high.
We need a President who will send a clear message to Iran that acting as a state-sponsor of terrorism will not be tolerated. Economic sanctions have not been successful in making this point to a regime driven by religious dogma to destroy infidel nations – not under the Bush administration nor Obama’s reign.
Like it or not – we need a hard line drawn on Iran’s activities and that will mean a counter-terrorism strategy of hitting Iranian leaders right where they live.