Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Ignoring our Venezuelan Friends of Freedom

| March 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
Joe Kauffman

By Joe Kaufman

It can be argued that, in 2009, had President Barack Obama aided the Iranians demonstrating against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs, there would be no need for talk of the possibility of a nuclear armed Iran today. Iran’s leaders had dedicated much of their existence to hatred of America, referring to the U.S. as “Satan” and supporting anti-U.S. terror. But instead of assisting those calling for regime change, Obama turned his back on the protesters and ignored their pleas.

This was not the case in other parts of the Middle East, where Obama announced his full support to rebels looking to overthrow their respective governments – in Egypt, Libya and Syria. Each of these revolutions, though, were led by Islamists, who unlike the overtly pro-U.S. Iranian demonstrators, have much enmity for the United States and her allies.

Now, in a reprise of his attitude toward Iran, President Obama has chosen ... Read More

Ignorando a nuestros amigos venezolanos

| March 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
Joe Kauffman

Por Joe Kaufman

Se puede argumentar que, en el 2009, si el presidente Barack Obama hubiera ofrecido ayuda a  los iraníes que se manifestaban contra Mahmoud Ahmadinejad y los mulá, no habría ninguna necesidad de hablar de la posibilidad de un Irán con armas nucleares en la actualidad. Los líderes de Irán han dedicado gran parte de su existencia a promover el odio hacia los Estados Unidos-refiriéndose a nuestro país como “Satanás” y apoyando a agrupaciones terroristas que buscan atacarnos. Pero en lugar de ayudar a aquellos que pedían un cambio de régimen, Obama les dio la espalda a los manifestantes y no hizo caso de sus súplicas.

Este no fue el caso en otras partes del Medio Oriente, donde Obama declaró su pleno apoyo a los rebeldes que buscaban derrocar a sus respectivos gobiernos, como en Egipto, Libia y Siria. Cada una de estas revoluciones, no obstante, fueron conducidas por islamistas, ... Read More

Southern Command: Venezuela on the brink of a catastrophe

| March 13th, 2014 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald



WASHINGTON – The Commander of the United States Southern Command, General John Kelly, testified Thursday that it is necessary that Venezuelans resolve the internal conflict before it gets out of control and violence escalates.

“It’s a situation that obviously is falling apart in front of us,” Kelly said during in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Unless there is some kind of miracle in which the opposition or Maduro’s government pull back, this will turn into a catastrophe in terms of the economy and democracy.”

To a question from Sen. Joe Donnelly (Indiana), Kelly expressed his hope that “somehow Venezuelans resolve this themselves, without [the situation] spiraling out of control with much more violence.”

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz asked if Southern Command may limit the possible Iranian and Cuban assistance to Caracas to “use cyber tools against Venezuelan citizens,” but Kelly did not answer the question ... Read More

Just how do Americans see Cuba?

| March 6th, 2014 | No Comments »
From the Los Angeles Times


The Washington-based think tank Atlantic Council released a poll last month that has been touted by many as marking an unprecedented shift in support for a change in U.S. policy toward Cuba. Media outlets, including the L.A. Times, jumped on the bandwagon, citing the poll as evidence that Americans are now eager for engagement. But a closer look shows that many of the most consequential results of the poll are based on push-polling tactics.

Push polling is the craft of designing survey questions to shape and influence the results. In this case, several questions in the Atlantic Council Cuba poll appear to “push” respondents toward assuming a position against current U.S. policy.

Nothing about U.S. relations with Cuba is simple. The many facets of our estrangement span such a spectrum of interests and time that few have a clear understanding of the intricate web of current policy.

For example, despite the ... Read More

Navarrette: Violence in Venezuela draws little attention

| March 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »
The Houston Chronicle


We’ve seen this movie before. When people are brave enough to stand up for freedom against repressive governments intent on maintaining their grip on power, the process is usually messy – and often bloody. In between ducking batons and dodging bullets, they wait to see if the world cares what happens to them. They’re the little guy being beaten by a big guy, hoping that an even bigger guy comes to the rescue.

In Venezuela, for the last few weeks, blood has stained the streets of Caracas and other major cities. It started with massive student protests on Feb. 12 against the social and economic “crisis” plaguing the country – corruption, high crime rates, skyrocketing inflation, etc. – under a government they consider illegitimate. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro responded with violence, as if he were suppressing a coup attempt at all costs.

Former President Hugo Chavez was crazy. But what Maduro is ... Read More

Protesters in Venezuela, Ukraine turn to peer-to-peer messaging app

| February 25th, 2014 | No Comments »
From CNN


From Kiev to Caracas, protesters are taking their indignation to a walkie-talkie app, but some may be running into government roadblocks.

Zello allows smartphone users to send short voice messages from person to person or to a limited group of people. Some Ukrainians and Venezuelans have been using the app to organize their protests.

Broadcasting a message to the world on social networks like Twitter is not always ideal for many people in chaotic situations. Apps like Zello and WhatsApp facilitate private, peer-to-peer digital messaging.

Facebook’s $19 billion plan to purchase WhatsApp underscores the need that more than 450 million users have to send messages that aren’t broadcast for everyone to see.

Zello, which was founded in Russia and is now based in Texas, has been one of the most downloaded apps in Ukraine and Venezuela, but late last week, Venezuelans began complaining that the app stopped working inside the country — ... Read More

Hezbolá en las calles de Caracas?

| February 20th, 2014 | No Comments »
By Roger Noriega

Un hombre a quien el Departamento del Tesoro de EE.UU. ha designado como un operativo de la organización terrorista Hezbolá, aparentemente se ha trasladado de Siria a Venezuela en los últimos días en apoyo a la violenta represión del gobierno Venezolano contra los manifestantes estudiantiles . Ghazi Atef Nassereddine fue sancionado por el gobierno de los EE.UU. en 2008 por proporcionar apoyo logístico y financiero a Hezbolá.

Fuentes y documentos corroboran el papel de Nassereddine como representante de Hezbolá ante el régimen venezolano y como un colaborador cercano del presidente Nicolás Maduro. En los últimos años, se ha hecho pasar como un diplomático asignado a la embajada de Venezuela en Damasco, donde ha utilizado su posición para facilitar viajes y visas para muchas personas procedentes de Oriente Medio a Venezuela. Desde ese puesto, tuvo un acceso extraordinario a altos funcionarios de seguridad sirios que han hecho la guerra a los opositores ... Read More

Hezbollah in the streets of Caracas?

| February 20th, 2014 | No Comments »

A man whom the US Treasury Department has designated as an operative of the terrorist organization Hezbollah has relocated from the Syria war zone to Venezuela in recent days, apparently in support the government’s violent crackdown against student demonstrators. Ghazi Atef Nassereddine was sanctioned by the US government in 2008 for providing logistical and financial support to Hezbollah.

Sources and documents substantiate Nassereddine’s role as Hezbollah’s principal representative to the Venezuelan regime and a close collaborator of President Nicolás Maduro. In recent years, his official cover has been as a diplomat assigned to Venezuela’s embassy in Damascus, where he has used his position to facilitate travel for many persons from the Middle East to Venezuela. From that post, he had extraordinary access to senior Syrian security officials who have waged war on opponents of the Assad regime.

Two witnesses also have told me that Nassereddine worked personally to obtain Maduro’s approval of Hezbollah money ... Read More

The Darkest Hour Of Venezuelan Democracy

| February 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
World Crunch-01

If you must lie, you lie — any dictator will tell you that. The socialist regime forged by the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez has now held power for 16 years, apparently using the procedures and rules of the democratic system.

It was defeated just once, in 2007 when voters rejected its proposed constitutional reforms, though it had no qualms then in threatening the victors. The late president called the results of the referendum a “shitty victory” for his opponents. Indeed months later, backed by the exceptional powers that parliament had given him — an Enabling Act — he instituted everything Venezuelans had rejected in their vote.

Is the popular uprising now spreading in Caracas the end of this reign? It is still too early to say. Chávez, his followers and the whole Chavista movement, have played with democracy in the most cavalier, shameless manner. They have falsified elections to the point of turning them into harmless, useless formalities. They have ... Read More

The Most Important Alliance You’ve Never Heard Of

| February 18th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
The Atlantic


In Venezuela, students have been killed while protesting against the government of Nicolás Maduro, who is jailing opposition leaders and just closed a television station that dared broadcast the demonstrations. Argentina is irresponsibly racing toward a dangerous economic cliff. The Brazilian economy is in recession and 2014 will mark its fourth consecutive year of subpar growth, as the country reels from its largest capital flight in more than 10 years.

Is a decade of progress in Latin America coming to an end? For some countries, surely. But not necessarily for the entire region. Four nations are developing an initiative that could add new dynamism to Latin America, redraw the economic map of the region, and boost its connections with the rest of the world—especially Asia. It could also offer neighboring countries a pragmatic alternative to the more political groupings dominated by Brazil, Cuba, and Venezuela.

Amid all the bad news in the region, the presidents of ... Read More

Venezuelan ‘Security Situation is Absolutely Out of Control’

| February 17th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Washington Free Beacon


Observers say Venezuela’s security situation is spiraling “absolutely out of control” as socialist President Nicolas Maduro continues to crack down on pro-democracy protesters who have taken to the streets to demand that he resign.

Protests in Venezuela entered their sixth day on Monday with students and other demonstrators braving violent attacks from state police and pro-Maduro militias, according to former and current U.S. officials.

Maduro has even employed Iranian-style paramilitary Basij militias in a bid to quell the violence, according to Roger Noriega, a former United States ambassador and assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs.

“They’ve used it to control the population and pretend this is not the state [using violence], but a confrontation between protesters,” he explained. “The reality is in addition to those motorized forces, they have militias and hundreds of thousands of people with arms. The security situation is absolutely out of control.”

The Obama ... Read More

Netanyahu to make rare trip to Latin America in April

| February 12th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Jerusalem Post-01


Efforts are underway to organize a rare, if not unprecedented, visit to Latin America by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in April, with travel to Mexico and Colombia aimed at bolstering economic and political ties with pro-American countries.

Netanyahu met last month in Davos with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. In June he met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in Jerusalem. Both invited him to visit.

Colombia and Mexico, along with Peru and Chile, make up the Pacific Alliance free-trade bloc, which accounts for more than a third of Latin America’s gross domestic product and is seen in Jerusalem as having strong economic potential for Israel.

Israel is expected to be offered “observer” status in the alliance.

In addition, Peruvian President Ollanta Moises Humala is scheduled to visit here next week.

Government officials said that just as Netanyahu is interested in expanding economic ties with China, he sees great potential in expanding trade relations with Latin America. Both efforts are part ... Read More

Experts: Iran Exerting Troubling Influence in Latin America

| February 5th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Washington Free Beacon


Iran and its terrorist proxy groups’ influence in Latin America remains a troubling security threat to the region and world, experts said at a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

Hezbollah, a Shiite terrorist group based in Lebanon and sponsored by Iran, has established illicit networks in Latin America in the last few decades to provide millions annually for its global operations, experts on the region told the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade.

Those networks involve money laundering, counterfeiting, piracy, and drug trafficking in cooperation with local criminal groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Celina Realuyo, assistant professor of national security affairs at the National Defense University, said the “convergence” of terror and crime networks in Latin America presents a significant threat to regional and global security.

“These types of illicit actors, terror providers, and criminals, a lot of them are offering and brokering services but may not espouse ... Read More

Testimony of Douglas Farah: Terrorist Groups in Latin America: The Changing Landscape

| February 5th, 2014 | No Comments »
US House of Representatives

Testimony of Douglas Farah

President, IBI Consultants LLC

Senior Non-Resident Associate, Americas Program, CSIS

Before the House Foreign Affairs

Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade

“Terrorist Groups in Latin America: The Changing Landscape”

February 4, 2014

2172 Rayburn House Office Building

Chairman Poe, Ranking Member Sherman and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today on the FARC and lessons learned.  The U.S.-Colombia partnership is one of the most successful in recent times.

I have had the privilege of working in Colombia since 1989. I have seen the nation teeter on the edge of the abyss in the 1990s, to emerge as a regional model of democracy and economic development.

The FARC, despite the ongoing peace talks with the government of President Juan Manuel Santos in Cuba, remains engaged in criminal enterprises ... Read More

The 1994 Argentina Bombing Perpetrators: Where Are They Now?

| January 30th, 2014 | No Comments »
Foundation for Defense and Democracies


One year ago today, on January 27, 2013, Argentina announced a memorandum of understanding with Iran for a “truth commission” to investigate the 1994 Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) bombing that killed 85 — the most deadly terrorist attack on Argentine soil. It was effectively a reversal of Argentina’s support for the years of work conducted by special AMIA prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

The commission is widely viewed as a way for the two countries to increase cooperation– perhaps even on nuclear issues – while exonerating the officials implicated in the bombing.

Nisman’s exhaustive reports concluded that the attack was approved in a secret meeting on August 14, 1993 attended by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, Foreign Minister Ali Velayati, and Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian. On March 15, 2007, Interpol issued red notices for these senior figures who have since risen through the ranks, including several on Rouhani’s watch in the first six months of his ... Read More

The Future of the Bolivarian Revolution in the Post-Chávez Era

| January 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
University of Miami


Throughout his years in power, but particularly beginning in 2004, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez spent a significant amount of political and economic capital creating a structure to carry out his dream of establishing a regional alliance of countries espousing his “Socialism for the 21st Century” doctrine and enmity toward the United States.

Grouped under the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and including Iran as an observer, the alliance was largely sustained by Chávez’s vision and Venezuela’s largess in the form of petroleum and petroleum products at steeply discounted prices, as well as other economic benefits for member nations. In return, Chávez received international solidarity and a platform for launching a new regional defense doctrine in which the United States was identified as the primary external threat.[1]

A key question in the post-Chávez era is what will become of the Bolivarian edifice now under construction and whether ... Read More

Cuba’s classic cars are icons of oppression that deserve scrapping

| January 6th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Guardian UK


Most western travellers visiting Cuba will have come across the island’s cars long before their plane lands. They appear in every travel guide, and you can buy calendars and posters of the 1950s classics that still drive through the streets of Havana.

They’ve become an icon of the island – considered a quaint, unmissable feature of Cuba’s unique atmosphere. So, it was against a background of nostalgia that the news broke that they may at last be retired. It was portrayed almost as a saddening shame that these majestic beasts of the road might disappear.

This is patronising nonsense. As the experience of the rest of the world shows, if Cubans had the choice they would have abandoned their clapped-out Studebakers and Oldsmobiles long ago. The only reason they didn’t is that the communist dictatorship that rules them did not allow it.

In a classic example of some being more equal than others, only senior party officials and ... Read More

Ex-Israeli envoy to Argentina: Israel killed most perpetrators of AMIA, embassy bombings

| January 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »
The Jerusalem Post-01

Israel has killed most of the perpetrators responsible for the deadly attacks on its embassy and on the Argentine Jewish Charities Federation (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires, former Israeli ambassador to Argentina Itzhak Aviran said on Thursday.

“The large majority of those responsible are no longer of this world, and we did it ourselves,” Aviran told the Buenos Aires-based AJN Jewish news agency, according to AFP.

In March 1992, a car bombing in front of the Israeli embassy in the Argentine capital killed 29 people and wounded 200 others. The Islamic Jihad took responsibility for this attack.

Two years later, in July 1994, a bombing at the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires killed 85 people and injured 300.

Argentina suspects Iran is behind both bombings.

Aviran, who was Israel’s ambassador to the country from 1993-2000, accused the Argentinian government of not doing enough “to get to the bottom of this tragedy.”

“We ... Read More

As Keystone Stalls Azerbaijan Steams Ahead With Pipeline

| December 19th, 2013 | No Comments »
Investor's Business Daily


As the Keystone XL pipeline languishes, the details of another, far more complex, pipeline project in Eurasia’s Southern Gas Corridor are beginning to take shape.

Much like the Keystone XL project, the Southern Gas Corridor and its Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) will provide secure and reliable energy resources to global markets.

With the announcement of TANAP’s final investment decision expected in the coming weeks, I urge leaders in the U.S. to voice their support and reaffirm their commitment to developing complex energy projects that enhance global energy security and serve to promote greater regional stability through meaningful economic cooperation.

The Southern Gas Corridor is a proposed project that will deliver natural gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field to European energy markets through a network of pipelines.

Spearheaded by the State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), the TANAP pipeline will serve as the cornerstone of the Southern Gas Corridor. Once constructed, TANAP would ... Read More

Ecuador lashes out at Internet critics

| December 17th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald


Ecuador, having bargained away virtually all its oil production to China in return for low-interest loans to finance President Rafael Correa’s spendthrift populism, is in dire need of a new export. And the president seems to have found one: tyrannical censorship of his critics.

Correa’s increasingly novel inventions for suppressing free speech in his own country are doubtless the subject of much envious chatter whenever Iran, North Korea and the rest of the fellows get together for meetings of Despots R Us. His latest wrinkle: a proposed law that would criminalize wisecracks on Facebook, enforced by placing video cameras in every cybercafe in Ecuador.

But now Correa has gone international. He’s using phony copyright claims to force American companies like YouTube and Google to remove videos and documents that criticize his government.

Last month, more than 140 videos posted by Chevron abruptly vanished from YouTube, replaced by notices that said they ... Read More

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