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April 14, 2015 0

How to Deal With Iranian Expansionism

By Abra­ham H. Fox­man
National Direc­tor of the Anti-Defamation League

This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared on The Huff­in­g­ton Post Blog

At the very moment that a nuclear deal with Iran is look­ing closer to real­ity, Iran is expand­ing its influ­ence through­out the Mid­dle East. To the Saudis, the Emi­rates and Israel — all of whom see Iran as the great­est threat in the region — this is a dis­turb­ing phenomenon.

Israel has reacted by call­ing on the United States to link the nuclear nego­ti­a­tions to Iran’s broader behav­ior in the region.  In his address before a joint ses­sion of Con­gress, Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu said the U.S. should not sign a deal until Iran halts its ter­ror­ist activ­ity and ceases its sup­port of extrem­ist groups. More recently, the prime min­is­ter has called for no agree­ment until Iran accepts Israel’s     legitimacy.

Not sur­pris­ingly, the U.S. rejected those pro­pos­als as unachiev­able and saw them as an effort to block any nuclear deal.

The Saudis, in their usual way, took a more restrained approach, say­ing nice things about the frame­work agree­ment while decry­ing Iran’s activ­i­ties on many fronts in the region. Clearly, at this moment when the U.S. is pro­vid­ing essen­tial sup­port for the Saudi-led mil­i­tary coali­tion against the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen, they are not look­ing for a full-blown con­fronta­tion with their main ally and sup­porter, the United States.

On the other hand, the Saudis con­tinue to express in many ways their frus­tra­tion with what they per­ceive to be weak Amer­i­can lead­er­ship in the region. While not will­ing to link their cri­tique to the nuclear issue, they have found other ways to get their point across.

Their most extreme reac­tion took place in the fall of 2013 when in an unprece­dented fash­ion they turned down a seat at the United Nations Secu­rity Coun­cil. While they never stated a rea­son it was widely under­stood to be a protest over Amer­i­can pol­icy toward Syria and Iran.

Since then, Saudi con­cerns have only grown as they watch a con­tin­ued Iran­ian role in Syria and Iraq, U.S. coop­er­a­tion with Iran against ISIS and — more recently — the poten­tial for new sig­nif­i­cant Iran­ian influ­ence in Yemen through the Houthis.

Both the Israelis and the Saudis fear that lift­ing the deep­est sanc­tions against Iran through the nuclear deal will fur­ther embolden Iran­ian expansionism.

More­over, what­ever their views on the nuclear deal, they fear that the basic under­ly­ing theme, despite U.S. protests to the con­trary, is that Iran under Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani is an evolv­ing nation that can be moved toward a state of nor­malcy both at home and in its inter­na­tional rela­tions. So they worry that after the nuclear deal is signed, sealed and deliv­ered, the U.S. will be even more reluc­tant to iden­tify Iran for what is and to take action against it.

What is it that the U.S. admin­is­tra­tion can do to reas­sure its allies?

First, its rhetoric about Iran­ian behav­ior must be ele­vated by many deci­bels. The notion that such a change would jeop­ar­dize the nuclear talks does not ring true. The Ira­ni­ans have a huge inter­est in the removal of sanc­tions while also being able to main­tain its nuclear infra­struc­ture. They are not very likely to walk away because of a more hon­est and focused U.S. approach to Iran­ian behavior.

It was encour­ag­ing in that respect that Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry on April 8 on PBS New­sHour crit­i­cized Iran for sup­ply­ing the Houthis in Yemen and added that the U.S. “could do two things at once” – the nuclear deal and con­tain­ment of Iran’s desta­bi­liz­ing activ­i­ties in the region.

Still, a more sus­tained U.S. approach is needed, one which rec­og­nizes that Iran remains unre­pen­tant and extreme — includ­ing recent state­ments by its lead­ers call­ing for Israel’s destruc­tion — and is the great­est threat in the region.

Call­ing atten­tion to the huge arse­nal of mis­siles amassed by Iran­ian sur­ro­gate, Hezbol­lah, is a good place to start.

Using Holo­caust Remem­brance Day on April 15 to denounce Iran’s open call for Israel’s destruc­tion, most recently by the head of the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard, would add to the chorus.

And finally, the president’s remarks about hav­ing Israel’s back in the face of any Iran­ian threat should be reflected in clear agree­ments. What exactly does it mean for the U.S. to be there for Israel and Saudi Arabia?

This becomes more sig­nif­i­cant than ever because of the per­cep­tion that the eager­ness for the nuclear deal was partly moti­vated by a U.S. desire to pull back from the region. And, it is sig­nif­i­cant because Saudi con­cerns about a poten­tially expand­ing nuclear Iran could lead them to seek their own nuclear weapons.  The con­se­quences for the region and the world of such nuclear pro­lif­er­a­tion would be disastrous.

Even before the nuclear frame­work agree­ment, the U.S. had a lot of work to do to reas­sure its allies in the Mid­dle East.

The need for such reas­sur­ance takes on a greater urgency as the real­ity of the nuclear agree­ment and the prospect of an embold­ened Iran loom larger.

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December 12, 2014 1

Anti-Semite Gordon Duff Discusses Israeli Control of U.S. In Syria

The Syr­ian government’s Coun­tert­er­ror­ism and Reli­gious Extrem­ism Con­fer­ence fea­tured remarks by Amer­i­can anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­rist Gor­don Duff dur­ing which he described the U.S. as being con­trolled by Israel.

Gordon Duff speaking at conference

Gor­don Duff speak­ing at the conference

Senior edi­tor at Vet­er­ans Today, a web­site that presents anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries as news, Duff described him­self as the “U.S. Keynote Speaker” at the con­fer­ence. Dur­ing his remarks, Duff told his audi­ence that “I do believe there are areas of mis­un­der­stand­ing [about] how the United States works politically…It’s very dif­fi­cult to under­stand what has hap­pened as far as Israeli con­trol of Amer­i­can pol­i­tics, and I will, as suc­cinctly as pos­si­ble, I will explain this to you.”

Duff also elab­o­rated on the Vet­er­ans Today delegation’s objec­tive while in Syria, stat­ing, “It’s our goal here while we are here to try to estab­lish a method of com­mu­ni­ca­tion that will allow Syria and other nations in the area to under­stand Israel’s con­trol of the U.S., the con­trol of the U.S. by orga­nized crime, and how the U.S. gov­ern­ment is sub­servient to a world­wide crim­i­nal organization.”

Duff also invoked con­spir­acy the­o­ries about Jew­ish con­trol of the U.S. gov­ern­ment, claim­ing that the Supreme Court case Cit­i­zens United v. Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion “turned con­trol of the Con­gress of the United States over to human traf­fick­ers, nar­cotics traf­fick­ers, and par­tic­u­lar the most pow­er­ful indi­vid­ual in the United States today, a gam­bling boss named Shel­don Adel­son, an Israeli cit­i­zen who fled the U.S. liv­ing in Macau.” Duff alleges that Adel­son “spent over one bil­lion dol­lars in the last elec­tion and bought con­trol of both houses of Con­gress, now Sen­a­tor John McCain, the father of al-Nusra, the father of ISIS, will be run­ning U.S.  leg­isla­tive and mil­i­tary for­eign policy.”

With­out spec­i­fy­ing about whom he is speak­ing, Duff also states in his remarks that “their moti­va­tion is largely eco­nomic, they’re a crim­i­nal orga­ni­za­tion but they’re part of a world­wide crim­i­nal orga­ni­za­tion and they’re here in your ter­ri­tory tak­ing your things, your fac­to­ries, your lives, your peo­ple, for the enrich­ment of a very spe­cific group of peo­ple who need to be held to account…”

Gor­don Duff’s audi­ence at the conference

Duff, who describes him­self as “one of the top global intel­li­gence spe­cial­ists” and one who “reg­u­larly con­sults with gov­ern­ments” also claimed that Syr­i­ans have him to thank for pre­vent­ing the U.S. from bomb­ing Syria after “false-flag gas attacks near Aleppo.” He con­tin­ued, “It was our orga­ni­za­tion here that sup­plied the intel­li­gence that stopped those attacks.”

The con­fer­ence in Syria, held on Novem­ber 30 and Decem­ber 1, brought together rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 25 coun­tries with Syr­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials who report­edly harshly crit­i­cized the U.S. led anti-ISIS coali­tion and sug­gested an “Inter­na­tional Coun­tert­er­ror­ism Forum” be estab­lished in Dam­as­cus instead to deal with this issue. Syr­ian Prime Min­is­ter Wael Nader al-Halqi and Jus­tice Min­is­ter Najm al-Ahmad also spoke at the con­fer­ence. Duff describes al-Ahmad as being “extremely help­ful” in bring­ing the Vet­er­ans Today group to Syria.

Addi­tion­ally, accord­ing to Syr­ian offi­cial media, Head of Hezbol­lah’s Arab Affairs Divi­sion, Sheik Has­san Ezzil Deen attended the conference.

Four of the eight Amer­i­cans  who par­tic­i­pated in the con­fer­ence were from Vet­er­ans Today, includ­ing Jim Dean, a man­ag­ing edi­tor for Vet­er­ans Today who has made claims of Israeli con­trol of Amer­ica, Colonel Jim Hanke who claims to be a for­mer mil­i­tary attaché to Israel, and Mike Har­ris, who has ties to mem­bers of the neo-Nazi National Social­ist Move­ment (NSM) and has claimed that Zion­ists are respon­si­ble for a num­ber of mass shoot­ings in Amer­ica.

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December 4, 2014 1

Syrian Counterterrorism Conference Attracts U.S. Anti-Semites

The Syr­ian government’s Coun­tert­er­ror­ism and Reli­gious Extrem­ism Con­fer­ence is the lat­est con­fer­ence orga­nized by a for­eign gov­ern­ment that has attracted Amer­i­can anti-Semites.

Gordon Duff

Gor­don Duff

The con­fer­ence in Syria, held on Novem­ber 30 and Decem­ber 1, brought together rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 25 coun­tries with Syr­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials who report­edly harshly crit­i­cized the U.S. led anti-ISIS coali­tion and sug­gested an “Inter­na­tional Coun­tert­er­ror­ism Forum” be estab­lished in Dam­as­cus instead to deal with this issue. Syria’s Jus­tice Min­is­ter Najm al-Ahmad report­edly stated at the con­fer­ence that the U.S. is “inter­fer­ing in other states’ affairs and breach­ing their sov­er­eignty under the pre­texts of human­i­tar­i­an­ism and counterterrorism.”

Atten­dees from Europe at the con­fer­ence included far-right politi­cians such as Nicholas John Grif­fin, a for­mer chair­man and later pres­i­dent of the far-right British National Party and Philip Dewin­ter and Frank Creyel­man, mem­bers of Vlaams Belang, a far-right Flem­ish nation­al­ist party.

Four of the eight Amer­i­cans who par­tic­i­pated in the con­fer­ence were from Vet­er­ans Today, a web­site that presents anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries as news.

Jim Dean, a man­ag­ing edi­tor for Vet­er­ans Today who has made claims of Israeli con­trol of Amer­ica, attended the con­fer­ence and told an Arabic-language news­pa­per that Vet­er­ans Today has “uncon­firmed reports that a secret U.S. orga­ni­za­tion sup­ported by the CIA and the Israeli Mossad car­ried out assas­si­na­tions of Iran­ian nuclear sci­en­tists” and that “the same orga­ni­za­tion has links to the Islamic State (ISIS) and it super­vises, through a spe­cial­ized depart­ment, the tele­vi­sion film­ing of behead­ings.” He claimed that this secret American-Israeli-supported orga­ni­za­tion sup­pos­edly “over­saw the film­ing of the behead­ing of Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist James Foley in August.”

The del­e­ga­tion from Vet­er­ans Today also included Gor­don Duff, Colonel Jim Hanke, and Mike Har­ris, who has ties to mem­bers of the neo-Nazi National Social­ist Move­ment (NSM) and has claimed that Zion­ists are respon­si­ble for a num­ber of mass shoot­ings in Amer­ica. Among the Amer­i­cans was also Richard Hines, described by the Syr­ian media as a for­mer South Car­olina politi­cian who pre­vi­ously served in the Ronald Rea­gan administration.

Cov­er­age of the con­fer­ence by Press TV, Iran’s government-run English-language satel­lite news net­work which pro­vides a plat­form to well-known Amer­i­can anti-Semites and Holo­caust deniers, was con­sis­tent with the conference’s mes­sag­ing, dis­cussing the West’s sup­posed “unprece­dented sup­port for ter­ror­ism in Syria” which aims “to cre­ate sec­tar­ian ten­sions and destroy Syria.”

syria-prime-minister-wael-nader-al-halqi-damascus-conference-2014

Syr­ian Prime Min­is­ter Wael Nader al-Halqi

Press TV also claimed that even “U.S. experts slammed Wash­ing­ton for inter­fer­ence in Syria’s inter­nal affairs,” and then pre­sented Gor­don Duff, senior edi­tor at Vet­er­ans Today, as an expert. Duff told Press TV that “think­ing that ISIS…the intel­li­gence sup­port they’re get­ting, that it doesn’t involve mul­ti­ple intel­li­gence agen­cies, that it doesn’t involve a num­ber of gov­ern­ments, is unre­al­is­tic. We have to accept that we’re deal­ing with some­thing that involves a broad conspiracy.”

Oth­ers at the con­fer­ence were not as spe­cific about who to blame for ter­ror­ism in Syria, but dis­cussed it as part of a gen­eral con­spir­acy. Syr­ian Prime Min­is­ter Wael Nader al-Halqi dis­cussed the need “to defeat the con­spir­acy” and Syria’s Jus­tice Min­is­ter Najm al-Ahmad stated that the cur­rent events in Syria rep­re­sented “orga­nized ter­ror­ism backed by sev­eral countries.”

Addi­tion­ally, accord­ing to Syr­ian offi­cial media, Head of Hezbol­lah’s Arab Affairs Divi­sion, Sheik Has­san Ezzil Deen attended the conference.

Other recent con­fer­ences abroad that have hosted Amer­i­can anti-Semites, Holo­caust deniers, and con­spir­acy the­o­rists include the 2nd New Hori­zon Con­fer­ence in Iran in Sep­tem­ber 2014, a May 2014 pro-“resistance” con­fer­ence in Beirut that attracted mem­bers of Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist groups as well as at least three Amer­i­can activists, and the Iran Hol­ly­wood­ism Con­fer­ence in Feb­ru­ary 2013. Amer­i­cans who fre­quent these types of con­fer­ences are often given a plat­form for their fringe views.

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