From the Mouth of a Tyrant

There is a storm coming, and it may well be closer than we think.  Soon, the flash of light we see on the horizon may not be lightning, but rather the glow from a nuclear test somewhere in the Iranian wilderness.  As we occupy ourselves with political issues like health care reform, cap-and-trade, jobs bills, and bank taxes our enemy, Iran, is building a nuclear weapon.  Make no mistake about it, all other global crises considered, Iran’s effort  to build a bomb is the defining issue of the next decade.  If they succeed in their quest and deliver a weapon to Hamas, Al Qaeda, or Hezbollah, millions of lives will be held hostage and the world as we know it may truly cease to exist.

This storm is no surprise however.  Iran has been quite outspoken on its desire to become a nuclear power and, thanks to people like A.Q Khan, they will soon have enough operational centrifuges to refine the fuel for about 20 bombs a year.  Even the IAEA has come out and admitted in their latest report that Iran’s  nuclear program appears to have military implications.   What about their intentions with such a weapon though?  Could it truly be defensive in nature? Fortunately, we do not have to rely on third party conjecture here, we have Mahmoud himself!  President Ahmadinejad has, in fact,  told the world what they can expect from Iran as soon as they have “the bomb.”  Just in case you have forgotten, here it is again – straight from the mouth of a tyrant:

“The Zionist regime wants to establish its base upon the ruins of the civilizations of the region…The uniform shout of the Iranian nation is forever ‘Death to Israel.’…” – October 2009 Fars News Agency

“This (the Israeli) regime’s days are numbered and it is on its way to collapse. This regime is dying.” – September 2009  Al Quds rally Tehran

“Don’t be afraid of those Zionists. They are on the verge of death. Their time has passed. Do not surrender your people to them…Unless they are put in their place at the very beginning of their conspiracy, they will jeopardize the security of the whole world, they will jeopardize the security of the whole region… They want the entire world. At their very first step, you must crush their step, crush their leg, so that they do not dare to invade the Islamic lands”  – April 2009 Iranian News Channel interview

“I have heard some say the idea of Greater Israel has expired….I say that the idea of lesser Israel has expired, too.” – September 2009 Press Conference Tehran

“We will witness the dismantling of the corrupt regime (Israel) in the very near future.” – August 2008 Speech in Tehran

“Today the reason for the Zionist regime’s existence is questioned, and this regime is on its way to annihilation.…” May 2008 remarks on Israeli Independence Day

“With God’s help, the countdown button for the destruction of the Zionist regime has been pushed by the hands of the children of Lebanon andPalestine . . . By God’s will, we will witness the destruction of this regime in the near future.” April 2008 quote Fars News Agency

“The Zionists are the true manifestation of Satan . . . “ February 2007 Meeting in Khartoum

“Thanks to people’s wishes and God’s will the trend for the existence of the Zionist regime is downwards and this is what God has promised and what all nations want…Just as the Soviet Union was wiped out and today does not exist, so will the Zionist regime soon be wiped out.” – December 2006 Holocaust Conference

“Israel is destined for destruction and will soon disappear. Israel is a contradiction to nature, we foresee its rapid disappearance and destruction.” – November 2006

“The Zionist regime is counterfeit and illegitimate and cannot survive” – October 2006 Iranian Television

Never does Mahmoud explicitly state that Iran will wipe Israel off  the face of the map, but rather he says that this will be accomplished by the Palestinians.  Is this nothing more than rhetoric designed solely to draw regional favor, or is it something far more insidious?  Perhaps, just perhaps, he is telling Hamas and Hezbollah that they will soon receive the tool that they need to destroy Israel forever.  If such a weapon were deployed and detonated by one of these groups, Iran would have all the plausible denial that they would need to avoid direct confrontation with the west. They would even vow to help find the culprit while giving a behind the scenes “wink” to their friends. It is the perfect scenario for a perfect storm.

Our President however, seems content to walk into the hurricane with little more than a pocket umbrella. While Mahmoud continues to make statements like the ones above, Obama responds with a brand of soft diplomacy that would make Neville Chamberlain wince:

“For nearly three decades relations between our nations have been strained, but at this holiday we are reminded of the common humanity that binds us together…This process will not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect.” – President Obama’s 2009 video appeal to Iranian People.

These words would fail to send shivers down even the weakest leader’s spine. They are almost conciliatory in their tone and convey a weaknesses of US will that neither Tomahawk Missiles nor F-16s can fix. In the end, they may generate some type of “Munich Agreement” but will do little to stop the advancing storm. It is no wonder that our little friend the tyrant presses on.  He truly believes that he has nothing to fear, and maybe he is right.

So, as time progresses and our leaders continue to prattle on about sanctions and international pressure, please listen closely to the words of our tyrant friend.  He is forecasting the track of a great storm, and its eye is headed directly for Jerusalem and freedom loving people everywhere.  We may still have time to avoid the storm, but decisive military action is the only answer, and it must be taken without delay.  If we do not act now, and act decisively, then no one should feel rage on the dark day that the storm strikes…only shame.

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The Secret

Matt felt groggy and disoriented as he began to regain consciousness.  The first thing he noticed was a violent freezing wind hitting him in the face like a thousand needles.  It stung badly and made it almost impossible for him to catch his breath. He was extremely light headed, and every cell of his body begged him to slip back into the darkness.  He was lucid enough however, to know that something had gone terribly wrong.  Just a few moments earlier, he had been safely buckled into seat 27D as his flight from London prepared to land in Chicago.  It had been a very smooth flight, and he had spent most of the journey either sleeping or chatting with the very attractive young lady sitting next to him.  She was a sales representative for a British company, and was making her first trip to the US for a sales conference.  She had been quite excited about the trip and had asked him dozens of questions about the city. The last thing Matt remembered before blacking out was telling her where to get the best Italian beef sandwich in town.

As his vision began to clear, he noticed that bright light was pouring into the cabin.  His first thought was that someone had blown a hole in the front of the aircraft but, as he regained his sight, he discovered to his horror that the front of the plane was no longer there.  All he could see through the freezing wind was twisted metal and blue sky.  He also realized that he was no longer looking forward, but rather looking up.  Apparently his Airbus had been severed in two.  His mind began to sharpen as adrenaline surged through his veins. They were free falling vertically.  He looked out the window and saw the unmistakable shape of the Sears Tower jutting out of the ground, but it spun out of sight as quickly as it had appeared. He could not tell if he was upside down or right side up, his heart was beating in his throat, and he felt himself beginning to slip into shock.  He looked to his left across the aisle.  The man and woman sitting there were wide awake, the woman was screaming with her arms stretched out trying to reclaim the infant that had slipped from her grip. The baby was gone however. Matt watched in disbelief as her husband dutifully unbuckled his belt, telling his bride that he would go get their son and be right back.  Almost instantly, he hit the overhead and bounced along  the fuselage until he was sucked outside into the sky. Matt looked helplessly back a the woman.  Her screaming had stopped, and she was sleeping peacefully,  perhaps reunited with her husband and son.

They were very low now and Matt knew that they would be hitting the ground any second.  He looked to his right for the young sales rep.  She was still there, staring forward  and clutching her arm rests. Matt thought that she looked amazingly calm.  Tears were streaming down her face however, with the realization that there was nothing left.  There would be no sales conference, no Chicago, no career,  and no Italian beef with hot peppers.  She turned slowly to look at Matt.  He reached over to her and she grabbed his hand tightly.   He fixed his gaze on her and tried to smile.  “It’s okay,” he reassured her, “it will be fast.”  She smiled and squeezed his hand even tighter. “I hope so,” she whispered back. Matt took a deep breath as he gazed into her face. “What beautiful blue eyes,” he thought to himself, “what beautiful eyes.”

Moments later, news alerts interrupted morning programming across the country.   So far, 10 planes had fallen out of the sky, but there were still others out there. Low on fuel, many of them would have little choice but to continue toward the US mainland.  The Air Force had scrambled F-16 fighters to intercept these aircraft and escort them to military airfields away from populous metropolitan areas.  If the airliners could not or would not comply however, the fighters had orders to shoot them from the sky before they made landfall.

In the span of about 2 hours almost 2,000 innocent people had died violent deaths.  Flights around the world were grounded, airports were closed and evacuated, and daytime curfews were put in place across the US.  In a special address to the American People, from an undisclosed location,  President Obama vowed to find the perpetrators, and bring them to justice.  He also urged Americans everywhere to stay calm.  Later in the afternoon, as anticipated, Al Qaeda released a statement to Al Jazeera News taking responsibility for the attack.  No one had any idea how so much explosive material had been smuggled onto so many planes without detection.  One thing was clear to everyone though, this had been the biggest tragedy since 9/11 and, almost 9 years later, commercial airliners were still the terrorists’ weapon of choice.

In the days following the attack, forensic analysis began to put the picture together.  The explosives had apparently been concealed in shrink wrapped pallets of cargo.  The terrorists had calculated that, since the underwear bomber incident, airline security agencies would be focused on screening random passengers  for concealed weapons and explosives.  They would be far too busy looking for PETN strapped to peoples’ boxer shorts, to worry about checking air cargo. They were right.  Al Qaeda knew that US air carriers transported nearly 12 million pounds of commercial cargo on passenger planes every day,  and almost all of it went completely unchecked. This was the chink in America’s armor that they had been praying for.  It was a huge lapse in security and, sadly enough, one that had been well documented for years.  The fact is, neither  Bush nor Obama had done anything to fix the problem, even though they were well aware of it.  Industry pressure, political correctness, and bureaucratic incompetence had conspired to make the problem ” just too hard.” So, once again, our government had decided to take the politically expedient way out, and play the odds with the lives of innocent American travelers. Reaction to the attack was visceral.  Thousands took to the streets calling for Napolitano’s resignation and a congressional review of  TSA security policy.  America was furious, and rightfully so.  Lawmakers, and security leads hit the airwaves trying to justify their inaction and point the finger elsewhere, but the public would have none of it.  They wanted heads to roll.   Things were bad for Obama as well.  Despite a number of well written impassioned speeches, he had watched his popularity ratings nose dive.  The people were angrier than anyone could remember, and it was about to get much worse.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, woke up for morning prayer in his supermax cell.  He swung his feet out of bed and placed them into his slippers.  Still full from dinner the night before, he pushed his breakfast tray toward the wall and unrolled his prayer blanket.  He was still sore around his upper thighs, but the skin grafts he had received compliments of the United States were taking well and starting to cover his wounds.  As he prayed,  he thanked Allah for giving him strength while in American captivity.   Umar had fully expected to die in glorious martyrdom, and when his bomb did not explode properly he was terrified at the thought of what the Americans would do to him.  But they had not water boarded him, or even really interrogated him.  Instead they fixed his wounds, gave him a clean cell and, after an hour of questioning, told him that he had the right to not speak to them anymore if he did not want to.  They even sent him a team of lawyers to ensure that he had a fair trial.  He could not believe what they told him at their first meeting.   As he lay in his hospital bed with his wounds from the underwear bomb still burning, they explained to him that he was innocent until proven guilty. This had truly amazed him.

Umar continued to pray, thanking Allah for these men, for his chance to serve, and for not being sent to Guantanamo.  When he had heard of the airline attacks from his lawyers a few days earlier,  it was as if a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He had done his job, and no longer needed to keep the secret.  His Christmas day bombing attempt had been little more than a diversion.  It had been carefully designed to draw American attention away from the bigger mission, and it had worked perfectly.  Thousands of infidels were now dead, and he was a hero.  Umar got up from the floor and looked around the room.  The sun was coming through his small cell window and he felt better than he had in weeks. He felt proud.  He could now tell the world how he had fooled them all.  Perhaps he would do it at his trial when all the cameras were rolling.  Perhaps they would even find him not guilty!  He picked up his breakfast tray and took a big bite of his toast. He was hungry after all, and no one made breakfast like the Americans.

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A Hypothetical Scenario

It was early Tuesday morning in Tehran. Dawn was still hours away, and a cool desert breeze drifted between buildings and into open windows.  The city was quiet, lost in an uneasy sleep.  It had been a politically charged winter full of street protests, police crackdowns, political assassinations, and international posturing.  UN sanctions had been somewhat tempered by “covert” supply shipments from Russia, but shortages of everything from fuel to farm equipment were slowly starting to bleed the Iranian economy.  On this sleepy April morning, the Iranian government found itself on the verge of political collapse and desperate to preserve its power – at any cost.  In recent talks with the UN, Iranian leadership had once again refused to compromise on its “peaceful” nuclear program and the US and France had successfully led the charge for tougher sanctions. In addition, NATO had  just completed a well publicized blockade exercise in the North Arabian Sea.  To make matters worse, IRGC intelligence recently received reports that Israeli Mossad operatives were entering the country in record numbers. Despite repeated efforts to locate these insurgents, the IRGC had come up empty.  President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had also stirred the pot once again by referring to Israel as “a walking cemetery.”  World consensus was that something would happen very soon. Media pundits had been forecasting an Israeli led strike against Iran for the better part of two years but, to date, the planes had not come. For this Mahmoud was thankful, it had given him what he needed most – time.

What the world did not know, was that Iran had secretly started its uranium enrichment program quite a few years earlier than initially reported, and had actually constructed a bomb almost a year earlier than predicted.  What Iran needed however, was a way to deliver it.  A ballistic missile would be too vulnerable to Israeli missile defense systems, and the weapon they had built was not designed to fit into a missile payload.  An air strike was also out of the question because Iran simply did not have the capability to fly a bomber from Syria through Israeli air defenses.  The one thing that Iran did have however, was Hamas. For the past year, Al Qud and Hamas operatives had been smuggling the bomb into Israel in pieces and carefully reassembling it. It was now complete, operational, and in position. The Mossad had been alerted several times during the operation, but had been drawn off the trail by well orchestrated decoy smuggling missions.  The bomb was secure and the order to use it had been given by the Supreme Leader. This morning would truly be different than any other.

President Ahmadinejad knew the ramifications of detonating a nuclear bomb in Israel and wanted to make sure he had a solid plan. The detonation would be followed immediately by coordinated attacks from Syria, Gaza, and Lebanon.  Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iranian backed Syrian troops would flood into Israel under a heavy barrage of rocket fire and engage IDF ground forces.   Suicide bombers had also been infiltrating the country for months and were ready to wreak havoc on every major Israeli city. Mahmoud knew that the IDF would have significant technical superiority and would likely repel the waves of martyrs that would be thrown at them. In fact, he was prepared for it to be an outright slaughter.  He also knew that Israel would likely launch one or two nuclear weapons at Tehran in response. This was, in fact, his ultimate goal.  Mahmoud knew that even Iran could not destroy Israel single handedly, and that it would take a unified effort from all the regional powers to drive them into the sea. In the Supreme Leader’s view, Israel launching nuclear weapons against an Islamic state would be the ultimate act of war, and would unite Iran’s neighbors in the common cause of Israel’s destruction. Those who refused and kept their alignment with the west, would have such internal strife that their governments would be at risk of collapse.

Soon the global news channels would be filled with scenes of screaming Palestinian women crouched over their dead sons and daughters as Israeli tanks rolled by. Certainly, there would also be coverage of the carnage in Israel, but Mahmoud planned to deny openly that it was an Iranian bomb and perhaps even suggest that it was the Israelis who fired the first shot. The thought of such a blatant lie actually amused him. Soon the UN would be abuzz with accusations of war crimes and calls for restraint. Israel, fueled by anger, would refuse to stop the engagement, and Iran’s new martyr status would draw their Arabic neighbors into the fight.  This time surely Allah would be with them and Israel would fall into the sea. His commanders had hoped to wait a few more months before striking, but he knew that every day they waited, the Mossad was getting closer and closer.  Forces had been amassing on the border with Israel under the guise of an exercise for several weeks.  Israel was watching closely, but had no idea of what was coming.  At 4:35 am Tuesday morning, the doomsday clock struck midnight. It was time.

The bright ball of light that appeared in the sky south of Beersheba was not the sun.  It was the fireball from a 10 kiloton atomic bomb.  Iran had carefully picked this target for several reasons.  First and foremost was the damage it would do to Beersheba and its 190,000 innocent residents. Secondly, it was far enough from the Holy City that it would not destroy Al Aqsa.  Iran could not risk angering the people that they were trying to impress, so Jerusalem could not be damaged…yet.  The bomb was carried in a truck several miles south of town into the Negev to ensure that it was far enough away from the Holy City, and then manually detonated by a carefully chosen martyr.  The rocky Negev terrain instantly turned into a sea of molten sand and fire. News reports would later say that the explosion was felt as far away as Cairo. Within seconds the peaceful town of Beersheba lay in smoldering ruin. The great war had begun.

The one miscalculation that Iran made however, was the speed and ferocity of Israel’s response.  Air Force F-15’s were scrambled almost immediately from around the country and were in the air before the mushroom cloud to the south had finished rising.  They decimated pre-planned targets in the West bank, Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza.  Ground forces, having been in a constant state of alert for months, started a massive shelling of Hamas and Syrian strongholds. Almost immediately, advancing Syrian and Palestinian forces were put on the defensive and forward progress into Israel was stopped cold.  All around the country, bomb laden martyrs blew themselves up but, by that time, war-savvy Israeli citizens had barricaded themselves into their homes and bunkers limiting any real casualties.  Rockets rained down on Israeli towns, but their indiscriminate targeting posed more of a nuisance than a real military threat. Israel, had shown up to fight however, and was in the process of systematically destroying her adversaries. Fighting for her very survival, she pounced upon her attackers like an angry lioness. Never again would Israel fall…Never Again!

Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, five pillars of fire rose into the sky. They ascended rapidly into the hazy dawn and arched out of sight.  Those who saw them wondered at their eerie beauty.  These were not the usual Qassam rockets that Israelis had become so accustomed to seeing.  These rockets were special, they were Israeli, and they were heading to the Northeast. Within the hour Iran was rocked with a series of cataclysmic explosions.  Tehran,  Bandar Abbas, Mushad, and Shiraz were in flames. Hundreds of thousands were incinerated as they lay in their beds.  Underground bunkers shook with the fury of  10 earthquakes but held up. Much of the nation’s communication infrastructure was immediately destroyed by EMP, but Iran’s Russian-built command and control systems were operating satisfactorily.  Slowly, reports began to trickle into their command centers that the ground assault on Israel, had not only been halted but was being pushed back in fierce fighting.  They also received reports that the Israeli jets were coming. Two squadrons were airborne and traveling 1,600 miles to conduct precision strikes against new targets deep in Iran, possibly with more atomic weapons. Operational air defense units equipped with modern Russian built TOR-M surface-to-air missiles were placed on high alert and directed to engage.

Then there was America. Iran’s leadership had calculated that President Obama would be slow to act, and would attempt to work for a ceasefire through the UN prior to launching any type of supporting strike on Iran.  They knew that Bush would not have waited, but Obama was something of a wildcard. President Mahmoud was betting that he was more of a sheep than a wolf. As for the Gulf, they would keep it open for the time being.  Perhaps the Americans would sail three or four carriers through the straits as a show of force. If they did, closing the door behind them would be much easier than closing it in front of them.  If the Americans chose to fight in the Persian gulf, Iran would use their corvettes, mine layers, and land launched anti-surface missiles to turn it into a deadly mousetrap.

There was a chance however, that things would not go as planned. Mahmoud and the IRGC commanders understood this risk and had presented a contingency plan to the Supreme Leader for approval.  Over the past several months Iran had moved a significant force to its southeastern border with Pakistan.  If necessary, they would respond by conducting a coordinated attack on the fragile Pakistani military with the Taliban forces in the north.  Their plan, surround Islamabad, and attempt to take possession of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, not to use, but rather to provoke India into a full scale preemptive strike.  The thought of having the Taliban in charge of Pakistani nuclear weapons was unthinkable to the Indians and they would stop at nothing, including nuclear war, to prevent this from happening. The US would be forced to intercede in order to gain control of Pakistani nukes before a second regional nuclear war ignited and overflowed. This would draw US forces too thin across Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, and Pakistan to conduct any meaningful offensive against Iran.  Russia would also step in at this point and forbid the US from conducting a ground invasion. They would then take on a UN sanctioned peace broker roll while secretly sending arms and supplies to Iran.

Starting the war was a huge risk but, in Mahmoud’s mind, a well calculated one. So far, everything seemed to be going as planned. The damage from Israel’s nuclear counter-strike had been devastating, but acceptable.  Governments around the world were already meeting in emergency sessions. The UN Security Council was convening, and Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen had just publicly accused Israel of starting the conflict. Soon thousands would be in the streets for “staged” protests. CNN World News was capturing pictures of bombed out apartment buildings in Gaza, and President Obama had already issued an appeal to Israel for, “restraint in the face of tragedy.”  Things were going well. Mahmoud could not help but smile as he watched the news reports from deep inside his command bunker. Things were going very well indeed.

Head Muscle salutes our friends and allies in Israel, and wishes them Godspeed in the defense of their nation.

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