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U.S. has been conducting secret dialogue with terrorist Hizbullah

Posted on November 26, 2013 by creeping

Obama has now worked intimately with the Saudi’s, the Muslim Brotherhood and their militant wing Hamas, he’s negotiated with the Taliban and is funding/training al Qaeda in Syria. With Hizbollah now on his resume, there’s virtually no prominent Islamic terror group Obama isn’t working with. via Sources: U.S. has been conducting secret dialogue with Hizbullah | World Tribune. h/t Atlas

Lebanon has reported a secret dialogue between the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah and the United States.

Lebanese parliamentary sources said U.S. diplomats have begun contact with Hizbullah politicians in Beirut. They said the dialogue concerned stability in Lebanon as well as the next government.

“The United States is sending and receiving messages to Hizbullah through sympathetic third parties,” a source said. “The dialogue has intensified over the last few weeks.”

The dialogue was reported by members of the pro-Western March 14 coalition, driven out of power in 2011. The members, who did not want to be identified, said the U.S. dialogue with Hizbullah was part of the rapprochement by President Barack Obama with Iran.

It should be noted:

Until 9/11, no terrorist organization had killed more Americans than Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite group: From the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing, which killed 241 Marines, to the 1996 detonation of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, which killed 19 U.S. airmen, Hezbollah’s anti-American curriculum vitae was long and bloody. Today it remains an efficient global terror operation, having executed bombings on four continents, built a presence on six and even branched out to drug trafficking. ‘Hezbollah,’ by Matthew Levitt

Bonus: For more analysis on Obama’s deal with Iran read these Stratfor excerpts:

Next Steps for the U.S.-Iran Deal
NOVEMBER 25, 2013

What was unthinkable for many people over many years happened in the early hours of Nov. 24 in Geneva: The United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran struck a deal. After a decade long struggle, the two reached an accord that seeks to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program remains a civilian one. It is a preliminary deal, as both sides face months of work to batten down domestic opposition, build convincing mechanisms to assure compliance and unthread complicated global sanctions.

That’s the easy part. More difficult will be the process to reshape bilateral relations while virtually every regional player in the Middle East seeks ways to cope with an Iran that’s no longer geopolitically encumbered.

The foreign ministers of Iran and the six Western powers that constitute so-called P-5+1 Group clinched a six-month deal that begins the curtailment of Iran’s nuclear program while relaxing as much as $6 billion in sanctions — basically those embargoes that do not require U.S. President Barack Obama to secure approval from Congress. Allowing Iran to enrich uranium to “civilian” levels while making sure the know-how is not diverted military purposes will be complex.

There will be disruptive events along the way, but the normalization process is unlikely to derail. Both sides need it. The real stakes are the balance of power in the Middle East.

Iran is far more concerned about enhancing its geopolitical prowess via conventional means. Meanwhile, the United States wants to leverage relations with Iran in order to better manage the region in an age of turmoil. Contrary to much public discourse, the Obama administration is not facilitating a nuclear Iran.

Washington and the Middle East
The United States is prepared to accept that Iran will consolidate much of the influence it has accumulated over the 12 years since the Sept. 11 attacks. From the point of view of the Iranians, they had reached the limits of how far they could go in enhancing their geopolitical footprint in the U.S. war against Sunni Islamist militancy. The tightening sanctions threatened to undermine the gains the Islamic republic had made. Thus the time had come for Iran to achieve via geopolitical moderation what was no longer possible via a radical foreign policy.

Though the United States is prepared to accept an internationally rehabilitated Iran as a major stakeholder in the greater Middle East region, it does not wish for Tehran to exploit the opportunity in order to gain disproportionate power. The strategic focus must now shift from nuclear politics to the imperative that the United States balance Iran with other regional powers, especially the Sunni Arab states.

The post-Arab spring turmoil in the region has plunged U.S.-Arab relations into a state of uncertainty for two reasons: First, the autocratic regimes have become unreliable partners; second, the region is seeing the rise of radical Sunni Islamist forces.

A rehabilitated Iran, along with its Shiite radical agenda, serves as a counter to the growing bandwidth of Sunni radicalism. All strategies have unintended consequences. A geopolitically unchained Iran, to varying degrees, undermines the position of decades-old American alliances in the region. These include Turkey, Israel and the Arab states (the ones that have survived the regional chaos defined by anti-autocratic popular agitation, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and others).

Washington is not the only actor anticipating a shift in its regional ambitions. France initially challenged earlier attempts at a U.S.-Iranian accord, placing greater pressure on the Iranians — much to the enjoyment of regional states like Israel and Saudi Arabia. Though Paris has been eying the Middle East — specifically the Sunni monarchies of the Persian Gulf — as a larger potential market for its energy firms and defense exporters, France stands to gain little from unilaterally opposing a U.S.-Iranian deal. Rather, France sought to shape the talks and regional reactions to the benefit of its domestic industries. Germany and the United Kingdom, the other EU powers present at the talks, are hoping to gain greater exposure for their energy firms and exports to Iran’s large domestic consumer base. Germany in particular enjoyed one of the largest non-energy trade relationships with Iran before the most recent sanctions program took effect.

Regional Reverberations
The United States and the rest of the P-5+1 group are not the only ones attempting to reset their relationship with Iran. Ankara, though initially opposed to Iranian ambitions in Syria and competing for influence in Iraq, has pursued a warming of ties with Tehran over the past several months. Turkey is a rising regional power in its own right, but domestic infighting within Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party is coinciding with a slump in the national economy. Meanwhile, Ankara is struggling to find a peaceful, political solution to its Kurdish issue. Turkey faces an uphill challenge in moving beyond the ring of Iranian influence on its borders, but a potential normalization in relations between Washington and Iran provides some opportunities for Ankara, even at the risk of empowering Iran’s regional ambitions. The two countries face similar challenges from Kurdish separatism in the region, and the Iranian market and potential energy exports could help mitigate Turkey’s rising dependence on Russian energy exports and potentially boost its slowing economy.

For all its rhetoric opposing the deal, Israel has very little to worry about in the immediate term. It will have to adjust to operating in an environment where Iran is no longer limited by pariah status, but Iran remains unable to threaten Israel for the foreseeable future. Iran, constrained by its need to be a mainstream actor, will seek to rebuild its economy and will steer clear of any hawkish moves against Israel. Furthermore, Iran is more interested in gaining ground against the Arab states, which Israel can use to its advantage. The report about the Israeli security establishment seeing the deal as a positive development (in contradiction to the position of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government) speaks volumes about the true extent of Israeli apprehension.

That leaves the Arab states, in particular Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies, for whom a U.S.-Iranian rapprochement is a nightmare scenario. Riyadh and its neighboring monarchies are caught in the middle of the Arab Spring, which challenges them from within, and were long concerned with the rise of Iran. But now that their biggest ally has turned to normalizing ties with their biggest adversary, these countries find themselves bereft of good options with which to manage an Iran that will gain more from normalizing relations with the United States than it did with the American response to the 9/11 attacks.

Iran has played a large and visible role in bolstering the beleaguered Assad regime during the Syrian civil war. Iran’s potential reset in relations will bring no easy or quick resolution to Damascus. The Syrian regime will still face the daunting task of having to rout the rebels and secure large swathes of Syrian territory, a difficult task even in the unlikely scenario of a precipitous drop in Sunni Arab backing for the rebels following a more comprehensive agreement between Tehran and the West. Indeed, the Syrian conflict, Iran’s support of Hezbollah and the future of Iranian influence in Iraq will form the more contentious, difficult stages of U.S.-Iranian negotiations ahead.

The Saudis, domestically at a historic crossroads, are trying to assert an independent foreign policy, given the shift in American-Iranian ties. But they know that such a move offers limited dividends. Riyadh will try to make most of the fact that it is not in Washington’s interest to allow Tehran too free of a hand in the region.

Likewise, the Saudi kingdom will try to work with Turkey to counterbalance Iran. But, again, this is not a reliable tool, given that Turkish interests converge with those of Iran more than they do with Saudi Arabia’s. Quietly working with Israel is an option, but there are limits to that given the Arab-Israeli conflict and the fact that Iran can exploit any such relationship. In the end, the Saudis and the Arab states will have to adjust most to the reality in which American-Iranian hostility begins to wither.

More Stratfor on the reported escalation to counter Iran’s growing and now approved nuclear arsenal.

NOVEMBER 8, 2013

Whether or not Saudi Arabia is capable of deploying a nuclear arsenal with Pakistan’s help, there are political and diplomatic factors preventing the countries from conducting such a transaction. Rumors of Saudi Arabia purchasing its own nuclear program have spread after a Nov. 6 BBC report claimed that the Saudis could seek to acquire nuclear weapons from Pakistan before Iran could field its own nuclear arsenal. However, such reports are not new.

Saudi-Pakistani relations are strong, and the Saudis have long invested in Pakistan’s military capability, so it is not inconceivable in theory that Islamabad would provide Riyadh with nuclear weapons. But after the blowback when it was revealed in 2004 that Abdul Qadeer Khan, a top Pakistani nuclear scientist, was sharing sensitive nuclear technology, Pakistan has no desire to take part in nuclear proliferation. Nor does Islamabad wish to invite Tehran to retaliate in neighboring Afghanistan, which is already fragile and unstable. The truth behind this report is that Saudi Arabia is floating the potential extreme consequences if the United States does not take a hard line with Iran during nuclear negotiations.

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have an enduring and close relationship. Bilateral relations on an economic, intelligence and military level are extensive. In fact, Saudi Arabia has provided Pakistan with more aid than any other country outside the Arab world since the 1960s. Pakistani troops have repeatedly served in Saudi Arabia, and the kingdom was one of only a select few countries to back Pakistan after its nuclear tests in 1998.

The countries have long denied the existence of any deal for the transfer of nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia in case of necessity. However, their close relationship and the fact that Saudi Arabia has directly invested in Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs means the possibility cannot be discarded.

The Options
There is circumstantial evidence that the Saudis are preparing in the event that they need a nuclear arsenal. Since the 1980s, the Saudis have fielded a number of CSS-2 missiles purchased from China. The CSS-2’s inaccuracy limits its utility in a conventional role, but accuracy is somewhat less of a concern when using nuclear warheads. IHS Jane’s analyzed some Saudi launch bases this year and found that the missiles at the bases are deployed such that they are aligned with targets in Israel and Iran.

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan
Pakistan has immense experience with medium-range ballistic missiles. Islamabad has been mating various nuclear warheads with different missiles for more than a decade and would likely have the expertise to do the same with the CSS-2, a system that is deployed and operational throughout the world. Considering that the CSS-2 was built for a nuclear role and that Pakistan reportedly possesses warhead blueprints for the CSS-2 from China, it would be a relatively straightforward process for Pakistan to equip the Saudi CSS-2 missiles with a nuclear warhead.

In another scenario, Pakistan could provide not only the nuclear warhead but also the entire delivery system to Saudi Arabia. As illustrated by its successful test Oct. 5 of the Hatf IX missile, Pakistan continues to make considerable progress in fielding various nuclear delivery systems even though its overall military capability continues to suffer from industrial and fiscal issues. Islamabad could equip Riyadh with nuclear-tipped medium-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles or even gravity bombs for their fighter bombers.

Saudi Arabia’s Logic
Saudi Arabia could theoretically leverage its vast financial resources to buy a nuclear capability from Pakistan, but there are a number of issues. First, no system can be considered operational without considerable testing, but testing of a ballistic missile would be easily detectable. Moreover, expertise is required to maintain the systems once in place, so substantial assistance from Pakistani experts would be needed — something that would be difficult to do quietly. In other words, Saudi Arabia would have to rely almost completely on Pakistani support to get a system running quickly.

There are also political and diplomatic constraints to consider. International opposition would be vehement against both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, whose nuclear program has already come under scrutiny. Although the United States is reducing its commitment in Afghanistan, and thus is putting less emphasis on Pakistan, Washington maintains significant oversight of the Pakistani nuclear program and would be in a position to threaten the Pakistanis’ nuclear arsenal if Islamabad were to attempt such large-scale proliferation. The already troubled U.S.-Pakistani relationship would almost certainly deteriorate further.

Interpreting Iran’s Bargaining Tactics
Proclaiming itself a responsible nuclear state, Pakistan has already denied the BBC report as “baseless.” As it stands, Iran does not have a nuclear weapon, and it is highly unlikely that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan would engage in such a transaction at this time with all the associated consequences.

However, it is important to remember that Saudi Arabia is deeply concerned about the direction of U.S.-Iranian negotiations, which the Saudis see as a dangerous development in U.S. policy in the Middle East. Concerned over a possible rapprochement between Washington and Tehran, the Saudis will continue to voice their strong opposition and concerns.

Reports that Saudi Arabia could acquire nuclear weapons from Pakistan, even if they are not enough to derail U.S.-Iranian negotiations, can at least accentuate the pressure on the United States to ensure that Washington negotiates hard, verifiable limits on the Iranian nuclear program. The Saudis have an interest in spreading the perception that a deal with Iran could result in a much bigger nuclear proliferation problem in the Middle East.

Posted 27 Nov 13 by Creeping Sharia


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