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Jan 06, 2020
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Iranian Video Depicts Assassination of President Trump as Revenge for Soleimani’s Death; Caption Reads: “If You Begin the War, We Will End the War”

#7702 | 00:56
Source: The Internet - "Fars News Agency (Iran)"

On January 6, 2019, a video posted on Fars News (Iran) depicted an Iranian man shooting U.S. President Donald Trump during a speech about the killing of Qasem Soleimani. The video opens with a text in English that reads: “Hey U.S., if you begin the war, we will end the war.” The assassin, who is shown hiding behind a vent grate, extracts a rifle from a briefcase and looks at a picture of Qasem Soleimani before shooting President Trump multiple times. The video shows Trump’s bodyguards reacting to the shooting and trying to protect him, as well as the chaos that ensues in the audience. The man is also shown wearing a ring similar to the ring that was worn by Soleimani. A caption reads: “In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful.”

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January 6, 2020 MEMRI Daily Brief No. 203

An Iranian Attack On The U.S. Homeland May Already Be In The Works

January 6, 2020 | By Steven Stalinsky
Iran | MEMRI Daily Brief No. 203
Following the January 3 killing of IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. airstrike, Iranian authorities and media were quick to warn of retaliation. IRGC commander Maj.-Gen. Hossein Salami promised "a strategic revenge which will definitely put an end to the U.S. presence in the region." Former IRGC commander Mohsen Rezaie and current secretary of the Iranian regime's Expediency Council tweeted that Iran "will take vigorous revenge on America." Former Iranian defense minister Maj.-Gen. Hossein Dehghan said that Iran would "for sure" target U.S. military personnel and bases; Iranian Majlis member Abolfazl Abutorabi noted, "We can respond to them on American soil," adding that Iran "can attack the White House itself." Soleimani's newly appointed successor, Esmail Qaani, promised "to continue the martyr Soleimani's path with the same strength, and his martyrdom will be reciprocated in several steps by removing the U.S. from the region." The possibility of a threat to the U.S. homeland already has authorities on high alert in major U.S. cities, including Washington DC, where a range of security precautions has been taken at government sites; Los Angeles; and New York City, whose mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that he had spoken with top law enforcement about "immediate steps" to "protect key NYC locations from any attempt by Iran or its terrorist allies against America." The Department of Homeland Security warned the U.S. public that while there is "no specific, credible threat," the Iranian leadership and several affiliated violent extremist organizations have publicly stated their intentions to retaliate against the U.S. and have shown the intent, and the capability, to conduct operations in the U.S. – on top of previous plots against homeland targets that have included scouting and planning against infrastructure targets and cyber-enabled attacks against a range of U.S.-based targets. Something else not mentioned publicly in these warnings is the threat of a drone attack as retaliation. It must be noted that for several years now, U.S. National Intelligence Worldwide Threat Assessments have noted the growing threat of Iranian elements inside the U.S. According to the National Intelligence 2018 assessment, "Iran will continue working to penetrate [the] U.S." as it "cultivate a network of operatives across the globe as a contingency to enable potential terrorist attacks." The 2019 assessment stated that Iran will increase its cyber espionage and attacks and will continue to seek political, economic and military advantage over the U.S. It added that Iran will almost certainly further develop and maintain terrorist capabilities – likely already used in the foiled mid-2018 plot to bomb an Iranian opposition event in Paris that was attended by prominent European and U.S. figures. There is clear evidence that the warnings in the Threat Assessments are valid; Iran has tried to infiltrate the U.S. and may have pressed militias it supports to attack U.S. targets. One of the most prominent cases was in October 2011, when U.S. officials accused elements of the Iranian government including Soleimani himself of plotting to assassinate Saudi Ambassador to Washington Adel Al-Jubeir, a key advisor to Saudi King Abdullah, at a restaurant in the U.S. It should be noted that Soleimani also posted on his Instagram account a personal threat to attack the U.S. – a graphic image of himself  using a walkie-talkie in front of the White House as it explodes. The text accompanying the July 28, 2018 image, and the text in the graphic, reads "We will crush the USA under our feet," along with a request to readers to follow his Telegram channel. Two days later, on July 30, 2018, Soleimani posted a photo of himself giving a speech. The image included a quote from his July 26 speech: "Mr. Trump, the Gambler! Don't threaten our lives! You are well aware of our power and capabilities in the region. You know how powerful we are in asymmetrical warfare." Arrests Of Iranian Elements In U.S. – Ongoing For Over A Decade Iranian elements inside the U.S. have been arrested for offenses including espionage, cyber crime targeting individuals, groups, and companies, and violating the U.S. sanctions on Iran. One of the most disturbing and telling recent cases was last August. Two Iranians, one a dual citizen and one a U.S. resident, were arrested in the U.S. and indicted for allegedly conducting covert surveillance on behalf of Iran of Israeli and Jewish facilities in the U.S., including a Chabad House in Chicago, as well as for collecting identifying information about U.S. citizens and nationals who are members of the group Mujahedin-e Khalq. This, said a Department of Justice official, "demonstrates a continued interest in targeting the United States, as well as potential opposition groups located in the United States." Most recent is the case of Amin Hasanzadeh, who in November 2019 was accused of stealing sensitive technical data from his employer in Michigan and sending it to his brother in Iran, who has connections to the Iranian military. He has been denied bond. Earlier, on September 24, Iranian national Negar Ghodskani was sentenced to 27 months in prison for her participation in a conspiracy to facilitate the illegal export of controlled technology from the U.S. to Iran. She had pleaded guilty to helping establish and operate a Malaysia-based front company for the Iran-based Fana Moj company which provides microwave radio systems and wireless broadband access in Iran. Fana Moj's primary client is the state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) – and both Fana Moj and IRIB are U.S. Department of the Treasury Specially Designated Nationals. It should be noted that IRIB was designated for assisting or denying the free flow of information to or from the Iranian people and was implicated in censoring multiple media outlets and airing forced confessions from detainees. On September 19, a New Jersey man, Alexei Saab, aka Ali Hassan Saab, was charged in a nine-count indictment for offenses related to his support for Hezbollah and, separately, for marriage fraud. A member of the IJO, the Hezbollah unit responsible for external operations, he had, while living in the U.S., "served as an operative of Hezbollah and conducted surveillance of possible target locations" to help Hezbollah "prepare for potential future attacks" against the U.S. and had '"allegedly used his training to scout possible targets throughout the U.S." and "surveilled multiple locations in major cities." Prior to that, on July 16, the FBI announced the extradition and indictment of an Iranian citizen and the indictment of two others for exporting material that can be used in enriching uranium from the U.S. to Iran. They are charged with violation, conspiracy to violate, and attempted violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). In June 2019, an Iranian citizen was charged with conspiracy to acquire U.S.-origin aircraft parts and goods to supply to Iran. Months earlier, in February, former U.S. counterintelligence agent Monica Elfreide Witt had been charged with spying on behalf of Iran, and four Iranians were charged with running a cyber campaign targeting her former colleagues – a major PR achievement for Iranian efforts. In 2018 there were many other cases of Iranians and others involved in plots inside the U.S. In December, the CFO of Huawei was arrested for allegedly violating the sanctions, as was an Iranian scientist, arrested in November as he arrived in the U.S. for a position as a visiting scholar. Also in November, two Iranian nationals were indicted for deploying ransomware to extort hospitals, municipalities, and public institutions, causing over $30 million in losses. In April, a New Jersey woman was charged with $2 million in illegal sales to Iran and violating the sanctions, and three Bay-area businessmen were indicted for using an "elaborate system of international wire transfers" to send automotive parts to Iran, also violating the sanctions. Earlier, in March, nine Iranians were charged with conducting a massive cyber theft campaign on behalf of the IRGC, and an Iranian national was arrested for a scheme to evade the sanctions by illicitly sending over $115 million from Venezuela through the U.S. financial system. Earlier, in 2016, four men were indicted on charges of violating the sanctions, and a U.S. man was charged with illegally funneling approximately $1 billion in Iranian financial translations through the U.S. Additionally, in 2015, four companies and five individuals were indicted for illegally exporting technology to Iran. Iranian Loyalists' Subversive Activity In The U.S. – Including Illegally Subleasing Studio In MEMRI's Office Building Another incident highlighting Iran's subversive activity inside Washington, D.C. was its state-run Tehran-based Press TV's illegal subleasing, from a production company, of a studio in the building housing the MEMRI offices. Press TV's parent company is the U.S. Treasury-designated Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting organization. Press TV itself is one of the channels MEMRI monitors; its sublease was discovered when its staff was observed broadcasting live from in front of the building. Once MEMRI notified authorities, Press TV quickly vacated the premises. Last January, Press TV's activity made news in the U.S. when anchor Marzieh Hashemi was arrested by the FBI in St. Louis on a material witness warrant. All these are only one part of Iran's highly valued army of supporters outside Iran – and in the U.S. and the West. The Iranian religious and government establishments openly boast that there is support inside the U.S. to do Iran's bidding. Iranian Supreme Council for Cultural Revolution member Hassan Rahimpour Azghadi said on Iranian TV on December 21, 2018 that Iran's influence is worldwide, that it "has forces that are willing to sacrifice their lives" and "has bases from North Africa to East Asia... [and] supporters inside America and Europe." Backing up these statements, some Shi'ite mosques and cultural centers in the U.S. openly support the Iranian regime. On February 20, 2019, the Islamic Education Center of Houston, posted on its YouTube channel a video of a February 17 ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, showing children singing: "Allah Akbar! Khamenei is our Leader!... we are your followers, you are our Leader. We are your followers, we are your soldiers, and together we can all be your power." A speaker at a May 31, 2018 Dearborn, Michigan rally for International Qods Day expressed support for Hamas and Hezbollah, and said: "Not only will we witness the liberation of Palestine, but Allah willing, we are going to play an active role in it with our own hands..." Qods Day is a 1979 Iranian initiative taking place on the last Friday of Ramadan; it is now marked by annual events worldwide. MEMRI has also published reports on Iranian funding of Shi'ite mosques in France and Germany; a MEMRI TV clip of a ceremony at a mosque in Muenster, Germany featured a recitation of an oath of allegiance to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Iran's Ayatollahs And Military Figures Are Threatening The U.S. The MEMRI Iran Media Studies Project, which maintains the largest archives of translated Farsi content from the past two decades, has documented Iran's ayatollahs' and military figures' open threats to attack U.S. interests, made at Iranian religious, political, academic, and media venues. The threats are coming from, inter alia: Iran's Supreme Leader and defense minister and their representatives; commanders, deputy commanders, and generals in branches of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), including its Qods Force; top Iranian Army officials, including the chief of staff and ground forces commander; and regime officials, including members and former members of the Majlis Foreign Policy and National Security Committees, the Assembly of Experts, the Expediency Council, and the Supreme Council For Cultural Revolution. Regime officials have not just threatened to attack the U.S. – they claim that there is support within the U.S. to carry out attacks inside it. Iran's top military and religious echelons are not only calling for, describing, and orchestrating simulations of attacks on the U.S.; their speech is infused with the language of annihilation and genocide, broadcast live on state television, used in military drills, in Majlis sessions, and in sermons. This constant stream of incitement from Iran's highest-ranking officials must be denounced. On September 26, Iran's Ambassador to Iraq Gen. Iraj Masjedi, formerly of the IRCG, warned that "if the Islamic Republic is threatened," "the Americans' locations, wherever they may be... may be bombed, anywhere in the world" and he added, "This can be (in) America itself..." Iran's Ofogh TV aired, on June 1, 2019, a documentary about a village event in which a crowd of villagers gathered to watch as "missiles" were sent down ziplines toward structures representing a U.S. naval vessel, the U.S. Capitol, and other targets. The men punched their fists in the air and the women and girls shrieked with delight and took pictures. The crowd chanted "Allah Akbar! Death to America!" The event was attended by IRGC Officers College Commander Gen. Ali Fazli and IRGC Aerospace Force Commander Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh. An October 2018 video on Iran's Channel 5 showed Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei with military leaders including Soleimani inspecting an IRGC foot drill depicting the collapse of the White House with a Star of David atop it, as the drilling soldiers sang "America, America, death to your deception!" And, in a January 2019 threat against the White House, Ayatollah Lotfollah Dezhkhan, Khamenei's representative in Fars Province, said in a Friday sermon in Shiraz: "Until we turn the White House into a Hussainiya [Shi'ite Islamic center], we will all continue to shout: 'Death to America!'" Calls For Attacking And Destroying The U.S. Senior Iranian military officers openly call not only for attacks inside the U.S., but for its destruction. IRGC deputy commander Gen. Hossein Salami said in a speech aired February 19, 2019 on IRINN TV (Iran): "We have plans to defeat the world powers... We are planning to break America, Israel, and their partners and allies. Our ground forces should cleanse the planet from the filth of their existence." In a March 24, 2018 Tasnim news agency interview, Iranian Army chief of staff Abdolrahim Mousavi said: "We will be able to crush the murderous America at the height of its power." Additionally, IRGC Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi, a senior spokesman for the Iranian Armed Forces, said in an April 25, 2019 address: "We courageously say, in obedience to the late imam [Khomeini], and out of respect to our Leader [Khamenei]: We have powerfully, decisively, and actively proven that we will squash America under our feet... Our front with America is never defensive... We will squeeze America's throat until it chokes, so that humanity is saved from America. This is our mission. This is our responsibility... In the next 40 years, we must act quickly and powerfully to bring an end to America's life." *Steven Stalinsky is executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute and the author of "American Traitor: The Rise And Fall Of Al-Qaeda's U.S.-Born Leader Adam Gadahn."

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January 6, 2020 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1495

The Iran-U.S. Crisis Following Soleimani's Killing – Analysis And Assessment: Part I

January 6, 2020 | By A. Savyon, Yigal Carmon
Iran | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1495
The killing of IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani, who was in charge of the Iranian revolutionary regime's military and political expansion across the region – Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Palestine – was a severe blow to the Iranian regime and to the resistance front, and has had a profound emotional impact. The Iranian regime's response was expressed in shows of deep mourning; Soleimani was beloved by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who had considered him a son. It was also manifested in threats, mostly general in nature,[1] expressing outrage over the killing, which is perceived also as an insult to Iran's national honor and to the honor of Khamenei himself. There were regime calls for vengeance against the U.S. and President Donald Trump. As part of the government mourning campaign, cities hung red flags symbolizing vengeance, and put up billboards with messages promising retribution against the U.S. Source: Iranian TV, January 6, 2020 Many official speakers emphasized Iran's right to retaliate.[2] Several IRGC commanders stated that Iran had the capability to strike U.S. bases in the region, to conduct surface-to-sea missile attacks against U.S. vessels and aircraft carriers in the Gulf and in the Strait of Hormuz, and to strike at oil exports to the West, and enumerated Iran's capabilities to respond militarily. Inter alia, they underlined that Iran's Shihab missiles have a range of 2,000 km, and that Iran had identified 35 vital U.S. targets in the region.[3] Others stated that vengeance would come in the form of an expulsion of U.S. troops from Iraq and the entire region.[4] However, beyond the threats to strike U.S. or Israeli targets in the region and in the world, which were issued by officials in the regime's military-ideological branch, most of the calls for retaliation claimed that it would come from God, as expressed by the new Qods Force commander, Gen. Esmail Qaani; "from everyone," as President Rohani told Soleimani's family; or from the resistance forces in the region, as Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah said, and this would happen at some undetermined time in the future. Likewise, some stated that Iran was not heading towards war, among them Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Moussavi and Majlis National Security Committee spokesman Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, along with one of Khamenei's advisors, former defense minister and senior IRGC official in Lebanon Hossein Dehghan. In response to President Trump's threat to respond harshly to any Iranian retribution for Soleimani's killing, several top IRGC officials warned, apparently in an attempt at deterrence, that Iran was capable of "flattening Haifa and Tel Aviv," or of striking U.S. aircraft carriers and bases from Yemen to Bahrain. It should be noted that IRGC officials have in the past threatened to strike Haifa and Tel Aviv if the U.S. dares to act against Iran, but that this threat was not carried out immediately after Soleimani's killing. IRGC political division director Yadollah Javani said on Revolution Day, February 11, 2019, that "America has no courage to fire even one bullet at us – despite all its military assets... but if they do attack us, we will flatten Tel Aviv and Haifa."[5] Ali Shamkhani, advisor to Khamenei and secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, clarified that the response to Soleimani's killing would not necessarily be military in nature. Indeed, Iran announced, on January 5, as part of its fifth step in its withdrawal from its obligations from the JCPOA nuclear agreement,[6] that it "discards" its commitments under the agreement, stating: "[T]he Islamic Republic of Iran's nuclear program no longer faces any operational restrictions, including enrichment capacity, percentage of enrichment, amount of enriched material, and research and development. From here on, Iran's nuclear program will be developed solely based on its technical needs."[7] It should be emphasized that Iran has refrained from announcing that it is withdrawing from the JCPOA itself, which, through UN Security Council Resolution 3321, gives it the right to enrich uranium and grants it nuclear status. Therefore, this does not mean that Iran is quitting the JCPOA – it only means that it is leveraging the killing of Soleimani for a significant political achievement: freely jumpstarting and accelerating its nuclear program without any restrictions, while remaining under the umbrella of the agreement – which it is violating it in broad daylight and under the oversight of the International Atomic Energy Agency. As part of its campaign of mourning for Soleimani, the regime also continued its official, government, and religious operation to lionize him as "the marshal of Islam," in charge of founding and building the revolutionary Shi'ite empire – almost to the point of canonization. The funeral process of Soleimani the martyr set out from Karbala, where Imam Hossein was murdered and martyred in 680 CE and became a symbol of Shi'ite sacrifice and jihad in Shi'ite revolutionary thought. Soleimani, who had a year ago been awarded Iran's top heroism award, the Dhulfiqar – the sword of the Imam Ali – by Khamenei, was now posthumously promoted by Khamenei to the rank of lieutenant general – the highest rank in the armed forces of revolutionary Iran. Khamenei's office circulated an illustration depicting Soleimani being received into heaven, apparently by the Imam Hussein himself. The illustration was captioned: "The great general, filled with the glory of Islam, ascends to heaven." Twitter.com/ghasemsoleimane, January 3, 2020 In conclusion, it should be emphasized that part of the Iranian rhetoric also expresses an attempt at intimidation and bargaining vis-à-vis various international elements so that they would mediate between Iran and the U.S. with the aim of preventing a critical U.S. strike on Iran and on the Iranian regime, as President Trump has threatened. Likewise, the Iranian threats are aimed at obtaining, in secret diplomatic negotiations via Switzerland and other countries, a significant achievement such as a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq in exchange for no retribution by Iran.[8] So far, this attempt has not borne fruit, and the U.S. president has not responded to the Iranian demand. On the contrary, President Trump has threatened Iraq with sanctions in response to the Iraqi parliamentary decision to expel U.S. forces from the country. The upcoming reports in this series will detail the reactions in Iran.   *A. Savyon is Director of the MEMRI Iran Media Project; Yigal Carmon is President of MEMRI.   [1] For example, on January 3, 2020, Khamenei tweeted that "severe revenge" awaited the Americans; the regime mouthpiece Kayhan daily wrote, on its January 5 front page, that "the Islamic Republic of Iran's response to the criminal American operation will be determined, swift, and regrettable." [2] For example, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that Iran reserves the "legal right" to respond to the killing "in the right place, at the right time, and in the manner that it sees fit." PressTV, Iran, January 3, 2020. Similar statements were made by Iranian President Hassan Rohani. Rohani's website, January 3, 2020. [3] IRGC Tharallah Division commander in the city of Kerman Gholem Ali Abu Hamza, Mehr, Iran, January 4, 2020. [4] Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the IRGC's Aerospace Force, said: "Revenge for the blood of Soleimani will be the expulsion of the Americans from the region and purging it of the filth of the Americans." SNN.ir, January 6, 2020. Also, Qods Force commander Esmail Qaani said: "The consequences of killing Soleimani will come in a series of steps: expulsion of the American forces from the region and advancement towards establishing an Islamic regime in the world." SNN.ir, January 6, 2020. [5] IRNA (Iran), February 11, 2019. [6] See MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 1481, Even As UK, France Acknowledge That Iran Is Violating The JCPOA, The Trump Administration, After Ostensibly Withdrawing From It, Continues To Preserve It – By Means Of Its Waivers For Civilian Nuclear Cooperation With Iran, November 6, 2019. [7] Mehr, Iran, January 5, 2020. [8] Foreign Minister Zarif said on January 3 that the U.S.'s killing of Soleimani had paved the way for the U.S.'s "elimination" from the region and that this was "the beginning of the end of its presence in Iraq." Press TV, Iran, January 3, 2020.

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Masked Fighters Announce Creation Of 'Imam Hussein Martyrdom Brigades', Vow To Attack U.S. 'In Near Future' To Avenge Killings Of Soleimani And Al-Muhandis

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January 6, 2020
The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here. On January 6, 2020, several YouTube channels[1] posted a video featuring a group of masked fighters armed with rifles and RPGs, identifying themselves as members of the Imam Al-Hussein Martyrdom Brigades, and vowing to attack the U.S. in the near future to avenge the deaths of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force (IRGC-QF) commander Qassem Soleimani and Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) deputy-commander Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis. In the video, an unidentified speaker reading from a piece of paper says: "We, the Imam Hussein Martyrdom Brigades, will attack America, the great devil and the enemy of nations, in the near future Allah willing, to honor the blood of the martyrs." The speaker then stresses that "targeting the leaders of the resistance will only strengthen us and solidify our determination and steadfastness in the path of jihad." He concludes his statement by citing Quran 32:22 "We will certainly wreak vengeance upon the criminals," with his fellow fighters then declaring: "I am at your service Oh Hussein, I am at your service Oh Hussein."   [1] YouTube, January 6, 2020.

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January 6, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8471

After Gen. Soleimani's Death In U.S. Drone Strike, Pakistani Government And Military Call For 'Constructive Engagement' And 'De-Escalation Of Tensions'

January 6, 2020
Pakistan | Special Dispatch No. 8471
Following the drone strike that killed General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Qods Force, the foreign operations branch of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, on January 2, 2020, Pakistan found itself in a familiar quandary. Since Pakistan shares a 909-kilometer border with Iran, and its Shi'ite population is roughly 20 percent of its total population, Pakistan has always sought to tread a cautious path in its relations with Iran.[1] In Islamabad, Pakistanis protest the killing of Gen. Soleimani After Soleimani's killing, the Pakistani government and the military, the latter being the final arbiter of power in the country, reacted in a more balanced manner. Pakistan relies heavily on the U.S. for military support and on Saudi Arabia for economic aid. Therefore, Pakistan's reaction is being closely monitored. Following are excerpts from a Pakistani media report that details the Pakistan's position on the issue:[2] Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi: "Pakistan Would Neither Let Its Soil Be Used Against Any Other State Nor Become Part Of Any Regional Conflict" "Pakistan on Sunday [January 5, 2020,] reaffirmed its resolve not to become a part of any conflict in the region and renewed its offer for mediating in the Middle East crisis. The offer was formally conveyed by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi during a telephonic conversation with his counterparts from Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey. This was the first contact of Foreign Minister Qureshi with the Iranian leadership after the assassination... "Mr. Qureshi made the telephone calls to Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on the day anti-U.S. protest demonstrations were held in many Pakistani cities, including Karachi and Islamabad. "Earlier, [Pakistan] army spokesman and director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj.-Gen. Asif Ghafoor declared in categorical terms that Pakistan would not allow its soil to be used against anyone and would continue to play its role in establishing durable peace in the region. "According to an official announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there was a wide-ranging exchange of views between Mr. Qureshi and the foreign ministers of four Muslim countries on 'the unfolding situation in the region.' Highlighting Pakistan's deep concern over recent developments, the foreign minister 'underscored the imperative of avoidance of conflict, exercise of maximum restraint, and de-escalation of tensions.' "Mr. Qureshi renewed the call on the parties concerned to abide by the United Nations Charter and principles of international law to settle differences through peaceful means. He also reaffirmed that Pakistan would neither let its soil be used against any other state nor become part of any regional conflict. Sharing Pakistan's perspective, the foreign minister expressed the hope that the progress made in the Afghan peace process [at the U.S.-Taliban talks in Doha, Qatar] would be preserved and further advanced. "He reiterated Pakistan's readiness to continue to play a role in preventing further escalation and maintaining regional peace and stability. The foreign minister is expected to make a policy statement on the Middle East situation in the National Assembly or the Senate..." Pakistan Army spokesman Asif Ghafoor Pakistan Army Spokesman Maj.-Gen. Asif Ghafoor: "Talks In Social Media About Pakistan's Possible Support For The United States In The Present Middle East Situation Part Of The 'Propaganda' Campaign By Anti-State Elements" "During an interview with ARY News TV channel, Maj.-Gen. Ghafoor asked the nation not to pay heed to rumours on social as well as main media regarding the country's role in the Middle East situation. Commenting on the recent escalation of tension between Washington and Tehran after the killing of... Soleimani, he acknowledged that the incident had 'changed the situation in the region,' saying Pakistan desired that the region 'does not go towards another war.' "The ISPR chief termed the talks in social media about Pakistan's possible support for the United States in the present Middle East situation part of the 'propaganda' campaign by anti-state elements. 'I request the Pakistani people and the media to rely only on authentic source in this regard. Do not pay heed to the rumours being spread by anti-state elements,' he said, adding that 'India is playing a lead role in spreading these rumours.' "Maj.-Gen. Ghafoor said he had recently read an Indian article reporting that Pakistan had ditched Iran and linked the development with resumption of Pakistan's participation in a U.S. military training and educational program. "'In our bilateral relations with America, training cooperation was suspended. For the past four to five months, America had been talking about restoring this because training engagement in military-to-military cooperation goes on,' he said, clarifying that the development had nothing to with the recent situation in the Middle East. 'Linking something that has been going on for quite a few months to this incident is part of that propaganda campaign,' he declared." Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Bajwa, In Telephone Call With Mike Pompeo, Stresses The Need For Exercising "Maximum Restraint And Constructive Engagement" "Responding to a question about the telephonic conversation between [Pakistan] Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he said the army chief had stressed the need for exercising 'maximum restraint and constructive engagement' following the killing of the Iranian general. "He said Gen. Bajwa had said two things. Firstly, he said, the region was improving from very bad conditions, adding that the Afghan reconciliation process was very important for this improvement. He said Pakistan would play its role in this regard and wanted the focus to remain on the Afghan reconciliation process. Secondly, he said, the army chief had told Mr. Pompeo that tensions in the region should be reduced and that Pakistan desired that the region should not go towards any war. "Maj.-Gen. Ghafoor said the region had been facing problems due to security reasons for the past four decades, starting from Russian invasion of Afghanistan [in 1979] to the war on terror in the aftermath of the 9/11 and the recent escalations between India and Pakistan which had even brought the two countries to the brink of war. Pakistan, he said, successfully defeated terrorism in the country, secured Pak-Afghan border, played a positive role in the Afghan reconciliation process and presented itself as a 'responsible state' with a fully capable army despite provocative actions by India. "He said peace had been achieved in Pakistan after a lot of sacrifices, adding: 'We will not be part of any process that can ruin this peace.' The ISPR chief said both Prime Minister Imran Khan and Gen. Bajwa had been making efforts to reduce tensions in the Middle East and had undertaken foreign visits and talked to the world leaders. He said Pakistan was a 'relevant' country and held an important position in the region. He said both PM Khan and Gen. Bajwa had clearly stated that Pakistan would not allow its soil to be used against any country and would do whatever possible for peace in the region."   [1] Dawn.com (Pakistan), November 10, 2019. [2] Dawn (Pakistan), January 6, 2020.

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January 6, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8470

Reactions In South Asian Newspapers To Assassination Of Qassem Soleimani

January 6, 2020
Special Dispatch No. 8470
Below are excerpts from editorials published by mainstream newspapers in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh on the likely repercussions of the January 2, 2020 U.S. drone strike that killed General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Qods Force, which is the foreign operations branch of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps: Pakistani Daily Dawn: "Reckless Unilateralism Has Created A More Dangerous World... It Will Imperil American Interests Across Continents" Following are excerpts from an editorial titled "World Policeman" that was published by the Pakistani daily Dawn:[1] "The killing of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in Baghdad early on Friday by the U.S. sends several messages to America's foes. The most obvious of these signals is that American exceptionalism prevails and that Washington plays by its own rules, throwing international conventions to the wind. "This may temporarily prove to the world that the U.S. remains the globe's primary military and economic power. Yet the turbulence such reckless actions cause to the international order in the long term is considerable, something that the policymakers in Washington seem completely unconcerned about. Moreover, such unilateralism only adds to anti-Americanism amongst the nations of the world, with people feeling that the U.S. cannot be trusted... "Much of the mess in the Middle East today is the work of American interventionism and desire for regime change; Saddam Hussein, once a client as long as he was useful against Iran, was quickly toppled after dubious claims of weapons of mass destruction were conjured up in order to get rid of him. Israel has long enjoyed American patronage, as the U.S. has shielded its principal Middle Eastern client from global criticism, even though Tel Aviv's hands are soaked in Palestinian blood. "Israel has also violated the sovereignty of its neighbors multiple times. Also, Syria and Libya today are broken states because Washington and its allies felt it was time to remove Bashar al-Assad and Muammar Qadhafi; both these individuals are/were brutal autocrats, but plans of regime change hatched in foreign capitals have helped destroy Syria and Libya. "Washington under successive governments – particularly under Donald Trump's watch – has come a long way from the Fourteen Points championed by Woodrow Wilson for world peace. The operative American policy seems to be 'shoot first and ask questions later'. However, this reckless unilateralism has created a more dangerous world, and unless there is a change of course, it will imperil American interests across continents as Washington's foes decide to answer in the same coin." The News: "For Pakistan, The Situation Is An Extremely Delicate One; Its Allies, Saudi Arabia And The U.S., Are Likely To Exert Pressure To Support Their Mission Against Iran" Following are excerpts from an editorial titled "Clouds Of War" in the Pakistani daily The News:[2] "It is uncertain how Iran will react to the death of a hero. While it has threatened action to wipe out American forces in Iraq, including the 3,500 additional armed forces personnel who are set to be posted there under the Trump administration's plans, there is uncertainty among international analysts regarding Iran's capability in this respect. "However, there is no doubt that Iran is able to threaten U.S. shipping through the Strait of Hormuz and by creating even stronger proxy armies in some countries such as Yemen and Syria. For Pakistan, the situation is an extremely delicate one. Its allies, Saudi Arabia and the U.S., are likely to exert pressure to support their mission against Iran. "Pakistan however hosts the world's second largest Shi'a population after Iran and in strategic terms the significance of maintaining good ties with its close neighbor has been emphasized. There may be no World War III – but undoubtedly, the deliberate killing of Soleimani will have a deep impact on an already unstable region and throw a deeper, darker shadow over it." Bangladeshi Newspaper The Daily Star: "The International Community And The UN Security Council Must Urgently Step In Before Things Deteriorate Any Further" Following are excerpts from an editorial titled "Avoid Any Further Escalation At All Costs!" that was published by The Daily Star of Bangladesh:[3] "The recent U.S. drone attack just added to that tension and increased chances of another war breaking out in the region – which could potentially morph into a World War. The Iranian leadership has already promised to retaliate. The U.S. is all set to send up to 3,500 more troops to the Middle East. And the war of words between the leaderships of the two countries continues to intensify. While it is possible on the one hand that a large part of what is being said is posturing by top officials and military leaders of the two countries, when countries continually threaten each other, things often escalate faster and in a way few initially expect. "Iran has seen itself being portrayed as a great villain by the U.S. and its allies for decades now. And the Trump administration has ratcheted up all sorts of pressure on Iran since 2016 – cancelling the Iran nuclear deal, slapping fresh sanctions on Iran, etc. Therefore, it is only natural for the Iranian leadership to feel nervous seeing the world's only superpower – with a record of disastrous interventions in the Middle East – breathing this heavily down its neck. Not only does this fail to tone down tension, but it also makes it more likely for both sides to mistakenly walk into a disastrous conflict. "After the killing of Soleimani, President Trump said that the U.S. is not looking to start a war, nor does it seek a regime change in Iran. However, given that the U.S. has failed to keep its previous promises to Iran, such reassurances may not be enough to walk back on the volatile situation the two countries are now tangled in. This is where the international community and the UN Security Council must urgently step in before things deteriorate any further. Any conflict between the U.S. and Iran will not only be devastating for their respective people and the Middle East in general, but also for the rest of the world. Thus, it is crucial that both sides exercise restraint and engage each other in dialogue to find an end to this dangerous standoff." The Indian Express: "Iran Is Fully Capable Of Widening And Escalating The Asymmetric War Against America" Following are excerpts from an editorial titled "After Soleimani" in The Indian Express:[4] "Soleimani's aggressive political and military tactics continuously challenged America's regional primacy. His hybrid warfare compensated for the weakness of Iran's conventional military forces. His successful intervention in the domestic politics of various countries in the Middle East – from Iraq and Syria to Yemen and Libya – made him a formidable opponent to the U.S. and its regional allies... "Ever since the Islamic revolution in Iran four decades ago, Washington and Iran have been daggers drawn. Occasional attempts at finding compromises have failed. But the unintended consequences of U.S. policy in the region – the ousting of the Taliban from Afghanistan in 2001 and Saddam Hussein from Iraq in 2003 – generated huge space for the expansion of Tehran's regional influence. "Iran has also successfully mobilized the support of Russia and China and has constructed a regional coalition with Turkey, Qatar, and Syria against the U.S. and its allies. Although the elimination of Soleimani and other militia leaders is a big setback, Iran is fully capable of widening and escalating the asymmetric war against America. This, in turn, puts the entire Gulf region, the world's largest supplier of hydrocarbons, at risk. "And with it, the already fragile global economy. As a major importer of oil, India is especially vulnerable to the deepening crisis next door. Delhi will also be under pressure to take a fresh look at its regional policy that sought to overcome the multiple contradictions in the Gulf by trying to be friends with all. The sharpening conflict will certainly make India's navigation of the Gulf that much harder." The Hindu of India: "U.S., Which Is Struggling To Get Out Of Afghanistan After 18 Years Of War... Is Triggering Another Conflict In The Muslim World" Following are excerpts from an editorial titled "An Act Of War: On U.S. Killing Of Iran Commander" in The Hindu, a left-leaning newspaper of India:[5] "Now, with the assassination of Soleimani, Mr. Trump has escalated the crisis to the levels not seen in the past; not even during the siege in 1979 of the American Embassy in Tehran by the revolutionaries. It might help an impeached President in an election year to divert attention from his domestic woes and mobilise political support, but for a region already struggling to cope with multiple armed conflicts and external interventions, it could be dangerously consequential. "The attack has already killed off even the possibility of renegotiating the nuclear deal. Iran might see this as an act of war like any sovereign country would do. A full-scale war with Iran would be totally different from the wars the U.S. has fought in West Asia in recent years. It could trigger multiple attacks across the region, destabilising it further, cause heavy casualties, and help the jihadist groups such as Al-Qaeda and the IS [Islamic State] regroup and re-emerge. "It is unfortunate that the U.S., which is struggling to get out of Afghanistan after 18 years of war, which destroyed the Iraqi state 17 years ago, turning parts of the country into fertile ground for jihadists, is triggering another conflict in the Muslim world." The Times Of India: "Soleimani May Now Be A Bigger Threat To The U.S. Dead Than Alive, With Collateral Damage Across The World If War Breaks Out In The Region" Following are excerpts from an editorial titled " On The Brink: All Stakeholders Must Prevent Escalation Of US-Iran Conflict" in The Times of India daily:[6] "The assassination will cause Iran to feel threatened, with short- as well as long-term consequences. It is likely to remove all restraints to Iran seeking nuclear weapons. Second, it will still moderate and pro-democratic voices in Iran as it rallies behind its ayatollahs. "Trump's 2018 withdrawal from the nuclear accord led U.S. and Iranian interests to brush up against each other in Iraq, where both countries have strong presence. As Iran smarted under sanctions there were devastating strikes on oilfields in Saudi Arabia, its mortal enemy that also happens to be under U.S. security protection, even as shipping in the Gulf of Oman was targeted. However, the assassination of a seniormost leader of a sovereign nation now takes the confrontation up many notches and has caused severe misgivings within the U.S. itself, with former Vice-President Joe Biden describing it, accurately, as 'a hugely escalatory move in an already dangerous region.' "The ironies of Soleimani's assassination abound, with one of Trump's key electoral promises having been that he would extricate America from getting embroiled in senseless wars. Neither does the charge of backing terrorists who attacked U.S. interests hold much water, as Pakistani generals have a more established record of doing so, yet are courted rather than acted against. Moreover, Soleimani played a key role in operations against Islamic State – which not only made him a revered figure among Shi'a masses everywhere but may also have saved many American lives in the bargain. "Soleimani may now be a bigger threat to the U.S. dead than alive, with collateral damage across the world if war breaks out in the region. Among other things, the reckless American action was undertaken with scant regard to Indian interests – there are close to 8 million Indians living and working in the Middle East, and any Iranian shutdown of the Strait of Hormuz would severely impede oil flows and send crude prices soaring. That would be bad news for New Delhi which is already struggling with a slowing economy. New Delhi must plan for the fallout, even as it hopes that cool heads will prevail and prevent any escalation in the U.S.-Iran tussle."   [1] Dawn (Pakistan), January 5, 2020. The original English of the editorials in this dispatch has been lightly edited for clarity and standardization. [2]The News (Pakistan), January 5, 2020. [3]The Daily Star (Bangladesh), January 5, 2020. [4]The Indian Express (India), January 4, 2020. [5]The Hindu (India), January 4, 2020. [6]The Times of India (India), January 6, 2020.

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January 6, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8469

Lebanese Pro-Hizbullah Daily Lists U.S. Bases In Middle East As 'Possible Targets'

January 6, 2020
Lebanon | Special Dispatch No. 8469
On January 6, 2020, the pro-Hizbullah Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar published threats of retaliation against the U.S. for its assassination of IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani. The daily's front page featured the headline "Great War of Liberation," which echoes statements made by Hizbullah Secretary Hassan Nasrallah in his recent speech in response to Soleimani's killing.  Beneath the headline was an image of the aftermath of the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing, in which 241 Americans were killed – a thinly veiled threat that American targets in Lebanon and throughout the region will be targeted. Al-Akhbar front page, showing the aftermath of the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing The daily also published a map showing the location of U.S. troops in the Middle East, describing them as "possible targets." The daily’s editor, Ibrahim Al-Amin, also published an article saying that any American presence in the region will from now on be a target of this "Great War of Liberation."[1] Al-Akhbar Map Shows U.S. Military Bases In Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, The Gulf, Turkey, And Jordan     Map of U.S. military bases in the Middle East published by Al-Akhbar The Al-Akhbar map claims to show "the American military deployment in the region, with each point representing a possible target for the response to the assassination of [Qods Force commander Qassem] Soleimani and [PMF deputy-commander Abu Mahdi] Al-Muhandis." It specifies the number of U.S. soldiers in each country as well and the locations of their main bases, divided into air bases (marked in orange), naval bases (in blue), and ground forces bases (in green). Light blue markings indicate the major locations of U.S. troops in Syria. An inset in the bottom-right corner focused on U.S. bases in the countries of the Gulf. It read: "Kuwait: hosts the largest American military presence in the Gulf. The U.S. soldiers are concentrated in the Doha and Arifjan bases, in [Camp] Buehring and [Camp] Virginia, and in the Ali Salem and Ahmad Al-Jaber air bases. "Bahrain: most of the soldiers are concentrated in Al-Jafir base, which contains the Salman port, and in the Sheikh 'Issa base and Al-Muharaq air base. [Bahrain also] hosts the base of the [U.S. Navy's] Fifth Fleet. "Qatar: hosts Al-'Udaid base, which is the largest American air base outside of the U.S., and one of its most important bases in the Gulf. It houses the major Air Force headquarters, the Combined Air Operations Center, and the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing." The map depicts troop concentrations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Oman, and Turkey. Regarding Oman, the map mentions that it "allows the U.S. to use its airports and seaports." It also shows a ship in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Oman, representing the Fifth Fleet's area of operations. Al-Akhbar Editorial: "All American Presence In Our Countries Must Be Swept Away" The same issue of the daily also featured an article by its chief editor, Ibrahim Al-Amin, which stated that Nasrallah's recent speech launched a battle of liberation against the U.S. presence in the region. He wrote: "[Nasrallah] has launched a battle to liberate our countries from any American military presence, no matter its form, size or character. He determined once and for all that there is no legitimacy to any American military presence in our countries, and no legitimacy to whoever legitimizes this occupation. Simply put, this means that whoever finds himself capable of carrying out his role [of fighting the U.S. presence], must do so calmly, patiently and wisely, so as to render the blow more painful and make it as deadly as possible. "This is not everyone’s task. We are the ones who were, remain, and will end in this option. We never for a day were objective, not even seeking a cease fire or appeasement. Since we know the danger posed by the enemy with his weapons and other [means at his disposal], we know that our mission must be clear with clear titles: "Every American presence in our countries is an oppressive presence, has the nature of occupation, and must be resisted, whether in the form of soldiers or aircraft. "Every American presence in our countries is a presence of occupation which must be swept away, even if it is in the form of advisors, professionals, diplomats and human rights activists, expertise developers, financiers, and managers of civilian suffering associations. "Every American presence in our countries is an oppressive occupation, even if it wears the cloak of the academic, or that of the man of thought and science, and it must be swept away as well. "The matter is not tied to these elements only, but to all of America’s servants and followers, those who live on its crumbs. We shall deal with every receiver of American support, political, financial, or media, as though it is part of this occupation and must be resisted and defeated as well. "We shall be clear, as we always have been, that we shall not heed to anyone. Not to a corrupt authority that must be swept away along with the occupation, here in Lebanon as well as Iraq, or any country of the region, nor will we heed any fools who fear confrontation under the pretext of the heavy cost it will bring upon the poor people of the world. "The people around us must know that our choice and our awareness is that we are part of this beautiful, radiant resistance, in the manner of the great martyrs. [The resistance] is the only one capable of designing the future we want, in spite of all the hardship, oppression, and blood. It is war!"   [1] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), January 6, 2020.

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Lebanese Pro-Hizbullah Daily Lists U.S. Bases In Middle East As 'Possible Targets'

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January 6, 2020
The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here. On January 6, 2020, the pro-Hizbullah Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar published threats of retaliation against the U.S. for its assassination of IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani. The daily's front page featured the headline "Great War of Liberation," which echoes statements made by Hizbullah Secretary Hassan Nasrallah in his recent speech in response to Soleimani's killing.  Beneath the headline was an image of the aftermath of the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing, in which 241 Americans were killed – a thinly veiled threat that American targets in Lebanon and throughout the region will be targeted. Al-Akhbar front page, showing the aftermath of the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing The daily also published a map showing the location of U.S. troops in the Middle East, describing them as "possible targets." The daily’s editor, Ibrahim Al-Amin, also published an article saying that any American presence in the region will from now on be a target of this "Great War of Liberation."[1] Al-Akhbar Map Shows U.S. Military Bases In Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, The Gulf, Turkey, And Jordan     Map of U.S. military bases in the Middle East published by Al-Akhbar The Al-Akhbar map claims to show "the American military deployment in the region, with each point representing a possible target for the response to the assassination of [Qods Force commander Qassem] Soleimani and [PMF deputy-commander Abu Mahdi] Al-Muhandis." It specifies the number of U.S. soldiers in each country as well and the locations of their main bases, divided into air bases (marked in orange), naval bases (in blue), and ground forces bases (in green). Light blue markings indicate the major locations of U.S. troops in Syria. An inset in the bottom-right corner focused on U.S. bases in the countries of the Gulf. It read: "Kuwait: hosts the largest American military presence in the Gulf. The U.S. soldiers are concentrated in the Doha and Arifjan bases, in [Camp] Buehring and [Camp] Virginia, and in the Ali Salem and Ahmad Al-Jaber air bases. "Bahrain: most of the soldiers are concentrated in Al-Jafir base, which contains the Salman port, and in the Sheikh 'Issa base and Al-Muharaq air base. [Bahrain also] hosts the base of the [U.S. Navy's] Fifth Fleet. "Qatar: hosts Al-'Udaid base, which is the largest American air base outside of the U.S., and one of its most important bases in the Gulf. It houses the major Air Force headquarters, the Combined Air Operations Center, and the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing." The map depicts troop concentrations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Oman, and Turkey. Regarding Oman, the map mentions that it "allows the U.S. to use its airports and seaports." It also shows a ship in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Oman, representing the Fifth Fleet's area of operations. Al-Akhbar Editorial: "All American Presence In Our Countries Must Be Swept Away" The same issue of the daily also featured an article by its chief editor, Ibrahim Al-Amin, which stated that Nasrallah's recent speech launched a battle of liberation against the U.S. presence in the region. He wrote: "[Nasrallah] has launched a battle to liberate our countries from any American military presence, no matter its form, size or character. He determined once and for all that there is no legitimacy to any American military presence in our countries, and no legitimacy to whoever legitimizes this occupation. Simply put, this means that whoever finds himself capable of carrying out his role [of fighting the U.S. presence], must do so calmly, patiently and wisely, so as to render the blow more painful and make it as deadly as possible. "This is not everyone’s task. We are the ones who were, remain, and will end in this option. We never for a day were objective, not even seeking a cease fire or appeasement. Since we know the danger posed by the enemy with his weapons and other [means at his disposal], we know that our mission must be clear with clear titles: "Every American presence in our countries is an oppressive presence, has the nature of occupation, and must be resisted, whether in the form of soldiers or aircraft. "Every American presence in our countries is a presence of occupation which must be swept away, even if it is in the form of advisors, professionals, diplomats and human rights activists, expertise developers, financiers, and managers of civilian suffering associations. "Every American presence in our countries is an oppressive occupation, even if it wears the cloak of the academic, or that of the man of thought and science, and it must be swept away as well. "The matter is not tied to these elements only, but to all of America’s servants and followers, those who live on its crumbs. We shall deal with every receiver of American support, political, financial, or media, as though it is part of this occupation and must be resisted and defeated as well. "We shall be clear, as we always have been, that we shall not heed to anyone. Not to a corrupt authority that must be swept away along with the occupation, here in Lebanon as well as Iraq, or any country of the region, nor will we heed any fools who fear confrontation under the pretext of the heavy cost it will bring upon the poor people of the world. "The people around us must know that our choice and our awareness is that we are part of this beautiful, radiant resistance, in the manner of the great martyrs. [The resistance] is the only one capable of designing the future we want, in spite of all the hardship, oppression, and blood. It is war!"   [1] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), January 6, 2020.

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January 6, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8468

Shi'ite Militias In Bahrain And Saudi Arabia Threaten To Avenge Soleimani And Al-Muhandis By Targeting U.S. Interests

January 6, 2020
Bahrain, Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 8468
The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here. Following the U.S. assassination of IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani and PMF deputy-commander 'Abd Al-Mahdi Al-Muhandis, several Shi'ite factions in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia threatened to avenge their deaths by targeting U.S. interests. Militias In Bahrain: American Forces And Interests In The Country Are Legitimate Targets On January 3, 2020, several Bahraini militias issued a joint statement in response to the killing of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis. The statement was issued by the following organizations: Saraya Al-Mukhtar (The Al-Mukhtar Brigades), Saraya Tha'er Allah (The Vengeance of Allah Brigades), Saraya Al-Muqawama Al-Sha'biya (the Popular Resistance Brigades), Saraya Al-Ashtar (the Al-Ashtar Brigades, a U.S.-designated terror organization), and Saraya Wa'ed Allah (the Promise of Allah Brigades). In the statement, the militias declared their intention to respond to the killing of the two senior figures, adding that they view all American interests and the American presence in Bahrain as legitimate targets. It should be noted that the headquarters of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet is in the Bahraini capital of Manama. The statement reads: "America, the country of arrogance, and its stupid president Trump have perpetrated a great and treacherous crime by assassinating the jihadi warrior and great commander Hajj Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Qods Force, as well as the great jihadi warrior Hajj Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, deputy head of the PMF, along with many other commanders and jihadi warriors of the resistance axis." The factions sent condolences and blessings for their deaths to the entire Islamic nation, writing that the two commanders "left behind them thousands of resistance fighters" who are armed and ready to follow in their footsteps. They added: "We, all the factions of the Islamic resistance in Bahrain, stress that the current campaign is a campaign of truth vs. falsehood, and we are an inseparable part of this campaign, in which victory will surely be on the side of our resistance axis. We are party to this open campaign, and [therefore] it behooves us to respond with determination to this crime and to lead the response to the tyrants, headed by the arrogant Americans. We view all [U.S.] interests, and [the American] presence in Bahrain, as legitimate targets for us, and we will play a role and take a position in avenging the precious blood of the righteous martyrs…"[1] Hizbullah Al-Hijaz Brigades: The Only Possible Reaction Is To Avenge Their Death, Expel The Americans From The Region And Topple The Saudi Regime The Hizbullah Al-Hijaz Brigades likewise responded to the assassination in a January 5, 2020 statement, which said that the only possible reaction was to avenge the death of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis, expel the U.S. forces from the region, destroy Israel and overthrow the Saudi regime. The statement read: "We firmly condemn the cowardly terrorist operation and heinous crime perpetrated by the Great Satan – the U.S. regime – when it targeted the resistance axis commander Hajj Qassem Soleimani, the deputy-commander of the Iraqi PMF, Hajj Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, and those who were with them. By committing this crime, as well as the rocket attack on the facilities of the Hizbullah Brigades, [which is part of the] PMF, in Iraq, the U.S. violated every international norm, and especially [its] signed security agreements with the Iraqi government. "The American regime and its agents in the region, the Sa'ud [royal family], thought that by killing the jihad fighters and the resistance leaders they would weaken our determination. They did  not know that death does not frighten us, for death for us is joy and martyrdom is an honor bestowed by Allah. The nation that produced the martyr Hajj Qassem Soleimani and the martyr Hajj Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, and the other leaders and martyrs, will produce many others like them, who will continue on this sacred and divine path [of fighting] America, the Great Satan. We and our brothers in the resistance axis will take no decision except to avenge the blood of the martyrs, expel America from the region, destroy the Zionist entity and topple the Sa'ud regime. "We call upon our people and the peoples of the region to take responsibility and understand, in this dangerous phase, that the true enemy is America, which seeks to create chaos and wars, and to force our peoples to normalize [their relations] with the occupying Zionist entity. [The U.S.] is the one that supports the criminal Sa'ud [regime] that kills our brothers in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Bahrain, and kills our people in the Arabian Peninsula, and it is the one that supplies [this regime] with military gear and deadly weapons."[2]       [1] Al-abdal.net, January 3, 2020. [2] Al-abdal.net, January 5, 2020.

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Shi'ite Militias In Bahrain And Saudi Arabia Threaten To Avenge Soleimani And Al-Muhandis By Targeting U.S. Interests

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January 6, 2020
The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here. Following the U.S. assassination of IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani and PMF deputy-commander 'Abd Al-Mahdi Al-Muhandis, several Shi'ite factions in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia threatened to avenge their deaths by targeting U.S. interests. Militias In Bahrain: American Forces And Interests In The Country Are Legitimate Targets On January 3, 2020, several Bahraini militias issued a joint statement in response to the killing of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis. The statement was issued by the following organizations: Saraya Al-Mukhtar (The Al-Mukhtar Brigades), Saraya Tha'er Allah (The Vengeance of Allah Brigades), Saraya Al-Muqawama Al-Sha'biya (the Popular Resistance Brigades), Saraya Al-Ashtar (the Al-Ashtar Brigades, a U.S.-designated terror organization), and Saraya Wa'ed Allah (the Promise of Allah Brigades). In the statement, the militias declared their intention to respond to the killing of the two senior figures, adding that they view all American interests and the American presence in Bahrain as legitimate targets. It should be noted that the headquarters of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet is in the Bahraini capital of Manama. The statement reads: "America, the country of arrogance, and its stupid president Trump have perpetrated a great and treacherous crime by assassinating the jihadi warrior and great commander Hajj Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Qods Force, as well as the great jihadi warrior Hajj Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, deputy head of the PMF, along with many other commanders and jihadi warriors of the resistance axis." The factions sent condolences and blessings for their deaths to the entire Islamic nation, writing that the two commanders "left behind them thousands of resistance fighters" who are armed and ready to follow in their footsteps. They added: "We, all the factions of the Islamic resistance in Bahrain, stress that the current campaign is a campaign of truth vs. falsehood, and we are an inseparable part of this campaign, in which victory will surely be on the side of our resistance axis. We are party to this open campaign, and [therefore] it behooves us to respond with determination to this crime and to lead the response to the tyrants, headed by the arrogant Americans. We view all [U.S.] interests, and [the American] presence in Bahrain, as legitimate targets for us, and we will play a role and take a position in avenging the precious blood of the righteous martyrs…"[1] Hizbullah Al-Hijaz Brigades: The Only Possible Reaction Is To Avenge Their Death, Expel The Americans From The Region And Topple The Saudi Regime The Hizbullah Al-Hijaz Brigades likewise responded to the assassination in a January 5, 2020 statement, which said that the only possible reaction was to avenge the death of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis, expel the U.S. forces from the region, destroy Israel and overthrow the Saudi regime. The statement read: "We firmly condemn the cowardly terrorist operation and heinous crime perpetrated by the Great Satan – the U.S. regime – when it targeted the resistance axis commander Hajj Qassem Soleimani, the deputy-commander of the Iraqi PMF, Hajj Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, and those who were with them. By committing this crime, as well as the rocket attack on the facilities of the Hizbullah Brigades, [which is part of the] PMF, in Iraq, the U.S. violated every international norm, and especially [its] signed security agreements with the Iraqi government. "The American regime and its agents in the region, the Sa'ud [royal family], thought that by killing the jihad fighters and the resistance leaders they would weaken our determination. They did  not know that death does not frighten us, for death for us is joy and martyrdom is an honor bestowed by Allah. The nation that produced the martyr Hajj Qassem Soleimani and the martyr Hajj Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, and the other leaders and martyrs, will produce many others like them, who will continue on this sacred and divine path [of fighting] America, the Great Satan. We and our brothers in the resistance axis will take no decision except to avenge the blood of the martyrs, expel America from the region, destroy the Zionist entity and topple the Sa'ud regime. "We call upon our people and the peoples of the region to take responsibility and understand, in this dangerous phase, that the true enemy is America, which seeks to create chaos and wars, and to force our peoples to normalize [their relations] with the occupying Zionist entity. [The U.S.] is the one that supports the criminal Sa'ud [regime] that kills our brothers in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Bahrain, and kills our people in the Arabian Peninsula, and it is the one that supplies [this regime] with military gear and deadly weapons."[2]       [1] Al-abdal.net, January 3, 2020. [2] Al-abdal.net, January 5, 2020.

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The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

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