Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Iran's Defence Minister has ties to the deaths of our Brothers!

Iran Focus

London, Aug. 14 - The nomination of a veteran commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as the new defence minister has been greeted with calls for an investigation into his possible ties to the suicide bombing of the U.S. Marines compound in Beirut airport in October 1983, which killed 241 Americans.

Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar, a senior commander in the Revolutionary Guards, was in command of the IRGC expeditionary force in Lebanon when on October 23, 1983, at 6:22 a.m., a suicide bomber drove a large water delivery truck to the Beirut International Airport where the Marine Barracks was located. The bomber and his accomplices had hijacked the original truck on its way to the airport and sent another one, loaded with explosives, in its place.

After turning onto an access road leading to the compound, the driver rushed through a barbed-wire fence, passed between two sentry posts, crashed through the gate, and slammed into the lobby of the barracks. The huge explosion crumbled the four-story building, crushing the soldiers to death while they were sleeping.

All the windows at the airport control tower, half a mile away, shattered. A crater eight feet deep was carved into the earth, and 15 feet of rubble was all that remained of the four-story Marine barracks.

The attack killed 241 U.S. service members. The Americans quickly withdrew their forces from Lebanon and the suicide operation became a turning point in the increasing use of terrorism by radical Islamic fundamentalists across the world.

Two years ago, a U.S. federal court order identified the suicide bomber as Ismail Ascari, an Iranian national.

In July 1987, Iran’s then-Minister of Revolutionary Guards, Mohsen Rafiqdoost, said, “Both the TNT and the ideology which in one blast sent to hell 400 officers, NCOs, and soldiers at the Marines headquarters were provided by Iran”.

Rafiqdoost’s comments were published in the Tehran daily Ressalat on July 20, 1987.

Iran’s hard-line newspapers continue to feature stories that commemorate the Beirut bombing and the country’s Headquarters for Commemoration of Martyrs of Global Islamic Movement held a memorial ceremony in Tehran’s Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery last December to “honour the man who carried out the largest martyrdom-seeking operation against Global Arrogance [the United States and its allies]…and was able to kill more than 300 occupiers of Lebanon with his courageous operation in 1983”.

A U.S. Defense Department report on the Beirut attack said the force of the explosion “ripped the building from its foundation. The building then imploded upon itself”.

The U.S. court order described the blast as "the largest non-nuclear explosion that had ever been detonated on the face of the Earth”. It was equal in force to between 15,000 and 21,000 pounds of TNT.

Now some terrorism experts want a thorough investigation by the U.S. or an international body to determine the role of Iran’s new defence minister in the attack.

“Those who are knowledgeable about the October 1983 terrorist attack in Beirut know that the Iranian regime was behind it”, said David Neil, a Middle East affairs analyst based in London. “Iran’s new defence minister was in command of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards force in Lebanon at the time. This is acknowledged in his official biography that was carried by Iran’s government-owned news agencies today”.

Others agree.

“We must conduct a thorough investigation and bring the perpetrators and masterminds of that terrorist act to justice”, said Simon Bailey of the Gulf Intelligence Monitor. “For two decades, the Beirut bombing has been a landmark for terrorist impunity. Now is the time to change it”.

Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar joined the IRGC soon after it was formed in 1979, only days after the victory of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s Islamic revolution that overthrew the Shah of Iran. Almost immediately, Mohammad-Najjar took part in the bloody campaign to suppress the Kurdish uprising in western Iran in 1979.

After his return to Tehran, Mohammad-Najjar worked as a staff officer in the Central Command Headquarters of the IRGC. His performance in the opening stages of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980 won him quick promotion in IRGC, then a newly-formed army that relied more on ideological loyalty than military skills.

By 1982, the IRGC had turned the tide in the war against Iraq. After a succession of impressive battlefield victories, the Revolutionary Guards were now on the offensive. The new situation led the IRGC High Command to expand its operations in pursuit of export of Islamic revolution beyond Iraq. With Ayatollah Khomeini’s blessing, the Revolutionary Guards set up a Middle East Directorate and Mohammad-Najjar, who was a fluent Arabic speaker, became its commander.

The Middle East Directorate’s area of operation included Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and the Persian Gulf states. The IRGC sent a 1,500-man expeditionary force to Syria and the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon in 1982 and played a key role in the formation of the Lebanese Hezbollah.

Mohammad-Najjar remained in command of IRGC’s Middle East operations until 1985. During those years, the IRGC expanded its presence and influence in Lebanon, both directly and through its proxies, and established active ties with radical Palestinian and Arab groups in the region.

Mohammad-Najjar’s forces were also actively expanding their clandestine presence in Iran’s southern neighbours, including Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Mohammad-Najjar became head of the IRGC’s Military Industries Organisation in 1985 and later developed the 320-mm “super mortars” that were intended for use by the Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force for terrorist operations in Europe and the Middle East.

The choice of Mohammad-Najjar as Defence Minister by fellow Revolutionary Guards commander Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not surprising. President Ahmadinejad is closely allied with the top brass of the IRGC, who played a crucial role in ensuring his victory in the recent presidential elections.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Camp Lejeune is Famiiar with Mourning and Winning Battles

Camp Lejeune in North Carolina is familiar with mourning. This memorial honors the 241 Marines and sailors killed in Beirut in 1983.

N.C. base steadfast in face of casualties
Despite deadly ambush, respect remains for 'the Marine mission'
By Gary D. Robertson
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 12.04.2005

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — The grim news that a roadside bomb killed 10 Marines in Iraq arrived at Camp Lejeune just days after President Bush outlined his strategy for victory, a speech delivered in the face of increasing calls to bring the troops home.
But even after learning about Thursday's ambush — the deadliest against U.S. troops in four months — this city's embrace of its Marines, their base and their job remains resolute.
"Even when people differ in opinions, you're still respectful to the Marine mission," said Pat McLane, a retired master gunnery sergeant from Jacksonville. "We're still going to take care of our Marines."

The 10 Marines assigned to the Lejeune-based 2nd Marine Division were on foot patrol outside Fallujah, a former insurgent stronghold, when a bomb fashioned from four large artillery shells exploded.

They attached to the unit once in Iraq; all those who died — with hometowns from Tomah, Wis., to Surprise, Ariz. — were from the 1st Marine Division, based at Twentynine Palms, Calif.
"The loss of any Marine life is always tragic. ... it makes for a somewhat somber mood," said 1st Lt. Christy Kercheval, a spokeswoman for the Twentynine Palms base. "But at the same time, just as the president said in his recent speech, the best way to honor the loss is to carry out the mission that they defended."
That the 10 Marines never spent time at Camp Lejeune, a sprawling base of 25,000 service members and the Corps' largest on the Atlantic coast, didn't matter in Jacksonville. They were Marines.

"We are one community and one family here," said Reid Flinchum, 65, who has lived in and around Jacksonville for more than 40 years.
It's a place familiar with mourning so many, so quickly. On March 23, 2003, during the earliest days of the ground war, nine Marines from Camp Lejeune died during an ambush as their company crossed a bridge at Nassiriyah.

And most of the 241 Marines and sailors who died in the Oct. 22, 1983, barracks attacks in Beirut, Lebanon, were based at Lejeune and the adjoining Marine Corps Air Station New River.
Bush came to Camp Lejeune within two weeks of the Nassiriyah attacks, cheered on by 20,000 Marines, their families and locals.

When Bush spoke Friday from the White House Rose Garden about the economy, he didn't mention the Marines' deaths, though White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the president had been briefed twice about the incident. Typically, Bush does not comment on specific losses in Iraq.

Support for the president and his Iraq policy remains high here.
"We all have our opinions, but the best capacity of a Marine is a mission accomplished," said Sgt. Paul Mancuso, 22, who returned two weeks ago from nine months in Iraq as a combat videographer.

The Associated Press

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Thank You Mr. Denzel Washington!!!

I received this email the other day, I hope some other Hollywood Entertainers follow Mr. Washington's lead. He is a Great Actor and most of all, a Great American!

Don't know whether you heard about this

but Denzel Washington and his family visited

the troops at Brook Army Medical Center, in

San Antonio,Texas (BAMC) the other day. This

is where soldiers who have been evacuated from

Germany come to be hospitalized in the United

States, especially burn victims. There are some

buildings there called Fisher Houses. The Fisher

House is a Hotel where soldiers' families can stay,

for little or no charge, while their soldier is staying

in the Hospital. BAMC has quite a few of these houses

on base, but as you can imagine, they are almost filled

most of the time.

While Denzel Washington was visiting BAMC, they gave

him a tour of one of the Fisher Houses. He asked how

much one of them would cost to build. He took his check

book out and wrote a check for the full amount right there

on the spot. The soldiers overseas were amazed to hear

this story and want to get the word out to the American

public, because it warmed their hearts to hear it.