Wednesday, April 29, 2015

29-Apr-15: Iran's terrorists-by-proxy: getting on with what they do - in quiet neighbourhoods near you

Yes, still wanted [Image Source]
Some of the killers of a bus-load of Israeli tourists bombed at a Burgas airport in Bulgaria in 2012 are still free.

If Burgas has slipped off your radar, here's a reminder of two reports we posted at the time: "20-Jul-12: US says Hezbullah and its primary sponsor Iran executed the Burgas, Bulgaria, killings" and "21-Jul-12: How involved in terror against Israelis and Jews are the Iranians?"

Authorities in the US announced on Tuesday that three Hezbollah agents, two of them accused of being behind the murderous attack on Israelis in Bulgaria, have just been put onto an official terror watch list [source: Hezbollah suspects placed on special US terror list | AFP | April 29, 2015]
The State Department named Meliad Farah, Hassan el-Hajj Hassan and Hussein Atris as "specially designated global terrorists." The terror designation makes it illegal for US citizens to engage in any transactions with the three men, and freezes any property they might possess within the United States. All three men are Lebanese by birth, but Farah was identified as an Australian national, while Hassan el-Hajj Hassan is Canadian. Meliad Farah and Hassan el-Hajj Hassan were placed on the list for their alleged role in the July 2012 suicide attack on a bus at the airport in Burgas, Bulgaria that killed six people, including five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian citizen. Hussein Atris, who the State Department said has Swedish nationality, was identified as a member of Hezbollah's overseas terrorism unit. He was arrested in 2012 in Thailand as a suspect in a plot to carry out a bombing in Bangkok and was sentenced by a Thai court to two years and eight months in prison for possessing illegally possessing explosives. He was released in September 2014, and is believed, like the other two men, to currently be in Lebanon. Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah, which is backed financially and politically by Iran, is considered a terrorist organization by the United States.
The formal State Department announcement is online here.

Many people may mentally dismiss the dangers posed by terrorists, like these, who spend their days and nights in far-off non-threatening Lebanon. Keep away from Lebanon, we figure, and everything's cool. But it is not entirely like that. What might not be fully appreciated is that when they are not plotting, planning and re-equipping in that lawless viper's nest of Islamist bombers and other terrorist thugs, these people - as the AFP report points out - move freely in their second homes: Australia, Canada, Sweden.

A Sydney Morning Herald report ["Australian Meliad Farah will be tried for Israeli tourist bus bombing in Bulgaria", September 13, 2013] suggested a little misleadingly that the suspected killer named as Meliad Farah was going to be indicted and tried real soon. But in reality, the 32-year-old better known in Australia (where he holds citizenship and - contrary to the FBI statement - where he was born) as Hussein Hussein, has not actually been arrested. Yet.

The other murder-by-terrorism fugitive, Hassan el-Hajj Hassan, lived in Canada from the time he was eight years old [source]. Chances are he looks and seems more like an ordinary resident of Winnipeg than a Middle Easterner.

Speaking of terrorists: Mohammad Khazaee, Iran's
ambassador to the United Nations, [Image Source]
How much simpler life would be if jihadis and Islamism-fuelled killers had posters glued to their foreheads saying who they are and what they plan to do. Unfortunately figuring out who they are and when and where they next intend to attack unsuspecting victims can be a serious and complicated challenge.

As for connecting them with the government of Iran's burgeoning terrorism wing, the Iranians themselves say that's unfair. No less a personage than Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations His Excellency Mr Mohammad Khazaee said it was Israel, not his own country. that actually carried out the Burgas airport bus bombing attack. How so? Because of this compelling argument:
"Such [a] terrorist operation could only be planned and carried out by the same regime whose short history is full of state terrorism operations and assassinations aimed at implicating others for narrow political gains..." [Telegraph UK, July 26, 2012]
The Iranian added for good measure that there were many examples of when Israel had killed "its own citizens or innocent Jewish people in order to blame others", and said it was "suspicious" that Israel had accused Iran of masterminding the bombing so soon after the attack.

There are some additional insights into this charming man's approach to diplomacy in a revealing February 2013 article on the Forbes Magazine site: "Meet Iran's Ambassador to the UN":
With his neat mustache and well-cut jackets, Khazaee looks like the very model of an earnest diplomat... Khazaee is one of the Iranian ambassadors described in the complaint as having directed the activities of the Alavi Foundation, starting soon after his 2007 arrival as Iran’s envoy to the U.N. in New York... Protected by diplomatic immunity, he remains an urbane presence at the U.N., with access to Manhattan, making connections, peddling propaganda, turning up last year on TV’s Charlie Rose talk show... If Khazaee, with his mannered inflections and his buttoned vest, appears worlds removed from Iran’s goose-stepping Revolutionary Guards, or Iran’s boorish President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (threatening in his lounge suit to wipe Israel off the map), that’s because Khazaee’s job is to cover for them on the diplomatic stage. [Forbes]
We happen to have written in the past about the Alavi Foundation that's mentioned in the Forbes quote. See "18-Sep-13: Striking back at the money that enables the terrorists" and "19-Apr-14: One small step for civilized society; one substantial leap in the fight against the terrorists"

A small measure of how insane some aspects of international relations have become in this terrorism-rich age: Khazaee - who on 14 September 2011 publicly accused Obama and the US of deploying "nuclear blackmail against a non-nuclear-weapon state", namely his country, Iran - was elected Vice President of the United Nations General Assembly.

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