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Pompeo confirms death of Al Qaeda second-in-command in Tehran last August

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday for the first time confirmed the death of Al Qaeda’s number two, who in August was gunned down on a street in Iran’s capital Tehran, and claimed that the country is allowing the terrorist group to operate there.

On November 14, The New York Times reported that Israeli agents carried out August 7 assassination of Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, also known as Abu Muhammad al-Masri, for the United States. He sat on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list and had been indicted for U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. Iran denied that the Al Qaeda leader was killed in Tehran, saying there wasn’t “any presence” of the terrorist group’s operatives in their country.

It was at the beginning of his Tuesday speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. that Pompeo publicly confirmed the death of Abdullah, however, he didn’t say who was behind the assassination.

“Today, I can confirm for the first time his death on August 7th of last year,” the top U.S. diplomat said.

Pompeo then pointed to Abdullah’s presence in Iran as indication of a wider Al Qaeda presence in the country.

“Al Qaeda has a new home base: it is the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he claimed. “We ignore this Iran-Al Qaeda nexus at our own peril.”

The secretary of state also said the U.S. now believes Iran is shielding Al Qaeda by giving the group more freedom of movement and letting it establish an operational headquarters. He said this has given the group new time and resources to fundraise and plan new attacks.

“Al-Qaeda now has time, because they’re inside Iran they have money,” Pompeo asserted. “They now have new tools for terror.”

“Iran decided to allow al Qaeda to establish a new operational headquarters, on the condition that Al Qaeda operatives inside abide by the regime’s rules governing Al Qaeda’s stay inside the country,” Pompeo also claimed.

He alleged that the country’s ministry of intelligence and security as well as other agencies have supplied “safe havens and logistical support,” such as ID cards and passports, that facilitate Al Qaeda activity. “As a result of this assistance, Al Qaeda has centralized its leadership inside Tehran,” he said.

In response to Pompeo’s remarks, Iranian Foreign Minister Javid Zarif denied the claims the top U.S. diplomat made.

“From designating Cuba to fictitious Iran ‘declassifications’ and AQ claims, Mr. ‘we lie, cheat, steal’ is pathetically ending his disastrous career with more warmongering lies,” Zarif tweeted Tuesday.

“No one is fooled. All 9/11 terrorists came from @SecPompeo’s favorite ME destinations; NONE from Iran,” the foreign minister also claimed.

Pompeo’s speech comes about a week before President-elect Joe Biden takes the oath of office. The departing Secretary of State and others in the Trump administration have vocalized their opposition to Biden’s plans to reenter nuclear talks with Iran.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Trump: Tanks to Ukraine could escalate to use of ‘NUKES’

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Former President Donald Trump stated bluntly on Truth Social,  “FIRST COME THE TANKS, THEN COME THE NUKES. Get this crazy war ended, NOW. So easy to do!”

Trump was referring to the escalation of war in Ukraine. He, like many other commentators and lawmakers, are warning that the decision to continue sending weapons – and now tanks – could potentially lead to the use of “nuclear weapons.”

It’s mission creep and it’s dangerous, they say.

Why? Because Russian President Valdimir Putin has indicated in two different speeches that he would use nuclear weapons to defend Russia, if needed. Those warnings are not just bluster but a very real possibility.

And the escalation of war is visible.

Russia launched 55 missiles strikes across Ukraine Thursday, leaving 11 dead. The strikes come one day after the United States and Germany agreed to send tanks to Ukraine in an effort to aide the country. 47 of the 55 missiles were shot down according to Ukraine’s Air Force command.

Eleven lives were lost and another 11 were injured additionally leaving 35 buildings damaged in the wake of the attacks. According to The New York Times, Denys Shmyhal, said in a post on Telegram. “The main goal is energy facilities, providing Ukrainians with light and heat,” he said.

Ukraine is now demanding that they need F-16 fighter jets. In a post on twitter Ukrainian lawmaker, Oleksiy Goncharenko said, “Missiles again over Ukraine. We need F16.”

The US has abstained from sending advanced jets in the chances that a volatile decision could foster more dangerous attacks like former President Trump’s post on Truth referred to. If the US did authorize the decision to lend Ukraine the F-16 jets Netherlands’ foreign minister, Wopke Hoekstra, would be willing to supply them. According to The New York Times, Hoekstra told Dutch lawmakers, “We are open-minded… There are no taboos.”

F-16 fighter jets are complex to work on, they are not the average aircraft that can be learned in a matter of weeks. It can take months for pilots to learn how to fly these birds. European and US officials have the concern that Ukrainian forces could potentially use the jets to fly into Russian airspace and launch attacks on Russian soil.

Western allies are trying to avoid such a provocation, because that could lead to nuclear warfare in reference to what Putin has said he would do to defend his country.

 

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