THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITYâ€™S COLLEGE REPUBLICANS NEWSLETTER
Huntsman at GW CRs Halloween CR/CD Debate Speakers
Conservative Perspective In the Wake of Assassination 2011: The Calm Before the Storm
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in this issue:
Governor Jon Huntsman Speaks to the GW CRs
Halloween with the CRs
College Republicans/College Democrats Debate
Senator Baumgartner Speaks to the GW CRs
Conservative Perspective Christian Christoefl - In the Wake of Assassination: Understanding the Covert Operations of Iranâ€™s Quds Force Kevin Reagan - 2011: The Calm Before the Storm
College Republicans/College Democrats Football Game
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JON HUNTSMAN speaks to the
On October 25th, Governor Jon Huntsman (R-UT) spoke to the GW CRs and GW community at the Jack Morton Auditorium. He talked about the upcoming election, his overall platform, and answered questions from the audience. The turn-out was great and we were very lucky to host him!
Gov. Jon Huntsman pictured talking with a large group after his speech.
CRs Halloween October 31st, 2011
Amelia Wolf preparing the caramel apple station!
Michael Morgan poses as “Don’t Tread on Me Man”
Chris Ring digging through the candy buckets
CR CD debat e
November 15th, 2011
The CRs and the CDs debating over the current economic crisis.
The CRs delivering their closing statement. Chairwoman Kaitlyn Martin and Amanda Galonek commenting on the debate. We all knew who won!
ICE CREAM SOCIAL with
On November 13th, Washington State Senator Michael Baumgartner spoke to the GW CRs in Thurstonâ€™s Piano Lounge. He talked about his experience working for the State Department, his candidacy for the US Senate, and his ideas on how to get the US economy back on track.
the conservative perspective In the Wake of Assassination: Understanding the Covert Operations of Iranâ€™s Quds Force
He was desperate. Having just been denied entry into Mexico, he was forced by authorities onto a return flight to New York. It was clear this was going to be a problem. In the critical final stages of an operation he had been orchestrating since May, Mansoor Arbabsiar was going to miss his final meeting with his contact from the Los Zetas Cartel, the second most powerful drug cartel in Mexico and his partner in an upcoming operation inside the United States. With the assistance of his cousin, Gholam Shakuri, a member of the notorious Quds Force, Arbabsiar had met with his cartel contact each month orchestrating and developing the operation and relaying orders from Tehran. A used car salesman from Texas, he was known more for his intimidating demeanor and failed businesses and marriage than his abilities as an elite spy. However, he was confident that his plan would work and he would become a hero in the Islamic Republic. With funding from Arbabsiar, the cartel contact would enter the United States with a four-man team, assassinate the Saudi Ambassador, Adel Al-Jubeir, with C4 explosives and then simultaneously bomb the Saudi and Israeli embassies. The plan was coming together perfectly. In July he had met with the cartel and learned they had the ambassador under surveillance and had targeted his favorite restaurant as a viable location for the assassination. During this time his contact gave him the price for the attack, $1.5 million. Certainly a sum much larger than his own meager income, Arbabsiar obtained approval of the sum from Tehran and wired $100,000 to a U.S. bank account. The last thing left to do before the operation could commence was finalizing the payment. This was the reason he was traveling to Mexico one last time. Panicked by the uncharacteristic rejection of Mexican authorities, he began to plot his next course of action while waiting at John F. Kennedy Airport, oblivious to the swarm of federal agents that quickly surrounded his location. Doomed before he began, Arbabsiar was in U.S. custody, foiled by his Los Zetas contact who had secretly been a U.S. informant. ctd on page 8
While this series of events seems to have all the elements of a blockbuster movie, it is the official story from the Department of Justice regarding the recent assassination plot against the Saudi Ambassador to the United States. While many dispute the incredulous facts of the case and the rational of any government to approve such an operation; the event is an important tool for analyzing the growth of covert operations by the Iranian government through its intelligence arm, the Quds Force. While this group has established a strong presence within the Middle East, what is surprising is its growing involvement and activity in the West. The Quds Force is one of the five branches of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) established during the Iran-Iraq War with the main focus of exporting the Islamic revolution outside of Iran’s borders. Although very little is publicly known about this organization, it is believed to have several thousand members and an extremely powerful position within the Iranian regime, answering directly to Ayatollah Khamenei. The Quds Force operates under two broad foreign policy goals set forth by the regime. First, it hopes to spread the doctrines of the revolution abroad and extend Shia Islam throughout the Middle East. It should be noted that one of the major objectives of this directive is the destruction of Israel. Secondly it aims to undermine U.S. interests in the region. In order to accomplish these goals it has supported terrorist organizations and cultivated sleeper cells in order to promote the Iranian agenda and violently repel perceived Western infractions. Iran discovered very early on that state-sponsored terrorism was an effective tool in achieving its goals. By covertly assisting rogue non-state actors with money, military equipment, and training it could gain all the benefits of targeting its enemies without having to physically commit to an overt attack. This twenty-first century form of “terrorist colonialism” has proven to not only be effective, but dually unchallenged by the West. While the Quds Force operates internationally across a wide range of countries, its main focus is in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq. The defining success of the Quds Force has been in Lebanon. With the assistance of Syria, Iran established the terrorist organization Hezbollah in 1982 among the Shia population in the country. A large military infrastructure emerged as the Quds Force imported weapons into Syria which were then transported to Hezbollah-controlled regions in Lebanon. In addition extensive training in a wide array of military hardware was provided to Hezbollah fighters willing to make the trip to various training camps within Iran. As a direct result of this support Hezbollah transformed in the years following Israel’s withdrawal from the region in 2000. Massive influxes of money to the terrorist group allowed it to operate similar to a traditional state, providing basic health care and education opportunities along with military strength. These actions solidified Hezbollah, and more importantly firmly implanted Iranian ideology within the region. Even the recent Lebanon War in 2006 has not broken this organization as the Quds Force assisted in rebuilding Hezbollah following Israeli military strikes into the country.
ctd on page 9
The Quds Force is also instrumental in both financing terrorist attacks and smuggling weapons in the Palestinian region with the sole purpose of attacking Israel. Among Iran’s various tactics within Palestine is the sending of injured Palestinians to Iran for medical treatment, where they are subsequently recruited for future terrorist acts against the Jewish state. Iranian ideology has been able to permeate through Palestinian society thanks to the assistance the Quds Force has given Hamas, the governing party of the Gaza Strip. Lastly, with the United States defeat of Saddam Hussein and the establishment of democracy in Iraq, the Quds Force has effectively been able to move into the country and actively campaign against the United States by supporting and influencing various organizations that stand opposed to U.S. involvement, including the Badr Brigade and Mahdi Army. Similar to both Palestine and Lebanon, money, equipment, and training were utilized by the Quds Force to influence and subvert these terrorist groups to Iran’s will. A large number of the IEDs responsible for the deaths of numerous Coalition Forces were provided by the Quds Force. While these regional operations accentuate the Iranian regime’s ability to commandeer and utilize local organizations for its own purposes, the Quds Force is not new to the more traditional intelligence practices of collection and covert action. In Europe, the countries of Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and France have all experienced the Quds Force first hand. The operations are usually undertaken from Iranian embassies and consist of a two-pronged strategy. First, sleeper cells and terrorist networks are developed among the states’ Muslim communities. This is prevalent in Germany which is home to a large segment of the Iranian opposition as well as a growing Muslim population. Secondly, terrorist attacks are planned, organized, and carried out. These attacks rarely target foreign leaders rather aiming to silence dissidents from Iran themselves. For instance, Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, a Kurdish political leader was gunned down in Vienna the day after a negotiation with an Iranian delegation. Other prominent leaders assassinated included Shapour Bakhtiar, a former Prime Minister of Iran, who was stabbed to death in his home in Paris; and Kazem Rajavi, an Iranian human rights activist who was gunned down driving to his home in Geneva. From these examples one can see that not only are political assassinations not a radically new concept for the Iranian regime and the Quds Force, but the notion of a barrier to operating within Western democracies is indubitably false. Additionally, the Quds Force has developed unique tactics to get weapons into foreign countries. Using diplomatic mail, shell companies, and humanitarian groups, Iran has effectively been able to avoid sanctions and smuggle weapons and money into both the Middle East and Europe. ctd on page 10
While Iranian operations in Europe have been outlined, Iran is not limited to the water’s edge in terms of exporting its revolution. The regime has developed economic and political ties with numerous Latin American countries, including Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Mexico. If the events of Europe are any gauge, the appearance of Quds Force elements would not be far behind. This is accentuated by the assassination plot and the relationship it presents between the Quds Force and the local drug cartels. This presents the glaring difference between Iranian state-sponsored terrorism and the terrorist activity of Al-Qaeda. The Iranian regime has shown a propensity to work with any organization willing to subvert to Iranian goals, even if they do not share the same ideology. As Al-Qaeda becomes more and more fragmented, the future of terrorism against the United States will come from state-sponsored actors such as Iran. Though it is not widely known, Iran’s Quds Force is an organized and disciplined group that has not only effectively networked itself within the Middle East but the entire international community. It is imperative that the United States remains vigilante in uncovering and defeating this emergent threat. As the history of the Quds Force attests, the recent assassination plot will most likely not be the last.
201 1: The Calm Before the Storm Kevin Reagan
Last week, my favorite opinion writer and a man whose judgment I respect greatly, Charles Krauthammer, called 2011 a “split decision.” He argued that 2012 will be even more of a dogfight now that “the powerful Republican tailwind of 2010 is now becalmed,” pointing to the GOP losses in matters like Issue 2 in Ohio and the governorship in Kentucky. After taking a week to digest and reflect on the 2011 elections, I must respectfully disagree. I have concluded that they mean very little in terms of 2012. There is plenty of evidence on both sides of the elections to suggest radically different implications for 2012. It is easy to point to Issue 2 and paint it as a devastating defeat for the GOP. But simply looking at results ignores a number of other factors in that campaign, such as the fact that opponents of the measure had to spend millions of dollars more in a campaign against it to achieve their desired results. It also overlooks the serious tactical error made by Republicans by failing to exclude firefighters and policemen from the collective bargaining reform as their counterparts in the Wisconsin state legislature had done in similar legislation. Just as easy as it is to highlight GOP losses in this election, it is similarly easy to point to victories as an indicator for the 2012 election cycle. Unsurprisingly receiving less coverage from the liberal media, Ohio voters also resoundingly approved Issue 3, a referendum on legislation rejecting individual healthcare mandates, the signature element of Obamacare. That measure passed with considerably more support than the margins by which Issue 2 failed. In fellow swing state Virginia, a state that went to Obama in 2008, the Republican trend continued after the election of Governor Bob McDonell (R) in 2009 with the Republicans taking control of the state legislature. ctd on page 11
What was the missing factor in this election? In short, the Tea Party. While the grassroots movement may have lent moderate support to certain candidates or issues here or there, the organization of 2010 was not there. Hardly an indicator of the movement’s decline, it was a reflection of a simple fact—the Tea Party has its eyes set on 2012. The source of Tea Party animus is out-of-control government spending and horrendous economic policy incarnate—the Obama administration. The Tea Party will be spending serious money in this election to accomplish the ultimate goal of taking back the White House. Don’t believe the media propaganda about the possibility of the Tea Party rejecting the Republican nominee if he or she doesn’t align perfectly with the Tea Party ideologically. According to a recent Rasmussen Reports poll, ninety percent (90%) of Tea Party activists surveyed said they would support whoever the party nominates (and that number is probably a little low). This doesn’t mean that the election is going to be an easy win by any means. The highlyorganized and effective Democratic machine (including the mainstream media) will kick their efforts into high gear in the next few months. However, the Republicans have enormous strategic advantage—forcing Obama to run on his record of governance rather than “Hope.” The GOP will have no shortage of ammunition with which to hammer the Obama administration, from Solyndra and “Fast and Furious,” to Obamacare and an ineffective stimulus with magically-disappearing money. Obama, in turn, will have no choice but to argue that Republicans made governing impossible. We’ll see if the American electorate buys that argument. Finally, there are couple of developing stories which could significantly benefit the GOP in the 2012 election cycle. With that, my “What 2 Watch 4” segment for this week: -
With each passing day, the likelihood of an Israeli strike on Iran to neutralize their hostile nuclear weapons program increases. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been rallying support in his cabinet for an attack, and there is speculation that it may occur as early as before the end of the year. The Obama administration has a history of icy relations with Israel and Netanyahu and Obama recently reemphasized his disdain for the leader in an embarrassing not-so-private moment with French president Sarkozy. If Israel does in fact go to war and attack Iran, it could be the opening salvo in a conflict of existential consequence for Israel. In that scenario, the Obama administration would have no choice but to come to the aid of Israel. However, any hesitation on the part of the administration would be a valuable weapon for the more pro-Israel, pro-defense Republican Party.
The United State Supreme Court recently granted writ of certiorari to three legal cases challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The court will decide the case sometime in the first few months of next year. If it rules against the law, or at least against the individual mandate element of it, it will be a huge political loss and blow to the administration and give opponents of the bill arguing for its repeal more fuel for their arguments. If Obama were to lose his signature piece of legislation at that time of the cycle, it could very well prove a deciding factor in the election.
CR/CD Football On November 20th, the CRs faced the CDs in a football game. It was a great time and we only lost by a small margin. Weâ€™ll get them next time!
The views expressed in the CR Monthly represent those of our members, and are not necessarily the views or positions of the College Republican National Committee, the DC Federation of College Republicans, or the George Washington University College Republicans.
Interested in writing for the CR Monthly? Contact Jill Reavis at Jill@gwrepublicans.org