For Gen. Mattis as SecDef, Mission is Iran

Outside of all the hype of the moniker of ‘mad-dog’ and with a call sign of ‘chaos’, there is much more to be known and understood about General Mattis and what his immediate objectives will be when confirmed as Secretary of Defense.


Mattis served on the Board of General Dynamics and is a Visiting Fellow of the Hoover Institute. With his dedication and loyalty to all those that have and are wearing the military uniform, Mattis is also on the Advisory Board of Spirit of America, an organization dedicated to the success and conditions of all service personnel.

Mattis supports a two-state solution for Israel, something that will never in opinion be a viable peace alternative. The General has also given praise to John Kerry for his attempts at a Middle East peace program. While noble, that dog wont hunt either.

James Mattis will be assertive on matters with Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan. He tells us that under the management of Barack Obama and his weaning power from the Middle East, the United States is suffering from ‘strategic atrophy’,

It is notable that General Mattis has a personal library of more than 7000 books and while in active service published a reading list for his Marines. Indeed, Mattis is a scholar of history that includes previous wars, tactics, military leadership and results. That does tell us he has a wide and deep comprehension for understanding fully the past yielding probable and realistic estimates for the future of global equilibrium.

Related reading: France’s History of Terror, Murder and Iran

Through his military life, Mattis has encountered Iran intervention, terror, lies and tactics in countless war theaters. When it comes to Iran, the outset of his mission as Secretary of Defense will be the measured and required stipulations of the Joint Plan of Action (nuclear deal) with Iran and that will be coupled with Iran’s military influence and intervention in all the Middle East theaters of war but will also include Iran’s influence in Latin America and Europe.

All military leaders want talks, deal and diplomatic programs to be fully exhausted before the armed forces are called in to clean up messes where those other efforts have failed. For this reason, the General agrees in part with the Iran deal in spirit but there are countless violations and the financial infusion received by Iran at the hands of the United States under Barack Obama and John Kerry, supplemented by the trade and commerce plans have given rise to further concerns for Mattis. Not only does Israel feel minimized and threatened by Iran, but many other nations do as well due to the continued aggressive behavior of Iran so key Gulf Nations will have a robust role in coming months.

Iran is watching and doing so closely and their threats launched by words and deeds are likely to escalate. For Iran there is hard power and soft power and then power by proxy, such is the case in Latin America, Syria and Iraq, at least. Going back to 2008, Iran’s footprint across the world has not changed and in some regions has only been more stubborn, obvious and apparent. Dealing with the matter of Iran would begin to restore a balance of peace, or will it, can it?

Congress just cleared unanimous votes on sanctions for Iran. Iran has been proven to violate the terms of the JCPOA that included findings from German Intelligence.

With the ink barely dry on the deal between the U.S. and Iran to prevent the Islamic Republic from securing nuclear weapons, a new German intelligence document charges that Iran continues to flout the agreement. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said in its annual report that Iran has a “clandestine” effort to seek illicit nuclear technology and equipment from German companies “at what is, even by international standards, a quantitatively high level.” The findings by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany’s equivalent of the FBI, were issued in a 317-page report last week. German Chancellor Angela Merkel underscored the findings in a statement to parliament, saying Iran violated the United Nations Security Council’s anti-missile development regulations. “Iran continued unabated to develop its rocket program in conflict with the relevant provisions of the UN Security Council,” Merkel told the Bundestag.


Recorded on  July 16, 2015 – Hoover fellows Charles Hill and James Mattis discuss the Iran deal and the state of the world on Uncommon Knowledge with Hoover fellow Peter Robinson. In their view the United States has handed over its leading role to Iran and provided a dowry along with it. Iran will become the leading power in the region as the United States pulls back; as the sanctions are lifted Iran will start making a lot of money. No matter what Congress does at this point, the sanctions are gone. Furthermore, the president will veto anything Congress comes up with to move the deal forward. This  de facto treaty circumvents the Constitution.

If we want better deals and a stronger presence in the international community, then the United States needs to compromise, and listen to one another other, and encourage other points of view, especially from the three branches of government. If the United States pulls back from the international community, we will need to relearn the lessons we learned after World War I. But if we engage more with the world and use solid strategies to protect and encourage democracy and freedom at home and abroad, then our military interventions will be fewer. The United States and the world will be in a better position to handle problems such as ISIS.

VA Secretary McDonald is an Ass

Citizens Against Government Waste does a remarkable job as a watchdog over waste, fraud and abuse. Hat tip to this organization for their stellar work and notably this item on VA Secretary Robert McDonald.


CAGW Names VA Secretary Robert McDonald November Porker of the Month

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Robert McDonald its November 2016 Porker of the Month for giving bonuses to some of the senior executives who were involved in the continuing hospital wait-times scandal.

Despite assurances by Sec. McDonald and President Obama that the wait-times scandal was isolated to Phoenix and that the department has solved the problem, numerous VA inspector general (IG) reports over the last year have confirmed that thousands of veterans still languish in the VA’s single-payer system. They are waiting for care mainly due to the department’s abject failure to solve its corrosive culture, which led to the scandal in the first place.  Data released on June 3, 2016 found that the number of patients who have waited more than a month to see a doctor exceeded a half a million since the beginning of 2016, and no improvement was seen in any month so far this year.

In the face of this continued mismanagement, an October 28, 2016 USA Today report found that the VA had provided $177 million worth of bonuses to its nearly 189,000 employees in 2015.  Included in that total were more than 300 senior executives, some of whom were intimately involved in the ongoing wait-times scandal at the Phoenix VA hospital as well as facilities nationwide.

In an April 7, 2016 USA Today investigation, some of these same officials in 19 states were exposed as routinely “zeroing out” wait times for veterans and concealing the true length of delays.  Astonishingly, VA supervisors themselves instructed schedulers to fabricate wait times at medical facilities in seven states.

Sec. McDonald’s May 23, 2016 attempt to reassure veterans and taxpayers of his focus on reform failed in an epic fashion when he compared veteran wait times to lines at Disney theme parks.  Those comments, along with the payment of bonuses to corrupt VA executives, seems to clearly illustrate Sec. McDonald’s flagrant disregard for reforming his beleaguered department.

CAGW President Tom Schatz said, “The thoughtless payment of bonuses to shady VA bosses is despicable.  Sec. McDonald was heralded as a private-sector business leader who could turn around a troubled department.  Instead, Sec. McDonald is even worse than a standard issue Washington bureaucrat.  As I said after Sec. McDonald made his callous Disney comparison, he is Frozen in the past, and perhaps the fish from Finding Nemo need to be called on to help the VA find a new leader.”

The last time Secretary McDonald testified before the Senate:

For rewarding corrupt VA bosses and failing to ensure that veterans get timely care, CAGW names VA Secretary Robert McDonald its November 2016 Porker of the Month.

Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.  Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.

Has Trump Read the Iran File, What Now?

It is estimated that  between 27,000 and 31,000 foreign fighters have flocked to Iraq and Syria since the breakout of the war in 2011. More here.

No one mentions Pakistan either.

TEHRAN: (APP) More than 1,000 combatants sent from Iran to fight in support of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria have been killed in the conflict, the head of Iran’s veterans’ affairs office said Tuesday.

“The number of martyrs from our country defending the shrines has now passed 1,000,” Tasnim news agency quoted Mohammad Ali Shahidi Mahalati, the head of Iran’s Foundation of Martyrs’ and Veterans’ Affairs, as saying.

Iran has sent military advisers, as well as fighters recruited from Afghanistan and Pakistan, to work with Assad’s forces. They are known in Iran as “defenders of the shrines” in reference to Shiite holy sites in Syria.

Shahidi did not specify the nationalities of those killed.

Shiite Iran is a staunch supporter of Assad and provides both financial and military support for his regime.

The Fatemiyoun Division of Afghan recruits organised by Iran comprises the majority of volunteers sent from Iran to fight in Syria and Iraq.

Iran says they are sent to fight against Sunni extremists such as the

Islamic State group (IS).

The Islamic republic denies having any boots on the ground in Syria, and insists its commanders and generals of the elite Revolutionary Guards’ foreign operations wing act as “military advisers” both there and in Iraq.

Iranian media regularly report on the death of Iranian, Afghan and Pakistani “martyrs” in Syria, whose bodies are buried in Iran.


The Obama administration changed the balance of power in the Middle East with several disgusting decisions including failing on the red line threat, the JPOA nuclear deal and paying the huge ransom. The winner is clearly Assad as he remains safe yet the single achievement award goes to Tehran.

Trump would be well advised to begin to dismantle the balance of power beginning with removing Assad with the help of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Nations. That would begin to address Iran’s power in the region but it could be a nasty conflict for sure. If Iran and Syria are not addressed, then more countries will seek nuclear weapons, and deadly conflicts will not stop as there is no easy method or proposal for the West to exit out of the region after Islamic State is defeated due to the continued hostilities between the militias, the Sunnis and Shiite and the ruling governments.


Mike Pompeo’s Iran File

If he honors the nuclear deal, Trump needs to enforce it vigorously.

WSJ: In summer 2015 Congressman Mike Pompeo and Senator Tom Cotton visited the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, where they learned of two secret codicils to the Iranian nuclear deal. The Obama Administration had failed to disclose these side agreements to Congress. When pressed on the details of the codicils, Secretary of State John Kerry claimed never to have read them.

We’re reminded of this episode on news that Donald Trump has asked Congressman Pompeo to lead the Central Intelligence Agency. The Kansas Republican is being denounced by liberals as a “hardliner,” but the truth is that he has shown an independent streak that has allowed him to raise thorny questions and gather vital information that Administration officials want suppressed. Isn’t that what Americans should expect in a CIA director?

That goes double regarding the Iranian nuclear deal, which Mr. Pompeo opposed in part because of the diplomatic legerdemain he and Sen. Cotton uncovered in Vienna. Of the two secret deals, one concerned the nuclear agency’s inspection of the Parchin military facility, where the Iranians were suspected of testing components of a nuclear deal. The other concerned Iran’s non-answers to questions about the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program.

Both issues went to the question of whether Iran’s compliance with an agreement would be verifiable, and it’s easy to see why the Administration was so reluctant to disclose the facts. The IAEA was permitted one inspection of Parchin, where it discovered uranium traces, and the agency later issued an exculpatory report on Iran’s military work to facilitate the deal’s implementation.

We’ve since learned much more about the precise terms of the nuclear deal—including the Administration’s willingness to ignore them to placate the Iranians. That includes allowing the mullahs to build and test ballistic missiles and exceed the deal’s 300-kilo limit on low-enriched uranium. The IAEA also reported this month that Iran exceeded its heavy-water limit for the second time this year.

The scope of Iran’s violations was laid out last week in a detailed analysis from the nonpartisan Institute for Science and International Security. “IAEA reporting is so sparse as to confirm suspicions that compliance controversies are being deliberately omitted from the report,” note authors David Albright and Andrea Stricker. That makes the CIA’s job of investigating Iran’s nuclear programs all the more important, which is another reason to welcome Mr. Pompeo’s nomination.

Beyond that is the larger question of how the incoming Administration should treat the nuclear deal, which Mr. Trump has often called “disastrous.” Mr. Pompeo tweeted last week before his nomination that he wants to see the deal rolled back. But the question is how to do that in a way that doesn’t allow Iran to break out in a sprint to build the bomb. A unilateral U.S. withdrawal would also make it hard, if not impossible, to rally a world coalition for new global sanctions against Iran.

One strategy for the Trump Administration would be to announce that it will honor the deal reluctantly—and enforce it unsparingly. That puts the diplomatic onus on Tehran for its violations. This would include enforcing the “economic snapback” that the Obama Administration promised when it tried to sell the deal to Congress but had no intention of delivering.

The Trump Administration could also resume enforcement of current U.S. sanctions on Iran for its support for terrorism and human-rights abuses. Holding financial institutions accountable for “know your customer” rules when doing business with Iran would be an excellent place to start, as would a resumption of sanctions on banks like Sepah, which funds Iran’s ballistic-missile program.

Undoing the strategic damage of the Iran deal won’t happen overnight, and the Trump Administration will have to move carefully to avoid diplomatic missteps with allies and adversaries. Having Mr. Pompeo at CIA gives more confidence that at least the U.S. will be honest when Iran is breaking its commitments.

For Iraq and Syria, Iran is Never Leaving, Russia Loves it

Ramadan al-Saadi, Saturday, 19 November 2016

 Through pictures displayed along the streets of the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf in Iraq, Tehran portrayed the number of Iranian soldiers and militia fighters killed in Syria, which has reached the milestone of 3,000. It has been an Iranian policy to exploit Shiite religious occasions to inflame sectarian sentiments when millions of devotees flock to the holy cities in Iraq. More photos here.

In Syria’s Aleppo, Shiite militias point to Iran’s unparalleled influence

BEIRUT — Syria’s government hopes a brutal siege will vanquish rebel holdouts in the city of Aleppo, a key battleground. But Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s troops aren’t leading the charge.

That task has been taken up by thousands of Shiite militiamen from Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan who are loyal to Iran, a Shiite country and perhaps Assad’s most important ally.

For much of Syria’s civil war, these religiously motivated fighters have reinforced Syria’s badly weakened military. Now, they are playing an increasingly critical role in trying to seize opposition-held eastern Aleppo by coordinating their attacks with government forces and warplanes flown by Russia, another ally of Assad’s.

The government, backed by Russian aircraft, launched a major offensive across northern Syria last week that has brought further devastation to eastern Aleppo, Syria’s largest city before the war.

The militias appear to be forming a sophisticated ground coalition that has further bolstered Iran’s influence in Syria, alarming even officials in Assad’s government, said Phillip Smyth, an expert on Shiite militias at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“They are building a force on the ground that, long after the war, will stay there and wield a strong military and ideological influence over Syria for Iran,” he said. “And there is not much Assad can do to curb the rising influence of these groups, even though Syrian officials are clearly concerned about this, because the militiamen are literally preventing the overthrow of his government.”

Analysts say Iran has long used Shiite militias in other countries to project its power. The groups include multiple factions that dominate Iraqi politics, as well as the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, which is more powerful than Lebanon’s military.

Iran and its militias have frustrated U.S. officials. While both sides find themselves aligned against the Islamic State in Iraq, they are at cross-purposes in Syria, where anti-Assad rebels receive funding and arms from Washington and its allies.

Eventually, analysts say, Iran could even find itself in direct competition with Russia for influence in Syria.

The Shiite militias’ presence in Syria also has fueled Iran’s regional and religious rivalry with Saudi Arabia, a Sunni powerhouse that backs Syria’s Sunni-led rebellion.

Still, the payoff of using militiamen could be substantial. If the Syrian government is able to seize all of Aleppo, the regional balance would tip in Iran’s favor, dealing a blow to Saudi ambitions and the rebels who stormed the city’s eastern areas in 2012, said Fawaz Gerges, professor of Middle Eastern politics at the London School of Economics.

“A defeat of the rebels in Aleppo would be a turning point in which Assad captures most of the urban centers of Syria,” he said. “It would be a setback for Saudi Arabia in its rivalry with Iran, which, as a result, would see its influence in Syria increase even more.”

The dozens of militias there have led the way in imposing a crushing blockade of the city’s opposition districts, where more than 200,000 people face worsening shortages of food and medicine. The fighters also call in air raids by Russian and government warplanes that have wrecked hospitals, residences and infrastructure in those areas.

Rebels have indiscriminately shelled government-held western Aleppo, but destruction there has not been as severe.

This month, rebel fighters in Aleppo launched a counteroffensive, but they have struggled to break the siege. Air power – especially Russia’s – has proved a formidable obstacle. The Shiite militiamen have, too, said Zakaria Malahfiji, a member of the Fastaqim rebel force, which is affiliated with the umbrella Free Syrian Army.

“They are fighting with passion, and they fight in well-coordinated attacks,” he said. “I remember one battle where these fighters just kept dying in one spot. One guy would charge, get shot and die, and then another, and then another and then another would do the same thing on the exact same spot. All of them died. They are motivated.”

The hard-line Sunnis of the Islamic State and other religious extremists have overshadowed the revolt against Assad that began peacefully in 2011 before turning into brutal war. Militants linked to al-Qaida have played a prominent role among rebel forces.

To the rebels, the Iranian-backed militiamen are extremists.

“They are spreading Iran’s influence and their extremist ideology, but our revolution is not about religion; it’s about freedom and dignity,” said Abdulmunem Zaineddin, a religious scholar involved with rebel forces in the battles in Aleppo.

The militias say their involvement in the civil war is about defending Shiite shrines in the country, as well as battling extremist Sunni groups.

“We don’t want sectarian violence. We want to protect Syria, to protect all that is sacred to everyone from terrorism, from the terrorist groups paid for by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and the U.S.,” said Hisham Al Mossawi of Harakat al-Nujaba, a militia from Iraq whose fighters also are battling in Aleppo.

It’s unclear how many Shiite militiamen and militia factions are participating in the Aleppo battle. Hundreds and perhaps even thousands of the fighters have been killed during the war, including generals from Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Avi Dichter, chair of Israel’s foreign affairs and defense committee, said this month that as many as 25,000 Shiite militants are fighting in Syria. Other analysts say the number is smaller.

Israeli intelligence closely monitors the fighting in Syria and, in particular, Hezbollah’s role in the conflict. Since it fought a devastating war with Israeli forces in 2006, the Lebanese militia has become more powerful, partly because of the battlefield skills honed in Syria.

Hezbollah intervened in Syria early on in the war, helping Assad’s forces rout rebels in key western areas of the country.

“The fighting has made (Hezbollah) a better fighting force and more adept in conventional military warfare,” Dichter said.

In Aleppo, Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guards play prominent leadership roles, directing the foreign Shiite militiamen, many of whom are recruited by, and trained in, Iran.

The factions are learning to overcome issues such as linguistic differences, helping them become more adept at coordinating ground assaults, said Smyth, the analyst.

“History proves that whenever Iranians craft groups like these, such as Lebanese Hezbollah, they don’t give up arms, they don’t stand down and they don’t leave territory that they’ve taken,” he said. “They will be in Syria for years and years, and that will have consequences for everyone.”

Iraqi Shiite Militias Complicate Fight to Defeat ISIS in Mosul, Other Areas

(New York, NY) – (CEP) today released updated resources on three powerful Iraqi Shiite militias, as their involvement in the fight for the Sunni-dominated ISIS stronghold of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, is raising fears of the return of sectarian warfare to the area.

The three militias—the Badr Organization, Kata’ib Hezbollah, and Asaib Ahl al-Haq—are the most powerful among Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a government-sanctioned umbrella group composed of predominantly Shiite fighters with strong military and financial ties to Iran.  In a July report, Human Rights Watch documented killings, disappearances, torture, and the destruction of homes by the groups during the fight to retake Fallujah and other Sunni-dominated areas from ISIS. The organization urged that Iraq prevent the Shiite militias from playing any role in the campaign to drive ISIS from Mosul.

The Badr Organization began in 1983 as the military wing of an Iraqi political party that sought to bring Iran’s Islamic Revolution to Iraq and fought alongside Iran during the Iran-Iraq War. The Badr Organization is run by Hadi al-Amiri, who has a history of instigating sectarian violence in Iraq. He has also been linked to a 1996 attack in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. Air Force servicemen.

Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) is an Iranian-sponsored, anti-American Shiite militia that earned a reputation for targeting U.S. and coalition forces with roadside bombs and improvised rocket-assisted mortars. KH fought with the Assad regime in Syria at the behest of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). KH has remained virulently anti-American, repeatedly boycotting battles against ISIS in which U.S. airpower contributes. In 2009, the U.S. Treasury Department designated KH and its leader, Jamal Jaafar Ibrahimi (a.k.a. Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes), for threatening stability in Iraq, declaring that KH and Ibrahimi “committed, directed, supported, or posed a significant risk of committing acts of violence against Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces.”

Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) has claimed responsibility for more than 6,000 attacks on American and Iraqi forces. Its founder and leader, Qais al-Khazali, reportedly led the January 2007 attack in Karbala that killed five U.S. soldiers. Today, AAH continues to commit sectarian violence, carry out homophobic attacks, and threaten the “interests” of Western countries participating in strikes in Syria.

Afghanistan Wasted our $$ and now 45,000 al Qaeda Fighters

U.N. experts say fighters loyal to al-Qaida have taken on a more active supporting role for the Taliban during the current offensive in Afghanistan while the position of the Islamic State extremist group in the country “has distinctly weakened.”

In a report to the Security Council circulated Friday, the experts said the Afghan government and several other countries estimate that there are about 45,000 opposition fighters in Afghanistan and between 20 and 25 percent are foreigners.

It said these “bad actors … mutually reinforced each other and presented a significant and rising terrorist challenge.”

The experts said several governments highlighted that relations between the Taliban and al-Qaida strengthened during the time Akhtar Mansour led the Taliban and the improved relations have continued under his successor, Haibatullah Akhundzada.

FNC: Welcome to the Hotel Kabul, where you can’t check in anytime you like.

In December 2006, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. government’s development finance institution, approved a proposal to build a 209-room, five-star hotel and an apartment building across the street from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

The Marriott Kabul Hotel and the adjacent apartment building would provide a gateway for Afghans returning to their country and would be a major boost to the nation’s post-war reconstruction efforts, proponents said.

But today, 10 years later, all that’s there is an empty shell — a ghost hotel.



Now an investigation by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has determined that nearly $85 million in investments have gone down the drain, thanks to “troubling management practices and lax oversight” at the site of the project.

And that’s not all. SIGAR says American taxpayers have spent thousands, if not millions, of dollars more on security because of the abandoned project’s proximity to the embassy.

“The Marriott Hotel Kabul is emblematic of our reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan,” Special Inspector General John Sopko told “Great ideas, tons of money, poor execution and no oversight create incredible opportunities for fraud.”

One month after it received the proposal, OPIC approved an initial loan of $60 million to build the hotel. It ultimately made three loan payments totaling $58 million for the hotel, plus a $27 million loan in 2011 for the construction of the luxury apartment building.

“The Marriott Hotel Kabul is emblematic of our reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. Great ideas, tons of money, poor execution, and no oversight create incredible opportunities for fraud.”

– Special Inspector General John Sopko

Hotel construction began in early 2009 after the first loan payment, and OPIC received status reports after its subsequent payments. But in 2013, after the construction company delivered its fourth and final report, it notified OPIC that it was stopping all work on the project due to what they claimed were “security issues.” Since then, due to the site’s vacant status and proximity to the U.S. Embassy, it has been deemed a security threat and has been guarded by embassy personnel, on the taxpayers’ dime.

In August, SIGAR inspectors toured the abandoned worksite and found structural cracks in the roof, damaged fireproofing on beams and columns, sections of walls that were demolished, uninstalled doors and windows and incomplete water and electrical systems.

“As a result, the $85 million in loans is gone, the buildings were never completed and are uninhabitable, and the U.S. Embassy is now forced to provide security for the site at additional cost to U.S. taxpayers,” Sopko recently wrote to OPIC’s president and CEO, Elizabeth L. Littlefield.

“While our investigation of these two projects and a third OPIC project in Afghanistan is ongoing, we believe the issues raised by these loans have broader implications which deserve your immediate attention.

“The failure to properly manage and oversee these loans may indicate systemic problems in the management and oversight of OPIC loans for other projects in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world, putting additional millions of dollars at risk.”

The SIGAR inspectors accused OPIC of not doing enough to monitor the construction on-site and taking the builder’s status reports at face value.

“OPIC accepted either invoices or receipts as proof to demonstrate how the loan proceeds had been spent,” they wrote. “However, without on-site verification of activities and progress, neither the invoices nor receipts required by OPIC provided sufficient evidence to support purported purchases.”


In a statement provided to, OPIC said it is working on resolving the issue.

“In 2006 when OPIC started work on this project, the U.S. government was focused on economic development in Afghanistan to advance both its foreign policy and national security objectives,” OPIC wrote. “The hotel and residences projects were intended to host business leaders, foreign ministers and investors seeking to improve the long-term success of Afghanistan’s economy. The timing, location and purpose of this investment is fully consistent with OPIC’s mission.

“Since OPIC supports American investors operating in the world’s toughest markets, at times it must work with borrowers to navigate unique challenges. This project is no exception. OPIC continues to work to bring resolution to this project.”

SIGAR has asked OPIC to increase its oversight practices for future large-scale construction projects and to try to recoup the loans associated with the hotel project.

**** Maybe the Taliban and al Qaeda can share the space eh?

At least 45,000 opposition forces are operating in Afghanistan with foreign insurgents comprising around 20 to 25 of the forces, the United Nations experts have said.

The experts informed regarding the estimated number of the insurgents as they presented a report to the United Nations Security Council on Friday.

According to the report, the Taliban militants group’s relations with the Al-Qaeda terrorist network have strengthened, specifically during the Mullah Akhtar Mansoor times.

The report further added that the relations between Taliban and Al-Qaeda are still persisting since the new Taliban leader assumed charge of the group after Mullah’s Mansoor’s death.

The report also added that the position of the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group has distinctly weakened in the country.

This comes as the regional countries are concerned the attempts by the terrorist groups to expand foothold in Afghanistan as they fear the growing instability could further destabilize the region.

The Russian Presidential envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov estimated earlier this year that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group has 10,000 loyalists in Afghanistan.

Kabulov who is also director of the Second Asian Department at the Russian Foreign Ministry has said the terror group is expanding its military activity in Afghanistan.

“The IS activity has grown significantly in Afghanistan since summer 2014. The group numerical strength is estimated at 10,000 people,” Kabulov said.

However, the Afghan forces launched a major offensive in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan to eliminate the loyalists of the terror group as efforts were underway by the terror group to turn the province into a regional operational base.

The US forces based in Afghanistan also conduct regular airstrikes against the ISIS loyalists, Taliban insurgents, and Al-Qaeda terrorist network in the country, killing the top Al-Qaeda leader in the region in Kunar province last month.