Joel C. Rosenberg

Since taking office in 2000, former KGB chief-turned Russian President Vladimir Putin has built strong personal, political and military ties to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il.Putin has sold Iran and North Korea billions of dollars worth of arms and even nuclear technology. He is arming America's worst enemies for war, and in so doing, Russia has joined the "Axis of Evil." Yet on this critical issue, official Washington seems to be in a true state of denial.

In December 2005, Russia signed a $1 billion arms deal with Iran, providing the radical Islamic regime in Tehran high-speed missile and other high-tech weaponry, despite Ahmadinejad's call to annihilate the U.S. and Israel two months earlier. Russia is building nuclear facilities for Iran, has trained over 1,000 Iranian nuclear scientists, and running political interference for Iran at the U.N. to prevent us for imposing economic sanctions that could slow down Ahmadinejad's feverish bid for nuclear weapons.

But that is not all. Consider Putin's dangerously close ties to Kim Jong Il:

* On July 19-20, 2000, Putin became the first President of Russia ever to visit Pyongyang. He met with Kim Jong Il and explored ways to rebuild the once-close relationship between Russia and North Korea.

* In December 2000, the Kremlin announced its desire to dramatically increase military sales to North Korea.

* In April 2001, the Kremlin announced an official agreement to modernize North Korea's military .

* In August 2001, Kim Jong Il visited Russia and met with Putin in Moscow.

* In August 2002, Kim Jong Il visited Russia again, meeting Putin in Vladivostok .

* In 2003, the Kremlin refused to rule out further arms sales to North Korea, despite increasingly dangeorus and provocative moves by Kim Jong Il.

Joel C. Rosenberg

Joel C. Rosenberg is the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Jihad, The Last Days and The Ezekiel Option, with more than one million copies in print.

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