Happy Thanksgiving!

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The Counter Jihad Report will be taking a break this week to spend time with family and enjoy the many blessings we share.  

You can go to the RSS feeds in the right hand column for news. Being a hopeless news junkie I may still  post to facebook and tweet a few things as time allows.

Afghanistan: A Case Against a Residual US Military Presence

November 21, 2014 / ISIS Study Group:

The US government and Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) finally inked a bilateral security agreement (BSA) on 30 SEP 14 that will leave a residual US military force of 9,800 – 10,000 personnel in the country. Since the signing of the BSA the US government has been fueling the mainstream media with talk about how it may boost the chances for resuming peace talks with the Taliban by “demonstrating to the insurgents that they cannot hope to achieve a military victory.” We strongly disagree with this dangerously naive view of the situation on the ground in Afghanistan, and submit to the American people that the presence of US military personnel in the country is irrelevant. Why? Because the central government will fall whether a residual force is there or not. The only thing a continue US military presence will do is delay the inevitable.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/u-s-afghan-bilateral-security-agreement-signed-1412076436

http://www.stripes.com/news/security-pact-may-foster-afghan-peace-process-us-envoy-says-1.305996

ANA 1
ANA troops
Source: http://www.afghanistan-today.org/media/photos/ANAunit.jpg

So keeping this in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody that we had the customary “friday afternoon information dump” with the Obama administration authorizing an expansion of the US military’s residual force in Afghanistan starting in 2015 – complete with the same restrictive rules of engagement (ROE) that have led to so many deaths over the past 6 yrs in the country.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/22/us/politics/in-secret-obama-extends-us-role-in-afghan-combat.html?_r=0

Whereas the US government should’ve kept a residual force in Iraq, the opposite is true for Afghanistan. Here’s some of the primary reasons:

1. The Afghan people have no national identity. Where the average Iraqi (with the exception of the Kurds) identifies as being “Iraqi,” the Afghans’ loyalty falls in line with the following: Family, tribe, ethnic group, religion, nationality – all in this order. National identity is so far down on the totem pole that its barely a blip on their radar, and that’s one of the reasons why GIRoA can barely control Kabul. In other words, you’re more likely to find an Afghan who will identify as a being a member of the Zadran or Shirzai tribes than you will one who will identify himself as being “Afghan.” That’s a big problem to overcome in a country where unity is such a foreign concept. The UK and Soviets both tried – and failed in doing exactly what’s being attempted here. Should we really expect things to be different? Remember, even before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan the central government was having difficulty maintaining its grip away from the capital.

http://www.kabultec.org/ntlid.html

http://www.rferl.org/content/afghanistan-id-cards-ethnic-divisions/25205181.html

http://www.fravahr.org/spip.php?article424

2. Insider attacks. The concept of insider attacks have become a fixture in the enemy’s TTPs in the country – and enlisted men aren’t the only targets. Senior US military officers have also been targeted, with the most recent incident being the attack that led to the death of US Army MG Harold Greene. We assess that the restrictive ROE and ludicrous policy of “cultural sensitivity training” so as not to “offend” our Afghan National Army (ANA) counterparts will not prevent future insider attacks. Furthermore, the only reason there has been a drop in these attacks this year is because of the US drawdown. The ANA are now taking the brunt of insider attacks, and we have several contacts who have served in the country – some of which are still there– who have informed us that many of these incidents go unreported so as not to paint a “negative picture.” We had problems with the IA being compromised by the former regime and IRGC-Qods Force proxies, but never experienced attacks on this scale. It’s also worth noting that in the final days of the Soviet occupation, the Soviet Army was experiencing several insider attacks by Afghan military officers who defected to the Mujahidin. In fact, they saw an increase towards the end of their mission embedding advisors as whole units defected to the Mujaheddin.

Read more

Also see:

Saudi Arabia May Go Nuclear Because of Obama’s Iran Deal

1392403931746.cachedBy Eli Lake and Josh Rogin:

President Obama wants an agreement with Iran to prevent a Middle Eastern nuclear arms race, but it’s pushing Saudi Arabia toward its own nuke program.
Last month, America’s top Iran negotiator Wendy Sherman had some bad news for ambassadors from America’s Arab allies. In a meeting with envoys from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other Gulf states, Sherman said that any bargain with Iran would likely leave Tehran, the Gulf states long-time enemy, with the capacity to enrich uranium, according to U.S. officials briefed on the encounter.

Sherman regularly briefs these allies after diplomatic talks with Iran, but in recent weeks those conversations have been different. While most of America’s Middle East allies—with the exception of Israel—have publicly supported the current Iran negotiations, behind the scenes, envoys from the region have expressed grave concerns that Iran could be left with a break out capacity to make the fuel for a nuclear weapon at a time of their choosing.

And now, one of the countries in the region without a full-blown nuclear programs—Saudi Arabia—may be changing its mind. Riyadh has a long-standing interest in nuclear power. But Western and Israeli intelligence services are starting to see signs that this interest is growing more serious, and extends into nuclear enrichment. Until recently, the pursuit of nuclear enrichment—or the fuel cycle—was considered by arms control experts as a tell-tale sign of a clandestine weapons program. Nuclear fuel is sold to all members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but it’s far more costly to build the infrastructure and produce it indigenously. Saudi Arabia appears to be getting more serious about going down that path.

If Saudi Arabia pursue nuclear enrichment even if there is an Iran deal, then the victory to curb atomic weapons that Obama has tried to achieve will be at least partially undone by his own diplomacy.

“They view the developments in Iran very negatively. They have money, they can buy talent, they can buy training,” said David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a former weapons inspector. “The Saudis are thinking through how do you create a deterrent through capability.”

Albright said in this particular case, an indigenous Saudi program is in the very early stages. In 2012, the Saudi government announced plans to build 16 commercial reactors by 2030 and signed a technology agreement with China. But Albright said he has heard concerns expressed by a European intelligence agency that Saudi Arabia in recent years has quietly been developing the engineering and scientific knowledge base to one day master the nuclear fuel cycle, or produce the fuel indigenously for the reactors it’s trying to build. He said Saudi Arabia was hiring the scientists and engineers needed to build the cascades of centrifuges needed to produce nuclear fuel. “We don’t worry about the Saudis learning to operate a reactor,” he said. “I worry that they will learn the skills needed to master the fuel cycle.”

Read more at The Daily Beast

Also see:

Qatar and Terror

Gatestone Institute, by Denis MacEoin, Nov. 22, 2014:

Although outwardly more liberal than the Saudis, the Qataris have surpassed them as financiers of extremism and terrorism.

U.S. officials reckon that Qatar has now replaced Saudi Arabia as the source of the largest private donations to the Islamic State and other al-Qaeda affiliates.

Qatar, the world’s wealthiest country per capita, also has the unsavory reputation for the mistreatment and effective slavery of much of its workforce.

Leaders of Western states threatened by jihadi advances are happy to sit down with the largest financiers of terrorism in the world, offer them help, take as much money as they can, and smile for the cameras.

There is a central weakness in the coalition against the Islamic State [IS] in Syria, as pointed out by Bryan Bender in the Boston Globe. There are 62 members of the coalition, some of which are Arab states: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, Iraq, and Qatar. The U.S., however, carries the greatest weight in the air campaign against the self-proclaimed Caliphate. America had carried out 3,589 sorties by August 8, its partners 8; between September 23 (when most partners joined in attacks) and November 3, U.S. sorties numbered a further 3,320, with 1,090 by other coalition members.

The U.S., therefore, flies over 75% of missions — an indication of American intent? It’s not quite that simple.

One of those partners, Qatar, seems to be committed to the mission in other ways. It hosts the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East, the regional headquarters of U.S. Central Command, and stations American and British aircraft and personnel at al-Udeid Air Base.

The U.S. Congress has authorized and appropriated many millions of dollars over the years in return for use and maintenance of this important base.[1]

Qatar is now prepared to pay in full for the U.S. military presence during the campaign in return for American protection.[2]

Except, as a recent headline in the New Republic put it: “Qatar Is a U.S. Ally. They Also Knowingly Abet Terrorism. What’s Going On?” Other views are harsher: “Qatar’s overall cooperation, however, is the worst in the region.”

Qatar is one of the world’s smallest states with a miniscule population. A Saudi prince once said that it is made up of “300 people and a TV Channel” (referring to Al Jazeera, based in the capital, Doha). Qatar has only 278,000 citizens and 1.5 million expatriates who make up 94% of the workforce. Qatar, the world’s wealthiest country per capita, also has an unsavory reputation for the mistreatment and effective slavery of much of its workforce.

Qatar is also imprisoning Matthew and Grace Huang, an American couple sentenced to three years in prison on charges of child endangerment, for allegedly murdering their adopted daughter, Gloria, 8, even though she apparently had health issues prior to the adoption. The Huangs continue to protest their innocence, and claim that the Qataris do not understand how an Asian couple could adopt three children, who happen to be black, from Africa.

Given Qatar’s economic and political clout, created by its sovereign wealth fund, its oil, and its ownership of the world’s third largest natural gas reserves, Qatar plays a role on the world stage and does much to enhance its public image. In a bid for international kudos, the emirate acted to ensure the award of the soccer World Cup for 2022, only to find itself mired in controversy.

In other spheres, Qatar is the single largest donor to the Brookings Institution, a major U.S. think tank. Payments included $14.8 million after the former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, blamed Israel for the failure of the latest round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks; and it has given money to many universities in the U.S. and Europe.[3] Qatar also hosts eight international university campuses near Doha (Virginia Commonwealth, Weill Cornell, Texas A&M, Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown, Northwestern, HEC Paris, University College London, Calgary), and finances the RAND Policy Trust. It owns expensive properties in London, the Barcelona Football Club, and dabbles in other areas worldwide.

While all this increases Qatar’s influence, most of it seems to be for show, to present an amiable face to the world. Qatar is not all gleaming towers, bars for non-Muslims, and a modern approach to sexual relations. It remains the only other Wahhabi country in the world next to Saudi Arabia. The problem here is the Qatar paradox. Although outwardly more liberal than the Saudis, the Qataris have surpassed them as financiers of extremism and terrorism. As with its neighbor, it is traditional, devoted to a highly conservative form of Islam, and an underlying commitment to Islamic values.

Although praised for its liberalism in many areas, Freedom House reported in 2013 that “civil liberties and political rights are severely restricted for residents and citizens alike, foreign workers face especially repressive conditions.” Aside from a short period between 1976 and 1988, Qatar has remained categorized as “Not Free” since 1972, and has a particularly bad reputation for its brutal treatment of poor foreign workers.

Although non-Muslims are free to worship there, Qatari law bans any form of proselytization or outward show of faith (such as crosses on churches). There are severe laws against homosexuality, adultery (technically a capital crime, with provisions for flogging and stoning), and public criticism of the regime. As of 2011, the Democracy Index describes Qatar as an “authoritarian regime” with a score of 3.18 out of ten, and it ranks 138th out of the 167 countries covered.

Nowhere is this tendency clearer than in Qatar’s support for international networks of terrorist organizations. While U.S. planes bomb outposts of ISIS from their Qatar airbase, Qatar is reputed to be sending money to ISIS, Hamas, Libyan jihadists, and others. Of course, the Qataris deny this. Standing beside German Chancellor Angela Merkel on September 27, Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani declared that, “What is happening in Iraq and Syria is extremism and such organizations are partly financed from abroad, but Qatar has never supported and will never support terrorist organizations”.

Clearly, al-Thani either knows little about the country he rules or is trying to put one over on the world. One is reminded of how, after Black September’s 1973 murders of three diplomats (two American and one Belgian) in Khartoum, the PLO “privately… threatened reprisal if the Sudanese continued to hold them [the killers] or put them on trial,” while publicly disavowing the killings.[4]

Qatar finances terrorists with one hand, while the other joins hands with the West. Above: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in New York City on September 25, 2014. (Image source: U.S. State Department)

The fundamentalist anti-Semitic Islamic preacher, Shaykh Yusuf ‘Abd Allah al-Qaradawi, regarded by many as the leading scholar of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been living in Qatar on and off since the 1960s, while preaching a fundamentalist and often pro-terrorist message there through his website, Islam Online, and his Shari’a and Life television show on Al Jazeera. The Qatari government has never sought to rein him in.

Qatar’s major international charity, the Qatar Charitable Society (now simply Qatar Charity) has acted as a financier and agency for terrorist outfits in several countries. It has funded al-Qaeda in Chechnya, Mali and elsewhere, was a key player in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and funded Syria’s Ahfad al-Rasul Brigade. Qatar has also financed terrorists in northern Mali operations, including Ansar Dine, alleged to be linked to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [North Africa]; and it retains contacts with (and no doubt still funds) al-Qaeda.

According to David Blair and Richard Spencer, writing for London’s Daily Telegraph, four branches of the Qatari government handle relations with armed groups in Syria and Libya. These are the Foreign and Defense Ministries, the Intelligence Agency, and the personal office [al-Diwan al-Amiri], of the Emir, who, as we have seen, flatly denies financing terrorism. The Amiri Diwan, as in Kuwait, appears in the lists of government ministries and offices.[5] Of course, Qatar does nothing directly. It prefers to use middlemen and to permit private individuals to do the work for it. Large sums are passed to middlemen in Turkey (itself no stranger to support for terrorism), and this money is used for the purchase of weapons from other countries (notably Croatia). The weapons are then transferred to rebel groups in Syria. It has also been claimed that money owed to British companies operating in Qatar has been siphoned off to Islamic State. This may require some ingenious application of the dark arts of bookkeeping, but it does provide another means of evading condemnation of the state.

One of the most obvious examples of government support for jihadi groups is that the international base of the Gazan terrorist group Hamas has been located in Doha since 2012. Khaled Mashaal, Chairman of Hamas’s Political Bureau, is reportedly living an opulent lifestyle in a five-star hotel in Doha. Qatar has given generously to Hamas. In October, Ma’mun Abu Shahla, the Palestinian Authority’s Minister of Labor, stated that the government of Qatar had given $30 million to provide staff with their first salary payments in several months, a distribution of largesse that will give half of the former Hamas government employees in Gaza their unpaid wages. This payment was arranged with Qatar by Robert Serry, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, despite fears of a backlash from international donor countries, including the U.S., which considers Hamas a terrorist organization.

Apart from cash advances to terrorist entities, the Qatari government seems to be directly involved in other activities, notably the shipping of planeloads of arms to Libyan jihadists. These shipments include a C-17 cargo plane carrying weaponry to a militia loyal to a warlord who had fought alongside Osama bin Laden; arms supplies to the jihadist coalition that now controls Tripoli after the launch of Operation Libya Dawn, and some $3 billion and 70 planeloads of arms to rebel forces in Syria.

Private fundraisers who coordinate donations from individual or corporate donors in Qatar are never detained or subjected to restrictions in Qatar, a privilege that means the transfer of considerable sums to al-Qaeda, Islamic State, Hamas, Jabhat al-Nusra and other Syrian Islamist groups.

The U.S. Treasury has given details of terrorist financiers operating in Qatar. The best known is ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Nu’aymi, an academic and businessman who is a key link between Qatari donors and al-Qaeda in Iraq, the predecessor of today’s Islamic State. At one time, Nu’aymi transferred $2 million per month to the organization. He has also sent around $576,000 to Abu Khalid al-Suri, al-Qaeda’s Syrian representative, and $250,000 to the Somali jihadist group, al-Shabaab.

The U.S. Treasury Department has sanctioned Nu’aymi and other Qatari financiers in recent years. U.S. officials reckon that Qatar has now replaced Saudi Arabia as the source of the largest private donations to Islamic State and other al-Qaeda affiliates. The Qatari government has taken no steps to detain or punish al-Nu’aymi or anyone else, even though Islamist politics are, in theory, illegal in Qatar.

British Prime Minister David Cameron was warned by many people, before his meeting with the Emir of Qatar, that he had to tackle the issue of Qatar’s funding of terrorism. The two men met on October 29. Here is part of the official government news briefing on the meeting:

On international affairs, they discussed the role both countries are playing in the coalition to tackle ISIL, and the importance of all countries working to tackle extremism and support to terrorist organisations. The Prime Minister welcomed the recent legislation passed in Qatar to prevent terrorist funding and looked forward to the swift implementation of these new measures. They also agreed that both countries should do more to share information on groups of concern.

Need one add that among the matters discussed by these world leaders was Qatar’s recent £20 billion investment in the U.K., and Cameron’s offer of British expertise in construction to assist the Emirate in building the 2022 World Cup events? Money talks, and in supine Western countries just coming out of a major recession, it talks very loudly. Al-Thani walked away from his meeting with Cameron covered in glory for his country’s supposed work to defeat Islamist terrorism worldwide.

Leaders of Western states threatened by jihadist advances are happy to sit down with the largest financiers of terrorism in the world, offer them help, take as much money as they can, and smile for the cameras. They then sell their publics for crumbs from oil-rich monarchs who watch, wreathed in smiles, as the West abases itself out of greed and a total lack of concern for the human rights issues that dog these sheikhdoms in almost everything they do. The Qataris have money, they have power and influence, and they have an abiding love for fundamentalist Islam. They know what they are doing and they wait for their day to come.

Denis MacEoin is a former lecturer in Arabic and Islamic Studies and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.


[1] Here is a short list of these payments: From FY2003 to FY2007, Congress authorized and appropriated $126 million for U.S. military construction activities in Qatar. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (P.L. 110-181) authorized $81.7 million in FY2008 spending to build new Air Force and Special Operations facilities in Qatar. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (P.L. 110-417) authorizes $69.6 million in FY2009 spending to build new Air Force and Special Operations facilities. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (P.L. 111-84) authorizes $117 million in FY2010 spending to build new Air Force recreational, dormitory, and other facilities at Al Udeid. The Administration’s FY2011 military construction request for Qatar was $64.3 million, for Air Force facilities and a National Security Agency warehouse. The FY2012 request includes $37 million to continue the dormitory and recreation facility project. See “Congress Appropriations and Authorizations”, in “Al-Udeid Air Base,” Wikipedia.

[2]Qatar says ready to pay ‘in full’ for US military presence: Amr Moussa,” Press TV, 1 December 2012 (accompanied by many condemnation of Qatar for doing so).

[3] For some details about its donations to the UK, see Robin Simcox, “A Degree of Influence“, London, The Centre for Social Cohesion, 2009.

[4] Joshua Muravchik, Making David into Goliath, New York, 2014, p. 49, citing David Korn.

[5] See also State of Qatar Ministry of Interior, “Ministries”.

Opening the Door to Muslim Dissidents

22 Nov 2014:

“When presidents say Islam is a religion of peace,” former George W. Bush advisor Elliot Abrams said at a forum on Monday, “the average American thinks this is crap.”

Presidents Bush and Obama both publicly declared Islam to be a religion of peace, which has struck a sour chord for many. Far better, Abrams said, for American leaders to ask, “Is there something in Islam that has led some Muslims to behave in a way that we consider to be terrible? And what’s the debate in Islam?” It is this last question that signals what may prove to be the most important weapon in the ever-escalating battle between the West and ISIS.

To date, American and Western leaders have preemptively shut down any debate within Islam by declaring that Islam is the religion of peace and that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. In so doing, Western governments have effectively shut the door on those Muslims who dare to dissent, who suggest reform rather than radicalism as the solution to Islam’s ills. The result is that the Islamists are running the show, from Iraq to Syria to Libya to Iran.

During the Cold War, U.S. support for Soviet and Eastern European dissidents was a decisive factor in breaking the Soviet Union’s grip over much of the world. In the 1960s and 1970s, American support came primarily from private groups and individuals. But President Reagan understood that support to dissidents could be decisive in the battle. If dissidents received moral and material support from the West, it would help to prove that Soviet domination was not inevitable and that the so-called Forces of History were in fact reversible. Thus, engaging in the war of ideas became a key component of the Reagan doctrine.

Today, no one has heard of the Muslim dissidents, the reformers. They certainly are not invited to the White House. That privilege is reserved for the heads of CAIR and ISNA and MAS.

To date, one man has helped to get the voices of dissidents heard. Stephen Ulph started his career studying terrorism. A Brit, he was a founder and former editor of Terrorism Security Monitor and editor and analyst for Islamic Affairs, published by Jane’s Information Group. But his fluency in various Middle Eastern languages eventually brought him into contact with some of the Middle East’s dissident voices. He understood their importance in the fight against terrorism, and it then became his mission to support them and bring their voices to a Western audience. He created the website http://www.almuslih.org, The Reformer, where he publishes their articles in both English and Arabic. Mr. Ulph brought a small group of reformers together in December 2012 in Rome, a meeting I had the privilege to attend. Most were familiar with each other’s work, but they had never met each other.

The voices within the reformist movement are wide-ranging. Some consider themselves devout Muslims who want to see their religion learn to live alongside other religions; others had left the faith but maintained pride in their Muslim-Arab heritage. The solutions they offered were also wide-ranging. The most prominent among the participants in Rome was Lafif Lakhdar, a French-Tunisian writer who died just a few months after the meeting. He argued that terrorism did not come out of a vacuum; it came out of the education, which glorified martyrdom. “We have to dismantle the martyrdom argument,” he said. Dr. Abd al-Khaliq Hussein, an Iraqi intellectual, argued against the “root-cause analysis” that has so pervaded U.S. counter-terrorism policy. He warned that the West’s courting of the Islamists defeats any efforts at reform and can lead only to totalitarianism.

These are the men and women who can answer Eliot Abrams’ question, “What is the debate in Islam?” On December 2, Stephen Ulph is bringing a handful of the Almuslih reformers to Washington for a one-day discussion, co-sponsored by the Westminster Institute, entitled Progressive Arab Voices on Islamic Reform. Perhaps some in Washington will understand the importance of U.S. support for dissident voices in the Muslim world and will want to hear what they have to say.

For more information on the conference, go to www.Almuslih.org.

Katie Gorka is the president of the Council on Global Security: @katharine gorka.

Secret Meeting: National Security Experts Devise Strategies to Combat Global Jihadist Movement

22 Nov 2014:

The Global Jihadist Movement (GJM) can no longer be ignored. Its ruthless ideology connects the most theocratic Islamist dictatorships with the Muslim Brotherhood in America. The GJM creates the link between the Islamic State’s barbarous acts and those of the Oklahoma City beheader and the New York City ax jihadi.

This week, a concerned group of national security experts–from the upper echelons of government to high-ranking intelligence community officials to Wall Street executives–have identified the Global Jihadist Movement as one of the chief threats to America, one that the Obama administration has incomprehensibly ignored.

Breitbart News was present at the closed-door meeting of national security professionals.

These experts met in Washington, D.C., and covered topics related to the GJM threat environment. They warned about the information war that jihadist groups are waging against America, while the United States remains largely without a strategy to fire back and defeat their ideology, akin to what was accomplished in toppling Communism and the USSR. They also discussed how economic warfare is being waged by terrorist groups and state-sponsors, who are focusing on undermining the American financial system and exploiting the devaluation of the dollar.

The discussion participants strategized on how to raise awareness and keep GJM-related issues alive in the conscience of lawmakers and the American public. They talked about the importance of educating members of Congress and the public about the perils of the Global Jihadist Movement.

Many in the group expressed doubts that the Republican establishment, which for now retains an iron-fisted grasp over Congress and dominates its leadership positions, would allow for the necessary changes to promote a more robust and effective foreign policy. Some also noted, however, that the newly enshrined members of Congress present an opportunity for new policies to enhance America’s standing in the world.

They discussed an assortment of strategies, such as creating more private and public entities to combat domestic and international enemies’ propaganda and information operations. Frustrated with waiting for the Washington bureaucracy to produce results, attendants of the secret meeting devised action plans to combat the threats to America through various means.

Edwin Mora contributed to this report.

The Motives Behind The November Rogers/Ruppersberger “House Intelligence Panel” Report On Benghazi…

benghazi4-e1351495805540 (1)By Sundance:

Those of you familiar with the Benghazi Brief will note the alignment and expectation of the Rogers/Ruppersberger report.  Their report is exactly as we anticipated it would be.

With a House Select Committee (Trey Gowdy) already in place, you might rightly ask yourself why did Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger even produce a report?  As you read their House Intelligence Panel Report on Benghazi it is important to note a few key aspects:

• Both Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger are members of the Congressional Gang of Eight.  They are the ONLY authors.

This is not a House Intelligence “Committee” report on Benghazi.  This is only two committee members writing a report based on prior information.

• Both Rogers and Ruppersberger would have been briefed on the CIA operations in Benghazi during 2011/2012 as the covert operation began.

• President Obama signed a finding memo in 2011 permitting Operation Zero Footprint to begin. The congressional “gang of eight” held oversight responsibilities.

• Rogers, Ruppersberger along with Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Saxby Chambliss and Diane Feinstein would have been notified of the presidential authorization. In 2011 they were the congressional Gang of Eight.  Their lack of oversight reflected a willful blindness to the operation.

• In addition to the covert Zero Footprint Operation, the Benghazi CIA annex served as a rendition site. [We find this out in 2013 from Paula Broadwell, who was the pillow-talk recipient of information from 2012 CIA Director General David Petraeus. Broadwell and Petraeus had an extramarital affair.]

The Rogers/Ruppersberger Report is specifically designed, by wording, to provide political cover to both parties – Republicans and Democrats within the Gang of Eight particularly  included, and protected.

It is professional obfuscation in structure, content and wording.

Read more at The Last Refuge

HOUSE INTEL COMMITTEE RELEASES BENGHAZI FINDINGS, SOME AT ODDS WITH PRIOR NEWS REPORTS

benghazi-radical-reutersBreitbart, By John Sexton, Nov. 21, 2014:

After a two-year investigation, the bipartisan House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released its report on Benghazi. The report contains a total of 17 findings, most of which focus on the behavior of the intelligence community. Some of the report’s findings are at odds with reporting by major news organizations, including Fox, CNN,and the NY Times.

The following list provides excerpts from all 17 findings. Refer to the full report for the complete text.

  1. There is no evidence of an intelligence failure. Prior to the Benghazi attacks, the CIA provided sufficient strategic warning of the deteriorating threat environment to U.S. decision-makers, including those at the State Department.
  2. CIA provided sufficient security personnel, resources, and equipment to defend against the known terrorist threat and to enable CIA operations in Benghazi.
  3. State Department security personnel, resources, and equipment were unable to counter the terrorist threat that day, and they required CIA assistance.
  4. The CIA was not collecting and shipping arms from Libya to Syria.
  5. A mixed group including members of al-Qa’ida in the lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), the Muhammad Jamal Network (MJN), Ansar Al-Sharia (AAS), and Abu Abaydah Ibn Jarah Battalion (UJB) participated in the attacks, along with Qadafi loyalists.
  6. Appropriate personnel on the ground in Benghazi made the decision to send CIA officers to rescue the State Department officers at the TMF.
  7. Although some security officers voiced a greater urgency to depart for the TMF, no officer at CIA was ever told to stand down.
  8. The decision to send CIA officers from Tripoli to Benghazi to rescue the Ambassador and bolster security of the U.S. personnel in Benghazi was a tactical decision appropriately made by the senior officers on the ground.
  9. The Tripoli team’s decision not to move to the hospital to retrieve Ambassador Stevens was based on the best intelligence at the time.
  10. The CIA received all military support that was available. Neither the CIA nor DOD denied requests for air support. One CIA security officer requested a Spectre gunship that he believed was available, but his commanding officer did not relay the request because he correctly knew the gunship was not available.
  11. Ambassador Rice’s September 16 public statements about the existence of a protest, as well as some of the underlying intelligence reports, turned out to be inaccurate.
  12. Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell made significant changes to the talking points.
  13. CIA’s Office of Public Affairs also made substantive changes to the talking points by removing the reference to “ties to al-Qa’ida” in the second bullet of the original draft.
  14. Overall, the CIA could have placed more weight on eyewitness sources on the ground and should have challenged its initial assessments about the existence of a protest earlier.
  15. CIA did not intimidate or prevent any officer from speaking to Congress or otherwise telling his story.
  16. There is no evidence that the CIA conducted any unusual polygraph exams related to Benghazi.
  17. While at times the agencies were slow to respond, ultimately the CIA, NCTC, FBI and other Executive Branch agencies fully cooperated with the Committee’s investigation.

Like the previous Senate report, the House Intel report does place blame with the State Dept. for not heeding the frequent, albeit non-specific, warnings issued by the CIA about the deteriorating security situation in Libya.

The House report does knock down several claims surrounding the response to the attack, including that the military could have done more to respond (finding #10). But many of the report’s findings are at odds with reports by large, credible news sources, includingFox News, CNN and the NY Times.

The report disputes that there was a delay in responding to the attack beyond what was required for CIA personnel to put on their gear (finding #7). That finding seems to be at odds with the statements of three men directly involved in the response, who told Fox News‘ Bret Baier that they were ready to go in five minutes and were explicitly told, “Stand down, you need to wait” by a supervisor they refer to as “Bob.”

The finding that no undue pressure, polygraphs, or NDA’s were used to silence CIA officers contradicts reporting by CNN. According to a CNN report dated August 1, “Since January, some CIA operatives involved in the agency’s missions in Libya have been subjected to frequent, even monthly polygraph examinations.”

With regard to finding #4, multiple reports from the NY Times alleged that the CIA was involved in organizing an arms pipeline to move weapons from Libya to Turkey and Syria. No one claimed the CIA was directly funding this pipeline, only that it was tacitly involved.

As for the talking points, the House report finds they were indeed wrong but faults the CIA for the error, saying they did not place enough value on eyewitness testimony (finding #14) or challenge their early findings soon enough. The report does not mention that a separate set of talking points prepared for Susan Rice by the White House told her to emphasize that the attack was not the result of the President’s foreign policy but of the internet video.

There remains some partisan disagreement confined to the appendices of the report. The majority staff faults the State Department for the security failure and faults the Obama administration for downplaying the apparent al Qaeda connections and emphasizing the spontaneous, video-caused attack to back up their campaign year claim al Qaeda was decimated. The minority disputes these assertions, even once again making the claim that the President called the attack an act of terror the following day.

Another GTMO Detainee/Former al Qaeda Member, Released

Originally posted on Fortuna's Corner:

Detainee Transfer Announced

11/22/2014 05:04 AM CST

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. NR-588-14
November 22, 2014

Detainee Transfer Announced

The Department of Defense announced today the transfer of Muhammed Murdi Issa Al-Zahrani from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the Government of Saudi Arabia.

On Oct. 3, a Periodic Review Board consisting of representatives from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and State; the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence determined continued law of war detention of Al-Zahrani does not remain necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States. As a result of that review, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, Al-Zahrani was recommended for transfer by consensus of the six departments and agencies comprising the Periodic Review Board.

“In the past two weeks, the Department of Defense has transferred seven detainees. These…

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THE JIHADIST THREAT ON THE SOUTHERN BORDER

border-partrolTerror Trends Bulletin, by Christopher Holton, Nov. 21, 2014:

With so many Jihadist threats metastasizing around the world, it’s getting tough to keep track. There are more Jihadists fighting in more countries than ever before. Here are just a few examples:

  • The Islamic State
  • HAMAS/Islamic Jihad in Israel
  • Boko Haram in west Africa
  • Al Shabaab in east Africa
  • Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
  • Al Qaeda on the Indian Subcontinent
  • The Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan
  • Lashkar e Taiba in India and Pakistan
  • Hezbollah in Lebanon
  • Jemaah Islamiyah in Malaysia and Indonesia
  • Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB)
  • Ansar al Sharia in Libya
  • Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines

Not long ago, America’s attention was focused on our porous southern border when thousands of unaccompanied minors were flooding across at an orchestrated invitation signaled by President Obama. That story seems to have been largely forgotten, except by people in border states.

Now, however, with President Obama’s unilateral executive action on illegal immigration, the border will likely come back into focus.

When the Mexican border was the top of the news, it served as a reminder that our southern border is almost completely unsecure. And there have been some reminders mixed in about the potential for a terrorist threat from south of the border, such as James O’Keefe of Project Veritas wading across the Rio Grande dressed like Osama Bin Laden.

But the Jihadist threat from south of the border is not new. It has been discussed since before 9/11. The Jihadist threat on the southern border is real and it is multifaceted.

Adolfo Aguilar Zinser

Adolfo Aguilar Zinser

 For instance in May 2001, former Mexican National security adviser and ambassador to the United Nations, Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, reported, that ‘Islamic terrorist groups are using Mexico as a refuge.’

There is no way to estimate how many jihadists may already have crossed into the U.S. from Mexico. But the time to play politics with the border issue is long past. The shallow sloganeering and race-baiting that have dominated the national debate about border controls should be recognized as what they are: hindrances to sane and sensible national defense measures.

Read more

Also see:

Leading Republican wants Senate to join House probe of Benghazi attack

Sept. 11, 2012: A protester reacts as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames. (Reuters)

Sept. 11, 2012: A protester reacts as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames. (Reuters)

By Catherine Herridge, Pamela Browne:

A leading Republican wants to expand the House investigation into the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack by adding a Senate probe, as a new House Intelligence Committee report Friday concluded that the initial CIA assessment found no demonstrations prior to the assault and a primary purpose of the CIA operation in eastern Libya was to track the movement of weapons to Syria.

The report described the attack as “complex” with the attackers affiliated with Al Qaeda. It also said the initial CIA assessment concluded there were no demonstrations outside the State Department Consulate in Eastern Libya.

Referring to the House Select committee Chairman, and the Democratic ranking member, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, said the current House investigation should be expanded.

“(Republican) Trey Gowdy and (Democrat) Elijah Cummings have done a good job,” he said. “I can’t imagine the U.S. Senate not wanting to be a part of a joint select committee. We’ll bootstrap to what you’ve done, but we want to be part of discussion,” Graham told Fox News. “What I would suggest to (incoming Senate majority leader) Mitch McConnell is to call up Speaker Boehner and say ‘Listen, we want to be part of this’.”

Graham, along with his two Republican colleagues, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, have been outspoken advocates of a special investigation, because they say then-acting director of the CIA Mike Morell misled them about his role in crafting the so-called media talking points that blamed an opportunistic protest gone awry for the assault.

“Number one, Mike Morrell misled three senators,” Graham said of their November 2012 meeting on Capitol Hill, where Morell accompanied then UN Ambassador Susan Rice to explain her flawed explanation on national television five days after the attack.

“I think it’s important that for future CIA personnel to understand, that if you come to Congress and you’re asked a question and you give a deceptive answer, you tell half the story, not the entire story, you play word games, it will follow you and will be unacceptable,” Graham said.

On Friday, with little fanfare, the House Intelligence Committee released the findings of its two year, bi-partisan investigation into the terrorist attack. The 37 page report found that the first, internal CIA assessment was accurate — that no protests were involved — but then-CIA Director David Petraeus, Morell and the administration latched onto information that supported the flawed demonstration scenario.

Fox News was first to report on September 17, 2012, one day after Rice’s controversial Sunday talk show appearances, that there were no protests when the attack unfolded.

“One day after the assault, on 9/12/12, the first CIA assessment about the attacks, a September 12th Executive update, said ‘the presence of armed assailants from the incident’s outset suggests this was an intentional assault and not the escalation of a peaceful protest,” investigators found.  And while intelligence gaps remain, “No witness has reported believing at any point that the attacks were anything but terrorist acts,” the report added.

On Saturday September 14, 2012, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes wrote in an email titled “PREP CALL with Susan,” that one of the goals for the administration’s public statements should be “To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”  The House report says these conclusions were “incorrect.”

Judicial Watch, not Congress, obtained the Rhodes email as the result of a federal lawsuit.

The Obama White House did not move away from the protest explanation for the attack that killed four Americans – Ambassador Chris Stevens, State Department Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, and former Navy Seals and CIA contractors Ty Woods and Glenn Doherty – until September 20, when then White House Spokesman Jay Carney told reporters ‘It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack,” and the State Department did the same much later.

The report found the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs made three “substantive” changes to the talking points that included the removal of references to Al Qaeda and swapping the word “attacks” with “demonstrations.”  It is not clear from the publicly available, and heavily redacted emails exactly who made the changes and who directed them, since the CIA public affairs office would be unlikely to make these changes unilaterally.

When Morell retired from the CIA last year, he told The Wall Street Journal he hoped to advise a presidential campaign, with anonymous sources telling the paper Morell was close to HillaryClinton. Morell now works as a counselor at Beacon Global Strategies, a Washington D.C. firm closely aligned with the former secretary of State. He is also a national security analyst for CBS News. The President of CBS News is David Rhodes, the brother of Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes.

An appendix filed by Democrats did not find evidence of “political motivations,” and Morell is praised for testifying “freely and openly” about the process.  Four Republicans, including chairman Mike Rogers, concluded “Mr. Morell operated beyond his role as CIA Deputy Director and inserted himself into a policy making and public affairs role….It is simply unfathomable that the White House’s policy preferences, or the concerns of the State Department senior officials, did not factor into his calculation about what was fair.  For these reasons, we believe that Mr. Morell’s testimony was at time inconsistent and incomplete.”

The House report leaves no doubt that the attack drew heavily on “those affiliated with al-Qai’da,”  including AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb), AAS (Ansar al-sharia), AQAP (Al Qaeda in Yemen), AQI (Al Qaeda in Iraq) as well as the Egypt based Jamal Network.  As Fox News was first to report, and the committee investigation affirms, at least two long time Al Qaeda operatives, Faraj al-Chalabi, and former Guantanamo detainee Sufian bin Qumu, were significant players in the assault.

Read more at Fox News

Also see:

Reporters Mock State Dept for Downplaying Benghazi Terrorists Link to Al Qaeda


November 21, 2014 

Reporters poked fun at State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke on Friday as he tried to elaborate on the Obama administrations stance on the recent UN report linking Ansar al-Sharia to Al Qaeda.

“These groups are associated with Al Qaeda in Maghreb,” Rathke said, “but they are not arms of core Al Qaeda.

Ansar al-Sharia is said to be responsible for the 2012 Benghazi attacks on the U.S. consulate in which four Americans were killed.

Reporters gave Rathke some terms that they deemed more fitting, including, “Al Qaeda light”, “the jayvee team”, and a subsidiary of McDonald’s.

AQAP rejects Islamic State’s ‘caliphate,’ blasts group for sowing dissent among jihadists

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 9.36.48 AM-thumb-560x312-4579By

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), an official branch of al Qaeda, has released a video rejecting the Islamic State’s announced caliphate and chastising the group for sowing discord among jihadists.

The newly-released video stars Harith bin Ghazi al Nadhari, a senior AQAP sharia official, who responds directly to a Nov. 13 speech made by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State. The video is titled, “A Statement about What was Contained in the Speech of Sheikh Abu Bakr al Baghdadi ‘Even If the Disbelievers Despise Such’,” and was first translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

In addition to rebuking Baghdadi and the Islamic State, Nadhari also renews AQAP’s bayat (oath of allegiance) to al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri, and affirms Zawahiri’s oath to Taliban chieftain Mullah Omar. Nadhari says “it is known” that al Qaeda “has had a pledge of allegiance to Mullah Omar…for nearly twenty years.”

Al Qaeda has previously countered Baghdadi’s claim to rule as “Caliph Ibrahim I” by implying that Omar is the rightful caliph and, unlike Baghdadi, has the broad support of recognized jihadist authorities.

Nadhari begins by saying that AQAP “did not want to talk about the current dispute and the fitna [sedition]” in Syria given that the jihadists are in a “sensitive stage in which the enemies of Islam” have “gathered together to fight” the entire Islamic ummah [worldwide community of Muslims].

“This war was and still is a Crusader war against all the honest mujahideen,” Nadhari says, according to SITE’s translation. “We took the position incumbent upon us to support our brothers with what we can, and we still hold to that position, as we believe in the necessity to support our mujahideen brothers, including all of their groups and entities, regardless of their inclinations.”

However, according to Nadhari, the Islamic State has made it impossible to remain silent.

Read more at Long War Journal

The Good Muslim Terrorist

79093089_79093088-446x350by Daniel Greenfield:

There are no Palestinians. There are no moderate Syrian rebels. There is only Islam.

The axe that fell on the head of a Rabbi in Jerusalem was held by the same hand that beheaded Yazidi men in the new Islamic State. It is the same hand that held the steering wheel of the car that ran over two Canadian soldiers in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec and the same hand that smashed a hatchet down on the skull of a rookie New York City cop in Queens all in a matter of months.

Their victims were of different races and spoke different languages. They had nothing in common except that they were non-Muslims. This is the terrible commonality that unites the victims of Islamic terror.

Either they are not Muslim. Or they are not Muslim enough for their killers.

The media shows us the trees. It does not show us the forest. It fragments every story into a thousand local narratives. In Jerusalem the killers were angry because of Jews praying on the Temple Mount. In Queens and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, they were outraged because we were bombing the Islamic State.

And in the Islamic State they were killing Christians and Yazidis because America hadn’t bombed them yet.

Our leaders and our experts, the wise men of our multicultural tribes, who huddle in their shiny suits around heavy tables, believe in the good Muslim terrorist the way that the Muslim believes in Allah. The good Muslim terrorist who is willing to make peace for the right price is their only hope of salvation. The good Muslim terrorist willing to settle for Palestine or Syria at 50 percent off is their way out of a war.

And so like Chamberlain at Munich and FDR at Yalta, like a thousand tawdry betrayals before, they make themselves believe it. And then they make us believe it.

A thousand foreign policy experts are dug out, suited up and marched into studios to explain what specific set of un-Islamic Muslim grievances caused this latest beheading and how the surviving non-Muslims need to appease their future killers. And then another tree falls. And another head rolls.

The appeasement never works. No non-Muslim country has ever reliably made peace with Muslim terrorists inside its own borders. Even the Muslim countries have a shaky track record. Most have settled for either massacring them, like Algeria and Jordan, or secretly allying with them, like just about every Muslim country from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia.

And yet Nigeria is expected to cut a deal with the Boko Haram rapists of its little girls, Israel is expected to negotiate with the mass murderers of its Rabbis, Hindus in India are expected to negotiate with the Jihadists who burn them alive and somehow arrive at a peaceful settlement. And if the peace doesn’t come, then it won’t be the fault of the rapists, the axe-wielders and arsonists, but of their victims.

It is never the Muslim terrorists who are at fault for not being appeased by any compromise and any concession. It is the fault of their victims for not appeasing them hard enough.

Read more at Frontpage

Responding to the Slaughter

635518979796654817-GTY-459169342-450x337By Caroline Glick:

What we are seeing in Jerusalem today is not simply Palestinian terrorism. It is Islamic jihad. No one likes to admit it. The television reporters insist that this is the worst possible scenario because there is no way to placate it.

There is no way to reason with it.

So what else is new? The horrible truth is that all of the anti-Jewish slaughters perpetrated by our Arab neighbors have been motivated to greater or lesser degrees by Islamic Jew-hatred. The only difference between the past hundred years and now is that today our appeasement-oriented elite is finding it harder to pretend away the obvious fact that we cannot placate our enemies.

No “provocation” by Jews drove two Jerusalem Arabs to pick up meat cleavers and a rifle and slaughter rabbis in worship like sheep and then mutilate their bodies.

No “frustration” with a “lack of progress” in the “peace process,” can motivate people to run over Jewish babies or attempt to assassinate a Jewish civil rights activist.

The reason that these terrorists have decided to kill Jews is that they take offense at the fact that in Israel, Jews are free. They take offense because all their lives they have been taught that Jews should live at their mercy, or die by their sword.

They do so because they believe, as former Jordanian MP Ya’qub Qarash said on Palestinian television last week, that Christians and Muslims should work together to forbid the presence of Jews in “Palestine” and guarantee that “not a single Jew will remain in Jerusalem.”

Our neighbors are taught that Muhammad, the founder of Islam, signed the treaty of Hudaybiyah in 628 as a ploy to buy time during which he would change the balance of power between his army and the Jews of Kuraish. And 10 years later, once his army gained the upper hand, he annihilated the Jews.

Throughout the 130-year history of modern Zionism, Islamic Jew-hatred has been restrained by two forces: the desire of many Arabs to live at peace with their Jewish neighbors; and the ability of Israeli authorities and before them, British authorities, to deter the local Arab Muslims from attacking.

The monopoly on Arab Muslim leadership has always belonged to the intolerant bigots. Support for coexistence has always been the choice of individuals.

Haj Amin el-Husseini’s first act as the founder of the Palestinian Arab identity was to translate The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and serialize them in the local press.

During the Arab jihad of 1936-1939, Husseini’s gangs of murderers killed more Arabs than the British did. He targeted those who sought peaceful coexistence with the Jews.

His successor Yasser Arafat followed his example.

During the 1988-1991 Palestinian uprising, the PLO killed more Palestinians than the IDF did. Like Husseini, Arafat targeted Palestinians who worked with Israel.

Since Israel imprudently embraced Arafat and the PLO in 1993 and permitted them to govern the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and exert direct influence and coercive power over the Arabs of Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority’s governing institutions have used all the tools at their disposal to silence those who support peaceful coexistence with Israel, and indoctrinate the general public in Islamic and racial Jew-hatred.

Much has been made of the recent spike in incitement of violence by Palestinian leaders led by Arafat’s successor Mahmoud Abbas. But the flames Abbas and his comrades are throwing would not cause such conflagrations if they hadn’t already indoctrinated their audience to desire the destruction of the Jews.

You cannot solicit murder among those who haven’t been taught that committing murder is an act of heroism.

Today Israel must take swift, effective action to stop the slaughter. The damage that has been done to the psyches of the Arabs of Jerusalem and their brethren in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, cannot be repaired in a timeline relevant to the task of preventing the next massacre.

Read more at Frontpage