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.

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Also see:

Raymond Ibrahim on TruNews with Rick Wiles

ibrahimbook_s640x427Raymond Ibrahim:

Last week I was interviewed by Rick Wiles on TruNews. Topics dealt with the Islamic State, Christian persecution, and the Obama administration. The interview can be heard below; it starts around the 9:30 mark:

Free Fire Zone: No Moral Equivalence

Palestinians slaughter innocent Israelis and our President feels the need to tell both sides to “lower tensions and reject violence” He needs a lesson in the difference between terrorism and self defense.

6 Failed Policies Obama and the State Department Won’t Stop Pushing

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By Robert Spencer:

Presidents come and presidents go, but the State Department’s foreign policy establishment is forever. And no matter how many times its remedies fail to heal problems (and usually cause worse ones), it keeps on applying them, without an ounce of self-reflection. And in Barack Obama, the lifers at State have a president after their own heart – one whose vision of the world coincides exactly with theirs, and who takes their recommendations without question and fronts for them eagerly, no matter how often and how abysmally they have failed.

Here are six policies that have failed miserably again and again, and yet are still front and center in the Obama administration’s foreign policy planning:

6. Supporting the Afghan regime

The corrupt and treacherous [2] kleptocrat Hamid Karzai is gone, but his legacy lives on. The new president, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, is almost certainly still receiving those bags of cash from the CIA [3], and the new regime shows no more interest in accountability than Karzai did. It was revealed Thursday [4]that

nearly $420 million in weapons and other “sensitive items” have gone missing from U.S. Army bases in Afghanistan and are not likely to be recovered due to mismanagement and improper accounting, according to an internal report by the Pentagon’s inspector general obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

These include “some 15,600 pieces of equipment—including ‘weapons, weapons systems, and sensitive items,’” which “went missing in the past year from Army facilities in Bagram and Kandahar, accounting for around $419.5 million in losses, according to the report, which was issued in late October and marked ‘for official use only.’”

Will this slow down the flow of money and materiel to the Afghan regime? Don’t be silly. Despite the regime’s corruption, unwillingness to do anything to curb green-on-blue attacks, and inability to stop the Taliban, this won’t even be a speed bump.

Yet Obama and the State Department have never explained exactly what benefits to the United States will accrue from the massive expenditure and loss of American life in Afghanistan – they know the mainstream media and the Stupid Party will not call them on it, so why bother?

5. Fighting terrorism with money

Late in 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkish then-Foreign Minister and current Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu launched what they called the “Global Fund for Community Engagement and Resilience,” which CNSNews.com said was intended to “support local communities and organizations to counter extremist ideology and promote tolerance.” It would do this essentially by giving potential jihad terrorists money and jobs – an initiative that proceeds from the false and oft-disproven assumption that poverty causes terrorism.

Kerry demonstrated his faith in this false assumption when he spoke about the importance of “providing more economic opportunities for marginalized youth at risk of recruitment” into jihad groups. The GCTF is devoting $200 million to this project, which it calls “countering violent extremism” (CVE).

Kerry explained:

Getting this right isn’t just about taking terrorists off the street. It’s about providing more economic opportunities for marginalized youth at risk of recruitment. In country after country, you look at the demographics – Egypt, the West Bank – 60 percent of the young people either under the age of 30 or under the age of 25, 50 percent under the age of 21, 40 percent under the age of 18, all of them wanting jobs, opportunity, education, and a future.

This will be $200 million down the drain, for a lack of “economic opportunities for marginalized youth” doesn’t fuel Islamic jihad terrorism in the first place. In reality, study after study have shown that jihadists are not poor and bereft of economic opportunities, but generally wealthier and better educated than their peers. CNS noted that “according to a Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009, ‘Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.’ One of the authors of the RAND report, Darcy Noricks, also found that according to a number of academic studies, ‘Terrorists turn out to be more rather than less educated than the general population.’”

But none of this has sunk in among the political elites.

4. Working to topple Assad

Barack Obama has long had Bashar Assad in his sights, but has been stymied by the fact that the only significant opposition to the Assad regime are Islamic jihad groups. Now, however, he thinks he has found a way to square the circle: remove Assad, and the jihadis’ raison d’etre will be gone.

CNN [7] reported Thursday that Obama “has asked his national security team for another review of the U.S. policy toward Syria after realizing that ISIS may not be defeated without a political transition in Syria and the removal of President Bashar al-Assad.”

Alistair Baskey, spokesman for the National Security Council, explained: “Assad has been the biggest magnet for extremism in Syria, and the President has made clear that Assad has lost all legitimacy to govern.”

The fact that this is even being considered shows that Obama doesn’t take seriously the Islamic State’s proclamations that it is a new caliphate that is going to keep on trying to expand. He thinks they’re just fighting to get Assad removed, and so if he obliges them, they will melt away.

But who does he think will replace Assad? Does he seriously think he can find someone who can immediately marshal enough support to be able to withstand the Islamic State? If he picks an Alawite, the ruler will have the same problems Assad does. If he picks a Sunni, the Islamic State leaders will say he is an apostate puppet of the Westerners, and fight on. Meanwhile, the disruption in Syria will give an opportunity to the Islamic State, which will be the force best situated to take advantage of a power vacuum in Syria.

So what Obama is saying is that to defeat the Islamic State, we have to let the Islamic State win. And you can see his point — at least then it will be out of the headlines and he won’t have to be constantly hearing about it. Or so he thinks.

 

3. Arming the “moderates”

Alistair Baskey also said Thursday that “alongside our efforts to isolate and sanction the Assad regime, we are working with our allies to strengthen the moderate opposition.” Who are the moderates in Syria? In September 2014, Obama said [8]: “We have a Free Syrian Army and a moderate opposition that we have steadily been working with that we have vetted.”

That was over a year after Free Syrian Army fighters entered the Christian village of Oum Sharshouh [9] in July 2013 and began burning down houses and terrorizing the population, forcing 250 Christian families to flee the area. Worthy News reported [10] that just two days later, Free Syrian Army rebels “targeted the residents of al-Duwayr/Douar, a Christian village close to the city of Homs and near Syria’s border with Lebanon….Around 350 armed militants forcefully entered the homes of Christian families who were all rounded-up in the main square of the village and then summarily executed.” And in September 2013, a day after Secretary of State John Kerry praised the Free Syrian Army as “a real moderate opposition,” the FSA took to the Internet [11]to post videos of its attack on the ancient Syrian Christian city of Maaloula, one of the few places where Aramaic, the language of Jesus, is still spoken.

Even after all that, Obama was calling them “moderates.”

Read more at PJ Media with videos

More Beheadings, More Denial

67035_54_news_hub_60072_588x448-450x342Frontpage, by Robert Spencer:

All you have to do is change the name of the victim, and this could be a story from August, or September, or October: the Islamic State has beheaded yet another hostage, this time Peter Kassig, aka Abdul-Rahman Kassig, and Barack Obama has declared yet again that the beheading has nothing to do with Islam. Obama might as well have a form ready for the next jihad beheading or mass murder attack: all he will have to do is fill in the blank and then take to the airwaves to say that the latest bloodshed has nothing to do with Islam. If the victims are British, he can lend his form to David Cameron.

But all this repeating of the political elites’ “Islam is peace” meme will never make it so. And the constant repetition of this falsehood is doing nothing less than endangering Americans. It keeps people ignorant who might otherwise get a clear idea of the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat. It fosters complacency. It makes all too many Americans assume that this kind of behavior is restricted to the “extremists” of the Islamic State, and could never happen here.

It could happen here. It could happen anywhere that people read the phrase “when you meet the unbelievers, strike the necks” (Qur’an 47:4) as if it were a command of the Creator of the Universe. But to point out that simple and obvious fact nowadays only brings down upon one’s head charges of “hatred” and of “demonizing all Muslims,” when in a sane society it would bring honest explanations from Muslims of good will of what they were doing to ensure that no Muslim ever acted on that verse’s literal meaning.

In reality, they’re doing nothing. No Muslim organization, mosque or school in the United States has any program to teach young Muslims and converts to Islam why they should avoid and reject on Islamic grounds the vision of Islam – and of unbelievers – that the Islamic State and other jihad groups offer them. This is extremely strange, given the fact that all the Muslim organizations, mosques and schools in the United States ostensibly reject this understanding of Islam. And even stranger is that no American authorities seem to have noticed the absence of such initiatives, much less dared to call out Muslim groups about this.

On the contrary, instead of calling on Muslim groups to take some action to prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future, Obama’s latest denial was even more strenuous in its dissociation of the beheading from Islam: “ISIL’s actions represent no faith, least of all the Muslim faith which Abdul-Rahman adopted as his own.”

“Least of all”! As if it were possible that the Islamic State’s actions represented Buddhism, or Methodism, or Christian Science, or the Hardshell Baptists, or the Mandaeans, to greater or lesser degrees, but the most far-fetched association one could make, out of all the myriad faiths people hold throughout the world, would be to associate the Islamic State’s actions with…Islam. The Islamic State’s actions represent no faith, least of all Islam – as if it were more likely that the Islamic State were made up of Presbyterians or Lubavitcher Hasidim or Jains or Smartas than that it were made up of Muslims.

Why do not just some, but all of the political leaders in Western countries cling to this outlandish fiction? Because reality indicts them. Not only do they insist that Islam is a religion of peace despite an ever-growing mountain of evidence to the contrary; they have made that falsehood a cornerstone of numerous policies. They have encouraged mass immigration and refugee resettlement from Muslim countries, without even making an attempt to determine whether or not any of the people they were importing had any connections to or sympathies with jihad groups. Their governments have for years partnered with and collaborated with groups with proven ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. They have favored and aided the Brotherhood and groups like it to attain power in the Middle East and North Africa, deeming them “moderate” because they claimed to eschew violence, and blithely ignoring that their goals were the same as those of groups such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

If Barack Obama or David Cameron admitted that Islam was not a religion of peace, all these disastrous policies and others would be called into question. Cameron’s government might, quite deservedly, fall, and Obama’s would be crippled.

However, the primary reason why Obama and his cohorts continue to stand athwart the pile of beheaded bodies shouting that Islam is a religion of peace is because if they didn’t, the mainstream media – following its own policies as delineated by the Society of Professional Journalists – would immediately denounce them as “racists,” “bigots,” and “Islamophobes,” and their career not just as politicians but as respectable people would be over. It’s not that bad, you say? Just look at how the sharks are circling Bill Maher and tell me that.

Nonetheless, the Big Lie, however ascendant it may be today, is foredoomed. The fact that it is repeated, and must be repeated, so often is evidence of that. No one has to run around insisting that Christianity is a religion of peace, because Christian leaders are reacting to the escalating Muslim persecution of their brethren by opening up their churches to Muslim prayer and muting their criticism of that persecution out of deference to their Muslim “dialogue” partners. If anything says “religion of peace,” it’s Christians forcibly ejecting a Christian woman from a Christian cathedral for proclaiming Christ, so that Muslims could deny him there.

“Religion of abject surrender” might be more apt, but in any case, no one thinks contemporary Christianity is a religion of war. All too many Muslims worldwide, however, energetically go about illustrating every day that Islam is not a religion of peace, and so they keep Obama’s printer busy turning out denial forms, ready for him to fill in the blanks with the name of the next victim: “The murder of _________ has nothing whatsoever to do with the great religion of Islam…”

But this is a counsel of despair. The truth will get out; indeed, it is already abundantly out. We can only hope that not too many more will have to feel the blade at their necks before Obama and the rest can no longer avoid taking realistic and effective action.

***

Don’t miss Dawn Perlmutter on the Glazov Gang discussing Why ISIS Beheads:

Completely Recasting U.S. National Security Policy For Dealing With Islamic Jihad

06listeningpost-5-jumboRight Side News, by Col. Tom Snodgrass (Ret.) Nov. 17, 2014:

Confusion Due To Faulty Assumptions

Consider the assumptions that underlie the current U.S. National Security Policy toward the Middle East and the wider Islamic world:

1. The Westphalian nation-state concept imposed on the Middle East by the Sykes-Picot Agreement in the aftermath of World War I is still an operative approach to partition peoples and territories into political entities, while ignoring the reality of the culture and history of religious, tribal, and geographical divisions.

2. The Sykes-Picot creation of the state of Iraq can function viably with a combined Shia-Sunni-Kurd government, while the similarly created state of Syria will also be viable with a combination Alawite-Sunni-Shia-Kurd polity functioning together.

3. The territorial sovereignty represented by the Iraq-Syrian border is still valid.

4. The U.S. can maintain simultaneous, balanced, effective alliances with Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, and the various regional minor sects like Alawites.

5. The Khomeinist-Shia mullah government will negotiate discontinuation of their nuclear weapons development program and additionally will serve as a U.S. partner in maintaining political stability in the area of the Persian Gulf.

6. The Saudi, Egyptian, and Gulf Arab Sunnis will compliantly acquiesce to the new U.S.- Khomeinist-Shia Iranian alliance.

7. The absence of a two state Israel-Palestine solution is the driving force of Middle East instability, and it is the Israelis that are responsible for the impasse.

8. Turkey is a secular ally and is not pursuing a Sunni Islamist agenda.

9. Islamic jihad is not a politico-theocratic, imperialistic doctrine that is the organizing principle of Islam as mandated in the Quran, the Hadith, the Sira, and the Sharia and that those Muslims engaged in jihad are merely an isolated fringe.

The Reality

1. The nation-states created by Sykes-Picot have never functioned as intended and instead have been just geographical cauldrons for life-and-death, religious-tribal warfare for the political power to exploit religious-tribal enemies.

2. The reality of #1 above has been violently the case in Iraq and Syria where tribal-sectarian warfare has been what has masqueraded as “national politics” since their foundings.

3. The Sunni Islamic State has forever erased the Sykes-Picot political boundary between Iraq and Syria restoring cultural-historical, religious-tribal territorial hegemonies.

4. The Islamic world is on the brink of a total sectarian Sunni-Shia war for leadership of the Islamic jihad movement. The U.S. would be insane to get involved on one side or the other because the U.S. loses regardless which sectarians prevail.

5. It defies all sensibility to honestly believe that, after the Khomeinist-Shia mullah government of Iran has sacrificed so much national wealth and endured economically debilitating international sanctions, they will forego acquiring the nuclear means to their Khomeinist-Shia jihadist goals, as well as to regional hegemony over neighboring Sunnis.

6. With the Islamic world is on the brink of a total sectarian Sunni-Shia war and the Iranian mullahs on the verge of becoming a nuclear power, the Saudi, Egyptian, and Gulf Arab Sunnis will not hesitate to follow courses of action that are sectarian-religious and tribal motivated, which inevitably will be at cross purposes with U.S. interests.

7. A two state Israel-Palestine solution can never be achieved because it is written in the Islamic Sharia that once a territory is ruled by Sharia law (as Israel was under the Ottomans), it can never again be under the domination of non-Muslims. Therefore according to Sharia, it is obligatory that Muslims fight jihadist war until the territory is once again under Islamic control (such is the essence of the Hamas founding-purpose charter).

8. The Ataturk secularization of Turkey has failed, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (“AKP” in Turkish) have been slowly and deceptively introducing a Sunni Islamist political agenda piecemeal, while changing the Turks’ orientation from secular to Sunni Islamist. The Turks are no longer the reliable Cold War allies they once were.

9. Mohammad clearly stated to Muslims and is quoted in Islamic scripture: “I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and they establish prayer and pay zakat [which is charity only for fellow Muslims, and/or funding for jihad].”  The first part of this condition is the Shahada, or profession of faith in Islam that a non-Muslim must say in converting to Islam. Furthermore, it is clear that violence is sanctioned until the victims embrace Muhammad’s religion. Mohammad was not addressing “the fringe.” He was establishing the overriding dictum for all Muslims to follow.

Change Required

It is small wonder why the Obama Regime’s National Security Policy is in total disarray. The assumptions undergirding it have no relationships with reality. Were the Obama regime to change its assumptions, how could it recast the National Security Policy?

First, it is necessary to recognize that Iraq is already lost influence-wise to Iran. When Obama pulled U.S. troops out in 2011, Iran moved in and we will never again have the influence in Iraq that we had in 2011 (such as it was). That fact is not going to change as long as the Khomeinist-Shia mullah government rules Tehran, and Baghdad and Damascus by proxy. Therefore, we should not live in a fantasyland that “2011 Iraq” can or even should be recreated.

The purpose of President Bush’s war to democratize and nation-build an American ally in the middle of “Jihadistan” was very misguided, but the limited, tenuous ascendancy over the various Islamic forces in Iraq he gained with “the surge” and “Anbar Awakening” was lost when Obama forfeited Iraq to Iran by complete withdrawal of US forces, absolutely removing our political influence/power in Iraq. In Jihadistan, only force commands political power/influence.

Obama is truly a fool not to understand that fact of life in dealing with international affairs. Mao’s dictum that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” applies in day-to-day politics throughout the world with the current exceptions of the U.S., Western & parts of Central Europe, Australia, and Japan (and some other isolated polities around the world)! Any fool who denies the veracity of the Maoist political power dictum has no business being in charge of the fate of this nation! The Obama-variety utopian foolishness has prevailed in various forms in Democrat Party foreign policy since the McGovernites captured the Democrat Party in 1972.

A policy that would be in accord with reality would be to withdraw everything but U.S. diplomatic presence, along with the military force to protect it and to evacuate it, from Iraq. Let the Iranians have the lead in fighting the Islamic State, just as the Iranian mullahs have demanded. When the U.S. attacks the Islamic State, it is foolishly entering into the Salafist-Sunni/ Khomeinist-Shia religious-sectarian war. Taking military actions that would benefit Iran by removing the threat of the Islamic State from them makes no sense from the standpoint of U.S. national interests.

Another factor to consider in recasting policy is that the Islamic State is an existential threat to the House of Saud, which it wants to overthrow and replace as the true Salafist guardians of Mecca and Medina. The Islamic State’s physical presence on the borders of Iran and Saudi Arabia poses an existential threat to both regimes. If we remove ourselves as a buffer, they will both be forced to contend with the Islamic State for their own national security reasons.

We should encourage our three enemies — Iran/Islamic State/House of Saud (make no mistake, the Saudis are our covert Wahabbi enemies funding jihadist mosques throughout the world) — to war against each other and expend their resources in the fight. All three are more immediate threats to each other than the Islamic State is to us because of physical proximity. The three cannot coexist bordering each other, and they will have to deal with their immediate enemies before they can effectively concentrate jihad against us.

Once the latest Sunni-Shia battle reaches its conclusion, we should be mentally and physically prepared to fight and destroy the winner, when they emerge as a credible threat, which they will. In the meantime, we should invest in building Kurdistan into an independent, militarily capable separate nation-state that could be “our base of operations” for future activities in Jihadistan. Kurdistan could also serve as a safe-haven for Christians and other persecuted minorities that the Islamic State and the Khomeinist-Shiites target. Also, should the Sunni-Shia sectarian war force U.S. nationals to be evacuated from Iraq, Kurdistan could fulfill the role of first stage evacuation destination and way-station.

The Central Principle Guiding All Policy Changes

We have no “friends” in Syria, Iraq, or Jihadistan in general with the exception of the Israelis and Kurds. The current fighting in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon is a Salafist-Sunni/ Khomeinist-Shia religious-sectarian war — we don’t win regardless which sect prevails. So, we should stay out of it. Our immediate national counter-jihad priorities regarding the Islamic State, Iran, and the entire Jihadistan should be:

  • Aiding our Israeli-Kurdish allies protect themselves
  • Providing humanitarian assistance/protection to religious and racial minorities persecuted by the Salafist-Sunni and Khomeinist-Shia jihadists
  • Preparing to counter either Salafist-Sunni or Khomeinist-Shia jihadists when they expand their operations beyond Jihadistan into Europe and the U.S.
  • Closing our borders and improving our visa/immigration administration, while cancelling further Muslim immigration into the U.S.
  • Increasing our national efforts to become carbon energy independent

Conclusion

Aside, from the great power, geopolitical competition emanating from Russia and China, we must acknowledge that the current international disarray in the world stems from Islamic jihad. Whether the terror and death is committed by jihadist “lone wolves,” the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, al-Nusra, Muslim Brotherhood, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, Taliban, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, Hezbollah, or al-Quds Force, to name a few of the more well-known Islamic terror organizations, there is no denying that the genesis of the terror is the Quran, be it a Sunni or Shiite putting the Quranic murder mandates into practice. All U.S. National Security Policy decisions must be made with that undeniable fact as a primary consideration.

Col_Thomas_Snodgrass_USAFCol. Thomas Snodgrass, USAF (retired) served over a year in Peshawar, Pakistan, working with Pakistani military intelligence. During his year in Vietnam he daily scheduled 130 U.S. Army and Air Force intelligence collection aircraft. In his final overseas tour he was the U.S. Air Attaché behind the Iron Curtain in Warsaw, Poland. In total, Col. Snodgrass was variously an Intelligence Officer or an International Politico-Military Affairs Officer serving duty tours in seven foreign countries, as well as teaching military history and strategy at the Air War College, US Air Force Academy, and USAF Special Operations School during a thirty-year military career.

Additionally, he was awarded an Air Force scholarship to get a history master’s degree in revolutionary insurgent warfare at the University of Texas, as well as being granted a year’s educational sabbatical to teach and to write about international relations as an Air Force Research Associate in the graduate school at the Center for Advanced International Studies, University of Miami, Florida. Following the Air Force, Col. Snodgrass was an adjunct professor of military history for ten years at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Arizona.

JERRY BOYKIN: GENERALS SHOULD RESIGN TO PROTEST OBAMA’S MISUSE OF MILITARY

Obama-AWOL-BenghaziBreitbart, by LT. GEN. (RET.) JERRY BOYKIN, Nov. 13, 2014:

A new survey finds only 26 percent of those in the military community approve of the performance of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.  But the blame for this low approval rating extends higher up the chain of command.

Retired Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the latest former Obama loyalist to write a tell-all exposé, knows this all too well. In his memoir, Panetta describes how he warned the President (to no avail) that allowing Iraq to slide into violence would create “a new haven for terrorists to plot attacks against the U.S.”

This revelation should come as no surprise, but regrettably, it does. That’s because many Americans have been ignoring what’s really taking place in our troubled world. The books now being published only confirm what many people already knew — or at least suspected — regarding the character of Barack Obama. In reality, what is newly-exposed in these books is the lack of courage of the authors. One must contemplate the question of why these former Obama administration officials did not resign in protest when they realized the man they worked for was leading the nation in a dangerous direction and was making decisions that put the nation at risk.

So what should these less-than-courageous bureaucrats have done? Simply stated: resign in protest.

The notion that they stayed because they thought their influence would be greater on the inside is nothing more than a cop-out. In fact, this line of reasoning is simply another indication of a lack of courage on the part of these tell-all authors, including Panetta. Attempting to persuade the public that you would have resigned if you had thought it would have made a difference is unconvincing. No, the answer is that they should have tendered their resignations in protest when they saw decisions and policies emerging that were dangerous, misguided, and not in the best interest of the country. This is a matter of principle.

Secretary of State Cyrus Vance did exactly that when he disagreed with President Jimmy Carter on the best way to get fifty-two American hostages out of the US Embassy in Tehran in April of 1980. He resigned to protest the rescue attempt that President Carter had ordered. That attempt failed when two aircraft collided in a remote desert airstrip inside Iran. While I do not agree with the wisdom of the late Mr. Vance on the prudence of military action, his resignation demonstrated personal moral courage.

Major General Jack Singlaub took similar action in 1977 when he publically criticized President Carter’s decision to withdraw US military forces from Korea. Carter relieved him for publically opposing a presidential policy. In going public about his disagreement with his Commander-in-Chief, Singlaub voluntarily laid his stars on the table, knowing that his career was over. But his honor was intact as a result of taking a stand on something that he felt strongly about. The same applies to Cyrus Vance.

So what about the current military leadership? Should some of them put their stars on the table and resign in protest of the ongoing deterioration of our military? Or how about the abuse of our men and women in uniform? Sending up to 4,000 service members to Liberia to fight Ebola is abuse. Consider that America has been at war for 13 years and our military has an all-time high suicide rate, out of control PTSD, and family disintegration at unprecedented levels. Now America will send these young men and women — who are not adequately trained to fight Ebola — on something that is NOT a military mission in the first place. In addition, the Obama administration has not announced a serious and coherent strategy to destroy ISIS. It is time for stars on the table, without delay.

What military professional wants to preside over the demise of America’s Armed Forces? One would assume that the answer to that would be none. Yet that is exactly what is happening. The passiveness of the current Joint Chiefs of Staff is giving support to the destruction of America’s war fighting capabilities. Programmed cuts in the military budget as well as cuts resulting from sequestration are reducing America’s readiness to a dangerously low level. And placing women in Infantry and Special Operations units is an irresponsible and reckless policy that will result in needless deaths and injuries in combat situations.

Possibly the most egregious issue is the attack on religious liberty, as the First Amendment rights of service members’ faith are being infringed on constantly. By embracing the foolish and destructive decisions of the Obama administration, the military leadership is contributing to and overseeing the downfall of our most important national security asset, the US Armed Forces.

It is past time for some resignations to protest the Obama administration’s damaging policies. The oath that each military member takes is to “Support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” This is a serious and sacred oath and when you know that a policy is just plain wrong, then you are obligated by that oath to do something; that something is for military leaders to say to the President of the United States, “I can no longer support your ill-advised and reckless policies that I regard as threats to national security and the welfare of our men and women in uniform.”

Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin is executive vice president at the Family Research Council.  He previously served as Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and was an original member of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force.

The Obama Administration’s Strategic Schizophrenia

obamasCSP, By Kyle Shideler:

Last week in the Wall Street Journal it was reported that the Obama administration sought an agreement on fighting ISIS with Iran:

The correspondence underscores that Mr. Obama views Iran as important—whether in a potentially constructive or negative role—to his emerging military and diplomatic campaign to push Islamic State from the territories it has gained over the past six months. Mr. Obama’s letter also sought to assuage Iran’s concerns about the future of its close ally, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, according to another person briefed on the letter. It states that the U.S.’s military operations inside Syria aren’t targeted at Mr. Assad or his security forces.

It is now being reported that the same administration believes ISIS cannot be defeated without overthrowing Assad:

President Barack Obama has asked his national security team for another review of the U.S. policy toward Syria after realizing that ISIS may not be defeated without a political transition in Syria and the removal of President Bashar al-Assad, senior U.S. officials and diplomats tell CNN. The review is a tacit admission that the initial strategy of trying to confront ISIS first in Iraq and then take the group’s fighters on in Syria, without also focusing on the removal of al-Assad, was a miscalculation. In just the past week, the White House has convened four meetings of the President’s national security team, one of which was chaired by Obama and others that were attended by principals like the secretary of state. These meetings, in the words of one senior official, were “driven to a large degree how our Syria strategy fits into our ISIS strategy.”

The contradiction between these two policies should be obvious, as Iran has expended ample time, funds, and men (primarily through proxy forces like Hezbollah and other Shia militias) to keep Assad in power. In fact overthrowing Assad would by necessity require the targeting and destruction of some of the very same forces that the Obama administration envisioned fighting ISIS on our behalf in Iraq.

The administration’s utter strategic incoherence is founded on an unwillingness to comprehend what drives both the Iranian aims (through proxies in Iraq and Syria), as well as the forces arrayed against them.  As we have repeatedly pointed out here on the Free Fire blog (See here, here, and here), the Syrian opposition is dominated by Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda-allied Islamist militias connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Obama Administration’s policy for Syria has involved alternatively partnering with these Islamists, while also bombing certain units of them during the course of the air campaign against ISIS. All sides in the current regional conflict are motivated by the same ideological agenda, establishing their hegemony in the region in order to extend (their particularly sectarian brand) of Islamic law, and to use future gains as a base for further jihad against their enemies, including principally the United States. Whether the U.S. attempts to partner with Iran against ISIS, or Al Qaeda against ISIS, or the Muslim Brotherhood against Al Qaeda, or Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood against Iran, every permutation will result in the same eventual outcome. Victory for enemies of the United States.

The Obama administration has prided itself on it’s attention to “nuance”. In its dealings in the Middle East, it has repeatedly attempted to tease out differences and distinctions that are at best irrelevant, leading to the construction of a world view that is ultimately divorced from reality in any meaningful way. The result is that this Administration finds itself simultaneously on all sides, and still the wrong sides, of every strategic challenge.

Obama’s Perverse Moral Compass

pic_giant_111214_SM_Barack-Obama-Israel-GThe U.S. used to stand firm with Israel. Now we criticize it while courting Iran.

By Mona Charen:

The Beltway’s Syria Fairy Tales

pic_giant_111114_SM_Syria-Civil-WarNational Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, Nov. 11, 2014:

Since the outbreak of the latest Middle East war a few years back, we have been chronicling the Washington political class’s Syria Fairy Tales. In particular, there is the story line that Syria is really teeming with secular democrats and authentic moderate Muslims who would have combined forces to both overthrow Assad and fight off the jihadists if only President Obama had helped them. But his failure to act created a “vacuum” that was tragically filled by Islamist militants and gave rise to ISIS. At this point in the story, you are supposed to stay politely mum and not ask whether it makes any sense that real democrats and actual moderates would agree to be led by head-chopping, mass-murdering, freedom-stifling sharia terrorists.

In point of fact, there simply have never been enough pro-Western elements in Syria to win, no matter how much help came their way. There was never going to be a moderate, democratic Syrian state without a U.S. invasion and occupation for a decade or more, an enterprise that would be politically untenable — and, as the Iraq enterprise shows, unlikely to succeed. The “moderate rebels” had no chance against Assad unless they colluded with the Islamist militants, who are vastly superior and more numerous fighters. And they would have even less chance of both knocking off Assad and staving off the jihadists.

The Obama administration and the Beltway commentariat have done their best to obscure these brute facts. Their main tactic is to exploit the American public’s unfamiliarity with the makeup of Syria. Obama Democrats and much of the Beltway GOP continue to invoke the “moderate Syrian rebels” while steadfastly refusing to identify just who those purported “moderates” are.They hope you won’t realize that, because of the dearth of actual moderate Muslims and freedom fighters, they must count among their “moderate rebels” both the Muslim Brotherhood (which should be designated as a terrorist organization) and various other Islamist factions, including . . .  wait for it . . . parts of al-Nusra — i.e., al-Qaeda’s Syrian franchise.

We’ve also noted that a new wrinkle has recently been added to the Beltway’s Syria Fairy Tales: Obama’s Khorasan Fraud. In a desperate attempt to conceal the falsity of Obama’s boasts about destroying what is actually a resurgent al-Qaeda, the administration claimed that the threat to America that impelled Obama to start bombing Syria was not ISIS (supposedly just a “regional” threat), not al-Qaeda (already defeated, right?), but a hitherto unknown terrorist organization called the “Khorasan group.”

To the contrary, the Khorasan group, to the extent it exists at all, has never been a stand-alone terrorist organization. It is an internal component of al-Qaeda — specifically, an advisory board (or, in Islamic terms, a shura council) of al-Qaeda veterans who advise and carry out directives from Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s emir. During the fighting in Syria, some of these operatives were sent there by Zawahiri to conduct operations under the auspices of al-Nusra. These operations have included jihadist activity against both the United States and Assad allies, plus negotiations for a rapprochement with the Islamic State (or ISIS). The limited success of those negotiations has led to fighting among the jihadists themselves.

The ball to keep your eye on here is al-Qaeda. The al-Nusra terrorist group is just al-Qaeda in Syria. Even ISIS is just a breakaway faction of al-Qaeda. And the Khorasan group is just a top-tier group of al-Qaeda veterans doing al-Qaeda’s work in conjunction with al Nusra — i.e., al-Qaeda.

The Obama administration disingenuously emphasizes these various foreign names to confuse Americans into thinking that there are various factions with diverse agendas in Syria — that al-Qaeda is no longer a problem because Obama has already dealt with it, and what remains are sundry groups of “moderate rebels” that the administration can work with in the effort to vanquish ISIS. Meanwhile, you are supposed to refrain from noticing that Obama’s original Syrian project — remember, he wanted Assad toppled — has given way to fighting ISIS . . . the very Sunni jihadists who were empowered by Obama’s lunatic policies of (a) switching sides in Libya in order to support the jihadists against Qaddafi and (b) abetting and encouraging Sunni Muslim governments in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey to arm Sunni militias in the fight against Assad — those militias having all along included al-Qaeda elements, some of which split off to become ISIS and now threaten to bite off the very hands that once fed them.

If you thought the Khorasan fraud was just a passing fad to get Obama through the initial stages of trying to rationalize his incoherent Syria air campaign, think again.

You see, Obama continues to have a problem. Everyone knows that ISIS, the main target of U.S. bombings in Syria and Iraq, cannot be defeated — or even stalled much — by a mere air campaign, which has been half-hearted at best anyway. Ground forces will be needed. So the administration and Washington’s foreign-policy clerisy keep telling Americans: Never fear, there is no need for U.S. ground troops, because we can rely on “moderate rebels” to fight ISIS. But the so-called “moderates” Obama backs have been colluding with al-Qaeda (i.e., al-Nusra) for years — at least when not being routed by al-Qaeda/al-Nusra.

Now, the sensible thing at this point would be to concede that there are no viable moderate forces in Syria, and that it would be folly for us to continue pretending those forces either exist or will materialize anytime soon. But no, that would be honest . . . which is not the Obama way — nor, frankly, is it the Washington way — to end our willful blindness to the lack of moderation among Middle Eastern Muslims.

So if honesty is not an option, what to do? Simple: Let’s just pretend that al-Nusra — part of the al-Qaeda network we have been at war with for 13 years — is, yes,moderate!

But wait a second? How can we possibly pull that off when we know al-Nusra/al-Qaeda is also plotting to attack the United States and the West?

Easy: That’s why we have the “Khorasan group”!

I kid you not. Even as al-Nusra/al-Qaeda mow down any “moderate rebels” who don’t join up with them, the Obama administration is telling Americans, “No, no, no: The al-Nusra guys are really good, moderate, upstanding jihadists. The real problem is that awful Khorasan group!”

Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio have the story at The Long War Journal:

CENTCOM draws misleading line between Al Nusrah Front and Khorasan Group

US Central Command [CENTCOM] attempted to distinguish between the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, and the so-called Khorasan Group in yesterday’s press release that detailed airstrikes in Syria.

CENTCOM, which directs the US and coalition air campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, denied that the five airstrikes targeted “the Nusrah Front as a whole” due to its infighting with the Syrian Revolutionaries’ Front, but instead claimed the attacks were directed at the Khorasan Group.

“These strikes were not in response to the Nusrah Front’s clashes with the Syrian moderate opposition, and they did not target the Nusrah Front as a whole,” CENTCOM noted in its press release.

The CENTCOM statement goes a step further by implying that the Al Nusrah Front is fighting against the Syrian government while the Khorasan Group is hijacking the Syrian revolution to conduct attacks against the West.

“They [the US airstrikes] were directed at the Khorasan Group whose focus is not on overthrowing the Assad regime or helping the Syrian people,” CENTCOM continues. “These al Qaeda operatives are taking advantage of the Syrian conflict to advance attacks against Western interests.”

[Emphasis added.]

Read Tom and Bill’s entire report, which sheds light on the web of jihadist connections.

Understand, the Khorasan group is al-Nusra, which is al-Qaeda. The “moderate Syrian rebels” are neither moderate nor myopically focused on Assad and Syria. (Indeed, Syria does not even exist as the same country anymore, now that ISIS has eviscerated its border with Iraq while capturing much of its territory.) The overarching Islamic-supremacist strategy of al-Qaeda has never cared about Western-drawn borders. The ambition of al-Qaeda, like that of its breakaway ISIS faction, is to conquer both the “near” enemies — i.e., the Middle East territories not currently governed by its construction of sharia — and the West. Al-Qaeda (a.k.a. al-Nusra, a.k.a. the Khorasan group) wants to overthrow Assad, but it still regards the United States as its chief nemesis.

The Khorasan group exists only as an advisory group around Zawahiri. The Obama administration’s invocation of it to divert attention from al-Qaeda and launder al-Nusra into “moderate Syrian rebels” is sheer subterfuge.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s

As War Heats Up, Obama Dismantles War Approach to Counterterrorism

abc_obama_words_090331_mnPJ Media, By Andrew C. McCarthy:

Last week, while Republicans popped open the champagne over the electorate’s emphatic rejection of the Obama left’s policies, Mr. Obama significantly advanced one he’s been pushing – against public opinion and with haltingly incremental success – since the first hours of his presidency. Lost amid Shellacking 2.0 – and between the sudden dump of over 60,000 previously withheld Fast & Furious documents and the president’s reaffirmation of his executive illegal-alien amnesty vow – was the administration’s further dismantling of the post-9/11 counterterrorism paradigm.

With nearly no one noticing, the administration transferred a long-held terrorist detainee out of Guantanamo Bay. Fawzi al-Odah was returned to his native Kuwait, another Gulf halfway house between Gitmo and return to the jihad. He had been detained under the laws of war for over a dozen years because he was assessed as posing a continuing danger. Naturally, his release was instantly heralded by an al Qaeda leader in Syria – indeed, by a top figure in what the administration refers to as the Khorasan group, the al Qaeda component plotting attacks against the U.S. and the West. And astoundingly, it appears that al Qaeda knew Odah’s release was coming before the American people were informed.

Odah’s transfer comes just as the president, forced to confront the increased jihadist threat from al Qaeda and ISIS, has escalated the number of American troops (as “advisers” only, of course) and continues conducting an aerial bombing campaign. It fulfills a prediction made this past summer by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and other commentators (including your humble correspondent): The release in July of five Taliban commanders in exchange for the deserter Bowe Bergdahl was intended to help Obama achieve the vow to close Guantanamo Bay, made on his first day in office. (Actually, Obama promised to close Gitmo within a year. He is five years behind schedule because Americans hate the idea, igniting strong congressional opposition.)

The laws of war, the foundation of Bush-Cheney post-9/11 counterterrorism, provide for detention without trial of enemy combatants until the conclusion of hostilities. Hostilities are not close to being over – as Obama quite obviously recognizes since our forces continue to conduct lethal attacks. We know, moreover, that a very high percentage of former detainees return to the jihad. The CIA has conceded that it could be 20 percent, but the truth is it’s no doubt higher – our intelligence community has no idea who goes back to the jihad unless they encounter the terrorist on the battlefield or are in the unusual position of having good intelligence about about what he’s up to. We do know that former Gitmo detainees regularly resurface as al Qaeda leaders in places like in Yemen, Iraq and Libya.

Yet, by releasing the Taliban commanders – the “worst of the worst” … and at a time when the Taliban was (just as it is) still conducting terrorist operations against our troops – Obama established a very high ceiling. By acceding to the release of high-ranking Taliban operatives despite the heightening threat, the administration makes it far more difficult to rationalize the continued detention without trial of virtually any other Gitmo detainee. By comparison, the Taliban commanders were bound to be worse.

Bear in mind, moreover, that the Obama administration is threaded with lawyers who used to represent terrorist detainees (voluntarily … for free!). These lawyers well know that many of the detainees are still bringing the same kinds of lawsuits these lawyers used to help them bring: challenges to their detention without trial. By springing the most dangerous terrorists, the administration plainly strengthens the litigation position of lesser players still held at Gitmo. While courts are reluctant to issue outright release orders – there being debate about the extent of their authority to do so – they certainly can and do ratchet up pressure on the government to get the terrorists out of Gitmo (i.e., to find countries willing to take them and effect transfer). Indeed, in al-Odah’s own case, while declining to invalidate the terrorist’s law-of-war detention, a federal judge in Virginia admonished that the time was coming that the executive branch would be obliged to release the detainees. Less than three months later, al-Odah was sent home.

Expect a quickening of the pace. Obama is patently pushing to reduce the number of detainees at Gitmo, now estimated at 148, to one low enough to justify, at least in his own mind, transferring the remainder into the United States. Gitmo would then be shuttered.

Knowing how ballistic this would make voters, congressional Republicans have succeeded in enacting laws that prohibit the executive branch from moving the detainees into U.S. prisons. But our imperious president is notorious for riding roughshod over federal laws not to his liking. He has never been stopped by mere law; he has been brushed back only by concern about political damage that might hurt him and Democrats in elections.

Except … now he doesn’t have anymore elections to worry about. All that is left for the next two years-plus is the imperative to implement as much of his agenda as his enormous raw power allows.

Obama’s Pandering to Iran Has No Limits

1578134015CSP, by Fred Fleitz:

The Obama administration is in desperation mode on the nuclear talks with Iran.  With the prospect of a Republican Senate taking action next year to thwart its controversial nuclear diplomacy and a fast approaching November 24 deadline for the talks, the Obama administration reportedly has doubled down on its previous one-sided concessions to Tehran by offering to allow it to operate up to 6,000 uranium centrifuges.

Further confusing this situation, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the president wrote a secret letter to Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei in which he reportedly stressed that “any cooperation on the Islamic State was largely contingent on Iran reaching a comprehensive agreement with global powers on the future of Tehran’s nuclear program by a November 24 diplomatic deadline.”

Although the Obama administration made several disturbing concessions to get Iran to the bargaining table, one of the worst was implicitly conceding to Tehran the “right” to enrich uranium by allowing it to operate uranium centrifuges.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bluntly made this point when he visited the United States in September when he said Iran has no need for uranium enrichment and any enrichment it conducts is for one purpose: making nuclear bombs.

Charles Krauthammer made a similar point during the Fox News Special Report program last night, saying that to get a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration “has abolished the central idea of nonproliferation . . . you cannot enrich.”

Using 9,000 centrifuges currently operating, Iran is enriching to reactor-grade enough uranium to fuel about two nuclear weapons per year if further enriched to weapons-grade.  Although allowing Iran to operate 6,000 centrifuges means it would accumulate reactor-grade uranium at a slightly slower pace, this proposal ignores the risk from Iran’s large reactor-grade uranium stockpile and the fact that far fewer centrifuges are needed to enrich to weapons-grade from reactor-grade.

Using less than 2,000 centrifuges, Iran could enrich from reactor-grade to weapons grade in 2.2 to 3.5 months.  Iran currently has enough reactor-grade uranium to make enough weapons-grade nuclear fuel for at least seven nuclear weapons if further enriched.

The Obama administration’s decision to allow Iran to enrich uranium was unconscionable and made the negotiations to slow or halt the Iranian nuclear program an unacceptable risk to American and international security from the outset.  Over the last year, Obama officials gave away more and more to Tehran in the nuclear talks, setting the stage for a final agreement that is certain to be a diplomatic train wreck.

Words escape me to discuss the foolhardiness of the letter that President Obama reportedly sent to Ayatollah Khamenei last month.  Given that Iran is in part to blame for the surge in sectarian violence in Iraq since 2011 due to its ties to the Maliki government and its training of Iraqi Shiite militias, why would the United States be discussing cooperation with Iranian officials against the Islamic State and linking this to getting a nuclear agreement?  If the United States was to say anything to Iran about restoring stability to Iraq and defeating the Islamic State, it should be: “Stop meddling in Iraq!”

A Republican Senate and responsible oversight of the president’s abysmal foreign policy cannot come soon enough.

POTUS OBAMA SENT SECRET LETTER TO IRAN’S LEADERSHIP; SEEKING TEHRAN’S HELP AGAINST THE ISLAMIC STATE; PLEDGED NOT TO TAKE OUT ASSAD

ayattollah, November 7, 2014 · by R.C. Porter:

Disastrous and ill-conceived. From the very beginning of POTUS Obama’s first term in office, he and his ‘team’ have sought to offend our friends and appease our adversaries. One of POTUS Obama’s first foreign policy affronts against a long-time ally, was to send the bust of Winston Churchill back to England. Great start on how not to win friends and influence people. POTUS Obama’s view of the world and his perceived belief that America was in large part to blame for many of the world’s ills was naïve and perplexing. From his — can’t we all just get along speech in Cairo, to his failure to support the Iran uprising after a corrupt Presidential vote, his re-set with Russia, withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq too quickly and without a tether, failure to check China’s aggressive posture in the western Pacific, backing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and now appeasing the Mullahs of Iran and the butcher of Syria — Obama’s foreign policy is breathtaking in its fecklessness and vacuity. The best way to defeat the Islamic State — is also take out Assad. The U.S. should have taken out Syrian military airfields — the minute we began bombing ISIS positions in northern Syria. And, we surely do not want to encourage the Mullahs in Tehran/Qum that they can still produce a nuclear weapon, or achieve a near-constant breakout capability with a deal more to their liking — because of a U.S. President’s desperation for a deal — at almost any price. Very, very disturbing. No wonder this letter was sent in secret, and without Congressional input, or knowledge. RCP.

 

Obama Wrote Secret Letter to Iran’s Khamenei About Fighting Islamic State

Presidential Correspondence With Ayatollah Stresses Shared U.S.-Iranian Interests in Combating Insurgents, Urges Progress on Nuclear Talks

By JAY SOLOMON And CAROL E. LEE, Nov. 6, 2014

WASHINGTON-President Barack Obama secretly wrote to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the middle of last month and described a shared interest in fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, according to people briefed on the correspondence.

The letter appeared aimed both at buttressing the campaign against Islamic State and nudging Iran’s religious leader closer to a nuclear deal.

Mr. Obama stressed to Mr. Khamenei that any cooperation on Islamic State was largely contingent on Iran reaching a comprehensive agreement with global powers on the future of Tehran’s nuclear program by a Nov. 24 diplomatic deadline, the same people say.

The October letter marked at least the fourth time Mr. Obama has written Iran’s most powerful political and religious leader since taking office in 2009 and pledging to engage with Tehran’s Islamist government.

The correspondence underscores that Mr. Obama views Iran as important-whether in a potentially constructive or negative role-to his emerging military and diplomatic campaign to push Islamic State from the territories it has gained over the past six months.

Mr. Obama’s letter also sought to assuage Iran’s concerns about the future of its close ally, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, according to another person briefed on the letter. It states that the U.S.’s military operations inside Syria aren’t targeted at Mr. Assad or his security forces.

Mr. Obama and senior administration officials in recent days have placed the chances for a deal with Iran at only 50-50. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to begin intensive direct negotiations on the nuclear issue with his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, on Sunday in the Persian Gulf country of Oman.

“There’s a sizable portion of the political elite that cut their teeth on anti-Americanism,” Mr. Obama said at a White House news conference on Wednesday about Iran’s leadership, without commenting on his personal overture. “Whether they can manage to say ‘Yes’…is an open question.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, foreground left, met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, background right, in Vienna in July. ENLARGE
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, foreground left, met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, background right, in Vienna in July. JIM BOURG

For the first time this week, a senior administration official said negotiations could be extended beyond the Nov. 24 deadline, adding that the White House will know after Mr. Kerry’s trip to Oman whether a deal with Iran is possible by late November.

“We’ll know a lot more after that meeting as to whether or not we have a shot at an agreement by the deadline,” the senior official said. “If there’s an extension, there’re questions like: What are the terms?”

Mr. Obama’s push for a deal faces renewed resistance after Tuesday’s elections gave Republicans control of the Senate and added power to thwart an agreement and to impose new sanctions on Iran. Sens. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) have introduced legislation to intensify sanctions.

‘There’s a sizable portion of the [Iranian] political elite that cut their teeth on anti-Americanism. Whether they can manage to say ‘Yes’…is an open question.’

-Barack Obama

“The best way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is to quickly pass the bipartisan Menendez-Kirk legislation-not to give the Iranians more time to build a bomb,” Mr. Kirk said Wednesday.

House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) expressed concern when asked about the letter sent by Mr. Obama.

“I don’t trust the Iranians, I don’t think we need to bring them into this,” Mr. Boehner said. Referring to the continuing nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, Mr. Boehner said he “would hope that the negotiations that are under way are serious negotiations, but I have my doubts.”

In a sign of the sensitivity of the Iran diplomacy, the White House didn’t tell its Middle East allies-including Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates-about Mr. Obama’s October letter to Mr. Khamenei, according to people briefed on the correspondence and representatives of allied countries.

Leaders from these countries have voiced growing concern in recent weeks that the U.S. is preparing to significantly soften its demands in the nuclear talks with Tehran. They said they worry the deal could allow Iran to gain the capacity to produce nuclear weapons in the future.

Arab leaders also fear Washington’s emerging rapprochement with Tehran could come at the expense of their security and economic interests across the Middle East. These leaders have accused the U.S. of keeping them in the dark about its diplomatic engagements with Tehran.

The Obama administration launched secret talks with Iran in the Omani capital of Muscat in mid-2012, but didn’t notify Washington’s Mideast allies of the covert diplomatic channel until late 2013.

Senior U.S. officials declined to discuss Mr. Obama’s letter to Mr. Khamenei after questions from The Wall Street Journal.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Thursday declined to comment on what he called “private correspondence” between the president and world leaders, but acknowledged U.S. officials in the past have discussed the Islamic State campaign with Iranian officials on the sidelines of international nuclear talks. He added the negotiations remain centered on Iran’s nuclear program and reiterated that the U.S. isn’t cooperating militarily with Iran on the Islamic State fight.

Administration officials didn’t deny the letter’s existence when questioned by foreign diplomats in recent days.

Mr. Khamenei has proved a fickle diplomatic interlocutor for Mr. Obama in the past six years.

Mr. Obama sent two letters to Iran’s 75-year-old supreme leader during the first half of 2009, calling for improvements in U.S.-Iran ties, which had been frozen since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Tehran.

Mr. Khamenei never directly responded to the overtures, according to U.S. officials. And Iran’s security forces cracked down hard that year on nationwide protests that challenged the re-election of then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad .

Mr. Khamenei is believed to be the decision maker on the nuclear program. ASSOCIATED PRESS

U.S.-Iran relations have thawed considerably since the election of President Hasan Rouhani in June 2013. He and Mr. Obama shared a 15-minute phone call in September 2013, and Messrs. Kerry and Zarif have regularly held direct talks on the nuclear diplomacy and regional issues.

Still, Mr. Khamenei has often cast doubt on the prospects for better relations with Washington. He has criticized the U.S. military campaign against Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL, claiming it is another attempt by Washington and the West to weaken the Islamic world.

“America, Zionism, and especially the veteran expert of spreading divisions-the wicked government of Britain-have sharply increased their efforts of creating divisions between the Sunnis and Shiites,” Mr. Khamenei said in a speech last month, according to a copy of it on his website. “They created al Qaeda and [Islamic State] in order to create divisions and to fight against the Islamic Republic, but today, they have turned on them.”

Current and former U.S. officials have said Mr. Obama has focused on communicating with Mr. Khamenei specifically because they believe the cleric will make all the final decisions on Iran’s nuclear program and the fight against Islamic State.

Mr. Rouhani is seen as navigating a difficult balance of gaining Mr. Khamenei’s approval for his foreign policy decisions while trying to satisfy Iranian voters who elected him in the hope of seeing Iran re-engage with the Western world.

A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency checks the enrichment process inside the Natanz uranium enrichment plant in January. ENLARGE
A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency checks the enrichment process inside the Natanz uranium enrichment plant in January. EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

The emergence of Islamic State has drastically changed both Washington’s and Tehran’s policies in the Middle East.

Mr. Obama was elected on the pledge of ending Washington’s war in Iraq. But over the past three months, he has resumed a U.S. air war in the Arab country, focused on weakening Islamic State’s hold of territory in western and northern Iraq.

Iran has had to mobilize its own military resources to fight against Islamic State, according to senior Iranian and U.S. officials.

Tehran’s elite military unit, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has sent military advisers into Iraq to help the government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, a close Iranian ally. The IRGC has also worked with Syrian President Assad’s government, and Shiite militias from across the Mideast, to conduct military operations inside Syria.

U.S. officials have stressed that they are not coordinating with Tehran on the fight against Islamic State.

But the State Department has confirmed that senior U.S. officials have discussed Iraq with Mr. Zarif on the sidelines of nuclear negotiations in Vienna. U.S. diplomats have also passed on messages to Tehran via Mr. Abadi’s government in Baghdad and through the offices of Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, among the most powerful religious leaders in the Shiite world.

Among the messages conveyed to Tehran, according to U.S. officials, is that U.S. military operations in Iraq and Syria aren’t aimed at weakening Tehran or its allies.

“We’ve passed on messages to the Iranians through the Iraqi government and Sistani saying our objective is against ISIL,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on these communications. “We’re not using this as a platform to reoccupy Iraq or to undermine Iran.”

-Michael R. Crittenden contributed to this article.

Write to Jay Solomon at jay.solomon@wsj.com and Carol E. Lee atcarol.lee@wsj.com

EXHALE

capitol_building_dark_clouds_APBreitbart, by Pamela Geller:

It’s quite something, but I have been receiving more “congratulatory” emails from my international readers than my American readers (and I have heard from a great many Americans). But clearly it’s not just Americans who care what happens in our elections — it’s freedom-loving peoples all over the world. On Tuesday night, the world collectively exhaled… and celebrated.

They rejoiced in knowing that America wasn’t over — that the same country that elected Barack Obama in the White House not once, but twice, was not so far gone that it couldn’t right that wrong and right the ship. People all over the world look to America as the moral force for good in the world. And that hope had been dashed…until last night.

The lights on the “the shining city on the hill” shone brightly.

We won and we won big. Huge. And it is even bigger than that knowing what we know about the leftwing election fraud on voter rolls and the ghost vote.

Last night, the American people sent a very clear, very loud message to President Obama. Stop. The American people said STOP, and if you don’t, our elected officials will do everything we empower them to do to stop you from further destroying this country. 

Knowing the contempt Obama has for us, he has no intention of heeding our warnings and will continue on his jihad against freedom, the individual, American hegemony, and our allies in the world.

But America has withdrawn our sanction.

The Democrats lost big, and their divisive, subversive supporters lost bigger. Hamas-CAIR and their “Muslim caucus” to vote as one bloc for their Democrat quisling candidates failed. As did those candidates who received their foul money.

The left’s “war on women” myth epically failed, especially in light of the real war on women — in the Muslim world. The slave markets, the buying and selling of non-Muslim women — the misogyny inherent in the sharia.

Their immigration rout failed. Particularly now, when national security has become the top issue and terrorists are easily penetrating our porous borders. Moms and dads have finally woken up to the jihad threat, and they got out the vote.

The jobless millennials, as brainwashed as they are, can’t pay the rent with hope and change. The millennials didn’t get out the vote for Obama.

Millions of Americans, like me, who had their health insurance cancelled and now live uninsured got out the vote.

Obama hoped to get out the anti-semitic vote. Obama and his administration made vicious, repeated attacks on Israel just days before the election. American support for Israel has never been so high. Friends of Israel got out the vote.

Republicans didn’t vote last night. Americans voted for America.

The Democrats will use these two years to get ready for 2016. They will spend the next two years blaming the Republicans for what’s here and what’s coming — the poison fruit of Obama’s catastrophic domestic and foreign policies. But we can out-maneuver them. 

We have to.

This is the beginning of a very great fight. We can and must seize the day. We must take a deep breath, take the long view, have a plan and stick to it — as one.

Obama’s immigration putsch must be stopped (if he uses one of his dictatorial edicts, we can kill funding).

Obamacare should be dismantled piece by piece.

Congress must stand in the way of Obama allowing Iran to complete its nuclear weapons policy.

Jihad and Islam must be re-introduced to our counter terror programs. It was exactly five years ago that Fort Hood jihadi Major Hasan slaughtered 13 of our soldiers in Texas, screaming allahu akbar. Obama said it was workplace violence and refused to designate it a terror attack.

Energy, energy, energy. Pass the Keystone pipeline. Get off foreign oil. Stop funding the jihad.

The Republicans must work together to defeat the single greatest threat to our nation’s security and well being: Obama and his quisling administration.

It will be a brutal two years. Obama will continue to pursue the disastrous plans for us  — Iranian nukes, immigration, Obamacare, etc. But we have turned the corner. The fight is on. The Republicans cannot squander this opportunity. We must be unified and resolute — not “inherently resolute” (the ridiculous moniker of Obama’s incoherent policy in Iraq), but consciously and deliberately resolute.

It. is. on.

E Pluribus Unum.

Pamela Geller is the President of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), publisher of PamelaGeller.com and author of The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America and Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance. Follow her on Twitter here. Like her on Facebook here.

Free Fire Zone: A Tale of Two Sergeants

CSP Senior Fellow Jim Hanson contrasts the radically different policies pursued by the Obama administration regarding Sergeants Bowe Bergdahl and Andrew Tahmooressi. Why did they pay a cash ransom and free five terrorists for Bergdhal and yet gave no help at all to free SGT Tahmoressi?