From Lockerbie to 9/11: Iran is Let Off the Hook

timthumb (4)by Clare M. Lopez
Accuracy in Media
March 16, 2014

A documentary that aired 11 March 2014 on the Al-Jazeera America channel presented compelling new evidence that Iran and the Syrian-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Counsel (PFLP-GC) directed and carried out the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that crashed into Lockerbie, Scotland on 23 December 1988. “Lockerbie: What Really Happened?” presented formerly classified documents and never-before revealed accounts from two of the investigators in the case—American attorney Jessica De Grazia and her Scottish colleague, George Thompson—both of whom were part of the defense team for Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Libyan security official eventually convicted of planting the bomb.

Aware that Al-Jazeera America has its own agenda and that this story may just fit rather neatly into it this time, the evidence presented by credible sources nevertheless makes this documentary worth serious consideration. Other, especially U.S., media have tended rather consistently to pass over evidence of the Iranian regime’s long record of support for terrorism (both Shi’ite and Sunni), even when that support has involved American citizen deaths, as in the two cases presented here. This Al-Jazeera documentary diverges from that typical media coverage of Iran and so earns our attention.

In the documentary, De Grazia and Thompson discuss classified U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) cables they obtained and shared with Al-Jazeera, but never had the chance to present in court. Specifically, they document a March 1988 meeting in Malta among representatives of Hizballah, Iran, Libya, PFLP-GC, and Syria. According to a protected source who attended the gathering, this apparently disparate group found common cause in hatred for Israel and the U.S., and met to discuss general cooperation in targeting Americans and Israelis. The Iranians were willing to direct terror operations, but wanted both the fig leaf of deniability that proxies could provide as well as the demonstrated explosives expertise for which both Hizballah and PFLP-GC were known. Syria long has allowed PFLP-GC to keep its headquarters in Damascus.

The collaborative arrangement that began with that meeting in Malta received its first operational assignment shortly after the USS Vincennes mistakenly shot down an Iranian civilian airliner in the Persian Gulf on 3 July 1988, with the loss of all 290 on board. Although the U.S. insisted the tragedy was due to misidentification of the Iranian plane and ultimately paid more than $100 million in compensation, a high-level Iranian defector reported that the Iranian regime nevertheless decided to seek revenge in kind, and quickly, by shooting down a similar U.S. civilian aircraft with a like number of passengers on board.

Abolghassem Mesbahi ran operations for the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) in Europe before he defected to Germany in the early 1990s. His testimony about Lockerbie is especially credible because he also has testified in other cases involving Iranian complicity in terror attacks, including the Paris assassination of former Iranian Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar in 1991, the 1992 Mykonos Cafe assassination of Kurdish leaders in Berlin, and the 1994 bombing of the Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires. Mesbahi was one of three Iranian defector witnesses in the Havlish, et al. v. bin Laden, et al. legal case, in which Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of New York Federal District Court ruled in December 2011 that Iran and Hizballah “materially and directly supported al Qaeda in the September 11, 2001 attacks and are legally responsible for damages to hundreds of family members of 9/11 victims who are plaintiffs in the case.” (The author was an expert witness for the Havlish legal team and co-authored one of the affidavits, which is cited herein.)

Mesbahi’s original 1996-97 Lockerbie testimony (as well as his more recent contribution to this newer documentary) is further bolstered by striking parallels in his later recorded testimony in the Havlish case. As described to the Havlish legal team, the Iranian regime’s efforts to galvanize pan-Islamic unity to attack U.S. and Israeli interests did not begin with the 1988 meeting in Malta, but rather a couple of years earlier, in the mid-1980s, during the depths of the Iran-Iraq war. It was then that the plan known among Iranian intelligence circles as “Shaitan Dar Atash” (“Satan in the Flames” or “Satan in Hell,” meaning America, known as the “Great Satan,” in the flames). Because it was acknowledged that Iran lacked the military power to confront the U.S. directly, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and MOIS were tasked with devising asymmetric means to destroy America. According to Mesbahi, the IRGC and MOIS discussed ways of attacking the U.S. critical infrastructure (electric, fuel, water distribution, etc.) and using civilian aircraft as “bombs inside U.S. cities” such as New York and Washington, D.C. The ultimate intent was to bring down the U.S. economy.

Efforts to unify the Islamic world across Shi’ite-Sunni sectarian lines redoubled after Iran’s revolutionary leader, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, died in 1989. In the early 1990s, when Usama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri were living under the protection of Sudan’s pan-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood leadership, President Omar al-Bashir and Hassan al-Turabi, his sometime political ally, organized a gathering of jihadist forces from across the Islamic world. The various Palestinian factions, including the PFLP-GC, plus Hizballah and the Iranian leadership all attended. It was in Khartoum that then-Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani offered bin Laden the explosive expertise of Imad Mughniyeh, his top Hizballah terror operative. That is the partnership, which endures to this day, that led eventually to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

In the wake of the July 1988 shoot-down of Iran Air flight 655, Iranian planners turned to PFLP-GC operatives who had made a name for themselves with several prior airliner attacks. According to De Grazia and Thompson, the DIA documents identify four PFLP-GC members who were involved in the Lockerbie plot: Ahmed Jibril, the PFLP-GC leader who possibly masterminded the attack; Hafez Dalkomoni, who led the German-based PFLP-GC cell suspected of involvement; Marwan Khreesat, a Jordanian master bomb-maker who may have made the bomb used on Pan Am Flight 103; and Abu Talb, the Egyptian-born leader of PFLP-GC’s Swedish cell, who is suspected of having couriered the Lockerbie bomb. German security forces were monitoring the Dalkomoni cell and arrested both him and Khreesat in October 1988, but a bomb found in Dalkomoni’s car was an exact match for the one that later brought down the Pan Am airplane. Both bombs were covered in Toblerone chocolate candy wrappers and concealed inside a Toshiba cassette player. Other bombs were discovered in Dalkomoni’s apartment, but the Germans recovered only a total of four out of five of the bombs they knew existed. The fifth exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 23rd.

By the following summer of 1989, the British and Scottish investigators were ready to issue arrest warrants for fifteen PFLP-GC members they had identified as connected with the attack. According to investigators De Grazia and Thompson, the case was for all intents and purposes solved; all involved with it (including American, British, German, and Scottish intelligence and security representatives) were in agreement that the PFLP-GC had carried out the attack on orders from the Iranian regime.

And then, sometime in mid-1989, according to former CIA operative Robert Baer, President George H.W. Bush made a phone call to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and asked her to back off the case against PFLP-GC. In the Al-Jazeera America film, Baer claims that the U.S. government made an executive decision that the role played by the PFLP-GC (and by extension, its sponsors in Damascus and Tehran) would be quietly submerged and instead, the Libyans would be made the sole scapegoats. After that, the Lockerbie prosecution went after Megrahi and the Libyans, eventually convicting Megrahi, who spent eight years in a Scottish prison before being released on humanitarian grounds, dying in 2012 of cancer.

It is difficult to know why U.S. leadership decided to protect the PFLP-GC and Iranian regime, when all the investigative work had been done and all the evidence pointed strongly at their responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing. Gathering tensions with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein over his Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) programs and the perceived need for Syrian support and, at a minimum, a pledge of non-interference from Iran may have been part of it. In the final analysis, though, Iran still has not been held to account: not for the murder of 270 people, mostly Americans headed home for Christmas, over Lockerbie, Scotland, and not for the nearly 3,000 killed on 11 September 2001. It is time that Iran is brought to account for its crimes against humanity.

In Their Own Words

20140216_canada_train_largeFamily Security Matters, by CLARE M. LOPEZ:

In an unusual move, one of the suspects in the 2012-13 Via Railway terror plot has been allowed to give an interview to the Canadian National Post. That interview is remarkable because it explains the jihadist motivations behind the plot in clear and unambiguous language that leaves no room for doubt about “why they hate us.” Those who would confront and defeat this hate and the terror plots it inspires would do well to listen to the words of Chiheb Esseghaier.

Esseghaier was a Tunisian doctoral student at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, a branch of the Université de Quebec and a landed immigrant who’d come to Canada in 2008. His travel to Zahedan, in eastern Iran, caught the attention of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), which launched a complex investigation that eventually led to the unraveling of a joint al-Qa’eda-Iran plot to blow up a passenger train over the Niagara River gorge. Esseghaier and fellow suspect, Raed Jaser (from the United Arab Emirates), were arrested in the conspiracy and now face terror charges in Canadian court. Over the months since their April 2013 arrest, Esseghaier has made a number of court appearances as well as public statements, of which the recent National Post interview includes just the latest.

Although thanks to good intelligence and police work, Canada to date has been spared the kind of horrific terror attacks that have made headlines elsewhere in the West (Burgas, London, Madrid, U.S.), there have been jihadist attempts, including the August 2010 Ottawa Parliament plot and the earlier 2006 Toronto 18 plot.  National Post coverage of the Via Railway terror plot has been extensive and its multiple reports quoting the very vocal Esseghaier are revealing, even though it is clear the Post itself doesn’t understand what he’s been trying to tell them. Faced with the reality that their country, too, is a target, Canadians have been struggling to make sense out of Esseghaier’s simple pronouncement: “I am a Muslim.” The so-called “experts on extremism” consulted by the National Post weren’t much help: Prof. Lorne Dawson, ex-director of the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society, opined that Esseghaier’s views were “very comparable to what one might hear from a strident anti-abortion activist coming from a Christian perspective.”

In fact, Esseghaier is nothing like a Christian pro-life activist. In his own words, he has explained that he sees himself as a faithful member of the global Islamic ummah. He calls Muslim Afghans his “brothers and sisters,” because according to Islamic doctrine, national borders and the world order that Canadian and other NATO members seek to defend in Afghanistan are meaningless. He believes it is his duty to follow the commands of Islam, which obligate every Muslim to wage jihad as an individual duty (fard ‘ayn) whenever non-believers (kufar) invade Islamic lands. In his court appearances, Esseghaier repeatedly has asserted his allegiance to Islamic Law (shariah) and rejected the authority of Canadian law. Challenged by the National Post to explain why he plotted to kill Canadian and American rail passengers, Esseghaier accused Canada of “[making] lawful what God made unlawful…”], which is an explicit reference to Qur’anic verse 9:29, which says

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

It is critical that national security experts and leadership grasp what Esseghaier is trying to tell us. Pretending that authoritative Islamic law and scripture are not the doctrinal source of justification for Islamic jihad (terrorism), as does A Guide to Refuting Jihadism, just out from the Henry Jackson Society, only serves to blind and neutralize our ability to confront the shariah threat. Likewise, getting hung up on group names and affiliations misses the point that Esseghaier describes so clearly: Islamic terrorism is conducted not just to kill people but to establish the pre-conditions for the ultimate objective which is the universal enforcement of Islamic Law. The 5 February 2014 War on Error from Foreign Policy offers another good illustration. Starting out by making a valiant effort at sorting out the many off-shoot franchises of Usama bin-Laden’s original al-Qa’eda, this piece unfortunately winds up taking an already muddled topic and compounding the muddling. Terming Islamic jihadis “violent extremists” or al-Qa’eda “nihilistic” with “an outlier interpretation of Islamic Law” is to miss the point entirely. Esseghaier is obviously both well-educated and well-versed in the doctrine of his faith; he is also representative of jihadis the world over who are indeed violent, but neither extremists nor nihilists within the parameters of authoritative Islam. They seek well-defined objectives based on widely-available Islamic scriptures and do not hesitate to declare them and pursue them both openly and by guile.

It is not often that a self-avowed Islamic jihadi like Esseghaier is given this sort of platform. It behooves us all to pay attention to what he says.

U.S. Lifts Ban on Immigrants With Links to Terrorism

immigrants oath

The Obama admin.is overriding the U.S. Criminal Code for individuals who have provided material support to terrorism.

BY CLARE LOPEZ:

Muslim Brotherhood affiliates scored a major victory in their efforts to degrade U.S. national security measures in early February 2014 when the Obama administration decided to override by fiat portions of the U.S. Criminal Code and immigration policy pertaining to individuals who provide “material support to terrorism.”

As published in the Federal Register on February 5, 2014, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State issued a joint notice that, henceforth, certain asylum seekers and refugees who only provided “limited material support” to terrorism would be allowed into the U.S.

The earlier law as written, The Real ID Law of 2005, states quite explicitly that the definition of engaging in terrorist activity includes:

To commit an act that the actor knows, or reasonably should know, affords material support, including a safe house, transportation, communications, funds, transfer of funds or other material financial benefit … to a terrorist organization [emphasis added]

Such activity, no matter how minor, constituted grounds for exclusion from entry to the U.S.

By unilaterally lifting restrictions — without so much as consulting Congress — for those intending immigrants who engaged in “(1) certain routine commercial transactions or certain routine social transactions (i.e., in the satisfaction of certain well-established or verifiable family, social, or cultural obligations), [or] (2) certain humanitarian assistance,” that benefited terrorist organizations, the Obama administration simply overrode existing law. So far, both the judicial and legislative branches of the U.S. government have let the administration get away with it.

According to the Daily Caller, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry signed the exemptions despite very real concerns about the legality of the executive branch deciding to ignore aspects of an existing law it doesn’t want to enforce and replacing them with its own guidelines.

Former State Department official and current director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies Jessica Vaughan worried as well that “those evaluating these cases will be ordered to ignore red flags in the applications, especially if the applicant is supported by one of the many advocacy groups that have the ear of senior DHS staff.”

The new policy decree marks a significant win for agents of influence belonging to advocacy groups acting on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood agenda to pursue “civilization jihad” “to destroy Western civilization from within…by [our] hands,” as asserted in the “Explanatory Memorandum,” a key Brotherhood document introduced as evidence in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation HAMAS terror funding trial.

As described at some length in “The Islamists’—and their Enablers’—Assault on the Right: The Case Against Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan,” an February 11, 2014 dossier of particulars published by the Center for Security Policy (CSP), it is precisely in executing political influence operations aimed at U.S. national security leadership (whether Republican or Democratic) that the Muslim Brotherhood so excels.

The CSP paper explains in exhaustive detail and with meticulously referenced citations how the Muslim Brotherhood targeted the Republican Party and the conservative movement over a period of years and succeeded in placing senior operatives such as Abdurahman Alamoudi, Sami al-Arian, Nihad Awad, and Khaled Saffuri deep inside senior leadership circles.

It was at those top levels of government—the Executive Branch, the Intelligence Community, and the National Security Council—where critical decision-making took place, especially in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, that set U.S. counterterrorism strategy on a hopeless loop that deliberately avoided, and indeed later would forbid, knowledge about Islamic doctrine, law and scripture as the animating inspiration for Islamic terrorism.

By divorcing the enemy’s core ideology from study of the enemy threat doctrine, Muslim Brotherhood agents of influence succeeded in ensuring that U.S. blood and treasure would be endlessly and fruitlessly expended in Counterinsurgency (COIN) warfare, nation-building exercises and democracy experiments in the most unsuitable places possible: Muslim lands under rule of Islamic law (sharia).

As noted in CSP’s 2010 Team B II Report, “Shariah: The Threat to America,” Americans do pretty well at defending against military-style frontal assaults. We do far less well, though, at either recognizing or countering the “menace posed by jihadist enemies who operate by deceit and stealth from inside the gates.

And yet it is the latter threat that poses a far more serious threat to open, tolerant societies like ours than the openly terrorist attack like the one that struck on 9/11.

Read more at Clarion Project

Clare Lopez is a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on the Middle East, national defense and counterterrorism. Lopez served for 20 years as an operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

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Hizballah: Iran’s Other Looming Threat to the West

timthumb (2)By Clare Lopez:

Exclusive to Accuracy in Media.

The single most important fact to understand about Hizballah is that its chain of command goes directly to the Iranian Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, by way of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Qods Force. That Iranian connection, as well as Hizballah’s close and long-standing relationship with al-Qa’eda, the global reach of this Shi’ite jihadist group, and above all, its extensive presence and criminal activities in the Western Hemisphere, including inside the United States, all merit a closer look. With U.S. national security directly in Hizballah’s cross-hairs, it’s more important than ever to understand what this group is, who leads it, what has motivated them along a bloody 30-year trail of terrorism, and what damage this group is capable of inflicting on American interests.

For even as Hizballah is an Islamic terror organization, an Iranian proxy for power projection, a Transnational Criminal Organization, and a Lebanese military, political, and social domestic entity, it is above all a direct threat to U.S. national security. After all, and despite a complete media blackout on the topic that prevails to this day, on Iranian orders and working together with al-Qa’eda, Hizballah participated in the worst strike ever against the American homeland: the attacks of 9/11. There is no threshold, ideological or otherwise, that Hizballah has not already crossed or would not cross again, given a direct order from Tehran.

images-1Word out of London in late 2013 is that the U.S. is engaged in secret, indirect negotiations with Hizballah, with British diplomats acting as intermediaries. Those talks followed closely on the U.S. capitulation to Iran over its nuclear weapons program during November 2013 discussions in Geneva and reflect a White House policy of seeking to normalize relations with the regime designated by the Department of State as the number one global state sponsor of terror. Hizballah remains a designated terror organization on the Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list. And while the story about the U.S.-Hizballah talks in London made the Israeli and U.K. media, not one major U.S. media outlet thought it significant to report that the U.S. administration is reaching out to mend relations with what many describe as the most dangerous Islamic terror organization in the world.

Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage called Hizballah the “A Team” and al-Qa’eda the “B Team.” Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that Hizballah makes “al-Qa’eda look like a minor league team.” And former CIA Director George Tenet testified in 2003 that Hizballah was every bit al-Qa’eda’s “equal, if not a far more capable organization.”

And yet, since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the biggest share of counterterrorism bandwidth among national security agencies and the media alike has been devoted to al-Qa’eda “and its affiliates,” as they’re often called. Current internecine civil war in Syria aside, for many years Hizballah happens to have been one of those affiliates, but many would never know that from either the media coverage or official government attention paid to this Shi’ite jihadist group that works mostly for the Iranian mullahs. So, when it’s discussed at all, as on each year’s remembrance of the October 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, Hizballah continues to be thought of primarily as a Lebanese terror outfit. However, as Tony Badran pointed out in an important historical look back in his November 25, 2013 Weekly Standard essay, “The Secret History of Hezbollah,” a critical Iranian connection has been there from the beginning.

Media coverage of the Syrian civil war that broke out in 2011 often cites Hizballah as somehow mixed up in supporting the Ba’athist regime of Bashar al-Assad against a conglomeration of al-Qa’eda- and Muslim Brotherhood-dominated militias. But what that coverage often ignores is that Hizballah’s contribution of thousands of fighters to the survival of the Assad regime is not necessarily in the best interests (or any interests) of Hizballah’s supposed home team, the Lebanese Shi’ites. The reason Hizballah fights on, even after its Syrian adventures have drawn probable Sunni al-Qa’eda retaliation deep into the very heart of its Beirut stronghold in the Dahiyeh, is because Iran wants it to.

Read more: Family Security Matters 

Why Now? U.S. Nabs Top Al-Qaeda Suspect Known for Years

USS San AntonioBY CLARE LOPEZ:

This past weekend, U.S. Delta forces converged on a man parking his car in broad daylight in the middle of Tripoli, Libya and nabbed a senior al-Qaeda operative who went by the nom du guerre Abu Anas al-Libi. Al-Libi was wanted by the United States for his role in the 1998 East Africa Embassy bombings.

He is alleged to have conducted pre-attack casing and surveillance of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya prior to the August 7, 1998 suicide truck bombing there that killed more than 200 people and injured another 5,000. It is likely that al-Libi will be brought to New York City, where he is under indictment, to stand trial.

Al-Libi’s involvement with Osama bin Laden and al-Qa’eda (AQ) goes back much further than 1998, however, and his command position within the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group probably brought him into contact with former U.S. Liaison to the Libyan Opposition Christopher Stevens during the 2011 Libyan revolution.

Why al-Libi hadn’t been put away much earlier by either the U.S. or our British allies takes this story deep into international intrigue and a long history of Western intelligence associations with known al-Qa’eda jihadis.

******************

The August 2012 Library of Congress study, “Al-Qaeda in Libya: A Profile,” suggests that al-Libi’s role in Libya was coordination between Ayman al-Zawahiri and AQ Central and the Libyan militias.

By the time that U.S. career diplomat Christopher Stevens was named official U.S. Liaison to the Libyan rebels in mid-March 2011, AQ-LIFG fighters like al-Libi, Ben Qumu and Belhadj were leading the revolution against Qaddafi. Stevens’ job was to coordinate U.S. diplomatic, intelligence, logistical, military and weapons support to al-Qaeda jihadis such as these. The pending NYC Federal District Court indictment against al-Libi for the 1998 Nairobi Embassy bombing would just have to wait.

And wait it did … until a random day in early October 2013, when the U.S. government suddenly decided that it needed, urgently, to snatch an unsuspecting al-Libi off the street in Tripoli, where he had been living since the end of the Libyan revolution with his wife and four children.

Soon, Secretary of State Kerry was crowing about how terrorists “can run but they can’t hide” – but the thing was, al-Libi hadn’t been running or hiding for a long time. The U.S. knew perfectly well where he was for at least the prior two years — and didn’t seem to care.

Just to recap: ​

  • Al-Libi lived openly in the UK from 1995-2000, with the permission of the British government and no extradition request from the U.S., which knew he was there.
  • Al-Libi may have been in CIA custody from 2002 until an unknown date.
  • Al-Libi returned to live in Tripoli, Libya in December 2010, with his home address published by the UN Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee.
  • Al-Libi was likely a close working partner of Christopher Stevens, the U.S. Liaison to the Libyan al-Qaeda rebels in 2011.
  • Al-Libi continued to live at the published address of his Tripoli home from 2011-2013.

 

Al-Libi’s seizure now makes as little sense as did the apparent U.S. and UK indifference to his outstanding Nairobi indictment and his jihadist credentials for all the years that preceded it. (Despite the close relationship among former LIFG jihadis like al-Libi and Abu Sufian ben Qumu, until now, there has been no indication that al-Libi was involved in 9/11 attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans.)

Still, al-Libi undoubtedly would be able to answer a lot of questions about events leading up to that assault, as well as questions about those individuals and militias involved in its planning and execution. Reportedly, an FBI interrogation team is headed out to the USS San Antonio in the Mediterranean Sea (where al-Libi is being held) and plans to ask al-Libi about AQ operations in Libya.

Funny: If that’s what they’re after, seems they could have just read the cables Chris Stevens had been sending back for the last several years. “Die Hard in Derna” from June 2008 would have been a good one to start with.

Read more at The Clarion Project

The Mosque: Center of Religion, Politics and Dominance

by Clare M. Lopez:

Islamic-style authoritarianism is the dominant characteristic shared by both the military and the Muslim Brotherhood, theocrats and non-theocrats: one or the other must be dominant. The cannot share power. One side or the other must come out on top. Both of these conflicts, in Syria and Egypt, are, at their base, about the inseparability of Mosque and State in Islam, and the burning zeal of those believers who have no tolerance for Arab and Muslim regimes they see as allowing the two to function apart.

News reports out of Syria are airing graphic footage of extensive interior damage to the historic Khalid Ibn Al-Walid Mosque in Homs. Syrian government troops, backed by Hizballah fighters, captured the mosque from Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces on July 27, 2013 in heavy fighting that has engulfed the northern Homs neighborhood of Khaldiyeh.

Although the mosque holds little strategic value to the Sunni rebels, it holds great symbolic status as the centuries-old mausoleum of Khalid Ibn Al-Walid, revered by Muslims as a companion of Muhammad, as well as commander of the Islamic military forces that conquered Syria after the defeat of the Christian Byzantine forces at the 636 CE Battle of Yarmouk. Syrian television footage showed the dome of the mausoleum had been knocked out in the recent fighting, causing heavy fire damage to the interior, with debris strewn across the floor. Clearly, the mosque assault by Syrian forces loyal to the Alawite regime of Bashar al-Assad, with back-up support from Shi’ite Hizballah, was intended to incite intra-Islamic sectarian rage from the Sunni rebels.

 

The Khalid Ibn Al-Walid Mosque in Homs, Syria, as photographed in 2008. (Source: Noura Raslan)

The extent to which that objective will now be met remains to be seen, but is reminiscent of the February 22, 2006 bombing of the great golden-domed Shi’ite Askaria Mosque in Samarra, Iraq, by al-Qa’eda elements, under the command of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. That carefully-calculated outrage is credited with igniting a savage multi-year civil war in Iraq, which, tragically, appears to be breaking out anew: July 2013 attacks on mosques and worshippers have killed at least 700.

Unfortunately, Iraq and Syria are but the current-day iterations of a 1,300-year-old blood feud over who has the greater legitimacy to rule over the Islamic ummah [Nation of Islam]: Shi’ites or Sunnis. After the 632 CE death of Islam’s traditional founder, the companions and bloodline descendents of Muhammad disagreed—vehemently—over whom should be granted the allegiance of his followers, with all the power the position of Caliph entailed. Then, as now, there was never any question about invoking the consent of the governed, or acknowledging the status or natural worth of the individual, to contribute to the political functioning of the Islamic state. As described so starkly by the Greek-American political scientist P.J. Vatikiotis, and cited here by Andrew Bostom, the essentially authoritarian, autocratic ethos of Islam “may be lasting, even permanent,” and shackles its adherents to an endless “No Exit” cycle of coup, counter-coup, revolution and oppression. Shi’ite and Sunni are doomed to internecine combat over the centuries because both Islamic sects are bound to an ideology based on dominance, not good faith mutual concessions or participatory collaboration. The name of this power-obsessed ideology is Islam. As a belief system, it is deeply bound up with the compellingly spiritual dimensions of Islam and cannot be separated from them, but nevertheless, as ideology, prioritizes the political dimensions.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

‘Islam, Shariah, and the Brotherhood Make Inroads at Chautauqua’

20130726_feisalabdulrauf__large

 Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf

By Clare Lopez:

The Chautauqua Institution, located amidst lovely natural surroundings on the shores of Lake Chautauqua in southwestern New York State, is home to a “unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities,” according to its online Home Page. Drawing tens of thousands of visitors each year, Chautauqua is also one of the most liberal organizations one could possibly imagine anywhere on earth….especially about topics involving faith-based belief systems, like Islam. Regular summer program speakers who downplay and whitewash the counter-Constitutional aspects of Islamic jihad and shariah are not balanced with others who might address the issue with more honesty. The name of Chautauqua’s 2013 Week Eight lecture theme offers a glimpse of its delusions about Islam-dominated societies: “Turkey: Model for the Middle East.” But the introduction to the 2013 “Pursuit of Happiness” lecture series is the dead giveaway:

“The goal of every religion is to help seekers everywhere learn to cultivate true and lasting happiness within themselves.”

If they were referring to Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, or any of a number of other great world religions, this quote would make perfect sense. With reference to Islam, though, not so much, as its own founding figure, Muhammad made quite clear in everything from the Qur’anic verses Muslims believe he received from Allah, to his recorded biography (the Sirat), to the actions and sayings recounted by his followers (ahadith). A few examples will illustrate:

Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): “I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.” (Qur’an 8:12)

Lo! those who disbelieve, among the People of the Scripture and the idolaters, will abide in fire of hell. They are the worst of created beings.  (Qur’an 98:6)

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,’ and whoever says, ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,’ his life and property will be saved by me except for Islamic law, and his accounts will be with Allah, (either to punish him or to forgive him.)”  Hadith of Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 196)

Putting the seal of immutable law on these authoritative Islamic sources, the shariah (Islamic Law) likewise codifies Islam’s rejection of any other faith, even Christianity or Judaism.

… It is unbelief (kufr) to hold that the remnant cults now bearing the names of formerly valid religions, such as “Christianity” or “Judaism,” are acceptable to Allah Most High after He has sent the final Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) to the entire world. (Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, ‘Umdat al-Salik, w4.0[2])

And yet, deliriously heedless of what Islam really says about how Muslims should think of non-Muslims, the Chautauqua Institute continues to feature honey-tongued apologists for interfaith dialogue on its annual program line-up. In July 2012, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf spoke to rapt audiences about the non-existent Islamic commandment to “love thy neighbor” while his wife, Daisy Khan is reported to have played the gullible Chautauqua audience with shovels-full of taqiyya about how gender equality is an intrinsic part of the Islamic faith. She is said to enjoy speaking at Chautauqua because “she has found audiences are mature concerning religious and faith-based arguments.” Utterly clueless about Islam would seem to be a more accurate description.

Read more: Family Security Matters

TrentoVision: Clare Lopez National Security Briefing on the Global Islamic Jihad Movement

Recently, The United West Savannah, GA operation sponsored a National Security Briefing featuring Clare Lopez, former CIA operations Officer and currently a Fellow with Center for Security Policy and the Clarion Project. Clare, one of the world’s top experts on the Muslim Brotherhood hits this one out of the park as she systematically and comprehensively details the origin, growth and current influence capabilities of this cultural terrorist organization. Most shocking is the deep penetration and overwhelming influence the MB have with President Obama and his Administration. Tune in for a first class national security brief!

 

U.S. Arrests 19 Yr-Old Jihadist Convert – This Time We Got Lucky

Qassim al RimiBY CLARE LOPEZ:

A Jacksonville, Florida teen named Shelton Thomas Bell was indicted July 18 on charges of conspiracy and attempt to provide material support to terrorists. Only 19 years old at the time of his arrest, Bell was a convert to Islam who previously had attended the N.E. Florida Islamic Center in Jacksonville before departing in late 2012 on an overseas journey to join the “jihad.”

Somehow, somewhere, Bell seemed to have gotten the idea that jihad was violent armed fighting, and he wanted to link up with a branch of Al-Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula (AQAP) called Ansar al-Shariah (AAS), which is based in Yemen.

The primary objective of both AQAP and its AAS spin-off is the imposition and enforcement of Islamic (sharia) law. Both AQAP and AAS are on the list of U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organizations , which makes it a crime to provide them material support.

Unfortunately for Bell, his late September 2012 journey to the Middle East began with a stopover in Israel, who promptly refused him entry and put him on a return flight to his previous stopover, in Warsaw, Poland. There, Bell bought a ticket to Amman, Jordan, where things seemed to come apart for him.

According to the indictment, Bell intended to travel to Oman before making his way overland to join Islamic fighters in Yemen; he even bought a plane ticket to Oman. Whether it was an Israeli entry refusal stamp in his passport, or simply Jordanian officials talking with their Israeli counterparts, Bell’s journey to jihad went no further than Amman and he returned to the U.S.

As Randy McDaniels noted in a July 22 WatchDogWire article about the case, Bell was only 17 years old when attended the N.E. Florida Islamic Center; and yet, even at that young age, according to Parvez Ahmed, a Board member and official spokesman for the Islamic Center, Bell already stood out for his “very traditional Islamic clothing,” an obvious signal to his developing Islamic devotion.

The district court indictment further notes that, during 2012, Bell had drawn attention to himself by trying to persuade at least one other Jacksonville juvenile to join him in his journey to jihad. That unnamed juvenile participated in physical fitness and firearms training with Bell and even conducted a practice run with him one night in July 2012 when they “caused significant damage to religious statues at the Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens Cemetery.”

Inept as Bell’s attempts to fight jihad with AAS/AQAP may have been, the key issues here, as McDaniels points out, center rather on who were the influential individuals in Bell’s life that led him to convert to Islam in the first place and then so deeply indoctrinated him with Islamic precepts on jihad that he took such concrete, indictable steps towards joining forces that are implacably hostile to U.S. national security interests.

Did Bell fall under the influence of individuals at the N.E. Florida Islamic Center? Did any of such influences point him in the direction of online internet contacts in the world of jihadist chat rooms?

Read more at The Clarion Project

America Joins the Jihad

"Behead all those who insult the Prophet." The 'Istanbul Process', in which the State Dept. is taking a leading role, aims to achieve international-level legislation that would curtail free speech about Islam. (Source: WikiMedia Commons)

“Behead all those who insult the Prophet.” The ‘Istanbul Process’, in which the State Dept. is taking a leading role, aims to achieve international-level legislation that would curtail free speech about Islam. (Source: WikiMedia Commons)

by Clare M. Lopez:

Instead of presenting a firm defense of American principles based on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the entire U.S. national security leadership simply caved in to this attempt to suborn the government. The FBI submissively complied with these jihadist demands, purging its anti-terrorist curriculum of hundreds of pages that an undisclosed group deemed “offensive to Muslims.” Next demand? The removal of HAMAS from the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organizations list.

It is not just that the United States government has aligned itself with the avowed vanguard of Islamic jihad — the Muslim Brotherhood [MB] — or committed American troops to battle (in Libya, and maybe soon in Syria) to ensure the victory of al-Qa’eda-linked militias. It is not just that whenever an opportunity has arisen, as in Iran in 2009, or pre-and-post revolutionary Egypt, or the Syrian civil war, the U.S. deliberately has chosen to side with the forces of jihad and shariah law and against the voices of civil society and genuine democracy.

The current U.S. administration has actually managed to flip from one side to the other, from “for the people in the streets” to “against the people in the streets,” as recently became evident in late June 2013, when protests mounted against the incompetent, oppressive regime of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. The U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, reportedly asked Coptic Pope Tawadros II, “to urge the Copts not to participate” — as well as other groups, apparently — in the demonstrations planned for June 30. There had been no such request reported two years earlier when Muslim Brotherhood supporters thronged Tahrir Square to demand that long-time U.S. ally President Hosni Mubarak step down. Nor did Ambassador Patterson pressure Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood government to return power to Hosni Mubarak, an American ally for three decades, after those street demonstrations prompted the Egyptian military to remove him from power in February 2011. She also did not protest even after Morsi seized power outright from that military command in August 2012. Patterson has, however, reportedly been pressuring the Egyptian military command to reinstate Morsi after it stepped in once again on July 3, 2013 to remove chaos from the streets by removing Morsi from office.

What these policies make painfully obvious that the United States of America has apparently abandoned the core principles of its Founding Fathers and capitulated to the forces of jihad and shariah.The vision of America as “Shining City on a Hill,” an exceptional nation whose leaders champion the natural rights of the individual against the liberty crushing oppression of totalitarian theocracy, for the moment at least, has been suborned to a different vision: the vision of an America as a force for harm in the world, that apologizes for its exceptionalism, abandons its friends and allies, emboldens its enemies, and seeks unilateral disarmament so as to better meet its president’s desire to be just another “citizen of the world.”

The years from 2009-2013 have witnessed the remaking of the map of the Middle East and North Africa [MENA] region. The driving forces behind the Islamic uprisings were powerful indeed: beginning no later than the summer of 2010, al-Qa’eda and the Muslim Brotherhood meshed their tactics and timing in a synchrony that previously had only characterized their identical Islamic ideology. Absent any serious groundwork over the preceding years by the U.S., whether official or by NGOs, to nourish genuine pro-democracy voices, once al-Qa’eda’s July 2010 Inspire magazine call for jihad had been met with MB Supreme Guide Muhammad Badi’sanswering declaration of war in the cause of Islam [jihad] in late September 2010, and al-Azhar had provided thefatwa [Islamic religious edict] of approval for offensive jihad in January 2011, there was no one capable of standing effectively against the tidal wave of popular pro-shariah sentiment. Perhaps no one could have held back that long suppressed desire for Islamic Law.

But the U.S. did not even try. To the contrary, the current administration consistently and repeatedly appeared to respond eagerly to the calls for revolution from the Muslim Brotherhood’s senior Islamic scholar, Yousef al-Qaradawi. When al-Qaradawi said that Mubarak had to go, the U.S. waited a whole three days before throwing America’s key ally in the Middle East for over three decades under the bus. When al-Qaradawi called for Libyan rebels to kill Muammar Qaddafi (so the al-Qa’eda jihadis in his jails could get out and join the revolution), the U.S. led the Western military campaign that brought al-Qa’eda, the MB, and chaos to Libya. And when al-Qaradawi issued a call for jihad in Syria, in early June 2013, the U.S. quickly issued an invitation to Abdullah bin Bayyah (al-Qaradawi’s vice president at the International Union of Muslim Scholars), who told an Al-Jazeera reporter that, “We demand Washington take a greater role in [Syria].” It took the U.S. less than one week after al-Qaradawi’s fatwa to announce authorization of stepped-up military aid to the al-Qa’eda-and-Brotherhood-dominated Syrian rebels. The White House announcement came just a single day after bin Bayyah met with National Security and other senior administration officials.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

National Defense vs. the Ideology of Jihad

MBUSASealsby Clare M. Lopez:

It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the deliberate blinding of our homeland security defense capabilities, perpetrated by the Muslim Brotherhood in close cooperation with the witting, willing assistance of our own national security agency leadership , is propelling the U.S. towards catastrophe.

Counterterrorism expert Patrick Poole has compiled a meticulously-documented record of disastrous U.S. policy behavior that is as chilling as it is comprehensive. In “Blind Terror: The U.S. Government’s Muslim Outreach Efforts and the Impact on U.S. Middle East Policy,” published 4 June 2013 in the MERIA Journal, Poole describes the aggressive efforts of successive U.S. administrations dating back at least to the Clinton years to forge conciliatory relationships with American Muslim individuals and groups that are legally, openly on record as known supporters of jihadi terrorism and Islamic shariah law.

While Poole’s superb analysis focuses on the catastrophic results of such policies for U.S. national security and that of our regional friends and allies – policies still unfolding across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region — an equally catastrophic potential attends to these policies domestically, in the homeland. The methodical blinding of the intelligence community, its seventeen aggregated agencies, and security and law enforcement units across the country is the unavoidable result of this kind of “outreach” to jihadists, who are determined to outlaw consideration of Islamic ideology as a motivating factor for terror attacks. At some point, if allowed to continue, such blinding must necessarily result in the effective neutralization of these front line defenses such that they are incapable of responding in a timely manner to prevent high-casualty terrorist attacks.

U.S. capitulation to the forces of Islamic jihad and shariah was set, perhaps irrevocably, by President George W. Bush in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Speaking at the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. on September 12, 2001, where he was flanked by some of the top Muslim Brotherhood representatives in the country, Bush declared: “The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace”.

But as Poole’s careful research chronicles, during the Obama administration, the Muslim Brotherhood’s decades-long infiltration campaign of targeting senior policy-making levels of the U.S. government not only accelerated, but arguably reached critical mass. In a stunning sequence of events beginning in late 2011, and at the urging of identifiable affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood, all U.S. government training curriculum that explained the irrefragable connection between Islamic doctrine, law, and scripture and Islamic terrorism was literally purged of such content. Additionally, subject matter experts identified as “enemies” by the administration’s Muslim advisors henceforth were summarily banned from providing truthful training about Islam to U.S. government employees or for U.S. government-funded classes. At the same time, a critical Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) policy based on the so-called “Touchstone” document went into effect that says mere membership in a violent (that is, terrorist) organization that also demonstrates “legitimate (advocacy)…objectives” should not result in a conclusion that members endorse the “illicit objective(s)” of that organization. The Touchstone policy clearly was meant to place the administration’s Muslim Brotherhood advisors beyond the reach of criticism, even when such criticism is based on public court records such as the Holy Land Foundation HAMAS terror funding trial documents and unindicted co-conspirators list. Touchstone effectively immunizes these advisors, these agents of influence for a power openly hostile to this country, Constitution, and society, from the legal and security scrutiny and suspicion to which they otherwise rightly would be subject.

The inescapable effect of this policy is to permit a growing vulnerability to terrorist attack in the American homeland. And not just permit: the Touchstone policy literally ensures circumstances that make such attacks inevitable. National, regional, and local security forces that are not permitted to know the enemy, or understand what motivates that enemy to move from hostile belief to terrorist action, have a diminished chance to pre-empt Islamic terror attacks and are relegated to reliance on hit-or-miss sting and surveillance operations — or post-attack law enforcement investigations in the aftermath of another Boston Marathon bombing. To the extent that the insinuation of the Touchstone policy into U.S. national security strategy was the calculated effort of this country’s jihadist enemies — undetected by those responsible for U.S. counterintelligence — the safety and security of American citizens slip inescapably under the threat of more attacks.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

The New, Improved Axis of Jihad

images (58)by Clare M. Lopez:

Two years into the seismic shift that brought the forces of Islamic jihad and Sharia law to power in country after country in the Middle East and North Africa — with the astonishing and extensive assistance from the U.S. — Iran, Hizballah and al-Qa’eda apparently judge that the U.S. and its Western allies still need another nudge to ensure their complete retreat from “Muslim” lands. That nudge, according to independent, reliable and mutually-corroborating sources, has now been prepared by this Axis.

Indicators and warnings continue to grow concerning the resurgence of an “Axis of Jihad” comprised of Iran, Hizballah, and al-Qa’eda. This axis is not new: its three actors, both national and sub-national, have been working together in an operational terror alliance for over two decades. Still, so many seem unaware not just of this alliance, but of the ideological bonds that brought them together in Khartoum, Sudan, in the early 1990s and have kept them together to the current day. The bond is as old as Islam, and includes the commitment to jihad [war in the name of Islam] and Islamic Shariah law; the threat is to all free and democratic societies which stand in the way of global Islamic government and the forcible application of Islamic Shariah Law.

Foundation of the Axis of Jihad

This modern-day Axis of Jihad was formed in the Sudan under the aegis of the Muslim Brotherhood regime of Omar al-Bashir and his sometime political ally, National Congress Party chairman Hassan al-Turabi. Al-Qa’eda as such had not yet taken its current form, but after the end of the 1980s Afghan war against the Soviet Union, Usama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri had found safe haven in the Sudan. Al-Bashir and Turabi are pan-Islamists, meaning they see the world in terms of the Dar al-Islam (House of Islam, where Shariah is enforced) versus the Dar al-Harb (everywhere that is not under Islamic Law). Such a worldview chooses to disregard the ancient intra-Islamic schism between Sunni and Shi’a and instead to unify the entire Islamic world in jihad against the “infidel.”
So it was that al-Bashir and Turabi invited the Iranian regime leadership and its Hizballah terror proxies to Khartoum in late 1990 to meet with the future leadership of al-Qa’eda. Then-Iranian president (and once again a 2013 candidate for the office) Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, intelligence director Ali Fallahian, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Mohsen Reza’i and other top Iranian leadership figures accepted al-Bashir’s invitation and traveled to Khartoum, along with Islamic jihadis from around the region.

There, and in subsequent meetings that took place in Khartoum throughout the early 1990s, the alliance was formed among Iran, Hizballah, and what soon would be known as al-Qa’eda. Usama bin Laden was especially interested in the explosives expertise coupled with a “martyrdom” mentality he had seen demonstrated by Hizballah with such deadly effect against Western targets. It was arranged that Imad Mughniyeh, Hizballah’s top terror operative, would commit to training Usama bin Laden’s growing cadre of terrorists in explosives techniques, especially those involving suicide truck bombings that could bring down large buildings. Training camps were set up in Sudan, Lebanon, and elsewhere where al-Qa’eda’s would-be shahid recruits could learn this craft. The attacks at Khobar Towers, the U.S. East Africa Embassies in Dar Es-Salaam and Nairobi, against the USS Cole, and eventually the 9/11 attacks themselves were all the result of this terror alliance.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

Iranian, Hezbollah Terror Cells Re-Activated

A member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps stands next to a picture of the Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of the Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979. (Photo: Reuters)

A member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps stands next to a picture of the Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of the Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979. (Photo: Reuters)

By Clare Lopez:

Days before Israel reportedly struck inside Syria to destroy a shipment of dangerous Fateh-110 missiles with long range, precision-targeting capabilities, Hezbollah’s Supreme Guide Hassan Nasrallah declared that Syria had “real friends” who were ready and able to defend the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, under attack since early 2011 by a coalition of Sunni rebels.

In an April 30 address on the Hezbollah satellite TV network, Al-Manar, Nasrallah hinted at a possible Hezbollah role on the ground inside Syria and, as he has done before, directly threatened both “America and the Zionist regime [Israel].”

This is not the first time that Nasrallah and his Iranian terror proxy, Hezbollah, have lashed out against the United States and Israel on orders from the “Supreme Leader” of the Iranian regime. What some have termed the “Shadow War” between Jerusalem and Tehran burst into the open in early 2012, with a series of plots involving Hezbollah and Iranian operatives across the globe.

From AfricaCentral Asia, and the Far East to Eastern Europe, the Shi’ite terror network has been identified by authorities in assassination, bombing, and Israeli embassy and personnel attack attempts. Many, thankfully, were thwarted, but in July 2012, five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver were killed in Burgas, Bulgaria by a Hezbollah suicide bomber.

Read more at The Clarion Project

Rape and the Islamic Doctrine That Allows It

 

Egyptian woman

Historically and juridically, Islam sanctions FGM for Muslim females and rape and sexual slavery of non-Muslim females. Westerners determinedly avoid the topic altogether.

By Clare Lopez:

The first time that many Americans and others in the West became aware of the extent of the mistreatment of  women in Muslim-majority countries was on February 11, 2011, the night that Hosni Mubarak’s government fell in Cairo and CBS News correspondent, Lara Logan, was brutally sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square.

Yet, those already familiar with the Egyptian street know that the brazen sexual harassment of women has been a feature of public life there for a long time. After all, this is an overwhelmingly Muslim country where statistics show more than 90 per cent of women undergo genital mutilation (Female Genital Mutilation-FGM), whose fundamental purpose is to destroy female sexuality—not only so that men may more easily control their own women but in an attempt to remove ostensible “provocation” from men who are raised from infancy in an environment of permissiveness to believe they are superior to women.

And while Western feminist groups determinedly avoid the topic altogether, international organizations charged with studying the treatment of women around the world typically take pains to avoid any insinuation that either FGM or rape of women and girls has anything to do with Islam. Unfortunately, both do. Doctrinally, historically and juridically, Islam sanctions FGM for Muslim females and the rape and sexual slavery of non-Muslim females.

Read more at The Clarion Project

 

Players Begin Savage Moves for Post-Assad Power Grab


syrian supporters of MB
By: Clare Lopez:

“Intelligence Preparation of the Environment (IPE)” is a military term for analyzing the operational environment, including the adversary and his potential courses of action. The corollary to the IPE process is taking action to help shape that environment in ways advantageous for one’s own side and detrimental for the enemy. Such action may be military, but also includes intelligence and psychological operations.

This is what’s going on in Syria right now. Bashar al-Assad’s regime is going to fall and the only question left is, “How soon?” The forces that will savage one another to succeed him in power in Damascus are beginning to make moves that are calculated to improve their position in the immediate post-Assad period.

Key players are being either removed from the chess board or strategically placed on it. For example, on March 19, 2013, the Turkey-based Syrian National Council (SNC) elected Ghassan Hitto, a senior member of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, as head of an interim opposition government for Syria. Hitto was profiled in an extensive report by the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report (GMBDR) later the same day.

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This is deeply troubling on a number of counts: First, that the U.S. is not taking the lead to selectively support those elements of the SFA that do not seek another Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Islamic regime in the Middle East; and second, that the U.S. is actively supporting elements of the Syrian opposition that have made no secret of their intent to install another sharia-compliant Islamic regime in Damascus once Assad is gone.

Read more at Radicalislam.org

Clare Lopez is a senior fellow at RadicalIslam.org and a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on the Middle East, national defense and counterterrorism. Lopez served for 20 years as an operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
This article may not be republished without expressed written permission from RadicalIslam.org