The Center’s Clare Lopez debates Mike Ghouse on Sean Hannity’s radio show on the Islamic State (IS), Islam, doctrinal basis for IS atrocities.
Breitbart, by CLARE M. LOPEZ:
In a chilling 14 August 2014 letter to Lisa O. Monaco, Homeland Security and Counterterrorism advisor at the National Security Council (NSC), reminiscent of the Red Chinese and Soviet gulags, a group of 75 signatories urged the Obama administration to “implement a mandatory retraining program for all federal, state, and local law enforcement officers” who have been exposed to “anti-Muslim” training.
Former FBI counter-terrorism Special Agent, former head of the FBI SWAT team and former combat Marine John Guandolo– a member of the Center for Security Policy (CSP) Team B IIand Founder of Understanding the Threat– was singled out for particular criticism, as was FBI analyst William Gawthrop.
Among the signatories to the letter are CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations, the U.S. HAMAS wing), the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC), which includes Helping Hand for Relief & Development USA, the charitable wing of Muslim Brotherhood front group, Islamic Circle of North America), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), whose Executive Committee includes the likes of Siraj Wahhaj (named an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) and Ihsan Bagby (member of several U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations including the Fiqh Council of North America, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)). To round out the Islamic representation, there are two Shi’ite affiliates, the Imam Hussain Islamic Center and Universal Muslim Association of America (UMAA, which seems to have only a Facebook presence online).
Joining them in signing the letter was a gaggle of fellow travelers drawn from across a span of leftist organizations. Perhaps it’s all the ghastly publicity from the Middle East that’s been drawing attention to how Islamic Law (shariah) really looks when it’s implemented in all its barbaric fulsomeness. Or maybe the signatories just decided it was time for the old Red-Green alliance to reprise the glory days of its original efforts to remove training about how Islamic terrorism takes its inspiration from Islamic doctrine, when a 19 October 2011 letter to Monaco’s predecessor, John Brennan, succeeded in launching a U.S. government-wide purge of such curriculum. Then again, it’s possible somebody pulled out a dog-eared copy of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” to review some tips on how to neutralize Guandolo’s stunningly effective law enforcement training about Islam, shariah, and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Red-Green coalition obviously has realized (likely with dawning horror) that even if Guandolo weren’t still out there reaching sheriffs’ departments across the country, the residual effects of earlier pre-purge training still inform countless law enforcement counterterrorism programs. And the thought that such training lately must only be reinforced by the never-ending stream of atrocities out of the Middle East may have been just enough to tip the group over into serious panic. Hence the letter to Ms. Monaco to urge a little brainwashing, just to make sure nobody somehow connects any of those awful beheadings and crucifixions with Islam (see Qur’anic verses 8:12 and 5:32-33 for details).
First came the physical purge of the training materials. Now must follow the psychological purge of all those minds that absorbed that training. Stalin and Mao—never mind Qutb and Khomeini—would be so proud.
Clare M. Lopez is the Vice President for Research & Analysis at the Center for Security Policy.
- American Muslim Organizations Pen Letter Against Surveillance of Islamist Groups (counterjihadreport.com)
Progressives and Jihadis Seek to Silence UTT’s Influence In Letter to White House by John Guandolo (understandingthethreat.com)
- A detailed look at ‘the purge’ of U.S. counter-terrorism training by the Obama administration by Patrick Poole (theblaze.com)
The jihadist forces of the Islamic State are strewing a path of atrocities, destruction and conquest across the heartland of the Middle East. They thrust down into Iraq from Syrian battlefields in June 2014, sweeping all before them, including thousands of Iraqi army troops who abandoned uniforms and top-of-the-line U.S. weaponry as they fled south to Baghdad.
Who stands between the Islamic State and its dream of a global caliphate? The Kurds are doing their best with a Peshmerga spirit but outdated weaponry. The United States and some European allies have begun to intervene militarily. Saudi King Abdullah gave a couple of speeches imploring his fellow Muslims to do something. Iran reportedly sent Gen. Qassem Suleimani and some Qods Force advisers to buck up its tottering puppet regime in Baghdad. The question is, where are the rest of the region’s Muslims, those supposedly so threatened by what the Islamic State represents? The silence from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has been positively deafening. Above all, Gen. Suleimani and the Qods Force notwithstanding, what is Iran really doing to take the fight to the Islamic State and roll back its advances?
A directionless U.S. national security leadership helps explain why the United States can’t seem to figure out who’s the enemy (this week) or what to do about it all. As long as the Islamic State was still the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), fighting (at least occasionally) against the Iranian-backed regime of Bashar Assad in Syria, the U.S. along with assorted companions of dubious pedigree — Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood — channeled aid, intelligence, training and weapons to Syrian rebels, some of whom were of likewise dubious pedigree. But now that ISIS has morphed into the far more ambitious and dangerous Islamic State (or simply, the Caliphate), it seems to be another story. In between rounds of golf, even President Obama has expressed something akin to alarm.
The problem, as Cliff May of the Foundation for Defense of Democracy pointed out recently, is that the United States has no “overarching strategy.” What Mr. May and others term (the politically correct) “jihadism,” in fact is nothing other than the purest expression of Islamic doctrine, law and scripture that has been waging wars of conquest against the non-Muslim world for more than 1,300 years. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, after all, earned a doctorate in Islamic studies from a Baghdad university. Like Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahri and others before him, he cites with specificity Islamic law and scripture to underscore the justification of his jihad. However, thanks to massive penetration of the top levels of U.S. national security leadership, which collaborated with affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to effect a governmentwide purge of training materials about such topics, the American ability to name the enemy and take the offense to confront and defeat his threat doctrine has been neutralized. So we see the Obama administration jerking from response to response, sending Libyan weapons and training future ISIS recruits in Jordan one day, bombing the Islamic State positions inside Iraq the next, too tongue-tied to identify the Islamic ideology at the root of the whole mess.
Andrew Bostom nailed it in an Aug. 17 tweet in which he asked, “Whither the Muslim-led coalition to crush ‘un-Islamic [Islamic State] drawn from vast, modern-equipped militaries of Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, et al?” Yousef al-Qaradawi, senior jurist of the Muslim Brotherhood, bleated something about how al-Baghdadi’s declaration of a caliphate was “void,” according to Islamic law. No call to arms here, though, and certainly nothing at the level of his thundering fatwas endorsing suicide bombings against American troops in Iraq or Israelis. Even when the Islamic State calls the Shia “rafidah,” meaning deviants (from the “true Islam”), and jihadis flock from all over the world to volunteer for suicide missions to blow up Shia shrines, the most Iran seems to be doing is helping defend the ones that are left and making sure the Islamic State doesn’t capture Baghdad.
That leads to the nagging concern at the back of all this: What if the reason neither the ostensibly petrified Arab Muslim regimes nor the supposedly directly targeted Shia have called an emergency session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to denounce the “un-Islamic” Islamic State is because it really isn’t all that “un-Islamic” to want to re-establish the caliphate or enforce Islamic law (Shariah)? None of them wants to lose his throne — or his head — to the bloodthirsty thugs, but how to condemn something that Muhammad and the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs who followed him did on a much grander scale?
Read more at The Washington Times
Clare M. Lopez is the vice president for research and analysis at the Center for Security Policy.
Daily Caller, by Ginni Thomas:
The Center for Security Policy’s Vice President for Research and Analysis, Clare Lopez, says in this exclusive video interview with The Daily Caller that very few have seemed to care that America switched sides in the global war on terror when President Obama deposed an erstwhile ally in the Middle East and provided weapons to al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Focusing on this under-reported, critical shift in American foreign policy, Clare Lopez discusses how an American ambassador and others were killed in Benghazi on the anniversary of 9/11 because the Obama administration decided to promote and defend their narrative that “al-Qaida was on the run,” even as we were outright arming militants affiliated with the terrorist group.
Lopez spent 20 years as an undercover operations officer for the CIA. Believing she can now best serve her country in the policy arena, she has found a natural fit at a non-partisan non-profit that promotes American national security and foreign policy based on the principle of “peace through strength.”
This week, we feature part 1 of 2 of our video interview with Lopez on the topic of the Benghazi attacks. Lopez, who’s also a member of the Citizens Commission on Benghazi, says, “Benghazi is symbolic of more than just a disastrous foreign policy or a disastrous attack on our mission that took the lives of four Americans serving there and injured many more. Benghazi is not just what happened on September 11, 2012 either. Americans really need to care about Benghazi and what happened there because that is the place, and 2011 and 2012 was the time, when America switched sides in the war on terrorism.”
To her, the American decision to overthrow the head of a sovereign government, Muammar al-Gaddafi, and to instead support al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood laid the important framework for a resurgence of global jihad.
Lopez says when we supported the local Islamic forces, America flipped in the global war on terror and we, the U.S. government, turned on our erstwhile ally and provided funding, backing, intelligence, our participation in a NATO effort and weapons for rebel forces.
“We facilitated the flow of weapons to the Gaddafi opposition, and we knew the opposition was dominated by al-Qaida. It was led by the Muslim Brotherhood and the fighting militia was dominated by al-Qaida. That’s who we helped,” she explained.
Later in the interview, Lopez discusses the important, unanswered questions on Benghazi before, during and after the 2012 attack. She discusses the weapons transfers happening in Benghazi that were at the heart of the controversial change in American policy, and the significance of the capture and prosecution of Ahmed Abu Khattala.
In addition, Lopez discusses the significance of the Muslim Brotherhood giving a “kill order” to al-Qaida, showing significant “command and control” as the global jihadist forces began a resurgence.
Lopez ends by bringing viewers back to the fall of 2012. When the reality of the Benghazi attack came to light due to Judicial Watch’s “smoking gun email,” we now know the Obama administration scurried to promote a narrative that did not challenge the President’s reelection mantra “Osama bin Laden is dead and al-Qaida is on the run.” Lopez says, “It would not have suited, at all, to be defending against a nonexistent al-Qaida!”
By GARTH KANT:
WASHINGTON – Clare Lopez looks more like the prototypical all-American mother she is than the highly trained government spy she was for 20 years.
Sitting across the table at a Washington eatery, the somewhat petite, charming blonde with a friendly and engaging smile was generally soft-spoken but often emphatic in delivery, especially while unloading a bombshell analysis that turned the common understanding of U.S. foreign policy on its head.
According to the former CIA operative, President Obama’s plan for the Middle East is just what Osama bin Laden wanted: removing U.S. troops and putting the jihadis in power.
Lopez spent two decades in the field as a CIA operations officer; was an instructor for military intelligence and special forces students; has been a consultant, intelligence analyst and researcher within the defense sector; and has published two books on Iran. She currently manages the counterjihad and Shariah programs at the Center for Security Policy, run by Frank Gaffney, former assistant secretary of defense for international security policy during the Reagan administration.
Lopez told WND she sees a pattern in Obama’s actions, or inaction, that reveals his blueprint for the Middle East and Northern Africa is to let the warring jihadi factions, the Sunnis and the Shiites, divide the region into two spheres of influence, and for the U.S. to withdraw.
“The administration’s plan, I believe, is to remove American power and influence, including military forces, from Islamic lands,” Lopez asserted.
When WND remarked that was just what Osama bin Laden had demanded, Lopez pointed out that is the aim of all jihadis, “Because that is what Islam demands, that foreign forces be kicked out of Islamic lands.”
Does Obama think if we leave the Mideast the jihadis will then leave us alone?
“I don’t know,” she said. “I can just see the pattern that is enabling the rise of Islam, empowering the Muslim Brotherhood domestically and abroad, alienating and distancing ourselves from our friends and allies and debilitating the American military.”
Even if she doesn’t have inside information, the former spy said, “I can see what he is doing; it seems to be a clear agenda. It is clear that is what he is doing.”
WND spoke with Lopez about the current crisis in Iraq, in which the Islamic terrorist army ISIS has blitzed across the country, capturing large chunks of territory while slaughtering Christians and other Muslims and threatening genocide. In a wide-ranging interview, the foreign policy expert also assessed the current state of the Mideast.
She believes Obama’s hesitance in the face of the horrific violence in the current crisis comes from a basic mistake, not recognizing the true motivation of the jihadis is an ideology of relentless conquest.
But she isn’t advocating a return to the Iraq War. Lopez believes the U.S. should protect its interests and those minorities facing genocide, but otherwise, let the warring parties sort it out, for the time being.
Lopez believes regimes such as Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey play all sides of the jihadi game and have “enabled a monster in ISIS” they can no longer control, and “they should be allowed to reap what they’ve sown.” Furthermore, she maintained, U.S. leadership has proven incapable of sorting out who’s who or who’s backing whom.
Besides, she observed, there isn’t much else left for the U.S. to protect in Iraq.
When WND asked her if Iraq is lost, she had a startling but succinct reaction: “Iraq doesn’t exist anymore. I liken it to Humpy-Dumpty. It’s fallen off the wall, and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men cannot put it back together again.”
Given that bleak assessment, the former CIA operative described what she believes the U.S. must now do to preserve its core interests in Iraq, Syria and the Persian Gulf region:
- Protect American personnel and facilities at the Embassy in Baghdad and the Irbil and Basra consulates with either airstrikes or evacuation.
- Provide as much humanitarian aid as possible to beleaguered minorities facing genocide, as well as to friendly countries like Jordan that are burdened with overwhelming economic demands to care for millions of refugees.
- Stand by allies and partners in the region, especially Israel and Jordan.
- Help the Kurds survive by providing diplomatic support, intelligence, logistics and modern weapons.
- Deploy a Special Forces capability to the region to gather intelligence and provide early warning of threats to U.S. interests, and provide the ability to project power and influence as required.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently criticized Obama for not arming what she called moderate rebels in Syria when the civil war there began, which, she claimed, could have prevented the rise of ISIS.
Much more at WND
Published on Jul 2, 2014 by J. Mark Campbell:
This week’s edition of CenterVision, hosted by J. Mark Campbell presents Clare Lopez, VP of Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy briefs our viewers on the insane murder of the three Jewish teenagers and the development of the new Islamic “Caliphate.” Do not miss Clare’s insight and conclusions.
By J. Mark Campbell:
“CenterVision” is a new micro-series produced by The United West
which airs weekly. “CenterVision” will present a short, insightful
video analysis of critical national security issue featuring
subject-matter experts from the preeminent national security
think tank in Washington DC, The Center for Security Policy,
thus the name, “CenterVision.”
This week’s segment is entitled “A WORLD ON FIRE”
focusing on the national security debacles occurring
in warp-speed at the White House. Our subject-matter expert
is the indefatigable, Clare Lopez, Vice President of
Research and Analysis at The Center for Security Policy.
In a former life, Clare retired from the Central Intelligence Agency
after an extremely successful, exciting and…errr…
let’s just say “spooky” twenty-year career.
Watch and listen carefully as Clare and Tom provide
a unique look into another of President Obama’s overt
efforts to transform America into the vanquished “colonizer”
he want her to be!
- Libya suspect Abu Khattala, suspected in killing Americans, was shadowy figure among militants (foxnews.com)
- Frappe Sipping Benghazi Terrorist Was Reportedly Offended By A Youtube Video (breitbart.com)
- Setting Up Captured Benghazi Suspect As Obama’s Star Witness (shoebat.com)
- Obama’s Arrest of The Benghazi Suspect Is A Proven Scandal (shoebat.com)
- Obama scheme derailed capture of Benghazi killer (wnd.com)
- Shocker: Seized Benghazi suspect worked for U.S. (wnd.com)
Accuracy in Media, June 17, 2014, By James Simpson:
The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank wrote a column on Monday titled “Heritage’s ugly Benghazi panel,” portraying a forum held the same day at the Heritage Foundation, hosted by the newly formedBenghazi Accountability Coalition, as nothing more than an anti-Islamic hate-fest. This was a serious panel with numerous, widelyrecognized experts, a couple of whom were also members of Accuracy in Media’s Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. CCB’s April report, “How America Switched Sides in the War on Terror,” madeinternational headlines.
That report took some serious skin. Diane Sawyer, Bob Woodward, and other stalwarts of the mainstream media, have taken Hillary Clinton to task over Benghazi. With Heritage and others now picking up the baton, something clearly needed to be done. They can’t have Hillary’s chances in 2016 threatened by that Benghazi “old news.” As Hillary herself said, “What difference, at this point, does it make!?”
Enter Dana Milbank, WaPo’s hit “journalist,” who sees Joseph McCarthy, and racist bigots behind every conservative door. He could not, and did not, dispute the facts raised during this afternoon-long forum. Instead he used a now-standard device of the left when confronted with uncomfortable truths. The discussion and topic was discredited by simply describing what was said in a presumptuous and mocking tone. It is a clever way to discredit facts in the reader’s mind without actually disputing the facts. So for example, he wrote:
“The session, as usual, quickly moved beyond the specifics of the assaults that left four Americans dead to accusations about the Muslim Brotherhood infiltrating the Obama administration, President Obama funding jihadists in their quest to destroy the United States, Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton attempting to impose Shariah blasphemy laws on Americans and Al Jazeera America being an organ of ‘enemy propaganda.’”
Most of the above, of course, is true. President Obama did fund the Libyan opposition, which was known to have al Qaeda ties, and those same jihadists turned around and attacked the Benghazi Special Mission Compound, killing Americans. He blatantly supported the Muslim Brotherhood in the misnamed Egyptian “Arab Spring” where one of America’s most reliable Muslim allies, Hosni Mubarak, was deposed.
Obama and Clinton are certainly doing nothing to stop the spread of Shariah in America, and the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the Obama administration.Another report out Monday quoted Mohamed Elibiary, an advisor to the Homeland Security Department and Muslim Brotherhood supporter, writing in a tweet, “As I’ve said b4, inevitable that ‘Caliphate’ returns…” Finally, anyone even remotely familiar with Al Jazeera knows it is an Islamist propaganda organ. The fact that it occasionally does a better job of reporting news than the American mainstream media is simply a reflection of just how bad the American media have become.
But apparently Milbank’s job is not to delve into the facts. Instead, his job is to discredit Obama’s detractors. So he used another standard leftist device as well. He found a convenient straight man to play the victim, innocently asking questions and making statements designed to provoke a predictable response, which could then be attacked with the usual leftist rhetoric. In this case, he utilized a Muslim woman named Saba Ahmed. He wrote, “Saba Ahmed, an American University law student, stood in the back of the room and asked a question in a soft voice…” He quoted her as saying:
“We portray Islam and all Muslims as bad, but there’s 1.8 billion followers of Islam… We have 8 million-plus Muslim Americans in this country and I don’t see them represented here.”
So, of course, the fact that the forum was not packed with Muslims implies it had to be biased. Substitute “white privilege,” “racism,” “McCarthyism,” or any of the other familiar leftist shibboleths. If you can’t discredit the message, smear the messengers. Ahmed also performed another, perhaps more important service, she changed the subject away from the disaster that was Benghazi and forced the panel to make it all about her bogus concerns.
As described by Milbank, one of the participants, Brigitte Gabriel, immediately “pounced” on Ahmed. Gabriel, who grew up in Lebanon during the civil war and saw first hand what the Islamists did there, founded Act for America to educate Americans on the threat from radical Islam.
Except that Gabriel didn’t pounce. She didn’t even respond. A partial video of the forum, posted at Media Matters of all places, and reposted at Mediaite.com revealed that instead, Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney gave a very measured, careful and respectful response. Then Gabriel “pounced.” But even then she didn’t pounce at all. Finally, Milbank selectively edited Ahmed’s question as well. He mischaracterized the entire exchange, which was very respectful. Here is the video.
Milbank described Gabriel’s response to Ahmed as though it was the height of absurdity. He selectively reported her response that “180 million to 300 million” Muslims are “dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization,” that the “peaceful majority were irrelevant in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001… Most Germans were peaceful, yet the Nazis drove the agenda and as a result, 60 million died.”
This is all true as well. The peaceful Muslims—and there are no doubt many—are just as passive and impotent as everyday Germans were while the Nazis were killing Jews during WW II, but Milbank made it sound as though she had committed a crime: “she drew a Hitler comparison,” he gasped. What is wrong with that? It is a good analogy. He didn’t mention all the other analogies she drew, including mass murder committed by Japanese and Soviet communists, where the people were similarly powerless.
But we must ask a larger question. What was Saba Ahmed, the innocent, soft-spoken American University “student,” doing there? It turns out Ahmed is more than just a “student.” She has a lobbying firm in Washington, DC. She once ran for Congress while living in Oregon, where she went missing for three days over a failed relationship, according to family members.
She came to the aid of a family friend, the Christmas tree bomber, who attempted to set off a vanload of explosives in a downtown Portland park where Christmas revelers were celebrating. The bomb was actually a dummy, part of an FBI sting investigation.
After losing the Democratic primary, she even switched sides, becoming a registered Republican. But she never switched loyalties. She spoke against the war in Iraq at an Occupy rally in Oregon, has worked on the staff of Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy (VT) and has been a Democratic activist for a long time—not exactly the innocent “student” portrayed by Milbank. A 2011 article describing her odd Congressional campaign stated:
Ahmed, who says she’s been recently lobbying Congress to end U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, said that ‘Obviously I am not a traditional politician.’
Milbank characterized it all as a pile-on against this one meek, lone voice of reason. He went on to further ridicule the forum and its participants, observing among other things:
“[Talk show host and panel moderator, Chris] Plante cast doubt on whether Ambassador Chris Stevens really died of smoke inhalation, demanding to see an autopsy report.
(Many claim he was raped and tortured. An autopsy report would settle the issue, but of course the Obama administration won’t release it.)
“Gabriel floated the notion that Stevens had been working on a weapons-swap program between Libya and Syria just before he was killed.”
(That was apparently the real reason behind the entire fiasco.)
“Panelist Clare Lopez of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi said the perpetrators of the attack are ‘sipping frappes with journalists in juice bars.’”
This last comment was particularly outrageous. Milbank makes Lopez’s statement sound absurd, worthy of ridicule, but in fact CNN located the suspected ringleader of the terrorists involved in the Benghazi attack and interviewed him for two hours at a prominent hotel coffee bar in Benghazi. FBI Director James Comey was grilled in a Congressional hearing about it. Congressmen Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) demanded to know how CNN could locate the terrorists so easily while the FBI couldn’t. Just today it was reported that that same suspected ringleader of the attack on the compound in Benghazi, Ahmed Abu Khatallah, was captured in Libya and is being brought to the U.S. on a ship.
Lopez is a former career CIA case officer and expert on the Middle East. Yet here is Milbank trying to make her look like some kind of yahoo. But one doesn’t have to dig too deep to discover who the real yahoo is.
Milbank’s trump card was Ahmed. It was almost certainly a setup. Milbank found an activist he knew could play her part well. She feigned a humble, meek, ignorant college student who made a single observation and became the “victim,” whose harsh treatment Milbank could then excoriate, while discrediting a panel of distinguished experts that included Gabriel, Lopez, Andrew McCarthy—who prosecuted the case against the Blind Sheikh, the World Trade Center bombing mastermind—and many others.
Meanwhile, the pink elephant in the room was the massive intelligence, military, foreign policy and leadership failure that Benghazi represents for the Obama administration, and by extension, the absolutely inexcusable incompetence—or worse—of Hillary Clinton’s State Department.
Like most of the Democrats’ media shills, Dana Milbank lies quite well, but they are lies nonetheless. We are well advised to recognize them as such. Hillary Clinton should not be allowed anywhere near the White House. She, along with Obama and many other Democrats, should instead find themselves under the microscope in a serious criminal investigation. I won’t hold my breath, however.
James Simpson is an economist, businessman and investigative journalist. His articles have been published at American Thinker, Accuracy in Media,Breitbart, PJ Media, Washington Times, WorldNetDaily and others. His regular column is DC Independent Examiner. Follow Jim on Twitter & Facebook
The Moore Republican Women’s Club held their June meeting at the Carolina Hotel in Pinehurst on June 2, 2014, beginning at 11:30 A.M. Club President Kay Wildt presided. The featured speaker was Claire M. Lopez, Vice-President for Research & Analysis of the Center for Security Policy.
An expert on Iran, Hizballah and southern border issues, Lopez manages the counter-jihad and shariah programs at the Center. She began her professional career as a CIA operations officer and later applied her national security expertise as a consultant, intelligence analyst, and researcher in various contract positions within the defense sector. She has been an instructor for military intelligence and Special Forces students and lectures widely on Iran, Islam, and the Muslim Brotherhood around the country.
Clare begins at about 18 minutes into this 2 hour video. This is an excellent briefing that covers a lot of territory including current events. At 1:08:20 into the video Clare gives a very good summary of the findings of the Citizens Commission on Benghazi. During Q&A (at 1:52:23) Clare discusses the Bowe Bergdahl trade for 5 Taliban GITMO prisoners.
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 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.
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).
- US DHS and State Department Disregard US Law and Supreme Court Ruling and Allow Terrorist Supporters to Become Citizens
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.
Word 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
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
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