On this week’s episode of The Watchman, we sit down with national security expert and former Pentagon spokesman J.D. Gordon to discuss the threats posed by Iran and ISIS and how America should counter them.
Frontpage, March 20, 2015 by
A decade ago ISIS was on the front page of every major newspaper. Then Obama won and declared victory over Al Qaeda and it went away. ISIS, then Al Qaeda in Iraq, didn’t actually go away, but the administration and its media allies began pretending that it had.
They went on pretending until it began advancing in force on Baghdad.
Today the media deniers scramble to explain ISIS as an “Un-Islamic” organization. Erick Stakelbeck, author of multiple books on Islamic terrorism, includingThe Brotherhood: America’s Next Great Enemy and The Terrorist Next Door, takes on ISIS with his latest book, ISIS Exposed: Beheadings, Slavery, and the Hellish Reality of Radical Islam.
Stakelbeck’s experience with the domestic Islamic threat naturally turns the book’s focus toward the ISIS iceberg in America and Europe, from its foreign fighters, both immigrant and convert, traveling from Western airports into the teeth of the Jihad, to its social media operation, its propaganda and its plans.
Unlike the foreign policy experts sputtering incoherently about an Un-Islamic “nihilistic cult”, Stakelbeck places ISIS squarely within its origins as an Al Qaeda franchise with a line running back to the Muslim Brotherhood and within the larger context of the Jihad against the rest of the world; including America.
That’s why Stakelbeck starts with the flow of Somalis living in Minnesota traveling to join ISIS. It’s also why he concludes with a look at how ISIS represents a threat to Europe and America.
While the current round of fighting may be taking place in Iraq and Syria, Jihadist groups have a history of using Western countries as staging platforms for taking over Middle Eastern countries, the Ayatollah Khomeini hung out in Paris, the Muslim Brotherhood is embedded in London and Washington, and as Stackelbeck points out, “Some 60 percent of foreign fighters in Syria follow a Dearborn, Michigan-based Imam named Sheikh Ahmad Jibril on Twitter.”
The Caliphate serves to rally Jihadists to its black flag and while they may burn their passports, their final endgame is here, as an ISIS spokesman recently warned, “We – with Allah’s help – want Paris, before Rome and Islamic Iberia and after we blow up the White House, Big Ben, and the Eiffel Tower.”
Such statements are not irrational. As Stakelbeck points out, one of the things that makes ISIS different from other Islamic terrorist groups is the scope of its expansionism. Unlike Hamas or the Taliban who have never been able to outgrow the limits of their tribal alliances or punch through the territory of a stronger enemy, ISIS has been able to survive by expanding, living off the land and then moving on.
Like Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan, ISIS is hoping to outrace its structural problems and tactical vulnerabilities through a constant flow of new conquests, new wealth and new slaves.
The secret of ISIS is its absolute confidence. Unlike other terrorist groups it makes no compromises. Instead it uses social media to market its brutality and its atrocities as proof of its uncompromising vision. For many Muslims around the world, including in the United States, this attitude establishes its legitimacy. It does not have an underhanded circuitous roadmap to a Caliphate. It is the Caliphate.
The butchers of ISIS are not oppressed. They are upwardly mobile. Stakelbeck describes them as middle class. They’re not looking for jobs, they have advanced degrees. What they want is power. The Islamic calls for justice so ubiquitous to ISIS and other Jihadist groups are really demands for a new social order replicating the Islamic Supremacist slave societies of the defunct Caliphates.
These societies seek to replicate the Saudi or Qatari model on a larger scale, in which a prosperous Muslim population serves as the upper class with an infidel slave underclass beneath it supplying everything from manual and domestic labor, to sexual exploitation, without the need for vast reserves of oil to finance this master faith lifestyle, a resource that most Muslim countries do not have.
It is not the Muslim underclass that is most attracted to this imperial vision, but the Muslim upper classes, particularly those in the West or who have regular contact, physical or cultural, with the West.
That’s why, as ISIS Exposed shows, the Islamic State markets itself most effectively through pop culture and social media aimed at Muslim consumers who have social media access. ISIS can be seen as a niche product. Its atrocities may alienate ten or a hundred people, but as long as they strongly appeal to one or two here and there, then the Islamic State can continue filling its ranks with new recruits.
Most significantly ISIS has made itself into an inescapable issue for Muslims and the West. It has shown both Muslims and non-Muslims the roots of Islam and asked them to choose which kind of society they want. The choice is an ongoing process as ISIS atrocities and attacks place deep stresses on a society.
ISIS is not un-Islamic; it is absolutely Islamic in a way that no Islamic country or group is able to be because it combines the worst elements of the Islamic totalitarian state and the Islamic terrorist group. Its closest analogues are Iran and Saudi Arabia, which combine statehood with state sponsorship of terrorists. If ISIS succeeds, it will become the third great terrorist superpower of the Middle East.
Because Erick Stakelbeck understands the real nature of the ISIS threat, he is able to offer real suggestions for dealing with it, including barring ISIS Jihadists from reentering the United States, cracking down on Muslim “allies” that are covertly and not so covertly aiding ISIS while avoiding the error of viewing Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood as allies against ISIS.
ISIS is one element of a global Islamic conflict and in the long term its major contribution to the evolution of that conflict may be its influence on current and future Islamic terrorist groups. The Jihad is an evolving ecology of tactics and ideas. ISIS has revised the terms of what an Islamic terrorist group can do. Even if it is defeated, others will follow in its brutal totalitarian footsteps.
There are two possible responses to it.
The first is the one championed by Obama and most politicians. It declares that ISIS is an aberration that has nothing to do with Islam and allies with other Islamic terrorists, including Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, against it, without caring about their agendas and the long term consequences.
The second is proposed by Stakelbeck in ISIS Exposed. Erick Stakelbeck calls for educating Americans about Jihadism and revising immigration law. He warns about the need to militarily destroy ISIS, but remains aware that destroying a single example of the Islamic Caliphate impulse will not make us safe.
That is where Stakelbeck parts ways from the analysis offered by most conventional commentators by refusing to view ISIS as an isolated phenomenon that can be taken apart individually. In ISIS Exposed, the Islamic State is an important development, but it is neither the beginning nor the end of the Jihad.
It is important to understand what the development of ISIS means, and ISIS Exposed does that, but it’s also important to recognize that ISIS represents yet another battle in the clash of civilizations, not the war, and ISIS Exposed does that too.
Exposing ISIS is about more than pulling back the curtain on the atrocities of one organization, it’s about exposing the ideology from which such horrors spring. It will be useless to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria, only to one day end up fighting it and its successors in the streets of Paris, Rome and New York City.
Published on Mar 10, 2015 by CBN News
Jobs for Jihadists? Mr. Obama, poverty doesn’t create terrorism, ideology does by Erick Stakelbeck at Fox News, March 9, 2015
Jobs for jihadists.
It’s the Obama administration’s latest — and lamest — attempt at some sort of strategy to combat ISIS and the rising tide of Islamic jihadism that is literally sweeping the four corners of the globe.
According to President Obama and other administration officials, ISIS has been empowered because Muslims around the world lack economic opportunities. And until these “legitimate grievances”—as the president recently put it—are addressed, Islamic terrorism will continue to grow and ISIS will gain new followers.
In blaming the rise of ISIS on economic woes and substandard social conditions in the Muslim world, President Obama has truly entered the Twilight Zone. Indeed, far from being a downtrodden group of illiterate misfits, ISIS jihadists comprise arguably the most well-off, highly educated and cosmopolitan terrorist movement in history—thanks mainly to the thousands of Western recruits who have eagerly flocked to Syria and Iraq to join its new caliphate.
Take the case of Mujahidah Bint Usama, one of dozens of British women who have left the U.K. to start a new life inside the caliphate. Usama, a medical student, posted pictures of herself on Twitter wearing a white doctor’s jacket and proudly holding up a severed head as a group of young Syrian children looked on, wide-eyed.
The U.K., incidentally, seems to have the doctors-for-ISIS market cornered. Usama has been joined in ISIS by another British medical student, Nasser Muthana, and a former National Health Service doctor named Shajul Islam. All three left behind potentially prosperous careers to join the most sadistic terrorist movement in memory. But their decision should come as no surprise.
For instance, Mohammed Emwazi, better known as “Jihadi John,” was a “model student” at London’s University of Westminster, studying business management before embarking on a new career as the masked executioner in a string of ISIS beheading videos.
Likewise, the ISIS support network in Great Britain boasts no shortage of accomplished individuals. Anjem Choudary, Britain’s most notorious and outspoken radical Islamist, is a former medical student and lawyer who previously worked as a solicitor.
Then there is Anthony Small — a disciple of Choudary’s who has publicly defended Jihadi John’s beheading of American photojournalist James Foley. Prior to his current role of championing jihad, Small was a British light middleweight boxing champion and a well-known public figure thanks to his athletic accomplishments.
Yet Small isn’t the only celebrity ISIS supporter. A pair of popular European rappers have gone from merely supporting the Islamic State to actually joining it as foot soldiers. German rapper Denis Mamadou Cuspert, who went by the stage name “Deso Dogg,” recorded three hit albums and toured with American hip-hop star DMX before converting to Islam and turning up in Syria with ISIS. He’s been joined there by British rapper Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, who made the move from hip-hoppin’ to head-choppin’ after previously performing under the stage name, “L-Jinny.”
Back on this side of the Atlantic, of the estimated 150 U.S. citizens who have joined, or attempted to join, ISIS, Shannon Conley stands out. Conley, who grew up in a middle-class family in suburban Denver, was recently sentenced to four years in federal prison for attempting to travel to Syria and marry an ISIS fighter at the tender age of nineteen.
Why was Conley, like fellow U.S. citizen Ahmad Abousamra—an affluent, former Dean’s List student at Northeastern University who is now suspected of running ISIS’s social media operation from Syria — drawn to the dark world of ISIS? And why have the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul — located in a prosperous state with a high quality of living—become America’s number one terrorist breeding ground, with dozens of residents traveling overseas to join terror groups like ISIS in recent years? They certainly weren’t driven into jihad by poverty.
Even before ISIS emerged onto the world scene, the tired “poverty causes terrorism” canard had been roundly discredited (before being resurrected by the Obama administration). Whether it was Usama bin Laden and his multi-millionaire family, or current Al Qaeda kingpin Ayman al-Zawahiri—a medical doctor who enjoyed a privileged upbringing in Egypt—or the numerous Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood leaders with advanced degrees, the world’s most prominent jihadist leaders had proven neither poor nor uneducated. Actually, they were quite the opposite.
As the rise of ISIS proves yet again, poverty does not cause terrorism—ideology does. While impoverished people have committed and will continue to commit acts of terrorism, their actions—just like those of Usama bin Laden, Ahmad Abousamra and other wealthy Islamic terrorists—are ultimately motivated by an ideological commitment to violent jihad.
With FBI Director James Comey recently testifying that ISIS-related investigations are now underway in all 50 U.S. states, the Obama administration would be well-advised to reverse its disastrous course and acknowledge that fact.
Don’t hold your breath.
Erick Stakelbeck is author of several books including“The Brotherhood: America’s Next Great Enemy” (Regnery Publishing 2013). His latest is “ISIS Exposed: Beheadings, Slavery, and the Hellish Reality of Radical Islam” (Regnery March 9, 2015) and host of CBN’s “Stakelbeck on Terror” show.
On this week’s edition of The Watchman, we sit down with former Israeli Ambassador Yoram Ettinger and White House correspondent Bill Koenig to discuss Iran’s dangerous advance throughout the Middle East and what it means for America and Israel.
The Watchman, by Erick Stakelbeck, Dec. 30, 2014:
On this week’s edition of The Watchman, we take a look back at the major stories that shaped 2014: ISIS, Iran, Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, and much more. Plus, Middle East expert Jonathan Spyer joins us for a look ahead at what to expect in 2015.
CBN, by Erick Stakelbeck:
I recently went on the ground in the Somali neighborhoods of Minneapolis to report on the alarming number of young people there who are traveling overseas to join ISIS.
You can watch my CBN News report by clicking on the viewer below.
More to come from the Twin Cities in the weeks ahead.
Published on Sep 5, 2014 by 700 Club Interactive
CBN News terrorism expert Erick Stakelbeck discusses the threat that Islam poses to America.
On this week’s episode of The Watchman, we’re joined by Brooke Goldstein, director of the Lawfare Project and the Children’s Rights Institute, to discuss the growing movement against free speech in the West and how the United Nations is helping indoctrinate Palestinian schoolchildren in anti-Semitic hate.
Plus, Middle East and intelligence expert Avi Melamed gives his insider take on the latest developments in the world’s most volatile region.
Erick Stakelbeck is an American original. A product of Northeast Philadelphia, son of a 101st Airborne Screaming Eagle vet, high school basketball champion who is now a living treasure in the American and international counter jihad community. A budding sportswriter of note following graduation from Holy Family University in Philadelphia, he had a minor epiphany after 9/11 and changed career paths. We and most Americans are glad that he did.
After 9/11 occurred in Manhattan, he decided to do something about it. He sought out Steve Emerson at The Investigative Project on Terrorism, where he served an apprenticeship learning the tools of investigative research and sharpened his writing skills with a flood of articles in some of the leading webzines. He was presented with an opportunity, at the 700 Club Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), to become a full time on-air anti-terrorism beat journalist. From his base in Washington, Stakelbeck ranged across the country and the globe with his video team exposing the leading personalities of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist communities in their plot to impose civilizational jihad on the West. They aim to supplant the Judeo-Christian ethos underlying the US Constitution with Sharia, Islamic law. He has also been a frequent commentator on Fox News, Glen Beck’s The Blaze, CNN, and The Savage Nation. He has authored articles on terrorism, Islamization of Europe, the UK and America, the Middle East, and radical Islam for the Wall Street Journal, Weekly Standard, Washington Times, New York Post, Jerusalem Post, National Review and Human Events, among others. He is a stalwart friend of the Jewish nation of Israel and the Jewish people. He is not enamored of feckless, heedless reporting and commentary from most of the mainstream media. Stakelbeck has consistently warned about the Obama Administration’s dalliance with radical Muslim groups both at home, and in the Middle East and North Africa. He deems recent developments in the latter, the Arab Winter. He is a much sought after speaker and has been invited to testify before Congressional committees on these topics. (See our interview with him in our collection, The West Speaks).
Aside from his reporting duties at Stakelbeck on Terror at CBN (renamed The Watchman, see here) he has authored two books, The Terrorist Next Door; How the Government is Deceiving You About the Islamist Threat, about the plague of homegrown terrorists in America (See our NER review, here) and his latest work, The Brotherhood: America’s Next Great Enemy.
Stakelbeck’s writing verve and style is guaranteed not to put you to sleep with pedantic turns of phrases. Quite the opposite. It is the prose of page turning thrillers, with a difference. He is not making this material up. He is reporting firsthand what drove the creation of the world wide network of the Muslim Brotherhood (“the Ikhwan”) since it was founded in 1928 by Hassan al Banna, an Egyptian teacher. The Muslim Brotherhood has more than 70 affiliates throughout the Muslim Ummah. Stakelbeck estimates that the Muslim Brotherhood has more than an estimated 100 million adherents globally. In the US the Ikhwan has a number of front groups, among them the Council of American Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, Muslim American Society, Muslim Political Action Council, Muslim Student Association, North American Islamic Trust and the Islamic Circle of North America. [Members of the American wing of the Ikhwan are part of the Obama Administration fulfilling faith based partnership, policy advisory and diplomatic roles in the Department of Homeland Security, Justice and State Departments.]
Members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood have been invited to the Obama White House. Hani Nour Eldin, a former terrorist member of the Egyptian Ikhwan was part of a delegation that met with White House staff. Eldin lobbied for the release of the blind Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman who organized the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing. In mid June 2013, just weeks before the ouster of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, Obama National Security staffers met with Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah of the International Union of Muslim Scholars. He is a colleague of Egyptian Ikhwan preacher Yusuf al Qaradawi. According to a Fox News report, Sheik Ben Bayyah “has urged the U.N. to criminalize blasphemy.” His group has spoken out in favor of Hamas and in 2009 issued a fatwa barring “all forms of normalization with Israel.”
Read more about the Muslim Brotherhood at New English Review and see what Stakelbeck proposes to counter their influence.
By Billy Hallowell:
Considering the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, Erick Stakelbeck’s new book, “The Brotherhood: America’s Next Great Enemy,” provides a fascinating lens into the Muslim Brotherhood’s history, contemporary power structures — and the level to which the journalist and national security expert believes that the Obama administration has empowered the group.
In an e-mail interview over the weekend, Stakelbeck answered some of TheBlaze’s most burning questions about the Brotherhood and why he chose to pen such a fascinating book.
Why should Americans fear the Muslim Brotherhood?
First and foremost, Americans need to understand that the Muslim Brotherhood is the granddaddy of them all when it comes to modern-day Islamic terrorist groups. Al Qaeda and Hamas are direct offshoots of the Brotherhood—and if the MB was never created in 1928 in Egypt, 9/11 would have never happened. I know that may be a stunning statement to some, but think about it. The architects of 9/11 — including Osama Bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — all belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood before they formed Al Qaeda.
As I show in the book, all of these Al Qaeda kingpins were heavily inspired and influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology of martyrdom and jihad. The Brotherhood is where they got their start. The MB is, in essence, the gateway drug to Islamic terrorism. Every Islamic jihadist worth his suicide belt today owes a depraved debt to the Muslim Brotherhood and its leading icons like Hassan Al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb. To understand Islamic terrorism and the mess we’re in right now globally, you must first understand the Muslim Brotherhood.
What led you to write “The Brotherhood: America’s Next Great Enemy”?
I had become absolutely, positively fed up with the narrative being pushed by the Obama administration and the mainstream media that the Muslim Brotherhood is a “moderate” Islamist group that can be used to fight against Al Qaeda. First of all, as discussed previously, the Muslim Brotherhood spawned Al Qaeda. Secondly, this is an inherently anti-American, anti-Western and anti-Semitic organization at its very core. Starting with its founding motto — which reads, in part, “Jihad is our way, dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope” — the Brotherhood and its ideology and goals are fundamentally incompatible with the United States.
Brotherhood leaders openly speak of reestablishing a global Islamic caliphate, or super state, that would unite every Muslim nation economically, politically and militarily and control a good amount of the world’s oil supply as it targets Israel for elimination (with assistance on that end by the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch, Hamas). They praise suicide bombings against American troops and have called for jihad against the Untied States. As I document in “The Brotherhood,” the MB even collaborated closely with the Nazis during World War II in an attempt to extend Hitler’s Final Solution to the Middle East.
It’s so bad that my book could easily be titled: “The Brotherhood: Even Worse Than You Think.” I’ve been tracking the MB closely for 12 years and even I was shocked by some of what I uncovered in my research for this book. This is not an organization we should be embracing: it is a blood-soaked, totalitarian death cult that we must defeat and discredit at every turn.
Read more at The Blaze
With Mohamed Morsi out and Egypt’s future unclear, Erick Stakelbeck, author of the new book The Brotherhood: America’s Next Great Enemy, talks to National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez about what the “Arab Spring” turned into and where Egypt may go from here, with a warning for the United States.
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: Is there anything about what’s going on in Egypt right now that surprises you?
ERICK STAKELBECK: I’m a bit surprised that it took the Egyptian military a full year to finally step in and pull the plug on Morsi’s disastrous, aggressively Islamist tenure. Beginning in August 2012, when Morsi suddenly and boldly sacked Egypt’s longtime defense minister and other top generals, and continuing through that November, when Morsi seized dictatorial powers and then rammed through a nakedly sharia-driven constitution, it was obvious that he and the Brotherhood (aided by a freshly minted, Islamist-dominated parliament) were going “all in” on their dream to transform Egypt into a draconian Islamic state. In the process, they dropped their longtime strategy of stealthy gradualism and made their nefarious intentions for Egypt abundantly clear to the world.
All the while, the Egyptian military brass largely stayed silent, even as Morsi attempted to stack its ranks — and those of Egypt’s military academy — with Islamists. Why the military waited so long to turn back the MB tide is unclear. As NRO’s Andrew McCarthy has pointed out, top general Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who was handpicked by Morsi, may himself have Islamist tendencies. But Morsi’s ham-handed, polarizing, and tactless methods of going about the Islamist project in Egypt had to be red flags for al-Sisi and other possible sympathizers in the military (as was the looming possibility of famine and starvation among segments of the Egyptian populace). The final tipping point for the military was clearly the demonstrations — the largest in human history — against Morsi and the Brothers during the first week of July.
And that brings us to the greatest surprise of all: that the Muslim Brotherhood, long the world’s most politically astute, patient, and disciplined Islamist movement, overplayed its hand so badly in Egypt and revealed its true intent so early. At the end of the day, instituting sharia was more important to Morsi and his fellow Brothers than feeding the Egyptian people or making even the slightest attempt at jumpstarting the Egyptian economy. That in itself is not surprising. This is who the Brothers are, after all: committed ideological fanatics. What is surprising is that they made it so obvious, so soon.
Read more at National Review
Guy Rodgers, Executive Director of ACT! For America, discusses the global Islamist assault on free speech and Diana West discusses her new book, American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character.
The show focused on the unholy alliance between radical Islamists and the radical Left and what can be done to preserve Judeo-Christian, Western civilization:
Erick examines the growing trend of mega-mosques across the West, including an on-the-ground report from Cologne, Germany, where the Islamist-led Turkish government is building what will be one the largest mosques in Europe.
Video includes interviews with Gavin Boby, the man they call “The Mosquebuster,” and Joseph Farah, CEO of WND.com and author of The Tea Party Manifesto:
- What Muslim-Americans really believe (wnd.com)