Obama’s Politicized Intelligence

A video released from Daesh (or ISIS or 'Islamic State') shows militants executing 25 captives (Syrian army soldiers) in the ruins of the main Roman amphitheater in the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria, on July 3, 2015 / AP

A video released from Daesh (or ISIS or ‘Islamic State’) shows militants executing 25 captives (Syrian army soldiers) in the ruins of the main Roman amphitheater in the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria, on July 3, 2015 / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Matthew Continetti, August 28, 2015:

The anniversary of the U.S. war against the Islamic State passed with little notice. It was August 7 of last year that President Obama authorized the first airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq, a campaign he expanded a month later to include targets in Syria. So far this month, the president has delivered remarks on the Voting Rights Act, his deal with Iran, the budget, clean energy, and Hurricane Katrina. ISIS? Not a peep.

Obama’s quiet because the war is not going well. Despite the loss of Tikrit earlier this year, the Islamic State’s western boundary is stable, and its eastern boundary now encroaches on Damascus. The president’s air campaign is one of the most limited and desultory America has fought in decades—ranking last in daily averages of strike sorties and bombs dropped. In late July, when the Turks permitted America the use of their air bases to launch attacks on ISIS, a “senior administration official” told the New York Times that the decision was “a game changer.” In the ensuing days the number of airstrikes in Syria actually fell.

The growing number of U.S. advisers—there are now more than 3,300 American military personnel in Iraq—has been unable to repair the damage wrought on the Iraqi Army by sectarian and political purges after our 2011 withdrawal. Even as the administration brags about killing more than 10,000 ISIS terrorists, a number that strains credulity, the Caliphate has become more deeply entrenched in its territory, and inspires attacks abroad.

Meanwhile the congressional authorization that the president sought is dead. One of our most gifted generals predicts the conflict will last “10 to 20 years.” And now comes news that the Pentagon is investigating whether intelligence assessments of ISIS have been manipulated for political reasons. “Analysts,” reports the Daily Beast, “have been pushed to portray the group as weaker than the analysts believe it actually is.” This sort of dishonesty helps no one—except a president whose primary concern is leaving office with his reputation for ending wars intact, and the military brass who wish to remain in his good graces.

What’s especially galling about this allegation is that Obama and the Democratic Party have spent years spuriously accusing President Bush of lying the United States into war in 2003. Spend a moment thinking of what the news cycle would be if George W. were still our president and the Pentagon inspector general opened an investigation into whether the bureaucracy was sprucing up intelligence to make it politically palatable: The chorus of “Bush lied, people died” would be deafening, Congress would demand investigations, the national security leak machine would start humming, John Conyers would reconvene his mock impeachment hearing, and the entire controversy would be set against the backdrop of antiwar marches and publicized denunciations of militaristic policy. What have we instead? ABC’s Good Morning America mentioned the Pentagon investigation. No other broadcast network did.

It’s an unanticipated consequence of Barack Obama’s presidency: his immobilization of the antiwar legions, the way his election immediately neutered the zealots who, if a Republican were in office, would be marching against drone strikes and mass surveillance and war in Afghanistan and air war in Libya, Syria, Iraq and proxy war in Yemen. What does it say about the left that the most spirited attacks on Obama national security policy have come from the right: On drones, surveillance, and congressional authorization for war, you are far more likely to hear criticism from Ted Cruz or Rand Paul than from the politicians who rode into office denouncing Bush’s misadventure in Iraq. The protestors who flooded New York in 2004 and fell to the ground at the D.C. “Die-In” in 2007—they either support the president or are too busy with Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter to care.

Obama has thus been allowed to wage a war for more than a year not only without the authorization he called for but also without the accountability that pressure from his left would bring. He’s flying solo, and below him are an endless, inconclusive war, a terrorist state built on sharia law and sex slavery, rampant chemical weapons use, civilian casualties, and a refugee crisis that is causing social, economic, and political instability in Europe. The only thing missing from this picture is outrage—elite fury over the geopolitical and humanitarian results of the president’s evasive policy, of doing only the bare minimum necessary to convince people that you aren’t ignoring the problem.

There’s no outrage because the media, our bipartisan political establishment, and indeed the American people themselves are unwilling to face the scope of the challenge the Islamic State presents. To uproot it we would have to send U.S. ground forces to Iraq in large numbers, not just special forces operating in tandem with unrestricted air support. We would have to retake and hold ground lost in the years since we departed Iraq, and we would have to commit to remaining in Iraq and Syria for a long time. To deal a blow to radical Islam that would deter recruitment, stop the bandwagon effect, and secure America from attack by militants and their fellow-travelers would require a military and economic commitment the United States, and least of all our president, is simply not prepared to make.

Easier to perform the illusion of activity, of success and advance, so that all the boxes are checked, all our consciences placated. Easier to pretend that the problem of ISIS can be “contained” and that our new ally Iran can handle the situation in its emerging capacity as regional hegemon. Easier to go about our business, to spin or outright ignore the war our country has been waging in Iraq and Syria for more than a year. So much easier not to worry about what’s happening over there—until, that is, the enemy attacks us here.

Also see:

Why the US government is on track to ‘normalizing’ ISIS

 (AP Photo, File)

(AP Photo, File)

New York Post, by Alex VanNess, August 23, 2015:How long will it take the United States to recognize the Islamic State as a legitimate actor?

That may sound ridiculous. After all, ISIS is a barbaric and sociopathic band of terrorists who proudly highlight their brutality over the Internet. Unfortunately, recent history suggests this doesn’t disqualify them, as horrific as it sounds, from eventual recognition.

Since before 9/11, the Taliban laid claim to numerous terror attacks on civilian populations throughout Afghanistan. They harbored Osama bin Laden, and since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, they’ve been directly responsible for the deaths of more than 2,000 American troops.

Yet in January, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest cryptically explained that the Taliban was not a terrorist group but instead falls under a “different classification.”

Earnest’s verbal gymnastics were deployed in the service of explaining away the president’s decision to trade five members of the Taliban for the release of American soldier-captive Bowe Bergdahl.

Hamas is an openly anti-Semitic terrorist organization that has claimed responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians, including several Americans. Since its creation, the Gaza-based Hamas has been dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews. Hamas is brutally repressive toward women and gays; they have a tendency to savagely drag dead bodies through the streets.

Last year, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swore in a new unity government that incorporated Hamas-appointed ministers. Instead of cutting off financial support to the new government, as required by US law, the Obama administration jumped through hoops to legitimize the new government. Officials said they would continue supporting the Palestinian government because the new ministers were “technocrats” that “don’t represent . . . hard-core Hamas leadership.”

The legitimacy granted to Hamas by this administration is a reflection of the trend held by many pro-Palestinian protestors who now brazenly chant, “we are Hamas!” through the streets of US cities such as Miami.

Cuba has a long history of human-rights abuse. The Cuban government regularly harasses and imprisons dissidents and has been a state sponsor of terrorism for decades. Cuba continues to serve as a safe haven for terrorists and maintains close ties to both North Korea and Iran.

In 2013, Cuba was caught sending weapons to North Korea. It aids terrorist groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Iranian proxy Hezbollah and the Basque Fatherland of Liberty (ETA).

Despite this behavior, the administration still decided to take Cuba off the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism and has begun the process of normalizing the relationship between the United States and Cuba.

The State Department justified this removal by stating that “Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the previous six-months” and citing vague promises that they “will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.”

So to recap, within this past year we have stopped referring to the Taliban as terrorists, provided de facto recognition and funding to Hamas and have opened up to the repressive terror-sponsoring Cuban government.

Why should we assume that ISIS will be treated any differently than these groups?

As each day passes, ISIS solidifies its presence in the region. Sure, ISIS commits terrible atrocities. The group regularly — and indiscriminately — beheads innocent people; rapes women and sells them as sex slaves and employs children as executioners.

But its leaders have undeniably been working to establish the Islamic State as, well, as a functioning state. They issue identification cards, pave roads, pick up trash, operate power stations and offer social-welfare programs.

ISIS has carved out its territory by filling the Middle East’s power vacuums, and are thus, in some places, the only game in town. How long before the international community recognizes the ISIS government?

The past precedent of legitimizing various terrorist groups and repressive dictatorships make this all too real of an issue. It’s imperative that the United States stops this trajectory of providing legitimacy to these regimes and turns back the ISIS tide, or we may one day soon be debating the opening of an embassy to the Islamic State in what used to be Iraq.

Alex VanNess is the manager of public information for the Center for Security Policy.

Iran Is Already Violating the Nuke Deal

irans-ali-khamenei

Frontpage, by Joseph Klein, August 20, 2015:

As the congressional vote on President Barack Obama’s disastrous nuclear deal with Iran draws closer, the Iranian regime appears to be doing everything it can to show that it has the upper hand as a result of the deal it negotiated with the United States and its five partners. It is either dishonestly twisting certain terms of the deal to justify its misbehavior or simply defying the terms outright. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are not pushing back. Instead, they are pushing hard to avoid a veto-proof congressional vote of disapproval.

For example, Iran is planning to sign a contract for four advanced Russian surface-to-air S-300 missiles as early as next week, following a visit to Moscow by Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani in violation of an international travel ban.

There have been whimpers of objection from the Obama administration, but no forceful statement that such activities by the Iranian regime will jeopardize the agreement from the get-go.

Iranian leaders have also declared that their arms shipments to allies in the region, such as their terrorist proxy Hezbollah, will continue despite the United Nations Security Council arms embargo still in effect for the next five years.

The Obama administration’s response is staggering. According to Kerry, “The arms embargo is not tied to snapback. It is tied to a separate set of obligations. So they are not in material breach of the nuclear agreement for violating the arms piece of it.”

That is all the encouragement the Iranian regime needed to up the ante. According to Debkafile, “Al Qods commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani, acting on the orders of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, this week set up a new Iranian command to fight Israel.” This newly named “Eastern Command” is reportedly set “to start handing out weapons, including missiles, to any Palestinian West Bank group willing to receive them.” This is the same Soleimani with American blood on his hands who recently visited Moscow in violation of the current international travel ban, but who will eventually have sanctions and freezes against him lifted as part of the nuclear deal.

Meanwhile, to make matters even worse, the Associated Press is reporting that “Iran will be allowed to use its own inspectors to investigate a site it has been accused of using to develop nuclear arms, operating under a secret agreement with the U.N. agency that normally carries out such work.” In other words, the UN international inspection team that President Obama has pointed to as the chief verification safeguard will now give way at least in part to Iranian inspectors investigating their own alleged nuclear weaponization development work at a military site declared off limits by Iran to international inspectors. The White House remained “confident” in the viability of the inspection regime despite the confidence game the Iranian regime played with the UN to permit Iran to self-inspect.

Nevertheless, Democrats in the Senate and House of Representatives are lining up to support President Obama’s disastrous nuclear deal with Iran. They are willfully ignoring clear evidence that Iran, post-deal, is continuing its pattern of cheating and violating international sanctions and embargoes still in place. Like lemmings jumping over the cliff, these Democrats are willing to ease the Iranian regime’s path towards becoming a threshold nuclear armed state in a little over a decade, out of blind partisan loyalty to Obama.

To date, the Obama administration has the declared support of 23 Democratic and nominally “independent” senators it will need to sustain an expected veto by President Obama of any resolution passed by Congress to disapprove the deal. This tally is according to The Hill’s Senate whip list compiled as of August 18th. The administration needs at least 34 senators on Obama’s side to sustain a veto. Six Democratic senators are said to be leaning towards a favorable vote, including Senator Richard Blumenthal (Conn.). Fifteen Senate Democrats are still undecided.

So far, only two Democratic senators have shown the courage to serve the public interest, rather than narrow partisan interests. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) became the second Democratic senator to announce his willingness to vote against the president from his own party in opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran. Senator Chuck Schumer had announced his opposition on August 6th.

On the House side, according to The Hill’s Whip List as of August 19th, 55 Democratic representatives have indicated that they are planning to vote in support of the deal. Fourteen more Democrats are leaning in favor. Twelve have declared their opposition to the deal so far. Three are leaning against and 57 are listed as undecided. Obama will prevail on a vote to sustain his expected veto of a disapproval resolution that passes both houses of Congress if he loses no more than 43 House Democrats (assuming the Republicans in the House all vote to override the veto).

Speaking at Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations on August 18th when he announced his opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran, Senator Menendez provided a very detailed explanation of his decision.  He characterized the fundamental flaw in the deal this way: “The agreement that has been reached failed to achieve the one thing it set out to achieve – it failed to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state at a time of its choosing. In fact, it authorizes and supports the very road map Iran will need to arrive at its target.”

Senator Menendez objected to the exchange of permanent sanctions relief for Iran in return for “only temporary – temporary – limitations on its nuclear program – not a rolling-back, not dismantlement, but temporary limitations.” The deal, the senator added, “is based on ‘hope.’ Hope is part of human nature, but unfortunately it is not a national security strategy.”

Senator Menendez also took a swipe at President Obama’s attempt to tie opponents of his deal to supporters of the 2003 war in Iraq. “Unlike President Obama’s characterization of those who have raised serious questions about the agreement, or who have opposed it,” the senator said, “I did not vote for the war in Iraq, I opposed it, unlike the Vice President and the Secretary of State, who both supported it.”

The New Jersey senator reminded his audience that the purpose of the negotiations from the U.S. perspective had been “to dismantle all — or significant parts — of Iran’s illicit nuclear infrastructure to ensure that it would not have nuclear weapons capability at any time.  Not shrink its infrastructure. Not limit it. But fully dismantle Iran’s nuclear weapons capability.”

Senator Menendez cataloged examples of early assurances from the Obama administration of red lines that were later wiped away. For example, Secretary of State John Kerry had declared in the early days of engaging with Iran that Arak, Iran’s plutonium reactor, would be dismantled. That is not the case under the deal Obama and Kerry signed off on.  The underground Fordow enrichment facility was to be closed. That too was not part of the final deal. The Iranians, Senator Menendez said, were supposed “to come absolutely clean about their weaponization activities at Parchin [their military facility] and agree to promise anytime anywhere inspections.” That too, in Senator Menendez’s words, “fell by the wayside.” Now we have learned that the Iranians will be able to self-inspect.

In addition, not even one existing centrifuge will be destroyed. Some are just being disconnected. Thousands will remain in operation. Research and development on centrifuges will be permitted to continue even during the first ten years of the deal.

“While I have many specific concerns about this agreement, my overarching concern is that it requires no dismantling of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and only mothballs that infrastructure for 10 years,” Senator Menendez explained. “We lift sanctions, and — at year eight — Iran can actually start manufacturing and testing advanced IR-6 and IR-8 centrifuges that enrich up to 15 times the speed of its current models.  At year 15, Iran can start enriching uranium beyond 3.67 percent – the level at which we become concerned about fissile material for a bomb.  At year 15, Iran will have NO limits on its uranium stockpile.”

Under the deal, Iran will get significant sanctions relief within the first year, while its obligations stretch out for a decade or more. And there is a major concession in the deal that has gotten very little attention to date. Iran’s negotiators out-maneuvered Secretary of State Kerry’s team into conceding away the right to re-impose or extend U.S. sanctions beyond their expiration date. Senator Menendez noted that “we will have to refrain from reintroducing or reimposing the Iran Sanctions Act I authored – which expires next year — that acted significantly to bring Iran to the table in the first place.”

Iran has agreed only to provisionally apply the Additional Protocol to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons that is supposed to ensure continuing access to suspect sites in a country, and only formally adopt it when Congress has abolished all sanctions.

Senator Menendez, like Senator Schumer, dismisses the either-or choice between Obama’s deal and war, which Obama and his supporters are offering as a red herring. “If there is a fear of war in the region,” said Senator Menendez, “it is fueled by Iran and its proxies and exacerbated by an agreement that allows Iran to possess an industrial-sized nuclear program, and enough money in sanctions relief to continue to fund its hegemonic intentions throughout the region.”

The senator suggested offering Iran some limited inducements to return to the negotiating table, and outlined some parameters that the Obama administration should follow in seeking better terms. These include “the immediate ratification by Iran of the Additional Protocol to ensure that we have a permanent international arrangement with Iran for access to suspect sites,” closing the Fordow enrichment facility, resolving the ‘possible military dimensions’ of Iran’s program” before there can be any permanent sanctions relief, banning centrifuge R&D for the duration of the agreement, and extending to at least 20 years the duration of the agreement.

Senator Menendez also wants to extend the authorization of the Iran Sanctions Act beyond its expiration in 2016 “to ensure that we have an effective snapback option.” And he wants a clear declaration of U.S. policy by the President and Congress that “we will use all means necessary to prevent Iran from producing enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb, as well as building or buying one, both during and after any agreement.”

Unfortunately, the procedure for congressional involvement with the nuclear deal has turned the Constitution’s treaty ratification process on its head. Instead of requiring a two-thirds vote of the Senate to ratify the nuclear deal if had been handled as a treaty, President Obama will get his way unless both houses of Congress override his veto of a disapproval resolution by a two-thirds vote. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that opponents of the nuclear deal will likely lose in a vote to override an Obama veto. Why the Republican majority in the Senate ever agreed to such a legislative trap is beyond comprehension.

Regardless of the eventual outcome, at the very least the leaders of the House and Senate must insist that a resolution of disapproval be voted upon on the merits. Each representative and senator should be required to go on the record in a roll-call vote, indicating his or her vote of yea or nay. This means that Democrats in the Senate should not be permitted to hide behind a filibuster to avoid an up-or-down vote. If the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster and allow a majority of the Senate to pass or reject a disapproval resolution is not attainable, Senate Majority Leader McConnell must stand up and take a page out of former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s playbook. Senator McConnell should deploy the so-called “nuclear option.” This would mean eliminating the filibuster that could otherwise be used by Democrats to block a vote on what is likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime agreement with life and death consequences for national security.

If the Democratic senators supporting President Obama’s deal believe that it is the only realistic alternative to war, then they should have the backbone to put their names on the record in support of the deal. If they try to duck their legislative responsibility to their constituents and the nation, then Senator McConnell must act promptly to take away their filibuster fig leaf. If Senator McConnell does not move aggressively in this direction as and when necessary, he will show as much cravenness as the Democrats exploiting the filibuster.

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Congress: Will Your Name Be on Iran’s Bomb?

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Also see:

‘For the Record’: The Nine Words That Explain Why the U.S. Gave Up So Much in the Iran Deal

iran-nuclear-deal-congressThe Blaze, by Tom Orr, Aug. 17, 2015:

The landmark nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers has been sharply criticized by opponents who argue it gives the Islamic Republic far too much freedom to continue its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

One of the harshest critics is Frank Gaffney, a former senior official in the Department of Defense during the Reagan administration who worked on the government’s Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy.

“I think most people who’ve had the kinds of opportunities that I’ve had to work in government have never seen anything quite like this,” Gaffney said.

In this all-new For the Record short, Gaffney explains what he calls “The Obama Doctrine” and how it may have played a crucial role in shaping the controversial deal with Iran.

FTR SHORTS – Iran: The Obama Doctrine from TheBlaze Videos on Vimeo.

How Obama and Hillary made the Arab world safe for radical Islam

20150310_obamahillaryclinton2014Family Security Matters, by LAWRENCE SELLIN, PHD, August 13, 2015:

Far from being “spontaneous” and “indigenous,” the uprisings known as the “Arab Spring” that swept North Africa and the Middle East were long planned and planned from abroad with the Muslim Brotherhood’s role hidden in plain sight.

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928 as a Sunni Islamist religious, political and social movement.  According to Lawrence Wright in his book “The Looming Tower,” its founder Hassan al-Banna “rejected the Western model of secular, democratic government, which contradicted his notion of universal Islamic rule.” The fundamental goal of the Muslim Brotherhood remains Islam’s global domination, an effort that quickly turned violent and eventually spread to over eighty other nations. For example, one Muslim Brotherhood splinter group was responsible for the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat for his peace treaty with Israel and another offshoot is the terrorist organization Hamas.

Barack Obama clearly supports the Muslim Brotherhood as a so-called “moderate” alternative to more violent Islamist groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State, and a vehicle for political reform in the Middle East and North Africa, as outlined in the secret 2011 directive called Presidential Study Directive-11, or PSD-11.

In addition to a wide-spread infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into the Obama Administration, Hillary Clinton’s longest serving assistant, Huma Abedin, has enjoyed an intensely close relationship with the Brotherhood for decades. Her father, Zyed Abedin, served as editor of an anti-Semitic journal funded by an Islamist; her mother, Saleha Mahmood Abedin, replaced him as editor in 1993 when he died. As editor, Saleha has promoted the Muslim Brotherhood violent jihad and the “right” of women to be repressed under sharia.

Therein rests the motivation for the policies formulated and actions taken by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in Egypt, Libya and Syria, all of which led to the growth of radical Islam in North Africa and the Middle East.

In terms of US foreign policy and national security, the role of Hillary Clinton in the Libyan fiasco was as reckless as it was cataclysmic.

Clinton was among the most vocal early proponents of using U.S. military force to topple Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, claiming erroneously that Gadhafi was about to engage in a genocide against civilians in Benghazi, where the Islamist rebels held their center of power.

Even Obama bowed to her leadership on the issue, privately informing members of Congress that Libya “is all Secretary Clinton’s matter.”

Yet according to Jeffrey Scott Shapiro and Kelly Riddell of the Washington Times:

“Top Pentagon officials and a senior Democrat in Congress [Dennis Kucinich] so distrusted Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2011 march to war in Libya that they opened their own diplomatic channels with the Gadhafi regime in an effort to halt the escalating crisis, according to secret audio recordings recovered from Tripoli.”

The Pentagon liaison to Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s son, Seif, indicated that Army Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr., a top aide to then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Michael Mullen, “does not trust the reports that are coming out of the State Department and CIA, but there’s nothing he can do about it.”

Despite these concerns, the Obama Administration, on March 17, 2011, supported U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 for military intervention in Libya. On that day Clinton ordered a general within the Pentagon to refuse to take a call from Gadhafi’s son Seif and other high-level members within the regime, to help negotiate a resolution. A day later, on March 18, 2011, Gadhafi himself called for a cease-fire, another action the administration dismissed.

In released, but redacted emails, Clinton expressed interest in arming Libyan opposition groups using private security contractors, though at the time, the opposition was not formally recognized by the U.S. or United Nations, which prohibited arming without following strict guidelines and oversight. In an April 8, 2011 email to her then-deputy chief of staff, Jake Sullivan, Clinton wrote: “FYI. The idea of using private security experts to arm the opposition should be considered,” attaching an intelligence report from adviser Sidney Blumenthal, her preferred source of intelligence.

It now appears probable that, in 2011, at Clinton’s urging, Obama secretly approved the arming of rebels in Libya and Syria via a third party, likely Qatar, the only Arab nation at the time that recognized the rebel government and brokered the sale of more than $100 million in crude oil from rebel-held areas.

Many of those weapons would ultimately be destined for Syria.

Through shipping records, Fox News confirmed that the Libyan-flagged vessel Al Entisar, which means “The Victory,” was received in the Turkish port of Iskenderun — 35 miles from the Syrian border — on Sept. 6, 2012, five days before the Benghazi terrorist attack. The cargo reportedly included surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles, RPG’s and Russian-designed shoulder-launched missiles known as MANPADS, all believed destined for Syrian rebel groups.

Both Obama and Clinton had a vested interest in lying about Benghazi and permanently concealing the truth; Obama to ensure his reelection prospects in 2012 and Hillary to protect hers for 2016. It is significant, however, that Clinton was the most aggressive administration official promoting the arming of the Libyan Islamists and the first to associate the video with the Benghazi attack (see timeline) as well as its most vigorous and persistent advocate.

A Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report presented in August 2012 and declassified in May 2015, stated that “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [Al- Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria,” being supported by “the West, Gulf countries and Turkey.”

An article published a year earlier, on June 21, 2014, noted:

“The present Shia-Sunni civil war in Iraq was fueled by American abdication of a foreign policy in Syria, where we sub-contracted our interests to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. Instead of dealing directly with the moderate Free Syrian Army, we outsourced the funding and arming responsibilities.

They then pursued their own interests; the Saudis supporting radical Islamic Salafis, while the Turks and Qataris backed the Muslim Brotherhood, all of which was at least partially meant to counter growing Iranian influences in the region, but complicating America’s anti-terrorism efforts.”

An interview with retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former head of the DIA, given to Al Jazeera’s Mehdi Hasan, confirms earlier suspicions that Washington was monitoring jihadist groups emerging as an opposition in Syria. General Flynn dismissed Al Jazeera’s supposition that the US administration “turned a blind eye” to the DIA’s analysis, stating: “I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision.”

The disintegration of Libya and the rise of ISIS can rightfully be placed at the doorsteps of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

History will prove that it was not just incompetence, but criminal negligence in the conduct of foreign policy and the safeguarding of American lives.

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired colonel with 29 years of service in the US Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. Colonel Sellin is the author of “Restoring the Republic: Arguments for a Second American Revolution “. He receives email at lawrence.sellin@gmail.com.

See also:

Obama Signed Off on Iran’s Right to Nuclear Program in Secret 2011 Talks

AP

AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Aug. 10, 2015:

President Barack Obama approved of Iran’s right to operate a nuclear program in 2011 during secret meetings with Iranian officials, according to new disclosures by Iran’s Supreme Leader.

The comments, made earlier this year by Ali Khamenei, dispute claims by the Obama administration that it only began talking to Iran after the election of President Hassan Rouhani.

Khamenei revealed in a recent speech that talks began in secret with anti-Semitic, Holocaust denying former President Mahmoud Ahmadenejad. At this time, Obama told the Iranians he endorses Iran’s right to have a nuclear program.

“The issue of negotiating with the Americans is related to the term of the previous [Ahmadinejad] government, and to the dispatching of a mediator to Tehran to request talks,” Khamenei said in a recent speech translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

“At the time, a respected regional figure came to me as a mediator and explicitly said that U.S. President [Obama] had asked him to come to Tehran and present an American request for negotiations,” Khamenei disclosed. “The Americans told this mediator: ‘We want to solve the nuclear issue and lift sanctions within six months, while recognizing Iran as a nuclear power.’”

“I told that mediator that I did not trust the Americans and their words, but after he insisted, I agreed to reexamine this topic, and negotiations began,” Khamenei added.

Other Iranian officials also have admitted that Obama’s goal from the get-go was to endorse Iran’s nuclear program and then lift economic sanctions on the country’s economy.

Secretary of State John Kerry sent a letter to Iran stating that the United States “recognizes Iran’s rights regarding” nuclear enrichment, according to another senior Iranian official, Hossein Sheikh Al-Islam.

“We came to the [secret] negotiations [with the United States] after Kerry wrote a letter and sent it to us via [mediator Omani Sultan Qaboos], stating that America officially recognizes Iran’s rights regarding the [nuclear fuel] enrichment cycle,” Al-Islam said in a recent interview with Iran’s Tasnim news agency, according to MEMRI.

“Then there were two meetings in Oman between the [Iranian and U.S.] deputy foreign ministers, and after those, Sultan Qaboos was dispatched by Obama to Khamenei with Kerry’s letter,” the official added.

Khamenei went on to tell him at the time: “‘I don’t trust them.’ Sultan Qaboos said: ‘Trust them one more time.’ On this basis the negotiations began, and not on the basis of sanctions, as they [the Americans] claim in their propaganda.”

This information has been confirmed by other senior Iranian officials, according to MEMRI.

Ali Akbar Salahi, the Iranian vice president and head of its Atomic Energy Organization, claimed in separate interviews this year that “the Americans initiated the secret talks with Iran in 2011-2012, and stressed his role in jumpstarting the process from the Iranian side,” according to MEMRI.

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Also see:

Former DIA director: Obama White House made “willful decision” to support al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood in Syria

Mehdi Hasan goes Head to Head with Michael T. Flynn, former head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, on how to deal with ISIL and Iran. http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/headtohead/2015/07/blame-isil-150728080342288.html

Mehdi Hasan goes Head to Head with Michael T. Flynn, former head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, on how to deal with ISIL and Iran. http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/headtohead/2015/07/blame-isil-150728080342288.html


Jihad Watch, by Robert Spencer, Aug. 8, 2015:

Mehdi Hasan is a highly suspect analyst and Foreign Policy Journal appears to be a pro-jihad paleocon publication, and Al Jazeera is certainly a pro-jihad propaganda outlet. All that is noted, but if this transcript is accurate, former DIA director Michael Flynn is confirming that the Obama Administration knowingly decided to support al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, and directly enabled the rise of the Islamic State. And given the Obama Administration’s general stance toward the global jihad and Islamic supremacism, what would be unbelievable about that?

In a sane political atmosphere, this would be enough to bring down the Obama presidency. Instead, it will get little notice and no action whatsoever.

“Rise of Islamic State was ‘a willful decision’: Former DIA Chief Michal [sic] Flynn,” by Brad Hoff, Foreign Policy Journal, August 7, 2015 (thanks to Joshua):

In Al Jazeera’s latest Head to Head episode, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn confirms to Mehdi Hasan that not only had he studied the DIA memo predicting the West’s backing of an Islamic State in Syria when it came across his desk in 2012, but even asserts that the White House’s sponsoring of radical jihadists (that would emerge as ISIL and Nusra) against the Syrian regime was “a willful decision.” [Lengthy discussion of the DIA memo begins at the 8:50 mark.]

Amazingly, Flynn actually took issue with the way interviewer Mehdi Hasan posed the question—Flynn seemed to want to make it clear that the policies that led to the rise of ISIL were not merely the result of ignorance or looking the other way, but the result of conscious decision making:

Hasan: You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn’t listening?

Flynn: I think the administration.

Hasan: So the administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?

Flynn: I don’t know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision.

Hasan: A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?

Flynn: It was a willful decision to do what they’re doing.

Hasan himself expresses surprise at Flynn’s frankness during this portion of the interview. While holding up a paper copy of the 2012 DIA report declassified through FOIA, Hasan reads aloud key passages such as, “there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria, and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime.”

Rather than downplay the importance of the document and these startling passages, as did the State Department soon after its release, Flynn does the opposite: he confirms that while acting DIA chief he “paid very close attention” to this report in particular and later adds that “the intelligence was very clear.”

Lt. Gen. Flynn, speaking safely from retirement, is the highest ranking intelligence official to go on record saying the United States and other state sponsors of rebels in Syria knowingly gave political backing and shipped weapons to Al-Qaeda in order to put pressure on the Syrian regime:

Hasan: In 2012 the U.S. was helping coordinate arms transfers to those same groups [Salafists, Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda in Iraq], why did you not stop that if you’re worried about the rise of quote-unquote Islamic extremists?

Flynn: I hate to say it’s not my job…but that…my job was to…was to ensure that the accuracy of our intelligence that was being presented was as good as it could be….

As Michael Flynn also previously served as director of intelligence for Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) during a time when its prime global mission was dismantling Al-Qaeda, his honest admission that the White House was in fact arming and bolstering Al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria is especially shocking given his stature….

***

Why Empower Iran?

MEFORUM, by Alexander H. Joffe

The Times of Israel
August 3, 2015

1565Unless the US Congress votes in opposition, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal with Iran with go through. What really happened and why did it happen the way it did?

What happened is gradually becoming clear. It is revealed daily just how horrendous the deal really is. On every point — enrichment, centrifuges, stocks of fissile material, inspections, sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps members and businesses, “snapback,” etc. — the Obama administration caved completely.

Concessions on ballistic missiles and arms sales were thrown in at the last minute; the administration lied about it all, while Iran touted its victories and American capitulation. All this went on amidst a background of Iranian chants of “death to Israel” and “death to America,” which entered not at all into American calculations.

Iran is thus empowered; it will shortly be gigantically richer, its proxies strengthened, its nuclear program at best slowed but fundamentally unimpeded, and its missile and terror programs shifted into overdrive.

But why this occurred is unclear. Clownish performance by the chief negotiator, Secretary of State John Kerry, a man driven equally by incompetence, ego, and pacifism, has long been the norm. But otherwise competent functionaries like Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz were dragged into negotiating and defending the deal. They have been no less implausible.

But their presence, along with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, previously the midwife of the North Korean nuclear program, suggests the process was directed from the top. In contrast, the defense establishment was written out; protests by General Martin Dempsey, outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as retired leaders like Defense Intelligence Agency head General Michael Flynn and NATO commander Admiral James Stavridis, fell on deaf ears in the administration and have been ignored by a compliant media.

Lead US negotiator Wendy Sherman previously brokered an agreement with North Korea that failed to prevent its construction of a bomb.

Lead US negotiator Wendy Sherman previously brokered an agreement with North Korea that failed to prevent its construction of a bomb.

Three factors suggest why President Obama himself effectively guided the negotiations to this point. As with various other administration scandals — think the IRS targeting of conservative and pro-Israel groups, or the Justice Department’s eavesdropping of reporters — it was not necessary for him to make every decision, only to set a tone that was interpreted by underlings. What then were the strategic goals that Obama established?

First was American withdrawal from the Middle East and to diminish the possibility of a return to a Pax Americana. Withdrawal from Iraq was a stated campaign goal that was accomplished, and is now being slowly reversed as the threat of ISIS grows. American forces remain in Afghanistan to confront a growing Taliban threat. In both cases the number of troops will be deliberately inadequate to directly confront threats.

Re-escalation of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan appears inevitable, but the larger reality of an American defense umbrella has been diminished by the administration’s alienation of traditional allies in the region, namely Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. This was done through its Iran policy and more broadly through US engagement with Islamists.

When coupled with enormous defense cuts at home, reducing the military to pre-World War II levels, any restoration of American influence, much less a defense presence in the Middle East, would be a protracted and expensive affair necessarily left to a future president, if ever.

A perverse pacifism is also at work. “There is no military solution” and “Ideologies are not defeated with guns” are pacifist mantras, repeated at the very top and used to avoid use of force, or the support of others using force, in Ukraine, Iraq, and Syria.

This pacifist, non-interventionist policy is nominally offset by the administration’s machismo; the never ending reminders about killing Bin Laden, the continued leaks and sympathetic press accounts regarding the president’s involvement in approving targets for drone attacks and special forces raids, and the much-vaunted, but little seen, “pivot to Asia.”

But these narratives do not offset the reality that conventional forces, of the sort necessary, say, to fight ISIS in Syria, will never deployed, no matter how many Christians and Yazidis are kidnapped or killed. And despite utterances that a military option was “on the table,” it seems inconceivable that the administration ever contemplated using force against Iran.

But there are deeper reasons for the outreach to Iran. Some have suggested that the long-term Obama policy, from at least 2008, has been to reintegrate Iran into the Middle East, putting it on the path to becoming a “very successful regional power,” as Obama put it, against an even longer term bet that moderate forces will become ascendant.

Iran, as Obama admits, has “a track record of state-sponsored terrorism … [and] has engaged in disruptions to our allies,” while its “rhetoric is not only explicitly anti-American but also has been incendiary when it comes to its attitude towards the state of Israel.” It is nevertheless expected to act as a bulwark against the Sunni extremism it helps provoke, help resolve the Syria crisis its client Assad created, and abide by “international norms and international rules, and that would be good for everybody.”

The theory of Iranian reintegration, however, captures only part of the administration’s motives. At the root is something deeper still, reflected in Obama’s most personal and idiosyncratic policystatement; that “America is not — and never will be — at war with Islam,” that it is “part of [his] responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear,” that “Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism — it is an important part of promoting peace,” and that “America does not presume to know what is best for everyone.”

These and other elements from Obama’s Istanbul and Cairo speeches are the core of policy towards Iran, the Middle East, and the Muslim world as a whole. They have been translated directly into policies to support and facilitate “authentically” Islamic regimes in order to prove they can govern.

This was the theory behind support of the Muslim Brotherhood’s short-lived election to rule Egypt, and the distance the US created when Egypt’s military overthrew the increasingly tyrannical rule of Brotherhood President Muhammad Morsi. It has been the foundation of American support for the oppressive and bizarre rule of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the AKP party. And it accounts for the constant disclaimers from administration spokespersons denying any connection between Islam and terror, the incessant “religion of peace” rhetoric, and support for the “Islamophobic” mindset of victimization among American Muslims.

Other policies as large as outreach to Iran, as dangerous as purging mentions of jihad from US counterterrorism training, and as absurd as the President’s order to NASA “to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math and engineering,” reflect the administration’s goal of inculcating Islamic authenticity, self-esteem and good will.

In contrast to authentic Islam is “violent extremism.” In this view Al Qaeda and ISIS are not Islamic at all but have, as the president stated in Cairo, “exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims.” They are simply groups with no real relationship to Islam, despite their resolute Islamic self-conception and careful textual exegesis. Fatwas from Obama, Kerry and others, painstakingly separating Islam from the terror done in its name, are both perplexing, unpersuasive, and grist for ISIS and domestic Islamic terrorism. But they are self-satisfying.

The non-nuclear consequences of the Iran deal are already coming into view. European businesses are rushing for deals worth billions. Hamas has announced that Iran is financing new attack tunnels into Israel. Hezbollah, though badly bloodied from its defense of Iran’s client, Syria’s Assad regime, is reemphasizing its anti-Israel rhetoric and capabilities before what will be a horrifically violent war. Iran’s subversion in Yemen, the Balkans, South America and the Gulf is at new heights. International legitimacy has brought neither Iranian moderation nor domestic development. It is unlikely to do so soon.

At the end of the day, an American administration led by social justice ideologues was fated to understand nothing about a revolutionary Islamist regime with global aspirations. The favor done Iran in the name of Islamic authenticity and regional reintegration will be a curse on the world for generations.

Alexander H. Joffe, a Shillman-Ginsburg fellow at the Middle East Forum, is a historian and archaeologist.

Also see:

#BringBackOurRebels: Statement Confirms Arrest of U.S.-Trained Syrian Rebels By Al-Qaeda After Pentagon Denial

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, July 30, 2015:

Earlier this week I reported here at PJ Media that the first class of Obama’s U.S.-trained “vetted moderate” Syrian rebels – 50 in all – had left Turkey for Syria and had not been heard from since, based on a McClatchy report.

Then yesterday I posted a follow-up report that 18 of the newly trained U.S. rebels, including some of its leaders, had been arrested/kidnapped by Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria.

In response to that report, Pentagon spokesperson Cmdr. Elissa Smith denied the claim:

daily sabah

Reports have claimed that the al-Qaida linked Al-Nusra Front has detained 18 opposition members, including Syrian Turkmen Colonel Nedim Hassan, -who is the leader of the U.S train-and-equip program-, and field commander Farhan Jasim near the Syrian city of Aleppo on Wednesday, which was refuted by the Pentagon.

“While we will not disclose the names of specific groups involved with the Syria Train and Equip program I can confirm that there have been no New Syrian Force personnel captured or detained.” Pentagon spokeswoman or Cmdr. Elissa Smith told Daily Sabah.

It was claimed that the opposition members who were returning from the train-and-equip program from Turkey were cut in by the Nusra militants, and were allegedly detained on the grounds that they are cooperating with the U.S.

But that flat-out denial by the Pentagon on the matter is refuted this morning in a report by Reuters and a statement issued by the group itself:

reuters tweet

From the Reuters report:

The al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front has abducted the leader of a U.S.-backed rebel group in north Syria, opposition sources and a monitoring group said, in a blow to Washington’s efforts to train and equip fighters to combat Islamic State.

A statement issued in the name of the group, “Division 30″, accused the Nusra Front of abducting Nadim al-Hassan and a number of his companions in a rural area north of Aleppo. It urged Nusra to release them.

A Syrian activist and a second opposition source said most of the 54 fighters who have so far completed a U.S.-led train and equip programmed in neighboring Turkey were from Division 30.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based group that reports on the war, said the men were abducted while returning from a meeting in Azaz, north of Aleppo, to coordinate efforts with other factions. The opposition source said they were abducted on Tuesday night.

The Telegraph is also reporting:

Al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists kidnapped the commanders of a US-trained rebel faction operating in northern Syria on Wednesday, sources said, in another blow for the Pentagon’s train-and-equip program for Syrian rebels.

A statement issued Wednesday by the Division 30 Infantry group accused the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, of taking the Division’s commander, Colonel Nadim Al-Hassan, and his companions in the northern countryside of Aleppo province.

“[The Division] demands that the brothers in the Nusra Front release the colonel… and his companions with the utmost speed so as to preserve the blood of the Muslims and… so as not to weaken the frontlines with side disputes between the brothers of one side,” said the statement, which was released on Division 30′s official page on social media.

Lister tweet2

Lister3

So now the Obama administration and the GOP leadership that pushed thru the $500 million in funding for the program are now embarrassed on multiple levels:

  • The program was supposed to train 5,000 rebels to fight the Islamic State this year, but Defense Secretary Ashton Carter admitted to Congress earlier this month that only 60 had completed the program.
  • To train those 60 fighters, the Pentagon has burned one half of the funds allocated for the training, with $4 million spent per fighter so far.
  • No sooner had that first class of 54 been sent off to Syria on July 12, the Pentagon reportedly lost contact with them.
  • Then yesterday the initial reports were that 18 of those members had been arrested by Jabhat al-Nusra, prompting the Pentagon denial.
  • Now the Division 30 statement and the Reuters report flatly contradict the Pentagon denial yesterday, meaning they did not know or they lied about the embarrassing report.

As I stated in concluding yesterday’s report, does anyone still want to talk about a JV team?

***

Also see:

Intel expert: Obama admin framing arms dealer

Hillary Clinton testifying on the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack

Hillary Clinton testifying on the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack

WND, by Jerome Corsi, July 27, 2015:

NEW YORK – A member of the independent Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi believes the Obama administration positioned arms dealer Marc Turi to take the fall for illicit arms deals to Libya orchestrated in 2011 by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the State Department.

The Justice Department has charged Turi with lying on an export-license application, alleging he hid his intent to ship weapons and ammunition to Libya in direct violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 170. The Feb. 26, 2011, resolution imposed an arms embargo on all member states to prevent “the immediate prospect” of a Gadhafi-led attempt “to slaughter rebel forces in Benghazi that would likely result in massive civilian casualties.”

“We have ample evidence the Libyan gun-running operation was a White House operation and that the State Department under Hillary Clinton ran the show,” said Clare Lopez, a member of the Citizens’ Commission who served as a career operations officer with the CIA and is currently vice president for research at the Washington-based Center for Security Policy.

Lopez made it clear she was speaking for herself and not for the commission.

The Citizens Commission on Benghazi is a group of 17 retired admirals and generals, former intelligence agents, counter-terrorism experts, media specialists and former members of Congress organized in 2013 by Roger Aronoff, editor of Accuracy in Media. The founding members are retired U.S. Navy Adm. James Lyons and retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely.

Find out what really happened: Aaron Klein’s “The REAL Benghazi Story” exposes the ongoing cover-up

The commission has been working behind the scenes for the past two years to ensure Congress uncovers what really happened in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

As WND reported Thursday, defense filings in the Department of Justice prosecution of Turi allege the Obama administration is willing to prosecute an innocent man to cover up the role Hillary Clinton played shipping weapons to Libya.

Lopez told WND the “key point is that Marc Turi, despite receiving written approval from the U.S. government to broker weapons to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, never actually went through any weapons purchases or shipments to Qatar, to the UAE or to Libya.”

She pointed to the Citizens’ Commission’s April 2014 interim report, which concluded it was Clinton’s State Department that was shipping the guns to Libya.

“Marc Turi was set up and framed for something he didn’t do, while others, who actually did collaborate with Qatar and the UAE to deliver the weapons under U.S. and NATO protection and supervision, are not only not prosecuted like Marc Turi, they’re not even mentioned,” Lopez said.

The official story

On Dec. 5, 2012, New York Times reporters James Risen, Mark Mazetti and Michael Schmidt, without citing a source, clearly implicated Turi as the arms dealer at the center of the 2011 redirection of weapons from Qatar that was interdicted by Libya and shown to world media by then-Gadhafi officials spokesman Moussa Ibrahim, as reported by WND.

In their article, titled “U.S.-Approved Arms for Libya Rebels Fell Into Jihadis’ Hands,” they wrote: “The Obama administration secretly gave its blessing to Libyan rebels from Qatar last year, but American officials later grew alarmed as evidence grew that Qatar was turning some of the weapons over to Islamic militants, according to United States officials and foreign diplomats.”

The Times story said the “case of Marc Turi, the American arms merchant who had sought to provide weapons to Libya, demonstrates other challenges the United States faced in dealing with Libya.”

“A dealer who lives in both Arizona and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Turi sells small arms to buyers in the Middle East and Africa, relying primarily on suppliers of Russian-designed weapons in Eastern Europe,” the Times said.

From there, the Times account of Turi’s involvement in the Qatar-Libya arms deal bears close resemblance to the “statement of facts” provided the U.S. District Court in Arizona in the Turi criminal indictment brought by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Phoenix.

“In March 2011, just as the Libyan civil war was intensifying, Mr. Turi realized that Libya could be a lucrative new market, and applied to the State Department for a license to provide weapons to the rebels there, according to e-mails and other documents he has provided,” the Times article continued.

The newspaper noted American citizens are required to obtain U.S. approval for any international arms sales.

“Mr. Turi’s application for a license was rejected in late March 2011,” the Times reported. “Undeterred, he applied again, this time stating only that he planned to ship arms worth more than $200 million to Qatar.”

Then, the newspaper reported that in May 2011, Turi’s application was approved.

“Mr. Turi, in an interview, said that his intent was to get weapons to Qatar and that what ‘the U.S. government and Qatar allowed from there was between them.’ Two months later, though, his home near Phoenix was raided by agents from the Department of Homeland Security.”

The Times reported administration officials said he remained under investigation in connection with his arms dealings.

The Justice Department would not comment, the Times said.

The paper said: “Mr. Turi said he believed that United States officials had shut down his proposed arms pipeline because he was getting in the way of the Obama administration’s dealings with Qatar. The Qataris, he complained, imposed no controls on who got the weapons. ‘They just handed them out like candy, he said.”

‘Zero footprint’

As WND reported, Fox News analysts Andrew Napolitano, in a nationally syndicated column published July 1, said an interview with Turi conducted by Fox News intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge and Fox News Senior Executive Producer Pamela Browne led him to review emails to and from State Department and congressional officials sent when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.

The correspondence caused him to conclude “beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty” that Hillary had conducted a “secret war” shipping arms to Libya illegally in 2011.

Read more

John Kerry Is Blowing the Iran Nuke Deal

john_kerry_senator_from_ma-2Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, July29, 2015:

It’s hard to imagine a worse salesman for the Iran deal than John Kerry. Kerry couldn’t sell himself to Americans as a presidential candidate. Now he has to sell a nuclear Armageddon to Americans.

National security was Kerry’s undoing during his presidential campaign. He had shot American soldiers in the back during Vietnam to build a base for his own political future. He had eagerly pandered to Marxist-Leninist terrorists who massacred native peoples and burned their churches. He had been for the Iraq War before he was against it and for Assad’s Syrian dictatorship before he was against it.

Now Kerry is supposed to sell the most controversial and explosive national security issue since the Cold War to a skeptical nation. And he’s doing just about as well as you would expect.

John Kerry’s tour of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Council on Foreign Relations came with all the nervous tics, the stumbling statements and erratic claims that everyone has come to expect from the only man who could have possibly made Hillary Clinton’s Secretary of State tenure look good.

Asked whether he really believed that Iran, which is sitting on a mountain of oil and gas, just wants a peaceful nuclear program “to generate electricity”, Kerry admitted that it already has a military program.

Then he insisted that we had to go through with the deal anyway so he wouldn’t be embarrassed in front of the ayatollah.

“I mean, do you think the ayatollah is going to come back to the table if Congress refuses this and negotiate again?… I mean, please. I would be embarrassed to try to go out—I mean, what am I going to say to people after this as secretary of State?,” Kerry whined.

The Secretary of State for the greatest nation in the world had been reduced to complaining that he would be too embarrassed to renegotiate the deal. Congress had to play it cool and stop embarrassing him in front of his cool new ayatollah friends.

Kerry couldn’t offer a direct answer to the question because he had already argued that Iran “believed deeply that they had a right to… have a peaceful nuclear program; because they resented the fact the United States had supported Saddam Hussein in Iraq”. Iran did restart its nuclear program during the war with Iraq, and, like most nuclear programs during wartime, it was as peaceful as a bomb.

“O Allah, for your satisfaction, we sacrificed the offspring of Islam and the revolution,” Ayatollah Khomeini wrote after the Iran-Iraq War. The letter quoted the need for “atomic weapons” and evicting America from the Persian Gulf.

Iran’s current Supreme Leader had told top officials that Khomeini had reactivated Iran’s nuclear program, vowing that it would prepare “for the emergence of Imam Mehdi.”

Imam Mehdi was never going to be impressed with a slightly lower electric bill.

Kerry had contradicted himself in a single response, admitting that the nuclear program had reemerged during the Iran-Iraq War while claiming that it was peaceful.

But Kerry’s real focus was always on empathizing with the enemy.

“I know, the degree to which Iran felt isolated by that and the sort of impact of the choices that were made during that period of time. So we’re trying to make up for that now. We’re where we are. We’re not blaming anybody,” he offered in his new role as the Ayatollah’s infidel therapist.

He insisted that 24 days was plenty of time just to get access to an Iranian rogue nuclear site while admitting that, “The breakout time goes down to always somewhere in the vicinity of a month or two.” And he suggested that Iran would become peaceful because he had “friends” who had been to Tehran and told him it was “teeming with young people who all have smartphones.”

And Kerry just wanted to go to Tehran and hang out with all the teeming cool young people and their smartphones.

The need for approval from enemies of the United States was quintessential Kerry. Utterly unwilling to acknowledge that there was a different worldview on the other side of the table, he namedropped his opposite number as “Foreign Minister Zarif, who lived here in New York” as if a man who lived in the city couldn’t possibly be a fanatical enemy of the United States.

That would have come as a surprise to Mahmud Abouhalima or Leon Trotsky.

But Kerry had just begun embarrassing himself.

Challenged on welcoming back a terrorist state to the international arena, Kerry claimed that he had told the Iranians that their chants of “Death to America” were not helpful. Asked about other states getting nuclear weapons to compete with Iran, Kerry quipped that, “You can’t just go out and buy a nuclear weapon. You don’t ship them FedEx, you know.”

If Kerry had been paying attention in the Senate, he would have known that the Khan nuclear network which shipped kits of nuclear equipment and bomb plans, had been caught by Bush shipping crates to Libya. It wasn’t FedEx, but it was close. Bush had managed to achieve a complete shutdown of Libya’s nuclear program, while Kerry had legalized the other beneficiary of the Khan network in Iran.

This would have been a month’s worth of gaffes for any other politician, but for John Kerry, it was just one question and answer session gone wrong.

Kerry had already told PBS that Iran isn’t “allowed” to transfer any of the $140 billion in sanctions relief to terrorists because of a UN resolution, before admitting that Iran would probably do it anyway. Then he had backpedaled by claiming that money wouldn’t make much of an impact on terrorism anyway.

When asked about Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s threats to America and announcement that he would continue funding terrorists, Kerry spluttered that he doesn’t “know how to interpret it at this point in time”.

“Death to America” can be surprisingly nuanced when analyzed by a master of nuance like John Kerry.

Kerry had managed to torpedo a plan for air strikes on Syria through his own inept statements. Now he’s sabotaging another administration policy goal.

The more Kerry talks, the more he comes off as a car salesman pushing the latest gently used nuclear Armageddon. He stumbles unconvincingly from one rationalization to another, revealing more about his insecurities than his policies.

Every Kerry argument is a thread and it doesn’t take much tugging on it for the whole dirty garment to come apart in a snarl of rationalizations and half-truths. Like a bad liar, he instinctively contradicts himself. And like a worse liar, he follows it up with false choices and false accusations.

His every argument comes down to some version of “Well what’s your alternative” or “If we walk away now, we lose all credibility”. It’s the argument you expect to hear from a man who has sent his fortune off to a Nigerian prince, not the Secretary of State of the United States.

The conclusion to every Kerry argument is the desperate pessimism of, “We have no other choice.” While Iran’s leadership gleefully celebrates, Kerry tells us that there are no other options. The more he talks, the more he convinces everyone who listens that the United States lost.

Underneath it all is a persistent whine. It’s the tone of an overgrown teenager who just wants to hang out with all the cool Marxist-Leninist rebels, Islamic terrorists and Viet Cong bosses. Somewhere in his mind, Kerry is still a petulant teenager resentful that he has to justify his fun times with Zarif, who used to live in New York and probably knows lots of teenagers with smartphones, by testifying to Congress.

Kerry doesn’t care about Iran’s nukes or its breakout times and he resents having to memorize this stuff. What excites him is giving the finger to America and meeting up with enemies of this country. It’s how he began his career and it’s how he’s ending it now. The more questions he has to answer, the more flustered he becomes because we’re the mean parents embarrassing him in front of the cool ayatollah. 

***

John Kerry Struggles to Explain How Iran Nuclear Deal Benefits U.S.

Ret. Admiral Stavridis: ‘You Can Drive a Truck Through’ Holes in Iran Deal

Also see:

The Guantanamo Non-Answer That Says a Whole Lot

gitmo2Center for Security Policy, by Ben Lerner, July 28, 2015:

Over the weekend, Lisa Monaco, Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, announced some details of the plan that the White House is presently crafting to shut down detainee/interrogation operations at Guantanamo Bay.

The Hill reports:

…There are currently 116 detainees at the facility, and under the new plan some of them would be moved to the U.S.

Monaco said the plan was to transport the 52 detainees deemed eligible for transfer to countries with appropriate security arrangements.

According to Monaco, those who are deemed “too dangerous to release” would be subject to periodic review boards for transfer eligibility. In 10 instances, 13 review boards have already resulted in individuals being moved to the so-called “transfer bucket.”

“So we are going to whittle down this group to what I refer to as the ‘irreducible minimum’ who would have to be brought here,” Monaco said.

“That group, who either can’t be prosecuted, or are too dangerous to release, we are going to continue to evaluate their status.”

Under the law of war, Monaco said, those remaining after review would be transferred to U.S. military prisons or supermax security prisons, and be subjected either to prosecution in military commissions or Article III courts…

The White House is crafting this plan ostensibly in response to Sen. John McCain’s inclusion of provisions in the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that require the Obama administration to submit a Gitmo closure plan to Congress for approval.  By contrast, the House does not open the door for Gitmo’s closure as the Senate does, and instead tightens existing restrictions on the transfer of Gitmo detainees.  The NDAA is presently undergoing conference negotiations, and it remains unclear whether McCain’s provisions on this subject will survive that process.

But the fate of these provisions in Congress may not matter.

The Hill observes further:

…When asked if the president would take executive action to transfer detainees to the U.S. if Congress did not work with the administration, Monaco twice avoided a direct answer, drawing a stir from the crowd…

It’s easy to see why Monaco is ducking such questions.  Look at the Obama administration’s record when it comes to working with Congress, and acting within the parameters of our constitutional system, on national security matters.

The Obama administration already previously cut Congress out of the loop in a high-profile Gitmo detainee release — there were no consultations with Congress regarding the transfer of five senior Taliban detainees held there in exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, despite a clear statutory requirement that Congress receive thirty days notice of such transfers.  More recently, the administration took its ill-conceived Iran deal to the United Nations Security Council for a vote, before Congress has a chance to review it and vote to approve or disapprove, per the agreement hammered out in the Corker-Cardin legislation that Obama himself signed into law.

And who could forget Obama’s amnesty end-run around Congress and immigration laws in November of 2014, showing total disregard for Congress’s fundamental role in determining who gets admitted to the United States?

Make no mistake, President Obama is in full legacy mode – and one piece of his legacy may well be that he ran over Congress, the Constitution, and the will of the American people on his way to facilitating the release of some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists.

Exit question: If 52 of these remaining detainees are perfectly good-to-go for transfer to other countries, why aren’t other countries jumping at the chance to take them in and help President Obama put that nasty George W. Bush-era stain of Gitmo to bed?  Could it be because of stuff like what happened in Belgium just last Friday?:

Belgium has arrested two former detainees of Guantanamo prison on charges of terrorism, saying the men are suspected of seeking recruits to fight in Syria, the federal prosecutor’s office said on Friday.

“The two men, who were held at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval base in Cuba between 2001 and 2005, were under police surveillance and were arrested in the early hours of Thursday in the Belgian city of Antwerp along with three others.

“”They were in a car, we believe waiting to commit a robbery,” said Jean-Pascal Thoreau, a spokesman for Belgium’s federal prosecutor…

Obama Admin Backs NATO Ally Turkey’s Double Game with Islamic State After Turks Bomb Anti-ISIS Kurdish Groups

1436985867gory-23PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, July 26, 2015:

A bizarre situation unfolded this past week, one that could possibly drag the U.S. into a new war in the Middle East.

On Monday, a suicide bomber attacked a rally in Suruc, Turkey, targeting a news conference of the Kurdish Federation of Socialist Youth Associations, killing 32. The suicide bomber was identified by Turkish authorities as an Islamic State supporter who had returned from Syria.

NYT tweet

In response the Islamist government in Ankara, led by Obama’s pal Recep Erdogan (one of Obama’s top five international friends), launched airstrikes targeting not the Islamic State, but Kurdish groups in Iraq.

CNN Turk

CNN Turk m2

This comes as more evidence emerges that Turkey has been playing a double game with the Islamic State. The evidence was obtained in a U.S. special forces raid of a senior ISIS leader in Iraq.

The Guardian reports today:

When US special forces raided the compound of an Islamic State leader in eastern Syria in May, they made sure not to tell the neighbours.

The target of that raid, the first of its kind since US jets returned to the skies over Iraq last August, was an Isis official responsible for oil smuggling, named Abu Sayyaf. He was almost unheard of outside the upper echelons of the terror group, but he was well known to Turkey. From mid-2013, the Tunisian fighter had been responsible for smuggling oil from Syria’s eastern fields, which the group had by then commandeered. Black market oil quickly became the main driver of Isis revenues – and Turkish buyers were its main clients.

As a result, the oil trade between the jihadis and the Turks was held up as evidence of an alliance between the two. It led to protests from Washington and Europe – both already wary of Turkey’s 900-mile border with Syria being used as a gateway by would-be jihadis from around the world.

This comes as more evidence emerges that Turkey has been playing a double game with the Islamic State. The evidence was obtained in a U.S. special forces raid of a senior ISIS leader in Iraq.

The Guardian reports today:

When US special forces raided the compound of an Islamic State leader in eastern Syria in May, they made sure not to tell the neighbours.

The target of that raid, the first of its kind since US jets returned to the skies over Iraq last August, was an Isis official responsible for oil smuggling, named Abu Sayyaf. He was almost unheard of outside the upper echelons of the terror group, but he was well known to Turkey. From mid-2013, the Tunisian fighter had been responsible for smuggling oil from Syria’s eastern fields, which the group had by then commandeered. Black market oil quickly became the main driver of Isis revenues – and Turkish buyers were its main clients.

As a result, the oil trade between the jihadis and the Turks was held up as evidence of an alliance between the two. It led to protests from Washington and Europe – both already wary of Turkey’s 900-mile border with Syria being used as a gateway by would-be jihadis from around the world.

Turkey oil link t0 ISIS

 

This is not the first time that Turkey has been caught double-dealing against their U.S. NATO ally. There was the “gas for gold” scheme with Iran that allowed the Islamic Republic to skirt international sanctions, and Erdogan and the Turkish intelligence chief had a photographed meeting with U.S. designated Al-Qaeda global terror financier Yasin al-Qadi.

Curiously, shortly after those reports showing photographs of Erdogan meeting with al-Qadi appeared in the Turkish media, the Treasury Department under Obama removed al-Qadi’s terror designation.

The preferred route of thousands of foreign fighters now in the ranks of ISIS appears to have been mostly coming from Turkey and crossing the border into Syria, bringing complaints that Turkey was not doing enough to combat the group’s growth and that the border was becoming “a two-way jihadist highway.”

But a series of published reports going back to last year seem to show direct and indirect Turkish support for the Islamic State.

  • In April 2014, Turkish media reports showed photographs of ISIS commander Abu Muhammad being treated at the Hatay State Hospital after being injured fighting in Syria. Opposition politicians also claimed that fighters with Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria, were allowed to stay at the guesthouses of the government’s Religious Affairs Directorate.
  • Last November, Newsweek published an interview with a former ISIS fighter who said that ISIS fighters faced no obstructions entering from Turkey. Meanwhile, ISIS commanders bragged about the “full cooperation with the Turks,” while anti-ISIS Kurdish fighters were blocked by Turkish authorities.
  • This account seems to be confirmed by a report from Aydınlık Daily, which reported in July 2014 that the Turkish intelligence service, the MIT, had transported members of Syrian terrorist groups and their weapons across the border.
  • Two weeks after that report, at an event site approved by Erdogan’s ruling AKP Party and sponsored by a publication known for its ISIS sympathiesa rally was held in Istanbul where video showed speakers openly calling for jihad. There were also reports that recruiting for ISIS fighters took place.
  • In January, Turkish military documents from the Gendarmerie General Command leaked online showed that Turkish intelligence were transporting missiles, mortars and anti-aircraft ammunition for Al-Qaeda and actively obstructed the military from documenting the transfers.
  • The New York Times reported in May that massive amounts of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer used for making bombs, were being prepared in a Turkish town near Syria and transported across the border. The report quoted an opposition politician who admitted that the fertilizing was not for farms, but for bombs.
  • Reuters reported exclusively in late May that court documents and prosecutor testimony revealed that Turkish intelligence had transported weapons across the border in 2013 and early 2014, aiding the offensive push by ISIS into Iraq in June 2014. Erdogan himself had said that the shipments were aid.

And then there’s this, though it’s unlikely that it’s much of a secret…

Turkey recruting IS

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Also see:

Come the F*ck On: al Qaeda Is Not Our Ally!

Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

Daily Beast, by Robin Simcox, July 24, 2015:
A new argument among jihad analysts has it that the makers of 9/11 are now a handy bulwark against ISIS. Um, no.
Enemies becoming friends is seemingly all the rage these days. First Cuba. Then Iran. Now, there are those arguing that al Qaeda must also be brought into the fold. That’s right: the same group which fly planes into our buildings, blows up our tube networks, embassies and longs for the return of the Caliphate.

The argument seems to be catching on. The journalist Ahmed Rashid has recently taken to the pages of the New York Review of Books (“Why we need al Qaeda”) and the front cover of The Spectator (“Al Qaeda to the rescue”) to question whether al Qaeda “might be the best option left in the Middle East for the US and its allies.” The argument goes that the U.S., regional Arab powers and Turkey have a shared enemy in Bashar al-Assad, Iran and its proxies. Al Qaeda not only shares these enemies, it is at the frontline of this fight in Syria and Yemen.

Rashid also says that al Qaeda is going through “dramatic changes” and are now taking a “soft line” on certain issues. Charles Lister from Brookings has also explored potential al Qaeda moderation—with the headline used in his May article for the Huffington Post, “An Internal Struggle: Al Qaeda’s Syrian Affiliate is Grappling with its Identity,” making the group sound more like a 16 year-old goth from Portland than a murderous terrorist organization.

Other, less savory figures have spoken out on other ways in which al Qaeda may be useful. Moazzam Begg—the former Guantanamo Bay detainee—cites Rashidwhile arguing that “the most credible voices against IS have been Islamic clerics traditionally associated with al Qaeda”: Abu Qatada and Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi. These two jihadist theologians’ fatwas have been used to justify barbaric violence for decades. Yet Begg laments the UK government’s reluctance to reach out to such figures, arguing that it would help avert a repeat of the massacre of British tourists that just occurred in Tunisia.

This is largely unsurprising coming from Begg, who has long argued the Islamist cause. Yet as others view al Qaeda as a potentially constructive partner, it is worth exploring this thesis on its merits.

The examples of moderation cited by the likes of Rashid are anything but. A statement from Abu Mohammed al-Joulani, the head of al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, saying that he was under instructions not to use Syria “as a base to launch attacks on the West or Europe” is highlighted as a sign of progress. However, even this concession—as deeply generous as it is—is not because of a lack of desire to kill more Westerners; it is “so as not to muddy the current war” in Syria. A change in tactics should not be confused for a change in strategy.

The al-Nusra Front also remains proud of al Qaeda’s past successes when it comes to mass murder. A propaganda video they just released is heavy on video footage from 9/11—an attack described in the video as “the most effective solution”—and speeches by Osama bin Laden.

Rashid also mischaracterizes the nature of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s behavior in Yemen. He describes AQAP’s capture of territory in Hadhramaut, southeast Yemen, as “remarkably tame,” arguing that they “inflicted little damage, executed nobody, declined to run the local government and instead installed a council of elders to govern.” The residents of Hadhramaut—especially those in Mukalla—seem to remember things differently. Last month, they saw two Saudis murdered in public by the group and then strung up from a bridge, accused of being ‘spies’. There has also been recent reports from those living under AQAP rule in Mukalla that they have burned down markets; intimidated local residents and blown up local mausoleums.

Step outside the Middle East and there are a host of other examples demonstrating that al Qaeda is as brutal as it ever was. Look at the intensity of al-Shabaab’s attacks in Somalia, or the six UN peacekeepers killed by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Mali earlier this month. The families of the “blasphemers” murdered by al Qaeda’s newest branch in the Indian Subcontinent also probably do not see much evidence of the group’s supposed “soft line”.

After the wars we have waged against the group over the past fourteen years and the blood that has been shed across the world by al Qaeda, it is remarkable to have to argue that they are not a constructive partner in anything the U.S. would ever want to achieve in the Middle East. Then again, we live in strange times. Who would have thought that the U.S. would be willing to militarily partner with the very same Iranian militias in Iraq that were killing their soldiers in the same theater ten years ago?

Something similar cannot be allowed to happen again. Al Qaeda is not our ally. It remains as committed as ever to our destruction and we should never forget it.

U.S.-Funded Free Syrian Army Unit Shows Off Its Kidnapping Skills in New Training Video

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, July 23, 2015:

A training video released today by Liwa Fursan al-Haqq (Knights of Justice Brigade) of the “vetted moderate” Free Syrian Army (FSA) opens with the group’s special forces practicing their abduction and kidnapping skills. And yet FSA units, funded, supported and armed by the U.S., have been repeatedly implicated in the abduction and kidnapping of U.S. citizens in Syria.

Here you can see them putting their U.S.-funded training to practice:

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Also shown are critical military skills, such as standing on the back of a motorcycle while shooting two U.S.-funded AK-47s one-handed:

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Of course no jihadist training video would be complete without the requisite traversing of the monkey bars:

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Or the “Fiery Ring of Death”:

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Delta Force and the Navy SEALs have nothing on Liwa Fursan al-Haqq. Yet all three elite units are funded by U.S. taxpayer dollars!

You can watch the whole 10 minute video in all of its glory:

What makes the video of U.S.-funded FSA units being trained in kidnapping and abduction so important to note is that FSA units have repeatedly been implicated in the abduction of American citizens who were later traded to Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria, as well as the Islamic State.

That would include American journalist James Foley, beheaded by the Islamic State last year in its first such grisly video, who reportedly came into ISIS custody when the FSA-aligned Dawud Brigade that kidnapped and held Foley pledged allegiance to ISIS and delivered him to ISIS as a token of their submission.

That, however, is not the only such documented incident of FSA units abducting Americans.

In late October, American journalist Theo Padnos — who was captured by the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) and then given over to Jabhat al-Nusra — told the story of his two-year captivity in the New York Times Magazine.

At one point, Padnos says he escaped from his Al-Qaeda captors and found himself back in the hands of the FSA, who then, again, promptly turned him back over to the terror group.

Padnos also relates this exchange with some U.S.-trained FSA fighters that exposes the glaring weaknesses of the CIA’s vetting system:

I returned to the FSA troops. One told me that his unit had recently traveled to Jordan to receive training from American forces in fighting groups like the Nusra Front.

“Really?” I said. “The Americans? I hope it was good training.”

“Certainly, very,” he replied.

The fighters stared at me. I stared at them.

After a few moments, I asked, “About this business of fighting Jebhat al Nusra?”

“Oh, that,” one said. “We lied to the Americans about that.”

An NBC News crew taken captive in Syria in December 2012, and who later repeatedly claimed they had been held by an Assad regime militia, later admitted – following a New York Times investigation – that they were in fact held by an FSA criminal network.

Also, there is evidence that NBC News executives knew from the time of the crew’s capture that they were held by U.S. allies, but allowed the blame to fall on Assad since that didn’t conflict with the Obama administration’s position at the time.

The chief Washington D.C. cheerleader for the Syrian rebels, Charles Lister of the Brookings Institution, happily announced the Liwa Fursan Al-Qaqq video release earlier today:

Lister tweet

As I noted back in April here at PJ Media, Lister finally admitted what he and most of the other Western supporters of the Syrian rebels have well known for a long time — that vast majority of Syrian rebel groups have been associated with Jabhat al-Nusra, a fact mostly concealed by the D.C. “smart set”:

This latter alliance with Jabhat al-Nusra has been a consistent facet of insurgent dynamics in Syria, but not only in terms of conservative Salafist groups like Ahrar al-Sham. In fact, while rarely acknowledged explicitly in public, the vast majority of the Syrian insurgency has coordinated closely with Al-Qaeda since mid-2012 – and to great effect on the battlefield. But while this pragmatic management of relationships may have secured opposition military victories against the regime, it has also come at an extraordinary cost. The assimilation of Al-Qaeda into the broader insurgency has discouraged the U.S. and its European allies from more definitively backing the ‘moderate’ opposition. That, by extension, has encouraged the intractability of the conflict we see today and the rise of jihadist factions like Jabhat al-Nusra, IS, and many others.

In fact, it was just a year ago yesterday that Liwa Fursan Al-Haqq announced they were separating from Jabhat al-Nusra. Nusra had been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. in December 2012.

As a result of that separation, that gave the U.S. the go-ahead to begin supplying them with heavy weaponry, such as TOW anti-tank missiles, which you can see them using in the video below:

So the next time that an American citizen finds himself kidnapped by a FSA unit, possibly ending up starring in the Islamic State’s latest beheading video, he can take comfort that his captors have received the best training and received the most advanced weaponry courtesy of his own country’s support.

Your U.S. taxpayer dollars hard at work!