US blocks attempts by Arab allies to fly heavy weapons directly to Kurds to fight Islamic State

President Barack Obama pauses speaks at Taylor Stratton Elementary School in Nashville Photo: AP

President Barack Obama pauses speaks at Taylor Stratton Elementary School in Nashville Photo: AP

The Telegraph, by Con Coughlin, July 1, 2015:

The United States has blocked attempts by its Middle East allies to fly heavy weapons directly to the Kurds fighting Islamic State jihadists in Iraq, The Telegraph has learnt.

Some of America’s closest allies say President Barack Obama and other Western leaders, including David Cameron, are failing to show strategic leadership over the world’s gravest security crisis for decades.

They now say they are willing to “go it alone” in supplying heavy weapons to the Kurds, even if means defying the Iraqi authorities and their American backers, who demand all weapons be channelled through Baghdad.

High level officials from Gulf and other states have told this newspaper that all attempts to persuade Mr Obama of the need to arm the Kurds directly as part of more vigorous plans to take on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) have failed. The Senate voted down one attempt by supporters of the Kurdish cause last month.

The officials say they are looking at new ways to take the fight to Isil without seeking US approval.

“If the Americans and the West are not prepared to do anything serious about defeating Isil, then we will have to find new ways of dealing with the threat,” said a senior Arab government official. “With Isil making ground all the time we simply cannot afford to wait for Washington to wake up to the enormity of the threat we face.”

Kurdish Peshmerga fighters train on a weapon during a training session with British military advisers

Kurdish Peshmerga fighters train on a weapon during a training session with British military advisers

The Peshmerga have been successfully fighting Isil, driving them back from the gates of Erbil and, with the support of Kurds from neighbouring Syria, re-establishing control over parts of Iraq’s north-west.

But they are doing so with a makeshift armoury. Millions of pounds-worth of weapons have been bought by a number of European countries to arm the Kurds, but American commanders, who are overseeing all military operations against Isil, are blocking the arms transfers.

One of the core complaints of the Kurds is that the Iraqi army has abandoned so many weapons in the face of Isil attack, the Peshmerga are fighting modern American weaponry with out-of-date Soviet equipment.

At least one Arab state is understood to be considering arming the Peshmerga directly, despite US opposition.

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Also see:

Concerns Raised Over US Co-existence with Iranian-Backed Militias in Iraq

Iraqi fighters of the Shiite group Asaib Ahl al-Haq (The League of the Righteous) gesture upon their return to the southern city of Basra, on June 14, 2015. The group is fighting alongside Iraqi security forces against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in an attempt to try to retake the strategic northern town of Baiji. At least 11 members of the Iraqi security forces were killed the previous day near the town of Baiji in a series of suicide attacks claimed by IS jihadists. AFP PHOTO / HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI

Iraqi fighters of the Shiite group Asaib Ahl al-Haq (The League of the Righteous) gesture upon their return to the southern city of Basra, on June 14, 2015. The group is fighting alongside Iraqi security forces against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in an attempt to try to retake the strategic northern town of Baiji. At least 11 members of the Iraqi security forces were killed the previous day near the town of Baiji in a series of suicide attacks claimed by IS jihadists. AFP PHOTO / HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI

Center for Security Policy, by Jennifer Keltz June 30, 2015:

Last week, news reports surfaced that US troops in Iraq have been sharing the Taqqadum military base with Iranian-backed Shia militias, some of which have killed US troops in the past. The Pentagon said that US forces are separated from the militias, which are operating on a different part of the base, though liaisons that are members of the militias have been working with the US and Iraq.

Iran has been a key contributor to the Iraqi fight against the Islamic State (IS), and this fact has been acknowledged by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. In recent a conversation with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Abadi told Khamenei that Iran’s support of Shia militias fighting IS is essential to defeating the organization.

Iraq has also greatly benefited from US involvement in the fight against IS, as the US has been providing training and supplies to Iraqi and Kurdish forces. In March, the US officially began to provide more concrete support, beyond simply training Iraqi troops, for the offensive against IS in Tikrit. The US began providing intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance at the request of the Iraqi government.

Throughout the fight against IS, the US has maintained a military presence of 3,100 troops in Iraq. After the fall of Ramadi, the US decided to deploy approximately 400 more troops, signifying its investment in staying involved in the fight. Along with these additional troops to supplement those already in Iraq, senior members of the military have advised expanding the operational capacities of the US troops to allow them to conduct on-the-ground missions.

An escalation of US involvement in Iraq, coinciding with increased coexistence and cooperation between US and Iranian-backed Shia militias, raises some questions.

The first issue that must be addressed is that of the safety of US forces sharing space with the Shia militias. According to the Pentagon, Shia militias left the base before the US troops arrived. However, they are actually staying in a different area on the base, though the base is reportedly very large (larger than Vienna, VA, a town in the Washington, D.C. suburbs). Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), an Iraq War veteran, is apprehensive of the arrangement because many Americans were killed in Iraq as a result of bombs supplied by Iran. Adding to this concern, the militias are headed by the leader of Hezbollah in Iraq, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and include the League of the Righteous, which still boasts about a roadside execution of five US soldiers near Karbala in 2007. US troops have not clashed with the militias in the 11 months that US special operations forces will be in Iraq, but a senior administration official said that “there’s no real command and control from the central government. Even if these guys don’t attack us … Iran is ushering in a new Hezbollah era in Iraq, and we will have aided and abetted it.”

The second issue regards the potential for an armed offensive jointly led by US, Iraqi, and Iranian-backed forces. The US gives weapons to the Iraqi government only, but knows that many end up being used by the Shia militias. Additionally, some militia commanders have been allowed to be present at US military and intelligence briefings for the Iraqi government-controlled Iraqi Security Forces. As previously stated, the Shia militias have a history of violence toward US troops, which could prove disastrous if they turn on the US on the battlefield.

Additionally, the US is still engaged in nuclear negotiations with Iran. A short-term military alliance between the US and Iranian-backed forces in Iraq could lead to US officials developing a false sense of security over the veracity of Iran’s commitment to peace.

In reality, Iran will almost certainly use the nuclear capabilities it will gain in the deal with the US for military purposes while continuing to spread weapons to Hamas and Hezbollah, terrorizing the Middle East and the world. Iran views itself as a lostempire and the leader of a global Islamic revolution. The Iranian regime seeks to seize territories formerly controlled by the Persian empire, including Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. Iran recently trumpeted its control of four Arab capitals, including Baghdad, San’aa, Damascus and Beirut.

A battlefield alliance with US forces gives an unacceptable appearance of legitimacy to all of Iran’s military and foreign policy goals. The United States must find a strategy to advance its efforts against the Islamic State without empowering Iran’s Islamic revolution.

Also see:

Obama Concessions to Iran Worse than Previously Known

1383410554Center for Security Policy, by Clare Lopez, June 30, 2015:

To no one’s surprise, the nuclear talks with Iran that were supposed to produce an agreement by tomorrow have been extended. Critics of the nuclear deal sought by President Obama fear that this will be a dangerous deal because of too many one sided U.S. concessions to Iran.

These include allowing Iran to enrich uranium and build advanced enrichment centrifuges while an agreement is in force. Iran will keep all of its nuclear infrastructure, including a plutonium-producing heavy–water reactor. (It is supposed to be re-engineered to produce less plutonium.)

Iran also will be allowed to keep its entire stockpile of the uranium it’s already enriched (although it’s supposed to dilute it down to a form less-readily usable to make a bomb). Nor does Iran have to come clean about its past nuclear weapons work. And the U.S. reportedly has now pledged to provide Iran technical assistance to further develop its nuclear program.

Israeli news sources over the weekend claimed that the U.S. has caved on inspections of nuclear facilities in a final agreement, a report that is consistent with other reports this month about such a concession.

But this story actually gets worse. In a June 29 Wall Street Journal article, columnist Jay Solomon wrote that the Obama administration has been secretly making concessions to Iran since 2009 to convince it to begin multilateral talks on its nuclear program.

These concessions included the release of four Iranians detained in the United States and the United Kingdom; two convicted arms smugglers, a retired senior diplomat and a scientist convicted of illegal exports to Iran. The U.S. also agreed to increase U.S. visas for Iranian students. According to Solomon, these concessions were arranged in secret by Oman.

Iran also asked the United States to blacklist groups hostile to Iran. The Obama administration reportedly replied to this request by sanctioning a Pakistani military group known as Jundullah which had attacked Shi’ite mosques in eastern Iran, killing hundreds.

According to the Journal article, the Obama administration did not agree to sanction other groups hostile to the Iranian regime such as a pro-monarchy group in Los Angeles. The MEK (Mujahedeen-e Khalq and the National Council of Resistance of Iran or NCRI, the political umbrella group to which it belongs) had already been put on the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list in 1997 and 2003, respectively, at the request of Mohammad Khatami, a previous Iranian president.

The editorial also noted that on the day after the announcement of the framework agreement, the U.S. Treasury Department removed Buhary Seyed Abu Tahir, a Dubai-based Sri Lankan businessman, from a list of persons sanctioned in 2004 as part of the A.Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network. This network provided secret assistance to the nuclear programs of Iran, Libya and North Korea.

What other concessions did the Obama administration make to get a nuclear deal with Iran? The overall picture that’s emerging suggests an even broader understanding: to what extent has the Obama White House agreed to Iranian regional hegemony, perhaps a dominance secured by a nuclear capability? How much worse does this story have to get before Congress puts an end to this dangerous farce?

Judicial Watch: Newly Released Documents Confirm White House Officials Set Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Response

NATO Summit Lisbon 2010 - Day 1Judicial Watch, June 29, 2015:

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released new State Department documents showing that Hillary Clinton and the State Department’s response to the Benghazi attack was immediately determined by top Obama White House officials, particularly Ben Rhodes, then-White House deputy strategic communications adviser, and Bernadette Meehan, a spokesperson for the National Security Council.  The new documents were forced from the U.S. State Department under court order in a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01511)).

Judicial Watch filed a FOIA request on June 13, 2014, and subsequently a lawsuit on September 4, 2014, seeking:

Any and all records concerning, regarding, or related to notes, updates, or reports created in response to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. This request includes, but is not limited to, notes taken by then Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton or employees of the Office of the Secretary of State during the attack and its immediate aftermath.

A September 11, 2012, email sent at 6:21 p.m. by State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland to Meehan, Under Secretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy, and Clinton’s personal aide Jacob Sullivan shows that the State Department deferred to the White House on the official response to the Benghazi attack.  Referencing pending press statements by Barack Obama and Clinton, Nuland wrote: “We are holding for Rhodes clearance. BMM, pls advise asap.”

Meehan responded three minutes later, at 6:24 p.m.: “Ben is good with these and is on with Jake now too.”

Rhodes sent an email at 9:48 p.m. to senior White House and State officials on the issue: “We should let the State Department statement be our comment for the night.”

An email from Meehan, sent at 10:15 p.m. on September 11 to Rhodes, Nuland, Sullivan, Kennedy and Clinton aide Philippe Reines, further confirms the White House approval of Hillary Clinton’s statement tying the Benghazi terrorist attack to an Internet video: “All, the Department of State just released the following statement. Per Ben [Rhodes’] email below, this should be the USG comment for the night.”

The “USG comment” turned out to be Clinton’s notorious public statement, made hours after the initial terrorist attack, falsely suggesting that the Benghazi assault was a “response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”

Rhodes emailed Meehan, Sullivan and Reines at 11:45 p.m. on September 11, writing, “Fyi – we are considering releasing this tonight.”  The next line is redacted.  The email also included a “Readout of President’s Call to Secretary Clinton,” the contents of which are also completely redacted.

On September 12, the day after the attack, Meehan sent an email to Obama administration officials announcing that “to ensure we are all in sync on messaging for the rest of the day, Ben Rhodes will host a conference call for USG communicators on this chain at 9:15AM ET today.”

The new documents show that the Obama administration engaged domestic and foreign Islamist groups and foreign nationals to push the Internet video narrative. The day after the attack, Rashad Hussain, the Obama administration’s special envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), sent an email to Ambassador Ufuk Gokcen, the OIC’s ambassador to the United Nations, and Cenk Uraz, an official with the OIC, pushing the video as the cause of the Benghazi attack.  The email has the subject line:  “Urgent: Anti-Islamic Film and Violence” and reads in part:

I am sure you are considering putting a statement on the film and the related violence.  In addition to the condemnation of the disgusting depictions, it will be important to emphasize the need to respond in a way that is consistent with Islamic principles, i.e. not engaging in violence and taking innocent life …

The resulting OIC statement, sent to Hussain by the OIC’s Uraz, linked the film, as requested by the Obama administration, to the Benghazi attack and suggested that the United States restrict free speech in response.  The official OIC statement called the film “incitement” and stated that the attack in Benghazi and a demonstration in Cairo “emanated from emotions aroused by a production of a film had hurt [sic] the religious sentiments of Muslims.  The two incidents demonstrated serious repercussions of abuse of freedom of expression.”  The OIC’s statement referenced its own efforts to criminalize criticism of Islam. Hussain sent the OIC statement immediately to other Obama administration officials, including then-Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills, who thanks Hussain for the email.

The State Department withheld communications on September 12, 2012, between Hillary Clinton’s senior aide Huma Abedin and Rashad Hussain about an article passed by him about how “American Muslim leaders” were tying the video to the Benghazi attack.  At the time of the Benghazi attack, Abedin had been double-dipping, working as a consultant to outside clients while continuing as a top adviser at State. Abedin’s outside clients included Teneo, a strategic consulting firm co-founded by former Bill Clinton counselor Doug Band. According to Fox News, Abedin earned $355,000 as a consultant for Teneo, in addition to her $135,000 “special government employee” compensation.

The State Department also disclosed a document, dated September 13, 2012, entitled “USG Outreach and Engagement Post Benghazi Attack.”  This record details how the Obama administration reached out to domestic groups, foreign groups and governments in a full-court press to tie the video to the Benghazi attack.  The document “captures USG efforts to engage outside voices to encourage public statements that denounce the attack make it clear that the anti-Muslim film does not reflect American [sic].”  The document highlights the use of Hillary Clinton’s statement tying the terrorist attack to an Internet video.  The “outreach” document also highlights “Special Envoy’s engagement” with the OIC and the “Saudi Ambassador.”

The documents show that the Internet video was raised in a September 15 discussion between Hillary Clinton and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.  The “eyes only” “secret” document was partially declassified.  Davutoglu “called the controversial anti-Islam video a ‘clear provocation,’ but added that wise people should not be provoked by it.”  The next line is blacked out and the markings show that it will not be declassified until 2027, more than twelve years from now.

Another email, evidently from the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), sent to Meehan and other top White House and administration officials, shows that the administration took no action to deploy military assets almost five hours after the attack begun:

OSD has received queries asking if military assets are being sent to either location [Libya and Egypt].  Have responded “not to our knowledge.”

The State Department referred Judicial Watch to documents in the batch of 55,000 emails allegedly turned over by Hillary Clinton and searched in response to the court order in this lawsuit.  These emails were published on the State Department’s web site, but are also available here.  In addition, the State Department produced new documents containing Hillary Clinton emails.  In one such email (September 11, 2012 at 11:40 p.m.) from Clinton to Nuland, Sullivan and top Clinton aide Cheryl Mills, with the subject line “Chris Smith,” Clinton writes: “Cheryl told me the Libyans confirmed his death. Should we announce tonight or wait until morning?”

Nuland responds: “We need to ck family’s druthers. If they are OK, we should put something out from you tonight.” Mills then replies to Nuland, “Taking S [Secretary of State Hillary Clinton] off.” (Sean Smith, not “Chris Smith” was one of four Americans killed at Benghazi.)

On September 13, 2012, Politico’s Mike Allen sent then-National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor an Independent.co.uk news article entitled “America was warned of embassy attack but did nothing.”  The story reported that “senior officials are increasingly convinced” the Benghazi attack was “not the result of spontaneous anger.” Vietor forwarded the story to other top White House and State Department officials, but Vietor’s accompanying comments and the comments of other top Obama appointees are completely redacted.  The administration also redacted several emails of top State officials discussing a statement by Romney campaign spokesman criticizing the “security situation in Libya.”

In April 2014, Judicial Watch first obtained smoking gun documents showing that it was the Obama White House’s public relations effort that falsely portray the Benghazi consulate terrorist attack as being “rooted in an Internet video, and not a failure of policy.”

The documents include an email by White House operative Ben Rhodes sent on Friday, September 14, 2012, with the subject line: “RE: PREP CALL with Susan, Saturday at 4:00 pm ET.” This “prep” was for Ambassador Susan Rice in advance of her appearances on Sunday news shows to discuss the Benghazi attack and deflect criticism of the administration’s security failures by blaming the attack on spontaneous protests linked to the video.

The email listed as one of the administration’s key talking points:

“Goal”: “To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure or policy.”

Documents released by Judicial Watch last month further confirm that the Obama administration, including Hillary Clinton, Rice and Obama immediately knew the attack was an al-Qaeda terrorist attack.

“These documents show the Obama White House was behind the big lie, first promoted by Hillary Clinton, that an Internet video caused the Benghazi terrorist attack,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, “Top White House aide Ben Rhodes, Hillary Clinton, and many key Obama officials pushed others to tie the Internet video to the attacks. It is disturbing that the Obama administration would use Islamist radicals to push the false Benghazi story in a way that would abridge free speech.  It is little wonder that Mrs. Clinton and the entire Obama administration have fought so hard to keep these documents from the American people.  All evidence now points to Hillary Clinton, with the approval of the White House, as being the source of the Internet video lie.”

Birthday for A Caliphate

Reuters

Reuters

Breitbart, by Dr. Sebastian Gorka, June 29, 2015:

After Friday’s deadly jihadist attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait, Prime Mister David Cameron has stated that ISIS is an existential threat to the West. Today’s anniversary of the re-establishment of the Caliphate give us good cause to assess the threat to America in this, the first part of a two part piece by Dr. Sebastian Gorka.

One year ago, a man unknown to most of the world achieved a feat that has eluded Islamic extremists for the previous 90 years.

On June 29, 2015 Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, after almost a century of absence, formally reestablished the theocratic empire of Islam in a sermon from the pulpit of the Grand Mosque in Mosul. In the last year, his terror group, ISIS, which today we should call by its new name of the Islamic State, has grown to become the most dangerous insurgency of the modern era.

On September 10th, 2001 it would have been impossible to imagine that humans would soon be crucifying each other again, or that there would be an anti-American terrorist group able to capture and hold territory in multiple nations of the Middle East without Washington or her allies and partners being able to stunt its growth. We are now living in such a world. A world where innocent prisoners are burnt or drowned alive, or unbelievably decapitated with the use of detonating cord. A world in which hundreds of thousands have been killed in a civil war in Syria and an insurgency in Iraq, both together driving millions of survivors into refugees camps or into the hands of human traffickers.

The Islamic State that is at the center of this tragedy is a unique threat for four reasons:

  • Firstly, it is the richest group of its kind in modern history. No other sub-state actor has the resources available to IS. Since capturing city after city in Iraq it has netted close to a billion dollars from state coffers, augmenting this stupendous sum with illicit oil salesransoms, and the sale of plundered antiquities. This income will allow IS to continue operations for years to come, and not just in Iraq and Syria. (Note: according to the official 9/11 commission report, that stupendous attack only cost Al Qaeda $500,000).
  • Second, it is the first ever transnational insurgency. In the modern era of guerrilla warfare, the insurgent force was defined by its desire to defeat an incumbent government and replace it. This was true of Mao Tse Tung in China, or the FARC of Colombia, and all the other insurgencies of the 20th century. The Islamic State is an international insurgency recruiting as it does from Muslim communities all around the world and enjoying the sponsorship of more than one foreign government. However, it is also a transnational insurgency. Not only does it hold territory in both Iraq and Syria, with the intent of displacing both the Assad government and the government in Baghdad, it has the goal of destroying all regimes that it deems to be un-Islamic. The fact that Nigeria’s Boko Haram was recently accepted into IS and subsequently changed its name to The West Africa Province of the Islamic State means that Abu Bakr is now technically the Caliph or emperor of not only all IS land in the Middle East, but also former Boko Haram territory in Africa.
  • Third, in its ability to recruit jihadi fighters, the Islamic State has out surpassed Al Qaeda in every measure. Exact figures are impossible, but the best estimates are that, in the space of less than a year, the Islamic State has drawn 20,000 foreign fighters from around the globe, including Western Europe, Australia and North America. Al Qaeda, the original jihadi group responsible for the 9/11 attacks, did manage to attract foreign recruits, but never in the tens of thousands.
  • Lastly, and most problematically for any hope we may have for defeating IS, the Islamic State has built a global Social Media-based propaganda platform that is very sophisticated and effective and that the nations its wishes to destroy – America included – have been impotent to combat.

Alone, these four attributes would make any irregular threat like IS/ISIS a formidable enemy. Where it is located makes it a strategically deadly one.

Just like Judaism and Christianity, Islam has a very deep eschatology. The Sunna, or traditions of Islam, go into great detail about how the world will end and how all humans will be finally judged on the final day by Allah. Before that end comes, the religion is explicit that there will be a great final holy war, or Jihad, in the land of Al Shaam, the Arabic word for Greater Syria and the Levant, or the territory in which Abu Bakr has successfully established his new Caliphate. In fact, between its origins as Al Qaeda in Iraq and its current name of the Islamic State, the group specifically referred to itself as The Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham. As a result, Abu Bakr, the leader of the new Caliphate, has the eschatology of a faith followed by over 1 billion Muslims on his side. He knows that, by being successful on the ground that all Muslims know is the site of the last holy war before judgement day, he can rely on a steady stream of recruits for as long as there is no opposing ground force set against him in Al Sham.

Plainly put, in the last 12 months since he declared the new Caliphate, Abu Bakr has achieved more than Al Qaeda did in the preceding 13 years. Also, instead of being the “JV team” to Ayman al Zawahiri’s professional team, it is America that has presented itself as the amateur foe.

After Abu Bakr and his Al Qaeda in Iraq franchise was kicked out of the original terror group by Zawahiri for disobeying his orders, he took his small terrorist force in Syria from Iraq and used the civil war there to train and expand his force. As the bloodshed mounted both there and in an Iraq increasingly divided by the corruption and brutality of the Maliki regime, hundreds of thousands of local residents fell victim to the depredations of the competing fighting forces. Yet America decided not to respond. Having pulled our forces out of Iraq in 2011, we were unready and unable to respond to the growing threat. At the same time, President Obama made repeated statements about “red lines” that President Assad was not to cross. The lines were crossed but without triggering a US response. Not until thousands of Yazidis were hounded by ISIS up to the top of Mount Sinjar did the President decide to act by deploying air assets to target ISIS units on the ground.

The delay in an American response has cost America’s reputation in the Gulf dearly, perhaps more dearly than anything done by the administration of George W. Bush. As it was recently explained to me by a very senior U.S. General with responsibilities in the region: “Our Sunni allies just don’t trust us anymore. The region already runs on conspiracy theories, but after the Sunni see more than 200,000 of their people murdered in the last three years and we do nothing until a minority sect is attacked, they draw the conclusion that we are on the side of the mullahs and the Shia revival.”

If one agrees with the summary by Prime Minister Netanyahu that the violence on the Middle East and North Africa cannot be understood unless seen as “a game of thrones” for the crown of the caliphate between the Shia and Sunni extremists, then it is obvious that giving the impression that we have already chosen sides will only feed the flames of war. Especially when this impression is apparently confirmed by every additional concession made by the White House to Tehran in the hopes of closing a nuclear deal with the Revolutionary Republic.

Nor can these threats any longer be relegated to events happening far away. As the targeting of Pamela Geller’s free speech event in Garland, Texas by two armed jihadis demonstrates, those who wish to impose a puritanical and violent version of Islam upon America and her citizens are already here. And Garland is not a one-off. The FBI has confirmed that the Bureau already has ongoing IS-related investigations underway in every state of the Republic. Recently, the first IS recruiter was arrested in New Jersey. And in preparation for this article I had a research assistant simply collect all open-source reports of IS arrests and plots uncovered in the US in the last 24 months. We found 56!

When will America take the threat of a hyper-violent organization with tens of thousands of adherents who wish to destroy America seriously? When did we take Al Qaeda seriously? On September 12th, 2001. At the moment, short of a mass-casualty attack occurring on US soil in a way that links the perpetrators directly to the Islamic State, it seems highly unlikely that the Obama administration will truly take the fight to IS. Of the 400+ troops the White House has decided to deploy to Iraq to help train the trainers, less than 150 will in fact work on that mission, with the rest providing security to the trainers. The Islamic State has more than 30,000 active jihadis, more than half of whom were recruited from abroad. And the most powerful nation in the world can only spare an extra 150 trainers? As another senior officer recently commented in front of a meeting of US generals: “Every day that ISIS still exists and the most powerful nation in the world does nothing, we can chalk another propaganda victory up to the jihadis.”

Consequently, it seems unavoidable that IS will continue to grow and spread its barbarity until a new Commander-in-Chief is sworn in. The good news is that in an election campaign that is already underway and which almost each day sees the cornucopia of at least the Republic candidates increase, national security is at last back on the front burner, or rather both front burners. As a result we may have a chance after November 2016 to engage our newest enemy in the way the jihadists deserve.

The details of a possible strategy that could be used to measure the candidates will follow in Part Two.

Sebastian Gorka Ph.D. is the Major General Matthew C. Horner Chair of Military Theory at the Marine Corps University. You can see his briefing from the Global Counterterrorism Summit on Why ISIS is Much More Dangerous than Al Qaeda here and follow him on Twitter at: @SebGorka.

U.S. Troops Face Eating, Drinking Restrictions During Ramadan

Weekly Standard, by Jeryl Bier, June 29, 2015:

A top commander in southwest Asia reminded U.S military personnel stationed in Muslim countries in the Middle East of the restrictions placed on them during Ramadan. According to a report by the U.S. Air Forces Central Command Public Affairs, Brig. Gen. John Quintas, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing commander in Southwest Asia, said that the U.S. is “committed to the concepts of tolerance, freedom and diversity.” But he added that soldiers should “become more informed and appreciative of the traditions and history of the people in this region of the world… [R]emember we are guests here and that the host nation is our shoulder-to-shoulder, brothers and sisters in arms, risking their lives for our common cause to defeat terrorism.”

During the 30-day religious celebration of Ramadan, even non-Muslims are expected to obey local laws regarding eating, drinking, and using tobacco in public. Violators can be fined up to $685 or receive two months in jail. A spokesperson for United States Central Command [CENTCOM] said that “we are not aware of any specific instances of anyone being arrested” for such violations.

\For military personnel outside of U.S.-controlled areas, the only exceptions for the rules are for those “performing strenuous labor.” Such personnel are “authorized to drink and consume as much food as they need to maintain proper hydration and energy.” It is unclear what constitutes “strenuous labor” or whether additional exceptions might be made during a heatwave affecting some areas of the region that has taken hundreds of lives.

When asked if the restrictions were new or simply a continuation of past policy, a CENTCOM spokesperson replied:

There has been no change in policy…  [W]hile the US does not have a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the UAE, it is common practice to ensure all Soldiers, Sailors, Airman, and Marines deployed to Muslim countries are culturally aware that during the month of Ramadan, practicing Muslims do not consume anything from sunrise to sunset as a pillar of their faith. Commanders throughout the AOR create policies to ensure their subordinates respect the laws and culture of our hosts at all times.

The report on CENTCOM’s website is accompanied by the following graphic urging military personnel to “respect Ramadan.”

ramadanweb

Also see:

thereligionofpeace.com)

thereligionofpeace.com)

The Iranian Negotiations That Never End

yh (1)Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, June 29, 2015:

It is quite possible that no matter how many concessions Obama makes, there will never be a final agreement with Iran. The deadlines have already been extended so many times that the only reliable thing about the negotiations is that somewhere near the edge, the negotiators will declare that they are close and extend the formerly final deadline some more. And then some more again.

There is currently disagreement over the last agreement that was agreed to in order to extend the deadline. If you find that confusing, so does everyone else.

According to the British Foreign Minister, “There are a number of different areas where we still have major differences of interpretation in detailing what was agreed in Lausanne.”

We are no longer negotiating the issue; instead we’re negotiating the negotiations. The last attempt at getting the PLO to negotiate with Israel collapsed at the negotiating the negotiations stage when the Israeli pre-negotiation appeasement was deemed insufficiently appeasing by the PLO and John Kerry.

Obama will have to offer the Iranians even more concessions, on and under the table, to get them to negotiate the negotiations. Iran’s past nuclear work won’t be looked at and now even nuclear inspections may be off the table. At this rate, we’ll soon be negotiating how many bombs Iran gets, how many bombs it gets to use and then how many countries it gets to nuke.

We’ve already gone from an agreement to shut down Iran’s nuclear program to an agreement to temporarily slow it down to a probable short term agreement with sanctions relief and no inspections. Obama has officially disavowed a military solution so the only thing for Iran to negotiate is how to extract the most sanctions relief without actually conceding anything that matters.

And each time it looks like there’s progress, the Supreme Leader winks and pulls the rug out from under Kerry. Everyone from the Viet Cong to the Sandinistas to Assad has learned how easy that is, so that the more we concede, the more Iran demands. The negotiations approach a finish line and then stall.

Or as an anonymous official put it, “It feels like we haven’t advanced on the technical issues and even gone back on some.”

But that’s typical for the Middle East where no agreement is final and negotiations are just a means of taking the temperature of the other side while keeping them off guard. Agreements are not solemn arrangements, they are a theatrical display. What we take absolutely seriously, they view as a farce.

The Iranian negotiations with an agreeable lackey who pulls back at the last minute and a dictator behind the scenes who denounces the whole thing are a repetition of the disastrous Israel-PLO peace process which have been going on and off for decades with no actual peace or even much of a process.

The only purpose of such negotiations is to extract concessions without actually giving anything in return. Countless preliminary agreements can be negotiated, but no final agreement comes into being. The entire process runs on misleading claims of success by Western negotiators. The terrorist leaders tell their own people that they are committed to destroying the infidels, but this is dismissed as “appeasing the hardliners” by our own negotiators who are desperately invested in their credibility.

The more Iran acts out, the more the negotiators are forced to misrepresent the scale of the disaster to keep the negotiations going. The Iranians lie to the negotiators. The negotiators lie to us. Then the Iranians recant the possible concessions that they dangled as bait in front of the negotiators and the negotiators tear out their hair and promise us that the whole thing will be settled with an extension.

Read more

***

Also see:

Blindfolded America

John-Brennan-CIA-660x350-1434704398
Crisis Magazine, by Wiliam Kilpatrick, June 19. 2015:

If you’ve ever noticed that U.S. policy in regard to the war on terror is confused, you’ll appreciate Stephen Coughlin’s just released book, Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad.

The confusion is no accident, says Coughlin, but is the result of a deliberate Muslim Brotherhood plan to influence decision-making at the highest levels of the government and the military. Coughlin is an attorney, intelligence officer, and an expert on Islamic law and ideology. He is well-known for his “Red Pill” briefings to the security and defense establishments and to members of Congress. The “Red Pill” is a reference to the pill which allowed the characters in The Matrix to see reality as it is and to leave behind the false virtual reality that had been constructed for them.

Coughlin discusses the Muslim Brotherhood’s penetration of the government, the military, the security establishment, transnational bodies, and even the interfaith community. Just as importantly he explains the overall strategy which guides the Muslim Brotherhood’s various influence operations. A major component of the strategy is deception. Thus, in America, Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups—who are anything but moderate—present themselves as the moderate experts on Islam who possess the knowledge to counter the radicals.

Of course, they don’t advertise themselves as the Muslim Brotherhood. But when American security agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security consult with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim American Society, or a dozen other such groups, they are in effect dealing with the Brotherhood. The connections between these organizations and the Brotherhood are well-established, but for various reasons our agencies ignore the evidence. One reason is that many in the government believe that the Muslim Brotherhood—the progenitor of almost all terrorist groups—is genuinely moderate. Another reason is that the Brotherhood-linked groups are practically the only game in town. They are well-organized, well-funded, and have been ingratiating themselves with successive administrations for decades.

coughlin-coverWhatever the reason, these are the groups our security leaders turn to for advice. And, according to Coughlin, it’s not just input that is sought, but also direction. In effect, he says, we have outsourced our understanding of Islam to groups who do not have the best interests of America at heart. The other side of the coin is that the advice of other competent experts is ignored. When the advice of the Muslim experts contradicts the advice of non-Muslim experts, the Muslim advice is favored and the non-Muslim expert might well find himself out of a job.

Why does Muslim expert advice consistently trump non-Muslim expert advice? According to Coughlin, the security-intelligence establishment is in thrall to the same multicultural and relativist dogmas that afflict the rest of us. One of these dogmas, elaborated in Edward Said’s 1978 book Orientalism, is that no culture can ever explain another culture. Each culture is the final arbiter of its own meaning. For an outside culture to try to explain Islam is therefore tantamount to an act of cultural imperialism. Thus, says Coughlin, Muslim cultural experts are not even required to provide evidence for their assertions: “Often, all that is required to halt an inquiry or analysis are the words, ‘Islam does not stand for this’ from a cultural expert.”

The upshot, says Coughlin, is that many of our critical decisions on homeland security and on military and foreign policy are guided by groups whose main objective is to turn all societies into Islamic societies.

According to Coughlin, a prime instance of a Muslim Brotherhood influence operation occurred in 2012, when the White House purged more than one thousand documents and presentations from counterterror training programs for the FBI and other agencies. This was done in response to a letter to John Brennan, then Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. The letter, which was signed by dozens of leaders of Muslim activist groups, complained about the “use of biased, false, and highly offensive training materials about Muslims and Islam.” After the FBI training program was made Islam-compliant, the Department of Defense followed with what Coughlin describes as a “Soviet-style purge of individuals along with disciplinary actions and re-education.”

Coughlin contends that a similar kowtowing to Islamic interests has undermined our war efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Rules of engagement that subordinate the safety of our troops to the overriding principles of “respect for Islam” have a profoundly demoralizing effect on soldiers and make them think twice about a career in the Army. Coughlin cites a survey of West Point graduates showing that nearly half of young officers think the current military leadership is weak, while 78 percent think that the high exit rate of good officers threatens national security.

According to Coughlin, such demoralization is among the chief aims of Islamic strategists. “The Islamic way of war,” he writes, “places substantial effort on the preparation stage, the object of which is to induce a collapse of faith in the cultural, political and religious institutions underpinning the target.” As an example of this strategy he cites The Quranic Doctrine of War, a book by Pakistani Brigadier General S.K. Malik. Malik stressed that the chief effort prior to actual warfare should be to “dislocate” the enemies’ faith:

To instill terror into the hearts of the enemy [it] is essential in the ultimate analysis to dislocate his faith. An invincible faith is immune to terror. A weak faith offers inroads to terror…. Terror cannot be struck into the hearts of an army by merely cutting lines of communication or depriving it of its routes to withdraw. It is basically related to the strength or weakness of the human soul. It can be instilled only if the opponent’s faith is destroyed.

Coughlin observes that the object of jihad, of both the stealth and armed variety, is the destruction of faith. Therefore, “jihad is primarily understood in terms of spiritual war … a form of warfare that the Pentagon is not disposed to recognize.”

There is, however, one organization that should be disposed to recognize spiritual warfare. Unfortunately, says Coughlin, the Church has proved no better at recognizing and resisting Islamic influence operations than the government and the military. The appendix to his book contains a sixty-three-page chapter titled “Interfaith Outreach.” While Coughlin’s main concern is the undermining of national security, he maintains that Islamic activist groups have taken the entire culture as their target. In “Interfaith Outreach,” he discusses the Muslim Brotherhood attempt to subvert the interfaith community—a process that parallels the penetration of the military and is likewise intended to result in a “dislocation of faith.”

Coughlin focuses in particular on the interfaith dialogue between Muslims and Catholics. Like the security establishment’s “dialogue” with Muslim representatives, the interfaith dialogue, he claims, is rigged to discourage any critical analysis of Islam. One of the principles that guides the dialogue process is that the participants “speak in a way that people of that religion can affirm as accurate.” This, of course, is simply an extension of Said’s contention that one culture has no business explaining another culture. It means that the Catholic dialogue participants should defer to Islam’s interpretation of Islam. Thus, if a Catholic had the temerity to bring up the subject of Islamic violence, it would be enough for his Muslim counterpart to state that Islam has nothing to do with violence, and perhaps to recite a couple of verses from the Koran, and that would be that.

Full and frank discussion is further inhibited by an overarching emphasis on trust and friendship. The ground rules stipulate that “dialogue must take place in an atmosphere of mutual trust.Moreover, to quote from Interfaith Dialogue: A Guide for Muslims, dialogue partners must pledge “to remain committed to being friends when the world would separate us from one another.” That sounds nice, but isn’t there a danger that the bonds of friendship might get in the way of objectivity? That friendship might actually undermine objectivity? Thus, writes Coughlin, “persons who undertake a reasonable effort … [of] performing a competent assessment of the ‘others’ religion could be characterized as lacking the requisite trust….” Too deep an inquiry might bring accusations that one is uncharitable, intolerant or Islamophobic. So, in order “to remain committed to being friends,” dialoguers tend to avoid the crucial questions in favor of discussing the common ground between Muslims and Christians.

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American Conservative Union Discusses Iran Nuclear Deal

1169645321Center for Security Policy, June 19, 2015:

The American Conservative Union Foundation hosted an expert discussion on the possible ramifications of the impending U.S.-Iran nuclear deal. The panelists included Lt. Gen Michael Flynn (Ret.), Clare Lopez, KT McFarland and Michael Rubin.

You can watch the event here: http://www.c-span.org/video/?326655-1/discussion-nuclear-deal-iran

By Stephanie Routzahn, June 23, 2015:
On Friday, June 19th, the Center’s Vice President for Research and Analysis, Clare Lopez joined an elite panel of experts on Iran at an event sponsored by the American Conservative Union Foundation to a packed audience in the Caucus room at the Canon House Office Building. Also included in the list of dynamic list of speakers were national security expert, KT McFarland, Former Director of the D.I.A., Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (Ret.), and A.E.I. Scholar, Michael Rubin.
     The panel held an illuminating discussion on the topic of Iran titled, “Iran Nuclear Deal: What Can We Expect?” The subject matter experts’ topics ranged from refuting the misguided claim President Obama and Secretary Kerry both assert that a nuclear deal is the only alternative to war, despite the irrefutable fact that Iran has an extensive history of blatantly ignoring calls from the international community to cease nuclear proliferation, causing mistrust towards possible Iranian concessions.
    KT McFarland lead the discussion by telling the audience, “We have assembled the greatest group of experts that we could find, and it’s not so much numbers as quality.” Posing a question about the claim coming out of the administration that it’s either a deal or war with Iran, she asked, “Is this a legitimate question, or is that a straw-man option?” She asked everyone who spoke to summarize.
     Lt. Gen. Flynn (Ret.) answered by articulating what’s at stake for America, and what the U.S.’s policy towards the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism is, and laid out four points on the strategic outlook on where the United States should be from the prospective of history:
This country needs clarity right now, instead of confusion. The second thing is confidence. I want my leadership to be confident in themselves. I don’t want the United States to appear weak. The third word is coherence, instead of discord. If you don’t contribute, you don’t get a seat at the table, Iran.  You don’t contribute to the greater good of humanity. The fourth is character. What type of characteristics do we want the United States to be known for? We’ve sort of lost what our consciousness is of what America is built on – lots of sacrifice.
   When asked about the agreement with Iran, Lt. Gen. Flynn (Ret.) expounded upon the implications of the deal, how the deal is causing America to take sides with the Shiites, and elaborated on what the implications are for the region going nuclear, and the future rise in the proxy wars between the Sunni and Shia communities.
   Michael Rubin followed with an excellent discussion on what one can expect on the outcomes from the P5+1 negotiations, and discussed the red flag warnings coming out of the regime, notably, Kahamenei’s call for heroic flexibility.
His office has suggested that (heroic flexibility) means a change in tactics, not a change in policy. When we look at the term, ‘heroic flexibility’, it’s really astounding that the State Department prides itself on cultural understanding, and doesn’t recognize the religious connotation of this term going back to the Imam Hassan. Ultimately, we are projecting our own goodwill on the Iranian’s side.
     Leading expert, Clare Lopez discussed in depth the extent of the threats posed by Iran, possible military dimensions, the character of the regime, the components of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and the current status of the negotiations. Clare Lopez ended the panel discussion with a call to action for what citizens can do, and how Congress ought to approach the deal.
Congress has the responsibility, and it took upon itself the responsibility when it passed the 
Corker-Cardin bill to take a vote on any ultimate agreement between the U.S. and the Iranians.
 A bad deal is worse than no deal, and we need to let our Congressional representatives know to vote 
down this deal.

A new strategy for Iraq and Syria

Iraq forcesWashington Post, by Charles Krauthammer, June 18, 2015:

It’s time to rethink Iraq and Syria. It begins by admitting that the old borders are gone, that a unified Syria or Iraq will never be reconstituted, that the Sykes-Picot map is defunct.

We may not want to enunciate that policy officially. After all, it does contradict the principle that colonial borders be maintained no matter how insanely drawn, the alternative being almost universally worse. Nonetheless, in Mesopotamia, balkanization is the only way to go.

Because it has already happened and will not be reversed. In Iraq, for example, we are reaping one disaster after another by pretending that the Baghdad government — deeply sectarian, divisive and beholden to Iran — should be the center of our policy and the conduit for all military aid.

Look at Fallujah, Mosul, Ramadi. The Iraqi army is a farce. It sees the enemy and flees, leaving its weapons behind. “The ISF was not driven out of Ramadi. They drove out of Ramadi,” said the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Our own secretary of defense admitted that “the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight.”

We can train them forever. The problem is one of will. They don’t want to fight. And why should they? They are led by commanders who are corrupt, sectarian and incompetent.

What to do? Redirect our efforts to friendly forces deeply committed to the fight, beginning with the Kurds, who have the will, the skill and have demonstrated considerable success. This year alone, they have taken back more than 500 Christian and Kurdish towns from the Islamic State. Unlike the Iraqi army, however, they are starved for weapons because, absurdly, we send them through Baghdad, which sends along only a trickle.

This week, more Kurdish success. With U.S. air support, Syrian Kurds captured the strategic town of Tal Abyad from the Islamic State. Which is important for two reasons. Tal Abyad controls the road connecting the terror group’s capital of Raqqa to Turkey, from which it receives fighters, weapons and supplies. Tal Abyad is “a lung through which [the Islamic State] breathed and connected to the outside world,” said Kurdish commander Haqi Kobane.

Moreover, Tal Abyad helps link isolated Kurdish areas in the Syrian north into a contiguous territory, like Iraqi Kurdistan. Which suggests that this territory could function as precisely the kind of long-advocated Syrian “safe zone” from which to operate against both the Islamic State and the Bashar al-Assad regime.

More good news comes from another battle line. Last week, the Free Syrian Army’s Southern Front, backed by and trained in Jordan, drove the Syrian government out of its last major base in eastern Daraa province, less than 60 miles from Damascus.

These successes suggest a new U.S. strategy. Abandon our anachronistic fealty to the central Iraqi government (now largely under Iran’s sway anyway) and begin supplying the Iraqi Kurds in a direct, 24-hour, Berlin-style airlift. And in Syria, intensify our training, equipping and air support for the now-developing Kurdish safe zone. Similarly, through Jordan, for the Free Syrian Army’s Southern Front. Such a serious and relentless strategy would not only roll back Islamic State territorial gains, it would puncture the myth of Islamic State invincibility.

In theory, we should also be giving direct aid to friendly Sunni tribesmen in Iraq whose Anbar Awakening, brilliantly joined by Gen. David Petraeus’ surge, utterly defeated the Islamic State progenitor, al-Qaeda in Iraq, in 2006-2007. The problem is, having been abandoned by us once, when President Obama liquidated our presence in 2011, why should the Sunnis ever trust us again?

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A Plan to Defeat ISIS

Published on Jun 18, 2015 by securefreedom

Center for Security Policy Exec. VP Jim Hanson announced CSP’s plan to topple that Caliphate and Defeat ISIS at the National Security Luncheon held at the Capitol Visitor’s Center 17 July 2015

Also see:

The Extreme View that IS and Al Qaeda Can Become Moderate

1569667742CSP, by Jennifer Keltz, June 15, 2015:

Last week, articles suggesting the US should ally itself with Al Qaeda and should consider the Islamic State (IS) as a legitimate power were published by the prominent news sources The Wall Street Journal and Foreign Policy. These articles are part of a growing trend, demonstrated by an earlier 2014 Foreign Affairs article, calling for greater US complacency in regards to violent jihadist groups.

The recent pieces present different, equally dangerous ideas, and should be addressed individually.

Yaroslav Trofimov, of the Wall Street Journal, reports influential policy thinkers and U.S. Allies are discussing the possibility of a US alliance with the Syrian Al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra). They say that many secular, Western-backed militants fighting in Syria already work closely with Nusra on the battlefield. They also point to Middle Eastern governments, such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar, that work closely with Nusra to help topple IS and the Assad regime, which has a horrible human-rights record. This perspective fails to recognize that these are Sunni states and their backing of Nusra has more to do with their desire to weaken Shia Iran and Syria than to help Syrian civilians.

The report presents Nusra as the lesser of two evils: in comparison to IS, its religious views are “certainly radical” but “aren’t nearly as extreme.”

The policy-makers in question lack a greater perspective of the Syrian conflict and of Nusra and Al Qaeda. Its Al Qaeda affiliation demonstrates that, while it may have local goals now, it ultimately wants to install Islamic regimes all over the world, and indeed has the same end goal as IS.

The only reason why Nusra is not attacking the West is because Al Qaeda Central ordered it to refrain from doing so. That does not mean that it is not planning to attack in the future. Any group that must be ordered to not attack the US is not a group with which the US should be aligned.

In an unrelated op-ed in Foreign Policy, Stephen M. Walt, a Harvard professor, asks his audience to consider what the US should do if IS “wins.” He believes IS is likely to establish itself and retain power, similarly to how the USSR and People’s Republic of China started as revolutionary movements before establishing themselves as states.

Walt believes the US should treat IS and its worldview in the way that it treated the USSR and communism throughout the twentieth century – with containment. He ignores history: the Soviets never abandoned efforts to violently spread their ideology, from the 1919 invasion of Poland to the 1989 retreat from Afghanistan.

Walt states that IS is not powerful on a global scale, and its foreign recruitment of 25,000 from a world population of 7 billion is not that large. In fact, he says he would rather see all of the people that desire to join IS actually join it because this would put them all in one place, where they can be isolated from the rest of society. Unfortunately, he only considers IS’s foreign recruitment. Size estimates of the organization range from the tens- to hundreds-of-thousands.

Walt ignores IS’s calls for its international followers to attack Western people and civilizations, and that its followers are listening. A quick Google search shows that it inspired attacks in Texas, New York (where one woman “couldn’t understand why U.S. citizens like herself were traveling overseas to wage jihad when they could simply ‘make history’ at home by unleashing terrorist attacks”), Australia, Canada, and elsewhere.

Though its ranks may be small in comparison to the world population, with its strategic use of the internet and media it has permeated through Western society. The US is not as far away from IS’s violence as Walt wants to think. The widespread use of the Internet means that containment can never truly happen and its ideas will still spread, leading more people to want to join. Additionally, recognizing IS as a state would legitimize it, leading to increased recruitment.

He states IS has few resources, and can now no longer surprise its enemies. However, it brings in millions of dollars daily from oil alone, and it has other sources of income. It is also much larger and better-resourced than Al Qaeda was at the time of the 9/11 attacks, which had a core membership between 500-1000 people. IS is therefore expected to have capabilities far beyond those of Al Qaeda in the early 2000s.

Walt’s argument that IS would self-moderate if it became an actual country is important to his argument for containment. He explains it would need to self-moderate in order to gain legitimacy amongst other nations and to be welcomed into international politics and the world economy. This argument lacks an understanding of the IS worldview.

Cole Bunzel, in “From State to Caliphate: The Ideology of the Islamic State,” describes it as “the view that the region’s Shi’a are conspiring with the United States and secular Arab rulers to limit Sunni power in the Middle East.” In IS’s declaration of return of the caliphate, “This is the Promise of Allah,” they laid out its founding principles and described it in verse:

“We took it forcibly at the point of a blade/…We established it in defiance of many./ And the people’s necks were violently struck,/ With bombings, explosions, and destruction,/ And soldiers that do not see hardship as being difficult…”

Fundamental to IS’s beliefs is that they cannot be compromised because they are mandated by Allah.  Founded upon religious beliefs, which do not appeal to logic but instead to faith, IS cannot and will not become more moderate. Its members view the western concept of “moderation” as the antithesis of what their divinely-conceived worldview requires. It already operates as a pseudo-state anyway; international recognition is irrelevant to its purpose for existence.

The points of view expressed in the two op-ed pieces mentioned are dangerous if left unaddressed. They display a shallow and dangerous understanding of the nature of the Jihadist organizations, their methods, and their goals.

Is Obama Supporting a Shiite ISIS?

Asaib-ahl-alhaq_logo-450x300Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, June 12, 2015:

Staff Sgt. Ahmed Altaie was the last American soldier to come home from Iraq. His body was turned over by Asaib Ahl al-Haq or The League of the Righteous; a Shiite terrorist group funded and trained by Iran.

Altaie had been kidnapped, held for ransom and then killed.

It was not Asaib Ahl al-Haq’s only kidnapping and murder of an American soldier. A year after Altaie’s kidnapping, its terrorists disguised themselves as Americans and abducted five of our soldiers in Karbala. The soldiers were murdered by their Shiite captors after sustained pursuit by American forces made them realize that they wouldn’t be able to escape with their hostages.

Asaib Ahl al-Haq’s obsession with American hostages was a typically Iranian fixation. Iran’s leaders see the roots of their international influence in the Iran hostage crisis. Its terrorist groups in Lebanon had abducted and horrifically tortured Colonel William R. Higgins and William Francis Buckley.

Higgins had been skinned alive.

Most Americans have never heard of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, sometimes referred to as the Khazali Network after its leader, even though it has claimed credit for over 6,000 attacks on Americans. Its deadliest attacks came when the Democrats and their media allies were desperately scrambling to stop Bush from taking out Iran’s nuclear program. Asaib Ahl al-Haq’s ties to Iran were so blatant that the media could not allow it to receive the kind of coverage that Al Qaeda did for fear that it might hurt Iran.

Obama had campaigned vocally against the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment which designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, the hidden force behind Asaib Ahl al-Haq and much of the Shiite terrorist infrastructure, a terrorist organization. He had accused its sponsors of “foolish saber rattling”.

Nancy Pelosi joined the Democratic Party’s pro-Iranian turn, rejected a vote on the amendment and sneered that if the kidnapping and murder of American soldiers was “a problem to us and our troops in Iraq, they should deal with it in Iraq.” Earlier that year, she had visited Syria’s Assad to stand with him against President Bush even while Assad was aiding the terrorists massacring American soldiers.

Once Obama took power, coverage of the war was scaled down so that Americans wouldn’t realize that the rising power of ISIS and Asaib Ahl al-Haq were already making a mockery of his withdrawal plans.

But Asaib Ahl al-Haq was not merely an anti-American terrorist group; it was an arm of the Shiite theocracy. As a Shiite counterpart to what would become ISIS, it had most of the same Islamic goals.

While Obama was patting himself on the back for the end of the Iraq War and gay rights, Asaib Ahl al-Haq was throwing those men and women it suspected of being gay from the tops of buildings.

When buildings weren’t available, it beat them to death with concrete blocks or beheaded them.

Its other targets included shelters for battered women, which the Islamist group deemed brothels, men who had long hair or dressed in dark clothing. And even while its Brigades of Wrath were perpetrating these atrocities, Obama and the Shiite Iraqi government embraced the murderous terrorist group.

Qais al-Khazali, the leader of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, and his brother Laith al-Khazali along with a hundred other members of the terror group were freed during Obama’s first year in office. (But to provide equal aid and comfort to the other side, Obama also freed the future Caliph of ISIS in that same year.)

“We let a very dangerous man go, a man whose hands are stained with US and Iraqi blood. We are going to pay for this in the future,” an unnamed American officer was quoted as saying. “This was a deal signed and sealed in British and American blood.”

“We freed all of their leaders and operatives; they executed their hostages and sent them back in body bags.”

The releases were part of Obama’s grand strategy of reconciliation for Iraq. The miserable reality behind the upbeat language was that Obama was handing over Iraq to ISIS, Iran and its Shiite militias.

Read more

U.S. Arms Sales to Lebanon Empowering Hezbollah, Iran

Hezbollah fighters on parade / AP

Hezbollah fighters on parade / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, June 12, 2015:

Newly announced U.S. arms sales to Lebanon coincide with an Obama administration order to cut funding for an anti-Hezbollah Lebanese group, a move foreign policy insiders describe as empowering the Iranian backers of the terrorist group.

Critics are viewing the cut to anti-Hezbollah efforts as another concession by the administration to Iran—which controls and funds Hezbollah—ahead of attempts to finalize a nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic ahead of a June 30 deadline.

Newly disclosed documents reveal that the Obama administration quietly decided in April to cut funds for Hayya Bina, a leading anti-Hezbollah group in Lebanon, “due to a recent shift in Department of State priorities in Lebanon,” according to a letter notifying the group of the funding cuts.

Soon after this move, the United States announced that it would deliver a slew of new weapons to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), which has come under intense criticism for its close relationship with Hezbollah and its efforts to bolster the group’s activities in Syria.

The timing of these decisions by the Obama administration has prompted Middle East leaders and foreign policy insiders to accuse the administration of endorsing Hezbollah and shifting the United States’ regional priorities to be more in line with Iran’s.

The State Department, in its letter, ordered that “all activities [by Hayya Bina] intended [to] foster an independent moderate Shia voice be ceased immediately and indefinitely.”

This directly affects the group’s efforts to provide an alternative to Hezbollah, which is an extremist Shiite Muslim militant group.

On Wednesday, the State Department marked the delivery of more than 200 TOW-II missiles and “dozens of launchers to the LAF,” according to a statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.

The military hardware cost more than $10 million and was jointly funded by the United States and Saudi Arabia, according to the State Department.

Around $82.5 million in weapons and ammunition have been provided to the LAF since August 2014.

Additionally, the Pentagon announced this week that it is considering selling Lebanon six A-29 Super Tucano aircraft and support equipment as well as logistical support.

The sale is estimated to cost $462 million, the Pentagon said.

“The Government of Lebanon has requested a possible sale of six A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, eight PT6A-68A Turboprop engines, eight ALE-47 Countermeasure Dispensing Systems, two thousand Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems, eight AN/AAR-60(V)2 Missile Launch Detection Systems, non-SAASM Embedded Global Positioning System/Initial Navigation System (EGIs), spare and repair parts, flight testing, maintenance support, support equipment, publications and technical documentation, ferry support, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support,” according to the Pentagon.

The sale “will provide Lebanon with a much needed Close Air Support (CAS) platform to meet present and future challenges posed by internal and border security threats,” according to the Pentagon. “The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”

However, regional experts disagree with this assessment. They argue that given the LAF’s close relationship with Hezbollah, the arms will support the terror group’s military efforts to bolster Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s embattled president.

The LAF is “basically protecting Hezbollah’s rear and flank on the Lebanese side of the border, which in turn allows Hezbollah to run its operations more freely across the border in Syria,” said Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) who first broke the news of the anti-Hezbollah funds being cut.

“They are essentially acting as an auxiliary force for Hezbollah in Lebanon,” he said, adding, the LAF has “taken on the role of securing the same areas Hezbollah is trying to secure. There’s an overlap and it goes to help sustain Hezbollah’s effort in Syria.”

U.S. assistance to the LAF helps Hezbollah continue its fight in Syria, Badran said.

America is “helping the Lebanese seal the border only in one direction, not both directions,” Badran explained. “We’re helping Lebanon, and thus Hezbollah, against anything coming in from the Syrian side, but not to totally seal the border, which would prevent Hezbollah from continuing its war” in Syria.

“We’re facilitating this war in a way,” Badran explained.” That’s the context of the arms. They’re being deployed in a manner that relieves Hezbollah and assists its war effort.”

All of this activity ultimately boosts Iranian interests in the region, where Hezbollah has been propping up Assad at Tehran’s behest.

The Obama administration is “appeasing [Iran] in order to get the nuclear agreement,” said Michael Doran, a former senior director for the White House’s National Security Council (NSC) under George W. Bush.

“The agreement is [Obama’s] absolute top priority, but it is not the strategic goal” said Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. “The goal of the talks was always détente with Iran and that’s what we’re seeing. The nuclear goal is a means to a larger end.”

Badran also warned that ongoing U.S. military support to the LAF is bolstering Iran’s interests.

There is a “consistent attempt by Obama to assure the Iranians that their regional holdings and spheres of influence are recognized and respected,” he said. “He will not cross them and not jeopardize them. That includes in Syria, but by definition, includes it in Lebanon.”

“What we’re doing indirectly is helping Iran secure its strategic objective in Lebanon and Syria,” he said.

ISIS’s Next Target: Baghdad

2348070765Secure Freedom Radio, June 11, 2015:

With Michael Pregent, Bing West, Michael Auslin, Max Abrahms

MICHAEL PREGENT, Senior Middle East Strategic Analyst and Consultant, Visiting Fellow at the National Defense University:

  • President Obama’s plan for fighting ISIS
  • The sectarian divide in Iraq
  • Thoughts on the U.S. training of Iraqi military and Sunni tribes
  • ISIS’s threat to Baghdad

BING WEST, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs:

  • Effects that American troops can have assisting Iraqi security forces
  • What must the United States do to defeat ISIS?
  • The spread of Iranian militias in the Middle East

MICHAEL AUSLIN, Director of Japan Studies at AEI:

  • What makes China’s hack of OPM unique, and how much might the U.S. retaliate?
  • How American taxpayers are inadvertently subsidizing the growth of the Chinese military
  • Japan’s burgeoning leadership role in Asia
  • Finding an “Asia Policy,” and not merely a “China Policy”

MAX ABRAHMS, Asst. Professor of Political Science at Northeastern University:

  • The Administration’s reasoning for the deployment of troops to train Iraqi security forces
  • Risks behind arming a Sunni force in Iraq
  • Prospects of a partitioned Iraq

WFB’s Bill Gertz Discusses Obama Support for Muslim Brotherhood on Newsmax

gertzBY: Washington Free Beacon Staff, June 11, 2015:

 Bill Gertz, senior editor of the Washington Free Beacon, joined the Steve Malzberg Show on Newsmax Wednesday night to discuss his story on Presidential Study Directive-11.

PSD-11 started in 2011 and outlines the Obama administration’s support for political reform in the Middle East and North Africa and is completely classified. The directive laid out a strategy for the administration to support the Muslim Brotherhood.

The classified document also labels the Muslim Brotherhood as a moderate Muslim group, but Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have labeled the group a terrorist organization. Gertz added that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a moderate Muslim group and has the ideology of other terrorist groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Gertz said he had been working to get the PSD-11 document unclassified but has had very little luck. He also confirmed the group has tried to make its way into the United States.

“It’s clear that the president and the White House have been ill-advised on this threat,” Gertz said. “It was astounding to me when we see the president in Germany coming out and saying that he is still waiting on the Pentagon to present a strategy on ISIL.”

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While Bill Gertz says the president is being ill-advised, Jerry Gordan writing at NER in an article titled “Did Obama’s Presidential Directive Mandate Outreach to Islamists?” has this to say:

President Obama, Robert Malley, and State Department Assistant Secretary for Near East Policy, former US Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson,   have led this country dangerously astray believing there are ‘good Islamists’ like the Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah, Iran’s proxies. By extension that would include the Islamic Republic of Iran on the verge of becoming a nuclear hegemon.  This has jeopardized relations with valued allies in the region, Israel, the Kurds in Iraq, Sunni members of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Egyptian Al Sisi government.   Is this part of a radical plan by the President to insinuate Islamic theocratic doctrine upending Judeo Christian values at the core of our Constitution?