Saudi Arabia May Go Nuclear Because of Obama’s Iran Deal

1392403931746.cachedBy Eli Lake and Josh Rogin:

President Obama wants an agreement with Iran to prevent a Middle Eastern nuclear arms race, but it’s pushing Saudi Arabia toward its own nuke program.
Last month, America’s top Iran negotiator Wendy Sherman had some bad news for ambassadors from America’s Arab allies. In a meeting with envoys from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other Gulf states, Sherman said that any bargain with Iran would likely leave Tehran, the Gulf states long-time enemy, with the capacity to enrich uranium, according to U.S. officials briefed on the encounter.

Sherman regularly briefs these allies after diplomatic talks with Iran, but in recent weeks those conversations have been different. While most of America’s Middle East allies—with the exception of Israel—have publicly supported the current Iran negotiations, behind the scenes, envoys from the region have expressed grave concerns that Iran could be left with a break out capacity to make the fuel for a nuclear weapon at a time of their choosing.

And now, one of the countries in the region without a full-blown nuclear programs—Saudi Arabia—may be changing its mind. Riyadh has a long-standing interest in nuclear power. But Western and Israeli intelligence services are starting to see signs that this interest is growing more serious, and extends into nuclear enrichment. Until recently, the pursuit of nuclear enrichment—or the fuel cycle—was considered by arms control experts as a tell-tale sign of a clandestine weapons program. Nuclear fuel is sold to all members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but it’s far more costly to build the infrastructure and produce it indigenously. Saudi Arabia appears to be getting more serious about going down that path.

If Saudi Arabia pursue nuclear enrichment even if there is an Iran deal, then the victory to curb atomic weapons that Obama has tried to achieve will be at least partially undone by his own diplomacy.

“They view the developments in Iran very negatively. They have money, they can buy talent, they can buy training,” said David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a former weapons inspector. “The Saudis are thinking through how do you create a deterrent through capability.”

Albright said in this particular case, an indigenous Saudi program is in the very early stages. In 2012, the Saudi government announced plans to build 16 commercial reactors by 2030 and signed a technology agreement with China. But Albright said he has heard concerns expressed by a European intelligence agency that Saudi Arabia in recent years has quietly been developing the engineering and scientific knowledge base to one day master the nuclear fuel cycle, or produce the fuel indigenously for the reactors it’s trying to build. He said Saudi Arabia was hiring the scientists and engineers needed to build the cascades of centrifuges needed to produce nuclear fuel. “We don’t worry about the Saudis learning to operate a reactor,” he said. “I worry that they will learn the skills needed to master the fuel cycle.”

Read more at The Daily Beast

Also see:

Once CAIR Supporters, U.A.E. Declares Them Terrorists

United Arab Emirates Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum inspects a guard of honor during a 2007 visit to India. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan, File)

United Arab Emirates Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum inspects a guard of honor during a 2007 visit to India. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan, File)

CSP, by Kyle Shideler:

The United Arab Emirates has officially designated a list of over 80 organizations as terrorist groups. The list includes a large cross section of organizations connected to the Global Muslim Brotherhood, as well as Brotherhood organizations in the Middle East, Europe and North America, including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

While CAIR professed themselves “shocked” by the designation, the reality is that the group’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood cannot be legitimately disputed.

CAIR is listed as an organization of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America’s Palestine Committee, in a 1994 meeting agenda submitted as evidence during the Holy Land Foundation Trial. The stated purpose of the Palestine Committee is to support the terrorist group Hamas, with quote “media, money, men and all that,” according to a 1992 internal memo also submitted at the HLF trial.

Judge Jorge Solis, the federal judge in the case, stated that the government had supplied “ample evidence” of CAIR’s links to the Palestine Committee and Hamas.

CAIR executive director Nihad Awad, and its founding Chairman Omar Ahmad were both present at a 1993 meeting of the Palestine Committee in Philadelphia, where FBI surveillance audio revealed a plan to create a new organization to conduct media activities on behalf of Hamas. That organization was CAIR. The FBI formally cut ties with CAIR over these connections, while other U.S. government agencies have refused to do the same. Regarding the UAE’s terror designation, The State Department says it is “engaging the UAE on the issue.”

The irony is that the UAE has itself supported Muslim Brotherhood groups like CAIR, at least regarding their activities in the United States.

A Deed of Trust recorded in 2002 indicated that the Dubai-based Al Maktoum Foundation had provided nearly a million dollars to the Muslim Brotherhood-linked group. In 2006, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance and Industry, agreed to a proposal to build a property to serve as an endowment for CAIR.

In 2009, the U.S. took an increasingly pro-Islamist stance towards the revolutions of the Arab Spring thanks in part to the success of influence operations conducted by U.S. Muslim Brotherhood groups. The result was early Muslim Brotherhood victories in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen. In 2010 U.A.E security forces arrested local Brotherhood operatives for allegedly forming a “military wing,” and expelled Egyptian and Syrian MB members from the country. UAE security forces stated that the Muslim Brotherhood sought to overthrow the Emirates as part of a wider plot by the Brotherhood to seize control of oil-producing Gulf States.

With Brotherhood groups preparing to target their rule, the Emirates appear to realize they badly miscalculated in their support for groups like CAIR, as U.S. policy came unmoored from it’s traditional support for the Gulf states and more in favor of Islamist opposition groups. In 2012, Dubai’s chief of police warned that U.S. policy had turned towards supporting revolutions in the Middle East, and that Muslim Brotherhood had turned against the Gulf States.

While the U.A.E’s decision to list CAIR as a terror group may be ultimate self-serving that doesn’t change the reality that it’s supported by the facts.

It’s well past time the U.S. followed suit.

 

Also see:

Completely Recasting U.S. National Security Policy For Dealing With Islamic Jihad

06listeningpost-5-jumboRight Side News, by Col. Tom Snodgrass (Ret.) Nov. 17, 2014:

Confusion Due To Faulty Assumptions

Consider the assumptions that underlie the current U.S. National Security Policy toward the Middle East and the wider Islamic world:

1. The Westphalian nation-state concept imposed on the Middle East by the Sykes-Picot Agreement in the aftermath of World War I is still an operative approach to partition peoples and territories into political entities, while ignoring the reality of the culture and history of religious, tribal, and geographical divisions.

2. The Sykes-Picot creation of the state of Iraq can function viably with a combined Shia-Sunni-Kurd government, while the similarly created state of Syria will also be viable with a combination Alawite-Sunni-Shia-Kurd polity functioning together.

3. The territorial sovereignty represented by the Iraq-Syrian border is still valid.

4. The U.S. can maintain simultaneous, balanced, effective alliances with Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, and the various regional minor sects like Alawites.

5. The Khomeinist-Shia mullah government will negotiate discontinuation of their nuclear weapons development program and additionally will serve as a U.S. partner in maintaining political stability in the area of the Persian Gulf.

6. The Saudi, Egyptian, and Gulf Arab Sunnis will compliantly acquiesce to the new U.S.- Khomeinist-Shia Iranian alliance.

7. The absence of a two state Israel-Palestine solution is the driving force of Middle East instability, and it is the Israelis that are responsible for the impasse.

8. Turkey is a secular ally and is not pursuing a Sunni Islamist agenda.

9. Islamic jihad is not a politico-theocratic, imperialistic doctrine that is the organizing principle of Islam as mandated in the Quran, the Hadith, the Sira, and the Sharia and that those Muslims engaged in jihad are merely an isolated fringe.

The Reality

1. The nation-states created by Sykes-Picot have never functioned as intended and instead have been just geographical cauldrons for life-and-death, religious-tribal warfare for the political power to exploit religious-tribal enemies.

2. The reality of #1 above has been violently the case in Iraq and Syria where tribal-sectarian warfare has been what has masqueraded as “national politics” since their foundings.

3. The Sunni Islamic State has forever erased the Sykes-Picot political boundary between Iraq and Syria restoring cultural-historical, religious-tribal territorial hegemonies.

4. The Islamic world is on the brink of a total sectarian Sunni-Shia war for leadership of the Islamic jihad movement. The U.S. would be insane to get involved on one side or the other because the U.S. loses regardless which sectarians prevail.

5. It defies all sensibility to honestly believe that, after the Khomeinist-Shia mullah government of Iran has sacrificed so much national wealth and endured economically debilitating international sanctions, they will forego acquiring the nuclear means to their Khomeinist-Shia jihadist goals, as well as to regional hegemony over neighboring Sunnis.

6. With the Islamic world is on the brink of a total sectarian Sunni-Shia war and the Iranian mullahs on the verge of becoming a nuclear power, the Saudi, Egyptian, and Gulf Arab Sunnis will not hesitate to follow courses of action that are sectarian-religious and tribal motivated, which inevitably will be at cross purposes with U.S. interests.

7. A two state Israel-Palestine solution can never be achieved because it is written in the Islamic Sharia that once a territory is ruled by Sharia law (as Israel was under the Ottomans), it can never again be under the domination of non-Muslims. Therefore according to Sharia, it is obligatory that Muslims fight jihadist war until the territory is once again under Islamic control (such is the essence of the Hamas founding-purpose charter).

8. The Ataturk secularization of Turkey has failed, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (“AKP” in Turkish) have been slowly and deceptively introducing a Sunni Islamist political agenda piecemeal, while changing the Turks’ orientation from secular to Sunni Islamist. The Turks are no longer the reliable Cold War allies they once were.

9. Mohammad clearly stated to Muslims and is quoted in Islamic scripture: “I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and they establish prayer and pay zakat [which is charity only for fellow Muslims, and/or funding for jihad].”  The first part of this condition is the Shahada, or profession of faith in Islam that a non-Muslim must say in converting to Islam. Furthermore, it is clear that violence is sanctioned until the victims embrace Muhammad’s religion. Mohammad was not addressing “the fringe.” He was establishing the overriding dictum for all Muslims to follow.

Change Required

It is small wonder why the Obama Regime’s National Security Policy is in total disarray. The assumptions undergirding it have no relationships with reality. Were the Obama regime to change its assumptions, how could it recast the National Security Policy?

First, it is necessary to recognize that Iraq is already lost influence-wise to Iran. When Obama pulled U.S. troops out in 2011, Iran moved in and we will never again have the influence in Iraq that we had in 2011 (such as it was). That fact is not going to change as long as the Khomeinist-Shia mullah government rules Tehran, and Baghdad and Damascus by proxy. Therefore, we should not live in a fantasyland that “2011 Iraq” can or even should be recreated.

The purpose of President Bush’s war to democratize and nation-build an American ally in the middle of “Jihadistan” was very misguided, but the limited, tenuous ascendancy over the various Islamic forces in Iraq he gained with “the surge” and “Anbar Awakening” was lost when Obama forfeited Iraq to Iran by complete withdrawal of US forces, absolutely removing our political influence/power in Iraq. In Jihadistan, only force commands political power/influence.

Obama is truly a fool not to understand that fact of life in dealing with international affairs. Mao’s dictum that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” applies in day-to-day politics throughout the world with the current exceptions of the U.S., Western & parts of Central Europe, Australia, and Japan (and some other isolated polities around the world)! Any fool who denies the veracity of the Maoist political power dictum has no business being in charge of the fate of this nation! The Obama-variety utopian foolishness has prevailed in various forms in Democrat Party foreign policy since the McGovernites captured the Democrat Party in 1972.

A policy that would be in accord with reality would be to withdraw everything but U.S. diplomatic presence, along with the military force to protect it and to evacuate it, from Iraq. Let the Iranians have the lead in fighting the Islamic State, just as the Iranian mullahs have demanded. When the U.S. attacks the Islamic State, it is foolishly entering into the Salafist-Sunni/ Khomeinist-Shia religious-sectarian war. Taking military actions that would benefit Iran by removing the threat of the Islamic State from them makes no sense from the standpoint of U.S. national interests.

Another factor to consider in recasting policy is that the Islamic State is an existential threat to the House of Saud, which it wants to overthrow and replace as the true Salafist guardians of Mecca and Medina. The Islamic State’s physical presence on the borders of Iran and Saudi Arabia poses an existential threat to both regimes. If we remove ourselves as a buffer, they will both be forced to contend with the Islamic State for their own national security reasons.

We should encourage our three enemies — Iran/Islamic State/House of Saud (make no mistake, the Saudis are our covert Wahabbi enemies funding jihadist mosques throughout the world) — to war against each other and expend their resources in the fight. All three are more immediate threats to each other than the Islamic State is to us because of physical proximity. The three cannot coexist bordering each other, and they will have to deal with their immediate enemies before they can effectively concentrate jihad against us.

Once the latest Sunni-Shia battle reaches its conclusion, we should be mentally and physically prepared to fight and destroy the winner, when they emerge as a credible threat, which they will. In the meantime, we should invest in building Kurdistan into an independent, militarily capable separate nation-state that could be “our base of operations” for future activities in Jihadistan. Kurdistan could also serve as a safe-haven for Christians and other persecuted minorities that the Islamic State and the Khomeinist-Shiites target. Also, should the Sunni-Shia sectarian war force U.S. nationals to be evacuated from Iraq, Kurdistan could fulfill the role of first stage evacuation destination and way-station.

The Central Principle Guiding All Policy Changes

We have no “friends” in Syria, Iraq, or Jihadistan in general with the exception of the Israelis and Kurds. The current fighting in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon is a Salafist-Sunni/ Khomeinist-Shia religious-sectarian war — we don’t win regardless which sect prevails. So, we should stay out of it. Our immediate national counter-jihad priorities regarding the Islamic State, Iran, and the entire Jihadistan should be:

  • Aiding our Israeli-Kurdish allies protect themselves
  • Providing humanitarian assistance/protection to religious and racial minorities persecuted by the Salafist-Sunni and Khomeinist-Shia jihadists
  • Preparing to counter either Salafist-Sunni or Khomeinist-Shia jihadists when they expand their operations beyond Jihadistan into Europe and the U.S.
  • Closing our borders and improving our visa/immigration administration, while cancelling further Muslim immigration into the U.S.
  • Increasing our national efforts to become carbon energy independent

Conclusion

Aside, from the great power, geopolitical competition emanating from Russia and China, we must acknowledge that the current international disarray in the world stems from Islamic jihad. Whether the terror and death is committed by jihadist “lone wolves,” the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, al-Nusra, Muslim Brotherhood, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, Taliban, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, Hezbollah, or al-Quds Force, to name a few of the more well-known Islamic terror organizations, there is no denying that the genesis of the terror is the Quran, be it a Sunni or Shiite putting the Quranic murder mandates into practice. All U.S. National Security Policy decisions must be made with that undeniable fact as a primary consideration.

Col_Thomas_Snodgrass_USAFCol. Thomas Snodgrass, USAF (retired) served over a year in Peshawar, Pakistan, working with Pakistani military intelligence. During his year in Vietnam he daily scheduled 130 U.S. Army and Air Force intelligence collection aircraft. In his final overseas tour he was the U.S. Air Attaché behind the Iron Curtain in Warsaw, Poland. In total, Col. Snodgrass was variously an Intelligence Officer or an International Politico-Military Affairs Officer serving duty tours in seven foreign countries, as well as teaching military history and strategy at the Air War College, US Air Force Academy, and USAF Special Operations School during a thirty-year military career.

Additionally, he was awarded an Air Force scholarship to get a history master’s degree in revolutionary insurgent warfare at the University of Texas, as well as being granted a year’s educational sabbatical to teach and to write about international relations as an Air Force Research Associate in the graduate school at the Center for Advanced International Studies, University of Miami, Florida. Following the Air Force, Col. Snodgrass was an adjunct professor of military history for ten years at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Arizona.

ISRAEL SECURITY SUMMIT – Boykin, West, McInerney, Berntsen! (pt.2)

Published on Nov 7, 2014 by theunitedwest

Part 2 of 2 – (see part 1 here) Israel Security Summit, September 9, 2014, Stoughton, MA, Congregation Ahavath Torah, Rabbi Jonathan Hausman. In this two-part series you will hear from four of the world’s top experts on US National Security and our relationship with Israel. The panelists are LTG. Jerry Boykin (ret), former commander of Delta Force, LTG. Tom McInerney,(ret) former combat pilot with over 4000 hours and 400 missions and CIA Station Chief Jerry Boykin, who headed up the hunt for Osama Bin Laden in 2003 in Afghanistan. The moderator for this highly-charged panel is LTC Allen West (ret) a combat veteran who also served as a US Congressman from Florida. Part 1 also has a award presentation to Revere Chief of Police, Joseph Cafarelli who was instrumental in capturing the Boston bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Sit back, watch the two parts and get ready to get very upset at the Obama Administration’s failures with Israel and get ready to stand with Israel in the very dangerous days ahead. Contact The United West for more information as to how you can help!

Most Arab states share Isis’s ideology. They’re trying to have it both ways

'Most Arab states – including several members of the military coalition against it – share Isis’s approach to compulsion in religion.' Photograph: Adam Butler/AP

‘Most Arab states – including several members of the military coalition against it – share Isis’s approach to compulsion in religion.’ Photograph: Adam Butler/AP

By Brian Whitaker:

Compulsion in religion is the ideological foundation stone of Isis and Islamist movements in general. Believing they have superior knowledge of God’s wishes for mankind, such groups feel entitled – even required – to act on his behalf and punish those who fail to comply with the divine will. In doing so, of course, they do not claim to be seeking power for themselves but merely trying to make the world more holy.

Bombing Isis and banning Islamist movements may suppress such movements for a while but it does nothing to address the ideological problem. Unless the question of compulsion in religion is tackled head-on, and in a serious way, they will resurface later or similar groups will emerge to replace them.

Although freedom of belief is a widely accepted principle internationally, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, it is still far from becoming established in the Arab countries. This is true of both governments and society.

As far as many of the Arab public are concerned, discriminating against members of the “wrong” faith, or those who hold unorthodox views, is not only acceptable, but the right thing to do. For Arab governments, enforcing religious rules and allying themselves with God helps to make up for their lack of electoral legitimacy.

This causes a particular problem in combating the ideology of groups such as Isis because most Arab states – including several members of the military coalition against it – share Isis’s approach to compulsion in religion. Isis may be more brutal in practice but, basically, they are on the same ground – asserting the superiority of Islam and the legitimacy of religious discrimination.

Isis’s readiness to execute people for their beliefs has parallels in six Arab countries – Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the UAE and Yemen – where apostasy is a crime and in theory the death penalty can apply. Curiously, though, they seem reluctant to enforce it. No recent executions for apostasy have been reported in any of them and in Saudi Arabia there have been none for well over 20 years, according to the US state department.

On the rare occasions when an execution for apostasy becomes a possibility, these countries usually resort to avoidance mechanisms.

In 1996, for example, the authorities in Kuwait were confronted with their first apostasy case since independence when Hussein Ali Qambar, a Shia Muslim, converted to evangelical Christianity and adopted “Robert” as his first name. Qambar had separated from his wife and his conversion came to light during a court case about custody of their children. In accordance with Islamic custom, efforts were made to persuade him to recant – but to no avail. Islamists then began agitating and filing lawsuits seeking to have him condemned for apostasy.

Read more at The Guardian

Qatar Awareness Campaign: Letter to President Obama #StopQatarNow

qatar_awareness_campaign_logoPresident Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

This letter is being sent to you on behalf of the Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition. The purpose is to inform you and the public of the activities of one of America’s closest allies under your administration, the State of Qatar. Not only is Qatar a state sponsor of terror which has funded Hamas, Boko Haram, and the Islamic State, but it is increasingly apparent that Qatar is a significant factor in the United States’ diplomatic rift with Israel, and finances the genocidal Islamic State.

Qatar was the primary sponsor of the Arab Spring, which saw its guests, the Muslim Brotherhood, assume power in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. Each of these countries subsequently descended into chaos, sectarian and religious violence, and Islamic autocracy. The Muslim Brotherhood, the same group from which sprouted Al Qaeda and ISIS, has created a veritable security, diplomatic, and humanitarian crisis in North Africa and the Middle East that threatens world peace.

Diplomatically, the United States’ relationship with Israel has never been more strained. Our relationship with Egypt, which was formerly the lynchpin in America’s diplomatic standing in the Arab world, has crumbled. King Abdullah of Jordan, whose country has been a steadfast and reliable ally in combating Islamic extremism for decades, has said publicly that he does not trust your government. Even Saudi Arabia, which has been an American ally since the 1930s, is exasperated and has publicly put distance between itself and the American government.

The net result of your administration’s policy of supporting the Qataris and the Muslim Brotherhood is simply this: an expansion of Russia’s sphere of influence across the region. Yet the seismic geopolitical shift which is the likely fallout of the Arab Spring, namely, the realignment of several former American allies with Russia, is, incredibly, not the biggest story in this first class debacle.

There is an ongoing genocide across the Middle East against Christians, Kurds, Yazidis, and other religious and ethnic minorities. The tactics being employed each and every day by the Islamic State are reminiscent of the Nazi Holocaust. This is no accident; in fact, it is consistent with history. The original horrific event that gave the world the terrible word “genocide,” or murder of a people, came from the Armenian genocide, perpetuated by the Ottoman Empire. The primary victims of this genocide were Armenian Christians, but many others who were on the wrong side of the world’s last official Caliphate paid with their lives as well. Mass shootings, mass drownings, mass starvations, and other devilish acts marked this dark period in modern history.

A key participant in both the Armenian genocide, as well as the Holocaust, was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al Husseini. He was also the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine: the same group that Qatar hosts as honored guests in Doha today.

We are witnessing a repeat of history in the worst imaginable way. In these momentous times, what is lacking the most is truth. The terrible truth is that United States government under your leadership has been on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the Arab Spring, and through the period of Islamist genocide in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and across several other countries. There is no other logical or reasonable way to interpret recent history.

In this so-called Arab Spring, Qatar and the United States have been partners in crime.

There are other atrocities to be attributed to Qatar, including their penchant for slave labor. It is estimated that nearly 4,000 migrant workers will die constructing the stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, scheduled to be played in Doha. Not only slave labor, but sex slavery deserves to be mentioned: for Boko Haram was created by a Qatari proxy, set up as a money making venture. The individual who provided the funds now resides in Doha. In order to #BringBackOurGirls, #StopQatarNow.

Moreover, Qatar it is involved in Taliban narcotics trafficking through a relationship with the Pakistani National Logistics Cell. The National Logistics Cell of Pakistan is currently a NATO subcontractor. With a stroke of your pen, this can change tomorrow.

Finally, Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition and petitioners ask that you consider the attachedsourced report on Qatar’s activities. The links cited are vetted and credible sources. We hope you take the time to verify the truth of the statements for yourself.

Mr. President, this letter of course tells you nothing you do not already know. You are privileged to the listen to the intelligence collected by multiple world class agencies, whose capabilities are second-to-none.

Still, the Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition implores you to examine the Qatari record on human rights, genocide, slavery, and narcotics. It behooves a great nation to choose their primary allies carefully.

After doing so, the Coalition of the Qatar Awareness Campaign calls on you to cut all diplomatic, economic, and political ties with Qatar; remove all American military personnel from Doha; and freeze all Qatari connected assets around the globe until the reigning, duplicitous Al-Thanis step down and surrender to a court of justice!

Sincerely,

Lt. Col. Allen B. West (US Army, Ret)
AllenBWest.com

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Center for Security Policy

Pamela Geller
Atlas Shrugs

Walid Shoebat
Shoebat.com

Charles Ortel
Washington Times

Paul E Vallely, US Army (Ret)
Chairman, Stand Up America

Robert Spencer
Jihad Watch

& the entire Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition.

Qatar Research Report: http://www.stopqatarnow.com/p/research-report.html
Sign the Petition! Visit www.stopqatarnow.com
Facebook: Stop Qatar Now
Twitter: @stopqatarnow

** Select signatures as of 9/27. The Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition is comprised of more than 25 journalists, national security experts, publishers, and independent researchers. To view all Coalition participants, please visit the Campaign’s website.

The Iran Lobby: Alive, Well and Changing the Face of the Middle East

799454648CSP, By Clare M. Lopez, Oct. 23, 2014:

“In February 2009, as President Barack Obama and his new administration were settling into office, the Center for Security Policy published a report I wrote entitled “RISE OF THE ‘IRAN LOBBY’ Tehran’s front groups move on—and into— the Obama Administration.” This occasional paper from the Center was offered as a warning about the constellation of forces that was just then moving into power positions from which to influence U.S. foreign policy in ways supportive of the Tehran regime’s objectives. Today, five years later, the disastrous fruits of that network’s efforts are evident across the Middle East in ways both predictable and unforeseen: Iran stands on the brink of deploying deliverable nuclear weapons, Turkey’s leadership sponsors HAMAS terrorism and harbors both neo-Ottoman ambitions and a visceral hatred of the Jewish State of Israel, and an Islamic State proclaiming itself a Caliphate sweeps armies and borders before it, oddly enabled by both Iran and Turkey.”

See version with embedded hyperlinks here

See version with footnotes here

 

Reshuffling the Deck in the Middle East

A man shuffling a deck of cardsCSP, By Kyle Shideler:

The New York Times wrote on Friday offering a brief glimpse at an underreported front in inter-Islam civil war currently spreading across the Middle East:

Yemen’s Shiite rebels on Friday overran an al-Qaida stronghold after days of battling the militants for the city in the country’s central heartland, a Yemeni official and a tribal leader said. The capture of the city of Radda, in the in the province of Bayda, came with the help of a Yemeni army commander, the two said. The Shiite rebels known as Houthis have been fighting both al-Qaida militants and Sunni tribes over the past few days. The rebels, who in September gained control of the capital, Sanaa, earlier this week overran a key Yemeni port city on the Red Sea.

The action, mirrored similar instances in the past when units in Yemen’s army suspected of links with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a Houthi ally, facilitated stunning rebel advances from their home base in northern Saada province. The army commander who helped the Houthis in Radda is said to be a loyalist of the ousted Saleh, who was deposed after the country’s 2011 uprising. Saleh and his party have joined ranks with the Houthis against a common enemy — the Islamist Islah party and its allied tribe of Al-Ahmar, traditional power brokers in Yemen.

Also Friday, fierce clashes erupted in Ibb province, nearly 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of Sanaa between the Houthis and tribesmen allied with the Islah party, leaving eight dead, according to other security officials in the province.

The Islah Party is Yemen’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s co-founder is Abdul_Majeed al-Zindani, who is a specially designated global terrorist, and an original spiritual mentor of Osama Bin Laden.

President Obama referred to Yemen and Somalia as models of success to be emulated in Syria. And while my CSP colleague Nik Hanlon handedly covered the problems with the Somalia comparison, Yemen is indeed an apt model for comparison, although not in the way meant by the President. In Yemen the struggle is between Shia militia fighters- backed by Iran and on behalf of a President who was ousted in Western -championed Arab Spring- are advancing against the joint forces of Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. The same is true in Syria, where Muslim Brotherhood-linked fighters, such as the Islamic Front, fight side by side with Al Qaeda-linked Ahrar Al-Sham and AQ’s Syrian affiliate Jabhat al Nusra against Iranian IRGC and Shia Militias on behalf of Bashar Assad.

As in Yemen and Syria, so too in Libya, although instead of Iranian-linked Shia, the “counterrevolution” in Libya is led by a former general of Qaddafi’s, Khalifa Haftar, sponsored by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt in a fight against Al Qaeda’s affiliate Ansar al-Sharia-Libya, and the Muslim Brotherhood-backed militias. The same U.A.E air force that was trumpeted as a partner in the air strikes against ISIS,  conducted air strikes against the Libyan rebels with whom the U.S. had partnered against Qaddafi. But then, in this conflict ironies abound, as when Saudi Arabia bombs the “barbaric” ISIS in airstrikes launched in part following the beheading of Americans, while engaging in a rash of beheadings of their own.

Analysts who examine the current situation as a series of national struggles in separate countries have missed the boat entirely. Everywhere across the region, scores are being settled, and battle lines being drawn and redrawn. What is at stake is not just who will be the next leader of Syria, or Libya, or Yemen. It’s who will be represented as the leader(s) of Islam. Will they be Sunni or Shia? Does ISIS represent a Kharijite deviation as the Muslim Brotherhood accuses, or are the Ikhwan a Murji’ah deviation as ISIS concludes? Do they both represent a takfiri deviation, as the governments Saudi, Egypt and U.A.E and their state-sponsored clerics declare or are these same governments the apostate regimes that ISIS/AQ/MB claim them to be?

These are deeply profound doctrinal questions which are being hashed and rehashed in online screeds over the intricacies of Shariah law, but which will ultimately be settled with violence, just as they have been historically settled for hundreds of years.

For our purposes,  we should realize that the internecine conflict currently being waged does not mean that any of these forces are ultimately pro-Western or allies to be trusted. The same governments which are fighting ISIS paid for the mosques, staffed by Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated imams, at which the current group of ISIS fighters with Western passports were educated and indoctrinated. The Syrian rebels- including Muslim Brothers, that are fighting Assad and ISIS were also providing security for an Al Qaeda cell- The so-called Khorasan Group- whose purpose was a mass casualty attack on U.S. or allied soil. The Shia militias fighting ISIS on the outskirts of Baghdad were the ones using Iranian-manufactured Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) to kill hundreds of Americans. The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps leading the defense of Baghdad against ISIS also taught Al Qaeda how to use truck bombs to carry out the U.S. embassy attacks.

And on and on.

The reshuffling of the deck will continue in the Middle East for the time being, and it’s important to track the players, and understand their doctrinal differences and the basis for their conflict. But that is not the same as imagining that one of them represents a trump card for the West to play.

Qatar’s Jihad #StopQatarNow

Qatarby Brahma Chellaney:

Qatar may be tiny, but it is having a major impact across the Arab world. By propping up violent jihadists in the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond, while supporting the United States in its fight against them, this gas-rich speck of a country – the world’s wealthiest in per capita terms – has transformed itself from a regional gadfly into an international rogue elephant.

Using its vast resources, and driven by unbridled ambition, Qatar has emerged as a hub for radical Islamist movements. The massive, chandeliered Grand Mosque in Doha – Qatar’s opulent capital – is a rallying point for militants heading to wage jihad in places as diverse as Yemen, Tunisia, and Syria. As a result, Qatar now rivals Saudi Arabia – another Wahhabi state with enormous resource wealth – in exporting Islamist extremism.

But there are important differences between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Qatar’s Wahhabism is less severe than Saudi Arabia’s; for example, Qatari women are allowed to drive and to travel alone. In Qatar, there is no religious police enforcing morality, even if Qatari clerics openly raise funds for militant causes overseas.

Given this, it is perhaps unsurprising that, whereas Saudi Arabia’s sclerotic leadership pursues reactionary policies rooted in a puritanical understanding of Islam, Qatar’s younger royals have adopted a forward-thinking approach. Qatar is the home of the Al Jazeera satellite television channel and Education City, a district outside of Doha that accommodates schools, universities, and research centers.

Similar inconsistencies are reflected in Qatar’s foreign policy. Indeed, the country’s relationship with the United States directly contradicts its links with radical Islamist movements.

Qatar hosts Al Udeid air base – with its 8,000 American military personnel and 120 aircraft, including supertankers for in-flight refueling – from which the US directs its current airstrikes in Syria and Iraq. Camp As-Sayliyah – another facility for which Qatar charges no rent – serves as the US Central Command’s forward headquarters. In July, Qatar agreed to purchase $11 billion worth of US arms.

Moreover, Qatar has used its leverage over the Islamists that it funds to help secure the release of Western hostages. And it hosted secret talks between the US and the Pakistan-backed Afghan Taliban. To facilitate the negotiations, Qatar provided a home, with US support, to the Taliban’s de facto diplomatic mission – and to the five Afghan Taliban leaders released earlier this year from US detention at Guantánamo Bay.

In other words, Qatar is an important US ally, a supplier of weapons and funds to Islamists, and a peace broker all at the same time. Add to that its position as the world’s largest supplier of liquefied natural gas and the holder of one of its largest sovereign-wealth funds, and it becomes clear that Qatar has plenty of room to maneuver – as well as considerable international clout. Germany’s government found that out when it was forced to retract its development minister’s statement that Qatar played a central role in arming and financing the Islamic State.

Qatar’s growing influence has important implications for the balance of power in the Arab World, especially with regard to the country’s rivalry with Saudi Arabia. This competitive dynamic, which surfaced only recently, represents a shift from a long history of working in tandem to export Islamist extremism.

Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia generously supplied weapons and funds to Sunni extremists in Syria, opening the door for the emergence of the Islamic State. Both have bolstered the Afghan Taliban. And both contributed to Libya’s transformation into a failed state by aiding Islamist militias. During the 2011 NATO campaign to overthrow Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi, Qatar even deployed ground troops covertly inside Libya.

Today, however, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are on opposite sides. Qatar, along with Turkey, backs grassroots Islamist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots in Gaza, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, and the Levant. That pits it against Saudi Arabia and countries like the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Jordan, whose rulers view such movements as an existential threat, with some, including the House of Saud, investing in propping up autocratic regimes like their own.

Read  more at Stagecraft and Statecraft

Brahma Chellaney, Professor of Strategic Studies at the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research, is the author of Asian Juggernaut; Water: Asia’s New Battleground; and Water, Peace, and War: Confronting the Global Water Crisis.

A Look Inside The Secret Deal With Saudi Arabia That Unleashed The Syrian Bombing

Zero Hedge, by Tyler Durden, 9/25/2014:

For those to whom the recent US campaign against Syria seems a deja vu of last summer’s “near-war” attempt to ouster its president Bashar al-Assad, which was stopped in the last minute due to some very forceful Russian intervention and the near breakout of war in the Mediterranean between US and Russian navies, it is because they are. And as a reminder, just like last year, the biggest wildcard in this, and that, direct intervention into sovereign Syrian territory, or as some would call it invasion or even war, was not the US but Saudi Arabia – recall from August of 2013 – “Meet Saudi Arabia’s Bandar bin Sultan: The Puppetmaster Behind The Syrian War.” Bin Sultan was officially let go shortly after the 2013 campaign to replace Syria’s leadership with a more “amenable” regime failed if not unofficially (see below), but Saudi ambitions over Syria remained.

That much is revealed by the WSJ today in a piece exposing the backdoor dealings that the US conducted with Saudi Arabia to get the “green light” to launch its airstrikes against ISIS, or rather, parts of Iraq and Syria. And, not surprising, it is once again Assad whose fate was the bargaining chip to get the Saudis on the US’ side, because in order to launch the incursion into Syrian sovereign territory “took months of behind-the-scenes work by the U.S. and Arab leaders, who agreed on the need to cooperate against Islamic State, but not how or when. The process gave the Saudis leverage to extract a fresh U.S. commitment to beef up training for rebels fighting Mr. Assad, whose demise the Saudis still see as a top priority.

In other words, John Kerry came, saw and promised everything he could, up to and including the missing piece of the puzzle – Syria itself on a silver platter – in order to prevent another diplomatic humiliation.

When Mr. Kerry touched down in Jeddah to meet with King Abdullah on Sept. 11, he didn’t know for sure what else the Saudis were prepared to do. The Saudis had informed their American counterparts before the visit that they would be ready to commit air power—but only if they were convinced the Americans were serious about a sustained effort in Syria. The Saudis, for their part, weren’t sure how far Mr. Obama would be willing to go, according to diplomats.

kerry kasbah_1Said otherwise, the pound of flesh demanded by Saudi Arabia to “bless” US airstrikes and make them appear as an act of some coalition, is the removal of the Assad regime. Why? So that, as we also explained last year, the holdings of the great Qatar natural gas fields can finally make their way onward to Europe, which incidentally is also America’s desire – what better way to punish Putin for his recent actions than by crushing the main leverage the Kremlin has over Europe?

But back to the Saudis and how the deal to bomb Syria was cobbled together:

The Americans knew a lot was riding on a Sept. 11 meeting with the king of Saudi Arabia at his summer palace on the Red Sea.

A year earlier, King Abdullah had fumed when President Barack Obama called off strikes against the regime of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. This time, the U.S. needed the king’s commitment to support a different Syrian mission—against the extremist group Islamic State—knowing there was little hope of assembling an Arab front without it.

At the palace, Secretary of State John Kerry requested assistance up to and including air strikes, according to U.S. and Gulf officials. “We will provide any support you need,” the king said.

But only after the Saudis got the abovementioned assurances that Assad will fall. And to do that they would have to strongarm Obama:

Wary of a repeat of Mr. Obama’s earlier reversal, the Saudis and United Arab Emirates decided on a strategy aimed at making it harder for Mr. Obama to change course. “Whatever they ask for, you say ‘yes,’” an adviser to the Gulf bloc said of its strategy. “The goal was not to give them any reason to slow down or back out.”

Arab participation in the strikes is of more symbolic than military value. The Americans have taken the lead and have dropped far more bombs than their Arab counterparts. But the show of support from a major Sunni state for a campaign against a Sunni militant group, U.S. officials said, made Mr. Obama comfortable with authorizing a campaign he had previously resisted.

To be sure, so far Obama has refrained from directly bombing Assad, it is only a matter of time: “How the alliance fares will depend on how the two sides reconcile their fundamental differences over Syria and other issues. Saudi leaders and members of the moderate Syrian opposition are betting the U.S. could eventually be pulled in the direction of strikes supporting moderate rebel fighters against Mr. Assad in addition to Islamic State. U.S. officials say the administration has no intention of bombing Mr. Assad’s forces”… for now.

But why is Saudi Arabia so adamant to remove Assad? Here is the WSJ’s take:

For the Saudis, Syria had become a critical frontline in the battle for regional influence with Iran, an Assad ally. As Mr. Assad stepped up his domestic crackdown, the king decided to do whatever was needed to bring the Syrian leader down, Arab diplomats say.

In the last week of August, a U.S. military and State Department delegation flew to Riyadh to lay the ground for a military program to train the moderate Syrian opposition to fight both the Assad regime and Islamic State—something the Saudis have long requested. The U.S. team wanted permission to use Saudi facilities for the training. Top Saudi ministers, after consulting overnight with the king, agreed and offered to foot much of the bill. Mr. Jubeir went to Capitol Hill to pressed key lawmakers to approve legislation authorizing the training.

And once the US once again folded to Saudi demands to attack another sovereign, it was merely a matter of planning:

Hours before the military campaign was set to begin, U.S. officials held a conference call to discuss final preparations. On the call, military officers raised last-minute questions about whether Qatar would take part and whether the countries would make their actions public.

Mr. Kerry was staying in a suite on the 34th floor of New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel, where he was meeting leaders attending United Nations gatherings. He called his Gulf counterparts to make sure they were still onboard. They were.

The UAE, which some defense officials refer to as “Little Sparta” because of its outsized military strength, had the most robust role. One of the UAE’s pilots was a woman. Two of the F-15 pilots were members of the Saudi royal family, including Prince Khaled bin Salman, son of the crown prince. In the third wave of the initial attack, half of the attack airplanes in the sky were from Arab countries.

The best news for Obama: it is now just a matter of time to recreate the same false flag that the Saudi-US alliance pushed so hard on the world in the summer of 2013 to justify the first attempt to remove Assad, and once again get the “sympathy” public cote behind him, naturally with the support of the US media.

But how does one know it is once again nothing but a stage? The following blurb should explain everything:

Saudi players in attendance for the Sept. 11 meeting included Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who as the king’s spymaster last year ran afoul of Mr. Kerry over Syria and Iraq policy. U.S. officials interpreted his presence as a sign the king wanted to make sure the court was united, U.S. officials said.

Actually, his presence is a sign that the same puppetmaster who pulled the strings, and failed, in 2013 to remove Assad, and as noted above was at least officially removed from the stage subsequently, is once again the person in charge of the Syrian campaign, only this time unofficially, and this time has Obama entirely wrapped around his finger.

Also see:

  • The Reason Five Arab Countries Teamed Up with Obama -  A natural gas pipeline through Syria would break the Russian monopoly in Europe so this little “war” against the JV team could easily escalate into World War III under the auspices of the weakest US commander in chief in our nation’s history. (ncrenegade.com)

The 100-Year-Old Agreement You Need to Know About to Understand What’s Driving the Islamic State

Glenn Beck broke down the history of the Middle East on his television program Thursday, focusing on a nearly 100-year-old agreement that he says is integral to understanding the motivations of the Islamic State: the Sykes-Picot Agreement.

If you do not understand the Sykes-Picot Agreement, Beck said, you cannot fully understand the Islamic State, or why the Israelis and the Palestinians will never reach a two-state solution.

Though many go back to 1948 and the creation of the modern state of Israel when examining the history of Middle Eastern conflicts, Beck said you actually have to go back to 1916 and World War I.

T.E. Lawrence and World War I

Glenn Beck speaks about T.E. Lawrence, right, on his television program September 18, 2014. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

Glenn Beck speaks about T.E. Lawrence, right, on his television program September 18, 2014. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

“This is the last time the Arab world had a united Islamic State led by a religious leader: the Ottoman Empire, the caliphate,” Beck began. “The Allies knew the Ottoman Empire could shut down key shipping routes and cripple Britain’s economy, France’s. … They had to neutralize it. So Great Britain sent over an Army officer from Britain, and his name was T.E. Lawrence. There was a movie made about him, a great movie with Peter O’Toole called ‘Lawrence of Arabia.’”

Lawrence was tasked with convincing the Arabs to fight against the Ottoman Empire. After Lawrence promised the Arabs rule over a new united Arab kingdom of greater Syria — which encompassed present day Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and parts of Iraq and Jordan — he succeeded.

“To get to the root of the current Middle East conflict, that is your starting point,” Beck said. “It is at the center of everything that is happening today.”

“The problem here — Great Britain never intended to honor the promises that they made,” Beck continued. “They had used the Arabs in order to protect their own interests. Remember, they needed to get the Ottoman Empire out of the way.”

Sykes-Picot Agreement

“The entire time Lawrence was negotiating with the Arabs, Great Britain, behind everybody’s back, was negotiating with France, and planning how they were going to actually divide up the Middle East after the war,” Beck said. “They needed to make sure there was no united Arab kingdom that would ever get in the way.”

Under the Sykes-Picot agreement, the British and the French drew new boundaries, fracturing the region so, Beck said, “the British and their allies in the region could control it.”

“Remember, the goal was to divide the Arabs, not to unite them, divide them, so they could protect the trade routes,” Beck said. “They didn’t care about the Arabs, they didn’t care about the Jews, they didn’t care about anything. They wanted the trade routes.”

“The Arabs were forced to accept this western European model of the nation-states because they had no choice,” Beck remarked. “Arab resentment grows in the wake of that treaty, Sykes-Picot, where they have divided everything and made new lines. They wanted — the Palestinians, the Arabs — what was promised to them — the rule of greater Syria.”

 

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

In the decades after the Sykes-Picot Agreement, after the Ottoman Empire collapsed, the British created the British Mandate for Palestine. The area east of the Jordan River was called Transjordan, and the area west of it was a land for the Jewish people.

“How would the Arab world be able to unite now? They needed a new rallying cry. They would use the Balfour Declaration, Britain’s promise of a Jewish homeland in Palestine,” Beck said. “[They] needed to start blaming the Jews, the pawns.”

“The motive becomes clear when you see how the Arab world reacted when the British Mandate in Palestine was set to expire,” Beck said. “The Palestinian Arabs were about to be presented with a chance to finally have what they said they’d always dreamed of. All they wanted was their own land. So now, here comes the UN, and they have this mandate.”

“Remember, the British put together this partition — Transjordan and the Israeli state. So it was a two-state solution. It was split 56 percent Jewish, 43 percent Arab. 56 looks big, but much of the land’s not sufficient for crops, so it’s pretty close. Jerusalem, an international zone. The Jewish people accepted the plan. And if a Palestinian homeland was the goal for the Arab world — not the Palestinians, the Arab world — all they had to do was agree. But remember, the scapegoat goes away.”

Read more at The Blaze with more videos

Middle East Time Bomb: The Real Aim of ISIS Is to Replace the Saud Family as the New Emirs of Arabia

King AbdulladThis article is Part II of Alastair Crooke’s historical analysis of the roots of ISIS and its impact on the future of the Middle East.

BEIRUT — ISIS is indeed a veritable time bomb inserted into the heart of the Middle East. But its destructive power is not as commonly understood. It is not with the “March of the Beheaders”; it is not with the killings; the seizure of towns and villages; the harshest of “justice” — terrible though they are — that its true explosive power lies. It is yet more potent than its exponential pull on young Muslims, its huge arsenal of weapons and its hundreds of millions of dollars.

Its real potential for destruction lies elsewhere — in the implosion of Saudi Arabia as a foundation stone of the modern Middle East. We should understand that there is really almost nothing that the West can now do about it but sit and watch.

The clue to its truly explosive potential, as Saudi scholar Fouad Ibrahim has pointed out (but which has passed, almost wholly overlooked, or its significance has gone unnoticed), is ISIS’ deliberate and intentional use in its doctrine — of the language of Abd-al Wahhab, the 18th century founder, together with Ibn Saud, of Wahhabism and the Saudi project:

Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the first “prince of the faithful” in the Islamic State of Iraq, in 2006 formulated, for instance, the principles of his prospective state … Among its goals is disseminating monotheism “which is the purpose [for which humans were created] and [for which purpose they must be called] to Islam…” This language replicates exactly Abd-al Wahhab’s formulation. And, not surprisingly, the latter’s writings and Wahhabi commentaries on his works are widely distributed in the areas under ISIS’ control and are made the subject of study sessions. Baghdadi subsequently was to note approvingly, “a generation of young men [have been] trained based on the forgotten doctrine of loyalty and disavowal.”

And what is this “forgotten” tradition of “loyalty and disavowal?” It is Abd al-Wahhab’s doctrine that belief in a sole (for him an anthropomorphic) God — who was alone worthy of worship — was in itself insufficient to render man or woman a Muslim?

He or she could be no true believer, unless additionally, he or she actively denied (and destroyed) any other subject of worship. The list of such potential subjects of idolatrous worship, which al-Wahhab condemned as idolatry, was so extensive that almost all Muslims were at risk of falling under his definition of “unbelievers.” They therefore faced a choice: Either they convert to al-Wahhab’s vision of Islam — or be killed, and their wives, their children and physical property taken as the spoils of jihad. Even to express doubts about this doctrine, al-Wahhab said, should occasion execution.

The point Fuad Ibrahim is making, I believe, is not merely to reemphasize the extreme reductionism of al-Wahhab’s vision, but to hint at something entirely different: That through its intentional adoption of this Wahhabist language, ISIS is knowingly lighting the fuse to a bigger regional explosion — one that has a very real possibility of being ignited, and if it should succeed, will change the Middle East decisively.

For it was precisely this idealistic, puritan, proselytizing formulation by al-Wahhab that was “father” to the entire Saudi “project” (one that was violently suppressed by the Ottomans in 1818, but spectacularly resurrected in the 1920s, to become the Saudi Kingdom that we know today). But since its renaissance in the 1920s, the Saudi project has always carried within it, the “gene” of its own self-destruction.

Read more at Huffington Post

Also see Part I:

Israel and the Obama-Qatari Axis

US-Turkeyby Joseph Puder:

When considering the geo-political map of the current Middle East, not everything is negative or alarming, at least from an Israeli point of view. Although the Middle East is more splintered today than ever before, Israel’s political and diplomatic isolation in the region has faded. The Middle East is now composed of three main blocs and Israel is a partner with one major bloc, which also happens to be its immediate neighbors, or the inner circle of moderate-Sunni and hitherto pro-American Arab states: Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates.  However, what is counter-intuitive is the Obama administration’s choice of partners in the region. It is not the moderate Sunni-Muslim states and Israel that Washington sought out as mediators for a Hamas-Israel cease-fire, but the Muslim Brotherhood bloc of Turkey and Qatar.

David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister and one of the founding fathers of the Jewish State recognized early on that the State of Israel had no chance to develop friendly relations with its neighboring Arab states. Pan-Arab leaders such as Egypt’s president Gamal Abdul Nasser fanned the flames of hatred and revenge against the Jewish state, as did fellow Arab dictators in Syria and elsewhere. As a result, Israel’s leadership sought to develop friendly relations with its outer-circle non-Arab states such as Iran, Ethiopia, and Turkey.

The rise of the Islamic Republic in Iran under Khomeini following the Iranian revolution in 1979, and the departure of the Israel-friendly Shah of Iran ended Israeli-Iranian relations. Iran became the arms supplier of Israel’s Palestinian enemies and Hezbollah in Lebanon, and with its nuclear ambition, it constitutes an existential threat to the Jewish State.

Turkey was the only Muslim state to have a steady and rather friendly relationship with the Jewish state. Until the electoral triumph of the AK Party (Justice and Development Party) in 2002, Israel’s trade and military cooperation with Turkey was significant to both countries. The AK Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan changed all of that. His hostility to Israel intensified with each successive electoral victory. Following his second parliamentary victory in 2007, he began tangling with Israel. In late May 2010, Erdogan gave the green light to a Gaza flotilla headed by the Mavi Marmara. It was a deliberate provocation by Erdogan to break through the Israeli blocade. The subsequent AK victory in the 2011 parliamentary elections increased Erdogan’s arrogance and simultaneously his anti-Israel and anti-Semitic outbursts. His latest 2014 presidential victory and his unmitigated support for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood severed the special relations Israel has had with Turkey.

Turkey is, in fact, part of the radical Sunni, pro-Muslim Brotherhood bloc, that includes Qatar and Hamas.

The radical Shia bloc led by Iran, which includes Shiite Iraq, the Assad regime in Syria, and the Hezbollah in Lebanon, comprise the third bloc.

The puzzling question is why Washington chose to align itself with the Sunni radical Muslim Brotherhood bloc (Qatar and Turkey), and not with the more moderate bloc led by Egypt and Saudi Arabia? Both the Egyptian regime under President Abdel Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and the Saudi royals are upset with the Obama administration. Cairo resents Washington’s support for the deposed Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammad Morsi. Washington withheld arms delivery to Egypt because it considered Morsi’s removal illegitimate, albeit, over 30 million Egyptians demanded Morsi’s removal because of his gross mismanagement of the economy, his authoritarian style, his promotion of sectorial Brotherhood ideals and the erosion of civil liberties.

Read more at Front Page

A WHO’S WHO OF THE GOOD GUYS AND BAD GUYS IN THE NEW JIHAD

miscellaneous-jihadis-afpBreitbart, by SEBASTIAN GORKA & JORDAN SCHACHTEL:

Wars are never simple. With the incredible success of the terrorist group ISIS, now called the Islamic State, and the recent news that Egypt and UAE have engaged in air strikes against the jihadists in Syria, Breitbart News has decided to cut away some of the fog of war and explain who stands where in this latest Holy War for the future of the Middle East and North Africa.

Video: Aug. 26 (Bloomberg) — Theodore Kattouf, former U.S. ambassador to Syria, discusses the Islamic State’s presence in the Middle East with Pimm Fox on “Taking Stock.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Image: John Sexton

Image: John Sexton

Afghanistan: Continually deteriorating alliance with the United States. Taliban insurgency continues to usurp power and territory from the vacuum left behind by US forces’ departure from Kabul. Multi-ethnic society under one ​impossible-to-maintain central administration has created the conditions for constant clashes between tribes. Home to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda in the ’80s and ’90s.​

Algeria: Home to Africa’s third-biggest oil reserves and 10th in the world in natural gas reserves. Dealing with widespread poverty and Islamist radicals infiltrating the government. 99% Sunni Muslim.

Al Qaeda: Salafist Sunni terror group now run by the Egyptian Ayman al Zawahiri, with various offshoots spread all over the region. The Islamic State – formerly ISIS – is a break-off of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Bahrain: Tiny country primarily populated by Shiite Muslims but ruled by Sunnis, which has often led to political unrest and anti-regime protests.

Egypt: Run by the government of President Abdel Fattah el Sisi, the former Commander of the Armed Forces. The government has declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization and is fighting jihadi elements in major cities, especially the Sinai.

Hamas: Palestinian terror organization at war with Israel. The Palestinian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, its charter commits its members to “dying in the way of Jihad.”

Hezbollah: Iran-backed Lebanon-based terrorist group. Engaged in “holy war” with Sunni terrorist group The Islamic State in Syria, and according to latest reports, now in Iraq also. Led by Hassan Nasrallah.

Iran: Leader of the Shiite Islamic world. Ruled by theocratic dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Known financier of Hezbollah and Hamas terror groups and ally of Syria’s Assad. Committed to exporting its theocratic revolution.

Iraq: At war with the Islamic State (IS). The new government has lost control of several major cities to IS. Weakened by crumbling defense forces and lack of US forces in the country.

The Islamic State: Formerly known as Al Qaeda in Iraq, and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. Lead by the newly announced “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Controls a large swath of territory that spans much of Iraq and Syria. In terms of numbers of fighters, weapons, and available funds, far outstrips the capabilities of Al Qaeda (even at its most powerful on 9/11).

Israel: Only liberal democracy in the Middle East. At war with Iran-sponsored Hamas, an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. De facto alliance with Egypt. Closest formal ally to the US in the region

Jordan: Monarchy ruled by King Abdullah II, part of the Hashemite dynasty said to be descended from Mohammad. A moderate Islamic country compared to its Arab neighbors and a close ally of the United States. Threatened as a potential prime target for the Islamic State for both of these reasons. Inherently unstable due to a very large Palestinian population and enormous influx of refugees from Syria and Iraq. Has a small but very capable military and intelligence service.

Kuwait: Home to US military bases. Top officials recently suspected of financing terror. Ruling party dealing with allegations of massive corruption. Emir controls all political power. Recent reports say that Kuwait may be turning against the jihadi movement.​

Lebanon: Although its ​governmental system is technically equally divided between Shiite, Sunni, and Maronite Christians, in reality, both domestic and foreign policy is dominated by ​the ​Shiite terror group and Iran-proxy Hezbollah.

Libya: Ruling party at war with anti-Islamist general Haftar. Country in a state of lawlessness. The Al Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda-offshoot that was responsible for 9/11/2012 attack on US consulate, is still at large.

Pakistan: Home to the Haqqani network and the country where Osama bin Laden was hiding. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is known to have been infiltrated by ​and supportive of ​radical fundamentalist interests. Fundamentally dysfunctional, Pakistan has never come to terms with its Islamic identity or its paranoia for India.

Qatar: Oil-rich gulf state that controls the Al Jazeera Media Network, which is known as an informal propaganda arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatari officials have been accused by international leaders of financing terrorism, particularly The Islamic State terror group. Along with Turkey suspected of being the largest supporter of jihadists in Syria and Iraq.

Syria: In the midst of a civil war between President Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian Army and Islamist factions of varying radicalism. Current death toll estimates around 200,000. A client state of Iran.

Turkey: Previously a stable, secular Muslim state whose democracy was vouched safe by the military. Now ruled by Muslim Brotherhood-friendly leadership. Strongly aligned with Hamas despite being a member of NATO. Along with Qatar suspected of being supporter of jihadists in Syria and Iraq.

Tunisia: Recognized as the catalyst of the “Arab Spring” revolts that changed the map of the Middle East. Recently removed from power Muslim-Brotherhood government.

Saudi Arabia: Ruled as a theocratic absolute monarchy. Preaches Wahhabism, a salafist fundamentalist branch of Islam. Known for Mecca and Medina, the two holiest Islamic sites. Top officials have been accused of aiding and abetting of Al Qaeda and its offshoots. Recently reassessing the threat of extremists to its own system, it has moved closer to Israel.

United Arab Emirates: Carried out airstrikes on Libya last week against Islamist militants. Federation of seven emirates, each governed by an emir who come together to form the Federal Supreme Council, which makes executive decisions on behalf of the UAE. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are two emirates known for being commercial hubs. Interested in defeating the jihadi threat.

Yemen: Home to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, arguably the fiercest branch of AQ. Large US drone presence to combat radical entities. Fragile government threatened by jihadists as well as tribal Houthi insurgents.

Sherman’s 300,000 and the Caliphate’s Three Million

Middle East Forum:

by David P. Goldman
Asia Times
August 12, 2014

553When General William Tecumseh Sherman burned the city of Atlanta in 1864, he warned, “I fear the world will jump to the wrong conclusion that because I am in Atlanta the work is done. Far from it. We must kill three hundred thousand I have told you of so often, and the further they run the harder for us to get them.” Add a zero to calibrate the problem in the Levant today. War in the Middle East is less a strategic than a demographic phenomenon, the resolution of which will come with the exhaustion of the pool of potential fighters.

The Middle East has plunged into a new Thirty Years War, allows Richard Haass, the president of the Council of Foreign Relations:

It is a region wracked by religious struggle between competing traditions of the faith. But the conflict is also between militants and moderates, fueled by neighboring rulers seeking to defend their interests and increase their influence. Conflicts take place within and between states; civil wars and proxy wars become impossible to distinguish. Governments often forfeit control to smaller groups – militias and the like – operating within and across borders. The loss of life is devastating, and millions are rendered homeless.

Well and good: I predicted in 2006 that the George W. Bush administration’s blunder would provoke another Thirty Years War in the region, and repeated the diagnosis many times since. But I doubt that Mr. Haass (or Walter Russell Mead, who cited the Haass article) has given sufficient thought to the implications.

How does one handle wars of this sort? In 2008, I argued for a “Richelovian” foreign policy, that is, emulation of the evil genius who guided France to victory at the conclusion of the Thirty Years War in 1648. Wars of this sort end when two generations of fighters are killed. They last for decades (as did the Peloponnesian War, the Napoleonic Wars and the two World Wars of the 20th century) because one kills off the fathers in the first half of the war, and the sons in the second.

This new Thirty Years War has its origins in a demographic peak and an economic trough. There are nearly 30 million young men aged 15 to 24 in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran, a bulge generation produced by pre-modern fertility rates that prevailed a generation ago. But the region’s economies cannot support them. Syria does not have enough water to support an agricultural population, and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of farmers into tent cities preceded its civil war. The West mistook the death spasms of a civilization for an “Arab Spring,” and its blunders channeled the youth bulge into a regional war.

The way to win such a war is by attrition, that is, by feeding into the meat-grinder a quarter to a third of the enemy’s available manpower. Once a sufficient number of those who wish to fight to the death have had the opportunity to do so, the war stops because there are insufficient recruits to fill the ranks. That is how Generals Grant and Sherman fought the American Civil War, and that is the indicated strategy in the Middle East today.

It is a horrible business. It was not inevitable. It came about because of the ideological rigidity of the Bush Administration, compounded by the strategic withdrawal of the Obama administration. It could have been avoided by the cheap and simple expedient bombing of Iran’s nuclear program and Revolutionary Guards bases, followed by an intensive subversion effort aimed at regime change in Teheran. Former Vice President Dick Cheney advocated this course of action, but then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice persuaded Bush that the Muslim world would never forgive America for an attack on another Muslim state.

The Pentagon, meanwhile, warned Bush that America’s occupation army in Iraq had become hostage to Iranian retaliation: if America bombed Iran, Iran could exact vengeance in American blood in the cities of Iraq. Then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mike Mullen told Charlie Rose on March 16, 2009:

What I worry about in terms of an attack on Iran is, in addition to the immediate effect, the effect of the attack, it’s the unintended consequences. It’s the further destabilization in the region. It’s how they would respond. We have lots of Americans who live in that region who are under the threat envelope right now [because of the] capability that Iran has across the Gulf. So, I worry about their responses and I worry about it escalating in ways that we couldn’t predict.

The Bush administration was too timid to take on Iran; the Obama administration views Iran as a prospective ally. Even Neville Chamberlain did not regard Hitler as prospective partner in European security. But that is what Barack Obama said in March to journalist Jeffrey Goldberg:

What I’ll say is that if you look at Iranian behavior, they are strategic, and they’re not impulsive. They have a worldview, and they see their interests, and they respond to costs and benefits. And that isn’t to say that they aren’t a theocracy that embraces all kinds of ideas that I find abhorrent, but they’re not North Korea. They are a large, powerful country that sees itself as an important player on the world stage, and I do not think has a suicide wish, and can respond to incentives.

Bush may have been feckless, but Obama is mad.

With Iran neutralized, Syrian President Basher Assad would have had no choice but to come to terms with Syria’s Sunni majority; as it happens, he had the firepower to expel millions of them. Without the protection of Tehran, Iraq’s Shia would have had to compromise with Sunnis and Kurds. Iraqi Sunnis would not have allied with ISIS against the Iranian-backed regime in Baghdad. A million or more Iraqis would not have been displaced by the metastasizing Caliphate.

The occupation of Iraq in the pursuit of nation building was colossally stupid. It wasted thousands of lives and disrupted millions, cost the better part of a trillion dollars, and demoralized the American public like no failure since Vietnam – most of all America’s young people. Not only did it fail to accomplish its objective, but it kept America stuck in a tar-baby trap, unable to take action against the region’s main malefactor. Worst of all: the methods America employed in order to give the Iraq war the temporary appearance of success set in motion the disaster we have today. I warned of this in a May 4, 2010 essay entitled, General Petraeus’ Thirty Years War (Asia Times Online, May 4, 2010).

The great field marshal of the Thirty Years War of 1618-1648, Albrecht von Wallenstein, taught armies to live off the land, and succeeded so well that nearly half the people of Central Europe starved to death during the conflict. General David Petraeus, who heads America’s Central Command (CENTCOM), taught the land to live off him. Petraeus’ putative success in the Iraq “surge” of 2007-2008 is one of the weirder cases of Karl Marx’s quip of history repeating itself first as tragedy second as farce. The consequences will be similar, that is, hideous.

Wallenstein put 100,000 men into the field, an army of terrifying size for the times, by turning the imperial army into a parasite that consumed the livelihood of the empire’s home provinces. The Austrian Empire fired him in 1629 after five years of depredation, but pressed him back into service in 1631. Those who were left alive joined the army, in a self-feeding spiral of destruction on a scale not seen in Europe since the 8th century. Wallenstein’s power grew with the implosion of civil society, and the Austrian emperor had him murdered in 1634.

Petraeus accomplished the same thing with (literally) bags of money. Starting with Iraq, the American military has militarized large parts of the Middle East and Central Asia in the name of pacification. And now America is engaged in a grand strategic withdrawal from responsibility in the region, leaving behind men with weapons and excellent reason to use them.

There is no way to rewind the tape after the fragile ties of traditional society have been ripped to shreds by war. All of this was foreseeable; most of it might have been averted. But the sordid players in this tragicomedy had too much reputation at stake to reverse course when it still was possible. Now they will spend the declining years of their careers blaming each other.

Three million men will have to die before the butchery comes to an end. That is roughly the number of men who have nothing to go back to, and will fight to the death rather than surrender.

ISIS by itself is overrated. It is a horde enhanced by captured heavy weapons, but cannot fly warplanes in a region where close air support is the decisive factor in battle. The fighters of the Caliphate cannot hide under the jungle canopy like the North Vietnamese. They occupy terrain where aerial reconnaissance can identify every stray cat. The Saudi and Jordanian air forces are quite capable of defending their borders. Saudi Arabia has over 300 F-15′s and 72 Typhoons, and more than 80 Apache attack helicopters. Jordan has 60 F16′s as well as 25 Cobra attack helicopters. The putative Caliphate can be contained; it cannot break out into Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and it cannot advance far into the core Shia territory of Iraq. It can operate freely in Syria, in a war of attrition with the Iranian backed government army. The grim task of regional security policy is to channel the butchery into areas that do not threaten oil production or transport.

Ultimately, ISIS is a distraction. The problem is Iran. Without Iran, Hamas would have no capacity to strike Israel beyond a few dozen kilometers past the Gaza border. Iran now has GPS-guided missiles which are much harder to shoot down than ordinary ballistic missiles (an unguided missile has a trajectory that is easy to calculate after launch; guided missiles squirrel about seeking their targets). If Hamas acquires such rockets – and it will eventually if left to its own devices – Israel will have to strike further, harder and deeper to eliminate the threat. That confrontation will not come within a year, and possibly not within five years, but it looms over the present hostilities. The region’s security will hinge on the ultimate reckoning with Iran.

David P Goldman is Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and the Was Family Fellow at the Middle East Forum. His book How Civilizations Die (and why Islam is Dying, Too) was published by Regnery Press in September 2011. A volume of his essays on culture, religion and economics, It’s Not the End of the World – It’s Just the End of You, also appeared that fall, from Van Praag Press.