Report: 81 Muslim-Americans Associated with Terror in 2015, Highest Total Since 9/11

ap_abdirahman-sheik-mohamud_ap-photo1-640x480

Breitbart, by Jordan Schachtel, Feb. 2, 2016:

Muslim-American terror in 2015 reached its highest point since the September 11, 2001 attacks against America, the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security (TCTHS) said in a report released Tuesday, documenting that 81 Muslim-Americans were associated with terror plots in the past year.

The report also documented that 41 additional Muslim-Americans over the past three years have traveled to Syria in order to join Islamic militants.

Since 9/11, 344 Muslim Americans have been involved in “violent extremism,” the terror research document said. “Half of these individuals plotted against targets overseas; 10 percent involved unknown targets; and 40 percent plotted against targets in the United States,” the report adds.

The Triangle Center’s research said of Americans who joined the jihad abroad:

According to court records, media reports, and social media postings, 41 Muslim-Americans have joined the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” in Syria, Iraq, or Libya, or the Nusra Front (Jabhat al-Nusra), al-Qaeda’s franchise in Syria, since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011.

Twenty of these Americans have died, while 16 (11 men and five women) appear to be living in territory controlled by these groups. Five were arrested after their return to the United States; of these, one (Abdirahman S. Mohamud) was accused of planning an attack in the United States.

Duke University professor David Schanzer, who directs the terrorism research institute, said the U.S. government “estimates that 250 Americans have traveled to fight in Syria.”

Another one of the professors involved in the study, however, appeared to dismiss the troubling results of his own study, instead highlighting mass shootings as a more serious problem.

“Fortunately, the appeal of revolutionary violence remains very limited among Muslim-Americans,” said Charles Kurzman, a UNC professor and author of the report. “Muslim-American extremists have caused 69 deaths over 14 years, while 134 people were killed in mass shootings in the United States in 2015 alone.”

The Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security is a collaborative research center run by experts and scholars from Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and RTI International.

Read the full report here

Listen to great interview of Ryan Mauro on Voices of Global Freedom Radio

audio ryan mauro

Voices of Global Freedom, Jan. 29, 2016:

Today Roy Backpack Baron and Yoda have another interview with Professor Ryan Mauro is the National Security Analyst for the Clarion Project, a nonprofit organization that educates the public about the threat of Islamic extremism and provides a platform for voices of moderation and tolerance within the Muslim community. Clarion Project films have been seen by over 50 million people. Learn more at

www.clarionproject.org

Don’t miss this high energy, entertaining, informative show covering current threats to our liberty and how to survive and thrive in these dangerous troubled times.

White House: Obama’s Mosque Visit ‘Fits in Constellation’ of Religious Freedom Events

President Obama tours the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on April 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Obama tours the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on April 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

PJ MEDIA, BY BRIDGET JOHNSON, FEBRUARY 1, 2016

The White House suggested today that President Obama’s trip this week to a local mosque represents a balancing out of bookend events with Jewish and Christian communities.

Press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at the daily briefing today that Obama is “certainly looking forward to his trip to the Islamic Society of Baltimore,” his first official visit to a U.S. mosque in more than seven years in office.

“It will be an opportunity for the president to celebrate the contributions that Muslim-Americans have made to our nation,” Earnest said. “But to also reaffirm the importance that religious freedom has to our way of life. And you know, there obviously has been some discussion about this in the context of the political debate in the country. And you know, this is — the president’s visit I think, is an important moment to acknowledge those two things.”

“I mean, I think it’s also worth noting the context in which his visit occurs. Obviously, the president last week, had the opportunity to visit the Israeli Embassy to speak at the Righteous Among the Nations ceremony. And of course, later this week, the president will speak at the National Prayer Breakfast.”

Last week’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day event at the embassy included filmmaker Steven Spielberg and a video message from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The National Prayer Breakfast has Christian hosts yet welcomes guests each year from a range of faiths. The president traditionally delivers remarks.

“So, you know, I think this sort of fits in the constellation of events the president is doing to talk about religious liberty and to talk about the role that faith plays in our public debate,” Earnest continued. “I think it will also be an opportunity for the president to talk about the role that faith plays, even in his own life.”

Asked why Obama is just now visiting a mosque, despite earlier invitations from Muslim groups, the press secretary said “it’s hard to just sort of explain why we didn’t do something.”

“I think I can do my best to try to explain to you why we are doing something. And I think in this case, you know, it’s an opportunity for the president to celebrate the contributions of the Muslim American community to our country,” Earnest said.

“It’s also an opportunity to reaffirm that religious freedom and religious tolerance essential to our way of life in this country. It certainly is central to the kinds of values that were present at the formation of this country. And those values endure in more than — more than 240 years later.”

Earnest said the administration anticipates pushback from Obama’s visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore, but the president “believes that this kind of visit is important for the country.”

“We anticipate that the president’s visit to a mosque will be rather conspicuous. All of you will be interested in covering it,” he said. “I won’t be surprised if there are some of the president’s critics that decide to criticize the president for doing it. But all of that, I think, will serve to elevate a debate that the president believes is worth having.”

He couldn’t say why the White House chose this mosque other than it “represents the diversity of the Muslim population in America.”

“And hopefully that will be evident from the audience that the president speaks to,” Earnest added. “But we will have more on why this mosque was chosen as the president prepares for his visit.”

Earnest was asked if Obama plans on visiting any Hindu or Sikh places of worship.

“I’m not aware of any additional travel plans that I can announce from here, but I do think you can expect that the language in the message that the president will be delivering not just at the mosque on Wednesday but also at the prayer breakfast on Thursday is that the religious diversity of the United States contributes to our strength, and drawing on that diversity allows the United States to overcome challenges that other countries are not able to surmount, and that that is — that that diversity is something that we should treasure and that freedom is something that we should work assiduously to protect,” he replied.

***

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It seems that Stuart Varney did not research the background of his “moderate Muslim” guest:

Discover the Networks profile on Salam Al-Marayati

  • Founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council
  • Accused Israelis of responsibility for the 9/11 attacks
  • Hamas and Hezbollah sympathizer

Salam Al-Marayati is the founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), a Los Angeles-based Islamic advocacy group that defends Muslim extremist violence. MPAC has condemned the anti-terrorism measures of both the U.S. and Israel, and has called for a repeal of the Patriot Act.

During a 1997 speech he delivered at the University of Pennsylvania, Al-Marayati equated the concept of jihad to the statements of the eighteenth-century American statesman Patrick Henry. Said Al-Marayat, “[T]he person who we think in America would epitomize jihad would be Patrick Henry, who said, ‘Give me liberty or give me death.’ That is a way of looking at the term jihad from an American perspective.”

On the afternoon of September 11, 2001, Al-Marayati used a Los Angeles talk radio program as a forum in which to accuse the Israelis of responsibility for that morning’s attacks on New York and Washington. Al-Marayati has also called for the U.S. government to unfreeze the assets of two Islamic charities, the Global Relief Foundation and the Holy Land Foundation, that were shut down by the government because of funding they had given to terrorist organizations.

Al-Marayati refuses to call Hezbollah a terrorist group. “I don’t think any group should be judged 100% this or that,” he says. “I think every group is going to have . . . its claim of liberation and resistance.” He has similarly justified Hamas‘ existence as a political entity that promotes social programs and “educational operations.” “Yesterday’s terrorists in the Middle East are today’s leaders,” he says. “The PLO is the number one example of this . . . The PLO 35 years ago was considered a terrorist organization, nobody should deal with them . . . But they became the people in authority, in Palestine, today. So Hamas today, the way it’s being viewed, is exactly how the PLO was viewed 30 years ago. And in fact, even Hamas in terms of its social and educational operations is doing exactly what the PLO was doing 35 years ago, as well as its quote unquote military operations.”

In October 2010, the Barack Obama administration picked Al-Marayati to represent the U.S. government at the annual Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe human-rights conference, known as the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting.

Also see:

Islamic Groups Push ‘World Hijab Day’ To Undermine Western Opposition

Getty

Getty

Breitbart, by Dr. Susan Berry. Feb. 2, 2016:

Some non-Muslim women in the United States and other countries voluntarily donned the “hijab” on Monday to show “solidarity” with Muslim women.

World Hijab Day is part of a major effort supported by radical Muslim Student Association (MSA) to foster empathy toward Muslims and Islam in America.

“People see a veil, the hijab, but people don’t understand why we wear it,” said Doha Medani, a sophomore at North Carolina State University (NCSU), reports The Technician, the school’s newspaper. “My hijab is how I represent myself to the world: as a Muslim, first and foremost,” Medani said.

“The first thing people see … is my hijab. It makes it clear to the world, or whoever else, that I’m Muslim… it tells people a lot about who you are,” she added.

The campaign, however, is spurring protests from Americans. For example, two Muslim women penned a December op-ed at the Washington Post in which they say the hijab campaign is intended to hide Islam’s sexist political agenda, and urged Americans to stand against Islam’s ideological oppression of women.

“Journalists and media outlets must stop making the mistake of defining hijab as ‘headscarf,’ furthering a sexist propaganda campaign to equate the two,” wrote Asra Q. Nomani and Hala Arafa.

In the name of ‘interfaith,’ well-intentioned Americans are getting duped by the agenda of Muslims who argue that a woman’s honor lies in her ‘chastity,’ pushing a platform to put a headscarf on every woman,” the Muslim women added. “Please do this instead: Do not wear a headscarf in ‘solidarity’ with the ideology that most silences us, equating our bodies with ‘honor.’ Stand with us instead with moral courage against the ideology of Islamism that demands we cover our hair.

Hijabs are tight or loose headcloths that leave the face uncovered. They’re a less restrictive version of the face-hiding burkas imposed on Afghans women, or the eye-revealing niqabs forced on Saudi women, including Saudi journalists.

Advocates of the Hijab campaign downplay their Islamic political goals, and instead portray their campaign as a women’s solidarity event.

“It’s like a ‘Walk a day in their shoes’ type of thing, for women to wear the hijab and see what happens, how things around them change when they are viewed as a Muslim woman — to step into that and get that perspective,” said NCSU senior Hoda Abrahim. “So you can empathize in a way, or just better understand it.”

At NCSU, the school’s MSA and Women’s Center jointly allowed non-Muslim women the opportunity to wear the hijab and share their stories about their experience.

World Hijab Day was billed as “an open invitation to Muslims and non-Muslims to experience the hijab for a day.” Ads for the event were clearly aimed at attacking negativity toward Muslims and proposals to limit their immigration due to concerns about terrorism from Islamic jihadists.

“Before you judge, cover up for a day,” read one ad. “Covered by choice, not force,” another read, tying to countering the widespread view that Islam oppresses women. Yet another featured a woman in a hijab with the message, saying “Beautiful, confident, empowered.”

The Penn State Berks MSA hosted “World Hijab Day” and advertised a “free scarf for female attendees, a tutorial on how to wear the hijab, and a free lunch for all who attend.” Participants were asked to wear the hijab for the entire day and send their stories about their experiences to the school’s MSA president, reports Penn State News. A prize was awarded to the woman who submitted the most “engaging submission.”

At Texas A & M, biology junior Salam Yamak told The Battalion, “Anytime you sit down with someone and you have a conversation and you show them what your religion is all about should be casual like this,” she said about marking the day. “It creates a better environment and so we can better show the true nature of Islam.”

“Whenever you have Islamophobia or any other group that is seen as different it’s because of people not having enough knowledge or having enough experiences with Muslim people,” Yamak added.

Similarly, chemical engineering senior Danielle Gore said Islamophobia must be fought through dialogue that shows how peaceful Islam is as a religion.

“Especially for people who have only seen negative portrayals of Islam in the media and that’s what this holiday [sic] is for, to create a dialogue and to ask questions and to humanize a group of people who have been dehumanized,” he said. “Even if we do get some crazy people who yell things at us when we’re walking around campus we have definitely seen the goodness come out from our fellow Aggies by showing us support, despite the rhetoric that’s been created.”

In their anti-hijab-day op-ed, Nomani and Arafa argued that the event hides a political goal.

“Muslim special-interest groups are feeding articles about ‘Muslim women in hijab‘ under siege,” the authors say. “Staff members at the Council on American-Islamic Relations [CAIR], which has pressed legal and PR complaints against U.S. companies including Disney World and Abercrombie & Fitch, have even called their organization ‘the hijab legal defense fund.’”

federal judge concluded in 2009 that “the government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR… with Hamas” the jihad-group based in Gaza that shoots rockets in Israeli towns and communities. Since then, FBI leaders have sharply reduced any connection to the group, which has also been and has been declared a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT),

Islamic extremism is on the rise on college and university campuses across the United States. The spread of radical Islamism on campuses has proven to be an effective tool to garner support and gain legitimacy, exploiting the right of free association with academic institutions. International and domestic groups that advocate extremist or radical causes frequently host lectures and other events on campuses to shore up support and recruit members. Indeed, universities are a fertile field for radicals searching for the next generation of activists and sympathizers.

“The Muslim Students Association (MSA) of the United States and Canada was incorporated in January 1963, when members of the Muslim Brotherhood came together at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with the goal of ‘spreading Islam as students in North America,’” states IPT.

World Hijab Day was launched in 2013 by Nazma Khan, a New York resident who hoped to change the image of the hijab as a sign of oppression of women of Islam. The day has been especially marked on college and university campuses.

Among World Hijab Day’s “endorsers” is Felixia Yeap, an ex-Playboy bunny and ex-Playboy model, who writes in support:

I support world hijab day because I have heard enough stories of why hijabi women are being bullied and mocked just because they wear a hijab. I have been and still am being sarcastically mocked and insulted just because I chose to be a full time “hijabster” despite the fact that I have not reverted yet. Thanks for coming up with this 1st Feb!

“Revert” is the Islam term for “convert,” and illustrates the orthodox Islamic claim that everybody is born a Muslim, but many are led away from the Islamic lifestyle, or “deen,” by their parents and non-Islamic societies.

***

Egypt 1958, Muslims laughed at Muslim Brotherhood idea to impose hijab on women (themuslimissue.wordpress.com)

One of our Canadian readers Canada Uber shared this evidence of Islamic devolution from Egypt in 1958. Muslims are more backward today than decades ago.

Egyptian President Nasser giving a speech in 1958 followed by the laughter from the whole crowd when he describes the Muslim Brotherhood’s plans to make all women in Egypt wear a hijab.

The subtitles are in yellow and a little hard to read.

The last line is absolutely priceless.

As we have said many times in the past, with the testimony of elderly Muslims, the hijab was introduced by terrorist organizations. Wherever you find the hijab, you find the support of terrorism. The fully covered garbage sack or “beekeeper’s costume” has nothing to do with culture or religion but is a rape shield which entitles Muslim men to beat, rape or kill women should they not comply to their orders. And as our readers have observed, the hijab (fully covered burka) is a weaponized articles of clothing designed to make an influential or intimidating political statement.

Obama Admin Has Not Prosecuted a Single Palestinian Terrorist Who Killed Americans

Attorney General Loretta Lynch / AP

Attorney General Loretta Lynch / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Feb.2, 2016:

The Obama administration has not prosecuted a single Palestinian terrorist responsible for killing Americans abroad, despite a congressional mandate ordering the Justice Department to take action against these individuals, according to disclosures made by lawmakers on Tuesday.

Palestinian terrorists have murdered at least 64 Americans, including two unborn children, since 1993. Yet the U.S. government has failed to take legal action against those who committed the crimes, lawmakers disclosed during a Tuesday hearing on the Justice Department’s failure to live up to its mandate to bring these terrorists to justice.

Many of the terrorists continue to roam free across the Middle East, with one hosting a Hamas-affiliated television show in Jordan.

With criticism mounting from Congress and U.S. victims of terrorism, Justice Department officials say they are working to initiate cases, but warn that this could take “many years” to play out.

The Justice Department has repeatedly declined to comment when faced with questions from Congress about the lack of prosecutions, according to Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), chair of the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security.

The Justice Department “has not been able to cite one example for this committee of even a single terrorist who has been prosecuted in the U.S. for any of the 64 attacks against Americans in Israel,” DeSantis said. “Indeed, many of these terrorists roam free as the result of prisoner exchanges or evasion.”

“This is not what Congress intended” when it created the DOJ’s Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism in 2005, DeSantis added. “This is not what the American people want, and this does not provide justice to the victims’ families that has been so tragically elusive.”

The Justice Department has sought to evade questions about its failure to prosecute known terrorists responsible for the murder of U.S. citizens.

This includes its failure to level charges against Ahlam Tamimi, the Palestinian woman responsible for blowing up a Jerusalem pizza shop in 2001. The attacks killed 15, including a pregnant American woman. Tamimi currently resides in Jordan and hosts a television show on the Hamas-owned Al Quds station.

“When the [oversight] committee questioned the DOJ about this case, the department declined to comment,” DeSantis said. “If in fact bringing to justice the perpetrators of terrorism against Americans in Israel is a high priority for the DOJ, then surely people of this nature should be prosecuted for their crimes.”

Justice Department officials who testified maintain that they are aggressively working behind the scenes to make cases against foreign terrorists who have killed and injured Americans.

Brad Wiegmann, the deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s national security division, maintained that there are a number of “open investigations,” though he declined to provide further information.

“While I cannot discuss these investigations today or the facts of specific cases, it’s important to note the absence of public charges associated with a particular overseas attack does not mean that there are no charges, or that no such charges will be brought,” Weigmann said, noting that a prosecution could take place “many years” after an attack.

“I can certainly understand the frustration of some of the families that the Department of Justice has not prosecuted more cases involving terrorist attacks against Americans in Israel,” Wiegmann said, noting that the Obama administration has pursued some cases against terrorists affiliated with al Qaeda and ISIS.

Yet most of “these cases do not involve any of the recent attacks within Israel,” Weigmann admitted.

American victims of terrorist acts abroad who testified at the hearing offered sharp criticism of the Justice Department for failing to take on terrorists in the U.S. courts.

Sari Singer, who was injured in a 2003 Palestinian terror attack on a bus in Jerusalem, said that she has lost faith in the government.

“The government’s track record in extraditing or even seeking extradition of Palestinian terrorists who have murdered American citizens is nonexistent,” Singer said. “I grew up believing that my country would be there for me and protect me no matter where I was in the world. These last years have left me feeling let down.”

Peter Schwartz, whose nephew Ezra was shot in the head by a Palestinian terrorist in November 2015, said that the Obama administration has not been forthcoming about any potential investigations into the incident.

“We are not aware of what if any U.S. actions have been undertaken to investigate this case, and we still have many unanswered questions about the attack that claimed Ezra’s life and what role our government can play in answering them,” Schwartz told the committee.

The Obama administration was criticized in August when it sought to limit the restitution American victims of terrorism could receive. The administration argued in a legal briefing issued to the court that a large cash award to these victims could complicate the administration’s efforts to foster peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

EXCLUSIVE– Maryland Delegate To Introduce Bill Targeting Terror-Tied Mosques

Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Breitbart, by Jordan Schachtel, Feb. 2, 2016:

Maryland Delegate David Vogt, a veteran of a combat unit within the U.S. Marine Corps, will be introducing a bill targeting the tax-exempt status of radical mosques while the Maryland General Assembly is in session on Tuesday, Breitbart News has learned.

His bill, The Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, was drafted to “restrict and revoke” the tax-exempt status of any “mosque or organization that is found, through cooperation with [Department of Homeland Security], to have direct or indirect ties to terrorism,” Vogt’s office said.

The Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act will target the “prohibition on exemptions and credits for organizations having known ties to terrorism,” a draft of the bill obtained by Breitbart News reads. The bill covers not only religious institutions, but also any other 501(c)(3) organization, according to its text.

The Maryland Delegate’s coming announcement is timed to precede President Obama’s Wednesday visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore, a mosque that was led for eighteen years by an Imam who condoned suicide bombings and had associations to radical groups.

“The President’s visit to a mosque with a history of promoting terrorism is a disgrace, and this bill ensures that Maryland’s taxpayers aren’t subsidizing special treatment for terrorist sympathizers,” the Maryland delegate commented on Obama’s coming visit to the Baltimore mosque.  “If a preacher stands in a pulpit and endorses a candidate, that church, by law, loses its tax-exempt status.  It is insane that the endorsement of terrorism is not treated the same way.”

“This is a common-sense piece of legislation – if you endorse acts of terrorism, you don’t get special treatment from the government,” Vogt told Breitbart News regarding the bill.

Vogt is a decorated combat veteran who served in Afghanistan, and received the 2010 Marine of the Year award from the Military Times. He is a candidate for Congress in Maryland’s 6th District.

“It is painfully obvious that it is time to get serious and proactive about combating terrorism right here in America. Maybe when tax dollars become involved, the government will begin to care a little more,” he concluded.

While the United States government has allowed for radical mosques to continue operations unimpeded, countries such as France have started to crackdown on the institutions preaching jihadi terror. In December, the French government announced it would close up to 160 mosques in the coming months.

Republican frontrunners Sen. Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump have called attention to the fact that mosques in America are being used to promote radical sentiments.

“I don’t think we should be indiscriminately closing mosques, but I also don’t think we should be blind to the fact that there have been mosques that have been a nexus for promoting jihad,” Cruz said in December.

In November, Trump said the U.S. would have “absolutely no choice” but to shut down jihad-advocating mosques because “some bad things are happening” within their walls.

The Clarion Project has identified some 80 mosques in America that publicly preach radical ideals.

Obama’s Dubious Mosque Choice

Mehmet Kaman / Anadolu Agency/AFP

Mehmet Kaman / Anadolu Agency/AFP

IPT News
February 2, 2016

1345Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the Islamic Society of Baltimore (ISB) Wednesday, his first visit to a U.S. mosque since becoming president.

ISB leaders have amassed a record of support for radical Islamic causes over the years, including endorsing the Chechen jihad and Palestinian suicide bombings. Its former imam was active in a charity later linked to terror financing including Hamas, the Taliban, and for providing “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to Osama bin Laden.

More recently, a resident scholar described homosexuality as a threat to societal health, in stark contrast to the president’s views on the issue.

It’s safe to assume the White House vetted the ISB and found it an acceptable venue for a presidential appearance despite this history. And that is not surprising. The Obama administration has repeatedly embraced contact with the Muslim Brotherhood, repeatedly meeting with its officials during and after the Arab Spring while ignoringsecular democracy advocates. It praised the early tenure of Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi when he briefly served as Egypt’s president. The administration also helped a Brotherhood delegation skip routine screening by U.S. Customs and Border Protection upon landing in America.

And, as we reported in December, a White House meeting also aimed at standing by the Muslim-American community featured representatives of Islamist groups, including some with consistent records of opposing U.S. law enforcement counter-terrorism efforts.

ISB officials have worked closely with one of those groups, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). In 2014, two ISB officials joined with CAIR in a news conference blasting Israeli military actions in Gaza. The conflict, known as Operation Protective Edge, started when Hamas operatives kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teens and continued its incessant campaign of firing rockets with the hope of killing Israeli civilians.

Those rockets were fired from densely populated areas, including near schools andhouses of worship.

But Hamas’ murders and ongoing efforts to carry out more were never mentioned by the CAIR and ISB officials. Instead, they blamed Israel when raids aimed at rocket launchers and other Hamas targets inadvertently killed and injured civilians.

ISB President Muhammad Jameel recklessly invoked “genocide in the name of self-defense” and said that, “as an American I am ashamed to stand here.”

Abid Husain, the ISB’s general secretary, joined Jameel in calling for the U.S. to pressure Israel into opening Gaza’s borders, ending an embargo that was enacted to stop the flow of weapons and materials used to make them.

“The U.S. government must not remain silent about Israel’s indiscriminate assault and unjust use of force,” Husain said. “The right of a nation to defend itself does not extend to unrestrained aerial bombardments of civilian populations and must be condemned.

Far from genocide, which is the systematic elimination of a people, and from an indiscriminate attack, Israel campaign against Hamas “went to extraordinary lengths” to minimize civilian casualties, said Gen. Martin Dempsey, then-chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. Israel dropped leaflets and called residents of buildings targeted for bombing in hopes the residents would heed the warnings and seek safer locations.

After the conflict ended, Dempsey sent a team of senior officers to learn from Israeli military leaders to study the tactics in Gaza to minimize civilian casualties. “In this kind of conflict, where you are held to a standard that your enemy is not held to, you’re going to be criticized for civilian casualties,” he said.

Another ISB official, resident scholar Yaseen Shaikh, sermonized against homosexuality as a mental disorder and “something which we despise.” The talk is dated May 2013, just weeks before he joined the ISB.

The Quran says “harm them” to those who engage in homosexuality, he said. “What does this mean? If it was not an aberrant act, if this was not a despised act, why would Allah … say, ‘Harm them’? Allah then says, ‘[Several Arabic words],’ ‘If they repent and they reform and they transform themselves and change, then let them be.”

As the Daily Caller reported, a past ISB imam worked with an Islamic charity latershuttered by the Treasury Department for supporting terrorists.

Mohamad Adam El Sheikh was a regional representative for the Islamic Africa Relief Agency (IARA) in Baltimore the same time that he was an ISB imam and director.

1346

An archived ISB action alert says that the “Islamic Society of Baltimore was recently visited by an IARA representative who brought the attached pictures of atrocities committed by Russians against the Muslims in Chechnya.”

Although links to several pictures from the Chechen jihad are still available on ISB’s archived web page, the actual pictures are no longer accessible.

“Despite all of this, by the grace of Allah, the Mujahidin in Chechnya have been able to defend themselves and remains a formidable threat to heavily armed Russian Army. However, it is also our responsibility as Muslims all over the world to help them in their Jihad effort,” the action alert added.

The action alert further solicited donations “to help the Refugees and Mujahidin in their struggle.”

In 2004, El-Sheikh justified Palestinian suicide bombings, saying they are acceptable when “certain Muslims are to be cornered where they cannot defend themselves, except through these kinds of means, and their local religious leaders issued fatwas to permit that.”

Another page on the ISB’s archived “Official English Site” links to a feature on the “Jihad in Chechnya” on the Azzam Publications website. Azzam publications was an al Qaida-tied website that was “one of the most well-known supporters of jihad, or holy war, on the internet.” The site is replete with material promoting jihad and martyrdom operations and includes a photo and link to a biography of Osama bin Laden’s mentor,Abdullah Azzam.

Just after 9/11, the ISB hosted speakers who would become prominent advocates of jihad, including American-born al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a 2011 U.S. drone strike. Awlaki’s online sermons remain some of the most watched, most effective terrorist recruiting material online.

A page from ISB’s archived website links to the homepage of Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf Qaradawi. Qaradawi has issued fatwas or religious rulings in support of terrorism and described suicide operations as “heroic martyrdom operations.” In a 2004 fatwa, Qaradawi called abducting and killing Americans in Iraq is “a [religious] duty.”

At a 1995 conference held by the Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA) in Toledo, Ohio, Qaradawi called for the “conquest” of Europe and America through Dawa, or proselytizing. “We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through sword but through Dawa,” he said.

The ISB’s leaders have had connections with radical Islamists and espoused extreme viewpoints throughout its history. Like a lot of mosques, it continues to segregate men and women during prayer, something American-Islamic Forum for DemocracyPresident Zuhdi Jasser called “gender apartheid.”

During an appearance on Fox News Monday, Jasser said he was insulted by the president’s choice of the ISB. It continues an administration policy of working with Islamist groups and ignoring Muslims like him who stand against theocracy.

“It’s disgraceful that this is one of the mosques – or the mosque – that he’s picked to be the first visit,” he said. ISB’s website looks like “a covert operation. There’s no name on it. It basically has pictures of individuals, but no names.”

For an event that is expected to focus on tolerance, diversity and inclusion, Obama made a puzzling choice in the ISB. Its leaders sympathize with terrorists, hate homosexuals and treat women as less than equal.

U.S. Conditions IS Libya Fight on Unity Government

US Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd L) and Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni (R) hold a bilateral meeting before a summit regarding Islamic State with the foreign ministers of 23 countries from Europe, the West and the region, as well as by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on February 2, 2016 in Rome. Reuters/Nicholas Kamm/Pool

US Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd L) and Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni (R) hold a bilateral meeting before a summit regarding Islamic State with the foreign ministers of 23 countries from Europe, the West and the region, as well as by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on February 2, 2016 in Rome. Reuters/Nicholas Kamm/Pool

CSP, by Kevin Samolsky, Feb. 2, 2016:

February 2, 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry met with officials from 23 nations in Rome to discuss combating IS. Secretary Kerry addressed his growing concerns of the Islamic State’s (IS) presence in Libya especially. The growing fear is that the terrorist organization will take advantage of the lack of stability to control oil fields to further finance its operations.

Libya has been in turmoil since the NATO-backed ousting of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi, in 2011. The Libyan government is currently split between an internationally recognized government in Tobruk, the General National Congress (GNC), and an unofficial government in Tripoli led by the Islamist Libya Dawn faction. Libya Dawn was able to force the GNC out of the Tripoli in 2014, and the international community has been working ever since to unite the two governments.

Libya Dawn and the GNC signed a UN-brokered agreement to unify the government last December. However, it is unclear what Libya Dawn hopes to get out of the agreement, as it was their decision to attempt to seize power following election losses that led to the current fissure.

While the Libya Dawn government may claim they want to end hostilities and unite the government, it’s likely just a play to regain power.

Libya Dawn is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, and the enemy of the El-Sisi government in Egypt. This had led to the decision by Cairo to fully back the GNC and openly opposed any agreement that would return the Islamists to legitimate political power. Egypt has been the driving force behind Gen. Khalifa Haftar’s anti-Islamist “Operation Dignity” campaign which has seen battlefield gains against the Islamist factions.

IS has become a growing concern to North African nations. The Free Fire Blog recently discussed the growing connections between the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and IS’s growing trade network with Hamas in Gaza. In Libya, IS has taken control of Sirte, a city that links east and west of Libya, and has launched numerous attacks around the country.

International Business Times reported last year of IS threatening to wage war on Libya Dawn, but those hostilities may subside while both sides are being targeted by Egyptian and UAE airstrikes.

Breitbart News reports on troubling news of possible cooperation  between IS, Al Qaeda (AQ), and the Muslim Brotherhood within Libya. This merger would threaten any chance Libya has at stability, and if the Brotherhood were to take over, it would further threaten the neighboring government of Egypt.

Libya’s hopes for stability are quickly fading, and the Obama Administration may be apart of the blame. The Obama Administration allowed for weapon shipments to be sent to armed rebel groups during the uprising against Qaddafi. Some of these weapons fell in the hands of jihadist groups which allowed them to fight for control of Libya once Qaddafi was killed.

While the U.S. initially armed rebel groups, it has taken a step back from Libya. Instead, the Obama Administration has harshly criticized those who take part in Libya’s issues through violence, especially the UAE and Egypt. It seems ironic for the Administration to criticize others for trying to stop terrorism when they were the ones who facilitated it.

Libya’s stability is crucial against the fight against terrorism. Terrorists have beensmuggling fighters through Libya to Europe and Syria. Libya is also an important connector between Islamic State’s home base in Syria and it’s efforts in West Africa. Without a stable government to prevent this, it will continue to threaten the stability of the region.

While Secretary Kerry may be worried about IS in Libya, there must be a greater focus on the wider Islamist threat to the country. The Muslim Brotherhood poses just as large a threat to Libyan stability as IS, and if they are given any political legitimacy it will only serve to expand jihadist activity in the country. Despite the Obama Administration’s insistence to the contrary, a GNC victory over Libyan Dawn would have a better impact on security than enforcing upon Libya a unity government that neither side really wants.

Ansar al Sharia Libya relies on al Qaeda ideologues to guide followers

Long War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn, Feb. 2, 2016:

Jihadist groups around the globe denounced Saudi Arabia’s execution of more than 40 men in early January. Some of those sentenced to death had taken part in al Qaeda’s first campaign to disrupt the kingdom between 2003 and 2006. It was only natural, therefore, that al Qaeda, its regional branches and other affiliated groups would decry the House of Saud’s decision to follow through on the death sentences.

However, Ansar al Sharia Libya’s response was especially noteworthy. In a three-page statement released via Twitter on Jan. 15, the group compared those executed to senior al Qaeda leaders killed in America’s drone campaign.

“Al Salul [a derogatory reference to the Saudis] recognizes the importance of the true righteous scholars who control jihad with the correct provisions from the book of Allah Almighty and the sunna of His messenger, peace and blessing be upon him, and the impact of the absence of these scholars on the jihadist arena,” Ansar al Sharia Libya’s officials wrote, according to a translation obtained by The Long War Journal.

The jihadists claimed that the Saudis’ “message in this regard” is similar to “the acts of the head of global nonbelief, America, which has killed righteous scholars.”

Ansar al Sharia then listed eight such “scholars,” all of whom were al Qaeda leaders killed in US airstrikes: Harith bin Ghazi al Nadhari, Ibrahim Rubaish, Anwar al Awlaki, Nasir al Wuhayshi, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, Abu Yahya al Libi, Atiyah Abd al Rahman (referred to as “Atiyatallah”), and Khalid al Husainan.

The list is no accident. Ansar al Sharia regularly promotes sermons delivered by some of these same ideologues. Web banners used to advertise the speeches, which were first produced by al Qaeda, can be seen at the end of this article.

Throughout December and January, the organization’s radio station, Ather al Madinah, posted clips on social media of lectures by Nadhari and Rubaish, two al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) clerics who were killed in 2015.

One of Nadhari’s talks was divided into seven parts. He covered various theological issues, including the concept of tawheed (or the oneness of Allah). Nadhari explained in another sermon why Muslims should answer the “call to jihad.”

Several lectures by Rubaish, a former Guantanamo detainee who became an influential AQAP theologian after he was released from US custody, covered similar themes. In one, Rubaish advised Muslims to avoid selling out their religion for the pleasures of this world. Still another featured Rubaish and Nadhari together.

Abu Yahya al Libi’s speeches have also been rebroadcast by Ather al Madinah. Al Libi blasted the supposed false “idol” of democracy in a talk disseminated online in December.

Al Libi was one of al Qaeda’s most prominent ideologues at the time of his death in June 2012. On Sept. 10 2012, al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri confirmed al Libi’s death in a video released online. Zawahiri also called on Libyans to avenge his fallen comrade. Ansar al Sharia Libya and other al Qaeda groupsattacked an American diplomatic mission and the CIA’s so-called Annex the following day.

Screen-Shot-2016-02-02-at-1.27.36-PM-300x168Ansar al Sharia continues to refer to the Benghazi assault in its propaganda. In a short video released in December, for instance, the group’s fighters are shown chanting: “O tell lowly America that we will free Abu Khattala.”

Abu Khattala is the lone suspect from the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi raids in American custody. A screen shot of the fighters who chanted in the video can be seen on the right. The video was shot at a training camp named after Mohammed al Zahawi, Ansar al Sharia’s first emir (or leader), who died as a result of injuries in either late 2014 or early 2015.

After Zahawi’s death was confirmed in January 2015, Nadhari released a eulogy for the slain jihadist. Nadhari explained that Zahawi had personally met with Osama bin Laden in the 1990s in Sudan and adopted al Qaeda’s methodology at that time.

Although Ansar al Sharia Libya was initially portrayed by some as purely a local jihadist group, it has been a part of the al Qaeda network since its inception in 2011. The Long War Journal has documented the organization’s ties to al Qaeda and its branch in North Africa, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), on multiple occasions.

And the group now openly promotes al Qaeda clerics to its followers on a regular basis.

Ansar al Sharia Libya’s banner ads promoting the lectures delivered by al Qaeda ideologues

Harith bin Ghazi al Nadhari, an AQAP official killed in January 2015:

15-12-25-Nadhari-Ansar-al-Sharia-audio-768x277

16-01-25-Nadhari-Ansar-al-Sharia-audio-768x316

Ibrahim Rubaish, an ex-Guantanamo detainee who became an AQAP official and was killed in April 2015:

15-12-23-Ibrahim-Rubaish-Ansar-al-Sharia-audio-768x277

16-01-30-Ibrahim-Rubaish-Ansar-al-Sharia-audio-768x277

Rubaish and Nadhari together:

15-12-20-Nadhari-and-Rubaish-Ansar-al-Sharia-Libya-audio-768x277

Abu Yahya al Libi was a senior al Qaeda ideologue until his death in June 2012:

16-01-30-Abu-Yahya-al-Libi-Ansar-al-Sharia-audio-768x277

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for The Long War Journal.

U.S. Spots Russian Commandos in Syria

AP

AP

Spetsnaz troops helping Syrian, Hezbollah, foreign forces near Aleppo, Latakia

Washington Free Beacon, by Bill Gertz and Adam Kredo, Feb. 2, 2016:

Russian special operations troops are working covertly in Syria to support an array of Iranian-backed fighters, including members of the international terrorist group Hezbollah, U.S. defense officials and counterterror experts say.

The Spetsnaz commandos were detected working closely with military forces of the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, as well as several Iranian-backed groups, which even include armed Iraqis and Afghans.

Officials did not disclose the specific numbers of Spetsnaz troops in Syria but said the numbers were in the dozens.

Recent operations involving Spetsnaz forces have been focused on attacking anti-regime rebels near the northern city of Aleppo. The city has also been a target of Russian airstrikes.

However, officials said reports from Syria that Spetsnaz troops are working with pro-Iranian Hezbollah forces are a growing concern. Officials are worried the terrorist group, which is known for attacking Americans, will gain valuable military know-how from the Russian commandos.

Hezbollah, or Party of God, is a Lebanon-based terror group that the U.S. Counterterrorism Center has linked to numerous attacks that have killed scores of Americans since the 1980s.

“Although Hezbollah’s leadership is based in Lebanon, the group has established cells worldwide,” the Center states.

Hezbollah’s leader stated in May 2013 that the group is backing the Assad regime by dispatching fighters to Syria.

“Russian-Hezbollah cooperation and coordination in Syria has been going on since the outset of Russia’s entry into the civil war,” said David Daoud, a Middle East analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

“Iranian and Hezbollah sources have openly admitted, on a number of occasions, that Hezbollah ground operations during key battles in the war were carried out with Russian air support,” Daoud said. “So it wouldn’t be surprising that there’s now cooperation between Hezbollah’s ground forces and Russian special forces.”

Despite its record of anti-U.S. attacks, the U.S. government has done little to counter Hezbollah or retaliate against it.

Hezbollah’s military commander, Imad Mughniyah, was killed in a car bomb attack in Damascus in February 2008. Israel was suspected of carrying out the bombing.

Iranian-backed militants and organizations like the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps have long been suspected of serving as Russia’s de facto “ground force” in Syria, according to defense officials monitoring the situation.

One Pentagon official recently told the Washington Free Beacon that military sources have continued to monitor “Iranian-sponsored forces providing support to the Syrian regime in their fight against Syrian opposition forces.”

Rep. Ed Royce (R., Calif.), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, disclosed late last year that military leaders had informed him of Hezbollah-led “ethnic cleansing” campaigns.

“I’ve been briefed on the fact that [Iran is] even bringing in militias from Hezbollah and their families into Sunni dominated neighborhoods in Damascus and running their Sunni population out as they basically do an ethnic cleansing campaign,” Royce said.

The deployment of Russian special operations troops to Syria illustrates the growing role for covert military forces from numerous countries in the war-torn country.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter disclosed last month that U.S. special operations commandos are operating in Syria to assist rebel forces opposing the Islamic State (ISIS).

The U.S. commandos were sent in November as part of the Obama administration’s latest strategy to defeat the terrorist group.

The elite U.S. warriors are engaged in intelligence-gathering, targeting enemy forces, and advising rebels.

“These operators have helped focus the efforts of the local, capable forces against key ISIL vulnerabilities, including their lines of communication,” Carter said in a speech Jan. 13, using an alternative acronym for ISIS. “They are generating new insights that we turn into new targets, new strikes, and new opportunities.”

Recent news reports from Syria have indicated Hezbollah is working with Spetsnaz troops in the eastern part of the country.

The Arabic-language Al Rai newspaper reported on Jan. 26 that the commandos were making military advances in the mountains north of Latakia.

“Special forces from the Russian army equipped with Howitzer artillery, supported by warplanes and backed by elite units from Lebanon’s Hezbollah … have been entering the fiercest of battles in the heights and towns of Latakia,” the newspaper reported. The paper quoted sources in a Damascus operations center that included military forces from Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah.

Boris Zilberman, also with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the Russian-Hezbollah collaboration is not surprising.

“Russia recently said they do not consider Hezbollah a terrorist group and there are unconfirmed reports that Hezbollah militants participated in the search and rescue of the downed Russian Su-24 pilots,” Zilberman said.

Two Russian pilots were shot down and one killed when their aircraft strayed into Turkish airspace in November.

Russia continued airstrikes in northern Syria on Monday with Moscow reporting attacks on ISIS oil depots near Aleppo and other areas.

Two weeks ago, Western reporters visited Russia’s main Syrian base at Hmeimim, near Latakia, where Spetznaz troops were seen conducting security details. The commandos reportedly were dispatched to Syria on orders from Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s special operations troops are considered among the most well-trained and well-equipped elite troops used for both combat and intelligence-related activities.

Russian bombers destroyed more than 1,300 terrorist targets in 468 sorties over the past week, Russia’s state-run Interfax news agency reported Feb. 1.

The strikes were carried out by Tu-22 bombers and Su-35 strike aircraft.

Also see:

Reviving American Power After Obama

Flickr/White House

Flickr/White House

National Interest, by Kim R. Holmes, February 2, 2016: (h/t Fortuna’s Corner)

For the last seven years we have witnessed an unprecedented experiment based on a fundamental question: What would the world look like if the United States pulled back from its traditional leadership role? That was after all, the key thrust of President Barack Obama’s new foreign policy. He promised to embark on a radically new way of dealing with the world—one where we would “engage” our enemies rather than confront them.

The verdict is in.

The world is a far more dangerous place today than when Obama took office. Global terrorism is rising dramatically. The Middle East is a cauldron of war and instability. Instead of “ending,” the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan persist—and in the case of Iraq, under far worse conditions than Obama inherited in 2009. We face a terrorist threat arguably as bad, if not worse, than Al Qaeda was at its height: ISIS is more vicious, controls territory and even has a government, which, as far as safe havens for terrorists go, poses a more dangerous threat than in 2008. Russia and China are more powerful and threatening than they were in 2008. Our friends and allies are confused and afraid. And our enemies are significantly emboldened.

The new order Obama wants to establish is, unfortunately, one in which the United States cannot possibly win. It is hopelessly stacked against us: an asymmetrical strategic environment in which our adversaries can make huge gains at our expense—and at relatively low cost to themselves. Examples include not only the Iranian nuclear deal, where Tehran reaps a huge financial windfall but is left free—in ten or fifteen years (if not earlier)—to pursue nuclear weapons. They also include as Exhibit A Obama’s Russia “reset” policy, which paved the way for the annexation of Crimea and the invasion of eastern Ukraine with Russian surrogate forces.

Obama’s foreign policy has been a historic failure. But frankly, recognizing this fact does not automatically tell us how to correct it. We can’t just go back and recreate the world as it was before Obama sought to transform it. Too much water has passed under the bridge, and it will be much more difficult to get America back on track than many realize. We are in a very deep hole, and it will require brutal honesty to dig our way out of it.

We must do nothing less than completely overhaul Obama’s way of approaching the world. Every flawed assumption must be challenged. He claims adversaries will be more cooperative if we “engage” them. We must insist the opposite is true—that they stand down or back away only when they are confronted. He argues that our costs (both in terms of money and influence) go down when we appease our enemies. We must counter with the opposite; that they go up astronomically, as witnessed not only by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine but even by Iran’s bellicosity in the wake of the nuclear deal. He contends we will be more respected if we display a more open hand toward our adversaries. Polls of world opinion, not to mention the disrespect many world leaders (like Vladimir Putin) show toward Obama personally, prove otherwise. He promises a cheap and easy peace if we simply pull back and let others take the lead. We must show that the opposite is true—that peace is hard and expensive to achieve, and others, including our allies, follow only when we lead them.

The world Obama has left us is filled with new forces intent not only on threatening our security but disrupting the international order we helped create. Russia, Iran, ISIS and even China are trying to replace the old order with a new instability—perhaps even chaos—in which they win and we lose. For them, it truly is a zero-sum game. Yes, Russia and China partially benefit from the order they deride (especially China economically); but they do so mainly on their own terms, not ours or even those of the rest of the international community.

It’s in that dynamic that the asymmetry resides. It’s asymmetric because our adversaries and rivals pick and choose their fights at pressure points convenient to them, while we pretend that any attempt on our part to counter them only leads to more disorder. This is utterly false; in fact, it’s the exact opposite. Our refusal to stand up to adversaries signals a lack of commitment to that order, and to the security of our allies and friends who depend on us. Obama’s famous caution is not perceived by much of the world as a cool weighing of options (as his defenders imagine), but as indecision and even indifference. When he saves all his vigor and passion for issues like climate change, and neglects our defenses and makes deals with adversaries like Iran, he’s broadcasting his priorities loud and clear: America is getting out of the superpower business, and it’s time for the world to get used to our shrinking strategic presence.

There is only one way to reverse this dynamic: disrupt the disrupters—that is, those who wish to disrupt America’s leadership in the world. We should be thinking of ways to invert the cost ratios that now favor revisionist powers and forces like Russia, China, Iran and ISIS over us. In other words, we need to raise their costs for opposing us, while reducing the costs we incur from not opposing them. It may cost us more in the short run to challenge them, but in the long run we save because deterrence works better than appeasement. If we don’t do this, the price of peace will only go up. We will face a cascade of escalating challenges unleashed by the perception that we are an easy mark, and that it pays to challenge the United States of America.

It is true that we can never be as cynical as Russia or China in manipulating conflicts. Our values and international commitments will force us into the frustrating position of not being able always to meet them tit-for-tat. But there is no reason why we can’t make it more costly for them when they blatantly threaten us or our allies. That was the way Ronald Reagan confronted the Soviet Union, and it worked quite well.

We need to do more of some things but less of others. We must focus on what really counts, and stop chasing windmills like pretending climate change is the world’s biggest threat. We need to stand up a viable and friendly Syrian force to combat both ISIS and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, not waste our time on fruitless diplomatic initiatives at the United Nations that serve no purpose other than to offer cover for Russia’s backing of Assad. We need to spend a lot more money on national defense and stop pretending as if advanced technology or mere “smart” diplomacy can make up for military weakness.

Above all, we must choose confrontation (mostly diplomatic, but in the case of ISIS, military) wisely but deliberately. We must be very careful about picking our fights—but when we do, we must win them. In choosing confrontation, we should think not only about the specific tactical problems involved, but whether they serve some larger strategic purpose. Think of them as inflection points that can bend a strategic curve in our favor. We must always keep the overall curve in mind, and how all the points fit together.

There are four such inflection points. First and foremost is the destruction of ISIS’s capability to make war, inflict terror and control territory. That is what defeating ISIS means. Its total defeat is necessary, not only to protect the homeland from terrorist attacks but to reverse the trajectory toward more war and chaos in the Middle East. This goal can be achieved only by interjecting a substantial increase of U.S. combat forces into the fight against ISIS.

Second is to arrange for the defeat of Putin’s adventure in Ukraine. So much is riding on whether he succeeds or not. If he pulls it off, he will likely move onto other low-hanging fruit, possibly in the Baltics. But if he fails, it will prove his gambit to change the international order in Europe has miscarried and show the Russian people that adventurism doesn’t pay. Under those circumstances, Putin could end up facing the same misfortune as Soviet leaders did after the failure of the Afghanistan invasion in 1979.

How to do this? By dramatically increasing lethal assistance to Ukraine. A year ago, such a move looked risky because Putin was on a roll and in a strong position at home. Now he faces not only a potential quagmire in Ukraine, but increasing criticism for poorly handling the economic crisis. Politically, Putin is weaker, which means he no longer enjoys the easy escalation dominance he once did.

Third, we must reverse Obama’s strategic tilting in favor of Iran. It is upending a region already roiled by bitter sectarian and state power rivalries. If not reversed, it will lead to more war and bloodshed and possibly a nuclear arms race. This will require the next president to reverse the Iran nuclear deal as soon as possible. America’s allies, who salivate over renewed commercial ties with Iran, will have to be told they must choose between Iran and the United States. If given no other choice, they will choose us.

Fourth, we need to make clear to Beijing that China’s territorial expansionism will not be accepted as part of rules for a “new type of major power relations,” which is Chinese code for accepting a more dominant role for China in East Asia. This will entail a more forceful policy against China and substantial new naval deployments in East Asia—much more than those that accompanied Obama’s paltry “rebalancing” or “pivot” to Asia. It will also necessitate stronger support for friends and allies in the region in resisting China’s maritime territorial claims.

Some conflicts are simply intractable. That’s true not only for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but also for the ongoing nuclear drama with North Korea. These and other conflicts cannot be ignored, and they do need to be managed. But we should not expect that any new U.S. diplomatic initiative would make any significant difference. In fact, trying to do so could backfire, giving the Palestinians and the North Koreans new openings to exploit the differences of opinion we have with our friends and allies. Nevertheless, we should be moving briskly to build a missile defense system to deal with the North Korean threat. In addition, we should not rule out military preemption as an option if the North Koreans posture their nuclear weapons in a threatening manner.

Taking these actions could dramatically alter the diplomatic terrain left by Barack Obama. They would show a new style of U.S. leadership. They would reveal a new strategic focus on the most important issues facing us and our friends. They would show our friends that we are reliable and our foes that we should not be crossed.

Most importantly, they would demonstrate that the Obama experiment tried is over, and that the United States is back in the superpower business. The trajectory of American decline that once looked inevitable will have been reversed. America’s traditional leadership role, so derided and neglected by Obama, will be back. Only then can we begin the long and arduous process of restoring some sense of order and stability to a world unsettled by some of the biggest foreign policy mistakes in U.S. history.

Kim R. Holmes, a former Assistant Secretary of State, is a distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation. His latest book, “The Closing of the Liberal Mind” (Encounter Books), will be published in April.

Iran’s Naval Commander: We Took Extensive Info From American Sailors’ Phones, Laptops

Iran state media

Iran state media

Washington Free Beacon, by Morgan Chalfant, Feb. 1, 2016:

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) naval commander claimed Monday that his men harvested extensive information from cell phones and laptops confiscated from the 10 American sailors held in custody last month, according to Iranian media.

The Tasnim News Agency, which is affiliated with the IRGC, reported that Admiral Ali Fadavi made the admission during a session of Iranian parliament.

“We have extracted extensive information from their [American sailors’] laptops and cell phones,” Fadavi reportedly said. He added that the information could be made public if a decision were made to release it.

The U.S. sailors and their two small Navy boats were arrested by Iran on January 12 for allegedly drifting into Iranian territorial waters. While Iran initially promised to release them promptly, the American personnel were held overnight and released the following morning. A preliminary report om the Pentagon on the events found that Iran returned two of the sailors’ cell phones without their SIM cards.

The U.S. Central Command report also confirmed that the sailors were arrested at gunpoint.

Following the sailors’ release, Iran state media released images and video of the sailors in captivity, their weapons and equipment seized by the IRGC. Some photos also showed Iranian personnel sifting through their weapons and viewing their documents.

Fadavi claimed Monday that the IRGC has more footage–spanning several hours–of the U.S. sailors in detention. He said that the video would humiliate the United States 100 times more than the footage previously released.

However, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said last month that President Obama was not embarrassed by the footage of the sailors released by Iran.

Before his remarks Monday, Fadavi was honored by Iran’s supreme leader for arresting the American sailors. He and four other Iranian navy commanders were awarded the Order of Fat’h (Victory) medal for their actions.

Top U.S. General: ‘I Do Not Have Authority’ to Offensively Attack Taliban

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Breitbart, by Edwin Mora, Feb. 2, 2016:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. military, since President Obama declared that American troops had ceased their combat mission at the end of 2014, has only been able to attack the Taliban from a defensive position, the top commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan told lawmakers.

“I have the authority to protect our coalition members against any insurgency — Haqqani [Network], Taliban, al Qaeda — if they’re posing as a threat to our coalition forces,”testified the commander, Gen. John Campbell, before the House Armed Services Committee.

The general’s comments came in response to Rep. Jim Bridenstine asking if he had the authority to attack the Taliban, which has stepped up attacks since the end of 2014 and has been linked to the deteriorating security conditions in the Afghanistan.

“If the Taliban are attacking coalition forces, then I have everything I need to do that,” responded Gen. Campbell, who is expected to retire soon. “To attack the Taliban just because they’re Taliban, I do not have that authority.”

“It is astonishing that we have an authority to go after the Taliban and the president is preventing us from doing that,” proclaimed Bridenstine.

The Oklahoma Republican argued that the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) 2001, passed by Congress and signed into law by the U.S. president at the time, grants the top commander the authority to use the necessary force against the Taliban.

Rep. Bridenstine questioned, “Yet, the president, it seems, is saying you can’t attack the Taliban even though they were responsible for September 11?”

“What I think is we adjusted our mission in 2015,” explained Campbell. “We went away from combat operations and we worked with the Afghans to build their capabilities to go after the Taliban.”

President Obama declared an end to the U.S. combat mission in December 2014, marking the beginning of the train, assist, and advise (TAA) role for the American troops on January 1, 2015.

While testifying, Gen. Campbell noted that with only 9,800 U.S. service members in Afghanistan, carrying out the TAA mission is difficult.

“Again if the Taliban are attacking or pose a threat to coalition forces, I have everything I need to provide that force protection,” reiterated Campbell. “To go after the Taliban because they’re Taliban, I don’t do that sir.”

At least 21 American service members have been killed and another 79 wounded since President Obama adjusted the mission so that U.S. troops are unable to attack the Taliban from an offensive position. The majority of the total 2,227 American military deaths and 20,109 injuries since the war began in October 2001 have taken place under President Obama’s watch.

Rep. Bridenstine quoted the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) 2001.

“That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons,” states the AUMF.

The Taliban has been accused of providing safe haven to al Qaeda members involved in orchestrating the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. homeland, including the late jihadist leader Osama bin Laden.

President Obama is currently expected to reduce the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan to 5,500 troops by the time he left office in 2017.

“We’ll have a very limited ability to do TAA with 5,500,” said Gen. Campbell, who signaled that the U.S. military will stay in Afghanistan for years beyond 2017.

Obama has nominated Army Lt. Gen. John Nicholson, Jr., to replace the outgoing commander.

President Obama has been hesitant to call the Taliban a terrorist group.

US airstrikes destroy ISIS’ ‘Voice of the Caliphate’ radio station in Afghanistan

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Fox News, February 02, 2016:

U.S. airstrikes have destroyed an Islamic State-operated radio station in a remote part of eastern Afghanistan, officials said Tuesday.

“Voice of the Caliphate” radio was destroyed by two U.S. airstrikes, according to a U.S. military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief media on the subject.

Army Col. Mike Lawhorn, spokesman for the U.S.-NATO mission in Afghanistan, said U.S. forces conducted two “counter-terrorism airstrikes” late Monday in Achin district, in the eastern Nangarhar province, without elaborating.

An ISIS affiliate has emerged in Afghanistan over the past year, with a military presence in districts near the border with Pakistan. The radio station was broadcasting illegally across Nangarhar, calling on fighters to join the group and threatening journalists in the provincial capital, Jalalabad.

Afghan officials had said they believed the broadcasts were coming from mobile facilities that could be moved easily back and forth across the mountainous border.

The spokesman for the Nangarhar governor, Attaullah Khogyani, said the strikes had also killed 21 ISIS supporters, including five who were working for the radio station.

The station was set up in late 2015, following months of fierce fighting between ISIS group militants and the Taliban, who also maintain a significant presence in the region. Although ISIS and the Taliban both want to impose a harsh version of Islamic rule, they are bitterly divided over leadership and strategy, with the Taliban narrowly focused on Afghanistan and ISIS bent on establishing a worldwide caliphate.

Radio is a powerful medium in Afghanistan, where most people do not have televisions and only 10 percent of the population has access to the Internet. Nearly everyone has access to radio, with around 175 stations operating across the country.

The U.S. State Department recently added the ISIS Afghan affiliate to its list of foreign terrorist organizations.

Elsewhere in the country, three Afghan army officers died when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb late Monday in the Gereshk district of southern Helmand province, according to the district’s administration chief, Mohammad Sharif. He said the dead included Gen. Atta Mir, a brigade commander in Gereshk.

In the northern city of Kunduz, a secretary for the provincial governor’s office was shot dead near his home on Monday evening, the governor’s spokesman, Abdul Wasi Basel, said.

He said that no one had claimed responsibility for the killing of Mohammad Zarif.

The Taliban seized Kunduz for three days last year, and only fully withdrew after a two-week counteroffensive that devastated much of the city.

Also see:

Kent State Fired Prof for ‘Road Rage;’ Keeps Jihad-Tied Prof

Prof. Julio Pino (Photo: Video screenshot)

Prof. Julio Pino (Photo: Video screenshot)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, Feb. 1, 2016:

Kent State University is refusing to terminate Professor Julio Pino, despite his documented support for terrorism including Al-Qaeda and ISIS and ongoing FBI investigation.

However, while KSU’s tolerance for free speech extends to advocacy of terrorism and genocide, it apparently doesn’t extend to non-violent road rage. Last April, the university fired a professor of 10 years after a video emerged of his involvement in a confrontation with a driver that he says nearly struck a girl because he was texting while driving.

Yes, you read that correctly. Kent State University fired a non-tenured professor after he was charged with a misdemeanor for losing his temper at another driver. Yet, the university is refusing to fire a pro-terrorism tenured professor who violates faculty rules, isunder FBI investigation for possibly recruiting students for ISIS and is arguably guilty of the same misdemeanor as the terminated professor (see below).

The terminated professor, Linden Adkins, says he confronted the driver after he saw him texting while driving, drove through a stop sign and a student had to jump out of the way. Akins is seen yelling that the driver is a “moron” and leaning onto the windshield, at which point it sped away and knocked him to the ground. Adkins says he did so to see the face of the driver more clearly than through the side window that was tinted.

“I didn’t get violent. I didn’t get threatening. But I did want to make my point to him…Maybe I shouldn’t have been quite as intense, but at the same time, is it possible that my being that intense saved a future life?” he said.

Adkins was charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor of “aggravated menacing.” Ohio law defines the violation as when someone “knowingly cause[s] another to believe that the offender will cause serious physical harm to the person or property of the other person, the other person’s unborn, or a member of the other person’s immediate family.”

It continues, “the other person’s belief may be based on words or conduct of the offender that are directed at or identify a corporation, association, or other organization that employs the other person or to which the other person belongs.”

Shouting “Death to Israel” at a former Israeli diplomat on campus hosted by the Jewish Studies Program at KSU—as Pino did in 2011—certainly fits that definition of “aggravated menacing.” So does several other outrageous activities of his, such as a threatening letter to pro-Israel academics, support for suicide bombings of Jews, and support for Al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorists who target all Americans. But Pino has tenure and wasn’t charged.

In another related development, the Beacon Journal obtained performance reviews of Pino. While the “vast majority were positive,” the negative ones are shocking.

Six complaints came from one class last year and referred to offensive sexual jokes made in the classroom. One wrote, “No professionalism at all considering every class he mentioned how he was going to get high and drunk and find 18-year old girls to have sexual relations with.”

Another wrote, “No respect shown when he talks about being high and drunk and raping little girls.”

Two others more broadly called him “obnoxious” and “rude.”

As we wrote previously, other students complained about Pino’s extremist beliefs (including support for violence and torture committed by other countries), disrespect for the KSU leadership and repeated use of the word “nigga [slang for nigger].” There are also more generic complaints posted online.

Pino responded to the negative performance reviews by saying they are “fabrications and falsifications,” a denial that brings to mind his claim that his social media posts are merely “entertainment” open to interpretation.

KSU has more than enough reason to terminate Professor Pino or to at least put him on an extended leave of absence. Yet, the school didn’t even increase security after news broke that the FBI was investigating him as a possible ISIS recruiter.

Thankfully, students and others in the area see the seriousness of the situation. The danger is not lost on Kent State student Sophia Witt, who is studying global strategy with a minor in Jewish studies and founded Students Supporting Israel on campus. Here is her well-stated summary of the problem:

“You can tell that there’s something off about this guy from his comments that he’s previously made and the anti-Semitism that he’s been known for. I’m fearful for campus, especially the pro-Israel community.

“The problem is you can’t ensure someone’s safety when it comes to terrorism. A person can grab a knife right now and stab someone. [KSU] President Warren doesn’t have the say-so of whether someone does that.

“I feel that it’s the university’s duty as an establishment to ensure the safety of its students and I don’t feel like that’s being done. It’s really disheartening and it shows a little bit of a lack of integrity for Kent State.”

For further background on this developing controversy, please read the Clarion Project‘s previous reports here:

Clarion Project Research Shows Extremism of Prof Investigated by FBI for ISIS Ties

“The Kelly File” Covers Clarion Project Research on Prof. Pino

 Kent State Students Speak Out About Prof’s Terror Support, Professionalism

Kent State Prof Violates Faculty Rules by Supporting Terror, Keeps Job

 Kent State Honored Prof After His Support for Terrorism Became Known

Kent State Fails to Increase Security Despite Investigation into Pro-ISIS Prof