Presidential Race 2016 Candidate Profile – Ted Cruz, Republican

PresidentialRace2015Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, March 24, 2015:

The Presidential race for 2016 is gearing up and candidates are preparing themselves for the upcoming campaign. Senator Ted Cruz is the first to announce his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

As each candidate announces their intention to run, Clarion Project will provide a summary of each candidate’s positions on issues relating to Islamic extremism, in order to help our readers make the most informed possible choice come voting day. Should there be any significant changes, we intend to update our readers on the positions of any given candidate.

As Clarion is a bipartisan organization, we will not be endorsing any party or any candidate. All information provided is intended as informative only and should not be taken as evidence of Clarion’s preference for any given candidate.

As Senator Ted Cruz is the first candidate to announce, a summary of his record on Islamic extremism is what follows:

Ted-Cruz-Inside-Pic-245x306GOP Presidential Candidate Senator Ted Cruz: Record on Islamist Extremism

Senator Ted Cruz announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination on March 23, 2015.

The following is the Clarion Project’s compilation of Senator Cruz’s positions on Islamist extremism. It will be updated as the campaign develops.

Relevant Experience

Single-term Republican Senator from Texas (2012-Current)

  • Serves on Senate Committee on Armed Services:
    • Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities
    • Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
    • Subcommittee on Seapower

Islamist Groups in America

Iran

Iraq and ISIS

  • The U.S. should not deploy ground troops to Iraq to fight ISIS if they must rely on the Iraqi government or Iran-linked militias for security.
  • The U.S. should first increase support for the Kurdish Peshmerga instead of sending additional ground troops to Iraq.
  • The citizenships of Americans that have joined terrorist groups like ISIS overseas should be revoked so they cannot reenter the country or receive constitutional protections.

Muslim Brotherhood & Egypt

  • The U.S. should have successfully pressured Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to oversee a democratic transition but should not have supported his removal because he was an ally.
  • Criticism of his human rights abuses was acceptable but “[President Obama] went further than that to topple him and replace him with the Muslim Brotherhood, whose interest and animus was rabidly anti-American.”
  • The U.S. should have demanded concessions from the Muslim Brotherhood-led government of Egypt in return for pledges of additional foreign aid.
  • He said the U.S. should have severed aid to Egypt once the protests against the Muslim Brotherhood began. The lack of support for the opposition made the U.S. “in both perception and reality — entrenched as the partner of a repressive, Islamist regime and the enemy of the secular, pro-democracy opposition,” he wrote.
  • The Egyptian military’s popularly-supported overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood is a “coup” and all U.S. aid to Egypt should have been suspended. Sen. Cruz’s position was even more hostile to the new Egyptian military’s overthrow of the Brotherhood than that of the Obama Administration.
  • The Egyptian military’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhoodis responsible for provoking the Islamist group into violence and attacking Coptic Christians.
  • The U.S. should only provide aid to Egypt if it advances the creation of a secular and inclusive government that honors the peace treaty with Israel.
  • He praised Egyptian President El-Sisi for calling on the Muslim world to stand against terrorists who act in the name of Islam.

Syria

  • The U.S. should have swiftly called for the removal of Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2011 “when there was a unified, peaceful and secular opposition to him.” However, on March 24, 2015, Cruz appeared to disavow a policy supporting Assad’s removal by saying he’s a “monster” but does not “pose a clear and present danger to America.”
  • The U.S. must not arm Syrian rebels because of the inability to determine which rebels are a threat to the West and the likelihood that U.S. supplies will fall into the hands of terrorists.
  • The U.S. must take the lead in developing a plan to “go in” and eliminate Syrian stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction to prevent them from falling into the hands of terrorists. This was stated in June 2013.
  • In September 2013, he opposed the Obama Administration’s proposal for airstrikes on Syrian WMD capabilities and other regime targets after it ignored U.S. warnings against using chemical weapons in the civil war.

Spirited counterterrorism discussion/debate – watch Brooke Goldstein call out CAIR representative!

Brooke Goldstein‘New Terror Threat’ discussed by experts during NewsChannel 8 town hall roundtable

ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) – NewsChannel 8 on Tuesday evening hosted a live Your Voice, Your Future town hall roundtable discussion with top experts entitled “The New Terror Threat: The Countdown.”

The discussion, hosted by senior political reporter Scott Thuman, examined a wide range of topics involving growing tensions and issues in the Middle East that are impacting and potentially threatening other parts of the world.

Among the items discussed included the U.S./Iran nuclear talks, U.S./Israel relations, the Afghanistan/Iraq conflicts and terrorism in general.

Panel members included:

Rep.Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD2), Brooke Goldstein (lawfare Project), Jamal Abdi (NAIC), Clifford May (Foundation for Defense of democracies), Zainab Choudry (CAIR), Adelle Nazarian (Breitbart), Dr. Faheem Younis (Muslimerican) and Kamal Nawash (Free Muslim Coalition)

Ignore the short glitch in the beginning:

We Are Our Own Obstacle in Fighting al Qaeda

Army Magazine, By Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik, U.S. Army retired: (h/t Fortuna’s Corner)

The U.S. and others have been fighting al Qaeda and their ilk for going on 15 years. After countless drone strikes, special operations raids and two invasions, we have killed Osama bin Laden and scores of other key leaders. Our enemy may be disrupted periodically, but they are far from being dismantled or defeated. Why is that? Partly, it’s because they have proven to be more resilient and adaptive than we expected, but it is also partly because we are our own obstacle to taking effective counteraction. We still don’t understand the kind of war we’re in, haven’t structured a proper strategy to prevail and remain institutionally misaligned. Our self-imposed obstacles are three: intellectual, organizational and institutional.

Intellectually, our model for understanding war remains a conventional one: armies facing armies. We treat everything else as “not war” or “pseudo-war.” If we acknowledged we were at war, for example, we would identify a proper set of aims, ones that were neither expansive and unachievable, given the means available, nor so restrictive that achieving them accomplishes nothing worth the sacrifice. Then we would identify a set of military and nonmilitary strategies, policies and campaigns, all of which would contribute to attaining those aims. We would create the necessary set of organizations to make sure our decisions, and those of our allies and partners, could be translated into properly coordinated plans, executed in a coherent way and adapted quickly enough to address the uncertainties of war as it unfolds. We would see evidence of these behaviors if we were waging a war, but no objective assessment of the past decade and a half would conclude that this description fits our actual behavior. Rather, the more reasonable conclusion is that we are not really waging a war.

A decade and a half of fighting has been insufficient to move us from our default setting. Sometimes, the language our senior political and military leaders use is war language; at other times, it’s the language of law enforcement. We have yet to understand that, as Carl von Clausewitz says, “war is more than a true chameleon.” We have yet to follow his first principle: “The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish … the kind of war on which they are embarking; neither mistaking it for, nor trying to turn it into, something that is alien to its nature.” It’s no wonder, therefore, that we have been more successful tactically than we have been strategically.

When will we finally conclude that the enemies we face are waging some form of a global insurgency, a revolutionary war that seeks to seize the territory from those they call apostate governments and replace those “apostates” with a caliphate? Perhaps it was difficult to see this clearly at the start, but after 15 years of watching our enemies attempt to overthrow the government in Iraq, weaken Pakistan’s government, retake Afghanistan, create an Islamic state out of parts of Syria and Iraq, expand their influence in Somalia and other African states, and seize Yemen and Libya, the patterns of their war should be clearer. While they do not form a monolith, there is a pattern.

If we can put our intellectual bias behind us, perhaps we will be able to see reality as it is and set ourselves and our allies on a better strategic path. As long as our enemies wage some form of an insurgency or revolutionary war and we respond with a mixture of either a counterterrorist leadership decapitation and law-enforcement approach or an invade-and-rebuild approach—the two strategies that have gotten us to where we are—the strategic advantage will stay with our enemies.

Organizationally, we seem locked in a model that limits understanding organizational behavior as hierarchical: the higher-ups directing the underlings through echelons of leaders—the chain of command. The enemies we are fighting also have chains of command and sometimes work that way. An operation is planned, prepared and supported by “central al Qaeda” or the “headquarters” of an affiliate or spinoff. Then the attack is executed using the tools, money, training and equipment provided by the higher-ups. There are other forms of organizational behavior at play, however.

Discipleship is another way to understand how individual members of a group act on behalf of that group. In this model, individual members or small groups are inspired to take action by the power of the group’s narrative and belief in the group’s ideology. They don’t have to be directed to do anything; they act on the strength of their belief. Their commitment to their beliefs encourages them to act—even drives them to act in some cases—because not to do something would be a manifestation of the weakness of their beliefs. This kind of behavior is hardly “lone wolf”; rather, it is inspired by the pack. Often, there are no hierarchical command-and-control dots to connect in these kinds of cases other than the dots that create and grow a belief strong enough to form a determined and dedicated disciple.

Over 60 years ago, Eric Hoffer, when analyzing mass movements in The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, said that “many who join a rising revolutionary movement are attracted by the prospect of sudden and spectacular change in their conditions of life.” He goes on to say that the chief preoccupation of the leaders of a mass revolutionary movement, therefore, is to “kindle and fan an extravagant hope” and “foster, perfect, and perpetuate a facility for united action and self-sacrifice”; that is, they seek to create disciples, true believers, who will act—even alone, if necessary—to advance the cause.

Disciples and true believers are connected by “dots,” just not in the same way that conventional hierarchies are connected. Disciples and true believers still need motivation, leadership or inspiration, and they still need money, supplies, equipment or training. Some of these dots are vague and are often not clear except in retrospect, after an attack of some sort. We’re seeing this phenomenon in the wake of the Paris attacks. All too often, even if partially detected beforehand, the connection is insufficient for probable cause, let alone arrest. Even when disciples or true believers are arrested, the available evidence may not be strong enough to hold them very long. No crime has been committed. Therein we return to the first obstacle: Are we waging a war or fighting crime?

The intellectual model we select has practical consequences. If we are waging war, then the threshold for action is actionable intelligence, but if we are fighting crime, the threshold is sufficient evidence, which may never emerge. The difference between actionable intelligence and sufficient evidence is real. This leads to the last self-imposed obstacle: institutional.

We have separate, stovepiped institutions to deal with crime and war. This separateness rests upon an important understanding of the balance between civil liberties and common good. Departments or ministers of defense and intelligence agencies deal with war; departments or ministers of interior or justice and police agencies attend to crime. We also have another level of institutions that we hold responsible for our common safety and security: sovereign states. Such separation normally serves a democracy well.

The global insurgents or revolutionaries that we are fighting, however, like so many before them, slip back and forth from using criminal action, low-level terrorism, insurgency and formal military action, depending upon which tactic is most useful to attain their political aim. They operate in the institutional space between war and crime, using this gap to their advantage. They weave criminal and military action into one coherent whole. Our law enforcement, military and intelligence agencies—and those of our allies—have done yeoman’s work trying to stitch this gap, balancing the protection of their nation’s citizens with individual civil rights, but the gap remains.

If we were fighting a war, the stitching would be less ad hoc both internally to our nation and externally among the set of nations that face a common threat. We would have formed a real coalition or alliance, one in which the members of the alliance have a voice in the creation and execution of a long-term strategy, not one in which members are treated as if they were a posse going after bad guys with a U.S. sheriff. In addition, we would have sought to establish the kind of robust conventions, authorities and coordinative bodies that would facilitate coherent transnational action among allies. We would have conducted a counternarrative campaign aimed to erode the attractiveness of the insurgents’ motivational ideology. Finally, we would have educated the American people beyond bumper-sticker slogans.

Over the past 15 years, all of us have seen the common threat grow—not just in size, but also in modus operandi. How many more Paris-style attacks are necessary to convince us that we are at war and our mutual enemies are more than just criminals, even if they are not conventional soldiers? While the insurgency we face is not an existential threat to the U.S. in one sense, who can argue that their actions have not already altered the way we live at home and especially abroad? Who doubts that if they create the world they envision, it would be counter to the security and economic interests of the U.S. and our allies?

We have gotten better at killing those whom we identify as an enemy and uncovering some plots before they are hatched, but we have not yet reached “good enough”—not for ourselves as individual nations or as a set of sovereign bodies. Until we heed Clausewitz’ advice to fully adapt to the form of war that has been thrust upon us, we will continue to be our own impediment to effectively countering our enemies, thus allowing them to expand their influence and grow even stronger.

* * * *

Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik, USA Ret., is a former commander of Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq and a senior fellow of AUSA’s Institute of Land Warfare.

US military, diplomatic personnel quit Yemen as country descends into civil war

A protest against the Houthis on Sunday in Taiz, Yemen. Credit Anees Mahyoub/Reuters

A protest against the Houthis on Sunday in Taiz, Yemen. Credit Anees Mahyoub/Reuters

LWJ, by BILL ROGGIO, March 22nd, 2015:

The US governemnt has withdrawn its military and remaining diplomatic personnel from Yemen as the security situation has spiraled out of control over the past week. Among the forces pulled from Yemen were more than 100 military advisors who were training Yemeni counterterrorism personnel to battle al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The withdrawal of US forces from Yemen takes place just six months after President Barack Obama described the US strategy of partnering with local Yemeni forces as “one that we have successfully pursued … for years.”

The US yanked its military forces Al Anad Air Base after AQAP forces and allied tribes briefly took control of the nearby city of Houta, the capital of Lahj province, on March 20. Al Anad is located just 20 miles north of Houta. Yemeni military forces loyal to ousted President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is based in the nearby city of Aden, regained control of Houta after AQAP fighters withdrew without a fight.

The US military has not commented on the withdrawal of its forces from Al Anad, which was a key node in the US and Yemeni governments’ fight against AQAP. But the US State Department confirmed in a press release that the US government “has temporarily relocated its remaining personnel out of Yemen.”

“We also continue to actively monitor terrorist threats emanating from Yemen and have capabilities postured in the area to address them,” State claimed. “As we have in the past, we will take action to disrupt continuing, imminent threats to the United States and our citizens.”

The US Embassy in Sana’a was evacuated at the end of February. US Marines stationed at the embassy had to disable and abandon their weapons prior to boarding a civilian flight out of the country.

AQAP’s foray into Houta was preceded by attacks from the rival Islamic State, Shia Houthi rebels, and infighting between forces loyal to President Hadi. Additionally, today Houthi forces have taken control of the city of Taiz, Yemen’s third largest and are now just 120 miles from Aden, The New York Times reported.

On March 20, the Islamic State deployed four suicide bombers at two Houthi mosques in the capital of Sana’a’, killing more than 100 worshiper. The Islamic State threatened to carry out more such attacks.

On the previous day, forces loyal to Hadi battled a rival military commander at Aden’s international airport. Thirteen people were killed before Hadi’s troops took control of the airport, Reuters reported. During the fighting, an aircraft thought to have been flown by the Houthi-led government based in Sana’a struck the presidential palace in Aden.

Hadi fled to Aden in late February after escaping house arrest in Sana’a. He was forced to resign his presidency in January after intense pressure from the Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi rebels, who took control of much of northern and western Yemen late last summer. Hadi has been the US’ biggest supporter in the fight against al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. He was a vocal supporter of the unpopular drone strikes, which have targeted al Qaeda’s leaders and operatives in Yemen.

Yemen is one of several key bases for al Qaeda’s global network. Some of al Qaeda’s top leaders operate from Yemen, including Nasir al Wuhayshi, who serves as general manager in addition to AQAP’s emir. While the US has killed several key AQAP leaders since ramping up drone and air strikes in Yemen at the end of 2009, Wuhayshi and much of AQAP’s leadership cadre continue to operate. In addition to seeking to take control of Yemen, AQAP has been has been at the forefront of plotting attacks against the US and the West.

The withdrawal of US forces is a major blow to President Obama’s hands-off approach in the Middle East. On Sept. 11, 2014, Obama touted the counterterrorism strategy of US airpower working with “partner forces on the ground” in both Yemen and Somalia as “one that we have successfully pursued … for years.” [See LWJreports, US strategy against Islamic State to mirror counterterrorism efforts in Yemen, Somalia, and President Obama’s ‘successful’ counterterrorism strategy in Yemen in limbo.]

Today, the US has few Yemeni forces left to partner with and a limited ability to do so. Whatever friendly forces that do remain are confined to limited geographical area and over the next several weeks and months will be focusing on survival.

***

Also see:

America is Losing the War Against Sunni Jihadists and Empowering The Shia Caliphate

isis-640x480Breitbartby DR. SEBASTIAN GORKA, March 13, 2015:

With its support of the Baghdad government and the wrong rebels in Syria, the US Administration is doing the unthinkable: strengthening the spread of Tehran’s control in the Middle East and at the same time also helping the Sunni extremists to grow in power.

The American strategy against Global Jihad is having the opposite effect of that intended. And even key government officials are beginning to openly admit the failure of our policies.

The Director of National Intelligence, retired General James Clapper, recently testified that the terrorist threat is worse than at any other time in history and Major General Michael Nagata, responsible for planning our response to the civil war in Syria, has stated that the Islamic State is now more dangerous than Al Qaeda.

Seemingly just to prove the broader point about the global appeal of Jihad against the “infidel,” ISIS has just accepted the African terrorist group Boko Haram’s pledge of allegiance, meaning that the Sunni Caliphate established last year in Mosul by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi now officially covers any territory that Boko Haram controls in Nigeria.

The spread of ISIS influence is not just about territorial control, it is about the staggering success of its international call to holy war, with an estimated 19,000 westerners having left their homes to wage jihad. The visual below, based upon a British think-tank’s unclassified research, shows just how international a recruitment wave this is, with almost every country on the map sending recruits to fight in just Syria alone.

image

Given all the evidence, even the most influential liberal commentators and pundits have admitted the failure of the Obama strategy against “Violent Extremism.” Writing recently in the New York Times, Thomas Friedman stated: “When you don’t call things by their real name, you always get in trouble. And this administration, so fearful of being accused of Islamophobia, is refusing to make any link to radical Islam” and added that as a nation “We’ve entered the theater of the absurd.” The left wing Atlantic magazine even dedicated 11,000 words to an article proving the Islamic roots of ISIS and the religious justification for its violence.

Fourteen years after the September 11th attacks and half way through President Obama’s second term, how can we explain a failure so egregious that even the pillars of the liberal left are finally prepared to call it out? The key mistakes upon which the current strategy is built are:

  • The White House’s belief in the ability to “degrade and destroy” ISIS through air power alone
  • The belief that Iran can be leveraged as an ally against ISIS
  • Gambling on Islamic rebels such as the Free Syrian Army as a way to remove President Assad of Syria, and mostly important:
  • The belief that ideology is irrelevant to the enemy we face and that this war can be won solely through military means or local proxies.

Each one of these premises is flawed and is undermining US national interests as well as the safety and stability of our regional allies.

Firstly, in the history of modern military air power, since the first hand grenade was thrown out of a biplane over a century ago, the number of insurgencies like ISIS that have been defeated by airstrikes alone is zero. Insurgents are defined by their capability to hold ground. This is what separates a rag-tag terrorist group from a real threat like the Islamic State. As a result, their control of territory by ground forces can only be countered by other ground forces contesting the same space and eventually destroying or pushing them out. This is not a call for the deployment of US troops, but for the recognition of the fact that only a ground response– for example, made up of Iraqi, Kurdish, Jordanian and Egyptian units– can defeat ISIS. (According to my sources even Ben Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Adviser, has admitted that US airstrikes are not working because we do not have the intelligence on the ground to know what to hit.) Any such response on the ground will not happen without US leadership and support, and in this President Sisi of Egypt will play the pivotal role even if the Obama Administration doesn’t like the former General. Without Egypt’s military might, the Islamic State will continue to grow and threaten the US even more than it already does.

By bringing Iran into our plans against ISIS, we are in fact strengthening a rival brand of Jihad. The war today in Syria and Iraq is not about the corruption of the former Maliki government in Baghdad or the human rights record of President Assad of Syria. It is about whose version of Islam will dominate the region. One only has to read or listen to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s sermon from the Grand Mosque Mosul in which he declared the Islamic State. The speech is about reestablishing the theocratic empire of Islam – the Caliphate – under Sunni control. ISIS even posted their real intent on social media:

Iran, on the other hand, also believes in the need to re-establish the Caliphate, but under its control as a Shia empire, and the wars in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, must be understood as the re-ignition of a 1,400 year old argument about who should control Islam. In fact, that is how the Sunni and Shia division of Islam occurred after the death of Mohammad, and those are the stakes for Tehran. The fact that the mullahs now control five regional capitals– Tehran, Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus, and now Sanaa– means that despite ISIS’s growth, the Shia extremists are winning. The White House’s belief that Tehran is an altruistic foe of Sunni jihadists like ISIS is driven by shortsightedness and a lack of understanding of the historic battle that is in play, and will simply strengthen the Shia proto-Caliphate, eventually even to include Tehran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons should the nascent deal the President is pushing come to fruition.

By contrast, in Syria, since 2011, the administration has been driven by its pathological hatred of Assad and the belief that, despite his enjoying the support of both Beijing and Moscow, Assad can be removed through the support of indigenous rebels such as the Free Syria Army. Speaking to the few true moderates that have organizational capability in theater, the sad truth is that we have chosen the wrong rebels. The more organized and loudest rebel groups are not the moderates but the true jihadists, some of whom have in fact formally allied themselves with ISIS. (This is not just a failure of the White House, but also the Republicans in Congress, especially Senator John McCain, who has the uncanny knack of supporting those who would kill us after they have killed all the Shia in the region).

Most disturbing of all is the Administrations willful dismissal of the real center of gravity in this war: the ideology of Global Jihadism. With its constant refrain that “upstream causes” such as poverty and lack of education are the real reason for terrorist violence, the White House displays a total ignorance of the groups we face today, from Al Qaeda to ISIS, from the Fort Hood shooter to the Tsarnaev brothers who killed and maimed hundreds at the Boston bombing.

As political correctness has been forced onto the practice of national security in general and counterterrorism specifically, we see absurd conclusions being drawn and fantastical policies being implemented. The recent international summit on “Combating Violent Extremism” hosted by the President and the White House assiduously preached repeatedly that religion has nothing to do with ISIS or Al Qaeda and concluded with this visual that all we need is more community outreach:

White House Summit

Of course, if poverty and lack of education were the drivers of terrorist violence, then half of the population of India would be terrorists. But they aren’t. Why? Because terrorist violence does not happen in a vacuum. It requires a spark, a narrative that acts as the justification to violence and the catalyst to mobilize people to do horrific acts against their fellow man. That ideology can be secular – for example, the communist terrorism of the Weather Underground led by Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers – or religious, such as ISIS. How else, for example, can one understand why the Islamic state would behead the 21 Coptic Christians whose murder they filmed on the shores of Libya, but instead burn alive the Jordanian pilot Lieutenant Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh? These decisions were not random.

For the jihadists of ISIS, the Copts are kuffar, infidels, and as the Koran teaches, the infidel must be “smitten on the neck” (e.g. Koran Ch. 47 V. 4). However, Lt. Kaseasbeh was a Muslim, a Jordanian Sunni, who in taking arms up against the Caliphate made himself an “apostate” and as a result he had to be killed not as an infidel but as one who committed the sin of leaving Islam and therefore, he was to be treated as if he were in hell, i.e. burnt alive. Religion is therefore so important to this war that it even defines the way in which the terrorists will kill you should you be captured.

Today, the Global Jihad has two brands. It is a war of the “Sunni Coke” versus the “Shia Pepsi” which also targets the local minorities caught in the middle, most especially the ancient Christians of the region.(Incredibly, the Parliament of the European Union seems to understand the threat better than the White House based upon the resolution it just issued against ISIS.) The powers that be have allowed politics and ideology to distort and pervert the practice of national security to such an extent that, incredibly, we are not only helping the Sunni Jihadists, but also the Shia extremists of Iran. Whichever side wins the war for the crown of the Caliph is irrelevant, since once their immediate foe is vanquished we, the infidel West, will be their next target.

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

Why Did A Turkish Paper Target Canada for a Smear?

4227093981CSP, by Kyle Shideler, march 12, 2015:

Daily Sabah article alleges that Turkish security has detained an agent of the Canadian intelligence for having assisted three British girls for traveling to Syria to join the Islamic State:

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said yesterday that an intelligence agent from a country that is a member of the anti-ISIS coalition had helped the three British girls join the group in Syria. While Foreign Ministry officials refused to comment on the nationality of the agent, security forces reached by Daily Sabah found the agent is suspected to be a spy working for Canada.

The story grabs headlines because of the tie in to the three British girls who recently disappeared from the U.K headed for the Islamic State. Media outlets are now widely covering the story, all citing from the Daily Sabah piece. Daily Sabah is noted for being  supportive of the ruling Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP.) Few of the media covering the story noted, as the Wall Street Journal did, this interesting point:

Within an hour of the statement, several Turkish pro-government media outlets published reports quoting senior government sources claiming the operative worked for Canadian intelligence.

Given the timing, and the curious nature of the Turkish Foreign Minister’s comments, the whole story suggests an information operation is currently underway. Canadian sources have already pushed back, with Canadian Broadcasting running the strongest version of the Canadian government’s denial:

Some Turkish media accounts suggested the detained person may have been a Canadian citizen or from Canada. CBC News has confirmed this is not the case. The suspected individual is neither a Canadian citizen nor a Canadian Security Intelligence Service employee, CBC News has learned.

Perhaps the most curious question, is, why Canada and why now? There are a number of possible scenarios:

Possibility number one is that the story is true, an agent was arrested and the agent was a Canadian intelligence asset. Even if this were the case, for example, if the agent either was doubled and ended up supporting Islamic State, or if the operation simply went awry, the Turkish decision to out the agent, from an allied (NATO) country seems highly unusual. Why then choose to release the information? We can note this odd quote allegedly from the Prime Minister’s office:

“The statement said that capture of the intelligence officer “showcased a complex problem involving intelligence wars. This incident should be a message to those always blaming Turkey on the debate on the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, and shows it is a problem more complicated than a mere border security issue. Turkey will continue its call for stronger intelligence sharing, and is worried about the lack of intelligence sharing in a matter involving the lives of three young girls,” the statement said.

The statement suggests an attempt by the Turks to deflect criticism of their handling of Islamic State supporters crossing the border, and lay the blame on the Western intelligence services, for a lack of sharing, while playing into popular conspiracy theories that the Islamic State is the creation of Western intelligence.

Alternatively of course, the story could be true, and an agent was arrested, but the agent was NOT a Canadian asset. Or the story is wholly false, and there is no agent. Both of which make the decision to finger a Canadian culprit even more curious. Regardless of which scenario ends up being true, the question remains:

Why go out of the way to leak specifics and point the finger at Canada? Canada seems a curious choice to target, even if the goal is to redirect the blame for Islamic State’s recruitment on the West and distract from Turkey’s own border security problems. Blaming MI-6 or the American CIA would seem to resonate better with the audiences in the Middle East.

Is it possible that the choice of Canada as a target has less to do with Turkey and its relationship vis-a-vis the Islamic State, and more to do with the ongoing situation in Canada, where the government is attempting to revise and expand the capability of its domestic intelligence agency to investigate and disrupt threats?

Consider that Canada has already conducted an aggressive investigation, Project Sapphire, which cracked down on Islamic organizations allegedly involved in fundraising for Hamas through Muslim Brotherhood networks which are now under greater scrutiny. The successful passage of Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act of 2015 would like put additional pressure on those networks, and could lead to a direct targeting of the Muslim Brotherhood in Canada.

Why would the Turkish government care? Because Turkey itself, has been repeatedly noted for its close ties and funding for Hamas, and its relationship with key Global Muslim Brotherhood figures like chief jurist Yusuf Al Qaradawi. Qaradawi himself has confirmed the Ikhwan’s close ties to Ankara. An opportunity to direct attention away form Turkish failings regarding Islamic State, as well as to throw a wrench into Canadian internal discussions on how best to strengthen their intelligence agencies, may have been an appealing opportunity that the Islamist government in Turkey couldn’t bring itself to pass up.

Also see:

Intelligence: Broken Arrow

194221_5_By G. Murphy Donovan:

Policy is a worldview. Intelligence is the real world, a wilderness of untidy facts that may or may not influence policy. When Intelligence fails to provide a true and defensible estimate, a clear picture of threat, policy becomes a rat’s nest of personal and political agendas where asserted conclusions and political correctness become the loudest voices in the room.  The policymaker thinks he knows the answer. The intelligence officer has the much tougher tasks of confirming or changing minds.

American national security analysis has been poisoned by such toxins. An Intelligence report these days might be any estimate that supports the politics of the moment. Truth today is an afterthought at best and an orphan at worst.

Alas, corrupt Intelligence is the midwife of strategic fiasco. Four contemporary failures provide illustrations: revolutionary theocracy, the Islam bomb, imperial Islamism, and the new Cold War.

Back to Theocracy

The Persian revolution of 1979 was arguably the most significant strategic surprise of the last half of the 20th Century. Yes, more significant than the fall of Soviet Communism. (The precipitous fall of the Soviet Bloc, to be sure, was another bellwether event unanticipated by Intelligence analysis.) The successful religious coup in Iran, heretofore an American client regime, now provides a model for all Muslim states where the default setting among tribal autocracies is now theocracy not democracy. In the wake of the Communist collapse, Francis Fukuyama argued that the democratic ideal was triumphant, an end of history as we knew it, the evolutionary consequence of progressive dialects. Fukuyama was wrong, tragically wrong. History is a two-way street that runs forward as well as backwards.

The fall of the Soviet monolith was not the end of anything. It was the beginning of profound regression, an era of religious irredentism. Worrisome as the Cold War was, the relationship with Moscow was fairly well managed. Who can argue today that East Europe or the Muslim world is more stable or peaceful than it was three decades ago?

The Persian revolution of 1979 not only reversed the vector of Muslim politics, but the triumph of Shia imperialism blew new life into the Shia/Sunni sectarian fire, a conflict that had been smoldering for more than a thousand years. The theocratic victory in Tehran also raised the ante for Israel too, now confronted by state sponsored Shia and Sunni antagonists,Hezb’allah, Fatah, and Hamas.

Shia Hezb’allah calls itself the party of God! Those in the Intelligence Community who continue to insist that religion is not part of the mix have yet to explain why God is part of the conversation only on the Islamic side of the equation.

Global Islamic terror is now metastasizing at an alarming rate. More ominous is the ascent of the Shia clergy, apocalyptic ayatollahs, bringing a lowering of the nuclear threshold in the Middle East. Sunni ISIS by comparison is just another tactical terror symptom on the Sunni side — and yet another strategic warning failure too.

Tehran is in the cat bird’s seat, on the cusp of becoming a nuclear superpower. Nuclear Iran changes every strategic dynamic: with Israel, with Arabia, and also with NATO. A Shia bomb is the shortcut to checkmate the more numerous Sunni. Iran will not be “talked out” of the most potent tool in imperial Shia kit — and the related quest for parity with Arabian apostates.

The Islam Bomb

The Islam bomb has been with us for years, in Sunni Pakistan, although you might never know that if you followed the small wars follies in South Asia. The enemy, as represented by American analysis, is atomized, a cast of bit players on the subcontinent. First, America was fighting a proxy war with the Soviets. When the Russians departed, the enemy became the murderous Taliban followed by al Qaeda. Both now make common cause with almost every stripe of mujahedeen today. In the 25 years since the Soviet withdrawal, Afghanistan has been reduced now to a rubble of narco-terror and tribalism. If we can believe bulletins from the Pentagon or the Oval Office, America is headed for the Afghan exit in the next two years — maybe. Throughout, the real threat in South Asia remains unheralded — and unmolested.

Nuclear Pakistan is one car bomb, or one AK-47 clip, away from another Taliban theocracy. This is not the kind of alarm that has been raised by the Intelligence Community. Hindu India probably understands the threat, Shia Persia surely understands the Sunni threat, and just as surely, Israel understands that a Sunni bomb is the raison d’etre for a more proximate Shia bomb. Who would argue that the Sunni Saudis need nuclear “power”? Nonetheless, Riyadh is now in the game too.  The most unstable corner of the globe is now host to a nuclear power pull.

The American national security establishment seems to be clueless on all of this. Indeed, when a unique democracy like Israel tries to illuminate a portion of the nuclear threat before the American Congress, the Israeli prime minister is stiff-armed by the Oval Office. If Washington failed with Pakistan and North Korea, why would anyone, let alone the Israelis, believe that Wendy Sherman is a match for the nuclear pipedreams of apocalyptic Shia priests.

Alas, the motive force behind a Shia bomb is not Israeli capabilities or intentions. Israel is a stable democracy where any territorial ambitions are limited to the traditional Jewish homeland. Israel is no threat to Persia or Arabia.  Pakistan, in contrast, is like much of the Sunni world today, another internecine tribal or sectarian wildfire waiting for a match.

The advent of the Islam bomb in Asia was not just a strategic surprise, but the step-child of strategic apathy. The folly of taking sides with the Sunni has now come home to roost. Iran is about to go for the atomic brass ring too, with the Saudis in trail, and there’s not much that America can/will do except mutter about secret diplomacy and toothless sanctions. Of course, there’s always the option of blaming Jews when appeasement fails.

Imperial Islam

The Ummah problem, the Muslim world, has now replaced the Soviet empire, as Churchill would have put it, as the “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” There are four dimensions to the Islamic conundrum: the Shia/Sunni rift, intramural secular/religious conflicts, kinetic antipathy towards Israel and the West writ large, and the failure of analysis, especially strategic Intelligence, to unwrap the Muslim onion in any useful way. Imperial Islam, dare we say Islamofascism, now threatens secular autocracy and democracy on all points of the compass.

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 Islam in London

Islamic imperialism is a decentralized global movement. Nonetheless, the various theaters are united by tactics, strategy, ideology, and objectives. The tactics are jihad, small wars, and terror. The strategy is the imposition of Shariah Law. The ideology is the Koran and the Hadith. And the objective is a Shia or Sunni Islamic Caliphate — for infidels, a distinction without difference.

Muslim religious proselytizers and jihad generals in the field make no secret of any of this. The problem isn’t that some Muslims dissent from this agenda, the problem is that the West, especially national security analysts, cannot/will not believe or accept what Islamic imperialists say aloud, about themselves. The enemy is hiding in plain sight, yet the Intelligence Community doesn’t have the integrity or courage to make a clear call.

Read more at American Thinker

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser: How to Win the New Cold War Against Muslim Theocracy

Published on Mar 8, 2015 by Rebel Media

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy tells TheRebel.media’s Brian Lilley how the West should fight the spread of Muslim supremacism here and abroad.

Cojones: Egypt President el-Sisi closes 27,000 mosques to fight terrorism

al-sisi-300x180By Allen West, March 5, 2015:

I found the response from President Obama and certain Democrat Members of Congress regarding Prime Minister’s Netanyahu speech to be rather, well, disparaging.

Talk about “political theater” — especially the antics of House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi. However, I was actually less concerned about their response than the response from the Arab world — where some were asking Obama to listen to Netanyahu.

On several occasions we’ve highlighted the actions of the brave leader of Egypt, the world’s largest Arab nation, President , former Egyptian Army general. He’s taken on and removed the Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohammad Morsi — something that still draws the ire of President Barack Obama. He’s taken the fight to the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists in the Sinai. He delivered what was a seminal speech to Islamic clerics on New Year’s Day. And in the aftermath of the horrific beheadings of twenty-one Egyptian Coptic Christian men, he launched airstrikes against ISIS positions — even without requested U.S. intelligence support.

You’ll recall Egypt declared Hamas an Islamic terrorist organization — contrary to the opinion of Nancy Pelosi who stated that Hamas was a humanitarian organization because the Qataris told her so.

Now, President el-Sisi has taken another brave step which will certainly earn him the dubious title of “Islamophobe” from the coexist crowd.

As reported by The Gateway Pundit, “The Egyptian Ministry of Religious Endowment shuttered 27,000 local mosques under the pretext of fighting terrorism.”

Al-Monitor reported: The Egyptian Ministry of Religious Endowment has shuttered 27,000 local places of worship under the pretext of fighting terrorism, while awarding 400 preaching permits to Salafists.

“An Egyptian administrative court on Feb. 18 upheld the Ministry of Religious Endowments’ decision issued in September 2013 to close down neighborhood places of worship of less than 80 square meters (861 square feet), a move intended to protect young people from the militancy and extremism that can prevail in such places, which lack the legal standing to hold Friday prayers. This move sets a precedent that raises many questions about the fate of mosques in many Egyptian villages, the grounds of which are usually less than 80 square meters. In reply, opponents of the decision such as the Salafist Nour Party claimed that closing down places of worship without providing a larger alternative serves to further bolster extremist ideology, considering that the larger existing mosques cannot accommodate Friday worshippers who line surrounding streets to pray. On the opposite end of the spectrum, supporters of the decision such as intellectuals and scholars say that those mosques are time bombs that threaten national security, as they fall outside the purview of the Ministry of Religious Endowments and are used to spread subversive ideologies.”

Clearly there are some in the largest Arab nation in the world, home of the Muslim Brotherhood, who understand the enemy and how it proliferates its vile, insidious ideology of hate and supremacy.

Also see:

Muslim Brotherhood under the microscope in Canada

A girl carries a flag of the Muslim Brotherhood as she joins protesters from the Islamic Action Front during demonstration to show their solidarity with Palestinians and anger at a political arrest, after prayer in Amman November 28, 2014. The deputy overall leader of Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood Zaki Bani Rsheid was arrested by the Jordanian authorities after he criticized the United Arab Emirates for issuing a list of Islamist organization it considered terrorist groups according to local media. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

A girl carries a flag of the Muslim Brotherhood as she joins protesters from the Islamic Action Front during demonstration to show their solidarity with Palestinians and anger at a political arrest, after prayer in Amman November 28, 2014. The deputy overall leader of Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood Zaki Bani Rsheid was arrested by the Jordanian authorities after he criticized the United Arab Emirates for issuing a list of Islamist organization it considered terrorist groups according to local media. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

Edmonton Sun, BY BRIAN DALY, March 7, 2015:

MONTREAL — The federal government is coming under increased pressure to declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terror outfit, as more evidence piles up that the group has tentacles in Canada.

Its two main offshoots, Hamas and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, are listed as terrorist organizations in Canada.

The last Canadian organization to be added to the list vis the alleged Hamas fundraiser IRFAN-Canada, which has worked closely with the Brotherhood, according to an RCMP warrant.

A source tells QMI that the Brotherhood itself, long considered the ideological godfather of Islamist terrorism, has also been under close watch by security officials.

A QMI investigation found that top Brotherhood leaders have lived in Canada for decades. They have led pro-Sharia organizations and sent money and resources to groups that the RCMP and the Canada Revenue Agency say are owned or controlled by Hamas.

Brotherhood-linked facilities have invited extremist speakers to Canada who defended child suicide bombers, amputation for thieves and stoning for adulterers.

A U.S. terror financing trial heard a secret Brotherhood plan for North America calling for a “grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house.”

Stockwell Day, who served in Stephen Harper’s cabinet for five years, tells QMI that Islamist ideology is being propagated in Canada by Brotherhood “sympathizers.”

“The government really has to drill down and look at statements from the Brotherhood,” the former public safety minister said from Vancouver, where he works as a consultant.

“If they find in fact that there’s a preponderance of evidence that shows that they are actively promoting, encouraging, glorifying, killing of Canadians … then they should be labelled as a terrorist group.”

Coptic Christians, whose churches have reportedly been torched by Muslim Brotherhood backers in Egypt, asked the Harper government last year to ban the Brotherhood.

School teacher Hassan Al-Banna founded the Brotherhood in Egypt in 1928, calling for a global Islamic caliphate.

Its intellectual leaders have gained worldwide renown as preachers, scholars and activists but Brotherhood supporters also have a long history of violence dating back to the 1948 assassination of Egyptian prime minister Mahmud al-Nuqrashi.

The Brotherhood creed, shared by Hamas, is: “Allah is our objective, the prophet is our leader, the Qur’an is our law, jihad is our way, dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

While Brotherhood analysts say the group is unlikely to launch attacks on Canadian soil, there’s evidence the group is spreading extremist messages in Canada, aside from its alleged financing of terror abroad.

Documents tabled at a U.S. Hamas financing trial indicate the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) played a key role in spreading the Brotherhood message.

The Brotherhood lists ISNA U.S.A. as one of its 29 key North American affiliates. While ISNA’s Mississauga, Ont., office claims to be independent from the Indiana-based umbrella group, it shares board members both past and present with ISNA U.S.A., as well as a name and a logo.

QMI Agency found extremist materials at two ISNA locations in Canada.

A book advocating Palestinian terrorism and suicide bombings was displayed at the ISNA-owned Muslim Community of Quebec mosque in Montreal.

U.S. prosecutors at the 2007 Holy Land terrorism financing trial also tabled a phone directory, seized from a Brotherhood operative, which lists five Canadians among the top Brotherhood leaders in North America.

One of them, Dr. Jamal Badawi of Halifax, is a noted Muslim scholar, speaker and television host. His name appears three times in evidence at the Holy Land trial, the largest terrorist financing case in U.S. history.

Badawi has publicly preached nonviolence and tolerance. However, a compilation of his teachings on jamalbadawi.org makes it clear he believes establishing an Islamic state is a duty for Muslims.

“The Qur’an is full of indications that are direct, indirect, explicit, implicit that show without any shred of doubt that the establishment of Islamic order or rule is mandatory that Muslims must establish,” the website reads.

QMI Agency reached Badawi at his Halifax home, at the same phone number listed in the Brotherhood directory tabled at the Holy Land trial.

He insisted his links to the Brotherhood are “a myth” and that “there’s no Muslim Brotherhood in Canada.”

The longtime Haligonian described his own views as “no fanaticism on one side or no looseness on the other side.”

The Prime Minister’s Office wouldn’t name the Muslim Brotherhood when asked for its official position on the group.

“Our government is taking strong action to protect law-abiding Canadians from those who wish to harm us,” PMO spokesman Jason MacDonald said in an e-mail. “The Criminal Code terrorist entity listing process is an important tool in preventing terrorist attacks from being carried out.”

***

OTHER FIGURES IN CANADA LINKED TO THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD:

Dr. Wael Haddara, intensive-care physician, London, Ont.

– Key adviser to Egyptian president and Brotherhood stalwart Mohamed Morsi in 2012. Denies Brotherhood membership.

– As president of the Muslim Association of Canada in 2011, Dr. Haddara endorsed the Brotherhood and the teachings of founder Hassan Al-Banna.

– He was a founding director of IRFAN-Canada, and a board member until 2002. IRFAN was audited in 2004 and banned in 2011 for allegedly donating millions to Hamas.

– When contacted by QMI Agency, he said he had no knowledge of IRFAN sending money to Hamas.

Rasem Abdel-Majid, fundraiser, Mississauga, Ont.

– General manager of IRFAN-Canada and its predecessor, the Jerusalem Fund for Human Services (JFHS).

– Attended a secret Brotherhood meeting in 1993 at which Hamas funding was discussed, says an RCMP warrant.

– U.S. officials say IRFAN was part of the “the Global Hamas financing mechanism.”

– Calls to Adbel-Majid were not returned

***

CHARITY ENDS AT HOME

Aside from IRFAN, two other Canadian charities with links to the Muslim Brotherhood have had their status revoked, or been denied charity status:

– World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) was a donor to Brotherhood-linked groups in Canada. It was delisted in 2012 for alleged ties to Saudi-based organizations that funnelled money to al-Qaida and the Taliban.

– ISNA Development Foundation (IDF) was delisted in 2013 for allegedly giving more than $280,000 to an agency linked to Jamaat-e-Islami, a Pakistani Islamist group that’s an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

***

Also see:

The NYPD Got it Right on Islamic Terrorism

Officers of the 71st precinct. Photo: Jewish Leadership Council

Officers of the 71st precinct. Photo: Jewish Leadership Council


Algemeiner, by Shoshana Bryen, March 1, 2015:

Pop quiz: How can the threat of radical jihadists be countered?

  • President Obama: “Efforts to counter violent extremism will only succeed if citizens can address legitimate grievances through the democratic process and express themselves through strong civil societies. Those efforts must be matched by economic, educational and entrepreneurial development so people have hope for a life of dignity.”
  • Secretary of State John Kerry: [We have a] “huge common interest in dealing with this issue of poverty, which in many cases is the root cause of terrorism or even the root cause of the disenfranchisement of millions of people on this planet.”
  • Marie Harf, State Department Spokesperson: “We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that lead people to join these groups, whether it’s a lack of opportunity for jobs…We can work with countries around the world to help improve their governance. We can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people.”

“Legitimate grievances,” “root causes,” and the need for “improved governance.” The two highest ranking people making American policy, and one who explains it to the public, demean Muslims around the world as surely as if they’d scrawled hate graffiti on a building. Just as there are millions of other poor people around the world who eschew violence, there are millions of Muslims without an education or prospects of economic advancement who would never consider picking up an AK-47 or chopping someone’s head off – even if jihadi recruiters were banging down their doors.

In addition, it turns out “Jihadi John,” the Westerner seen on IS video decapitating American, British and Syrian hostages, is one Mohammed Emwazi, the Kuwait-born-London-raised son of a prosperous family. He had a degree in computer programming from the University of Westminster. It also turns out that British school girls Kadiza Sultana (15), Amira Abase (15) and Shamima Begum (16) were not kidnapped as first feared. The girls carefully laid out a plan to set aside money to fly to Turkey and meet up with IS smugglers who took them to Syria. You can see them here – middle-class British girls whose parents say they were doing well in school.

This is not to pick on the British. America’s “Times Square Bomber,” Faisal Shahzad, had a degree from the University of Connecticut and was an insurance broker. Three of the “Lackawanna Six” had attended community college; all were naturalized U.S. citizens. Maj. Nidal Hassan, the Ft. Hood shooter, was a psychiatrist as well as an Army officer, born in the U.S. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a legal U.S. resident, his mother and brother and terror partner Dzhokar were naturalized citizens. But according to the President, jihadists needed a way to express their “legitimate grievances.”

Can we find a better predictive pattern?

Go back to the release of the New York Police Department’s report, Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat in 2007. In it, experts studied eleven cases of America’s “homegrown jihadists,” isolating specific factors that appear to move some people — primarily young men — to radical, violent activity even as most Americans, including American Muslims, remain unmoved by or even repulsed by the idea of violence committed in the name of religion. Among the NYPD findings:

  • Salafist ideology combines Islam with a determination to solve problems through violence. Salafist institutions and literature are readily available in the West.
  • Al Qaeda provides inspiration, but generally not operational assistance.
  • Susceptible people seek an identity or a cause and often self-identify before finding compatriots. Radicalization has proceeded more slowly in the US than in Europe, where even second and third generation immigrants have trouble assimilating into the local culture – but more quickly since 9-11.
  • The Internet is an enabler, providing an anonymous virtual meeting place. Sites other than mosques can provide the sense of community otherwise isolated people may be seeking.
  • A “spiritual sanctioner” and an “operational leader” are necessary to move people from the ideological phase to an operational terrorist cell.
  • Not everyone who begins the process of radicalization becomes a terrorist; there are several points at which people drop out.

It is worth noting that when the report was released, NYPD was called “racist” and worse. But time proves the proposition. There is no inevitable link between Muslim people and radicalism; poverty is not the driver; and lack of good governance is not the issue. Professional jihadists are required to move people from curiosity about, or potential interest in jihadist philosophy to becoming active terrorists, and people drop out of this process all along the way (repulsed, one assumes, at some point by the violence).

Far better than a plea for an understanding of “root causes” and sympathy for people’s inability to find a “legitimate” outlet for their grievances, would be a hard-headed consideration of the fact that professional jihadists who may be anywhere in the world are trolling for susceptible young people – primarily males, but increasingly females – to take up the cause of religious extremism and rush to the current battlefield in Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere.

The fault lies there, not with the West’s lack of empathy.

This article was originally published by The American Thinker

Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of The Jewish Policy Center. She has more than 30 years of experience as an analyst of U.S. defense policy and Middle East affairs, and has run programs and conferences with American military personnel in various countries.

Austria Passes Reforms to 1912 Islam Law

Gatestone Institute, by Soeren Kern, February 27, 2015:

The new law, which the Austrian government says could serve as a model for the rest of Europe, seeks to reduce outside meddling by prohibiting foreign funding for mosques, imams and Muslim organizations in Austria. It also stresses that Austrian law must take precedence over Islamic Sharia law for Muslims living in the country.

The Turkish government has expressed outrage at the financing ban, which it says amounts to “Islamophobia.”

“Countries cannot have their own version of Islam. Islam is universal and its sources are clear. … [E]fforts taken by state leaders to create a version of Islam that is particular to their own countries are futile.” — Mehmet Görmez, Head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate.

The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible. In Vienna, Muslim students already outnumber Catholic students at middle and secondary schools and are on the verge of overtaking Catholics in elementary schools.

At the same, time Austria has emerged as a major base for radical Islam.

The Austrian parliament has approved controversial reforms to the country’s century-old Islam Law (Islamgesetz), governing the status of Muslims in the country.

The new law, which was passed on February 25, is aimed at integrating Muslims and fighting Islamic radicalism by promoting an “Islam with an Austrian character.”

Among other changes, the new law seeks to reduce outside meddling by prohibiting foreign funding for mosques, imams and Muslim organizations in Austria. It also stresses that Austrian law must take precedence over Islamic Sharia law for Muslims living in the country.

The Austrian government says the new law is a milestone and could serve as a model for the rest of Europe. But Muslim groups say it is discriminatory and have vowed to challenge it in court.

The new law overhauls the original Islam Law, which dates back to 1912. The original law was passed in order to help integrate Muslim soldiers into the Habsburg Imperial Army after the Austro-Hungarian Empire annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908. The law recognized Islam as an official religion in Austria, and allowed Muslims to practice their religion in accordance with the laws of the state.

After the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed in the aftermath of World War I, the number of Muslims in Austria was reduced to just a few hundred people. After World War II, however, Austria’s Muslim population increased rapidly with the arrival of “guest workers” from Turkey and the Balkans in the 1960s, and refugees from Bosnia in the 1990s.

According to data compiled by the University of Vienna, the Muslim population in Austria now exceeds 574,000 (or roughly 7% of the total population), up from an estimated 340,000 (or 4.25%) in 2001 and 150,000 (or 2%) in 1990.

The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible. In Vienna, where the Muslim population now exceeds 12.5%, Muslim students already outnumber Catholic students at middle and secondary schools. Muslim students are also on the verge of overtaking Catholics in Viennese elementary schools.

At the same time, Austria has emerged as a major base for radical Islam. A recent report by Austria’s Agency for State Protection and Counterterrorism (BVT) warned of the “exploding radicalization of the Salafist scene in Austria.” Salafism is an anti-Western ideology that seeks to impose Islamic sharia law.

Due to its geographic location, Austria has also become a central hub for European jihadists seeking to fight in Syria. In addition to being a transit point for foreigners going to fight with the Islamic State, at least 190 Austrian citizens have become jihadists in Syria and Iraq.

In an interview with Austrian Public Radio Ö1-Morgenjournal, Austria’s Minister for Integration and Foreign Affairs, Sebastian Kurz, said the rapid rise of Islam in Austria has rendered the old Islam Law obsolete. A new law is needed, he said, to stipulate more clearly the rights and responsibilities of Muslims living in the country.

The new law (nine-page text in German here) regulates at least a dozen separate issues, including relatively non-controversial matters such as Muslim holidays, Muslim cemeteries, Muslim dietary practices and the activities of Muslim clergy in hospitals, prisons and the army. In this respect, the government has met all of the demands put forth by Muslim groups in the country.

The new law, however, goes far beyond what Muslims had wanted. For example, the law seeks to prevent the growth of a parallel Islamic society in Austria by regulating mosques and the training of imams, who will now be required to be proficient in German. The new law also requires Muslim organizations and groups to terminate the employment of clerics who have criminal records or who “pose a threat to public safety, order, health and morals or the rights and freedoms of others.”

More significantly, Paragraph 6.2 of the law seeks to limit the religious and political influence of foreign governments within the Austrian Muslim community by prohibiting foreign countries — presumably Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf states — from financing Islamic centers and mosques in Austria.

The new restrictions — including an employment ban for foreign clerics in Austria as of March 31, 2016 — would apply especially to Turkey: 60 of the 300 Muslim clerics working in Austria are Turkish civil servants whose salaries are being paid for by the Turkish government’s Religious Affairs Directorate, the Diyanet.

In an interview with the BBC, Kurz said the reforms were a “milestone” for Austria and were aimed at preventing certain Muslim countries from using financial means to exert “political influence.” He said:

“What we want is to reduce the political influence and control from abroad and we want to give Islam the chance to develop freely within our society and in line with our common European values.”

The Turkish government has expressed outrage at the financing ban, which it says amounts to “Islamophobia.” The head of the Diyanet, Mehmet Görmez, said it was a “huge mistake” that would throw Austria’s tradition of tolerance towards Islam “back 100 years.” He added:

“Countries come together from time to time on the grounds of security concerns and try to construct a version of Islam peculiar to their own countries, rather than increase the freedoms that would lead to unity and remove obstacles before the religious education and services, and make an effort to remove anti-Islamic sentiments and Islamophobia.

“Countries cannot have their own version of Islam. Islam is universal and its sources are clear. Therefore, religion is not a matter of engineering. I would like to restate that efforts taken by state leaders to create a version of Islam that is particular to their own countries are futile.”

Mehmet Görmez (left), head of the Turkish government’s Religious Affairs Directorate, denounced Austria’s new law and said that Austria should instead “make an effort to remove anti-Islamic sentiments and Islamophobia.” Johann Rädler (right), speaking for the Austrian People’s Party, said the law “guarantees Muslims more rights, and on the other hand it serves to counteract undesirable developments.”

For many, however, the most contentious part of the law involves Paragraph 4.2, which states that Muslim organizations “must have a positive attitude toward society and state” or be shut down. According to the government, this formulation makes it clear that Austrian civil law has priority over Islamic Sharia law. Muslim groups say this is unfair because it casts a “veil of general suspicion” over the entire community.

Kurz has defended the clause: “In Austria there must be no contradiction between being a self-conscious Austrian, while at the same time also being a devout Muslim. That was always the intention behind this law.”

Some say the law does not go far enough. The leader of the anti-immigration Freedom Party of Austria, Heinz-Christian Strache, says that the law is full of loopholes will be difficult if not impossible to enforce. He also expressed dismay that the law does not include a ban on minarets and burkas.

A spokesperson for the Austrian People’s Party, Johann Rädler, said the law is the result of compromises that were made on both sides. He added:

“The goal of this law is to promote an Islam with an Austrian character, without being patronizing and without being dependent upon contributions from abroad. On the one hand, this law guarantees Muslims more rights, and on the other hand it serves to counteract undesirable developments.”

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.

Ezra Levant: How ISIS Are Worse Than the Nazis

The Rebel, by EZRA LEVANT, Feb. 26, 2015:

Islamic State terrorists went on a rampage in a museum in Nineveh, smashing priceless treasures.

At least the Nazis hid away great art when they invaded countries — they didn’t destroy it.

This primitive impulse towards chaos and destruction isn’t just something going on “over there.” Look at the Edmonton girl who was recruited to join ISIS in Syria.

Even one left-wing gay activist seems to be catching on:

He shocked a CBC panel by saying, “I know I sound like Ezra Levant, but…”, then went on to talk about Canadians being recruited to take part in terrorism (a word the CBC doesn’t officially allow.)

 

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READ Ezra Levant’s timely book The Enemy Within: Terror, Lies, and the Whitewashing of Omar Khadr

The Problem with Countering Violent Extremism

kl-450x296Frontpage, February 25, 2015 by Daniel Greenfield:

Obama’s Summit to Counter Violent Extremism was one of the most schizophrenic events on record. Its overall strategy was to counter Islamic radicalization while claiming that it had nothing to do with Islam. Even the King of Saudi Arabia and the leaders of a number of Muslim countries are willing to talk about Islamic terrorism. Obama isn’t. But he is rolling out a strategy to influence the theology of Muslims.

How do you change the beliefs of a religion which you can’t even name? You can’t and you don’t.

The whole premise of CVE subdivides “violent extremism” from Islam and then further subdivides violent extremism from extremism. Barbers split fewer hairs than this. CVE tells us that the best way to fight violent extremists is with “non violent extremist” Salafi clergy who have the most influence on them. We’re supposed to fight the ISIS Caliphate with supporters of another kind of Caliphate.

What it really comes down to is paying Muslims to argue with other Muslims on social media. And hope that the Muslims we’re paying to do the arguing are the good kind of extremists, like the Muslim Brotherhood, and not the bad kind of extremists, like ISIS. Even though they’re both vicious killers.

CVE not only doesn’t fight terrorism, it perpetuates the whole reason for it by outsourcing our interaction with domestic Muslims to the Saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood. That’s a big part of how we got a terrorism problem in the first place. CVE’s promoters have convinced us that the best way to fight Islamic terrorism is by partnering with Islamic terrorists.

Obama began by watering down terrorism from a military problem to a law enforcement issue. CVE waters it down even further by eliminating it as a law enforcement issue (the FBI chief was not invited to the summit to avoid making law enforcement the focus) and turning terrorism into a social problem.

The underlying problem with CVE is that it tries to transform a military problem into a civilian social problem. It bogs us down in debating Islamic theology while warning us not to mention Islam. These are not problems that we can solve. Even if there really were a definite split between Muslim moderates and extremists, rather than an immoderate Islam broken into different factions in a power struggle, the government is not the right tool for settling a religious dispute. And that’s what CVE tries to do.

CVE declares that ISIS and its supporters are not Muslims. The Saudis might have the authority to do that. Al Azhar may have the authority to do that. We don’t. The only people who believe these claims are American non-Muslims. Muslims are not impressed by us deciding who is and isn’t a Muslim.

The United States government is not an Islamic authority. We’re not a Muslim country and we shouldn’t try to be. And non-Muslim countries don’t have a good track record of exploiting Islamic theology.

Islamic terrorism is a military problem. It always has been.

Post 9/11, that’s how we first saw it. Islamic Jihadists are not domestic terrorists even if they have the right passport. Nazi saboteurs in WW2 or Communist spies during the Cold War were not a domestic enemy. It’s not the possession of American citizenship that distinguishes a domestic enemy from a foreign enemy, but his cause. Domestic enemies may seek to overthrow the government. Foreign enemies are working to aid a foreign force in inflicting harm on the United States of America.

CVE demands that we fight a war over someone else’s ideas on our own soil. It’s a dead end strategy. At best we would end up with a government approved Islam and an anti-government Islam. And then our accomplishment will have been to replicate the same totalitarian state of affairs in the Muslim world. But it’s far more likely that we will end up being used as pawns in a war between different Islamist groups, such as ISIS and the Brotherhood, funding their causes and bleeding for their political agendas.

But we’re not actually in a war of ideas. It’s still a war of bombs and bullets.

Terrorism against America won’t be stopped on Twitter. It can be stopped at the airport. Our domestic terrorists are mostly Muslim refugees or their children. And the occasional American converted by them. The situation would have quickly gotten ugly if we had allowed large numbers of Nazi and Imperial Japan loyalists to enter the United States during WW2. The Nazis sent in teams of saboteurs who were tried by military tribunals and executed. The spy rings and saboteur teams were not seen as a domestic problem.

The United States did not employ moderate Nazis to try to reason with the extremist Nazis or non-violent Nazis to educate the violent Nazis about the true peaceful meaning of National Socialism.

Instead the issue was defined in terms of allegiance to the United States. Everything else proceeded from that. Either you were loyal to the United States or you weren’t. CVE shifts the emphasis of allegiance from the United States to Muslims. It puts the burden on the United States to integrate Muslims, to make them feel at home, to reassure them so that they don’t turn to violence.

And that’s exactly what the Muslim Brotherhood wants.

Instead of placing the burden on Muslims to be loyal, a burden that all Americans already carry, it commences a process of domestic appeasement for trying to win the loyalty of people who already swore an oath to end all foreign allegiances and defend the nation against foreign enemies. It transforms Muslims into a separate nation within the United States whose allegiance is always contested and has to be constantly won over and over again.

While claiming to combat an Islamic State Caliphate, CVE concedes its central premise.

The allegiance of citizens in a nation at war is not a bargaining matter. Either it exists or it does not. A sensible counterterrorism strategy at home will not aim at parsing different flavors of Islam, but at distinguishing between those citizens whose allegiance we have and those whose allegiance we do not.

Islamic terrorism and support for it, of any variety, is first and foremost a failure of allegiance. It is treason in the practical, if not always the legal sense. It is the action of an enemy who through this betrayal knowingly abandons his or her citizenship.

We do not need to counter “violent extremism”. What we need to do is to be certain of allegiances.

This isn’t new territory. During WW2, the United States not only arrested enemy agents, it also initiated denaturalization proceedings against Nazi sympathizers. Not only did we not take in new Nazis during the war, but we made it clear to the existing ones that they would be executed or deported.

The combination proved to be extremely effective. It did not ensure loyalty. What it did was make it clear that treason would not be tolerated. And it prevented a flow of new enemy recruits.

That is what is needed in wartime.

A real strategy for fighting Islamic terrorism begins with the recognition that we are at war. It identifies the enemy. And it offers those whose allegiances are mixed a choice between committing or departing. CVE does the opposite. It refuses to recognize that there is a war. It rejects the idea that Muslims should be expected to show their allegiance and instead demands that the United States show its allegiance to them. It inverts the balance of citizenship and invests the United States in an unspoken religious debate.

We have lost sight of the problem and so we are unable to arrive at a solution. The problem is military. Islamic terrorism is not domestic unrest, but foreign invasion. It should be understood and addressed in those terms whether it comes through an immigration checkpoint or carrying a bomb over the border.

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