Rand Paul Has a Point about Republicans and ISIS

pic_giant_053015_SM_Surge-Troops-GNRO by Andrew C. McCarthy, May 30, 2015:

Seems like Rand Paul always goes too far.

He could have made a perfectly respectable argument that the NSA’s metadata program is illegal because it exceeds the Patriot Act’s authority. Instead he speciously insists that the Patriot Act shreds the Fourth Amendment and the program is akin to Nixon-era “domestic spying.”

He could also have made a perfectly respectable — I would say, irrefutable — argument that there was strong bipartisan support for some reckless policies that significantly contributed to the rise of the Islamic State — the jihadist organization that now controls much of Iraq and Syria. Instead, the Kentucky Republican speciously claims that “hawks” in his own party “created” ISIS.

ISIS is a creation of Islamic-supremacist ideology, which is drawn directly from Muslim scripture. Part of the reason that Senator Paul is no improvement over the Republicans he often derides is that he is just as wrong as they are about the threat we face.

In their infatuation with Muslim engagement, Beltway Republicans imagine a monolithic, smiley-face Islam — a “religion of peace” that seamlessly accommodates Western liberalism . . . except where it has been “hijacked” by “violent extremists.” Indeed, long before President Obama came along, it was the Bush administration that endeavored to purge terms like “jihadism” from our lexicon, even assuring us: “The fact is that Islam and secular democracy are fully compatible — in fact, they can make each other stronger.”

Thankfully, Senator Paul does not seem to have gulped that Kool-Aid. Yet, his anti-government populism leads him to maintain — just as his father did in less guarded rhetoric — that it is American policy, not Islamic-supremacist ideology, that induces jihadists to attack the United States.

It’s undeniable that Republican policy contributed to the Islamist bedlam now exploding across the Middle East.

Paul appears to grasp that jihadism is evil, rooted in Islamic doctrine, and anti-American. The conclusion he draws from this premise, however, is that it should be given a wide berth rather than confronted and defeated. This is not materially different from the “blame America first” cast of mind that Jeanne Kirkpatrick diagnosed and Barack Obama instantiates. Nor is it far from the mindset that blames Pamela Geller or Charlie Hebdowhen Islamists respond to mere taunts with lethal violence — as if sharia gives Muslims a special mayhem dispensation that American law must accommodate.

All that said, if Paul’s point was that Republican policy contributed to the Islamist bedlam now exploding across the Middle East and northern Africa, that ought to be undeniable.

Because the senator hyperbolically claimed that the GOP “created” ISIS, the indignant rebukes raining down on him from Republican leaders and sympathizers focus on Iraq. It was there that the organization was born as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), eventually rebranding as ISIS upon breaking away from the mother ship and declaring its caliphate.

Selectively mining facts, the Republican establishment claims that, thanks to the 2007 troop surge, President Bush annihilated AQI before there ever was an ISIS. The latter arose, so the story goes, because Obama reversed Bush’s policies and refused to keep a residual force in Iraq after 2011. In point of fact, the GOP fingerprints on the sweeping Middle East disaster transcend Iraq. But even if we just stick to Iraq, the Republican story is woefully incomplete.

Having been created by Islamic supremacism, AQI/ISIS was nurtured by Iran. Notwithstanding the internecine bloodletting that now pits Sunnis against Shiites across the region, Shiite Iran has been the key supporter of both Shiite and Sunni jihadist groups since its revolutionary incarnation as “the Islamic Republic” in 1979. It has backed Sunni al-Qaeda and Hamas, as well as Shiite Hezbollah and a network of Shiite terror cells in Iraq. Its only requirement has been that jihadists of whatever stripe advance Iran’s interests by taking the fight to the U.S. and Israel.

In that vein, Iran harbored al-Qaeda operatives after the 9/11 attacks and facilitated the anti-American insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq. This involved collaboration with Abu Musab Zarqawi, the formative figure of AQI who was eventually killed by U.S. forces in Iraq after he had fomented civil war there.

Iran helped Zarqawi even though AQI’s strategy involved killing Shiites. Of course, the regime in Tehran kills plenty of Iranians, so it has no qualms about killing Shiites. It helped Zarqawi kill them in Iraq because its interests were advanced by chaos in Iraq, which enabled the mullahs to spread their influence and their Shiite terror network.

Although this was obvious, as was the fact that Iran was behind the killing of thousands of American troops, the Bush administration treated Iran as if it had an interest in Iraqi stability. The Republican administration ignored Iran’s fueling of the jihad; negotiated with Iran (ostensibly through intermediaries) on its nuclear-weapons program; and disaggregated the nuke negotiations from Iran’s terror promotion — just as Obama has done — despite the fact that the United States was Iran’s top terror target. Bush even backed as Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, a pro-Iranian Shiite Islamist who, predictably, drew Baghdad ever closer to Tehran while exacerbating the rift with Iraqi Sunnis. This increased an already teeming recruiting pool for AQI and, later, ISIS.

It is a gross exaggeration to claim, as Republicans do, that the surge “won” the war in Iraq.

The surge did indeed tamp down on the violence and inflict withering losses on AQI. Still, it is a gross exaggeration to claim, as Republicans do, that the surge “won” the war in Iraq. If we judge matters by Bush’s stated objective — a stable, democratic Iraq that would be a reliable Americancounterterrorism ally — Iraq was already a failure by 2007. The surge killed many jihadists and gave the warring Iraqi factions yet another opportunity to reconcile. But it was always known that (a) our jihadist enemies backed by Iran were a regional (in fact, a global) threat, so the war could not be won in Iraq alone; and (b) the surge was a temporary measure, not a permanent solution.

The latter problem was exacerbated by the status-of-forces agreement (SOFA) to which Bush reluctantly agreed. In lashing out against Paul, Republicans and their apologists emphasize that Obama changed Bush’s policies. This is true, but it conveniently omits mentioning that Bush’s policies were first changed by . . . Bush.

For years, President Bush envisioned that all our sacrifice on Iraq’s behalf would yield a permanent working alliance with a sizable post-war American presence that would help us project power and protect our interests in the region. But, despite the administration’s smiley-face-Islam depiction of the Iraqis, they in fact despise infidel Americans and wanted our forces out of their country — to the point that the free Iraqi elections our government liked to brag about became contests over which candidate could spew the most venom about the United States. With the clock running out on the U.N. use-of-force mandate, Bush agreed with the Iranian-controlled Maliki to a SOFA that called for all American troops to leave the country by the end of 2011.

By that point, it was already clear that Barack Obama would be the next president. There is no doubt that, in driving a hard bargain with Bush, Maliki leveraged Obama’s strident opposition to the Iraq war and his vow to pull Americans out. Bush may have hoped that Obama would grow into the job, be guided by America’s interests instead of his ideological leanings, and strike a new deal with the Iraqis before the 2011 deadline based on whatever conditions on the ground were at the time. But hope is not a strategy.


Republicans are now claiming that it was blindingly obvious in 2011 that pulling out troops was a blunder that guaranteed the resurgence of jihadists in Iraq. If that is the case — and it surely is the case — then it was also blindingly obvious in late 2008 that the terms of the SOFA to which Bush agreed would, if complied with, guarantee the resurgence of jihadists in Iraq.

This is not to excuse the unmitigated mess Obama made of things. So determined was he to be done with Iraq, so dismissive was he of all America had sacrificed to drive our Sunni enemies from Iraq, that he was heedless of conditions on the ground as he drew our forces down. By 2011, after a steady draw-down, things were so much worse that Obama could have pressured Maliki to renegotiate the withdrawal deadline; a sizable presence of American forces would likely have prevented the advance of ISIS. Obama resisted this because he was determined to pull out at any cost, and because he calculated that abandoning Iraq would appease Iran, with which he was (and remains) desperate to negotiate a nuclear deal.

Nevertheless, the road was paved for Obama because of Bush’s withdrawal agreement. It is disingenuous for Republicans to contend that remaining in Iraq was the “Bush policy” when the president assented to a SOFA that unambiguously reads: “All United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011.”

As already noted above, Iraq is not the half of the problem for the GOP. Why is it, do you suppose, that we do not know by now why our government had personnel stationed in Benghazi, Libya, one of the most dangerous places in the world for Americans, when four of them — including the U.S. ambassador — were massacred on September 11, 2012? After all, the Obama policy of empowering Islamists to overthrow the Qaddafi regime was spearheaded by Hillary Clinton, the then–secretary of state who is the Democrats’ presumptive 2016 presidential nominee. The Republicans presumably want to beat Mrs. Clinton, so why isn’t the Congress they control exploiting what, on the surface, seems like a powerful political argument against her competence?

Because influential Beltway Republicans were enthusiastic proponents of this disastrous policy from the start. On Libya, they are joined at the hip with Clinton and Obama.

Beltway Republicans were enthusiastic proponents of our disastrous Libya policy from the start.

The State Department had observed in 2009, when GOP senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham were about to lead a congressional delegation to Tripoli for meetings with Qaddafi, that “Libya has acted as a critical ally in U.S. counterterrorism efforts, and Libya is considered one of our primary partners in combating the flow of foreign fighters.” Yet no one was more ardent than McCain and Graham in calling for Qaddafi’s overthrow and for accomplishing that end by arming “rebels” who were known to be rife with top al-Qaeda figures.

The policy has rendered Libya a failed state in which jihadists control swaths of territory, a situation ISIS has now exploited, building a growing presence. The policy also led to an arms windfall for Libyan jihadists. It is now clear that some of those arms made their way to jihadists in Syria. What remains murky is whether the United States government facilitated that arms traffic. The State Department, the CIA, and administration spokesmen have been cagey about what our government did, and senior Republican lawmakers have thwarted efforts to probe the issue at at least one public hearing. But at the very least, American officials knew about arms transfers from Libyan jihadists to Syrian jihadists.

Of course, back in the first Obama term, before ISIS became a juggernaut, senior Republicans were keen to arm the Syrian “rebels” in order to overthrow the Assad regime. In essence, they wanted a redux of the Libya strategy that they and Hillary Clinton were proud to take credit for . . . right up until the Benghazi massacre and the disintegration of Libya into a failed state. But you don’t hear them speak much about overthrowing Assad anymore, just like you no longer hear much bragging about Qaddafi’s ouster. That is because it is now clear that the Syrian “rebels,” like the Libyan “rebels,” prominently included jihadists from al-Qaeda, ISIS, and the Muslim Brotherhood. When Republicans were calling for these anti-Assad “rebels” to be armed and trained (mainly through Islamist governments), that is where much of the arming and training was going.

It was no surprise. After all, when the rabidly anti-American Muslim Brotherhood took over the Egyptian government, Republicans supportedObama in providing arms and aid for them, too — an initiative that Senator Paul vigorously but unsuccessfully opposed.

Toward the conclusion of the 2012 presidential campaign, there was a candidate debate on foreign policy. It was Mitt Romney’s chance, in the wake of the Benghazi terrorist attack, to separate himself from the catastrophic, pro-Islamist policies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Instead, Romney permitted little or no daylight between himself and the president — to the point that it sometimes seemed he was poised to endorse Obama.

It is fair to say that Romney was simply following a flawed strategy to narrow the election to a referendum on the economy, on which he figured Obama was most vulnerable. But Romney was able to follow the strategy with ease because, on foreign policy, there really wasn’t much daylight between Beltway Republicans and a president who makes Jimmy Carter look like Winston Churchill.

If that was what Rand Paul was trying to say, he has a point.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment. 

Iraq Fiasco: Jihad Denial, “Surge” Mythology, & Abandonment of Iraq’s Non-Muslim Minorities. Discussion With Sam Sorbo

bolgerAndrew Bostom, May 28, 2015:

We are now in the middle of a full-blown Jihad, that is to say we have against us the fiercest prejudices of a people in a primeval state of civilization.—Gertrude Bell, Baghdad, Iraq, September 5, 1920

Sam Sorbo was kind enough to allow me to address, in brief, some of the crucial, if willfully ignored matters which have created the Iraq morass, rooted in denial of Islam’s Sharia-based doctrine of “international” (and domestic) relations”: jihad.

During our interview (embedded below) earlier today (Thursday 5/28/15), we touched upon the following:

  • General Daniel P. Bolger’s “Why We Lost—A General’s Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars,” is a sobering read. Bolger went from a 1 to 3 star General in Iraq, and then Afghanistan, and once commanded 20,000 troops in Baghdad. He served 8-years in these war zones, between 2005 to 2013. Bolger characterized (on 256) the much ballyhooed 2007 Iraq “surge,” at its tactical conclusion, thusly: “The casualty and hostile attack rates went down in the fall of 2007, never again to rise to their previous heights, at least during the remaining years of the American campaign.But the fighting never stopped either. It lingered, a third of the previous rate, but that was no comfort to those who fell, killed or wounded, or to their families. Al-Qaeda in Iraq, unrepentant Sunni rejectionists, surly Sadrists [Shiite followers of Muqtada al-Sadr], and Iranian handlers all kept their pieces on the board. As long as the occupiers remained, there would be attacks. As long as Iraq was Iraq, violence remained part of the picture.” Gen. Bolger elaborated on these sentiments in a November 2014 op-ed, while exploding the standard mythical trope about how the alleged “decisively victorious” troop surge—with irony, repeatedly dubbed “fragile and reversible” by its putative architect, General Petraeus—was “squandered” by the Obama Administration’s policies. …
  • When President George W. Bush announced the “surge,” during 2007, he maintained the overall objectives for this great expenditure of precious U.S. blood and treasure were to establish a “…unified, democratic federal Iraq that can govern itself, defend itself, and sustain itself, and is an ally in the War on Terror.” Any rational post-mortem indicates none of those goals were achieved, from either an Iraqi or U.S. perspective, even in the near term, let alone chronically.
  • Born of sheer willful ignorance about living Islamic doctrine, and history, this deficient mindset begot a corollary dangerous absurdity: embrace of the General David Petraeus “COIN” theory, a see no jihad, see no Islam military strategy designed, perversely, to somehow “defeat” the ancient-cum-modern forces of global Islamic jihadism.
  • The current predicament of Iraq’s Yazidis, and Christians, past as prologue, also illustrates, starkly, mainstream conservative ignorance and dishonesty about Islam, and the creed’s timeless sine qua non institution, jihad. Post-surge Iraq — the paragon of Petraeus’ counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine “triumph” — rapidly deteriorated, well-before the emergence of thetraditionalist Islamic Caliphate movement IS/IL, per se, into a hotbed of anti-Christian, and anti-Yazidi, Islamic brutality.
  • Pew survey results reported in 2013 have confirmed the abject failure of the U.S. midwifed Iraqi and Afghan “democracies” to fulfill the utopian aspirations of the (Bernard) Lewis doctrine. The negative prognostications, epitomized by my colleague Diana West’s evocative description “Making the world safe for Sharia,” have instead, been realized. Specifically, the Pew data indicated 91% of Iraqi Muslims and 99% of Afghan Muslims supported making Sharia the official state law of their respective societies.Hurriyya, the Arabic term for “freedom,” but meaning “perfect slavery to Allah and his Sharia”—Islamic religious totalitarianism—has triumphed over the diametrically opposed Western, Judeo-Christian conception of individual liberty, founded upon the bedrock freedoms of conscience and expression.
  • We have a moral obligation to oppose Sharia which is antithetical to the core beliefs for which hundreds of thousands of brave Americans have died, including, between 2001 and the end of 2014, over 6800 in Iraq, and Afghanistan. There has never been a Sharia state in history that has not discriminated (often violently) against the non-Muslims (and Muslim women) under its suzerainty. Moreover, such states have invariably taught (starting with Muslim children) the aggressive jihad ideology which leads to predatory jihad “razzias” on neighboring “infidels”—even when certain of those “infidels” happened to consider themselves Muslims, let alone if those infidels were clearly non-Muslims. That is the ultimate danger and geopolitical absurdity of a policy that ignores or whitewashes basic Islamic doctrine and history, while however inadvertently, making or re-making these societies “safe for Sharia.”

Also see:

The Poison Tree

Arab protesters wave Islamic flags in front of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel / AP

Arab protesters wave Islamic flags in front of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel / AP

By Matthew Continetti:

Last month, addressing the U.N. General Assembly, Benjamin Netanyahu made a connection between the Islamic State and Hamas. These terrorist entities, Netanyahu said, have a lot in common. Separated by geography, they nonetheless share ideology and tactics and goals: Islamism, terrorism, the destruction of Israel, and the establishment of a global caliphate.

And yet, Netanyahu observed, the very nations now campaigning against the Islamic State treated Hamas like a legitimate combatant during last summer’s Israel-Gaza war. “They evidently don’t understand,” he said, “that ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree.”

The State Department dismissed Netanyahu’s metaphor. “Obviously, we’ve designated both as terrorist organizations,” said spokesman Jen Psaki. “But ISIL poses a different threat to Western interests and to the United States.”

Psaki was wrong, of course. She’s always wrong. And, after the events of the last 48 hours, there ought not to be any doubt as to just how wrong she was. As news broke that a convert to Islam had murdered a soldier and stormed the Canadian parliament, one read of another attack in Jerusalem, where a Palestinian terrorist ran his car over passengers disembarking from light rail, injuring seven, and killing 3-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun, who held a U.S. passport.

Islamic State, al Qaeda, Hamas—these awful people are literally baby killers. And yet they produce a remarkable amount of dissension, confusion, willful ignorance, and moral equivalence on the part of the men and women who conduct U.S. foreign policy. “ISIL is not ‘Islamic,’” President Obama said of the terrorist army imposing sharia law across Syria and Iraq. “Obviously, we’re shaken by it,” President Obama said of the attack in Canada. “We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident,” the State Department said of the murder of a Jewish child.

“Not Islamic,” despite the fact that the Caliphate grounds its barbarous activities in Islamic law. “Shaken,” not stirred to action. “All sides,” not the side that targets civilians again and again and again. The evasions continue. They create space for the poison tree to grow.

The persistent denial of the ideological unity of Islamic terrorism—the studied avoidance of politically incorrect facts that has characterized our response to the Ft. Hood shooting, the Benghazi attack, the Boston Marathon bombing, the march of the caliphate across Syria and Iraq, and the crimes of Hamas—is not random. Behind it is a set of ideas with a long history, and with great purchase among the holders of graduate degrees who staff the Department of Justice, the National Security Council, Foggy Bottom, and the diplomatic corps. These ideas are why, in the words of John McCain, the terrorists “are winning, and we’re not.”

A report by Katherine Gorka of the Council on Global Security, “The Bad Science Behind America’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy,” analyzes the soil from which the poison tree draws strength. Since the Iranian revolution of 1979, Gorka writes, U.S. policymakers have faced a dilemma: “how to talk about Islam in a way that is instructive in dealing with Muslims who are enemies but not destructive to those who are friends.” For decades, the preferred solution has been to declare America’s friendship with Islam, and to distinguish between jihadists and everyday Muslims.

One of Gorka’s earliest examples of this policy comes from former Assistant Secretary of State Edward Djerejian, who said in 1992, “The U.S. government does not view Islam as the next ‘ism’ confronting the West or threatening world peace.” Similar assurances were uttered by officials in the Clinton administration, by Clinton himself, and by President George W. Bush. The policy was meant to delegitimize terrorism by denying the terrorists’ claim that they are acting according to religious precepts. “Policymakers believed that by tempering their language with regard to Islam, they might forestall further radicalization of moderate Muslims and indeed even potentially win moderates into the American circle of friendship.”

George W. Bush, Gorka notes, combined his rhetorical appeals to moderate Muslims with denunciations of the immorality of terrorism and illiberalism. And yet, for the government at large, downplaying the religious and ideological component to terrorist activities became an end in itself.

The Global War on Terror was renamed the “global struggle against violent extremism.” In 2008 the Department of Homeland Security published a lexicon of terrorism that said, “Our terminology must be properly calibrated to diminish the recruitment efforts of extremists who argue that the West is at war with Islam.” State Department guidelines issued in 2008 said, “Never use the terms jihadist or mujahedeen to describe a terrorist.”

Then came Obama. As a candidate, he stressed his experiences in Indonesia and Pakistan. He told Nick Kristof of the New York Times that the call of the muezzin is “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.” In one of his first major addresses as president, he traveled to Cairo to inaugurate a new beginning with the Muslim world. His counterterrorism adviser, now director of the CIA, called jihad a “legitimate tenet of Islam,” and referred to Jerusalem as “Al Quds.”

The change in the manner in which the government treated Islamism was profound. “Whereas the 9/11 Commission report, published under the presidency of George W. Bush in July 2004 as a bipartisan product, had used the word Islam 322 times, Muslim 145 times, jihad 126 times, and jihadist 32 times,” Gorka writes, “the National Intelligence Strategy of the United States, issued by the Obama administration in August 2009, used the term Islam 0 times, Muslim 0 times, jihad 0 times.” The omission is stunning.

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

Grover Norquist & Co. Build Islamist Influence in GOP

Grover at CPACClarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, Tue, March 4, 2014

How the GOP Came to Embrace the Muslim Brotherhood Lobby

Islamism is not a partisan issue. Special interests, major companies and foreign powers have long tried to affect both political parties—and the Muslim Brotherhood lobby is no different. Ten former senior officials, including a former CIA director, have issued a  joint statement with meticulous documentation about how the Republican Party was and is influenced by this lobby.

The Beginning

When the Muslim Brotherhood arrived in the U.S. in the 1960s, it recognized that violent action is counterproductive. Instead, it began political organizing so it could lead the growing Muslim-American community and use it to affect U.S. policy.

In the 1980s, the FBI recruited a confidential source deep inside the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood lobby. He warned that the Brotherhood established a network of front groups including the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), Muslim Students Association,Islamic Society of North America and North American Islamic Trust. One of the chief objectives was to penetrate the U.S. government with sympathizers and IIIT already claimed success.

The network was so impressive that Pakistani intelligence bred itsown influence operation from it in 1990 with the Brotherhood’s support. It donated to campaigns on both sides of the political aisle and met with officials involved in foreign policy.

The U.S. Muslim Brotherhood drafted a secret plan in 1991 that defined its “work in America as a kind of grand jihad…in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.” It was not a doctrine of violence, but of activism based on aligning with non-Muslim political forces. It listed about 30 of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends” to accomplish it. This document was recognized as authentic by the U.S. Department of Justice as was introduced as evidence in the Holy Land terror financing trial.

In 1993, the FBI wiretapped a secret meeting of top Brotherhood operatives in Philadelphia. A key theme was deception and secrecy in support of their non-violent activism. In the words of one participant, the objective was “forming the public opinion or coming up with a policy to influence…the way the Americans deal with the Islamists, for instance.”

The Brotherhood decided that a new front with an apparently clean track record was necessary. Two of the participants in that meeting founded the Council on American-Islamic Relations the following year. By 1994, the infrastructure of the Brotherhood lobby was in place, though it would continue to expand with new organizations and name changes.

The Influence Peddlers

The most senior elements of the Brotherhood lobby handled outreach to the Clinton Administration and both political parties, especially the presidential campaign of then-Texas Governor George W. Bush.

SamiSami al-Arian was a central figure. He admits having been a Muslim Brotherhood member from 1978 to 1982, but his involvement in the American lobby continued after that. In a 1992 letter, al-Arianacknowledged that his organization and IIIT, the aforementioned Brotherhood front, were essentially one and the same. He was convicted in 2006 of the charge of conspiring to provide services to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a specially designated terrorist organization.

Another central figure was Abdurrahman Alamoudi and his American Muslim Council. He developed intimidate ties to both political parties, despite his support of terrorist groups. In 2004, he was indicted on terrorism-related charges. He later wrote from his prison cell, “I am, I hope, still a member of the Muslim Brotherhood organization in the U.S.A,” as reported by the Grand Deception documentary.

In 2000, Alamoudi was asked by an Islamic website how Muslims should “decrease the influence of the Zionist lobby on presidential candidates.” He said they must elect sympathetic candidates like Rep. Tom Campbell (R-CA).

Rep. Campbell spoke at the Brotherhood lobby’s events and touted their causes. He became the example and was rewarded with political support and donations to his Senate campaign in 2000, including a fundraiser that brought in $35,000. The man guiding Campbell was Suhail Khan, his campaign coordinator in 1995 and press secretary and legislative assistant from 1996 to 1999.

Read more

Ryan Mauro is the ClarionProject.org’s National Security Analyst, a fellow with the Clarion Project and is frequently interviewed on top-tier TV stations as an expert on counterterrorism and Islamic extremism.


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10 Truths Mainstream Comic Books Evade To Promote ‘Muslim Superheroes’

An Ex-Muslim independent cartoonist vs the politically correct cowardice of Marvel and DC Comics.

By Bosch Fawstin:

The Muslim terrorist is a cliché. But only in real life. And in post-9/11 comic books, “Muslim superheroes” are becoming a cliché. As a cartoonist and as a recovered Muslim working on an anti-Jihad graphic novel called The Infidel, featuring Pigman, I’ve identified certain truths that Marvel and DC Comics have to evade in order to shove their “Muslim superheroes” down the throats of their readers.

Before I move on to my list, I want to add that I put “Muslim superheroes” in quotes because Marvel and DC Comics want to promote “Muslim superheroes” without promoting Muslim superheroes. They want to promote their fantasy version of what they would like Muslim superheroes to be, not Islam’s version. As I’ve argued in my work, a good Muslim by our standards is a bad Muslim by Islamic standards. Therefore, a true Muslim superhero would be a Muslim supervillain.

1. We Are At War.

9/11/01 was 12 years ago, yet those behind the attack are still undefeated. The greatest state sponsors of terrorism on earth- Saudi Arabia and Iran -operate as if 9/11 never happened. And we’re still not ready to identify Islam as the enemy’s motivation. Can you imagine American comic book publishers during World World II, publishing Italian, Japanese and German superhero comic books? That would have been unthinkable back then. Almost as unthinkable as it currently is to see Marvel and DC create anti-Jihad superheroes. While Marvel and DC are presenting Islam to us in the most politically correct possible way through their comics, in the real world Muslims are on the warpath, killing non-Muslims Every. Single. Day. These “Muslim superheroes” are in the end a way for liberals to deny the reality that an entire part of the world is at war with us, while we do everything we can to focus on Muslims who are Not at war with us, as if they’re the true representatives of a violent religion like Islam.

The victims of September 11, 2001.



2. Islam Means Submission, Not Peace.

The only reason we’re talking about Islam at all today is because it doesn’t mean peace. Islam literally means submission, and it demands that Muslims submit to the will of its malevolent god, Allah. September 11, 2001 is when Americans really began to discuss Islam. Unfortunately, most of that talk ended up giving the religion the benefit of the doubt, either by ignorance or by deception. But we always need to remember that it was death and destruction, not peace and understanding, which started our conversation about Islam. In general, Islam – not any alleged deviant form of it – means misogyny, censorship, antisemitism, homophobia, wife-beatings, beheadings, honor killings, pedophilia/“child marriages”, murdering infidels, etc. And while Jihad literally means “struggle”, its dominant, historical meaning has been “Holy War”.

And the jihad against us is being fought by the enemy on every possible front – military, cultural, legal, political, etc. In the meantime, we seem content to limit our defense efforts to simply sending our troops to Muslim countries with their hands tied behind their backs, placing them in unnecessary danger by rules of engagement – concocted by gutless politicians- that only help the enemy. A great American military has no chance in hell of defeating the enemy when Islamophiles like George W. Bush or Barack Obama are calling the shots.

The more of us who understand the nature of this enemy, and the more willing we are to tell the truth about it, the more Washington DC is pressured to act more rationally against an enemy who sees all of us as guilty until proven Muslim. As Muslim Bassam Tibi puts it, “Those who resist Islam cause wars and are responsible for them.” This enemy means business, and they’re prepared to say and do anything to kill us, while we’re not even willing to be honest with ourselves about the exact nature of what we’re facing.

3. Islamophilia, Not “Islamophobia,” is Our Problem.

In the first pages of the debut story for DC’s Muslim Green Lantern, they tried hard to sell the idea that it’s tough to be a Muslim in post-9/11 America, by making him out to be the victim of “Islamophobic” attacks. Forget about the thousands of Americans who were butchered by Muslims on 9/11, DC seems to be telling us, just focus on this poor Muslim victim who’s been mistreated by Americans.

Since the widespread post-9/11 anti-Muslim backlash that the scumedia was bracing for never came – “Islamophobic” attacks in the years following have had to be exaggerated or made up. Even in the 2013 U.S. “Hate Crimes” Report, Jews are still attacked five times more than Muslims.

Phobia is an irrational fear about something. Philia is a positive feeling or liking. Why would non-Muslims have a positive feeling towards Islam, especially post-9/11? There’s nothing irrational about fearing an irrational ideology that dehumanizes women, Jews, homosexuals, lax Muslims and non-Muslims. So it’s Islamophilia, an uncritical acceptance of a hostile religion that’s our problem, not any so-called phobia about it.

The below graphic is part of my “The Shadow Knows” blog series.


Read more at PJ Media

Bosch Fawstin is an Eisner Award nominated cartoonist currently working on a graphic novel, The Infidel, of which the first chapter is now available as a digital comic. Bosch’s first graphic novel is Table for One. He is also the author of ProPiganda: Drawing the Line Against Jihad, a companion to The Infidel, and the 1st print appearance of Pigman.

Muslim Brotherhood: A history of terror

Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann

Daily News Egypt, By Michele Bachmann:

If the decision of the interim government of Egypt is to consider the organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, then the United States should follow.

From the time of Hassan al-Banna and the “secret apparatus” staging terror attacks across Egypt and the assassinations of Prime Minister Mahmoud an-Nukrashi Pasha and judge Ahmed El-Khazindar in 1948, to the ongoing attacks on Coptic Christians and churches and the terror campaign targeting the military in the Sinai and elsewhere, the Muslim Brotherhood has always kept terrorism as part of its arsenal and living up to their motto, “Jihad is our way.”

We’ve seen the Brotherhood engage in a two-faced policy of publicly condemning terrorism to media outlets in the West, and then supporting terrorism when they think no one is looking. When they get caught, the predictable response is to claim that they were misquoted or taken out of context. This is why Alain Chouet, the former head of the French Security Intelligence Service, observed that “like every fascist movement on the trail to power, the Brotherhood has achieved perfect fluency in double-speak.”

After the 25 January Revolution, the Obama administration and the American media fell for this double-speak, embracing the so-called “moderate Muslim Brotherhood.”

But as the people of Egypt quickly discovered, they were anything but moderate. Under former President Morsi’s brief tenure, the Muslim Brotherhood’s program of extremism was given a green light. Following his election, one of Morsi’s first agenda items was to demand the release of convicted terrorist leader Shiek Omar Abdel Rahman from American prison. The “Blind Sheik” was convicted in his role in federal court for his leadership role in authorising the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the planned follow-up “Day of Terror” attack. Morsi also released scores of convicted terrorists from Egyptian jails.

Under the Morsi regime attacks against women and religious minorities, including Coptic Christians and Shi’ites, increased dramatically with no response from the government. In April, when mobs and police attacked a funeral at St. Mark’s Cathedral, killing at least one mourner, one of Morsi’s top aides took to Facebook to blame the Coptic Christians for the attacks. The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party have continued to incite violence against the Coptic community since Morsi’s removal

When Morsi issued his 22 November, 2012 declaration claiming that his power was beyond the review of the courts and that all his decrees could not be appealed – effectively declaring himself dictator – the Obama administration issued no condemnations. As protestors were being tortured by Muslim Brotherhood cadres in front of the presidential palace, the United States was continuing with plans to send planes, tanks, tear gas and financial aid to the Morsi regime over the protests from myself and many of my colleagues in both chambers of the United States Congress.

As Egyptians were being jailed and tried for “defamation” and “insulting the president” and after Morsi appointed a former Jamaa Islamiya terrorist leader as governor of the Luxor Governorate, where his terror group had attacked and killed 62 tourists in 1997, Obama’s Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson gave a speech in Cairo just days before the 30 June Tamarod protests continuing to back Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

In October 2003, the former counter-terrorism “czar” for both President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Richard Clarke, testified before the US Senate that virtually every Islamic terrorist organisation in the world had in common membership and inspiration from the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood. Not only has virtually every leader of Al-Qaeda passed through the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood, but several of the 9/11 hijackers, including ringleader Mohamed Atta, were known to have been radicalised through the Brotherhood.

In February 2011, just days after Mubarak announced he was stepping down, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller told the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that “elements of the Muslim Brotherhood both here and overseas have supported terrorism.”

The move in Egypt to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation is one born out of urgent necessity and the group’s long history of terror. If this decision is made by the Egyptian government then the United States should follow. The designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation is warranted and long overdue.

Michele Bachmann is an American Republican member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Minnesota’s 6th congressional district, and a former U.S. presidential candidate.

The Failure of U.S. Policy toward Damascus

by Eyal Zisser
Middle East Quarterly
Fall 2013, pp. 59-65 (view PDF)

The failure of the Bush and the Obama administrations to topple Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad goes a long way to explaining Washington’s declining Middle Eastern position. United by a distinct lack of vision, as opposed to hopes and wishful thinking, as well as determination and a coherent plan of action, these otherwise very different administrations helped erode America’s stature in the region. Widely seen as a declining superpower that has lost belief in itself and its leading role in the world, Washington earns neither fear nor respect in the Middle East.

Bush vs. Assad

The U.S. invasion of Iraq in the spring of 2003 was a decisive moment in the history of the Middle East. True, George W. Bush acquired a demonic image in the eyes of many, both in the region and beyond, but there is no doubt that history will prove that the stand he took against the region’s dictators, including some long-standing U.S. allies, was an important factor in creating significant cracks in the Middle East’s dictatorial walls and in encouraging the calls for justice and freedom that began to be heard there. In this sense, the Bush administration’s Middle East policy, which set as its aim the promotion of democracy, was an important preparatory factor, even an accelerator, for the developments that led to the outbreak of the 2011 Arab uprisings. The Iraq invasion made a strong impression on the region’s inhabitants, strengthening Washington’s standing in their eyes as a leading world power, politically, economically, and especially, militarily and technologically. At the same time, this image of the United States was accompanied by fear and awe—and unconcealed resentment, jealousy, and even hatred. Nevertheless, the routing of Saddam Hussein’s army convinced even Iran’s ayatollahs to pause in their mad dash to achieve nuclear power.[1]Only later, after Iraq became a treacherous swamp for Washington because of its failed policies there, did the halo of the initial victory lose its shine. Over time, the historical significance of the Saddam regime collapse lost much of its impact.

President Obama (left) meets with Jordan’s King Abdullah II (right) at the White House, April 26, 2013, where they discussed the Syrian crisis. Obama’s initial tough talk about Syrian use of chemical weapons being a “red line” that would evoke a strong U.S. response has become something of a joke even among the war-weary Syrian citizens. In April, the president walked back his pledge demanding instead a “chain of custody” to prove who used which weapons where.

At the same time, the war in Iraq placed the Bush administration on a collision course with Assad, who perceived the U.S. attack as being directed not only against Iraq but also against Syria. In the eyes of Damascus, the war was part of a joint U.S.-Israeli campaign directed at breaking up the Arab world and debilitating its might in order to strengthen Israel—or so the Syrians convinced themselves. It also seems that the Assad regime really believed that Washington would find it difficult to overthrow Saddam and assumed that the Vietnam war quagmire would be repeated in Iraq.[2]

In their memoirs, both George W. Bush and British prime minister Tony Blair testify that Washington had entertained the idea of carrying the military campaign from Baghdad to Damascus and overthrowing the Assad regime.[3] However, the initial shock experienced in the region, including by Syria, eventually wore off, especially as the U.S. administration found itself entangled in a morass of Shiite-Sunni violence in Iraq. Damascus thus concluded that it was in its interest for the United States to suffer total defeat in Iraq. As a result, the Assad regime began to turn a blind eye and even to assist the Muslim jihadis who crossed Syria on their way to fight the Americans in Iraq. Ironically, these same fighters were destined to return to Syria a decade later when the March 2011 revolution broke out there, leading a jihadist war against Assad’s “heretical” regime.

In light of this hostile course, the Bush administration came to the conclusion that the Syrian president was a clear and present danger to U.S. interests in the Middle East. However, Washington decided not to adopt a straightforward military option. Instead, U.S. leaders tried to exploit a series of opportunities that emerged in order to push Assad into a corner or even overthrow him. The steps taken were essentially political in character, but there is no evidence that they were part of an orderly or planned-out policy.

Read more at Middle East Forum

See also:

Ending the War on Terror


Calling an end to the “war on terror” is not a solution, because terror is not the enemy – Islamic supremacism is

By :

In a piece last week in The Atlantic entitled “Terrorism Could Never Threaten American Values—the ‘War on Terror’ Does,” James Fallows says it’s high time that President Obama shows he understands the truth of that article’s title, and calls to put a stop to the “open-ended ‘Global War on Terror.’”

Fallows, a longtime national correspondent for The Atlantic, has argued at least as far back as 2006 that we had al Qaeda on the run, and that even though its “successor groups in Europe, the Middle East, and elsewhere will continue to pose dangers… its hopes for fundamentally harming the United States now rest less on what it can do itself than on what it can trick, tempt, or goad us into doing.”

There is some undeniable truth to this. All one has to do is look at how Shoe Bomber Richard Reid, who wasn’t even successful in his attempt to bring down Flight 63 from Paris to Miami twelve years ago, transformed our air travel experience into a tedious, massively bureaucratic and intrusive TSA nightmare, detrimentally impacting our economy in the process (in a succinct summation of Fallows’ argument, famed atheist Richard Dawkins recently tweeted his irritation over what he deemed the pointless idiocy of airport security extremes: “Bin Laden has won.”). And of course, one could look at how terrorist acts have resulted, even more intrusively, in the surveillance state that emerged under George W. Bush and which has metastasized exponentially under Barack Obama.

“But if it saves a few lives…” goes the seemingly reasonable rationale for all this “security.” Of course we should protect American lives; the question is, are there more effective and reasonable ways to accomplish that and to combat terrorism which also don’t require severely diminishing our freedoms and individual rights?

Fallows acknowledges the seriousness of terrorist acts themselves. “Attacks can be terribly destructive, as we saw in hideous form 12 years ago,” he continued in last week’s article. “But the long-term threat to national interests and values comes from the response they invoke. In the case of 9/11: the attack was disastrous, but in every measurable way the rash, foolish, and unjustified decision to retaliate by invading Iraq hurt America in more lasting ways.”

Perhaps Fallows misspoke here, because surely he knows we didn’t invade Iraq in retaliation for the 9/11 attack. We went into Iraq because during a “decade of defiance,” as Bush put it, Saddam Hussein had become an increasingly clear and present danger: harboring terrorists, financing terrorism, developing weapons of mass destruction, and ignoring years of UN demands about those weapons. Maybe Fallows means that going after Saddam was an unnecessary extension of the ill-named war on terror, but the “lasting ways” in which America has been hurt in Iraq and Afghanistan resulted more from our ongoing, blood-and-treasure-sucking, nation-building efforts there than from our invasions of those countries.

Read more at Front Page


Grover Norquist Hides Treason by Attacking Ted Cruz

by :

It was once said that Politics and War make for strange bedfellows. When it comes to the Republican Party establishment, one such example is Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). Norquist’s prominence today very much includes a ride on Ronald Reagan’s coattails. The 40th President’s name is invoked in the very first sentence of Grover’s bio on ATR’s website.

Grover Norquist: Wants Cruz to be quiet.

Grover Norquist: Wants Cruz to be quiet.

Like Senator John McCain (RINO-AZ), when it comes to the fight waged by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) over Obamacare recently, Norquist would rather fight Cruz than the Democrats, despite the fact that Cruz has been fighting against what the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice said was a tax. In an interview with Nora Caplan-Bricker of the left-wing New Republic, Norquist mocked Cruz with analogies that put him on the side of the Republican establishment.

The establishment’s disgust for Cruz is not about disagreeing with his strategy; it’s about Cruz’s ability to unleash the power of the conservative base. It’s an engaged contingent of America that the establishment – including Norquist – fears. There are many reasons why the Republican establishment wants to defeat this group – many reasons. One such reason is what it doesn’t want to be exposed about itself.

That something very much includes Norquist.

While the New Republic’s Caplan-Bricker provided the ATR President a platform to attack Cruz in 2013, that publication’s Franklin Foer published an article entitled “Fevered Pitch” two months after 9/11 in 2001 that – in hindsight – demonstrates that Norquist was a major player in granting Muslim Brotherhood access to the Bush White House.

Franklin Foer: Time bomb article in 2001 implicates Norquist.

Franklin Foer: Time bomb article in 2001 implicates Norquist.

You see, Norquist was the man perhaps most responsible for the George W. Bush administration’s decision to engage the Muslim Brotherhood’s front groups in the U.S. instead of exposing them.

Foer wrote:

ON THE AFTERNOON of September 26, George W. Bush gathered 15 prominent Muslim- and Arab-Americans at the White House. With cameras rolling, the president proclaimed that “the teachings of Islam are teachings of peace and good.” It was a critically important moment, a statement to the world that America’s Muslim leaders unambiguously reject the terror committed in Islam’s name.

Unfortunately, many of the leaders present hadn’t unambiguously rejected it. To the president’s left sat Dr. Yahya Basha, president of the American Muslim Council, an organization whose leaders have repeatedly called Hamas “freedom fighters.” Also in attendance was Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, who on the afternoon of September 11 told a Los Angeles public radio audience that “we should put the State of Israel on the suspect list.” And sitting right next to President Bush was Muzammil Siddiqi, president of the Islamic Society of North America, who last fall told a Washington crowd chanting pro-Hezbollah slogans, “America has to learn if you remain on the side of injustice, the wrath of God will come.” Days later, after a conservative activist confronted Karl Rove with dossiers about some of Bush’s new friends, Rove replied, according to the activist, “I wish I had known before the event took place.” {emphasis ours}

As mentioned previously, there are many reasons why the Republican establishment – arguably run by Rove today – wants Cruz defeated but all of this history becoming part of the American consciousness has definitely got to be one of them.

This Grover has nothing to hide.

This Grover has nothing to hide.

When is the last time you heard anyone from the Republican establishment in general or the Bush administration in particular, warn about Muslim Brotherhood groups in the U.S.?

There is much more at Shoebat.com


Meanwhile, on Al Jazeera America …

1375972566000-XXX-AL-JAZEERA-network-hdb3-450x337By Tom Thurlow:

It has been almost two months since Al Jazeera America (AJA), the American outlet of Qatar-based news network Al Jazeera, debuted in the U.S. Viewers of the network note its impressive graphics and lack of commercials, a welcomed change of pace compared to most cable news in the States. The network also employs a host of familiar faces that help bolster AJA’s image as just another news network. It remains to be seen just how radical AJA will let its coverage becomes once it grows more assured of its acceptance into the mainstream. Already AJA’s Sunni sponsors have let the mask slip.

Despite a petition drive to exclude AJA from cable distribution, AJA’s coverage is definitely on the rise.  Last spring and summer, AJA went on a hiring spree, hiring producers, writers, technicians, and hundreds of other staffers.  AJA also snapped up big news names like Joie Chen, David Shuster and Soledad O’Brien, and then opened 12 American bureau offices.  Broadcasting began August 20.

Of course, AJA is not just another news network.  AJA’s parent company, Al Jazeera, is owned by the government of Qatar, the tiny, oil-rich, Sunni Muslim state in the Persian Gulf, bordering Saudi Arabia.  Qatar is ruled by Shiekh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who, despite his personal business dealings with Israel, is pro-Hamas, pro-Muslim Brotherhood and anti-Israel.  Al Jazeera’s news coverage has reflected those views.

In fact, Al Jazeera is so pro-Muslim Brotherhood it recently got kicked out of Egypt for instigating Muslim Brotherhood protests there.  In 2008, Al Jazeera’s Beirut bureau chief threw an on-air birthday party for Samir Kuntar, convicted killer of an Israeli family.

Americans learned to hate Al Jazeera in the days after 9-11, when Al Jazeera first repeated the charge that American Jews were warned beforehand of the attacks in New York, then repeatedly broadcast interviews of Osama bin Laden.  Al Jazeera has even described the War on Terror as “so-called,” and suicide bombings as “paradise operations.”

Through the years Al Jazeera has had on-air personalities who were blatantly anti-Semitic.  One popular Al Jazeera show, “Shari’a and Life,” features a host who regularly criticizes Shiites, Americans and Jews.

During the height of the Iraqi war years, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld described Al Jazeera as “the mouthpiece of Al Qaeda,” while President George W. Bush referred to Al Jazeera as “a terrorist organization.” Upon the initial invasion of Afghanistan and later in Iraq, US military forces bombed local Al Jazeera offices because of the support they had given terrorists.

Read more at Front Page


Allowing Iran to fool us again

1004664107By Frank Gaffney:

Peanuts” cartoonist Charles Schulz made an enduring contribution to American political life with his famous sequence in which insistent promises by Lucy not to pull away the football overcome Charlie Brown’s hard experience with her unfailingly doing so.  This happens at the moment to be a perfect metaphor for what Iran’s newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani, has in store for Barack Obama.

We are told that Rouhani is yet-another Islamist “moderate,” that his election marks a popular repudiation of the hardline clerical regime of Ayatollah Khameini and that he is showing an unprecedented willingness to negotiate with the West.  His tweets, op.eds. and interviews ooze reasonableness.  The “smart people” say that now is the time for President Obama to meet with, shake the hand of or otherwise begin directly engaging his Iranian counterpart.

Mr. Obama has already begun this process.  He has exchanged letters with Rouhani and the administration is signaling that the two leaders’ speeches at the opening of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday may afford an opportunity to go further.  At a minimum, it seems there will be some sort of symbolic gesture.  If possible, Team Obama clearly hopes that – as with the recent initiative that purportedly will disarm Syria’s chemical arsenal – diplomacy can triumph.  In this case, that means easing sanctions in exchange for new Iranian promises about their nuclear program.

The trouble with such diplomatic fandangos is that, unlike Lucy and the football, the futility of the exercise – and, worse, its highly counterproductive costs – may not be immediately obvious, as with a mortified Charlie Brown landing flat on his back, yet again.

What we do know, though, is that Hassan Rouhani is the very personification of Lucy.  He has been associated with the theocrats of Tehran since they seized power in the wake of the 1979 revolution.  His purported “moderation” is all spin – especially since no one, not no one, is allowed to deviate from the dictates of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khameinei.  And Khameinei has been unwavering in his determination to realize the ambition of his predecessor, Ruhollah Khomeini, to obtain nuclear weapons.

Is there a genuine Iranian desire to reduce or eliminate economic sanctions?  Of course.  Is there a chance that this will translate into an Iranian willingness to take steps that actually and permanently derail Iran’s covert nuclear weapons program? Nope.

What is even more appalling about the Rouhani’s Lucy-and-the-football gambit is that he’s not only done it before.  He brags about it.

For example, in an interview with Iranian television, Hassan Rouhani boasted about his past success as his nation’s top negotiator in using diplomacy to buy time for the regime’s secret nuclear developments.  The video and an accompanying article by Reza Khalili, a former CIA operative once highly placed in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, appeared last week in the Daily Caller (http://dailycaller.com/2013/09/20/video-iranian-president-brags-about-deceiving-the-west/#ixzz2fiAxEQVh).



Khalili writes: “[Rouhani] called Iran’s claim that it stopped its nuclear program in 2003 a statement for the uneducated and admitted that the program not only continued, but was significantly expanded under his tenure. While President George W. Bush was increasing pressure on Iran in 2007, a report by American intelligence agencies concluded that Iran halted its nuclear program in 2003 and that the program had remained frozen since.

“In the interview, Rouhani said that after he took over the country’s nuclear project, the country’s 150 centrifuges grew to over 1,700 by the time he left the project. Then, Rouhani made his boldest statement: ‘We did not stop; we completed the program.’” (Emphasis added.)

The old saw goes: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”  In fact, the Iranian regime and Hassan Rouhani himself have repeatedly perpetrated fraud on U.S. and Western leaders.  Far from feeling any shame, President Obama seems determined to double down – in the process, emboldening Iran and other adversaries, undermining and alienating our friends and diminishing our country.

Read more at Center for Security Policy

Watching the Middle East Implode

jp-egypt1-articleLarge-450x330By :

The revolutions against dictators in the Middle East dubbed the Arab Spring have degenerated into a complex, bloody mélange of coups and counter-coups, as have happened in Egypt; vicious civil wars, like the current conflict in Syria; a resurgence of jihadists gaining footholds in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Sinai; and a shifting and fracturing of alliances and enmities of the sort throwing Lebanon and Jordan into turmoil. Meanwhile, American foreign policy has been confused, incompetent, and feckless in insuring that the security and interests of the United States and its allies are protected.

A major reason for our foreign policy failures in the region is our inability to take into account the intricate diversity of ideological, political, and especially theological motives driving events. Just within the Islamist outfits, Sunni and Shia groups are at odds—and this isn’t to mention the many bitter divisions within Sunni and Shia groups. Add the other players in the Middle East––military dictators, secular democrats, leftover communists, and nationalists of various stripes––and the whole region seems embroiled in endlessly complex divisions and issues.

Yet a greater impediment to understanding accurately this bloody and complex region is our preconceived biases. Too often we rely on explanations that gratify our own ideological preferences and prejudices, but that function like mental stencils: they are a priori patterns we superimpose on events to create the picture we want to see, but only by concealing other events that do not fit the pattern. We indulge the most serious error of foreign policy: assuming that other peoples think like us and desire the same goods as we do, like political freedom and prosperity, at the expense of others, like religious obedience and honor.

One persistent narrative attributes the region’s disorder to Western colonialism and imperialism. The intrusion of European colonial powers into the region, the story goes, disrupted the native social and political institutions, imposing in their place racist norms and alien values that demeaned Muslims as the “other” and denigrated their culture to justify the exploitation of resources and markets. This process culminated after World War I in the dismantling of the caliphate, and the creation of Western-style nation-states that ignored the traditional ethnic and sectarian identities of the region. As a result, resentment and anger at colonial occupation and exploitation erupted in Islamist jihadism against the oppressor.

The Islamists themselves have found this narrative a convenient pretext for their violence, thus reinforcing this explanation for some Westerners. The most important jihadist theorist, the Egyptian Sayyid Qutb, wrote, “It is necessary to revive the Muslim community which is buried under the debris of the man-made traditions of several generations, and which is crushed under the weight of those false laws and customs which are not even remotely related to the Islamic teachings.”

Qutb was clearly alluding to the European colonial presence in the Middle East, and specifically to the nearly half-century of British control of Egypt. Al Qaeda, Hamas, and other jihadist groups similarly lace their communiqués with references to colonial “oppression” and neo-imperialist interference, as when Osama bin Laden scolded the U.S. in 2002 for waging war in the region “so that you can secure the profit of your greedy companies and industries.” The Arabs likewise routinely describe the creation of Israel as a particularly offensive act of colonial aggression against the lands of Islam.

Such pretexts, however, are clearly for Western consumption, exploiting the Marxist demonization of imperialism and colonialism that informs the ideology of many leftist intellectuals in Europe and America. When speaking to fellow Muslims, however, most Islamist groups ground their motives in the traditional doctrines of Islam, which call for war against the infidel and the enemies of Islam.

Read more at Front Page

9/11: Twelve Years Later

9-111-450x337By :

9/11 was a moment of utter moral clarity that has been succeeded by twelve years of moral chaos. Twelve years of duplicity, flim-flam, double-dealing, humbug. Twelve years of timorousness, incompetence, impotence.

Thousands of lives have been sacrificed in vain; inconceivable amounts of money have gone to waste. America’s financial security and its international standing have been imperiled. And all for one simple reason: because, from the very beginning, the powers that be, in both political parties, chose to lie about the nature of the enemy we were up against.

In the years before World War II began, Winston Churchill spoke up again and again in the House of Commons about the danger that the Nazis represented. His colleagues responded to his eloquent, passionate warnings with ridicule. He was considered a bore, a nag. Some of his fellow Tories viewed his preoccupation with Hitler as an embarrassment. But he didn’t waver. He knew whereof he spoke, he saw what was coming, and he did what he saw as his duty.

On September 11, 2001, only a couple of hours after the planes struck the World Trade Center, President Bush went on TV and promised the nation that we’d get the “folks” who did this. “Folks”? Would Churchill ever have called the Nazis “folks”? The tone was wrong, right from the start. Tone matters.

In the same TV address, Bush asked everyone to join him in a moment of silence. But it was not a time to bow one’s head in silence. It was a time to be enraged, to speak the facts firmly and clearly, and to plan appropriate retributive action. It was time for a moment of truth.

But nobody wanted to speak the truth.

Three days later, Bush was at the National Cathedral for an “interfaith service of prayer and remembrance” that had been jointly planned by the Cathedral and the White House. An account of the service at the Cathedral’s website recalls that the participants “spoke English, Hebrew, and Arabic” and “stood side by side—Jew, Muslim, Christian.” At the service, the Dean of the Cathedral offered up a prayer to “God of Abraham and Mohammed and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ.” Muzammil H. Siddiqi of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) said a prayer. “Today,” pronounced Bush, in his comments at the service, “we feel what Franklin Roosevelt called the warm courage of national unity. This is a unity of every faith, and every background.”

And there, in that service, just a few days after 9/11, you can see it all – the seeds of everything that has been so terribly, tragically wrong about the last twelve years. I remember watching Siddiqi pray on TV that day and thinking: “OK, who is this guy?” The Investigative Project on Terrorism has sinceanswered that question at length. Siddiqi’s group, the ISNA, is tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, and his mosque hosted a lecture by Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the man behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. In a 2000 speech, Siddiqi said that “America has to learn that because if you remain on the side of injustice, the wrath of God will come.” In 1996, he told followers that “Allah’s rules have to be established in all lands, and all our efforts should lead to that direction.” He’s also praised jihad as “the path” to “honor” and expressed support for the death penalty for gays in Muslim countries.

And yet there he was, in that pulpit, at that service. His presence there was an obscenity; to invite his participation was an act of either utter ignorance or sheer dhimmitude. But it was only the first of many such acts. It was the template for the post-9/11 era, the new American order, during which we were told by everyone, from our president on down, that the 9/11 terrorists had hijacked not only airplanes but their religion as well, which, of course, was a religion of peace. That, we were told, was what Islam means: peace. Those of us who knew better and who dared to say so were vilified as bigots, even as the likes of Saddaqi were celebrated as noble bridge builders.

Read more at Front Page


The Failed Grand Strategy in the Middle East

An opponent of Egypt's President Morsi holds up a picture of Barack Obama and the American flag during a rally outside the presidential palace in Cairo on July 7.

An opponent of Egypt’s President Morsi holds up a picture of Barack Obama and the American flag during a rally outside the presidential palace in Cairo on July 7.

By Walter Russell Mead:

In the beginning, the Hebrew Bible tells us, the universe was all “tohu wabohu,” chaos and tumult. This month the Middle East seems to be reverting to that primeval state: Iraq continues to unravel, the Syrian War grinds on with violence spreading to Lebanon and allegations of chemical attacks this week, and Egypt stands on the brink of civil war with the generals crushing the Muslim Brotherhood and street mobs torching churches. Turkey’s prime minister, once widely hailed as President Obama’s best friend in the region, blames Egypt’s violence on the Jews; pretty much everyone else blames it on the U.S.

The Obama administration had a grand strategy in the Middle East. It was well intentioned, carefully crafted and consistently pursued.

Unfortunately, it failed.

The plan was simple but elegant: The U.S. would work with moderate Islamist groups like Turkey’s AK Party and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to make the Middle East more democratic. This would kill three birds with one stone. First, by aligning itself with these parties, the Obama administration would narrow the gap between the ‘moderate middle’ of the Muslim world and the U.S. Second, by showing Muslims that peaceful, moderate parties could achieve beneficial results, it would isolate the terrorists and radicals, further marginalizing them in the Islamic world. Finally, these groups with American support could bring democracy to more Middle Eastern countries, leading to improved economic and social conditions, gradually eradicating the ills and grievances that drove some people to fanatical and terroristic groups.

President Obama (whom I voted for in 2008) and his team hoped that the success of the new grand strategy would demonstrate once and for all that liberal Democrats were capable stewards of American foreign policy. The bad memories of the Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter presidencies would at last be laid to rest; with the public still unhappy with George W. Bush’s foreign policy troubles, Democrats would enjoy a long-term advantage as the party most trusted by voters to steer the country through stormy times.

It is much too early to anticipate history’s verdict on the Obama administration’s foreign policy; the president has 41 months left in his term, and that is more than enough for the picture in the Middle East to change drastically once again. Nevertheless, to get a better outcome, the president will have to change his approach.

With the advantages of hindsight, it appears that the White House made five big miscalculations about the Middle East. It misread the political maturity and capability of the Islamist groups it supported; it misread the political situation in Egypt; it misread the impact of its strategy on relations with America’s two most important regional allies (Israel and Saudi Arabia); it failed to grasp the new dynamics of terrorist movements in the region; and it underestimated the costs of inaction in Syria.
Read more at WSJ


Obama’s Foreign Fiasco

by Daniel Pipes:

It’s a privilege to be an American who works on foreign policy, as I have done since the late 1970s, participating in a small way in the grand project of finding my country’s place in the world. But now, under Barack Obama, decisions made in Washington have dramatically shrunk in importance. It’s unsettling and dismaying. And no longer a privilege.

Whether during the structured Cold War or the chaotic two decades that followed, America’s economic size, technological edge, military prowess, and basic decency meant that even in its inactivity, the U.S. government counted as much or more in world developments than any other state. Sniffles in Washington translated into influenza elsewhere.

Weak and largely indifferent presidents like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton mattered despite themselves, for example in the Iranian revolution of 1978-79 or the Arab-Israeli conflict in the 1990s. Strong and active presidents like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush had greater impact yet, speeding up the Soviet collapse or invading Afghanistan and Iraq.

But now, with Barack Obama, the United States has slid into shocking irrelevance in the Middle East, the world’s most turbulent region. Inconstancy, incompetence, and inaction have rendered the Obama administration impotent. In the foreign policy arena, Obama acts as though he would rather be the prime minister of Belgium, a small country that usually copies the decisions of its larger neighbors when casting votes at the United Nations or preening morally about distant troubles. Belgians naturally “lead from behind,” to use the famed phrase emanating from Obama’s White House.


Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo was a very long time ago.

Qatar (with a national population of 225,000) has an arguably greater impact on current events than the 1,400-times-larger United States (population: 314 million). Note how Obama these days takes a back seat to the emirs of Doha: They take the lead supplying arms to the Libyan rebels, he follows. They actively help the rebels in Syria, he dithers. They provide billions to the new leadership in Egypt, he stumbles over himself. They unreservedly back Hamas in Gaza, he pursues delusions of an Israeli-Palestinian “peace process.” Toward this end, the U.S. secretary of state made six trips in four months to Israel and the Palestinian territories in pursuit of a diplomatic initiative that almost no one believes will end the Arab-Israeli conflict.


Doha, now more influential than Washington in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the U.S. secretary of defense called Egyptian leader Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi 17 times in conversations lasting 60-90 minutes, yet failed in his pleas that Sisi desist from using force against the Muslim Brotherhood. More striking yet, Sisi apparently refused to take a phone call from Obama. The $1.5 billion in annual U.S. aid to Egypt suddenly looks paltry in comparison to the $12 billion from three Persian Gulf countries, with promises to make up for any Western cuts in aid. Both sides in Egypt’s deep political divide accuse Obama of favoring the other and execrate his name. As dozens of Coptic churches burned, he played six rounds of golf. Ironically, Egypt is where, four long years ago, Obama delivered a major speech repudiating George W. Bush policies with seeming triumph.


Woodrow Wilson (1913-21) was the first of four Democratic presidents greatly to increase the power of the state.

Obama’s ambitions lie elsewhere – in augmenting the role of government within the United States, as epitomized by Obamacare. Accordingly, he treats foreign policy as an afterthought, an unwelcome burden, and something to dispatch before returning to juicier matters. He oversees withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan with little concern for what follows. His unique foreign policy accomplishment, trumpeted ad nauseam, was the execution of Osama bin Laden.

So far, the price to American interests for Obama’s ineptitude has not been high. But that could change quickly. Most worrisome, Iran could soon achieve nuclear breakout and start to throw its newfound weight around, if not to deploy its brand-new weapons. The new regime in Egypt could revert to its earlier anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism; already, important elements in Egypt are calling for rejection of U.S. aid and termination of the peace treaty with Israel.

As an American who sees his country as a force for good, these developments are painful and scary. The world needs an active, thoughtful, and assertive United States. The historian Walter A. McDougall rightly states that “The creation of the United States of America is the central event of the past four hundred years” and its civilization “perturbs the trajectories of all other civilizations just by existing.” Well not so much perturbation these days; may the dismal present be brief in duration.

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum.