Congress Calls for Increased Sanctions on Hamas Allies

Khaled Meshaal , head of Hamas Politburo in Damascus / AP

Khaled Meshaal , head of Hamas Politburo in Damascus / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Dec. 9, 2014:

A bipartisan delegation of foreign policy leaders in Congress are calling on the Obama administration to increase U.S. sanctions on Hamas and its allies, including the terror group’s top financier, Qatar, and its close ally, Turkey, according to a letter sent Tuesday by lawmakers to the Treasury Department and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The administration can and should be doing more to crackdown on Hamas’ top allies, including Iran, Qatar, and Turkey, according to the letter, jointly endorsed by 24 of the 29 members on the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa and its Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade.

The letter—which is signed by the chairmen and ranking members of both committees—follows months of appeals by lawmakers and foreign policy experts to the Obama administration urging it to crackdown on Hamas’ main funders, particularly Qatar, which has kept the terror group financially afloat via major cash infusions.

“We believe that more can be done, and we urge Treasury to take all necessary measures to sanction individuals or entities that are directly or indirectly financing or materially supporting Hamas,” the lawmakers wrote to Treasury Department Under Secretary David Cohen, who handles terrorism and finance intelligence.

While the United States has navigated a diplomatic tightrope with Turkey and Qatar, who are considered close U.S. allies on many fronts, the lawmakers argue that all of Hamas’ backers should be hit with U.S. sanctions.

“Any entity or nation that continues to back this U.S. designated Foreign Terrorist Organization and provide it material and financial support should be sanctioned,” they wrote.

“We are requesting that Treasury use every tool available to designate all individuals, institutions, entities, charities, front companies, banks, and government officials who clearly violate U.S. laws by assisting Hamas and its proxies,” according to the letter.

Lawmakers also are requesting that the administration provide them with “specific public updates” about conversations taking place with the “Qatari government on previously designated, Qatar-based terrorist financiers that the Qataris have yet to act upon.”

Qatar’s relationship with Hamas has been particularly problematic for the United States.

While lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have called for greater pressure on the nation, the Obama administration has maintained that Qatar should play a key role in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

“Hamas traditionally relied on Iran for much of its financial and political support,” the lawmakers state, noting that Qatar donated $400 million to Hamas in 2012 .

“Qatar’s $400 million donation for Gaza reconstruction in 2012 bolstered Hamas’ credibility in Gaza and may have directly supported Hamas-backed entities,” they write. “Qatar also allows Hamas’ top leader, politburo chief Khalid Mishaal, to operate out of its territory knowingly and with impunity. It was even widely reported in the press that Qatar threatened to deport Mishaal if Hamas had accepted an Egypt-backed ceasefire agreement to end this summer’s conflict in Gaza.”

Turkey also remains one of Hamas’ top enablers.

“Turkey serves as the headquarters for Saleh al-Arouri, who is believed to head Hamas’ terrorist operations in the West Bank,” the lawmakers state. “In August, the media reported that he was behind an allegedly thwarted plot to topple, undermine, or replace the Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank. Also in August, al-Arouri stated that Hamas was behind the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens this June.”

In addition, Turkish charities, front companies, and even some banks are suspected of providing support to Hamas, according to the lawmakers.

“It’s no secret that Turkey and Qatar provide refuge to many Hamas operatives, and that both of these supposed American allies have become major terror financial hubs,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.), chair of the subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

“While the Treasury Department has taken significant action against Hamas and its supporters, more can be done to halt support for this terrorist group,” she said. “Both Turkey and Qatar have thus far been extremely lax in enforcing their terror financing laws and taking action against U.S. designated individuals or entities.”

Meanwhile, it also has come to light that one of Hamas’ top Iranian allies, Imad al-Alami, has been identified as residing in Turkey, according to a recent report by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

Al-Alami, who has traveled to Iran on many occasions, is designated as a terrorist by the U.S. government, though it is unclear what action the Obama administration will take in light of the recent revelations.

“I would argue now that Turkey is liable like Qatar as the top external headquarters for Hamas,” said FDD vice president for research Jonathan Schanzer. “It may have even surpassed it.”

Also see:

IPT Senior Fellow Testifies at Hearing on Iranian Terror

Cables Show State Department Disregarded Muslim Brotherhood Threat

by John Rossomando

Obama Gives Hezbollah 200 Armored Personnel Carriers

Lebanon_M113_30112006_news_001-450x259By  in Front Page

It’s only fair that with the Muslim Brotherhood getting 200 Abrams tanks, Hezbollah should get 200 armored personnel carriers.  While tragically there was no money available to provide security for the US mission in Benghazi, there’s always room for giving billion dollar weapons packages to the terrorists who attack US embassies.

In 1983, Hezbollah carried out the suicide car bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut killing 63 people, including US soldiers, and wounding 120. The suicide vehicle of choice was a delivery van. But now Hezbollah will be able to attack the next US embassy in style with the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier.

When Hezbollah overturned the Lebanese government and replaced it with a coalition dominated by the Shiite terrorist group, backed by Iran, there were worries that this might prevent Lebanon from receiving US aid.

But those worriers had clearly never met Obama who will never unfairly deprive Islamic terrorists of the weapons that they are entitled to under the code of social justice.

The United States has provided more than $140 million in equipment and assistance to the Lebanese armed forces in the past six months, including six Huey 2 helicopters, a 42-metre coastal security craft, more than 1,000 guns – including grenade launchers – and 38 million rounds of ammunition.

The United States has given 200 armored vehicles to Lebanon, the Lebanese army said… The M113 armored personnel carriers (APCs) arrived by ship to Beirut on Sunday, the army said in a statement. A Lebanese security source said the army now had 1,200 APCs.

What possible use could the Lebanese military make of that firepower? It isn’t to fight Hezbollah as Hezbollah is in the government. It isn’t to fight Syria, because even in its present state, the Syrian military would kick Lebanon’s ass, and Lebanon’s military would end up fighting Hezbollah at home if they tried that.

That just leaves one possibility.

“This government is committed to maintaining strong, brotherly ties which bind Lebanon to all Arab countries, without exception,” Prime Minister Mikati said at the Baabda Presidential Palace. “Let us go to work immediately according to the principles… [of] defending Lebanon’s sovereignty and its independence and liberating land that remains under the occupation of the Israeli enemy.”

Israel had already withdrawn entirely from Lebanon, so that just leaves Shebaa Farms and the rest of Israel to “liberate”.

On Monday, House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., criticized the administration for keeping “the aid pipeline flowing” when Hariri’s government fell.

“Now, Hezbollah and its cohorts will control the Lebanese government and likely benefit from the years of U.S. assistance, including to the Lebanese military. We cannot undo past mistakes, but we can learn from them and safeguard taxpayer dollars going forward,” Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement. “The U.S. should immediately cut off assistance to the Lebanese government as long as any violent extremist group designated by the U.S. as foreign terrorist organizations participates in it.”

That was last year. Instead Obama has given them even more assistance. If they just found a way to bring Al Qaeda into the government, they would probably get their own stealth bombers.

No Mubarak-Style Condemnation for Morsi Power Grab from Washington

egypt demonstrationsBy Bridget Johnson

The first democratically elected leader of Egypt fled the presidential palace today as fury over his Islamist power grab boiled over in Cairo with protesters clashing with police and demanding the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood leader.

The chants of “leave, leave” and “the people want to topple the regime” heard by reporters on the ground were familiar — the same chants heard in Tahrir Square two years ago when democracy-seeking Egyptians wanted president-for-life Hosni Mubarak out.

The draft “constitution,” hastily forged by Islamists as Egypt’s other vast interest groups protested the process hijacked by the Brotherhood, was the kerosene poured on Egyptians’ anger over Morsi granting himself “temporary” power over the judiciary and all other oversight bodies.

As Mauritanian activist and blogger Nasser Weddady succinctly tweeted, “In conclusion: if you’re a copt, an atheist, an agnostic, a Baha’i, non-religious Muslim, a shi’a, a Jew or a women you’re screwed. If you’e a free thinker, an artist, a journalist, you’re screwed by #Egypt new proposed ikhwani constitution #Liberticide”

The cries from Cairo, Alexandria, and beyond are getting louder as Egyptians protest the replacement of a dictatorship with Islamist tyranny.

In Washington… crickets.

There’s been no statement by President Obama chiding the power grab. The last mention of Morsi by the White House was a week ago in the daily press briefing, where spokesman Jay Carney was asked about the Egyptian president’s moves and in response urged “inclusive dialogue between the government of Egypt and all Egyptian stakeholders.”

“The current constitutional impasse is an internal Egyptian situation that can only be resolved by the Egyptian people, through peaceful democratic dialogue,” Carney said. “And we call on all Egyptians exercising their right to freedom of expression to do so peacefully.”

National Security Adviser Tom Donilon today met with Assistant to the President of Egypt for Foreign Relations and International Cooperation Dr. Essam el-Haddad to reaffirm “the strategic relationship between the United States and Egypt,” according to the White House, and “discussed a broad range of issues, including our bilateral economic cooperation, joint efforts to promote regional security and build on the cease-fire in Gaza, and Egypt’s democratic transition and the need to move forward with a peaceful and inclusive transition that respects the rights of all Egyptians.”

When reminded of the administration’s strict stance against Mubarak back during the Arab Spring, Carney said “much has changed since Mubarak was in power.”

“We need to step back, and look at the transformation that has been incurring in Egypt since the revolution began there,” he said.

But the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee suggested that the Obama administration has blinders on because of how much it wants Morsi to succeed.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) noted late last week that the White House “seemed to go out of its way to praise the Morsi government for making the ceasefire agreement happen” in Gaza.

“According to news reports, administration officials indicated off the record that President Obama was investing heavily in Morsi and views him as someone with whom the U.S. could do business. Of course, then Morsi immediately engaged in a massive domestic power grab, claiming virtually unlimited powers,” Ros-Lehtinen said.

“What steps should the Congress take to hold the Morsi government accountable for its actions?  What further conditions should be placed on U.S. political, economic, and military support to Egypt?”

A congressional letter today demanded that Morsi step up his effort to stop arms smuggling into Gaza if he’s so concerned about keeping the peace.

“Given Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza, there’s only one way to get weapons into Gaza, and that is through Egypt,” said the bipartisan letter led by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). “In order for the ceasefire to hold, it is imperative that your government bolster its efforts to halt all weapons smuggling taking place via both overland and underground routes.”

The senators wrote that they’re “deeply disturbed” by statements from Hamas and Iranian leaders that Tehran is restocking the terror operation in Gaza, including with long-range Fajr-5 rockets.

“In the interest of peace and security, Egypt should take immediate and decisive action to halt such smuggling,” they continued. “This is all the more important in light of the potential easing of restrictions on the movement of people and goods through Gaza border crossings as a condition of the ceasefire you helped to broker. Preventing Hamas from re-arming is just one step in helping to prevent violence from erupting again.”

Signing the letter were Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga..), John Tester (D-Mont.) Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

Morsi has called for a referendum on the constitution Dec. 15. Two days later, he’s rumored to be coming to Washington — something the State Department would not confirm today.

Read more at PJ Media

 

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