ISIS’ Sinai Attacks Show Real Threat to Hamas

Hamas fighters (Photo: Video screenshot)

Hamas fighters (Photo: Video screenshot)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, July 3, 2015:

The attacks on Egypt in the Sinai Peninsula by the Islamic State (ISIS) this week shows why its new vow to topple Hamas in the Gaza Strip should be taken seriously. Polls show that Palestinians have the highest level of sympathy for ISIS in the Arab world with the possible exception of Syria.

ISIS has killed at least 17 Egyptian security personnel (13 soldiers and 4 police officers) and injured 30 in coordinated attacks that reflect increasing sophistication.  The Egyptian military said 70 Islamist terrorists participated and five checkpoints were assaulted. ISIS claims it struck 15 sites all at once.

The Egyptian government immediately accused the Muslim Brotherhood of involvement as it has in the past. Egypt also claims Hamas, the Brotherhood’s Palestinian wing, is secretly supporting ISIS operations in the Sinai Peninsula. It has even threatened to attack Hamas in Gaza in response.

The Egyptian claims are questionable because of the open animosity between the two groups and ISIS’ new video pledging to conquer the Gaza Strip, but the Israeli military confirmed the links after Wednesday’s attacks. It identified two senior Hamas officials who advise ISIS and covertly arrange for hospital visits in Gaza for its injured operatives.

The Brotherhood denies involvement and its website has a statementurging Egyptians to reject violence, but the group’s double-talk is well-documented. It is simply false that the Brotherhood is completely non-violent and Brotherhood media outlets explicitly call for violence like that perpetrated by ISIS this week.

However, there does appear to be a division within the Brotherhood.Youth leaders and elements outside the country are advocating violent jihad, while the older generation repeatedly reaffirms the group’s non-violent stance in Egypt. It’s possible this is all a calculated deception. It’s also possible the rift is real and a faction would be willing to support ISIS against a common enemy.

One Brotherhood official, Mohamed Gaber, said it “seeks to use all expertise inside and outside the Brotherhood to achieve its goals at this stage,” referring to toppling the Egyptian government.

The Egyptian government’s crackdown on the Brotherhood makes it tempting for Hamas to support ISIS operations in the Sinai. Hamas may prefer a situation where its southern border is a battlefield between ISIS and Egyptian forces instead of a base for either. Plus, the Brotherhood uses every death as proof that Egypt’s crackdown is counter-productive and should end.

There are three possibilities: Claims of Hamas/Brotherhood links to ISIS in Sinai are simply wrong; the two groups simultaneously collaborate and fight with each other depending on circumstances; or there are elements within Hamas/Brotherhood that work independently with ISIS against the wishes of the leadership.

Whatever the truth is, the attacks in the Sinai show the threat to Hamas should be taken seriously.

A November 2014 poll found that the Palestinians are the most sympathetic population to ISIS in the Arab world. Only 4% view ISIS positively but if you include those who view it somewhat positively, it grows to nearly one-quarter of the population. However, another poll found that only 3% of Palestinians view ISIS’ gains positively and 88% view it negatively.

ISIS could capitalize on widespread dissatisfaction with Hamas and the situation in Gaza. ISIS’ message that Gaza is in bad shape because Hamas is not sufficiently implementing Sharia could resonate with Islamists who are struggling to understand why Hamas’ rule has not been blessed by Allah. The video also slams Hamas for being too soft on Israel.

A poll released last month shows that 50% of the population in Gaza—and an astounding 80% of the youth—want to leave. About 63% favor continuing rocket attacks on Israel. Another poll found that almost 25% would not vote if elections were held today.

Should a full-blown war between Hamas and ISIS break out that makes Gaza look like Syria, the West mustn’t embrace Hamas as the better alternative. The minute differences between them should not be exaggerated out of a desire for a side to pick. They are the two manifestations of the same enemy.

Also see:

Watch and Share: ‘When the World Stayed Silent’

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei surrounded by military officials.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei surrounded by military officials.

Clarion Project, July 1, 2015:

We have already seen what happens when the world stays silent when confronted with evil. Don’t let history repeat itself.

Watch our latest film and write to your representative. Count your name among the righteous who oppose this historically bad deal and be on the right side of history.  

Please share the link and help this film go viral.

Join our campaign to say “No to a Nuclear Iran”

Throughout history, good people have often tried to make deals with bad people, in the hopes of preserving peace. Today, there are those who want to make a deal with Iran. History has not been kind to those who make deals with bad people.

War Crimes in Gaza: Filmmaker Takes Cameras Deep into Hamas Territory appeared first on Breitbart

Youtube/Screenshot

Youtube/Screenshot

Breitbart, by Phyllis Chesler, June 26. 2015:

Just as another “Freedom Flotilla” is sailing to Gaza, veteran filmmaker Pierre Rehov’s latest film War Crimes in Gaza will be shown next week to the European Parliament under the auspices of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Pierre Rehov’s film should also be seen by the International Criminal Court, which has just received files documenting what it claims are “Israeli war crimes.”

This 55-minute film is superb and packed with both visual, factual, and historical information. If everyone on board this flotilla watched this film—and if they were open to reason—they would turn back.

Going undercover into Gaza, Rehov is able to show us some of the wealthy mansions and villas of Gaza, the bustling malls and supermarkets, luxury cars, and well-dressed people at beachfront resorts—so different from the usual visual narratives of disinformation. Rehov shows us those as well: The weeping Palestinian civilians amidst rubble telling tales of IDF atrocities and devastation.

Undercover, Rehov has frightening footage of Hamas training children as young as six how to kill; the torture and public corpse-desecration of anyone whom Hamas suspected was a ‘collaborator’ or anyone whom they viewed as an opponent; Hamas’s omnipresent but hidden “civilian” army in Gaza; the location of Hamas missiles and guns in heavily populated civilian areas; how different Hamas missiles look than IDF missiles once they have hit their target—and much else.

The film teaches us that, since Hamas could not inflict major military damage to Israel, their strategy became one of propaganda—the kind meant to turn the entire world against Israel. It worked. Everyone wanted to believe the worst of the Jewish state. No one wanted to focus on the Muslim-on-Muslim, Arab-on-Arab, and Hamas-on-Palestinian violence.

Colonel Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, confirms, on camera, that Hamas’s goal is not the liberation of Palestinians but the destruction of Israel. Hamas tries to “present Israel as being war criminals.”

According to journalist and author Matti Friedman, hating Jewish Israel “erases a deep sense of guilt” about the Holocaust. Seeing Jews as victimizers not as victims” does that. Friedman also notes in the film that reporters only cover “Israeli actions,” not the preceding Hamas attack, but also because “it matches the story that they want and [reporters] are not interested in being killed [by Hamas]…Bad Jews, good Arabs. Anything that complicates the story is taken out.”

Rehov’s film confirms that Hamas controls all press coverage and will not allow reporters to either see or report on the three kinds of vast, expensive, underground tunnels that Hamas has built all over Gaza. We see the offensive tunnels, which open out into civilian Israel; the smuggling tunnels and the defensive tunnels, which house weapons and Hamas fighters. We come to understand—we see with our own eyes—how Hamas dresses its fighters as “civilians,” and forces it real civilian population to function as human shields in the ground and propaganda wars begun by Hamas.

War Crimes in Gaza turns every Big Lie right side up. From various on-camera Israeli soldiers and military experts, we quickly understand that the IDF follows strict rules of engagement and is, without doubt, the most ethical army in the world with the least civilian casualties possible.

Rehov also challenges some of the latest Lies being told, namely, the IDF purposely killed four small boys who were running on the Gaza beach. Rehov wonders why “so many cameras were filming the sea at this very moment? Were reporters expecting something to happen? Then, who informed them?”

The film attempts to answer some of these. According to Colonel Kemp, “It would not surprise me if the Hamas deliberately lured the IDF to attack this location, as they have done it many times in this conflict before… it is extremely unlikely that children would be targeted by the IDF.” Israeli Colonel Peter Lerner claims that “The IDF had a Hamas terrorist target. We had intelligence pointing specifically to that location.”

Bassem Eid, the founder and director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring group, is perhaps the most eloquent and passionate voice on camera. He hold Hamas responsible for committing war crimes against the Palestinian people. Here is some of what he says:

Israel is using its own rockets and missiles to protect their people. Hamas is doing the opposite. Hamas is gaining power and money while more Palestinians are being victimized in Gaza…there is no doubt that Hamas used people as human shields. IDF sent messages to leave their houses. Hamas prevented them getting out of their houses by saying they are spies of Israel if they do.

Eid insists: “The one [who] committed the genocide is Hamas. The Hamas is offering their innocent people for such a kind of war.”

Rehov has made 12 films, some of which I have previously reviewed. His twelfth film will shortly appear as well. It focuses on the BDS movement. The film’s title is: Beyond Deception Strategy.

Rehov joins Gloria Greenfield as the premier filmmakers spurred by this latest, bloodiest, and long-lasting Al Aqsa Intifada.

Also see:

New Documents Suggest Saudis Concern Over Hidden Iranian Nuclear Material

imageGenCSP, by Ashley Davies, June 24, 2015:

According to Saudi embassy documents secured by WikiLeaks, in February 2012 multiple Iranian shipments of “sensitive technical equipment in the form of fast centrifuges for enriching uranium,” were located at an airport in Sudan’s capital of Khartoum. The leaked documents are the first of their kind reporting Iran shipping nuclear equipment to Sudan. If the documents’ suspicions can be validated, US inspections of Iranian nuclear sites, an aspect of the nuclear deal, would be greatly hindered, further complicating the already problem-filled agreement.

This is not the first instance of Iran collaborating with other nations in relation to nuclear matters. Iran and North Korea have exchanged nuclear information including warhead designs for many years. Each regime has sent representatives to visit one another’s nations, with three sets of North Korean nuclear experts visiting Iran this year. Furthermore, Syria, a close ally of Iran, which receives aid from Iran in the form of missile development and production, played host to a nuclear reactor that was ultimately destroyed by an Israeli airstrike. If Iran were truly able and willing to develop nuclear weapons in other nations, US inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities would be widely unproductive, as Iran’s nuclear weapons will have been moved outside its borders.

Sudan, a previous safe haven for Osama bin Laden and a designated State Sponsor of Terrorism, is Iran’s strongest ally in Africa, making it the prime location to conceal their nuclear weapons. Despite the Sudanese attempting to keep their relations with Iran secretive, it is widely known that the two have been allies for a long time. Relations can be traced back to the 1980’s when an Islamist-led coup, inspired by the Islamic revolution in Iran, brought President Al-Bashir and Hassan Al-Turabi into power. Within the first six months of the Islamist regime’s reign, Iranian and Sudanese officials signed a cooperative agreement. For decades, Iran has utilized the vastness of Eastern Sudan and its maritime presence in the Red Sea to smuggle weapons. Documents from a meeting of high-level Sudanese officials revealed many officials stressed the importance of relations with Iran continuing, as it is seen as essential to Sudan’s defense and security. The necessity of Iran’s support to Sudan’s national defense spouts from Iran’s training, funding, and supplying of the Sudanese military. As Sudan has continually supported Iranian military operations, Iranian leaders have told Sudanese leader Iran was willing to share their nuclear “experience, knowledge and technology.” Sudan has openly supported Iran’s nuclear program, expressing its backing of Iran’s rights to access peaceful nuclear energy in 2009.

Interestingly, a Sudanese munitions factory was attacked by Israeli airstrikes eight months after the then secret documents were produced. Despite Israel never denying nor confirming its involvement in the strikes, Sudanese officials claimed to have evidence in the remnants of the factory that pointed to Israel as the perpetrator. Sudan and Israel have considered one another enemy nations since the Arab-Israeli war in the late 1960’s, and Israel has since carried out multiple targeted strikes against arms factories in Sudan, looking to impede the flow of weapons to Hamas. With its major African ally in trouble, Iran offered to construct missile defense systems in Sudan, however the Sudanese government rejected the offer. Israel and Iran, as well, have outwardly proclaimed their detest for each other. Iran has publically rejected Israel’s right to exist, and its Supreme Leader has called for the destruction of Israel. On the other hand, Israel has definitively opposed the idea of a nuclear Iran, with President Netanyahu going as far as addressing the US Congress with his concerns of the inadequacies compromising the deal. A majorcomponent of Iran and Sudan’s alliance is the desire to ultimately destroy Israel’s power and influence.

As the June 30th deadline of the nuclear-deal negotiations looms less than a week away,Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, laid out the remaining red lines that must be agreed upon for a deal to be reached. Amongst the ultimatums Khamenei named was Iranian military sites not being required to be inspected, a claim that the Iranians have stood behind since the discussions commenced. Time and time again however US officials have attempted to downplay the sacrifices Western nations have been making, without the Iranians budging, to reach a deal. Whether or not the final deal, if reached, allows the US and other Western nations to monitor its nuclear activity remains to be seen. However, if the Saudi’s suspicions of Iran shipping nuclear material to Sudan prove true, Iran is clearly already moving to circumvent any inspection requirements the deal might contain.

***

***

Clarion Project releases sixth short film in our “Say NO to a Nuclear Iran” campaign.

“Change the Channel” is a look at what could happen if a deal with Iran goes bad.

Click here to join our campaign “Say No to a Nuclear Iran” and join the right side of history.

Click here to write your representative in Congress

Also see:

Is Kurdistan Rising?

The State of the Kurds  WSJ 6-20-15

NER, by Jerry Gordon, June 21, 2015:

In the Wall Street Journal Weekend edition, June 20-21, 2015, Yaroslav Trofimov writes of the possible rise of an independent Kurdistan, “The State of The Kurds”.  An independent Kurdistan was promised by the WWI Allies in the Treaty of Sevres that ended the Ottoman Empire in 1920. That commitment was dashed by the rise of Turkish Republic under the secularist Kemal Atatürk confirmed in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne denying an independent Kurdistan in what is now Eastern Turkey. Combined a future Kurdistan encompassing eastern Turkey, Northern Syria, northwest Iran and northern Iraq might comprise a landlocked republic of 30 million with significant energy and agricultural resources.  The rise of Kurdistan is reflected in these comments in the Trofimov WSJ review article:

Selahattin Demirtas, Chairman of the HDP party in Turkey:

The Kurds’ existence was not recognized; they were hidden behind a veil. But now, after being invisible for a century, they are taking their place on the international stage. Today, international powers can no longer resolve any issue in the Middle East without taking into account the interests of the Kurds.

Tahir Elçi, a prominent Kurdish lawyer and chairman of the bar in Diyarbakir, Turkey:

In the past, when the Kurds sought self-rule, the Turks, the Persians and the Arabs were all united against it. Today that’s not true anymore—it’s not possible for the Shiite government in Iraq and Shiite Iran to work together against the Kurds with the Sunni Turkey and the Sunni ISIS. In this environment, the Kurds have become a political and a military power in the Middle East.

Elçi, amplifies a concern that Sherkoh Abbas, leader of the Kurdish National Syria Assembly (KURDNAS) has expressed in several NER interviews an articles with him:

The PKK has made important steps to adopt more democratic ways. But you cannot find the same climate of political diversity in [Kurdish] Syria as you find in [northern Iraq], and this is because of PKK’s authoritarian and Marxist background. This is a big problem.

As effective as the KRG government and peshmerga have been in pushing back at ISIS forces threatening the capital of Erbil, the real problem is the divisiveness in the political leadership. That is reflected in the comment of  Erbil province’s governor, Nawaf Hadi cited by Trofimov:

For 80 years, the Arab Sunni people led Iraq—and they destroyed Kurdistan. Now we’ve been for 10 years with the Shiite people [dominant in Baghdad], and they’ve cut the funding and the salaries—how can we count on them as our partner in Iraq?” All the facts on the ground encourage the Kurds to be independent.

That renewed prospect reflects the constellation of  events in Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

Supporters cheer Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, HDP, in Istanbul, Turkey, in May, 2015. Source: Emrah Gurel/AP

Supporters cheer Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, HDP, in Istanbul, Turkey, in May, 2015. Source: Emrah Gurel/AP

Read more

Also see:

“Perversion of Truth” – UN Report on the 2014 Gaza War

Former New York Surpreme Court Justice Mary McGowan Davis, Chair of UN Investigation in to 2014 Gasa War

Former New York Surpreme Court Justice Mary McGowan Davis, Chair of UN Investigation in to 2014 Gasa War

NER, by Jerry Gordon, June 23, 2015:

In a mid-May 2015 Jerusalem Report/Jerusalem Post interview by Paul Alster, “The Redoubtable Colonel [Richard] Kemp”, anticipated the findings of the UN Task Force Commission on the 2014 Gaza War. Kemp said: “I think their staff is going to be so heavily biased against Israel that it will be quite a struggle for them to produce a fair report.” Col. Kemp, former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, was present on the battle front last summer at the Israeli /Gaza frontier had presented his independent testimony to the UN Human Rights Commission investigation. It was a furtherance of his remarks to the earlier UN report following IDF Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009.  Conclusions, as Col. Kemp indicated,  rejected by Israel.

Former British Commander in Afghnistan Col. Richard Kemp (ret.)

Former British Commander in Afghnistan Col. Richard Kemp (ret.)

His predication was reflected in the UN Report by the ‘independent’ investigation released yesterday in Geneva by the Chairperson, former acting New York Supreme Court Justice Mary McGowan Davis. Davis has made a post retirement career after she left the bench in 1998  conducting  independent UN investigations into human rights violations. Justice Davis was member of the team that concluded the IDF had perpetrated war crimes against civilians in Gaza defending Israeli citizens from Hamas rocket terrorism in Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009. The summation of the latest UN investigation on the 2014 War in Gaza  accused both  Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes, while holding IDF to a “higher standard” of behavior.

Read more

***

“What Makes You Think Anybody in the White House Cares about American Hegemony in the Middle East?”

obama-smoking-pot-368x350Frontpage, June 23, 2015 by Daniel Greenfield:

I don’t care much for Kissinger myself, but this line from the former Secretary of State in his conversation with former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren certainly gets to the heart of the matter.

“Meeting with Henry Kissinger early in his term, Oren finds the ex-secretary of state gloomy over the president’s eagerness to reconcile with Iran.

Surely, says Oren, the White House realizes that an “Iran with nuclear capabilities means the end of American hegemony in the Middle East?”

Retorts Kissinger: “And what makes you think anybody in the White House still cares about American hegemony in the Middle East?”

And of course no does.

Oren shows himself to be ridiculously out of date and clueless about American politics when he even broaches the subject. This is the post-American White House whose guiding idea is that weakening America will, supposedly lower anti-American feelings.

It’s Carter on crack.

Obama doesn’t want state-based hegemony. He wants the ideological hegemony of the left without recognizing that he can’t community organize the Middle East the way he community organized America. (For one thing the losing majority in the Middle East tends to be a lot less graceful about losing.)

Also see:

How Obama Made Peace Between Israel and the Saudis

Black__White_Handshake_-_Still_from_the_film_Colour_Blind_2009-425x350Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, June 9, 2015:

In Washington D.C., the new director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry and a former Saudi Major General, both of whom run think tanks with close ties to their respective governments, shook hands.

It wasn’t their first time.

Obama wasn’t there when it happened, but in a way he was responsible for it.

Both men are foreign policy experts who help shape the foreign policies of their countries and had conducted five previous meetings. The topic of the meetings was Iran.

Obama wouldn’t have been pleased by their meeting or by what it represented, but he had brought them together. While Dore Gold, the Israeli, insisted that they had common ground because “We’re both allies of the United States”, it was Obama’s betrayal of both countries that had led them here.

While Obama likes to talk about making peace in the region, his only successful peace effort was this accidental byproduct of his disastrous policies. He had unintentionally managed to bring the Israelis and the Saudis together by alienating both countries with his permission slip for a nuclear Iran.

It was not a peace that he was likely to claim credit for.

Saudi Arabia was Israel’s oldest and most venomous enemy. Ibn Saud had called the Jews, “a race accursed by Allah according to his Koran, and destined to final destruction.” He had vowed to be content eating nothing but “camel’s meat” rather than give up hating the Jews.

“The word of Allah teaches us, and we implicitly believe this O Dickson, that for a Muslim to kill a Jew, or for him to be killed by a Jew ensures him an immediate entry into Paradise and into the august presence of Allah. What more then can a Muslim want in this hard world,” he had added.

And he meant it.

The origins of most of the anti-Israel activities in the Muslim world and the West can be found in Saudi Arabia. The poisoning of academia was funded by Saudi Arabia. The diplomatic and military leaders of the United States and the United Kingdom were turned against Israel by the Saudis. Anti-Israel narratives wound their way into the press and the public forums courtesy of their hired gun PR agencies.

Even BDS has its heavily disguised origins in the boycott of Israel promoted and enforced by the Saudis.

The Saudis haven’t stopped any of this. They are still waging Ibn Saud’s Koranic war against the Jews using academics, retired politicians, diplomats and generals, along with think tanks and PR agencies as their fronts, but they have found something that they hate and fear even more than the Jews.

The Sunni hatred of Shiites is nearly as old as the Islamic hatred of Jews and the Wahhabi forces of the Saudis had conducted massacres of Shiites that closely resemble ISIS actions today.

But this is more than hatred.  The Saudis are afraid.

Obama’s appeasement of Iran has already led to the fall of Yemen and Iranian naval attacks in international waters in the Persian Gulf. And everyone knows that worse is yet to come.

While the Saudis rush to frantically go nuclear before Iran does, their military, despite its billions in American equipment is unreliable. Obama has aligned with the Iran-Syria-Russia axis despite its members being even more hostile to the United States than the Saudis.

The Saudis have far more influence in Washington than the Israelis ever did, though their influence is subtle and understated, without the gaucherie of an AIPAC dinner. But Obama won’t be moved by the slow infusion of subtle narratives from think tanks, retired diplomats and assorted insiders that the Saudis have ably used to turn American politicians around on issues like the War on Terror or Israel.

Obama has decided what he wants to do and the Saudi-orchestrated drumbeat of criticism, like Netanyahu’s speeches, is an irritant that won’t change his worldview.

The Saudis have tried to play a variety of cards. They tried and failed to cut a deal with Putin. They likely played a significant role in removing Morsi from power in Egypt after his flirtation with Iran. That gave them access to a more reliable military than their own force of princes, but the best proven air force in the region still belongs to Israel.

If there is to be any non-American action against Iran’s nuclear program, it will come from Israel.

The United States has spent generations trying to push for peace between Sunni Muslim states and Israel. Perversely, Obama has come closest to achieving that peace by abandoning both sides while backing Jihadist groups and states hostile to both Israel and Sunni Muslim governments.

Obama’s backing for the Muslim Brotherhood ended up bringing Egypt and Israel closer together. Now his backing for Iran is bringing Israel and the Saudis together.

These relationships are not the final and ultimate peace solutions rhapsodized over by naïve crowds and politicians. Those will never come as long as tribalism and theocracy rule the day. They are pragmatic and temporary interactions made necessary by Obama’s transformation of American foreign policy.

The wave of instability created by Obama’s backing for Muslim Brotherhood regime change and then Iranian expansionism has made even formerly stable countries feel insecure. Israel’s best asset in this crisis is its invulnerability to the sectarian waves of Shiite and Sunni conflicts and the rising tide of the Muslim Brotherhood’s brand of political Islamism. While there are a few Muslim Brotherhood members in Israel’s Knesset under the United Arab List banner, there is no risk of them taking over the country.

Even Netanyahu’s reelection has improved Israel’s standing in the Middle East by demonstrating that it has a reliable and steady government that is publicly at odds with Barack Obama.

For the Saudis, the Israeli option is the final option. And it’s not clear that they are doing anything more than exploring it to send a very particular message to Obama and Iran. But in a region swiftly being divided between Iran and various Muslim Brotherhood splinter groups, including Al Qaeda and ISIS, the Jewish State may have become the most reliable counterweight to Iran and Obama.

The old American strategy had sought to create peace between Jew and Muslim under the security umbrella of the Pax Americana. Instead it’s the collapse of the umbrella that has come closest to bringing peace through war against common enemies. By destabilizing the Middle East and turning on the Saudis and Egyptians, Obama accidentally made Israel seem like a more credible partner.

Making the Middle East worse succeeded where trying to make it better had failed.

The post-American world that Obama has been building is a very different place. It is a world in which aggressors like Russia and China are reshaping regions to their liking through conquest and intimidation, but it is also a world in which former allies of the United States are trying to build dams against the tide.

If Hillary succeeds Obama, the resulting post-American world will be a very dangerous place, but like the countryside after the flood waters have washed much of it away, it may also be an interesting place.

Obama has destroyed the international accomplishments of Wilson, FDR, Eisenhower and Reagan while claiming to be their rightful successor. The world is returning to where it was a century ago. And on this new map of the world, an alliance between Israel and the Saudis is only one more strange new territory.

The Growing Cognitive War Against Israel: A Q&A With Dr. Phyllis Chesler

Phyllis Chesler/Joan Roth

Phyllis Chesler/Joan Roth

by Frances Martel
Breitbart
June 3, 2015

In her new book, Living History: On the Front Lines for Israel and the Jews 2003-2015, best-selling author, lecturer, columnist and retired psychotherapist Dr. Phyllis Chesler explores the growth of the anti-Israel campus movement and the alliance of leftist academic intellectuals with leaders of anti-Semitic Islamist movements in the East.

Speaking to Breitbart News via email, Chesler expands on the “cognitive war” being waged against Israel and the West, the startling growth of leftist pro-Palestinian movements on campus, and the nature and appeal of the anti-Israel “death cult” that has taken advantage of young college students looking to empathize with the oppressed.

Q: The book is a series of essays from the past twelve years that gives the reader a wide breadth of how expansive the propaganda war, as you call it in the book, against the state of Israel is. It covers everything from your first experiences with the anti-Israel movement on campus to events as recent as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress on the Iranian nuclear talks earlier this year. My first question to you is a simple one: why this compilation of essays now?

A: I wanted to preserve these representative and strengthened essays as a legacy and for widespread use on campuses and at organizations and conferences. This is a reliable and accessible way of both remembering and teaching the coming generations about what has been happening globally in terms of the Orwellian defamation of Jewish Israel and of Western civilizational values.

Q: How has the anti-Israel movement on campus grown in the past decade, in your estimation, and what can pro-Israel students and activists do to stem that growth?

A: The Soviet-era Arab League, Saudi and Qatari money, Palestinian propaganda groups, Muslim Brotherhood student groups, human rights groups, and the United Nations, have been working on demonizing Israel for the last 35-60 years. Professors, think tanks, Middle East Studies programs, films,student conferences—with the strong backing of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Muslim Student Association and Students for Justice in Palestine and what has become an “Islamophobia” industry—have forcefully indoctrinated American students (and the media) into believing that the earth is flat. Now, anyone who does not hew to such politically correct Junk Science, will be physically intimidated, jeered, cursed, economically punished, censored, and possibly fired. What to do? First, we must admit that a Cognitive War was declared long ago and, second, that it is a war we simply refused to fight. Worse, it is a war in which we collaborated against ourselves. Now, we must seize courage in both hands and commit ourselves to this battle for the next one hundred years.

Q: Is there a notable distinction to be made between anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli activism? If so, where is the line, and how should supporters of Israel approach each?

A: Currently, there is no longer any difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. In the distant past, an honorable theoretical discussion could be had about whether the long-persecuted Jews would ultimately benefit from a state “like any other state,” which some believed would absolve Jews from their God-given mission of being a “light unto the nations.” What kind of Jewish state Israel should be has been appropriately discussed and argued. It still remains a more than lively discussion. But now, there are those, including some Jews, who believe that if Israel cannot be perfect, it does not deserve to exist; that Israel has caused the existential danger it now finds itself in; that even though Israel is surrounded by enemies (not only geographically but also theologically, ideologically, economically, internationally, militarily, and by the Biggest Lies ever, etc.), Israel-alone should still be judged by standards that one never applies to Sudan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Hamas, Fatah, ISIS, and Boko Haram.

In 2002, I, and a mere handful of others, stated that anti-Zionism is partly what anti-Semitism is now about. I also stated that a Perfect Storm was coming our way (both Israel’s and America’s). That Storm is an alliance between western, politically correct intelligentsia and Islam. It took others about a decade to begin stating this as well.

Q: One of the most striking things for me about the book is how many topics it covers and, in turn, the way it highlights how versatile the left can be in hijacking any topic to bash Israel, from feminism to sports to theater and the performing arts. How much effort should supporters of Israel spend fighting in the political realm vs. combatting opponents in other venues that are not traditionally political? Is any one of these– entertainment, sports, international law, social justice– not getting as much attention from the pro-Israel movement as it should?

A: Israel needs a global “Iron Dome” to defend itself against the all-out cognitive war that is currently being waged against it. I spell out some specific ideas in a lecture that I am working on. I have also made many cogent suggestions over the years (some are contained in this book), which have never been tried or funded. Israel’s supporters need to do everything, simultaneously, and we need to understand that we are coming from behind. However, that is also how our patriarch Jacob/Israel once approached crises and battles. We have the talent, we do not have the money. Arab and European governments have funded our Big Lie opponents for more than half a century. Funders must now do likewise. And we need team players working in concert. We exist.

Q: You are among one of the most unabashed feminists at the forefront of the pro-Israel movement. A young, politically conscious American woman reading or watching only liberal mainstream media would have a difficult time believing you can be both feminist and a hawk on foreign policy or, as you mention in “The Brownshirts of Our Time,” feminist and pro-Israel. What do you say to those that can’t see where the two ideologies meet?

A: I am a civil libertarian and a free thinker. I am not an ideologue. I am in service to original ideas—but we live at a moment in history when ideology trumps independent thinking and when celebrity trumps all. Thus, I oppose totalitarianism, fascism, and barbaric misogyny. I cannot make common cause with those who have been trained to demean the West and to celebrate all other cultures as both “equal” to and “oppressed” by the West. I once lived in the Islamic world and I move in Muslim (dissident) circles to this day. Therefore, unlike most Western feminists, I understand the nature of Islamic gender and religious apartheid—and I oppose it. I also understand that the history of Muslim leaders has been one of imperialism, colonialism, conversion by the sword, anti-black racism, slavery, persecution of infidels, and the gross subordination of women. I do not share the same need for sacrificial atonement that so many feminists currently display.

I lived in a polygamous household in Kabul and disagree with pseudo-feminists in the West who believe we should consider this cultural practice in a “relativist” way. I also saw my first burqas in Kabul and view them as a dangerous human rights violation and a health hazard. I also learned a little about family-initiated femicide, aka honor or horror killings, and know they are not at all like Western domestic violence.

Q: Given that Israel is the most female- and LGBT-friendly nation in the Middle East, should there be a responsibility among the feminist and LGBT rights movements to support Israel?

I also know that despite many flaws, Israel is the most democratic and liberal nation in the Middle East; it towers above any Arab or Muslim country in terms of rule by law, freedom from censorship, women’s rights, gay rights, and Arab Muslim and Arab Christian rights. It also has the most ethical army in the world. In short, I know that the world’s view of Israel is “upside down” and I mean to right it.

Q:What do you think is the appeal of the pro-Palestinian, anti-Zionist movement on campus to young people who otherwise share socially liberal values incompatible with the ideals of groups like Hamas?

A: It is, essentially, a death cult appeal but one couched in the language of empathy for the suffering oppressed. It demands the utter eradication of individuality for a presumably noble purpose, that of sweeping away all evil on earth—no matter the cost. (Hmmm, where have we heard that before?) If Christians must be crucified and exiled; if Jews must be completely exterminated; if infidels must all convert to Islam or die—then so be it. What Westerners envision as “revolutionary” is really quite reactionary but the herd instinct, the pressure to be a politically correct anti-racist, has been dangerously romanticized. This madness must be de-programmed. First, the Islamists must be defeated militarily. Then, we can put our best minds to the task of de-programming.

Q: Beyond Israel, Europe appears to be a strong preoccupation for the book, particularly the rise of anti-Semitism there. What is Europe doing wrong to invite events like the Charlie Hebdo attack or even casual discrimination in cities like Paris and Malmo?

A: Europe, like America, and like Israel, symbolizes Western values which are despised, envied, and condemned by tribal Islam. Today, Europe is doing nothing wrong—and yet it is doing everything wrong. There is a tragic history here.

Europe wanted cheap Arab oil and cheap Arab and Muslim workers. They did not expect these workers to stay or to eventually bring half their villages along with them. Many Europeans have traditionally been racists. That is why so many are now “atoning” for the sins of their grandparents by adopting a more “politically correct” version of racism. (Dark-skinned Muslims may live as they wish, we have no desire to seriously integrate them; anyway, this is their preference as well).

Many immigrants remained illiterate or felt disenfranchised; they lived on the dole in hostile, parallel, anti-European communities and became radicalized via mosque, jail, and satellite TV. Jean Raspail, the French novelist, envisioned what could happen in his brilliant book In The Camp of the Saints. As I write in one of the essays in Living History: On The Front Line for Israel and the Jews, 2003-2015, I sometimes think that Europe is reaping a terrible, karmic destiny. It murdered six million friendly, non-violent, often highly assimilated Semites—the Jews—and has now reaped the whirlwind of many millions of non-friendly, violent, anti-assimilation Semites—the Arab and African Muslims.

To read an exclusive excerpt from Living History: On the Front Lines for Israel and the Jews 2003-2015, click here.

IS Threatens Israel Monday, Israel Air Force Jets Return Fire This Morning

Screen-Shot-2015-06-04-at-1CSP, by Caitlin Anglemier, June 4, 2015:

The Islamic State (IS) issued a threat to Israel on Monday, June 1st, declaring that the Sunni terrorist group Hamas must halt its recent attacks and assaults on IS supporters in the Gaza Strip within 48 hours “or else”. Hamas’s recent crackdown is in response to the May 31 assassination of one of its senior commanders by the Hadid Brigade (full name, “Sheikh Omar Hadid Brigade”), a group of IS supporters in the Gaza Strip. IS issued its 48 hour threat, which gave no insight into future consequences if Hamas does not meet its demands, to various Middle East reporters on Monday who then dispersed the news.

According to an article posted on June 2 by World Net Daily, a leader of Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, Islamic State’s affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula, reportedly declared “that if Hamas does not cease its crackdown, the group [IS] will not only continue to target Hamas, it will also break the Israel-Gaza truce with more attacks launched against the Jewish state”. On the same day, however, Hamas forces killed Islamic State supporter Younis al-Honnor. The 27-year-old was reportedly killed unintentionally while resisting arrest by Hamas forces.

As retaliation for Honnor’s death, rockets were fired Wednesday evening from the Gaza Strip at the Israeli city Ashkelon and the town Netivot. The “Omar Brigade,” which is likely the same as the Sheikh Omar Hadid Brigade, claimed responsibility for the assault.

In response to Wednesday night’s attack on Ashkelon and Netivot, Israel Air Force jets hit “three ‘terror infrastructure’ targets in the Gaza Strip” this morning.

Israel’s Defense Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, declared today in a press release “that the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] struck Hamas targets because even if the militants who fired the rockets belong to ‘rogue gangs’ from the Islamic Jihad, Israel holds Hamas ‘responsible for what is happening in the Strip’”.

Before these recent events, on May 3rd of this year, Hamas followers destroyed the Al-Moutahabbin Mosque, located in the central region of the Gaza Strip. This mosque belonged to a group of Islamic State supporters known as the “Supporters of the Islamic State in Jerusalem”. A daily Egyptian newspaper, Al-Masry al-Youm, reported that this group described the destruction as carried out, “in a manner that even the Jewish and American occupation has not done”. This demolition was in response to previous unclaimed bombings in the Gaza Strip.

After the attack on the Al-Moutahabbin mosque, Supporters of the Islamic State of Jerusalem stated its renewed loyalty to and faith in IS caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The group then threatened Hamas members, even publishing some names and photos, unless Hamas releases several captives, including a local Salafi sheikh.

Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 following what is known as the Battle of Gaza. A primary difference and source of conflict between Hamas and IS is Islamic law, called sharia. IS abides by and fights to enforce much stricter adherence to sharia law and says Hamas is “too liberal” and “soft on Israel.”

Various tweets have been released indicating such differences, one stating, “The Hamas government is apostate [one who renounces a religious or political belief or principle], and what it is doing does not constitute jihad, but rather a defense of democracy.” Another message states, “Khaled Meshaal [head of Hamas political bureau]: Hamas fights for the sake of freedom and independence. The Islamic State: it fights so that all religion can be for God.”

The conflict between Hamas and the Islamic State is much more than a dispute over geographic terrain or political quarreling; it is one about a deeply engrained moral, political, and theological ideology. Based on these ideological differences, events like those that have transpired over the past couple days in Gaza and Israel will not cease anytime soon.

***

Israel’s Peace Fantasists in Action

1ef9b765-5e3e-47eb-bb2e-87e35fc8c7a6_16x9_600x338-450x253Frontpage, by Caroline Glick, may 15, 2015:

The Saudis are in play, casting about for partners.

In a clear vote of no-confidence in US President Barack Obama’s leadership, Saudi King Salman led several Arab leaders in blowing off Obama’s Camp David summit this week. The summit was meant to compensate the Sunni Arabs for Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

Salman’s decision is further proof that US-Saudi relations have jumped the tracks. For 70 years the Saudis subcontracted their national security to the US military. Deals were closed with a wink and a nod. That’s all over now.

Obama has destroyed Washington’s credibility. Salman views its gentleman’s agreements as worthless. All he wants now is military hardware. And for that, he can send a stand-in.

The Saudis never put all their eggs in America’s basket. For 70 years the Saudis played a double game, maintaining strategic alliances both with the liberal West and the most reactionary forces in the Islamic world. The Saudis pocketed petrodollars from America and Europe and transferred them to terrorists and jihadist preachers in mosques in the US, Europe and worldwide.

Iran isn’t the Saudis’ only concern. Although for outsiders the worldview of the theocracy governing Saudi Arabia seems all but identical to the worldview of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Saudis consider the Brotherhood a mortal foe. The Saudis claim that their tribal, top-down regime is the genuine expression of Islam. The Brotherhood’s populist, grassroots organization rejects their legitimacy.

And so, since the Arab revolutionary wave began in late 2010, the Saudis opposed the empowerment of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Saudis are the primary bankrollers of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s regime.

During Operation Protective Edge last summer, the Saudis sided with Sisi and Israel against Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and its Turkish and Qatari state sponsors. Although Saudi Arabia had previously been a major funder of Hamas, that backing ended in 2005 when, following Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, Hamas forged strategic ties with Iran.

For the past five years, the Saudis worked against both the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran. But in recent months they began reconsidering their two-war approach.

With the Iranian-backed Houthis’ takeover of Yemen and the US’s conclusion of its framework nuclear deal with Iran, the Saudis apparently determined that weakening Iran takes precedence over fighting the Brotherhood. With its Houthi proxies in Yemen deployed along the Saudi border abutting Shi’ite-majority border provinces, and fighting for control over the Bab el Mandab, Iran now poses an immediate and existential threat to Saudi Arabia.

Moreover, as the Saudis see it, the threat posed by the Brotherhood has severely diminished since Sisi began his campaign to destroy its infrastructure in Egypt. So long as Sisi continues weakening the Brotherhood in Egypt and Libya, the Saudis feel safe working with the Brotherhood and its state sponsors Turkey and Qatar in Syria and Yemen. To this end, much to Washington’s dismay, the Saudis are willing to back a consortium of rebel groups in Syria that include the al-Qaida-linked Jabhat al-Nusra.

The Muslim Brotherhood and its terrorist offshoots are not the only strange bedfellows the Saudis are willing to work with in their bid to neutralize Iran.

They have also signaled a willingness to work with Israel.

Read more

Also see:

The Pro-Terrorist Front Groups On American Campuses

sfj-350x350Frontpage, by David Horowitz, April 29, 2015:

Americans are shocked when a news report reveals that an American has turned up in Syria fighting for the terrorists. If the jihadist is then identified as a Somali immigrant who settled in Minnesota but never assimilated to the American way of life, there is a sigh of relief, perhaps accompanied by concern that so many immigrants are currently coming from regions plagued by religious hatreds and terrorist wars. The concern is real but the relief is a false one, based on a misunderstanding of the many dimensions of the “grand jihad” being waged by terrorist parties like the Muslim Brotherhood.

This week I traveled to the Midwest to speak at Ohio State, home of the Buckeyes, to an audience of 130 students. My subject was the campus war being waged against Israel by two student fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood – the Muslim Students Association and the Committee for Justice in Palestine. These groups are not themselves terrorists. But they are carrying out a propaganda war crafted by terrorists that is designed to help Hamas “obliterate” the Jewish state by portraying it as a criminal occupier of Palestinian land.

More than half the students attending were members of the two organizations and supporters of the Hamas terror campaign. I attempted to refute the lies they were spreading at Ohio State (Israel is an occupier of Palestinian land; Israel is an apartheid state). Their Jewish targets, I explained, were just the canaries in the mine. Already there were far more Christians slaughtered by the soldiers of Mohammed, and Muslims too. But those numbers I said will be dwarfed should the day come when the Islamic Republic of Iran drops a nuclear bomb on Tel Aviv.

The Muslim Students Association, which is a presence on more than a hundred campuses, is supported by college funds and accorded campus privileges. It is a recruitment organization for the Muslim Brotherhood. Many members of the MSA, as I also said, are innocent of the true agendas organization. Those with political potential are selected for training seminars taught by Brotherhood leaders. Nine former presidents of MSA have gone on to high-level careers with al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. The most famous is Anwar al-Awlaki, formerly the head of al-Qaeda in the Yemen, killed in a U.S. drone strike. Before that, Awlaki was the president of the Muslim Students Association at Colorado State.

The centerpiece of the pro-terrorist propaganda campaigns conducted by these groups on American campuses is a Hamas-created 4-panel map. The map purports to show that a Muslim state called Palestine (colored in green) existed in 1946 and was then infiltrated by Jews (represented by the color white) until a point is reached at which Palestine is completely occupied. The map, like the other Hamas propaganda points placed by the students on their “Apartheid Walls” is a lie. There was no Palestinian state in 1946. There was no self-identified “Palestinian” cause until 1964 when the Arabs dropped their stated goal to “push the Jews into the sea,” and formed the “Palestine Liberation Organization” to protest Jewish occupation of their alleged homeland.

The sixty or so student supporters of these Hamas agendas remained civil during my talk. No doubt the presence of eight armed police the university assigned had something to do with that. When I finished, about 20 of them lined up at the microphone. From the moment the first one began to speak it was clear that this was going to be an orchestrated protest. Instead of asking questions they read speeches off their cell phones. Because the speeches had been written before I spoke they were not responses to anything I actually said, but more Hamas propaganda: “You said that all Muslims are terrorists.” In fact I had said exactly the opposite – that most Muslims were law-abiding people who only wanted peace and that many Muslims were in fact being slaughtered and oppressed by Islamic terrorists including the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank.

However, my words fell on deaf ears, as they had all evening. Not only the comments but the cheers for the pro-Hamas speakers made this abundantly clear. These were thoroughly indoctrinated young Americans, committed to a genocidal cause. Among them was an elected member of the student government at Ohio State, who volunteered that he had prepared a proposal in behalf of the Committee for Justice in Palestine requesting student funds to finance its pro-terrorist propaganda campaign.

This worries me even more than the Somali volunteer from Minnesota.

[To learn about the Freedom Center’s ‘Jew Hatred on Campus’ Campaign,’click here.]

Islam is Nazism with a God

Published on Apr 24, 2015 by Eric Allen Bell

Islam is Nazism with a God. Islamic scripture teaches the hatred and killing of Jews. These teachings are right out in the open in Islamic countries and occur quietly in Islamic Centers and mosques in America and Europe. The solution is to educate the civilized world about the threat of Islam. The enemy of Islamic brutality is information. Spread it far and spread it wide. Spread it like Napalm. The Information Age with be the death of Islam.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar – A Warning To America, Israel, the West

Published on Apr 24, 2015 by theunitedwest

Dr. Mordechai Kedar – A Warning To America – National Security And Understanding The Muslim Mind.

The United West is proud to bring you another installment of our Israel Trip Series featuring Israeli Scholar and National Security subject matter expert, Dr. Mordechai Kedar.

Dr. Kedar combines his 25 years in various IDF Intelligence Units, fluency in Arabic dialects, and a stellar academic career at Bar Ilan University into a National Security Briefing you must watch from beginning to end.

“We in the West often delude ourselves into believing that all cultures have exactly the same goals (peace, prosperity, freedom) and exactly the same values (human life, honesty, human rights). And although all of these goals and values are undoubtedly part of every human culture, not all cultures value them to the same degree that we do in the West.”

In this briefing Dr. Kedar will present a compelling look into understanding the Middle Eastern mind, culture, religion, and how the Muslim world sees Western culture. Only by understanding how the Muslim world sees us will we be able to properly defend our culture from The Global Jihad Movement.

In this briefing Dr. Kedar will cover these topics:

1. The Family unit and population demographics are a National Security issue.

2. 14:43 Understanding Islamic immigration to the West and why the export or Hijra is vastly important but misunderstood by Americans and Europeans. How this works into the framework of the Greater Middle East.

3. 45:40 Understanding the two types of threats emanating from the great Middle East and Persia.

4. 1:03:00 The Big Picture. The West’s Geo-Strategic picture with Iran.

5: What the Israeli message to Iran will have to be.

6. 1:11:00 How the Iranian mind thinks and processes information using their own imagery. The Shia Iranians do not think like us politically. Dr. Kedar takes Iranian political propaganda and deconstructs what it means from their perspective. What we think is irrelevant in dealing with the Iranians.

After you watch and absorb what Dr. Kedar is telling you about the Iranian mind you will be angry at how the current U.S. administration is dealing with our Iranian adversaries geo politically and even more urgently with the Iranian Nuclear program.

This lecture should be mandatory watching for President Obama, John Kerry, and everyone at the US State Department.

To follow Dr. Kedar’s body of work go to: http://mordechaikedar.com/

Go to http://www.TheUnitedWest.org and listen to Tom Trento’s simulcast daily AM radio show – Enemies Of The State.

God Bless America and God Bless Our Troops

A Game of Chicken in the Gulf of Aden

shipsNER, by Jerry Gordon and Ilana Freedman, April 24, 2015:

On the morning of April 21, 2015,   newspapers and media reporters trumpeted a headline that the Saudis were ending their month long air campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen.  The halt reflected concerns of the Obama Administration over the deteriorating situation in Yemen and the increasing role of Iran. The operation, named “Decisive Resolve”, allegedly led by the Saudi coalition with US administration backing, had destroyed a missile base, armored vehicles, and planes held by Houthi forces. The Houthi militias were allegedly allied with Yemeni strongman and former president of Yemen for over thirty years, 73-year old Ali Abdullah Saleh.  Saleh, who has survived political isolation, sanctions, civil war, and assassin attempts, created an alliance with the Houthis, his former enemies, in a bid to return to power in Yemen. Latest reports indicate that Saleh has left Yemen, perhaps to join party members in discussions with Saudi Arabia and coalition members of the Gulf Cooperation Council about resolving the conflict.

Saudi Air Strikes in Yemen WSJ 4-22-15

Since the Saudi air strikes began on March 26, more than 1,000 civilians have been killed. The Saudis were seeking to restore the internationally-recognized and US-backed President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who served as president of Yemen from February 2012 until January 2015, when he was forced to resign after Houthi rebels raided his home and put him under house arrest. He subsequently escaped and fled to Saudi Arabia just as the Kingdom-led coalition began an air campaign against Houthi rebels on March 26, 2015.

Only hours after the first announcement of the cessation of Saudi air strikes, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Washington Adel al-Jubeir appeared at an Embassy press conference to announce the resumption of limited air attacks.  The Ambassador told reporters:

The Houthis should be under no illusion that we will continue to use force in order to stop them from taking Yemen over by aggressive action. We are determined to protect the Yemeni people and counter any aggressive moves that the Houthis may undertake. When the Houthis or their allies make aggressive moves there will be a response. The decision to calm matters now rests entirely with them.

In view of continued Houthi fighting in the central city of Taiz and against secessionist forces in Aden on the southern coast. This phase of the Saudi operation in Yemen was named “Renewal of Hope”, and was launched amid reports that the Houthis have surrounded the city of Aden on three sides.  In a later press conference on April 22nd, al-Jubeir said, “We will not allow them to take Yemen by force.”

The Houthis quickly put out a statement seeking the lifting of Saudi air and naval operations, and offering to hold political talks under UN auspices.  The defiant Houthi threatened to invade Saudi Arabia if the bombing continues.

A flotilla of nine Iranian vessels, seven commercial vessels escorted by two Iranian frigates, exited the Persian Gulf slow steaming down the Sea of Arabia towards a rendezvous in the Gulf of Aden. Nine US vessels were already positioned there. Nevertheless, that group has been joined by the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), an aircraft carrier capable of carrying 90 F/A-18 fighter jets and helicopters. The Roosevelt was accompanied by the USS Normandy (CG-60), a guided-missile escort ship. They came from the Fifth Fleet base in Bahrain in the Gulf, presumably to shadow the Iranian flotilla.

The Saudis, with the aid of Egyptian naval vessels, have established a virtual blockade of Yemen preventing deliveries of food, civilian goods, and weapons from Houthi ally, Iran.   The UN Security Council passed a resolution barring the supply of advanced missiles to Yemen.

Pentagon Chief Ashton Carter made his first comments on the dispatch of the US carrier and guided missile cruiser to the Arabian Sea while on a trip to California.  Carter told them that “he was not prepared to say whether the U.S. would be willing to forcibly stop and board one of the Iranian ships if it tries to cross into Yemen.”  Further, he said:

We have options. We’re not at that point. We’re at the point of trying to get the parties back to the table.

Still, he said the U.S. is making it clear to Iran that “obviously fanning the flames or contributing to it by any party is not welcome to us.”

President Obama in an MSNBC interview said:

Right now, their ships are in international waters. What we’ve said to them is that if there are weapons delivered to factions within Yemen that could threaten navigation, that’s a problem. And we’re not sending them obscure messages — we send them very direct messages about it.

On the other hand, senior defense and military officials told NBC News that American warships were prepared to intercept the convoy of Iranian ships, because they were suspected of carrying weapons to Houthi rebel forces in Yemen.

Several versions of their mission have already been floated by various government offices. The White House, Pentagon and State Department have issued statements to the effect the US carrier battle group is there to monitoring sea lanes. White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said, “the principle goal is to maintain freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce in the Gulf of Aden and in the Red Sea”.

On the other hand, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren suggested that there could be a flight of refugees across the narrow Bab al Mandab that separates Yemen from the horn of Africa. The US naval vessels might be conveniently positioned to prevent a disaster similar to the one last weekend in the Mediterranean that witnessed over 700 people attempting to flee from war-torn Libya, drowned when the overloaded fishing boat capsized.

The stories may be inconsistent, but one thing is clear. If history is any measure, the Iranian flotilla is certain to be carrying weapons and supplies to aid the Houthi forces, not the humanitarian assistance they claim is to alleviate the Saudi and Egyptian blockade of Yemeni ports.  The US administration has been clear that the shadowing US naval forces have not been given orders to enable them to hail and board Iranian vessels. They are concerned that boarding the Iranian ships might create an incident that could threaten a successful outcome in the ongoing nuclear in which President Obama and  Secretary of State Kerry have invested so much effort. The negotiations the Administration appears committed to closing a deal offering so-called signing bonuses of $30 to 50 billion in release of oil revenues.

These statements by Pentagon and Administration spokespersons reflect the quandary in which the Administration now finds itself, and they can’t seem to get their story straight.  In the midst of problematic negotiations on a possible nuclear agreement with Iran, which the Administration appears to want to complete at all costs, the US is also allegedly backing Saudi Arabia with both intelligence and weapons in the fight against the Iran-backed Houthi.  The American position in this conflict is far from clear.

One possibility not mentioned in any of the media is the possibility that the American presence is neither to stop the Iranian ships, nor to board them, but to keep the other countries’ naval officers from boarding them. The purpose of this mission would be to maintain our nuclear negotiations with Iran moving forward without the suggestion of our threatening them in another theater.

The situation in the region is extremely complicated and America’s mission there is uncertain. While appearing to support the Saudi position, the US has also provided intelligence to the Houthi, ostensibly to ward off threat of a resurgent AQAP. And while appearing to be a deterrent to Iranian arms delivery to the Houthis, the massive American presence on the scene may be, in fact, a deterrent to other ships whose mission is to board the Iranian cargo ships should they approach the port in Aden.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is existentially concerned about Iranian expansion of its hegemony into Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, where Iranian Quds Force and Revolutionary Guard “consultants’ have been active in expanding their control. In Iraq, they have been training Shia militia in the war against the Islamic State.

In response to the Iranian threat, Saudi Arabia has undertaken action to subjugate the restive Shia majority in Bahrain, home port for the US Fifth Fleet, and in the oil rich Eastern Province with a large Shia population.  The Saudis are spending billions to complete security fences on its northern and Southern borders, and the Kingdom has reportedly mobilized 150,000 troops for possible action in Yemen.

The situation is the Arabian Sea is fluid. The latest reports indicate that despite the strong words from Iran, their ships have now turned around and are heading back toward the Strait of Hormuz. At this writing, they are reported to be heading east in the Arabian Sea, south of Salalah, Oman.

Failed US Policy    Less than a year ago, President Obama hailed Yemen as a foreign policy ‘success’ story in its drone campaign against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. But with the fall of Yemen’s capital Sana’a to Houthi forces and the flight of ousted President Hadi to Saudi Arabia, the vacuum in the country has been filled by open conflict between Sunni tribes loyal to AQAP, those units loyal to Hadi, and secessionist forces in Aden. America’s precipitous and humiliating departure from Yemen was more than proof that our policy had been anything but successful.

Effectively Yemen is a failed state.  When the mobs attacked it, the US Embassy closed in panic, leaving 4,000 American citizens stranded in a country that was rapidly falling into chaos and bloody fighting. The US special operations contingent decamped to Camp Lemonnier across the Bab al Mandab at AFRICOM headquarters in Djibouti.  The former US special ops Yemen bases were overrun and destroyed. Without local intelligence from within Yemen, the counterterrorism drone campaign against the AQAP was effectively been shut down.

The current game of chicken on the high seas in the Gulf of Aden is a dangerous one, not the least because it is difficult to understand what the end game is supposed to be. The problem now is that the Iranian Ayatollah and his Revolutionary Guards commanders may relish such a confrontation with the US, Saudi and Egyptian naval contingents to see who would blink first in the game of chicken.  Some might consider the Iranian flotilla as a possible causus belli. After all the UN Security Council adopted a resolution barring the shipment of missiles into Yemen.

The dangerous confrontation seems, for the moment, to be averted. Iran’s ships have turned back, perhaps temporarily. We don’t know why, or what their long range game plan may bring.

The irony the Administration found itself in over the looming confrontation in the Gulf of Aden was that the US might have had to rely on the Saudis and the Egyptians, both of whom America had supplied weapons to, but over whom the US now has little to no control.  The looming question is whether a satisfactory denouement with Iran would even be possible were Iran already a nuclear state.

That Iran is on the brink of acquiring nuclear weapons is no longer the question. All evidence points to this being the case, ongoing talks with P5+1 and the so-called 13 year ‘deal’ notwithstanding.  Latest reports say that Iran is on the ‘nuclear threshold’ with less than three months before it has full nuclear weapons capability. The Iranian nuclear threshold concerns the Saudis, Gulf Emirates, Egypt, and Israel. Israel has not been diffident in the past about intercepting and boarding commercial vessels carrying illicit cargoes of missiles from Iran supplying proxies Hamas and Hezbollah.

In the game of chicken still being played out in the Arabian Sea, it remains to be seen whether the Obama Administration has the resolve to stare down this latest move by Iran, or is the President more than likely blink first?

Ilana Freedman is a veteran intelligence analyst, specializing in Islamic and related sources of terrorism and their impact on the Western world. Jerry Gordon is a Senior Editor at the New English Review

***

Also see: