EMET Phone Seminar: Dr. Jonathan Schanzer – Turkey and its Dubious Performance as an ‘Ally’

 

EMET is proud to host Dr. Jonathan Schanzer on a phone seminar to discuss Turkey.

Turkey is a supposed “ally” of the United States and NATO, yet many officials in Washington are doubting the loyalty of Ankara, which failed to join the U.S.-led air bombing campaign against the Islamic State. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan labeled the U.S. allied Kurds in Syria fighting the Islamic State as terrorists.One U.S. official reportedly said Turkey is secretly offering support to ISIS, and that many in Washington believe Turkey is partnering with Qatar to support Islamist groups in Libya. Moreover, Turkey has allowed weapons to be transported into Syria through its borders, as well as ISIS fighters to move freely between the two countries. There are ISIS cells operating throughout Turkey, and Ankara has turned a blind eye to ISIS selling smuggled oil. Turkey also has a track record of supporting Islamists, serving as a safe haven for senior Hamas officials and Muslim Brotherhood members.
In light of the above, can Turkey be relied upon at all in the fight against ISIS? And is it time for the West to end its alliance with Turkey? Please join us to hear answers to these questions and more with expert Dr. Jonathan Schanzer, the Vice President of Research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).
Dr. Jonathan Schanzer joined FDD in February 2010, bringing solid scholarship and public policy credentials to his job of overseeing FDD’s research. He worked as a terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where he played an integral role in the designation of numerous terrorist financiers. A former research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Dr. Schanzer has studied Middle East history in four countries. He earned his Ph.D. from Kings College London, where he wrote his dissertation on the U.S. Congress and its efforts to combat terrorism in the 20th century.

Dr. Schanzer’s books have made unique contributions to the field. He most recently published State of Failure: Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State (Palgrave Macmillan), which argues the main roadblock to Palestinian statehood is not necessarily Israel’s intransigence, but the Palestinian Authority’s political dysfunction and mismanagement.
Dr. Schanzer has testified before Congress and publishes widely in the American and international media. He has appeared on American television channels such as Fox News and CNN, and Arabic language television channels such as al-Arabiyya and al-Jazeera. Dr. Schanzer has traveled widely throughout the Middle East, including Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Morocco, Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories. He speaks Arabic and Hebrew.

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Jerusalem, on a Knife’s Edge

crop458565742_0BY JONATHAN SCHANZER:

This is is not the Third Intifada. At least, it probably isn’t. But the persistent violence that has racked Jerusalem could certainly spark a wider popular protest movement across the Palestinian territories. Call it Jerusalem’s Arab Awakening.

In recent weeks, the holy city has seemed to be on the edge of an explosion. On Nov. 5, Ibrahim al-Akri killed an Israeli border guard and wounded three when he drove his car into a crowd. Two weeks before, Abdelrahman al-Shaludi killed a 3-month-old baby and a 22-year-old woman and wounded at least six others in a similar vehicular attack. The latter two perpetrators hailed from the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Shuafat and Silwan.

The violence only seems to be spreading. On Monday, Nov. 10, two Israelis were killed by Palestinian men in separate stabbing attacks in the West Bank and Tel Aviv. Last Friday, in the Lower Galilee town of Sakhnin, Israeli police shot and killed a man wielding a knife, setting off protests and rock-throwing among Palestinian youth.

The Jerusalem attacks, which have taken place against the backdrop of months of sporadic violence in East Jerusalem, mark a watershed moment for the city’s Arab community. This could be the first time since the Wailing Wall riots of 1929 — arguably the violent turning point in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — that Jerusalem is the epicenter of Palestinian unrest.

Since the Israelis conquered the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967, it has always been actors from these territories who have served as the driving forces behind Palestinian unrest against Israel. For example, the first spark for the First Intifada came from Gaza, after an Israel Defense Forces vehicle collided with a truck full of Palestinian workers, killingfour. The funerals led to mass protests, which soon swept across both territories.

The Second Intifada erupted after then opposition leader Ariel Sharon’s tour of the Temple Mount, the platform atop the ruins of the Jewish Second Temple that is also home to Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock. The uprising was even called the Al-Aqsa Intifada. However, the impetus for the unrest came from the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority leadership. Prior to the outbreak of the intifada, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat called young members from his Fatah faction “the new generals” and threatened to “launch a new intifada” in order to establish an independent Palestinian state. The Israelis went so far as to corner Arafat in his compound in Ramallah in a bid to quell the violence.

If anything, Jerusalem Arabs have traditionally stayed out of the fray. Much of this likely has to do with the Arab businesses — many in the Old City – that rise and fall based on tourism or are otherwise tied to the Israeli economy. But mercantile interests don’t explain everything: A surprising poll released in 2011 indicated that some 40 percent of Jerusalem Arabs preferred to live in Israel rather than a future Palestinian state; 85 percent of Jerusalem Arabs also elected not to vote in the 2006 Palestinian elections.

Read more at Foreign Policy

Top Al Qaeda commander relocates to Syria

Sanafi al NasrFox News, By Catherine Herridge:

A member of Al Qaeda’s senior leadership, Sanafi al Nasr, has relocated to Syria, where he is living openly and publicly courts his followers on twitter, according to counter-terrorism analysts and social media messages.

“This is a guy who fought with Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula. He’s a spokesman for the Nusra Front. He’s connected, if not a planner, for the Al Qaeda core. This demonstrates the integration of Al Qaeda and all its levels,”  Jonathan Schanzer, Vice President for Research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies said.  “And the fact that it’s (Al Qaeda leadership) now seeking out Syria as a core area of operations, this explains a lot about, I think, the new direction of Al Qaeda today.”

While Nasr is not a household name, his pedigree is well established, according to counter-terrorism analysts, who say he is the third cousin of Usama bin Laden and almost all of his six brothers have fought alongside the Al Qaeda network. At least one of his brothers was held at Guantanamo Bay.

The Saudi, who is on that nation’s most wanted list, was first identified by the Long War Journal as relocating to Syria, and as a member of Al Qaeda’s so-called Victory Committee, which sets policy and long term strategy for the network.

“This is a sort of policy planning group for Al Qaeda,”  Schanzer said of the Victory Committee, adding, “These are people who are trying to think about what happens next, how to plan for the future.”

Nasr’s emergence is seen as another indicator that the network is sending members of its senior or “core” leadership to Syria to build alliances with other radical groups, and thereby extending the brand and reach of the senior leadership, which is traditionally based in Pakistan.

In recent congressional testimony, the head of the national  counter-terrorism center, Matt Olsen, told Congress that Al Qaeda is making a significant play for Syria with its operatives and its cash.

“Syria has become the pre-eminent location for Al Qaeda-aligned groups to recruit and to train, and to equip what is now a growing number of extremists some of whom seek to conduct external attacks,”  Olsen told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in early March.

Nasr has coordinated with other senior “core” Al Qaeda members inside Syria, including Abu Khalid al Suri until al Suri’s recent death.

“Al Qaeda and terrorist networks in general – international terrorist networks – will go, they’ll follow the path of least resistance,  said Fox News military analyst Ralph Peters. “We’ve seen them moving into Syria in significant numbers. It tells me that they actually feel not only safer there, but that they have more flexibility there than they do in Pakistan.”

Nasr’s move to Syria, according to some analysts, was by design and it suggests that the traditional view of Al Qaeda, with its leadership based in Pakistan, is at the very least outdated or was wrong to begin with.

“The idea that we were hearing that Al Qaeda was decimated, or that it was destroyed because Usama bin Laden was killed, or because some of the senior operatives were wrapped up, it was absolutely not true,”  Schanzer said.  “This guy demonstrates the fact that people who’ve been fighting for affiliate groups, multiple affiliate groups, that can still be a leader on the battlefield in an area that seems to be apparently far-field from the core, and still seems to be working with the core.”

Sally Persons contributed to this report

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.

Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar to Dominate Downtown D.C.

DC city centerBy Ryan Mauro:

An organization linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Qatari government is making a $1 billion real estate investment in the hope that the complex will “become the unequivocal centerpiece of Downtown D.C.” Among its features is a Qatari cultural center named Al-Bayt, or “Home.”

The 10-acre project, named CityCenterDC, is an initiative of Qatar Foundation International. According to its website, it is a “U.S.-based member of Qatar Foundation” in Doha. It is also its main financier.

In 2008, the chairperson of the Qatar Foundation and the Qatari Emir established the Al-Qaradawi Research Center. Qaradawi is the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and vocal supporter of its Palestinian wing, Hamas. He advocates the doctrine of “gradualism;”an incremental and practical strategy to stealthily advance the sharia agenda around the world.

The Research Center’s stated objective is promoting the ideology of Qaradawi, who it describes as a “pioneer of Islamic thought and presently its main theorist.”  He teaches his followers to wage “jihadwith money.”

The Qatar Foundation is also connected to the International Institute of Islamic Thought, a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity. Dr. Jasser Auda, the Deputy Director of the Qatar Foundation’s Center for Islamic Legislation, also teaches for IIIT.

Former U.S. Treasury Department terrorism-financing analyst Jonathan Schanzer explains, “Qatar is the ATM of the Muslim Brotherhood movement and its associated groups.” Qatar has drawn the ire of moderate Muslims for its generous subsidizing of Islamists.

Read more at Clarion Project

Palestinian President Abbas Praises Dead Terrorists As ‘Martyrs’

 Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority

Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority

IPT:

by John Rossomando

Libya Blowback: US Missiles intercepted in Egypt bound for Hamas-controlled Gaza

imagesCAUSZ01YPJM:

By Patrick Poole

A stunning story out of Egypt on Friday (HT: Jonathan Schanzer at FDD) after a raid in northern Sinai uncovered a cache of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles bound for Hamas-controlled Gaza. The discovery was made in Be’r al-Hefn near Arish in an area known as a transit point for materials headed for the smuggling tunnels running from Sinai into Gaza.

The most remarkable part of the story is that the missiles were American-made, arriving from Libya according to multiple reports.

Egypt Independent reported:

The North Sinai Security Director seized  a shipment of advanced anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles at dawn on Friday.

The directorate received a tip that the missiles were being secretly stored in a repository in Be’r al-Hefn — just south of Arish, the capital of North Sinai — and would be smuggled through tunnels to the Gaza Strip, said a security source.

After informing the Interior Ministry in Cairo, two assistants to the interior minster led a large formation of police in a raid on the area. Be’r al-Hefn has often been used as an illegal storage area for explosives and weapons.

“With the help of secret informants, the police found the storage site, where they found six US-made advanced missiles inside large holes in the ground [that were waiting to be] smuggled to the Gaza Strip through tunnels,” the source said.

He said the shipment likely originated in Libya, and that the range of the rockets was 2 km.

That US-made weapons are finding their way from Libya should be of grave concern for American security officials. Presumably these are weapons provided by the Obama administration to the Libyan rebels in their fight against Gaddafi in 2011.

US weapons have also made their way to Syria via Libya with active US assistance according to reports. In October, Russia accused the US of sending Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, a claim that Defense Secretary Panetta denied.

Back in August I noted here at PJ Media the New York Times caught scrubbing one of its stories of any mention of CIA funneling arms to the Syrian rebels.

This is not the first time that US missiles have been bound for Gaza and Hamas. During Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in January 2009, Hamas attempted to use American-made Stinger missiles they had acquired against Israel’s AH-64 ‘Apache’ helicopters to no effect since the weapons system identified the Israeli aircraft as friendly.

A Maan News Agency report on yesterday’s raid noted that authorities had recovered 17 French missiles several weeks ago in the same area.