Obama surrenders the Middle East to Russia, and it matters

20150928_obamaputinmiddleeast_Family Security Matters, by Dr. Robin McFee, Sep. 29, 2015:

Putin asserts it is difficult to defeat ISIS without the current Syrian government. Whether that government is a puppet of Iran and Russia, is currently irrelevant. Putin is correct. Syria could act as a magnet to draw in ISIS fighters, and a kill box within which to defeat them, or at least eliminate a not insignificant number of their fighters.

Putin has doubled down on Syria in recent days. No news there. He has had bases in that beleaguered nation for years. He is in a good position to weaken ISIS in the process – to a far greater degree than the US has been willing to do.

Speaking of which, Obama, not having learned anything from his many foreign policy misadventures in the region, has decided to invest in Syrian “rebels” who somehow have become virtuous patriots – instead of merely another assemblage of Jihadists, former mujahideen, current members of the various Al Qaeda franchises, and to be clear, NOT friends of democracy or freedom fighters. Obama just doesn’t get it. There are no freedom fighters or prodemocracy plays in that region. It is a war of the roses based upon religion, anti-West sensibilities, adherence to Sharia, tribal power skirmishes, and territorial control. The old saw ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ is both tired, misrepresentative of the landscape, and a dangerous game for amateurs to play.

Syria is an important place – geographically and geopolitically. Putin knows this. More importantly, Assad is his ally. Putin – spy master, politician, businessman, diplomat, quasi-dictator, martial artist, energy expert, possible assassin, and global force to be reckoned with – recognizes the importance of supporting your allies. We could learn something from him, as we continue to abandon our friends, and give benefits to our enemies. Reputations matter. Consider this….If you had to select a second for a street fight, would you pick Putin or Obama? A sad reality, but who does the world trust more? Not who does the world use more, or misuse more, or abuse more, but trust or fear more.

Like Assad or not, he has created a vortex within which ISIS is being drawn in. Al Qaeda is in play there as well. We ought to think of it as an opportunity to let savages kill each other, and their teams become severely degraded. Instead we are arming, at ridiculous expense, a handful (think meaningless) of jokers to represent our interests over there.

Yes Assad is an unsavory fellow, using chemical weapons. He isn’t alone. And to his credit – even bad guys have their good points – he has protected Christians far more than any other dictator in the region.  Putin is supporting Assad. And?

As an aside, think Christians have had any political patronage in Iraq lately? Or Iran? How are Christians faring in other Moslem nations with few exceptions, like Morocco? A bit closer to home, how are Christians treated in the US? While Obama is yammering about human rights, and taking in refugees from the Middle East (let us not forget much of this mess is his fault), he is about to deport Christian refugees, and has been hesitant to allow Christians under siege in Iraq to enter the US. Double standard anyone?

Like it or not, the world is one big Stratego ® or Risk ® game board. It is winner take all. The good guys can choose to be benevolent victors, and good trade partners, even good neighbors, but at the end of the day it is all about which team controls the natural resources, the transit routes, influences decisions, trade deals, and leads globally with manufacturing and distribution infrastructure that wins the game.

We are losing the game, and badly. This is not to be gloom and doom, but to remind that our future, and that of our children depends upon the economic and security future we create and pass along. The two are inextricably intertwined. One cannot separate the economy, energy, immigration, and security issues. Within that construct, the Middle East matters to our economy and security – unfortunately.

We blew Iraq – which has been and remains an extremely important nation in the history of the Arab and Middle Eastern world. Located in a strategic crossroads, and a former ally we misread (thank you Barack Obama), and abandoned a vital piece of real estate. Not to mention our feckless behavior has emboldened the behaviors of radical Islamists, including ISIS.

As for ISIS or Assad or Libya or…There are no consequences that our enemies face when doing barbaric acts against Americans or our interests. Obama’s laughable lines in the sand, and threats aimed at ISIS, ISIL, Russia, Assad or fill in the blanks, they are as fragile as a sand castle near the ocean during a tropical storm.  And as meaningless!

Could you, would you trust Obama if your life depended on it? Ask Pastor Saeed, who languishes in Iran, when he and 3 other Americans could easily have been ransomed for, say $150 billion dollars?! That is what BHO is giving Iran. Ask the Iraqis who risked their lives to provide intelligence to our military, and are now isolated, hunted, alone. Ask the Christians who are being butchered by ISIS and other Islamists in the region. Where is Obama? Where is the United States? Russia has provided more moral clarity on the issue than we have. Wow, the world is upside down, when that can be said!

The vacuum created when Obama placed politics over patriotism and popularity over leadership by removing our military from Iraq, and then added stupidity to idiocy, by reaching out to Iran to help us fight ISIS (tacitly giving Tehran the political cover to enter, and likely capture much of Iraq), and capped it off with a moronic two year diplomacy play that has been a major financial and political coup for Tehran, and completed the process of colossal foreign policy failures by mishandling Syria, betraying Israel, ignoring Egypt as well as Morocco, the Kurds, and screwing up North Africa, has set the stage for a new sheriff to emerge…Putin.

All small entities need a big brother. Whether it is Israel, or Bahrain, or the Kurds (Putin supports), Libya or Syria or the Falklands, most countries recognize it is a dangerous world with unsavory neighbors. Even the vaunted Israeli military recognizes it cannot control the region alone. It needs an ally. It used to be the United States without question. Now Israel has to play Oliver asking for more soup every time it needs something from Obama’s United States. Putin recognizes this, and has reached out to most of the countries in the Middle East, and starting with North Africa, establishing or reestablishing affiliations and alliances. Consider for a moment how Putin treats Netanyahu and Israel with more concern, and respect than POTUS; a deft, radical departure from prior Russian/Soviet strategy. And Vladimir has, in at least small ways, used his powerful influence to stem some of the attacks from Iran’s proxies.

Make no mistake about it – Iran, Syria, Turkey are all critical to Russia’s energy, security, and geopolitical strategy. Poking the US in the eye in the process is just a bonus for Putin. Israel offers potential for Russia, too. Keep a watch on that.

Obama has surrendered leadership of the Middle East to Russia. Pure and simple!  And we should not blame Putin for that. He is doing what the leader of Russia is supposed to do – look out for the interests of his nation.

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World View: The Arab World is Disintegrating into War

ISIS video

ISIS video

Breitbart, by JOHN J. XENAKIS, July 19, 2015:

Behind the scenes in the Iran nuclear deal

President Barack Obama and Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei (AFP)

President Barack Obama and Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei (AFP)

I like to reference Debka’s newsletter because it contains valuable insights into what’s going on, but it is written from Israel’s point of view, and sometimes gets things wrong. This week’s subscriber-only newsletter (sent to me by a subscriber) contains an analysis of the behind the scenes activities that led to the Iran nuclear deal:

  • Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has been talking about developing nuclear technology, but it really is a bluff, designed to get the US to negotiate the nuclear deal and remove sanctions. Iran has no intention of developing a nuclear weapon while Obama is in office, since the relationship with Obama is more important. — This is plausible, and probably true
  • The Shah of Iran was overthrown by Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini in 1979 with the support of President Jimmy Carter and his national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. The Shah was double-crossed. — This is plausible, but I have no idea whether it’s true.
  • Brzezinski and his long-time associate Brent Scrowcroft were influential in the new Iran-US deal. — This is plausible.
  • Obama now expects Iran, perhaps naively, to shoulder most of the burden of fighting the Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) in Iraq and Syria. — It’s plausible that Obama believes this.
  • Many Sunni Arab leaders, including Saudi’s new king Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, believe that Obama helped bring about the “Arab Spring” in order to help Iran’s rise. — It’s plausible that Arab leaders believe this, but it’s not possible for Obama or any politician to have caused or prevented the Arab Spring. For that matter, Carter and Brzezinski could not have caused or prevented Iran’s Great Islamic Revolution. These great events were caused by enormous generational changes that could not have been stopped any more than a tsunami can be stopped.
  • Obama turned his back on the Sunni Arab nations because he sees the Arab world as disintegrating into bloody, hopeless wars.
  • The continuing rhetorical fury of Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the Iran agreement has outlived its usefulness, according to some Israeli officials, who feel he should moderate his statements and instead focus on a new strategy to deal with the new world following the agreement.

Generally, the Debka view is consistent with my article “15-Jul-15 World View — Arab views of Iran nuclear deal,” including the fact that Iran is becoming America’s ally, and the Sunni Arabs will be America’s enemy. Debka

The Arab world is disintegrating into war

The same Debka newsletter points out that the number of conflicts in the Arab world is larger than the number of Arab nations involved in the conflicts:

  • Libya has fallen apart and is mired in tribal warfare and war with ISIS.
  • Egypt is plagued by frequent terrorist attacks by both ISIS (as “Sinai Province”) and the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Syria is mired in an endless war pitting Bashar al-Assad’s army plus Hezbollah plus Iran plus Shia militias from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan versus ISIS plus other jihadists and the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
  • Iraq is in full-scale war with ISIS.
  • Lebanon is poised on a knife’s edge from the spillover of the Syrian war.
  • Jordan is ostensibly stable, but Bedouin tribes’ traditional loyalty to the crown is being undermined, and Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and ISIS are each poised to move in on Amman.
  • Yemen is in a civil war, in which Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations are fighting the Iran-backed Houthis. The battle is being exploited by al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS to seize large swathes of land.
  • Saudi Arabia is caught up in three wars — Yemen, Iraq and Syria — with grave domestic challenges from the Shias in the east and from the 16-19 year old Sunni youths, nearly a third of whom are without jobs and have set up clandestine cells across the kingdom dedicated to toppling the House of Saud.

On the other hand, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman have lined up behind the Iran nuclear deal and have maintained good relations with Iran. In particular, the UAE expects to gain from the Iran’s post-sanctions import and export trade by having Dubai become the biggest free port in the Gulf.

Debka says that the Arab governments are, like Israel, in a state of disarray after being swept aside by the Iran deal, and in a state of gloom over all the wars going on. The Arab nations need to focus on creating a new Arab regional structure to replace the outdated Arab League.

As we have been saying for many years, the Mideast is headed for a major regional ethnic and sectarian war with 100% certainty, and events seem to bring that war closer every week. This is particularly true of last week’s major event, the Iran nuclear deal.

It is impossible to predict the sequence of political events that will lead to this regional war, but the concept of “a new Arab regional structure” suggests one possibility. My expectation is that, sooner or later, the Arab states will unite with ISIS to fight Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, and this new Arab regional structure may be the political mechanism that brings all these Sunni and Arab elements together to fight Iran. Debka

Saudi Arabia conducts major anti-terrorism sweep against ISIS

In a major anti-terrorism sweep across the country, Saudi Arabia has arrested 431 people believed to belong to ISIS cells, “as part of a scheme managed from troubled areas abroad and aimed at inciting sectarian strife and chaos.” According to the Saudi statement statement:

The number of arrested to date was 431 … detainees, most of them citizens, as well as participants holding other nationalities including Yemeni, Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian, Algerian, Nigerian, Chadian, and unidentified others.

What combines these cells (which were subjected to security restrictions by not making direct contacts among themselves) is the belonging to the terrorist ISIS organization in terms of the adoption of thought, takfir of society and bloodshed, and then exchanging roles to implement the plans and objectives dictated from abroad.

There have been several terrorist attacks on Shia mosques in eastern Saudi Arabia, and the purpose of the announcement in part was to make it clear to the Shias in the east that the government is doing something. The Saudis claim that they have thwarted six additional planned attacks on Shia mosques.

The fact that over 400 people have been arrested gives an idea of the scale of threat that the Saudis face in ISIS. Saudi Press Agency and AP and Arab News

Massive bomb attack in Iraq market kills over 130

ISIS has claimed responsibility for a massive bomb attack in a crowded open-air market in Khan Bani Saad, a mostly Shia town 20 miles northeast of Baghdad. The death toll is 130 and climbing, making it the biggest ISIS civilian terror attack in the country.

A man in a truck pulled up to the marketplace in the extreme summer heat and said he was selling ice at a discount to celebrate the end of Ramadan. He lured over 100 people to the truck, and the detonated at least one ton of explosives.

Khan Bani Saad is in Diyala province, which borders Iran. It’s the only province in Iraq where Iranian jets are known to have conducted airstrikes against ISIS earlier this year.CNN and AP

U.S. Strategy in Lebanon Stirs Fears

People in Nabatiyeh, Lebanon, holding images of Syria’s president watch Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on a screen during his televised speech last month commemorating the 15th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon. PHOTO: ALI HASHISHO/REUTERS

People in Nabatiyeh, Lebanon, holding images of Syria’s president watch Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on a screen during his televised speech last month commemorating the 15th anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon. PHOTO: ALI HASHISHO/REUTERS

WSJ, by JAY SOLOMON, June 9, 2015:

AMMAN, Jordan—The U.S. cut funding for a civil society program in Lebanon that seeks to develop alternative Shiite political voices to Hezbollah, the powerful Iranian-backed militia and political party.

The group that received the U.S. support and critics said that the Obama administration was curtailing its efforts to counter Hezbollah to avoid confronting Shiite Iran, with which it is negotiating to conclude a historic nuclear accord this month.

These people say the funding cut imperils a program that underpinned criticism in Lebanon of Hezbollah’s growing role in supporting President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil war.

“We are more immediately worried about the message this sends to Shia communities, in Lebanon and the region, about their options for the future,” said Lokman Slim, director of Hayya Bina, the organization that lost the funding.

State Department officials denied pulling U.S. support for the development of alternative Shiite voices in Lebanon, saying the program wasn’t succeeding in its objectives. They said the administration still funds other programs run by Hayya Bina, including one that teaches English to Lebanese Shiite women.

“The U.S. continues to support groups and individuals who share our goal of a democratic, peaceful, pluralistic, and prosperous Lebanon,” said Edgar Vasquez, a State Department spokesman.

But the U.S. move feeds into an alarmed narrative held by many Arab leaders who say that U.S. and Iranian interests appear increasingly aligned—at their expense. Both Washington and Tehran are fighting Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria, with U.S. conducting airstrikes against the militants, but notably not against Mr. Assad’s Iran-backed regime.

Hezbollah, which the U.S. classifies as a terror organization, receives extensive funding and arms from Iran. It has deployed 10,000 soldiers in Syria to back Mr. Assad’s forces and counter Islamic State, U.S. officials estimate.

Saudi Arabia’s leadership, which supports the exiled leader of Yemen, was concerned when the U.S. last month met secretly with the Iran-backed Houthi rebels there that caused him to flee.

Most significantly, the Obama administration is seeking to conclude a deal with Iran by June 30 to curb its nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of international sanctions.

Some pro-democracy activists in Washington also voiced concern that cutting Hayya Bina’s funding will send a message that the U.S. is tacitly accepting Hezbollah in an effort to appease Iran.

“At best, the decision shows poor political judgment,” said Firas Maksad, director of Global Policy Advisors, a Washington-based consulting firm focused on the Middle East. “Coming on the heels of an expected deal with Iran, it is bound to generate much speculation about possible ulterior motives.”

The U.S. government has continued to pressure Hezbollah financially, including teaming with Saudi Arabia in recent months to jointly sanction some of its leaders. “Disrupting Hezbollah’s far-reaching terrorist and military capabilities remains a top priority for the U.S. government,” Mr. Vasquez said.

But the Obama administration has also cooperated with Lebanese institutions—including the armed forces and an intelligence agency—that are considered close to Hezbollah and combating Islamic State and Nusra Front, an al Qaeda-affiliated militia in Syria.

The program in question was budgeted to receive $640,000 between June 2013 and December 2015, according to Hayya Bina. The funding was halted this spring, $200,000 short of the total amount, though the group continues to receive a smaller amount of U.S. funding for the other programs, as it has since 2007.

Two years before, in 2005, a popular uprising, sparked by the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, drove Syrian forces out of Lebanon. U.S. officials believed at the time the uprising would weaken Hezbollah and Iran in Lebanon since both were close Assad allies. Instead, Hezbollah strengthened itself politically and militarily, U.S. and Arab officials say.

The Hayya Bina program in question was funded through the International Republican Institute, which promotes democracy overseas. It sought to support diverse Shiite voices through workshops, publications and public opinion polling. But in April, the institute notified Hayya Bina that the Obama administration was terminating its support for that program.

The State Department “requests that all activities intended [to] foster an independent moderate Shiite voice be ceased immediately and indefinitely,” said the April 10 letter to Mr. Slim, according to a copy seen by The Wall Street Journal. “Hayya Bina…must eliminate funding for any of the above referenced activities.”

Mr. Slim and other Hayya Bina officials said the State Department expressed no reservations about their program’s effectiveness and that the loss forced them to scramble for new funding.

“As Hayya Bina continues to receive State Department support for other projects, we believe the action taken regarding these objectives reflects reservations over the nature of the programming, rather than our organizational integrity,” said Inga Schei, the group’s program director.

Hezbollah has voiced growing criticism of Shiite political leaders and organizations in Lebanon opposed to the militia’s role in supporting Mr. Assad.

Hezbollah’s leader, Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, has publicly branded some of his Shiite political opponents as “Shia of the American Embassy,” in recent speeches, as well as “traitors” and “idiots.”

Mr. Slim said he has been one of those Shiite leaders singled out by Mr. Nasrallah.

“None of us will change our beliefs,” Mr. Nasrallah said in a late May speech, according to the pro-Hezbollah newspaper, Al Akhbar. “From now on, we won’t remain silent [in the face of criticism]; we will accommodate no one. This is an existential battle.”

Also see:

obama-iran-450x286 (2)

Syria’s Civil War Could Stabilize Its Region

by Daniel Pipes
The Washington Times
February 26, 2015

Population shifts resulting from Syria’s four-year long civil war have profoundly changed Syria and its three Arabic-speaking neighbors: Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Turkey and Israel have changed too, but less so.) Ironically, amid tragedy and horror, as populations adapt to the brutal imperatives of modern nationalism, all four countries are becoming a bit more stable. That’s because the fighting has pushed peoples to move from ethnic minority status to ethnic majority status, encouraging like to live with like.

Before looking at each country, some background:

First, along with the Balkans, the Middle East contains the most complex and unsettled ethnic, religious, linguistic, and national mix in the world. It’s a place where cross-border alliances deeply complicate local politics. If the Balkans set off World War I, the Middle East might well spark World War III.

Second, historic tensions between the two main Muslim sects, Sunni and Shi’i, had largely subsided before Ayatollah Khomeini’s rise to power in 1979. Driven by Tehran’s aggression, they have since flared anew.


The brutal 8-year war, 1980-88 between Iran and Iraq did much to exacerbate Sunni-Shi’i hostility.

Third, the imperialist European powers nearly ignored the identity of the peoples living in the Middle East as they defined most of the region’s borders. Instead, they focused on rivers, ports, and other resources that served their economic interests. Today’s jumble of somewhat randomly-defined countries (e.g., Jordan) is the result.

Finally, Kurds were the major losers a century ago; lacking intellectuals to make their case, they found themselves divided among four different states and persecuted in them all. Today, they are organized for independence.

Returning to Syria and its Arab neighbors (and drawing on Pinhas Inbari’s “Demographic Upheaval: How the Syrian War is Reshaping the Region“):

Syria and Iraq have undergone strikingly similar developments. After the demise of monstrous dictators in 2000 and 2003, each has broken into the same three ethnic units – Shi’i Arab, Sunni Arab, and Kurd. Tehran dominates both Shi’i-oriented regimes, while several Sunni-majority states (Turkey, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar) back the Sunni rebels. The Kurds have withdrawn from the Arab civil wars to build their own autonomous areas. Once-ambitious dictatorships barely sustain functioning foreign policies. Also, the century-old boundary separating Syria and Iraq has largely vanished.

Syria: The part of Syria still ruled by Bashar al-Assad is becoming more Shi’i. An estimated half of the pre-war Syrian population of 22 million has been driven from its homes; of them, the 3 million refugees, mostly Sunni, who fled the country are unlikely to return both because of the continuing civil war and the Assad regime’s revocation of their citizenship. The regime appears also to have intentionally reduced its control over the area near the border with Jordan to encourage Sunnis to flee Syria. In another ploy to increase the Shi’i population, reports indicate it has welcomed and re-settled about 500,000 Iraqi Shi’is, conferring Syrian citizenship on some.


Bashar al-Assad must have been a better ophthalmologist than dictator.

Iraq: The Syrian civil war provided the Islamic State (or ISIS/ISIL) with an opportunity to move into Iraq, seizing such cities as Fallujah and Mosul, leading to an exodus of non-Sunnis (especially Shi’is and Yazidis), and remaking Iraq along ethnic lines. Given the country’s intermingled population, especially in the Baghdad area, it will be years – perhaps decades – before the sides sort themselves out. But the process appears inexorable.

Lebanon: Sunnis are growing more powerful, beating back the Iranian influence. The million new Sunni refugees from Syria now constitute 20 percent of the country’s population, roughly doubling the Sunni community. Also, Hizbullah, the dominant Shi’i organization in Lebanon, is neglecting its own constituency and losing influence domestically by fighting on behalf of the Assad regime in Syria.


Hizbullah militiamen in Syria reduces the group’s influence in its home country, Lebanon.

Jordan: The recent influx of Syrian refugees follows an earlier wave of approximately one million Iraqi refugees. Together, the two groups have lowered the percentage of Palestinians in Jordan to the point that the latter probably no longer constitute a majority of the country’s population, a shift with major political implications. For one, it reduces the potential Palestinian threat to the Hashemite monarchy; for another, it undermines the Jordan-is-Palestine argument championed by some Israelis.

In brief, Iraq and Syria are devolving into their constituent religious and ethnic parts, Lebanon is becoming more Sunni, and Jordan less Palestinian. However gruesome the human cost of the Syrian civil war, its long-term impact potentially renders the Middle East a less combustible place, one less likely to trigger World War III.

Hezbollah’s Stealth Invasion Of A Christian Heartland

20150129_hezbollahinvadechristianFamily Security Matters, by Walid Phares, Jan. 29, 2015:

Christmas greetings from Hezbollah? That what some, including the Daily Star of Beirut, would have us believe about a series of visits by the Shia terrorist group to the heartland of the Christian Mount Lebanon during the holiday season. Hezbollah, armed and funded by Iran and part of Bashar al-Assad’s genocidal arsenal in the Syrian civil war – do not have peace and goodwill in mind, even as they pass out handshakes, smiles and holiday greetings to Christians. Slowly but surely, Hezbollah members are normalizing their physical presence in the “Christian wilaya” in what amounts to a soft invasion of an area crucial to dominating the whole of Lebanon.

Even though Hezbollah is fighting today in Iraqi and Syrian battlefields, its eyes are focused on every inch of land in Lebanon. Hezbollah was formed in early 1982 as part of the Iranian regime’s expansion in Lebanon. Its leaders were followers of Iran’s radical fundamentalist leader Ayatollah Khomeini, and its forces were trained and organized by a contingent of 1,500 Iranian Revolutionary Guards that arrived from Iran with permission from the Syrian government. Iran remains Hezbollah’s key backer and spiritual guide, pouring billions of dollars and increasingly sophisticated weaponry into the group, which the U.S. Institute of Peace rightly calls “the most successful example of the theocracy’s campaign to export its revolutionary ideals.”

According to the National Counterterrorism Center, “Hezbollah has been involved in numerous anti-US terrorist attacks, including the suicide truck bombings of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in April 1983, the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in October 1983, and the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut in September 1984, as well as the hijacking of TWA 847 in 1985 and the Khobar Towers attack in Saudi Arabia in 1996.”

If that doesn’t make you feel warm and fuzzy, neither should the group’s holiday well-wishes in the Christian enclaves of Jbeil and Kesrwan. According to civil society groups’ reports, armed Hezbollah patrols are roaming these same Lebanese villages by night.

Christian Mount Lebanon is crucial to Hezbollah – and to Iran. It is among the last holdouts in their domination of Lebanon, giving them a way not only to challenge and threaten Israel, but to create a line of defense against Sunni extremists like ISIS.

Hezbollah has had a very successful “clear and hold” strategy of its own in Lebanon. They walked behind the Syrian tanks into Baabda in 1990, subdued the south in 2000, and marched into West Beirut in 2008. The last territory to be secured is northern Mount Lebanon. Overtaking the towns of Kesrwan and Jbeil, together with neighboring Batroun, would allow Hezbollah to control the vital coastal road from Dahiye to Tripoli, which includes two key ports that link Lebanon to the outside world, as well as the road from the sea to the summits overlooking the Bekaa. The problem is that this part of Mount Lebanon – and others as well – has a majority of Christian Lebanese who maintain an historical grievance with the Iranian-Assad-Hezbollah troika. They will fight to the last if it comes to it.

The Christians of Mount Lebanon are increasingly isolated and slowly but unmistakably besieged by forces from without and within. ISIS is a real threat to Lebanon, as it is to the whole of the region. But Hezbollah is already there, walking among them, smiling and plotting. Regardless of ISIS, the people of Mount Lebanon will rise against Hezbollah. Indeed, the million citizens who drove or walked from the towns and villages of Mount Lebanon to Martyrs Square in Beirut in 2005 came to demonstrate against the Assad-Iran axis in Lebanese affairs.

Hezbollah’s strategists are savvy and they know how to maneuver, particularly in Lebanon. They benefit from a large and effective propaganda machine, one that includes, sadly, apologists within the Christian community whose political wounds from an intra-community civil war a quarter of a century ago have never healed. But their deft holiday campaign is nonetheless cynical and very dangerous. They have cleverly concealed an invasion in holiday wrapping. A Trojan horse for an endangered Christian community. We must assure this sacred land does not turn into the Ayatollah’s next battlefield.

A version of this piece previously appeared on The Daily Caller.

Dr Walid Phares is an advisor to the US Congress on Counter Terrorism, and the author of ten books including Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies against America and The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East. Dr Phares appears on national, international and Arab media. He teaches at several universities and briefs US Government agencies on Terrorism and the Middle East.

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Iran and US Fighting On Same Side Rattles Israeli Defense Officials

by Yaakov Lappin
Special to IPT News
December 11, 2014

1065 (1)Confirmation that Iran has joined the air campaign against Islamic State (IS) terrorists in Syria won muted praise from U.S. officials last week. And that development has increased anxiety among Israeli defense officials that budding cooperation between Tehran and Washington will lead to dangerous comprises about Iran’s nuclear program and inadequate action confronting the Islamic Republic’s global terrorist network.

The biggest threat from that network lies just over Israel’s northern border in Lebanon.

On Sunday, according to international media reports, Israeli Air Force jets bombed targets in and around Damascus. The strikes likely targeted advanced weapons that were destined for Hizballah depots in southern Lebanon, often hidden in apartment buildings in Shi’ite villages.

With more than 100,000 rockets and missiles, Hizballah has the largest arsenal of any terrorist organization in the world, and its heavy involvement in the Syrian civil war on behalf of dictator Bashar al-Assad’s regime is giving it plenty of experience in ground warfare.

Israel did not confirm any involvement in the recent air strikes, but it is deeply involved in a covert war against an international Iranian-led weapons smuggling network that is designed to provide Hizballah and other radical terror entities around the Middle East with an array of sophisticated arms.

This network is run by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, which oversees the smuggling of powerful weapons to Hizballah in Lebanon, often via Syria. The Iranian network also attempts to send arms to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, to radical Shi’ite militias in Iraq that fight the Islamic State, and to Shi’ite Houthi rebels that have taken over Yemen’s capital.

Iran’s Quds Force and Hizballah, both backers of the Assad regime, have set up terrorism sleeper cells around the Middle East and beyond, according to Israeli intelligence assessments. Some of these cells are routinely activated and ordered to strike Israeli and Jewish targets.

Israeli intelligence agencies quietly work to stop the planned attacks, any one of which, if successful, could spark a wider regional conflict.

Meanwhile, Tehran continues to pursue a nuclear program and develop ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

According to international media reports, Israel targeted shipments of Hizballah-bound weapons in Syria five times in 2013, and once in Lebanon in 2014. This has led Hizballah to retaliate by planting two bombs on the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon appeared to hint at Israel’s role in the latest Syria strikes, by saying that “those who seek to arm Israel’s enemies will know that we can reach anywhere, at any time, and through any means to thwart their plans.”

As this covert, high-stakes struggle continues to rage against the background of Iran’s creeping nuclear program, a growing number of Israeli defense officials are expressing concern that the Obama administration may be willing to cooperate with Iran and its radical Shi’ite allies in the war against the Islamic State.

The officials stress the flourishing defense ties between Israel and the U.S., which are absolutely vital for Israeli security, and express gratitude for continuous American defense assistance.

However, some have become highly critical of the way the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State sees Iran as a de facto member.

Israeli defense officials wonder out loud whether the West, led by the U.S., is falling into a dangerous trap, by teaming up with the radical Shi’ite axis in the Middle East.

To be sure, no one within the Israeli defense establishment doubts the need to tackle the Sunni Islamic State. Israel is quietly providing any assistance necessary to the anti-ISIL coalition.

Yet it is the prospect of tactical cooperation between the U.S. and Iran against IS, and the danger that the cooperation could lead to Western concessions to Iran over its nuclear program that haunts some.

The failure by Washington to take tangible steps against Iran’s global terrorism network is also a source of concern. This network is growing in Syria, along with Iran’s presence there, and over the past 12 months, all of the cross-border terror attacks launched from Syria into northern Israel have been the work of elements linked to either Hezbollah or Iran, one senior military official has said.

These worries seem to be bolstered by comments like those recently made by Secretary of State John Kerry, who welcomed Iranian air strikes on Islamic State positions in Iraq, describing them as “positive.”

Unlike the Islamic State, the Shi’ite radical axis enjoys state sponsorship from an Islamic Republic that is three to six months away from nuclear weapons.

This situation makes it a more urgent problem for global security, and would seem to justify a stance that views both radical Sunnis and radical Shi’ites as threats to international peace.

Driven by an extremist religious-ideological doctrine, the Iranian-led axis views moderate Sunni governments which partner with the West – like Egypt and Jordan – as enemies, seeks to push American influence out of the Middle East, and promotes the idea of Iranian hegemony as a first step to establishing eventual Iranian global dominance.

Iran views itself as the authentic Islamic caliphate, and seeks to export its influence as far as possible. Eventually, it would like to fuel conflict across the region through its proxies under a nuclear umbrella.

“The success of the Iranian revolution influences to this day the ambition for an Islamic caliphate,” Ya’alon said this month, in an attempt to illustrate the imminent danger posed by Iran’s role in the world.

Disappointment in Israel has been expressed over what one official said was the West’s “support” for radical Shi’ites, and its willingness to ignore Iranian threats.

Israeli officials, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have expressed concern about the U.S. agreeing to a “bad deal” with Iran over its nuclear program since talks started. Thus far, those fears have not yet been realized.

The Tel Aviv-based Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center published a report last week that explicitly warned about Iranian-American cooperation against IS, which it said could occur at Israel’s expense.

“Despite Iran’s basic hostility towards the United States, and despite Iran’s subversion of American interests in the Middle East, it might collaborate with the United States against ISIS and the global jihad in Syria and Iraq, the common enemy,” the reportsaid. “Such collaboration might occur at Israel’s expense and harm its vital interests (for example, Iran’s concessions on the nuclear issue). In addition, collaborating against ISIS might increase Iranian influence in Syria and Iraq, and might also strengthen Hizballah’s status in Lebanon, possibly strengthening the Iranian-led radical camp in the Middle East.”

The report is another signal of concerns in Jerusalem that Washington’s war on IS could lead it to make concessions to Tehran on a nuclear program.

Such an outcome would entrench and legitimize Iran’s position as a state on the threshold of nuclear arms possession, an outcome that, in Jerusalem’s eyes, would jeopardize both regional and international security to an unacceptable degree.

Yaakov Lappin is the Jerusalem Post’s military and national security affairs correspondent, and author of The Virtual Caliphate (Potomac Books), which proposes that jihadis on the internet have established a virtual Islamist state.

Middle East Meltdown: Here’s What’s Happening

Screen-Shot-2012-09-15-at-8.28.27-PMBy Patrick Poole:

The Middle East is in full meltdown and the U.S. is rapidly nearing full retreat in the region. But considering the incompetents running our foreign policy, our absence may be best for the Middle East for the moment.

So here’s what’s happening:

Iraq: Last night Prime Minister Maliki gave a speech accusing new President Fuad Masum of violating the constitution as Golden Dawn militias backing Maliki took up strategic positions around Baghdad, including the Green Zone, in an all-out coup. Remarkably, Maliki is accusing Masum of a coup. Maliki’s issue with Masum is that the new president has not selected Maliki for a third term as prime minister. One report said that U.S. forces had to extricate President Masum from the presidential palace when it came under mortar fire from Maliki’s renegades. Let’s not forget the words of President Obama in December 2011, when he declared that “we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq” upon pulling out all remaining U.S. troops.

Islamic State: A coup, of course, is exactly what Iraq needs right now as the terrorist Islamic State continues to push south despite U.S. airstrikes, as the Islamic State conducts ethnic and religious cleansing of Yahzidis and Christians creating a staggering humanitarian crisis. Last week the Islamic State forces captured the dam north of Mosul, the largest dam in Iraq that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers described in 2007 as “the most dangerous dam in the world” because of its instability. This is a key strategic asset that will give the Islamic State control of the Tigris River as they push towards Baghdad. The best hope to stall this push is not the Iraqi Army, which collapsed several weeks ago when the Islamic State began their offensive, but Kurdish forces. The Islamic State is also preparing to target Saudi intelligence officials as they plan to open a front there, despite the fact that much of their funding has come from Saudi Arabia.

Lebanon: Iraq is not the only place where the Islamic State has launched an offensive. Last week they launched an attack on the Lebanese border town of Arsal, overrunning Lebanese Army checkpoints and taking Lebanese soldiers hostage. Arsal is home to a large camp housing refugees from Syria. ISIS took the captives hoping to exchange them for a Syrian Islamist militia commander supported by Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State that had been arrested by Lebanese authorities. Although the terrorist groups eventually agreed to withdraw and release their captives, the New York Times quoted one their commanders that the attack forces included the Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra (the Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate) and the Free Syrian Army – the same Free Syrian Army receiving weapons from the U.S. As I reported here last month, some of those U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army forces have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. Meanwhile, Lebanon remains without a president as Hezbollah and their March 8 Alliance allies in parliament refuse to elect a president, a position reserved for a Maronite Christian. Syrian refugees now make up one-third of the country’s population, further destabilizing Lebanon.

Syria: The war in Syria drags on as 170,000 people are estimate to have been killed – one-third of those civilians – and many of its largest cities, such as Homs, lie in complete ruin. The Islamic State controls a wide swath of territory in the north, while the Iranian and Russian-backed Assad forces fight to hold onto the coast and Damascus with no end to the war in sight. The recent successes of the Islamic State are prompting many Syrian rebels to join with the terror group.

Turkey: Yesterday’s presidential election saw the Islamist current Prime Minister Recep Erdogan elected.  Last week Erdogan signaled that as president he intended to turn the office from its largely ceremonial role to running the country from this new position. Under Erdogan, the country has grown increasingly authoritarian, with last year’s Gezi protests violently suppressed and the country remaining the largest jailer of journalists in the world. Concerns have been raised about Erdogan’s support for terrorism, particularly financing of Hamas and looking the other way as terrorist groups operate openly on the country’s Syrian border. Recent news reports have directly linked Erdogan to internationally-banned Al-Qaeda financier Yasin al-Qadi, even meeting with him repeatedly despite being on Turkey’s own terrorism list. Despite Erdogan’s dictatorial manner President Obama has hailed the neo-Ottoman Erdogan as one of his top five favorite world leaders, and notwithstanding its support for terrorist groups, Turkey remains as co-chair of the State Department’s Global Counterterrorism Forum.

Israel/Gaza: A new 72-hour truce was announced last night in the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. While negotiators are headed back to Cairo today for continued talks, there remains a Mexican standoff: Israel has no intention of ending the blockade on Gaza allowing Hamas to resupply itself as it continues to rain down rockets on Israel, and Hamas has made the border openings a pre-condition to any deal. Since the beginning of Israel’s Operation Protection Edge, Hamas and other terrorist groups have launched 3,488 rockets at Israel and casualties in Gaza are approaching 2,000 (though many media outlets and even the UN are expressing long-overdue caution about casualty figures being supplied by Hamas-controlled ministries).

Egypt: One of the chief causes of the current Israel/Hamas conflict is that the Egyptian government has wisely put a stranglehold on the smuggling tunnels between Egypt and Gaza. Since the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi a year ago, Egypt has shut down and destroyed a reported 80 percent of the Gaza smuggling tunnels, putting a severe crimp in the Hamas finances that netted the terror group $1 million every day and stocked the terror group with material and weapons. Thus, Hamas is eager to have the Rafah border crossing reopened. The Egyptian presidential election in May that saw Abdel Fattah al-Sisi installed as president seemed to definitively resolve the country’s political crisis, but terror attacks in Sinai and around Egypt directed at the new government continue. These same terrorist groups have also used the Sinai to launch rockets towards Israel. This past weekend the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies announced the formation of the “Egyptian Revolutionary Council” in Istanbul, hoping to model itself off the Syrian opposition and portending a continued insurgency against the Egyptian government. Violence could erupt this week as the first anniversary of the dispersal of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Rabaa protests last August 14th, and attacks on Coptic Christians continue in Upper Egypt, where I recently visited.

Read more at PJ Media

Israel’s next tunnel threat to the north

hamas-tunnelWND, By AARON KLEIN, 08/07/2014:

TEL AVIV – Israel, at great cost, believes it has destroyed the complex tunnel network built by Hamas to smuggle arms and other contraband into Gaza and send suicide bombers into the Jewish state, but the possible existence of a similar and perhaps even greater underground system remains a threat to its national security.

The Israeli government is quietly concerned the Iranian-backed Hezbollah organization has excavated tunnels that snake under the Jewish state’s northern communities in the Golan Heights.

A Hezbollah tunnel network under Israel could mirror or even dwarf the Hama terrorist tunnels in the county’s south, along the Gaza Strip border.

Such tunnels could enable Hezbollah to carry out previous threats to use commandos to storm northern Israeli communities in an attempt to hold positions within the country.

After Israel’s nearly month-long military campaign in Gaza aimed in large part at destroying Hamas’s tunnels, Israeli officials seem careful to avoid publicly addressing the potential for Hezbollah tunnels.

A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces declined to comment on Hezbollah’s possible tunneling in the north.

The Shiite terrorist organization is known for its vast, sophisticated tunnel networks in Lebanon.

Indeed, Hezbollah taught Hamas its tunnel-warfare tactics and helped supervise the construction of its network.

It therefore must be assumed Hezbollah has at least attempted to tunnel under Israel in the north. The organization may not have drilled any openings into Israeli cities yet, however, fearing discovery or retaliation from Israel.

Northern Israeli residents have for years reported hearing drilling sounds underground. However, the Israeli military has said it has not discovered any tunnels.

Last week, the mayor of Kiryat Shmona, a city near Israel’s border with Lebanon, reportedly asked the IDF to investigate the possibility of Hezbollah tunnels.

Asked by WND for more information on the Hezbollah tunnel threat, an Israeli security source speaking on background said there is fear that after the Gaza conflict, Hezbollah will attempt to convert its defensive tunnels into offensive networks that can snake under Israel.

The source said that while no tunnels were yet discovered under Israeli towns, the working assumption is that Hezbollah will attempt to tunnel there.

The source said Hezbollah is bogged down with the ongoing insurgency targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria and that Israel does not believe Hezbollah wants a direct conflict with the Jewish state any time soon.

However, the source added the assumption within the Israeli defense establishment is that Hezbollah has incorporated into its future war plans the potential to raid Israeli cities via tunneling, learning lessons from the most recent Gaza conflict.

Hezbollah’s underground highways

Knowledgeable sources told WND that Lebanon is virtually catacombed with sophisticated tunnels from the northern part of the country into the Bekaa Valley, throughout Beirut and in southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah has specialized in tunnel boring to move fighters and supplies in various conflicts with Israel.

Some of the tunnels, especially in mountainous areas, not only are used to store military supplies but to move more sophisticated weaponry undetected from overhead surveillance, the sources said.

Updates were made for the tunnels to host missile launch pads after the 2006 Lebanon War, when Israel took out scores of above-ground Hezbollah missile and rocket launchers.

Throughout the Bekaa Valley, there are tunnels known to hide military equipment from continuous Israeli and U.S. surveillance.

Sources say the Hezbollah tunnels in Lebanon, which are capable of withstanding some aerial bombings, store missiles and rockets and other military hardware to respond to an Israeli attack.

Even under Beirut itself, especially in the Hezbollah stronghold of south Beirut, military supplies are stored in bunkers and tunnels estimated to be some 40 to 50 feet below the ground. Up above, there are regular businesses masking the existence of the tunnels.

Because Hezbollah controls south Lebanon, sources say the region has been the subject of extensive tunneling, some of which can be bored quickly to allow troops to move secretly into Israel.

At its Museum for Resistance Tourism, for example, Hezbollah has demonstrated its tunneling capability and conducts tours through underground bunkers. A 200-meter tunnel displays complete living and working quarters for fighters, replete with kitchens, electrical generators and communications equipment.

The war museum, which is operated by Hezbollah near the village of Mleeta in southern Lebanon, is the site of a former Hezbollah base utilized to ambush Israeli troops.

North Korea

Hezbollah has a relationship with North Korea’s communist dictatorship, which is known to have constructed tunnels that snake underneath the demilitarized zone with South Korea.

The northern Israeli landscape, with its rocky hills and mountains, is geographically different than beachfront Gaza. However, numerous geologists told Israeli media outlets in recent years that Hezbollah has the capability to tunnel under the Israeli north.

Just last week, geologist Col. Yossi Langotsky, a former adviser on terror tunnels, explained to Israel National News that the ground in Israel’s northern Galilee is easier to dig than in the Koreas.

“For nine years I raised hell, and said [terrorists are] digging tunnels into Israeli territory, and the state security system is not organized with enough seriousness required to deal with the intensity of the threat,” Langotsky said.

Changing the world, one step at a time – Q&A with advocate Brigitte Gabriel

Brigittebook-web-pix-141aa_566_356_c1by Noga Gur-Arieh:

Brigitte Gabriel (49,) a bestselling author, activist, a leading expert on global Islamic terrorism, and founder and President of ACT! for America, has one fascinating life story. She was born in Lebanon to a Maronite Christian family, and spent her childhood in amid the Lebanese Civil War. When she was 10, Islamic/Palestinian militants launched an assault on a Lebanese military base near her family house, destroying her home leaving her wounded. She then spent seven years living underground in a bomb shelter, with no sanitary systems, electricity or running water.

Her only life line was Israel who provided medical help, and protection during those years in the bomb shelter. Later in 1982 when Israel invaded Lebanon her mother was seriously injured by Muslim/Palestinian rocket and was taken to Zefat hospital for treatment. For her mother it was a life saving experience, for Brigitte it was a life changing experience.  Gabriel was surprised by the humanity shown by the Israelis to their enemies who were brought there for treatment such as the Palestinian and Muslims terrorists, in contrast to the constant propaganda against the Jews she saw as a child.

She moved to Israel in 1984 and worked as news anchor for World News, an Arabic-language evening news broadcast of Middle East Television based in Jerusalem. In 1989 she immigrated to the United States. After 911 Brigitte realized that the Islamic radicals she thoughts left behind in the Middle East have now come to America.  She launched ACT! for America a non-profit, non partisan organization that educates and empowers citizens to help play a role in enhancing public safety. Today,ACT! has 280,000 members and 875 chapters nationwide including chapters in 11 countries around the world.

You were born in Lebanon, in times of constant war with Israel. What did you feel about Israel and Israelis as a child, and when did your opinion change?

“By the time I was born into Lebanon the population had shifted from majority Christians to majority Muslims because of the Islamic birth rate. That situation was aggravated by the influx of Palestinian refugees who were majority Muslims. That tipped the scale and brought the haters of Israel together hoping to use Lebanon as a launching pad to attack Israel and drive the Jews into the sea. The only thing standing in their way was Lebanese democracy.

As a child I was surrounded by voices on television nightly news and news radio talking about the horrible things the Israelis were doing to the “poor Palestinians”. At my home, however, hatred was never taught nor practiced. I lived in the Christian town of Marjayoun on the border with Israel.

In 1975 the combined forces of the PLO and the Muslims bombed my home bringing it down burying me under the rubble wounded. I ended up in a hospital for two and half months and later ended up living in a bomb shelter with my parents for 7 years till 1982 when Israel invaded Lebanon.

Since 1975 as we were surrounded and bombed daily and nightly by the PLO/Muslim armies, and Israel was our only life line. Few people from my town went to Israel and begged for help. Israel started coming in the middle of the night bringing food for the children, as well as blankets, bombs shelters and weapons for the Christian military. So since I was a 10 year old child I knew that Israel was our friend and protector from the Islamists and PLO. However in the rest of Lebanon, they looked at Israel as the invader and looked at us as traitors working with the enemy. “

Can you tell a little bit about your childhood in Lebanon? About a leadership that worshiped violence and called for death to the Jews?

“The first 10 years of my life were ideal. I was born into a very civilized country. Beirut was Paris of the Middle East. Lebanon was the Switzerland of the Middle East. Because of the influence of the majority Christians who were good in business, in education, in the arts as well as great hospitable warm people who valued life and family Lebanon prospered. Unfortunately, Lebanon was the only small Christian country in the Middle East and had bought into the whole Arab nationalism thinking if we side with the Arabs we will be protected as “Arabs” as a part of the “Arab Ummah,” Arab nation. The Christians in Lebanon learned the hard way that we were all along considered infidels due to our Judeo Christian heritage.

Despite all that, the culture of worship of death is only an Islamic culture and progressively got worse as the Muslims expanded and drove the Christians out of Lebanon, and now we see out of the Middle East whether in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Bethlahem or Egypt. Today’s Christians in Lebanon would leave in a heart beat if they were able to. The ones who are still there are stuck.”

What brought you to fight against radical Islam and its impacts of Western Civilization?

“I am an eye witness to terror. I am the Anne Frank who lived to tell about it. I know what happens where people turn a blind eye to terror thinking it is not going to happen to me, it is all the way over there. Now that I live in America, I came from “over there”. After September 11th I realized that those radicals I left over there have followed me here. On September 11th my two young daughters came home from school as I was glued to the TV screen watching the images fo the attacks of that day, watching the images of the World Trade Center collapse crying. My youngest daughter looked at me and asked “Mommy why did they do this to us?”. She reminded me of me as a child her age, laying in a hospital bed in Lebanon, looking up at my father asking him the same question. My father’s answer was: “They hate us because we are Christians. The Muslims consider us infidels and they want to kill us.”

I learned since I was a 10 year old little girl that I was wanted dead simply because of the faith I was born into. I had to look into my daughter’s eyes and repeat to her what my daddy told me: “They hate us because they consider us infidels and they want to kill us.” That day was my defining moment. That day I was born as an activist. That day I vowed that I will do everything I can to make sure that my daughter will never have to look into her child’s eyes and tell him or her what my daddy told me and what I had to repeat to her. That day I found my purpose!”

What is your final goal? What are you trying to achieve?

“I am trying to wake up Americans to stand up against evil. When evil goes unchecked, Evil grows like a monster and spreads worldwide. When Christian blood was shed on the streets of Beirut and Jewish blood was shed on the streets of Tel Aviv no one cared. Today innocent people’s blood is being shed all over the world by the same hatred driven radicals who have no conscious, who are willing to kill their own children in order to kill those of us whom they consider infidels. I want to ignite a fire in the heart of every apathetic person to make them realize their responsibility to the universe and to each other as human beings to stop evil whenever we see it, identify it and fight it.

I do not come to this from a Christian point of view. I come to this as a human being and a citizen of the world who has a moral duty to be kind to others and treat others the way I want to be treated and make sure we leave this world a better place than we found it for our children and their children. As someone who comes from the Middle East I appreciate the freedom that America’s constitution gives me to express my views and rally others to stand up and speak up against evil.”

Read more at Jewish Journal

Brigitte Gabriel supports Israel as the vanguard against Islamism:

Uploaded on Apr 30, 2010 by DemoCast


ISIS Threatens to Invade Jordan, ‘Slaughter’ King Abdullah

Gatestone Institute, by Khaled Abu Toameh:

The recent victories in Iraq and Syria by the terrorists of ISIS — said to be an offshoot of al-Qaeda — have emboldened the group and its followers throughout the Middle East. Now the terrorists are planning to move their jihad not only to Jordan, but also to the Gaza Strip, Sinai and Lebanon.

Failure to act will result in the establishment in the Middle East of a dangerous extremist Islamic empire that will pose a threat to American and Western interests.

“The danger is getting closer to our bedrooms.” — Oraib al-Rantawi, Jordanian political analyst

Islamist terrorists in Iraq and Syria have begun creeping toward neighboring countries, sources close to the Islamic fundamentalists revealed this week.

The terrorists, who belong to The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS — known as DAESH in Arabic] and are said to be an offshoot of al-Qaeda, are planning to take their jihad to Jordan, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula — after having already captured large parts of Syria and Iraq, the sources said.

The capture this week by ISIS of the cities of Mosul and Tikrit in Iraq has left many Arabs and Muslims in the region worried that their countries soon may be targeted by the terrorists, who seek to create a radical Islamist emirate in the Middle East.

According to the sources, ISIS leader Abu Baker al-Baghdadi recently discussed with his lieutenants the possibility of extending the group’s control beyond Syria and Iraq.

One of the ideas discussed envisages focusing ISIS’s efforts on Jordan, where Islamist movements already have a significant presence. Jordan was also chosen because it has shared borders with Iraq and Syria, making it easier for the terrorists to infiltrate the kingdom.

Jordanian political analyst Oraib al-Rantawi sounded alarm bells by noting that the ISIS threat to move its fight to the kingdom was real and imminent. “We in Jordan cannot afford the luxury of just waiting and monitoring,” he cautioned. “The danger is getting closer to our bedrooms. It has become a strategic danger; it is no longer a security threat from groups or cells. We must start thinking outside the box. The time has come to increase coordination and cooperation with the regimes in Baghdad and Damascus to contain the crawling of extremism and terrorism.”

The ISIS terrorists see Jordan’s Western-backed King Abdullah as an enemy of Islam and an infidel, and have publicly called for his execution. ISIS terrorists recently posted a video on YouTube in which they threatened to “slaughter” Abdullah, whom they denounced as a “tyrant.” Some of the terrorists who appeared in the video were Jordanian citizens who tore up their passports in front of the camera and vowed to launch suicide attacks inside the kingdom.


A Jordanian ISIS terrorist wearing a suicide bomb belt and holding his Jordanian passport declares his willingness to wage jihad in an ISIS video. (Image source: All Eyes on Syria YouTube video)

Security sources in Amman expressed deep concern over ISIS’s threats and plans to “invade” the kingdom. The sources said that King Abdullah has requested urgent military aid from the U.S. and other Western countries so that he could foil any attempt to turn Jordan into an Islamist-controlled state.

Marwan Shehadeh, an expert on Islamist groups, said he did not rule out the possibility that ISIS would target Jordan because it views the Arab regimes, including Jordan’s Hashemites, as “infidels” and “apostates” who should be fought.

The recent victories by ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria have emboldened the group and its followers throughout the Middle East. Now the terrorists are planning to move their jihad not only to Jordan, but also to the Gaza Strip, Sinai and Lebanon.

This is all happening under the watching eyes of the U.S. Administration and Western countries, who seem to be uncertain as to what needs to be done to stop the Islamist terrorists from invading neighboring countries.

ISIS is a threat not only to moderate Arabs and Muslims, but also to Israel, which the terrorists say is their ultimate destination. The U.S. and its Western allies need to wake up quickly and take the necessary measures to prevent the Islamist terrorists from achieving their goal.

Failure to act will result in the establishment in the Middle East of a dangerous extremist Islamist empire that will pose a threat to American and Western interests.

Dearborn Man Arrested Trying to Join Hizballah Fighters in Syria

From Riyadh to Beirut, fear of Syria blowback

 (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

(AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)


BISARIYEH, Lebanon (AP) — The once-tranquil, religiously mixed village of Bisariyeh is seething: Two of its young men who fought alongside the rebels in Syria recently returned home radicalized and staged suicide bombings in Lebanon.

The phenomenon is being watched anxiously across the Mideast, particularly in Saudi Arabia, where authorities are moving decisively to prevent citizens from going off to fight in Syria.

The developments illustrate how the Syrian war is sending dangerous ripples across a highly combustible region and sparking fears that jihadis will come home with dangerous ideas and turn their weapons against their own countries.

In Lebanon, where longstanding tensions between Sunnis and Shiites have been heightened by the conflict next door, the fear of blowback has very much turned into reality.

The social fabric of towns and villages across the country is being torn by conflicting loyalties and a wave of bombings carried out by Sunni extremists in retaliation for the Iranian-backed Shiite group Hezbollah’s military support of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

In the past few months, at least five Sunni men have disappeared from Bisariyeh, an impoverished, predominantly Shiite village in south Lebanon, and are believed to have gone to fight in Syria.

Two of them — Nidal Mughayar and Adan al-Mohammad — returned and blew themselves up outside Iranian targets in Beirut. The blasts, by Mughayar on Feb. 19 and al-Mohammad on Nov. 18, killed scores.

“He was a good man with a good heart, but it seems that people who have no conscience brainwashed him,” Hisham al-Mughayar said of his 20-year-old son.

As news spread in the village that Nidal was one of the bombers, angry Shiite residents marched to his parents’ home and set it on fire along with the family’s grocery and four vehicles.

“He destroyed himself and destroyed us with him,” said the father, as he took an Associated Press reporter on a tour of his torched, two-story house, much of its furniture reduced to ashes.

Concern about such radicalization has sent Mideast governments scrambling into action.

After years of often turning a blind eye to jihadists taking up arms abroad, Saudi Arabia is enacting new laws and backing a campaign to stop its citizens from joining Syria’s civil war. The intention is to send a clear message that those who defy the law are to fight to the death and are not welcome back.

The move, in part, reflects pressure from Saudi ally the U.S., which wants to see the overthrow of Assad but is alarmed by the rising influence of hard-line foreign jihadists — many of them linked to al-Qaida — among the rebels.

Many Saudis have been easy recruitment targets for jihadist organizations. Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi. The oil-rich kingdom was among several nations that backed the anti-communist mujahedeen forces fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and Saudi fighters have traveled to other Muslim hotspots around the world since then.

More recently, at the urging of Saudi preachers and even judges, thousands of fighters from Saudi Arabia — home to a strict, puritanical strain of Sunni Islam — have joined the 3-year-old uprising against Assad, whose government is dominated by members of his Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

Saudi officials said fewer than 3,000 Saudis are believed to be fighting in Syria, but analysts and other estimates put the figure as high as 15,000.

While Saudi Arabia continues to support opposition groups in Syria with weapons and other aid, King Abdullah issued a decree in the past month: Any citizen who fights abroad faces three to 20 years in prison. And anyone who incites people to join foreign wars can get five to 30 years.

“The Saudis are very much concerned about a repeat of the 2004 jihadist insurgency inside the kingdom, led at the time by Osama Bin Laden,” said analyst Bilal Saab, referring to a wave of militant attacks inside the country.

“It took time and a considerable amount of resources to counter the insurgency then. If it were to happen again in today’s regional environment where radicalization is on the increase, Saudi counterterrorism efforts will face even more formidable challenges,” added Saab, a senior fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council.

History is rife with examples of militants returning home from wars with radical intentions.

Read more 


Foes Suspect Hizballah in Beirut Car Bombing

‘Rushing’ to War with Iran?

AyatollahAliKhamen_2162837b-450x346by :

In November, there was some talk of “a march (or rush) to war” against Iran.

The Obama Administration used this line to dismiss those – including EMET – who dared to disbelieve the sincerity of negotiations regarding the Iranian regime’s program to develop nuclear weapons, and seek to expand U.S. sanctions against that nation so as to keep the pressure on them to prove their sincerity.

The major problem with this charge is that Iran and the U.S. are already at war.  And every few years, Iran or its proxies (most especially Hezbollah) conducts another hostile act, which results in the death or harming of Americans.

Here are just some of the acts of war Iran has conducted against the U.S.

In 1979, Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy, and took 52 (originally 66) of its personnel hostage for 444 days.  Iranian Foreign Minister I. Yazdi, along with other Iranian officials, indicated official Iranian support for the seizure when he said, “The action of the students enjoys the endorsement and support of the government.”  Reza Kahlili describes the seizure in his book A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran:

This was not a rout.  It was not an act of passion.  It seemed too managed for that.  The people who rushed in seemed to know one another and to know what to do.  Military members of the Guards arrived quickly.  I wondered how they heard about the break-in so fast.  Then the Komiteh, the religious police recently given official status by Khomeini, came and promised to keep order.  But the only thing they kept orderly was the takeover itself.  Busloads of people arrived and joined the demonstration, another sign that this gathering was not spontaneous.  Within minutes, the protesters controlled the compound.

For its illegal actions, the Iranian regime was cited by the International Court of Justice and by the U.N. through two U.N. Resolutions for its violation of Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 the international treaty that governs diplomatic immunity.

Iran set up, continues to support, and often directs, Hezbollah, a State Department-listed Lebanese terror group that has kidnapped, tortured, harmed, and/or killed Americans.  In 1983, Hezbollah bombed the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut and killed 241 American servicemen who were sent to Lebanon for peacekeeping purposes.  Hezbollah is believed to have kidnapped and tortured to death U.S. Army colonel William Higgins and the CIA Station Chief in Beirut, William Buckley.  It kidnapped around 30 other Westerners between 1982 and 1992.  Imad Mughniyah, a former senior Hezbollah leader, was, prior to 911, “responsible for the deaths of more Americans than any other terrorist.”  He and two other members of Hezbollah, Hasan Izz-al-Din, and Ali Atwa, were on the FBI’s list of 22 Most Wanted Terrorists for the hijacking in 1985 of TWA Flight 847 during which a U.S. Navy diver was murdered.  In 2007, Hezbollah operative Ali Mussa Daqduq allegedly played a significant role in the killings of five U.S. soldiers in Iraq.  In 2011, the U.S. government seized drug profits linked to Ayman Joumaa, a drug trafficker and money launderer, linked to Hezbollah, and in April 2013, the U.S. Treasury Department took action against Hezbollah for working as a drug cartel.

Iran was involved in the 911 terrorist attacks.  A U.S. District Judge “ruled that Iran and Hezbollah materially and directly supported al Qaeda in the September 11, 2001 attacks and are legally responsible for damages to hundreds of family members of 9/11 victims who are plaintiffs in the case.”  Also, post-911, the Iranian regime protected members of al-Qaeda, including the son of Bin Ladin, even as the latter planned and implemented other bombings that wounded or killed civilians.  Because of these and many other actions, the U.S. State Department describes Iran as the “leading sponsor of anti-U.S. Islamic terrorism.”

This position is neither controversial nor partisan.  Jeffery Goldberg noted in The Atlantic, Iran is “is waging war against the United States of America” in Iraq.  Michael Ledeen writing in The Weekly Standard, reaches the same conclusion saying, “(T)here is abundant evidence for Iranian involvement in Iraq, most including their relentless efforts to kill American soldiers.  The evidence consists of first-hand information, not intelligence reports.  Scores of Iranian intelligence officers have been arrested, and some have confessed.  Documentary evidence of intimate Iranian involvement with Iraqi terrorists has been found all over Iraq, notably in Fallujah and Hilla.”

These facts have been widely reported. During the U.S. occupation of Iraq (from 2003-2011), hundreds of American soldiers were killed or wounded byroadside bombs or other weapons that were constructed, and supplied, by Iran to Iraqi rebels.  The Iranians gave these IEDs to both Shiites and Sunnis alike.

Read more at Front Page


Iranian Analyst: Without Deal, Obama to Kiss Khamenei’s Hand to Prevent Israel’s Annihilation (see transcript excerpts here)


New Poll of Muslim Countries Finds Large Support for Terrorists


A new Pew poll of 11 Muslim countries shows that Islamist terrorist groups still command double-digit support, with Hamas being looked upon favorably by about one-third of respondents. About one-fourth do not have an opinion of the terrorists, leaving them up for grabs in the ideological war.

The poll found that overall Muslim support for acts of violence against civilians in the name of Islam has dropped over the last decade, while concern about Islamic extremism has risen. About 67% are concerned about extremism in their faith and 27% are unconcerned.

The 11 countries surveyed are: Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, Senegal, Tunisia and Turkey.

The country with the worst trend is Turkey. It is the only country where support for suicide bombings has increased.

About 13% supported the tactic in 2012 and 16% support it today, but this small increase doesn’t tell the whole story. In 2011, Turkish support for suicide bombing was at 7%. This means that support for suicide bombing more than doubled in the past two years.

Hamas is the most popular of the terrorist groups. Almost one-third (32%) of Muslims surveyed have a positive opinion of it and 45% have an unfavorable view.

The countries most supportive of Hamas are Egypt and the Palestinian Territories (48% support) and Lebanon and Tunisia (46%). The countries most hostile are Turkey (5%), Senegal (11%) and Pakistan (12%).

Hezbollah is the runner-up in terms of popularity. Overall, 26% of the Muslim world supports Hezbollah. About 42% have an unfavorable opinion. This is still an impressing showing because Hezbollah is a Shiite terrorist group. Even though 90% of the Muslim world is Sunni and Hezbollah kills Sunnis, it still has a large pool of support.

The countries most supportive of Hezbollah are Lebanon (46%), the Palestinian Territories (43%) and Malaysia and Tunisia (35%). The countries most hostile to Hezbollah are Turkey (7%), Senegal (10%) and Pakistan (15%).

Read more at Clarion Project