The Iran Lobby: Alive, Well and Changing the Face of the Middle East

799454648CSP, By Clare M. Lopez, Oct. 23, 2014:

“In February 2009, as President Barack Obama and his new administration were settling into office, the Center for Security Policy published a report I wrote entitled “RISE OF THE ‘IRAN LOBBY’ Tehran’s front groups move on—and into— the Obama Administration.” This occasional paper from the Center was offered as a warning about the constellation of forces that was just then moving into power positions from which to influence U.S. foreign policy in ways supportive of the Tehran regime’s objectives. Today, five years later, the disastrous fruits of that network’s efforts are evident across the Middle East in ways both predictable and unforeseen: Iran stands on the brink of deploying deliverable nuclear weapons, Turkey’s leadership sponsors HAMAS terrorism and harbors both neo-Ottoman ambitions and a visceral hatred of the Jewish State of Israel, and an Islamic State proclaiming itself a Caliphate sweeps armies and borders before it, oddly enabled by both Iran and Turkey.”

See version with embedded hyperlinks here

See version with footnotes here

 

Reshuffling the Deck in the Middle East

A man shuffling a deck of cardsCSP, By Kyle Shideler:

The New York Times wrote on Friday offering a brief glimpse at an underreported front in inter-Islam civil war currently spreading across the Middle East:

Yemen’s Shiite rebels on Friday overran an al-Qaida stronghold after days of battling the militants for the city in the country’s central heartland, a Yemeni official and a tribal leader said. The capture of the city of Radda, in the in the province of Bayda, came with the help of a Yemeni army commander, the two said. The Shiite rebels known as Houthis have been fighting both al-Qaida militants and Sunni tribes over the past few days. The rebels, who in September gained control of the capital, Sanaa, earlier this week overran a key Yemeni port city on the Red Sea.

The action, mirrored similar instances in the past when units in Yemen’s army suspected of links with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a Houthi ally, facilitated stunning rebel advances from their home base in northern Saada province. The army commander who helped the Houthis in Radda is said to be a loyalist of the ousted Saleh, who was deposed after the country’s 2011 uprising. Saleh and his party have joined ranks with the Houthis against a common enemy — the Islamist Islah party and its allied tribe of Al-Ahmar, traditional power brokers in Yemen.

Also Friday, fierce clashes erupted in Ibb province, nearly 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of Sanaa between the Houthis and tribesmen allied with the Islah party, leaving eight dead, according to other security officials in the province.

The Islah Party is Yemen’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s co-founder is Abdul_Majeed al-Zindani, who is a specially designated global terrorist, and an original spiritual mentor of Osama Bin Laden.

President Obama referred to Yemen and Somalia as models of success to be emulated in Syria. And while my CSP colleague Nik Hanlon handedly covered the problems with the Somalia comparison, Yemen is indeed an apt model for comparison, although not in the way meant by the President. In Yemen the struggle is between Shia militia fighters- backed by Iran and on behalf of a President who was ousted in Western -championed Arab Spring- are advancing against the joint forces of Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. The same is true in Syria, where Muslim Brotherhood-linked fighters, such as the Islamic Front, fight side by side with Al Qaeda-linked Ahrar Al-Sham and AQ’s Syrian affiliate Jabhat al Nusra against Iranian IRGC and Shia Militias on behalf of Bashar Assad.

As in Yemen and Syria, so too in Libya, although instead of Iranian-linked Shia, the “counterrevolution” in Libya is led by a former general of Qaddafi’s, Khalifa Haftar, sponsored by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt in a fight against Al Qaeda’s affiliate Ansar al-Sharia-Libya, and the Muslim Brotherhood-backed militias. The same U.A.E air force that was trumpeted as a partner in the air strikes against ISIS,  conducted air strikes against the Libyan rebels with whom the U.S. had partnered against Qaddafi. But then, in this conflict ironies abound, as when Saudi Arabia bombs the “barbaric” ISIS in airstrikes launched in part following the beheading of Americans, while engaging in a rash of beheadings of their own.

Analysts who examine the current situation as a series of national struggles in separate countries have missed the boat entirely. Everywhere across the region, scores are being settled, and battle lines being drawn and redrawn. What is at stake is not just who will be the next leader of Syria, or Libya, or Yemen. It’s who will be represented as the leader(s) of Islam. Will they be Sunni or Shia? Does ISIS represent a Kharijite deviation as the Muslim Brotherhood accuses, or are the Ikhwan a Murji’ah deviation as ISIS concludes? Do they both represent a takfiri deviation, as the governments Saudi, Egypt and U.A.E and their state-sponsored clerics declare or are these same governments the apostate regimes that ISIS/AQ/MB claim them to be?

These are deeply profound doctrinal questions which are being hashed and rehashed in online screeds over the intricacies of Shariah law, but which will ultimately be settled with violence, just as they have been historically settled for hundreds of years.

For our purposes,  we should realize that the internecine conflict currently being waged does not mean that any of these forces are ultimately pro-Western or allies to be trusted. The same governments which are fighting ISIS paid for the mosques, staffed by Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated imams, at which the current group of ISIS fighters with Western passports were educated and indoctrinated. The Syrian rebels- including Muslim Brothers, that are fighting Assad and ISIS were also providing security for an Al Qaeda cell- The so-called Khorasan Group- whose purpose was a mass casualty attack on U.S. or allied soil. The Shia militias fighting ISIS on the outskirts of Baghdad were the ones using Iranian-manufactured Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) to kill hundreds of Americans. The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps leading the defense of Baghdad against ISIS also taught Al Qaeda how to use truck bombs to carry out the U.S. embassy attacks.

And on and on.

The reshuffling of the deck will continue in the Middle East for the time being, and it’s important to track the players, and understand their doctrinal differences and the basis for their conflict. But that is not the same as imagining that one of them represents a trump card for the West to play.

Qatar’s Jihad #StopQatarNow

Qatarby Brahma Chellaney:

Qatar may be tiny, but it is having a major impact across the Arab world. By propping up violent jihadists in the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond, while supporting the United States in its fight against them, this gas-rich speck of a country – the world’s wealthiest in per capita terms – has transformed itself from a regional gadfly into an international rogue elephant.

Using its vast resources, and driven by unbridled ambition, Qatar has emerged as a hub for radical Islamist movements. The massive, chandeliered Grand Mosque in Doha – Qatar’s opulent capital – is a rallying point for militants heading to wage jihad in places as diverse as Yemen, Tunisia, and Syria. As a result, Qatar now rivals Saudi Arabia – another Wahhabi state with enormous resource wealth – in exporting Islamist extremism.

But there are important differences between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Qatar’s Wahhabism is less severe than Saudi Arabia’s; for example, Qatari women are allowed to drive and to travel alone. In Qatar, there is no religious police enforcing morality, even if Qatari clerics openly raise funds for militant causes overseas.

Given this, it is perhaps unsurprising that, whereas Saudi Arabia’s sclerotic leadership pursues reactionary policies rooted in a puritanical understanding of Islam, Qatar’s younger royals have adopted a forward-thinking approach. Qatar is the home of the Al Jazeera satellite television channel and Education City, a district outside of Doha that accommodates schools, universities, and research centers.

Similar inconsistencies are reflected in Qatar’s foreign policy. Indeed, the country’s relationship with the United States directly contradicts its links with radical Islamist movements.

Qatar hosts Al Udeid air base – with its 8,000 American military personnel and 120 aircraft, including supertankers for in-flight refueling – from which the US directs its current airstrikes in Syria and Iraq. Camp As-Sayliyah – another facility for which Qatar charges no rent – serves as the US Central Command’s forward headquarters. In July, Qatar agreed to purchase $11 billion worth of US arms.

Moreover, Qatar has used its leverage over the Islamists that it funds to help secure the release of Western hostages. And it hosted secret talks between the US and the Pakistan-backed Afghan Taliban. To facilitate the negotiations, Qatar provided a home, with US support, to the Taliban’s de facto diplomatic mission – and to the five Afghan Taliban leaders released earlier this year from US detention at Guantánamo Bay.

In other words, Qatar is an important US ally, a supplier of weapons and funds to Islamists, and a peace broker all at the same time. Add to that its position as the world’s largest supplier of liquefied natural gas and the holder of one of its largest sovereign-wealth funds, and it becomes clear that Qatar has plenty of room to maneuver – as well as considerable international clout. Germany’s government found that out when it was forced to retract its development minister’s statement that Qatar played a central role in arming and financing the Islamic State.

Qatar’s growing influence has important implications for the balance of power in the Arab World, especially with regard to the country’s rivalry with Saudi Arabia. This competitive dynamic, which surfaced only recently, represents a shift from a long history of working in tandem to export Islamist extremism.

Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia generously supplied weapons and funds to Sunni extremists in Syria, opening the door for the emergence of the Islamic State. Both have bolstered the Afghan Taliban. And both contributed to Libya’s transformation into a failed state by aiding Islamist militias. During the 2011 NATO campaign to overthrow Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi, Qatar even deployed ground troops covertly inside Libya.

Today, however, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are on opposite sides. Qatar, along with Turkey, backs grassroots Islamist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots in Gaza, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, and the Levant. That pits it against Saudi Arabia and countries like the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Jordan, whose rulers view such movements as an existential threat, with some, including the House of Saud, investing in propping up autocratic regimes like their own.

Read  more at Stagecraft and Statecraft

Brahma Chellaney, Professor of Strategic Studies at the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research, is the author of Asian Juggernaut; Water: Asia’s New Battleground; and Water, Peace, and War: Confronting the Global Water Crisis.

It is Qatar, Stupid: Part 2

Patriots Duty by spongedocks:

If you live in Houston, the person next to you may be a Qatari either in country for medical care or working for a petroleum company either owned or partially owned by Qatar like Golden Pass Products.

If you live in Chicago, you may have dinner at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, owned by the Qatar Investment Authority. If you live in Washington DC, you may work or live at City Center, a fully owned Qatar real estate development.

If you walk through airports in Houston, Washington DC, New York or Chicago, you will see arrival and departure gates for Qatar Airlines. If your children are in university and want to learn Arabic, they are doing so with foreign language departments paid for in full by Qatar. In other classes, your son or daughter may be sitting next to a Qatari student or your child may have never been accepted to the school of their choice as that place was handed over to a foreign student instead getting in-State tuition. It should be noted that Sheik al Mayassa al Thani was educated both at Duke University and Columbia. He runs the Qatari Foundation that has it’s headquarters at City Center in Washington DC.

If you happen to work at a cargo port or two or more that imports natural gas, you may be employed by Qatar. One reason for terminating the Export Import Bank is due in part that the U.S. invests $2 billion in loan guarantees in a country that has an established wealth within the top world ranking, yet the bank supports operations for natural gas in Qatar that supplies Japan, India and the UK, such that the United Kingdom has enjoyed a $33 billion investment by Qatar that Great Britain received 85% of their natgas from Qatar.

th (1)Now, the United States has had a relationship with Qatar since the 1990’s and since that time, the al Thani monarchy has toggled their foreign policy relationships for many years, meaning they are manipulating for the sake of moving into a higher regional power.

This toggle/manipulation agenda is described as removing Bashir al Assad from power but yet Qatar works diligently with Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban and Barack Obama has and is deferring all negotiations with those terror groups to the al Thani monarchy.

With a population of just 2.0 million, it should be noted that each resident is way above the norm for wealth and the style of living is so luxurious that up to 20% of those that live in Qatar are foreign nationals.

Qatar maintains a Shura council for day to day domestic policy and law enforcement. Political parties in Qatar are forbidden completely and their own Constitution is thin on substance, checks and balances and protections except for the monarchy ruling family and party.

th (2)When it comes to the United States and the ‘defensive’ component, sure America has CENTCOM part two there but another key military asset is al Udeid base that is designed to support efforts in Afghanistan, and this base has been expanded from the original footprint by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Secretary Chuck Hagel just recently extended a joint military cooperation agreement with Qatar for another ten years. At this location, the United States trains the Qatari military paid for by U.S. grants.

France is the largest exporter of arms to Qatar and Qatar maintains a large inventory of ‘stinger’ missiles which are sold, traded and smuggled through a black market. There are real questions that need to be answered as to why Qatar has received and bought huge numbers of various and high tech-based military assets for a military that is quite small in scale and without knowing the real outside threat to their sovereignty and safety.

While that U.S. State Department has maintained a very wide, deep and comprehensive list of terror groups, it is well known by the State Department that Qatar has key people that support these terror groups and coordinate donations from outside sources. Due in part to negotiations of the Iranian nuclear program, the Taliban, Gitmo and al Qaeda, Secretary Hillary Clinton and now John Kerry only mention these matters in passing to Qatar just to get it on the record, but otherwise nothing outside a feeble attempt to pinpoint these illicit activities has created any traction as our NSC and State needs Qatar for nefarious objectives as has been noted least of which is the Taliban 5.

th (3)The illicit activities include the facts that the Taliban 5 live in ClubMed conditions, Khalid Sheik Mohammed was provided safe haven in Qatar, Khaled Mashaal, the leader of Hamas lives fully protected in Doha and Yusuf al Qaradawi, a very old man, lives in Qatar running the Syrian and Egyptian Islamic jihad. Only recently did Qatar dispel a few Muslim Brotherhood leaders to Syria but they are well protected and other Muslim Brotherhood leadership remains in Qatar with funding continuing as it began during the Arab Spring from the elitists in Qatar. At the core of support for the Muslim Brotherhood objectives in Qatar is Emir Tamin bin Hamad. These objectives include construction projects in Gaza including electrical power plants.

Then in closing there is yet another satellite headquarters for Qatari investments that is located in Switzerland named the al Karana Foundation. This effort is led by Abdelrahman bin Umayer al Nuaymi and is well known to the global banking system(s) while no one dares to either challenge or exam the connections, transactions or causes that mostly will translate to funding going to terror groups that includes al Nusra and the Ennahda Party in Tunisia.

So you see ladies and gentlemen, dollars and terrorism is in fact a global enterprise that occurs even in alleged neutral countries, or are they in fact neutral?

First article on Qatar:  http://founderscode.com/?p=738

What will it take for us to stop doing business with Qatar?

UN-GENERAL ASSEMBLY-QATAR

We’ve let the desert state face both ways on funding extremism.

The Spectator, Simon Heffer, 4 October 2014:

On 17 June, a meeting of the Henry Jackson Society, held in the House of Commons, discussed (according to the minutes published on the society’s website) how a tribal elder in northern Cameroon who runs a car import business in Qatar has become one of the main intermediaries between kidnappers from Boko Haram and its offshoot Ansaru and those seeking to free hostages. It was alleged that embezzlement of funds going to Qatar via car imports might be disguising ransom payments. It was also alleged that Qatar was involved in financing Islamist militant groups in West Africa, helping with weapons and ideological training, and (with Saudi Arabia) funding the building of mosques in Mali and Nigeria that preach a highly intolerant version of Islam.

This was far from the only time such accusations have been levelled. Yet Qatar is supposed to be one of our allies, supporting air strikes against the Islamic State. Its ruler even thinks his enormous wealth entitles him to blag his way into Her Majesty’s carriage at Royal Ascot. Given Qatar’s questionable role in the current tide of savage Islamism, should its ruler be allowed anywhere near our Queen? And should they be allowed to buy up our country, as they have done relentlessly since the crash of 2008?

After the overthrow of President Morsi of Egypt, Qatar became a place of refuge for the Muslim Brotherhood. However, on 12 September it asked several leading Brotherhood figures to leave. They duly did, not in outrage or indignation, but apologising for causing embarrassment. Clearly, they felt a debt to the Qataris, and a senior Brotherhood spokesman, Amr Darrag, said what it was. He issued a statement thanking Qataris for their support to ‘the Egyptian people in their revolution against the military junta’.

Qatar asked its former friends to leave because of pressure applied by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Some may come to London: there is already a group of Brotherhood members in Cricklewood, under scrutiny from the authorities. But even now, Qatar remains home to an array of exiled Islamists, and thus a focus of suspicion to its neighbours. Bahrain joined Saudi Arabia and the UAE in withdrawing its ambassador from Doha this spring. It has been widely reported that Qatari money funds extremists in Libya, and when these ambassadors were recalled, the Zionist Organisation of America asked the US government to declare Qatar a state sponsor of terrorism.

The Emir of Qatar’s personal fortune and the country’s sovereign wealth fund are rumoured to amount to £50 billion. Qataris own substantial amounts of real estate — such as the Shard, the Olympic Village, One Hyde Park, a part of Canary Wharf, the United States Embassy building in Grosvenor Square, the Chelsea Barracks development and Harrods. They have large stakes in the stock exchange, Sainsburys and Barclays bank. Almost all Britain’s liquefied natural gas comes from Qatar, accounting for a quarter of our gas needs. The desert state has also bought the 2022 World Cup — rather like playing a cricket Test series at the South Pole — in a fashion so seemingly corrupt that there have been widespread calls for a boycott.

Sir John Jenkins, the British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, has compiled a report exposing extremist activity among members of the Brotherhood and their links to jihadis. It named three Muslim charities in Britain that seemed to be sending funds to extremists in the Middle East. At the very least this should lead Britain to expel members of the Brotherhood, close down the charities and sequester their funds; but the problem will never be dealt with until the source of the funding is cut off. At some stage the British government must ask itself a simple question: however much we want Qatari gas, how much longer can we permit commercial relations with such people?

In June the American magazine The Atlantic asserted that Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qa’eda proxy in Syria, had somehow received ‘Qatar’s economic and military largesse’. There is no suggestion this was sanctioned or funded by the Qatari government: but every suggestion it came from interest groups based in Qatar and wealthy Qatari nationals. The problem has been around for years. Wikileaks published a memorandum from Hillary Clinton, when US secretary of state, saying Qatar had the worst record of counter-terrorism co-operation of any ally of the United States.

The Qatari foreign minister, Khalid al-Attiyah, called claims such as The Atlantic’s ‘Qatar-bashing’, and denied the country or anyone in it was bankrolling IS. Certainly, most of the evidence for IS’s funding points to groups and individuals in Saudi Arabia. However, Saudi Arabia may provide training camps for anti-IS groups from Syria approved by the Americans. In response to a US request for similar assistance, the Qataris said it would be ‘premature’. Meanwhile, the Americans continue to accuse Qatar and Kuwait of being ‘permissive environments’ for the funding of terrorism, and believe Qatar has unhealthily close links with Jabhat al-Nusra. Certainly, Mr Attiyah has sought to play down its activities by pointing instead to atrocities committed by those loyal to Bashar al-Assad.

Israel has driven America’s scepticism over Qatar, accusing it of funding Hamas and of exporting terror not just through Jabhat al-Nusra but through IS. A German minister, Gerd Müller, then said that when the question was raised about funding IS, ‘The key word there is Qatar.’ This brought an immediate repudiation from the Qataris, who argued they had been among the first to condemn the beheading of the murdered American hostage James Foley.

However, the Americans — whose largest base in the Middle East is, ironically, at Al Udeid in Doha — believe Qatar has funded extremists not merely in Syria and Libya but also in Tunisia, Mali and Iraq. Another Wikileaks cable revealed Meir Degan, a former head of Mossad, telling the US that ‘Qatar is trying to cosy up to everyone’, and warning America to close its bases there.

Qatar’s pretence that it is an honest broker in the Middle East, attempting to see all sides of an argument, may wash in Doha. It won’t, however, resonate in countries such as Britain and America whose citizens are targeted by jihadis financed by people who may be Qataris, and who have enjoyed Qatari hospitality. Qatar needs to be reminded that the civilised parts of the world with which it does business won’t tolerate apologists for savage extremists. It can’t face both ways on this. Britain must expel members of the Brotherhood and sequester their funds. And it must tell Qatar that unless it stops turning a blind eye to some of its people funding murder and extremism, and stops equivocating about extremists, its assets will be frozen and trade with it suspended until it does.

Simon Heffer, is a columnist for the Daily Mail and a former deputy editor of The Spectator.

The 100-Year-Old Agreement You Need to Know About to Understand What’s Driving the Islamic State

Glenn Beck broke down the history of the Middle East on his television program Thursday, focusing on a nearly 100-year-old agreement that he says is integral to understanding the motivations of the Islamic State: the Sykes-Picot Agreement.

If you do not understand the Sykes-Picot Agreement, Beck said, you cannot fully understand the Islamic State, or why the Israelis and the Palestinians will never reach a two-state solution.

Though many go back to 1948 and the creation of the modern state of Israel when examining the history of Middle Eastern conflicts, Beck said you actually have to go back to 1916 and World War I.

T.E. Lawrence and World War I

Glenn Beck speaks about T.E. Lawrence, right, on his television program September 18, 2014. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

Glenn Beck speaks about T.E. Lawrence, right, on his television program September 18, 2014. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

“This is the last time the Arab world had a united Islamic State led by a religious leader: the Ottoman Empire, the caliphate,” Beck began. “The Allies knew the Ottoman Empire could shut down key shipping routes and cripple Britain’s economy, France’s. … They had to neutralize it. So Great Britain sent over an Army officer from Britain, and his name was T.E. Lawrence. There was a movie made about him, a great movie with Peter O’Toole called ‘Lawrence of Arabia.’”

Lawrence was tasked with convincing the Arabs to fight against the Ottoman Empire. After Lawrence promised the Arabs rule over a new united Arab kingdom of greater Syria — which encompassed present day Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and parts of Iraq and Jordan — he succeeded.

“To get to the root of the current Middle East conflict, that is your starting point,” Beck said. “It is at the center of everything that is happening today.”

“The problem here — Great Britain never intended to honor the promises that they made,” Beck continued. “They had used the Arabs in order to protect their own interests. Remember, they needed to get the Ottoman Empire out of the way.”

Sykes-Picot Agreement

“The entire time Lawrence was negotiating with the Arabs, Great Britain, behind everybody’s back, was negotiating with France, and planning how they were going to actually divide up the Middle East after the war,” Beck said. “They needed to make sure there was no united Arab kingdom that would ever get in the way.”

Under the Sykes-Picot agreement, the British and the French drew new boundaries, fracturing the region so, Beck said, “the British and their allies in the region could control it.”

“Remember, the goal was to divide the Arabs, not to unite them, divide them, so they could protect the trade routes,” Beck said. “They didn’t care about the Arabs, they didn’t care about the Jews, they didn’t care about anything. They wanted the trade routes.”

“The Arabs were forced to accept this western European model of the nation-states because they had no choice,” Beck remarked. “Arab resentment grows in the wake of that treaty, Sykes-Picot, where they have divided everything and made new lines. They wanted — the Palestinians, the Arabs — what was promised to them — the rule of greater Syria.”

 

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

In the decades after the Sykes-Picot Agreement, after the Ottoman Empire collapsed, the British created the British Mandate for Palestine. The area east of the Jordan River was called Transjordan, and the area west of it was a land for the Jewish people.

“How would the Arab world be able to unite now? They needed a new rallying cry. They would use the Balfour Declaration, Britain’s promise of a Jewish homeland in Palestine,” Beck said. “[They] needed to start blaming the Jews, the pawns.”

“The motive becomes clear when you see how the Arab world reacted when the British Mandate in Palestine was set to expire,” Beck said. “The Palestinian Arabs were about to be presented with a chance to finally have what they said they’d always dreamed of. All they wanted was their own land. So now, here comes the UN, and they have this mandate.”

“Remember, the British put together this partition — Transjordan and the Israeli state. So it was a two-state solution. It was split 56 percent Jewish, 43 percent Arab. 56 looks big, but much of the land’s not sufficient for crops, so it’s pretty close. Jerusalem, an international zone. The Jewish people accepted the plan. And if a Palestinian homeland was the goal for the Arab world — not the Palestinians, the Arab world — all they had to do was agree. But remember, the scapegoat goes away.”

Read more at The Blaze with more videos

Middle East Time Bomb: The Real Aim of ISIS Is to Replace the Saud Family as the New Emirs of Arabia

King AbdulladThis article is Part II of Alastair Crooke’s historical analysis of the roots of ISIS and its impact on the future of the Middle East.

BEIRUT — ISIS is indeed a veritable time bomb inserted into the heart of the Middle East. But its destructive power is not as commonly understood. It is not with the “March of the Beheaders”; it is not with the killings; the seizure of towns and villages; the harshest of “justice” — terrible though they are — that its true explosive power lies. It is yet more potent than its exponential pull on young Muslims, its huge arsenal of weapons and its hundreds of millions of dollars.

Its real potential for destruction lies elsewhere — in the implosion of Saudi Arabia as a foundation stone of the modern Middle East. We should understand that there is really almost nothing that the West can now do about it but sit and watch.

The clue to its truly explosive potential, as Saudi scholar Fouad Ibrahim has pointed out (but which has passed, almost wholly overlooked, or its significance has gone unnoticed), is ISIS’ deliberate and intentional use in its doctrine — of the language of Abd-al Wahhab, the 18th century founder, together with Ibn Saud, of Wahhabism and the Saudi project:

Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the first “prince of the faithful” in the Islamic State of Iraq, in 2006 formulated, for instance, the principles of his prospective state … Among its goals is disseminating monotheism “which is the purpose [for which humans were created] and [for which purpose they must be called] to Islam…” This language replicates exactly Abd-al Wahhab’s formulation. And, not surprisingly, the latter’s writings and Wahhabi commentaries on his works are widely distributed in the areas under ISIS’ control and are made the subject of study sessions. Baghdadi subsequently was to note approvingly, “a generation of young men [have been] trained based on the forgotten doctrine of loyalty and disavowal.”

And what is this “forgotten” tradition of “loyalty and disavowal?” It is Abd al-Wahhab’s doctrine that belief in a sole (for him an anthropomorphic) God — who was alone worthy of worship — was in itself insufficient to render man or woman a Muslim?

He or she could be no true believer, unless additionally, he or she actively denied (and destroyed) any other subject of worship. The list of such potential subjects of idolatrous worship, which al-Wahhab condemned as idolatry, was so extensive that almost all Muslims were at risk of falling under his definition of “unbelievers.” They therefore faced a choice: Either they convert to al-Wahhab’s vision of Islam — or be killed, and their wives, their children and physical property taken as the spoils of jihad. Even to express doubts about this doctrine, al-Wahhab said, should occasion execution.

The point Fuad Ibrahim is making, I believe, is not merely to reemphasize the extreme reductionism of al-Wahhab’s vision, but to hint at something entirely different: That through its intentional adoption of this Wahhabist language, ISIS is knowingly lighting the fuse to a bigger regional explosion — one that has a very real possibility of being ignited, and if it should succeed, will change the Middle East decisively.

For it was precisely this idealistic, puritan, proselytizing formulation by al-Wahhab that was “father” to the entire Saudi “project” (one that was violently suppressed by the Ottomans in 1818, but spectacularly resurrected in the 1920s, to become the Saudi Kingdom that we know today). But since its renaissance in the 1920s, the Saudi project has always carried within it, the “gene” of its own self-destruction.

Read more at Huffington Post

Also see Part I:

A WHO’S WHO OF THE GOOD GUYS AND BAD GUYS IN THE NEW JIHAD

miscellaneous-jihadis-afpBreitbart, by SEBASTIAN GORKA & JORDAN SCHACHTEL:

Wars are never simple. With the incredible success of the terrorist group ISIS, now called the Islamic State, and the recent news that Egypt and UAE have engaged in air strikes against the jihadists in Syria, Breitbart News has decided to cut away some of the fog of war and explain who stands where in this latest Holy War for the future of the Middle East and North Africa.

Video: Aug. 26 (Bloomberg) — Theodore Kattouf, former U.S. ambassador to Syria, discusses the Islamic State’s presence in the Middle East with Pimm Fox on “Taking Stock.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Image: John Sexton

Image: John Sexton

Afghanistan: Continually deteriorating alliance with the United States. Taliban insurgency continues to usurp power and territory from the vacuum left behind by US forces’ departure from Kabul. Multi-ethnic society under one ​impossible-to-maintain central administration has created the conditions for constant clashes between tribes. Home to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda in the ’80s and ’90s.​

Algeria: Home to Africa’s third-biggest oil reserves and 10th in the world in natural gas reserves. Dealing with widespread poverty and Islamist radicals infiltrating the government. 99% Sunni Muslim.

Al Qaeda: Salafist Sunni terror group now run by the Egyptian Ayman al Zawahiri, with various offshoots spread all over the region. The Islamic State – formerly ISIS – is a break-off of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Bahrain: Tiny country primarily populated by Shiite Muslims but ruled by Sunnis, which has often led to political unrest and anti-regime protests.

Egypt: Run by the government of President Abdel Fattah el Sisi, the former Commander of the Armed Forces. The government has declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization and is fighting jihadi elements in major cities, especially the Sinai.

Hamas: Palestinian terror organization at war with Israel. The Palestinian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, its charter commits its members to “dying in the way of Jihad.”

Hezbollah: Iran-backed Lebanon-based terrorist group. Engaged in “holy war” with Sunni terrorist group The Islamic State in Syria, and according to latest reports, now in Iraq also. Led by Hassan Nasrallah.

Iran: Leader of the Shiite Islamic world. Ruled by theocratic dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Known financier of Hezbollah and Hamas terror groups and ally of Syria’s Assad. Committed to exporting its theocratic revolution.

Iraq: At war with the Islamic State (IS). The new government has lost control of several major cities to IS. Weakened by crumbling defense forces and lack of US forces in the country.

The Islamic State: Formerly known as Al Qaeda in Iraq, and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. Lead by the newly announced “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Controls a large swath of territory that spans much of Iraq and Syria. In terms of numbers of fighters, weapons, and available funds, far outstrips the capabilities of Al Qaeda (even at its most powerful on 9/11).

Israel: Only liberal democracy in the Middle East. At war with Iran-sponsored Hamas, an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. De facto alliance with Egypt. Closest formal ally to the US in the region

Jordan: Monarchy ruled by King Abdullah II, part of the Hashemite dynasty said to be descended from Mohammad. A moderate Islamic country compared to its Arab neighbors and a close ally of the United States. Threatened as a potential prime target for the Islamic State for both of these reasons. Inherently unstable due to a very large Palestinian population and enormous influx of refugees from Syria and Iraq. Has a small but very capable military and intelligence service.

Kuwait: Home to US military bases. Top officials recently suspected of financing terror. Ruling party dealing with allegations of massive corruption. Emir controls all political power. Recent reports say that Kuwait may be turning against the jihadi movement.​

Lebanon: Although its ​governmental system is technically equally divided between Shiite, Sunni, and Maronite Christians, in reality, both domestic and foreign policy is dominated by ​the ​Shiite terror group and Iran-proxy Hezbollah.

Libya: Ruling party at war with anti-Islamist general Haftar. Country in a state of lawlessness. The Al Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda-offshoot that was responsible for 9/11/2012 attack on US consulate, is still at large.

Pakistan: Home to the Haqqani network and the country where Osama bin Laden was hiding. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is known to have been infiltrated by ​and supportive of ​radical fundamentalist interests. Fundamentally dysfunctional, Pakistan has never come to terms with its Islamic identity or its paranoia for India.

Qatar: Oil-rich gulf state that controls the Al Jazeera Media Network, which is known as an informal propaganda arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatari officials have been accused by international leaders of financing terrorism, particularly The Islamic State terror group. Along with Turkey suspected of being the largest supporter of jihadists in Syria and Iraq.

Syria: In the midst of a civil war between President Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian Army and Islamist factions of varying radicalism. Current death toll estimates around 200,000. A client state of Iran.

Turkey: Previously a stable, secular Muslim state whose democracy was vouched safe by the military. Now ruled by Muslim Brotherhood-friendly leadership. Strongly aligned with Hamas despite being a member of NATO. Along with Qatar suspected of being supporter of jihadists in Syria and Iraq.

Tunisia: Recognized as the catalyst of the “Arab Spring” revolts that changed the map of the Middle East. Recently removed from power Muslim-Brotherhood government.

Saudi Arabia: Ruled as a theocratic absolute monarchy. Preaches Wahhabism, a salafist fundamentalist branch of Islam. Known for Mecca and Medina, the two holiest Islamic sites. Top officials have been accused of aiding and abetting of Al Qaeda and its offshoots. Recently reassessing the threat of extremists to its own system, it has moved closer to Israel.

United Arab Emirates: Carried out airstrikes on Libya last week against Islamist militants. Federation of seven emirates, each governed by an emir who come together to form the Federal Supreme Council, which makes executive decisions on behalf of the UAE. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are two emirates known for being commercial hubs. Interested in defeating the jihadi threat.

Yemen: Home to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, arguably the fiercest branch of AQ. Large US drone presence to combat radical entities. Fragile government threatened by jihadists as well as tribal Houthi insurgents.

Exclusive Interview: What Would Reagan Do? “Destroy the Islamists”

 US-jet-carrier-takeoff-apby JORDAN SCHACHTEL:

Breitbart News spoke with Colonel Bing West, former US Marine and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs under president Ronald Reagan, about the threats we face as a nation today. West is the author of multiple books, includingThe Village, which has been on the Marine Corps Required Reading List for decades. His latest book is titled: One Million Steps: A Marine Platoon At War

Breitbart News: Is the current US strategy implemented by the Obama administration sufficient in containing the Islamic State?

West: No. We have no strategy toward the Islamists. Not in regard to the air, and not regarding anything else. We are drifting.

Breitbart News: Is the Islamic State the chief threat to US national security interests today?

West: We have four threats. The foremost threat is the fecklessness of our commander-in chief, who has allowed the other threats to fester and become worse. The second threat is Russia, with its arrogance upsetting the balance in eastern Europe. The Middle East is now driven by the Islamist Sunni barbarian threat in the Islamic State. This is coupled with the Shiite Iranian intention of becoming a threshold nuclear state. Lastly, China wants to push us out of at least half of the Pacific. We have an array of threats, as all presidents do. It is up to president Obama to manage these threats, and he is not managing any of them well.

Breitbart News: Does the Islamic State pose a greater threat than Al Qaeda in its prime?

West: Yes. We drove Al Qaeda into the wilds of Pakistan where it gradually lost influence. Not completely, but to a large extent. We are doing nothing about containing this new Al Qaeda-type threat, which is strongest in the heart of the Middle East. The Islamic State is a major problem only because we are tolerating it.

Breitbart News: How can US forces, including clandestine services, affect change against the Islamic State?

West: The geo-military strategy is obvious: use our air to prevent the Islamists from moving across a desert in strength. Any vehicle is a target for us and we can easily discriminate between the Islamists and civilians. Allow Baghdad and southern Iraq, the Shiite area, to consolidate as a state. Recognize that the Baghdad government and its tattered forces will not retake the northern part of Iraq, heavily populated by Sunnis. To push out the Islamists; our CIA and special forces must work quietly and undercover with the Sunni tribes in the north, and help them to push out the Islamists. In 2006, we did exactly that, but it was thrown away when the Obama administration left Iraq. We can do it again, but it will likely take another five years.

Breitbart News: Can the US make enough progress in containing the advances of the Islamic State with just air strikes?

West: Utilizing a systematic air campaign, meaning 50 or so armed sorties and 20 strikes a day, absolutely, American air can contain the Islamists.

Breitbart News: Should the appointment of new Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi be seen as a welcoming sign to US interests, as President Obama has suggested?

West: Any Prime Minister has to be better than Maliki, but it’s going to require very hard bargaining with the new PM to agree to reasonable terms.

Breitbart News: What would your former boss (President Reagan) do differently in dealing with the threats we face today?

West: President Reagan, God bless him, would smile genially, turn to our military and say: “Destroy the Islamists”’.

He would say to Mr. Putin: “We are going to export our energy and your nation is going to suffer enormously over the next ten years because of your aggression.”

He would tell the Chinese: “Our Navy goes wherever it pleases on the high-seas in order to ensure that the rules of the road for international behavior are met by all nations, including China. We will wave at you as we sail by.”

He would say to Iran: “You theocrats have oppressed your people too long. I am going to continue to apply sanctions until you satisfy the international community that you cannot acquire a nuclear weapon.”

Breitbart News: How do we stop Iran’s continuing success with their influence operations in the Middle East and the rest of the world?

West: We cannot stop Iran, we must contain Iran. The critical issue is whether President Obama, for reasons of perceptions of his legacy, will reach an unsatisfactory agreement. If Iran is allowed to retain 15 to 20 thousand centrifuges, then stability in the Middle East will definitely be threatened over the next decade.

Read more at Breitbart

Lost in the Middle East

140812_khedery_middle-east2_gty

The region’s widening chaos could destroy what is left of President Obama’s legacy.

By ALI KHEDERY:

Dear President Obama:

The Middle East is more unstable today than it has been in decades. Global energy supplies are at risk, and thus, so is the entire world economy. After more than a decade of war against al Qaeda, the United States has failed to stem the rising tide of transnational jihad, which is again threatening to rock the very foundations of global order as the Islamic State seizes vast swaths of land, resources and arms, murders and terrorizes thousands, displaces millions, recruits countless new fighters (thousands with Western passports) and plots a second 9/11.

Many of your critics have accused your administration of lacking a coherent Middle East team to implement a coherent Middle East strategy. In the wake of recent developments, even Democratic loyalists like your former ambassador to Iraq, Christopher Hill, are piling on, concluding: “there doesn’t seem to be a good team there; there doesn’t even seem to be a team of rivals; there just seems to be people who have a lot of different views on the issues. And I think the president does need to kind of pull it together and look at [issues] from a broader context.”

Even Hillary Clinton, who was an exceedingly loyal secretary of state, is distancing herself from you, telling the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”

As a U.S. official, and now as an executive doing business in the Middle East, I have heard the same sentiment echoed privately by regional leaders for years. The reality is that your intended policy of benign neglect has actually proven to be one of malignant neglect and only strengthened our foes. But you still have 30 months left in office and there are vital American interests that need to be safeguarded—and not just on a remote mountaintop filled with desperate, fleeing Yazidi civilians. It is time to put the pivot to Asia on the backburner and to refocus on the unfinished business at hand. It is time to reengage in the Middle East, lest its widening chaos destroy what is left of your presidential legacy.

Here are five things you can do to shore up America’s vital national security interests across the Middle East:

1. Recognize what has worked—and more importantly, what hasn’t. When you gave your speech in Cairo on June 4, 2009, you enjoyed the support of virtually the entire world. Everyone was hopeful that you would move to correct George W. Bush’s overreach by placing America back on a balanced footing. You were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on that basis. Instead, you overcorrected, putting the United States in an isolationist posture, thereby leaving a vacuum for our strategic adversaries to fill. Whether it was due to the perceived abandonment of Hosni Mubarak and Omar Sulaiman in Egypt after decades of close cooperation with Washington, the near abandonment of the Al Khalifa dynasty in Bahrain, the red line that became pink and then invisible in Syria or the countless missteps in concluding the war in Iraq, strategic allies like Israel, Turkey, the Gulf Arab monarchies and the Kurds feel angry and abandoned while foes like Russia, Iran and al Qaeda feel emboldened.

As the Middle East melts down and allies quietly look toward Moscow or Beijing for strategic support, we should understand that they do so reluctantly. Unlike some of their populations, most regional leaders are moderate, secular and are genuine fans of Western culture, and, like the United States, they have been served well by a strategic alliance with Washington that goes back decades. Motivated by preserving their dynasties through relatively good governance, and influenced by Western educations, these leaders are an invaluable bulwark against radical extremism and thus are critical to preserving regional stability and a global economy that remains addicted to Middle Eastern oil.

So stop looking at, and dealing with, the Middle East as a game of tic-tac-toe and an amalgamation of dysfunctional individual countries that you’d prefer to not think about, and start looking at it as a three-dimensional chess board where numerous, interlinked dynamics are constantly shifting and endangering American interests.

2. Reshuffle your national security staff—and listen more to experts at State, CIA and the Pentagon. Most of your White House staff working on the Middle East don’t speak the languages of the region, while some haven’t even served in the countries they are advising you on. “They’re academics and theorists,” not practitioners, one of your former White House staff confided to me recently.

Frankly, this is inexcusable, because the current crisis doesn’t allow for on-the-job training—the aides to the most powerful man in the world need to be able to open up an Arabic newspaper or turn on a Farsi TV channel and understand immediately what’s going on. They need to understand intuitively the tone, the mood and the inflections in voices. Instead, they wait for translations that lack invaluable nuances and in any case take hours or days to process, by which time that information is irrelevant.

Read more at Politico

Ali Khedery is chairman and chief executive of Dragoman Partners, a strategic consultancy headquartered in Dubai. Previously he was an executive with Exxon Mobil Corporation, where he was the architect and chief political negotiator of the company’s entry into the Kurdistan Region. He also worked for the U.S. State and Defense departments, where he served as special assistant to five American ambassadors to Iraq and as senior adviser to three commanders of U.S. Central Command. He was the longest continuously serving American official in Iraq.

CIA expert: Obama, Osama share Mideast goal

Clare Lopez

Clare Lopez

By GARTH KANT:

WASHINGTON – Clare Lopez looks more like the prototypical all-American mother she is than the highly trained government spy she was for 20 years.

Sitting across the table at a Washington eatery, the somewhat petite, charming blonde with a friendly and engaging smile was generally soft-spoken but often emphatic in delivery, especially while unloading a bombshell analysis that turned the common understanding of U.S. foreign policy on its head.

According to the former CIA operative, President Obama’s plan for the Middle East is just what Osama bin Laden wanted: removing U.S. troops and putting the jihadis in power.

Lopez spent two decades in the field as a CIA operations officer; was an instructor for military intelligence and special forces students; has been a consultant, intelligence analyst and researcher within the defense sector; and has published two books on Iran. She currently manages the counterjihad and Shariah programs at the Center for Security Policy, run by Frank Gaffney, former assistant secretary of defense for international security policy during the Reagan administration.

Lopez told WND she sees a pattern in Obama’s actions, or inaction, that reveals his blueprint for the Middle East and Northern Africa is to let the warring jihadi factions, the Sunnis and the Shiites, divide the region into two spheres of influence, and for the U.S. to withdraw.

“The administration’s plan, I believe, is to remove American power and influence, including military forces, from Islamic lands,” Lopez asserted.

When WND remarked that was just what Osama bin Laden had demanded, Lopez pointed out that is the aim of all jihadis, “Because that is what Islam demands, that foreign forces be kicked out of Islamic lands.”

Does Obama think if we leave the Mideast the jihadis will then leave us alone?

“I don’t know,” she said. “I can just see the pattern that is enabling the rise of Islam, empowering the Muslim Brotherhood domestically and abroad, alienating and distancing ourselves from our friends and allies and debilitating the American military.”

Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden

Even if she doesn’t have inside information, the former spy said, “I can see what he is doing; it seems to be a clear agenda. It is clear that is what he is doing.”

WND spoke with Lopez about the current crisis in Iraq, in which the Islamic terrorist army ISIS has blitzed across the country, capturing large chunks of territory while slaughtering Christians and other Muslims and threatening genocide. In a wide-ranging interview, the foreign policy expert also assessed the current state of the Mideast.

She believes Obama’s hesitance in the face of the horrific violence in the current crisis comes from a basic mistake, not recognizing the true motivation of the jihadis is an ideology of relentless conquest.

But she isn’t advocating a return to the Iraq War. Lopez believes the U.S. should protect its interests and those minorities facing genocide, but otherwise, let the warring parties sort it out, for the time being.

Lopez believes regimes such as Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey play all sides of the jihadi game and have “enabled a monster in ISIS” they can no longer control, and “they should be allowed to reap what they’ve sown.” Furthermore, she maintained, U.S. leadership has proven incapable of sorting out who’s who or who’s backing whom.

Besides, she observed, there isn’t much else left for the U.S. to protect in Iraq.

When WND asked her if Iraq is lost, she had a startling but succinct reaction: “Iraq doesn’t exist anymore. I liken it to Humpy-Dumpty. It’s fallen off the wall, and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men cannot put it back together again.”

Given that bleak assessment, the former CIA operative described what she believes the U.S. must now do to preserve its core interests in Iraq, Syria and the Persian Gulf region:

  • Protect American personnel and facilities at the Embassy in Baghdad and the Irbil and Basra consulates with either airstrikes or evacuation.
  • Provide as much humanitarian aid as possible to beleaguered minorities facing genocide, as well as to friendly countries like Jordan that are burdened with overwhelming economic demands to care for millions of refugees.
  • Stand by allies and partners in the region, especially Israel and Jordan.
  • Help the Kurds survive by providing diplomatic support, intelligence, logistics and modern weapons.
  • Deploy a Special Forces capability to the region to gather intelligence and provide early warning of threats to U.S. interests, and provide the ability to project power and influence as required.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently criticized Obama for not arming what she called moderate rebels in Syria when the civil war there began, which, she claimed, could have prevented the rise of ISIS.

Much more at WND

 

The Watchman: Jihadists on the March

Published on Jul 8, 2014 by The Christian Broadcasting Network

On this week’s edition of The Watchman, we sit down with Middle East experts Raymond Ibrahim and Tawfik Hamid to discuss the latest developments with the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Iran and what can be done to counter the jihadist.

ISIS Declares Caliphate & Demands Loyalty From All Muslims

Screenshot from the Islamic State propaganda video 'Breaking the Borders'

Screenshot from the Islamic State propaganda video ‘Breaking the Borders’

“We took it forcibly at the point of a blade.
We brought it back conquered and compelled.
We established it in defiance of many.
And the people’s necks were violently struck,
With bombings, explosions, and destruction,
And soldiers that do not see hardship as being difficult,”

And lions that are thirsty in battle,
Having greedily drunk the blood of kufr (infidel).

Our khilāfah has indeed returned with certainty” – From the declaration of the Caliphate entitled “This is the Promise of Allah” delivered by the Islamic State spokesman al-Adnani.

On Sunday the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) declared itself a caliphate. It dropped ‘Iraq and Syria from its name and now wishes to be known as the Islamic State. The announcement was made to coincide with the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. They have also changed their flag.

The last caliphate was abolished by the Turks in 1924, bringing an end to the Ottoman Empire, the last of the great empires which ruled the Muslim world. The caliphate that ISIS seeks to recreate, however, is based on the original caliphates of the successors to the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, rather than what they would regard as the weak and corrupted caliphates of later times. The ruler, a caliph, is a religious, political and military position akin to a divinely sanctioned monarchy.

A caliphate is regarded by Sunni Islamic extremists as the only legitimate form of government. Re-establishing it has consistently remained a key goal of groups ranging from the Muslim Brotherhood to Al Qaeda.

Abu Bakr Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State (formerly ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) as the caliph and “the leader of Muslims everywhere.” In declaring himself thus, Baghdadi is attempting to seize legitimacy as the leader of the jihadi movement in particular and the Muslim world in general. He was capitalizing on recent sweeping gains made by the group in its capture of Mosul. He will now take on the name and title “Caliph Ibrahim.

One of the primary duties of the caliph is to wage jihad against the kuffar (infidel). In Islamic terms, only a caliph has the authority to declare jihad, immediately marking the Islamic State, in its own eyes, as the only legitimate jihadi organization.

This puts the new caliphate directly at war with Al Qaeda and potentially at war with other jihadi organizations should they refuse to accept the authority of the new caliphate. Professor Peter Neumann of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization regards the announcement as a “declaration of war against the West and al Qaida.”

Read  more at Clarion Project

 

 

 

Brigitte Gabriel and Zuhdi Jasser disagree on the idea of instilling Jeffersonian Democratic Ideals in the Middle East

In the first video they seem to agree on the nature of threat from the rise in Islamic terrorism and lack of moderate Muslim condemnation of it. In the second video however a point of contention arises over why moderates are not speaking out. Zuhdi believes it is due to a lack of committed, sustained American leadership to help Muslims “evolve into a Jeffersonian type Democracy” over a period of generations (nation building) “Brigitte is shaking her head “No”. She says you must first confront the ideology driving radicalization. Watch…

Brigitte Gabriel Explains the Rise of Jihad

 

Why has jihadist threat escalated in last 3 years?

 

 

The Al Qaeda Spring Is Here

iraq1by Daniel Greenfield:

Many of us declared the Arab Spring dead and buried. But the Arab Spring really came in two phases.

The first phase was the political destabilization of formerly stable Arab countries by liberals and Islamists. The second phase was an armed conflict by Islamists to take over entire countries.

These phases overlapped in some cases and the second phase has been underway for a while already. In Libya and Syria the first phase of the Arab Spring became the second phase. When protests didn’t work, the Islamists turned to force. When elections didn’t work for them in Libya, they turned to force for a second time. The Benghazi attack was arguably a collateral effect of Islamist attempts to take over Libya after a poor election performance that same summer.

Advocates of the Arab Spring promised that political Islam would lead to an end to Islamic terrorism, but armed Jihad and political Jihad are two phases of the same Islamic struggle. Now the shift to the second phase is complete. The real beneficiaries of the Arab Spring were always going to be those who had the most guns and cared the least about dying in battle. And that was always going to be Al Qaeda.

Libya and Syria’s civil wars had a ripple effect as weapons were seized and recruits assembled. The lessons of the Afghan wars should have made it clear that the Jihadists involved in those conflicts would not simply go home and live normal lives once the fighting was concluded.

Instead they would find other wars to fight.

The War on Terror was fed by veterans of those wars. So were a dozen more minor Jihadist conflicts that don’t normally make the news. Those conflicts produced their own veterans and spread the war around.

The Arab Spring was supposed to use “moderate” political Islamists to thwart “extremist” terrorists, but that was never going to happen. There is no such thing as a moderate Islamist. There are only Islamic activists more focused on one phase of the conflict. Like the distinction between the political and armed branches of terrorist groups, these distinctions are tactical. They are not ideological.

Read more at Front page