Hewitt trips up Trump on foreign policy

Hugh HewittWashington Examiner, By AL WEAVER, Sep. 3, 2015:

With the second GOP debate only two weeks away, Donald Trump may need to do some cramming on foreign policy to catch up to his peers.

Trump admitted in a Thursday interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt that he does not know some of the nuts and bolts issues on the world stage, particularly the names of terror leaders and other players in the Middle East. He also didn’t know the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah.

From the outset, Hewitt, who is set to ask questions at the debate on Sept. 16, quizzed the GOP front-runner on a series of issues pertaining to the Middle East. He asked if Trump knew about Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a major general in the Iranian Army.

“Yes,” Trump said with some doubt in his voice. “Go ahead, give me a little — go ahead, tell me.”

When Hewitt explained that Soleimani is the head of the Quds Force, which he likened to the U.S. Navy SEALs, Trump began talking about the Kurdish forces in Turkey.

“I think the Kurds, by the way, have been horribly mistreated by us…” Trump said before Hewitt corrected him. The real estate mogul explained that he heard the name wrong.

“Is he the gentleman that was going back and forth with Russia and meeting with [Vladimir] Putin? I read something — that seems to be, also, where he’s at. He’s going back and forth meeting with other countries, etc. etc.,” Trump asked. Hewitt responded affirmatively.

“Not good. Not good for us,” Trump said. “And what it shows is a total lack of respect, I mean that the other countries would even be entertaining him, and they’re entertaining him big league. Big league.”

Hewitt went on to ask Trump if he knew the “players” in the Middle East “without a scorecard” after rattling off four high-level players from the region such as Hassan Nasrallah, secretary general of Hezbollah, and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State.

“No,” Trump responded. “You know, I’ll tell you, honestly, I think by the time we get to office, they’ll all be changed. They’ll be all gone. I knew you were going to ask me things like this and there’s no reason because, 1.) I will hopefully find Gen. Douglas McArthur in the pack. I will find whoever it is that I’ll find and … but they’re all changing.”

“Those are like history questions. ‘Do you know this one, do you know that one,'” Trump said. “As far as the individual players, of course I don’t know them. I’ve never met them. I haven’t been in a position to meet them. If they’re still there, which is unlikely in many cases — but if they’re still there, I will know them better than I know you.”

Trump went on to tell the host that he was asking “gotcha questions” about the Middle Eastern leaders, adding that by the time he becomes commander in chief, “I will be so good at the military, your head will spin.”

Near the end of the 20-minute segment, Hewitt told Trump that he disagreed with the assertion that he was asking “gotcha” questions. The host said that at the debate on Sept. 16, he may ask the candidates about the leaders of Hezbollah, al-Nusra and Hamas. Does Trump think those are gotcha questions?

“Yes, I do. I totally do,” Trump said to a mystified Hewitt. “I think it’s ridiculous. I’m a delegator. I find great people. I find absolutely great people and I’ll find them in our armed services, and I find absolutely great people.”

“When you start throwing around names of people and where they live and, you know, give me their address — I think it’s ridiculous,” Trump said. “By the way, the names you just mentioned, they probably won’t even be there in six months or a year … First day in office, or before then — the day after the election, I’ll know more about it than you will ever know. I can tell you that.”

“Last question: So the difference between Hezbollah and Hamas does not matter to you yet, but it will?” Hewitt asked.

“It will when it’s appropriate. I will know more about it than you know and believe me, it won’t take me long,” Trump said. “And if you ask any of these candidates, nobody’s going to be able to give you an answer. I mean, there may be one that’s studied it because they’re expecting a fresh question from you. But believe me, it won’t matter. I will know far more than you know within 24 hours after I get the job.”

This isn’t the first time a 2016 Republican presidential candidate has struggled with foreign policy details on Hewitt’s show. Back in May, Ben Carson made repeated missteps in an interview with Hewitt, which led to the host asking the famed neurosurgeon if he “read this stuff?”

U.S. Immigration Experts: Europe’s Progressives to Blame for Huge Migrant Death Toll

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

Breitbart, by Neil Munro, Sep. 3, 2015:

Europe’s post-national progressive governing elite is competing to display its supposed horror over the rapidly rising number of migrants’ corpses now being washed up on Mediterranean beaches.

But those self-regarding progressives deserve much of the blame for the multi-thousand toll of migrants suffering egregious conditions trying to enter Europe, say U.S. immigration experts.

This, they argue, is because the progressives want to ignore the lessons of other migration crises — including the now-ended 2013 Pacific rush into Australia — and want to use the picture of dead migrants to break open their continent’s backdoor to huge migrations from the developing world. So far, they have opened the door wide enough to attract millions of people to make the risky migration around the safe-but-closed legal entrance to Europe’s placid and very civil society.

“The migrants are mainly responsible for making these decisions, and the smugglers are criminals, but the [European] governments share the responsibility,” for casualties along the risky route, said Mark Krikorian, director of the D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies. “By not enforcing [immigration] rules, they are thereby communicating to potential migrants that [the dangerous trip] is worth the risk.” Many of the migrants are getting through the back door into Europe, so their trail of dead is a rational price for entry into Europe, Krikorian said.

“Unless [European governments] are going to allow hundreds of millions of people to come over legally into Europe, there’s no [smaller] number they could chose that would ensure more people won’t come” via the risky sea passage, said Roy Beck, the founder of NumbersUSA.

“There’s no way to create [narrow] legal channels that stop the dying,” he said, adding the only feasible fix is to create “well-funded, well-run international refugees camps, as close to the home countries are you can, so it is easy for the migrants to to go home.” His group advocates to reduce the annual legal inflow of roughly 1.5 million people into the United States. In comparison, 4 million Americans are born each year.

The risky migration is also a safer option for many Syrian migrants, who would otherwise have to fight the Islamic State’s expanding jihadi army. It is also means that Europe’s progressive governments can eliminate the possibility of recruiting eligible migrants into a Syrian army that can defeat ISIS.

The progressive hand-wringing about the migration has reached a new peak following the garish display of a picture showing a small drowned child, face-down on a Mediterranean beach.

The dead child, along with his two dead siblings and mother, was trying to reach Greece but sank into the sea. Two accompanying smugglers grabbed the only two lifejackets and floated back to shore.

Some progressives are using this photo as an argument to further open the door to more migrants. The New York Times and the Washington Post, for example, posted similar images on their websites Sept. 3. The dead child was used to fill the entire Sept. 2 frontpage of London’s leading progressive daily, The Independent.

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“The Independent has taken the decision to publish these images because, among the often glib words about the ‘ongoing migrant crisis,’ it is all too easy to forget the reality of the desperate situation facing many refugees,” the editors intoned. “The pictures, and the tragedy they convey, are hard to ignore, and now senior politicians are calling on [Prime Minister David] Cameron to do more to tackle the crisis,” they claimed.

Most progressive European leaders want more migration and want the resulting chaotic diversity that would be managed by big governments.

Read more

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Also see:

SAVING AMERICA

american_flag_AP-640x480Breitbartby JAMES LYONS 28 Aug 2015:

Never in my lifetime, did I believe I would witness our great country being taken down and withdrawn from our world leadership role by our own administration.  The latest example is the flawed agreement with Iran on their nuclear weapons program.  This needs to be seen as another manifestation of President Barack Obama’s goal to fundamentally transform America.  All of the known concessions made by our administration to Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism that has been at war with us for over 35 years, and has caused the loss of thousands of American lives, including the key support to the 9/11 hijackers without which that terrorist attack could not have been carried out, humiliated us before our friends, allies and most importantly, our enemies. We have been sabotaged from within.

          Every objective that we set out to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability was conceded to Iran.  Unbelievable! In fact, the administration went beyond what I could imagine by not only agreeing to assist Iran in the development of their nuclear program but also committing us to assist in the protection of their nuclear facilities against attack and sabotage, including cyber-attack. 

Further, the fact that no American inspectors are to be allowed in Iran and incredibly, that Iran is to be allowed to conduct its own evidence collection at the key military site Parchin, are simply mind boggling concessions!   Furthermore, with no constraints on either conventional arms or their ICBM program, we are not only jeopardizing our position in the Persian Gulf but we are ignoring Iran’s previous tests and preparations for conducting an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack against the United States.  Of course, Iran does not need an ICBM for such an attack.  It could be launched from a freighter, which they have tested, or from their missile base in Venezuela—which Ambassador Roger Noriega states is currently operational.  If such an attack occurred against our unprotected national electrical grid, an estimated two out of three Americans would die in a year due to starvation, lack of medical care, and societal collapse.    Everything that our modern society depends on would be shut down, and that includes our military forces.  This is a national security issue which must be addressed now.  As Bernard Lewis, the noted Middle East expert stated, once Iran gets a nuclear weapon deterrence will not work.  Game over!  In my view, this borders on treason!

          However, these concessions and commitments are totally consistent with President Obama’s strategy to fundamentally transform America.  In his warped view, America has caused many of the world’s problems and must be humbled.  Therefore, undercutting our status as leader of the free world is seen as being objectively progressive.

          His strategy is anti-American, and anti-Western. It is pro-Islam, pro-Iran and pro-Muslim Brotherhood.   This raises the question: why the Muslim Brotherhood has been so favored by this president?  Actually, it should be very clear.  The Muslim Brotherhood’s creed to destroy America from within by our own “miserable hands” makes the perfect book-end to Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.”

          With President Obama’s Marxist background, it was a natural fit with Saul Alinsky who preached that, in the absence of a ripe revolutionary situation and a disciplined Bolshevik-like revolutionary party, you advance the “revolutionary cause” by under cutting the basic social and moral fiber of society, as well as the economic and military structural foundation of America at home and abroad.   Furthermore, causing agitation at low levels of society through community organizers is an important element in achieving transformation.  This explains why recent street rioting in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD, combined with the administration’s policies initiated the so-called war on police, fit a pattern for social unrest. 

          Once the Saul Alinsky concept is understood, then the crushing debt of over 8 trillion dollars since 2009 plus destroying one of the world’s finest medical programs with the forced implementation of Obamacare that represents 1/6 of our economy all makes sense.  The out-of-control immigration policies of the Obama administration, including seeding tens of thousands Muslims with essentially no background checks who have no intention of assimilating also makes perfect sense.   So does dividing America by race and racial profiling.

          The unilateral disarmament of the world’s finest military force world while we are being challenged throughout the world only makes sense in the context of “taking America down.”  The emasculation of our military forces through the social engineering forced upon our military under the guise of “diversity” further jeopardizes our national security by destroying our warrior mentality and the “will to win.”  Our military leadership’s political correctness is clearly at fault here, and they must be held accountable. 

          The out-of-control policies of this administration must be stopped if America is to be saved.  Therefore, all Americans, flood your representatives in Congress with telephone calls, faxes and e-mails demanding that impeachment proceedings be initiated against Executive Branch officials—starting with Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama.  The damage that this administration can do between now and January 2017 must be stopped now!

Also see – if you think you can handle it:

The Politicization of Intelligence

politicization-intelligenceThe Gorka Briefing, By Sebastian Gorka, Aug. 31, 2012:

Intelligence analysis that contradicts the “ISIS is Losing” narrative is ignored by the chain of command. I discuss the issue of politically-driven censorship on the John Batchelor radio show. 28 August 2015; 9 minutes. Audio HERE.

Related:

Spies: Obama’s Brass Pressured Us to Downplay ISIS Threat (Daily Beast)
U.S. intelligence analysts keep saying that the American-led campaign against ISIS isn’t going so well. Their bosses keep telling them to think again about those conclusions.

Senior military and intelligence officials have inappropriately pressured U.S. terrorism analysts to alter their assessments about the strength of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, three sources familiar with the matter told The Daily Beast.

Analysts have been pushed to portray the group as weaker than the analysts believe it actually is, according to these sources, and to paint an overly rosy picture about how well the U.S.-led effort to defeat the group is going.

Reports that have been deemed too pessimistic about the efficacy of the American-led campaign, or that have questioned whether a U.S.-trained Iraqi military can ultimately defeat ISIS, have been sent back down through the chain of command or haven’t been shared with senior policymakers, several analysts alleged.In other instances, authors of such reports said they understood that their conclusions should fall within a certain spectrum.

As a result, they self-censored their own views, they said, because they felt pressure to not reach conclusions far outside what those above them apparently believed.

“The phrase I use is the politicization of the intelligence community,” retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told The Daily Beast when describing what he sees as a concerted push in government over the past several months to find information that tells a preferred story about efforts to defeat ISIS and other extremist groups, including al Qaeda. “That’s here. And it’s dangerous,” Flynn said. . . (read the rest)

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Is your government lying to you about the war against ISIS? by Lt Col Rick Francona

I thought we had put this issue to rest after the inflated body counts of Vietnam. Quite possibly the Obama Administration is playing a variation of that same alternate reality game. Virtually every assessment and announcement from either the White House or the Pentagon has told us that the military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is going well and that the terrorist army of the self-proclaimed Islamic State is on the defensive.

As a military analyst for CNN, I follow the fighting in Iraq and Syria closely – I monitor a variety of media from all sides. That includes not only the American press, but official Syrian, Iraqi and yes, ISIS reporting, as well as a variety of social media sites that cover all aspects of the situation in the region.

As you can imagine, there are great discrepancies in the descriptions of the same events. At times, I have shaken my head at some of the pronouncements from the Pentagon press office and even from the U.S. Central Command, the combatant command conducting the military operations.

Normally the CENTCOM reports are factual accounts of sorties flown, weapons employed and damage assessments. On the other hand, Pentagon spokesmen tend to portray the Operation Inherent Resolve as stopping ISIS’s advances and forcing them into a defensive posture. There was certainly a disconnect in the reports of low sortie rates and just a few weapons actually being employed emanating from the theater versus the rosy portrayal coming out of the Pentagon.

I remember the reports of the “success” of the Iraqi Army in ejecting ISIS from the city of Tikrit, when most of the actual fighting was done by Iranian-trained and led Shi’a militias. As the Pentagon assured us that ISIS was now contained, the Islamists mounted a successful assault on the city of al-Ramadi, the capital of al-Anbar province, located on the Euphrates River just 65 miles from Baghdad – all the while under attack from the air. This hardly fits the definition of “on the defensive.”

Obviously there is a problem here – either the intelligence community can’t figure out what is going on with ISIS or someone is misleading the public. Having spent a career in the intelligence business – most of it in the Middle East – I am opting for the latter.

In any case, the Department of Defense inspector general (IG) has opened an investigation. Unfortunately, from the wording of the available reporting it appears that the focus is going to be on professional military officers at CENTCOM rather than the political appointees (that means dyed-in-the-wool Obama supporters) at the Pentagon. Guess who is going to be thrown under the bus….

It is obvious that someone is taking the intelligence reporting and putting the best face on it. Actually, that is too kind – someone is cooking the intelligence to make it fit into the narrative dictated by the White House and the political leadership at the Pentagon.

The anemic air campaign – just 20 strikes today – is having an effect, to be sure, but the Defense Intelligence Agency estimates that ISIS is about as strong and capable today as it was when the air campaign began over a year ago. Much of that is due to the easy access to Syria via Turkey for supplies and the thousands of volunteers wishing to join ISIS. Hopefully Turkey’s recent decision to participate in the U.S.-led coalition will staunch that flow.

I suspect that at each intermediate echelon between CENTCOM’s forward headquarters in Qatar and the Pentagon, the intelligence and operational assessments of the military campaign against ISIS change slightly for the better. Everyone wants to cast the operation in a favorable light – accentuate the positive, downplay the negative. When it gets to the politicos at the Pentagon, I suspect it is tailored to fit the narrative emanating from the White House press room.

I applaud the Defense Department’s decision to launch an IG investigation – it is easily warranted. The IG is supposed to be an independent investigative agency that deals in facts and lets the evidence guide the investigation. Pardon me if I am not filled with confidence – some colonel at CENTCOM will take the fall.

Is our government lying to us? I fear that it is.

New ‘Islamic Commandos’ Terror Group Emerges in War-Torn Afghanistan

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Breitbart, by Edwin Mora, August 24, 2015:

The reported emergence of a new terror group in Afghanistan, calling itself the “Islamic Commandos,” indicates that the country remains a safe haven for terrorist organizations.

American troops invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 to prevent terrorist groups, namely al-Qaeda, from using the war-torn country as a base for their operations.

Since then, the U.S. has spent billions of taxpayer dollars and lost at least 2,217 American lives on that effort.

Less than one year after President Obama declared an end to the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan, Khaama Press reports that Afghan officials are now saying the Islamic Commandos have begun operating in their areas.

The group, which has at least 1,000 members, has begun to function in northern and southern Afghanistan—particularly in the northern provinces of Badakhshan, Kunduz, and Faryab; and the southern Zabul, Urozgan, and Kandahar provinces. This is according to Mohammad Ali Ahmadi, deputy governor of Ghazni province in eastern Afghanistan, who reportedly told Azadi Radio on Sunday, adding that the group is also operating in his province.

“He said [the] majority of this group is currently fighting with security forces in northern Afghanistan,” adds Khaama Press.

The deputy governor pointed out that the group broke away from the Taliban, which it now considers a rival faction.

It is unknown what brought about the division that led to the formation of the Islamic Commandos, notes Heavy.com.

A report from the Afghan Bokhdi News Agency, written in Dari, quotes Ahmadi as saying that the Islamic Commandos are linked to al-Qaeda and have entered Afghanistan from Pakistan’s restive North Waziristan tribal region located along the Afghan border, according to an English translation provided by BBC.

Breitbart News was unable to independently confirm whether or not the new terrorist group has ties to al-Qaeda. It is unclear whether or not there is a relationship between the Islamic Commandos, the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), and al-Qaeda.

The Taliban and al-Qaeda share historic ties. Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri pledged allegiance to the new Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Akhtar Mansour, who took over the group after Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar was reported dead. Mansour has accepted the pledge.

The Taliban and the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) are currently fighting a turf war in Afghanistan.

There are already at least fifteen terrorist organizations operating in the Afghan and Pakistan region, SFGate reports. The Islamic Commandos are the newest terrorist group in Afghanistan.

U.S. and international troops are already dealing with the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the entry of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), which has appeared in parts of the country, carrying out brutal executions.

Except for a small Kabul-based embassy presence, the U.S. is expected to withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016, President Obama has said.

Obama, at the request of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, already slowed down the withdrawal pace of American forces, extending the presence of nearly 10,000 troops until the end of this year.

In 2014, the U.S. president said that by the end of 2015, America would draw down its military presence to about half of the current level.

President Obama has reportedly asked U.S. Gen. John F. Campbell, the top commander of American and international forces in Afghanistan, to reassess the situation on the ground after the 2015 fighting season, the first with the Afghan forces supposedly in the lead.

Earlier this month, The Daily Mirror reported that British special forces (SAS, SBS) were deployed back to Afghanistan to take on both ISIS and the Taliban.

“Just a year after David Cameron said the war was over, members of the SAS and SBS along with US special forces are taking part in military operations almost every night as the insurgent forces close in on the capital Kabul,” noted the article.

“British troops are supposed to be just advisers to the Afghanistan special forces, who they have spent years training,” it added. “But senior defence sources say that in reality the troops are planning and leading counter-terrorist strike operations.”

U.S. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Afghan president have discussed the possibility of forming a ten-year regional counterterrorism effort against ISIS.

The Five Worst Foreign Policy Statements at Last Night’s GOP Debates

AP_153485696464-640x427Breitbart, by Frances Martel, Aug. 7, 2015:

As Republicans wake up from their first taste of a crowded and extremely accomplished field of 2016 candidates, many will praise the candidates for what will likely be remembered as one of the more substantive and combative debates in recent memory.

As foreign policy tends to be one of the issues on which Republicans agree the most– Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) notwithstanding– it serves as one of the best metrics for which to judge aspiring presidential candidates. After all, they will mostly be saying the same thing, so judging them on how they say it results much easier. While the candidates were much more eager to discuss immigration and the economy last night, viewers did get a taste of the urgency of the Republican Party to tackle radical Islamist terrorism. Some, like former Hewlett Packard executive Carly Fiorina, excelled by virtue of proposing real initiatives to combat both conventional and cyber-terrorism. Others, mostly thanks to a frustrating lack of specificity, floundered.

Below, the five most disappointing comments in both of Fox News’ Republican debates last night.

5. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX):

What we need is a commander in chief that makes — clear, if you join ISIS, if you wage jihad on America, then you are signing your death warrant… We need a president that shows the courage that Egypt’s President al-Sisi, a Muslim, when he called out the radical Islamic terrorists who are threatening the world.

Left to its own devices, this is a great soundbite for the campaign trail. We will kill the terrorists! We will be like Egyptian military strongman Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who ousted his Muslim Brotherhood predecessor before his country became another Libya! But what does any of this mean? Sen. Cruz did offer one bit of concrete policy: he would revoke the citizenship of any Americans fighting with the Islamic State. This is a necessary move and a welcome suggestion from Cruz but, the truth is, most ISIS terrorists aren’t American citizens, and the ones who attempt acts of terror on American soil have mostly been killedbefore revoking their citizenship would make a difference.

Calling radical Islamist terror what it is is a necessary first step that the White House has routinely refused to take, and it is reassuring that Sen. Cruz has no qualms about it. But then what?

4. Sen. Rand Paul:

I’ve been fighting amidst a lot of opposition from both Hillary Clinton, as well as some Republicans who wanted to send arms to the allies of ISIS. ISIS rides around in a billion dollars worth of U.S. Humvees. It’s a disgrace. We’ve got to stop — we shouldn’t fund our enemies, for goodness sakes.

This was, bafflingly, a major applause line at last night’s primetime debate, likely because the situation in which ISIS was born is so complicated many in the audience believed the American military was simply buying the Islamic State Humvees on the taxpayers’ dime.

Yes, the United States gave arms to Syrian rebels opposing President Bashar al-Assad, and destabilizing Syria further allowed for the expansion of the Islamic State. But much of the bulk of U.S. weaponry that has fallen into their hands has been captured from the Shiite Iraqi army operating out of Baghdad– that’s where the Humvees came from. The Shiites are not ISIS’s allies; they are “rafidi infidels.” The Iraqi army is largely a failure, yet, largely out of a desire to see the state of Iraq continue existing, America continues to fund Baghdad.

Solving the ISIS problem would be much easier if all we had to do was stop giving ISIS money.

3. Gov. Mike Huckabee:

The purpose of the military is kill people and break things.

This comment, especially provocative when out of context, was an attempt to reject the idea of allowing servicemen and women to receive sex change treatments on the taxpayers’ dime while in active service. Not spending more money on sex changes may resonate with Republican voters, but reducing the vital and extremely complex services our troops provide the world over to killing people and breaking things?

The Army Corps of Engineers employs 37,000 servicemen dedicated to constructing facilities for both military and emergency purposes, to protect from natural disasters and protecting the nation’s nature areas. Military medical professionals specialize in a wide variety of fields and work to keep our troops healthy as they serve. American soldiers have been pivotal in aiding those harmed by the southeast Asian tsunami in 2004, fighting the Ebola outbreak in west Africa, and cleaning up after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Our troops are not the hordes of Genghis Khan. They do much more than kill people and break things.

2. Gov. Bobby Jindal:

We’re going to take the political handcuffs off the military. We will arm and train the Kurds. We will work with our Sunni allies. They know we will be committed to victory.

“Arming the Kurds” has become a popular shorthand for many conservatives who want to show they are serious about fighting ISIS, despite the fact that Kurdish groups have not had much success outside of Kurdish areas, and the odds of a successful mission in an Arab Sunni territory is very low. Kurdish forces have been without a doubt the most successful ground troops in fighting the Islamic State, particularly given that the most the Iraqi army has done to fight them is run away and hand them our Humvees. The problem with Gov. Jindal’s statement, particularly in light of the NATO member Turkey’s air campaign against multiple Kurdish factions, is that it is too vague. Which Kurds?

There’s the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a US-designated terrorist group of Marxist stripes that Turkey considers its arch nemesis. There are the People’s Protection Units of Syria– the YPG and YPJ– which have been among the most successful troops against ISIS. And there are the Peshmerga of Iraq, which have also conducted successful operations and made of Erbil the largest Iraqi city safe for Christians and Yazidis.

The YPG/YPJ wear the red star proudly and support the PPK; the Peshmerga under President Masoud Barzani do not.

Without specifying, Jindal may have just committed to arming a group whose propaganda looks like this:

 1. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC):

According to the generals that I know and trust, this air campaign will not destroy ISIL. We need a ground force in Iraq and Syria, and America has to be part of that ground force. According to the FBI and the director of national intelligence, Syria’s becoming a perfect platform to strike our nation. I’ve got a very simple strategy as your president against ISIL. Whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to defeat them.

It is perhaps the greatest failure of last night’s debate moderators that this comment went unchallenged. Graham got away with casually proposing a ground invasion of Syria using American troops that would last “as long as it takes.”

When the United States began its military actions in Iraq, there was a clear villain in power: Saddam Hussein. That nation’s leader was our enemy and an ally of our enemies, and we went in to take him out. Syria has a nominal leader, Bashar al-Assad, who is a mortal enemy of the Islamic State and is embroiled in a bitter, years-long civil war. Many of Syria’s religious minorities, the Christian Assyrians and Alawites, view Assad as the last line of defense against ISIS. An American ground invasion of Syria may very well force us into an alliance with Assad, a mass murderer who has used chemical weapons against civilians– and, by proxy, an alliance with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei. How does Sen. Graham square his opposition to the Iran deal with a plan to keep the Ayatollah’s favorite puppet dictator in power?

And if he wants to take down ISIS and Assad simultaneously– how, specifically, would we do that? And what is going to fill the resulting power vacuum? For all we know, Sen. Graham may have a strong answer to this; unfortunately, no one at Fox News cared to ask.

Also see:

WATCH: FIRST TRAILER FOR MICHAEL BAY’S BENGHAZI MOVIE ’13 HOURS’

Screen-Shot-2015-07-29-at-10.59.39-AM-640x480Breitbart, by Daniel Nussbaum, July 29, 2015:

The movie, based on Mitchell Zuckoff’s 2014 book 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi, tells the story of the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya in which four Americans–U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. Foreign Service’s Sean Smith and CIA contractors Glen Doherty and Tyrone S. Woods – were killed by Islamist terrorists.

Bay is directing the film from a script by Chuck Hogan (FX’s The Strain). James Badge Dale, John Krasinski, Pablo Schreiber, Toby Stephens, David Denman, Max Martini, and Dominic Fumusa star.

The trailer conveys a strong sense of dread before the classic Bay-inspired action kicks in.

“When everything went wrong, six men had the courage to do what was right,” the text in the trailer reads.

With a budget reportedly in the range of $30-$40 million, Bay is working on 13 Hourswith a lot less money than he usually gets to play with on blockbuster films likeTransformers. Here’s hoping the result is a return to form for Bay and a tight, focused action film that honors the memories of the American heroes who sacrificed their lives on that day.

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi hits theaters January 15.

Also see:

Obama Makes the Worst Trade in US History: Israel for Iran

iran-oabmaThe Blaze, by Benjamin Weingarten, July 14, 2015:

On the eve of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, a despicable and disastrous betrayal has become clear: President Barack Obama has traded Israel for Iran.

In the annals of the history of American foreign policy filled with pages of willful blindness, amorality and often State Department-led folly, there are few things more substantively and symbolically egregious than this fundamental transformation.

Consider the two nations of which we are speaking: One is the largest state sponsor of terror in the world, run by genocidal jihadist theocrats who in their Twelver Shiite theology seek to bring on the apocalypse by destroying the cradle of world civilization. The other is a bastion of liberty, plurality, dynamism, creativity and innovation, despite being surrounded by myriad hostile regimes.

In a sane world, it would be unthinkable, unconscionable, and un-American for us to turn on the state of Israel – the front line of Western civilization against barbarians who seek to take us, and who are fast taking themselves, back to the seventh century.

But then we are in year seven of the Obama presidency, an “Alice in Wonderland” world in which the seemingly perverse has become the norm, all in the name of regressive progressivism.

While Americans focus on the seen of beheadings or the destruction of ancient artifacts by Islamic State in high definition, that shock our collective conscience, the unseen is that Iran is quietly becoming the hegemon in the Middle East – and perhaps in the eyes of President Obama, America’s top ally in the region.

The easing of sanctions allowing billions of dollars of wealth to flow to a tottering economy and allowing thecontinued enrichment of uranium – will provide legitimacy to a terrorist regime and show the world that – like Neville Chamberlain’s England – America has chosen to appease evil rather than confront it.

Meanwhile, as DEBKA asserted in a recent memo, Iran has concurrently been “taking up forward positions in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, where they are busy fashioning a Shiite Crescent that encircles Sunni Arab states as well as Israel.”

(Image Source: DEBKA)

(Image Source: DEBKA)

America under this president has consciously chosen to stand by all the while. As Tony Badran wrote in a stunning analysis at NOW [emphasis mine]:

In one of Obama’s several letters to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, he reportedly presented finalizing the deal on the nuclear program as the gateway to a broader regional partnership, especially against Sunni extremist groups like the Islamic State (ISIS).

This partnership is central to Obama’s broader objective of extricating the U.S. from the Middle East and leaving in place a new security structure, of which Iran is a principal pillar. His tacit policy from Baghdad to Beirut has been to partner with Iranian-backed forces as the boots on the ground in the campaign against Sunni extremists. In Iraq and Lebanon especially, the U.S. partnership with Iranian assets and Iran-dominated state institutions has created a de facto condominium between the U.S. and Iran. 

Lest we conclude the spread of Iran’s tentacles throughout the Levant primarily endangers Sunni jihadists, the title of a recent paper from MEMRI spells out the real casualty: “From The Mediterranean to the Golan, Iran Builds Active Front And Direct Military Presence On Israel’s Border To Deter Israel And Further Ideology Of Eliminating The Zionist Regime.”

MEMRI quotes from a columnist for the Lebanese Al-Akhbar paper:

Israel faces a fateful crisis. As much as it feared the Iranian nuclear program, it never imagined that Iran would be standing on its border even before its nuclear agreement with the Americans was complete. The Iranian threat to Israel is no longer theoretical…[t]he threat has become direct, practical and conventional.

President Obama’s strategy during this time, as DEBKA pithily put it, has been to make:

…sure Israel was well supplied with all its material security needs. This enabled him to boast that no U.S. president or administration before him had done as much to safeguard Israel’s security.

But behind this façade, Obama made sure that Israel’s security stayed firmly in the technical-material-financial realm and never crossed the line into a strategic relationship.

That was because he needed to keep his hands free for the objective of transferring the role of foremost U.S. ally in the Middle East from Israel to Iran, a process that took into account the ayatollahs’ nuclear aspirations.

This process unfolding over recent years has left Israel face to face with a nakedly hostile Iran empowered by the United States.

To pause for a second, it bears emphasizing: Today analysts are discussing Iran as the center of stability and top ally in the Middle East, referring to a “special relationship” between America and a genocidal, Jew-hating, jihadist regime. Nary anyone has stopped to acknowledge the monumental, shameful and, dare I say, treasonous implications of this fact.

Those in the Middle East however are fully awake to this metamorphosis, which is why Egypt has perhaps become Israel’s staunchest ally, and why several Arab nations – which may still detest Israel’s existence, but not as much as they fear their own survival — are effectively siding with Israel against Iran.

That the Obama administration was rebuffing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu several days before he was even scheduled to speak in front of Congress – that the Obama administration even had to producetalking points about its support for Israel — evinces the Israel-Iran trade.

Nations, like friends, should not have to recite talking points to prove their allegiance. And actions speak louder than words.

***

We have two choices:

We can believe that President Obama genuinely thinks Iran — an enemy of America since 1979, whose proxies have been responsible for countless terrorist attacks against our citizens and our interests – will cease its nuclear weapons program, and serve as a stabilizing influence in the Middle East.

Alternatively, we can believe that President Obama knows that the Iranians are committed to undermining Israel and the interests of the West.

If we conclude the former, there is slightly less cause for concern.

Yet if we conclude the latter, we must also conclude that America’s president has knowingly aided, abetted or enabled Israel’s worst enemies – led by Iran – in the Middle East, presumably under the logic that global social justice demands it.

Israel – a free, tolerant and modern nation – has morphed through the propaganda of the global Left into a colonialist, apartheid state. Those who seek her destruction are considered by the Left to be legitimately aggrieved, and “lest we get on our high horse,” as the president likes to say, don’t forget about the Crusades.

In the Edward Said, Rashid Khalidi, Saul Alinsky world of progressive elitism in which President Obama considers himself a global citizen in good standing, what is moral and just is to redistribute power from America’s historical allies (the oppressors) to America’s historical enemies (the oppressed).

Hence President Obama’s “open hand” foreign policy towards “clenched fists,” a policy declared from the beginning of his presidency under which he has aided the global jihad generally and Iran specifically.

Those who argue that President Obama’s foreign policy has been one of retreat are only half right: The president has stepped back from the situations that most require American leadership and moral clarity in support of our allies against evil, while interjecting himself needlessly in other situations – implicitly or explicitly – on behalf of our enemies.

Nowhere is this better illustrated than in President Obama’s trade of Israel for Iran.

Ben Weingarten is a frequent Blaze contributor, Host and Producer of TheBlaze Books podcast, Editor of TheBlaze Books and Publishing Manager, focusing on defense.

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Also see:

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OBAMA’S IRAN DEAL

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool

Breitbart, by Ben Shapiro, July 14, 2015:

The deal the Obama administration cut today with the Iranian terrorist regime signals once and for all that the Obama administration considers both the United States and Israel to be the key threats to peace in the world.

Why else would the American president have lifted sanctions and granted the Iranian mullahs decades of American cover in the face of overwhelming evidence they support anti-Western, anti-Semitic, and anti-Sunni terror across the region and the globe?

President Obama’s statements today about the strength of this deal carry no weight, given that he has coordinated with the Iranian regime – which is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans over the past few years – in Iraq, has allowed them to prop up Bashar Assad in Syria, has allowed them to continue their subjugation of Lebanon, watched in silence as they flexed their muscle in Yemen, and attempted to cut off weapons shipments to Israel in the midst of its war with Iranian proxy terror group Hamas.

Obama wants Iran to be a regional power, because Obama fears Israel more than he fears Iran. The same day that Obama announced his deal, “moderate” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted, “To our neighbours: Do not be deceived by the propaganda of the warmongering Zionist regime. #Iran & its power will translate into your power.”

Obama’s counting on it.

Obama had one motivation in this deal: he believes that any Western attempt to stop Iran’s nuclear development with force is more dangerous and less moral than Iran’s elevated terror support and even its eventual nuclear development.

America and the West, in Obama’s global worldview, are so dangerous that he wouldn’t even make minor requests of Iran, such as releasing American prisoners, if that meant the minute possibility of actual Western action on the horizon. Obama doesn’t care if Iran is lying. To him, that risk is acceptable when compared with the certainty of Western action, no matter how constrained, against Iran.

Obama consistently posed the choice about his nuclear deal as one between diplomacy and war, as though a military strike against Iran would have precipitated World War III. But this deal is far more calibrated to provoke World War III than any targeted strike by Israel, the United States, or anyone else.

The deal pats itself on the back with wording about ensuring that “Iran’s nuclear programme will be exclusively peaceful,” and how the deal will be a “fundamental shift” in the international community’s relationship with Iran. Then it gets to details. And the devil isn’t just in the details; the devils in Iran wrote them.

The deal “will produce the comprehensive lifting of all UN Security Council sanctions as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme, including steps on access in areas of trade, technology, finance and energy.” Those sanctions end on the first day of the deal: “The UN Security Council resolution will also provide for the termination on Implementation Day of provisions imposed under previous resolutions.” The EU “will terminate all provisions of the EU Regulation.”

Money will now move between “EU persons and entities, including financial institutions, and Iranian persons and entities, including financial institutions.” Banking activities will resume abroad. Full trade will essentially resume. After five years, the arms embargo against Iran will end. After eight years, the missile embargo against Iran will end.

The deal explicitly acknowledges that Iran is gaining benefits no other state would gain under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. In terms of its nuclear development, instead of dismantling Iran’s nuclear program, that program is now protected:

Iran will continue to conduct enrichment R&D in a manner that does not accumulate enriched uranium. Iran’s enrichment R&D with uranium for 10 years will only include IR-4, IR-5, IR-6 and IR-8 centrifuges as laid out in Annex I, and Iran will not engage in other isotope separation technologies for enrichment of uranium as specified in Annex I. Iran will continue testing IR-6 and IR-8 centrifuges, and will commence testing of up to 30 IR-6 and IR-8 centrifuges after eight and a half years, as detailed in Annex I.

We have no way of knowing what Iran has done additionally, however, since the deal has no provisions forcing them to turn over information about what they’ve already done.There is no baseline.

So who will implement this deal? A “Joint Commission” comprised of the UK, France, Germany, Russia, China, the United States and Iran is charged with monitoring all developments under the agreement – meaning that all the signatories, all of whom have an interest in preserving a deal they signed, will be the “objective” monitoring agents.

The International Atomic Energy Agency will monitor and verify Iran’s nuclear program. But not everywhere. Only at key nuclear facilities will the IAEA have access – military sites were not included in the deal in any real way – and even then, the process for access is extraordinarily regulated:

74. Requests for access pursuant to provisions of this JCPOA will be made in good faith, with due observance of the sovereign rights of Iran, and kept to the minimum necessary to effectively implement the verification responsibilities under this JCPOA. In line with normal international safeguards practice, such requests will not be aimed at interfering with Iranian military or other national security activities, but will be exclusively for resolving concerns regarding fulfillment of the JCPOA commitments and Iran’s other non-proliferation and safeguards obligations. The following procedures are for the purpose of JCPOA implementation between the E3/EU+3 and Iran and are without prejudice to the safeguards agreement and the Additional Protocol thereto. In implementing this procedure as well as other transparency measures, the IAEA will be requested to take every precaution to protect commercial, technological and industrial secrets as well as other confidential information coming to its knowledge.

75. In furtherance of implementation of the JCPOA, if the IAEA has concerns regarding undeclared nuclear materials or activities, or activities inconsistent with the JCPOA, at locations that have not been declared under the comprehensive safeguards agreement or Additional Protocol, the IAEA will provide Iran the basis for such concerns and request clarification.

76. If Iran’s explanations do not resolve the IAEA’s concerns, the Agency may request access to such locations for the sole reason to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities or activities inconsistent with the JCPOA at such locations. The IAEA will provide Iran the reasons for access in writing and will make available relevant
information.

77. Iran may propose to the IAEA alternative means of resolving the IAEA’s concerns that enable the IAEA to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities or activities inconsistent with the JCPOA at the location in question, which should be given due and prompt consideration.

78. If the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities or activities inconsistent with the JCPOA cannot be verified after the implementation of the alternative arrangements agreed by Iran and the IAEA, or if the two sides are unable to reach satisfactory arrangements to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities or activities inconsistent with the JCPOA at the specified locations within 14 days of the IAEA’s original request for access, Iran, in consultation with the members of the Joint Commission, would resolve the IAEA’s concerns through necessary means
agreed between Iran and the IAEA. In the absence of an agreement, the members of the Joint Commission, by consensus or by a vote of 5 or more of its 8 members, would advise on the necessary means to resolve the IAEA’s concerns. The process of consultation with, and any action by, the members of the Joint Commission would not exceed 7 days, and Iran would implement the necessary means within 3 additional days.

Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry wrote into the deal provisions designed to hamstring Congress and local authorities:

If a law at the state or local level in the United States is preventing the implementation of the sanctions lifting as specified in this JCPOA, the United States will take appropriate steps, taking into account all available authorities, with a view to achieving such implementation. The United States will actively encourage officials at the state or local level to take into account the changes in the U.S. policy reflected in the lifting of sanctions under this JCPOA and to refrain from actions inconsistent with this change in policy.

And if Iran cheats, the United States and EU will have to take the matter to dispute resolution rather than re-implementing sanctions, as Obama has lied:

The U.S. Administration, acting consistent with the respective roles of the President and the Congress, will refrain from re-introducing or re-imposing the sanctions specified in Annex II that it has ceased applying under this JCPOA, without prejudice to the dispute resolution process provided for under this JCPOA. The U.S. Administration, acting consistent with the respective roles of the President and the Congress, will refrain from imposing new nuclear-related sanctions. Iran has stated that it will treat such a re-introduction or re-imposition of the sanctions…

Obama is already moving on this front. While calling for an open conversation on the Iran deal, President Obama has already said he will veto any attempts to curb the deal by Congress. So feel free to chat, gang, so long as you don’t attempt to do anything.

In brief, the agreement trades enormous amounts of cash for Iran’s pinkie swear that they will not develop nuclear weapons now, and the blind hope that Iran’s regime will magically moderate over the next five to ten years – a hope made even more distant by the fact that this deal reinforces the power and strength of the current Iranian regime. The West has no interest in holding Iran to an agreement since, to do so, they would have to repudiate the deal they cut in the first place. Anything short of actual nuclear aggression will draw no response from the West. No wonder Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal a “historic mistake for the world,” explaining:

Far-reaching concessions have been made in all areas that were supposed to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability. In addition, Iran will receive hundreds of billions of dollars with which it can fuel its terror machine and its expansion and aggression throughout the Middle East and across the globe… One cannot prevent an agreement when the negotiators are willing to make more and more concessions to those who, even during the talks, keep chanting: ‘Death to America.’ We knew very well that the desire to sign an agreement was stronger than anything, and therefore we did not commit to preventing an agreement.

So here’s what happens next in the region.

Israel Waits. The chances of an Israeli strike on Iran are now somewhere between slim and none. Obama’s deal prevents Israel from taking action without risking sanctions from the European Union and the United States for endangering this sham deal.

Nothing would make Obama happier than to levy sanctions against the Jewish State – and should Israel act in its own interests, undercutting Obama’s Epitaph Achievement, Obama will react harshly. Israel will be busy enough handling all the Iranian proxies on its borders who will now see cash and resources flow to them, all sponsored by the West.

Hezbollah and Hamas Are Strengthened. Terrorist groups across the Middle East rejoice today, knowing that the money Iran just gained through lifting of sanctions will end up restocking their rocket supply. Hezbollah has already destroyed Lebanon as Iran’s arm; Hamas has already taken over Gaza. Both routinely threaten war on Israel, firing ordinance into Israeli territory.

Now they will not only be emboldened – after all, what happens if Israel retaliates against them, Iran threatens to get involved, and the world, seeking to preserve its newfound magical relationship with Iran, puts pressure on Israel? – they will be empowered. Obama just made the next war between Israel and its terrorist neighbors a certainty.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt Go Nuclear. President Obama came into office touting “America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” Given that Iran is months from a bomb, and that there are no real verification techniques and no real consequences for violation, Iran’s enemies will quickly seek to go nuclear in order to establish a deterrent, not just to Iran’s nuclear capabilities, but to their expanded conventional capabilities.

Iran has the largest active military in the Middle East, along with its massive paramilitary terror groups. They’ve built that in the midst of heavy sanctions. With Iran getting active on the borders of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, those regimes would be foolhardy not to attempt to develop a nuclear capacity – especially given that Obama has shown there are no detriments to doing so. What’s he going to do, threaten Egypt’s General Al-Sisi? He’s been doing that for years already.

Bashar Assad Stays In Power. Remember the time Obama said Syrian dictator Bashar Assad needed to go? That’s not happening anytime soon, given that Assad is Iran’s tool in Syria. When Obama drew a red line against Syria based on Assad’s use of chemical weapons, he apparently meant that Assad should stay forever, and that his sponsor state should be rewarded with billions of dollars in relieved sanctions. No wonder Assad called the deal a “major turning point” in world history, adding, “We are confident that the Islamic Republic of Iran will support, with greater drive, just causes of nations and work for peace and stability in the region and the world.”

Iraq Splits Permanently Between Iran and ISIS. Supposedly, the United States opposed Shia exclusionary policy against Sunnis in Iraq, and blamed such policy for the breakdown of security there. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard has now taken over the southern half of the country; the new Iraqi Prime Minister is an Iranian proxy. Meanwhile, Sunnis, seeking some sort of security against the Iranians and having no secular American-backed regime to rely upon, have been turning in increasing numbers to the barbarians of ISIS. President Obama has made ISIS a permanent feature of the world landscape, and has turned Iraq into an Iranian proxy state, just like Syria and Lebanon.

Iran Will Foray Into Iran, Afghanistan. Iran’s expansionist ambitions have been increased exponentially by this deal. The deal does nothing to demand Iran stop its military activities abroad, of course, which means that their sponsorship of the Houthis in Yemen and terrorist groups in Afghanistan will continue apace. Al Jazeera has evenspeculated at sectarian unrest in Pakistan.

Obama’s defenders today ask his detractors, “If the deal works, isn’t it a good deal?”

Sure. If the Munich Agreement had worked, it would have been a masterpiece of diplomacy.

But promising a unicorn in a diplomatic negotiation isn’t quite the same thing as delivering one. And delivering billions of dollars, international legitimacy, and a protective shield around a terrorist regime in exchange for that unicorn makes you either a fool or an active perpetuator of that terrorist regime.

Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.

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Also see:

THE MIDDLE EAST PROSPECT

unholyalliancePowerline, by Scott Johnson, July 12, 2012:

The David Horowitz Freedom Center’s Texas retreat took place last month in Dallas. I have posted videos of the presentations by Stanley Kurtz and Bret Stephens at the retreat. Other videos from the retreat are posted here.

In the video below, Daniel Pipes presents a survey of the Middle East in the Age of Obama. It works as an excellent companion to Stephens’s presentation; Pipes provides a regional close-up following Stephens’s global view (to borrow the title of Stephens’s weekly Wall Street Journal column). As with the the other two videos, I commend this one to your attention with the thought that it is worth your time. Even if you follow the news closely I think you are likely to learn something from this presentation.

The son of Richard Pipes, the prominent historian of Russia, Daniel Pipes is a brilliant student of the Middle East. He is the author of notable books including The Rushdie Affair and, most recently, Nothing Abides.

One of the ladies at PolitiChicks caught up with Pipes after his presentation in Dallas last month. She asked him to identify the greatest threat to the United States (video below). Let’s just say that we’re on the same wavelength.

I have been a reader and fan of Pipes for a long time. I saw him speak about Islamic terrorism before a campus audience at Yale in 2005 or so. He struck me as a scholar with the soul of a warrior. I caught up with Pipes in Minneapolis in 2012 when he was in town for a family wedding and posted a brief video in which I inarticulately asked him about the current relevance of the Rushdie affair here.

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Politichicks also interviewed Andrew McCarthy. They discussed threats to U.S. & justice for Benghazi

ISIS, Saudi Arabia, Iran and the West

The famous photograph of Abdulaziz ibn Saud meeting with President Franklin Roosevelt in February 1945 aboard the U.S.S. Quincy symbolizes the incongruity of the Saudi-American "special relationship." (Image source: U.S. Navy)

The famous photograph of Abdulaziz ibn Saud meeting with President Franklin Roosevelt in February 1945 aboard the U.S.S. Quincy symbolizes the incongruity of the Saudi-American “special relationship.” (Image source: U.S. Navy)

Gatestone Institute, by Salim Mansur, June 14, 2015:

  • What principally mattered in accepting Christian support was whether such support served the followers of Islam in spreading the faith. The same thing could also apply to an alliance with the Jews and Israel in defending Saudi interests.
  • In the age of totalitarianism — which in the last century flourished under the various headings of Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism, Hitler’s National Socialism and Maoism — Hasan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb added Islamism. Shariah, as God’s law, in covering and monitoring every detail of human conduct, as Qutb insisted, is total; its enforcement through jihad made for an ideology — Islamism — consistent with the temperament of the totalitarian era.
  • American support in the reconstruction of Germany and Japan after 1945 was crucial. The transformation of imperial and militaristic Japan into a peaceful democracy was testimony to how American support can make for a better world. In the Korean Peninsula, American troops have held the line between the North and South since the end of the Korean War in 1953; this has made the vital difference in turning South Korea into a democracy and an advanced industrial society.

In a hard-hitting essay on ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) for The Daily Mail, the 2001 Nobel Prize winning author, V.S. Naipaul, wrote: “ISIS could very credibly abandon the label of Caliphate and call itself the Fourth Reich.” Among the writings on Islam and Muslims in recent years, Naipaul’s, as in the books Among the Believers and Beyond Belief, have been perhaps the most incisive and penetrating in exploring the extremist politics of the global Islamist movement from inside of the Muslim world. And that ISIS on a rampage, as Naipaul observed, revived “religious dogmas and deadly rivalries between Sunnis and Shi’as, Sunnis and Jews and Christians is a giant step into darkness.”

Ever since the relatively obscure Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi stepped forth on the pulpit of the Great Mosque in Mosul, Iraq, on June 28, 2014 to announce the rebirth of the Caliphate (abolished in 1924 by the Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk), with al-Baghdadi himself assuming the title of Caliph Ibrahim, the ruling head of the ummah, or worldwide community of Muslims, many might agree with Naipaul, despite the hyperbole — he has left out a potentially nuclear Iran — that “ISIS has to be seen as the most potent threat to the world since the Third Reich.”

It is baffling to read about or watch the sweep of terror spawned by ISIS in the name of Islam — a world religion with a following approaching two billion Muslims. It is insufficient merely to point out that the barbarism of ISIS reflects its origins in the fetid swamps of the Sunni Muslim insurgency of post-Saddam Iraq. But ISIS is neither a new presence in the Arab-Muslim history, nor is the response to it by Western powers, primarily Britain and the United States, given their relationship with the Middle East over the past century.

We have seen ISISes before, and not as al-Qaeda’s second coming.

The first successful appearance of an ISIS in modern times was the whirlwind with which the Bedouin warriors of Abdulaziz ibn Saud (1876-1953) emerged from the interior of the Arabian Desert in 1902 to take hold of the main fortress in Riyadh, the local capital of the surrounding region known as Najd. Some twenty-four years later, this desert warrior-chief and his armies of Bedouin raiders defeated the ruling Sharifian house in the coastal province of Hejaz, where lie Islam’s two holy cities, Mecca and Medina.

Husayn bin Ali (1854-1931), Sharif of Mecca and Emir of Hejaz, had joined his fate with the British against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. One of his sons, Prince Feisal, led the “Arab Revolt” for independence from Ottoman rule made famous by T.E. Lawrence (1888-1935). But in the aftermath of the Great War, which brought the Ottoman Empire to its ruin, Bedouin tribes in the interior of the Arabian Desert were jostling for power, and the House of Sharif Husayn proved inept at maintaining its own against threats posed to its rule over Hejaz, and as the khadim [steward] of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Another Englishman, a counterpart to T.E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”), was Harry St. John Philby (1885-1960), sent as a British agent during the Great War into the interior of the Arabian Desert. Philby would get to know Abdulaziz ibn Saud; eventually he worked for Ibn Saud as the warrior-chief rose in power and prominence. Philby chronicled the emergence of Abdulaziz ibn Saud as “the greatest of all the kings of Arabia,” and wrote the history of Ibn Saud’s tribe and people under the title Arabia of the Wahhabis. In the West, ironically, Philby is better known as the father of Kim Philby, the Soviet double agent, instead of the confidant of the founder of modern Saudi Arabia. Philby apparently became Muslim, took the name of Abdullah, and lived among the Arabs.

The defeat of the Sharifian forces in Hejaz in 1925 cleared the path for Abdulaziz ibn Saud’s eventual triumph in creating the eponymous Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The fall of Mecca to the Bedouin warriors known as the Ikhwan, or the Brethren (to be distinguished from the movement known as Ikhwan al-Muslimin [Muslim Brotherhood] founded by the Egyptian Hasan al-Banna in 1928), ended the ambition of Sharif Husayn and his sons to rule Arabia with the support of the British. The Sharifian defeat also meant that Britain would not have to referee the conflict between two of its allies — Sharif Husayn and his sons on one side, and Abdulaziz ibn Saud and his Ikhwan warriors on the other — competing for mastery over Arabia.

Philby’s loyalty to Abdulaziz ibn Saud restrained him from mentioning the terror and havocIkhwan warriors perpetrated in the occupation of Hejaz and the capture of Mecca and Medina.[1]But he was effusive in describing what he viewed as the renewal of Islam’s original revolution in the desert soil of its birth. He became the premier salesman of Abdulaziz ibn Saud and his family to the outside world, as T.E. Lawrence was of Prince Feisal and the Sharifian claims to rule the Arabs.[2] Philby wrote,

“Ibn Sa’ud made it clear from the beginning that he would tolerate no criticism of or interference with God’s law on earth… On Friday, January 8th, 1926, in the Great Mosque of Mecca after the congregational prayers, Ibn Sa’ud was proclaimed King of the Hijaz with all the traditional ceremony prescribed by Islamic precedent. It was at once an act of faith and a challenge to the world: to be made good in due course, without deviation from the principle on which it was based, to the glory of God, of whose sustaining hand he was ever conscious amid all the vicissitudes of good and evil fortune, which in the long years to come were to lead his people, under his guidance, out of the wilderness into a promised land flowing with milk and honey. The great fight, of four and twenty years almost to the day, was over; and a greater span, by nearly four years, yet lay before him to develop the fruits of victory for the benefit of generations yet unborn: generations which ‘knew not Joseph’, nor ever heard the war-cry of the Ikhwan.”[3]

ii.

The objective of the ISIS is apparently to remake the map of the Middle East, which was drawn by Britain and France as victorious powers in World War I, following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. The goal is to unite the Fertile Crescent — the region between the eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf — under the newly resurrected Caliphate’s rule, where “God’s law” will rule without anyone’s interference — much Saudi Arabia’s founder, Abdulaziz ibn Saud, announced in 1926 on entering Mecca.

ISIS’s self-proclaimed leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in announcing the re-establishment of the Caliphate, have set for ISIS a hugely ambitious program, even if it seems anachronistic for Muslims in the twenty-first century.

But ISIS’s gamble to engineer the creation of the Caliphate and obliterate the post-WWI settlement is not entirely far-fetched when considered in the context of the making of Saudi Arabia.

There is also the shared doctrine of the Wahhabi-Salafi interpretation of Islam, which Abdulaziz ibn Saud insisted, and ISIS insists, is the only true Islam; all other versions and sects of Islam among Muslims are denounced as heresy or, worse, as apostasy, to be violently punished.

The collapse of the Ottoman Empire let loose forces in the Middle East, some of which were contained by Britain and France, as victorious powers, in accordance with their Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916.

In the Arabian Peninsula, Britain kept in check the forces let loose, preventing their spillover into the Fertile Crescent, until one coalition of Bedouin warriors led by Abdulaziz ibn Saud emerged as clear winner over the territories previously held by Turkey in the Fertile Crescent.

The deep forbidding interior of the Arabian Peninsula consists of the highlands and desert of Najd, far removed from what were once the major centers of the Islamic civilization at its peak. Inhabited by Bedouin tribes, deeply conservative in their customs and manner of living, and disapproving of the ways of the outside world, Najd was a primitive backwater of the Middle East and was left on its own.

The emergence of Abdulaziz ibn Saud as the ruler of Najd and Hejaz in the 1920s, and then as the monarch of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the watchful eyes of Britain as the hegemonic power in the Middle East after the World War I, was not merely the result of one coalition of Bedouin tribes trouncing its opponents for the spoils of war. It was also the victory of a doctrine — of Wahhabism,[4] to which Abdulaziz ibn Saud was wedded as a legacy of his family and tribal history, and which provided the religious and ideological legitimacy for the so-called “conservative revolution” or the Wahhabi version of Islamic “reform” he heralded in establishing his kingdom.

Read more

ISLAMIC STATE: Big Explosions, Sex Slaves And Female Operatives

150528165043-women-of-isis-zaynab-sharrouf-1-exlarge-169

U.S. considers whether ISIS wives playing key role in operations  (cnn.com)

Washington (CNN)The U.S. is now looking at the possibility that wives of ISIS figures may play a greater role in operations and communications than previously thought because the terror group believes U.S. intelligence pays less attention to them.

Last month, an Army Delta Force raid in eastern Syria killed Abu Sayyaf, a senior ISIS leader involved in finance and other operations, and also led to the capture of his wife. The raid yielded significant intelligence that U.S. officials said adds to their understanding of ISIS’s structure and communications.

Several officials cautioned, however, that all of the intelligence gathered and information gained from the interrogation of the captured wife must be vetted and confirmed.

READ: Carter: ISIS raid a ‘significant blow’ to terror group

As CNN has previously reported, a U.S. official said the raid netted terabytes worth of data in external hard drives and hard copy, a higher volume than had originally been anticipated. The U.S. is reviewing it all to determine if it leads to anything that can be acted upon.

A second official said one U.S. airstrike in eastern Syria just a few days ago that killed a local ISIS emir was conducted on the basis of information gained from the raid.

Read more

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REUTERS/KHALIL ASHAWI

REUTERS/KHALIL ASHAWI

Pentagon: ISIS Using Tunnels to Bomb Targets in Iraq, Syria (breitbart.com)

The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in Iraq and rebels in Syria are using tunnel bombs as a potent new weapon, an upgrade to an ancient tactic, according to a Pentagon organization.

“Updating an ancient tactic, Islamic State militants — as well as rebels in Syria — are digging virtually undetectable tunnels, then planting bombs to blow up buildings and other targets,” reports Defense One, quoting JIEDDO (Joint IED Defeat Organization), the Pentagon arm focused on defeating the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as a weapon.

Defense One learned from Pentagon officials and documents that several dozen tunnel bombs have been used by rebels in Syria while ISIS detonated them last week to capture Ramadi, the capital of Anbar, Iraq’s largest province.

The concept behind detonating a tunnel bomb is reportedly quite simple: dig long enough to reach your intended target, plant explosives, and hit the detonator.

“This below the surface attack is particularly destructive to buildings and is appearing increasingly in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria,” said JIEDDO at a recent briefing, according to Defense One.

“The use of tunnels for IEDs and other purposes will continue to provide a low risk strategic advantage to extremist organizations and therefore requires continued development efforts and fielding of effective mitigation techniques,” it added.

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has designated all groups attempting to topple him, which include ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front, as rebels.

ISIS in Iraq and rebels in Syria have detonated at least 45 tunnel bombs in the past two years, JIEDDO said.

Although most have been in Syria, U.S. officials told Defense One that ISIS is building a network of tunnels, as well as bunkers and trenches, in Iraq.

“In Syria, rebels have used tunnels bombs to attack government forces under the control of Bashar al-Assad,” reports Defense One. “Many of these tunnels were dug with hand tools to avoid detection.”

“In Iraq, ISIS used tunnel attacks to devastating effect in their assault on Ramadi. On March 11, ISIS forces detonated a tunnel bomb under an Iraqi army headquarters, killing an estimated 22 people,” it adds. “The blast consumed seven tons of explosives in an 800-foot long tunnel that took two months to dig, according to the JIEDDO briefing. On March 15, a second tunnel bomb was used to attack Iraqi Security Forces. The city fell two months later.”

During the briefing, JIEDDO noted that ISIS frequently disseminates videos on social media showing the use of tunnel bombs on its targets.

“As part of an information operations campaign, these attacks are documented and widely proliferated via social media which increases the likelihood of migration to other conflict areas or adoption by other extremist organizations on a worldwide basis,” reportedly said JIEDDO.

The Pentagon organization revealed that tunnel bombs are being used to target military checkpoints, buildings, and other protected establishments.

It can take less than 30 days to dig a short tunnel, while longer ones (no more than 1 mile in length) can take up to nine months to complete, said JIEDDO.

Defense One notes that tunnels have been weaponized by Iran proxy Hezbollah and Hamas in Gaza as a means to smuggle weapons and attack Israel.

“Now their use is spreading, and extending to direct attacks,” explains the article.

“Beyond bombs, ISIS is believed to be using tunnels to move weapons and avoid detection by American and ally fighter jets and drones. (ISIS may even be exploiting Saddam Hussein’s own tunnel network, which is thought to stretch for 60 miles between palaces, military strongholds, and houses,” it adds. “During the U.S. invasion in 2003, Saddam’s forces used these tunnels to move weapons and as hideouts.)”

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Zainab Bangura, UN secretary general’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, speaks at the G8 Foreign Ministers meeting in London on April 11, 2013. (PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

Zainab Bangura, UN secretary general’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, speaks at the G8 Foreign Ministers meeting in London on April 11, 2013.
(PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

ISIS Sells Sex Slave Girls for ‘as Little as a Pack of Cigarettes’ to Attract Foreign Jihadis With ‘New Girls,’ UN Envoy Warns (christianpost.com)

In continuing to display how little the Islamic State values life and women, ISIS militants are buying and selling sexually enslaved girls and women for as cheap as a pack of cigarettes in hopes of attracting more men to the group, a United Nations envoy declared on Monday.

Zainab Bangura, the United Nations special representative on sexual violence in conflict, told AFP that in order for ISIS to recruit more foreign fighters to join its military ranks, the caliphate continues to capture more girls and women in each new territory it conquers and then sells them at low prices.

“This is how they attract young men — ‘we have women waiting [for] you, virgins that you can marry,'” Bangura said. “The foreign fighters are the backbone of the fighting.”

Bangura, who recently toured through five Middle East countries and interviewed numerous women who were victimized by ISIS but managed to escape, explained that ISIS’ jihad is fueled by the enslavement of women.

“They [ISIS militants] kidnap and abduct women when they take areas so they have — I don’t want to call it a fresh supply, but they have new girls,” Bangura, a native of Sierra Leone, asserted. “This is a war that is being fought on the bodies of women.”

According to April’s estimates, ISIS has approximately 25,000 foreign fighters. But not only does ISIS have “new girls” for foreign fighters to acquire once they reach the caliphate, ISIS’ sex slaves are affordable and priced to meet even the poorest militant’s budget.

Bangura said that captured women and girls are often forced to strip naked and are judged by ISIS militants who gauge how much they are to be sold for. The fighters price some girls as high as a few thousand dollars, while selling others for “as little as a pack of cigarettes,” she stated.

“Some [females] were taken, locked up in a room — over 100 of them in a small house — stripped naked and washed,” Bangura said. “They were then made to stand in front of a group of men who decided ‘what you are worth.'”

After a girl is sold to an ISIS fighter, she is usually beaten, raped against her will and often sold or given away to another militant when the fighter is done abusing her. Should a sex slave refuse to give into her militant’s brutal and abnormal sexual fantasies, she is beaten or sometimes tortured.

In May, Bangura explained that a 20-year-old sex slave was burned alive after she refused to perform an “extreme sex act.”

“We heard one case of a 20-year-old girl who was burned alive because she refused to perform an extreme sex act,” Bangura said. “We learned of many other sadistic sexual acts. We struggled to understand the mentality of people who commit such crimes.”

Bangura also said that ISIS forces some captured women and girls into prostitution.

In a press briefing in early May, Bangura explained that one sex slave, who was sold to 20 different ISIS fighters before she escaped, was forced to undergo virginity repair surgery each time she was sold and raped by the next ISIS fighter.

“ISIL have institutionalized sexual violence and the brutalization of women as a central aspect of their ideology and operations, using it as a tactic of terrorism to advance their strategic objectives,” Bangura said.

Bangura told AFP that ISIS wants to “build a society that reflects the 13th century,” through its systemic sexual abuse of women, which she labeled as a “medieval” practice.

“Sexual violence by ISIL and other extremist groups arises from discrimination and dehumanization based on gender, sexual orientation, ethnic, political or religious identity, in particular the subordination of women and girls,” Bangura wrote in an email to Women eNews. “Indeed, the same ideology and objectives that motivate Boko Haram to abduct women and girls in Nigeria, also spur ISIL to enslave women and girls in Syria and Iraq.”

“Such violence has led to a number of harmful or negative coping mechanisms, such as the early marriage of girls by families that have no other means of protecting them, an increase in polygamy and “survival sex” by those with no economic alternatives, as well as the withdrawal and isolation of women and girls from education and public life,” she added.

Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad

1710871446Secure Freedom Radio, June 10, 2015: With Stephen Coughlin

STEPHEN COUGHLIN, author of “Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in Face of Jihad”:

PART ONE:

  • The Islamic law of the land: Shariah
  • The non-kinetic battle space of information operations
  • Political, military, legal, and religious arms of Shariah
  • Defining “Jihad”

PART TWO:

  • Western misconceptions of the term “jihad”
  • The Muslim Brotherhoods explicit purpose in America
  • David Shipler’s Freedom of Speech
  • An Islamist alignment with the Left

PART THREE:

  • Examining the relationship between the Pentagon and the Islamic Society of North America
  • The true reach of Muslim Brotherhood agents and affiliates within the US government
  • What does it mean if “you don’t know your enemy?”

PART FOUR:

  • State Department mantra that “ISIS isn’t Islamic”
  • U.N. Resolution 1618, Hillary Clinton, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation
  • Understanding the Interfaith Movement as a cultural, Marxist organization
  • The Muslim Brotherhood’s stealth jihad within the US

Iran Rising: Tehran Using Hezbollah in Latin American ‘Cultural Centers’ To Infiltrate West

AP Photo/Iranian Presidency Office, Mohammad Berno

AP Photo/Iranian Presidency Office, Mohammad Berno

Breitbart, by JORDAN SCHACHTEL AND EDWIN MORA,  May 27, 2015:

The rapidly growing number of Shiite cultural centers in Latin America have provided the Islamic Republic of Iran with a means to expand its covert recruitment operations throughout the western hemisphere, leading military officials and experts to provide Breitbart News with statements that directly contradict the Obama administration’s narrative that Iran’s influence in the region is “waning.”

Breitbart News interviewed military and intelligence officials, policy experts, members of Congress, and a former White House official for this report, all of whom warned about the threat posed by Iran’s continuing encroachment into Latin America.

Iran is infiltrating Latin America thanks largely to Hezbollah, a Shiite terrorist group that has sworn loyalty to Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, showing overt preference to the Tehran dictator over its host-state Lebanon. Hezbollah, along with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), have provided the on-the-ground support needed for the proliferation of Iran’s Khomeinist ideology.

Breitbart News’ sources have unanimously refuted the assessment of Obama’s State Department, which has claimed that “Iranian influence in Latin America and the Caribbean is waning.”

A U.S. military official told Breitbart News that the estimated 80-plus Shiite cultural centers backed by Iran are continuously multiplying, and are currently being operated by Hezbollah and Tehran’s Revolutionary Guards-Quds Force.

Hezbollah provides operational and logistical support “for Iran’s covert activities in the region to include coordination and collaboration with Lebanese [Hezbollah’s] external operations arm the Islamic Jihad Organization” through Shiite Islamic centers dubbed “cultural centers,” the official told Breitbart News, contradicting the narrative put forth by the State Department.

Such centers can be found throughout Latin America, according to the official.

“Iranian cultural centers open possibilities for Iran to introduce members of its Revolutionary Guard-Qods Forces (IRGC-QF) to a pool of potential recruits within the centers population of Lebanese Shi’a Muslims and local converts to Shia Islam,” added the defense official.

David Shedd, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), echoed the U.S. military officials comments, telling Breitbart News via email that “the cultural centers may be used as platforms for truly nefarious purposes by the Iranian regime.”

“Iran has expanded its ‘cultural centers’ presence in locations such as Quito [in Peru] and Caracas [in Venezuela] where there is a strong anti-US government sentiment,” Shedd, currently a visiting distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told Breitbart News.

“Iran’s overall expanded presence in the Western Hemisphere is troubling,” the former DIA director added. “The expanded presence in any capacity in the Latin American region should give the U.S. pause given the profound differences between U.S. values and those of a regime in Tehran that supports terrorism as an officially sanctioned tool of national power.”

Shedd warned that Hezbollah, which he described as the most prominent global terrorist group in Latin America, likely has “sleeper cells” in various countries in the Western Hemisphere.

“Hezbollah sympathizers also appear to have a presence in the tri-border area of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil where they are involved in black market commercial activities,” he noted.

The Tri-Border region in South America includes Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. According to the Treasury Department, the Galeria Page shopping mall in Paraguay– at the heart of the tri-border– serves as central headquarters and a fundraising source for Hezbollah members in the region.

Members of Congress have also sounded the alarm about Tehran’s growing influence in Latin America.

Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT), a member of the House Armed Services, said that Iran’s presence was evident when he visited Quito, Ecuador. The congressman described it as a place where anti-American sentiment is strong and jihadist figures appear next to Latin American heroes.

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) the chairman of the House Foreign Relations Subcommittee, has been warning against the presence and activity of Iran and its ally Hezbollah in Latin America, holding multiple congressional hearings on the issue, visiting the region, and sponsoring legislation — the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act of 2012.

Chairman Duncan told Breitbart News that Iran and its proxy Hezbollah “use many tools to deepen their influence in the region, including diplomatic missions and cultural centers; ties with terrorist organizations and criminal groups; training Latin American youth in Tehran; and exploiting loose border security policies and free trade zones to smuggle contraband.”

Rep. Duncan accused the Obama administration of not paying enough attention to the Iranian threat in Latin America, saying during a March 18 congressional hearing, “I believe this negligence is misguided and dangerous.”

Duncan is not the only one who disagrees with how the Obama administration is dealing the presence of Iran in the Western Hemisphere.

Bud McFarlane, who served as National Security Advisor for President Ronald Reagan, told Breitbart News that Iran continues to expand its influence operations throughout the region, tailoring its message to the Spanish-speaking world. He explained:

Iran’s existing network of agents in place, including members of the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), function through Iranian cultural centers where they seek to recruit candidates for conversion to Shia Islam and carry out other clandestine, subversive activities.  They also carry out what amounts to a form of brainwashing by encouraging teenagers to access Islamoriente.com, which features links to Iranian television for Spanish speakers, anti-American propaganda, essays on reasons to convert to Islam, chat rooms and a personal message from the supreme leader of Iran.

Iran’s propaganda and influence operations can be witnessed throughout the globe, not just in Latin America.

Dr. Michael Rubin, an Iran expert and scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), told Breitbart News:

The Iranian use of Hezbullah and Lebanese expatriate populations is actually neither new nor limited to South America. In the aftermath of the 1992 ‘Mykonos Cafe’ assassinations in Berlin, German police captured both Iranian and Hezbollah operatives, the latter of which represented sleeper cells in Germany.

Rubin added that Hezbollah must not be seen as an independent actor, but as a tool of the Iranian regime. He explained:

Hezbollah is a proxy founded and controlled by Iran. Talk of Hezbollah as having evolved to become Lebanese nationalist first and foremost is nonsense. I’ve been in Hezbollah bunkers in southern Lebanon. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and it’s telling that Hezbollah terrorists bunk down under photos of Khomeini and Khamenei. Current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei remains Hezbollah’s religious source of emulation. Any notion that Hezbollah was anything other than an Qods Force proxy should have been put to rest in 2008, when they turned their guns on fellow Lebanese in the center of Beirut, or when they supporter the worst atrocities in Syria since 2011.

But even with the overwhelming evidence that Iran’s influence in Latin America is expanding exponentially, the Obama administration has thus far refused to recognize its deep penetration of the Western Hemisphere.

The State Department, which falls under the purview of the Obama White House, has recently stated that the “Iranian influence in Latin America and the Caribbean is waning.”

But it appears as if other executive branch agencies are sending conflicting messages about Iran in Latin America.

In October 2014, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which serves as the investigative arm of Congress, noted a discrepancy in the assessments provided by the agencies.

Although the State Department claims that key government agencies — including the Defense Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice — agree with its position, the GAO revealed that U.S. Southern Command (Southcom), which oversees most of Latin America and the Caribbean, does not agree that Iran’s influence is “waning.”

General Mattis Critical Of Obama Administration’s Treatment Of US Allies

8bd3121c-ddf3-433f-acc9-58cadfb7d8cenews.ap.org_r620x349Daily Caller, by Kerry Picket, May 14, 2015:

WASHINGTON — Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis told attendees at The Heritage Foundation Wednesday he is concerned the United States is not firmly standing by her global allies.

Mattis replaced General David Petraeus as commander of U.S. Central Command in August 2010 and retired from the Marine Corps in 2013 after 41 years of military service.

Gen. Mattis recalled a meeting he had with the King Abdullah II of Jordan, when the French and British were planning to leave Afghanistan and Mattis confirmed their departure to the king.

“I said, ‘Yeah, that’s right your majesty.’ And he said, ‘Well, let me make sure you understand that our Jordanian troops will be there with you until the last American soldier comes home.’”

Mattis paused for a moment and explained, “You cannot buy allies like that. The way you get allies like that is if you want a friend when you’re in trouble, you need to be a friend when they’re in trouble, and we are not sending that message.”

He went further saying, “I was getting asked the same question in Cairo and Riad as I was being asked in Tel Aviv, and that’s darn near impossible to align them. How much have we aligned them? I had a foreign minister of an Arab country make a point to me when I started wearing this, instead of a uniform.”

“He said, ‘We, today, have more in common with Israel’s foreign policy than we have with America’s.’ That is not a good situation for stability and anyone who wants peace and prosperity and [to] turn over a better world to our children, that is not something we can be proud of,” the retired general noted.

Mattis believes the way the United States is handling global affairs is “not the way the greatest generation dealt with the world around them, and it’s one that we’re going to have to learn to adapt to, or we’re going to end up in a situation where we’re ashamed of what we’re turning over.”

“But leaving allies adrift and having to accommodate less pleasing allies, this is not something that is in America’s best interest,” he said.

When asked by The Daily Caller about his thoughts on the Obama administration’s handling of the Islamic State, he responded, “The president came out and said we didn’t have a strategy on this. I would only endorse what he said. Honesty is honesty. I think the president’s recognized the failing there, and I think if we do not do something to humiliate them and cause havoc, their recruiting and their fundraising will continue apace, so you’ve got to hit them with a shockwave.”

Mattis added, “That’s not just military, and it’s not just covert. It’s a whole lot of things. But again, it goes back to — you’ve got to ask the strategic questions. Is political Islam in our best interests? Let me define it. It’s political Islam as practiced by the mullahs in Tehran for the past 30 years. That’s on the Shia side. It’s political Islam as practiced by the Muslim Brothers, the brothers in Cairo for a year. And if it’s not in our best interest, what are we going to do to come up with that coherent strategy?”

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Gen. Mattis speaks at about 13 min. into the video. Well worth your time to listen: