Experts: American Adversaries Work Together Despite Differences

Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) / Reuters

Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) / Reuters

BY: :

American adversaries in the Middle East continue to work together across sectarian and religious divides to harm U.S. interests and security, requiring a more nuanced response from U.S. officials to address the turmoil in the region, experts say.

The Obama administration has claimed in recent weeks that the United States and Iran—a traditional U.S. enemy since its Islamic revolution 35 years ago—have a shared interest in pushing back the advances of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), an al Qaeda offshoot, in Iraq. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said last month that the United States and Iran have “some history here of sharing common interests,” citing early cooperation on the Afghanistan war against al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Iran, led by a Shiite government, is typically viewed as opposing hardline Sunni groups such as the Taliban and al Qaeda as part of an intra-religious dispute among Muslims.

However, Iran has a long history of harboring and supporting al Qaeda. European intelligence reports indicate that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, founder of the group al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) that eventually morphed into ISIL, operated from Iran after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Zarqawi used protection from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to rebuild the terrorist group’s network and prepare for its expansion into Iraq.

The U.S. Treasury Department has called Iran “a critical transit point for funding to support al Qaeda’s activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” The department in February sanctioned three IRGC officers for allegedly providing support to the Taliban as well as to a senior member of al Qaeda who allegedly used Iran to move Sunni fighters into Syria.

“Iran has a long history of fomenting violent conflict and inflaming sectarian divides throughout the Middle East including in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq,” said the group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) in recent press release.

“Depictions of Iran as a source of stability are therefore erroneous and short-sighted, as are assertions that increased Iranian involvement in Iraq will serve American and Iraqi interests,” UANI added.

Michael Rubin, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and a former Pentagon adviser on Iran and Iraq for the George W. Bush administration, said in an email that U.S. diplomats often only view the Middle East through “a sectarian lens.”

“Sunnis and Shi’ites show no compunction working together to screw over America, which their respective extremists consider a bigger threat,” he said. “Heck, sometimes it seems that the State Department never bothered to read the 9/11 report which suggested that the attacks might not have happened had Iran not facilitated the travel to training camps of the 9/11 hijackers.”

“Sure, at first glance, Secretary of State John Kerry may believe that the U.S. and Iran share an interest in Iraq,” he added. “But just because firefighters and arsonists share an interest in fire doesn’t mean they are on the same side.”

In Iraq, ISIL partnered last month with former Baathist generals under Saddam Hussein’s regime to seize the key northern city of Mosul. Religious extremist groups such as al Qaeda have traditionally sought to overthrow secular Middle East regimes such as Hussein’s Baathists.

Top U.S. officials have recently expressed grave concerns about the potential for foreign fighters in ISIL to commit terrorist attacks in the United States.

The secular-religious rift in the Middle East also did not stop Hussein from supporting jihadist groups when it suited the former Iraqi dictator’s interests. Hussein reportedly provided safe haven, training, and arms to these groups as long as they agreed to attack countries he wanted to pressure.

Hundreds of thousands of documents obtained in Iraq since 2003, compiled in a report by the Institute for Defense Analyses, further confirmed Hussein’s links to terrorist groups.

Read more at Free Beacon

U.S. Fostering Closer Iran-Saudi Ties

iuby Joseph Puder:

According to Arab News, (June 2, 2014) a high official in the Obama administration is “encouraging Riyadh and Tehran to end their dispute.” This was quoted in Kuwait’s Al-Rai Arabic daily in an interview with an unnamed U.S. diplomat. Meanwhile, the Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Sabah ended his visit to Tehran.

Last month, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visited Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh in a quest to establish a détente between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Hagel got his cue from earlier remarks made by Iran’s President Rouhani, suggesting that Iran would like to improve its ties with Saudi Arabia.

It seems that the Obama administration is now serving as an agent for Iran. The Islamic Republic that has encouraged street demonstrations calling for “death to America,” is the same regime that has been working hard to remove U.S. influence in the region. Iran is an oppressive and radical Islamic state backing the Assad regime in Syria which murdered over 200,000 of its own people, and used chemical agents to poison thousands of innocent civilians. The Obama administration has hitherto not been able to stop the Tehran regime from producing advanced centrifuges. Iran has continued its quest for nuclear weapons, despite its ongoing nuclear talks with the P5+1 (U.S. China, Russia, Britain, France, and Germany).

Saudi-Iranian reconciliation talks are scheduled to take place in the middle of June, and the Obama administration hopes for a new era in the relationship between the two Gulf powers. The Saudis are less than thrilled about the impending talks. Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi political analyst, is skeptical about the talks, pointing out that “Iran has occupied Syria,” and is backing the Assad regime. He added that, the “Iranians want to drag us into an extended dialogue and divert attention from the core issue of Syria.”

Iran’s mouthpiece, Press TV reported (April 27, 2014) that Saudi Foreign Minister, Saud al-Faisal will be removed from his post in a second phase of changes in the ruling family’s key positions. It also revealed that on April 15, 2014, Saudi King Abdullah has replaced Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi intelligence chief with Youssef al-Idrisi. Press TV added that Bandar, the former Saudi ambassador to the U.S., is known to have had close ties with former U.S. President George W. Bush, and that he was an advocate of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The Iranian interpretation that is apparently stemming from Press TV is that President Obama, in seeking to reverse his predecessor’s (G.W. Bush) foreign policy, has persuaded the Saudis to get rid of the anti-Iranian elements among the Kingdom’s leadership. Apparently, this has resulted in the removal of Prince Bandar, and the impending retirement of Saud al-Faisal.

Read more at Front Page

Obama to free Gitmo terrorist ‘because he took up yoga’

Detainees in orange jumpsuits sit in a holding area under the eyes of military police during in-processing to the temporary detention facility at Camp X-Ray of the naval base at Guantanamo Bay. Photo: Reuters

Detainees in orange jumpsuits sit in a holding area under the eyes of military police during in-processing to the temporary detention facility at Camp X-Ray of the naval base at Guantanamo Bay.
Photo: Reuters

If you thought President Obama’s release of five top Taliban commanders in exchange for POW Bowe Bergdahl was bad, wait until you see what his Gitmo parole board plans.

Desperate to empty the Guantanamo Bay prison by the end of his term, Obama quietly is giving “get out of jail free” cards for the flimsiest of excuses.

One al Qaeda suspect captured in Afghanistan is considered reformed because he took up yoga and read a biography of the Dalai Lama. Another is eligible for release because of his “positive attitude.”

And one longtime detainee, a former bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, is now harmless because he’s going to start a “milk and honey farm.”

The Periodic Review Board already helped clear 78 of the remaining 149 prisoners for release, documents show, and has scheduled more hearings for this summer.

Many of these men were dubbed “forever prisoners” because of the threat they posed to the US — with intelligence officials warning that, if free, they would return to the jihad to kill Americans.

Based on past cases, that’s a good bet.

In a report on detainee recidivism, Obama’s own director of national intelligence this year documented that 178, or 29 percent, of the 614 prisoners already transferred from the prison have been confirmed to have, or are suspected of having, re-engaged in terrorism.

That means for every three freed from Gitmo, one has rejoined the war against us. Intelligence analysts admit their ability to track all former detainees is limited, so the recidivism rate may, in fact, be much higher.

One notorious recidivist, Abdullah Gulam Rasoul, became the Taliban’s operations commander in southern Afghanistan soon after his 2007 release from Gitmo. He was blamed for masterminding a surge in roadside attacks against American troops and organizing assaults on US aircraft in Afghanistan.

Another repeat terrorist is Said Ali al-Shihri, who after his 2007 release ran al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch and helped plan the deadly bombing of the US Embassy there.

Already, one of the five Taliban leaders freed last week in exchange for Bergdahl — Mullah Noorullah Noori — has pledged to return to fight Americans in Afghanistan.

Obama’s terrorist parole board was established in 2011. He appoints its members — officials from the Justice Department, Pentagon, State Department and Homeland Security — without a congressional confirmation process. It is secretive and lacking in accountability.

In setting up the Periodic Review Board, meanwhile, Obama prohibited members from relying on information that has been obtained as a result of “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (in order) to support a determination that continued law of war detention is warranted for a detainee.”

The bias against interrogation evidence potentially opens up the release of some of Gitmo’s hardest cases, including al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah, 2002 Bali bombing mastermind “Hambali,” and Mohammed al-Qahtani, the suspected 20th hijacker of the 9/11 attacks.

But these releases won’t cause the same outcry, because it’s being done in virtual secrecy. Already, more than 600 prisoners have been transferred out of Gitmo with little fanfare. Two hundred of them were sent back to Afghanistan.

As defense lawyer David Remes explained to Al Jazeera news network, “The Periodic Review Board is likely to be predisposed to approval to transfer because the idea here is to close down Guantanamo.”

The inmates slated for release include:

GHALEB NASSER AL-BIHANI, 34

“He loves yoga”

What he did: Classified as an “indefinite detainee” in 2010 because of the danger he posed to the US. The Yemeni national was captured in 2001 fighting in Afghanistan. The military said he was a troublemaker while in custody, even inciting riots. He was uncooperative in interviews, showing “ill intentions toward the US.” One of his brothers in Yemen is a leader in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terror group’s most lethal branch.

What they say now: His government-appointed lawyer argued he was merely an assistant cook for an unspecified military group. “He has asked for yoga magazines and self-help books,” lawyer Pardiss Kebriaei told the parole board in April, noting he practices yoga in his cellblock and has read biographies of the Dalai Lama and Martin Luther King Jr.

In his own plea to the board, Bihani suggested his hostility comes from losing his parents as a boy, saying, “It was hard growing up without a mother or father.” He promised to start a family and live a peaceful life if freed. “I look forward to the day when I can hold my baby in my hands,” he said. Last month, the board said it found his story “credible” and declared Bihani “no longer … a threat to the security of the United States.”

MAHMUD ABD AL AZIZ AL MUJAHID, 33

“Wants a milk & honey farm”

What he did: Served as Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard and was captured after 9/11. The military warns that, if freed, he would likely hook up in Yemen with his brother, “another former bin Laden bodyguard.”

Without explanation, the board blacked out a large section of Mujahid’s testimony dealing with al Qaeda.

What they say now: “Mujahid is a peacemaker,” his lawyer David Remes insisted, adding he “requires no rehabilitation when he returns.”

Mujahid called a character witness — another detainee — who testified that Mujahid had told him he wants to start a “milk and honey farm” in Yemen.

In November, the board cleared Mujahid for release, reasoning he would maintain his good behavior through “extensive family support in Yemen.” Panelists were impressed with his personal statement that, while growing up, “in our household, we were taught politeness, decency and human being [sic].”

ALI AHMAD MOHAMED AL-RAZIHI, 33

“Has a positive attitude”

What he did: Served as an Osama bin Laden bodyguard. There’s evidence he wrote to his family boasting of his commitment to jihad. The military cautioned officials against believing that “his stated intentions are genuine.”

Curiously, the board withheld Razihi’s written testimony and hearing transcript.

What they say now: In taking him off the threat list, the board cited his “positive attitude.” His personal representative convinced board members that Razihi “has keen business acumen” and seeks to take over the family’s “fruit and vegetable business” in Yemen.

Added the unnamed government advocate: “He’s ready to live out the rest of his days as a peaceful man, a family man and an entrepreneur, and no longer should be considered a continued significant threat to the United States.”

Prisoners in Gitmo at height in 2003: 684

Prisoners left: 149

Cleared for transfer but not yet released: 78

Prisoners, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who are considered “high-value detainees” charged with war crimes: 16

Recidivism rate for released prisoners: 29%

Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.”

 

Report: Obama Admin Never Defined Al Qaeda

Al-Qaida-linked fighters in Fallujah, Iraq / AP

Al-Qaida-linked fighters in Fallujah, Iraq / AP

By Daniel Wiser:

The Obama administration never actually defined what the al Qaeda terrorist group is before declaring that it was on the path to defeat, according to a new report that says the group now has its largest-ever global presence.

The report from Mary Habeck, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and author of numerous books on al Qaeda, argues that the administration’s vague definition of the terrorist group has hampered America’s response to its global threat.

President Barack Obama’s “National Strategy for Counterterrorism,” released in June 2011, divided al Qaeda into three parts: its “core leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” its “affiliates,” and its “adherents.” While never fully explaining what it meant by “core,” the strategy stated in a footnote that affiliates included groups and individuals whom the United States is not authorized to use force against.

Adherents included individuals who engage in violence to further the goals of al Qaeda, “regardless of whether such violence is targeted at the United States, its citizens, or its interests.”

Habeck said the administration’s strategy implied such a narrow view of al Qaeda that it only permitted attacks against groups and individuals who planned, committed, or aided the Sep. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. That policy is virtually the same as the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF).

However, many of those originally tied to the attacks have been killed through military engagement or drone strikes. “People have not been added to this list,” Habeck said at an AEI event, adding that al Qaeda has since replaced its leaders and expanded its affiliates.

Al Qaeda now has active insurgencies in nine countries compared to just three in 2011, according to the report, with the latest arising in Syria and Iraq. Affiliates that do not directly interact with al Qaeda’s core leadership still endorse its goals and threaten U.S. interests, Habeck said.

“It doesn’t matter whether you have command and control behind these groups with this specific ideology, because they’re committed to the same objectives,” she said. “It will cause precisely the same amount of damage whether or not there’s command and control from the core.”

Al Qaeda’s stated goals often do not mention the United States, she said. While the group and its affiliates aim to expel all U.S. forces from the Middle East, they also seek to impose an extremist vision of sharia law on unwilling Muslims, overthrow secular leaders, and establish a new caliphate.

Read more at Free Beacon

One Year Anniversary of Boston Bombing: A Lesson in FBI Failure

la-afp-getty-us-attacks-russia-chechnya-jpg-20130427-450x337by :

With the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon jihad bombings approaching, the New York Times made yet another attempt to exonerate the Obama Administration of responsibility for one of its manifest failures, claiming that an inspector general’s report on the bombings was an “exoneration of the F.B.I.,” as it showed that “the Russian government declined to provide the F.B.I. with information about one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects that would most likely have led to more extensive scrutiny of him at least two years before the attack.”

See? The bombing was all the fault of that scoundrel Putin. It had nothing to do with the FBI, because of fecklessness and political correctness, failing to act properly on information the Russians gave them.

Full disclosure: I used to give FBI agents and other law enforcement and military personnel training on the teachings of Islam about jihad warfare against and subjugation of non-Muslims, so that they would understand the motives and goals of those who have vowed to destroy the United States as a free society, and be better equipped to counter them. I provided this training free of charge, out of a sense of patriotic duty, and it was well received: I received certificates of appreciation from the United States Central Command and the Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group.

But as I explain in detail in my book Arab Winter Comes to America, all that ended on October 19, 2011, when Islamic supremacist advocacy groups, many with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, demanded that FBI counter-terror trainers (including me) and training materials that referred to Islam and jihad in connection with terrorism be discarded, and agents educated by them be retrained. John Brennan, then the U.S. Homeland Security Advisor and now the director of the CIA, readily agreed in a response that was written on White House stationery – thereby emphasizing how seriously the Obama Administration took this demand.

Subsequently, as I detail in the book, politically correct willful ignorance then took hold in our intelligence and law enforcement agencies – to the extent that after the Boston Marathon bombing, then-FBI director Robert Mueller admitted that the bureau had not investigated the Islamic Society of Boston, where the Tsarnaev brothers attended mosque, and had not even visited it except as part of an “outreach” program – despite the fact that it was founded by Abdurrahman Alamoudi, who is currently in prison for financing al Qaeda, and was attended by convicted jihad terrorists such as Tarek Mehanna and Aafia Siddiqui.

Read more at Front Page

Arabs No Longer Take Obama Administration Seriously

by Khaled Abu Toameh:

The extension of the peace talks means only one thing: that Abbas will be able to use the new time given to him to try to extract further concessions from the U.S. and Israel, while all the time bearing in mind that Obama and Kerry are willing to do almost anything to avoid a situation where they are forced to admit that their efforts and initiatives in the Middle East have failed.

The communiqué issued by Arab heads of state at the end of their summit in Kuwait this week shows that the Arab countries do not hold the Obama Administration in high regard or even take it seriously.

The Arab leaders also proved once again that they do not care much about their own people, including the Palestinians.

The Arab leaders, at the end of their two-day meeting, announced their “total rejection of the call to consider Israel a Jewish state.”

This announcement came despite pressure from the Obama Administration on the Arab leaders to refrain from rejecting the demand.

A top Arab diplomat was quoted as saying that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry contacted Arab leaders on the eve of their 25th summit in Kuwait to “warn” them against rejecting Israel as a Jewish state.

Kerry, according to the diplomat, asked the Arab leaders completely to ignore the issue of Israel’s Jewishness and not to make any positive or negative reference to it in their final statement.

Kerry did not want the Arab heads of state to repeat the same “mistake” that the Arab League foreign ministers made on March 9, when they too issued a statement declaring their refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

The Arab leaders, however, decided to ignore Kerry’s warning and went on to endorse Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas’s refusal.

The Arab summit’s statement was published shortly before Kerry cut short a European tour to hold an emergency meeting with Abbas in Amman in a last-minute effort to salvage the peace process with Israel.

 

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry cut short a European tour to hold an emergency meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman, Jordan, pictured above on March 26, 2014. (Image source: U.S. Sate Department)

In light of the Arab summit’s announcement, all that is left for Kerry to do is to put heavy pressure on Abbas to agree to the extension of the peace talks after the April 29 deadline set by the U.S. Administration.

At the meeting in Amman, Kerry warned Abbas that failure to comply with his demand would result in U.S. sanctions against the PA, including suspending financial aid and closing the PLO diplomatic mission in Washington.

Emboldened by the Arab leaders’ backing, however, Abbas does not seem to take Kerry’s threats seriously, particularly in light of previous threats by the U.S. Administration that were never carried out.

In 2012, Abbas had also ignored U.S. threats and pressure by seeking UN recognition of a Palestinian state. The Obama Administration did not take any retaliatory measures against the PA or against Abbas himself.

Like most of the Arab leaders, Abbas apparently understands that the Obama Administration has been weakened to a point where it is no longer able to impose its will on any Arab leader.

The way things appear now, it is Abbas who is setting new conditions and coming up with new demands, evidently from a conviction that the Obama Administration has no choice but to succumb.

Abbas today seems to feel confident enough to set his own conditions for accepting Kerry’s demand to extend the peace talks.

Abbas has therefore now come up with a new requirement: that Israel release three senior Palestinians from Israeli prison: Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, PFLP Secretary-General Ahmed Sa’dat and Gen. Fuad Shobaki. All three are serving lengthy prison sentences for their role in terrorist activities, including the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi.

The Palestinians also continue to accuse the Obama Administration of exerting heavy pressure on Abbas to soften his position and accept some of Israel’s demands, including the issue of Israel’s Jewishness. Some senior Palestinian officials in Ramallah have even accused Obama and Kerry of practicing “political and financial blackmail” against Abbas.

Abbas seems assured that Obama and Kerry are so desperate to avoid a collapse of the peace talks that they will be willing to accept anything he or the Arab leaders ask for.

The Arab summit stance on the issue of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state is a blow to the Obama Administration’s efforts to achieve a peace agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

There is a feeling among many Arabs and Palestinians that the Obama Administration has no clue as to what it wants from the Arab world. They point out that the Obama Administration has failed in its policies toward several Arab countries, especially Egypt, Libya and Syria.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

Al Qaeda Plots Afghan Comeback

A U.S. soldier with an Afghan interpreter speaking to a local man / AP

A U.S. soldier with an Afghan interpreter speaking to a local man / AP

By Washington Free Beacon Staff:

Al Qaeda is laying the groundwork to relaunch in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of the United States and other international forces.

The Associated Press reports:

Farouq al-Qahtani al-Qatari has been cementing local ties and bringing in small numbers of experienced militants to train a new generation of fighters, and U.S. military and intelligence officials say they have stepped up drone and jet missile strikes against him and his followers in the mountainous eastern provinces of Kunar and Nuristan. The objective is to keep him from restarting the large training camps that once drew hundreds of followers before the U.S.-led war began.

The officials say the counterterrorism campaign – a key reason the Obama administration agreed to keep any troops in Afghanistan after 2014 – could be jeopardized by the possibility of a total pullout.

Officials that spoke on the condition of anonymity say that unless the United States is able to keep a presence in Afghanistan, leaders of the terrorist group will be able to plan new attacks against U.S. targets from the country.

The administration would like to leave up to 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after combat operations end on Dec. 31, to continue training Afghan forces and conduct counterterrorism missions. But without the agreement that would authorize international forces to stay in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama has threatened to pull all troops out, and NATO forces would follow suit. After talking to Afghan President Hamid Karzai this week, Obama ordered the Pentagon to begin planning for the so-called zero option.

U.S. military and intelligence officials say unless they can continue to fly drones and jets from at least one air base in Afghanistan – either Bagram in the north or Jalalabad in the east – al-Qahtani and his followers could eventually plan new attacks against U.S. targets, although experts do not consider him one of the most dangerous al-Qaida leaders.

 

Iranian Oil Exports Soar as Sanctions Collapse

Oil pumps in the Persian Gulf / AP

Oil pumps in the Persian Gulf / AP

By :

Iranian oil exports soared in January, hitting new highs just months after the United States consented to billions of dollars in economic sanctions relief under the interim nuclear deal.

Exports of Iranian crude oil jumped to 1.32 million barrels, up from December’s high of 1.06 million barrels, according to data from the International Energy Agency.

The spike in exports—mainly to Japan, China, and India—has helped Iran’s once-ailing economy stabilize and decrease inflation.

Iranian oil exports have steadily risen since negotiations with the West restored confidence in Tehran’s economy. The increase runs counter to a promise by the Obama administration that “Iran’s oil exports will remain steady at their current level of around 1 million barrels per day.”

The significant rise in oil exports has led some experts to accuse the Obama administration of misleading the public about the amount of sanctions relief provided under the interim nuclear deal.

While the White House said Iran would receive no more than $7 billion in relief, these exports say that the rise in oil exports and other economic spikes will give Iran “well more than $20 billion.”

“These numbers … cast doubt on the accuracy of the administration’s estimates for sanctions relief,” former Ambassador Mark Wallace, CEO of the advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran, said in a statement. “The $6 or $7 billion estimate does not take into account the tens of billions of dollars Iran will reap from increased oil sales.”

“It is becoming more and more evident that the Geneva deal provided Iran with disproportionate sanctions relief, in exchange for far less significant concessions regarding its nuclear program,” Wallace said.

Read more at Free Beacon

Virginia: Government case collapses, Somali “pirate” seeks asylum in US

Courts says Ali Mohamed Ali not a pirate, now seeking asylum in US! http://thesomalian.com/us-dropping-case-against-man-accused-of-piracy/

Courts says Ali Mohamed Ali not a pirate, now seeking asylum in US!
http://thesomalian.com/us-dropping-case-against-man-accused-of-piracy/

Refugee Resettlement Watch, by Ann Corcoran:

The case against a middle-aged English-speaking “pirate” ended and now the question becomes, can Ali Mohamed Ali get asylum in the US thus setting up the problematic scenario that the Guantanamo Bay prisoners have also posed for out legal system.  Try them in the US and if they aren’t convicted, then what?

We already know our asylum system is a mess—70% or more are frauds and cheats.

But there is more, did the Obama Justice Department screw-up?

From Politico (hat tip: Judy):

The failed prosecution of an alleged Somali pirate — and the fact that that failure could leave him living freely, and permanently, inside U.S. borders — is highlighting anew the risks of trying terror suspects in American courts.

Just a few weeks ago, Ali Mohamed Ali was facing the possibility of a mandatory life sentence in a 2008 shipjacking off the coast of Yemen — an incident much like the one dramatized in the film “Captain Phillips.” Now, the Somali native is in immigration detention in Virginia and seeking permanent asylum in the United States.

Ali, who was accused of piracy for acting as a translator and negotiator for a crew of pirates, was partially acquitted by a jury in November after a trial in Washington. Prosecutors initially vowed a retrial but decided last month to drop the rest of the case against him.

That’s just the kind of situation that opponents of U.S. criminal trials for Al Qaeda suspects caught abroad have long feared: The government falls short at trial — and the courts eventually order an accused terror figure freed to live legally among Americans.

“It’s a trial, not a play. You don’t know how it’s going to end,” said Cully Stimson, a former military prosecutor and defense official now at The Heritage Foundation. “Justice has all sorts of twists and turns. … It really has to be thought through at the highest level of government before we take action to bring someone here.”

One current federal terrorism prosecutor said the Ali case and the potential for his eventual release is another reason why foreign Al Qaeda suspects picked up overseas should not be brought to the United States but should instead be detained at Guantánamo or some other facility.

“It’s a significant risk … to say, ‘Oh well, we’ll just turn him over to the immigration service’” if a criminal case falls apart, said the prosecutor, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak publicly. “You can’t count on the justice system working out just the way you want it to.”

Even some proponents of closing Guantánamo and relying on American civilian courts to prosecute alleged terrorists agree that the collapse of the Ali case highlights the potential downside of bringing suspected terrorists to the United States for trial.

Read the next section about other cases and the pitfalls.  Then back to Ali’s case near the end of the article.  This was a dumb move by someone in the Obama Justice Department!  Ali had a good claim that he was a hostage negotiator, an official in Somalia, and seems to have been an unlikely pirate!   No, not getting soft on Somalis!  Just something stinks about this whole government case!

The Ali case went off the rails for the government in the face of his claims that he was solely trying to resolve the hijacking of the M/V CEC Future— an event in which 13 crew members were held hostage for 71 days. While prosecutors contended Ali was “every bit as responsible” as those who carried weapons, the middle-aged English speaker, who had spent more than two decades in the United States, may not have seemed like an eye-patch-wearing or AK-47-toting type.  [What he was doing in the US for 20 years (refugee?) and not becoming a citizen is a question I would like answered.---ed]

By the time of his arrest in 2011, Ali was serving as education minister for an autonomous area in Somalia. Officials lured him back to the United States by inviting him to attend an education conference. He was arrested when he landed at Dulles International Airport.

My guess is that he will be granted asylum.

 

Global Islamism: Prospects for 2014

Mideast-Iran-Election_Horo4-e1371313739782-965x543-450x313by :

Thanks to the Obama administration’s uninformed and flimsy foreign policy decisions, the year 2013 has distinctively been a blessing for the independent Islamist parties and fundamentalist Islamic governments throughout the Middle East and the world. Although it is somewhat difficult to predict what will happen in 2014 regarding the Islamists movements and prominent challenges within that (along with Iran’s nuclear ambitions), several issues can be projected based on the trends and polices carried out in 2013.

Firstly, the foreign and domestic policies carried out by the Obama administration have led to several key trends.  In 2013, Islamists and fundamentalists affiliated with Al-Qaeda and other Islamists parties have gained an unprecedented level of power, organization, and coordination, particularly across the Middle East and Africa. In Syria, for example, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has emerged as among the most powerful jihadi groups. This particular Islamist group, which seeks to rule Syria and the Levant just as the Taliban did in Afghanistan (along with fighting against infidels), has become more centralized through obtaining a unified command-and-control structure, ideologically and politically.

Reportedly, this Islamist party— which has been behind thousands of beheadings, in many cases proudly beheading people and showing it on videos— is advocating for the systematic genocide of Shi’ite Muslims or others who are “damaging Mohammed’s legacy” in perpetrating their beliefs. Currently, ISIL is the most powerful oppositional group in Syria, even overshadowing the Free Syrian Army and other rebels. It is argued that many of the arms sent to the Free Syrian Army were actually obtained by several Islamist groups, including ISIL. In late 2013, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights labeled the Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams as “the strongest group in Northern Syria.”

Beheading ordinary people, taking videos (such as the reported beheading of a young Christian girl in this widespread video, or others as seen in this video), targeting non-Muslims (primarily Christians), raping women, and kidnapping non-Muslims have become daily practice in several Muslim countries, carried out by either independent Islamist groups or by those who have recently gained control of the sovereignty of the state.

According to an Amnesty International report this week, Islamist militants are perpetrating “a shocking catalogue of abuses” conducted in secret jails, including torture, flogging, and killings after summary trials. Amnesty International added that, “Those abducted and detained by ISIL include children as young as eight who are held together with adults in the same cruel and inhuman conditions.” Despite all the atrocities and brutalities committed by the ISIL and other Isalmist groups, recent reports from various credible news outlets including Reuters indicate that the Obama administration has attempted to reach out to these Islamist groups, with the Islamists rejecting the administration’s overtures. Do these attempts empower and embolden these Islamist groups to further carry out their atrocities and barbarity?

Read more at Front Page

See also:

‘Rushing’ to War with Iran?

AyatollahAliKhamen_2162837b-450x346by :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Front Page

 

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

 

The Taliban: America’s Enemy

Obama and KarzaiBy Brigitte Gabriel:

The Taliban have recently published the autumn edition of their magazine, Azan.

This is the fourth issue of the magazine and is significant in that it calls for Muslims in the West to launch attacks at home or fight in foreign battlefields, urging recruits to even leave behind their children or elderly parents (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/10503925/Taliban-magazine-urges-jihad-and-profiles-the-Honda-125.html)

Surely such calls to Jihad are nothing new, so why is this particular publication important?

Because it has been released just a few days after the Obama administration was quoted saying that “the Taliban are not our enemies and we don’t want to fight them.” (http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2013/11/27/Karzai-Will-Sign-Agreement-with-U-S-Says-Obama-Administration-Claimed-Taliban-Not-Our-Enemy)

Such statements about the Taliban are nothing new from the Obama administration. Vice President Joe Biden toldNewsweek magazine the same thing almost exactly two years ago (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/12/vp-biden-says-that-the-taliban-per-se-is-not-our-enemy/).

Not only are these statements from the administration disheartening because our brave troops have been fighting Taliban Jihadis for a decade, they also demonstrate a profound ignorance about Jihadist doctrine.

Jihadist doctrine does not regard nationalities or international borders as significant. Under their doctrine, Jihad is to be waged to make Allah’s law and religion supreme around the entire world. With their latest magazine, the Taliban clearly demonstrate adherence to that doctrine with their call for Muslims in the West to launch attacks at home.

What’s more this is not something new from the Taliban. When they seized power in Afghanistan in 1996, they announced that Afghanistan was to be a launching pad for global Jihad and invited Jihadi fighters to come to their country. Jihadis from all over the Islamic world and even parts of the West and the Pacific Rim heeded that call and gravitated to the new Shariah-ruled outpost established by the Taliban regime.

Among those who relocated to Afghanistan was Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. We know the rest: Al Qaeda launched its attack on America from Afghanistan and the Taliban harbored Al Qaeda from the US when America sought to bring justice down on them.

How anyone can look at these facts and conclude that the Taliban are not our enemy is mind-boggling. The idea that the Taliban want to strictly limit their evil designs to Afghanistan is absurd.

Read more at ACT! For America

 

Obama’s Soft Stance on Iran Might Force Israel to Strike

Murdered Christian Children: The Price of Obama’s Pro-Brotherhood Jihad

by Raymond Ibrahim:

Who is more deserving of punishment by the United States?  Millions of Egyptians, for ousting the Muslim Brotherhood?  Or the Muslim Brotherhood, for habitually terrorizing and murdering Christians, among many other crimes?

Murdered Marys

According to the unmistakably clear actions of the Obama administration, it is the millions of anti-Brotherhood Egyptians who deserve punishment.

Last Sunday, the Church of the Virgin Mary in Waraq near Cairo was attacked during a wedding ceremony, leaving four dead and many wounded.  According to Dr. Hisham Abdul Hamid of forensics, two of those who were murdered were Christian children—two girls; two Marys:  12-year-old Mary Nabil Fahmy, who took five shots in the chest, and 8-year-old Mary Ashraf Masih (meaning “Christ”), who took a bullet in the back which burst from the front.

It should be noted that this scene—attacked Coptic churches and murdered Christians, especially on holy days and celebrations—has become a normalized aspect of Egypt’s landscape (see Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, especially pgs. 42-43 and 56-62).

So too are the murders of Christian children increasingly common in Egypt.  Indeed, along with Sunday’s two murdered Marys, back in July, another Christian girl, 10-year-old Jessi Boulos, was shot dead while walking home from Bible class.

All of these church attacks and murders are a direct byproduct of the Muslim Brotherhood’s incitements against Egypt’s Christians in retaliation for the June 30 Revolution, which saw the ousting of the Brotherhood.

Needing someone to scapegoat in order to set Egypt ablaze, Brotherhood leadership—including supreme leader Muhammad Badie, Safwat Hegazi, and Al Jazeera’s Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi—repeatedly demonized the nation’s Christian minority, leading to any number ofatrocities committed against the Copts.

As today’s headline from one of Egypt’s most read newspapers, Tahrir News, put it: “The Brotherhood’s crime in Waraq [location of Sunday’s church attack].  Seventeen murdered Copts and 85 torched churches since ousting of Morsi… Copts pay price of June 30 Revolution.”

Now consider the response of the United States concerning the conflict between Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood in the context of U.S. aid.

For years, human rights activists have been imploring the Obama administration to make aid to Egypt contingent on respect for the human rights of all Egyptians, including Christian minorities.  Such a move would dramatically ameliorate the plight of the Copts, since all potential Egyptian governments, including the ousted Muslim Brotherhood, are more interested in securing money than in killing Christians.

Instead, the Obama administration’s approach has been 1) to ignore the plight of Egypt’s Christians and 2) when attacks are especially egregious (and exposed by the MSM) offer perfunctory condemnation.  (After all, if the administration was able to get away with the lip-service approach among Americans—vocally condemning and promising to get the Muslim Brotherhood-linked murderers of Americans in Benghazi but then ignoring it—surely it will not hesitate doing so with a foreign nation.)

As for making U.S. aid to Egypt contingent on respect for human rights, the Obama administration has been idle.

On the other hand, when those who are responsible for the destruction of nearly 100 Christian churches (including an unprecedented attack on the holiest Coptic church back when Morsi was still president) and the murders of Copts and their children finally get ousted by the Egyptian people and their military, it is then that the Obama administration moves and punishes, cutting hundreds of millions in aid to Egypt in direct response to the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood (in other nations, like Syria, the administration supports the Christian-slaughtering, al-Qaeda linked terrorists).

What more proof can any sensible American need to know that the Muslim-named president of the United States is in league with Muslim terrorists?

 

White House Considering How to Punish Egypt for Not Being Nice to Muslim Brotherhood

obama-muslim-brotherhood-2By Bridget Johnson:

The White House tried to beat back reports last night that it’s going to financially punish Egypt over the ouster of Mohamed Morsi and actions against the Muslim Brotherhood.

However, the Obama administration has held back about half of the $1.3 billion it would normally pay to Egypt.

“The reports that we are halting all military assistance to Egypt are false. We will announce the future of our assistance relationship with Egypt in the coming days, but as the President made clear at UNGA, that assistance relationship will continue,” National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said in a statement last night.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said at yesterday’s press briefing that “no decision” had been made on funding, but “the level of violence that we’ve seen by the interim government since July 3rd, that that’s exactly why this massive policy review has been undertaken, because business can’t continue as usual.”

“What we’re doing right now is taking a look at all of that and determining what makes sense going forward in terms of how we can best support the Egyptian people and help move Egypt towards – back towards a democratic process. That policy decision is going to take into account all of these various things that are going on right now. But I would underscore that that violence is exactly why we’re at this place today where we are talking about what our relationship will look like going forward from a very, sort of, 30,000-foot perspective,” Harf added.

The administration has been putting pressure on Egypt’s interim rulers since the July overthrow to hold snap elections and give the Muslim Brotherhood a place at the table.

Morsi remains in custody as do many of the leaders of the Brotherhood, and the MB has been banned from operating as an NGO by the country’s courts.

A panel amending the MB-drafted constitution to make it inclusive has promised to have the first draft available for review next week.

Morsi’s trial is set to begin Nov. 4. He and seven other Brotherhood leaders faces charge of killing and torturing protesters outside the presidential palace last December. The demonstrators were protesting against a Morsi decree that granted him sweeping new powers.

Egyptian Minister of Defence and army commander Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm that he attempted to resolve the political crisis sparked by the massive June 30 protest against Morsi’s rule, but the Muslim Brotherhood refused to negotiate.

Read more at PJ Media