Turkish PM Erdogan Top Backer of Hamas

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal (Photo: © Reuters)

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal (Photo: © Reuters)

BY RYAN MAURO:

Turkey, despite officially being a U.S. ally and member of NATO, deserves blame for the latest missile attacks and kidnappings carried by Hamas.  The Erdogan government is sponsoring Hamas, inciting extremist fervor and is even harboring the terrorist leader that oversees kidnappings in the West Bank.

The latest missile attacks by Hamas were preceded by the kidnapping and execution of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank by Hamas operatives. The Hamas leader urging kidnappings of Israelis in the West Bank is named Saleh al-Arouri, and he operates from Turkey.

The kidnappings were preceded by a concerted effort by al-Arouri to fund and plan such operations. He may or may not have masterminded this specific attack, but it was the fruition of his orders. Hamas officially denies involvement, but Israel has identifiedthe kidnappers as Hamas terrorists that were previously arrested and released.

Israeli intelligence has reportedly concluded that Turkey has been the top financial sponsor of Hamas since 2012, with Erdogan arranging for the transfer of $250 million to the terrorist group annually. Another report puts the figure at $300 million. The funding comes from private sources he is close to and not from the official budget. Turkey is also said to have trained Hamas security forces in Gaza through non-governmental groups.

The report said that Turkey coordinates the fundraising with Qatar, another supposed U.S. ally. Members of Congress have asked Qatar to stop financing Hamas. Khaled Meshaal, the political leader of Hamas, lives in Qatar and even gave an extremist sermon at its Grand Mosque. The U.S. blocked a $400 million aid package from Qatar to pay 44,000 employees of the Hamas government in Gaza.

The Egyptian government is placing the blame on Hamas, Turkey and Qatar for the continuing conflict. When Egypt proposed a ceasefire, Israel accepted it. Hamas did not, responding with rocket fire and making demands it knows will not be met.

“Had Hamas accepted the Egyptian initiative, at least 40 Palestinian souls would have been saved,” said the Egyptian Foreign Minister.

Turkey responded with its own condemnation of Egypt. Erdogan said Egyptian President El-Sisi is an “illegitimate tyrant.”

Read more at Clarion Project

Qatari: U.S. intervention in Iraq would be seen as war on Sunni Arabs

Iraqi federal policemen watch as Shiite tribal fighters deploy with their weapons in the northwest Baghdad's Shula neighborhood, Iraq, Monday, June 16, 2014.

Iraqi federal policemen watch as Shiite tribal fighters deploy with their weapons in the northwest Baghdad’s Shula neighborhood, Iraq, Monday, June 16, 2014.

By Mohamed Salman:

A former Qatari ambassador to the United States offered up a warning to the Obama administration Monday that any military intervention on behalf of the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki would be seen as an act of “war” on the entire community of Sunni Arabs.

Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa also warned against the United States working with Iran to repulse the advance by the radical Sunni group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, something that Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday the United States would be willing to consider.

“For the West or Iran or the two working together to fight beside Maliki against Sunni Arabs will be seen as another conspiracy against Sunni,” Khalifa tweeted.

Khalifa’s comments via Twitter (@NasserIbnHamad) show the complicated calculations the Obama administration faces as it considers whether to come to Maliki’s aid while insurgents from ISIS consolidate their gains over much of northern and central Iraq and menace the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Maliki’s Shiite Muslim government has angered Sunnis across the Arab world for being close to Shiite-ruled Iran and for what Sunnis describe as widespread mistreatment of their co-religionists in Iraq.

Khalifa retired from Qatar’s diplomatic service in 2007, but he remains an influential voice in Qatari foreign-policy circles.

The sentiments behind his warning were reflected in remarks that Qatar’s foreign minister, Khalid bin Mohammed al Attiyah, made Sunday in Bolivia and that were distributed Monday by Qatar’s official news service.

Attiyah stopped far short of Khalifa’s suggestion that airstrikes would be seen as an act of war by Sunnis outside Iraq, and he didn’t mention Sunnis specifically in the comments released Monday. But he laid blame for the rapid advance of ISIS squarely on Maliki’s rule. He said Maliki had deliberately excluded “large groups of Iraqis” from sharing in power.

Read more at The Sacramento Bee

 

How the Taliban got their hands on modern US missiles

Taliban militia stand in the back of a pickup truck with heat-seeking Stinger missiles. Photo: Getty Images

Taliban militia stand in the back of a pickup truck with heat-seeking Stinger missiles.
Photo: Getty Images

The Obama administration isn’t only giving the Taliban back its commanders — it’s giving them weapons.

Miliary records and sources reveal that on July 25, 2012, Taliban fighters in Kunar province successfully targeted a US Army CH-47 helicopter with a new generation Stinger missile.

They thought they had a surefire kill. But instead of bursting into flames, the Chinook just disappeared into the darkness as the American pilot recovered control of the aircraft and brought it to the ground in a hard landing.

The assault team jumped out the open doors and ran clear in case it exploded. Less than 30 seconds later, the Taliban gunner and his comrade erupted into flames as an American gunship overhead locked onto their position and opened fire.

The next day, an explosive ordnance disposal team arrived to pick through the wreckage and found unexploded pieces of a missile casing that could only belong to a Stinger missile.

Lodged in the right nacelle, they found one fragment that contained an entire serial number.

The investigation took time. Arms were twisted, noses put out of joint. But when the results came back, they were stunning: The Stinger tracked back to a lot that had been signed out by the CIA recently, not during the anti-Soviet ­jihad.

Reports of the Stinger reached the highest echelons of the US command in Afghanistan and became a source of intense speculation, but no action.

Everyone knew the war was winding down. Revealing that the Taliban had US-made Stingers risked demoralizing coalition troops. Because there were no coalition casualties, government officials made no public announcement of the attack.

My sources in the US Special Operations community believe the Stinger fired against the Chinook was part of the same lot the CIA turned over to the ­Qataris in early 2011, weapons Hillary Rodham Clinton’s State Department intended for anti-Khadafy forces in Libya.

They believe the Qataris delivered between 50 and 60 of those same Stingers to the Taliban in early 2012, and an additional 200 SA-24 Igla-S surface-to-air missiles.

Qatar now is expected to hold five Taliban commanders released from Guantanamo for a year before allowing them to go to Afghanistan.

But if we can’t trust the Qataris not to give our weapons to the Taliban, how can we trust them with this?

Also see:

 

Taliban Rising

Taliban-fighters-in-Afgha-001by Arnold Ahlert:

While Obama administration officials and their media allies are furiously attempting to spin the swap of U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl for five high-level Taliban terrorists in their favor, the other side of the equation is weighing in as well. Taliban leaders are expressing jubilation over the trade, hailing it as a major recognition of their status and boon to their cause. The Taliban is seeking to solidify legitimacy as a political force in Afghanistan in the face of the imminent U.S. drawdown, after which less than 10,000 soldiers will remain in the country. With the Bergdahl exchange, the Taliban has achieved a major propaganda victory that will further aid its ascendancy in the country — on top of the benefit the return of several of its top operatives will offer as a consequence of the deal.

Details of the internal assessment of the Bergdahl swap come from a TIME magazine interview with two Taliban commanders. “This is a historic moment for us. Today our enemy for the first time officially recognized our status,” one commander said. “[T]hese five men are more important than millions of dollars to us.” When asked if this exchange would inspire the Taliban to capture other Americans, he responded succinctly. “Definitely,” he said. “It’s better to kidnap one person like Bergdahl than kidnapping hundreds of useless people,” the commander added, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. “It has encouraged our people. Now everybody will work hard to capture such an important bird.”

According to the magazine, the Taliban was well-prepared to engage in a media campaign of their own with regard to the swap. Those who were selected to hand Bergdahl over rehearsed messages they wished to deliver to the American public, and a videographer was assigned to cover the exchange to help shape the narrative. The white tunic and trousers that Bergdahl wore were also part of the equation, as a tailor was commissioned to create the clothes for the event as a “gesture of respect.”

TIME allowed a second Taliban commander affiliated with the Haqqani network that was holding Bergdahl captive to humanize the terrorist organization. “You know we are also human beings and have hearts in our bodies,” the commander said. “We are fighting a war against each other, in which [the Americans] kill us and we kill them. But we did whatever we could to make [Bergdahl] happy.”

The resulting propaganda video documenting the exchange also shows a woven scarf draped across Bergdahl’s shoulders. The commander says it was a parting gift, further explaining that Bergdahl had made several friends among his captors. “We wanted him to return home with good memories,” the commander said. Shortly thereafter, the video also shows something else that accrues mightily to the interests of the Taliban: the hero’s welcome the five released detainees received when they landed in Qatar, followed by a jubilant raising of the Taliban flag.

Despite its negotiations with the Taliban to free Bergdahl, the White House initially refused to define the group’s status. When asked Monday if the Taliban was a terrorist group, outgoing White House Press Secretary Jay Carney dodged the question. “We don’t get to choose our enemies when we go to war,” Carney responded. “We regard the Taliban as an enemy combatant in a conflict that has been going on, in which the United States has been involved for more than a decade. In this case–as you know we dealt with the Qataris in order to secure [Bergdahl’s] release–it was absolutely the right thing to do.”

The semantical gymnastics continued on Tuesday, when White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden explained that a 2002 executive order added the Taliban to the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT), while its designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) is omitted from the list compiled by the State Department. Why remains a mystery, considering the fact that both the Pakistani Taliban and the Haqqani Network thought to be holding Bergdahl are on the list.

Unsurprisingly, the administration chose to sidestep the issue, choosing to push the narrative that Bergdahl was a prisoner of war (POW), rather than a hostage. “Sgt. Bergdahl was not a hostage, he was a member of the military who was detained during the course of an armed conflict,” Hayden continued. “The United States does not leave a soldier behind based on the identity of the party to the conflict… It was a prisoner exchange. We’ve always done that across many wars. With the Germans. The Japanese. The North Koreans.”

Such an effort is at odds with reality. In the five years Bergdahl was missing, the Pentagon never listed him as a POW. When he first disappeared, he was listed as “duty status whereabouts unknown.” Two days later it was changed to “missing/captured,” where it remained until his release. Detainees at Guantanamo Bay have never been referred to as POWS either, largely reflecting the reality that terrorists are international gangsters rather than soldiers of a nation state.

Read more at Front page

Oliver North on Bergdahl: Let Military Justice Do Its Job

North63aBy Sean Piccoli and Bill Hoffmann:

Former Marine Corps Lt. Col. Oliver North has issued marching orders to soldiers accusing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of desertion: shut up and let military justice take its course.

“I’ve seen the comments made by those with whom he served, [and] here’s my advice to everybody: count on the military judicial system,” North, host of Fox News’ “War Stories,” told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

“It will work as it should to investigate the circumstances under which [Bergdahl] found himself in the hands of the Haqqani network. It is better, it is fairer than anything else,” he said Tuesday.

Bergdahl was swapped for five top terrorists imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, but many in the military are questioning whether he deserted the Army, an act that led to the death of six soldiers sent to look for him.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Bergdahl, who spent five years in captivity, may be disciplined if the Army finds evidence of misconduct.

The New York Times cited a former military official as saying Bergdahl slipped away from his base near the Afghan border with Pakistan, leaving a note saying he had become disillusioned with the Army and the war and was going to start a new life.

Bergdhal will be given “all the opportunities in the world” to clear his name as rumors swirl.

“It’s the only judicial system in which the defendant gets to pick those who sit in judgment. I mean it truly is a far better system, far fairer system of choosing your peers to sit on your jury,” North said.

“And so, the facts will come out. I don’t believe right now is the time to be bringing those out because witnesses ought to be brought forward to swear under oath to what they know and define at that point where there ought to be a process by which there is a court martial.

“It’s also wrong to speculate about what the outcome will be. It’s kind of we’re all looking for the Malaysian airplane and people are speculating as to where it went.”

***

North contended it wasn’t the Taliban in Afghanistan, but actually the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, which has links not only to the Taliban but to Pakistan’s national intelligence agency.

“This has nothing to do with the Taliban,” North told “America’s Forum” host J.D. Hayworth.

North’s claim is similar to remarks made on Tuesday by Rep. Mike Rogers, the Michigan Republican who chairs the House Intelligence Committee.

Rogers, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” said: “The Haqqani network is a terrorist organization operating in the tribal area of Pakistan. They’re the ones that had custody of Bergdahl — not the Taliban, not the Qataris and not the Afghans.”

“And so, you [the Obama administration] negotiated with a terrorist organization [with] which, by the way, hostilities have not stopped or ceased, and will continue long after even 2016,” Rogers said.

North argued that the distinction between the ideologically driven Taliban and the more mercenary, opportunistic Haqqani network does matter.

“What somebody needs to ask the question [of] this administration [is], was there a ransom — I’m talking about a fiscal, financial money transaction — in this?” he said.

“Did the government of the United States either directly or indirectly finance a terrorist organization that is a criminal enterprise, meaning the Haqqanis?”

Read more at Newsmax

Also see:

Jihadists ‘are thinking in terms of generations’

Long War Journal:

 

The Long War Journal‘s Thomas Joscelyn appears on FOX News to discuss the Bowe Bergdahl – Taliban prisoner exchange and the five dangerous Taliban leaders who were released, the first American suicide bomber in Syria, and the overall war

How Barack Obama Ends Wars

barack_michelle_salute_APBreitbart, By Frank Gaffney, Jr.:

In discussing last week his decision to eliminate essentially all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the time his term of office ends, Mr. Obama declared:  “This is how wars end in the 21st Century – not through signing ceremonies but through decisive blows against our adversaries, transitions to elected governments, security forces who are trained to take the lead and ultimately full responsibility.”

Actually, how Barack Obama ends wars is by what amounts to surrendering to our undefeated adversaries, undermining elected governments by emboldening those determined to destroy them, and abandoning local security forces who lack the capability to prevail.

The President’s exchange this weekend of “prisoner of war” Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five of the world’s most dangerous jihadists is a microcosm of his way of waging–and losing–wars. Consider the following features of this odious act of appeasement and its roll-out.

  •          The exchange was unbalanced:  We purchased at exceedingly high cost the freedom of an American described by his comrades as a deserter. It appears that by abandoning his sentinel’s post in the dark of night, he not only jeopardized their lives, but he set in train searches and tactical situations that cost the lives of numerous other servicemen.

Treating Bergdahl as some sort of heroic figure because of his five years in self-induced captivity is a further assault on the principles of integrity, discipline, and honor that have been central to the character and culture of the U.S. military for generations. This is not an accident. Destroying that culture happens to be a well-established feature of Team Obama’s social engineering of the armed forces.

  •         The price paid to achieve Bergdahl’s freedom was to release no fewer than five of the Taliban’s senior commanders to the custody of Qatar. Let’s take what’s wrong with this picture, piece by piece:

First, the Qatari government is on the other side in the War for the Free World. It is a bankroller of al Qaeda in Syria (and perhaps elsewhere): the enabler of the Muslim Brotherhood, the underwriter of the enemy’s propaganda arm, al Jazeera, etc. Trusting the Qataris to be helpful to us with regard to anything having to do with jihad is worse than willful blindness; it is national security malfeasance.

Second, the best case is that these guys will be out of the fight for one more year. Since the administration won’t say what restrictions will be imposed on them in the interim, however, it is a safe bet they will be doing whatever they can to contribute to their terrorist organization’s return to power as soon as possible. But even if that were not the case, in the long war the United States is abandoning, a year is nothing for those determined to defeat us.

  •          To complete this exchange, President Obama violated the law, something he has done relentlessly in the course of his presidency.  (To appreciate just how often, see Andrew C. McCarthy’s splendid new book, Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.) The fact that Eric Holder’s Justice Department gave Chuck Hagel’s Defense Department a fig-leaf for doing so by claiming extenuating circumstances–namely, concerns about Bergdahl’s deteriorating health–does not alter the reality that Obama and Company did not conform to the statute requiring a 30-day pre-notification to Congress.
  •          Adding insult to injury is the fact that Bergdahl does not seem to be ill, let alone near death’s door. National Security Advisor Susan Rice said on Sunday the he is “in good health” and he has reportedly been released from the hospital in Germany where his medical condition was assessed post-release. Of course, he may have lingering psychological problems, but then that may have been the case before he deserted. Either way, there is no justification there for the president ignoring the law.
  •         Speaking of Susan Rice, her interviews on two Sunday talk shows this weekend vividly called to mind the notorious, serial appearances she turned in on five such programs in September 2012. Now, as then, she was the dutiful–almost robotic–spinner, relentlessly sticking to her misleading, if not patently fraudulent talking points.

Two years ago, Rice engaged in what amounted to lying about the murderous attacks in Benghazi, by insisting they were the result of a video, not jihadist attacks.  This meme, we recently learned, was manufactured by a man who is now her Deputy National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes.  It was explicitly designed by him to deflect politically problematic attention in the run-up to the 2012 election from questions about the President’s claims that al Qaeda was on the path to defeat, and other national security frauds.

This weekend, Rice reprised her role as untrustworthy flack by relentless insisting we have a “sacred duty not to leave anyone behind”–a duty that neither she nor any other senior Obama administration official seemed to feel while the Benghazi attacks were underway. All the while, she deflected questions that would have illuminated the reality of the Bergdahl exchange–the exorbitant price we paid, how the exchange was conducted under false pretenses, the dire implications with respect to strengthening our enemies and the lack of real justification for violating the law.

With the Bergdahl exchange, Americans are on notice: Unless this episode proves to be a very costly one for Team Obama, the President is on a trajectory not only to lose Afghanistan, as we previously lost Iraq. He will also ignore statutory inhibitions on releasing the rest of the detainees in Guantanamo Bay and close that facility, foreclosing its use by a successor. The upshot of all this will be to establish that the way Barack Obama “ends wars in the 21st Century” is going to get a lot more of us killed.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. formerly acted as an Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Reagan.  He is President of the Center for Security Policy (www.SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for Breitbart News Network and host of the nationally syndicated program, Secure Freedom Radio.

Bergdahl-Taliban prisoner exchange ‘won’t help the peace process in any way’

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, "It won't help the peace process in any way, because we don't believe in the peace process"

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, “It won’t help the peace process in any way, because we don’t believe in the peace process”

By 

One of the Taliban’s top spokesmen said that the recent prisoner exchange between the US and the Taliban will do nothing to further US hopes for reconciliation in Afghanistan as the Taliban “don’t believe in the peace process.”

The exchange of US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who reportedly went absent without leave while on duty in Paktika province in 2009, for five senior al Qaeda-linked Taliban leaders held at Guantanamo Bay took place over the weekend. The five Taliban leaders, who were deemed “high” risks to the US and its allies by Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO), include two accused of war crimes by the UN.

The five freed Taliban commanders have been identified as Abdul Haq Wasiq, an intelligence official; Mullah Norullah Noori, senior military commander; Mullah Mohammad Fazl, the Taliban’s former deputy minister of defense; Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa, the Taliban’s former governor of Herat province; and Mohammad Nabi Omari, a senior leader. JTF-GTMO had previously recommended that all five remain in custody as they posed a threat to the US. [See LWJ reports, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl exchanged for top 5 Taliban commanders at Gitmo, and Taliban says 'five senior leaders' have been 'liberated' from Guantanamo.]

The prisoner exchange took place over the course of several months of negotiations between the US and the Taliban which were brokered by the government of Qatar. The five Taliban leaders have been sent to Qatar and are banned from travel for one year.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had told NBC’s Meet the Press that the US is hopeful that the negotiations that led to the prisoner exchange can further reconciliation between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

“So maybe this will be a new opening that can produce an agreement,” between the Taliban and the Afghan government, Hagel said yesterday.

Within hours, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid shot down Hagel’s optimism for reconciliation.

“It won’t help the peace process in any way, because we don’t believe in the peace process,” Mujahid said.

Instead of portraying the exchange as the beginning of reconciliation, Taliban emir Mullah Mohammed Omar called the release of the five commanders a “great victory” and a “huge and vivid triumph.” The Taliban also published photos of the five released commanders as they arrived in Qatar. [See LWJ report, Mullah Omar hails release of 5 top Taliban commanders as 'great victory'.]

“This huge accomplishment brings the glad tidings of liberation of the whole country and reassures us that our aspirations are on the verge of fulfillment,” Omar said, according to a statement released yesterday at the Taliban website, Voice of Jihad.

Read more at Long War Journal

Five of the Most Dangerous Taliban Commanders in U.S. Custody Exchanged for American Captive

1401564097262.cachedBy Thomas Joscelyn:

The Obama administration announced today that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who has been held by the Taliban for several years, has been freed from his captors. Reading the stories of his newfound freedom it is impossible not to feel joy for Bergdahl and his family. NBC News reports that Bergdahl held up a sign once he was on board an American helicopter that read, “SF?” The operators quickly confirmed that they were in fact U.S. Special Forces: “Yes, we’ve been looking for you for a long time.”

“On behalf of the American people, I was honored to call his parents to express our joy that they can expect his safe return, mindful of their courage and sacrifice throughout this ordeal,” President Obama said in a statement. The president rightly noted: “Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery is a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield.”

Unfortunately, America is not the only party in this war that is committed to leaving no man behind. So are the Taliban and other al Qaeda-linked groups. But the president did not say who America exchanged for Bergdahl: five of the most dangerous Taliban commanders in U.S. custody.

The Taliban has long demanded that the “Gitmo 5” be released in order for peace talks to begin in earnest. The Obama administration has desperately sought to engage the Taliban as American forces are drawn down in Afghanistan, but those talks have gone nowhere to this point.  At first, the administration set preconditions for the talks, including that the Taliban break its relationship with al Qaeda. When it became clear that this was a non-starter, the administration decided to make the Taliban’s desired break with al Qaeda a goal, and no longer a precondition, for its diplomacy.

There is little hope that the peace talks will be more successful now. But the president seems to believe that Bergdahl’s exchange for the Gitmo 5 (who are reportedly being transferred to Qatar) may break the ice. “While we are mindful of the challenges, it is our hope Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery could potentially open the door for broader discussions among Afghans about the future of their country by building confidence that it is possible for all sides to find common ground,” Obama said in his statement.

The Obama administration says that security measures have been put into place to make sure that the Gitmo 5 do not pose a threat to American national security. Let’s hope that is true; it certainly has not been the case with many ex-Gitmo detainees in the past.

THE WEEKLY STANDARD has profiled these jihadists previously on multiple occasions, and what follows below is culled from these accounts.

There are good reasons why the Taliban has long wanted the five freed from Gitmo. All five are among the Taliban’s top commanders in U.S. custody and are still revered in jihadist circles.

Two of the five have been wanted by the UN for war crimes. And because of their prowess, Joint Task Force-Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) deemed all five of them “high” risks to the U.S. and its allies.

The Obama administration wants to convince the Taliban to abandon its longstanding alliance with al Qaeda. But these men contributed to the formation of that relationship in the first place. All five had close ties to al Qaeda well before the 9/11 attacks. Therefore, it is difficult to see how their freedom would help the Obama administration achieve one of its principal goals for the hoped-for talks.

Here are short bios for each of the five Taliban commanders. All quotes are drawn from declassified and leaked documents prepared at Guantanamo.

Read more at Weekly Standard

Also see:

NY Arab Advocacy Group Funding Linked to Qatar

AAANY

The group’s executive directive, Linda Sarsour, consistently depicts the U.S. government as an oppressor of Muslims.

By Ryan Mauro:

Linda Sarsour

Linda Sarsour

The Arab American Association of New York and its Executive Director, Linda Sarsour, lists the Qatar Foundation International second on its website’s list of supporters.The Foundation is linked to theMuslim Brotherhood, including the Hamas-supporting SheikhYousef al-Qaradawi and the Islamist-allied Qatari government.

Qatar Foundation International says it is “a U.S.-based member of Qatar Foundation (QF).” It maintains its independence but states that QF is its  “major donor.”

Qatar Foundation is closely linked to the Qatari government, which former U.S. Treasury Department terrorism-finance analyst Jonathan Schanzer describes as “the ATM of the Muslim Brotherhood movement and its associated groups.” It hosts Al-Jazeera, Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi and finances Hamas and Syrian extremists. Qatar’s Arab neighbors are fed up with its backing of the Brotherhood.

In 2008, the Qatar Foundation and Qatari Emir created the Al-Qaradawi Research Center, in honor of one of the most prominent Islamists, anti-Semites and Hamas-supporters on earth. The declared purpose of the Center is to promote Qaradawi’s preaching as “a pioneer of Islamic moderate thought, and presently its main theorist.”

In January 2012, QF opened its Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics. Its Research Director is Tariq Ramadan, the grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna and son of senior Brotherhood operative Said Ramadan.

Qatar Foundation also has a relationship with the International Institute of Islamic Thought, a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity that came under a terrorism-financing investigation after 9/11. The Deputy Director of Qatar Foundation’s Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics, Dr. Jasser Auda, is a teacher for IIIT programs. His bioalso says he is “affiliated” with IIIT.

IIIT is listed by the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood as one of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends” in a secret 1991 memo. The document articulates the objective of its American network as a “kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within…” Clarion’s full report on IIIT leaves no doubt that the group is Islamist in nature.

Sarsour also has questionable personal ties. In 2004, she told a reporter that the American authorities had also questioned her and that her Palestinian husband, Maher Judh, was threatened with deportation after living in the U.S. for seven years.

Read more at Clarion Project

Longtime U.S. ‘Allies’ Qatar, Kuwait Prime Terror Financiers

al-Thani and Haniyeh

The message the West is delivering is that once you’re an ally, you’re always an ally — even if you help our enemies.

BY RYAN MAURO:

David Cohen, the Treasury Department Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, has stated for the record what no other U.S. official would: Qatar and Kuwait, two supposed “allies” of the U.S., are facilitating Islamist terrorism and extremism.

Last month, Cohen spoke at a think tank and immediately turned to Qatar after discussing Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism.

“Qatar, a longtime U.S. ally, has for many years openly financed Hamas, a group that continues to undermine regional stability. Press reports indicate that the Qatari government is also supporting extremist groups operating in Syria,” he said.

Qatar’s staunch backing of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas hasalienated its Arab neighbors that view them as terrorist organizations. The leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad traveled to Qatar to meet with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. Qatar appears to have helped heal the relationship between Iran and Hamas.

In August, 24 members of Congress confronted Qatar over its relationship with Hamas. The Qatari government subsidizes the spread of Islamism around the world, even in downtown Washington D.C.

The Qatari government is also guilty of helping Al Qaeda’s regional affiliates. Cohen pointed out that the Treasury Department sanctioned a terrorist in December named Abd al-Rahman bin Umayr al-Nu’aymi, who raises money in Qatar and channels it to Al Qaeda elements in Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Iraq.

He managed the movement of over $2 million every single month to Al Qaeda in Iraq at one point and delivered the terrorists’ messages to media outlets from 2003-2004. This means that Qatar, a U.S. “ally,” has the blood of American soldiers in Iraq on its hands.

Read more at Clarion Project

Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood

gh23By Joseph Puder:

Reuters reported on March 7, 2014 that Saudi Arabia had formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) as a terrorist organization. Apparently the Saudis view the MB with a great deal of suspicion and mistrust, seeing the organization as too “republican” and anti-monarchist.

According to the Qatari Daily News, the Hamas regime in Gaza was also designated as a terrorist organization by the Saudis. Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have followed suit, thus exposing Qatar as the only Arab Gulf state to support the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain have all recalled their ambassadors from Qatar, accusing Qatar of failing to abide by the agreement not to interfere in each other’s affairs.

The ambassadors’ crisis has to do with a Cairo tribunal decision to freeze the assets of the Palestinian Hamas terrorist organization and bar it from Egyptian territory. Hamas is allied with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and linked to the attacks in Egypt.

The Saudi-Qatari rift is connected to the very different attitude each country has toward the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Gaza. Whereas the Saudi regime supported the coup against President Muhammad Morsi, and sought to reinforce the military-dominated government that followed, Qatar has continued to back the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Saudis and the Emiratis were swift in their support of the military coup in Egypt in July, 2013, that deposed Muslim Brotherhood President Muhammad Morsi. Both Gulf States pledged billions of dollars in support of General Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi, the military chief that lead the takeover. Ironically, Morsi’s first foreign visit as President of Egypt, in July, 2012, was to Saudi Arabia, where he pledged that his MB government would not seek to export the revolution beyond its own borders. He assured the Saudis that Egypt would not encourage opposition to their regime nor provide support for Islamist regimes.

The Saudis, always mistrustful of Egyptian intentions, were skeptical of Morsi’s assurances. The Saudis have had a long struggle with the revolutionary and socialist oriented regime of Egypt’s dictator Gamal Abdul Nasser, who had hoped to export his revolutionary, socialist, Arab-nationalist, and anti-western creed throughout the Arab world. In the mid-1960’s Egypt and Saudi Arabia fought a proxy war in Yemen. One of the underlying fears held by the Saudi royals was that Nasser’s intentions were to depose them and take over their oil fields.

In the Middle East where the adage “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” is often realized, the Saudi royal family provided various forms of support to the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Political asylum was granted to its leaders, and they helped to fund various Islamic charities in which the MB played a major role. Nasser, in 1954, decreed the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood and ordered its supreme guide, Hasan Al-Hodeibi, arrested along with other leaders and members of the MB. In October, 1954, an attempt on Nasser’s life while he delivered a speech in Alexandria resulted in a mass roundup and trial of thousands of MB members. Some MB leaders were sentenced to death and others to life imprisonment.

Sayed Qutb, the ideological leader of the MB, turned against the leadership in Muslim states. He invoked the practice of “takfir,” branding some Muslim regimes as “infidels,” and thus legitimizing their violent overthrow, aimed particularly at Nasser’s regime. In 1966, he was executed by Nasser orders.

It is worthwhile to note that not only did the MB receive support early on from the Saudis, but the Eisenhower administration tried to cultivate them as well, to act as a lever against Soviet Communism in the Cold War era.

Read more at Front Page

UAE, Saudis Lash Out at U.S. Gov’t and Orgs Supporting Islamists

UAE2BY RYAN MAURO:

The United Arab Emirates is protesting the State Department for its perceived support for a prosecuted jihadist, in a rare expression of diplomatic anger towards the U.S. Saudi Arabia is also demanding that Qatar shut down two U.S. organizations based in its territory for advancing the Muslim Brotherhood cause.

The UAE is angry over a  human rights report that criticizes it for preventing citizens from forming political parties. It mentions Ahmed al-Dakki, also known as Hassan al-Diqqi, who formed a party named Ummah. The term refers to the collective body of Muslims around the world.

The State Department did not mention that the UAE justified its ban on al-Dakki’s party by pointing out that he leads an Islamist fighting force in Syria. He is a regional officer for the Ummah Conference and was seen in a video asking Muslims to donate weapons, money and fighters.

Al-Dakki works with Abdul Rahman Omeir al-Naimi, another member of his political party. In December, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned him because he’s part of the Al-Qaeda network.

He transferred at least $250,000 to Al-Shabaab (Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia) and around $600,000 to Al-Qaeda in Syria. At one point, he was transferring $2 million every single month to Al-Qaeda in Iraq. He also financed Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (its Yemen affiliate) and Asbat al-Ansar (an affiliate in Lebanon).

Read more at Clarion Project

 

Shifting Mideast Sands Reveal New Alliances

shifting.sands.middle.eastBy Jonathan Spyer:

A number of events in recent weeks cast light on the current intersecting lines of conflict in the Middle East. They reflect a region in flux, in which new bonds are being formed, and old ones torn asunder.

But amid the confusion, a new topography is emerging.

This was the month in which a long-existent split in the Sunni Arab world turned into a gaping fissure. On March 5th, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates announced that they were withdrawing their ambassadors from the Emirate of Qatar.

This decision was clearly a response to Qatar’s continued support and sponsorship of the Muslim Brotherhood movement. This movement is regarded as a subversive threat by the three Gulf states. They are worried by the Brotherhood’s capacity for internal subversion.

Qatar, by contrast, affords generous subsidies to its tiny citizen body, and has little to fear from potential internal unrest.  It continues to support the Brotherhood and to domicile key leaders of the Egyptian branch of the movement. The latter is now engaged in an insurgency against the Egyptian authorities.

Saudi patience was at an end. The removal of the ambassadors reflects this.

On March 7th, Saudi Arabia made the additional move of declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.  A Saudi researcher and former general, Dr. Anwar Eshki, was quoted on the Now Lebanon website as asserting that the decision was made with particular focus on the Egyptian Brotherhood, which is involved in “terrorist” activity.

In the same week, an Egyptian court banned all activities by the Hamas organization in Egypt, and referred to the movement as a “terrorist organization.”

The proximity of these announcements reflects the very close emergent alliance between Saudi Arabia and the de facto Sisi regime in Egypt, which is likely to become de jure following presidential elections later this year.

This alliance is the core component of an emergent dispensation in the Sunni Arab world which also includes UAE, Bahrain and Jordan, as well as the fragile West Bank Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas.

This alliance is set to emerge as the strongest element among the Sunni Arabs.

It is opposed both to the Iran-led, mainly Shia “resistance” bloc, and to what is left of the Qatar/Muslim Brotherhood alliance that just a short year ago was proclaiming itself the wave of the future in the Middle East.

The Hamas authority in Gaza has no buy into the new Saudi-Sisi bloc.  Formerly aligned with Iran, it put its bets on the Qatar/Muslim Brotherhood axis.

But this putative bloc was fatally damaged by the Sisi coup in Egypt of July 3rd, 2013, and by the departure of the Muslim Brotherhood-related Nahda party in Tunisia.

Hamas appears to be trying to find its way back to the Iranians.  Gaza’s “foreign minister” Mahmoud al Zahar and Iran’s parliament spokesman Ali Larijani both made statements this week suggesting that relations had returned to normal between Teheran and Hamas.

It is not clear what this actually means.  But Iranian funding to Hamas in Gaza was slashed following the latter’s failure to offer support to the Iranian client regime in Damascus. It is unlikely that Iran has either forgotten or forgiven.  Al-Zahar, in any case, is among those Hamas officials most closely supportive of Iran and his statements should not be taken as representing the movement as a whole.

Read more at PJ Media

Also see:

Islam Prof, Saudi Cleric & Clarion Slam Jihadists on Arabic TV

RM

Anti-Islamist language and attitudes used show how disconnected CAIR and others are from the mainstream Muslim public.

BY RYAN MAURO:

On March 8, I was invited to appear on a panel on the television network Al-Hurra a U.S.-based Arabic language satellite TV channel, as the Clarion Project’s National Security Analyst. To be honest, I expected to be ganged up on. Instead, the Muslims fired away at the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar, using terminology that groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations claim are forms of “Islamophobia.”

The topic was Saudi Arabia’s blacklisting of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group. The other panelists were a professor of Islamic studies and a former member of the Saudi Shura Council, the body that oversees the application of Sharia.

rm2Both guests wholeheartedly endorsed the crackdown on the Brotherhood, with one even stating that it should have been done 20 years ago. The government of Qatar was a subject of scorn for its support of the Brotherhood and, to a lesser degree, so was Turkey. The host even asked me if it was possible that the Saudis would designate Turkey’s ruling AKP party as a terrorist group.

The lexicon of my Muslim co-panelists would have enraged the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the other large Muslim-American groups linked to the Brotherhood. They used terms like “Islamist” and “jihadist” without reservation.

While CAIR and its allies point to that kind of vocabulary as proof of anti-Muslim bigotry, these Muslim panelists expected the Arab audience to understand that this is not the case. They didn’t need to clarify what they meant because it is obvious that they weren’t attacking Islam or all of its adherents. I freely used similar terms without confrontation.

This aspect of the show demonstrates how CAIR’s voice is not reflective of the Muslim world.

CAIR rallies against these terms because it does not want its Islamist ideology questioned and it wants to silence its opponents. In the Muslim world, the use of terms like “Islamist” and “jihadist” are not offensive; they are necessary and understood. The controversy over them was manufactured by CAIR and similar groups for political purposes.

More broadly, my appearance on Al-Hurra is an indictment of the American media’s handling of Islamist issues.

Read more at Clarion Project