Call To Jihad: Terror Recruiting in Laguna and The Southern Philippines

A cartoon from the Editorial of the Philippine Star on ISIS threat in Philippines. http://directory.ucanews.com/news/isis-ideology-has-reached-southern-philippines-pime-missionary/1641

A cartoon from the Editorial of the Philippine Star on ISIS threat in Philippines.
http://directory.ucanews.com/news/isis-ideology-has-reached-southern-philippines-pime-missionary/1641

December 17, 2014 /

The Aquino administration and his most senior members in the Armed Forces of the Philippines(AFP) are trumpeting the UN report that came out a few days ago by saying, “we told you so.” We responded with an article titled “UN Claims No ISIS Presence in the Philippines – They’re Wrong,” where we laid out the ties between some of the most prominent Islamic State (IS) facilitators and the jihadist groups operating in the Philippines. In this follow up piece we’re going to kick things up a notch with an even deeper look into one of the support nodes we’ve mentioned: The Call and Guidance of Cabuyao Laguna (CGCL) and the individuals connected to it. Now, we can forgive AFP spokesman COL Restituto Padilla for not having all the facts since none of the organizations in the Philippine Security Forces (PSF) like to play nice with one another (sometimes to the point where people are killed due to holding onto information just because an organization can). However, the contents of this article are widely known to all of the senior officials of the Aquino administration. Keep this in the back of your mind as you read this piece. The following is from months of collaboration and research from our Asia Analytical Cell and network of sources in the Philippines – some of which are members of the PSF themselves.

UN Claims No ISIS Presence in The Philippines – They’re Wrong

President Aquino: The Barack Obama of Southeast Asia

ISIS Study Group claims terrorists’ presence in the Philippines
http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/12/16/1403309/isis-study-group-claims-terrorists-presence-philippines

AFP spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla Jr.: UN reports proves our point. InterAksyon.com File

AFP spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla Jr.: UN reports proves our point. InterAksyon.com File

WE TOLD YOU SO | AFP says UN report of ‘No ISIS in PH’ boosts its claim ever since
http://www.interaksyon.com/article/101156/we-told-you-so–afp-says-un-report-of-no-isis-in-ph-boosts-its-claim-ever-since

Khalil Pareja Source: Rappler

Khalil Pareja
Source: Rappler

The CGCL was established in 2010 by Andrew “Mansur” Gutierrez and Brandon “Khalid” Gorospe. At the time Rajah Suleiman Movement (RSM) Ahmed Santos was 5 yrs removed from his arrest and subsequent move to SICA and Sheik Omar Lavilla had been detained in Bahrain while trying to wire money to his jihadist brethren and extradited to the Philippines 2 yrs prior. This was a period where

Pareja singing the praises of IS when it was still known as “al-Qaida in Iraq” – and before it was “cool” Source: Rappler

Pareja singing the praises of IS when it was still known as “al-Qaida in Iraq” – and before it was “cool”
Source: Rappler

many members of the RSM were laying low and contemplating their next move. The man who took over as the operational leader was Dino Amor Rosalejos Pareja aka “Khalil Pareja.” He reflagged RSM into “Jaysh at-Tauhid” (JTD) but in actuality this was still RSM with all the same personalities involved. Before he also found himself detained (again) in 2012, he had launched an initiative to establish alternative venues for bringing in financial and material support were established in anticipation of Lavilla and Santos’ eventual release from prison.

Mansur Gutierrez Source: The ISIS Study Group

Mansur Gutierrez
Source: The ISIS Study Group

The point man for this endeavor was Gutierrez, who served as the manager of Santos’ legal defense fund and would travel back and forth from Saudi Arabia under the status of an Overseas Foreign Worker (OFW) employed as an Operations Analyst for Advanced Electronics Company Limited. While in Saudi Arabia he collects money and will send it back to the Philippines via Western Union or through trusted associates rotating home. The individuals usually receiving the western union money are two of Santos’ wives, Fatima and Nurain. Our sources in the Philippine National Police – Intelligence Group (PNP-IG) reported to us their suspicions that Nurain is passing

Musa Cerantonio: Always had a soft spot for the Southern Philippines Source: One of his Twitter accounts

Musa Cerantonio: Always had a soft spot for the Southern Philippines
Source: One of his Twitter accounts

messages to Santos when she visits him in SICA. They also stated women typically aren’t searched and if they are its without the same level of scrutiny as a man would receive. This is likely how last summer’s prison video showing the inmates in Santos’ cellblock pledging allegiance to IS that was later promoted by Robert “Musa” Cerantonio (variant-Ceratonio). Nurain will also pass the money Gutierrez sent to other members of the network, even traveling to the Southern Philippines as she’s done on occasion. Gutierrez’s wife is also a key facilitator in the sense that she would often serve as a caretaker for Santos’ Fi Sabilillah Da’wah Media Foundation (FSDMF) when Fatima and Nurain were running errands or out of town on other business. She would also operate as a handler of money passing funds off from one individual to the next.

Gutierrez and Khalid Gorospe established the CGCL to better facilitate the flow of cash coming into the country from their Middle Eastern benefactors and began using the school for recruiting new members to replenish their ranks. Both Gutierrez and Gorospe would return to the Middle East to serve as OFWs tasked with collecting funds and targeting the OFW population for recruitment. How this works is they would identify the most vulnerable: young men who are alone. In this particular culture family is very important, and as an OFW you’re living thousands of miles away from your loved ones in an alien environment that is increasingly hostile to anyone who isn’t an Arab or Sunni Muslim for that matter. Individuals such as Gutierrez and Gorospe prey on these individuals by offering them the following:

1. RESPECT. This is very important due to how poorly Saudis are known to treat Filipinos – especially Christians.

2. A new, extend “family” of their Muslim brothers. This goes a long way towards feeling a new level of acceptance.

3. Promise of enhanced job prospects in the Middle East and when they return home to the Philippines. Gutierrez and Gorospe have used their links to major financiers and facilitators to get select Balik Reverts jobs.

4. A wife. Yes, there have been several cases where a Balik Revert will be matched up with a woman for marriage (this is how Khalil Pareja got married in case you were wondering).

The most promising recruits (after they’ve been indoctrinated into the militant ideology of the Black Flag movement that is) are identified while studying at one of the affiliated institutions – such as the CGCL – and sent to training camps in the Southern Philippines run by a joint-instructor cadre consisting of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Khalifah Islamiyah Mindanao (KIM), Bangsamoro Justice Movement (BJM)/BIFF-SOG and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).

Breakdown of the radicalization process
Source: The ISIS Study Group

Phillipines chart

One of his other tasks is to serve as the mouthpiece for the Santos Network to major terror financiers such as former Islamic Studies Call and Guidance (ISCAG) Director Sheik Hamoud Muhammad abd-al Aziz al-Lahim and Saleh Muhammad al-Sanaa. These connections play a big role in Gutierrez’s ability to secure jobs for new recruits. When he’s back in the Philippines, Gutierrez will often make his rounds by visiting ISCAG and the al-Marrif Educational Center (AMEC) to coordinate the distribution of funds to the CGCL and other affiliated schools in the country – all under the guise of “Islamic Dawah Activities.” This money is for proselytizing efforts, facilitating the travel of personnel to Syria and Iraq, even purchasing weapons and IED-making material for their jihadist colleagues in the Southern Philippines. These contacts will even send trusted associates representing their interests in the country to these institutions to pass along funds and guidance – Gutierrez reportedly plays an important role in making the arrangements for these meetings.

***

We decided to begin putting out more detailed pieces to drive home to the US government and good people of the Philippines that the IS presence in the country is very real, both the US and Aquino administration are both aware of it, but isn’t taking the threat seriously. The Filipino members of our network have expressed a genuine fear of the coming storm, and rightfully so. The Black Flag affiliates in the country aren’t just a threat to Filipino Christians and westerners, they’re also a threat to the average Filipino Muslim who oppose the ideology of death that Baghdadi and his followers practice. PNoy, his cabinet and the senior members of his security forces have been very much aware of everything we covered in this article for quite some time. The million dollar question is why haven’t the PNP conducted a security sweep to detain the key members of the Santos Network who are present in the country after the arrests of Ricardo Ayeras and Andy Valdez? We know this much, the PNP has been watching this network but don’t have the appetite to detain them despite the danger they pose to the civilian population. Unfortunately, they’re only going to be motivated to do something if the leadership is motivated to take action. It all starts at the top – starting with PNoy.

Much more at The ISIS Study Group

Netanyahu’s epic understandings with Egyptian, Saudi and UAE rulers – a potential campaign weapon

áðéîéï ðúðéäå áîñéáú òéúåðàéí áîùøã øàù äîîùìä öéìåí : àîéì ñìîïDEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 6, 2014

The six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) rulers meet in the Qatari capital of Doha next week amid high suspense across the Arab world. Its agenda is topped by moves to finally unravel the 2010 Arab Spring policy championed by US President Barack Obama, moves that also bear the imprint of extensive cooperation maintained on the quiet between Israel and key Arab rulers.
DEBKAfile reports that the Doha parley is designed to restore Egypt under the rule of President Abdel Fatteh El-Sisi to the lead role it occupied before the decline of Hosni Mubarak. Another is to root out the Muslim Brotherhood by inducing their champion, the young Qatari ruler, Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to drop his government’s support.

At talks taking place in Riyadh ahead of the summit, Qatari officials appeared ready to discontinue the flow of weapons, funds and intelligence maintained since 2011 to the Brothers and their affiliates across the Arab world (Libya, Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Hamas-ruled Gaza), as well shutting down the El Jazeera TV network – or at least stopping the channel’s use as the Brotherhood’s main propaganda platform.

The Doha summit is designed to crown a historic effort led by Saudi King Abdullah, UAE ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and President El-Sisi to undo the effects of the Obama administration’s support for elements dedicated to the removal of conservative Arab rulers, such as the Brotherhood.

They have found a key ally in this drive in Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who took advantage of the chance of an epic breakthrough in relations with the leading bloc of Arab nations, with immediate and far-reaching effect on Israeli security and its standing in the region.

Yet at the same time, Netanyahu has kept this feat under his hat – even while smarting under a vicious assault by his detractors – ex-finance minister Yair Lapid and opposition leader Yakov Herzog of Labor – on his personal authority and leadership credibility (“everything is stuck,” “he’s out of touch.”) and obliged to cut short the life of his government for a general election on March 17.
He faces the voter with the secret still in his pocket of having achieved close coordination with the most important Arab leaders – not just on the Iranian nuclear issue and the Syrian conflict, but also the Palestinian question, which has throughout Israel’s history bedeviled its ties with the Arab world.
When Yair Lapid, whom Netanyahu sacked this week, boasted, “I am talking to the Americans” while accusing the prime minister of messing up ties with Washington, he meant he was talking to the Americans close to Barack Obama, whom Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, hand in hand with Netanyahu, have judged adverse to their regimes.
This Arab-Israeli collaboration encompasses too many areas to keep completely hidden. Its fruits have begun breaking surface in a string of events.
This week, Israel apparently out of the blue, quietly agreed to Egypt deploying 13 army battalions in Sinai (demilitarized under their 1979 peace treaty), including tanks, and flying fighter jets over terrorist targets.

A joint Saudi-Israeli diplomatic operation was instrumental in obstructing a US-Iran deal on Tehran’s nuclear program.
Another key arena of cooperation is Jerusalem.
Friday, Dec. 5, Jordan announced the appointment of 75 new guards for the Al Aqsa Mosque compound on Temple Mount. The director of the mosque, Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, said they will begin work in the coming days.

This was the outcome of Jordanian King Abdullah’s talks with the Egyptian president in Cairo Sunday, Nov. 30, in which they agreed that the Muslim Waqf Authority on Temple Mount must change its mode of conduct and replace with new staff the violent elements from Hamas, the Al Tahrir movement and Israeli Arab Islamists, which had taken charge of “security.”.

The Moslem attacks from the Mount on Jewish worshippers praying at the Western Wall below and Israeli police have accordingly ceased in the two weeks since Israel lifted its age restrictions on Muslim worshippers attending Friday prayers at Al Aqsa. Israel groups advocating the right to Jewish prayer on Temple Mount were discreetly advised to cool their public campaign.

The Palestinian riots plaguing Jerusalem for months have died down, except for isolated instances, since, as DEBKAfile revealed, Saudi and Gulf funds were funneled to pacify the city’s restive Palestinian neighborhoods.

Cairo and the Gulf emirates have used their influence with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to get him to moderate his invective against Israel and its prime minister, and slow his applications for Palestinian membership of international bodies as platforms for campaigning against the Jewish state.

Concerned by the way the mainstream Arab world was marginalizing the Palestinian question, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal chose his moment Friday – ahead of the White House meeting between the Jordanian monarch and President Obama – to try and re-ignite the flames of violence in Jerusalem. He went unheeded.
Netanyahu may or may not opt to brandish Israel’s diplomatic breakthrough to the Arab world as campaign fodder to boost his run for re-election.  Whatever he decides, the rulers of Saudi Arabia, the Arab emirates and Egypt are turning out to have acquired an interest in maintaining him in office as head of the Israeli government, in direct opposition to President Obama’s ambition to unseat him.

Sisi is not Mubarak

Sisi-300x203By Caroline Glick:

It was due to Mubarak’s refusal to act that the Palestinians in Gaza were able to begin and massively expand their projectile war of mortars, rockets and missiles against Israel. From the first such attacks, carried out 14 years ago, the Palestinian projectile campaigns could never have happened without Egypt’s effective collaboration.

On countless occasions, Palestinian terrorist commanders were able to escape to Sinai and avoid arrest by Israeli forces, only to return to Gaza from Sinai and continue their operations.

Mubarak believed that Israel was his safety valve. By facilitating jihadist operations against Israel from Egyptian territory, he assumed that he was securing Egypt from them. As he saw things, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran would be so satisfied with his cooperation in their jihad against the Jews that they would leave him alone.

It was only in 2009, when Egypt announced the unraveling of a terrorist ring in Sinai comprised of Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hamas and Hezbollah operatives planning attacks against Israel and Egypt, and seeking the overthrow of the regime, that Mubarak began signaling he may have misjudged the situation. But even then, his actions against those forces were sporadic and half-hearted.

Hamas’s continued assaults against Israel in the years that followed, and the build-up of Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaida forces in Sinai, were a clear sign that Mubarak was unwilling to contend with the unpleasant reality that the very forces attacking Israel were also seeking to overthrow his regime and destroy the Egyptian state.

In stark contrast, Sisi rose to power as those selfsame forces were poised to destroy the Egyptian state. The Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power owed in part to the support it received from Hamas.

During the January 2011 rebellion against Mubarak, Hamas operatives played a key role in storming Egyptian prisons in Sinai and freeing Muslim Brotherhood leaders – including Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi – from prison. In 2012 and 2013, Hamas forces reportedly served as shock troops to quell protests against the Muslim Brotherhood regime. Those protests arose in opposition to Morsi’s moves to seize dictatorial powers Mubarak never dreamed of exercising, and his constitutional machinations aimed at transforming Egypt into an Islamic state and hub of a future global caliphate.

Sisi and his generals overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood with Saudi and UAE support in order to prevent Egypt from dissolving into a Sunni jihadist axis in which Hamas, al-Qaida and other jihadist movements were key players, and Iran and Hezbollah were allied forces.

Due to the events that propelled him to power, Sisi has adopted a strategic posture far different from Mubarak’s. As Sisi sees things, Sunni jihadist forces and their Iranian-led Shi’ite allies are existential threats to the Egyptian state even when their primary target is Israel. Sisi accepts that Israel’s fight against them directly impacts Egypt. He recognizes that when Israel is successful in defeating them, Egypt is more secure. When Israel is weak, the threat to Egypt rises.

Like Israel, Sisi acknowledges that the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is shared by Hamas, al-Qaida and all other significant Sunni jihadist groups renders all of these groups threats to Egypt. And because of this acknowledgment, Sisi has abandoned Mubarak’s policy of enabling their war against Israel.

Not only has he abandoned Mubarak’s policy of enabling them, Sisi has acted in alliance with Israel in combating them. This is nowhere more evident than in his actions against Hamas in Gaza.

After seizing power in July 2013, Sisi immediately ordered the Egyptian military to take action to secure the border between Gaza and Sinai. To this end, for the first time, Egypt took effective, continuous steps to block the smuggling of arms and people between the two areas. These steps had a profound impact on Hamas’s regime. Hamas went to war against Israel this past summer in a bid to force Egypt and Israel to open their borders with Gaza in support of the Hamas regime and its jihadist allies.

Hamas was certain that footage of suffering in Gaza would force Egypt to oppose Israel, and so open its border with Gaza. It would also lead to US-led pressure on Israel that would make Israel succumb to Hamas’s demands.

Against all expectations, and previous precedents of Egyptian behavior under both Mubarak and Morsi, Sisi supported Israel against Hamas. Moreover, he brought both Saudi Arabia and the UAE into the unofficial alliance with Israel. The bloc he formed was powerful enough to surmount US pressure to end the war by bowing to Hamas’s demands and opening Gaza’s borders with Egypt and Israel.

Since the cease-fire came into force three months ago, Sisi has continued to seal the border. As a consequence, he has denied Hamas the ability to rebuild Gaza’s terror infrastructure. In its reduced state, Hamas is less able to facilitate the operations of its jihadist brethren in Sinai that are primarily involved in waging an insurgency against the Egyptian state.

To be sure, the most significant strategic development in recent years is the US’s strategic realignment under President Barack Obama. Under Obama the US has switched sides, supporting Iran and its allies, satellites and assets, including the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, against America’s Sunni allies and Israel.

But the alliance that emerged this summer between Israel and Egypt, with the participation of Saudi Arabia and the UAE , is also a highly significant strategic development. For the first time, a major regional power is basing its strategic posture on its understanding that the threats against itself and against Israel stem from the same sources and as a consequence, that the war against Israel is a war against it.

Israelis have argued this case for years to their Arab neighbors as well as to the Americans and other Western states. But for multiple reasons, no one has ever been willing to accept this basic, obvious reality.

As a consequence, everyone from the Americans to the Europeans to the Saudis long supported policies that empower jihadist forces against Israel.

Sisi is the first major leader to break with this consensus, as a result of actions Hamas took before and since his rise to power. He has brought Saudi Arabia and the UAE along on his intellectual journey.

Sisi’s reassessment of the relationship between the war against Israel and the war against Egypt has had a profound impact on regional realities generally and on Israel’s strategic posture specifically.

From Israel’s perspective, this is a watershed event.

The government must take every possible action, in economic and military spheres, to ensure that Sisi benefits from his actions.

Saudi Arabia May Go Nuclear Because of Obama’s Iran Deal

1392403931746.cachedBy Eli Lake and Josh Rogin:

President Obama wants an agreement with Iran to prevent a Middle Eastern nuclear arms race, but it’s pushing Saudi Arabia toward its own nuke program.
Last month, America’s top Iran negotiator Wendy Sherman had some bad news for ambassadors from America’s Arab allies. In a meeting with envoys from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other Gulf states, Sherman said that any bargain with Iran would likely leave Tehran, the Gulf states long-time enemy, with the capacity to enrich uranium, according to U.S. officials briefed on the encounter.

Sherman regularly briefs these allies after diplomatic talks with Iran, but in recent weeks those conversations have been different. While most of America’s Middle East allies—with the exception of Israel—have publicly supported the current Iran negotiations, behind the scenes, envoys from the region have expressed grave concerns that Iran could be left with a break out capacity to make the fuel for a nuclear weapon at a time of their choosing.

And now, one of the countries in the region without a full-blown nuclear programs—Saudi Arabia—may be changing its mind. Riyadh has a long-standing interest in nuclear power. But Western and Israeli intelligence services are starting to see signs that this interest is growing more serious, and extends into nuclear enrichment. Until recently, the pursuit of nuclear enrichment—or the fuel cycle—was considered by arms control experts as a tell-tale sign of a clandestine weapons program. Nuclear fuel is sold to all members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but it’s far more costly to build the infrastructure and produce it indigenously. Saudi Arabia appears to be getting more serious about going down that path.

If Saudi Arabia pursue nuclear enrichment even if there is an Iran deal, then the victory to curb atomic weapons that Obama has tried to achieve will be at least partially undone by his own diplomacy.

“They view the developments in Iran very negatively. They have money, they can buy talent, they can buy training,” said David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a former weapons inspector. “The Saudis are thinking through how do you create a deterrent through capability.”

Albright said in this particular case, an indigenous Saudi program is in the very early stages. In 2012, the Saudi government announced plans to build 16 commercial reactors by 2030 and signed a technology agreement with China. But Albright said he has heard concerns expressed by a European intelligence agency that Saudi Arabia in recent years has quietly been developing the engineering and scientific knowledge base to one day master the nuclear fuel cycle, or produce the fuel indigenously for the reactors it’s trying to build. He said Saudi Arabia was hiring the scientists and engineers needed to build the cascades of centrifuges needed to produce nuclear fuel. “We don’t worry about the Saudis learning to operate a reactor,” he said. “I worry that they will learn the skills needed to master the fuel cycle.”

Read more at The Daily Beast

Also see:

Qatar’s Jihad #StopQatarNow

Qatarby Brahma Chellaney:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read  more at Stagecraft and Statecraft

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

Women in Saudi Arabia – Is There Real Reform?

Andrew Harrod examines Katherine Zoepf’s “Shopgirls” presentation exclusively for the Religious Freedom Coalition.

 

A Women’s Storefront Window on Rights, Religion, and Reform in Saudi Arabia

(Washington, DC) “You cannot assume the same starting point” for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia as Western countries, journalist Katherine Zoepf obviously understated in a September 17 presentation of her research in the doctrinaire Muslim kingdom.  Zoepf’s discussion of the “not just window dressing” reform in the kingdom’s strict “gender segregation” allowing women retail jobs, though, raises important questions about Islamic “extremism” in Saudi Arabia and beyond.

Zoepf’s Washington, DC, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting (Pulitzer Center) address centered on her December 2013 New Yorkerarticle “Shopgirls.”  Zoepf described therein how Saudi King Abdullah decreed in June 2011 a ban on male lingerie and cosmetic shop workers, leading the way towards other women retail positions.  Though “not…immediately evident,” Zoepf wrote, a “women’s revolution has begun in Saudi Arabia.”

A “male guardian—usually a father or husband” controlling “permission to study, to travel, and to marry” makes Saudi women “effectively…legal minors.”  A Saudi female doctor mentioned by Zoepf at Pulitzer Center, for example, enjoyed travel to places like Paris for medical conferences with her liberal husband’s generous permission, but after his death came under a conservative son’s strictures.  Another woman under the guardianship of her brother was raising her son as a liberal future replacement.

A Saudi female in a Supermarket check-out counter. the sign says “families only” because a male customer may not directly speak to her. A UK Citizen was beaten by religious police this year for speaking to a female clerk at a store.

A Saudi female in a Supermarket check-out counter. the sign says “families only” because a male customer may not directly speak to her. A UK Citizen was beaten by religious police this year for speaking to a female clerk at a store.

A “devout Saudi man avoids even mentioning the names of his wife and daughters in public” and they never met the man’s friends at home in one of the world’s “most patriarchal societies,” Zoepf wrote.  “You wouldn’t imagine that they live in the same homes,” Zoepf at Pulitzer Center said of husbands and wives’ segregated lives.  Separating as adolescents after childhood, male cousins might never see their female cousins’ faces again unless they are among the some 50% of first and second cousins who marry.  The kingdom meanwhile expends “vast resources” creating what Zoepf described at Pulitzer Center as an “entire second set of everything” such as female-only shopping malls and travel agencies.

Saudi women lack a “public identity,” Zoepf argued at Pulitzer Center, as they must wear in public the abaya body and head covering, although the niqab face covering is optional.  Saleswomen, though, often wear niqabs to avoid harassment from conservative customers or the “Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice” religious police (Hai’a or “committee” for short).  In lingerie stores, “Shopgirls” noted, “most customers remain fully covered even while being fitted.”

A public service advertisement with four Saudi girls covered in black abayas shown by Zoepf emphasized this covering.  Three of the girls had red “X”s under their images, as their abayas revealed slight protrusions caused by hair tied with ribbons underneath.  They “will not see heaven, nor will they smell its perfume,” Zoepf translated the advertisement’s Arabic caption.  Only the fourth without any such ornamentation had a green check mark.

An unveiled, stylishly-dressed Saudi woman in the Pulitzer Center  audience indicated Saudi progressivism’s limits.  This law student in America came from Jeddah, described by “Shopgirls” as “Saudi Arabia’s most liberal city.”  Moderating influences, Zoepf explained at Pulitzer Center, came to the port city throughout history in the form of annual pilgrims on hajj to Mecca from outside of Islam’s orthodox heartland.

Read more at Religious Freedom Coalition

Oil money and Saudi Arabia’s stranglehold over global affairs

Money Jihad, Sep. 18, 2014:

The five year anniversary of this blog’s inception is coming up in October. Before then we’ll revisit five videos that have touched on extremely important concepts in terrorist financing.

Today we’ll look at two. Money Jihad has shown one of them before—an interview with Bernard Lewis on C-SPAN—but it’s important enough to return to, about how oil money and the love affair between the House of Saud and Wahhabi clerics precipitated the rise of global jihad:

 

The other picks up where Lewis left off.  Former CIA director James Woolsey offers additional examples and comparisons about what Saudi oil money and the related control by Wahabbi clerics has meant for Islamic developments throughout the world over the past several decades.

 

Watching these videos and considering the billions of petrodollars that have flowed to terrorism, it almost feels silly to sniff out smaller transactions of a thousand dollars here and hundred dollars there to individual “martyrs” and their operations.

The Islamic State . . . of Saudi Arabia

pic_giant_092014_SM_John-Kerry-King-AbdullahNational Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, Sep. 20.2014:

The beheadings over the last several weeks were intended to terrorize, to intimidate, to coerce obedience, and to enforce a construction of sharia law that, being scripturally rooted, is draconian and repressive.

And let’s not kid ourselves: We know there will be more beheadings in the coming weeks, and on into the future. Apostates from Islam, homosexuals, and perceived blasphemers will face brutal persecution and death. Women will be treated as chattel and face institutionalized abuse. Islamic-supremacist ideology, with its incitements to jihad and conquest, with its virulent hostility toward the West, will spew from the mosques onto the streets. We will continue to be confronted by a country-sized breeding ground for anti-American terrorists.

The Islamic State? Sorry, no. I was talking about . . .  our “moderate Islamist” ally, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

But the confusion is understandable.

Islamic State terrorists have infamously decapitated three of their prisoners in recent weeks. That is five fewer than the Saudi government decapitated in August alone. Indeed, it is three fewer beheadings than were carried out in September by the Free Syrian Army — the “moderate Islamists” that congressional Republicans have now joined Obama Democrats in supporting with arms and training underwritten by American taxpayer dollars.

The Obama administration regards the Saudi government as America’s key partner in the fight against Islamic State jihadists. The increasingly delusional Secretary of State John Kerry reasons that this is because the fight is more ideological than military. Get it? The world’s leading propagators of the ideology that breeds violent jihad are our best asset in an ideological struggle against violent jihadists.

Aloof as ever from irony, Mr. Kerry gave this assessment while visiting King Abdullah in Riyadh on, of all days, September 11 — the thirteenth anniversary of the day when 15 Saudis joined four other terrorists in mass-murdering nearly 3,000 Americans in furtherance of the Islamic-supremacist ideology on which they were reared. The 19 were, of course, members of al-Qaeda, the jihadist network sprung from Saudi Arabia and its fundamentalist “Wahhabi” Islam.

Secretary Kerry and President Obama, like British prime minister David Cameron, insist that the Islamic State, an al-Qaeda-launched jihadist faction, is not Islamic. Evidently, this is owing to the terrorists’ savage tactics. In essence, however, they are the same tactics practiced by our “moderate Islamist” allies.

Saudi Arabia is the cradle of Islam: the birthplace of Mohammed, the site of the Hijra by which Islam marks time — the migration from Mecca to Medina under siege by Mohammed and his followers. The Saudi king is formally known as the “Keeper of the Two Holy Mosques” (in Mecca and Medina); he is the guardian host of theHaj pilgrimage that Islam makes mandatory for able-bodied believers. The despotic Saudi kingdom is governed by Islamic law — sharia. No other law is deemed necessary and no contrary law is permissible.

It is thus under the authority of sharia that the Saudis routinely behead prisoners.

I happen to own the edition of the Koran “with English Translation of ‘The Meanings and Commentary,’” published at the “King Fahd Holy Qur-an Printing Complex” — Fahd was Abdullah’s brother and predecessor. As the introductory pages explain, this version is produced under the auspices of the regime’s “Ministry of Hajj and Endowments.” In its sura (or chapter) 47, Allah commands Muslims, “Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks.”

The accompanying English commentary helpfully explains:

When once the fight (Jihad) is entered upon, carry it out with the utmost vigor, and strike home your blows at the most vital points (smite at their necks), both literally and figuratively. You cannot wage war with kid gloves. [Italicized parentheticals in original.]

Sura 8 underscores the point with another of Allah’s exhortations: “I am with you: Give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: Smite ye above their necks and smite ye all their fingertips off them.”

Following the 9/11 attacks, Americans Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg were among prisoners notoriously decapitated by al-Qaeda. Reacting to their beheadings, Timothy Furnish, a U.S. Army veteran with a doctorate in Islamic history, wrote a comprehensive Middle East Quarterly essay on “Beheading in the Name of Islam.” As Dr. Furnish recounted,

The practice of beheading non-Muslim captives extends back to the Prophet himself. Ibn Ishaq (d. 768 C.E.), the earliest biographer of Muhammad, is recorded as saying that the Prophet ordered the execution by decapitation of 700 men of the Jewish Banu Qurayza tribe in Medina for allegedly plotting against him.

As is always the case, the prophet’s example has been emulated by Muslims through the centuries. When Muslims conquered central Spain in the eleventh century, for example, the caliph had 24,000 corpses beheaded; the remains were piled into makeshift minarets atop which muezzins sang the praises of Allah. In more modern times, Furnish adds, “The Ottoman Empire was the decapitation state par excellence” — employing the practice to terrorize enemies for centuries, including, to take just one of many examples, beheading hundreds of British soldiers captured in Egypt in 1807.

A pity Sheikh Cameron was not around back then to correct the caliphate’s understanding of Islam.

The Saudis behead prisoners for such “offenses” as apostasy. You see, our “moderate Islamist” allies brook no dissent and permit no freedom of conscience. In this, the world’s most identifiably Islamic regime is no different from its Shiite counterpart (and regional competitor) in Tehran — to which President Obama respectfully refers by its preferred name, “the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Sharia is the law there, too. While the regime is said to have repealed the punishment of decapitation, it still prescribes stoning, flogging, and amputation for various violations, such as adultery and petty theft.

Such cruel — but not at all unusual — punishments are designed to enforce a societal system that, as I’ve previously outlined, degrades and dehumanizes women, while subjecting apostates and homosexuals to death and non-Muslims to systematic discrimination.

As night follows day, young Muslims schooled in the ideology promoted in Saudi Arabia gravitate to jihadist networks such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. As recited in Reliance of the Traveller, an authoritative sharia manual endorsed by scholars at the ancient al-Azhar University in Egypt and the Islamic Fiqh Academy in Saudi Arabia, “Jihad means to war against non-Muslims.” They are simply acting on what “moderate Islamists” have been teaching them.

And now Republicans in Congress have joined Democrats to support President Obama’s hare-brained scheme to train 5,000 “moderate” Syrian rebels. As every sentient person knows, a force of that size will have no chance of defeating the Islamic State or al-Qaeda — even if we charitably assume that many in its ranks do not defect to those organizations, as they have been wont to do. The rebels will similarly have no chance against the Iran-backed Assad regime. In sum, our government, nearly $18 trillion in debt, will expend another $500 million to school 5,000 “moderate Islamists” in military tactics that cannot win the war in Syria but could eventually be used in the jihad against the United States. Welcome to Libya . . . the Sequel.

Oh, and did I mention that the training of these “moderate” rebels will take place in “moderate” Saudi Arabia?

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

Also see:

Why ISIS Isn’t The Whole Picture

76d096dd279841fd87d5c0495e19d602-e1410894579290

It’s time for Americans to demand that Washington take stronger action to prevent terror groups in the first place — not simply reacting after we’ve been attacked.

By J. D. Gordon:

Imagine a team of doctors removing the largest malignant tumor from a lung cancer patient, leaving in countless smaller ones, and then allowing the patient to smoke 2-3 packs of cigarettes a day. Does anyone think this would cure the problem?

Yet that is basically Barack Obama’s approach to “destroy” ISIS.

And why is that?

While eliminating today’s largest terror network will help protect Americans and allies for the moment, it does nothing about smaller ones, nor changes the underlying conditions that led to their rise in the first place.

Let’s face it, a hit parade of anti-Western, radical Islam-inspired terror groups have stung Americans under every single president since Jimmy Carter. It’s not so simple as to just “blame Bush” or even the current administration.

For instance, Iranian revolutionaries humiliated Carter by capturing the U.S. Embassy and holding hostages in Tehran for 444 days. Islamic Jihad blew up the Marine Barracks in Beirut, killing 241 service members during Ronald Reagan’s first term. George H.W. Bush was president-elect when Libyan agents exploded Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Bill Clinton was the Commander-in-Chief during the first World Trade Center terror attack, the Khobar Towers explosion in Saudi Arabia, East Africa Embassy attacks, and USS Cole bombing in Yemen. George W. Bush presided during 9/11 and the aftermath.  Though Barack Obama ordered the hit on Osama Bin Laden, Islamic terror groups are even stronger now, despite his olive branch attempts to close Guantanamo and rid the world of nuclear weapons.

Yet militarily attacking Sunni terror groups like Al Qaeda, Taliban, ISIS, Ansar al Sharia, Al Nusra Front, Hamas, Al Shabab and Boko Haram, some of whom want to re-establish an Islamic Caliphate stretching from Afghanistan to Spain; and rival Shia groups who follow Iran’s state orders like Hezbollah, Mahdi Army and Badr Corps, is akin to pruning poison ivy. It works for a while, though stronger ones eventually rise to take their place. In order to stop the problem entirely, we must tear up the roots.

Though political correctness has muddied the waters of public discourse, Americans should not be fooled — the roots of terror are in radical Islam.

Exported by Shia-led Iran, and the competing Sunni branch from Saudi Arabia plus other Gulf States, adherents of both versions seek to destroy Israel and drive the U.S. out of the Middle East.

Complicating matters further, since the Saudis and other hardline Sunnis consider Iranians upstarts and apostates, they have fought proxy wars against Tehran to thwart their exportation of Shia Islam.

In preserving the Arabian Peninsula as center of gravity for the Muslim world, the Saudis and their allies in Qatar, Kuwait and U.A.E. have spent an estimated $100 billion to promote their extreme Sunni form of Wahhabism. They built madrassas throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan, teaching boys only the Koran, which helps explain why the Taliban emerged as a powerful force. And their material support to defeat the Soviet’s decade-long occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, aided by the U.S., similarly gave jihadists worldwide an appetite for further glory.

The world has slowly, yet steadily felt the repercussions of intolerant, political Islam. As a cultural indicator, for instance, take a look at pictures from 1970’s Egypt, Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan – women commonly wore dresses, skirts and enjoyed far more equality. Now they’re in hijabs in Cairo, Istanbul and Tehran. And while under the Taliban rule, burqas in Kabul, much like the female second class citizens wearing obligatory niqabs are in Gulf States, with just the eyes visible. In some places, they’re even whipped, stoned or hanged for alleged infractions of ultra-rigid sharia law. Freedom has been extinguished in large swaths of the planet.

Meanwhile, though it sounds good in the faculty lounge, Mr. Obama’s proclamation that ISIL is not “Islamic,” rings hollow coming from an American.

Read more at Daily Caller

J.D. Gordon is a retired Navy Commander and former Pentagon spokesman who served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2005-2009. He is a Senior Adviser to several think tanks based in Washington, DC. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Huffington Post

Also see Part I:

New University of Florida Islamic Center launch to feature Muslim Brotherhood supporter

The University of Florida is preparing to launch an Islamic studies center, officials said. (Photo: University of Florida)

The University of Florida is preparing to launch an Islamic studies center, officials said.
(Photo: University of Florida)

Cultural Jihad, Sep. 2, 2014:

With Professor Esposito’s appearance at the UF center’s launch, expect future funding/influence from Prince Talal as has been seen at Harvard and Georgetown.

UF Preparing To Launch Islamic Studies Center

From: The Gainesville SunBy Jeff Schweers, August 30, 2014

The University of Florida will soon have a Center for Global Islamic Studies.
The establishment of the center was recently approved by the university and will be announced to the UF Board of Trustees when it meets this week, said Terje Ostebo, assistant professor at the Center for African Studies and the Department of Religion.
“We are very excited about this,” Ostebo told The Sun via email. “There are very few similar programs in the Southeast, and virtually none in Florida. This center will contribute to putting UF on the map.”

the article further notes:

The official launch of the center will be Sept. 18-19, with a conference on “Global Islam and the Quest for Public Space,” he said.The conference will feature John Esposito, a religion professor at Georgetown University and founding director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.
∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

COMMENT/ANALYSIS:  As noted by The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch  (GMBDW), Professor Esposito has espoused views consistent with Muslim Brotherhood doctrine and has at least a dozen past or present affiliations with global Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas organizations.  A reportby the Investigative Project on Terrorism notes that Esposito has frequently made statements defending Islamic terror groups and downplaying the threat of Islamist violence.

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal is part of the Saudi Royal family and CEO of Kingdom Holding Company, an investment group that has significant interests in a number of media outlets as well as Twitter.  He has provided significant donations to U.S. Muslim Brotherhood groups such as Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) as well as towards U.S. colleges/universities to promote Islamic studies.   His monetary support ($20 million) to the Georgetown University Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (CCMU) founded by Esposito resulted in the center being renamed to the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.

In 2008 it was reported that Prince Talal ” made numerous financial contributions to a pan-Islamic interfaith dialog organization that is closely tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood.”  In 2013, Prince Talal met with the Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL) to discuss funding matters.  According to GMBDW:

The Muslim World League was established in 1962 as a means for the propagation of Saudi “Wahabbi” Islam. Muslim Brothers played an important role in its founding and the League has always been strongly associated with the Brotherhood. US government officials have testified that MWL has been linked to supporting Islamic terrorist organizations globally and the organization has a long history of anti-Semitism.

The Prince has a keen interest in U.S. colleges and universities.  With Professor Esposito’s appearance at the UF center’s launch, expect future funding/influence from Prince Talal as has been seen at Harvard and Georgetown.   In 2009, Yale selected Muna Abu Sulayman as a world fellow.  Suluayman is the daughter of Dr. Abdul Hamid Abu Sulayman,described by GMBDW as “one of the most important figures in the history of the global Muslim Brotherhood”.  She was also the founding Secretary General of the Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation.

The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) has a history of focusing on a presence on U.S. colleges/universities through various groups.  In 1963 the Muslim Student’s Association (MSA) was formed by Muslim Brotherhood members at the University of Illinois and can now be found on many college campuses.  In our report on Tampa’s Oaktree Institute we noted that MB groups in the U.S. work closely with youth and student organizations to educate and groom the next generation of cultural jihadis.

RELATED: Georgetown University’s Wahhabi Front – a 2008 article by Patrick Poole about the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding

You Can’t Understand ISIS If You Don’t Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia

n-WAHHABISM-large570By Alastair Crooke, Fmr. MI-6 agent; Author, ‘Resistance: The Essence of Islamic Revolution':

BEIRUT — The dramatic arrival of Da’ish (ISIS) on the stage of Iraq has shocked many in the West. Many have been perplexed — and horrified — by its violence and its evident magnetism for Sunni youth. But more than this, they find Saudi Arabia’s ambivalence in the face of this manifestation both troubling and inexplicable, wondering, “Don’t the Saudis understand that ISIS threatens them, too?”

It appears — even now — that Saudi Arabia’s ruling elite is divided. Some applaud that ISIS is fighting Iranian Shiite “fire” with Sunni “fire”; that a new Sunni state is taking shape at the very heart of what they regard as a historical Sunni patrimony; and they are drawn by Da’ish’s strict Salafist ideology.

Other Saudis are more fearful, and recall the history of the revolt against Abd-al Aziz by the Wahhabist Ikhwan (Disclaimer: this Ikhwan has nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan — please note, all further references hereafter are to the Wahhabist Ikhwan, and not to the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan), but which nearly imploded Wahhabism and the al-Saud in the late 1920s.

Many Saudis are deeply disturbed by the radical doctrines of Da’ish (ISIS) — and are beginning to question some aspects of Saudi Arabia’s direction and discourse.

THE SAUDI DUALITY

Saudi Arabia’s internal discord and tensions over ISIS can only be understood by grasping the inherent (and persisting) duality that lies at the core of the Kingdom’s doctrinal makeup and its historical origins.

One dominant strand to the Saudi identity pertains directly to Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab (the founder of Wahhabism), and the use to which his radical, exclusionist puritanism was put by Ibn Saud. (The latter was then no more than a minor leader — amongst many — of continually sparring and raiding Bedouin tribes in the baking and desperately poor deserts of the Nejd.)

The second strand to this perplexing duality, relates precisely to King Abd-al Aziz’s subsequent shift towards statehood in the 1920s: his curbing of Ikhwani violence (in order to have diplomatic standing as a nation-state with Britain and America); his institutionalization of the original Wahhabist impulse — and the subsequent seizing of the opportunely surging petrodollar spigot in the 1970s, to channel the volatile Ikhwani current away from home towards export — by diffusing a cultural revolution, rather than violent revolution throughout the Muslim world.

But this “cultural revolution” was no docile reformism. It was a revolution based on Abd al-Wahhab’s Jacobin-like hatred for the putrescence and deviationism that he perceived all about him — hence his call to purge Islam of all its heresies and idolatries.

Read more at The Huffington Post

 

SAUDI FOREIGN MINISTER: TIME FOR ISLAMIC WORLD TO RECOGNIZE ISRAEL

israeli-flag-worn-apBreitbart, by JORDAN SCHACHTEL:

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister said that now is the time to recognize Israel as a legitimate entity in the Middle East, stressing that the Palestinian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, terror group Hamas, is responsible for fanning the flames of war between Israelis and Palestinians.

Speaking at the world assembly of Islamic scholars in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Saud bin Faisal Al Saud reiterated that the Arab world must also reject Hamas as the representatives of the Palestinian movement, AWD news reports.

Saudi media has consistently been against Hamas in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute. “[Meshaal], we are tired of defending the [Palestinian] cause that you have sold for cheap to an MB (Muslim Brotherhood) gang whose way you followed even though they have lost their [own] way,” Saudi commentator Abdul Hamdi Razaq recently wrote in a scathing rebuke of Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.

In March, Saudi Arabia designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Some insist the designation had more to do with differing views on Sunni Islam than with the actual threat level posed by the Muslim Brotherhood.

This week, Saudi King Abdullah blamed Hamas for the 50-day war between the terror entity and the State of Israel. Abdullah said: “It is shameful and disgraceful that these terrorists [Hamas] are doing this in the name of religion, killing the people, whose killing Allah has forbidden, and mutilating their bodies, and feeling proud in publishing this. They have distorted the image of Islam with its purity and humanity and smeared it with all sorts of bad qualities by their actions, injustice, and crimes.”

Saudis Must Stop Exporting Extremism

1534157424 (1)ISIS Atrocities Started With Saudi Support for Salafi Hate

New York Times, By

ALONG with a billion Muslims across the globe, I turn to Mecca in Saudi Arabia every day to say my prayers. But when I visit the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the resting place of the Prophet Muhammad, I am forced to leave overwhelmed with anguish at the power of extremism running amok in Islam’s birthplace. Non-Muslims are forbidden to enter this part of the kingdom, so there is no international scrutiny of the ideas and practices that affect the 13 million Muslims who visit each year.

Last week, Saudi Arabia donated $100 million to the United Nations to fund a counterterrorism agency. This was a welcome contribution, but last year, Saudi Arabia rejected a rotating seat on the United Nations Security Council. This half-in, half-out posture of the Saudi kingdom is a reflection of its inner paralysis in dealing with Sunni Islamist radicalism: It wants to stop violence, but will not address the Salafism that helps justify it.

Let’s be clear: Al Qaeda, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Boko Haram, the Shabab and others are all violent Sunni Salafi groupings. For five decades, Saudi Arabia has been the official sponsor of Sunni Salafism across the globe.

Most Sunni Muslims around the world, approximately 90 percent of the Muslim population, are not Salafis. Salafism is seen as too rigid, too literalist, too detached from mainstream Islam. While Shiite and other denominations account for 10 percent of the total, Salafi adherents and other fundamentalists represent 3 percent of the world’s Muslims.

Unlike a majority of Sunnis, Salafis are evangelicals who wish to convert Muslims and others to their “purer” form of Islam — unpolluted, as they see it, by modernity. In this effort, they have been lavishly supported by the Saudi government, which has appointed emissaries to its embassies in Muslim countries who proselytize for Salafism. The kingdom also grants compliant imams V.I.P. access for the annual hajj, and bankrolls ultraconservative Islamic organizations like the Muslim World League and World Assembly of Muslim Youth.

After 9/11, under American pressure, much of this global financial support dried up, but the bastion of Salafism remains strong in the kingdom, enforcing the hard-line application of outdated Shariah punishments long abandoned by a majority of Muslims. Just since Aug. 4, 19 people have been beheaded in Saudi Arabia, nearly half for nonviolent crimes.

M_Id_364974_beheadingWe are rightly outraged at the beheading of James Foley by Islamist militants, and by ISIS’ other atrocities, but we overlook the public executions by beheading permitted by Saudi Arabia. By licensing such barbarity, the kingdom normalizes and indirectly encourages such punishments elsewhere. When the country that does so is the birthplace of Islam, that message resonates.

I lived in Saudi Arabia’s most liberal city, Jidda, in 2005. That year, in an effort to open closed Saudi Salafi minds, King Abdullah supported dialogue with people of other religions. In my mosque, the cleric used his Friday Prayer sermon to prohibit such dialogue on grounds that it put Islam on a par with “false religions.” It was a slippery slope to freedom, democracy and gender equality, he argued — corrupt practices of the infidel West.

This tension between the king and Salafi clerics is at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s inability to reform. The king is a modernizer, but he and his advisers do not wish to disturb the 270-year-old tribal pact between the House of Saud and the founder of Wahhabism (an austere form of Islam close to Salafism). That 1744 desert treaty must now be nullified.

The influence that clerics wield is unrivaled. Even Saudis’ Twitter heroes are religious figures: An extremist cleric like Muhammad al-Arifi, who was banned last year from the European Union for advocating wife-beating and hatred of Jews, commands a following of 9. 4 million. The kingdom is also patrolled by a religious police force that enforces the veil for women, prohibits young lovers from meeting and ensures that shops do not display “indecent” magazine covers. In the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the religious police beat women with sticks if they stray into male-only areas, or if their dress is considered immodest by Salafi standards. This is not an Islam that the Prophet Muhammad would recognize.

Salafi intolerance has led to the destruction of Islamic heritage in Mecca and Medina. If ISIS is detonating shrines, it learned to do so from the precedent set in 1925 by the House of Saud with the Wahhabi-inspired demolition of 1,400-year-old tombs in the Jannat Al Baqi cemetery in Medina. In the last two years, violent Salafis have carried out similar sectarian vandalism, blowing up shrines from Libya to Pakistan, from Mali to Iraq. Fighters from Hezbollah have even entered Syria to protect holy sites.

Textbooks in Saudi Arabia’s schools and universities teach this brand of Islam. The University of Medina recruits students from around the world, trains them in the bigotry of Salafism and sends them to Muslim communities in places like the Balkans, Africa, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Egypt, where these Saudi-trained hard-liners work to eradicate the local, harmonious forms of Islam.

What is religious extremism but this aim to apply Shariah as state law? This is exactly what ISIS (Islamic State) is attempting do with its caliphate. Unless we challenge this un-Islamic, impractical and flawed concept of trying to govern by a rigid interpretation of Shariah, no amount of work by a United Nations agency can unravel Islamist terrorism.

Saudi Arabia created the monster that is Salafi terrorism. It cannot now outsource the slaying of this beast to the United Nations. It must address the theological and ideological roots of extremism at home, starting in Mecca and Medina. Reforming the home of Islam would be a giant step toward winning against extremism in this global battle of ideas.

Understanding the Israeli-Egyptian-Saudi alliance

partners-300x191By Caroline Glick:

Hamas’s war with Israel is not a stand-alone event. It is happening in the context of the vast changes that are casting asunder old patterns of behavior and strategic understandings as actors in the region begin to reassess the threats they face.

Hamas was once funded by Saudi Arabia and enabled by Egypt. Now the regimes of these countries view it as part of a larger axis of Sunni jihad that threatens not only Israel, but them.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and its state sponsors Qatar and Turkey, are the key members of this alliance structure. Without their support Hamas would have gone down with the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt last summer. As it stands, all view Hamas’s war with Israel as a means of reinstating the Brotherhood to power in that country.

To achieve a Hamas victory, Turkey, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood are using Western support for Hamas against Israel. If the US and the EU are able to coerce Egypt and Israel to open their borders with Gaza, then the Western powers will hand the jihadist axis a strategic victory.

The implications of such a victory would be dire.

Hamas is ideologically indistinguishable from Islamic State. Like Islamic State, Hamas has developed mass slaughter and psychological terrorization as the primary tools in its military doctrine. If the US and the EU force Israel and Egypt to open Gaza’s borders, they will enable Hamas to achieve strategic and political stability in Gaza. As a consequence, a post-war Gaza will quickly become a local version of Islamic State-controlled Mosul.

In the first instance, such a development will render life in southern Israel too imperiled to sustain. The Western Negev, and perhaps Beersheba, Ashkelon and Ashdod, will become uninhabitable.

Then there is Judea and Samaria. If, as the US demands, Israel allows Gaza to reconnect with Judea and Samaria, in short order Hamas will dominate the areas. Militarily, the transfer of even a few of the thousands of rocket-propelled grenades Hamas has in Gaza will imperil military forces and civilians alike.

IDF armored vehicles and armored civilian buses will be blown to smithereens.

Whereas operating from Gaza, Hamas needed the assistance of the Obama administration and the Federal Aviation Administration to shut down Ben-Gurion Airport, from Judea and Samaria, all Hamas would require are a couple of hand-held mortars.

Jordan will also be directly threatened.

From Egypt’s perspective, a Hamas victory in the war with Israel that connects Gaza to Sinai will strengthen the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamic State and other allies. Such a development represents a critical threat to the regime.

And this brings us to Islamic State itself. It couldn’t have grown to its current monstrous proportions without the support of Qatar and Turkey.

Read more