Saudi Arabia’s New King Helped Fund Radical Terrorist Groups

King Salman, Saudi Arabia's newly enthroned monarch / AP

King Salman, Saudi Arabia’s newly enthroned monarch / AP

Washington Free Beacon, By Adam Kredo, Jan. 26, 2015

King Salman, Saudi Arabia’s newly crowned monarch, has a controversial history of helping to fund radical terror groups and has maintained ties with several anti-Semitic Muslim clerics known for advocating radical positions, according to reports and regional experts.

Salman, previously the country’s defense minister and deputy prime minister, was crowned king last week after his half-brother King Abdullah died at the age of 90.

While Abdullah served as a close U.S. ally and was considered a reformer by many, Saudi Arabia has long been criticized by human rights activists for its treatment of women and its enforcement of a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to travel to the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Tuesday to pay respects to Abdullah and meet with Salman, who also has been seen as a moderate friend of the United States.

However, throughout his public career in government, Salman has embraced radical Muslim clerics and has been tied to the funding of radical groups in Afghanistan, as well as an organization found to be plotting attacks against America, according to various reports and information provided by David Weinberg, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

In 2001, an international raid of the Saudi High Commission for Aid to Bosnia, which Salman founded in 1993, unearthed evidence of terrorist plots against America, according to separate exposés written by Dore Gold, an Israeli diplomat, and Robert Baer, a former CIA officer.

Salman is further accused by Baer of having “personally approved all important appointments and spending” at the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), a controversial Saudi charity that was hit with sanctions following the attacks of September 11, 2001, for purportedly providing material support to al Qaeda.

Salman also has been reported to be responsible for sending millions of dollars to the radical mujahedeen that waged jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s, according to Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer who is now director of the Brookings Intelligence Project.

“In the early years of the war—before the U.S. and the Kingdom ramped up their secret financial support for the anti-Soviet insurgency—this private Saudi funding was critical to the war effort,” according to Riedel. “At its peak, Salman was providing $25 million a month to the mujahedeen. He was also active in raising money for the Bosnian Muslims in the war with Serbia.”

Salman also has embraced radical Saudi clerics known for their hateful rhetoric against Israel and Jews.

Salman has worked closely with Saleh al-Moghamsy, who tweeted in August 2014 that “Allah only gathered Jews in the land of Palestine to destroy them.”

Al-Moghamsy also stated in a 2014 television interview that “the hatred of Jews toward Muslims is an eternal hatred.” He also claimed in 2012 that Osama bin Laden had died with more “sanctity and honor” than any infidel, or non-Muslim.

Despite this rhetoric, Salman has maintained close ties to al-Moghamsy.

Salman chairs the board of an organization run by al-Moghamsy and has sponsored the cleric’s public events, including a 2013 festival. Salman and al-Moghamsy were pictured many times together at that event, according to regional reports.

Al-Moghamsy also has been an adviser to two of Salman’s sons, one of whom posed for a selfie with the cleric in July.

Salman also has reached out to other hardline preachers, including Safar Hawali, a one-time mentor of Osama bin Laden who has called for non-Muslims to be expelled from Saudi Arabia.

In 2005, Salman called Hawali to inquire about his health and in 2010 praised him upon the release of a book.

While crown prince, Salman also made a point of phoning Aidh Abdullah al-Qarni, a Saudi author currently on the U.S. Terrorist Screening Center’s No Fly List who has praised Hamas and calledIsraelis “the brothers of apes and pigs.”

Additionally, Salman, in his role as crown prince, has recently visited Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti, the nation’s highest religious authority, who has asserted that 10 is an appropriate age of marriage for girls and called for the destruction of all churches in the Arabian Peninsula.

Weinberg, who has been tracking Salman closely, said that the new monarch is taking up his predecessor’s mantle of moderate reform.

“Just like King Abdullah tried to present himself as a reformer, some are trying to suggest that the new king, Salman, is a moderate who will continue his half-brother’s so-called progressive policies,” Weinberg said. “But just look at where Saudi Arabia is after Abdullah: people are being decapitated and flogged by the state in the streets.”

“Women are systematically oppressed by their own government, and the regime continues to propagate incitement and intolerance,” he continued. “Salman’s background funding mujahedeen abroad and embracing hateful clerics suggests that he is at best a political opportunist who will tolerate continued religious extremism, even if he does not hold such views himself.”

Death of Saudi King & Coup in Yemen: Signs in Iranian Prophecy

Foreground: Iranian Revolutionary Guards, banner in background: the late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

Foreground: Iranian Revolutionary Guards, banner in background: the late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

By Ryan Mauro:

The coup in Yemen by Iranian proxies and the death of Saudi King Abdullah must be seen through the eyes of Iranian regime elements focused on the “end-of-times” prophecies. These huge developments are seen not only as strategic opportunities by the Iranian regime; they are seen as fulfillments of prophecy signaling the imminent appearance of the Mahdi to bring final victory over the enemies of Islam.

THE END-OF-TIMES WORLDVIEW

The Iranian regime’s view of the world is centered around the appearance of the Mahdi, also known as the Hidden 12th Imam in Shia Islam. It also explains its strategy in the context of prophecies surrounding the Mahdi’s arrival on the scene, including issues related to Yemen, Saudi Arabia and other countries.

Former President Ahmadinejad famously displayed his belief that the Mahdi’s return is very near to the point that other regime elements derided him and his clique as “deviant” for believing that the Mahdi is directly guiding them.

Ahmadinejad was not doing this for domestic political reasons. If anything, it hurt him politically. He’s continued the rhetoric even after leaving the office. In April, he said the Iranian regime will “provide the setting for the Hidden Imam’s world revolution” and it’s the “prime goal” to facilitate the “beginnings of the emergence of the Hidden Imam.”

Supreme Leader Khamenei’s beliefs are not different. He likewise preaches that the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran is the fulfillment of prophecy to set the stage for the Mahdi to defeat Iran’s enemies.

Like Ahamdinejad, Khamenei believes Iran has a responsibility to consciously fulfill prophecy in order to trigger this event. His representative in the Revolutionary Guards said in June that Iran needs to shape the necessary “regional preparedness” for it to happen.

In July 2010, a senior Iranian cleric said that Khamenei told his inner circle that he had met with the Mahdi, who promised to “reappear” during his lifetime. A sermon by a top cleric in Qom and shown on state television claimed that Khamenei said “May Ali protect you” the second he was born.

The most vivid explanation of the end-of-times prophecy in the Iranian regime’s calculations came in 2011 when a terrifying videowas leaked titled, “The Coming is Upon Us.” It was obtained by Reza Kahlili, a former CIA spy within the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. The Iranian regime did not contest its authenticity.

The basis of the video was that the Iranian regime is fulfilling specific prophecies to trigger the appearance of the Hidden 12th Imam. Supreme Leader Khamenei, President Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah are depicted as the incarnations of figures foretold in prophecy.

Kahlili said the production of the film was overseen by President Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff and it ends with a list of endorsements from clerics. A portion was shown on the regime-controlled media.

The blowback was fierce even from within the regime. A major seminary in Qom even condemned the comparison of Ahmadinejad to the military commander who will lead the final war. Significantly, it did not condemn the comparison of Khamenei to the political leader who will ally with the Mahdi known as “Seyed Khorasani.”

The regime tried to distance itself from the video, but the filmmakers said it was shown to Khamenei and Ahmadinejad for approval. They also pointed out that prominent clerics and Revolutionary Guards commanders call him “Seyed Khorasani” to his face. Khamenei’s representative in the Guards told a state newspaper on April 12, 2011 that ayatollahs agreed that Khamenei is Khorasani.

The Iranian regime’s foreign policy is based on a fusion of these strategic and ideological goals. It rationally pursues these extremist objectives. The mistake that many Western analysts make is conflating the two. The regime appears Soviet-like in its strategic calculations, but they are made for a highly ideological end.

DEATH OF SAUDI KING & COUP IN YEMEN

The full significance of the death of Saudi King Abdullah can only be understood through the Iranian prophetic framework.

Read more at Clarion Project

World Leaders Lavish Praise on Saudi King Despite Rights Record Plus Tarek Fatah with the Truth

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz with then US President George W. Bush.

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz with then US President George W. Bush.

Clarion Project, BY ELLIOT FRIEDLAND, January 25, 2015

Official flags at government buildings in the United Kingdom have been lowered to half-mast as per a request put out by the office of the Queen as a sign of respect for the late King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah.

This display, along with the long line of world leaders flocking to Saudi Arabia to pay their respects has seen a backlash as commentators, politicians and ordinary people have pointed out Saudi Arabia’s dismal human rights record.

A formal request to lower the flags was put out by officials in the office of the Queen. Officials from the government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport sent out the request to other government departments and told reporters that the request had come from the Queen’s palace. It was described as “a matter of protocol.”

The Scottish parliament refused to lower flags, stating “We offer the people of Saudi Arabia our condolences following the passing of King Abdullah.” The spokesman added “Flags are not routinely flown at half-mast from Scottish government buildings to mark the deaths of foreign heads of government or state.”

The flag is flying at half-mast at Westminster Abbey, the most important church in the UK (along with Canterbury Cathedral) and at Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s official residence in London.

As Ed West of the Spectator asked “Why is Westminster Abbey honoring the king of a country where Christianity is banned?

Rather than a “patient and skillful moderniser of his country” as Tony Blair described him, King Abdullah was a staunch conservative who’s advisory council (solely appointed by him) refused a petition of women to end (among other things) male guardianship under which women are forbidden from travelling, doing business, marrying, divorcing, opening a bank account  – even undergoing certain medical procedures – without the permission of their male guardian.

Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, said that King Abdullah was a strong advocate for women “in a very discrete way.” The reality was quite different. Along with refusing women the right to drive, the king also kept four of his own daughter imprisoned in a royal compound for 13 years.

US President Barack Obama praised the king for having “the courage of his convictions” while previous President George W. Bush called him “a man I admire and was honored to work with” adding that he had “very fond memories of my visits to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” During his visit to Saudi Arabia, the former President would not have been able to visit Mecca, the holiest city in Islam, as non-Muslims are banned from entering.

These comments by world leaders are surprising in the light of Abdullah’s policies. King Abdullah has imprisoned hundreds of civil dissidents and oversaw the beheading of at least 79 people in 2013 alone, leading The Independent to ask “Who Beheads More People, ISIS or Saudi Arabia?” Two weeks ago the Saudi government gaveRaif Badawi the first 50 out of 1,000 lashes in spite of international pleas for clemency and an offer by leading religious freedom activists to take the lashes in Raif’s place.

Read more at Clarion Project

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Tarek Fatah eulogizes Saudi King Abdullah - with the truth

Published on Jan 23, 2015 by AlohaSnackbar01

 

Also see:

Abdullah is Dead. ISIS has an opportunity to flip the Kingdom. Here’s how

Global Guerrillas, by John Robb, January 22, 2015 (h/t @ClareMLopez)

Last week I wrote that ISIS would attack Saudi Arabia this spring.  This week the opportunity to attack with a high likelihood of success arrived: The King of Saudi Arabia died today.  Unfortunately for the Saudi’s, King Abdulla died before his Kingdom’s gambit to gain control of ISIS paid off.   Here’s what they were trying to do but failed to pull off in time:

  • Saudi Arabia has been pumping oil like crazy to drive the price of oil down.  It worked.  Prices dropped.  Lower oil prices are undercuting the funding ISIS gets from its illicit oil sales across the region.
  • Given time, the Saudis believed that this reduction in funding from oil sales would eventually force ISIS to approach Saudi Arabia for financial support.  When it did ask for financial help, the Kingdom would be able to gain the leverage necessary to neutralize the threat it posed (as it did with al Qaeda decades earlier).
  • Needless to say, this gambit didn’t work.  ISIS proved much more resilient financially than al Qaeda and other non-state groups are.  ISIS has many, many more sources of income than donations from sympathisers and oil sales.

The failure of this gambit means that with the death of the King, ISIS may have a golden opportunity to pivot south to take Mecca and Medina.  A southern pivot would capitalize on the increased fragility (of an already fragile country) caused by the succession.  It would also allow ISIS to continue the its impressive string of victories in the field.  However, this won’t be a conventional war.  It’s going to be an open source war to win a moral victory.  Here’s a taste for how they would do it:

  • ISIS would pivot forces from Syria and Iraq for a push south (indications are that this is apparently already underway), and then use these forces to rapidly overwhelm numerous border posts to create widespread confusion within the Saudi security forces.  If done correctly, the rapid advances of black flags will cause a mass rout that will yield significant equipment and a considerable number of new jihadis (as troops flip to join the ISIS jihad).
  • Simultaneous with the drive south, cells of ISIS jihadis and lone sympathizers will activate across the Kingdom, causing disruption and confusion.  With this, lines of authority and communication within the kingdom will begin to break down.
  • The advancing jihad will connect with local forces along a massive front moving south, jumping from city to city.  The speed of this will depend on how willing the population is to accept ISIS.  However, since Saudi Arabia has already indoctrinated its population with a religious ideology that is sympathetic to ISIS, the speed of the advance may be very rapid.

KSA map

What will this attack on Saudi Arabia mean?  Here are the worst potential outcomes.

  • The borders of Saudi Arabia might be completely rewritten within the next couple of months.   >> Once humpty dumpty is broken, all the kings horses and all the kings men won’t be able to put it together again.
  • In desperation, US ground troops would be deployed to defend the oil fields in the east (Ghawar, etc.).  This deployment would radically increase the ability of ISIS to recruit and potentially turn this into a regional jihad.
  • The advance of ISIS would result in massive refugee populations of Shia (towards Iraq) due to a religious cleansing of towns and cities across the kingdom.

PS:  If this doesn’t occur, ISIS missed the opportunity, and we’re all better off for their mistake.

PPS:  ISIS is a theocratic network of networks that is both entrepreneurial and dynamic.  The KSA is a theocratic hierarchy that’s risk averse and inflexible.  Which one wins?

Saudi King Abdullah Dead at 91…

BN-GO662_abdull_M_20150122171919CSP, by Kyle Shideler, Jan. 22, 2015:

Saudi state media has reportedly confirmed that the King of Saudi Arabia, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, is dead. Abdullah was long known to be in ill-health. According to reports, Abdullah has been succeeded by Prince Salman, Abdullah’s half-brother, and a son of Saudi founder Ibn Saud. Salman is in his 70s. Salman is a member of the so-called “Sudairi Seven,” after their mother, whose powerful al-Sudairi clan hails from the Nejd region of Saudi Arabia. The faction is considered a powerhouse within internal Saudi palace politics. In recent years reports have noted that Salman suffers from dementia.

King Salman

King Salman

His death comes at a particular bad time for Saudi Arabia, as just today Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have apparently forced the Yemeni president to resign, throwing the country into chaos.  Saudi Arabia has always viewed Yemen as a sort of vulnerable soft underbelly to their own Kingdom, and instability there has been viewed as a threat, which has led to Saudi military interventions in Yemen on multiple occasions, most recently in 2009 against the very same Houthis that now dominate Sana’a.

Of the major threats facing the Kingdom both Iran, and The Islamic State are likely to place particular significance on both of these events and their timing. Yemen plays a role in both Shia Twelver and Sunni Jihadist ideology, and Saud’s death and chaos in Yemen will no doubt be a highly motivating factor for both.

While Salman is clearly not in the best position to exert strong leadership for the House of Saud given his own health issues, he can rely on the internal networks of the Sudairi Seven within the government establishment. Whether that, taken together with the pressure of the external threats will be enough to insure a united Saudi response  remains to be seen.

Also see:

Meet the honor brigade, an organized campaign to silence debate on Islam

Asra Q. Nomani

Asra Q. Nomani

January 16 at 8:01 PM

Asra Q. Nomani, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, is the author of “Standing Alone: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam.”

“You have shamed the community,” a fellow Muslim in Morgantown, W.Va., said to me as we sat in a Panera Bread in 2004. “Stop writing.”

Then 38, I had just written an essay for The Washington Post’s Outlook section arguing that women should be allowed to pray in the main halls of mosques, rather than in segregated spaces, as most mosques in America are arranged. An American Muslim born in India, I grew up in a tolerant but conservative family. In my hometown mosque, I had disobeyed the rules and prayed in the men’s area, about 20 feet behind the men gathered for Ramadan prayers.

Later, an all-male tribunal tried to ban me. An elder suggested having men surround me at the mosque so that I would be “scared off.” Now the man across the table was telling me to shut up.

“I won’t stop writing,” I said.

It was the first time a fellow Muslim had pressed me to refrain from criticizing the way our faith was practiced. But in the past decade, such attempts at censorship have become more common. This is largely because of the rising power and influence of the “ghairat brigade,” an honor corps that tries to silence debate on extremist ideology in order to protect the image of Islam. It meets even sound critiques with hideous, disproportionate responses.

The campaign began, at least in its modern form, 10 years ago in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, when the Organization of Islamic Cooperation — a mini-United Nations comprising the world’s 56 countries with large Muslim populations, plus the Palestinian Authority — tasked then-Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu with combating Islamophobia and projecting the “true values of Islam.” During the past decade, a loose honor brigade has sprung up, in part funded and supported by the OIC through annual conferences, reports and communiques. It’s made up of politicians, diplomats, writers, academics, bloggers and activists.

In 2007, as part of this playbook, the OIC launched the Islamophobia Observatory, a watchdog group based in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, with the goal of documenting slights against the faith. Its first report, released the following year, complained that the artists and publishers of controversial Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad were defiling “sacred symbols of Islam . . . in an insulting, offensive and contemptuous manner.” The honor brigade began calling out academics, writers and others, including former New York police commissioner Ray Kelly and administrators at a Catholic school in Britain that turned away a mother who wouldn’t remove her face veil.

“The OIC invented the anti-‘Islamophobia’ movement,” says Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a frequent target of the honor brigade. “These countries . . . think they own the Muslim community and all interpretations of Islam.”

Alongside the honor brigade’s official channel, a community of self-styled blasphemy police — from anonymous blogs such as LoonWatch.com andIkhras.com to a large and disparate cast of social-media activists — arose and began trying to control the debate on Islam. This wider corps throws the label of “Islamophobe” on pundits, journalists and others who dare to talk about extremist ideology in the religion. Their targets are as large as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and as small as me.

The official and unofficial channels work in tandem, harassing, threatening and battling introspective Muslims and non-Muslims everywhere. They bank on an important truth: Islam, as practiced from Malaysia to Morocco, is a shame-based, patriarchal culture that values honor and face-saving from the family to the public square. Which is why the bullying often works to silence critics of Islamic extremism.

“Honor brigades are wound collectors. They are couch jihadis,” Joe Navarro, a former supervisory special agent in the FBI’s behavioral analysis unit, tells me. “They sit around and collect the wounds and injustices inflicted against them to justify what they are doing. Tragedy unites for the moment, but hatred unites for longer.”

In an e-mail exchange, the OIC’s ambassador to the United Nations denied that the organization tries to silence discussion of problems in Muslim communities.

The attacks are everywhere. Soon after the Islamophobia Observatory took shape, Sheik Sabah Ahmed al-Sabah, the emir of Kuwait, grumbled about “defamatory caricatures of our Master and Prophet Muhammad” and films that smear Islam, according to the OIC’s first Islamophobia report.

The OIC helped give birth to a culture of victimization. In speeches, blogs, articles and interviews widely broadcast in the Muslim press, its honor brigade has targeted pundits, political leaders and writers — from TV host Bill Maher to atheist author Richard Dawkins — for insulting Islam. Writer Glenn Greenwald has supported the campaign to brand writers and thinkers, such as neuroscientist and atheist Sam Harris, as having “anti-Muslim animus” just for criticizing Islam.

“These fellow travelers have made it increasingly unpleasant — and even dangerous — to discuss the link between Muslim violence and specific religious ideas, like jihad, martyrdom and blasphemy,” Harris tells me.

Noticing the beginnings of this trend in December 2007, a U.S. diplomat in Istanbul dispatched a cable to the National Security Council, the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and various State Department offices. The cable said the OIC’s chief called supporters of the Danish cartoons of Muhammad “extremists of freedom of expression” and equated them with al-Qaeda.

Most of the criticism takes place online, with anonymous bloggers targeting supposed Islamophobes. Not long after the cable, a network of bloggers launched LoonWatch, which goes after Christians, Jews, Hindus, atheists and other Muslims. The bloggers have labeled Somali author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a born Muslim but now an atheist opponent of Islamic extremism, an “anti-Muslim crusader.” Robert Spencer, a critic of extremist Islam, has been called a “vicious hate preacher” and an “Internet sociopath.” The insults may look similar to Internet trolling and vitriolic comments you can find on any blog or news site. But they’re more coordinated, frightening and persistent.

Read more at Washington Post

The Missing Pages of the 9/11 Report

William Kratzke/AP; Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

William Kratzke/AP; Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

Daily Beast, by Eleanor Clift, Jan. 12, 2015:

The lead author of the Senate’s report on 9/11 says it’s time to reveal what’s in the 28 pages that were redacted from it, which he says will embarrass the Saudis.
A story that might otherwise have slipped away in a morass of conspiracy theories gained new life Wednesday when former Sen. Bob Graham headlined a press conference on Capitol Hill to press for the release of 28 pages redacted from a Senate report on the 9/11 attacks. And according to Graham, the lead author of the report, the pages “point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as the principal financier” of the 9/11 hijackers.

“This may seem stale to some but it’s as current as the headlines we see today,” Graham said, referring to the terrorist attack on a satirical newspaper in Paris. The pages are being kept under wraps out of concern their disclosure would hurt U.S. national security. But as chairman of the Senate Select Committee that issued the report in 2002, Graham argues the opposite is true, and that the real “threat to national security is non-disclosure.”

Graham said the redacted pages characterize the support network that allowed the 9/11 attacks to occur, and if that network goes unchallenged, it will only flourish. He said that keeping the pages classified is part of “a general pattern of coverup” that for 12 years has kept the American people in the dark. It is “highly improbable” the 19 hijackers acted alone, he said, yet the U.S. government’s position is “to protect the government most responsible for that network of support.”

The Saudis know what they did, Graham continued, and the U.S. knows what they did, and when the U.S. government takes a position of passivity, or actively shuts down inquiry, that sends a message to the Saudis. “They have continued, maybe accelerated their support for the most extreme form of Islam,” he said, arguing that both al Qaeda and ISIS are “a creation of Saudi Arabia.”

Standing with Graham were Republican Rep. Walter Jones and Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch, co-sponsors of House Resolution 428, which says declassification of the 28 pages is necessary to provide the American public with the full truth surrounding the 9/11 attacks. The two lawmakers echoed Graham’s assertion that national security would not be harmed, and point out that on two separate occasions President Obama has told 9/11 families that he wants to see the pages declassified. Jones and Lynch wrote a letter to Obama in April urging him to take action, and have been told by the White House that a response is in the works.

The purpose of the Wednesday press conference was to put pressure on the White House by building bipartisan support in the House and Senate. Any member with a security clearance is able to read the redacted chapter in a closed room, albeit under supervision and with no note taking and no staff.  It’s a cumbersome process, and most members haven’t bothered. The relatively few who have read the pages come away with varying levels of shock and surprise. Lynch said he was so blown away that the information was being kept from the public that he told the two room monitors he would be filing legislation. HR 428 had 27 co-sponsors in the last Congress.

Among the attendees at the press conference was Jack Quinn, formerly a top lawyer in the Clinton White House, who is representing 9/11 families in their effort to gain compensation from the Saudi government. If the redacted pages document complicity in the attacks by the Saudi government, or religious and charitable institutions related to the kingdom, which is relevant to a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York where the Saudis are the defendants. Quinn, who is one of several lawyers involved with the case, previously represented families in the Lockerbie crash in their suit against the Libyan government.

Read more

RECOMMENDED READING: “Saudi Arabia’s Rulers Reconsider Ties To Wahhabi Clergy”

Saudi+Arabia+flagBy , Jan. 9, 2015:

An Arabian business magazine has published an article titled “Saudi Arabia’s Rulers Reconsider Ties To Wahhabi Clergy” that looks at what is said to be an “adjustment” to the Saudi relationship with so-called Wahabbi Islam. The Arabian Business.com report begins:

December 17, 2014 Saudi Arabia’s ruling Al Saud royal family are trying to adjust their relationship with the country’s strict Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam as they increasingly view the teachings of some of its ultra-conservative clergy as a domestic security threat.

Radicalisation of Muslims in the world’s top oil exporter has led to domestic attacks and the involvement of Saudi citizens in jihadist movements in Iraq and Syria, while extreme religious practices have damaged efforts to boost employment.

Over the past decade the House of Saud has not only put in place measures to control clerics and their sermons, but has started to favour more modern clergy for top state positions.

Saudi rulers are also starting to reform areas once the exclusive domain of the clergy, such as education and law, and have promoted elements of national identity that have no religious component.

Saudi Arabia remains one of the most religiously conservative countries on earth, and the royal family are not cutting off the clergy or ditching Wahhabism’s basic precepts, analysts and diplomats say.

They are instead attempting to foster a reading of its teachings that distances it from Islamist militants such as Islamic State, and which better meets the demands of a modern economy. ‘

Read the rest here.

The GMBDW reported in March of last year that Saudi Arabia had formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization and was among a group of Gulf countries that had recalled their envoys from Qatar over the issue. We also reported in May 2014 that the country had arrested nine university professors for their alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood and reported the same month that three well-known imams in Saudi Arabia’s Southern Province had been banned for life from delivering sermons after they were found to be connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.  However, at the same time wediscussed certain inconsistencies related to the Saudi Muslim World League (MWL) which appeared to be operating outside of the new Saudi policy on the Brotherhood by maintaining ties to important figures in the Global Muslim Brotherhood. Should the above report prove to be accurate, it would lend further credence to the idea of a sea change in the relationship of Saudi Arabia to the Muslim Brotherhood

In May 2013, Ahram Online published a useful history of the tumultuous and sometimes difficult to understand relationship between Saudi Arabia and the Global Muslim Brotherhood.

Saudi religious leader OKs rape of children

150102muslimgirlWND, by F. MICHAEL MALOOF, Jan. 3, 2015:

WASHINGTON – Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh, the kingdom’s top religious authority in the ultra-conservative Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam, has ruled it’s acceptable for men to marry girls so young the West would deem it nothing short of pedophilia and rape.

Despite the Saudi justice ministry’s failed efforts to date to set 15 as a minimum age to marry a girl in the kingdom, Grand Mufti Abdulaziz declared there is nothing prohibiting Muslim men from marrying girls even younger.

As Grand Mufti, Abdulaziz is president of the Supreme Council of Ulema (Islamic scholars) and chairman of the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing Fatwas, which means he speaks authoritatively in Islamic teachings.

Grand Mufti Abdulzaiz’s more recent ruling on marrying young girls comes following a similar ruling in 2011 by Dr. Salih bin Fawzan, a prominent cleric and member of the Saudi’s highest religious council, who issued a fatwa, or religious edict, that there is no minimum age to marry girls, “even if they are in the cradle.”

Fawzan’s fatwa came from a similar edict in the Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari li Ibn Battal, which said the ulema, or Islamic scholars, agreed to permit fathers marry off their small daughters.

“The ulema have agreed that it is permissible for fathers to marry off their small daughters, even if they are in the cradle,” the edict declared. “But it is not permissible for their husbands to have sex with them unless they are capable of being placed beneath and bearing the weight of the men. And their capability in this regard varies based on their nature and capacity. Aisha was six when she married the prophet, but he had sex with her when she was nine, that is, when she was deemed capable.”

Fawzan said there is nothing in Islamic, or Shariah law, that sets a minimum age limit on marrying girls, citing Quran 65:4.

“It behooves those who call for setting a minimum age for marriage to fear Allah and not contradict his Shariah, or try to legislate things Allah did not permit,” Fawzan said. “For laws are Allah’s province, and legislation is his exclusive right, to be shared by none other. And among these are the rules governing marriage.”

Scholars say the age of marrying young girls and consummating the “marriage” is based on the example set by Muhammad when he married Aisha when she was no more than seven years of age, consummating the marriage when she was nine.

“The grand point of the Saudi fatwa, however, is not that girls as young as nine can be married, based on Muhammad’s example, but rather that there is no age limit whatsoever,” Middle East expert Raymond Ibrahim writes in Middle East Forum. “The only question open to consideration is whether the girl is physically capable of handling her ‘husband.’”

“The lives of countless young girls are devastated because of this teaching,” Ibrahim said.

He cited the case of an 8-year-old girl who died on her “wedding” night when her “husband” raped her. He also referred to a 10-year-old girl who hid from her 80-year-old “husband.”

Grand Mufti Abdulaziz and Fawzan’s fatwas come even as Saudi men have been reportedly purchasing young girls from Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan.

As WND recently reported, rich Saudi Arabian men – some associated with the Saudi royal family – have been purchasing for their sexual pleasure Syrian girls and young women from among the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war conflict to Lebanon and Jordan.

Most of these Saudi men are said to be in their 60s and 70s. When they tire of the girls, they often hand them off to other men.

“They come into Lebanon and Jordan and go to the Syrian refugee camps where the Syrian families there have nothing,” one Lebanese source told WND. “The Saudis then offer $200 for girls aged 9 to 14 years and take them from their families. Because the families are so desperate for money, they give in to the temptation.”

The United States, allied with Saudi Arabia, has been silent on its treatment of young girls..

“Given the influence the United States has over Saudi Arabia, why hasn’t your president confronted the Saudis about this?” one source asked WND. “Sometimes, the girls are returned to their families, but they won’t have a future.”

F. Michael Maloof, senior staff writer for WND/ G2Bulletin, is a former security policy analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He can be contacted at mmaloof@wnd.com.

Qatar: A Change of Heart? Or merely rearranging the Camels?

qatar_awareness_campaign_logoBy William Michael:

An Update from the Qatar Awareness Campaign

Several recent news reports point to the possibility that Qatar, the host nation of the Muslim Brotherhood, may be genuine in their attempt to reconcile with their Arab neighbors.  After expelling the Qataris and isolating them diplomatically, the United Arab Emirate, Saudi Arabia, and even Egypt appear to have reached an accord with Doha.  The Nazi-rooted Muslim Brotherhood was long ago banished from Saudi Arabia (in the late 1920s), and Egypt has violently suppressed them many times, notably after the assassination of Sadat.  Yet the daily report out of the Middle East suggests that KSA, UAE, and Egypt may really welcome Doha back into the family.

Consider:

  • Yesterday, it was reported that Qatar pledged to stop funding Hamas – truly remarkable, if true.
  • A few months ago, they expelled prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • An Interpol arrest warrant has been issued for Yusuf al-Qaradawi (the Muslim Brotherhood’s “spiritual leader”), and he will no longer broadcasting on Al Jazeera (if reports are to be believed).

It is possible that the month-long Qatar Awareness Campaign, which issued an open letter to nearly 30 companies, universities, individuals, and politicians who benefited financially from a relationship with terror-sponsoring Qatar, had something to do with this apparent change of heart.  The campaign identified Qatar as the primary sponsor of Islamic terror, with connections across the Middle East and North Africa to groups such as Hamas, ISIS, and Boko Haram.

But, there is another explanation for this apparent change of heart which, given Qatar’s two-faced nature, may be more realistic.

The MB could simply be shifting their bases of operation, leaving their financial hub, Qatar, alone (for the moment), thus providing their wealthy benefactor with the good press to alleviate them of the international pressure. For over the past four months, the world press had suddenly taken notice of the corrupt Gulf terror state, and its causing them trouble. FC Barcelona, for example, dropped their sponsorship deal Qatar Foundation over Qatar’s financing of Hamas.

The evidence for this “camel rearranging” is as follows:

  • Turkey, a close ally of Qatar and Muslim Brotherhood proxy themselves, welcomed the expelled Muslim Brothers from Qatar.
  • Qatar and Turkey recently reaffirmed their mutual support for “oppressed peoples” – i.e., Islamists in secularly governed countries, and Hamas in Gaza.
  • Other MB expelled from Qatar have gone to Libya, where the UAE/Egypt are in a proxy war with Qatar.
  • Hamas has been removed from the EU list of terrorist groups, providing more flexibility to terrorists in Palestine.
  • The White House (Obama) tacitly threatened to sanction Israel, and remains extremely hostile to Netanyahu.
  • Qatar’s reconciliation with their Gulf neighbors appears to be directly related to lower oil prices, which have crippled Russia’s economy and hurt Iran (Russia and Iran being no friends of Saudi Arabia).  This also directly affects Syria, a Russian and Iranian client state that is under siege by Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood, elements in Saudi Arabia, and the Obama administration.
  • ISIS is preparing to attack Israel.

Another development to take into account is the increasingly sharp language of the conservative press aimed at Obama and the Islamists.  We may finally be reaching a point where, sooner or later, the mainstream press is going to have to face up to the possibility that Obama is not who he says he is, but in fact an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Consider, the cop killer in NYC worked for Islamic Society of North America, and the president of ISNA is a close Obama advisor, including to DHS and the National Security Council.  The truth is getting harder to ignore.  As many people who have spent the time investigating Obama’s roots and connections have determined, the real threat to world peace is not in fact Qatar, but the Obama administration.

Now is truly the time to make the case that the administration is the North American branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, Taliban, and Hamas.  It must be done for posterity, before it is too late!

Let the chips fall where they may – the future belongs to the brave.

Meshaal on point of relocating Hamas’ political headquarters from Doha to Tehran

13930311000529_PhotoIDEBKAfile:

Hamas’ political leader Khaled Meshaal, forced to quit his old headquarters in Damascus after abandoning his longtime host Bashar Assad and finding sanctuary in Doha – is again being hounded from pillar to post. DEBKAfile: A deal struck this week between Egypt and Qatar could result in the Hamas leader settling in the Iranian capital. This would afford Tehran a foothold in the Gaza Strip, its second Mediterranean outpost after Lebanon on the Israeli border.

The Egyptian-Qatar deal, revealed here by DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources, covers the future of the Muslim Brotherhood, the nemesis of Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisis, and its offspring, the Palestinian Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip. Their memorandum of understanding was concluded Wednesday, Dec. 24, in Cairo by a delegation of Qatari intelligence chiefs and the new Egyptian director of intelligence Gen. Khaled Fawzi. They spent most of the day hammering out its six points, which are listed here:

1.  Qatar withdraws its support from all Brotherhood operations against Egypt and Saudi Arabia;

2.  This point applies equally to any Hamas activity that may be interpreted as inimical to Egypt;

3.  Qatar’s assistance to Hamas will be limited to “civilian” projects (such as repairing war damage in Gaza), which too will be subject to President El-Sisi’s approval;

4. Given the close cooperation maintained at present between the Egyptian president and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on affairs relating to Gaza, Israel will implicitly have the right to disqualify certain Palestinian projects in the enclave;

5.  Qatar is to shut down the anti-Egyptian propaganda channel run by its Al Jazeera television station;

6.  The emirate is not required to sever all its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, just to keep them under control as its “strategic reserve.”

It is extremely hard to conceive of these two radical Islamist organizations bowing to the restrictions placed on their operations under the Egyptian-Qatari deal.

DEBKAfile’s sources add:  Brotherhood leaders have exited Doha and made arrangements to establish residence and a new center of operations in London, U.K.  Khaled Meshaal, after he was denied permission by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to set up shop in Istanbul, is on the point of a decision to relocate his offices in Tehran. Iran would thus gain a proxy foothold in the Gaza Strip, its second outpost on the Mediterranean after the first was provided by Hizballah in Lebanon. If Meshaal decided to settle in Tehran, Iran would acquire a handy springboard for action against Egypt and southern Israel.

Also see:

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: