Al Qaeda Announces New Branch and Bid for Own Caliphate

Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri

Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri

BY RYAN MAURO:

Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has announced the opening of a new branch targeting India, Bangladesh and Burma in a videotape release. He did not mention the Islamic State (formerly ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), but his announcement could be interpreted as an attempt to demonstrate Al Qaeda’s viability as it is being eclipsed by the Islamic State.

Zawahiri, who is thought to be hiding in Pakistan, said that it took Al Qaeda two years to merge its associated forces into this new branch. Tellingly, he said that the new branch, named Qaedat al-Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent (QJIS), would be loyal to Taliban chief Mullah Omar.

QJIS is led by a Pakistani commander of Al Qaeda named Asim Umar. His official position in Al Qaeda is chief of the group’s Sharia Committee in Pakistan. He is also a Pakistani Taliban commander.

Zawahiri named Ustad Usama Mahmoud as the spokesperson for QJIS.

He emphasized that the group’s goal is to “Establish sharia in the land and to free the occupied land of Muslims in the Indian sub-continent.”

The jihad is not fundamentally about territorial disputes. Indian control of Kashmir, the crackdown on Islamists by the Bangladeshi government and the dictatorship of Burma are road blocks standing in the way of this greater objective of sharia governance. Al Qaeda takes up these political causes as a means to this end.

Zawahiri called on Muslims to help QJIS create a caliphate. He describes its mission statement as “to call the ummah [Muslim world] to unite round the word of Tawhid [monotheism], to wage jihad against its enemies, to liberate its land, to restore its sovereignty, and to revive its Caliphate.”

This is an important detail. The Islamic State’s pitch is that it is an established caliphate and the one with the best chance of a success. Zawahiri is showing that Al Qaeda is also pro-caliphate and is suggesting the Indian subcontinent as an alternative starting point.

Read more at Clarion Project

Also see:

Al Qaeda opens branch in the ‘Indian Subcontinent’

 

In the video, Umar called on Indian Muslims to participate in the “global jihad to give a final push to the collapsing edifice of America.”

By Bill Roggio:

Al Qaeda has announced the establishment of a new branch, called “Qaedat al-Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent.” The group reports to Mullah Omar, the head of the Afghan Taliban, and is led by a former commander in the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan who also served as a sharia official in al Qaeda’s branch in Pakistan. The ultimate goal of al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent is the same as al Qaeda’s: to establish a global caliphate and impose sharia, or Islamic law.

As Sahab, al Qaeda’s official media outlet, released a lengthy video promoting the creation of al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent today. The video, which was published on various Internet video sites, including YouTube, features Ayman al Zawahiri as well as Asim Umar, the new emir of al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, and Usama Mahmoud, the group’s spokesman. The video was translated by the SITE Intelligence group.

“A new branch of al-Qaeda was established and is Qaedat al-Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent, seeking to raise the flag of jihad, return the Islamic rule, and empowering the Shariah of Allah across the Indian subcontinent,” Zawahiri says in the opening of the video, according to the translation by SITE.

Zawahiri says the group was years in the making, contains “soldiers of the Islamic Emirate” (a reference to the Afghan Taliban), and ultimately reports to Mullah Omar.

“This entity was not established today, but it is the fruit of a blessed effort for more than two years to gather the mujahideen in the Indian subcontinent into a single entity to be with the main group, Qaedat al-Jihad, from the soldiers of the Islamic Emirate and its triumphant emir, Allah permitting, Emir of the Believers Mullah Muhammad Omar Mujahid,” Zawahiri says. Zawahiri renewed his oath of allegiance to Mullah Omar in a statement that was released in July of this year. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda renews its oath of allegiance to Taliban leader Mullah Omar.]

“It is an entity that was formed to promulgate the call of the reviving imam Sheikh Usama bin Laden, may Allah have mercy on him, to call the Ummah to unite round the word of Tawhid [monotheism], to wage jihad against its enemies, to liberate its land, to restore its sovereignty, and to revive its Caliphate,” Zawahiri continues in the video.

Zawahiri says the group will defend the “vulnerable in the Indian subcontinent, in Burma, Bangladesh, Assam, Gujurat, Ahmedabad, and Kashmir …” and “your brothers in Qaedat al-Jihad did not forget you and that they are doing what they can to rescue you from injustice, oppression, persecution, and suffering.”

Read more at Long War Journal

Also see:

U.S. Links Iran to Both Al-Qaeda and Taliban Terrorists

Iran Ayatollah Khamenei in front of a picture of the leader of the 1979 Iranian Islamic revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

Iran Ayatollah Khamenei in front of a picture of the leader of the 1979 Iranian Islamic revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

By Ryan Mauro:

The U.S. Treasury Department is again linking the Iranian regime to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. On August 21-22, it sanctioned several terrorists and disclosed their Iranian ties. Yet again, it is confirmed that Shiite and Sunni terrorists are willing to cooperate against common enemies.

An August 22 press release announces the sanctioning of Abdul Mohsen Abdullah Ibrahim al-Sharikh, described as an Al-Qaeda facilitator and strategist in Syria. He is also a senior leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, and very active in social media.

The Obama Administration explains that he also played a leading role in Al-Qaeda’s pipeline in Iran that operates with the consent of the regime:

“Prior to his work in Syria with [Jabhat al-Nusra], al-Sharikh served in early 2013 as chief of al-Qaida’s Iran-based extremist and financial facilitation network before the return of already designated al-Qaida facilitator Yasin al-Suri to the position. Al-Sharikh has also previously served al-Qaida as a key financial facilitator in Pakistan.”

A press release from a day prior announced that the Treasury Department was sanctioning the Basir Zarjmil Hawala based in Chaman of Pakistan’s Baluchistan Province. Hawala networks are underground money transfer systems in the Muslim world.

The U.S. government says the Basir Zarjmil Hawala became the “principal money exchanger” for Taliban leaders in Pakistan in 2012. It provides a list of branch offices, with one being in Iran. Given the tyrannical nature of the Iranian regime and suspicion of Sunni terrorists, it is inconceivable that the regime is unaware of this major operation. Other offices are in Afghanistan and Dubai.

The Clarion Project’s fact sheet on Iranian sponsorship of terrorism details how the Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations have all asserted that the Iranian regime supports Al-Qaeda, despite their intense ideological divisions.

According to the 9/11 Commission Report, Iran and Al-Qaeda began collaborating in late 1991 or early 1992. Al-Qaeda operatives began receiving training, particularly in explosives, inside Iran and Lebanon.

The report leaves open the possibility that Al-Qaeda worked with Iran in carrying out the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia in 1996. The attack killed 19 U.S. soldiers. The Iranians wanted to expand the relationship after Al-Qaeda’s bombing of theUSS Cole in Yemen in 2000, but Osama Bin Laden was worried about losing Saudi supporters.

“The relationship between al-Qaeda and Iran demonstrated that Sunni-Shi’a divisions did not necessarily pose an insurmountable barrier to cooperation in terrorist operations,” the 9/11 Commission concluded.

***

Iran is offering to help the U.S. defeat the Islamic State (formerly Al-Qaeda in Iraq) if sanctions are lifted on its nuclear program. The Iranian regime is acting like a firefighter that sets blazes so it can come to the rescue.

The Shiite Iranian regime and the Sunni terrorists of Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State may kill and condemn each other, but they are far closer to each other than they are to us. The history of the relationship shows that they will work together against us, even as they fight tooth-and-nail in Syria and Iraq.

At the end of the day, Islamist terrorists will always choose each other over us. We ignore that demonstrated behavior at our own cost.

Read more at Clarion Project

DECLARE WAR ON SHARIAH

iraq-machine-guns-held-aloft-afpBreitbart, by FRANK J. GAFFNEY, JR., Aug. 24.2014:

The National Journal called earlier this week for the United States to “declare war on ISIS.” The magazine is right to argue for a new authorization for the use of military force (AUMF), a legislative vehicle that passes these days for a congressional declaration of war. It is wrong, however, to urge that the existing AUMF, which targets al Qaeda and “associated forces,” be replaced by one that focuses just on the Islamic State (also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Sham/Syria, or ISIS, or the Islamic State in the Levant, or ISIL).

Nearly thirteen years after 9/11, it is past time to recognize that we are at war not with one group of “terrorists” or another. Rather, adherents to a doctrine or ideology they call shariah are at war with us. Shariah is, at its core, about power, not faith. While some small percentage (some estimates suggest ten-percent) of its dictates prescribe the religious practices, the rest of it defines comprehensively how every relationship must be ordered – between individuals, families, neighbors, business associates, all the way up to how the world is governed.

Most importantly, shariah obliges its followers to engage in jihad (or holy war). Don’t be misled by those who argue jihad means “personal struggle.” The Koran makes clear that jihad is “holy war.” And for shariah-adherent Islamists that war has two goals: the triumph of shariah worldwide and the establishment of what is, for want of a better term, a theocratic government to rule the entire planet according to that doctrine.

The jihadists may disagree among themselves about some points of theology (notably, differences that divide Sunnis and Shiites). They may be committed to the use of terrifying violence under all circumstances. Or, as in the case of the Muslim Brotherhood, they may believe it is to be used where practicable, but insist on employing not so much non-violent as pre-violent, subversive techniques where terrorism will be counterproductive.

Whatever the banner under which these shariah-adherents wage jihad – for example, the Islamic State, al Qaeda, Taliban, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, Taliban, Boko Haram, Al Shabab, Ansar al-Shariah or Muslim Brotherhood – all these Islamists are our avowed enemies. That is not because of how we view them. That is because of their own doctrine which is endlessly reinforced in their mosques, via the Internet, through social media and other vehicles.

We can no longer kid ourselves, or otherwise avoid a harsh reality: While perhaps hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world – including it seems the majority of those in America – practice their faith without regard for shariah (they don’t want to live under it themselves and they do not seek to impose it on others), the authorities of Islam regard shariah as the true faith and consider these co-religionists to be apostates.

At the moment, fortunately, only a relatively small number are actively engaged in violent jihad. Many more, though, are doing what shariah demands of those unable or unwilling to wield the sword in holy war: underwriting those who do, through the practice of zakat (Islam’s obligatory contributions to approved charitable causes, one of which is jihad).

Unless and until we understand that shariah-adherent Muslims are inherently dangerous, we will be unable to define our enemy correctly. Unless and until we hold such Muslims accountable, we will not only restrict unduly the focus and effectiveness of our countervailing efforts.

Worse yet, we will actually encourage Muslims – whether states like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, organizations or individuals – to associate with, underwrite, or in other ways enable deadly foes of freedom.

Some will respond that an AUMF focused on shariah is a formula for a “clash of civilizations.” The truth is that enemies of civilization – namely, those who adhere to and seek to impose, whether through violence or by stealth, brutally repressive, totalitarian, misogynistic, homophobic, intolerant and anti-constitutional shariah on others – have made no secret of their determination to conquer and destroy us and the rest of the civilized world.

Only by making clear that we are determined to fight back in defense of freedom will we have a chance of protecting our civilization against these enemies. By identifying the political-military-legal ideology of shariah as the defining ideology of those with whom we are at war – much as we did in the past against Nazism, Fascism, Japanese imperialism, and communism – we have a chance of prevailing. And that chance will be greatly enhanced if we bring to bear now, as in the past, not only military but all other instruments of national power.

We will also incentivize Muslims who do not conform to this doctrine to join us in fighting those who accuse them of apostasy, a capital offense under shariah. If they do so, the likelihood of our early success improves still further.

So, by all means, let’s have a new authorization for the use of military force. Or better yet, a proper declaration of war approved by the Congress, authorizing the use of the full array of our economic, political, intelligence, strategic and military means of waging war. But for the sake of our civilization and freedoms, we must ensure that it correctly defines the object of our defensive war: those who adhere to and are trying compel us to submit to shariah.

Daniel Greenfield on “How Obama Surrendered Iraq” – on The Glazov Gang

Front Page:

This week’s Glazov Gang was joined by Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He writes the blog, The Point, at Frontpagemag.com.

Daniel discussed “How Obama Surrendered Iraq,” outlining a Radical-in-Chief’s suicidal foreign policy [starting at the 8:30 mark].

The dialogue also involved an analysis of Obama’s disastrous Afghanistan give-away, more revelations on the Benghazi betrayal, the scandalous Taliban-Bergdahl swap, and much, much more:

Their 9/11 Role – The Taliban Five are even worse than you’ve heard

The Taliban’s Afghanistan “was the incubator for al Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks,” the 9/11 Commission found. Another passage from the commission’s final report reads: “The alliance with the Taliban provided al Qaeda a sanctuary in which to train and indoctrinate fighters and terrorists, import weapons, forge ties with other jihad groups and leaders, and plot and staff terrorist schemes.”

MOHAMMAD FAZL

MOHAMMAD FAZL

BY THOMAS JOSCELYN:

One of the five senior Taliban leaders transferred to Qatar in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl played a key role in al Qaeda’s plans leading up to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Mohammad Fazl, who served as the Taliban’s army chief of staff and deputy defense minister prior to his detention at Guantánamo, did not have a hand in planning the actual 9/11 hijackings. Along with a notorious al Qaeda leader, however, Fazl did help coordinate a military offensive against the enemies of the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan the day before. And Osama bin Laden viewed that September 10 offensive as an essential part of al Qaeda’s 9/11 plot.

The 9/11 Commission found that the hijackings in the United States on September 11, 2001, were the culmination of al Qaeda’s three-step plan. First, on September 9, 2001, al Qaeda assassinated Northern Alliance commander Ahmed Shah Massoud in a suicide bombing. Massoud’s death was a major gift to the Taliban because he was their chief rival and still controlled parts of the country. The assassination was also intended to weaken opposition to the Taliban and al Qaeda within Afghanistan before the United States could plan its retaliation for the most devastating terrorist attack in history. The Northern Alliance did, in fact, play a role in America’s response.

The following day, September 10, al Qaeda and the Taliban took their second step. A “delayed Taliban offensive against the Northern Alliance was apparently coordinated to begin as soon as [Massoud] was killed,” the 9/11 Commission found. Fazl and one of bin Laden’s chief lieutenants, Abdul Hadi al Iraqi, played key roles in this setup for 9/11. At the time, al Iraqi oversaw what al Qaeda called the Arab 55th Brigade, which was Osama bin Laden’s chief fighting force inside Afghanistan and fought side by side with Mullah Omar’s forces.

According to a leaked Joint Task Force Guantánamo (JTF-GTMO) threat assessment of Fazl, al Iraqi met with Fazl “on several occasions to include immediately following the assassination of [Massoud] in September 2001.” Al Iraqi “stated the Northern Alliance was demoralized after the assassination and [he] met with [Fazl] to immediately coordinate an attack with the Taliban against the Northern Alliance.”

Al Qaeda viewed both the assassination of Massoud and the offensive launched the following day as necessary components of the 9/11 plot. At first, Mullah Omar and other Taliban leaders were said to be wary of any spectacular attack against the United States, as it would likely draw fierce retaliation from the world’s lone superpower. (The 9/11 Commission did find “some scant indications” that Omar “may have been reconciled to the 9/11 attacks by the time they occurred.”) The plan to attack the United States was controversial even within al Qaeda, with some senior leaders objecting to the idea.

But Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders believed, correctly, that the first two steps of their plan would ensure the Taliban’s continuing support. The 9/11 Commission found that as Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda’s military chief at the time, Mohammed Atef, “deliberated” the 9/11 hijackings “earlier in the year,” they “would likely have remembered that Mullah Omar was dependent on them for the Massoud assassination and for vital support in the Taliban military operations.” And, while the commission’s sources were “not privy to the full scope of al Qaeda and Taliban planning,” bin Laden and Atef “probably would have known, at least,” that the “general Taliban offensive against the Northern Alliance” on September 10 “would rely on al Qaeda military support.”

The 9/11 Commission’s final report goes on to say that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the mastermind of 9/11, remembers Atef “telling him that al Qaeda had an agreement with the Taliban to eliminate Massoud, after which the Taliban would begin an offensive to take over [all of] Afghanistan.”

Mohammad Fazl’s cooperation with al Iraqi was, therefore, part of the plan KSM remembered.

As controversy over the deal for Sgt. Bergdahl has continued to swirl, current and former Obama administration officials have sought to draw a sharp distinction between the threat posed by the Taliban Five and al Qaeda.

“These five guys are not a threat to the United States,” former secretary of state Hillary Clinton said during an interview on NBC News last week. “They are a threat to the safety and security of Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s up to those two countries to make the decision once and for all that these are threats to them. So I think we may be kind of missing the bigger picture here. We want to get an American home, whether they fell off the ship because they were drunk or they were pushed or they jumped, we try to rescue everybody.”

Read more at Weekly Standard

Obama’s Elephants in the Bergdahl Debate Living Room

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By Joseph Schmitz:

The twin elephants in the living room of the ongoing debate over Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl are President Obama’s release of five Taliban “commanders” while the Taliban is still waging war against us, and the President lying to the American People.

Sgt. Bergdahl’s status, whatever it is adjudged to be, is only tangential to the main event:  a commander -in-chief who repeatedly aids and abets our enemies, disregards our laws, and lies to the American people.

As a former inspector general, I am well aware of the meaning of the word “lie,” which I use throughout this article with prudence, care, and clinical dispassion rather than as a polemic or demagogic instrument.

For example, one can repeat a falsehood without knowing that it is false without lying. But when one knows something is false and still repeats it, that is a lie. Our president and his national security advisor have unambiguously lied to us, once again.

Our Constitution is doomed unless “we the people” hold our commander in chief accountable for negotiating the release of Sgt. Bergdahl with terrorists in violation of the explicit statutory requirement of 30-days advance notice to Congress in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, §1028(d), and then misleading both Congress and the American people.

For the past 12 years, the Taliban has been an acknowledged enemy of the United States. Last week, according to ABC News, “White House National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden noted that the Taliban was added to the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists(SDGT) by executive order in July 2002, even if it is not listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the State Department.”

On news of President Obama’s Taliban prisoner swap, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA),  Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and according to NPR “a strong supporter of the Obama White House, lamented that the president ignored the law requiring that Congress be notified of the prisoner release from Guantanamo.”

Likewise, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), announced:  “This is a complete change of our national security strategy of not negotiating with terrorists. …  I think it sends a terrible national security message – not just to Afghanistan, but to the rest of the world.”

If this were the first time President Obama had negotiated with terrorists, things might be different.  But this Commander in Chief in March 2011 authorized negotiations with Libyan terrorists, and then, with the help of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, agreed to arm Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) “rebels” whom they both knew were affiliated with operating under the cover of the Muslim Brotherhood. The LIFG has been on the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations List since December 17, 2004.

Eighteen months after President Obama authorized support for the Muslim Brotherhood (since acknowledged as a terrorist group by the governments of both Egypt and Saudi Arabia) and the arming of LIFG-associated “rebels,” terrorists attacked our Special Mission Compound and CIA Annex in Benghazi and killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Although we do know that the terrorists behind the Benghazi attack were affiliated with Ansar al-Shariah and Al Qaeda, to this day we still do not know for certain whether or not the Benghazi terrorists who killed four Americans on September 11, 2012, were affiliated with the same “rebels” previously supported by our commander in chief and, reportedly, to whom the commander in chief authorized the covert shipment of weapons in coordination with Qatar – the same country that authorized the Taliban to open a representational political office in 2013.

According to Bloomberg, in March 2014 “Saudi Arabia and two Arab allies recalled their envoys from Qatar, accusing the state that hosts Al-Jazeera television of undermining regional security … Qatar’s backing for the Muslim Brotherhood, especially in Egypt, has drawn criticism from other Gulf nations that have cracked down on the Islamist organization.”

The pattern is apparent – and Sgt. Bergdahl’s alleged desertion is but one important component of the latest manifestation of this pattern: negotiate with terrorists, disregard the law, and then lie about it.

As shameful as it may have been, Sgt. Bergdahl’s apparent desertion during his unit’s operations against the enemy in Afghanistan is not, however, the main event.  By repeatedly negotiating with terrorists, our president has placed Americans around the world at greater risk.

Read more at Center for Security Policy

The Top 8 White House Bergdahl Lies

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Bergdahl was release May 31. In the days since, the administration has pushed the narrative that he was ill; his life was threatened; Congress was informed; this was not a negotiation with terrorists; he served with honor and distinction; the released Taliban leaders are not a threat; the Gitmo Five will be monitored by the U.S.; and this was the “last, best chance” to bring Bergdahl home. Every single one of these statements has been shown to be false — to be a lie.

By Joseph Miller:

It’s been just over a week since Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was released in exchange for five senior Taliban leaders held in Guantanamo Bay, and so far the Obama administration is averaging nearly a lie a day. Here are the top eight administration claims, laid out and debunked in full.

Lie #1: Bergdahl was very sick

Bergdahl’s health was not rapidly deteriorating, as the administration claimed. Reports have leaked that the only medical problems Bergdahl is suffering from are “gum and skin disorders” associated with poor hygiene.

The video of Sgt. Bergdahl’s handover to American forces that was released by the Taliban shows Sgt. Bergdahl looking relatively healthy. In the tape, he is seen walking into the company of U.S. special operations forces and then climbing into the aircraft without assistance. The video also shows him lucid and communicating with his captors. We know from previous reporting that he was able to write down the letters “SF” with a question mark on paper once inside the helicopter, as a way of asking his rescuers if they were special forces. This proved that his fine motor skills were intact, and that he was aware of his surroundings.

It has also been reported that one of the few exchange between Bergdahl’s rescuers and his captors was a question about his health. The Taliban said he was not sick. Finally, reports from Landsthul Regional Medical Center in Germany state that Sgt. Bergdahl has been in stable condition.

Lie #2: The Taliban threatened to kill Bergdahl

To further justify its decision not to inform Congress (in violation of the law), administration officials claimed that there was a threat to kill Bergdahl if details of the prisoner swap were released. But Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has stated that there is no credible information indicating that there was a threat to Berghdal’s life.

Lie #3: The administration informed Congress about the swap

Reports from Capitol Hill have informed us that the administration last discussed the possibility of a prisoner transfer with members of Congress several years ago. At that time, there was bipartisan and bicameral opposition to the idea. The law requires that the administration notify Congress 30 days prior to the release of any detainee from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The administration has admitted that it engaged in negotiations to secure the deal that set Bergdahl free for over a week prior to the swap. During that week, the administration never informed Congress — and only notified congressional leaders after the deal had been reached, after the detainees from Guantanamo were released, and after Berghdal was in American custody.

It appears that the administration chose to willfully violate the law by not informing Congress, as we now know that there was no credible threat to Bergdahl’s life, he wasn’t ill, and the administration was negotiating for over a week with his captors.

Read more at Daily Caller

Joseph Miller is the pen name for a senior Department of Defense official with a background in U.S. special operations and combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has worked in strategic planning.

 

 

Bowe Bergdahl Dances With Wolves

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Regardless of whether Bergdahl was a collaborator who naively joined the Taliban to help the Afghan people, or whether he was captured after wandering off base, he most likely was repeatedly raped.

By Dawn Perlmutter:

Dances with Wolves is a 1990 film starring Kevin Costner as an army lieutenant who leaves his unoccupied American frontier military post because he is attracted to the lifestyle and customs of a Sioux Indian tribe. He learns their language, is accepted as an honored guest, and eventually abandons his post after he falls in love with one of their women. When U.S. army soldiers reoccupy the post the lieutenant is captured, arrested as a traitor, and charged with desertion. While being transported back east as a prisoner, the Sioux track down the convoy, kill the soldiers, and free the lieutenant. The film ends with him riding into the mountains with his Sioux wife. This liberal love story—similar to many others that demonize the white man and the military, as well as misrepresent the barbarism of their enemies—is the type of fairytale that may have inspired Bowe Bergdahl to walk off into the mountains of Afghanistan.

Like Kevin Costner in the film, Bergdahl began learning the native language of Pashto, and reportedly spent more time with the Afghans than he did with his platoon. A few days before he went missing, he told his parents in an e-mail that he “was ashamed to be an American,” and that “the horror that is America is disgusting.” Several news reports claimed that the night he disappeared from his base in Afghanistan he left a note in his tent saying “he wanted to renounce his citizenship and go find the Taliban.”

Bergdahl’s disillusionment seems to be based upon a combination of the belief in the mythology of the Noble Savage and liberal propaganda derived from postcolonial and anti-hegemonic theory that interprets history, politics, and culture in the context of Western domination and oppression. This form of disillusionment is perpetuated in Hollywood films and revisionist history that portray white men as the oppressors in every conflict regardless of factual historical accounts. Dances with Wolves depicted the Sioux as pacifists and environmentalists when they were the most bloodthirsty of all the Plains Indian tribes, raping, pillaging, and torturing people for entertainment.

Bergdahl seemed to have similar misconceptions idealizing the Taliban and not understanding the threat. His fellow platoon members contend that he was a deserter. If that is the case, then similar to the army lieutenant in the film Dances with Wolves, Bergdahl “Turned Injun,” a pejorative, but accurate expression for traitors who willingly convert to their enemies’ ideology and adopt their traditions, language, and customs.

“Turning Injun” should not be equated with “Stockholm Syndrome,” in which a person is taken hostage and may begin to sympathize and identify with their captives. The difference is significant: the latter relinquishes culpability. By choosing to abandon his unit Bergdahl was not a typical hostage who was taken captive eventually suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, rather he was a victim of liberal idealism who was mugged by reality. His suffering involved severe disillusionment — the result of bitter disappointment that the Taliban whom he idealized as the Noble Savage turned out simply to be savages.

Conflicting reports of Bergdahl converting to Islam and working with the Taliban while also trying to escape has provoked disagreement and contradictory interpretations of the situation. Understanding some of the Taliban sexual practices may explain some of the inconsistency in Bergdahl’s behavior. The Taliban are ethnic Pashtun who combine Islam with their Pastunwali honor code, often resulting in differences in perceptions of honor and shame particularly as it relates to sexuality. A practice that is designated as strictly taboo in Islam but widely practiced by the Pashtun and Taliban is sex between men. Pashtun reject the label of homosexuality and describe relationships with other men as something they do, not who they are. In addition, it is common for men to have sexual relationships with young boys. Pashtun men shun women both socially and sexually and one of their most popular sayings is “women are for children, boys are for pleasure.” For Pashtun men, having a young boy lover (ashna) is not only not taboo, but increases status and reputation. This is exemplified in a prevalent cultural practice called “bacha bazi,” or “boy play.”

Read more at Front Page

Assault on Pakistan Airport Signals Taliban’s Reach and Resilience

Relatives and colleagues of airport security personnel killed in the attack on Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan, gathered near the coffins after funeral prayers. ATHAR HUSSAIN / REUTERS

Relatives and colleagues of airport security personnel killed in the attack on Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan, gathered near the coffins after funeral prayers.
ATHAR HUSSAIN / REUTERS

By DECLAN WALSH:

London –  Only a week ago the Pakistani taliban appeared to be on the ropes. Violent rivalries had split the insurgency in two. Peace talks with the government had collapsed. Military jets had pounded militant hide-outs in the tribal belt.

A squad of militant commandos, disguised as government security forces, stormed Karachi’s international airport after dark. They carried food, water and ammunition, apparently in preparation for a long siege, and big ambitions: perhaps to hijack a commercial airliner, government officials said Monday, or to blow up an oil depot, or to destroy airplanes on the tarmac.

The 10 attackers were dead five hours later, shot by soldiers or blown up by their own suicide vests. Yet the audacious nature of the assault shook Pakistan to its core, offering a violent reminder that for all its divisions, the Taliban remain an astonishingly resilient force.

It has kept a reach far beyond its tribal redoubt along the Afghan border, with an ability to penetrate the country’s busiest airport in the largest city. And the discovery that Uzbek jihadis were among the attackers underscores how, even in splinters, the Taliban can draw on an international militant network to conduct sophisticated attacks — which means trouble not just for Pakistan’s government and military, but for American interests in Afghanistan.

The determined attack seems to bear out earlier warnings by counterterrorism experts that the Taliban split two weeks ago was unlikely to erode the group’s capacity for mayhem.

“It’s become a hydra-headed monster,” said Najmuddin Shaikh, a retired head of Pakistan’s foreign service. “They had limited success in Karachi, but maybe that was just our good luck.”

Key to the Taliban’s strength is the web of alliances it has cultivated with fellow militant groups in North Waziristan, the tribal district along the Afghan border that since 2001 has evolved into a vibrant global hub of jihadi money, ideology and fighters — Punjabis, Chechens, Arabs, Central Asians, Afghan Taliban and a smattering of Westerners.

The Taliban’s major ally is the Haqqani network, a formidable force in the Afghan insurgency that held the American soldier Bowe Bergdahl hostage for five years until his release on May 31. But they have other allies too — fighters whose militancy was born elsewhere, but who have joined in the Taliban fight.

Chief among them are the Uzbeks, hard-bitten fighters who followed Osama bin Laden into Pakistan after September 2001, and who have since become an important element of the Taliban insurgency, offering Pakistan fighters what experts call a deep bench of militant training and expertise.

Read more at New York Times

In Wartime, Focus on Detainment of Terrorists, Not Rehabilitation

2475970912Center for Security Policy:

The following is a partial transcript of an interview with Congressman Jim Bridenstine(OK-1) that featured in the Monday, June 9th edition of Secure Freedom Radio. The entire interview may be listened to here. Congressman Bridenstine serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

Frank Gaffney: There’s a report–I don’t think you’ve seen it, Congressman Jim Bridenstine–our friend and colleague Paul Sperry had in the New York Post over the weekend indicating that the President is aggressively moving forward on other efforts to remove these guys, including perhaps releasing as many as half of the detainees that remain in Guantanamo Bay this summer. If you could, just give us a sense of the character of the folks who are left [in Guantanamo Bay] and what the implications might be if we find this kind of wholesale dismantling of this detention facility.

Rep. Jim Bridenstine: Well, we have seen a commitment from this administration to close Guantanamo Bay going back to his first election and then his second election. There was a time when he was trying to bring a number of the most hardened terrorists to the United States to have them tried in Article III courts. Here’s the situation–I’m going to speak as a warfighter for a second. There are two types of law. There is the law of war and there is the law of peace. When you’re at war, you detain people not for rehabilitation, not for punishment; you detain them to get them off the battlefield until the end of hostilities. That is under the law of war, and this is an important piece of what Guantanamo Bay is for the American military. It is a way to detain people until the end of conflict. Unfortunately there is confusion, even among my colleagues on the Republican side, about the difference between why you detain people in wartime and why you detain people in peacetime. That confusion is creating this environment where people, even on my side of the aisle, some of them are saying we need to close Guantanamo Bay. Now, if there’s a strategic reason to close it, then that’s an argument that needs to be had. But if people are arguing that they need their Article III protections per the Constitution, under the laws of war we have every authority to detain them until the end of armed conflict and the last I checked, the Taliban and Al Qaeda have not decided to end the war or sign a peace treaty.

FG: To the contrary, there’s every evidence that they’re redoubling their efforts as we saw the Pakistani branch doing in Karachi yesterday. Just to drill down on this…the President says: we are winding down the war. So, we have to wind down both the authority that we have given the President–his predecessor initially–to conduct that war and we need to wind down facilities like Gitmo as well. I take it you don’t think we’re actually winding down the war, at least in terms of the enemy’s determination to continue to prosecute it.

JB: No, not at all. What we’re seeing now is we’re seeing the Taliban and Al Qaeda more emboldened than we’ve seen them in years. And of course this is a direct result of the policy that this President is putting forward. You know, this isn’t fun and games. This isn’t about political philosophy. These are real world issues where Americans are put at risk and the world is becoming more dangerous–not less dangerous. And when America projects weakness, this is what we get. We get emboldened enemies and we get friends and allies around the world that don’t trust us. This is terrible policy and this is not one of those things where if you’re nice to them, they’ll be nice to us back. That’s not how this works.

How Many Americans Will Die Because of the Bergdahl Trade?

REPORTER_HERRIDGE_060214Front Page, by Ronn Torossian:

As Time Magazine reported this week, “Asked whether the Taliban would be inspired by the exchange to kidnap others, a commander laughed. “Definitely.”

Once again, President Barack Obama has shown why he is a horrible President. A weak, impotent American president. Here are some quotes that are important to share in regards to just how awful this deal was for America:

“Swapping Bergdahl for illegal enemy combatants (terrorists, in common parlance) signaled unmistakably to Taliban and al Qaeda that Obama is determined to withdraw from Afghanistan no matter what the cost to the United States or those in Afghanistan fighting to remain free.” — John Bolton

“We all must be mindful that the United States has diplomatic, civilian, and military personnel deployed in other countries with both challenging security environments and active terrorist networks interested in targeting not just our facilities but our people. One of their greatest protections – knowing that the United States does not negotiate with terrorists – has been compromised.” — John Boehner

“I fear that the administration’s decision to negotiate with the Taliban for Sgt. Bergdahl’s release could encourage future terrorist kidnappings of Americans.” — U.S. Senator for Florida, Marco Rubio

“If you negotiate here, you’ve sent a message to every al Qaeda group in the world – by the way, some who are holding U.S. hostages today – that there is some value now in that hostage in a way that they didn’t have before.” — Mike Rogers

“By releasing these five top Taliban commanders, the U.S. is demonstrating that it is throwing in the towel in the long struggle against the Taliban and its al-Qaeda allies in Afghanistan.” — Jonathan S. Tobin

“This is an example of a signing statement where the President is taking power for himself that the law didn’t give him.” — Jeffrey Toobin

“While not as well known as Guantanamo inmates like 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Taliban 5 were some of the worst outlaws in the U.S. war on terror. And their release will end up replenishing the diminished leadership ranks of the Afghan Taliban at a moment when the United States is winding down the war there.” — Eli Lake, Josh Rogin

“The idea that we’re now making trades, what does that do for every single soldier stationed abroad? It says the reason why the U.S. has had the policy for decades of not negotiating with terrorists is because once you start doing it, every other terrorist has an incentive to capture more soldiers.” — Senator Ted Cruz

“One was the deputy minister of intelligence for the Taliban. One was the deputy minister of defense for the Taliban. These are no local level individuals. These are leaders and this is serious to put them back on the street.” — James Lankford

“At least when Israel releases terrorists to gain the freedom of one of its soldiers, the country’s leaders have the grace to treat the decision as a regrettable action made out of necessity and nothing to celebrate.” — Jonathan S. Tobin

“It’s very interesting to me that they would be willing to release five extraordinarily dangerous Taliban members in exchange for this soldier who apparently left his post.” — Senator Susan Collins

“We have now set a price. We have a changing footprint in Afghanistan which would put our soldiers at risk for this notion that ‘If I can get one, I can get five Taliban released.” — Mike Rogers

“Radical Islamists are serious about killing in pursuit of their extreme objectives. Releasing their soldiers can only embolden them to take more Americans hostage. The deal for Sgt. Bergdahl may well turn out to have been a bargain with the devil.”– Cal Thomas

“If it was an isolated incident, then maybe you could just say, ‘Oh, this was an emergency situation.’ But what you have is a pattern of the administration ignoring the law, whether it’s health care, immigration or now national security. And obviously those sorts of patterns undermine our system of government.” — Rep. Mac Thornberry

“America has maintained a prohibition on negotiating with terrorists for good reason.” — James Inhofe

“Shame on the Obama administration for this “prisoner exchange.” It is sad that a U.S. soldier was a hostage for five years in the hands of the Taliban, but releasing five Taliban is wrong. These people will likely kill more of our troops, and this deal will encourage more hostage-taking.” — Sassan K. Darian

“Mr. Obama is more willing to negotiate with the Taliban than Congress.” — Joseph Curl

**************

Truth Revolt- Rep. Mike Rogers: Releasing Taliban ‘A Huge Regional and Geopolitical Problem for U.S.’

 

act4america – Will Bergdalh Prisoner Swap Embolden America’s Enemies?

 

 

 

How the Taliban got their hands on modern US missiles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also see:

 

Taliban Rising

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Front page

The ghastly transaction that freed Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

(Uncredited/AP) - In this image taken from video obtained from Voice Of Jihad Website, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, A Taliban fighter speaks to Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, in eastern Afghanistan. The Taliban on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 released a video showing the handover of Bergdahl to U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan, touting the swap of the American soldier for five Taliban

(Uncredited/AP) – In this image taken from video obtained from Voice Of Jihad Website, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, A Taliban fighter speaks to Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, in eastern Afghanistan. The Taliban on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 released a video showing the handover of Bergdahl to U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan, touting the swap of the American soldier for five Taliban

By Michael B. Mukasey:

The seeds of what blossomed grotesquely in the Rose Garden last weekend — a celebration of the release of five senior Taliban military leaders in exchange for a U.S. sergeant purported to be a deserter — were sown a long time ago: on the second and third days of President Obama’s first term, to be precise.

On his second day in office, the president signed an executive order directing that the Guantanamo Bay detention facility be closed. You can watch the cringe-inducing video of the signing ceremony on YouTube, as the president stumbles through a reading of the order to close the facility “consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice,” signs with a flourish, and asks then-White House counsel Greg Craig, whether there is a separate executive order describing what is to be done with the Guantanamo detainees; Craig is heard to reply off camera that “a process” will be set up, whereupon the president repeats solemnly into the camera that “a process” will be set up.

The following day, the president met with congressional leaders to discuss his economic stimulus. When Republican House whip Eric Cantor offered some suggestions, the president reminded him and others of the vanquished who were present that “elections have consequences” and “I won.”

The president apparently hadn’t thought through how he would accomplish the goal and serve the interests he had announced. But he had indeed won.

Fast forward, and characteristically the Obama administration has apologized only for the least of the president’s transgressions in this sorry affair: his failure to consult Congress 30 days in advance of freeing any Guantanamo detainees, as required by the National Defense Authorization Act. At the time the president signed that law he issued an accompanying signing statement taking the position, I believe probably correctly, that the law is unconstitutional as a restriction on his Article II executive powers. However, his own criticism of his predecessor for alleged misuse of executive authority apparently left him diffident about relying on that, so he relied instead on two excuses with neither legal nor factual basis: concern for the rapid deterioration of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s health, which does not explain why no notice was given; and simple neglect due to the rush of events, which contradicts the first.

It is difficult to believe that the president actually understood last weekend the enormity of what he had done. All the details of how Bergdahl left his unit may have to be teased out in the setting of a court martial, but it has long been known that he was a malcontent who had sent his belongings home well before the day in June 2009 when he left his unit in Afghanistan, that he wrote that the army he served in was a “joke” and that he was ashamed to be an American. Was the president perhaps not aware that desertion is an act viewed with such seriousness under the Uniform Code of Military Justice that in wartime it can carry the death penalty?

Every one of the five detainees released from Guantanamo, as reported by Tom Joscelyn in The Weekly Standard, is not only a senior Taliban official, but also someone who has trained with and coordinated fighting with al-Qaeda before 9/11. Which is to say, at precisely the time when his administration is trying to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in a way that at least will not threaten the safety of those who remain behind until the end of 2016, if not beyond, the president has provided skilled strategic planners to the Taliban; at the time when it is the administration’s announced intention to separate the Taliban from al-Qaeda, the president has provided the Taliban with military leaders who have a history of close ties with al-Qaeda.

Was he aware of that when he presided over a Rose Garden celebration?

Read more at Washington Post

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