Experts: American Adversaries Work Together Despite Differences

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

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

BY: :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Free Beacon

Signs of Sharia Adherence

jihad flagBy John Guandolo at his blog, Understanding the Threat:

As Americans come to better understand that Sharia is real law and jihadis intend to impose it on all Muslims and non-Muslims alike, it becomes important to know when Sharia adherence is increasing in a particular area because it indicates violence from the jihadis will soon follow.

As law enforcement and military units have discovered, adherence to Sharia is directly proportional to the level of violence advocated in the Islamic community against those who do not want to be adherent to Sharia – Muslims and non-Muslims alike. A 2004 study entitled Understanding Terror Networks by a former CIA case officer revealed that 97% of jihadis were highly adherent to Sharia. This adherence was measured in observable behavior including the wearing of traditional Islamic garb and growing a Sharia adherent beard.

A study published in 2011 randomly surveyed 100 mosques across America and measured the correlation between Sharia adherence and the promotion of violence through published literature at the mosque, comments and teachings of the Imam, and other factors. This “Mapping Sharia” study revealed a one to one correlation between Sharia compliance and violence taught at Islamic Centers, Mosques, and Masjids.

In the New York Police Department’s landmark 2007 report on the homegrown threat entitled, “Radicalization in the West” the NYPD identified the implementation of Sharia and the establishment of a global Islamic state (Caliphate) as the driving “Jihadi-Salafi ideology” behind jihadists in the U.S and beyond (page 17). The report notes the “progression or gravitation towards Salafi Islam” and regular attendance at a Salafi mosque are two key indicators of “radicalization” of Muslims towards jihad. The term “Salafi” comes from the Islamic phrase “al salaf al-salih” or the “righteous predecessors”—the first three generations of Muslims. These are individuals who strictly follow Sharia, and while there are debates among Salafis on a variety of issues, there is no legal disagreement in the Sharia on the definition and obligation of jihad, nor of how Muslims must relate to non-Muslims.

The NYPD report identifies “signatures” of “Salafism” – or what I call here “Sharia Adherence”—which include: being part of a group which will strengthen your Salafis/Sharia Adherence, and “wearing traditional Islamic clothing, growing a beard (page 31).” If you see an increase in Sharia adherence in your community, you will see an increase in violence and jihad.
Here are a few of those signatures of Sharia adherence:

Sunnah Beards

Sharia adherent men will have short/trimmed mustaches but their beards are often unkempt.

“Cut the mustaches short and leave the beard as it is.” Bukhari 7:781

Henna Beards

In Islam, Mohammad is the most perfect example of a Muslim. Islamic men who dye their beards red with henna are identifying themselves with the Prophet Mohammad who wore his beard this way.

Black Islamic Headdress

Islamic men who wear the black headdress are identifying themselves as jihadis. Overseas, American military soldiers and Marines understand this. While only a few sightings have been reported in the United States, if this is seen in your community, it should be taken seriously.

Gold and Silver

In Sharia, men are not to wear gold and women are not permitted to wear silver.

Hijabs and Burkas

The greater degree to which an Islamic woman covers herself is indicative of the level of Sharia adherence to which she subscribes or, more likely, with which she is forced to comply.

Black Flag of Jihad

While seeing the black flag of Jihad is not common in the United States, it is becoming more common in Europe and elsewhere. Seeing this flying in a market place (as it has been seen and photographed in numerous cities around Europe) is a significant indicator of violence brewing in your community. It means the jihadist are identifying themselves in the open meaning they are bold and unafraid of the local security apparatus (police etc).

State Dept. Ignored Warnings of Iranian Efforts to Destabilize Iraq

Al Qaeda linked militants in Iraq's Anbar Province / AP

Al Qaeda linked militants in Iraq’s Anbar Province / AP

By Adam Kredo:

State Department counterterrorism officials warned in late April that Iran had “trained, funded, and provided guidance” to ethnic Iraqi terror groups bent on destabilizing the country.

The April warning appears to directly contradict and undermine comments last week by a State Department spokeswoman claiming that the United States and Iran have a “shared interest.”

As Iraqi militants continue to wage attacks and seize territory, the State Department has signaled that it is willing to work with neighboring Iran to stabilize the country. They have even raised the idea of discussing Iraq on the sidelines of the ongoing nuclear discussions taking place in Vienna.

However, the recent outreach to Iran runs counter to the State Department’s own Country Report on Terrorism issued just six weeks ago.

That report warned that Iran is building a terror network across the globe and that it was specifically seeking to undermine U.S. goals in Iraq by fostering terror groups on both sides of the ethnic Arab divide in Iraq.

“Despite its pledge to support Iraq’s stabilization, Iran trained, funded, and provided guidance to Iraqi Shia militant groups,” the report stated.

Iran also has sought to protect and bolster al Qaeda, a Sunni Muslim group that has ties to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (also known as ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham), the extremist terror group that is currently seeking to violently depose the Iraqi government.

“Iran remained unwilling to bring to justice senior al Qaeda (AQ) members it continued to detain, and refused to publicly identify those senior members in its custody,” the State Department determined in its April report.

Read more at Free Beacon

Sharia: Real Law and the Language Our Enemies Use

By John Guandolo at his blog, Understanding the Threat, June 16, 2014:

The following is the first installment of a 5-part series this week on Sharia (Islamic Law) and why Americans need to pay attention.

Sharia is REAL Law

“To begin with, the law of the land is the Shari’ah of Allah. The leader, or Khalifa of the Islamic nation, implements the Shari’ah in society and the people try to follow it…The basis of the legal and political system is the Shari’ah of Allah.” So states What Islam is All About, (pages 376 ad 381) one of the most popular junior high school text books used in Islamic schools in America.

This is a good place for us to begin this week’s series on Sharia – Islamic Law. Sharia is the “law of the land.” It is not ‘religious law’ or a ‘spiritual guide.’ It is law. Sharia is law adjudicated by jurists and legal scholars, and ruled on by Qadi judges. Sharia is real law. It should be likened to U.S. Federal Code, not Jewish Halakhah or Christian Canon Law.

So here is our first challenging question of this week’s series on Sharia: How can Sharia be so clearly defined and implemented by Islamic legal scholars and jurists around the world, taught to elementary and junior high school students in Islamic schools around the world, yet appears to be very confusing to leaders in the West?

ScreenShot2014_06_16at7_23_55PM

Now, on to the lesson…

Islam defines itself as a “complete way of life.” What Islam is All About teaches the junior high schoolers “The way of life known as Islam is a complete code of life.” It is political life, cultural life, social life, religious life, military life, and everything else, all governed by Sharia.

The Sharia is primarily derived from the Quran and the Sunnah – the collection of the Hadith and the Sira (authorized sacred biographies of Muhammad).

For Muslims, the Quran is considered the “uncreated word” of Allah (the God of Islam). According to Islam, the contents of the Quran come from direct revelations to the Prophet Muhammad beginning in the year 610 AD and continuing to approximately 632 AD. The Quran’s 114 auras (chapters) are arranged generally by size, largest to smallest, not chronologically. This is critical to understanding the Quran, and therefore Sharia, because the chronologically earlier peaceful verses were abrogated/over-ruled (Quran 2:106, 16:101, 17:106) by the later violent verses calling for jihad as a permanent obligation until the world is conquered for Islam (9:5 and 9:29 among others). Specifically, the chronologically last Sura in the Quran is Sura 9, where Jihad is made a permanent obligation on the entire Islamic community. The last Sura to discuss relations with non-Muslims is Sura 5 (“Take not the Jews and Christians as your friends…” 5:51)

Every verse in the Quran has been authoritatively defined by Islamic jurists and legal scholars and compiled in Tafsirs. Remember Sharia is a legal system not a religious guide. Individual Muslims do not get to render their opinion on what certain Quranic verses mean to them. This bears no weight in Islam, just as Americans do not get to make up legal definitions for words already defined in the law.

In Islam, the Prophet Muhammad is the most perfect example of a Muslim. All he did and said is to be modeled by Muslims. The Hadith is the collection of all the practices, sayings and traditions of Muhammad and has been ranked and categorized based on authenticity by Islamic jurists and legal scholars. For instance, Muhammad married Ayisha when she was 6 years old and consummated the relationship when Ayisha was 9. Therefore, Sharia cannot make it unlawful for a 60 year old man to marry a 10 year old, for instance, because the example of the Prophet makes it lawful. Likewise, the Quran commands Muslims to wage war against non-Muslims until: (1) they are killed, (2) pay the jizya (non-Muslim poll tax) and submit to Sharia, or (3) convert to Islam. Muhammad waged numerous battles where he did just that. Therefore, Jihad in the Cause of Allah until the unbelievers either convert, submit, or are killed is a core part of Sharia and Islamic doctrine.

There is no such thing as a Sharia which does not mandate Jihad until the world is under the rule of the Sharia, and there is no other definition of Jihad in Sharia other than “warfare against non-Muslims.”

In Sharia there exist “The Hudud” which are seven crimes for which the Quran provides specific punishments. These crimes are: Apostacy; Armed Robbery, Terrorism, and Perpetrating Corruption; Theft; Drinking Intoxicants; Illicit Sexual Intercourse; False Accusation of Illicit Sexual Intercourse; and Rebellion in the Land. For instance, the punishment for Hirabah (Armed Robbery et al) states: “The punishment for those who wage war against God and His messenger and pursue corruption on earth is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land (Islamic Criminal Law, The Hudud, Muhammad ‘at a Alsid Sid Ahmad, Malaysia). Because the punishments come from Allah via the Quran, they must be given to the guilty party and a judge may not show “mercy” because it would directly contradict Allah and is a capital crime.

In practice, there are Sharia Courts all over the world, judges that adjudicate the Sharia, prosecutors who prosecute, and defense attorneys who defend. To say that Sharia is not real law is to be wrong.

In Islamic countries across the globe – there are 56 plus Palestine making 57 Islamic states – where Sharia is the law of the land. The fact that varying levels of Sharia are enforced does not change the fact it is the law of the land and their constitutions say it is.

The Language Our Enemies Use

As has been documented in previous UTT Blogs, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC – the largest international body second only to the UN made up of the heads of states of all Islamic nations), all state the imposition of Sharia and the establishment of the Caliphate (Islamic State) are their end objectives.

When leaders from known Muslim Brotherhood organizations or their allies speak, we must translate the English words they use into the meaning of the word as defined by Sharia. Once we do this, the enemy’s intentions become crystal clear.

“Jihad” and “Peace”
As mentioned earlier, 100% of all Sharia only defines Jihad as “warfare against non-Muslims.” Islam divides the entire world into two parts: the Dar al Islam (the House/Abode of Peace) and the Dar al Harb (the House/Abode of War). Anywhere in the world where there is Sharia under Islamic rule is the Dar al Islam. The rest of the world is the Dar al Harb. The purpose of Islam is to reduce the Dar al Harb to non-existence until the entire world becomes the Dar al Islam – then you have “Peace” under Sharia. Once this is achieved there is no need for Jihad which is why it is not one of the five pillars of Islam.

“Suicide” and “Martyrdom”
Suicide is unlawful under Sharia. Martyrdom, or being killed in Jihad, is the only way under Sharia to guarantee entry into Paradise.

“Innocent”
The only innocent people under Sharia are Muslims. Non-Muslims are never innocent and are guilty of not following Sharia or subordinating themselves to it.

“Terrorism”
Killing a Muslim without right. Under Sharia Muslims can be killed for leaving Islam (Apostacy) and for killing another Muslim without right to do so under Sharia. Any other time a Muslim is killed it is “terrorism.” Under Sharia, an example would be American troops killing Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Freedom”
Freedom from man-made laws. Only Sharia can be the law of the land.

“Justice”
Justice under the Sharia.

So, the next time you see a leader of the local Muslim Brotherhood Islamic Center in your hometown says “We denounce terrorism and call for a protection of all innocents because we want freedom, justice, and peace here and around the world” – don’t accuse him of lying because he isn’t. You need to adjust the reception on your end and translate with Sharia as the filter.

Finally, it should be noted that if readers would like to deepen their study on Sharia, they must purchase books written for Muslim audiences by Muslims who are recognized as scholars in the Islamic world. Anything other than this will be meaningless. Why? Because Sharia makes it a capital crime for Muslims to teach other Muslims something false about Islam. Go to your local mosque bookstore and buy books for Muslims on Islamic Law – and take cash.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The inmates slated for release include:

GHALEB NASSER AL-BIHANI, 34

“He loves yoga”

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

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

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

MAHMUD ABD AL AZIZ AL MUJAHID, 33

“Wants a milk & honey farm”

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

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

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

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

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

ALI AHMAD MOHAMED AL-RAZIHI, 33

“Has a positive attitude”

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

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

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

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

Prisoners in Gitmo at height in 2003: 684

Prisoners left: 149

Cleared for transfer but not yet released: 78

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

Recidivism rate for released prisoners: 29%

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

 

Congress Seeks to Designate New Palestinian Gov’t as a Terror Org

Military spokesman for al-Qassam Brigades and Hamas / AP

Military spokesman for al-Qassam Brigades and Hamas / AP

By Adam Kredo:

House lawmakers are currently pushing a resolution to classify the newly formed Palestinian unity government as a foreign terrorist organization and cut off U.S. aid following the formation of a new ruling body that includes the terror group Hamas, according to a copy of the draft resolution obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The new resolution, sponsored by Reps. Michele Bachmann (R., Minn.) and Trent Franks (R., Ariz.), calls on the State Department to designate the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its new Hamas-backed unity government as a terrorist organization. The resolution is expected to be introduced Monday.

It additionally calls for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) to be reclassified as a terror group and for the U.S. government to fully cut aid to the Palestinians, who have received around $5 billion in bilateral assistance since the 1990s.

“The Palestinian Authority has shown its true colors by forming a unity government with the terrorist organization Hamas,” Bachmann told the Free Beacon. “This nightmare scenario for the peace process means that Congress must reassert its constitutional authority and suspend foreign aid to the PA. We cannot continue to assist our enemies at the expense of our ally, Israel.”

U.S. lawmakers and Israeli officials have expressed shock in recent days that the Obama administration is willing to work with the new Palestinian unity government, which united the ruling Fatah party with the Hamas terrorist group that runs the Gaza Strip.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle maintain that the unity deal violates a U.S. law banning taxpayer dollars from being sent to any Palestinian government that includes Hamas, a designated terrorist organization.

However, the Obama administration has sought to exploit loopholes in the law and announced in recent days that it is willing to work with the new Hamas-backed government, despite Israeli objections.

The new congressional resolution maintains that there should be consequences for these moves and pushes for the PA to quickly dissolve the new government and outlaw Hamas.

Read more at Free Beacon

Terrorist Groups Rise 58% Since 2010

130221_terrorists-450x306by Arnold Ahlert:

One of the principal narratives of the 2012 Obama re-election campaign — as in al Qaeda has been “decimated” and put on a “on the path to defeat” — has itself been decimated. According to a study released yesterday by the RAND Corporation, there has been a 58 percent increase in the number of jihadist groups over the last four years. Even more troubling, the number of jihadist fighters has doubled, and the number of worldwide attacks has tripled. The report further notes that terrorist groups operating in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan pose the greatest threat to the United States.

“Based on these threats, the United States cannot afford to withdraw or remain disengaged from key parts of North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia,” states Seth G. Jones, author of the study and associate director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at RAND. “After more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, it may be tempting for the U.S. to turn its attention elsewhere and scale back on counterterrorism efforts. But this research indicates that the struggle is far from over.”

The raw numbers are stark. The number of groups have increased from 31 to 49, the number of fighters to a high estimate of 100,000 and the number of attacks from 392 to approximately 1000.

In an article for the Wall Street Journal, Jones points out that America also faces significant threats in addition to Islamic jihadism, including the invasion of Ukraine by Russia that threatens our NATO alliance; China’s flexing of its economic, military and cyber muscles in East Asia; and the instability of North Korea. He also puts Iran and their dedicated pursuit of nuclear-weapons in this category.

Jones’s analysis pokes a giant hole in the leftist ideology that posits America’s forays into Iraq and Afghanistan caused an increase in jihadist activity. In fact it is quite the opposite. As America has retreated from the Middle East – completely from Iraq in December of 2011, combined with a highly-publicized schedule of winding down combat operations in Afghanistan at the end of this year — terrorism is surging.

Read more at Front Page

6 WAYS OBAMA PROVIDES SUPPORT FOR TERROR REGIMES

obama-bin-laden2-afpby BEN SHAPIRO:

On Monday, the Obama administration announced that it was ready to begin cutting deals with – and would continue funding – the Palestinian government now led by the terror-supporting Palestinian Authority and the open terrorist group Hamas. “It appears that President Abbas has formed an interim technocratic government that does not include ministers affiliated with Hamas,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki fibbed. “Moving forward, we will be judging this government by its actions.”

This is a sick joke. There is no “technocratic” government; American taxpayers are nowfunding Palestinian terrorists to the tune of millions. Just as the Palestinian Authority titularly separated from terror arm Fatah to gain Western acceptance, the PA now attempts to do the same with Hamas.

Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer immediately tweeted, “Israel is deeply disappointed with the State Department’s comments today on the Palestinian unity government with Hamas.” Hamas has murdered hundreds of Israelis, killed American citizens, and continues to oppress women and minorities.

David Siegel, Consul General of Israel, slammed the Obama administration:

Recognizing the new Palestinian government is a major strategic blunder, especially to all those who, like Israel, wish to see a Palestinian leadership oriented towards peace. Legitimizing an unreformed Hamas under the cover of this government will severely impede any chance of inducing an eventual change in Hamas’ rejection of the Quartet Principles and squanders the considerable leverage which could be wielded against Hamas in its currently weakened state.

This is just the latest indicator that the Obama administration has chosen to make life easier for Islamic terrorists all across the world. When in doubt, the Obama administration takes interests adverse to those of the West:

Afghanistan. The Obama administration’s longstanding negotiations with the Taliban have been a source of bemusement for those watching from the sidelines. Despite President Obama’s vow to win the “good war” in Afghanistan, he has been routinely working with the Taliban to come to a governmental arrangement for years. The release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in return for five top terrorists is just the latest result of such contacts – and Obama can’t wait to close Gitmo and pull out of Afghanistan altogether, as he made clear this week, leaving America’s erstwhile allies in the lurch.

Iran. In the run-up to the 2012 election cycle, President Obama declared repeatedly that Congress’s sanctions against Iran had united the world against the state achieving nuclear weaponry. He told lackey Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, “When we came in, Iran was united and on the move, and the world was divided about how to address this issue. Today, the world is as united as we’ve ever seen it around the need for Iran to take a different path on its nuclear program, and Iran is isolated and feeling the severe effects of the multiple sanctions that have been placed on it.”

In 2013, Obama then cut a deal to destroy that unanimity, crafting a nuclear deal that undercut those sanctions in return for a non-existent delay in the nuclear program. That deal destroyed any possibility of a united world front against Iran, allowing Iran to claim that it was abiding by the agreement while working to thwart it.

Egypt. In 2009, President Obama spoke in Cairo. He insisted that members of the Muslim Brotherhood be invited to the speech. He then allowed American ally Hosni Mubarak to fall, backed the Muslim Brotherhood when Mohammed Morsi was elected president, and then worked to cut off funding when the Egyptian military ousted Morsi.

Syria. President Obama first threatened Syrian President Bashar Assad with military action if Assad used WMDs; he then began shipping weapons into Syria to al-Nusra, a terrorist group leading the Syrian opposition. Assad used WMDs. Obama then cut a deal to leave Assad in power while still providing assistance to the terrorists. So we’re not on just one wrong side in Syria. We’re on two.

Turkey. After the Turkish Islamist government sent a terrorist flotilla to the Gaza Strip and Israel confronted it, President Obama forced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to apologize to the Turkish government.

In other words, the Hamas negotiations and the Bergdahl deal are not outliers. They are part of a broader policy of undermining US national security interests in favor of a less muscular America, resulting in a global balance favoring Islamic terrorists. Earlier this week, the Obama Doctrine was announced by Politico: “Don’t do stupid s***.”

Politico missed the last half of the slogan: do as much cowardly s*** as possible.

Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013). He is also Editor-in-Chief ofTruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.

Seven habits of highly effective kingpins

Risky BusinessMoney Jihad:

Criminal and terrorist groups are highly interconnected according to new analysis of data by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center. The conventional wisdom was that criminals worry that working with terrorists may draw unwanted scrutiny from their governments, and they are only inclined to cooperate only in resource-poor environments where it is necessary to survive. But the CTC finds that transnational traffickers and criminals appear to be more than willing to partner with terrorists, and that they benefit from these relationships in a wide variety of environments.

The full report can be read here. It is very thorough (89 pages) and includes academic language and models. Here are a just a few of the salient points from the study about members of the global underworld that may be of interest to practitioners and analysts outside of academia:

  1. Interconnected: 98 percent of the individuals in the global illicit marketplace are within two degrees of separation of each other.
  2. International: One in three individuals in the network have international relationships.
  3. Distributed power: Unlike typical hub-and-spoke networks where 80 percent of the connections rely on 20 percent of the actors involved, the global illicit network is somewhat less dependent on a small number of powerful actors/kingpins. Twenty percent of participants are responsible for only 65 percent of underworld connections. This diffuse hub-and-spoke model makes the network tougher for law enforcement to disrupt.
  4. Willingness to work with terrorists: “Individuals involved in other illicit activities link to terrorists 35 percent of the time” (p. 43). Terrorists often serve as “boundary spanners,” that link and form introductions between disparate groups such as drug traffickers, arms dealers, and organized crime.
  5. Frequent bilateral links with the United Arab Emirates: The top two bilateral connections in the criminal underworld–the U.S. and Colombia and the U.S. and Mexico–are probably unsurprising to Americans. The third most prevalent bilateral connections are between India and the U.A.E., and the sixth most common are between Pakistan and the U.A.E.
  6. Organized crime, not just terrorism, benefits from state sponsorship. We know that state sponsorship of terrorism exists, but for some reason we erroneously assume that state sponsorship of crime does not. The evidence from North Korea, Russia, the Balkans, and Pakistan indicates that criminals can carry out national interests—a phenomenon deserving further study.
  7. Convergence is not driven by poverty. Terrorists and criminals are drawn together in a variety of environments, not just in countries where there are little money or resources. The evidence indicates that the opposite is often true—that criminal masterminds prefer climates where there is some level of predictability and economic development, such as Monzer al-Kassar operating in Spain and Dawood Ibrahim in Dubai. Focusing only on failed states could be a red herring.

Acknowledgment: Thanks to Twitter user @El_Grillo1 for sending in a link to the CTC study.

Obama Belief That “Tide of War is Receding” Rejected By Second Senior Sr. Admin Official in Two days

keith-alexander-hm-apBreitbart, by THOMAS ROSE:

Twice in the past two days, President Barack Obama has had the core premise upon which the foreign and national security policies of his administration have been based for nearly six years – that the “tide of war is receding” due to the decimation of the terrorist threat and the improved standing of the United States around the world – openly contradicted by two senior members of his administration.

On Monday, it was President Obama’s new FBI Director James Comey who told the New York Times that he just didn’t appreciate how serious a terrorist threat the United States still faced until he began seeing the daily intelligence briefs.

Tuesday it was General Keith Alexander, the recently retired director of the National Security Agency who told Mattathias Schwartz of The New Yorker magazine that not only has the terrorist threat against America not receded, it has gotten worse. Based upon “what I saw at the NSA,” General Alexander is quoted as saying, “there is a lot more coming our way.”

General Alexander should know of what he speaks. In addition to his eight years as the head of NSA, he ran the Pentagon’s Central Security Office as well as commanding the US Cyber Command office.

Despite the tremendous advances made by the US intelligence community since 9/11 and its extraordinary record at disrupting plots, Alexander says the US is at even greater risk. “Look at the way Al Qaeda networks,” he says before citing a growing list of examples. “From Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb, and now in Syria, the al-Nusra front.”

The new “decentralized” al-Qaida is not a mark of its weakness, says Alexander, but its strength and resilience. “You can say those are distant countries,” he claimed, “but a lot of these groups are looking to attack the United States.”

Left unremarked was what role, if any, premature US pullouts from Iraq and Afghanistan have upon the renewed capacities, capabilities, and zones of safe operation of America’s most virulent enemies.

CNN: U.S. Facing a ‘Triple Threat from Al Qaeda’

BY: Washington Free Beacon Staff
May 20, 2014 5:47 pm

CNN’s Pentagon corespondent Barbara Starr reported Tuesday on a “triple threat from al Qaeda” the United States faces in Pakistan, Syria and Yemen.

Syria has become a “hot bed” for training camps and planning of external attacks, and a “growing threat” from al Qaeda exists in Yemen. Starr said there is a concern al Qaeda there are capable of attacking the U.S. embassy in Yemen, as well as inside the U.S. itself.

Also, an American-born terrorist known as Abdullah al-Shami is essentially the head of al Qaeda’s external planning operations in Pakistan and is being closely monitored by American intelligence.

“This is not al Qaeda on the run,” Starr said. “This is someone they’re watching very closely.”

Cleric Convicted of All Terrorism Charges

 

Preet Bharara, the United States attorney, on Monday after Mostafa Kamel Mostafa’s conviction. Credit Anthony Lanzilote for The New York Times

Preet Bharara, the United States attorney, on Monday after Mostafa Kamel Mostafa’s conviction. Credit Anthony Lanzilote for The New York Times

By 

The fiery British cleric who prosecutors said had “devoted his life to violent jihad” and sent young men around the world to train and fight was convicted Monday of all 11 terrorism-related charges against him.

Prosecutors had charged that the cleric, Mostafa Kamel Mostafa, a former imam at the Finsbury Park mosque in North London, helped to orchestrate the violent 1998 kidnappings of 16 American, British and Australian tourists in Yemen; tried to create a terrorist training camp in Bly, Ore.; and supported terrorism by sending one of his followers to train with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Four hostages were killed during the kidnappings after their captors, a militant group allied with Mr. Mostafa, used them as human shields during a Yemeni rescue operation. “He jumped at opportunities across the globe to support this violent jihad,” a prosecutor, Ian McGinley, said in his summation last week.

The verdict came on the jury’s second day of deliberations in the sixth week of the trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan, marking the end of a long legal battle to bring Mr. Mostafa before a jury. Arrested in London in 2004 after the United States requested his extradition, Mr. Mostafa, who is also known as Abu Hamza al-Masri, was tried and convicted in Britain in 2006 on charges of soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred.

After a lengthy extradition fight, he was sent to the United States in 2012 to face trial in Manhattan. He could face life in prison when Judge Katherine B. Forrest imposes his sentence on Sept. 9.

Getty Images

Getty Images

Mr. Mostafa, 56, testified for several days, denying he had played a role in the Yemeni kidnappings, planned the training camp in Oregon or assisted Al Qaeda.

Prosecutors linked him to the kidnappings through statements he had made to one of the rescued hostages, Mary Quin, who had interviewed him for a book she was writing about her experience. Ms. Quin and a second former hostage, Margaret Thompson, both United States citizens, each offered harrowing accounts of their abductions.

The government also introduced evidence that Mr. Mostafa had provided a satellite phone to the Yemeni militants who used it to communicate with him before and while the hostage-taking was underway.

The government also introduced statements by Mr. Mostafa, in which he had spoken approvingly of Al Qaeda’s 2000 bombing of the American destroyer Cole in Yemen, described Osama bin Laden as “a hero” and said, “Everybody was happy when the planes hit the World Trade Center.”

Mr. Mostafa’s lawyers argued that the case against their client was based on his words and “not his deeds.”

But after the verdict, the jury foreman, Howard Bailynson, a Westchester resident who works for Xerox, said Mr. Mostafa’s “actions were clearly part of it.” Mr. Bailynson cited evidence like the satellite phone Mr. Mostafa had given to the kidnappers.

Read more at NYT

Obama’s FBI Director James Comey: “I Just Didn’t Appreciate” Terrorism Was Still Such a Threat

james-comey-afp

Breitbart, by THOMAS ROSE:

Recently installed FBI Director James Comey tells The New York Times that his plans to refocus the bureau’s attention back toward prosecuting criminals and away from terrorism were made before he realized just how serious the terrorist threat facing the US really is.

It was only after seeing the top-secret intelligence that was unavailable to him while he was publicly opposing things like the NSA’s surveillance program that, Comey says, he realized the tide of war is not “receding” as fast as President Obama has repeatedly claimed, if it is even receding at all.

Al-Qaeda, Comey says, is very much alive and growing in new and more dangerous places around the world. “I just didn’t have anywhere near the appreciation I got after I came into this job,” he tells the Times, “just how virulent those affiliates had become. There are both many more than I appreciated, and they are much stronger than I appreciated.”

Therefore, says Comey, the FBI’s traditional emphasis on criminal prosecutions will continue to take a back seat as the agency intensifies its focus on counter-terrorism.

There was no indication in the front-page piece by Michael S. Schmidt as to whether or not President Obama, who nominated Comey after delivering a high-profile speech in which he said the country needs to “move off” its wartime footing, had undergone a similar change in his assessment of the terror threat, or even was availing himself of the same intelligence reports.

Nor was there any discussion in the nearly 3000-word article about how Comey’s public statements about his beliefs now break from the President’s repeated assurances that America is more secure and terrorism less a threat than it was before he took office. Comey contradicts the President directly when he says that America’s enemies are more emboldened in their hatred towards the US and operate more freely in more parts of the world.

Confusion on Boko Haram and Terrorism

George Will3By Andrew C. McCarthy, May 17, 2014:

For admirers of George Will and Charles Krauthammer, it’s a real treat to find them together many nights on Bret Baier’s panel on Special Report. But I must confess to nearly falling out of my chair upon watching the replay of a segment last night in which Mr. Will opined that Boko Haram seemed to him more like “a military insurgency” than a terrorist organization. Dr. K vigorously refuted this assertion and was right to do so.

At issue was the State Department’s failure, during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary, to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist organization. I sympathize with Will’s (very) general premise that “terrorist” is an overused term. But the premise was inapposite in this case.

Terrorism is the use and threatened use of mass violence in violation of the laws of war in order to coerce a government or society into policy changes or the acceptance of some ideological agenda. It does indeed trivialize the term to apply it to people who do not commit terrorism, whether they are serious criminals (e.g., mafia hit-men or serial murderers) or, as is fashionable on the Left, to people who merely represent things with which one disagrees (e.g., energy-producers, “the one percent,” or the Tea Party). It is not wrong, however, to refer to terrorists as terrorists—it’s entirely accurate.

Will said he sees terrorism as “random” violence, while Boko Haram seemed to him more like a military insurgency against the Nigerian government. Since Boko Haram has what Will sees as “military objectives,” that somehow suggests to him that its violent attacks are more like lawful combat operations than terrorism. It is tough to unwind all he gets wrong here (though Krauthammer did a very good job of it).

A terrorist organization is distinguished from a militia by its failure to comply with the laws and customs of war—particularly, its intentional targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure. Al Qaeda has military objectives, too; so does every terrorist organization. The fact that a terrorist organization has “military objectives” is beside the point if it pursues those objectives through mass-murder attacks in conjunction other operations distinguished by their extreme cruelty—like brutally murdering scores of school boys and turning young girls into sex slaves, as Boko Haram does.

I assume that by “random” attacks, Will means that terrorists terrorize by creating an atmosphere of intimidation in which anyone could be attacked at any time. Military insurgencies, by contrast, conduct more regular, predictable attacks, concentrating on targets that have military value (even if hitting them causes collateral damage to civilians). If that’s how he sees it, one has to assume that he simply does not know much about Boko Haram. Its attacks are as random as any other terrorist organization’s. There are more of them, but that is because Boko Haram is a particularly vicious group, not because it is fighting a traditional battlefield campaign. And while it attacks government targets (just like al Qaeda has attacked the Pentagon, U.S. embassies, and U.S. military installations), Boko Haram routinely targets civilian centers, school children, churches, and other Western targets that could only be considered “military objectives” by a violent jihadist who sees non-Muslims as “at war with Islam.”

Moreover, as Bret Baier pointed out, Tom Joscelyn has outlined long-standing ties between Boko Haram and al Qaeda. (Tom’s latest on that, in the Weekly Standard, is here.) Will appears to be under the misimpression (one the State Department promotes) that Boko Haram is not part of the global jihad but is simply waging a local war for political control of Nigeria. But this canard elevates what progressives want to believe about Boko Haram (and radical Islam generally) over the reality of how these groups define themselves.

Boko Haram’s official name is Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, meaning “People (or The Group) Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teaching and Jihad.” The short handle Boko Haram reflects a part of this overarching Islamic supremacist mission: “Western education is forbidden.” (Note the wishful thinking of progressives repeatedly peddled over the past few days: Boko Haram, we’re told, is not an Islamist group; they are just a backward-thinking political group opposed to education. In fact, what they oppose is Western education; they are all for Islamic education because they are an avowedly Islamist group.)

Boko Haram’s explicit goal is the imposition of sharia law, first in Nigeria (because that’s where they are) but ultimately worldwide. Even then-Secretary Clinton, despite failing to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist organization, acknowledged in congressional testimony that Boko Haram shared al Qaeda’s “jihadist” ideology (see the clip Bret played last night—jihadist is the word Clinton used … no doubt because the Obama administration was being criticized at the time for suppressing it). This jihadist ideology does not recognize national borders, so it is foolish to portray it as content to wage local wars for political control of this country or that. It sees the world as Dar al-Harb (the realm of war) versus Dar al-Islam, in which the latter must conquer the former. In fact, as I noted here at Ordered Liberty a few days ago—citing Tom Joscelyn’s Long War Journalpartner, Bill Roggio—Boko Haram’s leader, Abubaker Shekau, explicitly threatened the United States (in sympathy with al Qaeda) in 2010: “Do not think jihad is over. Rather, jihad has just begun. America, die with your fury.” Like al Qaeda, Boko Haram sees itself as at war with the West and non-Muslims generally, not just with the Nigerian government.

Read more at PJ Media

U.S. NEGLIGENCE ARMED ISLAMIC TERROR GROUP

boko-haram (1)WND, by Aaron Klein:

The Islamic terrorist organization Boko Haram has been made all the more dangerous by weapons it acquired during the looting of Libyan reserves after the U.S.-backed NATO campaign that deposed Moammar Gadhafi’s regime.

Shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles now in Boko Haram’s possession are a potential threat to commercial airliners in West Africa, dramatically increasing the jihadist group’s destructive impact.

The Nigeria-based Boko Haram group has been the center of worldwide headlines after it abducted at least 276 girls last month from the northeastern town of Chibok, which is known to have a sizeable Christian community.

Yesterday, the group released a video purporting to show the missing girls and claiming they had converted to Islam. In the 17-minute video, Abubakar Shekau, the group’s leader, warned he would not free the schoolgirls until all Boko Haram prisoners are released from jails.

Regarding the conversion of the girls, Shekau stated: “”These girls, these girls you occupy yourselves with … we have indeed liberated them. These girls have become Muslims.”

Founded in 2009, Boko Haram’s profile as a terrorist group has risen rapidly.

Its rise may have been accelerated by weaponry it acquired as a consequence of NATO and the Obama administration’s efforts in Gaddafi’s ouster.

The largest terrorist looting of Man-Portable-Air-Defense-Systems, or MANPADS, took place immediately after the military campaign against the Gadhafi regime, when the U.S.-NATO alliance failed to secure the weapons.

Gadhafi had hoarded Africa’s biggest known reserve of MANPADS. His stock was said to number between 15,000 and 20,000. Many of the missiles were stolen by militias fighting in Libya, including those backed by the U.S. in their anti-Gadhafi efforts.

In January 2012, the United Nations Security Council first raised the alarm about Boko Haram acquiring weapons looted in Libya.

A 2013 House report documented Boko Haram’s efforts to purchase weapons from the groups that looted Gadhafi’s reserves. It stated the group “has acquired, or will acquire, SA-7 and SA-24 shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles.”

The House document noted the SA-7 is effective up to 4,600 feet. While most commercial aircraft cruise at about 30,000 feet, the missile could down airliners during takeoff and landing.

“Nothing the organization has done so far gives the impression that they would restrain themselves from aiming for such a target if given the opportunity,” the report warned of Boko Haram.

The 39-page report said Boko Haram’s growing collaboration with al-Qaida, including the Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, franchise, has made the African group a threat to U.S. interests abroad as well as a potential danger to the U.S. homeland.

The January 2012 U.N. report also noted Boko Haram was working with AQIM, with seven of its members arrested traveling through the Niger to Mali “in possession of documentation on manufacturing of explosives, propaganda leaflets and names and contact details of members of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb they were allegedly planning to meet.”

In May 2012, the Washington Post’s David Ignatius reported two former CIA officers had been raising the alarm within the intelligence community about missiles and weapons proliferated from Libya and being acquired by Boko Haram.

In an email, the officers wrote: “The missiles and munitions that have been streaming out of Libya since the fall of 2011 have made their way to Agadez in Niger and points west … Boko Haram has taken possession of some of the refurbished missiles.”