Man Arrested in NY for Providing Material Support to IS

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Center for Security Policy, by Jennifer Keltz, July 30, 2015:

On July 29, FBI Agents arrested Arafat M. Nagi for knowingly providing material support to a known terrorist organization, namely the Islamic State (IS).

Nagi was arrested in a home on Olcott Avenue in Lackawanna, New York. He is 44 years old and divorced with two adult children. He used to be employed as a deliveryman for a medical supply company but has not worked since 2009. He was previously arrested in 2013 for threatening to behead his daughter, who is now 21 years old.

In the criminal complaint lodged against Nagi, details are given as to the exact nature of the support he provided to IS. Nagi traveled to Turkey and Yemen multiple times in an attempt to enter Syria, and agents had probable cause to believe that he was able to join with IS operatives. He is believed to have used his family in Yemen as pretext to travel to the Middle East, giving him the ability to slip into Syria without drawing attention to himself. His now-defunct Twitter account offered praise to IS and to its proclaimed Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The complaint also listed suspicious purchases he made online before his travels to Turkey, which included a tactical vest, combat clothing, and body armor.

Nagi’s defense attorney, Jeremy Schwartz, stated that the accusations against him are unfounded. Schwartz said, “He’s an American citizen, born here, and had no intention to engage in any terrorist activity.” Schwartz will plead not guilty on behalf of Nagi.

Lackawanna gained notoriety in 2002, when a group of six Yemeni-American men, known as the Lackawanna 6, was arrested for their association with Al Qaeda. The men had all traveled to Afghanistan, trained with Al Qaeda, and met Osama Bin Laden prior to the 9/11 attack in 2001. Nagi’s name appeared regularly in the early-2000s investigation of the Lackawanna 6. He apparently wanted to make the original trip with the 6 to Afghanistan, but was unable to do so, perhaps for financial reasons. He tried to take another, later trip but could not on account of the 9/11 attacks. According to Peter Ahearn, who ran the Buffalo FBI office that investigated the Lackawanna 6 in 2002, Nagi was never arrested or formally charged because “he never spent any money. He never provided the material support. He never really was able to get traction.”

The Lackawanna 6 were also connected to the Tablighi Jamaat Islamic movement. The movement is apolitical and mainly composed of South Asian Muslims, and it operates in 150 countries with somewhere between 70 and 80 million followers. It was designed to bring Muslims back to more orthodox roots. It is not violent by nature, but it does provide a conduit for violent, jihadist indoctrination because terrorist organizations use its message of calling Muslims back to their faith as a way to reach out to new recruits. Several Tablighi mosques operate in the US, and the movement’s US headquarters are in Queens, NY. The Lackawanna 6 was involved with Tablighi missionaries.

The criminal complaint filed against Nagi outlines years of hard work by the FBI to track his movements and learn about his sinister intent. Much of the information about Nagi’s activities in the Middle East is gleaned through conversations he had with family members, presumably his siblings. The complaint demonstrates the importance of the counterterrorism measures that exist in the US, but it also shows that the indoctrination of violent beliefs is not always an isolated event. Members of Nagi’s community, including close friends and family members, must be investigated too, lest they also try to run away to IS.

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Understanding the Islamic State

December 31, 2014 /

The New York Times released an article titled “In Battle to Defang ISIS, US Targets Its Psychology” on December 28, 2014. The article goes into details about how General Michael Nagata is trying to understand the Islamic State and its intangible capabilities. What draws people to the Islamic State and how this messaging is put together.

General Nagata stated that we do not under the movement and until we do we won’t be able to defeat it. He further states in the article that we have not defeated the idea. We do not even understand the idea.

The United States and other nations with relatively free societies allow the promulgation of the exact rhetoric that assists in the recruiting process. We have covered this in articles in Europe, Asia and North America. Our piece on ISIS: The French Connection goes into minute details of the recruiting process which some of it can be generically applied to nations around the world.

We have also discussed the social media exploitation done by the Islamic State in our articles discussing how the Islamic State uses social media in its recruiting efforts as well as “preaching” the message. The Al Hayat Media Center (HMC) and the Al Furqan Media Foundation craft religious devotionals in their messaging which is something the western powers still have failed to grasp. Each media clip the HMC and Al Furqan releases has a religious appeal to it. We have also put a lot of detail into articles about HMC and Furqan Media Foundation. How they broadcast their messaging and practically announce where actions or attacks will take place. We had also done an analysis of their social media saturation throughout North America and how they specify a targeted city. There is also the fact that each individual fighter is his own online media host on Twitter, Facebook, Diaspora or other social networks. Some are even broadcasting their messages from the battlefield.

Al Hayat Media Center LogoAl Hayat Media Center Logo

Al Furqan Media FoundationAl Furqan Media Foundation Logo

The Islamic State in several of their recruiting videos shows the Islamic State as a brotherhood as a place where everybody can belong. While they skip the part about requiring you to be a Muslim that is pretty much implied. The Soldiers of Truth Video refers to the fighters as “the brothers” throughout the video clip and several other propaganda videos do the same. This inclusiveness is built upon by experienced military commanders that served in the military of a variety of nations including the US. There are a number of members in the Islamic State that have served in the military in European nations such as France, the UK, Russia, Georgia, Chechnya, the Balkans and more. There are also a number from the Philippines which we had pointed out in the most recent execution video there is a Philippine presence in the Islamic State. Then there are the foreign fighters from the North African nations with military experience. Some of these foreign fighters likely had training from US or other nations prior to the conflict since many countries have been the recipient of military aid from western nations for decades. There is no question that a larger than expected number of fighters have had military experience and this is also why they use US tactics in some cases or that of European nations.

Some of this experience has come from militaries that have psychological operations type units and some of it comes from the computer experts that they have managed to recruit. The Islamic State is very savvy in its recruiting because it looks for fighters, but also computer scientists and social media experts and people with proper placement and access within foreign countries to conduct recruitment or financing operations. Islamic State has been far more advanced in their outreach methodology than Al Qaeda ever has been. There is also the fact that the former regime and military members of the Saddam Hussein era that joined the Islamic State. This was a warning that was given numerous times during the Iraq War specifically about Izzat Ibrahim al Douri.

The former members of Saddam’s military that formed JRTN (Jaysh Rijal al-Tariqa al-Naqshbandia) provided a lot of the necessary experience the Islamic State needed back in mid 2011 when they started the “Breaking the Walls” campaign which began freeing prisoners, conducting bank robberies and kidnappings to fund operations. This group also had inroads with groups when the Syrian Civil War broke out. They were also smart enough to obtain aid from the United States under the guise of being a moderate group under various names or sending individuals to pose moderates of other so called moderate groups. Experience from individuals like Omar al-Shishani and Abu Waheeb have also given the Islamic State an enormous advantage over other groups. Waheeb is about as bloodthirsty as it gets killing people just because they aren’t able to answer specific questions pertaining to Sunni Islam that he comes up with.

The Islamic State takes the unique capabilities of each individual into consideration during the recruitment process. It does not simply stick a body into a position to become a fighter if they believe the person’s talents are best suited elsewhere. This is also something we covered in a quite a few different articles. Ahmad Abousamra from the United States for example became a leader of Al Hayat Media Center, Omar al-Shishani from Chechnya a senior field commander. They recognize the talents for what they are worth to the organization. Abousamra has far exceeded what they expected on the social media efforts. He should be a primary target of the United States and coalition forces.

Assessment: Messaging by the Islamic State focuses on core Islamic values with a heavy emphasis on the necessity to participate in jihad against the apostates. Each of the mass execution videos released has shown this with the “narrator” talking about jihad, how those being executed are apostates for attacks on the Muslims even though some of those being executed are themselves Muslims. The US has been behind the power curve in messaging for a very long time. The US has focused on a message appealing towards humanity while the Islamic State’s entirety of messaging is a religious one using specific passages from the Quran. The western powers need to counter that message using those same phrases but reversing their meaning to a more moderate view. We had wrote about this in our article Defeating the Islamic State. We had also discussed how the US had greatly underestimated the strength and capabilities of the Islamic State.

Every day the Islamic State holds terrain it increases its status in the eyes of wannabe jihadists around the world. This is why the problem extends from beyond Syria and Iraq to Asia where groups in the Philippines have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and have sent fighters. The chaos in Libya is spreading to neighboring Egypt and Ansar al-Sharia has already proclaimed a caliphate in Libya as well as pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. Tunisia has sent some 3000 fighters to the Islamic State and continues to do so, at some point those fighters will be returning to stir unrest there. Boko Haram continues to gain influence and terrain in Nigeria and has done cross border attacks in neighboring Cameroon. There are other groups that have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State such as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) in the Sinai.
The US and coalition forces need to recognize that this is a worldwide problem not just contained to Syria and Iraq. Defeating the ideology must start in the countries that are not yet physically involved in conflict. There is already strong support for the Islamic State in bordering countries like Jordan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. If these governments do not rapidly and decisively counter the messaging of radical imams then the conflict will surely spread into their countries in the form of armed conflict. The swatting at flies approach to the Islamic State allows it to adapt and change its operational plans on the fly. When the US began its bombing campaign we accurately predicted that the Islamic State would turn west and north which led them to Kobani. Once the US began to bomb the area around Kobani the Islamic State pushed closer to Baghdad. Recently, it was reported that the Islamic State had engaged Jordanian forces along the border which would be an indicator of another shift in the group’s strategy and testing support. Jordan attempted a crackdown on radical imams, but must engage with the more moderate imams and increase the sphere of influence that they have. We had also talked about this in the Defeating the Islamic State piece. This must also be applied to other countries and not just those on the border areas of the conflict.

The US and other open societies must figure out how to continue the freedoms that their citizens enjoy while also ensuring that their citizens are secure. Numerous Islamic Centers around the world have ties to known or suspected jihadists, promoters, financiers and leaders. These organizations are not investigated well enough to come to the correct conclusions in analysis. These organizations are also quick to use the legal system against any organization or individual that attempts to expose them for contributing to jihadist groups financially, through recruitment or otherwise. This is something we are referring to as Judicial Jihad. While some of these organizations are outright supporters some are duped into supporting individuals that they are unaware of having ties to terrorist groups. However, governments must determine which organizations are actually suspect and choose the proper course of action to move forward.

Something else we have discussed is that the Islamic State has a very limited war production capacity. They are limited because they do not produce the weapons which they possess particularly the heavy weapons such as tanks and artillery. They can’t even produce a vehicle for combat. Everything that the Islamic State uses on the heavier end of equipment is obtained through battlefield recovery. Normally, when one thinks of battlefield recovery it is on a much smaller scale such as equipment and ammunition recovered after an ambush or a raid on a small objective. However, in the case with the Islamic State they have conducted battlefield recovery on a massive scale by seizing entire military installations in Iraq and Syria. These facilities must be reduced immediately after they have been seized to prevent that captured equipment from being used against Iraqi Security Forces. The US and coalition forces should target facilities in Iraq and Syria that have been seized destroying all equipment located in those facilities.

We have wrote about this extensively in the ISIS Study Group and in our articles we cover a lot of this not just in Syria, Iraq or the Middle East, but worldwide. We go into a lot of detail about the organization, how it functions, how it recruits, how it uses social media and how it plans attacks. We also show how this has moved well beyond the Syria/Iraq area and extends into northern Africa, Europe, Asia and North America. In fact we angered some financiers in the Philippines that they started responding to articles on the site with threats of lawsuits. That is also a jihadi tactic that the western powers need to address since it is happening more often. The longer the Islamic State holds terrain, especially a large amount of it, the more fighters it gathers to its cause. We show how they use social media in the recruitment effort as well as the messaging effort. We wrote a detailed plan for a beginning phase of defeating the Islamic State which had it been followed IS would likely hold much less terrain now and multiple Iraqi bases/camps in Anbar would not have fallen and scores of troops would have been spared.

In Battle to Defang ISIS, U.S. Targets Its Psychology

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/12/29/us/politics/in-battle-to-defang-isis-us-targets-its-psychology-.html?ref=us&_r=1&referrer=

Congress secretly approves U.S. weapons flow to ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels

People stand on a street lined with damaged buildings in the besieged area of Homs January 27, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/YAZAN HOMSY

People stand on a street lined with damaged buildings in the besieged area of Homs January 27, 2014.
CREDIT: REUTERS/YAZAN HOMSY

BY MARK HOSENBALL:

(Reuters) – Light arms supplied by the United States are flowing to “moderate” Syrian rebel factions in the south of the country and U.S. funding for months of further deliveries has been approved by Congress, according U.S. and European security officials.

The weapons, most of which are moving to non-Islamist Syrian rebels via Jordan, include a variety of small arms, as well as some more powerful weapons, such as anti-tank rockets.

The deliveries do not include weapons such as shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles, known as MANPADs, which could shoot down military or civilian aircraft, the officials said.

The weapons deliveries have been funded by the U.S. Congress, in votes behind closed doors, through the end of government fiscal year 2014, which ends on September 30, two officials said.

The apparently steady weapons flow contrasts with the situation last summer, when lethal U.S. aid to the Syrian rebels dried up for a time due to congressional reservations.

Congressional committees held up weapons deliveries for months over fears that U.S. arms would not prove decisive in the rebels’ efforts to oust President Bashar Assad and his government and could well end up in the hands of Islamist militants.

A U.S. official familiar with recent developments said national security officials and members of Congress are more confident that weapons delivered to southern Syria are going to, and remaining in, the hands of moderate rebels rather than militant jihadist factions.

Congress approved funding for weapons deliveries to the Syrian rebels in classified sections of defense appropriations legislation, two sources familiar with the matter said. It was not clear when the funding was approved, but unclassified defense funding passed Congress in late December.

Some additional budget tweaks may be necessary to ensure that all the approved funding is fully available for disbursement during the current fiscal year.

Yet, officials who support providing U.S. arms to the rebels acknowledge that this has not greatly increased U.S. expectations of victory by anti-Assad forces, whether moderate or militant.

“The Syrian war is a stalemate. The rebels lack the organization and weapons to defeat Assad; the regime lacks the loyal manpower to suppress the rebellion. Both sides’ external allies… are ready to supply enough money and arms to fuel the stalemate for the foreseeable future,” said Bruce Riedel, a former senior CIA analyst and sometime foreign policy adviser to President Barack Obama.

Both U.S. and European officials said that “moderate” rebels had recently consolidated their positions in the Syrian south, where they are pushing out elements linked to al-Qaeda. More militant factions remain dominant in the north and east.

Another recent development favorable to more moderate factions is that Kurdish groups that had been providing weapons and other aid financed by donors in the Gulf state of Qatar indiscriminately to both moderate and religious extremist rebel factions had greatly reduced their involvement in the arms traffic, one of the officials said.

A White House spokeswoman had no comment. Other U.S. agencies did not respond to requests for comment.

As for “non-lethal” aid like communications and transportation equipment, the United States hopes to resume deliveries to moderate groups in Syria soon, a U.S. official said on Monday.

The United States and Britain suspended non-lethal aid to northern Syria in December after reports that Islamist fighters seized Western-backed rebel weapons warehouses, highlighting fears that supplies could end up in hostile hands.

“We hope to be able to resume assistance to the SMC shortly, pending security and logistics considerations,” said the official, referring to the Supreme Military Council moderate rebel group. “But we have no announcements at this time,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Non-lethal aid was resumed to civilian groups in that region in late December.

(Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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So, are we to believe there are “moderate jihadists”? —-> The Good and Bad of Ahrar al-Sham –  An al Qaeda–Linked Group Worth Befriending h/t @pspoole

Video: Christopher Holton on Civilization Jihad, the Global Islamic Insurgency and Shariah Compliant Finance

moa1Terror Trends Bulletin, Oct. 17, 2012, by Christopher Holton:

This information makes up the introductory portion of the briefing that I have been delivering around the country for the past 3 years. It is important given the mounting evidence of Muslim Brotherhood infiltration in the West, and the US in particular.

On 22 May 2007, the Pew Research Center, certainly not a “conservative” organization, published a report on a survey that they conducted of Muslims in America. The name of that report was “Muslims in America: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream.”

Pew rolled it out as a celebration of Muslims in America. The media jumped on the bandwagon and the report was received with delight.

But there are aspects of the report which deserve more scrutiny and which Pew and the media essentially ignored in their spin during the release.

First a few background highlights:

• Pew reported that there were 2.35 million Muslims in America, including 1.4 million over the age of 18 (the target group of the survey).

This is important because the Muslim Brotherhood organizations, such as CAIR and ISNA, frequently claim that there are 5-6 million Muslims in America. President Obama parroted the bogus 5-6 million figure from the Muslim Brotherhood in his 2009 Cairo speech.

• 30% of the 1.4 million (420,000) were said to be between 18 and 29.

This is important because this is the demographic most likely to be involved in jihadist activity.

Most importantly, there were two particularly relevant questions that were buried deep in the Pew survey that Pew chose not to address or highlight in its release and rollout of the report:

Relevant Question Number 1: Can Suicide Bombing of Civilian Targets to Defend Islam be Justified?

A: Often/Sometimes: 8%

A: Rarely: 5%

A: Don’t Know/Refuse to Answer: 9%

A: Never: 78%

 In other words, AT LEAST 13% of American Muslims believed that suicide bombings of civilian targets was justified at least in some circumstances.

 182,000 Muslims in America over the age of 18 believed that Islamikaze bombings of civilian targets was justified at least in some circumstances.

Here is another important point: This same question was asked of Muslims under the age of 30 (the age group most associated with jihadist activity):

A: Often/Sometimes: 15%

A: Rarely: 11%

A: Don’t know/refuse to answer: 5%?

A: Never: 69%

 26% or 109,200 Muslims in America between 18 and 29 believed that Islamikaze bombings of civilian targets was justified at least in some circumstances.

Relevant Question Number 2: What is your view of Al Qaeda?

A: Favorable: 5%

A: Somewhat Unfavorable: 10%

A: Don’t Know/Refuse to Answer: 27%

A: Very Unfavorable: 58%

Same questions to Muslims under 30:

A: Favorable: 7%

A: Somewhat Unfavorable: 16%

A: Don’t Know/Refuse to Answer: 19%

A: Very Unfavorable: 58%

 70,000 Muslims in America admitted to having a favorable view of Al Qaeda.

 29,400 Muslims in America between the ages of 18 and 29 admitted to having a favorable view of Al Qaeda.

It is particularly noteworthy that younger Muslims in America appear to be more predisposed to violent Jihad than older Muslims based upon the answers to these two questions.

Note that this survey was conducted of Muslims in America, not Muslims in Benghazi, Ramadi, Fallujah, Gaza, Cairo, Sana’a, Tehran, Kandahar, or Islamabad. The tens of thousands of Muslims that harbor these views all live in America. These numbers are staggering and frightening.

Civilizational Jihad and Global Islamic Insurgency with Christopher Holton, Published on Dec 26, 2013 by Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors:

 

“… new reality makes identifying and understanding the Islamic doctrinal basis of our Jihadist enemies all the more important, yet with each passing attack, we seem to be getting further and further away from doing so.”

Christopher Holton of the Center for Security Policy discussed what America faces in addition to the threat of violent jihad another, an even more toxic danger — a stealthy and pre-violent form of warfare aimed at destroying our constitutional form of democratic government and free society. The Muslim Brotherhood is the prime mover behind this seditious campaign, which it calls “civilization jihad.”

Civilizational Jihad is succeeding through government, finance, military institutions…and though our schools.

Christopher Holton is Vice-President of Outreach at the Center for Security Policy. He directs the Center’s Divest Terror Initiative and Shariah Risk Due Diligence Program. He has been involved in legislation in twenty states to divest taxpayer supported pension systems from foreign companies that do business with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic Republic of Sudan, and the Syrian Arab Republic. Since 2008, Chris has been the editor-in-chief of the Shariah Finance Watch Blog. In 2005, he was a co-author of War Footing, published by the US Naval Institute Press. Holton’s work has also been published by National Review, Human Events, The American Thinker, Family Security Matters, Big Peace, World Tribune, World Net Daily, NewsMax, and thehayride.com. Before joining the Center, Chris was President of Blanchard and Company, a two hundred million dollar per year investment firm, and editor-in-chief of the Blanchard Economic Research Unit. Christopher blogs at TerrorTrendsBulletin.com.

 

And this is an excellent presentation on Shariah Compliant Finance with a long Q&A beginning about 50 min. in:

 

Here is a transcript of a similar presentation given in 2012.

 

Terror Wave in Russia

Members of the emergency services work at the site of a bomb blast on a trolleybus in Volgogradby :

There have now been three major jihad terror attacks in Russia in four days. The attacks are a grim reminder of how vulnerable crowded public places are worldwide to jihad mass murder — and an indication of what the United States could look like sooner or later.

The latest round of jihad mass murder began last Friday, when jihadists murdered three people with a car bomb in Pyatigorsk in southern Russia. Then on Sunday, a jihad/martyrdom suicide bomber murdered sixteen people at the train station in Volgograd – the city that, as Stalingrad, was the bloody site of the turning point of World War II. Then on Monday, a jihadist murdered fourteen more people on a trolley bus in the same city.

These were by no means the first jihad strikes in Russia in recent years. In September 2004, Islamic jihadists under the command of Chechen jihad leader Shamil Basayev took 1,300 hostages at a school in Beslan, a town in the Russian Republic of North Ossetia; ultimately the jihadists murdered well over 300 people.

Then in August 2009, jihadists claimed to have murdered over 24 people with a bomb at Siberia’s Sayno-Shushenskata hydro-electric plant in Siberia, although the Russian government claimed that there was no bomb at all, and that the explosion was an accident. On November 27, 2009, jihadists murdered 27 people with a bomb planted under the Nevsky Express train between Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Then in March 2010, Islamic jihad/martyrdom suicide bombers murdered 39 people on the Moscow subway. In February 2011, another jihad/martyrdom suicide bomber murdered 36 people at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow.

Another Chechen jihadist, Doku Umarov, the leader of a group that calls itself the Caucasus Emirate (Umarov styles himself the “Emir of the Caucasus”), told Russians in 2010: “I promise you that war will come to your streets and you will feel it in your lives, feel it on your own skin.” He later threatened that “more special operations” would soon follow, for “among us there are hundreds of brothers who are prepared to sacrifice themselves….We can at any time carry out operations where we want.”

He warned the Russians again last July, exhorting Muslims to wage jihad warfare against the Russians for daring to host the Winter Olympics in Sochi on the Black Sea coast. Umarov said that Muslims should “use maximum force on the path of Allah to disrupt this Satanic dancing” – by which Patrick Swayze-evoking locution he referred to the Games. The Russians, he said, “plan to hold the Olympics on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many dead Muslims buried on the territory of our land on the Black Sea, and we Mujahedeen are obliged not to permit that — using any methods allowed us by the almighty Allah.”

The Caucasus Emirate has not claimed responsibility for the jihad attacks this week, but given the threats Umarov has made against the Games, which are scheduled to begin February 6, it is understandable that suspicion has focused on this group. Vladimir Putin has tightened security, but Russian officials know that there is little he can do to prevent still more jihad terror. Alexei Filatov, whom Reuters describes as the “deputy head of the veterans’ association of the elite Alfa anti-terrorism unit,” observes: “We can expect more such attacks. The threat is greatest now because it is when terrorists can make the biggest impression. The security measures were beefed up long ago around Sochi, so terrorists will strike instead in these nearby cities like Volgograd.”

Read more at Front Page

Foreign Jihadists in Syria: Tracking Recruitment Networks

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BY AARON Y. ZELIN

Thu, December 26, 2013

Monitoring jihadist social-media networks reveals where fighters are coming from, where in Syria they are fighting, and how best to stem their continued recruitment in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Tunisia.

The clandestine nature of the various networks responsible for sending Sunni fighters into Syria makes it difficult to ascertain exactly how many foreigners have entered the war and from which countries. Yet social-media sources affiliated with jihadists often post death notices for slain fighters, providing a unique, though incomplete, picture of where they are being recruited and where in Syria they fought. Tracking and analyzing these notices can help broaden Washington’s understanding of foreign recruitment networks, the largest of which appear to operate in Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Tunisia.

HOW MANY HAVE BEEN KILLED?

Since the Syrian uprising turned into an armed rebellion, jihadists have announced the deaths of more than 1,100 fighters on their Twitter and Facebook accounts and, to a lesser extent, on password-protected forums. Although other foreigners have been killed in Syria, their deaths were reported by non-jihadist rebels, Western media, or Arabic media and are not included in this assessment. The figures below also exclude foreigners who have fought on the Assad regime’s side.

To be sure, the information gleaned from jihadist sources is self-reported, and some data might therefore be suppressed for political reasons, especially reports of Iraqi involvement. That said, it still offers a worthwhile snapshot of an otherwise murky world.

The most striking revelation in the latest data is the huge rise in overall death notices. Previously, jihadist sources had posted only 85 such notices as of February 2013, and only 280 as of June. In other words, the vast majority of the more than 1,100 notices have come in the past half year.

WHERE ARE THEY COMING FROM?

Arabs dominate the list of foreign jihadists who have died in Syria, and nine of the top ten countries represented are from the Arab world.

Death notices have mentioned fifty different nationalities in all, including twenty in Europe or elsewhere in the West. Yet Westerners make up only a miniscule amount of the total.

One of the most important trends in the past half-year is the rise in both the total number of Saudi foreign fighters and the number of Saudis killed (which far outpaces all other national groups). Only some 20 percent of the 1,100 death notices state group affiliation, so this data provides only a small window into which groups foreigners are joining. Of these, however, the vast majority name Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham — the two militant opposition groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United States. Other fighters were also reported to be members of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya, Katibat Suqur al-Izz, Liwa al-Umma, and Harakat Sham al-Islam, among others.

More than 60 percent of the notices offered more specific information about the fighter’s town or province of origin, providing insight into certain foreign networks. For instance, fifteen fighters were described as hailing from the Saudi province of al-Qassim, and it is possible that they came from the provincial capital of Buraydah, as the notices for twenty-two other fighters indicated. The largest network in this data set is from Riyadh, however, raising questions about whether the Saudi government is being duplicitous and/or looking the other way regarding significant jihadist activity in its capital.

Read more at Clarion Project

Aaron Y. Zelin is the Richard Borow Fellow at The Washington Institute.

Sharia’s Protector

569By Mark Steyn:

Rohullah Qarizada is one of those Afghans you used to see a lot on American TV in the immediate aftermath of the Taliban’s fall. Trimly bearded, dapper in Western suit and tie, he heads the Afghan Independent Bar Association in Kabul. Did you know Kabul had a bar association? A few years back, I ran into one of the U.S. prosecutors who helped set it up, with a grant from the Swedish foreign ministry. Mr. Qarizada currently sits on a committee charged with making revisions to the Afghan legal code. What kind of revisions? Well, for example: “Men and women who commit adultery shall be punished based on the circumstances by one of the following punishments: lashing, stoning.”

As in stoning to death. That’s the proposed improvement to Article 21. Article 23 specifies that said punishment shall be performed in public. Mr. Qarizada gave an interview to Reuters, explaining that the reintroduction of stoning was really no big deal: You’d have to have witnesses, and they’d better be consistent. “The judge asks each witness many questions,” he said, “and if one answer differs from other witnesses then the court will reject the claim.” So that’s all right then.

Stoning is making something of a comeback in the world’s legal codes — in October the Sultan of Brunei announced plans to put it on his books. Nevertheless, Kabul has the unique distinction of proposing to introduce the practice on America’s watch. Afghanistan is an American protectorate; its kleptocrat president is an American client, kept alive these last twelve years only by American arms. The Afghan campaign is this nation’s longest war — and our longest un-won war: That’s to say, nowadays we can’t even lose in under a decade. I used to say that, 24 hours after the last Western soldier leaves Afghanistan, it will be as if we were never there. But it’s already as if we were never there: The last Christian church in the country was razed to the ground in 2010.

At this point, Americans sigh wearily and shrug, “Afghanistan, the graveyard of empire,” or sneer, “If they want to live in a seventh-century s***hole, f*** ’em.” But neither assertion is true. Do five minutes’ googling, and you’ll find images from the Sixties and early Seventies of women in skirts above the knee listening to the latest Beatles releases in Kabul record stores. True, a stone’s throw (so to speak) from the capital, King Zahir’s relatively benign reign was not always in evidence. But, even so, if it’s too much to undo the barbarism of centuries, why could the supposed superpower not even return the country to the fitful civilization of the disco era? The American imperium has lasted over twice as long as the Taliban’s rule — and yet, unlike them, we left no trace.

Seven years ago, in my book America Alone, I quoted a riposte to the natives by a British administrator, and it proved such a hit with readers that for the next couple of years at live stage appearances, from Vancouver to Vienna, Madrid to Melbourne, I would be asked to reprise it — like the imperialist version of a Beatles cover band. The chap in question was Sir Charles Napier, out in India and faced with the practice of suttee — the Hindu tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. General Napier’s response was impeccably multicultural: “You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.”

Read more at Steyn Online

 

Hizballah: Iran’s Other Looming Threat to the West

timthumb (2)By Clare Lopez:

Exclusive to Accuracy in Media.

The single most important fact to understand about Hizballah is that its chain of command goes directly to the Iranian Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, by way of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Qods Force. That Iranian connection, as well as Hizballah’s close and long-standing relationship with al-Qa’eda, the global reach of this Shi’ite jihadist group, and above all, its extensive presence and criminal activities in the Western Hemisphere, including inside the United States, all merit a closer look. With U.S. national security directly in Hizballah’s cross-hairs, it’s more important than ever to understand what this group is, who leads it, what has motivated them along a bloody 30-year trail of terrorism, and what damage this group is capable of inflicting on American interests.

For even as Hizballah is an Islamic terror organization, an Iranian proxy for power projection, a Transnational Criminal Organization, and a Lebanese military, political, and social domestic entity, it is above all a direct threat to U.S. national security. After all, and despite a complete media blackout on the topic that prevails to this day, on Iranian orders and working together with al-Qa’eda, Hizballah participated in the worst strike ever against the American homeland: the attacks of 9/11. There is no threshold, ideological or otherwise, that Hizballah has not already crossed or would not cross again, given a direct order from Tehran.

images-1Word out of London in late 2013 is that the U.S. is engaged in secret, indirect negotiations with Hizballah, with British diplomats acting as intermediaries. Those talks followed closely on the U.S. capitulation to Iran over its nuclear weapons program during November 2013 discussions in Geneva and reflect a White House policy of seeking to normalize relations with the regime designated by the Department of State as the number one global state sponsor of terror. Hizballah remains a designated terror organization on the Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list. And while the story about the U.S.-Hizballah talks in London made the Israeli and U.K. media, not one major U.S. media outlet thought it significant to report that the U.S. administration is reaching out to mend relations with what many describe as the most dangerous Islamic terror organization in the world.

Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage called Hizballah the “A Team” and al-Qa’eda the “B Team.” Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that Hizballah makes “al-Qa’eda look like a minor league team.” And former CIA Director George Tenet testified in 2003 that Hizballah was every bit al-Qa’eda’s “equal, if not a far more capable organization.”

And yet, since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the biggest share of counterterrorism bandwidth among national security agencies and the media alike has been devoted to al-Qa’eda “and its affiliates,” as they’re often called. Current internecine civil war in Syria aside, for many years Hizballah happens to have been one of those affiliates, but many would never know that from either the media coverage or official government attention paid to this Shi’ite jihadist group that works mostly for the Iranian mullahs. So, when it’s discussed at all, as on each year’s remembrance of the October 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, Hizballah continues to be thought of primarily as a Lebanese terror outfit. However, as Tony Badran pointed out in an important historical look back in his November 25, 2013 Weekly Standard essay, “The Secret History of Hezbollah,” a critical Iranian connection has been there from the beginning.

Media coverage of the Syrian civil war that broke out in 2011 often cites Hizballah as somehow mixed up in supporting the Ba’athist regime of Bashar al-Assad against a conglomeration of al-Qa’eda- and Muslim Brotherhood-dominated militias. But what that coverage often ignores is that Hizballah’s contribution of thousands of fighters to the survival of the Assad regime is not necessarily in the best interests (or any interests) of Hizballah’s supposed home team, the Lebanese Shi’ites. The reason Hizballah fights on, even after its Syrian adventures have drawn probable Sunni al-Qa’eda retaliation deep into the very heart of its Beirut stronghold in the Dahiyeh, is because Iran wants it to.

Read more: Family Security Matters 

CAIR’s Christ: Muslim-Christian Common Denominator or (Deadly) Divider

By Andrew E. Harrod:

“We have more in common than we think,” concludes Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper with respect to Christian and Muslim understandings of Jesus in a December 23, 2013, USA Today editorial.  Yet this reprint there and elsewhere of an older Christmas article from a Hamas-offshoot and unindicted terrorist coconspirator organization deceptively glosses over deep, sometimes dangerous (for Christians) theological differences.

CAIR’s Hooper

CAIR’s Hooper

The Caucasian Muslim convert (formerly named Doug) and supporter of American Islamic governanceHooper argues that, along with Christians, “Muslims also love and revere Jesus as one of God’s greatest messengers to mankind.”  Hooper notes that the Quran speaks of Jesus “held in honor in this world and the Hereafter” (3:45) and as a “sign for the whole world” (21:91).  In the Quran Jesus is strengthened by the “holy spirit” (2:87, capitalized by Hooper, but not by various Quran translations) and born of a Mary who wonders how she can have a son as a virgin (3:47).

Hooper’s other Islamic Jesus references, though, become more problematical for Christians.  He cites Quran 57:27 to the effect that Jesus received the Gospel and His followers “compassion and mercy.”  Hooper, however, fails to mention that this verse calls “monasticism” something “invented” by Christians and yet not implemented properly by often “defiantly disobedient.”

Hooper also notes how Jesus in Quran 5:110 heals the blind and lepers.  Unmentioned by Hooper, another miracle attributed to Jesus by Quran 5:110 (and the similar verse 3:49) is the turning of clay into a bird.  As religions scholar Kate Zebiri wrote in an article (PDF copyhere), this is the only Jesus miracle in the Quran but not the Bible, although this miracle appears in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas.  This similarity with an apocryphal writing rejected by Christians as inaccurate calls into question the accuracy and origins of the Quran, held by Muslims to be God’s revelation.  Likewise Quran 19:23-25 present Mary birthing Jesus under a palm tree, not in a manger, an account traced by various scholars to the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew.

Read more at Religious Freedom Coalition

 

America Takes Down Osama bin Laden’s Lawyer

stan_edited-1By Daniel Greenfield:

Osama bin Laden’s lawyer didn’t live in a cave in Afghanistan. Like so many terrorist lawyers, he was a New Yorker. His law office, which has seen more terrorists and their files pass through it than an Afghan cave, sits above a Muslim 99 cent store that offers discounted napkins, sandals and toasters, and is a four-minute drive away from the World Trade Center.

Stanley Cohen has never been shy about fighting what he believes in. And what he believes in is murder.

“If I don’t support the politics of political clients, I don’t take the case,” he once said. A few weeks after September 11, he said, “If Osama bin Laden arrived in the United States today and asked me to represent him, sure I’d represent him.”

Osama bin Laden never did arrive in the United States, though perhaps one day pieces of him will wash up on a California beach, and his wannabe lawyer had to settle for representing his son-in-law, who, after September 11, had appeared in a video threatening that “the storm of planes will not stop.”

Neither Stanley Cohen nor his client were able to make good on their threats. And in a twist, Stanley Cohen may end up with a prison sentence before the Al Qaeda spokesman whom he represents.

Al Capone didn’t go down for any of the murders he committed. Instead he was put away for tax fraud. Now Stanley Cohen faces a maximum of twenty-five years locked away in prison with the terrorists, murderers and rapists whom he has spent a lifetime defending both in and out of court.

Like so many leftists, Cohen began as a community organizer. Then he joined forces with another terrorist lawyer, Lynne Stewart, to defend Kathy Boudin, a member of the Weather Underground. Stewart was put away for passing messages from the Blind Sheikh, the leader of a Muslim Brotherhood splinter group, whose followers carried out the World Trade Center bombing and plotted further attacks.

Cohen became Stewart’s lawyer but couldn’t save his partner from a ten-year jail sentence for providing material support to terrorists. Now he may end up joining her behind bars.

Read more at Front Page

 

After 3-Year Freeze, Government Seeks “Prompt Resolution” of Al-Arian Case

Save South Sudan now, or lose Africa

20131223_southsudanLARGEby DR. WALID PHARES:

South Sudan is the newest country in the world and unfortunately seems to be on the edge of the newest civil war in the region. For the past week, clashes and killings have ravaged the capital and other areas of that young African country, yet all that comes from Washington is a heavy silence. Some observers believe that the U.S. administration is silent on purpose, allowing the confrontation to spread until the country no longer able to govern itself, ultimately leading the northern Jihadi regime to recapture influence over the south and restore itself as an Islamist power in the region after the loss of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Cairo. While there is no hard evidence to directly blame the Obama administration for this looming new disaster, we certainly can see that the protracted U.S. absence from the scene as indirect proof that pressure groups within the Beltway might want to see free South Sudan go down in flames. But is the drama only due to U.S. policies, or are there also local disastrous politics to indict? A full review is warranted to see clearer through the fog of war.

The African people of southern Sudan, trapped against their will within a wider border under violent regimes that suppressed their traditions since the late 1950s, struggled for sixty years, resulting in the massacre of a million (mostly) civilians, the enslavement of half a million, and four generations of men and women devastated by an atrocious war. From 1983, and increasingly since 1989, a northern Islamist regime unleashed ethnic cleansing and extreme horrors on the populations of the South, devastating villages and towns. Omar Bashir’s forces, indoctrinated by the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists, committed genocide in the South before they later turned to Darfur. But the African resistance led by John Garang, commander of the Sudan Popular Liberation Movement, stood firmly, even as the movement lost most of its ground to the Jihadist army. Eventually, and thanks to support from American churches, Western lawmakers and NGOs, the Bush Administration helped the oppressed Black nation to obtain its right for self-determination in January 2011. In my book The Coming Revolution of 2010, I projected a victory to the south Sudanese who would then face the challenge of building a new republic. Indeed, after a referendum handsomely legitimized their claim to liberty, the Africans of South Sudan obtained their independence and separated from the oppressive northern regime, which was later accused by the International Criminal Court of Genocide in Darfur.

Read more: Family Security Matters 

 

Where’s outrage against this type of gay oppression?

download (46)WND, By Pamela Geller:

All this ballyhoo and hullabaloo about the “Duck Commander” and his biblical reference – why?

The blowback and national firestorm raging in the wake of the remarks by the patriarch of “Duck Dynasty” is a stunning indictment of left-wing hypocrisy. The visceral response and resultant leftist temper tantrum gives us a revealing look behind the left’s mask of intolerant tolerance and the true objective of its “pro-gay” agenda.

People are free to think what they want. It’s when you torture, beat, hang or burn gay people alive – that’s the line in the sand, that’s real “homophobia.” Where’s the A&E special on the Muslim oppression of gays under the Shariah? Where is the outrage about that oppression from CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, etc.? Where is the worldwide outrage of the vicious anti-gay Shariah?

Tell A&E to apologize to Duck Commander. Sign the petition here and WND will deliver it to A&E!

Just as the Matthew Shepard case had nothing to do with homophobia, the controversy over plucky duck patriarch Phil Robertson has nothing to do with gay rights. Had a left-wing comic or actor made such remarks (and they have), it would have been water off a duck’s back. But the ducky patriarch cited the Bible, and that thar’s fighting words.

These vicious attacks using false narratives are very effective. Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered in Wyoming. His killing became the icon of gay hate and the impetus behind the anti-constitutional “hate-crime” legislation. The fallacious tale of Mathew Shepard resulted in the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, which, according to the Justice Department, “provides funding and technical assistance to state, local, and tribal jurisdictions to help them to more effectively investigate and prosecute hate crimes.”

Pamela Geller’s commitment to freedom from jihad and Shariah shines forth in her books — featured at the WND Superstore

All crime is hate – criminalizing the thought behind it was a fatal line to cross. Hate-speech laws would inevitably follow hate-crime legislation. The fact is, Matthew Shepard was murdered by his gay lover in a meth deal gone bad. Shepard’s sexual preference “certainly wasn’t the motive in the homicide,” investigative journalist Stephen Jimenez quotes police investigator Ben Fritzen in his blockbuster book, “The Book of Matt.” “What it came down to really is drugs and money,” said Jimenez, who is also gay.

Passing thought crime laws based on a lie is instrumental to the left’s totalitarian war on freedom of conscience and freedom of speech, and consistent with the laws of the Shariah.

The feathers were flying in the wake of the “Duck Dynasty” patriarch’s obvious embrace of Christianity and the show’s popularity. “Duck Dynasty” is the highest rated show on cable. This flew in the face of the left’s successful war on Christianity. They see this as an all-out assault – hence the vicious blowback against Phil Robertson after his remarks.

This is an attack on Christianity, not on “homophobia.”

If the left really cared about “homophobia,” there would be leftist marches in the streets against the brutal oppression of gays under the Shariah. There would be outcries and condemnation of the torture, hanging and murder of gays in Muslim societies. Muslim anti-gay crime would be vigorously prosecuted in the United States, but that is hardly the case. Just the opposite, in fact. In 2010, Muslim gangs were targeting gays in San Francisco and shooting them in the face with BB guns, while filming the attacks. The response from law enforcement in the gay mecca of America was to cover it up.

Where was the pushback? Where was the outcry from the LGBT community about the Shariah mobs and the subsequent cover-up by the media and law enforcement? What if a non-Muslim had shot a Muslim in the face with a BB gun just because he was Muslim? Do you think that the story would have sunk as quickly as this Muslim targeting of gays in San Francisco did? We would still be hearing about it from Eric Holder and Obama more than three years later.

Just last week, a Muslim cleric in India issued a fatwa against gays, saying that “a person may be burnt alive, pushed from a high wall or be beaten publicly with stones if he indulges” in homosexual activity.

Also last week, Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) was named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Yet Yusuf Islam has said that material that’s favorable to homosexuality in school curricula is designed by people who want to “feast off the innocence of our children for their own abominable sexual appetites.” That’s far stronger than what Phil Robertson said – yet A&E drops him from the show while Yusuf goes into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Gay organizations in America have said nothing about Yusuf Islam, but they loudly condemned my ad campaign highlighting Muslim oppression of gays under the Shariah. The visceral response of the San Francisco City Council, the Human Rights CommissionSFHRC head Theresa Sparks and the enemedia to our “Gays under the Shariah” ad campaign was obscene proof of leftist hypocrisy. They called my ads hate when I merely quoted Muslim political leaders, spiritual leaders and cultural voices in the Muslim community who incited hatred and violence in their vicious anti-gay diatribes, and called for their torture and their execution.

That’s hypocrisy – as is their persecution of Phil Robertson.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s winter offensive

3831235057Center for Security Policy, By Frank Gaffney:

Sixty-nine years ago this month, Nazi Germany mounted its last, horrific offensive in the dead of winter in what came to be known as the Battle of the Bulge.  Perhaps taking a page from the playbook of their fellow totalitarians, the Muslim Brotherhood seems to have its own audacious winter offensive underway – only this one is being waged inside America, a country the Brothers have declared they seek “to destroy from within.”

At the moment, the object of this exercise appears to be to prevail on the U.S. government to do what it did once before: help install a Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt.  The difference, of course, is that the last time was in the heyday of the so-called “Arab Spring,” a moment when the ambitions of Egyptian Islamists and those of their counterparts in Tunisia, Libya, Syria and elsewhere were temporarily obscured by disinformation and wishful thinking.

In short order, however, the determination of the Muslim Brotherhood and its ilk to impose the supremacist and brutally repressive doctrine they call shariah became evident in Cairo and the rest of the Middle East.  Whether they gained power via violent revolution or through the ballot box, the goal was the same: compel moderate Muslims, secularists, Christians and everybody else to submit to orthodox Islamic misrule. Resistance was met with violence, imprisonment and the destruction of churches.

Fortunately, as many as thirty million Egyptians took to the streets of their cities last summer to denounce the Brotherhood and demand the removal from power of its president, Mohamed Morsi.  He was overthrown and arrested in July by the military-led opposition, his organization banned and its other leaders incarcerated.  Most sentient Americans recognized this as a very positive development.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s operatives, front organizations and allies in this country have nonetheless demanded Morsi’s restoration. They present themselves as champions of democracy, hoping no one will notice the practical effect of the Brothers’ policies when in power: a state in which elections amount to nothing more than one man, one vote, one time.

The Brotherhood’s advocates enjoy considerable access to and influence with the Obama administration.  For example, the President and his subordinates take counsel from Homeland Security Department advisors like Mohamed Magid, the president of this country’s largest Muslim Brotherhood front, the Islamic Society of North America, and Mohamed Elibiary, an Islamist community organizer based in Plano, Texas. At the urging of their ilk, Mr. Obama cut off military sales to the Egyptian government a few months ago.  In addition to needlessly alienating Cairo when it is rolling up our mutual enemies, he thus created an opportunity for Vladimir Putin to pick up the slack and, in the process, further reestablish Russia in the Middle East.

The Muslim Brotherhood in this country (the subject of a free ten-part online course at www.MuslimBrotherhoodinAmerica.com) is evidently determined to do even more for their fellow jihadists in Egypt.  Hence, they have created new fronts to promote Egyptian “democracy” and held lobbying and fundraising events in several U.S. cities featuring top Brotherhood personalities.

As the indispensable Investigative Project on Terrorism first reported, one of those is Tariq Ramadan, the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna.  Ramadan was allowed into the United States in January 2010 at the direction of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose longtime aide, Huma Abedin, also has extensive personal and family ties to the Brotherhood.

Even more outrageous is the presence at several of these events – including one in the House Cannon Office Building on December 5th – of Sami Al-Arian. Al-Arian would seem an unlikely choice to sell Congress on so dubious a proposition as restoring the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt.  After all, he not only engaged in what the Brotherhood calls “civilization jihad” in the United States. That’s the stealthy subversion Islamists employ until they are able to use violence to foist shariah worldwide.

Sami al-Arian was also convicted in 2006 of aiding Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a designated terrorist group he led for many years.  PIJ has been responsible for murders of innocents in the past and applauded a bus bombing in Israel just last Sunday.  Why on earth would Judge Leonie Brinkema allow Al-Arian, who is awaiting disposition of contempt of court charges and faces possible deportation, to collaborate and agitate with his fellow Muslim Brothers, albeit with a location-monitoring bracelet?

It is obscene that anyone in Congress would host such a jihadist. Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN), a Muslim legislator who sponsored the event at which Al-Arian appeared, claims not to have known that he would be there.  True or not, he and President Obama have certainly failed to recognize the Muslim Brotherhood for the enemy it is.

That failure makes all the more dangerous the Muslim Brotherhood’s present offensive.  As we mark the anniversary of the bloody and avoidable Battle of the Bulge, we would do well to reflect upon an event held last month at the Brotherhood beachhead at Georgetown University, the Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.  Among those invited to promote a “return to democracy” in Egypt was a featured guest speaker named Rami Jan, who happens to be a member of the Egyptian Nazi party.