What will it take for us to stop doing business with Qatar?

UN-GENERAL ASSEMBLY-QATAR

We’ve let the desert state face both ways on funding extremism.

The Spectator, Simon Heffer, 4 October 2014:

On 17 June, a meeting of the Henry Jackson Society, held in the House of Commons, discussed (according to the minutes published on the society’s website) how a tribal elder in northern Cameroon who runs a car import business in Qatar has become one of the main intermediaries between kidnappers from Boko Haram and its offshoot Ansaru and those seeking to free hostages. It was alleged that embezzlement of funds going to Qatar via car imports might be disguising ransom payments. It was also alleged that Qatar was involved in financing Islamist militant groups in West Africa, helping with weapons and ideological training, and (with Saudi Arabia) funding the building of mosques in Mali and Nigeria that preach a highly intolerant version of Islam.

This was far from the only time such accusations have been levelled. Yet Qatar is supposed to be one of our allies, supporting air strikes against the Islamic State. Its ruler even thinks his enormous wealth entitles him to blag his way into Her Majesty’s carriage at Royal Ascot. Given Qatar’s questionable role in the current tide of savage Islamism, should its ruler be allowed anywhere near our Queen? And should they be allowed to buy up our country, as they have done relentlessly since the crash of 2008?

After the overthrow of President Morsi of Egypt, Qatar became a place of refuge for the Muslim Brotherhood. However, on 12 September it asked several leading Brotherhood figures to leave. They duly did, not in outrage or indignation, but apologising for causing embarrassment. Clearly, they felt a debt to the Qataris, and a senior Brotherhood spokesman, Amr Darrag, said what it was. He issued a statement thanking Qataris for their support to ‘the Egyptian people in their revolution against the military junta’.

Qatar asked its former friends to leave because of pressure applied by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Some may come to London: there is already a group of Brotherhood members in Cricklewood, under scrutiny from the authorities. But even now, Qatar remains home to an array of exiled Islamists, and thus a focus of suspicion to its neighbours. Bahrain joined Saudi Arabia and the UAE in withdrawing its ambassador from Doha this spring. It has been widely reported that Qatari money funds extremists in Libya, and when these ambassadors were recalled, the Zionist Organisation of America asked the US government to declare Qatar a state sponsor of terrorism.

The Emir of Qatar’s personal fortune and the country’s sovereign wealth fund are rumoured to amount to £50 billion. Qataris own substantial amounts of real estate — such as the Shard, the Olympic Village, One Hyde Park, a part of Canary Wharf, the United States Embassy building in Grosvenor Square, the Chelsea Barracks development and Harrods. They have large stakes in the stock exchange, Sainsburys and Barclays bank. Almost all Britain’s liquefied natural gas comes from Qatar, accounting for a quarter of our gas needs. The desert state has also bought the 2022 World Cup — rather like playing a cricket Test series at the South Pole — in a fashion so seemingly corrupt that there have been widespread calls for a boycott.

Sir John Jenkins, the British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, has compiled a report exposing extremist activity among members of the Brotherhood and their links to jihadis. It named three Muslim charities in Britain that seemed to be sending funds to extremists in the Middle East. At the very least this should lead Britain to expel members of the Brotherhood, close down the charities and sequester their funds; but the problem will never be dealt with until the source of the funding is cut off. At some stage the British government must ask itself a simple question: however much we want Qatari gas, how much longer can we permit commercial relations with such people?

In June the American magazine The Atlantic asserted that Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qa’eda proxy in Syria, had somehow received ‘Qatar’s economic and military largesse’. There is no suggestion this was sanctioned or funded by the Qatari government: but every suggestion it came from interest groups based in Qatar and wealthy Qatari nationals. The problem has been around for years. Wikileaks published a memorandum from Hillary Clinton, when US secretary of state, saying Qatar had the worst record of counter-terrorism co-operation of any ally of the United States.

The Qatari foreign minister, Khalid al-Attiyah, called claims such as The Atlantic’s ‘Qatar-bashing’, and denied the country or anyone in it was bankrolling IS. Certainly, most of the evidence for IS’s funding points to groups and individuals in Saudi Arabia. However, Saudi Arabia may provide training camps for anti-IS groups from Syria approved by the Americans. In response to a US request for similar assistance, the Qataris said it would be ‘premature’. Meanwhile, the Americans continue to accuse Qatar and Kuwait of being ‘permissive environments’ for the funding of terrorism, and believe Qatar has unhealthily close links with Jabhat al-Nusra. Certainly, Mr Attiyah has sought to play down its activities by pointing instead to atrocities committed by those loyal to Bashar al-Assad.

Israel has driven America’s scepticism over Qatar, accusing it of funding Hamas and of exporting terror not just through Jabhat al-Nusra but through IS. A German minister, Gerd Müller, then said that when the question was raised about funding IS, ‘The key word there is Qatar.’ This brought an immediate repudiation from the Qataris, who argued they had been among the first to condemn the beheading of the murdered American hostage James Foley.

However, the Americans — whose largest base in the Middle East is, ironically, at Al Udeid in Doha — believe Qatar has funded extremists not merely in Syria and Libya but also in Tunisia, Mali and Iraq. Another Wikileaks cable revealed Meir Degan, a former head of Mossad, telling the US that ‘Qatar is trying to cosy up to everyone’, and warning America to close its bases there.

Qatar’s pretence that it is an honest broker in the Middle East, attempting to see all sides of an argument, may wash in Doha. It won’t, however, resonate in countries such as Britain and America whose citizens are targeted by jihadis financed by people who may be Qataris, and who have enjoyed Qatari hospitality. Qatar needs to be reminded that the civilised parts of the world with which it does business won’t tolerate apologists for savage extremists. It can’t face both ways on this. Britain must expel members of the Brotherhood and sequester their funds. And it must tell Qatar that unless it stops turning a blind eye to some of its people funding murder and extremism, and stops equivocating about extremists, its assets will be frozen and trade with it suspended until it does.

Simon Heffer, is a columnist for the Daily Mail and a former deputy editor of The Spectator.

HAYDEN ON OBAMA: IT’S HARD TO GET INTEL ASSESSMENTS THROUGH TO ‘PEOPLE LIKE THAT’

haydenAudio at Breitbart

Thursday on “Kilmeade and Friends,” retired General Michael Hayden, the former Director of the CIA & NSA, told Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade that because President Barack Obama preferred to read his intelligence briefings instead of engaging with  officials and asking questions like former President George W. Bush, it was not easy to get the assessments across to the current Commander-in-Chief.

Hayden said “people like me have to accommodate to people like that,” adding “my old job is easier when you are face to face,” but he said “President Obama absorbs information by reading and reflecting.”

“It was easier for the intel briefer,” “when the individual engages,” Hayden explained.

Hayden said “it is pretty clear in this case”  we are dealing with “the phenomenon of the unpleasant fact.”

He explained that in President Obama’s case “you’re there briefing a position, a flow, a thread, a development that is absolutely cutting across the grain of the world as the policymaker would like it to be, or he perceives it to be,” he added “you’re in essence telling this individual the world isn’t as he believed it to be, and I think we had an awful lot of that going on.”

********

Obama knew details of Islamic State in 2012:

 

Brooke Goldstein on The Kelly File – Obama Administration & Terror Terminology:

 

Pres Bush Warned Of Iraq Pullout – The Kelly File:

 

Sen. Ron Johnson Blisters ‘Reality-Denying’ Obama Administration

 

Compare and contrast:

h/t Jester’s Court

 

ISIS is the President’s Intelligence Failure

383580128 (1)Center For Security Policy, By Fred Fleitz:

Obama officials made some dubious claims over the summer that the White House was caught off guard by the rise of the terrorist army of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) because U.S. intelligence agencies underestimated the ISIS threat.  Many have disputed this, including Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who said in June that the Iraq crisis is a policy and not an intelligence failure.  Others pointed out there has been press on ISIS activities for almost a year and that Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee last February that ISIS “will attempt to take territory in Iraq and Syria to exhibit its strength in 2014, as demonstrated recently in Ramadi and Fallujah, and the group’s ability to concurrently maintain multiple safe havens in Syria.”

It now looks like the real intelligence failure has been President Obama’s decision to ignore critical U.S. intelligence analysis and warnings.

Fox News correspondent Catherine Herridge reported today that according to a former Pentagon official, “detailed and specific intelligence about the rise of ISIS was included in the PDB, or the President’s Daily Brief, for at least a year before the group took large swaths of territory beginning in June.”  The source also described this intelligence as “strong” and “granular” in detail.

The PDB is a highly classified daily intelligence report prepared for the President and a handful of other high level officials by U.S. intelligence agencies.  The former Pentagon official told Herridge that unlike his predecessors, President Obama reads the PDB and does not receive a PDB briefing.  The source also said U.S. intelligence agencies rarely receive follow-up questions from Mr. Obama on the PDB.

Herridge’s story tracks with a September 12, 2012 Washington Post op-ed by Marc Thiessen that despite White House bragging about President Obama receiving a daily PDB briefing, Thiessen found the president had skipped more than half of them.

The president’s supporters in the news media went after Thiessen over this op-ed.  For example, in a September 24, 2012 column, The bogus claim that Obama ‘skips’ his intelligence briefings, Washington Post reporter Glenn Kessler gave Thiessen’s piece three “Pinocchios” for being inaccurate and said in an update it may have deserved a fourth.  According to Kessler, Presidents Nixon, Carter, Reagan and Clinton also did not receive daily PDB briefings.

While Kessler is right that presidents have had different styles in dealing with intelligence and the PDB, the real issue is whether the information in the PDB reaches the president.  President Carter and both Presidents Bush often sent comments and feedback after reading the PDB.  Presidents Ford and Reagan sent also sent feedback but less than these presidents.  (Kessler also claimed President Reagan almost never wrote questions or comments about the PDB.  I dispute this since I once received a comment from President Reagan written on a PDB I authored when I was a CIA analyst.  Several of my CIA colleagues occasionally received comments and questions on the PDB from President Reagan.)

President Bill Clinton had a very different approach to the PDB and his morning intelligence.  It was well known at CIA that Clinton rarely read the PDB.  Clinton skipped so many PDB briefings that CIA management stopped sending daily read-outs of them to analysts after someone at CIA leaked word about Clinton’s skipped PDB briefings to the press.  I believe Clinton’s ignorance of U.S. intelligence analysis contributed to his underestimation of the threat from al-Qaeda and his timid responses to the al-Qaeda terrorist attacks which occurred on his watch.

Some will interpret Herridge’s report as an explanation for President Obama’s claims that he did not know about the ISIS threat as well as the much-criticized comment he made last week that his administration has “no strategy yet” to deal with ISIS.

I don’t buy such an explanation.  Consider that National Security Adviser Rice, Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Kerry and Secretary of Defense Hagel also are PDB recipients.  I’m sure most if not all of them receive daily PDB briefings and read the PDB.  If this is the case, why didn’t any of them tell the president about the growing ISIS threat that U.S. intelligence agencies reportedly were warning about?

The answer is that the president did know about these warnings and was told about them by his senior officials but chose to ignore this information because he is still in denial about the threat from radical Islam.  This was obvious by the way Obama officials misled the American people about the 2012 terrorist attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.   It is now clear Mr Obama did not learn from this mistake.

The most worrisome conclusion I draw from Herridge’s report is not that President Obama ignored or played down information about the ISIS threat and radical Islam.  I’m more concerned that Mr Obama’s reported refusal to do PDB briefings or send feedback on the PDB suggests he may be ignoring intelligence across the board just like President Clinton did.  This raises the question whether there are other urgent threat warnings by American intelligence agencies that Mr Obama is aware of but has chosen to ignore.

HANNA: The Ethics Of Fighting With Terrorists

militantTruth Revolt, by Rachael Hanna, Aug. 9, 2014:

The United States is supporting, funding, and arming “terrorists.” Not through back channels, middlemen, Swiss bank accounts or CIA covert operations, but openly and publicly. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was designated as a foreign terrorist organization on October 8, 1997 by the U.S. Department of State after thirteen years of insurgency, including bombing attacks and kidnappings, against Turkish military personnel and citizens. Aside from its use of terrorist tactics, the PKK found itself on the wrong side of the strategically crucial alliance between the United States and Turkey. Now, however, the United States is actively supporting the PKK rebels in their fight against the Islamic State (IS). Additionally, the United States is arming the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) to combat IS; these two political parties were classified as “Tier III” terrorist organizations for their role in the armed uprising against Saddam Hussein in the 1990s, although Senator John McCain introduced a Senate amendment last November to have these groups removed from the terror list.

For months now, news headlines have updated the world on the Islamic State’s terrifyingly swift march through Iraq, as militants captured the major cities of Tikrit and Mosul and approached Baghdad and Erbil, where the United States retains military bases. Thousands, most notably the Christians of Mosul and the Yazidis trapped on the Sinjar Mountains, have been slaughtered or forced to flee their homes by IS militants. The Iraqi army failed to stop the onslaught of the Islamic State, even after the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters joined forces with them. But now, IS’s conquests have temporarily stalled in Iraq, due largely to the guerrilla fighters of the PKK, who have allied with the Peshmerga, their long-time rivals, to take back the Mosul dam with the aid of U.S. air strikes. This is good news for the embattled Iraqis and for the United States, which has suffered a loss of international respect for failing to intervene in the civil war and protect persecuted religious minorities sooner. However, these new Kurdish allies may create a legal problem for the United States concerning its terrorism laws.

A Troubled History

The U.S. government has a history of arming controversial rebel groups, beginning with its global mission to prevent the spread of communist ideology in the aftermath of World War II and continuing in the late 20th and early 21st centuries with groups fighting against Islamic extremists and dictators. Major operations include those in Honduras, Chile, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and now Iraq.

Some of the most infamous rebel groups to receive U.S. support were the Contras, groups of guerrilla fighters working to overthrow the communist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. In 1981, the Reagan Administration began financing and arming the rebels. This policy became controversial, not only because of the entanglement in the Iran-Contra Affair, but also because the Contras allegedly engaged in serious and frequent human rights abuses, including attacking and murdering non-combatant civilians, according to Human Rights Watch. Unsurprisingly, the Contras were never listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, but under current U.S. law, the group likely warranted the designation; 18 U.S. Code § 2331 defines “international terrorism” as:

violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State; appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping, and occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

Around the same time, on the other side of the world, the United States was arming another group of rebel fighters—the mujahideen of Afghanistan. Beginning in 1979 and continuing through the 1980s until the collapse of the Soviet Union, mujahideen fighters received weapons and training from the CIA to push back Soviet forces and topple the communist government in Kabul. Unlike the U.S.-backed Contras, the mujahideen successfully drove out the Soviets, and liberated Afghanistan from communism. The ideology that succeeded this regime was even worse.

Dealing with the Consequences

From the U.S.-trained and -armed mujahideen sprung Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, responsible for the 9/11 attacks and deaths of more than 2,200 American soldiers and an estimated 20,000 Afghan civilians in the ground war in Afghanistan. A similarly dangerous and potentially more deadly situation is now unfolding with the Islamic State. Stalling in Iraq, IS has turned its attention to a renewed offensive in northern Syria, using U.S. Humvees captured from the faltering Iraqi army to transport militants and weapons across the border. Armed with American weapons, IS has increased its fighting capabilities and emboldened its fighters, which has added the brutal and tragic beheading of American journalist James Foley to its death toll.

While airstrikes in Iraq have been instrumental in the pushback against IS, President Obama has yet to authorize additional strikes in Syria; for now, America’s solution to the carnage wrought by IS is largely to fight terrorists with other terrorists. It goes without saying that IS must be stopped as quickly and effectively as possible. With an estimated 20,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria, the PKK are by far the most experienced and well-trained group to lead a counter-ground attack against IS in northern Iraq and Syria, especially with American air support. After three decades of insurgency with Turkey, PKK rebels are battle-tested and well organized, whereas the Peshmerga and other Kurdish fighters have far less experience and have proven unable to take IS head on. The PKK’s support of besieged minorities and civilians against IS has spurred a lobbying effort in the United States to have the group taken off the State Department’s terrorist organization list. Since a cease-fire agreement with Turkey in March of 2013, the PKK has largely aborted the use of terrorist tactics; however, the group has launched several attacks against Turkish security forces in recent weeks, which could undermine peace negotiations and the recent attempt to declassify it as a terrorist organization.

Fighting in the Grey

It is difficult to determine whether the Contras should have been designated as a terrorist group or whether the United States should have been more cautious about arming the Afghan mujahideen; even hindsight isn’t 20/20. Supporting the PKK may well turn out to be a brilliant strategic move if it leads to the destruction of IS. Nonetheless, in this moment, the PKK is a terrorist organization, and that may put the United States government in a legally grey area. 18 U.S. Code § 2339B states, “Whoever knowingly provides material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both, and, if the death of any person results, shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life.”

This section of the law would seemingly prohibit the United States from supporting the PKK, but a later section of the same law states, “No person may be prosecuted under this section in connection with the term ‘personnel’, ‘training’, or ‘expert advice or assistance’ if the provision of that material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization was approved by the Secretary of State with the concurrence of the Attorney General. The Secretary of State may not approve the provision of any material support that may be used to carry out terrorist activity.” This is the exception. As long as the “material support” provided by the United States is not used in a terrorist act, the U.S. government, with approval from both the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, can support foreign terrorist groups. Currently, the PKK is working to defeat IS; killing armed combatants is a legitimate act of war, not terrorism, so it seems that the United States is not acting illegally. However, there is a possibility that arms provided indirectly to the PKK through the Iraqi army and other Kurdish groups could eventually be turned against Turkish security forces and civilians, the latter of which would be an act of terror against a U.S. ally.

A Country Without a Moral Conscious?

What do these situations and potential scenarios mean for U.S. terrorism laws? The point is not whether the United States might entangle itself in grey areas of the laws concerning terrorism; it likely already has. The real question is, do these laws hold any weight? Do they have anything meaningful to contribute to the country’s foreign policy principles and decisions? The United States has chosen not to label groups as terrorist organizations if it is politically inconvenient or would get in the way of a greater policy objective; it provides funding and arms to rebel groups it cannot control, and who have often turned against the United States at a later date; most recently, it is using terrorists to fight other terrorists. If not illegal, this part of American history at least presents a moral predicament, one that we are actively dealing with in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, and Iraq. Laws are fundamentally impositions of morality on society, but if the laws we write do not create a guiding moral framework, and instead allow us to do what is most convenient, expedient, or politically popular in the moment without serious regard to a higher set of common ethical principles, then where does a secular society based on the rule of law derive its morality from?

Last year, President Obama, now infamously, said that the use of chemical weapons in Syria constituted a moral red line that, once crossed, would result in severe consequences for the Assad regime. This ended up being an empty threat when proposed airstrikes against Syrian military targets failed to gain support on either side of the aisle in Congress. The decisions that need to be made regarding policy in Middle East are complicated, and they are rarely black or white. But that is the entire point of having a strong set of moral principles—you stick to them even when the choices are difficult or unpopular, or when cutting corners might be easier. The question is, what set of moral principles does the United States have, and do its leaders have the backbone to uphold them?

Rachael Hanna ’16 is an Associate World Editor for the Harvard Political Review. Follow her @rhanna213.

Also see:

 

Sherman’s 300,000 and the Caliphate’s Three Million

Middle East Forum:

by David P. Goldman
Asia Times
August 12, 2014

553When General William Tecumseh Sherman burned the city of Atlanta in 1864, he warned, “I fear the world will jump to the wrong conclusion that because I am in Atlanta the work is done. Far from it. We must kill three hundred thousand I have told you of so often, and the further they run the harder for us to get them.” Add a zero to calibrate the problem in the Levant today. War in the Middle East is less a strategic than a demographic phenomenon, the resolution of which will come with the exhaustion of the pool of potential fighters.

The Middle East has plunged into a new Thirty Years War, allows Richard Haass, the president of the Council of Foreign Relations:

It is a region wracked by religious struggle between competing traditions of the faith. But the conflict is also between militants and moderates, fueled by neighboring rulers seeking to defend their interests and increase their influence. Conflicts take place within and between states; civil wars and proxy wars become impossible to distinguish. Governments often forfeit control to smaller groups – militias and the like – operating within and across borders. The loss of life is devastating, and millions are rendered homeless.

Well and good: I predicted in 2006 that the George W. Bush administration’s blunder would provoke another Thirty Years War in the region, and repeated the diagnosis many times since. But I doubt that Mr. Haass (or Walter Russell Mead, who cited the Haass article) has given sufficient thought to the implications.

How does one handle wars of this sort? In 2008, I argued for a “Richelovian” foreign policy, that is, emulation of the evil genius who guided France to victory at the conclusion of the Thirty Years War in 1648. Wars of this sort end when two generations of fighters are killed. They last for decades (as did the Peloponnesian War, the Napoleonic Wars and the two World Wars of the 20th century) because one kills off the fathers in the first half of the war, and the sons in the second.

This new Thirty Years War has its origins in a demographic peak and an economic trough. There are nearly 30 million young men aged 15 to 24 in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran, a bulge generation produced by pre-modern fertility rates that prevailed a generation ago. But the region’s economies cannot support them. Syria does not have enough water to support an agricultural population, and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of farmers into tent cities preceded its civil war. The West mistook the death spasms of a civilization for an “Arab Spring,” and its blunders channeled the youth bulge into a regional war.

The way to win such a war is by attrition, that is, by feeding into the meat-grinder a quarter to a third of the enemy’s available manpower. Once a sufficient number of those who wish to fight to the death have had the opportunity to do so, the war stops because there are insufficient recruits to fill the ranks. That is how Generals Grant and Sherman fought the American Civil War, and that is the indicated strategy in the Middle East today.

It is a horrible business. It was not inevitable. It came about because of the ideological rigidity of the Bush Administration, compounded by the strategic withdrawal of the Obama administration. It could have been avoided by the cheap and simple expedient bombing of Iran’s nuclear program and Revolutionary Guards bases, followed by an intensive subversion effort aimed at regime change in Teheran. Former Vice President Dick Cheney advocated this course of action, but then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice persuaded Bush that the Muslim world would never forgive America for an attack on another Muslim state.

The Pentagon, meanwhile, warned Bush that America’s occupation army in Iraq had become hostage to Iranian retaliation: if America bombed Iran, Iran could exact vengeance in American blood in the cities of Iraq. Then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mike Mullen told Charlie Rose on March 16, 2009:

What I worry about in terms of an attack on Iran is, in addition to the immediate effect, the effect of the attack, it’s the unintended consequences. It’s the further destabilization in the region. It’s how they would respond. We have lots of Americans who live in that region who are under the threat envelope right now [because of the] capability that Iran has across the Gulf. So, I worry about their responses and I worry about it escalating in ways that we couldn’t predict.

The Bush administration was too timid to take on Iran; the Obama administration views Iran as a prospective ally. Even Neville Chamberlain did not regard Hitler as prospective partner in European security. But that is what Barack Obama said in March to journalist Jeffrey Goldberg:

What I’ll say is that if you look at Iranian behavior, they are strategic, and they’re not impulsive. They have a worldview, and they see their interests, and they respond to costs and benefits. And that isn’t to say that they aren’t a theocracy that embraces all kinds of ideas that I find abhorrent, but they’re not North Korea. They are a large, powerful country that sees itself as an important player on the world stage, and I do not think has a suicide wish, and can respond to incentives.

Bush may have been feckless, but Obama is mad.

With Iran neutralized, Syrian President Basher Assad would have had no choice but to come to terms with Syria’s Sunni majority; as it happens, he had the firepower to expel millions of them. Without the protection of Tehran, Iraq’s Shia would have had to compromise with Sunnis and Kurds. Iraqi Sunnis would not have allied with ISIS against the Iranian-backed regime in Baghdad. A million or more Iraqis would not have been displaced by the metastasizing Caliphate.

The occupation of Iraq in the pursuit of nation building was colossally stupid. It wasted thousands of lives and disrupted millions, cost the better part of a trillion dollars, and demoralized the American public like no failure since Vietnam – most of all America’s young people. Not only did it fail to accomplish its objective, but it kept America stuck in a tar-baby trap, unable to take action against the region’s main malefactor. Worst of all: the methods America employed in order to give the Iraq war the temporary appearance of success set in motion the disaster we have today. I warned of this in a May 4, 2010 essay entitled, General Petraeus’ Thirty Years War (Asia Times Online, May 4, 2010).

The great field marshal of the Thirty Years War of 1618-1648, Albrecht von Wallenstein, taught armies to live off the land, and succeeded so well that nearly half the people of Central Europe starved to death during the conflict. General David Petraeus, who heads America’s Central Command (CENTCOM), taught the land to live off him. Petraeus’ putative success in the Iraq “surge” of 2007-2008 is one of the weirder cases of Karl Marx’s quip of history repeating itself first as tragedy second as farce. The consequences will be similar, that is, hideous.

Wallenstein put 100,000 men into the field, an army of terrifying size for the times, by turning the imperial army into a parasite that consumed the livelihood of the empire’s home provinces. The Austrian Empire fired him in 1629 after five years of depredation, but pressed him back into service in 1631. Those who were left alive joined the army, in a self-feeding spiral of destruction on a scale not seen in Europe since the 8th century. Wallenstein’s power grew with the implosion of civil society, and the Austrian emperor had him murdered in 1634.

Petraeus accomplished the same thing with (literally) bags of money. Starting with Iraq, the American military has militarized large parts of the Middle East and Central Asia in the name of pacification. And now America is engaged in a grand strategic withdrawal from responsibility in the region, leaving behind men with weapons and excellent reason to use them.

There is no way to rewind the tape after the fragile ties of traditional society have been ripped to shreds by war. All of this was foreseeable; most of it might have been averted. But the sordid players in this tragicomedy had too much reputation at stake to reverse course when it still was possible. Now they will spend the declining years of their careers blaming each other.

Three million men will have to die before the butchery comes to an end. That is roughly the number of men who have nothing to go back to, and will fight to the death rather than surrender.

ISIS by itself is overrated. It is a horde enhanced by captured heavy weapons, but cannot fly warplanes in a region where close air support is the decisive factor in battle. The fighters of the Caliphate cannot hide under the jungle canopy like the North Vietnamese. They occupy terrain where aerial reconnaissance can identify every stray cat. The Saudi and Jordanian air forces are quite capable of defending their borders. Saudi Arabia has over 300 F-15′s and 72 Typhoons, and more than 80 Apache attack helicopters. Jordan has 60 F16′s as well as 25 Cobra attack helicopters. The putative Caliphate can be contained; it cannot break out into Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and it cannot advance far into the core Shia territory of Iraq. It can operate freely in Syria, in a war of attrition with the Iranian backed government army. The grim task of regional security policy is to channel the butchery into areas that do not threaten oil production or transport.

Ultimately, ISIS is a distraction. The problem is Iran. Without Iran, Hamas would have no capacity to strike Israel beyond a few dozen kilometers past the Gaza border. Iran now has GPS-guided missiles which are much harder to shoot down than ordinary ballistic missiles (an unguided missile has a trajectory that is easy to calculate after launch; guided missiles squirrel about seeking their targets). If Hamas acquires such rockets – and it will eventually if left to its own devices – Israel will have to strike further, harder and deeper to eliminate the threat. That confrontation will not come within a year, and possibly not within five years, but it looms over the present hostilities. The region’s security will hinge on the ultimate reckoning with Iran.

David P Goldman is Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and the Was Family Fellow at the Middle East Forum. His book How Civilizations Die (and why Islam is Dying, Too) was published by Regnery Press in September 2011. A volume of his essays on culture, religion and economics, It’s Not the End of the World – It’s Just the End of You, also appeared that fall, from Van Praag Press.

Exclusive Interview: What Would Reagan Do? “Destroy the Islamists”

 US-jet-carrier-takeoff-apby JORDAN SCHACHTEL:

Breitbart News spoke with Colonel Bing West, former US Marine and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs under president Ronald Reagan, about the threats we face as a nation today. West is the author of multiple books, includingThe Village, which has been on the Marine Corps Required Reading List for decades. His latest book is titled: One Million Steps: A Marine Platoon At War

Breitbart News: Is the current US strategy implemented by the Obama administration sufficient in containing the Islamic State?

West: No. We have no strategy toward the Islamists. Not in regard to the air, and not regarding anything else. We are drifting.

Breitbart News: Is the Islamic State the chief threat to US national security interests today?

West: We have four threats. The foremost threat is the fecklessness of our commander-in chief, who has allowed the other threats to fester and become worse. The second threat is Russia, with its arrogance upsetting the balance in eastern Europe. The Middle East is now driven by the Islamist Sunni barbarian threat in the Islamic State. This is coupled with the Shiite Iranian intention of becoming a threshold nuclear state. Lastly, China wants to push us out of at least half of the Pacific. We have an array of threats, as all presidents do. It is up to president Obama to manage these threats, and he is not managing any of them well.

Breitbart News: Does the Islamic State pose a greater threat than Al Qaeda in its prime?

West: Yes. We drove Al Qaeda into the wilds of Pakistan where it gradually lost influence. Not completely, but to a large extent. We are doing nothing about containing this new Al Qaeda-type threat, which is strongest in the heart of the Middle East. The Islamic State is a major problem only because we are tolerating it.

Breitbart News: How can US forces, including clandestine services, affect change against the Islamic State?

West: The geo-military strategy is obvious: use our air to prevent the Islamists from moving across a desert in strength. Any vehicle is a target for us and we can easily discriminate between the Islamists and civilians. Allow Baghdad and southern Iraq, the Shiite area, to consolidate as a state. Recognize that the Baghdad government and its tattered forces will not retake the northern part of Iraq, heavily populated by Sunnis. To push out the Islamists; our CIA and special forces must work quietly and undercover with the Sunni tribes in the north, and help them to push out the Islamists. In 2006, we did exactly that, but it was thrown away when the Obama administration left Iraq. We can do it again, but it will likely take another five years.

Breitbart News: Can the US make enough progress in containing the advances of the Islamic State with just air strikes?

West: Utilizing a systematic air campaign, meaning 50 or so armed sorties and 20 strikes a day, absolutely, American air can contain the Islamists.

Breitbart News: Should the appointment of new Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi be seen as a welcoming sign to US interests, as President Obama has suggested?

West: Any Prime Minister has to be better than Maliki, but it’s going to require very hard bargaining with the new PM to agree to reasonable terms.

Breitbart News: What would your former boss (President Reagan) do differently in dealing with the threats we face today?

West: President Reagan, God bless him, would smile genially, turn to our military and say: “Destroy the Islamists”’.

He would say to Mr. Putin: “We are going to export our energy and your nation is going to suffer enormously over the next ten years because of your aggression.”

He would tell the Chinese: “Our Navy goes wherever it pleases on the high-seas in order to ensure that the rules of the road for international behavior are met by all nations, including China. We will wave at you as we sail by.”

He would say to Iran: “You theocrats have oppressed your people too long. I am going to continue to apply sanctions until you satisfy the international community that you cannot acquire a nuclear weapon.”

Breitbart News: How do we stop Iran’s continuing success with their influence operations in the Middle East and the rest of the world?

West: We cannot stop Iran, we must contain Iran. The critical issue is whether President Obama, for reasons of perceptions of his legacy, will reach an unsatisfactory agreement. If Iran is allowed to retain 15 to 20 thousand centrifuges, then stability in the Middle East will definitely be threatened over the next decade.

Read more at Breitbart

Fox News Greta Van Susteren Christians Under Attack Special

Published on Aug 15, 2014 by Fox Scat

Greta from Fox News On The Record talks about Christians Under Attack from around the world.

Lost in the Middle East

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The region’s widening chaos could destroy what is left of President Obama’s legacy.

By ALI KHEDERY:

Dear President Obama:

The Middle East is more unstable today than it has been in decades. Global energy supplies are at risk, and thus, so is the entire world economy. After more than a decade of war against al Qaeda, the United States has failed to stem the rising tide of transnational jihad, which is again threatening to rock the very foundations of global order as the Islamic State seizes vast swaths of land, resources and arms, murders and terrorizes thousands, displaces millions, recruits countless new fighters (thousands with Western passports) and plots a second 9/11.

Many of your critics have accused your administration of lacking a coherent Middle East team to implement a coherent Middle East strategy. In the wake of recent developments, even Democratic loyalists like your former ambassador to Iraq, Christopher Hill, are piling on, concluding: “there doesn’t seem to be a good team there; there doesn’t even seem to be a team of rivals; there just seems to be people who have a lot of different views on the issues. And I think the president does need to kind of pull it together and look at [issues] from a broader context.”

Even Hillary Clinton, who was an exceedingly loyal secretary of state, is distancing herself from you, telling the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”

As a U.S. official, and now as an executive doing business in the Middle East, I have heard the same sentiment echoed privately by regional leaders for years. The reality is that your intended policy of benign neglect has actually proven to be one of malignant neglect and only strengthened our foes. But you still have 30 months left in office and there are vital American interests that need to be safeguarded—and not just on a remote mountaintop filled with desperate, fleeing Yazidi civilians. It is time to put the pivot to Asia on the backburner and to refocus on the unfinished business at hand. It is time to reengage in the Middle East, lest its widening chaos destroy what is left of your presidential legacy.

Here are five things you can do to shore up America’s vital national security interests across the Middle East:

1. Recognize what has worked—and more importantly, what hasn’t. When you gave your speech in Cairo on June 4, 2009, you enjoyed the support of virtually the entire world. Everyone was hopeful that you would move to correct George W. Bush’s overreach by placing America back on a balanced footing. You were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on that basis. Instead, you overcorrected, putting the United States in an isolationist posture, thereby leaving a vacuum for our strategic adversaries to fill. Whether it was due to the perceived abandonment of Hosni Mubarak and Omar Sulaiman in Egypt after decades of close cooperation with Washington, the near abandonment of the Al Khalifa dynasty in Bahrain, the red line that became pink and then invisible in Syria or the countless missteps in concluding the war in Iraq, strategic allies like Israel, Turkey, the Gulf Arab monarchies and the Kurds feel angry and abandoned while foes like Russia, Iran and al Qaeda feel emboldened.

As the Middle East melts down and allies quietly look toward Moscow or Beijing for strategic support, we should understand that they do so reluctantly. Unlike some of their populations, most regional leaders are moderate, secular and are genuine fans of Western culture, and, like the United States, they have been served well by a strategic alliance with Washington that goes back decades. Motivated by preserving their dynasties through relatively good governance, and influenced by Western educations, these leaders are an invaluable bulwark against radical extremism and thus are critical to preserving regional stability and a global economy that remains addicted to Middle Eastern oil.

So stop looking at, and dealing with, the Middle East as a game of tic-tac-toe and an amalgamation of dysfunctional individual countries that you’d prefer to not think about, and start looking at it as a three-dimensional chess board where numerous, interlinked dynamics are constantly shifting and endangering American interests.

2. Reshuffle your national security staff—and listen more to experts at State, CIA and the Pentagon. Most of your White House staff working on the Middle East don’t speak the languages of the region, while some haven’t even served in the countries they are advising you on. “They’re academics and theorists,” not practitioners, one of your former White House staff confided to me recently.

Frankly, this is inexcusable, because the current crisis doesn’t allow for on-the-job training—the aides to the most powerful man in the world need to be able to open up an Arabic newspaper or turn on a Farsi TV channel and understand immediately what’s going on. They need to understand intuitively the tone, the mood and the inflections in voices. Instead, they wait for translations that lack invaluable nuances and in any case take hours or days to process, by which time that information is irrelevant.

Read more at Politico

Ali Khedery is chairman and chief executive of Dragoman Partners, a strategic consultancy headquartered in Dubai. Previously he was an executive with Exxon Mobil Corporation, where he was the architect and chief political negotiator of the company’s entry into the Kurdistan Region. He also worked for the U.S. State and Defense departments, where he served as special assistant to five American ambassadors to Iraq and as senior adviser to three commanders of U.S. Central Command. He was the longest continuously serving American official in Iraq.

Emerson on Fox: The Obama Administration, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood

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Also see Steven Emerson’s recent article:

Obama and Kerry behind one of most strategic mistakes in military history 

Obama and Kerry behind one of most strategic mistakes in military history

Mideast Kerry US Isra_Cham640by Steven Emerson
Fox News.com
August 1, 2014

July 22, 2014: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri in Cairo.AP

The obsession by the Obama-Kerry administration with imposing a cease-fire on the warring parties in the Hamas-Israel war will go down in history as one of the most strategic mistakes in military history.

Here is a fact the administration deliberately and maliciously ignored: In the history of modern warfare, no terrorist group has ever honored a cease-fire. Hamas has broken every cease-fire it ever said it would honor. Every single one.

Even the Israel-Hamas 2012 cease fire, brokered by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was simply agreed to by Hamas to give it an opportunity to restock its military arsenal, pressure Israel to lift its restrictions on the import of cement and steel into Gaza – material that Clinton said would be used to build hospitals and schools, but in fact was used to build a network of underground tunnels into Israel and build a subterranean network of underground bunkers, weapons storage facilities and launching pads.

Hamas simply used the cease-fire to rebuild its military infrastructure and as predicted by Israeli military intelligence, would simply break the cease-fire when it felt ready to take on the Israelis once again.

And on Friday, Hamas did the exact same thing. It agreed, through its main financial backer Qatar (which is the world’s largest financial sponsor of terrorist groups including Hamas, Hizbollah, Al Qaeda and Al Nusra in Syria) and which the U.S. inexplicably anointed as its interlocutor to Hamas, that it would honor a 72-hour cease-fire initiated by the Obama-Kerry administration.

On Thursday night, Kerry proudly announced the cease-fire. But read the main sentence of his press conference.

“Then, as soon as the cease-fire is underway tomorrow morning – I talked to the Egyptian foreign minister tonight – Egypt will issue invitations to the parties to come to Cairo immediately in order to engage in serious and focused negotiations with Egypt to address the underlying causes of this conflict.”

“Underlying causes?” What in God’s name is Kerry talking about? That would be the equivalent of announcing a cease-fire with Al Qaeda after it killed 3000 Americans on 9-11 on the grounds that it needed to “address the underlying causes” of Al Qaeda’s war against the United States and the West.

Here is a little secret for Mr. Kerry: The underlying causes of the current Israeli-Hamas war, initiated by Hamas with its launching of tens of thousands of missiles into Israel and its use of underground tunnels from Gaza to carry out murderous attacks against Israel civilians, is that Hamas, like Al Qaeda, is a nihilistic radical Islamic organization dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state and the establishment of an Islamic caliphate.

The term “underlying causes” directly implies there are legitimate rational grievances by Hamas. Yes, the same “underlying causes” that motivated Adolph Hitler to carry out a worldwide war of conquest, including the Holocaust of six million Jews. Hamas is the embodiment of pure evil. And its motivation is the same as that of Al Qaeda and ISIS.

On Fox News, the former U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain, Adam Ereli, summed up the conflict in words that accurately described the “underlying causes” behind the war between Israel and Hamas:

“…[W]hat we’re seeing happen between Israel and Gaza is not a localized conflict, but is much, is part of a much bigger regional war. And that war has Iran, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood on one side and it has the forces of what I would call reason and moderation on the other side – being Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the countries of the Gulf. And United States has an interest in ensuring that the forces of reason and moderation prevail.”

Mr. Ereli was right on point. But somehow this administration lost sight of its real strategic interests and instead embraced an agenda that has resulted in extensive damage to our national interests, which in turn has resulted in increasing the strategic threat to American national security.

This administration believes that Al Qaeda is bad but the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the parent of Hamas and Islamic Jihad as well as that of Al Qaeda, is a rational organization with “legitimate grievances” that can be negotiated with on the same basis that the U.S.can negotiate with Canada or Germany. That is why this administration has embraced the Muslim Brotherhood, starting with the first speech Mr. Obama gave in Cairo in February 2009, where the first two rows of “dignitaries” were 20 leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt hand-selected by the Obama administration.

Moreover, the Obama administration, according to an investigation carried out by my organization, the Investigative Project on Terrorism, lifted all visa restrictions on Muslim Brotherhood officials in their applications to visit the United States. In a report our organization will be releasing next week, more than 25 senior Muslim Brotherhood officials who had publicly called for jihad against the United States or the West, or had openly expressed their support for Hamas and Hezbollah, visited the United States in the past three years and met with senior U.S. officials. One of them, who served as vice president of a Muslim Brotherhood group that had called for the killing of Americans, actually met with President Obama in the White House.

So the “underlying causes” of the current war of annihilation carried out by Hamas against Israel is very simple: It believes that Israel needs to be destroyed paralleling the same agenda of Al Qaeda that believed the United States should be destroyed. We are talking about an organization that won’t be satisfied in the short term until every Jew in Israel is dead and in the long term until Western civilization is destroyed replaced by a worldwide Islamic caliphate.

Hamas on Friday succeeded in kidnapping an Israeli officer, after launching a suicide bombing against Israeli soldiers in a well-planned operation 90 minutes after the cease-fire had gone into effect.Immediately following the suicide bombing that killed several Israeli soldiers (still unreported), a group of up to 10 Hamas terrorists immediately descended upon the scene of the bombing where chaos reigned supreme, and kidnapped the Israeli officer in charge of the company stationed in Gaza.

Then Musa Abu Marzuk, a leader of Hamas in Cairo, who was invited to participate in the talks with the U.S. and UN officials on the cease fire, had the audacity to announce the kidnapping took place BEFORE the cease-fire went into effect. This was a manifestly demonstrable lie, as Israel would never have agreed to a cease-fire if it knew one of its soldiers had been kidnapped.

The Obama-Kerry administration’s obsession with imposing a cease-fire on Israel on the grounds that too many civilians were being killed in collateral damage (caused by the fact that Hamas used the Gaza population as human shields to protect its launching of missiles ensconced in hospitals, mosques, kindergartens and civilian apartment buildings) somehow convinced itself that Hamas was an organization with “legitimate” political grievances. Yes, the same type of radical Islamic group whose agenda parallels exactly that of the same radical Islamic groups that has killed thousands of Americans and Europeans and whose wars of aggression has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Christians in Syria and Iraq.

At this point the administration, if it truly wants to limit the damage to our own national security and reverse the strategic threat to the survival of Israel, needs to be honest with itself and acknowledge its historic mistake in its approach to the Muslim Brotherhood and its stepchild, Hamas. The Muslim Brotherhood is the godfather of all Sunni terrorist groups, from Al Qaeda to Hamas, a fact these groups openly admit.

This is a classic war of good versus evil. The only difference between the Muslim Brotherhood and its terrorist offspring is the deception perpetrated by the Muslim Brotherhood in portraying itself as opposed to violence and committed to political pluralism. Nothing could be further from the truth. All one needs to do is read the covenant of the Muslim Brotherhood in which it states its commitment to carry out jihad to dominate the world, read the contemporary incendiary statements of Muslim Brotherhood officials issued in Arabic and not in English, and observe the Muslim Brotherhood hatred and persecution of of Christians, secular women, non-believing Muslims, infidels and gays.

This administration’s current policy towards the Muslim Brotherhood extends from the legitimacy it has conferred on the Muslim Brotherhood organization overseas and its chief patron, Qatar, to the embrace of Muslim Brotherhood front groups in the United States. This administration has gone so far as to ban the mention of the term “radical Islam” and to claim that the word jihad means only peaceful struggle and not violent commitment to impose Islam, which is the genuine historic and religious definition of jihad.

Reversing these policies would not only help protect the long term strategic interests of the United States but would also protect and help in the growth of the community of genuine Muslim moderates who in the end are the only key to reversing the growing threat of radical Islam in the world today.

Steven Emerson is executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism and the executive producer of a new documentary about the Muslim Brotherhood in America “Jihad in America: the Grand Deception.”

Iran, Russia Scooping Up Disgruntled U.S. Allies

A U.S. Apache helicopter in flight

A U.S. Apache helicopter in flight

BY RYAN MAURO:

The Iraqi ambassador to the U.S. and a major pro-American Iraqi political leader are voicing their frustration with a lack of counter-terrorism assistance from the U.S.

Former Prime Minister Allawi says a Russian “crescent” has developed over the region and blasted America’s treatment of Iran.

The Iraqi government has requested U.S. military assistance in combating the Islamic State (formerly known as  ISIS) terrorist group that controls significant parts of Iraq and Syria. The Obama Administration has sent about 750 advisors to Iraq. The Iraqis are requesting military equipment and airstrikes, not combat forces.

Iran and Russia are moving in to fill the void. The Iranian regime is ramping up covert operations in support of Prime Minister al-Maliki, and Russia has provided fighter jets and reportedly even pilots.

Ayad Allawi, Iraq’s interim Prime Minister from 2004 to 2005, is widely regarded as one of the most pro-American figures in the country. He is a Shiite, but his secular orientation and staunch opposition to Iran has made him well-liked by Sunnis. His cross-sectarian bloc won the most votes in the 2010 elections.

His voice is precisely the kind we need to be listening to. And he does not speak well of current U.S. policy:

“U.S. policy has been without [a] compass and sailed in rough seas, which the United States helped make rough—whether intentionally or unintentionally, the result in the same,” Allawi said.

He specifically cited the U.S. backing of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in 2010, even though his coalition won the most votes. He cited it as “further evidence of the U.S. disarray, as is siding with Iran.”

Allawi has previously asserted that the U.S. and Iran backed his rival. His account is backed up by Ali Khedery, the longest continuously serving U.S. official in Iraq.

“Many now doubt [American] abilities and whether it has a clear orientation,” Allawi explains.

Read more at Clarion Project

Obama Admin Declares Al-Qaeda No Longer A Direct Threat To America, U.S. Intelligence Officials Revolt

1400675779526.cachedBy Pamela Geller:

What fresh hell does Obama have in store for us now? It appears as if Obama is turning his guns …… on us.

As the global jihad rages across Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia, Obama continues to indulge his ROP fantasies to our great peril.

The now-notorious White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough (a key player in the Benghazi cover-up) and National Security Adviser Susan Rice met with a bipartisan delegation of senators late Tuesday for secret talks focused on foreign policy, several sources with knowledge of the discussion told Yahoo News.

Sen. Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, alluded to the meeting on Wednesday, as the panel held a hearing on whether and how to overhaul the signature law of the global war on terrorism.

“I know we both attended sort of a discussion last night that I found to be one of the most bizarre I’ve attended on Foreign Relations on foreign policy in our country,” Corker said at one point, referring to himself and Sen. Bob Menendez (D.-New Jersey), the committee’s chairman.

“I know several of us were involved in a very bizarre discussion last night. This continues a very bizarre discussion,” Corker said at another point.

The Tennessee Republican did not say where or with whom the meeting took place (or why it was bizarre).

The White House later confirmed the meeting. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said McDonough hosted “an informal discussion on national security issues,” and that Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken attended.

Buckle your seat belts, folks. It’s pretty clear that Obama and his quisling administration wants no more war on terror. Whatever he hasn’t decimated and destroyed — whatever  is left in place — they want it gone, no matter what is actually happening in the world.

‘Over My Dead Body’: Spies Fight Obama Push to Downsize Terror War, Daily Beast, May 21 , 2014

The Obama administration concluded in 2012 that al Qaeda posed no direct threat to the U.S.—and has sought to scale back the fight ever since, over intel officials’ rising objections.
In 2012, the Obama administration produced a draft National Intelligence Estimate that reached a surprising conclusion: al Qaeda was no longer a direct threat to America. That classified assessment, which has never before been publicly disclosed, was in keeping with the message coming from the White House. President Obama rode to re-election in 2012 partly on the success of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. At rallies and in press conferences, the president and top officials publicly said al Qaeda was on the run. But some senior U.S. intelligence officials, like Defense Intelligence Agency Director Gen. Michael Flynn, fought hard against that assessment, which amounted to an official pronouncement of the American intelligence community’s collected wisdom. Flynn and his faction won a partial victory, striking the judgment that the terrorist group no longer posed a threat to the homeland. “Flynn and others at the time made it clear they would not go along with that kind of assessment,” one U.S. intelligence officer who worked on the al Qaeda file told The Daily Beast.  “It was basically: ‘Over my dead body.’”

Since that internal clash—and since Obama said in his 2012 State of the Union that “al Qaeda operatives who remain are scrambling, knowing that they can’t escape the reach of the United States of America”—the terror group has thrived throughout the Islamic world. In the last year alone, al Qaeda has established safe havens in LibyaSyria  and Iraq.

And so naturally, the White House has softened its earlier position, concluding that al Qaeda and its affiliates still represented a serious threat. But the tension between the White House and many top military and intelligence officials fighting the long war remain.

In interviews with many of them, a common theme is sounded: The threat from al Qaeda is rising, but the White House is looking to ratchet down the war against these Islamic extremists. As a result, intelligence gathered on these threats remain shrouded from the public and, in many cases, from senior government officials. And now Congress and the White House are beginning to consider modifying—and possibly revoking—the very authority to find, fix and finish those terrorists who pose the threat today.

Read more at pamelageller.com

 

Obama Administration Ready to Work with Terrorist Group Hamas

obama-and-abbas-afpBreitbart, by JORDAN SCHACHTEL:

A senior official in the Obama administration announced Tuesday that the United States is ready to engage the newly unified Fatah-Hamas Palestinian government.

The senior White House official told the Haaretz newspaper that the US is ready to embrace Hamas as part of a legitimate government. The official said the unity government must abide by certain conditions. What exactly those conditions demand remains unclear.

“We want a Palestinian government that upholds those principles. In terms of how they build this government, we are not able to orchestrate that for the Palestinians. We are not going to be able to engineer every member of this government,” said the senior official.

A precedent established by the US congress mandated that the United States would not recognize Hamas until it committed to dropping its continuing de facto jihad against Israel and the West. To date, the United States lists Hamas as a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.

Hamas continues to be a part of the global Muslim Brotherhood network. Article 2 of its charter explicitly states Hamas is “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Egypt and Saudi Arabia have recently recognized the Muslim Brotherhood as a serious threat to civil society and democracy. Following violent acts in Egypt and elsewhere, the two Muslim-majority states have both designated the MB as a terrorist group.

Hamas’s founding principles, expressed in its charter, have never been amended since its inception in 1988. Some highlights from the Hamas charter are as follows:

From the preamble: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”

From Article 7: “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”

From Article 13: “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

In March, Hamas Chairman Khaled Mashaal discussed his organization’s founding principles. He reaffirmed his organization’s sole initiative was to promote two principles; one’s most honorable purpose in life is to die a martyr, and one should actively seek the destruction of Israel.

On Sunday, reports confirmed by senior administration officials suggest President Obama has placed blame for the loss of momentum of the “peace process” primarily on Israeli settlement building in the West Bank.

Obama Gets Scolding on Fighting Terrorism from Egypt’s al-Sisi

sisiPJ Media, By Bridget Johnson:

Retired Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former Egyptian army chief who ousted Mohammed Morsi and is now running for president, said President Obama could do more to help fight Islamist terrorism.

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, al-Sisi was asked if he had a message for Obama. “We are fighting a war against terrorism,” he replied.

The White House froze $1.3 billion a year in military aid to Egypt after Moris was ousted in a people’s revolt and the interim government cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood.

“The Egyptian army is undertaking major operations in the Sinai so it is not transformed into a base for terrorism that will threaten its neighbors and make Egypt unstable. If Egypt is unstable then the entire region is unstable,” al-Sisi said. “We need American support to fight terrorism, we need American equipment to use to combat terrorism.”

It’s not just the Sinai that’s a big threat, he stressed, but the growing power of jihadis in neighboring Libya.

“The West has to pay attention to what’s going on in the world – the map of extremism and its expansion. This map will reach you inevitably,” he said.

He defended his intervention in the huge 2013 protests as fulfilling the army’s sworn mission to protect the people.

“The more time passes the more the vision gets clearer to everyone. People and the world realize what happened in Egypt was the will of all of the Egyptian people,” al-Sisi said. “The army could not have abandoned its people or there would have been a civil war and we don’t know where that would have taken us. We understand the American position. We hope that they understand ours.”

He also stressed that in his government the question of whether the peace treaty with Israel would hold wouldn’t be a question like it was in the Morsi administration.

“We respected it and we will respect it,” al-Sisi said. “The Israeli people know this … The question of whether we would be committed to the peace treaty is over with.”

And his current thoughts on the Brotherhood? “Unjustified violence towards Egyptians made them not only lose sympathy among Egyptians, but also meant they have no real chance of reconciliation with society.”

Al-Sisi faces one opponents in the May 26-27 election, secular leftist Hamdeen Sabahi, who finished third in the 2012 presidential election with 21 percent of the vote.

More than 100,000 expatriates have already voted. A poll earlier this month found al-Sisi with 72 percent backing, compared to 2 percent supporting Sabahi and 22 percent undecided. Eighty-five percent of respondents said they planned on voting.

World Wide Christian Leaders Abandon Their Own in Nigeria

nigeria-church1-e1399762359218By Wallace S. Bruschweiler and Alan Kornman:

The period 1938 to 1945 should have been a lesson for all future generations.  The European Jews sitting back and accepting to be marched to Nazi slaughter-houses is absolutely not to be repeated in today’s day and age.

Abubakar Shekau, leader of the Islamic supremacist group Boko Haram declared war on the Christians in this shocking video.

How will we justify our inaction(s) to the next generations – what and how will the future history books describe the Christian massacres in Syria, Sudan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iraq and Nigeria. What kind of justifications will we have to invent, to answer in the future, the questions asked by our children?

Here we are – when Hillary Clinton served as President Obama’s Secretary of State, she vigorously opposed for over two years placing the al-Qaida affiliated terrorist group Boko Haram on the State Department’s official list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations,  John Kerry to his credit did it in November 2013.

The Response

Andrew McCarthy writes in the National Review, “Mrs Clinton and President Obama have convinced themselves that they know more about Islam than Muslim terrorists do, and that the peaceful, pliable, progressive Islam they have concocted somehow renders the jihadists’ Islam false.” Unfortunately, there are over 300 Nigerian girls and young women who would beg to differ!

Boko Haram’s Islamic justified barbaric actions speak for themselves.  Yet Christians around the world remain militarily passive to the existential threats posed by Islamic Jihad. This reminds me of the disgusting repeated ‘non decisions’ to bomb the railways tracks leading to Dachau, Auschwitz, etc. during World War II.

Nigeria, as many other nations in Africa and the Middle East, is an artificial political entity (remember Biafra).  A large number of these African and Middle East countries are formed by a significant  number of tribes with completely different ‘standards’ and kept together by corruption and terror.

Kidnapping, slavery, forced marriages, rape, forced conversions, mass murder, and torture no longer move people of conscience into military action.  Instead our leaders, on the world stage, give us nice words of righteous indignation that sooth’s the souls of the unaffected and washes the guilt of responsibility off our collective shoulders.

Ronald Reagan described, “America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere.” This beacon of light has dimmed and is flickering close to complete darkness.

“For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses . . .”— John Winthrop, aboard the Arbella, 1630

Read more at Dr. Rich Swier