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

 

 

Boko Haram and the Failure of Obama’s Counter-terrorism Strategy

hillary_obama_glare_reuters Breitbart, By Katie Gorka, May 10, 2014:

During Hillary Clinton’s tenure, the State Department failed to designate Boko Haram a terrorist organization, in spite of the fact that Boko Haram had become second only to the Taliban as the deadliest terrorist organization. Clinton will rightly have to bear blame for that, but the lack of a designation also reflects the much deeper problem of the Obama administration’s overall approach to Islamic extremism. It is an approach that has led to bad policies, not only with regard to Boko Haram, but also to Iran, the Syrian rebels, Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Benghazi.

The heart of the problem is that President Barack Obama and many of his top counter-terrorism advisers see Islamic extremism from the leftist perspective of social movement theory. Originating in the socialist labor movements of the 1800s and revived with the protest movements of the 1960s, social movement theory seeks to understand collective action. Academics concerned with what they saw as the relationship between “cultural imperialism” and “Islamic movements” began looking at Islamist extremism through the lens of social movement theory around 1984. It might have remained an obscure academic pursuit but for the fact that Obama elevated one of its principle proponents, Quintan Wiktorowicz, to the position of Senior Director for Global Engagement at the National Security Staff, where he became an architect of Obama’s counter-extremism strategy.

The singular impact of Wiktorowicz was to shift the focus away from the ideology driving Islamic extremism and to recast it as “Islamic activism.” He argued that Islamist violence is not a function of the call to jihad found in the Qu‘ran or in various contemporary fatwas, but is rather a calculated and rational response to state oppression:

In contrast to popular views of Islamic radicals as fanatics engaged in irrational, deviant, unpredictable violence, we argue that violent contention is the result of tactical considerations informed by the realities of repressive contexts. Islamists engage in a rational calculus about tactical efficacy and choose modes of contention they believe will facilitate objectives or protect their organizational and political gains. Violence is only one of myriad possibilities in repertoires of contention and becomes more likely where regimes attempt to crush Islamic activism through broad repressive measures that leave few alternatives. …From this perspective, violent Islamist contention is produced not by ideational factors or unstable psychological mentalities but rather by exogenous contingencies created through state policy concerning Islamists.

Thus, terrorism becomes “a mode of contention,” and terrorists are not to blame for their violence; “exogenous contingencies” are at fault. Sources in the Koran, Islamic jurisprudence, or even contemporary calls to jihad are not to blame; state policy is. Dr. Mohammed M. Hafez, an associate professor at the Naval Postgraduate School who also influenced U.S. policy, echoes this perspective in his book Why Muslims Rebel:

Muslims rebel because of an ill-fated combination of institutional exclusion, on the one hand, and on the other, reactive and indiscriminate repression that threatens the organizational resources and personal lives of Islamists. Exclusionary and repressive political environments force Islamists to undergo a near universal process of radicalization.

Radical Islamists, therefore, bear no personal responsibility for their acts of terrorism or disruption. Rather, they are forced by a political environment that excludes or represses them to undergo an inevitable process of radicalization.

For the Obama administration, Islamist extremism (except for Al Qaeda) is not a categorical evil which stands opposed to America’s good; it is, rather, an extreme expression—among a range of expressions—of protest against legitimate grievances. Islamic radicals such as Boko Haram are not responsible for their actions; they are forced to radicalism by their circumstances. And it definitely has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam, not even a distorted version of Islam.

On the very day that the U.S. announced the designation of Boko Haram as a terrorist organization, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that “Boko Haram’s activities call our attention not just to violence, but also to poverty and inequality in Nigeria.” The State Department’s 2012 report on human rights in Nigeria spends far more time on abuses by Nigeria’s security forces than it does on Boko Haram’s violence. The report states, “The population’s grievances regarding poverty, government and security force corruption, and police impunity and brutality created a fertile ground for recruiting Boko Haram members.” By all accounts, police brutality and incompetence in Nigeria were on an epic scale, but as Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) famously said at a hearing on Boko Haram, to blame terrorism on poverty is a disservice to the millions of poor people across the globe who never turn to violence.

Because of the Muslim-extremist-as-victim meme, the administration generally, and the State Department particularly, have repeatedly portrayed Muslims as the principle victims of groups such as Boko Haram, with Christians only a minor side note. The State Department has repeatedly said that Boko Haram is not religiously motivated and is more destructive to Muslims than to Christians. On the day Boko Haram was designated an FTO, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield said that Boko Haram “had killed numerous Christians and an even greater number of Muslims,” in spite of the fact that attacks on Christians represented 46% and on Muslims only 3%, according to Jubilee Campaign.

The argument currently being put forth by the mainstream media is that the United States has been poised and ready to help Nigeria, but that Nigeria has been slow to ask, and that is a message likely coming directly from the White House. Now that the world has woken up to the evil being perpetrated by Boko Haram, President Obama is trying to portray himself as caring deeply about this issue. He told ABC News that he hoped the event would help “to mobilize the entire international community to finally do something against this horrendous organization that’s perpetrated such a terrible crime.” And Michelle Obama tweeted a photo of herself holding a sign that read: “#BringBackOurGirls.”

But members of the Obama administration—from the President himself to his National Security Staff to his Secretary of State and to his undersecretaries and their staffs—have all, until this episode, downplayed Boko Haram’s truly evil nature and prevented steps from being taken much earlier that could have prevented this tragedy, and those 276 abducted girls, instead of being held hostage, could still be sitting at their desks doing their schoolwork.

While social movement theory might provide insights into the formation and operation of Islamic activists, it cannot provide a foundation for American counter-terrorism policy. To do so is both detrimental to U.S. national security and to the security of numerous nations who are in a life-or-death struggle with the threat. The United States must stop the misguided narrative that terrorism and extremism have nothing to do with Islam. As Dr. Sebastian Gorka said in testimony to members of Congress, “We need to bankrupt transnational jihadist terrorism as its most powerful point: its narrative of global religious war.” Until the U.S. begins to acknowledge and address the ideology, we will not be able to challenge its ability to recruit, motivate, and inspire those who would abduct innocent schoolgirls.

Katie Gorka is the president of the Council on Global Security. She is the coeditor of Fighting the Ideological War: Winning Strategies from Communism to Islamism.

State Dept.’s Terror Report Focus on Al Qaeda Misses Point

Palestinian boys in Gaza rally

By focusing on Al-Qaeda, the report is only looking at a manifestation of the ideological problem — not on the problem itself.

By Ryan Mauro:

The State Department’s annual Country Reports on Terrorism states that the number of fatalities from terrorist attacks increased 60% from 2012 to 2013 and the overall number of attacks increased 40%. The uptick is attributable to a rise in terrorism in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and the Philippines.

There were 9,707 terrorist attacks last year, killing almost 18,000 people and injuring over 32,000. Approximately 3,000 people were seized as hostages or kidnapped by terrorists. The number of attacks doubled in Iraq and Pakistan also saw an increase of about 37%.

Three of the four designated state sponsors of terrorism are Islamic (Iran, Syria and Sudan). So are seven of the top 10 deadliest terrorist organizations: The Taliban, Al-Qaeda in Iraq (also known as ISIS), Boko Haram, the Pakistani Taliban, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement in the Philippines.

The State Department says that Al-Qaeda affiliates are increasingly relying upon crime to raise money, such as credit card fraud, extortion and holding innocents for ransom. Donors in the Gulf are also sustaining Al-Qaeda.

The report also notes that Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri’s influence over the affiliates is decreasing. For example, his orders to avoid collateral damage have been “routinely disobeyed.” Al-Qaeda’ mass murdering of Muslims and overall persecution is the single greatest factor contributing to Al-Qaeda’s fall in popularity.

Al-Qaeda is also splintering due to power struggles and differences over tactics. Al-Qaeda had two affiliates operating in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS). A rivalry began last summer, when ISIS announced that it had taken Jabhat al-Nusra into its ranks. Zawahiri intervened on the side of Jabhat al-Nusra.

Read more at Clarion Project

Obama wants to train Libyan pilots, again

alqaida-libyaWND, By Alana Cook, 4/23/14

WASHINGTON – Back in 1979 when a mob attacked and burned the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, Libya, while an unstable Moammar Gadhafi was in power, American officials decided to respond by banning Libyan nationals from entering the U.S. to train as pilots or nuclear scientists.

Now, following a 2012 attack by Islamists that killed America’s ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and the Arab Spring that destabilized other North African and Middle Eastern nations, and which, according to one analysis, left “particularly severe” fragmentation of Libyan society so that the “chances of the country’s dissolution are high,” American officials want to drop that ban.

The request to lift the Reagan-era passport ban that restricts Libyan nationals from entering the U.S. to train for those two positions is coming from officials with the Department of Homeland Security and the 9/11 Commission – because, “It simply isn’t needed to keep America safe from harm.”

It was earlier this month at a joint congressional hearing that House Oversight and Government Reform Committee members pressed Border Security Subcommittee officials to give sound reasoning for the current administration’s request in light of late-March reports that indicate Libya is overrun by al-Qaida, Muslim Brotherhood and other terrorist-backed Islamist militias and is on the verge of a civil war.

A commentary at Gatestone Institute even noted there is a move to bring an Islamic monarchy back to Libya.

And according to a just-released report by Clare M. Lopez of the Citizens Commission on Benghazi, “Early 2011 was swarming with al-Qaida and Muslim Brotherhood militias and affiliates fighting to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi’s regime.”

But Democrats are calling the restriction “an anachronistic relic of a bygone era.”

“Why are we willing to risk, no matter the likelihood, chancing Libyan extremists or terrorists to come here to essentially learn the skills to commit acts of terror … why now specifically? What has changed? The burden of advocating for change, in my judgment, in the status quo lies with the administration,” Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said in testimony.

Oversight committee members cited Obama’s “failed” promise to secure diplomatic posts worldwide immediately following the 2012 Benghazi attacks.

“I have also directed my administration to increase our security at diplomatic posts around the world,” Obama said then. “Make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.”

But nothing has happened yet.

According to Oversight testimony, DHS Assistant Secretary of International Affairs and Chief Diplomatic Officer Alan Bersin, formerly an Obama recess appointee, wrote a memo last February to then-DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano recommending the secretary take regulatory action to rescind the rule. His rationale for rescinding the rule echoed the same reasons CBP officials gave during the testimony.

Bersin stated in the memo, “DHS has determined that maintaining this regulation would no longer reflect current U.S. government policy toward Libya” while failing to mention the Benghazi attacks.

“What’s most surprising is that the memo postdates the tragic day in Benghazi when our country lost four Americans during a terrorist attack,” Oversight Committee member Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said in the hearing.

Chaffetz said Libya was so broken down at the time of the attacks that it was impossible to obtain ground intelligence.

“We couldn’t even send our FBI into eastern Libya for 18 days because it was so dangerous. We couldn’t get the intelligence that we needed. We couldn’t even get the FBI to go into that part of the country. And yet we want to give those same people a visa to come to the United States to learn about nuclear sciences. Wow,” Chaffetz said.

While failing to describe the state of chaos in Libya, Bersin in his memo cited the current administration’s plan to “encourage engagement and educational exchanges in coming years with the Libyan government.”

He said the Defense Department is involved in a $2 billion deal to purchase aircraft and conduct pilot training and ground crew training and that the money would go to other countries if the visa restrictions on Libyans were not lifted.

“The Departments of Defense and State have made it clear that absent its rescission the regulation will significantly hamper these efforts,” he said in the memo.

To support their argument, Democrats said recent Defense Department reports state the fleet is aging, needs repair, more flight crew members need to be trained, and the only thing standing in the way of procurement are the visa restrictions. Democrats cited partisan policy as the roadblock to Libya’s successful transition to a democratic government.

“Members on the other side of the aisle may raise the unfortunate attacks in Benghazi at this hearing today. But that event actually underscores why we should lift the visa restriction. On the night of the attack, it was one of those very same Lockheed C-130 transport planes that the Libyan government used to rescue and evacuate the surviving consular personnel at the U.S. compound in Benghazi. Rather than used against us, that plane helped Americans survive,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said in testimony.

In a column recently published at Accuracy in Media, Clare M. Lopez, a senior fellow with the Center for Security Policy and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, said that on the heels of the attacks, a new presidential finding cemented policy to lend material support to terrorism.

“The next chapter in the U.S. jihad wars was under way … and the American people barely noticed,” she said.

War on Christians: The Politics of Persecution

jordanian-church-ap

Breitbart, By Katie Gorka:

In Nigeria, 234 Christian schoolgirls abducted; a Jesuit priest shot in the head outside his house in Homs, Syria; a young Christian woman dragged from her car in Egypt and beaten to death… These are some of the latest stories of Christians being hunted, tortured, or executed at the hands of Islamists.

Stories such as these are increasingly finding their way into the American media, and Americans are showing a growing concern for the persecuted church, but policymakers seem slow to respond. Not only is the United States government virtually silent on the issue of the worsening plight of Christians globally, but in three countries where Christians are currently most under siege – Syria, Egypt, and Nigeria – U.S. policy is actually exacerbating the situation.

In Syria, what began as a popular uprising in March 2011 against the repressive policies of President Bashar al-Assad quickly escalated into a civil war fueled by Islamists. The U.S. Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, took an active and early role in working with opposition leaders. He convened and hosted numerous meetings with the self-appointed front-men. But what began as well intentioned support eventually crossed the line into king-making.

The U.S. played an increasingly active role in determining who could and could not be at the table. Today, the U.S. policy imperative is that Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad must resign. All U.S. activity in Syria is directed toward that end, which the White House deems non-negotiable. To be sure, most Syrians want to see reform, but many now fear an Islamist takeover spearheaded by al Qaeda affiliates and the ensuing chaos more than they do the continued rule of a secular dictator.

Rather than bring resolution of the civil war any closer, U.S. policies are making matters worse.  According to international sources, arms intended for rebels are getting into the hands of extremist groups such as the Al Nusra Front, and Assad shows no sign of surrendering. The Geneva Talks on Syria have failed to stop the fighting, and sources inside Syria say the opposition leaders invited to the talks do not truly represent the Syrians. They are unelected and have the backing only of outside powers, whether the U.S., Turkey, Russia, Saudi Arabia, or Qatar, all of whom now have a national geopolitical stake in the conflict that has nothing to do with the plight of the Christians caught in the middle of the fighting.

One source inside Syria says the rebels have pushed so hard for arms from the United States and elsewhere because that is their only form of legitimacy. They are not elected leaders and do not have popular support.

In the meantime, a quiet experiment in democracy is underway in the northeast corner of Syria in the region around Hasaka. On the eve of the Geneva II talks, Kurdish, Arab, and Syriac Christian leaders came together to form a power-sharing government, one which, in their words, would respect ethnic and religious differences rather than ignore them. So far, the experiment has brought peace and security to a corner of this war-torn country. This may prove a far more successful model for guaranteeing stability as well as the rights and safety of Middle Eastern Christians than the U.S. government strategy of arming rebels and self-proclaimed opposition leaders.

In Egypt, where Christians make up about 10% of the population, tensions between Christians and Muslims have long simmered, with not-infrequent violent outbursts. When an Islamist government came to power in July 2012, with Muslim Brotherhood member Mohammed Morsi as president, attacks on Christians, Christian churches, and Christian businesses quickly spiked. In spite of a series of violations of the democratic process by Morsi, as well as the sharp rise in terrorist activity, particularly in the Sinai, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged the continued support of the U.S. government along with hundreds of millions of dollars in debt relief, private investment, and aid.

However, when an estimated 30 million Egyptians came out into the streets to call for Morsi’s resignation in July 2013, the United States continued to support Morsi and condemned General Fattah el-Sisi, who was instrumental in Morsi’s ouster. Following the change in leadership, Gen. el-Sisi initiated a sharp crackdown on terrorist groups in Egypt, and particularly in Sinai. Yet the Obama administration suspended its $1.55 billion in annual U.S. aid to Egypt.

According to the Egyptian military, U.S. Apache helicopters were essential to fighting terrorism in Sinai.  Their more accurate sensors and weapons were a critical factor in helping prevent civilian casualties. But with aid suspended, replacement parts were withheld, and many of the helicopters were taken out of service. The U.S. continues to withhold support for the current reform process, paying greater lip service to the importance of inclusion of fundamentalist Islamist groups in the transition process and making little or no mention of the repeated attacks on Christians.

Nigeria is now the second most deadly country in the world for Christians, second only to Syria, in spite of the fact that Christians make up approximately 50% of the population. While Nigeria has seen waves of Islamist extremism over the past century, its latest incarnation, established in 2002, is Boko Haram (which translates as “Western ways Forbidden”).

The U.S. government has consistently taken the position that the conflict is not religious in nature but is rather a function of the poverty and lack of opportunity in the Muslim-majority north. However, Boko Haram describes themselves as deeply Islamic and the nature of the conflict as fundamentally religious in nature. In June 2012, Boko Haram issued the following statement:

The Nigerian state and Christians are our enemies and we will be launching attacks on the Nigerian state and its security apparatus as well as churches until we achieve our goal of establishing an Islamic state in place of the secular state.

Because the United States government interprets the problem as a sociological one, under which Boko Haram’s violence is seen as being fuelled by lack of economic opportunity and a feeling of political disenfranchisement, one policy solution has been to spend millions of U.S. aid dollars on Koranic schools in northern Nigeria. So not only has the United States repeatedly distorted the nature of the conflict, it may be actively fueling it by funding the institutions where Islamist doctrine is taught.

Persecution of Christians is on an upward trajectory that runs parallel to the Islamist awakening and has accelerated under the so-called “Arab Spring.” Yet it has not made it to the top-ten list of priorities for American policymakers, which is ironic, given that our nation was founded on the principle of religious freedom. Reports from North Africa and the Middle East attest to the fact that at least one side of this conflict sees it as a religious war.

Katharine Cornell Gorka is President of the recently-established Council on Global Security and contributing co-editor of the book Fighting the Ideological War: Winning Strategies from Communism to Islamism. This article is the first in a series on the religious war against Christians worldwide.