Discussion with Sam Sorbo of the Paris Jihad Carnage, Trump, US Mosque Data, & US Policy etc..

By Andrew Bostom, Nov. 19, 2015:

Thanks to Sam Sorbo for a wide-ranging discussion of the ISIS-orchestrated Paris jihad carnage, the merits of Trump’s populist commentary in the aftermath of that jihadist barbarity, and related policy questions on our “Muslim allies,” i.e., perfidious, ISIS-abetting Neo-Ottoman Turkey; US-hating masses of Jordanians celebrating a jihad murderer of US workers as a “martyr,” while chanting “Death to America” in the streets, or “despicable America” at the “martyr’s” burial; and Sisi’s Egypt prosecuting Copts for mocking ISIS.

.We also discussed US mosque, and Muslim-attitude data, vis-à-vis Sharia and jihadism (see here; here; here), and Obama’s morally cretinous abandonment of the bona fide Yazidi and Christians refugees, the former whom his own Administration admits are being subjected to a “designated” genocide, the latter, the Obama Administration grudgingly acknowledges, is suffering from mass killings.

Most importantly, I quoted (just the bold) from this recent interview (blogged and transcribed by Diana West; who added an additional query) of a real 1991 Iraq war fighting hero, then tank commander Col. Douglas MacGregor.

If we commit large ground forces to the Middle East with the goal of defeating or destroying ISIL (the Islamic State)” the results will include all of the following:

“First, it would provide a temporary, rather than a permanent setback to Sunni Islamism. Sunni Islamist fighters will retreat into Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab countries in the Middle East and North Africa. We forget that without the tacit and active support of Turkish President Erdogan and his supporters in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, ISIL could not exist.

 “Second, we will yet again ensure the expansion and consolidation of Iranian-Shiite strategic power and influence from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean. Our intervention in Iraq created an Iranian Satellite in Baghdad. This time we would end up working with the Russians to ensure Iran controls all of Mesopotamia.

 “Third, like the French, our first action should involve the closing of our borders, not the invasion of the Middle East. Given that our borders are open, immigration (legal and illegal) is uncontrolled and (if) unchecked no change will occur in the conditions inside the United States that foster criminality and terrorism.”

Macgregor continued: “As long as Sunni Islamist leaders in Turkey, KSA and Qatar provide the support and pathways for recruits that brought ISIL to life in the first place, nothing will fundamentally change. Moreover, if we do intervene on the ground, assuming we find anything before it flees into neighboring Arab states and Anatolia, we stand an excellent chance of securing Mesopotamia for Iran and its strategic partner Russia. Since we did accomplish that already in Baghdad, I am unconvinced we should repeat the mistake in the rest of the region.”

Channel 6 wrote: “Instead, Col Macgregor thinks America should secure its borders, enforce Federal immigration law, and halt immigration (legal and illegal) until US Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) can find out who is in the United States.”

“Right now, we just don’t know,” Macgregor said. “We have at least 30 million illegals including large numbers of Muslims and Chinese. How many are agents that wish to steal intellectual property or pursue cyber terrorism? How many Chinese and Latino girls are in brothels managed by organized crime? What we do know is that we now have Muslim communities inside the US where the population wants to substitute Muslim holidays for Federal Holidays and Sharia law for the Constitution. I strongly suggest we deal with these internal problems first.”’

I asked Col. Macgregor if he had anything to add. He replied:   “For some reason, we forget that Tsarnaev and his brother, the Sunni Muslims who attacked and killed Americans in Boston, were Turks from the Caucasus, not the Middle East.  Before we march into vast wastelands of the Middle East we had better secure Americans at home first. Marching into the Middle East the last time made matters worse, not better.” 

Andrew G. Bostom is the author of The Legacy of Jihad (Prometheus, 2005) and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism ” (Prometheus, November, 2008) You can contact Dr. Bostom at @andrewbostom.org

The War That Hasn’t Ended

Paris attackNational Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy,Nov. 13, 2015:

There is always the chance that the next attack will knock the scales from our eyes. Always the chance that we will realize the enemy is at war with us, even as we foolishly believe we can end the war by not fighting it, by surrendering.

As this is written, the death count in Paris is 158. That number will grow higher, and very many more will be counted among the wounded and terrorized.

“Allahu Akbar!” cried the jihadists as they killed innocent after French innocent. The commentators told us it means “God is great.” But it doesn’t. It means “Allah is greater!” It is a comparative, a cry of combative aggression: “Our God is mightier than yours.” It is central to a construction of Islam, mainstream in the Middle East, that sees itself at war with the West.

It is what animates our enemies.

Barack Obama tells us — harangues us — that he is the president who came to end wars. Is that noble? Reflective of an America that honors “our values”? No, it is juvenile.

In the real world, the world of aggression — not “micro-aggression” — you don’t get to end wars by pronouncing them over, or mistaken, or contrary to “our values.”

You end them by winning them . . . or losing them.

If you demonstrate that you are willing to lose, then you lose. If you sympathize with the enemy’s critique of the West on the lunatic theory that this will appease the enemy, you invite more attacks, more mass murder.

France is hoping the night’s bloodshed is done as it counts its dead. And perhaps it is for now. But the atrocities are not over, not even close.

In Paris, it has been but the blink of an eye since the Charlie Hebdo massacre, after which Western nations joined together in supposed solidarity, supporting the fundamental right to free expression.

That lasted about five minutes.

Intelligentsia on both sides of the Atlantic rationalized that, while we of course (ahem) champion free expression — “Je suis Charlie!” and all that — columnists and cartoonists who dare lampoon a totalitarian ideology are bringing the jihad on themselves.

It was a familiar story. In 2012, jihadists attacked an American compound in Benghazi, killing our ambassador and three other officials. The president responded by . . . condemning an anti-Muslim video that had nothing to do with the attack, and by proclaiming that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

Islamic supremacism killed Americans, and America’s president validated Islamic supremacism.

How did the French and the rest of the West react when jihadists attacked Charlie Hebdo in Paris?

After a fleeting pro-Western pose, they condemned . . . themselves.

What happened when American commentators who had spent years studying Islamic-supremacist ideology warned that mainstream Muslim doctrine was fueling jihad against the West?

The Obama administration — the president and his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton — reacted by targeting the messengers, not the aggressors.

Jihadist terror would be obfuscated by euphemisms like “violent extremism” and “workplace violence.” The critics of jihadist terror would be smeared as racist “Islamophobes.” Mrs. Clinton led the administration’s effort to portray examination of Islamic doctrine as hate speech, to brand commentary about radical Islam as illegal incitement.

Wouldn’t that be a betrayal of First Amendment free expression? If so, Mrs. Clinton declared, the government had other ways to suppress it. The administration, she said, would resort to extra-legal extortion: “old fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming.”

American government intimidation, not against the jihad but against opponents of the jihad. Could we tell the enemy any more clearly that we don’t think we are worth defending? Could we tell the enemy any more clearly that we are ripe for the taking?

Hard experience has taught us that when jihadists have safe haven, they attack the United States and our Western allies. But as ISIS and al Qaeda expand their safe haven in Syria and Iraq, we tell the world it is everyone else’s problem — the Kurds have to do the fighting, or the Yazidis, the Iraqis, the “rebels,” anyone but us.

As hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the region — many of them young, fighting-fit men whose potential terrorist ties cannot possibly be vetted — we encourage Europe to open its arms and borders to them, promising to open our own as well.

After all, to do otherwise would be to concede that the war is against us — and Obama is the president who “ends” war.

The enemy is not impressed. What Obama calls “ending” war the enemy sees as surrender, as the lack of a will to fight, much less to prevail.

So, as night follows day, the enemy attacked Paris tonight, yet again. Jihadists brazenly proclaimed that they were from Syria, spreading their jihad to France.

Obama responded by soft-peddling the atrocity as a “tragedy,” the acts of war as a “crime.”

A “crime” that tonight killed 158 people (and counting). A “crime” by “criminals” who vow more jihadist acts of war against Paris, Rome, London, Tel Aviv, and New York.

We did not ask for a war with jihadists. Years ago, they commenced a war of aggression against us. Pace Obama, you can’t end such a war by withdrawing, or by pretending it is just a crime. You end it by winning it or losing it.

The enemy senses that we are willing to lose it. Tonight, they pressed their advantage. It won’t be the last time.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

The Center for Security Policy’s Middle East and North Africa Briefing


Center for Security Policy, Nov.13, 2015:

The Middle East and North Africa: National Security and a Secure Freedom Strategy to respond to the threats posed by the Islamic State and the Global Jihad Movement.

  • Pete Hoekstra, Shillman Senior Fellow, Investigative Project on Terrorism; Former Chairman, U.S. House Intelligence Committee; Author, Architects of Disaster: The Destruction of Libya (2015)
  • Elliot Chodoff, Major in the IDF Reserves; Counter terrorism expertPartner, Lecturer, and Political and Military Analyst at Hamartzim Educational Services
  • Jim Hanson, Executive Vice President, Center for Security Policy, Author, Cut Down The Black Flag: A Plan To Defeat The Islamic State (2015)

Moderator: Frank Gaffney, President & CEO, Center for Security Policy.

WaPo Editor: Obama’s Outreach to Repressive Regimes Backfires, Marring Foreign Policy Legacy

Photo: U.S. Department of State / Flickr

Photo: U.S. Department of State / Flickr

by TheTower.org Staff | 11.09.15

The Obama administration’s outreach to repressive regimes in Myanmar, Cuba, and Iran, rather than having a moderating influence, has instead allowed them to “entrench their authoritarian systems for the long term, while screening out any liberalizing influence,” Jackson Diehl, the deputy editorial page editor of The Washington Post, wrote in an op-ed published Monday.

It nevertheless is becoming clear that the regimes on which Obama has lavished attention have greeted his overtures with a counter-strategy. It’s possible, they calculate, to use the economic benefits of better relations to entrench their authoritarian systems for the long term, while screening out any liberalizing influence. Rather than being subverted by U.S. dollars, they would be saved by them.

Diehl observed that in Myanmar, also known as Burma, the nation’s military rulers have allowed some electoral reforms, but ensured that their party will ultimately keep at least a quarter of the seats in parliament and that Aung San Suu Kyi, the leading opposition figure and Nobel Peace Prize winner, will not become president. Worse yet, in Cuba, the lifting of a travel ban that has led to “billions in fresh hard currency … flowing into the regime’s nearly empty treasury,” has been answered by “[stepped] up repression of the opposition.”

Diehl also highlighted how the nuclear deal with Iran similarly failed to moderate the Islamic Republic.

That Iran’s supreme leader is pursuing a similar course became clear in recent days as the arrests of two businessmen with U.S. citizenship or residency came to light. Having allowed reformist president Hassan Rouhani to negotiate the nuclear deal with Obama, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guard intend to pocket the $100 billion or so in proceeds while forcibly preventing what they call the “penetration” of Western influence that Obama hopes for.

Hence the taking of more U.S. hostages. To the imprisonment of The Post’s Jason Rezaian and two other Iranian Americans, add Nizar Zakka, a U.S.-based Internet specialist, and Siamak Namazi, an Iranian American who has publicly advocated for better relations between the countries. The lack of any U.S. response means that the open season on Americans will continue in Tehran.

Diehl’s column concluded by observing, “So the message is: It’s okay to capture U.S. dollars while excluding U.S. business and cracking down on anyone favoring liberalization. No wonder the dictators are winning.” It followed an unsigned editorial in the Post on Friday calling for Iran to release American hostages or face renewed sanctions.

President Obama has frequently suggested that the nuclear deal would prompt a relaxation of barriers between Iran and the West. So far, the opposite appears to be happening. While anticipating the collection of up to $100 billion in frozen assets, Iran’s military and security services are acting to ensure that there is no further detente. In that they have the support of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who on Tuesday celebrated the anniversary of the seizing of hostages at the U.S. Embassy by proclaiming that the slogan “death to America” will live forever.

The Obama administration has reacted to these provocations, including the new arrests, with the equivalent of a shrug. When asked about them, a State Department spokeswoman said, “This is something that we continue to have dialogue on.” Republicans, including House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Edward R. Royce (Calif.), have proposed imposing new sanctions on the IRGC. If the Americans are not soon released, that would be a logical course.

The strengthening of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a result of the nuclear deal was an outcome that was predicted by experts. The Post, in editorials published before and after the agreement was reached, argued that given the arbitrary nature of the arrest and prosecution of its reporter, Jason Rezaian, any westerners seeking to do business in Iran would be at significant risk.

The US Vacuum in the Middle East


The Gorka Briefing, by Sebastian Gorka, Oct 12, 2015:

The Obama administration created a vacuum in the Middle East and then ISIS moved in and now Russia is establishing a beachhead. I discuss this and more on the Sam Sorbo radio show. (17 min)

audio snip 2

Also see:

Expeditionary Warfare  Is the Russian venture in Syria a “Force Protection” or  Expeditionary War at quite a significant scale? NATO countries seem to be missing a common threat assessment over what Moscow is undertaking. I discuss these issues and more on the John Batchelor radio show. (9 min)

Why the US government is on track to ‘normalizing’ ISIS

 (AP Photo, File)

(AP Photo, File)

New York Post, by Alex VanNess, August 23, 2015:How long will it take the United States to recognize the Islamic State as a legitimate actor?

That may sound ridiculous. After all, ISIS is a barbaric and sociopathic band of terrorists who proudly highlight their brutality over the Internet. Unfortunately, recent history suggests this doesn’t disqualify them, as horrific as it sounds, from eventual recognition.

Since before 9/11, the Taliban laid claim to numerous terror attacks on civilian populations throughout Afghanistan. They harbored Osama bin Laden, and since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, they’ve been directly responsible for the deaths of more than 2,000 American troops.

Yet in January, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest cryptically explained that the Taliban was not a terrorist group but instead falls under a “different classification.”

Earnest’s verbal gymnastics were deployed in the service of explaining away the president’s decision to trade five members of the Taliban for the release of American soldier-captive Bowe Bergdahl.

Hamas is an openly anti-Semitic terrorist organization that has claimed responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians, including several Americans. Since its creation, the Gaza-based Hamas has been dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews. Hamas is brutally repressive toward women and gays; they have a tendency to savagely drag dead bodies through the streets.

Last year, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swore in a new unity government that incorporated Hamas-appointed ministers. Instead of cutting off financial support to the new government, as required by US law, the Obama administration jumped through hoops to legitimize the new government. Officials said they would continue supporting the Palestinian government because the new ministers were “technocrats” that “don’t represent . . . hard-core Hamas leadership.”

The legitimacy granted to Hamas by this administration is a reflection of the trend held by many pro-Palestinian protestors who now brazenly chant, “we are Hamas!” through the streets of US cities such as Miami.

Cuba has a long history of human-rights abuse. The Cuban government regularly harasses and imprisons dissidents and has been a state sponsor of terrorism for decades. Cuba continues to serve as a safe haven for terrorists and maintains close ties to both North Korea and Iran.

In 2013, Cuba was caught sending weapons to North Korea. It aids terrorist groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Iranian proxy Hezbollah and the Basque Fatherland of Liberty (ETA).

Despite this behavior, the administration still decided to take Cuba off the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism and has begun the process of normalizing the relationship between the United States and Cuba.

The State Department justified this removal by stating that “Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the previous six-months” and citing vague promises that they “will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.”

So to recap, within this past year we have stopped referring to the Taliban as terrorists, provided de facto recognition and funding to Hamas and have opened up to the repressive terror-sponsoring Cuban government.

Why should we assume that ISIS will be treated any differently than these groups?

As each day passes, ISIS solidifies its presence in the region. Sure, ISIS commits terrible atrocities. The group regularly — and indiscriminately — beheads innocent people; rapes women and sells them as sex slaves and employs children as executioners.

But its leaders have undeniably been working to establish the Islamic State as, well, as a functioning state. They issue identification cards, pave roads, pick up trash, operate power stations and offer social-welfare programs.

ISIS has carved out its territory by filling the Middle East’s power vacuums, and are thus, in some places, the only game in town. How long before the international community recognizes the ISIS government?

The past precedent of legitimizing various terrorist groups and repressive dictatorships make this all too real of an issue. It’s imperative that the United States stops this trajectory of providing legitimacy to these regimes and turns back the ISIS tide, or we may one day soon be debating the opening of an embassy to the Islamic State in what used to be Iraq.

Alex VanNess is the manager of public information for the Center for Security Policy.

Former DIA director: Obama White House made “willful decision” to support al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood in Syria

Mehdi Hasan goes Head to Head with Michael T. Flynn, former head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, on how to deal with ISIL and Iran. http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/headtohead/2015/07/blame-isil-150728080342288.html

Mehdi Hasan goes Head to Head with Michael T. Flynn, former head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, on how to deal with ISIL and Iran. http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/headtohead/2015/07/blame-isil-150728080342288.html

Jihad Watch, by Robert Spencer, Aug. 8, 2015:

Mehdi Hasan is a highly suspect analyst and Foreign Policy Journal appears to be a pro-jihad paleocon publication, and Al Jazeera is certainly a pro-jihad propaganda outlet. All that is noted, but if this transcript is accurate, former DIA director Michael Flynn is confirming that the Obama Administration knowingly decided to support al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, and directly enabled the rise of the Islamic State. And given the Obama Administration’s general stance toward the global jihad and Islamic supremacism, what would be unbelievable about that?

In a sane political atmosphere, this would be enough to bring down the Obama presidency. Instead, it will get little notice and no action whatsoever.

“Rise of Islamic State was ‘a willful decision’: Former DIA Chief Michal [sic] Flynn,” by Brad Hoff, Foreign Policy Journal, August 7, 2015 (thanks to Joshua):

In Al Jazeera’s latest Head to Head episode, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn confirms to Mehdi Hasan that not only had he studied the DIA memo predicting the West’s backing of an Islamic State in Syria when it came across his desk in 2012, but even asserts that the White House’s sponsoring of radical jihadists (that would emerge as ISIL and Nusra) against the Syrian regime was “a willful decision.” [Lengthy discussion of the DIA memo begins at the 8:50 mark.]

Amazingly, Flynn actually took issue with the way interviewer Mehdi Hasan posed the question—Flynn seemed to want to make it clear that the policies that led to the rise of ISIL were not merely the result of ignorance or looking the other way, but the result of conscious decision making:

Hasan: You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn’t listening?

Flynn: I think the administration.

Hasan: So the administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?

Flynn: I don’t know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision.

Hasan: A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?

Flynn: It was a willful decision to do what they’re doing.

Hasan himself expresses surprise at Flynn’s frankness during this portion of the interview. While holding up a paper copy of the 2012 DIA report declassified through FOIA, Hasan reads aloud key passages such as, “there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria, and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime.”

Rather than downplay the importance of the document and these startling passages, as did the State Department soon after its release, Flynn does the opposite: he confirms that while acting DIA chief he “paid very close attention” to this report in particular and later adds that “the intelligence was very clear.”

Lt. Gen. Flynn, speaking safely from retirement, is the highest ranking intelligence official to go on record saying the United States and other state sponsors of rebels in Syria knowingly gave political backing and shipped weapons to Al-Qaeda in order to put pressure on the Syrian regime:

Hasan: In 2012 the U.S. was helping coordinate arms transfers to those same groups [Salafists, Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda in Iraq], why did you not stop that if you’re worried about the rise of quote-unquote Islamic extremists?

Flynn: I hate to say it’s not my job…but that…my job was to…was to ensure that the accuracy of our intelligence that was being presented was as good as it could be….

As Michael Flynn also previously served as director of intelligence for Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) during a time when its prime global mission was dismantling Al-Qaeda, his honest admission that the White House was in fact arming and bolstering Al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria is especially shocking given his stature….


Obama Makes the Worst Trade in US History: Israel for Iran

iran-oabmaThe Blaze, by Benjamin Weingarten, July 14, 2015:

On the eve of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, a despicable and disastrous betrayal has become clear: President Barack Obama has traded Israel for Iran.

In the annals of the history of American foreign policy filled with pages of willful blindness, amorality and often State Department-led folly, there are few things more substantively and symbolically egregious than this fundamental transformation.

Consider the two nations of which we are speaking: One is the largest state sponsor of terror in the world, run by genocidal jihadist theocrats who in their Twelver Shiite theology seek to bring on the apocalypse by destroying the cradle of world civilization. The other is a bastion of liberty, plurality, dynamism, creativity and innovation, despite being surrounded by myriad hostile regimes.

In a sane world, it would be unthinkable, unconscionable, and un-American for us to turn on the state of Israel – the front line of Western civilization against barbarians who seek to take us, and who are fast taking themselves, back to the seventh century.

But then we are in year seven of the Obama presidency, an “Alice in Wonderland” world in which the seemingly perverse has become the norm, all in the name of regressive progressivism.

While Americans focus on the seen of beheadings or the destruction of ancient artifacts by Islamic State in high definition, that shock our collective conscience, the unseen is that Iran is quietly becoming the hegemon in the Middle East – and perhaps in the eyes of President Obama, America’s top ally in the region.

The easing of sanctions allowing billions of dollars of wealth to flow to a tottering economy and allowing thecontinued enrichment of uranium – will provide legitimacy to a terrorist regime and show the world that – like Neville Chamberlain’s England – America has chosen to appease evil rather than confront it.

Meanwhile, as DEBKA asserted in a recent memo, Iran has concurrently been “taking up forward positions in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, where they are busy fashioning a Shiite Crescent that encircles Sunni Arab states as well as Israel.”

(Image Source: DEBKA)

(Image Source: DEBKA)

America under this president has consciously chosen to stand by all the while. As Tony Badran wrote in a stunning analysis at NOW [emphasis mine]:

In one of Obama’s several letters to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, he reportedly presented finalizing the deal on the nuclear program as the gateway to a broader regional partnership, especially against Sunni extremist groups like the Islamic State (ISIS).

This partnership is central to Obama’s broader objective of extricating the U.S. from the Middle East and leaving in place a new security structure, of which Iran is a principal pillar. His tacit policy from Baghdad to Beirut has been to partner with Iranian-backed forces as the boots on the ground in the campaign against Sunni extremists. In Iraq and Lebanon especially, the U.S. partnership with Iranian assets and Iran-dominated state institutions has created a de facto condominium between the U.S. and Iran. 

Lest we conclude the spread of Iran’s tentacles throughout the Levant primarily endangers Sunni jihadists, the title of a recent paper from MEMRI spells out the real casualty: “From The Mediterranean to the Golan, Iran Builds Active Front And Direct Military Presence On Israel’s Border To Deter Israel And Further Ideology Of Eliminating The Zionist Regime.”

MEMRI quotes from a columnist for the Lebanese Al-Akhbar paper:

Israel faces a fateful crisis. As much as it feared the Iranian nuclear program, it never imagined that Iran would be standing on its border even before its nuclear agreement with the Americans was complete. The Iranian threat to Israel is no longer theoretical…[t]he threat has become direct, practical and conventional.

President Obama’s strategy during this time, as DEBKA pithily put it, has been to make:

…sure Israel was well supplied with all its material security needs. This enabled him to boast that no U.S. president or administration before him had done as much to safeguard Israel’s security.

But behind this façade, Obama made sure that Israel’s security stayed firmly in the technical-material-financial realm and never crossed the line into a strategic relationship.

That was because he needed to keep his hands free for the objective of transferring the role of foremost U.S. ally in the Middle East from Israel to Iran, a process that took into account the ayatollahs’ nuclear aspirations.

This process unfolding over recent years has left Israel face to face with a nakedly hostile Iran empowered by the United States.

To pause for a second, it bears emphasizing: Today analysts are discussing Iran as the center of stability and top ally in the Middle East, referring to a “special relationship” between America and a genocidal, Jew-hating, jihadist regime. Nary anyone has stopped to acknowledge the monumental, shameful and, dare I say, treasonous implications of this fact.

Those in the Middle East however are fully awake to this metamorphosis, which is why Egypt has perhaps become Israel’s staunchest ally, and why several Arab nations – which may still detest Israel’s existence, but not as much as they fear their own survival — are effectively siding with Israel against Iran.

That the Obama administration was rebuffing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu several days before he was even scheduled to speak in front of Congress – that the Obama administration even had to producetalking points about its support for Israel — evinces the Israel-Iran trade.

Nations, like friends, should not have to recite talking points to prove their allegiance. And actions speak louder than words.


We have two choices:

We can believe that President Obama genuinely thinks Iran — an enemy of America since 1979, whose proxies have been responsible for countless terrorist attacks against our citizens and our interests – will cease its nuclear weapons program, and serve as a stabilizing influence in the Middle East.

Alternatively, we can believe that President Obama knows that the Iranians are committed to undermining Israel and the interests of the West.

If we conclude the former, there is slightly less cause for concern.

Yet if we conclude the latter, we must also conclude that America’s president has knowingly aided, abetted or enabled Israel’s worst enemies – led by Iran – in the Middle East, presumably under the logic that global social justice demands it.

Israel – a free, tolerant and modern nation – has morphed through the propaganda of the global Left into a colonialist, apartheid state. Those who seek her destruction are considered by the Left to be legitimately aggrieved, and “lest we get on our high horse,” as the president likes to say, don’t forget about the Crusades.

In the Edward Said, Rashid Khalidi, Saul Alinsky world of progressive elitism in which President Obama considers himself a global citizen in good standing, what is moral and just is to redistribute power from America’s historical allies (the oppressors) to America’s historical enemies (the oppressed).

Hence President Obama’s “open hand” foreign policy towards “clenched fists,” a policy declared from the beginning of his presidency under which he has aided the global jihad generally and Iran specifically.

Those who argue that President Obama’s foreign policy has been one of retreat are only half right: The president has stepped back from the situations that most require American leadership and moral clarity in support of our allies against evil, while interjecting himself needlessly in other situations – implicitly or explicitly – on behalf of our enemies.

Nowhere is this better illustrated than in President Obama’s trade of Israel for Iran.

Ben Weingarten is a frequent Blaze contributor, Host and Producer of TheBlaze Books podcast, Editor of TheBlaze Books and Publishing Manager, focusing on defense.


Also see:

The Deal with Iran: How to Make Lemonade out of Lemons

1499Middle East Quarterly, by Alexander H. Joffe
The Times of Israel
July 14, 2015

It is always perilous to predict what future historians will say. But regarding the nuclear deal with Iran, it is likely historians will observe the remarkable fact that at the moment of its greatest weakness, Iran’s enemies suddenly reversed course. In the name of enticing it not to build nuclear weapons, they dismantled years of carefully built economic and political sanctions, saved its crumbling economy, and empowered the regime against its domestic and foreign enemies, including the West itself.

Doing so they accepted Iran’s attacks and insults, left its nuclear enrichment program intact and under minimal supervision, guaranteed Iranian threats to neighboring countries and efforts to expand regional hegemony, and did nothing to help the Iranian people, who struggled under harsh repression. Whether it will have succeeded in preventing Iran from building a nuclear weapon is unlikely. What is certain is that a new period of instability will have been created — that period is already upon us.

Taking advantage of Iran’s opening to the world is now a vital goal for Western intelligence.

It is an extraordinary moment in world history, perhaps a turning point, based, as many such moments are, on an extraordinary convergence of lies and self-delusions. But for those interested in the two goals of an Iran free of nuclear weapons and free of religious fascism, perhaps it is also a moment of opportunity. Iran is about to undergo a kind of opening to the world. Taking advantage of that is now a vital goal for Western intelligence and public diplomacy. It is the art of the making lemonade out of lemons.

Western businessmen are already flooding into Iran seeking deals, selling all manner of wares in exchange for Iranian cash. Those businessmen, the various branch offices they will establish, and the goods they will sell, represent an important opportunity for Western intelligence agencies to gather information and to subvert the Iranian regime.

One simple method are thumb drives, containing viruses to disrupt computer networks, encryption tools to evade official Iranian surveillance and firewalls, and perhaps even Western music, literature, and movies to subvert repressive traditional values, and classics of Western political thought to inspire Iranian society toward a liberal democratic future. Jazz and rock, blue jeans and samizdat literature played roles in the collapse of communism; their 21st century analogs should be enlisted to help Iranian society reform itself.

New access to Iran means new opportunities to undermine its regime.

In reality, this sort of ‘subversion’ should have been an important goal for Western public diplomacy and intelligence work all along. But there is no evidence that significant efforts have been made, especially under the Obama administration. Iranian jamming of Western broadcasts and Internet censorship have been extensive and have gone unprotested by the West, as has repression of dissidents and even the imprisonment of American citizens.

New access in Iran means new opportunities to introduce cyber weapons such as Stuxnet into Iran’s strategic computer systems. Stuxnet and its variants were designed to slow and damage computer controlled systems in Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, apparently with success. But they were eventually detected, and bizarrely, the Obama administration leaked information that led the trail back to the US. Iran’s computers were hardened against attack.

New cyber weapons aimed at Iran’s nuclear program, along with missiles, military radars and aviation, regime communications and record-keeping, and much more, are all likely under development in the West — or should be. Certainly Iran is developing its own cyber weapons, and has virtually unlimited access points to introduce them. But its weapons are aimed Western banks and critical infrastructure, such as electric grids. It is in everyone’s interest that more targeted cyber attacks on the Iranian regime and its weapons systems succeed first.

The opening to the West is — or should be — a counterintelligence nightmare for Iran.

More access to Iran increases its vulnerability, as will more trade. Iran has long acquired items legally and illegally, including computers, industrial machinery, and materials for its weapons programs. With increased trade come more opportunities to sabotage equipment by introducing computer viruses, contaminating materials used in specific industries, and delivering products that do not meet stated specifications. One result may be that nuclear weapons programs can be slowed and that computer and communications systems can be monitored and disrupted. Another is that all imported trade goods become suspect, requiring expensive counterintelligence monitoring and testing. Openness should have a high price for Iran, both real and imagined.

Human intelligence opportunities directed against Iran will also increase, albeit slowly. Businessmen and academics have always been spies, and opportunities to recruit spies and saboteurs. More fundamentally it will increase the opportunity to innocently distribute information about the West through direct contacts. Keeping track of Westerners will in turn require more Iranian counterintelligence efforts. Here, too, the costs of Iran’s opening to the West should be made as high as possible.

Access to Iran’s people also raises the potential to eventually inspire them to overthrow the repressive theocratic fascist regime. Iran’s vulnerability to ethnic uprisings is often underestimated. The Persian-led regime rightly fears Ahwaz Arab tribes in the southwest, ethnic Baluch and Pashtun in the east, and Azeris and Kurds in the northwest. All these have long histories of rebellion against the Persians, and the regime is highly sensitive to the West stirring dissent.

More access will not easily bring such dissent about, much less the arming of ethnic dissidents. Indeed, such activities seem utterly antithetical to the Obama administration, which could not even be moved to support the Green movement that arose after Iran’s corrupt 2009 elections. But putting the regime under stress is an important means to bring about its transformation or demise. At the very least more broadcasts and translations should be aimed at these minorities, bringing them the news that they have not been forgotten by the West.

Even if the territorial integrity of Iran is somehow taken for granted by the West, the values of the regime cannot. The rights of ethnic minorities in Iran, and human rights generally should become a Western demand, supported by tough negotiations and public diplomacy. Such demands featured prominently in American relations with the Soviet Union and should have an equally central place in dealings with Iran. Of course, they will not under Obama, but perhaps they will under the next president.

In all this, Iran’s paranoia should be exploited to the fullest. The opening to the West is — or should be — a counterintelligence nightmare for Iran and they should be forced to devote scarce resources and increase internal repression to try and stay one step ahead. Iran’s youth are already deeply alienated against the regime and to some extent Islam itself. How to increase alienation is a paramount strategic goal for the West.

More positively, the opening to Iran must be seen as an opportunity for the West to promote its own values, of openness, tolerance, liberty and human dignity. If it does not, then those values no longer exist in the West, just as they do not in Iran.

Alexander H. Joffe, a historian and archaeologist, is a Shillman-Ginsburg fellow at the Middle East Forum.

US blocks attempts by Arab allies to fly heavy weapons directly to Kurds to fight Islamic State

President Barack Obama pauses speaks at Taylor Stratton Elementary School in Nashville Photo: AP

President Barack Obama pauses speaks at Taylor Stratton Elementary School in Nashville Photo: AP

The Telegraph, by Con Coughlin, July 1, 2015:

The United States has blocked attempts by its Middle East allies to fly heavy weapons directly to the Kurds fighting Islamic State jihadists in Iraq, The Telegraph has learnt.

Some of America’s closest allies say President Barack Obama and other Western leaders, including David Cameron, are failing to show strategic leadership over the world’s gravest security crisis for decades.

They now say they are willing to “go it alone” in supplying heavy weapons to the Kurds, even if means defying the Iraqi authorities and their American backers, who demand all weapons be channelled through Baghdad.

High level officials from Gulf and other states have told this newspaper that all attempts to persuade Mr Obama of the need to arm the Kurds directly as part of more vigorous plans to take on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) have failed. The Senate voted down one attempt by supporters of the Kurdish cause last month.

The officials say they are looking at new ways to take the fight to Isil without seeking US approval.

“If the Americans and the West are not prepared to do anything serious about defeating Isil, then we will have to find new ways of dealing with the threat,” said a senior Arab government official. “With Isil making ground all the time we simply cannot afford to wait for Washington to wake up to the enormity of the threat we face.”

Kurdish Peshmerga fighters train on a weapon during a training session with British military advisers

Kurdish Peshmerga fighters train on a weapon during a training session with British military advisers

The Peshmerga have been successfully fighting Isil, driving them back from the gates of Erbil and, with the support of Kurds from neighbouring Syria, re-establishing control over parts of Iraq’s north-west.

But they are doing so with a makeshift armoury. Millions of pounds-worth of weapons have been bought by a number of European countries to arm the Kurds, but American commanders, who are overseeing all military operations against Isil, are blocking the arms transfers.

One of the core complaints of the Kurds is that the Iraqi army has abandoned so many weapons in the face of Isil attack, the Peshmerga are fighting modern American weaponry with out-of-date Soviet equipment.

At least one Arab state is understood to be considering arming the Peshmerga directly, despite US opposition.


Also see:

Blindfolded America

Crisis Magazine, by Wiliam Kilpatrick, June 19. 2015:

If you’ve ever noticed that U.S. policy in regard to the war on terror is confused, you’ll appreciate Stephen Coughlin’s just released book, Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad.

The confusion is no accident, says Coughlin, but is the result of a deliberate Muslim Brotherhood plan to influence decision-making at the highest levels of the government and the military. Coughlin is an attorney, intelligence officer, and an expert on Islamic law and ideology. He is well-known for his “Red Pill” briefings to the security and defense establishments and to members of Congress. The “Red Pill” is a reference to the pill which allowed the characters in The Matrix to see reality as it is and to leave behind the false virtual reality that had been constructed for them.

Coughlin discusses the Muslim Brotherhood’s penetration of the government, the military, the security establishment, transnational bodies, and even the interfaith community. Just as importantly he explains the overall strategy which guides the Muslim Brotherhood’s various influence operations. A major component of the strategy is deception. Thus, in America, Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups—who are anything but moderate—present themselves as the moderate experts on Islam who possess the knowledge to counter the radicals.

Of course, they don’t advertise themselves as the Muslim Brotherhood. But when American security agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security consult with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim American Society, or a dozen other such groups, they are in effect dealing with the Brotherhood. The connections between these organizations and the Brotherhood are well-established, but for various reasons our agencies ignore the evidence. One reason is that many in the government believe that the Muslim Brotherhood—the progenitor of almost all terrorist groups—is genuinely moderate. Another reason is that the Brotherhood-linked groups are practically the only game in town. They are well-organized, well-funded, and have been ingratiating themselves with successive administrations for decades.

coughlin-coverWhatever the reason, these are the groups our security leaders turn to for advice. And, according to Coughlin, it’s not just input that is sought, but also direction. In effect, he says, we have outsourced our understanding of Islam to groups who do not have the best interests of America at heart. The other side of the coin is that the advice of other competent experts is ignored. When the advice of the Muslim experts contradicts the advice of non-Muslim experts, the Muslim advice is favored and the non-Muslim expert might well find himself out of a job.

Why does Muslim expert advice consistently trump non-Muslim expert advice? According to Coughlin, the security-intelligence establishment is in thrall to the same multicultural and relativist dogmas that afflict the rest of us. One of these dogmas, elaborated in Edward Said’s 1978 book Orientalism, is that no culture can ever explain another culture. Each culture is the final arbiter of its own meaning. For an outside culture to try to explain Islam is therefore tantamount to an act of cultural imperialism. Thus, says Coughlin, Muslim cultural experts are not even required to provide evidence for their assertions: “Often, all that is required to halt an inquiry or analysis are the words, ‘Islam does not stand for this’ from a cultural expert.”

The upshot, says Coughlin, is that many of our critical decisions on homeland security and on military and foreign policy are guided by groups whose main objective is to turn all societies into Islamic societies.

According to Coughlin, a prime instance of a Muslim Brotherhood influence operation occurred in 2012, when the White House purged more than one thousand documents and presentations from counterterror training programs for the FBI and other agencies. This was done in response to a letter to John Brennan, then Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. The letter, which was signed by dozens of leaders of Muslim activist groups, complained about the “use of biased, false, and highly offensive training materials about Muslims and Islam.” After the FBI training program was made Islam-compliant, the Department of Defense followed with what Coughlin describes as a “Soviet-style purge of individuals along with disciplinary actions and re-education.”

Coughlin contends that a similar kowtowing to Islamic interests has undermined our war efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Rules of engagement that subordinate the safety of our troops to the overriding principles of “respect for Islam” have a profoundly demoralizing effect on soldiers and make them think twice about a career in the Army. Coughlin cites a survey of West Point graduates showing that nearly half of young officers think the current military leadership is weak, while 78 percent think that the high exit rate of good officers threatens national security.

According to Coughlin, such demoralization is among the chief aims of Islamic strategists. “The Islamic way of war,” he writes, “places substantial effort on the preparation stage, the object of which is to induce a collapse of faith in the cultural, political and religious institutions underpinning the target.” As an example of this strategy he cites The Quranic Doctrine of War, a book by Pakistani Brigadier General S.K. Malik. Malik stressed that the chief effort prior to actual warfare should be to “dislocate” the enemies’ faith:

To instill terror into the hearts of the enemy [it] is essential in the ultimate analysis to dislocate his faith. An invincible faith is immune to terror. A weak faith offers inroads to terror…. Terror cannot be struck into the hearts of an army by merely cutting lines of communication or depriving it of its routes to withdraw. It is basically related to the strength or weakness of the human soul. It can be instilled only if the opponent’s faith is destroyed.

Coughlin observes that the object of jihad, of both the stealth and armed variety, is the destruction of faith. Therefore, “jihad is primarily understood in terms of spiritual war … a form of warfare that the Pentagon is not disposed to recognize.”

There is, however, one organization that should be disposed to recognize spiritual warfare. Unfortunately, says Coughlin, the Church has proved no better at recognizing and resisting Islamic influence operations than the government and the military. The appendix to his book contains a sixty-three-page chapter titled “Interfaith Outreach.” While Coughlin’s main concern is the undermining of national security, he maintains that Islamic activist groups have taken the entire culture as their target. In “Interfaith Outreach,” he discusses the Muslim Brotherhood attempt to subvert the interfaith community—a process that parallels the penetration of the military and is likewise intended to result in a “dislocation of faith.”

Coughlin focuses in particular on the interfaith dialogue between Muslims and Catholics. Like the security establishment’s “dialogue” with Muslim representatives, the interfaith dialogue, he claims, is rigged to discourage any critical analysis of Islam. One of the principles that guides the dialogue process is that the participants “speak in a way that people of that religion can affirm as accurate.” This, of course, is simply an extension of Said’s contention that one culture has no business explaining another culture. It means that the Catholic dialogue participants should defer to Islam’s interpretation of Islam. Thus, if a Catholic had the temerity to bring up the subject of Islamic violence, it would be enough for his Muslim counterpart to state that Islam has nothing to do with violence, and perhaps to recite a couple of verses from the Koran, and that would be that.

Full and frank discussion is further inhibited by an overarching emphasis on trust and friendship. The ground rules stipulate that “dialogue must take place in an atmosphere of mutual trust.Moreover, to quote from Interfaith Dialogue: A Guide for Muslims, dialogue partners must pledge “to remain committed to being friends when the world would separate us from one another.” That sounds nice, but isn’t there a danger that the bonds of friendship might get in the way of objectivity? That friendship might actually undermine objectivity? Thus, writes Coughlin, “persons who undertake a reasonable effort … [of] performing a competent assessment of the ‘others’ religion could be characterized as lacking the requisite trust….” Too deep an inquiry might bring accusations that one is uncharitable, intolerant or Islamophobic. So, in order “to remain committed to being friends,” dialoguers tend to avoid the crucial questions in favor of discussing the common ground between Muslims and Christians.

Read more

George W. Bush Didn’t Create ISIS; Islam Did

pic_giant_052115_SM_ISIS-FightersNRO, by David French, May 21, 2015:

There are few things the Left loves more than a college liberal “speaking truth” to conservative power. Days ago, 19-year-old University of Nevada student Ivy Ziedrich seemed to enjoy just such a moment and “made headlines around the world” when she confronted Jeb Bush about ISIS. Ms. Ziedrich had the gumption to confront Bush in the midst of a scrum of reporters and confidently recite leftist conventional wisdom about the current Middle East crisis, declaring: “Your brother created ISIS!” After all, according to accepted academic conventional wisdom, the war in Iraq is the source of all (recent) jihadist evil.

And with that statement, the clock started running on 15 minutes of fame — no, 15 minutes of public adulation. Interviews with ABC News, the New York Times, and other outlets followed, with reporters eager to hear her thoughts on the Middle East. And while Ms. Ziedrich is no expert, there is one thing she said that is all too true: “It’s frustrating to see politicians ignore the origins of our conflicts abroad.”

Yes, Ms. Ziedrich, it certainly is. And if you’re on the left or from some quarters of the right, it must be downright exhausting to not only “understand” those origins but also link them in some way to the failings of American, Israeli, or imperialist European policies. Here’s the current scorecard: ISIS is George W. Bush’s fault. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban exist because of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush (through the Afghan war against the Soviets and then the Desert Storm-related American troop presence in Saudi Arabia, of course), with the various al-Qaeda franchises in Syria, Yemen, and North Africa merely the fruit of the same poisonous Reaganite tree. The jihadist destruction of ancient — pre-Muslim — world heritage sites? That’s just collateral damage in the war against Reagan and the Bushes. Hamas, Hezbollah, and the PLO are easy to peg — Israeli creations, one and all, existing solely because of the “Occupied Territories.” As for Libya, we actually put those jihadists in power. But what about Boko Haram? I’m sure any decent professor can tell me some way we’re responsible for their atrocities.

But that’s just the last few decades. What about tracing further back? To the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood or to the Ikhwan of the Arabian peninsula? The Ikhwan — as savage as ISIS — trace their origins back to 1913, before the Europeans dominated the Middle East. What about the centuries of conflict between Christian Europe and the Ottoman Empire? Vienna must have richly deserved its sieges. After all, Europeans launched the Crusades, right?

And before the Crusades, when jihadist Muslim armies invaded and conquered the Christian lands of the Middle East and North Africa, capturing the Iberian Peninsula and threatening modern-day France, there’s little doubt that they were simply striking out at . . . something the Christians did. No, Ms. Ziedrich, George W. Bush didn’t create ISIS. Islam did. Embedded within this faith is a concept called “jihad,” and no matter how many professors tell you otherwise, there are countless millions of Muslims throughout more than a millennium of history who’ve interpreted “jihad” not as a mandate for self-help and personal improvement but as a mandate for war and conquest, a mandate to purify and spread the faith at the point of the sword. The influence of militaristic jihadists waxes and wanes, but it is there, always.

To believe that American actions have created the jihad is to give America greater influence over the Muslim heart than Allah. The current jihad is an extension of the ancient jihad. The foes have changed (the Habsburgs are long gone, and the Holy League peaked at Lepanto in 1571), but the motivation is the same. Why did Osama bin Laden mention “the tragedy of Andalusia” (the more than 500-year-old reconquest of Muslim Spain) in his post-9/11 address? Because, for the jihadist, it’s all one war.

So, by all means, let’s not ignore “the origins of our conflicts abroad.” Regarding our conflict with Islamic terrorists, the origins lie in a religious imperative, one that predates the founding of the United States by more than ten centuries. George W. Bush is no more responsible for creating that conflict than he is for writing the Koran, passing down the Hadith, or establishing the first Caliphate. And in confronting that foe, our choices are the same choices faced by the great non-Muslim powers that came before us: convert, submit, die, or fight. Given those options, there is but one valid choice for a free people. It’s too bad that Ms. Ziedrich, her peers, and her media cheerleaders can’t see past the politics to understand the troubling truth. After all, it will soon be her generation’s turn on the wall. Will they accept the challenge? — David French is an attorney, a staff writer at National Review, and a veteran of the Iraq War.


Daniel Greenfield explains another leftist narrative:

CIA-Backed, ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrians … Now Openly Working with Al-Qaeda

640x392_25455_221535 (1)PJ Media, By Patrick Poole, On May 8, 2015:

As I have reported extensively here at PJ Media over the past year, a growing mountain of evidence confirms that the “vetted moderate” Sunni groups that the U.S. has backed in Syria — backing which includes CIA-provided heavy weaponry – have always been working with the very same jihadist groups that the Obama administration and the Washington, D.C. foreign policy “smart set” have consistently claimed they would counter.

Now, a new report establishes that even more CIA-backed “vetted moderate” groups are collaborating with groups designated by the U.S. as terrorist organizations. Specifically, they are collaborating with al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, though at times they have also operated jointly with the Islamic State.

Reuters reported last Thursday that two Free Syrian Army (FSA) units — Division 13 and Fursan al-Haq — are fighting side-by-side with the Nusra Front in northern Syria:

Hardline Islamists fighting side-by-side with groups backed by the United States have made gains in northern Syria in recent weeks while showing rare unity, which some fear may be short-lived.

An Islamist alliance calling itself Army of Fatah, a reference to the conquests that spread Islam across the Middle East from the seventh century, has seized northwestern towns including the provincial capital Idlib from government forces.

The alliance, which includes al-Qaeda’s wing in Syria, known as the Nusra Front, and another hardline militant group, the Ahrar al-Sham movement, is edging closer to the coastal province of Latakia, President Bashar al-Assad’s stronghold.

Fighting alongside them, although excluded from a joint command center, are groups which reject the jihadists’ anti-Western aims and say they receive covert support from the CIA. Two of these are called Division 13 and Fursan al-Haq.

While the Islamist groups appear to be stronger than their Western-backed allies, it is a rare example of cooperation, just weeks after Nusra Front fighters crushed a previous U.S. backed rebel force in a blow to Washington’s Syria strategy.

Remarkably, Reuters (as well as many other establishment media outlets) continues to present this level of cooperation between U.S.-backed groups in Syria and terrorist organizations as “rare.”

This is categorically false.

In an effort to preserve that narrative, Reuters added this howler:

Abu Hamoud, a commander from Division 13, said his group coordinated with Nusra Front, which the United States considers a terrorist organization, but this does not mean it is aligned to it.

As if “coordinating” with al-Qaeda is functionally different from “aligning” with al-Qaeda.

In service of this narrative, establishment media have attempted to create distinctions between Nusra and other U.S.-backed groups. Reports have noted that the Nusra Front had recently taken out two of the major Syrian rebel groups, Harakat al-Hazm (in March) and the Syrian Revolutionaries Front (in November), and that both had been trained and received heavy weapons from the United States. However, both groups had been openly cooperating with Nusra before their demise.

Both Hazm and SRF had their “vetted moderate” credentials provided by the D.C. foreign policy establishment, which deemed Hazm as “rebels worth supporting” and SRF as “the West’s best fighting chance against Syria’s Islamist armies.”

Last year, just as SRF was in line to receive CIA-provided anti-tank missiles, SRF commander Jamal Maroof told Western media that he had no intention of fighting al-Qaeda.

A few weeks later, the Wall Street Journal reported that SRF had been fighting alongside the Nusra Front in the Golan Heights of southern Syria. In September, Agence France Presse reported that SRF had struck a truce with the Islamic State, thus ending any notion that they ever had a chance “against Syria’s Islamist armies.”

When Liz Sly of the Washington Post interviewed the commander of Hazm in April 2014 just as they were beginning to receive heavy weapons shipments from the U.S., the commander gave a double-sided response about Nusra:

LS: You have already participated in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. What are your relations with Jabhat al-Nusra?

AA: Jabhat al-Nusra is a military formation, a fighting battalion that exists on the ground like any other. We have no strong or meaningful relationship with them. They fight on their fronts, and we fight on ours.

LS: What do you think of them?

AA: They hold responsibility for bringing ISIS fighters to Syria from across the world. This was a mistake committed against the Syrian people. I think of them as a group of people fighting to topple the regime, but if they change their ideology to resemble that of ISIS or bring death and destruction upon the Syrian people, then we won’t allow it.

In September, an article in the LA Times reporting from the frontlines in Syria recorded an exchange with two Hazm fighters armed and trained by the U.S. The fighters admitted that they liked Nusra and fought in coordination with them.

Just a few weeks later, as U.S. warplanes began to target the Islamic State in northern SyriaHazm issued an official statement condemning the strikes as “an attack on the revolution” Of the U.S., they demanded “unconditional arming” of the Syrian rebels.

Both groups also released contradictory statements to Western media, attempting to conceal their duplicity and to keep the U.S. weapons spigot open.

When the SRF got caught fighting alongside the Nusra Front, Syrian opposition officials rushed to deny the report. They were in Washington, D.C. at that exact time, lobbying for more weapons:

The president of Syria’s main political opposition group, Ahmed Jarba, is in Washington this week and slated to meet President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. He has been trying to assure the administration that the FSA is best placed to fight al-Qaeda rebels on the ground in Syria.

While word of the cooperation between the FSA and the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front came from within the Western-backed group, a member of Mr. Jarba’s delegation in Washington denied it. The conflicting claims were an embarrassing sign of disarray within the group just as it was trying to lobby Washington.

Again, when multiple media reports emerged about SRF’s truce with the Islamic State, the group rushed out a statement – in English, for Western audiences — denying the deal.

Hazm played this game as well. Last July, they signed a statement with eight other groups rejecting “all forms of cooperation and coordination” with the Nusra Front. At the same time, they were cooperating and coordinating with Nusra in Aleppo:

In July, eight West-backed rebel brigades — all recipients of military aid — released a statement of “rejection of all forms of cooperation and coordination” with Al Nusra Front. Harakat Hazm was one of the signatories, even as it fought on the same front lines with the group in Aleppo, battling both Islamic State militants in the north and government forces seeking to retake the city.

In fact, they had signed a statement of alliance with Nusra to prevent the Assad regime from pushing into Aleppo, a copy of which I published here at PJ Media.

The statement rejecting the Nusra Front was for Western consumption. The statement of alliance with Nusra was the reality. The media, the Obama administration, and their supporters in Congress pushing to provide more weapons to the “rebels” ignored the statement of alliance.

The media’s underreporting of the coordination between the “vetted moderates” and designated terrorist groups is one of the biggest scandals of the coverage of the Syrian war. But while they have buried the lede, that’s not to say it hasn’t gone unreported, making the continuation of the narrative all the more inexcusable. Here’s a sample over the past year:

May 7: Wall Street Journal reports SRF joins with Al-Qaeda to help take hilltops in Golan Heights

July 9: Al Jazeera quotes ISIS leader saying that they purchase U.S. weapons from and maintain good relations with the FSA

Aug 3: New York Times cites FSA commander saying joint FSA, Nusra Front, and ISIS force attack a border post with Lebanon

Aug 18: Islamic State commander openly brags about defections by U.S.-trained and armed FSA fighters

Aug 28: Washington Post says Nusra Front aided by Western-backed rebels capture UN Quneitra border crossing with Israel, abducting 43 Fijian peacekeepers

Sept 7: LA Times notes Hazm fighting alongside Al-Qaeda in Aleppo, quoting fighters admitting the relationship

Sept 8: Daily Star (Lebanon) quotes FSA brigade commander saying his forces were working with Islamic State and Nusra Front near Syria/Lebanon border

Sept 13: The Hill reports that SRF had declared a truce with the Islamic State

Sept 24: LA Times notes Hazm condemnation of U.S. airstrikes targeting ISIS in northern Syria

Nov 1: Reuters says that SRF elements defected to the Nusra Front

Nov 3: International Business Times observes that U.S.-backed rebel groups pledge allegiance, surrender weapons to Nusra Front

Nov 23: The Guardian states that FSA units develop alliances with, even defect to, the Islamic State while condemning U.S. airstrikes

Nov. 28: Associated Press reports close collaboration of U.S.-backed rebels and Al-Qaeda in southern Syria

Dec 24: German journalist who embedded with Islamic State tells France 24 that ISIS is obtaining weapons from Western governments purchased from FSA

Dec 28: New York Times admits that FSA is under effective control of Nusra Front

Feb 18: McClatchy reports that former Obama frontman for Syria, Robert Ford, no longer trusts Syrian rebel groups because they collaborate with jihadist groups

Apr 30: Reuters notes U.S.-armed FSA units in northern Syria allied with Nusra Front

Despite these reports appearing in their own publications, virtually all of these same outlets otherwise continue to characterize — as Reuters did just a few days ago — the collaboration between U.S.-backed groups and terrorist organizations as a “rare” event. Certainly, none of them have made this coordination a recurring theme in their reporting, at best sprinkling these facts in other stories.

Below are my prior articles debunking the “vetted moderate” Syrian rebel narrative:

July 7: U.S. ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Brigades Surrender Weapons, Pledge Allegiance to Islamic State

Sept 3: U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Operating Openly with ISIS, Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra

Sept 9: Fighter With ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Tells L.A. Times They Fight Alongside Al-Qaeda

Sept 10: ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Commander Admits Alliance with ISIS, Confirms PJ Media Reporting

Sept 13: Yet Another U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Makes Peace with ISIS

Sept 24: U.S.-Backed Syrian Group Harakat al-Hazm Condemns U.S. Strikes on ISIS as ‘Attack on the Revolution’

Nov 2: U.S.-Armed ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Groups Surrender, Defect to Al-Qaeda

Nov 3: How Obama Walked Boehner and GOP Leadership Off the Syrian Rebel Cliff

Nov 24: More Defections of ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Rebels to ISIS

Dec 2: US-Backed Syrian Rebels Ally with al-Qaeda in South, Surrender CIA-Supplied Weapons in the North

Dec 14: Report: Al-Qaeda Using CIA-Supplied TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Northern Syria

Dec 28: NY Times Admits: U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Under Effective al-Qaeda Control

March 3: U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Collapses, U.S.-Supplied Weapons End Up in Al-Qaeda Hands

March 24: Video Shows Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra Using U.S.-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Syria

April 16: U.S. Analyst Admits ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Have Been Working with Al-Qaeda All Along

As our own government has backed these groups with American weaponry, it is imperative that the “vetted moderate” narrative be held to account. Hundreds of thousands are dead and millions are displaced in Syria. The terror groups that our leaders said we would confront have instead metastasized, partially due to our “inside-the-Beltway” incompetence.

State Department Orders Crash Course on Negotiating Week After Iran Deal

John Kerry / AP

John Kerry / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Elizabeth Harrington, April 8, 2015:

Less than a week following the framework of a nuclear deal with Iran that allows the Islamic Republic to continue operating core aspects of its program, the State Department is looking for a new training course on how to negotiate.

The agency released a solicitation for “Negotiations” on Wednesday, revealing that the State Department is seeking a class for U.S. diplomats on “making and receiving concessions wisely.”

“The overall course teaches the essential skills, knowledge, and attitudes for U.S. diplomats to succeed in any of 275 overseas posts performing the full spectrum of political and economic work,” the solicitation said. “This module will focus on the complex art of negotiating across diverse cultures to find common ground for advancing mutual interests.”

The training is meant to increase “understanding and effectiveness” of negotiations between foreign powers.

The State Department said upon completion of the course diplomats will be better able to describe “basic, universal negotiating concepts and vocabulary,” and identify “objectives and underlying interests of negotiating parties.”

“Preparing relevant strategies for diplomatic persuasion,” and “analyzing ‘Lessons Learned’ through debriefing to improve future outcomes,” are other goals of the course.

The three-week course also seeks for State Department diplomats to understand “cultural considerations” and “building trust” between their foreign counterparts.

“Applying appropriate negotiation techniques to a given scenario, including but not limited to: clarifying assumptions, generating and evaluating alternatives, making and receiving concessions wisely, understanding cultural considerations and behavioral preferences, building trust, representing one’s own and others’ interests, and being aware of assumptions,” the solicitation said.

America’s top diplomat, Secretary of State John Kerry, extended his stay last week in Lausanne, Switzerland, past the March 31 deadline to reach a nuclear agreement with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

The framework for the agreement, agreed to by the United States, the European Union, and the “P5+1” nations, allows Iran to continue to run major portions of its nuclear program and will terminate economic sanctions against the country.

“We will continue enriching; we will continue research and development,” Zarif said following the agreement.

Zarif accused Kerry and the Obama administration of lying hours after the framework was released, saying that the United States had promised sanctions would be immediately terminated, not lifted gradually.

Also see:

Obama: ‘Fundamental Misjudgment’ of Netanyahu to Demand Iran Recognize Israel


PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, April 7, 2015:

President Obama grinned in an NPR interview when asked about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request that Iran recognize the state of Israel in a final nuclear deal.

“Well, let me say this. It’s not that the idea of Iran recognizing Israel is unreasonable. It’s completely reasonable and that’s U.S. policy. And I’ve been very forceful in saying that our differences with Iran don’t change if we make sure that they don’t have a nuclear weapon. They’re still going to be financing Hezbollah. They’re still supporting Assad dropping barrel bombs on children. They are still sending arms to the Houthis in Yemen that have helped destabilize the country,” Obama said.

“There are obvious differences in how we are approaching fighting ISIL in Iraq, despite the fact that there’s a common enemy there. So there’s still going to be a whole host of differences between us and Iran, and one of the most profound ones is the vile, anti- Semitic statements that have often come out of the highest levels of the Iranian regime,” he continued.

“But the notion that we would condition Iran not getting nuclear weapons in a verifiable deal on Iran recognizing Israel is really akin to saying that we won’t sign a deal unless the nature of the Iranian regime completely transforms. And that is, I think, a fundamental misjudgment.”

Obama said that “if suddenly Iran transformed itself into Germany or Sweden or France, there would be a different set of conversations about their nuclear infrastructure.”

“The key here is not to somehow expect that Iran changes, although it is something that may end up being an important byproduct of this deal, but rather, it is to make sure that we have a verifiable deal that takes off the table what would be a game changer for them if in fact they possess nuclear weapons,” he added.

His message to the Israeli people?

“You are right to be suspicious of Iran. There’s no reason why you should let your guard down with respect to Iran. We have to make sure that Israel has the capabilities to protect itself, not only from Iran but also proxies like Hezbollah. But ultimately, Iran is deterrable, and it is deterrable not just because of Israelis — Israel’s superior military and intelligence capabilities but also because you got a really strong ally in the United States of America,” Obama said.

“And if, over time, there are opportunities in which we see changes in the Iranian regime, all the better. But we don’t have to count on that. We have to make sure that even if Iran doesn’t change the Israeli people are safe.”

Obama stressed that despite the statements of potential GOP presidential candidates to the contrary — most recently Gov. Scott Walker — he’s confident that they won’t end up overturning the Iran agreement.

“I am confident that any president who gets elected will be knowledgeable enough about foreign policy and knowledgeable enough about the traditions and precedents of presidential power that they won’t start calling into question the capacity of the Executive Branch of the United States to enter into agreements with other countries,” the president said.

“If that starts being questioned, that’s going to be a problem for our friends and that’s going to embolden our enemies. And it would be a foolish approach to take, and, you know, perhaps Mr. Walker, after he’s taken some time to bone up on foreign policy, will feel the same way.”



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