Second Detroit Doctor Busted in Female Genital Mutilation Ring

Breitbart, by Ian Mason, April 21, 2017:

Dr. Fakhruddin Attar was arrested in the Detroit suburb of Livonia, Michigan Friday, accused, along with his wife Farida Attar, of involvement in the same female genital mutilation conspiracy that led to the landmark arrest last week of Dr. Jumana Nagarwala.

The three suspects now charged represent the first prosecution in the United States for female genital mutilation (FGM), a practice common primarily in Muslim countries, particularly those in Africa. For example, UNICEF estimates that 98% of Somali girls and 87% of Egyptians have endured the procedure.

FGM perpetrates a range of different mutilations on its victims—mostly young girls. In its most extreme from, called infibulation, the girl is left with virtually no externally visible genitalia. The clitoris and labia are removed entirely and what is left is sown together, leaving only a small hole from which to urinate and menstruate.

As in the case of Dr. Nagarwala last week, the 16-page criminal complaint issued against Dr. Attar and his wife in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan Friday refers to “a particular religious and cultural community” without specifying that community. It is now believed that that community is the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim sect, whose world leader, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, has called for the tradition to continue.

According to the complaint, Dr. Attar owns Burhani Medical Center in Livonia where the seven-year-old victims from Minnesota that Nargarwala is charged with mutilating were brought. He and his wife were both allegedly present when the girls arrived with their parents for the procedure.

According to the complaint against Nargawala, the victims’ parents brought them to the Detroit area for the grusome procedure. The girls were told it was to be a “special girls trip.” The parents also allegedly said the cutting would “get the germs out” and that they were not to talk of what happened inside the Burhani clinic.

One of the girls later told the FBI she screamed in pain as she endured what Dr. Nargawala called “getting a shot.” She then said she was barely able to walk as she left the clinic. Upon examination by doctors working with the FBI, both seven-year-olds were found to have genitalia that was “abnormal looking” with “scar tissue” and “small healing lacerations.”

Farida Attar, the clinic owner’s wife, is alleged to have held girls’ hands in the examination room as Dr. Nargawala went about her work. According to the complaint, she was later caught on a federal wiretap telling parents of FGM victims to deny they had brought their daughters to Burhani clinic for the procedure.

Authorities believe the conspiracy extends beyond the two named victims and that the defendants have been carrying out FGM on girls from the Detroit area and beyond since 2005. According to the complaint, multiple Michigan girls have come forward to say Dr. Nargawala mutilated them in Dr. Attar’s clinic years ago. Authorities believe Nargawala was invited to the Burhani clinic from her normal job as a hospital emergency room doctor to carry out FGM on the weekends when the clinic was officially closed. Farida Attar is alleged to have told authorities she came in to see six to nine girls a year.

In a statement accompanying the first arrest, Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch said, “The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law.”

Each count of FGM could yield the co-conspirators up to five years in federal prison.

***

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Culture ‘Never An Excuse’ To Harm Girls With Genital Mutilation

Also see:

Europe’s Rising Islam-Based Political Parties

by Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
April 21, 2017

These past several months, eyes across the world have been trained on a growing far-right movementsweeping Europe and America – from the neo-Nazi groups in Germany and the United States to the increasing popularity of France’s National Front. But another, far less noticed but sometimes equally-radical movement is also emerging across Europe: the rise of pro-Islam political parties, some with foreign support from the Muslim world. And the trend shows no sign of stopping.

Holland’s Denk (“Think”) party, established and led by two Turkish immigrants, is among the most significant. Denk won three seats in the Dutch parliament last month, becoming the country’s “fastest-growing” new party, according to Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad. Its platform: replace ideas of integration with “mutual acceptance” – a charming but antiquated idea in a culture where one group accepts gay marriage and the other is taught that homosexuals should be shoved off of tall buildings; an “acceptance monitor” to measure the extent to which such “mutual acceptance” has succeeded; and the establishment of a dedicated “anti-racism” police force.

While not the first of such Islamic parties in European politics, Denk’s March 15 win makes it an inspiration to others. Existing parties now see a new chance for success, while political aspirants across Europe are making plans to start similar parties of their own.

Hence, while the focus in next week’s French elections will be on Marine le Pen’s National Front, many European Muslims will also be watching the Equality and Justice Party (PEJ), led by French-Turk Sacir Çolak. Like Denk, the party claims to be a voice for the downtrodden, aimed at fighting “inequalities and injustices,” according to a report by the Turkish Anadolu news agency. But also like Denk, it has been accused of representing not the political interests of French citizens, but those of Turkey’s president – a man who has spoken out against assimilation and integration and called on European Turks to reject Western values.

The PEJ is not alone in France: The French Union of Muslim Democrats (UDMF), founded in 2012, made headlines when it entered the 2015 electoral race. Its platform seems more moderate than many of its fellow Muslim parties across Europe: founder Nagib Azergui has insisted in interviews that he respects the secular foundation of the French republic, and advocates philosophy and civic education classes that would help mitigate against the recruitment efforts of Muslim extremists.

The party does, however, seek to establish sharia-compliant banks and calls for Turkey to become a member of the European Union. Further, it seeks to re-install the right of Muslim girls to wear headscarves in public schools, a move that could be seen as a gesture towards re-introducing religion into the secular sphere.

Austria, too, has seen a rise in Islamic political parties, such as the New Movement for the Future (NBZ), founded, like Denk and the PEJ, by Turkish immigrants. Unlike the others, however, NBZ has made little effort to hide its loyalty to Turkey. Following the failed 2016 Turkish coup, for instance, its leader, Adnan Dinçer, called on Austria to respect Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s clampdown on the country and the mass arrests that followed. It is worth noting, however, that Austria’s far right has been particularly virulent in its anti-Islam activity, calling for Islam itself to be banned from the country. Such motions inevitably bring forth counter-movements from the targeted groups, and it was, just those actions which mobilized Dinçer to form the NBZ.

But it was Denk’s success, above all, that inspired Lebanese-Belgian activist Dyab Abou Jahjah to establish his newest political effort: a party (to date, unnamed) aimed at “Making Brussels Great Again, a la Bernie Sanders,” according to an interview in Belgian newspaper de Morgen.

This would be a third attempt for Jahjah, who first came into the public eye in 2002 as the founder of the Brussels-based Arab-European League, a pan-European political group that aimed to create what he called a Europe-wide “sharocracy” – a sharia-based democracy. In 2003, the AEL further organized a political party, RESIST, to run in the Brussels elections: it received a mere 10,000 votes. Now, Jahjah, who also runs an activist group called Movement X, hopes to run again in Brussels’ 2018 elections. While his party has yet to declare a platform, his anti-American, anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian and anti-European rants on Facebook and elsewhere give an indication of his plans. So, too, did a recent blog post in which he wrote: “we must defeat the forces of supremacy, the forces of sustained privileges, and the forces of the status-quo. We must defeat them in every possible arena.”

But he, too, is not alone: days after Denk’s win, fellow Belgian Ahmet Koç announced his own initiative, the details of which have also still to be determined. However, some things are easy enough to predict on the basis of his past: the Turkish-Belgian politician was thrown out of Belgium’s socialist party in 2016 for supporting Erdogan’s efforts to censor Europeans who insult him publicly, and calling for Belgian Turks to rise up against the “traitors” of the 2016 coup.

Both Koç and Jahjah will have to reckon with the ISLAM party, which has already established itself in the Brussels area. Founded in 2012, ISLAM – which poses as an acronym for “Integrité, Solidarité, Liberté, Authenticité, Moralité” is unapologetically religious. Leaders pride themselves on following the Quran, not party politics. With divisions already in place in the Brussels districts of Anderlecht, Molenbeek (the center of Belgian radicalism) and Luik, the party now plans to expand throughout the Brussels region.

So far, none of the existing parties has had a great deal of success – and the emerging parties have yet to make their platforms known, let alone acquire active supporters. But as Denk founder Tunahan Kuzu proudly announced after the March elections, a new voice has now gained power in a European government. But what that voice ultimately will be, and the strength of its commitment to secular and democratic values, remains yet to be seen.

Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands. Follow her at @radicalstates.

HOLTON: Why All The Jihadi Attacks Around The World? Why Now?

The Hayride, by Christopher Holton, April 21, 2017:

Way back in February of 1998, Osama Bin Laden declared a Jihad against Jews and Crusaders in a written document entitled the “World Islamic Front Statement.”

In that document he specifically stated:

The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military — is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it

Despite this, with just a few notable exceptions over the years, few Muslims answered Bin Laden’s call to kill Americans.

Bin Laden was of course killed by U.S. Special Operations forces in May 2011.

Since then, we have seen many more attacks here in the U.S.

Why? If Osama Bin Laden was not able to inspire Muslims to attack and kill Americans, why are we seeing so many such attacks in recent years? Such as:

  • The 15 April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
  • The Orlando night club massacre on 12 June 2016.
  • The San Bernardino massacre on 2 December 2015
  • The Chattanooga massacre on 16 July 2015
  • The failed Garland, Texas attack on 3 May 2015.
  • The Queens, New York hatchet attack on police officers standing on a street corner on 23 October 2014.
  • The Philadelphia attack on a police officer sitting in his squad car on 7 January 2016
  • The Moore, Oklahoma beheading of a grandmother at the hands of a Muslim co-worker on 26 September 2014
  • The 28 November 2016 terrorist vehicle attack on Ohio State University campus.
  • The September 17-19 2016 bombings in New York and New Jersey.
  • The Fresno, California shooting on 18 April 2017.

These are just a few of the incidents in recent years, here in the United States, that have, unfortunately, been categorized as “lone wolf” terrorist attacks by our recalcitrant news media.

In fact, the term “lone wolf” does not exist in Islamic doctrine. What DOES exist in Islamic doctrine is the fact that Jihad is an individual as well as a collective obligation.

What we are seeing are in fact individual acts of Jihad–acts of war, not criminal acts. We continue to deny this at our peril. There is a doctrinal basis for the enemy that is waging war against us. This form of warfare does not require formal ties between fighters or units (organizations) waging the war.

The concept of Jihad being an individual obligation is longstanding and has its basis in mainstream Islamic law (Shariah). We can see this from a widely-read and used text of Shariah sold annually at the convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the largest Muslim organization in the United States, which was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing prosecution in U.S. history: the U.S. v the Holy Land Foundation. In that trial, ISNA was identified as a Muslim Brotherhood front group. Interestingly, ISNA’s Canadian wing was shut down in 2013 for funneling money to a Jihadist terrorist group in Kashmir.

The name of the Shariah text is A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence by Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan and published by Al-Maiman Publishing House in Saudi Arabia. Al-Fawzan is a member of the Board of Senior Ulema in Saudi Arabia and also a member of the Permanent Committee for Fatwa and Research in the kingdom.

Volume One of this work has a chapter devoted to Jihad. On page 473, the basis in Shariah for individual Jihad is explained in detail and reveals for us why we are seeing this escalation of attacks:

For a Muslim, there are certain cases in which jihad is an individual duty:

1) When a Muslim is present at the battlefield, it is obligatory for him to fight and he is prohibited to leave the battlefield and flee.

2) When enemies attack a Muslim country…

3) When a Muslim is needed to help his fellow Muslims fight their enemies.

4) When a Muslim is called by the ruler (or the one in authority) to fight in the Cause of Allah, for the Prophet (PBUH) said:

Whenever you are called for fighting in the cause of Allah, you should go immediately.

As you can see, these four circumstances are quite broad and all could be interpreted as existing right now. But numbers 2, 3 and 4 are particularly relevant right now and serve as the doctrinal basis for why Muslims have suddenly begun rising up in violent Jihad in the West:

  • The Islamic State has called on Muslims to wage Jihad because the Islamic State is under attack. This applies to 2 and 3 above.
  • Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State has issued calls on Muslims in the West to rise up in Jihad. This applies to 4 above and is the key difference between the days of Bin Laden and today.

Bin Laden may have been admired by many Muslims, but he never declared himself as a Caliph and his calls for Jihad were mostly ignored. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s calls are being answered because he has declared himself as the Caliph and many Muslims recognize him as such. That is why were are seeing acts of individual Jihad that we mostly did not see before.

And that is why the U.S. and the West cannot tolerate the existence of the Islamic State over the long-term. It has become the flame attracting moths. It will only gain more legitimacy and strength if it is allowed to persist. In short, it must be destroyed.

HERE ARE TWO IMPORTANT PASSAGES THAT APPLY TO WHAT WE ARE SEEING TODAY. The news media and our elected officials seem to take comfort when an attacker was “merely inspired” by the Islamic State (ISIS) and were not directed by the Islamic State. The opposite should actually be the case, as reflected by the two remaining passages below from two important Jihadi ideologues:

Individual jihad has recurred throughout Islamic history. In the time of the Crusades…groups of mujahideen responded to the crisis. Many isolated expeditions and groups carried out the obligation of jihad.

Individual jihad using the method of urban or rural guerilla warfare is the foundation for sapping the enemy and bringing him to a state of collapse and withdrawal. It will pave the way for the desired strategic goal.

What mandates these methods as a strategic opinion is the imbalance of forces between the resistance and the large invading alliance of unbelievers, apostates and hypocrites.

We fight them for the sake of incidents to cause political pressure and psychological collapse, so that they leave our lands. Carrying out a small operation every month against the enemy will have more of an impact on him than a big operation every year or two.

Toward a New Strategy in Resisting the Occupier
Muhammad Khalil al-Hakaymah
Al Qaeda Chief of External Operations
Killed by US air strike in Pakistan in 2008

Successful jihad will only happen within an ummah [Islamic nation or community] in which the fighting creed is firmly established and clarified. This must happen in order to attain the “Revolutionary Jihadist Climate” that will spontaneously give rise to instruments of resistance.

Violent jihad is as an individual duty obligatory upon every Muslim. All the ulema have said this…”

The Call to Global Islamic Resistance
Abu Musab al-Suri
Al Qaeda propagandist
Captured in Pakistan 2005

These two passages reflect what we are seeing today, not just in the USA, but even more so in Europe, as evidenced by the March 2017 London parliament shooting and the 20 April 2017 police shooting on the Champs Elysees.

Over a decade ago Al-Hakaymah called for frequent, small-scale attacks rather than big 9/11 type attacks. What we are seeing today was clearly part of the Jihadists’ plans.

Again, well over a decade ago, Al-Suri foresaw an environment in which individual Jihadis would rise up spontaneously in resistance without specific direction and planning from a higher, central authority. Again, that is clearly what we are seeing today.

This “Revolutionary Jihadist Climate” spontaneously giving rise to instruments of resistance is NOT something to take comfort in at all. It is problematic for law enforcement and the intelligence community and dangerous for Americans.

A terrorist cell connected directly in some way to Al Qaeda leadership can be detected, infiltrated and taken down as it communicates with and receives orders from commanders overseas. But individual Jihadis or Jihadi couples who have the intention of carrying out attacks are much more difficult to detect and are very nearly impossible to infiltrate.

The “Revolutionary Jihadist Climate” spontaneously giving rise to instruments of resistance is a relatively new, dangerous phase in the global Jihadist movement.

***

Life insurance for terrorists? America’s 1st Somali legislator says ‘yes’

Ilhan Omar, a community organizer and civil rights activist, won a seat in the Minnesota state House district representing Minneapolis, defeating 44-year Democratic incumbent Phyllis Khan in the 2016 primary election and then easily beating the GOP candidate in November.

WND, by Leo Hohmann, April 21, 2017:

She burst on the scene last August when she upset a 44-year incumbent Democrat in the Minnesota state primary elections to become the nation’s first female Muslim state legislator.

Ilhan Omar, the 34-year-old community organizer who came to America as a refugee from Somalia, was touted by Democrats as a model success story.

“From a refugee camp to the State Capitol with intelligence and insight,” beamed former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, who endorsed Omar. “This is a wonderful story to tell as Americans, and a great source of pride for the state of Minnesota’s open arms.”

But on Thursday Omar made her mark in another way.

She was one of only two members of the Minnesota State House to vote against a bill that would allow life insurance companies to deny payouts to the beneficiaries of terrorists who die in violent attacks on Americans.

The House voted 127-2 to pass the bill, which now moves on to a vote in the State Senate.

Omar, who represents the heavily immigrant Cedar Riverside area of Minneapolis, was joined by fellow Democratic Rep. John Lesch of St. Paul in voting against the bill.

Omar’s vote sticks out because at least 42 Somali refugees have been confirmed by the FBI to have left the U.S. to join overseas terrorist organizations, including al-Shabab, the al-Qaida affiliate in Somalia, and ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

Dozens of other Somali-Americans have been tried and/or convicted of providing material support to overseas terrorists.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul area is home to the nation’s largest Somali refugee community, with other significant Somali communities in St. Cloud, Willmar, Owatonna, and Austin, Minnesota. Somali refugees are also concentrated in Columbus, Ohio; Seattle; Atlanta; San Diego; Fargo, North Dakota; and in smaller cities across Colorado, Maine, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and Texas.

Omar is a strong supporter of LGBTQ rights, abortion rights and a champion of environmental justice.

Before she was elected she was an activist who often lobbied the Minneapolis City Council on progressive issues.

Since her election as a legislator she:

  • Opposed a bill to limit mass protests designed to disrupt streets, train service and airport access.
  • Has been given her own Muslim Barbie icon, the “Hijarbie.”
  • Visited her native Somalia to push for women’s leadership, raising the question of why Somali “refugees” are still pouring into the U.S. and other Western countries if the country is safe enough for former refugees to return and lobby the government for pet causes.
  • Traveled to Washington, D.C., in December for a reported White House visit when she made a Facebook post complaining about a cab driver who taunted her with “sexist and Islamophobic” comments. She said he threatened to pull off her hijab and called her “ISIS,” yet she never filed a police report.  In response to an inquiry on her Facebook page, Omar said she planned to file a report once she returned to Minneapolis, adding that she did not feel safe enough to say anything at the moment. The reply did not say whether the report would be with police, the cabdriver’s employer or possibly a civil rights organization.

The Minnesota insurance bill was introduced by Rep. Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska, in response to Syed Farook’s jihadist rampage in San Bernardino, California, in December 2015 in which he shot and killed 14 people and injured 22 at an office Christmas party. Farook made sure his life insurance policies worth $275,000 were valid before conducting the deadly shooting with help from his wife, Tashfeen Malik.

After Farook died in a shootout with police, his mother fought to remain the beneficiary of the life insurance policies. The insurance company balked and the case has gone to court.

Democratic Rep. Debra Hilstrom said the goal of the Minnesota bill “is to make certain that folks don’t benefit [from terrorism] and this limits the beneficiary to the premiums that were paid in. It limits the exposure for the insurance company when someone is committing an act of terrorism.”

Debra Anderson, leader of the ACT For America chapter in Minnesota, praised the legislators who voted for the bill Thursday.

“U.S. life insurance policies that pay out to the families of terrorists reminds me of Muslim regions, such as Palestine, that also make ‘life insurance’ payments to the families of jihadists who kill in the name of Allah.”

Anderson said Omar’s vote was reprehensible and shows where her allegiances lie.

“Rep. Ilan Omar’s vote today clearly demonstrated her allegiance to the best interests of the jihadists’ families, like in Palestine, rather than acting on the behalf of the victims of terrorists,” she said. “Disturbing to say the least.”

Anderson said the bill should have been a no-brainer for any freedom-loving American.

“This incident also clearly demonstrated the legitimate concerns of freedom-loving Americans regarding increased political access by Muslims who exhibit an obvious allegiance to Muslims and Shariah law rather than all Americans and the U.S. Constitution.

“I am very grateful for the astute, courageous legislators who are looking out for the best interests of all Minnesotans.”

If passed by the Senate and signed into law by Minnesota’s Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, the law would apply to all current and future life insurance contracts.

WND reported last August on Omar’s political agenda and background.

Omar gave two victory speeches that night, one in English and the other in Somali. She has lived for nearly two decades in the Cedar Riverside community, a section of Minneapolis often referred to as “Little Mogadishu.” It has the highest concentration of Somali refugees of any area in the country. They have been placed there by the U.S. State Department’s refugee resettlement program and its taxpayer-funded contractors since at least 1994 and the arrivals continue to this day.

Somalis have been arriving in America at a rate of 500 to 700 a month ever since, distributed by federal resettlement contractors like Catholic Charities and Lutheran Social Services into more than 200 cities and towns for permanent resettlement.

More than 95 percent of refugees sent to America are selected by the United Nations.

Rep. Joe Hoppe, the bill’s sponsor, said terrorists “should not benefit” from taking out a life insurance policy.

“You should not be able to provide for your heirs or whoever you want by increasing your life insurance policy.”

Democratic Rep. Laurie Halverson said it was “unfortunate” these bills have to be passed but added that this safeguard will help keep insurance rates down.

“I’m very proud of Minnesota state Sen. Warren Limmer and his House counterpart, Rep. Hoppe,” former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann told WND.

“They bravely took on Minnesota’s politically correct critics who flinch at preventing beneficiaries from benefiting from terror-inspired life insurance purchases.”

Bachmann said Minnesota media have long insisted that Minnesotans should never criticize anything having to do with Islam.

“This is a refreshing move and sends a strong signal. Now the question is whether Dem Governor Mark Dayton will veto the bill.”

Trump Has a Foreign Policy Strategy

Donald Trump at the Department of Homeland Security. Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

Yes, there is a method to Trump’s foreign-policy “madness.”

The National Interest, by James Carafano, April 21, 2017:

For two weeks, the White House has unleashed a foreign-policy blitzkrieg, and Washington’s chattering classes are shocked and, if not awed, at least perplexed.

CNN calls Trump’s actions a “u-turn.” Bloomberg opts for the more mathematical “180 degree turn,” while the Washington Post goes with “flipflop.” Meanwhile, pundits switched from decrying the president as an isolationist to lambasting him as a tool of the neocons. Amid all the relabeling, explanations of an “emerging Trump Doctrine” have proliferated faster than North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.

Here’s my take on what’s going on:

• Yes, there is a method to Trump’s “madness.”

• No, there has been no big change in Trump’s strategy.

The actions that flustered those who thought they had pigeon-holed Donald Trump simply reflect the impulses that have driven the direction of this presidency since before the convention in Cleveland.

At the Center of the Storm

Where is the head and heart of the president’s national-security team? Ask that question a year ago, and the answer would have been simple: General Mike Flynn, Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Senator Jeff Sessions.

Today, Flynn is gone. Giuliani never went in. Sessions is still a crucial voice in the administration, but his duties as Attorney General deal only partially with foreign policy and national-security matters.

The new team centers round Jim Mattis at the Defense Department, Rex Tillerson at the State Department, John Kelly at the Department of Homeland Security and H. R. McMaster in the West Wing—ably assisted by Nikki Haley at the United Nations. Trump barely knew these people before the election.

There is little question that the new team’s character and competence affected the White House response to the recent string of high profile events and activities—from presidential meetings with Egypt and China and Tillerson’s tête-à-tête with Putin, to the ominous developments in Syria and North Korea. Though on the job for only about dozen weeks, the new administration handled a lot of action on multiple fronts quite deftly. Much of that can be credited to the maturity and experience of Trump’s senior national-security team.

But how the administration responded was purely Trumpian—reflecting an impulse that transcends the makeup of his foreign team or other White House advisors.

Decoding Trumpian Strategy

Since the early days of the campaign, one thing has been clear: trying stitch together an understanding of Trump’s foreign and defense policy based on Trump’s tweets and other off-hand comments is a fool’s errand. That has not changed since the Donald took over the Oval Office.

That is not to say that none of Trump’s rhetoric matters. He has given some serious speeches and commentary. But pundits err when they give every presidential utterance equal merit. A joint address to Congress ought to carry a lot more weight than a 3 a.m. tweet about the Terminator.

But especially with this presidency, one needs to focus on White House actions rather than words to gain a clearer understanding of where security and foreign policy is headed. Do that, and one sees emerging a foreign and defense policy more conventional and more consistent than what we got from Bush or Obama. Still, a deeper dive is necessary to get at the root of Trump’s take on the world and how it fits with recent actions like the tomahawk strikes in Syria and the armada steaming toward North Korea.

I briefed Candidate Trump and his policy advisors during the campaign. I organized workshops for the ambassadorial corps during the Cleveland Convention and worked with the presidential team through the inauguration. Those experiences let me observe how the policies from the future fledgling administration were unfolding. Here are some observations that might be helpful in understanding the Trumpian way.

At the core of Trump’s view of the world are his views on the global liberal order. Trump is no isolationist. He recognizes that America is a global power with global interests and that it can’t promote and protect those interests by sitting at home on its hands. Freedom of the commons, engaging and cooperating with like-minded nations, working to blunt problems “over there” before they get over here—these are things every modern president has pursued. Trump is no different.

What distinguishes Trump—and what marks a particularly sharp departure from Obama—is his perception of what enabled post–World War America and the rest of the free world to rise above the chaos of a half century of global depression and open war.

Obama and his ilk chalked it all up to international infrastructure—the UN, IMF, World Bank, EU, et al. For Trump, it was the sovereign states rather than the global bureaucracies that made things better. The international superstructure has to stand on a firm foundation—and the foundation is the sovereign state. Without strong, vibrant, free and wealthy states, the whole thing collapses like a Ponzi scheme.

Trump is an arch nationalist in the positive sense of the term. America will never be safe in the world if the world doesn’t have an America that is free, safe and prosperous.

That belief is at the heart of Trump’s policies designed to spark an economic revival, rollback the administrative state and rebuild the military. It lies at the core of his mantra: make America great again.

Even the strongest America, however, can’t be a global power without the willingness to act globally. And that’s where Trump’s declaration of “America First” comes in.

What it means for foreign policy is that the president will put the vital interests of the United States above the maintenance of global institutions. That is not an abandonment of universal values. Every American president deals with the challenge of protecting interests and promoting values. Trump will focus on American interests and American values, and that poses no threat to friends and allies. In many cases, we share the same values. In many cases, what’s in America’s vital interest is also in their interest—and best achieved through joint partnership.

Here is how those animating ideas are currently manifesting themselves in Trump’s strategy:

A strategy includes ends (what you are trying to accomplish), means (the capabilities you will use to do that) and ways (how you are going to do it). The ends of Trump’s strategy are pretty clear. In both talk and action in the Trump world, it boils down to three parts of the world: Europe, Asia and the Middle East. That makes sense. Peace and stability in these regions are vital to U.S. interests and are under assault. The United States wants all three parts of the world to settle. It is unrealistic to think all the problems can be made to disappear, but it is not unrealistic to significantly reduce the potential for region-wide conflict.

The means are more than just a strong military. Trump believes in using all the instruments of power, hard and soft. He has unleashed Nikki Haley on the United Nations. He has ordered Rex Tillerson to revamp the State Department so that it is focused on the core tasks of statecraft and the effective and appropriate use of foreign assistance. He wants an intelligence community that delivers intelligence and doesn’t just cater to what the White House wants to hear. And he has ordered Homeland Security to shift from being politically correct to operationally effective. Further, it’s clear that Tillerson, Kelly, Mattis and Sessions are all trying to pull in the same direction.

The ways of the Trump strategy are not the engagement and enlargement of Clinton, the rearranging of the world by Bush, or the disengagement of Obama. The world is filled with intractable problems. Trump is less interested in trying to solve all of them in a New-York minute and more concerned about reducing those problems so that they give the United States and its friends and allies less and less trouble.

Trump is traveling a path between running away and invading. It might be called persistent presence. The United States plans to engage and use its influence in key parts of the world consistently over time to protect our interests. Done consistently, it will not only protect our interests; it will also expand the global safe space by causing bad influences to fade.

Recent activities in the Middle East are a good example. The bomb strike on Syria was not a prelude to regime change or nation-building in Syria. It was a warning shot to Assad to cut it out and stop interfering in U.S. efforts to finish off ISIS, stabilize refugee populations and keep Iraq from falling apart. Engagement with Egypt was to signal America is back working with partners to stabilize the region and counter the twin threats of Islamist extremism and Iran. Neither is a kick-ass-and-withdraw operation. These are signs of long, serious engagement, shrinking the space in which bad actors can operate.

The U.S. regional strategies for Europe and Asia are the same, and it seems clear that Chinese and Russian leaders have gotten the message. In the wake of recent meetings, both countries have reacted by treating Trump with the seriousness he has demanded. Others get it too. I’ve talked to many foreign officials who have come through Washington, DC this year and they have all told me that they got the same impression: this administration is about resolve and persistence. Still, no strategy is without risks and pitfalls. This one is no different. Here is how Trump might screw up or be upended by a smarter or luckier enemy:

Pop goes political will. A strategy of persistent presence can work only if the United States persists. It took past presidents over a decade to screw things up. It is going to take at least eight years of reassuring friends and wearing down adversaries to fix it. Trump will have to get reelected.

Strength for the fight. Trump has to deliver guns and butter: a rebounding economy at home and a strong face abroad. That means a combination of growth and fiscally responsible federal spending—a challenge that eluded the last two presidents.

Mission creep. Presence can lapse into ambition, which can become overreach, or certainly taking on more than make sense to handle. There might always be temptation to deal with a North Korea, Syria or Iran once for all.

Blindsided. There are other parts of the world. An administration can’t be indifferent to effective engagement in Latin America and Africa.

Distractions. Persistence is boring. There is always the temptation to follow the bright foreign-policy object.

Enemy gets a vote. The United States has to be strong in three theaters at the same time, so there will always be a temptation for its competitors to coordinate efforts or seize opportunities to give the United States multiple problems to solve, straining its capability to persist in each theater.

Black Swans. Competitors might get tired of the long war and risk throwing in a game changer. For example, rolling the dice on an Electromagnetic Pulse attack. Effective persistence requires a measure of paranoia. Competitors are never inanimate entities to be pushed around. They have agency, and they are always looking for a way to make a bad day for the other guy.

It remains to be seen if Trump can become a strategic leader capable of steering America past all these obstacles, but certainly he sees the path forward much more clearly than his domestic opponents are willing to recognize or acknowledge.

A Heritage Foundation vice president, James Jay Carafano directs the think tank’s research program for national security and foreign relations.

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American Authorities Working On Charges To Arrest Julian Assange

The Resurgent, by Chris Queen, April 21, 2017:

Insiders at the Justice Department say that authorities are putting together what they need in order to arrest Julian Assange. After nearly seven years of investigations and confidence from the Obama administration that charges would be difficult to prosecute, American officials now believe they have what they need to move a prosecution forward.

Obama’s Justice Department was hesitant to pursue charges against Assange because Wikileaks was not the only organization to publish the information that Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning procured. But CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in a speech that the Trump Justice Department is ready to move forward.

He said WikiLeaks “directed Chelsea Manning to intercept specific secret information, and it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States.”

“It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: A non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia,” Pompeo said.

US intelligence agencies have also determined that Russian intelligence used WikiLeaks to publish emails aimed at undermining the campaign of Hillary Clinton, as part of a broader operation to meddle in the US 2016 presidential election.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said publicly that arresting Assange is a “priority.”

 “We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks,” he said. “This is a matter that’s gone beyond anything I’m aware of. We have professionals that have been in the security business of the United States for many years that are shocked by the number of leaks and some of them are quite serious. So yes, it is a priority. We’ve already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail.”

Assange’s attorney Barry Pollack has said that the has had no contact with the Justice Department – and even that authorities have refused to speak with him – and he claims that Wikileaks is no different than news organizations that used information that Manning had stolen.

Assange has tried to hide behind the First Amendment for himself and for Wikileaks, but Pompeo has asserted that the Swede has no First Amendment protection as a non-citizen seeking asylum in a foreign country. He is currently staying at the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden on allegation of rape. The left-leaning president-elect in Ecuador has promised to continue harboring Assange.

The ACLU is already up in arms about the very idea of charges against Assange, because – you guessed it – it’s the Trump administration bringing the charges.

Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, argued that US prosecution of Assange sets a dangerous precedent.

“Never in the history of this country has a publisher been prosecuted for presenting truthful information to the public,” Wizner told CNN. “Any prosecution of WikiLeaks for publishing government secrets would set a dangerous precedent that the Trump administration would surely use to target other news organizations.”

It will be interesting to see how the Justice Department goes forward in pursuing charges and whether they will stick. Stay tuned.

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Team Trump and Iran: Obama and the ‘swamp’ have just scored a huge win

Center for Security Policy, by Fred Fleitz, April 29, 2017:

Despite Donald Trump’s insistence during the presidential campaign that the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – was the “worst deal ever” and Iran’s failure to fully comply with this agreement, the Trump administration Tuesday certified to Congress that Iran is in compliance with the agreement and will continue to receive sanction relief.  The administration added, however that the agreement is under review.

Make no mistake: this is a huge win for the Obama administration and the permanent foreign policy bureaucracy – the so-called swamp – who desperately want to protect this flawed and dangerous agreement at all costs.

The certification probably indicates the outcome of the Trump administration’s review of the JCPOA is a forgone conclusion just like a similar review in 2001 by the Bush administration of a deeply-flawed nuclear agreement with North Korea.

The publicly known reasons that Iran is not in compliance with the JCPOA include:

  • Iran is not allowing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors access to military sites.  If Iran is engaged in covert nuclear weapons work, this is where it is taking place.  As long as Iran refuses to allow the IAEA unfettered access to all military sites, it is not in compliance with the JCPOA and the international community cannot be confident that Iran’s nuclear weapons program has been halted.
  • According to a March 3, 2017 report by the Institute for Science and International Security, Iran has produced and stockpiled more heavy-water than it is allowed under the JCPOA and is storing some heavy-water outside of Iran. Heavy-water is a proliferation concern because it can be used in a nuclear reactor design that produces large amounts of plutonium, a nuclear weapons fuel.
  • The Institute report also said that although a February 2017 IAEA report claimed Iran was in compliance with a commitment to limit its stockpile of reactor-grade uranium to 300 kg, it only met this cap because the JCPOA’s Joint Commission granted Iran exemptions to exclude several quantities of enriched uranium from the cap. Concerning the IAEA’s reporting on this issue, the Institute report said the IAEA was being forced to use “convoluted and potentially deceptive language.”

In his press conference Wednesday, Sean Spicer seemed to contradict an earlier statement by the State Department that it determined Iran is in compliance with the agreement. Both Spicer and State are ignoring violations like those listed above that should have caused the Trump administration to declare Iran in noncompliance with the JCPOA months ago.

Although the above violations are serious, it is worth stressing that Iran can continue making progress in its nuclear weapons program without violating the JCPOA since the deal allows it to enrich uranium with over 5,000 centrifuges, develop and test advanced centrifuges and construct a plutonium-producing heavy-water reactor.

As Israeli Ambassador to the United States put it in an April 14, 2017 Wall Street Journal oped, the JCPOA “is so inherently flawed that Tehran doesn’t even have to break it. Honoring it will be enough to endanger millions of lives.”

As I explained in my book “Obamabomb: A Dangerous and Growing National Security Fraud,” the Obama administration was fully aware of these concerns but agreed to the JCPOA anyway because it desperately wanted a legacy Iran nuclear deal for President Obama and probably did not view Iran’s nuclear weapons program as a serious threat.

Foreign policy careerists – the swamp — share the Obama administration’s views on the Iran deal and are working hard to protect it. They are claiming the only alternative to this agreement is war with Iran and that withdrawing from the deal would isolate the United States. In a November 2016 article I explained why these arguments are false and why it is urgent that the Trump administration kill or substantially renegotiate the fraudulent Iran deal.

Unfortunately, it appears that some Trump officials have been convinced to stick with the deal.

A major reason for this is because almost all foreign policy posts responsible for the Iran deal are staffed by Obama administration holdovers due to the failure of the Trump administration to fill jobs at the State and Defense Departments.

When Secretary of State Tillerson certified Iran was in compliance with the JCPOA on Tuesday, he added that U.S. Iran policy “is under review.”

Wednesday, Tillerson tried to respond to conservative criticism of his compliance finding by stating that Iran remains a state sponsor of terror and the JCPOA is an incredibly flawed agreement.

I don’t take any comfort from these statements because they remind me of the 2001 review by the Bush administration of the disastrous nuclear deal with North Korea – the Agreed Framework – which allowed North Korea to keep its nuclear weapons and was violated by Pyongyang while the ink was drying on the agreement.

The 1994 Agreed Framework was also strongly opposed by congressional Republicans and was supported by the foreign policy establishment which claimed there was no alternative to this deeply flawed pact.

The Bush administration repeatedly said North Korea was in compliance with this deal even though it wasn’t and completed a policy review in June 2001 that kept the deal but promised tougher enforcement.

The Agreed Framework collapsed when the U.S. presented North Korea with evidence that it had a covert uranium enrichment program that violated this agreement.

North Korea used the time and huge concessions it gained from the Agreed Framework to accelerate its nuclear weapons and missile programs. It conducted its first of five nuclear tests in 2006.

I fear history is about to repeat itself.

Tuesday’s certification that Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA and statements by some Trump officials may indicate the Swamp will once again convince a Republican administration to keep a deeply flawed nuclear agreement with a rogue state negotiated by a prior Democratic administration.

Meanwhile, I believe Iran’s nuclear weapons program continues, probably in close coordination with North Korea.

Fortunately, there is still time for President Trump to get this right and fulfill his campaign promises to tear up, or substantially renegotiate, the fraudulent nuclear deal with Iran.

The first thing he should do is to tell Secretary Tillerson to immediately start filling State Department jobs that deal with the Iran deal with appointees who support the president’s position on this issue. — Tillerson also must be told to stop declaring that Iran in compliance with this agreement.

Most importantly, President Trump must publicly restate his strong opposition to the JCPOA to make it clear to his appointees and the Swamp that he will not tolerate a nuclear agreement with Iran unless it actually halts Tehran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and also addresses Iran’s missile program, support of terrorism and its efforts to destabilize the Middle East.

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