Why Trump Must Not Re-Certify The Obamabomb Deal

Center for Security Policy, by Clare Lopez, Aug. 23, 2017:

(Washington, D.C.): The Center for Security Policy today published an extraordinarily topical and timely Occasional Paper concerning one of the nation’s most pressing national security questions: Can the United States in good faith certify that Iran is complying with the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) when the next deadline is reached in October 2017 and, if so, should it?

This analysis, entitled “Why President Trump Must Not Re-certify Iranian JCPOA Compliance,” was written by the Center’s Vice President for Research and Analysis, Clare Lopez. It lays out the factual basis for concluding that Mr. Trump neither can nor should provide such a certification since Tehran is explicitly and demonstrably in material breach of the JCPOA on multiple specific counts.

This conclusion is particularly compelling given the unrelentingly jihadist nature of the Iranian regime, which codified in its 1989 constitution the Islamic Republic’s explicit dedication to global Islamic conquest. In addition, the mullah-led government in Tehran’s faithfully follows that totalitarian doctrine’s dictates to deceive non-Muslims – a reality evident in Iran’s long record of violations of the provisions of other international accords and treaties to which it is a signatory. Notably, Iran was caught in 2002 for having violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty when its clandestine nuclear weapons program was revealed to the world for the first time.

Since then, many more revelations about the Iranian nuclear weapons program have come to light. For example, the International Atomic Energy Agency itself has documented a long list of Possible Military Dimensions to the Iranian nuclear program that seems to confirm the validity of its assessment that Iran had an advanced nuclear weapons program – and possibly even nuclear warheads – by November 2011. Additionally, what amounts to a joint venture between Iran and North Korea with respect to nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development prompts grave concerns with regard to the sharing expertise on warhead miniaturization and Electromagnetic Pulse technology.

In releasing Ms. Lopez’s paper, Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney observed:

Clare Lopez is a veteran of the CIA’s clandestine service with deep knowledge of the lengths to which the Iranian regime has gone to pursue its nuclear ambitions – and mislead the United States and others about the actual status of its weapons, missile and centrifuge development programs. Her insights into this behavior make clear that those programs are not just deeply problematic from a national security perspective. They amount to showstoppers with regard to any further presidential certifications, especially with respect to the JCPOA being consistent with the national security interests of the United States.

Click here to view the paper in PDF format

Barcelona Terror Imam’s Familiar Path From Prison to ISIS Soldier

by Patrick Dunleavy
IPT News
August 23, 2017

In the wake of the horrific terror attacks in Barcelona that killed 15 people and injured as many as 120, including 7-year-old Julian Cadman, authorities are trying to understand how a group of young Moroccan men went from football teammates who occasionally smoked marijuana together to radical Islamic terrorists.

The man who has emerged as the leader of the group and most influential in their radicalization is the imam from the Annur Islamic mosque in Ripoll, a small Spanish town near the French border.

Abdelbaki Es Satty was hired by the Annur Islamic Community in 2016. But before that, authorities have learned, he was an inmate in the Spanish prison system, convicted in 2012 for smuggling hashish from Morocco into Spain. People who knew him then said that he was not religious and occasionally smoked marijuana. Then he met several al-Qaida members in prison, including Rachid Aglif. Also known as “The Rabbit,” Aglif was serving an 18-year sentence for his part in the 2004 Madrid train bombing that killed 190 people and injured more than 1,000.

It was there in prison where Abdelbaki Es Satty was believed to have been radicalized. Authorities from the Annur Islamic mosque said that they were unaware of Es Satty’s criminal history and admitted that they did not properly vet him. They simply examined his knowledge of the Quran and felt that was sufficient.

They also seemed unaware that Es Satty became known to counterterrorism officials during an investigation into radical Islamic influences in the small seaside towns surrounding Barcelona. The investigation, dubbed “Operation Jackal,” resulted in the arrest and conviction of five radical Islamists for attempting to send young men to Iraq to fight alongside ISIS.

So, two important themes in understanding radical Islamic terrorists are surfacing again, prison radicalization and someone “known to authorities.” There is a third: Immigration. Following his release from prison, Spanish authorities attempted to deport Es Satty back to Morocco. An order for his expulsion from Spain was issued in April 2014 citing his criminal history as a narcotics trafficker. Spanish immigration law subjects any foreign national who is sentenced to a year or more in prison to deportation.

Es Satty argued that deportation violated his human rights and won an appeal.

He then was granted asylum, which gave him the right to travel throughout the European Union. He used this privilege to make several trips to Belgium, spending three months in a Brussels suburb called Vilvoorde in early 2016. That town has seen its share of radical Islamic influences, with as many as 30 young men leaving to fightwith ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Just after Es Satty left Vilvoorde, two coordinated terrorist attacks took place in Brussels that left as many as 35 dead and 300 injured. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Abdelbaki Es Satty became an imam at the Ripoll mosque after returning from Belgium and began to draw young men to the jihadi cause. The process took at least a year. Small groups met in a van, and sometimes in Es Satty’s sixth-floor apartment. When group members attended the local mosque, they took precautions to mask both their radical beliefs and their intimate relationship with each other.

Two months before last week’s the attacks, Es Satty told the mosque he was returning to Morocco.

In fact, Es Satty went to a house in Alcanar, a town 120 miles south of Barcelona. There, along with several others, he began to construct improvised explosive devices to be placed in vehicles as car bombs. They used gas canisters and a highly explosive substance made from acetone and hydrogen peroxide known as TATP.

This was the same substance that was used in the Brussels attacks.

One week ago, an explosion rocked Alcanar, destroying the house where the bombs were being built. Authorities first thought it was the result of a gas leak but, upon investigation, forensic trace evidence of TATP was found. Several charred bodies also were found in the house.

A lone survivor, Mohamed Houli Chemlal, was taken in to custody by police. Authorities believe Imam Abdelbaki Es Satty was killed in the explosion.

It was a fitting conclusion for someone whose life traversed the path from common criminal to radicalized inmate to a religious leader who deceived the minds of the young men of Ripoll.

Prison radicalization, open borders, lax immigration laws and the all-too-familiar case of a terrorist previously “known to authorities” have come to the surface once again immediately following a terror attack.

At some point, authorities must focus on these three areas and come up with a strategy to tighten the loopholes that allow radical Islamic terrorists to thrive.

With ISIS’s continued losses in Syria and Iraq, it has now turned its attention and remaining assets toward the West, inspiring and exhorting people to attack in their home countries. They really don’t care how many plots are thwarted or how many young lives are wasted. Death is their goal.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for these latest attacks and has hailed the Barcelona terrorists as soldiers of the Islamic State and “Caliphate soldiers in Spain.”

If that is so then we must treat them as such – enemy combatants whether captured or killed.

Anything less is both foolish and dangerous.

Terrorist Plan to Blow Up Airplane With Explosive Barbie Doll Foiled

Etihad Airways airplane / Getty Images

Washington Free Beacon, by Conor Beck, Aug. 22, 2017:

Authorities foiled a plan by Lebanese terrorists to blow up a commercial airliner by smuggling explosives in a large Barbie doll and a meat grinder.

Lebanese Interior Minister Nohan Machnouk said the terrorist plot would “probably” have been successful if the luggage had not exceeded the weight limit, Israel Hayom reported.

Machnouk told reporters at a press conference Monday that a suicide bomber intended to blow up a passenger plane belonging to Etihad, the United Arab Emirate’s national airline carrier. The plane was scheduled to fly from Sydney, Australia to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The UAE is among the Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab states that are opposed to the Islamic State.  Australia is a strong U.S. ally that has experienced a growing threat from violent jihadist extremism in recent years.

The Lebanese official said Lebanon and Australian intelligence agencies worked together to foil an ISIS plot to carry out a large-scale terrorist attack.

The suspect’s arrest led authorities to three other Lebanese nationals who helped plan the attack. The cell members were recruited by a Muslim cleric who lives in Australia and has ties to ISIS, according to Lebanese media.

Replacing patriotism with tribalism

The politics of grievance and revenge divides us all

Washington Times, by Clifford May, Aug.  23, 2017:

Just after last week’s terrorist attack in Barcelona, a pro-Islamic State website posted video from the scene along with a message in Arabic saying, “Terror is filling the hearts of the Crusader in the Land of Andalusia.”

Let’s unpack that. “Crusader” is a term jihadists use, pejoratively, for Christians. More specifically, of course, it refers to the Christian soldiers who fought a series of wars, beginning in 1095, to recover Jerusalem and other parts of the Holy Land from the Muslim armies that had burst out of Arabia four centuries earlier.

Andalusia indicates the territories of the Iberian Peninsula that were conquered by Muslim armies from North Africa beginning in 711. The Reconquista, a war waged by Christians to recover those territories, ended in 1492.

Here’s the larger point: To those discomfited by theological or even ideological explanations for most modern terrorism, one alternative explanation is this: The killers are revanchists. Their motivation is to reverse territorial losses.

They have suffered such losses, they believe, in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The want to fill “the hearts” of the “others” now living in such lands with terror in order to drive them out or at least relegate them to inferior status. In other words, these revanchists also are supremacists.

Longer-term, their goal is grander. Finland, which also suffered a terrorist attack last week, was never part of a caliphate or Islamic empire. And the Islamic State publishes an online magazine called Rumiyah — Arabic for Rome which, they believe, must be conquered by Muslims as was the Christian capital of Constantinople (now Istanbul). But priority goes to formerly Muslim lands.

In an odd way, this brings us to Charlottesville. The neo-Nazis and Klansmen who rioted and committed murder there also are revanchists in the sense that they seek revenge (the root of the word) and the restoration of power they believe has been taken from them here, in this land, America.

They are supremacists, too, of course, although they fight for supremacy based on race rather than religion. They are enemies of Americanism, rejecting the Founders’ conviction that “all men are created equal” in the eyes of God and should be equal under the law. They deserve unequivocal condemnation and firm opposition.

The Antifa movement, a collection of anarchists and radical leftists, opposes such white supremacism. (About Islamic supremacism it has less to say.) But Antifa also is supremacist. It seeks to abolish — not least through violence — individual rights in favor of group rights. Members of groups Antifa favors — those they deem victims or oppressed — are to enjoy enhanced rights. “Others,” those they regard as “privileged,” are to have their rights curtailed or eliminated.

So Antifa should be condemned and opposed, too — not least by those who call themselves liberals or progressives. Too often Antifa and its ilk are enabled instead. For example, last week, The New York Times gave space to K-Sue Park, a “Critical Race Studies Fellow at the U.C.L.A. School of Law,” who argues against “a narrow reading of the First Amendment.”

Despite objections from conservatives, she notes, the U.S. government has come to reject “a colorblind notion of the right to equal protection.” On the contrary, the government encourages “consideration of race in university admissions.” So why not apply the same principle to freedom of speech? In other words, she suggests, the First Amendment should fully apply to a person of color. A person of pallor — not so much.

I can anticipate the emails I will receive. They will say such “reverse” discrimination is a necessary corrective. They will remind me of “the legacy of slavery.” To which, I’ll reply: Name an institution more ubiquitous than slavery. Name a civilization that began to view slavery as immoral and then went on to abolish it earlier than the West — which did so based on the Judeo-Christian belief that man is created in God’s image.

That was nothing less than a revolution in the history of morality. Resistance to this revolution was a root cause of America’s Civil War. That led to the emancipation. As for equality, that remains a work in progress. But which non-Western nations are doing better?

I think President Trump blew an opportunity in his impromptu press conference the Tuesday after the riot in Charlottesville. But he was not being hyperbolic when he worried about where identity politics and the sudden furor over old statues is leading.

“This week it’s Robert E. Lee,” he said. “I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You really do have to ask yourself: ‘Where does it stop?’ “

It took not a week but only hours before his predictions came true. Among the examples: In Chicago, a monument to Abraham Lincoln was vandalized and James E. Dukes, bishop of Chicago’s Liberation Christian Center, called on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to rename Washington Park and to remove a statue of America’s Founding Father.

What should we call Washington, D.C.? Since we’re on the Potomac, perhaps River City? Because we certainly got trouble with a capital “T” and that rhymes with “P” and that stands for the politics of grievance and division; for patriotism replaced by tribalism.

Meanwhile, revanchists, supremacists and jihadists overseas are building nuclear weapons in order, as they put it, to bring “Death to America.” They’re targeting us all — without regard to race, creed, color or party affiliation. At this fraught moment, it would be helpful if we had leaders with both the will and the skill to emphasize Americanism, the principles and the values — many of them incompletely realized — that should unite us.

• Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a columnist for The Washington Times.

The myth of a ‘moderate’ Taliban

KaninRoman | Getty Images

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, Aug. 23, 2017:

In his defense of President Trump’s strategy to once again bolster U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has explained that the Trump administration may seek to engage with “moderate elements” of the Taliban to achieve peace and stability in the war-torn country.

“We think there are plenty of others that we’re going to call upon for assistance as well,” Tillerson stated Tuesday in a State Department briefing.

“Rather, we’re there to facilitate and ensure that there is a pathway for reconciliation and peace talks as this pressure begins to take hold, and we do … we believe, we already know there are certain moderate elements of the Taliban who we think are going to be ready and want to help develop a way forward. How long that will take will be, again, based on conditions on the ground.”

The idea that there is a “moderate Taliban” in Afghanistan has been promoted largely by both the Republican and Democratic foreign policy establishment in Washington, D.C. Before President Trump came into office, the Obama administration and former presidential contender Hillary Clinton spoke of peace talks with the “moderate Taliban,” seeking to distance this supposed faction with the jihadist Taliban that commits acts of carnage against innocents.

It would be quite convenient for there to be a “moderate” Taliban in Afghanistan. The Taliban has agents embedded in the Afghan government, and the Taliban now contests or controls about 40 percent of the country (not to mention the backing of state actors like Russia and Iran).

But comparable to the so-called Arab “moderate Syrian rebels” — who all too often have gone off to join ISIS and al-Qaida — the “moderate Taliban” is just as unreliable and nonexistent.

Experts on the country have near-unanimously lambasted the Obama administration’s search for a moderate Taliban.

“Where are the so-called moderate Taliban? Who are the moderate Taliban?” asked Waheed Mozhdah, a former Afghan official, in 2009. Analyst Qaseem Akhgar also weighed in, adding:   “Moderate Taliban is like moderate killer. Is there such a thing?”

But the myth of a moderate Taliban continues, and it’s being adamantly pushed by actors in the Gulf, such as the state of Qatar.

Qatar often hosts Taliban delegations for talks with Western governments. From the Taliban’s political office in Doha, the group sometimes teases the West by floating the idea of peace. But this is ultimately a soft-power play to legitimize its cause of ruling Afghanistan.

And realities on the ground show that the Taliban wants conquest, not peace. Further, the Afghan people — in survey after survey — express extreme doubt over the Taliban’s sincerity concerning peace negotiations.

There are no records of moderate Taliban factions departing from their Islamic supremacist, Caliphatist ideology. And worse, Taliban factions deemed by some Western analysts as “moderate” have later led slaughter campaigns against thousands of people.

A U.S.-initiated strategy to legitimize any element of the Taliban would mean America taking an active role in normalizing an evil jihadist cult. The Taliban kills hundreds (if not thousands) of innocents each year, using suicide attacks and other vicious and indiscriminate methods to rack up the casualty count.

It’s bad enough that President Trump has chosen to bolster the U.S. role in Afghanistan without defining what “victory” is, or mapping out an exit plan. It’s worse that he’s flirting with helping a terrorist organization secure its grip over the country.

There are no moderate elements of the Taliban, just as there are no moderate elements of al-Qaida or ISIS.

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.

New ISIS Video Features 10-Year-Old American Living in Raqqa

PJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, AUGUST 23, 2017:

A new video circulating today from ISIS features a 10-year-old kid, Yusuf, who claims to live in Raqqa and who warns that America’s fight against the terror group will “end in your lands.”

The video is the fourth in a series called “A Fertile Nation” and begins with scenes of ISIS fighters preparing for battle in what appears to be Raqqa. Coincidentally, the fighters huddle over an iPhone looking at a map of the city, presumably preparing their defensive positions against coalition forces.

Then Yusuf is introduced, reading quickly from a prepared script. He identifies himself and says that he is an American who made hijrah two years ago “from the land of kufr (infidelity)” to the Islamic State. The video then shows drone footage of what appears to be Los Angeles.

Yusuf then claims that his father is a former American soldier who fought “against the mujaheddin” in Iraq.

In the next scene, another boy, 7-year-old Abdullah, is introduced by Yusuf. Abdullah is seen performing ablution presumably before prayer.

He says that he was taken by ISIS from Sinjar, meaning that he may be one of the captured Yazidi children taken when they overran that area in northern Iraq three years ago this month.

Yusuf continues:

We live in a small city called Raqqa. This city has scared the whole world because the Muslims who live in it have learned the meaning of jihad and have established the rule of Allah. Because of this all the nations of the world who are led by America have gathered to scare us away from what we have established. More and more there is more random bombings, including phosphorus bombs, and all kinds of planes, including B-52s, from jets to drones.

Yusuf and Abdullah then walk through the rubble of Raqqa. The video shows scenes of a damaged mosque and a destroyed playground.

A graphic is shown representing the purported damage to Raqqa from coalition bombing.

After a message about the travails of Muslims throughout history, scenes of ISIS fighters are shown, such as an anti-aircraft gun being fired at a coalition jet.

Yusuf then gives the following message:

My message to Trump, the puppet of the Jews, Allah promises victory and promised you defeat. This battle is not going to end in Raqqa or Mosul. It’s going to end in your lands. By the will of Allah we will have victory. So get ready for the fighting has just begun.

And continuing in Arabic, he concludes:

Do you think that we’re going to leave? Do you think that we’ll be finished? Never! We will remain until the Day of Judgement, with Allah’s permission.

The video ends with scenes of Yusuf working with an ISIS sniper team by loading up AK-47 magazines and then him looking through the scope of an American-made sniper rifle.

Why is the State Dept Undermining President Trump’s Egypt Policy?

Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, Aug. 23, 2017:

President Trump has been very clear that he wants to pivot away from Obama’s backing for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. And the Arab Spring’s whole democratization program.

Senator McCain has been equally clear that he wants to double down on it.

Guess whom the State Department is listening to?

Egypt passed a law restricting foreign funding of NGOs. Egypt joins a number of countries, including Hungary, Poland and Israel, that are working to curb the influence of the Leftist/Islamist network which operates internationally through non-profit NGOs. Each such effort has led to hysteria and angry threats from the political figures associated with those networks.

Now the State Department is taking action against Egypt over the NGO law.

Officials said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had decided to withhold $65.7 million in military assistance and $30 million in economic aid to Egypt that has been on hold since fiscal 2014, the officials said. That money will be reprogrammed, meaning it will now be sent to other countries, they said.

At the same time, the officials said Rex Tillerson had signed a waiver saying that $195 million in military assistance to Egypt is in the U.S. national interest but had decided to hold off on spending it. Under federal law, Tillerson had until the end of this fiscal year, Sept. 30, to either sign the waiver, certify that Egypt is meeting the human rights conditions or return the money to the Treasury. The waiver gives Egypt additional time to meet the requirements for the $195 million, which Congress appropriated for fiscal year 2016.

When Trump met with el-Sissi in the White House in April he made no mention of Egypt’s human rights record in the post-meeting statement, an omission that many took as a sign that the issue was not a priority for the administration. Yet, two months later, two senators from Trump’s Republican Party slammed as “draconian” the law that effectively bans the work of non-governmental organizations and urged that it be repealed.

Can you guess who those 2 senators are?

Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham called it “draconian legislation” and they said the US Congress should in response “strengthen democratic benchmarks and human rights conditions on the US assistance to Egypt.”

US Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, and nine other senators sent Trump a letter on June 19 urging the president to press Sisi on the issue.

Unless I missed something, President John McCain is not in the White House. So why is Tillerson listening to him instead of to Trump?

According to Egyptian officials, this is an effort to stem funding to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Alaa Abed, chairman of the Free Egyptian Party’s parliamentary bloc, told The Daily Caller in a recent interview that although the idea behind NGOs is charitable and very needed in his country, a good number of them have taken a wrong turn.

“And the proof of that are the billions that have been given to these NGOs without any noticeable results that you can see,” Abed said.

According to Abed, about 48,000 NGOs are in Egypt and some are supported by the state. Of that number, though, “Only 500 receive foreign funds and 10 operate within the norms of the law…the rest (490) take the money into their pockets and 30 or 40 use the money to transfer to the [Muslim Brotherhood] or small terror cells.”

It obviously also starves some leftist NGOs of funds.

Why is McCain so agitated over it? The media won’t tell you. Few sources will.

But McCain chairs the International Republican Institute. The IRI was a Reagan idea to fight Communism. It’s since gone way off course and was involved in the Arab Spring. Sam LaHood was at the center of it. The international advisory board includes Mo Ibrahim whose daughter is a board member of the Clinton Foundation.

The question here is who is running the country. Whom did American vote for?

It was Trump who was running against nation building. Particularly of the ugly kind we’re seeing here. But Tillerson is obeying President McCain instead of President Trump. Our foreign policy is still being made by the same old people. That’s why the Iran deal is in place (and has not been made public), it’s why Israel is still being pressured to make concessions to terrorists and there’s yet more pressure on Egypt’s President Sisi to open the door to the same folks who brought you the Arab Spring.

It’s why Tillerson backed the Muslim Brotherhood’s backers in Qatar while Trump initially backed pressure on the terror state.

T o change the outcome, you have to change the policy. To change the policy, you have to change the people. Under McMaster and Tillerson, the foreign policy will be set by President McCain, not President Trump.

***

Also see: