UK officials still investigating ‘wider conspiracy’ behind Manchester attack

LONG WAR JOURNAL, BY THOMAS JOSCELYN | May 28, 2017

Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials are still investigating the possible “wider conspiracy” behind the May 22 Manchester Arena bombing, according to a statement released by the Manchester Police. Twelve men have been arrested in connection with the investigation and remain in custody. It is not known if charges will be brought against any or all of them. Two people, including one woman, were detained earlier, but released without charge.

Authorities have released images (seen above) captured by CCTV of Salman Abedi, the 22-year-old who detonated the bomb. The images are part of an effort to obtain more evidence regarding Abedi’s movements between May 18, when he returned to the UK from his travels abroad, until his night of terror days later. Forensic experts identified Abedi as the perpetrator within two hours of the attack. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the act.

The Manchester police released an infographic, seen on the right, summarizing key events to date.

Officials have discovered a flat where Abedi, and possibly his co-conspirators, may have assembled the bomb.

“The investigation is making good progress and we know one of the last places Abedi went was a city centre flat and from there he left to make his way to the Manchester Arena,” Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins and Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the Senior National Coordinator for UK Counter Terrorism Policing, said in a statement released online. “The flat is highly relevant as a location which we believe may be the final assembly place for the device.”

“In the past five days we have gathered significant information about Abedi, his associates, his finances, the places he had been, how the device was built and the wider conspiracy,” Hopkins and Basu said yesterday.

Authorities have not publicly confirmed that Abedi had co-conspirators, although that is the clear implication of their statements. “This is still a live investigation which is not slowing down,” Hopkins and Basu added. “Our priorities are to understand the run up to this terrible event and to understand if more people were involved in planning this attack.”

During an interview on BBC News with Andrew Marr, British interior minister Amber Rudd was asked about members of the “large group” surrounding around Abedi who have been arrested, and whether “some” members are sill at-large.

“Potentially, I mean it’s an ongoing operation” that is still at “full tilt,” Rudd responded.

Marr asked Rudd about possible security lapses in the lead up to Abedi’s bombing, including tips that authorities reportedly received, and failed to act on, beforehand. Rudd wouldn’t comment on the specifics, but defended the UK government’s counterterrorism record in general. She said that 18 plots have been foiled since 2013 and highlighted the “scale of the problem” Britain faces, especially from the Islamic State, which is trying to “weaponize young people in our society.”

Marr also inquired how many “serious potential jihadis” there were “across the country.” Citing figures provided by MI5, Rudd responded that the security services are “looking at 500 different plots” with 3,000 possible terrorists on the “top list” and 20,000 “underneath that.”

“But that’s all different layers, different tiers, and it might be just a question mark about one of them” that leads to inclusion on the “top list,” she explained. In other words, British authorities do not think that all of the people on MI5’s lists are necessarily terrorists in waiting. But officials are having a difficult time determining which individuals will follow Abedi’s path.

The British government has previously warned that the Islamic State threat is “unprecedented.” [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Why the UK launched its first targeted drone strike ever.]

The Manchester investigation is massive effort, requiring significant resources all by itself. Approximately 1,000 members of the British security services and law enforcement have been involved.

Outside of the UK, officials are looking into Hashim and Ramadan Abedi (Salman’s brother and father, respectively), both of whom were detained in Libya last week. Libya’s Special Deterrence Force, Rada, alleges that Hashim Abedi has admitted foreknowledge of the plot and that he and his brother were both members of the Islamic State. The senior Abedi’s ties to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a designated terror group linked to al Qaeda, are also being explored. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report: Analysis: UK investigating possible ‘network’ behind Manchester attack.]

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD’s Long War Journal.

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MEMORIAL DAY IN A DIVIDED NATION

Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, May 29, 2017:

It has been over 150 years since our nation’s last civil war. Time enough has passed that we have come to associate the holiday once known as Decoration Day with the graves of soldiers fallen on other continents far from home.

It is important to honor our wartime dead. But Memorial Day has a powerful meaning that we have forgotten. It was the holiday that reunited our country after the Civil War. It began when Americans, from the North and the South, entered the cold gray stone fields of the dead, and decorated the graves of the fallen from the Grand Army of the Republic and the Confederacy with freshly cut flowers.

They followed no presidential order. They acted under no regulation. Instead the mothers and wives of men who would return home no more brought flowers to the graves of their fallen sons and husbands, and to the resting places of the young American men who might have slain them, who had been the enemy, but who still deserved honor and respect.

Those women, of the North and the South, brought America together.

Today a new breed of leftists gleefully tears down Confederate memorials. And it will not end with flags and statues. They will not be satisfied until the cemeteries that were once decorated have been desecrated. It is ominously fitting that the event which marked the end of one civil war now arrives to foreshadow the beginning of another war between brothers.

On a Memorial Day long ago, President Theodore Roosevelt praised the Union soldiers who “left us the right of brotherhood with the men in gray, who with such courage, and such devotion for what they deemed the right, fought against you.”

The Right of Brotherhood is what binds a nation. It cannot be imposed by force even when a war is won. It can only be won through mutual respect. Out of the brutality of the Civil War, came respect for the courage of those who fought and died on both sides. And once more, we called each other brothers.

“They not only reunited States, they reunited the spirits of men. That is their unique achievement, unexampled anywhere else in the annals of mankind,” President Wilson said in his Memorial Day address.

Like the American Revolution, the aftermath of the Civil War was indeed a unique achievement. It is now vanishing before our eyes. And Memorial Day has become a sad reminder of its diminution.

A day once marked by mutual respect for the courage of former enemies is now being ushered in with the deliberate desecration of Civil War memorials in New Orleans. And beyond this ugliness, Memorial Day sharply divides the country between conservatives who believe this country is worth fighting for and leftists who see it as a racist colonial monstrosity that must be erased with open borders and terror.

While there are no armies of the Blue and the Gray exchanging fire on grassy hills, earlier this month cities across America remembered the courageous men and women in blue murdered by the racist supremacist and separatists of Black Lives Matter who deny that the lives of other races matter.

Last summer, Black Nationalist terrorist Micah Xavier Johnson murdered five police officers in Dallas. They were remembered on Police Memorial Day. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio intends to march in the racist Puerto Rican Parade honoring FALN terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera. FALN was responsible for maiming NYPD police officers including Angel Poggi who lost an eye and Richard Pascarella who lost his vision and five fingers.

When Bill Clinton and Barack Hussein Obama freed FALN terrorists, it was a declaration of war on Americans. Once again heroes in blue were being murdered by racist separatists backed by the Democrat political faction. Every police officer in blue murdered by left-wing racist terrorists is another casualty in the new civil war being fought against America by the radical left-wing “Resistance”.

We will never know how many men in blue fighting to preserve the unions of our communities against racist criminal terror were murdered or imprisoned through the actions of Barack Hussein Obama.

The left-wing tactics of racist terror are a deliberate effort to divide us.

Over 150 years after the Civil War, the Democrats have once again refused to recognize the Republican winner of an election. They have endeavored to bring down a democratically elected government by any means. Meanwhile their sanctuary cities and states are in a state of rebellion. Their judges seek to rule as unelected tyrants and their media urges on “Resistance” street violence on college campuses.

Millions of Americans on both sides recognize that a conflict is underway. Many of them feel helpless to stop it. And they wonder what can be done to avert it.

Memorial Day’s origins offer us one answer. Mutual respect.

Certain disagreements are intellectually, culturally and emotionally irreconcilable. The Civil War emerged out of such a conflict. The civil war we are sliding toward now is being born out of another. But mutual respect can make coexistence possible even in the face of fundamental divisions. And where there is no such respect, even minor differences become impossible to reconcile except through force.

The left expresses its radicalism as violent contempt. If it wants to understand where Trump came from, it need look no further than the contempt that its political and cultural leaders express for opponents. Its conviction of moral superiority makes it impossible for it to accept President Trump or his voters, and leads it to assault Trump supporters, vandalize memorials, attack the Constitution and openly plot subversion and secession.

Memorial Day arose not only as a way to honor those who fought for our side, but even those of our brethren who fought on the enemy side. Its lesson is that heroism does not occur only on the battlefield, but in the aftermath in which after trying to kill each other, we learn to live together as one people.

It takes one sort of moral courage to win a victory and another form of moral courage to rebuild afterward. Victory demands conviction. Rebuilding requires that we cast aside the conviction of superiority that war requires and to understand that our enemies are men like us.

The left is convinced of its utter moral superiority and the total moral inferiority of its enemies. Its utopian projects are pursued with ruthless violence and secured with unlimited power. Its enemies exist only to be brutally ground under. Those who are not of the left have no right to exist upon the earth. They are accorded no rights, no freedoms and no respect. Only a choice between slavery and death.

That is why the left wins its victories and then covers the land in blood. Its societies collapse into misery and repression. This was where the American Revolution differed so fundamentally from the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution. We celebrate that difference on the Fourth of July. It is also where the Civil War differed from so many other civil wars not in its battles, but in its aftermath. That is the great moral victory that we remember on Memorial Day. A mutual victory of national reunification.

The Civil War saved the Union. But the mutual respect of Decoration Day preserved it. If the Union is to survive, the Democrats must learn to respect those they have come to consider their enemies. History teaches us that mutual respect can either avert a civil war. Or it must be learned after a civil war.

This Memorial Day, let us hope that it will not take another civil war for respect to prevail.

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CJR: I recently came across a very good explanation of the postmodernism ideology that has led to our current political climate by Dr. Jordan Peterson. This is a must watch:

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Here is the audio of the book he refers to: (h/t Vlad Tepes)

How to stop homegrown terrorists before they strike

Salman Abedi

New York Post, by Paul Sperry, May 27, 2017:

Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi was on the radar of British authorities as a Muslim extremist, but they failed to stop him before he massacred girls at a pop concert. It’s a recurring problem on both sides of the pond. US authorities also keep missing “known wolves” who were under suspicion before they attacked.

This was true of the Chelsea bomber and the Orlando nightclub shooter and one of the Boston bombers before him. Cases were opened and then, tragically, closed.

In fact, according to terrorism analyst Patrick Poole, at least 12 of the 14 Islamic terrorists who carried out attacks in the US during the Obama years had been previously investigated on extremism fears.

But authorities say don’t blame them. They say their hands are tied by official guidelines that restrict how long they can leave a case open without convincing a court there’s evidence of a crime.

If FBI agents can’t advance a case within six months, they’re obligated to close it, though they can reopen it if they obtain new information, such as suspicious changes in a suspect’s behavior, associations and travel.

Problem is, nothing’s formally ringing alarm bells within the FBI when a suspect does something that should trigger a reopening of a case, such as overseas travel to a jihadi hotspot — and this creates dangerous gaps in the monitoring of suspects.

“The DIOG (Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide) should be revisited to address this, allowing them to set trip wires to alert them to such changes,” former assistant FBI director Ron Hosko told The Post.

Rules also limit how aggressively agents can profile Muslim suspects and infiltrate their places of worship, where many of them are radicalized. Law-enforcement officials agree that having eyes and ears inside mosques is key to taking down jihadists before they go operational.

The NYPD had great success penetrating radical mosques before Muslim groups sued and Mayor de Blasio agreed to shut down such covert operations.

The FBI even joined one successful sting involving a Newburgh mosque. Intelligence found the mosque was creating an environment for radicalization, so the FBI planted an undercover informant inside. The operation led to the arrest of four Muslim members before they could act on plans to bomb synagogues and shoot down military planes.

The key was being proactive. “If they had waited for the mosque clergy to report any suspicious behavior, the investigation would have failed and the terrorists would have been successful,” said Patrick Dunleavy, former deputy inspector general of the New York State prisons’ criminal intelligence division, who also worked with the NYPD’s intelligence division for several years.

Officials say trusting imams to root out terrorists rarely bears fruit.

The latest example is the cleric of the Manchester mosque Abedi attended. He maintains he argued with Abedi about his extremist views, including his support of ISIS. Yet he failed to report him to police or even kick him out of his mosque.

“There is a paucity of really good sources even among the respected Muslim community leadership,” retired FBI official I.C. Smith said.

Islamic centers are a necessary target of investigation, because too many of them act as recruiting stations for jihadists, even in America, asserts former CIA officer Clare Lopez, who heads research at the Washington-based Center for Security Policy.

“Mosques here are no different than mosques in Manchester or Molenbeek [Brussels],” she said. Many “are recruitment and training centers” and virtually all share “active hostilities against the US government and US law.”

The number of mosques in the US has nearly doubled over the past decade to more than 2,100, with the heaviest concentrations in Detroit, the New York-New Jersey area, Washington, DC, and Minneapolis, roughly in that order. Areas with large numbers of mosques tend to produce more terrorism suspects. It’s no coincidence that more people from the Detroit area are on the federal terror watch list than from any other American city except New York.

Hosko called such isolated Muslim enclaves “bubbling cauldrons that are more difficult for law enforcement to penetrate.”

“They need cooperation within mosques,” he added. Only, “too many of these killers are seen by family and friends ticking, and no one acts.”

Terrorists don’t go from thought to action overnight. It’s a process, one that’s steeped in Islamic doctrine. And there are identifiable steps and signposts along the way, but authorities aren’t trained to see them, mainly because Muslim-rights groups have convinced politicians to shut down that critical training.

“The problem is our FBI, Homeland Security and local law enforcement are not trained to recognize what a jihadi is, and what a jihadi looks like and sounds like and when to go on high alert because he’s about to go operational,” Lopez said.

Abedi displayed outward signs of radicalization. He is said to have become increasingly religious and interested in jihadist groups. Neighbors say he was chanting Islamic prayers weeks before the massacre. Also, friends say he stopped smoking pot and last year grew an Islamic beard and went to his mosque more frequently to pray — just like the Boston bombers, who also became more radical as they got more religious.

“Evidence exists to demonstrate that a greater level of adherence to Islamic law correlates to a greater likelihood of violence by that individual,” former FBI Agent John Guandolo said.

“If a Sharia-adherent Muslim is under investigation and then surveilled or seen at a strip club or bar, they may be planning to commit jihad in the immediate future and need to be seized immediately,” said Guandolo, whose Understanding the Threat LLC is the only government contractor in the country training local law enforcement in how to look for such red flags. He explains jihadists believe all sins are wiped away upon martyrdom.

He advises police to use simple charges — for traffic violations, fraud and domestic abuse — to obtain warrants for suspects who appear to be preparing for jihad. Unfortunately, manpower and budget constraints also hamper efforts to defuse human bombs in the Muslim community.

The FBI says it’s actively investigating more than 1,000 ISIS-related cases in all 50 states, plus more than 300 terrorism cases tied to refugees from Muslim countries.

“Let’s say you have 10 suspects in a small city that need to be watched. To watch them effectively, you have to monitor their social media and credit-card transactions in real time — 24/7/365 — and that requires three people working three shifts,” a US intelligence official told The Post. “The manpower demand adds up fast, and that’s expensive.”

Sperry is a former Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.” Follow him on Twitter: @paulsperry_

Another Misguided Response to the Manchester Attack from Ariana Grande

Terror Trends Bulletin, by Christopher W. Holton, May 28, 2017:

This week, pop singer Ariana Grande vowed to return to Manchester in the wake of the deadly Jihadist attack that killed 22 innocent victims, many of them teen age girls.

Grande posted a letter on Twitter with a message to her fans. While the letter may have been heartfelt, its message demonstrates how so many among us are clueless as to the threat from Islamic jihad. Here are some quotes from the letter, with our commentary after each quote.

“We will never be able to understand why events like this take place…”

Actually, it isn’t difficult to understand at all. Jihadists routinely justify their actions with Islamic scripture. As Bill Warner, PhD of the Center for the Study of Political Islam pointed out not long after the Manchester attack, there is a particular passage from Islamic doctrine that Jihadists use to justify killing civilians, especially women and children. It comes from the foremost Hadith authority in Islam, Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Hadith 256 (the Hadith are sayings, stories and traditions from the life of the Prophet Mohammed):

The Prophet… was asked whether it was permissible to attack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet replied, “They (i.e. women and children) are from them (i.e. pagans).

In this command, Mohammad established that it is permissible to kill non-combatants in the process of killing a perceived enemy. This has repeatedly provided justification for many Islamic terror attacks.

We may find this hard to accept, but we certainly must come to terms with it and understand what motivates Jihadists.

“We won’t let this divide us. We won’t let hate win.”

This is certainly an admirable sentiment. It’s also symptomatic of a misunderstanding of the nature of our enemy in this war.

In the terrorism of the 1970s and 1980s, carried out by political groups such as the Red Brigades, the Weather Underground, the Baader-Meinhoff gang, the Japanese Red Army, the Irish Republican Army and even the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, there was a mantra: “Kill 10 to scare 10 million.”

The terror attacks of that era had a different aim and a different nature. They were literally meant to terrorize. Each of the groups named above had a specific goal in mind. They were evil and demented to be sure, but they weren’t looking to subjugate the entire world. So, the proper response in those days was to “not let them win” by changing our way of life. The terrorists of the 70s and 80s lived to terrorize, so by not acting scared, we could deny them victory.

Islamic jihad is completely different. It is not meant merely to terrorize us. It is meant to ultimately subjugate us to Islamic rule under a caliphate operated according to the Sharia. Every Jihadist organization has this as its identical goal: the formation of an Islamic State ruled by Sharia.

They don’t just want to scare us. They want to kill enough of us and surround us with enough of them, to achieve victory over us. They aren’t looking just for publicity to spread terror. They want to kill enough of us to make us quit fighting, not just to make us frightened.

This is true apocalyptic terrorism and it represents an existential threat to Western civilization. If you don’t believe that, I suggest you take a much closer look at conditions in Western Europe today and then think back to how life was just 30 years ago in Western Europe. It’s not the same place. Not even close. What will Western Europe look like 30 years from now?

And they couple their military campaign of violent Jihad with a political, cultural, economic and legal campaign of civilizational Jihad. This is a vital point to understand. So, when we say we won’t let “hate” win, we are wide of the mark. This isn’t about mere hate. The enemy loves what they are doing. It is their devotion to their love of Allah and the prophet Mohammed that drives them. We can certainly consider it hate, but that doesn’t bring us to a better understanding of the enemy.

“Hate” isn’t trying to win. Islamic jihadists like the Abedi family are trying to win. Instead of saying “we won’t let hate win,” Grande would have been much more helpful and correct if she had said, “we won’t let the Jihadis win.”

We can’t be sure of what Grande means when she says, “We won’t let this divide us.”

Divide who? The victims themselves? The victims from the perpetrators? The host society from the alien culture that has invaded, chosen not to assimilate and become an incubator for an internal, existential, deadly threat in the form of Islamic jihad?

I’d say the enemy has already drawn the dividing line. How can that not be completely obvious already? How many deadly attacks do we have to endure before our pop culture-dominated society in the West wakes up to reality?

“Our response to this violence must be to come closer together, to help each other, to love more, to sing louder, and to live more kindly and generously than we did before.”

Again, these are certainly admirable sentiments that shouldn’t ever be opposed. We should all endeavor to live our lives this way. In the Judeo-Christian West, these are the kinds of values that we have been taught and must always strive to achieve.

But they cannot be our only response to “this violence.” The enemy is on a mission. There is a reason why he chose to attack a music concert attended largely by young girls. The enemy wanted to show us that there are no lengths to which he won’t go to fight and kill us. He wanted to show us that we are powerless to defend our most innocent and precious. They attacked that concert because they have disdain for us. It was a form of lethal ridicule. They want us to continue to hold and attend such concerts. And we can be sure they will seek to attack those events.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t hold concerts and celebrations. But those concerts and celebrations do not represent, even in a small way, defiance in the face of evil. More concerts will not phase the Jihadists in the slightest.

No, we need a real response to these attacks–and it starts with the realization that we are in a war, a war that most of us in the West deny even exists.

So, by all means let’s love and sing and come closer together, but let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that is the path to victory over the dark forces of Jihad spread now around the globe. Moreover, make no mistake: victory is essential in this fight, even if victory just means denying victory to the Jihadists.

“Music is something that everyone on Earth can share. Music is meant to heal us, to bring us together, to make us happy.”

All this is well and good, but excuse me if I point out that our Jihadist enemies don’t feel the same way about music, particularly Western music (and by Western I don’t mean Marty Robbins ballads). This presents us with a  teaching moment. In areas where the Jihadists have achieved their goal of forming an Islamic state, it is customary that music and art are often banished. We saw that when the Ayatollahs seized power in Iran. We saw that when the Taliban took control for a brief time in Afghanistan. When the Islamic State seized significant territory in Iraq and Syria, music and forms of artistic expression were banned and destroyed.

As a female, try driving a car down the street in Saudi Arabia with the windows rolled down with your stereo blaring the latest Ariana Grande tune.

Music doesn’t heal our enemy. It doesn’t bring him closer to us and it doesn’t make him happy. We need to start to understand a mindset, ideology and religious doctrine that is as alien to us in the West as anything from another solar system. Especially since that mindset, ideology and doctrine have as a goal subjecting us, or else…

“We will continue in honor of the ones we lost, their loved ones, my fans and all affected by this tragedy” (Emphasis added)

The attack on the concert goers in Manchester was NOT a “tragedy.” To say so is to dishonor the memory of those lost. A tragedy is an unavoidable event, such as an act of nature or an accident. A tragedy is a tornado or earthquake or tsunami. A tragedy is when a truck driver has a heart attack and careens into oncoming traffic, resulting in death and destruction.

A tragedy is not when a Jihadi steals a truck and purposely runs down innocent victims at a celebration or market.

And what happened in Manchester was not a tragedy.

It was an atrocity. It was an act of war. We better come to terms as a society with the fact that we are at war and, as people, demand that our leaders recognize that fact. We need to quit waiting on our so-called leaders to come around to the reality that we already know. We are at war. The enemy knows it and has about a 20-year head start on us.

Statements like this one from Ariana Grande aren’t helpful toward that end.

No, Efforts To Designate The Muslim Brotherhood Aren’t Abandoned

A diverse range of voices favors Washington putting the squeeze on the Muslim Brotherhood, despite debates about to how to move forward effectively.

The Federalist, by Kyle Shideler, May 15, 2017:

If we are to believe media reports, the Trump administration has all but abandoned efforts to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. While Brookings scholar Shadi Hamid trumpeted that “American experts who study the Muslim Brotherhood unanimously oppose their designation,” a wide range of opinion on the Islamist group remains, both inside and outside the Beltway.

In fact, a diverse range of voices favors Washington puting the squeeze on the Muslim Brotherhood, even if there are debates about to how to move forward in the most effective manner. Former Ambassador Dennis Ross, co-author of a leading work on the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch, the terrorist group Hamas, recently wrote a stinging article targeting the tiny gulf state of Qatar for its role in financing the group. Ross notes,

Few countries have done more to promote the Muslim Brotherhood, including its Palestinian offshoot Hamas, than Qatar. The actions of the Muslim Brotherhood may vary from country to country, but it rationalizes attacks against American forces and interests, rejects the very concept of peace with Israel, and promotes religious intolerance.

Just so. While Ross doesn’t explicitly call for designating the group as a terrorist organization, he does poke holes in the view—prevalent during the Obama administration—that the Brotherhood represents a bulwark against Islamic terrorism rather than a network of support for it. That flawed approach has been the basis for much of the immense bureaucratic opposition from both the Central Intelligence Agency and State Department to designating the Brotherhood.

We’re Already Halfway There

Soon after Trump’s victory late last year, State Department and CIA memos opposing designation were leaked to sympathetic media, and fed into a fierce public relations campaign the Brotherhood funded abroad. An echo chamber of validators amplified these efforts, using self-proclaimed Islamist and counterterror experts whose think tanks receive lavish funding from Gulf States like Qatar.

Yet designating the Brotherhood enjoys a base of broad support among Republicans, from conservatives like Sen. Ted Cruz to traditional centrists likes Utah’s Sen. Orrin Hatch, and even a handful of Democrats. Some foreign governments have also supported a designation, including the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Indeed, elements of the Muslim Brotherhood have already been designated. The effort began in 1993, when President Bill Clinton designated its Palestinian branch—better known as Hamas—as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Then, almost immediately following 9/11, U.S. counterterrorism efforts against the Muslim Brotherhood began in earnest. By the end of President Bush’s second term, numerous Brotherhood charities and organizations, both foreign and domestic, had been designated, and others criminally prosecuted for terrorism activity.

Additionally, a number of Brotherhood leaders were personally designated, including Yemeni Brotherhood leader Abdul Majeed Al-Zindani and one of the leaders of the International Muslim Brotherhood organization, Youssef Nada. Most of these designations took place without invoking the Brotherhood’s name, but they were still intentional blows to the group’s terror support network. While the Obama administration reversed some of these designations, others remain.

What the Trump Administration Should Do

Any effective policy to combat the Muslim Brotherhood would involve freeing the Treasury Department to once against begin designating and sanctioning the Muslim Brothers and their various front organizations and branches for terrorism finance and their other illegal activities.

This step can be taken as soon as key nominees are confirmed, a process that Democratic Senators have unfortunately slowed to a crawl. Just this week, Sen. Ron Wyden announced he would block the nomination of Sigal Mandelker to be undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence.

In addition to Treasury enforcement action, knowledgeable federal law enforcement officers within the government recognize the nature and threat of the Muslim Brotherhood. These officers investigated Muslim Brotherhood-related cases during the Bush administration, and they understand the role the Muslim Brotherhood plays in terrorism and terror finance.

This includes agents who have dedicated nearly a lifetime of federal service to investigating the Brotherhood’s terror connections. Unfortunately, the Obama administration broke up the taskforce that won key counterterrorism convictions against Brotherhood leaders, meaning some of America’s best experts on the Muslim Brotherhood have been relegated to other tasks. Restoring this taskforce for federal law enforcement is a necessary step, and could be accomplished by the Trump Department of Justice with a modicum of effort.

Perhaps most importantly, the public debate around designating the Muslim Brotherhood deserves transparency. A tranche of Brotherhood documents federal law enforcement captured, while reportedly not classified, have not been made available to the general public. They should be released immediately.

Additionally, the nature of the U.S. government’s policy towards Islamist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood over the past decade deserves clarification. Presidential Study Directive-11, which reportedly deals with U.S. policy towards Islamist movements in the Middle East, and its associated documents should be declassified and made available for examination. Former House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Pete Hokstra made this argument at a hearing in September last year.

As with the documents taken during the raid on Abbottabad when Osama bin Laden was killed, and the so-called “side deals” of the Iran deal, these documents also deserve to see light of day so a reasoned debate can begin over how the U.S. government should best respond to the threat the Muslim Brotherhood poses. These are all actions the Trump administration can begin immediately.

Finally, a role for Congress remains in this debate. Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and Cruz, legislation on designation remains before both the House and Senate. Hearings on the Muslim Brotherhood, its role in supporting terrorism, and U.S. policy towards the group are all not only appropriate, but well overdue as a companion to White House efforts.

It’s inaccurate to say no support exists for designating the Muslim Brotherhood, but it is fair to say the window for a successful effort is closing fast. If the Trump administration intends to keep this important part of their broader platform to make America safe again, they need to move swiftly.

Kyle Shideler is the director of the Threat Information Office at the Center for Security Policy. Kyle has worked for several organizations involved with Middle East and terrorism policy since 2006. He is a contributing author to “Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Terrorist Network: America and the West’s Fatal Embrace,” and has written for numerous publications and briefed legislative aides, intelligence, and law enforcement officials and the general public on national security issues.

Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Global Affiliates: New U.S. Administration Considers New Policies

Foundation for Defense of Democracies, May 23, 2017:

  • Clifford D. May, Founder and President, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
  • Robert Gates, former Secretary of Defense (2006-2011)
  • Moderator: Jenna Lee, Anchor at Fox News Channel

Video | Transcript | Photos 

The Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar, and the Tools Congress Can Use to Combat Illicit Activities

  • Rep. Ed Royce (R), Chairman, House Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Moderator: Mark Dubowitz, CEO, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Video | Transcript | Photos

The Muslim Brotherhood: Examining the Sum of its Parts

  • Mokhtar Awad, Research Fellow in the Program on Extremism, The George Washington University
  • Jonathan Schanzer, Senior Vice President, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
  • Samuel Tadros, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom
  • Eric Trager, Esther K. Wagner Fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Moderator: Tom Gjelten, Correspondent, NPR News

Video | Transcript | Photos

The U.S.-Qatar Relationship: Risks and Rewards

  • Husain Haqqani, former Ambassador of Pakistan to the U.S. and Director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute
  • Mary Beth Long, Nonresident Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
  • Jake Sullivan, former national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden
  • David Andrew Weinberg, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
  • Moderator: Jenna Lee, Anchor at Fox News Channel

Video | Transcript | Photos

Closing Remarks

  • Introductions by Jonathan Ruhe, Associate Director at Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA)
  • General Charles Wald, former Deputy Commander of United States European Command
  • John Hannah, Senior Counselor, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

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Co-hosted by the Hudson Institute and The George Washington University’s Center for Cyber & Homeland Security

Mokhtar Awad is a research fellow in the Program on Extremism at The George Washington University. He specializes in Islamist and Salafist groups in the Middle East region and regional politics, with a special focus on emerging violent extremist organizations and their ideas. Prior to joining the Program on Extremism, Mr. Awad worked as a research associate at the Center for American Progress and as a junior fellow in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His writings have appeared in The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, CTC Sentinel, and Hudson’s Current Trends in Islamist Ideology.  He regularly provides commentary to news networks including Al-Hurra, Al-Arabiya, and Al-Jazeera. Print media quotations have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, among others. Mr. Awad has provided expert testimony to the U.S. Congress and UK Parliament.

Robert Gates served as the 22nd secretary of defense (2006-2011). On Secretary Gates’ last day in office, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Dr. Gates joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1966 and spent nearly 27 years as an intelligence professional. During that period, he spent nearly nine years at the National Security Council, the White House, serving four presidents of both political parties. Dr. Gates served as director of Central Intelligence from 1991 until 1993. He is the only career officer in CIA’s history to rise from entry-level employee to director. Dr. Gates has been awarded the National Security Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, has three times received the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, and has three times received CIA’s highest award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal.

Tom Gjelten covers issues of religion, faith, and belief for NPR News, a beat that encompasses such areas as the changing religious landscape in America, the formation of personal identity, the role of religion in politics, and social and cultural conflict arising from religious differences. His reporting draws on his many years covering national and international news from posts in Washington and around the world. In 1986, Mr. Gjelten became one of NPR‘s pioneer foreign correspondents, posted first in Latin America and then in Central Europe. He covered the wars in Central America, social and political strife in South America, the first Gulf War, the wars in the former Yugoslavia, and the transitions to democracy in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. After returning from his overseas assignments, Mr. Gjelten covered U.S. diplomacy and military affairs, first from the State Department and then from the Pentagon. He was reporting live from the Pentagon at the moment it was hit on September 11, 2001, and he was NPR‘s lead Pentagon reporter during the early war in Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq.

John Hannah is Senior Counselor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where he brings two decades of experience at the highest levels of U.S. foreign policy. During the first term of President George W. Bush, he was Vice President Dick Cheney’s deputy national security advisor for the Middle East, where he was intimately involved in U.S. policy toward Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, the peace process, and the global war on terrorism. In President Bush’s second term, Mr. Hannah was elevated to the role of the vice president’s national security advisor. In his previous government service, Mr. Hannah worked as a senior advisor to Secretary of State Warren Christopher during the Bill Clinton administration and as a senior member of Secretary of State James Baker’s Policy Planning Staff during the presidency of George H. W. Bush. Outside of government, Mr. Hannah has served as deputy director and senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He has also practiced law, specializing in international dispute resolution.

Amb. Husain Haqqani is senior fellow and director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute. Amb. Haqqani served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States from 2008-2011 and is widely credited with managing a difficult partnership during a critical phase in the global war on terrorism. His distinguished career in government includes serving as an advisor to four Pakistani Prime ministers. He also served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka in 1992-93. Considered an expert on radical Islamist movements, Amb. Haqqani, along with Hillel Fradkin and Eric Brown, is co-editor of Hudson’s signature journal Current Trends in Islamist Ideology. Amb. Haqqani was formerly Director of the Center of International Relations, and a Professor of the Practice of International Relations at Boston University. His specializations include: Diplomacy, Muslim Political Movements, International Journalism, Intercultural Relations, South Asia, Central Asia, South-East Asia, the Middle-East, and U.S.-Pakistan Relations.

Jenna Lee currently serves as a New York-based anchor on Fox News Channel’s (FNC) Happening Now, alongside Jon Scott. Ms. Lee joined the network in 2007 as a reporter for the Fox Business Network (FBN) and transitioned to FNC in 2010. At FNC, she has provided live coverage of the violent protests in Cairo, Egypt following the removal of President Mohamed Morsi, and has contributed to coverage of major stories, including the Boston Marathon bombing and the death of Osama bin Laden. During her tenure at FBN, Ms. Lee co-hosted both Fox Business Morning and FoxBusiness.com Live Morning Edition. Additionally, she served as anchor for the FBN simulcast of Imus in the Morning while also providing business news updates throughout the day for both FBN and FNC.

Hon. Mary Beth Long is co-founder and principal of Global Alliance Advisors and founder of M B Long & Associates, PLLC, an international legal and advisory firm. She is also currently a nonresident senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. From 2007-2009, Ms. Long served as the first woman confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and as Chair of NATO’s High Level Group, responsible for NATO’s nuclear policy. In her defense department roles, she also acted as Principal Deputy Secretary of Defense on the Middle East, Africa, the Western Hemisphere, Asia, and Southeast Asia; and was the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Counter Narcoterrorism with a budget of over $1 billion. To those credentials, she adds more than a decade of Central Intelligence Agency operational experience (1986–99) on terrorism and other security issues.

Michael Makovsky is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA). A U.S. national security expert, he has worked extensively on Iran’s nuclear program, the Middle East, and the intersection of international energy markets and politics with U.S. national security. In 2006-2013, Dr. Makovsky was the Foreign Policy Director for the Bipartisan Policy Center. In 2002-6, he served as special assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Previously, Dr. Makovsky worked as a senior energy market analyst for various investment firms. He is author of Churchill’s Promised Land (Yale University Press), a diplomatic-intellectual history of Winston Churchill’s complex relationship with Zionism. Makovsky has a Ph.D. in diplomatic history from Harvard University, an MBA in finance from Columbia Business School, and a B.A. in history from the University of Chicago.

Clifford D. May is the Founder and President of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. In August 2016, he was appointed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). He has had a long and distinguished career in international relations, journalism, communications and politics. A veteran foreign correspondent and editor (at The New York Times and other publications), he has covered stories around the world, including from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Turkey, Sudan, Ethiopia, China, Northern Ireland, Nigeria, Mexico and Russia.

U.S. Representative Ed Royce serves California’s 39th Congressional District. For the 115th Congress, Rep. Royce serves as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, a position he has held since January 2013. He is one of our nation’s premier representatives to foreign governments around the world, and is a strong advocate of a foreign policy that keeps the American homeland safe. Immediately prior to becoming Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Royce served as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade and a member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. As a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, he sits on two Subcommittees: Housing and Insurance, and Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.

Jonathan Schanzer is Senior Vice President at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). Dr. Schanzer is part of the leadership team of FDD’s Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance, which provides policy and subject matter expertise on the use of financial and economic power to the global policy community. Previously, Dr. Schanzer worked as a terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where he played an integral role in the designation of numerous terrorist financiers. A former research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Dr. Schanzer has studied Middle East history in four countries. He has testified before Congress and publishes widely in the American and international media.

Jake Sullivan is a Martin R. Flug Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School. He served in the Obama administration as national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden and Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. Department of State, as well as deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He was the Senior Policy Adviser on Secretary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.  Previously, he served as deputy policy director on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential primary campaign, and a member of the debate preparation team for Barack Obama’s general election campaign. Mr. Sullivan also previously served as a senior policy adviser and chief counsel to Senator Amy Klobuchar from his home state of Minnesota, worked as an associate for Faegre & Benson LLP, and taught at the University of St. Thomas Law School. He clerked for Judge Stephen Breyer of the Supreme Court of the United States and Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Samuel Tadros is a Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom. At Hudson, he is researching the rise of Islamist movements in the Middle East and its implications on religious freedom and regional politics. Prior to joining Hudson in 2011, Mr. Tadros was a Senior Partner at the Egyptian Union of Liberal Youth, an organization that aims to spread the ideas of classical liberalism in Egypt. Mr. Tadros has previously interned at the American Enterprise Institute, where he worked on the Muslim Brotherhood and worked as a consultant for the Hudson Institute on Moderate Islamic Thinkers, and most recently the Heritage Foundation on Religious Freedom in Egypt. In 2007 he was chosen by the State Department in its first Leaders for Democracy Fellowship Program in collaboration with Syracuse University’s Maxwell School.

Eric Trager, the Esther K. Wagner Fellow at The Washington Institute, is an expert on Egyptian politics and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. He was in Egypt during the 2011 anti-Mubarak revolts and returns frequently to conduct firsthand interviews with leaders in Egypt’s government, military, political parties, media, and civil society. His writings have appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, the Atlantic, and the New Republic. Mr. Trager is the author of Arab Fall: How the Muslim Brotherhood Won and Lost Egypt in 891 Days (Georgetown University Press, 2016) which chronicles the precipitous rise to power of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, culminating in the election of President Mohamed Morsi in 2012, and its sudden demise just a year later. The book also assesses the current state of Egyptian politics and the prospects for a reemergence of the Brotherhood.

General Charles F. Wald is the former Deputy Commander of United States European Command, responsible for all U.S. forces operating across 91 countries in Europe, Africa, Russia, parts of Asia and the Middle East, and most of the Atlantic Ocean. He also served as Commander, 9th Air Force and U.S. Central Command Air Forces, Chief of the United States Air Force Combat Terrorism Center, support group commander, operations group commander, and special assistant to the Chief of Staff for National Defense Review. He was also the Director of Strategic Planning and Policy at Headquarters United States Air Force, and served on the Joint Staff as the Vice Director for Strategic Plans and Policy. Prior to retiring as a command pilot, Gen. Wald logged more than 3,600 flying hours, including more than 430 combat hours over Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Iraq and Bosnia. He is currently Distinguished Fellow at JINSA’s Gemunder Center for Defense and Strategy.

Dr. David Andrew Weinberg is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where he covers the six Gulf monarchies (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman). His research in this area focuses particularly on energy, terrorist finance, regional security, and human rights. A large part of his research also pertains to the Gulf states’ foreign policies toward such flashpoints as Syria and Iraq. Dr. Weinberg previously served as a Democratic Professional Staff Member at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, where he advised the chairman on Middle Eastern politics and U.S. policy toward the region. He also provided research support to staff at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff during the George W. Bush administration. Before coming to FDD, Dr. Weinberg was a Visiting Fellow at UCLA’s Center for Middle East Development.

Also see:

Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad documents that were seized by US forces during the attack on his residence in Pakistan, revealed Qatar’s relations with al-Qaeda. (AP)

  • What Bin Laden documents reveal about his relations with Qatar – The US administration has decided to speak out about Qatar’s relations with terrorism in the Middle East as the White House’s new administration tries to calm the situation and control the growing terrorism on the international level.

    During his visit to the Middle East, US Defense Secretary James Mattis, warned Qatari officials about their country’s continued support to the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Islamic movements that are linked to extremist organizations such as al-Qaeda and ISIS.

    Qatar has been accused, more than once, of financing terrorist groups or turning a blind eye to the Qatari financiers such as Salim Hassan Khalifa Rashid al-Kuwari, who works at the Qatari Interior Ministry. He is accused of “transferring hundreds of thousands of dollars to al-Qaeda through a terrorist network”. Kuwari was part of the US list of persons who are accused of officially financing terrorism in 2011.

  • Egypt Bans 21 Websites for ‘Supporting Terrorism and Publishing Lies’ – Among the sites blocked was the main website of Qatar-based Al-Jazeera, which has also been blocked by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.