Former New York Times Reporter Declares Thou Shalt Not Criticize Obama’s Iran Deal

3337073081Center for Security Policy, by Fred  Fleitz, October 26, 2016:

In an October 23 Washington Post book review, former New York Times reporter Elaine Sciolino is sharply critical of a new book on Iran by Wall Street Journal writer Jay Solomon, The Iran Wars, because he criticizes the July 2015 nuclear deal with Iran (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) instead of devoting his book to praising the deal as a magnificent achievement as all good reporters are expected to do. Sciolino accuses Solomon of having a “dark perspective” on the nuclear deal and claims “those who hope to sabotage the nuclear agreement under a new administration will find this book useful.”

Sciolino’s attack on Solomon’s book is strange because The Iran Wars is about much more than the nuclear deal and contains strong (and mostly unfair) criticism of the George W. Bush administration’s approach to Iran and the Iraq War. On the Iran deal, while Solomon is tough and factual, he often pulls his punches and leaves out some of the strongest criticisms.

For some reason Sciolino ignored Solomon’s dubious claims that the Bush administration invaded Iraq to weaken Iran and that Bush officials missed an historic opportunity for U.S.–Iran cooperation after the 9/11 attacks. She also omits Solomon’s credible account of how Iran and Syria exploited the aftermath of the Iraq War. As a card-carrying member of the foreign-policy establishment, one would think that Sciolino would jump to praise Solomon for making these points.

Instead, Sciolino devotes her entire article to attacking Solomon and his book. Her strongest criticism is that Solomon didn’t interview enough people, especially Iranians.

Sciolino sniffs that Solomon apparently only made one visit to Iran and that his book has a “paucity of official Iranian voices.” This is a ridiculous argument given how dangerous it is for American citizens to travel to Iran and the 2015 arrest of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian who was held in an Iranian prison for 18 months before he was freed in January 2016.

Sciolino argues “other foreign voices might have enriched [Solomon’s] narrative” because the nuclear talks were such a long and complex international endeavor. In this vein she faults Solomon for reporting that Secretary Kerry’s negotiating team belittled the French for “insubordination during the nuclear talks” instead of explaining what she claims was France’s role in building the foundation for the nuclear deal through the 2003 France-Germany-U.K. EU-3 initiative.

It’s amusing that Sciolino mentioned France and the EU-3 talks since Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s current president and chief Iranian nuclear negotiator in 2003, has admitted that Iran used these failed talks to buy time to expand its nuclear program and to conceal information about this program from the IAEA.

I have no doubt Sciolino complained about Solomon’s supposed lack of interviews to maintain the fiction that the JCPOA is legitimately a multilateral agreement when it is in fact, as Solomon details, a U.S.-Iran deal negotiated almost exclusively by American and Iranian negotiators. Other nations signed on as window dressing.

Sciolino also seems to prefer a book composed of quotes by apologists for the JCPOA rather than one that gives the facts about how the agreement was negotiated, what’s actually in the deal and its troubling and dangerous aftermath.  Sciolino probably believes that if Solomon had been spun more by U.S. and international diplomats, he would have written a book that hewed to the White House’s misleading narrative about the JCPOA instead of reporting on how the Obama administration repeatedly gave in to Iranian demands to get this very weak agreement.

As someone who also has written a recent book on the Iran nuclear deal, Obamabomb: A Dangerous and Growing National Security Fraud (now in its second edition), I had different problems with Solomon’s book.

First, I thought Solomon gave administration accounts too much credibility in light of widespread criticism (which he does not mention) of Obama officials repeatedly misleading and lying to Congress and the American people about the nuclear negotiations and the final deal.

Sciolino should have been pleased that Solomon does not mention New York Times reporter David Samuels’ May 5, 2016 profile of National Security Council advisor Ben Rhodes in which he reported that Rhodes oversaw a White House “echo chamber” to manipulate the news media by generating false narratives to promote the Iran deal which it distributed to know-nothing reporters.  Instead, Solomon innocuously refers to the echo chamber as the White House “anti-war room” which Solomon says Obama officials used mobilize a campaign to defend the JCPOA.

Solomon also does not cite any of the strong congressional critics of the JCPOA. He depicts congressional opposition as Republican when it was in fact bipartisan and included the top Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It was Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, for example, who made what may be the damning criticism of the nuclear deal when he said “If Iran is to acquire a nuclear bomb, it will not have my name on it.”  Unfortunately, this quote does not appear in Iran Wars.

However, I give Solomon credit for reporting that the White House tried to typecast all opponents of the JCPOA as warmongers and that Jewish leaders worried that the White House’s campaign defending the JCPOA “was taking on a not-so-subtle anti-Semitic tone with its references to moneyed lobbyists and their ties to Prime Minister Netanyahu.”

Sciolino should have been heartened that the words “secret side deals” appear nowhere in Solomon’s book. He makes no mention of how Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and Congressman Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) accidently learned from IAEA officials about secret side deals to the JCPOA allowing Iran to inspect itself for evidence of past nuclear weapons-related work.  He also omits how the secret side deal issue intensified opposition to the JCPOA because the Obama administration refused to turn over secret side deal documents to Congress for a congressional review as required by law.

Solomon does make a brief reference to Associated Press reporter George Jahn writing about a leaked IAEA document on Iranian “self-inspections” and how Obama administration supporters tried to discredit this story by accusing Jahn of being an Israeli agent and the document being a forgery.

Solomon also disclosed how the Obama administration punished other journalists who wrote articles critical of the nuclear talks. Solomon says he was kicked off Secretary Kerry’s airplane for violating a “zone of silence” rule which barred journalists on Kerry’s plane from asking uncomfortable questions about U.S.–France differences in the nuclear talks. He said that New York Times reporter David Sangar was subjected to a coordinated White House–State Department Twitter assault after Sangar reported Iran might not have the technical capabilities to dispose of its nuclear stockpile as required by the JCPOA.

Solomon emailed me that his book had a July 2016 data cutoff which is why other secret JCPOA side deals that were withheld from Congress (several of which Solomon was the first to report on for the Wall Street Journal) are not mentioned in Iran Wars. These include the planeloads of $1.7 billion in cash flown to Iran in January 2016 as an apparent ransom payment to win the release of U.S. prisoners; exemptions granted to Iran on failing to meet several requirements of the nuclear deal so it would receive $150 billion in sanctions relief last January; and the lifting of UN sanctions on two Iranian banks that have financed Iran’s ballistic missile program.

While Solomon does not go as far as I would prefer in discussing the JCPOA’s enormous flaws and how it has worsened international security, he makes many important points. He notes that it will be difficult to verify this agreement since the Obama administration agreed to drop a longtime demand by the IAEA and the West that Iran answer questions about its past nuclear weapons-related work.  Solomon says the so-called snap-back provision which is supposed to re-impose sanctions in the event of Iranian cheating is unlikely to ever be used.  Solomon correctly portrays the decision to separate Iran’s missile program from the nuclear deal as a huge and dangerous U.S. concession.  Solomon also describes the significance of other huge concessions made by the Obama administration and how Arab states were “stunned” by the terms of the agreement.

Concerning the aftermath of the JCPOA, Solomon gets it half right. Sciolino should be pleased that Solomon agrees with her when he said Iran appears to be complying with the agreement and that the administration’s claim that it will take Iran a year to construct a nuclear bomb appears to be accurate.

There is strong evidence to the contrary, although not all of it was available before Solomon’s July 2016 data cutoff date. I explained much of this evidence in a July 14, 2016 NRO article, including how Iran has placed military facilities off-limits to IAEA inspectors, and is permitted to continue to enrich uranium and develop advanced centrifuges under the deal. I also discussed reports by German intelligence and the Institute for Science and International Security of Iranian cheating on the JCPOA. I therefore believe a strong case can be made that the JCPOA has failed to meet its goal of resolving international concerns about Iran’s nuclear weapons program since the agreement leaves too many avenues for Iran to cheat, has very weak verification and there are already multiple, credible reports of Iranian cheating.

On the other hand, I agree with Solomon that Iran’s behavior has become much more belligerent and destabilizing since the JCPOA was announced, including arresting American citizens, stepped up missile tests and increased support to Syria’s Assad regime and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.  This behavior has worsened since Solomon’s book went to print due to an increase in naval incidents in the Persian Gulf between American and Iranian vessels and Houthi rebels firing anti-ship missiles at American and UAE ships.  Solomon was exactly right when he wrote, “There are also real risks that a much bigger and broader war is brewing in the region, and that the United States will inevitably be drawn in.”

In response to these criticisms of the nuclear deal’s aftermath, Sciolino accuses Solomon of “stressing the negative. Instead, she ignores reality by praising the deal for improving U.S.-Iran relations and making the Middle East and the world more secure by keeping Iran from producing a nuclear bomb over the term of the agreement.

It’s interesting that Sciolino won’t settle for Solomon concluding the JCPOA is working and his depiction of Obama administration Iran policy as generally positive but bumbling.  In Sciolino’s mind, this is a great agreement that no one should question.  This means she wants Solomon to be like other mainstream reporters and limit his writing to promoting this line and not confuse the American people with the facts about how this agreement came about, what was really agreed to and the agreement’s actual prospects.

Solomon’s book isn’t perfect but it is still an important contribution to mostly one-sided accounts of the JCPOA which roundly praising it as a legacy achievement for President Obama that avoided a war with Iran.  Since problems with the nuclear agreement are likely to continue to grow due to increased Iranian cheating and belligerent behavior – especially in the Persian Gulf — expect to see more articles by foreign policy Brahmin like Sciolino to enforce the Obama administration’s false narrative about the JCPOA against books like Jay Solomon’s that discuss inconvenient facts about the Iran nuclear agreement that the administration and its supporters do not want the American people to know.

Sen. Rubio: Iran Deal an “Unfolding Disaster”


The Senator blasts ‘outrageous, illegal’ actions by the Obama administration.

CounterJihad, October 19, 2016:

It is not every day that you see a sitting Senator accuse the President of the United States of having broken the law.  Senator Marco Rubio of Florida did so in a recent piece published by CNN.  Oddly enough, the accusations of lawlessness take a back seat to the charge that the President’s lawless policy on Iran is failing to achieve its aims.

Here are the claims of lawbreaking, with which he opens:

Outrageous, potentially illegal, actions by this administration have become so commonplace that many Americans have become numb to the recent news regarding this President’s policy toward Iran.  We now know the President authorized a$1.7 billion cash ransom payment to Iran, then his administrationlied about it to Congress….  This endangers every American overseas by incentivizing kidnappers and encouraging hostage-takers, and since Iran’s release of five US hostages in January, multiple American citizens have been thrown into Iranian jail cells. Providing cash to Iran has also allowed the mullahs to circumvent the international financial system as they shuttle much-needed resources to their terrorist proxies in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.

We recently learned President Obama dismantled a key part of the ballistic missile sanctions against Iran eight years early…. Once again, the White House lied to the American people about its concessions to the Iranian regime.

Senator Rubio in fact understates the case.  This is in keeping with his efforts to position himself as a responsible Republican, one acceptable to the press.  Rubio has recently rebuked Presidential candidate Donald Trump for claiming that the US election is rigged, and has likewise claimed that it is irresponsible to talk about the leaks provided by Wikileaks because they might be a Russian information warfare effort.  Both of these are very popular positions among the media, and are in fact the positions of the Clinton campaign as well as the Democratic leadership.  Asserting them allows Rubio to appear to be a bipartisan, centrist figure.

This makes all the more surprising his charge that the President is breaking the law, though it does help to explain why he has presented the case far more gently than he might have done.  Take the so-called “side deals” with Iran.  The administration classified those deals, which prevented public discussion of them.  Yet they were not classified from Iran, which of course knew what the deals contained because they were a party to them.  US law does not permit classification of information to avoid political embarrassment.  It appears that the administration violated the law even in negotiating the deal, then, in order to prevent a public debate on the wisdom of its side deals.

The administration also violated the law in not providing those deals to Congress.  The law governing the negotiations required a mandatory handover of all information, including side agreements, so that Congress could consider the deal and vote on whether to approve it.  (In the event, Congress never did vote to approve the deal:  the vote was filibustered by the President’s partisans in Congress).

As for lying to Congress, the administration certainly did that, as the French confirmed.

Rubio is also right about the “giant pallets of cash,” which certainly did land in the hands of America’s worst enemies in Iran:  the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Iran’s terror-supporting shadow army.  It certainly was a hostage payment, just as the Senator suggests.  And it has indeed provoked a wave of new arrests of Americans and those with American ties, a kind of hostage taking under color of law.  All of these charges are perfectly true.

Yet Rubio’s real criticism is that all of this lawbreaking and all of these lies by the administration have failed to achieve any of the goods that the deal was supposed to achieve.

Iran has continued to develop ballistic missiles….  Earlier this year, Iran launched two missiles, one inscribed with “Israel must be wiped out” in Hebrew…. Iran has also maintained its support of Hezbollah, a terrorist organization that has destabilized the government in Lebanon and is working with Russia and Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.
A senior Iranian official has also stated that Tehran has been providing intelligence to Russia for military targeting, helping Moscow support Assad and his slaughter of innocent Syrians….
In Yemen, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels continue to prolong a conflict that has no end in sight…. In recent days, the Houthis fired missiles at US Navy ships on multiple occasions. However, even as American sailors are attacked by an Iranian proxy, potentially using Iranian-provided weapons, the administration pretends none of this is happening, and is reluctant to condemn Iran publicly.

There, too, he is correct.  It should be shocking that Iran was allowed to buy advanced S-300 missiles from Russia as a consequence of this deal.  These missiles can defeat almost all American, and all Israeli, aircraft that might be used against Iran’s nuclear sites.  How much more shocking, then, that Iran installed those S-300s around one of the very sites the deal was supposed to render harmless.  Could there be a clearer sign of their intent to continue to use that site for weapons development?

Iran’s Supreme Leader has told his people that only a traitor or a fool thinks Iran’s future lies in diplomacy instead of in missiles.  How much of that vast cash ransom went to supply those who are even now firing Iranian-made cruise missiles at US warships at sea?

The administration has indeed been lawless, and it has been foolish.  It is good to see a Senator pointing it out.  But what will the Senate do to hold the administration accountable?  What will it do to reverse this foolish course?

Obama rolls dice on foreign policy in secretive presidential directive

obama3IPT, by Pete Hoekstra
Washington Examiner
October 3, 2016

The once-fledgling Islamic State would never evolve from its “junior varsity” status to the Islamic terrorist hegemon that it is today without the wisdom, guidance, and support of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, a highly secretive classified document reveals.

The Islamic State currently features 43 affiliates in 20 countries and continues to control Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq. When Obama assumed office, ISIS attracted roughly 1,000 fighters and was referred to as al Qaida in Iraq, or the Islamic State of Iraq, as it was contained to one country.

Obama and Clinton in 2010 then outlined their new and untested approach to Middle East policy in the document titled Presidential Study Directive-11. In an op-ed dated March 6, 2011, David Ignatius with The Washington Post helpfully delves into PSD-11. He writes, “This is the president as global community organizer — a man who believes that change is inevitable and desirable, and that the United States must align itself with the new forces shaping the world.”

Obama then announced America’s new policy during a global apology tour that U.S. protocol in the Middle East and with the Muslim world would change dramatically.

The United Arab Emirates-based publication, Middle East Briefing, in an analysis of Freedom of Information Act documents and other sources, found that under PSD-11 the State Department would lead an effort to build “civil society” — particularly nongovernmental — organizations to alter the internal politics of targeted countries.

Under PSD-11, the Obama administration deliberately pivoted from a strategy that focused on maintaining stability in the Middle East to a strategy emphasizing U.S. support for regime change — regardless of the impact it might have on the region’s stability. That is why we have gone from a general state of stability in the region in 2009 to the Middle East chaos we have now. Officials did not concern themselves with questions over whether new regimes would be allies or foes of the U.S. – or U.S. intelligence agency warnings about the jihadist chaos such regime change might unleash. They chose to believe the few rosy sunglass analyses.

Ignatius referred to intelligence analysts who said at the time, “…Islamic extremists don’t seem to be hijacking the process of change.” He quotes one intelligence analyst who discounted the threat from the Muslim Brotherhood. The West had previously ostracized the movement over its violent tendencies.

Individuals who reviewed documents released under FOIA concluded that State believed “that the Muslim Brotherhood was a viable movement for the U.S. to support throughout North Africa and the Middle East.” As a result, “American diplomats intensified contacts with top Muslim Brotherhood leaders and gave active U.S. support to the organization’s drive for power in key nations like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Syria…” It represented a major shift in decades long U.S. policy.

In the ensuing months, the Obama-Clinton administration then abandoned Iraq and prioritized promoting regime change in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Syria above stability in the Middle East. It engaged with the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaidaelements and other syndicates that it naively considered harmless and erroneously believed would foster democratic reforms.

Today the countries that America deserted or knocked over — Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Syria — are failed states. Tunisia remains a work in progress, and Egypt is slowly recovering from its disastrous experiment with Muslim Brotherhood leadership.

PSD-11 and the resulting decisions based upon it reshaped the Middle East substantially. Its flawed and naive analysis and the policies that sprang from it created conditions that fostered the rapid expansion of Islamist terror, specifically ISIS, and have sent the Middle East into barbaric turmoil.

The first principle enshrined in PSD-11 included Obama’s belief that this is “your revolution” which led America to abandon Iraq. Standing on the right side of history by switching sides and partnering with the Muslim Brotherhood underpinned his second major guiding principle.

The reported enshrinement of these two theoretical propositions in PSD-11 as a new national security strategy were dramatic reversals of longstanding bipartisan agreement among lawmakers.

The answer as to why ISIS gained power and influence, and why stability in the Middle East has disastrously deteriorated, does not require extensive analysis. As an official in the Obama White House indicated at the time, “It’s a roll of the dice, but it’s also a response to reality.” The Obama-Clinton administration gambled with America’s national security by embracing radical jihadists, and the world lost.

The approach as outlined by PSD-11 resulted in perhaps the greatest foreign policy catastrophe in the last 40 years. At least in Iraq the U.S. removed one of the world’s worst dictators in history, a man responsible for heinously murdering hundreds of thousands of his own people. There would be no such benefit derived from Obama and Clinton’s new strategy.

With PSD-11 the administration engaged with radical Islamists who predictably, rather than pursuing democratic reforms, took advantage of the opportunity to fundamentally transform the region and its threat environment back to the Middle Ages.

America flipped sides and the world is paying a huge price for a devastatingly naive miscalculation based upon little more than a “roll of the dice.”

It’s time to declassify and release PSD-11.

Glick: From Yemen to Turtle Bay


Iran’s game is clear enough. It wishes to replace the US as the regional hegemon, at the US’s expense.

Truth Revolt, by Caroline Glick, October 14, 2016:

Off the coast of Yemen and at the UN Security Council we are seeing the strategic endgame of Barack Obama’s administration. And it isn’t pretty.

Since Sunday, Iran’s Houthi proxies in Yemen have attacked US naval craft three times in the Bab al-Mandab, the narrow straits at the mouth of the Red Sea. The Bab al-Mandab controls maritime traffic in the Red Sea, and ultimately controls the Suez Canal.

Whether the Iranians directed these assaults or simply green-lighted them is really beside the point. The point is that these are Iranian strikes on the US. The Houthis would never have exposed themselves to US military retaliation if they hadn’t been ordered to do so by their Iranian overlords.

The question is why has Iran chosen to open up an assault on the US? The simple answer is that Iran has challenged US power at the mouth of the Red Sea because it believes that doing so advances its strategic aims in the region.

Iran’s game is clear enough. It wishes to replace the US as the regional hegemon, at the US’s expense.

Since Obama entered office nearly eight years ago, Iran’s record in advancing its aims has been one of uninterrupted success.

Iran used the US withdrawal from Iraq as a means to exert its full control over the Iraqi government. It has used Obama’s strategic vertigo in Syria as a means to exert full control over the Assad regime and undertake the demographic transformation of Syria from a Sunni majority state to a Shi’ite plurality state.

In both cases, rather than oppose Iran’s power grabs, the Obama administration has welcomed them. As far as Obama is concerned, Iran is a partner, not an adversary.

Since like the US, Iran opposes al-Qaida and ISIS, Obama argues that the US has nothing to fear from the fact that Iranian-controlled Shiite militias are running the US-trained Iraqi military.

So, too, he has made clear that the US is content to stand by as the mullahs become the face of Syria.

In Yemen, the US position has been more ambivalent. In late 2014, Houthi rebel forces took over the capital city of Sanaa. In March 2015, the Saudis led a Sunni campaign to overthrow the Houthi government. In a bid to secure Saudi support for the nuclear agreement it was negotiating with the Iranians, the Obama administration agreed to support the Saudi campaign. To this end, the US military has provided intelligence, command and control guidance, and armaments to the Saudis.

Iran’s decision to openly assault US targets then amounts to a gamble on Tehran’s part that in the twilight of the Obama administration, the time is ripe to move in for the kill in Yemen. The Iranians are betting that at this point, with just three months to go in the White House, Obama will abandon the Saudis, and so transfer control over Arab oil to Iran.

For with the Strait of Hormuz on the one hand, and the Bab al-Mandab on the other, Iran will exercise effective control over all maritime oil flows from the Arab world.

It’s not a bad bet for the Iranians, given Obama’s consistent strategy in the Middle East.

Obama has never discussed that strategy.

Indeed, he has deliberately concealed it. But to understand the game he has been playing all along, the only thing you need to do listen to his foreign policy soul mate.

According to a New York Times profile published in May, Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes is the president’s alter ego. The two men’s minds have “melded.”

Rhodes’s first foreign policy position came in the course of his work for former congressman Lee Hamilton.

In 2006, then-president George W. Bush appointed former secretary of state James Baker and Hamilton to lead the Iraq Study Group. Bush tasked the group with offering a new strategy for winning the war in Iraq. The group released its report in late 2006.

The Iraq Study Group’s report contained two basic recommendations. First, it called for the administration to abandon Iraq to the Iranians.

The group argued that due to Iran’s opposition to al-Qaida, the Iranians would fight al-Qaida for the US.

The report’s second recommendation related to Israel. Baker, Hamilton and their colleagues argued that after turning Iraq over to Iran, the US would have to appease its Sunni allies.

The US, the Iraq Study Group report argued, should simultaneously placate the Sunnis and convince the Iranians of its sincerity by sticking it to Israel. To this end, the US should pressure Israel to give the Golan Heights to Syria and give Judea and Samaria to the PLO.

Bush rejected the Iraq Study Group report. Instead he opted to win the war in Iraq by adopting the surge counterinsurgency strategy.

But once Bush was gone, and Rhodes’s intellectual twin replaced him, the Iraq Study Group recommendations became the unstated US strategy in the Middle East.

After taking office, Obama insisted that the US’s only enemy was al-Qaida. In 2014, Obama grudgingly expanded the list to include ISIS.

Obama has consistently justified empowering Iran in Iraq and Syria on the basis of this narrow definition of US enemies. Since Iran is also opposed to ISIS and al-Qaida, the US can leave the job of defeating them both to the Iranians, he has argued.

Obviously, Iran won’t do the US’s dirty work for free. So Obama has paid the mullahs off by giving them an open road to nuclear weapons through his nuclear deal, by abandoning sanctions against them, and by turning his back on their ballistic missile development.

Obama has also said nothing about the atrocities that Iranian-controlled militia have carried out against Sunnis in Iraq and has stopped operations against Hezbollah.

As for Israel, since his first days in office, Obama has been advancing the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations. His consistent, and ever escalating condemnations of Israel, his repeated moves to pick fights with Jerusalem are all of a piece with the group’s recommended course of action. And there is every reason to believe that Obama intends to make good on his threats to cause an open rupture in the US alliance with Israel in his final days in office.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s phone call with Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday night made this clear enough. In the course of their conversation, Netanyahu reportedly asked Kerry if Obama intended to enable an anti-Israel resolution to pass in the UN Security Council after the presidential election next month. By refusing to rule out the possibility, Kerry all but admitted that this is in fact Obama’s intention.

And this brings us back to Iran’s assaults on US ships along the coast of Yemen.

Early on Sunday morning, the US responded to the Houthi/Iranian missile assaults by attacking three radar stations in Houthi-controlled territory. The nature of the US moves gives credence to the fear that the US will surrender Yemen to Iran.

This is so for three reasons. First, the administration did not allow the USS Mason destroyer to respond to the sources of the missile attack against it immediately. Instead, the response was delayed until Obama himself could determine how best to “send a message.”

That is, he denied US forces the right to defend themselves.

Second, it is far from clear that destroying the radar stations will inhibit the Houthis/Iranians.

It is not apparent that radar stations are necessary for them to continue to assault US naval craft operating in the area.

Finally, the State Department responded to the attack by reaching out to the Houthis. In other words, the administration is continuing to view the Iranian proxy is a legitimate actor rather than an enemy despite its unprovoked missile assaults on the US Navy.

Then there is the New York Times’ position on Yemen.

The Times has repeatedly allowed the administration to use it as an advocate of policies the administration itself wishes to adopt. Last week for instance, the Times called for the US to turn on Israel at the Security Council.

On Tuesday, the Times published an editorial calling for the administration to end its military support for the Saudi campaign against the Houthis/Iran in Yemen.

Whereas the Iranian strategy makes sense, Obama’s strategy is nothing less than disastrous.

Although the Iraq Study Group, like Obama, is right that Iran also opposes ISIS, and to a degree, al-Qaida, they both ignored the hard reality that Iran also views the US as its enemy. Indeed, the regime’s entire identity is tied up in its hatred for the US and its strategic aim of destroying America.

Obama is not the only US president who has sought to convince the Iranians to abandon their hatred for America. Every president since 1979 has tried to convince the mullahs to abandon their hostility. And just like all of his predecessors, Obama has failed to convince them.

What distinguishes Obama from his predecessors is that he has based US policy on a deliberate denial of the basic reality of Iranian hostility. Not surprisingly, the Iranians have returned his favor by escalating their aggression against America.

The worst part about Obama’s strategy is that it is far from clear that his successor will be able to improve the situation.

If Hillary Clinton succeeds him, his successor is unlikely to even try. Not only has Clinton embraced Obama’s policies toward Iran.

Her senior advisers are almost all Obama administration alumni. Wendy Sherman, the leading candidate to serve as her secretary of state, was Obama’s chief negotiator with the Iranians.

If Donald Trump triumphs next month, assuming he wishes to reassert US power in the region, he won’t have an easy time undoing the damage that Obama has caused.

Time has not stood still as the US has engaged in strategic dementia. Not only has Iran been massively empowered, Russia has entered the Middle East as a strategic spoiler.

Moreover, since 2001, the US has spent more than a trillion dollars on its failed wars in the Middle East. That investment came in lieu of spending on weapons development. Today Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft missiles in Syria reportedly neutralize the US’s air force.

US naval craft in the Bab al-Mandab have little means to defend themselves against missile strikes.

The US’s trillion-dollar investment in the F-35 fighter jet has tethered its air wings to a plane that has yet to prove its capabilities, and may never live up to expectations.

Israel is justifiably worried about the implications of Obama’s intention to harm it at the UN.

But the harm Israel will absorb at the UN is nothing in comparison to the long-term damage that Obama’s embrace of the Iraq Study Group’s disastrous strategic framework has and will continue to cause Israel, the US and the entire Middle East.


Clinton’s Allies Polled Voters on Obama’s Islamic Ties

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008 / AP

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008 / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Cameron Cawthorne, October 14, 2016:

New emails released by Wikileaks show that allies of Hillary Clinton received polling information about Barack Obama’s ties to Islam during the 2008 Democratic primary.

The poll was discovered in the hacked emails of John Podesta, Clinton’s confidant and her current presidential campaign chairman. The January 2008 email chain—titled “McCain Survey”—included a poll question about Obama’s Muslim father and time spent in Indonesia, the New York Post reported. Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) was the eventual Republican presidential nominee in 2008. Obama was Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic primary.

“Obama (owe-BAHM-uh)’s father was a Muslim and Obama grew up among Muslims in the world’s most populous Islamic country,” the polling script states.

Podesta did not reply to the email thread, but he was included on the email with other Clinton allies, including Paul Begala and Democratic pollsters with the Washington, D.C.-based firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

Begala, a Clinton surrogate and former adviser to President Bill Clinton, denied that the poll was commissioned by the Clinton campaign, despite being prepared in January 2008 when Clinton was still running against Obama. He said that it was commissioned by a Democratic super PAC to test weaknesses of both Democratic candidates.

“That was a draft poll questionnaire that tested potential right-wing attacks on Obama, to help prepare to defend him,” Begala, who helped Bill Clinton be elected in 1992 and is working toward getting Hillary Clinton elected now, said in an email to The Post.

“I was part of a Super PAC called Progressive Media, which brought together Clinton and Obama supporters to prepare for the general election and support whoever won the nomination. I had no role in the 2008 Clinton campaign,” he added.

At least one of the email’s recipients, Tom Matzzie, was an Obama supporter during the 2008 primary.

The polling group also tested Obama’s cocaine use and support for gay adoption.

“Obama (owe-BAHM-uh) described his former use of cocaine as using ‘a little blow,’” read one statement.

“Obama (owe-BAHM-uh) is ranked as one of the ten most liberal members of the Senate because of his support of issues like gay adoption,” read another statement.

Clinton ended up losing to Obama in the Democratic primary, but later served in his administration as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

After Obama won the Democratic nomination, Begala said the unity super PAC disbanded.

“We came together to plan for the general election out of concern that the long, difficult primary would damage the eventual nominee. After Sen. Obama won the nomination, his campaign issued a public statement calling on us and other independent groups to disband, so we did,” he said.

Obama’s ties to Islam and Islamic countries has been an issue during the 2016 presidential campaign because the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump started calling for Obama to release his birth certificate in 2011. The media and politicians from both sides of the aisle have criticized Trump for it, but he has made it an issue by accusing Clinton’s campaign of starting the rumor back in 2008 when Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal spread around pictures of Obama in Arab garb.

A Republican Party spokesman told the Post that the email showed the Clinton campaign was willing to play dirty against its political opponents.

“Hillary Clinton may mimic the Obamas ‘when they go low, we go high’ line, but it turns out it was her campaign that first questioned President Obama’s childhood, faith and family in the ugliest of ways, and years before others,” said Raj Shah, Republican National Committee deputy communications director.

“This is just the latest in her pattern of hypocritical attacks and dishonesty,” Shah added.

Obama’s Syria Catastrophe


How a cascading series of blunders by the Obama administration helped lead to the present humanitarian crisis.

Front Page Magazine, by Joseph Kleinn, October 10, 2016:

The humanitarian situation in Syria worsens day by day. The Assad regime and Russia are carrying out intense lethal bombings over the rebel-held eastern Aleppo, where about 250,000 people are effectively trapped under siege by Syrian military forces. They claim they are targeting terrorists, not civilians. The United States and its allies retort that the savage aerial bombing campaign against civilian targets such as hospitals and shelters has nothing to do with counter-terrorism. The United Nations Security Council has met numerous times to address the tragedy, to no avail. This past weekend’s emergency session of the Security Council was no exception.

On October 8th, France and Spain, with the strong backing of the Obama administration, introduced a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council demanding a full cessation of all hostilities, including an end to all aerial bombardments over Aleppo, as well as the provision of immediate, safe and unhindered humanitarian access. Russia introduced its own competing draft.  While there was a fair amount of overlap between the two drafts, the Russian draft omitted any reference to the cessation of aerial bombings and revived the idea of modest weekly 48 hour humanitarian pauses in fighting. It also insisted on the need to verifiably separate “moderate opposition forces from ‘Jabhut Al-Nusra’ as a key priority,” which Russia has accused the United States of failing to accomplish.

Russia vetoed the French-Spanish draft resolution. The Russian draft failed to get the necessary majority of Security Council members to go along with it. Acrimony filled the air with charges and counter-charges assigning blame for the Syrian tragedy and the failure once again of the Security Council to take any decisive action. Meanwhile, civilians continue to die in Aleppo.

Russia’s military intervention on the side of the Syrian regime has surely tipped the balance in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s favor at a horrendous price suffered by thousands of innocent victims, including little children. However, it was President Obama who allowed the situation in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa to spiral out of control in the first place, without even a trace of self-reflection on what he might have done wrong.

The disaster in Syria will likely top Barack Obama’s foreign policy legacy, even though Obama so badly wants the Paris Agreement on climate change to be his most long-lasting foreign policy legacy achievement. Indeed, Obama is so hung up on climate change as his number one foreign policy initiative that he actually blames climate change, which he is resolved to begin reversing, as having “contributed to the unrest and the Syrian civil war.” This is an example, according to former U.S. Army Gen. Robert Scales, of “politically-correct imaginings” and “politically-correct theories inserted into a battle plan” that “might well extend war needlessly and get soldiers killed.”

Obama’s solution to the refugee crisis resulting from the Syrian catastrophe is also a politically-correct plan with a potentially dangerous outcome. Obama is allowing thousands of Syrian refugees into the country without proper vetting to determine first who they are and what they believe. And he is not doing so to help save persecuted religious minorities such as Christians and Yazidis from genocide. Out of a total of 12,587 Syrian refugees the Obama administration admitted to the United States during the just-ended fiscal year for resettlement in communities throughout the country, 98.2 percent (12,363) are Sunni Muslims. Only 0.5 percent (68) are Christians and 0.19 percent (24) are Yazidis. Considering that ISIS and al Qaeda members are Sunni Muslims themselves, such an exceedingly high proportion of Sunni Muslim refugees admitted into the country, versus the truly persecuted religious minorities, almost guarantees that some Islamist terrorists will slip through the cracks.

Obama’s fundamental error all along has been to empower the Islamists he believes the United States could work with. He paved the way for enriching Syria’s principal ally in the region, Iran. Very shortly after his apology speech in Cairo to the Muslim world on June 4, 2009, Obama backed the mullahs in Iran, ignoring the pleas for American moral support from millions of dissidents marching peacefully in the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities. They were being beaten and worse as they protested the rigged “election” of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Obama then proceeded to acquiesce to virtually every demand the Islamic theocracy made to secure his nuclear deal with Iran. Thousands of Iranian-backed fighters, likely paid for in part by funds made available to Iran’s government as a result of Obama’s appeasement nuclear pact, have been converging on Aleppo to help the Syrian regime in its all-out assault on rebel-controlled portions of the city.

Obama also supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East. To try and topple secular dictators, he helped arm so-called “moderate” rebels in Libya and Syria without careful vetting. Many of them either willingly, or were forced, to join the jihadist terrorist groups ISIS and al Nusra. ISIS gained strength in Syria and Iraq after Obama’s precipitous withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops from Iraq in 2011. Obama’s disastrous decision that same year to intervene militarily in Libya to overthrow Muammar al-Qaddafi, without any concrete plan for the day after, resulted in a failed state and Islamist strongholds from which the Libyan-based Islamists sent jihadists and arms to their jihadist brethren in Syria.

While Obama’s series of disastrous mistakes helped strengthen the Islamists in Syria on both sides of the conflict, he allowed Russian President Vladimir Putin to get the upper hand in Syria, which is playing out today in Aleppo and elsewhere.

It was not always this way. When Putin returned to the presidency in 2012, he did not display an intent to deploy Russian troops or warplanes in or around Syria immediately to help Assad against the rebel forces trying to overthrow him. Obama had decided against any major military intervention in Syria to help the rebels, who, indeed, were almost impossible to vet properly and were saturated with jihadist elements, but allowed the provision of some covert aid to the so-called “moderate” rebels without any apparent interference by Russia. More significantly, in his infamous declaration of a “red line” against the use of chemical weapons in 2012, the Obama risked the credibility of the U.S. if he did not follow through. And that is exactly what happened: Obama had warned the Syrian regime that the U.S. would take direct military action if it used chemical weapons against the Syrian people. Yet, when it appeared a year later that Assad had crossed Obama’s red line with the Syrian military force’s use of sarin gas that took the lives of nearly 1500 people, Obama drew back from his threat. Obama allowed Putin to bail him out of enforcing the red line with a face-saving agreement stipulating the removal and destruction of the Assad regime’s designated stockpiles of chemical weapons. The Obama administration opted to use the UN Security Council to unanimously endorse the agreement worked out, with Assad’s consent, between the United States and Russia. The agreement was to be implemented on an accelerated timetable, with monitoring by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Removal and destruction of the Assad regime’s designated stockpiles of chemical weapons were used as cover for the Assad regime to step up its attacks on civilians with conventional weapons, and jihadist terrorists gained control over swathes of territory. Moreover, Assad still has some chemical weapons, which he has allegedly used against civilians since the passage of the UN Security Council chemical weapons resolution.

Putin in the meantime used a variety of tactics, including bait and switch negotiations and the cynical use of the UN, to buy time in order to build up Russia’s own military forces in the region. President Obama, in turn, played right into Putin’s hands. Obama gave up the military leverage he had in 2013 to target specifically and destroy Assad’s warplanes and airfields when Assad crossed Obama’s red line.  Russia was not then in a position to run interference for Assad militarily. Russia’s strong military build-up since that time has changed the military equation – and, by extension, the balance of diplomatic leverage — to Assad’s and Russia’s advantage. Russia bought the time necessary to become the Syrian regime’s full partner in relentless air attacks leading up to the horrors now unfolding daily in eastern Aleppo.

Sadly, any real viable diplomatic solution to the five-year-plus Syrian conflict, which has taken hundreds of thousands of lives, displaced millions of people, and precipitated a refugee crisis of historic proportions, is further away than ever. In short, President Obama’s legacy in the Middle East consists of a revitalized Iran, a Russian presence at a level not seen for over four decades and an unstable environment in which jihadist terrorists have thrived. Obama has risked importing the ensuing chaos into this country by admitting thousands of unvetted refugees.

Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam.


Kredo: Obama Administration All Words, No Action in Syria

Also see:

Robert Spencer on Barack Obama’s Fantasy Islam

obama-fantasy-islamPublished on Oct 5, 2016 by JihadWatchVideo

Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer explains how Barack Obama’s public statements about Islam do not accord with Islamic teachings or the reality of current events.

Obama to NatSec Agencies: Increase Diversity, Train on ‘Implicit or Unconscious Bias’

President Obama, joined by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Vice President Joe Biden speaks at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Va., on April 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Obama, joined by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Vice President Joe Biden speaks at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Va., on April 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, October 5, 2016:

WASHINGTON — President Obama issued a memo to heads of government agencies today on increasing diversity in the national security workforce to make the diplomacy, development, defense, intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security complex “more effective at problem solving than homogeneous groups.”

The national security workforce in the federal government consists of more than 3 million workers from agencies such as the Intelligence Community, USAID, Treasury Department, State Department, Justice Department, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Obama said data collected on the departments “indicate that agencies in this workforce are less diverse on average than the rest of the federal government,” and in 2015 only the State Department USAID Civil Services “were more diverse in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity than the federal workforce as a whole.”

The president reminded agency heads of his 2011 directive to “promote diversity and inclusion” in the federal workforce as a whole, and directed national security leaders to “ensure their diversity and inclusion practices are fully integrated into broader succession planning efforts and supported by sufficient resource allocations and effective programs that invest in personnel development and engagement.”

Agencies will be required yearly to provide their demographic breakdown to the general public. Applicant data will be analyzed for “fairness and inclusiveness” in the recruitment process and “agencies shall develop a system to collect and analyze applicant flow data for as many positions as practicable in order to identify future areas for improvement in attracting diverse talent, with particular attention to senior and management positions.” Agencies will expand the categories of voluntary information current employees can provide to include details “such as information regarding sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Obama directed interviews with current employees and exit interviews to be studied by leaders for “if and how the results of the interviews differ by gender, race and national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status, and other demographic variables” with any resulting policy recommendations.

National security agencies were also told to “prioritize resources to expand professional development opportunities” and “consider the number of expected senior-level vacancies as a factor in determining the number of candidates to select for such programs.”

“Agencies shall track the demographics of program participants as well as the rate of placement into senior-level positions for participants in such programs, evaluate such data on an annual basis to look for ways to improve outreach and recruitment for these programs consistent with merit system principles, and include such data in the report.”

Obama added that “for agencies in the national security workforce that place assignment restrictions on personnel or otherwise prohibit certain geographic assignments due to a security determination, these agencies shall ensure a review process exists consistent with the Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information, as well as applicable counterintelligence considerations.”

“Agencies shall ensure that affected personnel are informed of the right to seek review and the process for doing so,” he wrote.

Senior leadership and supervisors, the president directed, should “reward and recognize efforts to promote diversity and inclusion… consistent with merit system principles, such as through participation in mentoring programs or sponsorship initiatives, recruitment events, and other opportunities.”

“Agencies shall expand their provision of training on implicit or unconscious bias, inclusion, and flexible work policies and make implicit or unconscious bias training mandatory for senior leadership and management positions, as well as for those responsible for outreach, recruitment, hiring, career development, promotion, and security clearance adjudication,” he added.

That training “may be implemented in a phased approach commensurate with agency resources” and “should give special attention to ensuring the continuous incorporation of research-based best practices, including those to address the intersectionality between certain demographics and job positions.”

The first progress report on the new guidelines will be due to the president in 120 days — when there will be a new occupant in the Oval Office.

Also see:

If you don’t believe what the radicals think you should believe, you must be taught to believe something different — on the government’s dime, of course. Hillary wants to fund the retraining, and the NAACP wants to make it mandatory — complete with sanctions if your perceived biases don’t disappear.

How will the thought police know the actual police are biased? If they don’t believe the “right” things. Spend any time on campus, in diversity training, or on progressive websites, and you’ll see that disagreement with leftist cultural critiques is all the proof anyone needs of racism and other forms of bigotry. Evidence, experience, and probabilities are completely irrelevant when it comes time to cleanse the mind of “bias.”

There are those on the Left who simply refuse to look at a case on the facts. They insist that they have knowledge about the inner lives and motivations of the relevant parties that is unknown even to the parties themselves. They use this alleged knowledge to stoke unrest and violate civil liberties. And they have an ally in Hillary Clinton. She’ll fund all the re-education we need.

Pete Hoekstra: Obama-Clinton Foreign Policy ‘Not Only Engaging with Radical Jihadist Groups Overseas,’ but Allowing Them to ‘Spread Their Doctrine Around the United States’

T.J. Kirkpatrick-Pool/Getty Images

T.J. Kirkpatrick-Pool/Getty Images

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Oct. 4, 2016:

Pete Hoekstra, former chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, appeared on Breitbart News Daily Tuesday morning to discuss his Washington Examiner op-ed, “Obama Rolls Dice on Foreign Policy in Secretive Presidential Decree.”

Hoekstra told SiriusXM host Alex Marlow that a presidential directive is “developed by an inter-agency group within the executive branch, usually headed by the State Department, and it then outlines U.S. foreign policy in whatever area it was tasked to study.”

“In this case, back in 2009 and 2010, this group got together, and they articulated a new policy for the United States government towards the Middle East, especially toward various Muslim groups in the Middle East,” Hoekstra continued. “This directive, we believe, specifically directed U.S. government agencies – State Department employees, ambassadors, and those types of things – to begin engaging with radical jihadist groups, believing that if we would engage with radical jihadist groups, they would change their behavior toward the United States.”

“It led to the overthrow of Mubarak in Egypt. It led to the overthrow of Qaddafi in Libya. Libya obviously ended up with catastrophic results, and we almost lost Egypt at the same time,” he recalled.

Marlow found it remarkable that so little was being made of Hillary Clinton’s role in crafting Obama’s disastrous foreign policy in the current election cycle.

“You’re absolutely right,” said Hoekstra, elaborating:

Take a look. When President Obama – we completed this study at the Investigative Project on Terrorism, where I now spend my time – in 2008, 2009, when this President and Hillary Clinton took over the government, there were roughly 3,300 people per year who were losing their lives as a result of radical jihadism. Today, that number is approaching almost 30,000 people per year. Iraq is a failed state. Syria is a failed state. Yemen is a failed state. Libya is a failed state. And Afghanistan is a failed state.

“The media doesn’t want to talk about it,” he observed. “Obviously, Hillary Clinton doesn’t want to talk about it because their role in national security has destabilized the Middle East and northern Africa. It has led to increasing deaths in massive refugee flows throughout the Middle East, Europe, and again Northern Africa.”

When Marlow observed that regime-change philosophy under both Bush and Obama has been criticized by some conservatives, Hoekstra noted there were some important differences between the two administrations:

Under the Bush administration, at least we removed dictators who were hostile to the United States – Afghanistan and Iraq.

Egypt and Libya, we actually removed a President Mubarak who for – what, 20 or 25 years? – had done everything the United States had asked him to do to maintain stability in the Middle East.

In Libya, we had a wonderful experience where Qaddafi actually flipped sides, turned over his nuclear weapons, paid reparations, and joined us in the fight against radical jihadists. And after eight years of doing everything America asked him to do, Hillary Clinton declared that he needed to go. The United States, along with NATO, we removed Qaddafi, and it has now been a failed state.

The other thing is, which you’ll see on this, is not only are we engaging with radical jihadist groups overseas, in this regime change, we’re also allowing some of these same people to come into the United States, providing them access to the White House, providing them access to the State Department, and allowing them to go around the country and make speeches, and spread their doctrine around the United States.

So this PSD-11 had nothing to do with national security. There’s no sources or methods. It’s just a strategy. But obviously, this is something that we think the Obama administration ought to make public, and I doubt that they will make it public because the results of this policy have not been very good.

Hoekstra suspected this dramatic change in U.S. foreign policy was “probably a creation of Ben Rhodes, the person who worked for the President as an assistant national security adviser”:

This was the whole spin back in 2009, 2010, that there’s this Arab Spring moving through the Middle East, the forces for democracy and reform, free markets, and those types of things.

As David Ignatius – a liberal columnist – wrote, this is really a gamble, a roll of the dice as he described it, by the Obama administration, embracing these forces of change in the Middle East with the expectation that positive things would happen.

Well, if they would have peeled back the layers on these groups at all, they would have recognized it was not a roll of the dice; it was a high-risk, high-gamble, and it didn’t pay off. So the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton, decided to throw out 30 years of foreign policy that brought some stability to the Middle East, and the result was, they failed. And the results have been horrendous.

Concerning the seven major Obama foreign interventions Hoekstra covered in his Washington Examiner piece, he said, “The only one that has any tentative success, you could argue, would be Tunisia – but even there, Tunisia is close to the tipping point, in terms of going in the wrong direction.”


Obama DOJ drops charges against alleged provider of Libyan weapons

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton walks with President Barack Obama on Sept. 12, 2012, where he spoke about the death of U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. | AP Photo

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton walks with President Barack Obama on Sept. 12, 2012, where he spoke about the death of U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. | AP Photo

Arms dealer had threatened to expose Hillary Clinton’s talks about arming anti-Qadhafi rebels.

Politico, by  Kenneth P. Vogel and Josh Gerstein, October 4, 2016:

The Obama administration is moving to dismiss charges against an arms dealer it had accused of selling weapons that were destined for Libyan rebels.

Lawyers for the Justice Department on Monday filed a motion in federal court in Phoenix to drop the case against the arms dealer, an American named Marc Turi, whose lawyers also signed the motion.

The deal averts a trial that threatened to cast additional scrutiny on Hillary Clinton’s private emails as Secretary of State, and to expose reported Central Intelligence Agency attempts to arm rebels fighting Libyan leader Moammar Qadhafi.

Government lawyers were facing a Wednesday deadline to produce documents to Turi’s legal team, and the trial was officially set to begin on Election Day, although it likely would have been delayed by protracted disputes about classified information in the case.

A Turi associate asserted that the government dropped the case because the proceedings could have embarrassed Clinton and President Barack Obama by calling attention to the reported role of their administration in supplying weapons that fell into the hands of Islamic extremist militants.

“They don’t want this stuff to come out because it will look really bad for Obama and Clinton just before the election,” said the associate.

In the dismissal motion, prosecutors say “discovery rulings” from U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell contributed to the decision to drop the case. The joint motion asks the judge to accept a confidential agreement to resolve the case through a civil settlement between the State Department and the arms broker.

“Our position from the outset has been that this case never should have been brought and we’re glad it’s over,” said Jean-Jacques Cabou, a Perkins Coie partner serving as court-appointed defense counsel in the case. “Mr Turi didn’t break the law….We’re very glad the charges are being dismissed.”

Under the deal, Turi admits no guilt in the transactions he participated in, but he agreed to refrain from U.S.-regulated arms dealing for four years. A $200,000 civil penalty will be waived if Turi abides by the agreement.

A State Department official confirmed the outlines of the agreement.

“Mr. Turi cooperated with the Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls in its review and proposed administrative settlement of the alleged violations,” said the official, who asked not be named. “Based on a compliance review, DDTC alleged that Mr. Turi…engaged in brokering activities for the proposed transfer of defense articles to Libya, a proscribed destination under [arms trade regulations,] despite the Department’s denial of…requests for the required prior approval of such activities.”

Turi adviser Robert Stryk of the government relations and consulting firm SPG accused the government of trying to scapegoat Turi to cover up Clinton’s mishandling of Libya.

“The U.S. government spent millions of dollars, went all over the world to bankrupt him, and destroyed his life — all to protect Hillary Clinton’s crimes,” he said, alluding to the deadly Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Republicans hold Clinton responsible for mishandling the circumstances around that attack. And Stryk said that Turi was now weighing book and movie deals to tell his story, and to weigh in on the Benghazi attack.

Representatives of the Justice Department, the White House and Clinton’s presidential campaign either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment on the case or the settlement.

Turi was indicted in 2014 on four felony counts: two of arms dealing in violation of the Arms Export Control Act and two of lying to the State Department in official applications. The charges accused Turi of claiming that the weapons involved were destined for Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, when the arms were actually intended to reach Libya.

Turi’s lawyers argued that the shipments were part of a U.S. government-authorized effort to arm Libyan rebels.

It’s unclear if any of the weapons made it to Libya, and there’s no evidence linking weapons provided by the U.S. government to the Benghazi attacks.

“The proposal did not result in an actual transfer of defense articles to Libya,” the State Department official told POLITICO on Tuesday.

But questions about U.S. efforts to arm Libyan rebels have been mounting, since weapons have reportedly made their way from Libya to Syria, where a civil war is raging between the Syrian Government and ISIL-aligned fighters.

During 2013 Senate hearings on the 2012 Benghazi attack, Clinton, under questioning from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), said she had no knowledge of weapons moving from Libya into Turkey.

Wikileaks head Julian Assange in July suggested that he had emails proving that Clinton “pushed” the “flows” of weapons “going over to Syria.”

Additionally, Turi’s case had delved into emails sent to and from the controversial private account that Clinton used as Secretary of State, which the defense planned to harness at any trial.

At a court hearing in 2015, Cabou said emails between Clinton and her top aides indicated that efforts to arm the rebels were — at a minimum — under discussion at the highest levels of the government.

“We’re entitled to tell the jury, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the Secretary of State and her highest staff members were actively contemplating providing exactly the type of military assistance that Mr. Turi is here to answer for,” the defense attorney said, according to a transcript.

Turi’s defense was pressing for more documents about the alleged rebel-arming effort and for testimony from officials who worked on the issue the State Department and the CIA. The defense said it planned to argue that Turi believed he had official permission to work on arms transfers to Libya

“If we armed the rebels, as publicly reported in many, many sources and as we strongly believe happened and as we believe at least one witness told the grand jury, then documents about that process relate to that effort,” Cabou told Campbell at the same hearing last year.

Brutal ISIS Executions, Military Weakness, and A New Refugee Crisis


America’s policy in Syria and Iraq has been “cool, rational, and wrong.” Is it already too late to fix it?

CounterJihad, Oct. 4, 2016:

The Islamic State (ISIS) has delivered a new propaganda video showing another gruesome mass execution of fellow Muslims.  The group proclaims that the video should serve as a warning to any Muslims thinking of coming to join any of the rebel armies fighting against them in the conflict.  Amid Nazi salutes, ISIS soldiers clad in stolen American-made 3 color DCU uniforms promised to fight the “apostates” whom they painted as being on the same side as the Americans.

Yet the Americans have done but little to support any allies in the region.  As the Economist notes, US President Barack Obama has kept American forces largely out of the conflict except in an advisory role.  This is because, they explain, he views an American intervention as likely to cause more harm than good.  His policy has been throughout “cool,” “rational,” and “wrong.”

As America has pulled back, others have stepped in—geopolitics abhors a vacuum. Islamic State (IS) has taken over swathes of Syria and Iraq. A new generation of jihadists has been inspired to fight in Syria or attack the West. Turkey, rocked by Kurdish and jihadist violence (and a failed coup), has joined the fight in Syria. Jordan and Lebanon, bursting with refugees, fear they will be sucked in. The exodus of Syrians strengthens Europe’s xenophobic populists and endangers the European Union. A belligerent Russia feels emboldened….

None of this is in America’s interest. Being cool and calculating is not much use if everybody else thinks you are being weak. Even if America cannot fix Syria, it could have helped limit the damage, alleviate suffering and reduce the appeal of jihadism…. Mr Obama says that Mr Assad eventually must go, but has never willed the means to achieve that end. (Some rebel groups receive CIA weapons, but that is about it.)… [J]ihadism is fed by war and state failure: without a broader power-sharing agreement in Syria and Iraq any victory against IS will be short-lived; other jihadists will take its place.

Russia has been building pressure on the Obama administration in other ways.  Since the suspending of talks between the US and Russia, the Putin administration has announced major nuclear war games that will move tens of millions of people to civil defense shelters on very short notice.  They have suspended nuclear arms deals with the United States involving plutonium cleanup, suggesting that they fear the US will cheat.  The Russians have also deployed one of their advanced missile systems outside of their homeland for the first time.  The deployment was made without comment, but as one American official noted wryly, ““Nusra doesn’t have an air force do they?”  Al Nusra Front is an al Qaeda linked organization that has been sometimes allied with, but more often at war with, the Islamic State.

All of this means that America’s window to take a more aggressive approach may be closing, if it has not already closed.  Increasingly Russia and their Iranian allies are looking likely to dominate the northern Middle East from Afghanistan to the Levant.  This President has been badly outmaneuvered.  The next President will have to decide how much he or she is willing to risk in order to try to deal with the feeding of “jihadism… by war and state failure.”

The threat is very real, as estimates are that the assault on Mosul might produce another million refugees headed for Europe and America, or perhaps half again that many.  The failure to take a more aggressive approach may end up bringing a flood tide of human suffering and terror.

God vs. the Sociologists: the Role of Religion in Terrorism


The civil war that is happening within Islam across the globe has much more to do with fault-lines within the religion than it does with economic or sociological factors.

Those fault lines originated with the death of Mohammed, and they come down to two key questions: Who is the successor to Mohammed, and what are the sources of authority in Islam?

Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, by Katharine Cornell Gorka, September 23, 2016:

Two of the predominant ways of looking at the problem of ISIS are either as a sociological problem or as a theological problem.  The Obama administration takes the first view; its critics take the second.

From the beginning of his presidency, President Obama has deflected blame for terrorism away from the religion of Islam. For him and his administration, the fault lies not with the religion but in ‘upstream factors’: economic, political, and sociological causes.

President Barack Obama speaks at Cairo University in Cairo, Thursday, June 4, 2009. In his speech, President Obama called for a 'new beginning between the United States and Muslims', declaring that 'this cycle of suspicion and discord must end'.  Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

President Barack Obama speaks at Cairo University in Cairo, Thursday, June 4, 2009. In his speech, President Obama called for a ‘new beginning between the United States and Muslims’, declaring that ‘this cycle of suspicion and discord must end’.
Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

In his seminal Cairo speech, delivered at Al-Azhar University in Egypt on June 4, 2009, President Obama identified three explanations for Muslim discontent and violence:

  • colonialism, by which the West denied rights and opportunities to Muslims;
  • the Cold War, which led the West to treat Muslims as proxies and to disregard their aspirations; and
  • modernization and globalization, which bred Western hostility toward Islam.

According to this view, Muslim extremism is driven by legitimate grievances and has nothing to do with factors that might lie within the religion itself. The policies that naturally follow from such a view gloss over the role of religion and focus instead on addressing those alleged grievances.

Thus has the administration proceeded. In numerous speeches President Obama has expressed his support for Islam and its importance to the United States. He provided verbal, financial and technical support for anti-government forces during the Arab Spring (which included support for both secular forces as well as Islamist parties). And he withdrew nearly all combat troops from Iraq in 2011 and from Afghanistan in 2014.

If U.S. “meddling” in the region as well as perceived Western hostility toward Islam were in fact the root causes of Islamist terrorism, then these new policies could reasonably have been expected to bring about the demise of Al Qaeda, ISIS, al Nusra Front, Boko Haram and other Islamist groups.

But they did not. Indeed, we have seen the very opposite.

When President Obama came into office, Osama bin Laden was in hiding and Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) had all but disappeared. Since that time,

  • AQI evolved into ISIS, declared the Caliphate, and took over a territory the size of Great Britain with fully functioning affiliates in 18 countries;
  • Syria erupted into a civil war that has now raged for more than 5 years, claiming the lives of more than 400,000 and setting off the largest refugee crisis the world has seen;
  • Osama bin Laden is dead, but Al Qaeda is resurgent under the leadership of Ayman al Zawahiri;
  • Libya is roiled by civil war and chaos;
  • Boko Haram continues its war against Christians and moderate Muslims in Nigeria;
  • the Taliban rules in much of Afghanistan; and
  • the jihadists have brought their violence to the West with deadly attacks throughout Europe and the United States.

There could be no clearer evidence that the current strategy against Islamist violence is failing.


Where does the solution lie? First, it requires a revised assessment of the threat. The sociological assessment of the threat is wrong. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that grievances are not the key cause of extremism. Jihadists, as a rule, are not undereducated or underprivileged.

While upstream factors might be exacerbating, ideology is a far more important motivator. The problem is that the ideology of jihad is inextricably rooted in religion and this notion makes most Americans profoundly uncomfortable.

From 4th grade civics classes onwards, Americans are schooled in the notion that others should not be judged for their religion. It is far easier and more comfortable to blame poverty or tyrants or even ourselves for Islamist terrorism. But we must get over this squeamishness when it comes to talking about religion, because religion is central to the conflicts in the Middle East.

Abu Bakr al Baghdadi (Aljazeera)

Abu Bakr al Baghdadi (Aljazeera)

When Abu Bakr al Baghdadi declared the establishment of the Caliphate on June 29, 2014, his concern was not poverty or modern nation states or democracy; it was Islam. A word-cloud analysis of his speech makes that incontestably clear:


All the evidence that has since emerged from the Islamic States only serves to reinforce that fact. Most recently, a defector from ISIS, Mohammed Imal Khweis, said, “Our daily life was prayer, eating and learning about the religion for 8 hours.”


The civil war that is happening within Islam across the globe has much more to do with fault-lines within the religion than it does with economic or sociological factors.

Those fault lines originated with the death of Mohammed, and they come down to two key questions: Who is the successor to Mohammed, and what are the sources of authority in Islam?

After Mohammed completed his last pilgrimage and shortly before he died, in 632 A.D., he is said to have preached for three hours in the blistering sun to more than 100,000 of his followers at Ghadir Khumm. There, he took the hand of Ali, his cousin and son-in-law, and said, “For whomever I am his Leader, Ali is his leader.”

Was Mohammad appointing Ali his successor, as the Shi’a believe? Or was he merely saying that Ali was deserving of esteem and affection, as the Sunni believe?

This lack of clarity over Mohammed’s successor led to the assassination of three of the first four caliphs and the eventual division of the Muslim community into Shi’a and Sunni.

Today, this debate over the rightful successor to Mohammed continues to fuel enmity between Sunni and Shi’a: it drives Turkey’s and Saudi Arabia’s support for Sunni Islamists in Syria against Iran’s support for the Shia in Syria and Iraq.

The second fault line within Islam today arises over the question of who has authority in Islam, particularly with regard to the law. During Muhammed’s lifetime, the putative revelations he received helped him to elaborate the faith. Some of the pre-Islamic tribal laws and practices remained in place, but in many instances Muhammad laid down new laws and new ways of conducting oneself.

Indeed a part of what makes this body of rules—Sharia, as it has come to be known—so distinctive from the Western concept of law is that it is not merely a set of laws but rather an all-encompassing way of life. Sharia includes laws on ownership, inheritance, divorce, and slavery, but it also includes guidelines on how to pray, how to wash, how to relate to others, even how to enter a room.

This was distinct from the Christian tradition. Jesus Christ had introduced a new set of rules for the spiritual life, to be practiced by his followers while living under Roman laws (the “Render unto Caesar” passage). Mohammad presented a comprehensive system which provided both spiritual guidelines as well as laws. Christians saw themselves as a subset that had to live within a broader society. Islam saw itself as the whole society.

Thus those Muslims who argue for theocracy have all the theological ammunition they need to justify it.

As long as Mohammad was alive, he was the arbiter of the law because he was both the leader of the community and the conduit to Allah. He delivered the word of Allah on what was right and wrong, allowed and forbidden. The Muslim community thus lost its direct access to divine revelation when Mohammed died.

Only a handful of crimes had been explicitly named in the Qu’ran: theft, fornication, false accusation, and the waging of war against Islam or “spreading disorder in the land.”

What happens when situations are encountered that had not been specifically addressed by Mohammad?


Since the Qu’ran was the word of Allah, as conveyed by Mohammad, was the Qu’ran the only legitimate source of law? Or since Muhammad was the chosen messenger of Allah, were his words and deeds outside of the Qu’ran also an authoritative source?

And what about the Rightly Guided Caliphs, those companions of Muhammad who had lived and worked alongside the Prophet and after his death had been so favored by Allah with victory in expanding the empire of Islam? Were not their elaborations of the law in those first decades after the death of Muhammad also an authoritative source? Similarly, were not the scholars and inhabitants of Medina a source of authority by virtue of having preserved the practices of Mohammad?

And finally, what about the role of human reason? Could man use reason to draw analogies between circumstances encountered by Muhammad and the present day?

These are the contours of the debate that ensued in the centuries following the death of Mohammad.

Four principal schools of law emerged, all of which agreed on the most important sacred sources, albeit with differences of emphasis among them:

  • the Qu’ran,
  • the words and actions of Muhammad (as preserved in the hadith and the sunna),
  • the example of the Companions of the Prophet, and
  • tradition.


But passionate and murderous debate ensued over the role of reason.

A group of scholars who came to be known as the Mu’tazalites emerged around the 8th century. They argued that there is an objective moral order that man can know through reason, and therefore human reason must be considered a legitimate source of authority in Islam. (This is an argument very similar to theories of Natural Law that had been developed from Greek philosophy and later Christian theologians, and to which the Mu’tazilites were exposed through translations.)

For a brief time, the Mu’tazalites held sway, and those who argued that reason had no role to play were threatened, flogged, imprisoned, banished, even murdered—indeed this period is referred to as Islam’s Inquisition (Mihna). But then the tables turned and those who stood in favor of reason were themselves quashed.

One of the most contentious debates sparked by the Mu’tazalite movement concerned the nature of the Qu’ran.

Not dissimilar to debates in the early Church over the nature of Jesus Christ—is Christ human or is He divine?—for Muslims the question was whether the Qu’ran was uncreated, co-eternal with Allah, or created. According to the Mu’tazalites, logic dictated that the Qu’ran could not be co-eternal with Allah because Allah must have preceded his own speech.

Why does this seemingly obscure point matter so much today? Because if the Qu’ran was uncreated, co-eternal with Allah, then it must remain true for all time and its laws and proscriptions must be followed to the letter.

This is the foundation of the argument of groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS in establishing 7th century rules and punishments. If, on the other hand, the Qu’ran was created for a specific time and place, then it can be adapted and amended for a new time and place.

Here lies the greatest potential for Islam to adapt to the modern world, to live peacefully alongside other religions, to end Islamist violence. Unfortunately, the Mu’tazalites were thoroughly defeated by about the 10th century, and those who have tried to revive the Mu’tazalite argument have been equally plagued.

These are the very profound fault lines within Islam, of which ISIS and Al Qaeda are but one manifestation. Asserting that terrorism has nothing to do with religion, as President Obama has done, is to ignore the very real conflict within the Muslim world.

To think that the United States can have a constructive role in this process by merely taking out key leaders of terrorist groups with drone strikes is to miss the point entirely. This is not a conflict of our making, nor is it ours to solve, but without a doubt the United States has an important role to play. Understanding the religious dimension of the conflict is the starting point in ensuring that it is not an exacerbating one.

Katharine Cornell Gorka is the President of the Council on Global Security and co-editor of Fighting the Ideological War: Winning Strategies from Communism to Islamism. In her current position, Katharine focuses on the threat posed by Islamic terrorism and radical ideologies. She works closely with U.S. government agencies, law enforcement and the intelligence community. Katharine is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received a master’s degree in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics.

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Obama: ‘There’s No Religious Rationale’ For Jihad Terror


Right, and Hillary is honest, too.

Front Page Magazine, by Robert Spencer, September 30, 2016

Here we go again. This is like having to prove that water is wet or that Hillary Clinton is crooked, but since Barack Obama has once again affirmed that jihad terrorists are twisting and hijacking the Religion of Peace, once again it is necessary to prove that unfortunately that is not the case. Obama is right about one thing: this question matters for what strategy the U.S. and the free world should pursue against the jihadis. That’s what makes his denial and willful ignorance nothing short of catastrophic.

CNN reported Thursday that Obama said the question of whether or not to use the term “Islamic terrorist” was “sort of manufactured” issue. He claimed, yet again, that “terrorist organizations like al Qaeda or ISIL…have perverted and distorted and tried to claim the mantle of Islam for an excuse for basically barbarism and death.”

Warming to his point, Obama said: “These are people who’ve killed children, killed Muslims, take sex slaves, there’s no religious rationale that would justify in any way any of the things that they do.”

Is he right? Of course not.

“Killed children”: “It is reported on the authority of Sa’b b. Jaththama that the Prophet of Allah (may peace be upon him), when asked about the women and children of the polytheists being killed during the night raid, said: They are from them.” — Sahih Muslim 4321

“I was very happy to learn about the relevant hadith. I felt overjoyed when I heard it. [Mus’ab Ibn Juthama] told the Prophet Muhammad that while the Muslims would attack the polytheists at night, women and children would be harmed. The Prophet Muhammad answered: ‘[Their offspring] constitute part of them.’ They are part of them, said our beloved Muhammad. This is not merely someone’s opinion. Thus, killing their women and children is permitted.” — Sudanese Muslim cleric Muhammad Al-Jazouli

“Killed Muslims”: “They but wish that you should reject faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing: but do not take friends from their ranks until they emigrate in the way of Allah. But if they turn renegade, seize them and kill them wherever you find them…” — Qur’an 4:89. To “emigrate in the way of Allah” would involve their becoming Muslim — but if they “turn renegade” after that, then they are to be killed.

“The punishment of those who make war against Allah and his messenger and spread corruption in the land shall be to put them to death or to have them crucified or to have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or to banish them from the land….” — Qur’an 5:33. The Islamic State claims that is the caliphate, the sole authority that Muslims should obey, and that to oppose it therefore constitutes making war against Allah and his messenger. No exception is given in this Qur’an verse or anywhere else: nowhere are Muslims who are considered to have made war against Allah and his messenger exempted from this death penalty.

“Take sex slaves”: The seizure of Infidel girls and their use as sex slaves is sanctioned in the Qur’an. According to Islamic law, Muslim men can take “captives of the right hand” (Qur’an 4:3, 4:24, 33:50). The Qur’an says: “O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful to you your wives to whom you have paid their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses of those whom Allah has given you as spoils of war” (33:50). 4:3 and 4:24 extend this privilege to Muslim men in general. The Qur’an says that a man may have sex with his wives and with these slave girls: “The believers must win through, those who humble themselves in their prayers; who avoid vain talk; who are active in deeds of charity; who abstain from sex, except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or whom their right hands possess, for they are free from blame.” (Qur’an 23:1-6)

Obama also said: “But what I have been careful about when I describe these issues is to make sure that we do not lump these murderers into the billion Muslims that exist around the world…”

Calling them “Islamic terrorists” wouldn’t do that, any more than referring to “American senators” means that all Americans are senators. Calling them what they are simply opens the door for us to understanding what they are all about, and how best to counter them.

Clinging determinedly to his fantasies, Obama added: “If you had an organization that was going around killing and blowing people up and said, ‘We’re on the vanguard of Christianity.’ As a Christian, I’m not going to let them claim my religion and say, ‘you’re killing for Christ.’ I would say, that’s ridiculous.”

Sure. But if this group was basing its actions on some twisted interpretation of Christian scripture, law enforcement and intelligence officials would be derelict in their duty if they didn’t study that interpretation — even if they understood it was wrong — in order to understand the motives and goals of the enemy and develop effective ways to defeat them.

Yet that is exactly what Obama has forbidden: on October 19, 2011, Farhana Khera of Muslim Advocates wrote a letter to John Brennan, who was then the Assistant to the President on National Security for Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism and is now the head of the CIA. The letter was signed not just by Khera, but by the leaders of virtually all the significant Islamic groups in the United States: 57 Muslim, Arab, and South Asian organizations, many with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Islamic Relief USA; and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).

The letter denounced what it characterized as U.S. government agencies’ “use of biased, false and highly offensive training materials about Muslims and Islam” and demanded that all mention of Islam and jihad be removed from counter-terror training materials. Brennan immediately complied.

So since then, it has been administration policy to ignore and deny the motivating ideology of jihad terror. That is a recipe for defeat and disaster: you cannot defeat an enemy you don’t understand. Under Barack Obama, refusing to understand the enemy is official U.S. government policy.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.

Another Day, Another Secret Obama Side Deal with Iran


Center for Security Policy, by Fred Fleitz, Sept. 30, 2016:

According to a September 30 Wall Street Journal article, the Obama administration signed a secret agreement with Iran to lift U.N. sanctions from two Iranian banks — Bank Sepah and Bank Sepah International — that helped finance Iran’s ballistic-missile program. U.S. and Iranian officials signed this deal on January 17, 2016, the same day Iran released four U.S. prisoners.

U.S officials in January said the prisoners were swapped for the release of seven Iranian prisoners by the U.S. and the removal of 21 persons — mostly Iranian nationals — from an INTERPOL wanted list for violating U.S. laws barring transfers of WMD technology and weapons to Iran.

The American people and Congress did not learn until August that the U.S. prisoners were not allowed to leave Iran until a planeload of $400 million in cash sent by the United States had landed in Iran. This payment — and two more over the next month — has been strongly condemned by Republican congressmen as U.S. ransom payments to a state sponsor of terror.

Commenting on the $400 million cash payment to Iran, the prisoner swap and the lifting of sanctions from the Iranian banks, a senior U.S. official told the Journal, “The timing of all this isn’t coincidental. Everything was linked to some degree.”

The Journal also quoted unnamed Obama officials who justified lifting sanctions against the two Iranian banks to “harmonize the U.N. sanctions list with the U.S.’s” and because “Washington believed Iran had earned more sanctions relief because Tehran had been implementing the terms of the nuclear agreement.” The Obama administration lifted U.S. sanctions against Bank Sepah and Bank Sepah International in July 2015. The U.N. Security Council voted to lift these sanctions on January 17, 2016.

This suggests the removal of sanctions against the Iranian banks was part of a broad ransom agreement to free U.S. prisoners held by Iran.

The secret agreement to lift sanctions against the Iranian banks also violated U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, passed in July 2015 which endorsed the JCPOA. This resolution stipulated that U.N. missile-related sanctions against Iran would remain in place for eight years. In addition, lifting sanctions against the two banks broke promises to Congress by Obama officials that the nuclear deal would only lift nuclear-related sanctions against Iran and that U.N. missile sanctions would remain in place for eight years.

The secret deal to lift missile sanctions against the Iranian banks joins a long list of secret JCPOA side deals that the Obama administration illegally withheld from the U.S. Congress and the American people. These include allowing Iran to inspect itself for nuclear weapons work; the dumbing down of IAEA Iran reports; exemptions granted to Iran on its JCPOA obligations so it would receive $150 billion in sanctions relief; sending Iran planeloads of $1.7 billion in cash to free four imprisoned Americans; and an agreement allowing Iran to construct advanced centrifuges in 2027. One has to wonder how many more secret side deals have yet to be disclosed.

I argue in my new book on the Obama administration’s nuclear diplomacy with Iran is national-security fraud. This latest secret side deal is more compelling evidence of this.


Obama on Not Saying ‘Islamic Terrorism’: Christian Terrorist Wouldn’t be ‘Killing for Christ’

President Obama pauses during a break in taping of a CNN town hall meeting Sept. 28, 2016, in Fort Lee, Va., with members of the military community. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Obama pauses during a break in taping of a CNN town hall meeting Sept. 28, 2016, in Fort Lee, Va., with members of the military community. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, Sept. 29, 2016:

President Obama told a town hall forum of military and family members Wednesday that he wouldn’t use the term Christian terrorism if a Christian committed terrorist acts, so that’s one reason why he eschews using Islamic terrorism.

Obama was asked by a Gold Star mother whose son was killed in Baghdad in 2007 if he believes that terrorism has “Islamic religious motives” and why he won’t say “Islamic terrorist.”

The president called it “an issue that has been sort of manufactured, because there is no doubt — and I’ve said repeatedly — that where we see terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda or ISIL, they have perverted and distorted and tried to claim the mantle of Islam for an excuse for basically barbarism and death.”

“These are people who kill children, kill Muslims, take sex slaves. There’s no religious rationale that would justify in any way any of the things that they do,” he added at the Fort Lee, Va., CNN event.

“But what I have been careful about when I describe these issues is to make sure that we do not lump these murderers into the billion Muslims that exist around the world, including in this country, who are peaceful, who are responsible, who in this country are our fellow troops and police officers and firefighters and teachers and neighbors and friends.”

Obama told the mother that what he “learned from listening to some of these Muslim families both in the United States and overseas is that when you start calling these organizations ‘Islamic terrorists,’ the way it’s heard, the way it’s received by our friends and allies around the world is that somehow Islam is terroristic.”

“And that then makes them feel as if they’re under attack. In some cases, it makes it harder for us to get their cooperation in fighting terrorism,” he continued.

“So do I think that if somebody uses the phrase ‘Islamic terrorism’ that it’s a huge deal? No. There’s no doubt that these folks think that — and claim that they’re speaking for Islam. But I don’t want to validate what they do. I don’t want to — if you had an organization that was going around killing and blowing people up and said, ‘We’re on the vanguard of Christianity,’ well, I’m not — as a Christian, I’m not going to let them claim my religion and say, ‘You’re killing for Christ.’ I would say that’s ridiculous. That’s not what my religion stands for.”

Obama said he’s going to “call these folks what they are, which is killers and terrorists.”

“And that’s what we’ve been trying to do, is to make sure that, A, we don’t validate their claims that somehow they speak for Islam, because they don’t, and, B, making sure that we do not make Muslims who are well-meaning and our natural allies on this fight — because these groups are killing more Muslims than they’re killing anybody else — make sure that they don’t feel as if somehow that this is some contest between the West and Islam,” he said.

“And I think that — I’ll just be honest with you — the dangers where we get loose in this language, particularly when a president or people aspiring to become president get loose with this language, you can see in some of the language that we use — in talking about Muslim-Americans here, and the notion that somehow we’d start having religious tests in who can come in the country, and who’s investigated, and whether the Bill of Rights applies to them in the same way.”

The president called that “a slippery slope.”

“And the way we’re going to win this battle is not by betraying our ideals. It’s by making sure that we hold true to our ideals. And one of our core ideals is that, if you’re an American and you are subscribing to the ideals and the creed and the values that we believe in as a country, then we don’t have a religious test in this country,” Obama said.

He emphasized that his criticism was “not unique to the Republican nominee.”

“And, again, I’m trying to be careful. We’re on a military base. I don’t want to insert partisan politics into this,” he added. “I think that there have been a number of public figures, where you start hearing commentary that is dangerous, because what it starts doing is it starts dividing us up as Americans.”

“When I go to Arlington Cemetery, mostly I see crosses. Sometimes I see stars of David. And sometimes I see Islamic crescents. And those families are just as proud regardless of their religion that a member of their family who they love just as much as anybody sacrificed for this country. And I want to make sure that we as a nation stay unified because that’s how we’re going to achieve our missions.”