Trouble among America’s Gulf Allies

Gatestone Institute, by John R. Bolton, July 11, 2017:

  • The State Department should declare both the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), thus triggering the penalties and sanctions required by law when such a declaration is made.
  • Those “affiliates” of the Muslim Brotherhood that, in whole or part, meet the statutory FTO definition should be designated; those that do not can be spared, at least in the absence of new information.
  • Qatar can legitimately complain that it is being unfairly singled out. The proper response is not to let Qatar off the hook but to put every other country whose governments or citizens are financing terrorism on the hook.

In recent weeks, governments on the Arabian Peninsula have been having a diplomatic brawl. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain (together with Egypt and other Muslim countries) have put considerable economic and political pressure on Qatar, suspending diplomatic relations and embargoing trade with their fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member. Kuwait and Oman, also GCC members, have been mediating the dispute or remaining publicly silent.

The Saudis and their supporters are demanding sweeping changes in Qatari policies, including suspending all financial support to the Muslim Brotherhood and other terrorist groups; joining the other GCC members in taking a much harder line against the nuclear and terrorist threat from Shia Iran and its proxies; and closing Al Jazeera, the irritating, radical-supporting television and media empire funded by Qatar’s royal family.

The United States’ response so far has been confused. President Trump has vocally supported the Saudi campaign, but the State Department has publicly taken a different view, urging that GCC members resolve their differences quietly.

As with so many Middle East disputes, the issues are complex, and there is considerable underlying history. Of course, if they were easy, Saudi Arabia and Qatar would not be nearly at daggers drawn seemingly overnight.

Washington has palpable interests at stake in this dispute and can make several critical moves to help restore unity among the Arabian governments, even though the issues may seem as exotic to the average American as the Saudi sword dance Trump joined during his recent Middle East trip.

Twin issues to confront

Confronting the twin issues of radical Islamic terrorism and the ayatollahs’ malign regime in Iraq are central not only to the Arab disputants but to the United States as well. In addition to providing our good offices to the GCC members, the Trump administration should take two critical steps to restore unity and stability among these key allies.

First, the State Department should declare both the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), thus triggering the penalties and sanctions required by law when such a declaration is made. Both groups meet the statutory definition because of their violence and continuing threats against Americans. The Obama administration’s failure to make the FTO designation has weakened our global anti-terrorist efforts.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s defenders argue that it is far from monolithic; that many of its “affiliates” are in fact entirely harmless; and that a blanket declaration would actually harm our anti-jihadi efforts. Even taking these objections as true for the sake of argument, they counsel a careful delineation among elements of the Brotherhood. Those that, in whole or part, meet the statutory FTO definition should be designated; those that do not can be spared, at least in the absence of new information. The Brotherhood’s alleged complexity is an argument for being precise in the FTO designations, not for avoiding any designations whatever.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Arab governments already target the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization but Qatar does not. That may sound suspicious, but as of now, of course, the United States hasn’t found the resolve to do it either. Once Washington acts, however, it will be much harder for Qatar or anyone else to argue that the Brotherhood is just a collection of charitable souls performing humanitarian missions.

A direct terrorist threat

Similarly, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps is a direct terrorist threat that has been killing Americans ever since the IRGC-directed attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, in October 1983. The only real argument against naming the IRGC is that so doing would endanger Obama’s 2015 nuclear agreement, given Tehran’s expected response to an FTO determination.

Second, Trump should follow up his successful Riyadh summit by insisting on rapid and comprehensive implementation of the summit’s principal outcome, the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (GCCEI). This center can provide governments across the Muslim world a face-saving mechanism to do what should have been done long ago, namely taking individual and collective steps to dry up terrorist financing.

U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump join King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, and the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in the inaugural opening of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, May 21, 2017. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

One could write books on the intricate financing that supports international terrorism, and finger-pointing at those responsible could take years. But whether terrorists are financed by governments, directly or indirectly, or by individuals or groups, with or without government knowledge or encouragement, it must all stop. Qatar can legitimately complain that it is being unfairly singled out. The proper response is not to let Qatar off the hook but to put every other country whose governments or citizens are financing terrorism on the hook.

Although superficially the ongoing crisis among the oil-producing monarchies may seem a setback to American efforts in the war again terrorism and the struggle to eliminate the Iranian threat, in fact it provides a rare opportunity to make considerable progress on two of our top priorities. The Trump administration should not miss its chance.

John R. Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is Chairman of Gatestone Institute, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and author of “Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad”.

Also see:

Swedish Spy Chief Admits ISIS Sympathizers Have Increased Tenfold to 2,000

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, July 4, 2017:

The first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem.

That should be what advisers to the Swedish prime minister should be whispering in his ear constantly, in case he fails to respond to comments made by his spy chief yesterday.

The National (UAE) reports:

Sweden is home to at least 2,000 ISIL sympathisers who are believed to have been radicalised over the internet, the country’s spy chief revealed on Monday.

Anders Thornberg, who heads the domestic intelligence agency Säpo, said the number of ISIL loyalists had increased from a suspected 200 in 2010; a 10-fold leap.

“We have never seen anything like it before,” Mr Thornberg told the Swedish news agency TT. “We would say that it has gone from hundreds to thousands now.

“This is the ‘new normal’ … It is an historic challenge that extremist circles are growing,” he said.

He also reported that Swedish security police are receiving 6,000 intelligence tips on Islamist extremist activity every month.

Last month I reported here at PJ Media that jihadist arrests in the EU had doubled last year from 2015:

And since 2007, terrorism in OECD countries has skyrocketed a whopping 900 percent:

The scope of the Islamist terror problem in Europe — as the Swedish spy chief now admits — is without precedent.

Another remarkable element to this story is that just a few months ago President Trump observed that Sweden has having such issues. The Swedish prime minister responded with mocking:

Reportedly, more than 150 former ISIS fighters have returned to Sweden. And what is the Swedish government’s response? Finding them jobs:

And they’ve even gone so far as to give these former ISIS fighters new identities.

Sweden is hardly alone in confronting the returning ISIS fighter issue.

And the cold, hard reality is that the problem may now be unmanageable.

Read more

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Former UK Intel Official Says 23,000 Jihadists Living in Britain Is Probably ‘the Tip of the Iceberg’

PJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, JUNE 28, 2017:

Colonel Richard Kemp is a former senior UK intelligence official and former chairman of the Cobra Intelligence Group who briefed the British government on secret intelligence.

Speaking with BBC Newsnight this week, Kemp said that the 23,000 jihadists MI5 officials have publicly admitted are living in the UK “may be the tip of the iceberg”:

The 23,000 number was reported in the days following the Manchester arena attack last month that left 22 victims dead and 250 injured.

The Times reported:

Intelligence officers have identified 23,000 jihadist extremists living in Britain as potential terrorist attackers, it emerged yesterday.

The scale of the challenge facing the police and security services was disclosed by Whitehall sources after criticism that multiple opportunities to stop the Manchester bomber had been missed.

About 3,000 people from the total group are judged to pose a threat and are under investigation or active monitoring in 500 operationsbeing run by police and intelligence services. The 20,000 others have featured in previous inquiries and are categorised as posing a “residual risk”.

Those MI5 figures were confirmed by UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd the following day on Andrew Marr’s BBC show.

But Kemp’s stunning admission that these figures on the number of jihadists may be vastly understated lends evidence to the claim that the extent of the threat in the UK may exceed authorities’ ability to deal with it.

The pace of terror attacks in the UK this year has been staggering.

Notwithstanding that arrests have been taking place at a blistering speed:

Top among the terror concerns are those returning foreign fighters who have traveled to terror zones, most recently Syria and Iraq, to fight with terror organizations:

Read more

DHS John Kelly: Islamic Terrorists Are Sincere, So Regulate the Internet

Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Breitbart, by Neil Munro, June 23, 2017:

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly acknowledged Thursday that sincere Islamic beliefs are fuelling deadly jihad attacks during Ramadan — but he quickly hid that key recognition behind vague calls for Internet regulation and suggestions that Christian and Jewish beliefs are also causing terrorism.

“As far as Ramadan goes, you know, first of all, the uptick in violence and activities [during Ramadan is] done by a very, very small percentage of people who have just corrupted the whole concept of Islam as a religion, but it is what it is,” Kelly told the chairman of the House homeland defense committee on June 22. He continued:

We are in the middle of it, so they are out there doing what they think is their religion and think [it is] what they are supposed to be doing. In Flint, Michigan, as an example, a completely off-the-screen individual who attacked this police officer — who will be okay, as I understand it… We’ve seen these terrible things happen in Europe.

Instead of focusing on the jihad doctrine that is part-and-parcel of orthodox Islam, Kelly quickly tried to spread the blame for terror attacks, saying “Whether they are church, synagogues or mosques [we need] an open line of communication so they know if they see this [belligerence] happening in the home or they see it happening — that is to say, the move towards radicalism — or they see it happening in the churches or mosques, they know to call someone before that person typically crosses the line,” he told the chairman, Texas Rep. Michael McCaul.

Kelly added racist and even anti-Semitic groups to the blame gallery, even though Islamic radicals are anti-Semitic, saying: “Whether they are white supremacists, anti-Jewish or neo-Nazi or Islamic radicalism, until they do something [criminal], generally speaking, the best law enforcement can do is watch,” adding “I don’t know how to predict it.”

Kelly also blamed the Internet and urged businesses to block access to “some” websites. “The one constant that I have seen, Mr. Chairman, since I have been in this job, the one constant in all of this has been the Internet … The one constant is the Internet. I’m not blaming the Internet but I’m just saying that we probably need to step back, and say, maybe [have] stricter rules on what is hung on the Internet,” he said.

The secreary also cited existing laws against child pornography, which require companies to disconnect websites offering images of sexualized children, saying “just like in terms of child pornography sites that are taken down like that, we need to have probably a stricter set of rules to look at some of these [jihad] sites and bring them down maybe faster.”

He suggested the United States should follow the example set by Europe’s new policies against free speech, which this week prompted teams of black-clad German secretive police to raid 60 homes of people accused of illegal speech. Kelly said about the Europeans:

I think kind of the [Internet] rules and thinking they are operating under — that frankly that our country has been operating under — is probably five or ten years old … I know the Europeans are, particularly in the last five months, what they have dealt with — whether it is Paris, Manchester, I mean all of it, running people down on London bridge or Westminster bridge, they have really stepped back from their thinking [on free speech], as I think we should.

Kelly’s refusal to focus on jihad as the problem can lead his agency down a blind alley, said Robert Spencer, the best-selling author of books on Islam, and the director of the Jihadwatch website. “Instead of dealing with the threat, he’s threatening the freedom of speech of all Americans to maintain his politically correct veneer,” Spencer said.

“He needs to look at [Koran verses] 47.4 or 9:5, where there is an abundant incitement to violence in a place where he dares not acknowledge where it comes from,” said Spencer. According to those Islamic scriptures:

So when you meet those who disbelieve {Islam} [in battle], strike [their] necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds, and either [confer] favor afterwards or ransom [them] until the war lays down its burdens. That [is the command]. And if Allah had willed, He could have taken vengeance upon them [Himself], but [He ordered armed struggle] to test some of you by means of others. And those who are killed in the cause of Allah – never will He waste their deeds …

And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the {non-Muslim} polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

Pointing the blame at the Internet also ignores the danger of Islamic teachings in U.S.-based mosques, said Spencer. “We’ve seen again and again that there are jihadis who are very active in their mosques and yet nobody will monitor them, so he has to find some scapegoat … [and] he finds it with the Internet, which is practically a cliche,” Spencer added. “I just hope that his politically correct euphemism don’t lead him to waste time and resources charging down what he knows are blind alleys.”

Chairman McCaul did not push Kelly to justify spreading blame for the Islamic attacks, but Kelly also admitted that the courts are pressuring his agency as it tries to prevent planned attacks:

My guidance to the department is to be very very cautious about getting near where the court tells us we can’t go … I have a real good sense of right and wrong but that doesn’t always work when it comes to courts and lawyers. So I’ve just said [to agency officials] ‘Be very very conservative about where we go on this.’”

The recent court decisions have repeatedly claimed President Donald Trump’s effort to curb Islamic attacks are motivated by unreasoning hatred, threaten the religious freedom of Islamic immigrants, and have not been endorsed by government experts.

But amid Kelly’s court-pressured, blame-everyone rhetoric, he only cited Islamic attacks, saying:

In Paris the other day they dodged a huge bullet because the individual ended up that rammed the police car ended up dying before he could do all of what he had planned to do…

[Parents say] ’My son was on the internet and he did this,’ whatever this was, or San Bernardino, or ‘My daughter was on the Internet and she ran away to Syria to become someone’s bride.’…

I know the Europeans are, particularly in the last five months, what they have dealt with — whether it is Paris, Manchester, I mean all of it, running people down on London bridge or Westminster bridge..

Kelly also recognized that one of the long-term fixes to terrorism is better vetting of immigrants to prevent “hostile attitudes,” including Islamic immigrants, saying:

I think we have a long way to go before we can be comfortable as to identifying who the [immigrant] person is, why they are coming to the United States and whether they can support themselves when they come here. So as [what] defines extreme vetting, that’s what we’re looking at. Those three questions need to be answered [for each would-be immigrant], I think, properly.

That comment echoes Trump’s January Executive Order on immigration, which sought to exclude refugees and immigrants with “hostile attitudes.”

But Kelly’s refusal to focus on the jihad ideology means “more Americans will suffer,” said Spencer. Kelly “is not facing the real root-cause of the threat, and it will continue to proliferate.”

Watch Kelly’s statements here.

THE FBI’S BIZARRE COVER-UP OF THE GOP BASEBALL SHOOTING

Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, June 22, 2017:

James Hodgkinson’s assault on Republican members of Congress was the most serious political assassination in decades. And yet at the same time it was wrapped up by the Capitol Police.

There was really little for the FBI to do here. Hodgkinson’s motives were fairly clear. He had a list of names of targets. His social media was filled with rants against Republicans. A witness describes him studying the area of his future attack. According to Rep. DeSantis, he asked if the players were Republicans or Democrats.

This is about as open and shut as anything gets. All the FBi had to do was go through his laptop and phone to confirm that he hadn’t been coordinating with anyone else.

Except the FBI instead decided to treat Hodgkinson as if he were a Muslim terrorist. And by that I mean launch into a cover-up of his motives.

First, there was the odd denial of Rep. DeSantis account.

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., told CNBC that a man came up to him and Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., at the practice and asked if the players on the field were Republicans or Democrats.

“We both agreed that that individual who came up to us and asked if it was Republicans or Democrats … is the same individual police have identified,” DeSantis said. “That picture is the same guy that we saw.”

Someone from the FBI appeared to deny that. The FBI briefing however includes it. But the briefing is bizarre in that it goes out of its way to deny the facts.

The gunman who shot a top House Republican and four other people on a Virginia baseball field didn’t have any concrete plans to inflict violence on the Republicans he loathed, FBI officials said Wednesday.

They said he acted alone and had no connections to terror groups. But they said they had not yet clarified who, if anyone, he planned to target, or why, beyond his animus toward President Donald Trump and the Republicans he felt were ruining the country. It wasn’t even clear whether he had prior plans to attack the baseball practice or whether he just happened upon it the morning of June 14, said Tim Slater, who leads the criminal division of the FBI’s Washington field office.

“At this point in the investigation, it appears more spontaneous,” Slater said.

Hodgkinson had a piece of paper with the names of six members of Congress written on it, Slater said, but the note lacked any further context and there was no evidence from his computer, phone or other belongings that indicated he planned to target those officials. Slater declined to name the officials whose names were on the note or say whether they were Republicans or Democrats or were at the baseball practice.

In April, Hogkinson made the tourist rounds in Washington, visiting monuments, museums, the U.S. Capitol and the Dirksen Senate Office Building and taking pictures, the FBI said. He also took pictures of the baseball field where he would later fire more than 60 shots.

“The FBI does not believe that these photographs represented surveillance of intended targets,” the FBI said in a statement.

So the working theory here is that Hodgkinson just stocked up on firepower, for no apparent reason, took photos of the baseball field because it was so picturesque, had a list of members of Congress for no apparent reason, and then randomly and spontaneously opened fire while he happened to be carrying a rifle and touring local baseball fields?

That hit list? It’s just a piece of paper.

Timothy Slater, special agent in charge of the criminal division for the Washington field office, would not classify it as a hit list, saying it was only “a piece of paper.”

“If you look at his pattern of life and what he was doing on his laptop and social media accounts, there was no indication that that was a list to target or that there were any threats associated with those names on the list,” Slater said.

It just happened to be a piece of paper in his weapons locker.

Authorities found the list in a storage locker Hodgkinson had rented in Alexandria, Virgina, since April. Inside, they also found 200 rounds of ammunition, a laptop, a receipt from a gun purchase in November 2016 and SKS rifle components

Just a piece of paper.

That morning, Hodgkinson used Google Maps to search for a route from Alexandria to his home in Belleville. He also ran a Google search for the “2017 Republican Convention,”

Spontaneous. The official FBI release whitewashes his social media postings.

Items found on Hodgkinson included a piece of paper that contained the names of six members of Congress. No context was included on this paper, however, a review of Hodgkinson’s web searches in the months prior to the shooting revealed only a cursory search of two of those members of Congress. A second document with a rough sketch of several streets in Washington, D.C. was found on Hodgkinson; however, it was not deemed to be of investigative significance.

Not much seems to be. Also there seems to be a discrepancy here as to whether the list was on him or in his locker.

Analysis of the electronic media items recovered from Hodgkinson’s belongings assessed that Hodgkinson did not place any online posts of threats or references to members of Congress or the Congressional baseball game. Hodgkinson made numerous posts on all of his social media accounts espousing anti-Republican views, although all the posts reviewed thus far appear to be First Amendment-protected speech.

The First Amendment protects the speech of living people. It doesn’t conflict with establishing motive.

The FBI emphasizes that he didn’t threaten violence against members of Congress. But he clearly hated his targets. He had googled them at one point. And his social media included an attack on the man he shot. That’s the sort of thing that adds up to motive. Unless you’re desperately whitewashing the investigation to make it seem like this was a random act by an unstable man with financial problems.

It’s almost like Jimmy’s a Muslim terrorist. Usually they’re the ones to benefit from this treatment.

“He was running out of money. He was not employed at the time of the event, and he was looking for some local employment. He was married for 30 years, and it appears that that marriage was not going so well,” Slater said. “It was just a pattern of life where you could tell things were not going well.”

Much like the FBI investigation.

Also see:

Something is very wrong at the FBI 

And lets not forget this:

Vlad Tepes Interviews Former CIA Station Chief, Brad Johnson

Interview One on jihad and politics:

Interview Two on the Jihadist playbook,  “The Manchester Manual”Carlos the Jackal’s “Revolutionary Islam” and much more:

***

Poll: Should Human Rights be Dropped to Smash Terror?

UK Prime Minister Theresa May campaigns for re-election. (Photo: BEN STANSTALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Clarion Project, by Elliot Friedland, June 7, 2017:

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has promised not to let human rights legislation stand in the way of defeating terrorism if re-elected. She made the pledge after facing heavy criticism following three terrorist attacks on British soil in just three months.

Take the poll at the bottom of this article. Thank you. (go to Clarion Project)

Her comments came after the former commander of the British Army in Afghanistan and the former most senior South Asian police officer in the UK both called to lock terror suspects in internment camps. Such draconian policies would be a radical departure from existing policy. They would also see stiff opposition from human rights groups since internment camps are a form of imprisonment without trial. The right to trial is considered one of the bedrocks of a free society.

Journalists demanded to know why the Manchester bomber and two of the London Bridge attackers were at liberty to carry out their attacks despite having been previously reported to security services for radical behavior.

“When I stood on the steps of Downing Street after the London attack I said enough is enough and things have got to change,” she said at a campaign speech in Slough. “We need to take on the ideology that unites and motivates the perpetrators of these attacks.”

Moving on to human rights, she added “We should do even more to restrict the freedom and the movements of terrorist suspects when we have enough evidence to know they present a threat, but not enough evidence to prosecute them in full in court.”

This may be an allusion to policies being floated regarding establishing internment camps to detain thousands of suspected jihadis without trial.

A string of public figures have supported the proposal to detain Islamists suspects en masse.

Colonel Richard Kemp, formerly head of the British government’s emergency response committee, COBRA, and former head of the British armed forces in Afghanistan made the call for internment camps last week.

He told the Good Morning Britain news show the government needs to help security services fight terror “by removing as many of these people [suspected terrorists] out of the country as we possibly can.”

He said all non-British citizens who are suspected of radicalism should be deported immediately. Anyone who has gone to fight for ISIS should not be allowed back, he argued. Any British citizens on whom the state has intelligence but not enough evidence to take to court, he said, should be interned in a facility without trial.

Former police chief with London’s Metropolitan Police Tarique Ghaffur, who was Britain’s highest ranked Muslim police officer of South Asian origin, supported the call for internment camps in a piece in the Mail on Sunday.

“We face an unprecedented terrorist threat – about 3,000 extremists are subjects of interest to MI5 and police, and about 500 plots are being monitored. The numbers are way too many for the security services and police to monitor” he said.

Therefore, he argued, they should be interned in special prison camps.

“These would be community-based centres where the extremists would be risk-assessed,” he argued. “Then the extremists would be made to go through a deradicalisation programme, using the expertise of imams, charity workers and counter- terrorism officers. These centres would have oversight from vetted Muslim and other community leaders, who would ensure they stayed within the law.”

“Let us have a proper national debate about this, and not be afraid to speak openly for fear of offending any communities, or for the sake of political correctness” he added.

UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Paul Nuttall said at the end of May “when you read this morning there’s a suspected 23,000 jihadis living amongst us, obviously MI5 are stretched to capacity at this present moment in time.”

“I think we’ve got to look at ways of ensuring that our people are safe, whether that is a return to control orders, whether that is tagging these people, who knows, in the future maybe a return to internment.”

He added that the lives of British citizens were more important than “the human rights of any jihadi.”

Controversial Mail on Sunday Columnist Katie Hopkins called for people on the terror watch list to be “rounded up.”

She told Fox and Friends “we do need internment camps.” Host Clay Morris apologized, saying he and his team found the idea “reprehensible.”

By contrast, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said terrorism was linked to British foreign policy. He previously branded drone strikes as “obscene” and during his career as an MP voted against no less than 17 proposed anti-terror laws.

He hit out at Theresa May’s record on security while in office, calling on her to resign. Government cuts made while she was Home Secretary saw police numbers drop by 20,000. He also recently backpedaled on his stated opposition to shoot-to-kill policies during terrorist attacks.

He now says he would “support the use of whatever proportionate and strictly necessary force” during an attack.

Once measures like detention camps are introduced they are difficult to dismantle and could conceivably be sued by the government for a host of other suspected offences, not just to fight terrorism. There is also no guarantee that innocent people would not end up being mistakenly imprisoned without trial or recourse to legal assistance as part of the proposed “round up.”