Andrew C. McCarthy: Lessons from the Blind Sheikh Terror Trial, What Animates Jihadists, Why U.S. Middle East Policy Fails, Collapsing Iran’s Regime (Part I)

BIG IDEAS WITH BEN WEINGARTEN PODCAST, By Ben Weingarten, June 6,2018:

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My Guest

Andrew C. McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, contributing editor of National Review and author most recently of essential books on the threat of Islamic supremacism including Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the JihadThe Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America and Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.

In addition to being one of the nation’s foremost national security analysts and legal experts — formerly serving as Assistant U.S. Attorney in the vaunted Southern District of New York — he is one of the most humble, insightful and devoted patriots I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

In Part I of my in-depth interview with Andy McCarthy, we discussed his experience prosecuting the jihadist mastermind of the first World Trade Center attack and what it taught him about the Islamic supremacist threat America faces, the primacy of religion for Muslims in the Middle East and in the West, why Islamic supremacists choose jihadist savagery over assimilation, willful blindness in American national security and foreign policy regarding the nature of the jihadist threat, folly in American foreign affairs from Syria to Libya, and the imperative to collapse the Khomeinist Iranian regime.

What We Discussed

  • How McCarthy, an Irish Catholic kid from the Bronx became one of the nation’s foremost legal experts on jihad and Sharia law
  • The prosecution of the Blind Sheikh and his terrorist cell over the first World Trade Center attack and plots to destroy other New York City landmarks
  • McCarthy’s impressions having sat face-to-face with some of the world’s most evil jihadists, and why their portrayal as genocidal maniacs is wholly inaccurate
  • The strength of religion over other animating factors when it comes to jihad, and the West’s projection and mirror-imaging
  • Why Islamic supremacists do not want to assimilate into Western culture or adopt Western principles such as freedom of religion and individual liberty
  • The willful blindness and arrogance of America’s national security and foreign policy establishment over Islamic supremacism and the Middle East
  • Whether America is better off in homeland security and foreign affairs almost 17 years after 9/11
  • McCarthy’s belief in the Bush Doctrine
  • What America’s national interest is in Syria
  • McCarthy’s fear that America will be unwilling to engage in future wars of necessity given the expense in blood and treasure of the last two decades
  • What McCarthy would do if he were counterjihadist czar
  • The West’s disastrous record of colluding with the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots
  • The disaster of Iran Deal and the imperative to collapse Iran’s Khomeinist regime

What’s really behind Macron’s sweet talk about the Iran deal?

Ludovic Marin/AFP | Getty Images

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, April 25, 2018:

French President Emmanuel Macron is waging an all-out campaign to convince President Trump — and the American people — to keep the United States in the Iran nuclear deal.

In a speech before a joint session of Congress on Wednesday morning, Macron called on the United States to stay in the Iran deal. He began his remarks claiming that Iran would never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon, delivering what at first appeared to be tough rhetoric.

But shortly thereafter, Macron quickly took a more capitulatory tone and showed his hand when he demanded that the nations of the world respect the sovereignty of the terrorist regime that rules the country. He then pledged that France would not leave the Iran nuclear deal (known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the JCPOA).

He described Iran as a “great civilization,” but notably failed to mention that the ruling regime dismisses Iran’s historic Persian heritage and replaces it with an Islamic supremacist doctrine.

Here’s more of what Macron didn’t tell Congress and the American people:

Staying in the Iran deal would guarantee an economic windfall for France. He knows that continuing U.S. involvement in the deal — which effectively keeps it afloat — secures billions of dollars in trade deals for France. Leaving the deal would almost certainly terminate these agreements.

As the United States continues to warn against securing economic partnerships with the regime in Tehran, France has ignored these warnings. Paris is more than eager to execute multi-billion-dollar accords with the terrorist regime. France-based Airbus has a deal in place to sell 100 jetliners to the regime for $10 billion dollars. Total, a French oil and gas company, has signed a $2 billion deal with Tehran. Moreover, as the United States has tightened sanctions on the regime, France is working on bolstering trade with Iran.

The debate over the future of the Iran deal comes as the ayatollah’s theocracy is on the ropes.

Instead of focusing on building up the economy inside Iran, the regime has decided to dedicate most of its expenditures toward waging expansionist wars in foreign lands. Iran is in total upheaval, and protest movements continue to shake the foundations of the ruling class. The Iranian people are rising up throughout their country in defiance of the totalitarian state that rules over them with an iron fist. The Iranian economy is in tatters and continues on a downward spiral. Its currency, the rial, is depreciating on an exponential level. All of these circumstances pose real threats to the very existence of the regime.

President Trump has until May 12 to decide whether to stay in the Iran deal, negotiate a “fix” to it, or leave it altogether. Staying in the Iran deal, as presently construed, delivers a much-needed lifeline to the mullahs, who will continue to use the platform to negotiate bailout packages from European and Asian powers. Recent European proposals for reforming show that they have little interest in countering the serious threats from Iran.

The European model for stability and security with Iran, presented through the JCPOA, has no proven successes. If anything, it enriches the ruling parties in Europe while simultaneously bending the knee to Islamic totalitarians.

France and many others in Western Europe have surrendered their nations’ sovereignty — and moral authority — to radical Islamic theocrats. They believe that making a temporary peace agreement with the regime in Tehran — which serves as the incubator for Shiite radicalism — can perhaps stave off further terrorist threats. European powers have chosen to largely ignore the massive, uncontrolled Middle East migration crisis. And due to the influx of Middle East migrants and the Islamist doctrine they bring along, Sunni radicalism has become embedded in European society, so much that European intelligence agencies are entirely overwhelmed with domestic and foreign terrorist threats. French and German Jews are now attacked on what seems like a daily basis. Jews and other minority populations are fleeing the country in droves. Europe has surrendered minority protections to the interests of the millions of new migrants.

The French model is a model for surrender. President Trump knows that his primary duty is to protect the interests and safety of the citizens of the United States. He can do this by either reforming the Iran nuclear deal seriously, or simply leaving it altogether. President Macron and the French establishment are not serious about reforming the nuclear deal or keeping their own people safe from continuous terror threats. They have chosen the path of submission. President Trump must not make the same mistake. America does not bend the knee to foreign ideologies, particularly the Shiite radicalism articulated by the theocrats who rule Iran.

Trump’s Grand Strategy: Get the United States out of the Middle East, Now

Our troops in Syria are hostages to Obama’s deal with Iran, which mandates a state of perpetual war between America and the region’s Sunni majority. Donald Trump wants to withdraw from both.

Tablet Magazine, by Lee Smith, April 23, 2018:

“Mission Accomplished,” Donald Trump tweeted triumphantly after the recent limited strikes on Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons facilities. Critics were quick to portray the President’s boast as hot air, and pontificate about the need for a comprehensive White House strategy to deal with Syria and other long-term regional issues.

But Trump does have a strategy, which the strikes and the President’s tweets have made plain—a U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria and a U.S. withdrawal from the Iran deal. Washington has plenty of allies to work with and through in the Middle East, especially Israel and Saudi Arabia. Both share an American interest in rolling back Iran. Further, the White House can work against Iran and its partners in Syria through proxy forces on the ground.

The peculiar fact is that neither the Iran deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, nor the U.S. troop presence in Syria was designed to push back on the clerical regime. Quite the opposite—they are part of a strategy purposed, perhaps unintentionally, to relieve Tehran. But now Trump intends to get out of both—while reserving the prerogative to use force, as the strikes made plain.

There is little evidence to suggest that Trump is a grand strategist in the classical mode, but his instincts are right. Contrary to the horror and scorn with which both ideas have been greeted by the Beltway foreign-policy consensus, Trump’s grand Middle Eastern strategy makes sense.

The irony is that Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, sought to accomplish the same goal of withdrawing the United States from the mire of what Trump rightly describes as a “troubled” region. The difference is that Obama’s mechanism for extricating America from the Middle East was the nuclear deal with Iran, which has paradoxically entailed not only more bloodshed but also continuing U.S. military engagement on the ground. Obama’s big mistake was his naïve belief in Iranian PR, which transformed a militarily weak, economically backwards, and politically unstable country into a technological powerhouse fronted by the dashing revolutionary fashion-plate, Qassem Suleimani.

Obama’s grand strategy was to “balance” traditional U.S. allies against Iran to create a kind of stasis while the U.S. snuck out the back door. The problem with that strategy was that Iran was simply unable to fill the stabilizing role Obama had in mind. It’s too weak, and there are many, many more Sunnis in the Middle East than Shiites. Not even Vladimir Putin’s military escalation in September 2015 followed by massive infusions of U.S. cash to Iran and its clients could win a decisive victory for the Assad regime, which Russia and Iran support.

Why is this glaringly obvious failure in judgment still so difficult for D.C. pundits and think-tankers to understand? In part, because it would acknowledge that Obama wasn’t so smart, which means they aren’t so smart, either. It would also force the chattering classes to acknowledge years of U.S. complicity in the Syrian genocide. Americans, especially those on both the left and the right who see demonstrating American virtue as a main goal of U.S. foreign policy, still cannot bring themselves to acknowledge that Obama didn’t simply stand idly by while the Iranians and their allies slaughtered and gassed Syrians, although that prospect would certainly be bad enough. Rather, America actively assisted in the slaughter.

The money that the Obama White House provided Iran—tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief, the $1.7 billion ransom for American hostages—helped fund Iran’s Syrian campaign. The weapons and the soldiers who committed genocide inside Syria were partly paid for with U.S. dollars. American aid to the Iraqi army and Lebanese Armed Forces helped stabilized Iranian holdings while the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its partners like Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiite militias slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians, nearly all of whom were Sunnis, many of whose villages were then subjected to sectarian cleansing and replaced with Shia loyal to Iran. While D.C. partisans of “fighting ISIS” point to the prevention of a future terror attack on U.S. soil as the main rationale for their mission, it doesn’t take a genius to see how helping kill 500,000 Sunnis in Syria is more likely to produce future terror attacks than to prevent them.

Trump’s strategy is simple: Pull the plug. The Middle East is a “troubled place,” Trump said after the strikes. “We will try to make it better, but it is a troubled place. The United States will be a partner and a friend, but the fate of the region lies in the hands of its own people.”

What this means in practice is that the President is almost certain to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear agreement next month. He’s given Secretary of Defense James Mattis six months to beat ISIS and then we’re out.

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The American “Inability to Understand” Jihadis

It has hamstrung our foreign policy for decades.

Front Page Magazine, by Robert Spencer, April 20, 2018:

One of the biggest ongoing problems of U.S. foreign policy is a failure to understand what we’re really up against. This problem is nothing new, although Barack Obama took it to new heights by banning all mention of Islam and jihad from counterterror training, with many of his loyalists still in place and hampering our ability to deal realistically with the jihad threat today.

This myopia goes back decades. In Theodore H. White’s America In Search of Itself, there is this telling passage about the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979:

Of the negotiating effort, the most biting summary was that later made by Captain Gary Sick of U.S. Naval Intelligence. “Nobody knew what kind of person Khomeini was,” said Sick…”In every day of this early crisis,” he said, “and right through until this day, there’s been this American inability to understand the true fanaticism of this man, not moved by any sense of compassion, by any concern for law, by any understanding of international tradition. We’d been dealing with people like Kim Il-Sung, Mao Tse-tung, and other dictators. So it was difficult for us to grasp the total, unyielding, unwillingness of this man to consider any other factor outside of his own limited view of the world. Khomeini was beyond the experience, if not the imagination, of anyone in the United States government. We made that mistake repeatedly — of trying to deal with Khomeini as if he were a government.”

Khomeini’s Islamic regime was a government, but not in any sense that American diplomats were used to dealing with. What set Khomeini and his regime apart from the likes of Kim and Mao was Islam, and few, if any, foreign service professionals in the State Department understood that or knew how to deal with it.

And it wasn’t just Khomeini. American Presidents and policymakers of recent times have consistently shown an inability or unwillingness to understand the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat in general. This willful ignorance persists and his gotten worse, with the Bush/Obama policies of denying that the jihad terror threat has anything to do with Islam. The wrong diagnosis of the problem leads to the wrong solutions being applied. This is true of the Israeli/“Palestinian” conflict, the incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan, the immigration issue, and more.

This pervasive lack of understanding is glaringly exposed in my forthcoming book The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS, the first and only comprehensive one-volume treatment of jihad activity from the beginning of Islam, around the world from Spain to India and elsewhere, told in the words of eyewitnesses and chroniclers who were close to the events. This is the history that most Americans don’t know, and that American policymakers need to know.

If Jimmy Carter’s State Department had known what is in the book when they were deal with the Iranian hostage crisis, the world would likely be very different, and calmer, today. If American Presidents and policymakers had known what was in this book when trying to broker peace between Israel and the “Palestinians,” and trying to establish Western-style republics in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of lives and trillions of dollars would not have been wasted.

What American policymakers didn’t understand in 1979 they still don’t understand. Unless this willful ignorance is addressed and corrected, the policy errors will continue to multiply. A President who wants to secure America’s defenses not just during his term of office, but for future generations, will require all American diplomats and foreign service officers to study the jihad doctrines of Islam, as well as the history of jihad. But in that current environment, such a requirement is virtually inconceivable, as it would result in a cascade of accusations of “Islamophobia” and hysterical claims that Muslims are subjected to widespread discrimination and harassment in the U.S.

And so the foreign entanglements and misadventures are likely to continue.

Assad’s Horror, and Those Who Enable It

hoto credit: Muhammed es Sami/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.
Demonstrators draw picture on a wall to describe the poisonous gas attack and protest against the Assad regime’s alleged gas attack on Douma in Syria on April 08, 2018

Russia, Iran, and North Korea all play a role in the Syrian regime’s chemical attacks on its own people.

The Weekly Standard, by Thomas Joscelyn, April 8, 2018:

Horrific images from the aftermath of a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria are once again circulating online. The scene of this gassing is the eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus. Both the location and the timing of this apparent war crime are symbolically important. And while the immediate focus will be on Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and his willingness to gas his own people, any long-term solution will require understanding the role of the rogue states that enable and support him.

It was one year ago, on the morning of April 7, 2017, that the Trump administration launched punitive airstrikes against Assad’s regime at the Shayrat Airfield in response to a Sarin gas attack days earlier. Those targeted bombings were intended to send a message to Assad: Stop using banned weapons of war against your own people. Assad was undeterred.

He had failed to adhere to a previous deal, negotiated by the Obama administration and Russia, that was intended to end his chemical weapons capability. The concord was struck in the aftermath of the August 21, 2013, nerve agent attack on eastern Ghouta–the same suburb hit in the last 24 hours. The U.S. government determined that the Assad regime was responsible and “that 1,429 people were killed … including at least 426 children.”

Just a few weeks later, in September 2013, the U.S. and Russia agreed to “special procedures” for the “expeditious destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program and stringent verification thereof.” Secretary of State John Kerry claimed in 2014 that the agreement had worked, saying “we got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out” of Syria. That obviously wasn’t true, or at least highly misleading, as Assad retained the capability to regenerate and use certain weapons.

And now—one year after the U.S. attempted to punish Assad with airstrikes, and in the same neighborhood that was terrorized in 2013— the Syrian regime has seemingly struck again.

Many details concerning this most recent attack remain to be confirmed. But the world has already learned some valuable lessons regarding the behavior of rogue actors when it comes their pursuit and use of banned weapons.

There is no real question that Assad has continued to use chemical weapons even after he agreed to give them up. As the State Department was quick to note yesterday, the U.S. has concluded that he was responsible for the April 4, 2017, Sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun—the same incident which prompted the Trump administration’s bombing. And both the U.S. government and the UN have found that Assad’s goons used other chemical weapons, namely crude chlorine bombs, more than once. While some of these bombs struck areas held by jihadi rebels, they have also indiscriminately killed civilians.

Assad’s principal international backer, Vladimir Putin, hasn’t stopped him from using of them. Nor has Iran, which is deeply embedded in Syria alongside Assad’s forces. In fact, the Assad-Putin-Khamenei axis has a legion of online apologists who argue that the high-profile chemical weapons assaults aren’t really the work of the Syrian “president” at all. This noxious advocacy on behalf of mass murderers is readily available on social media.

It gets even worse, as another rogue state has reportedly facilitated Assad’s acquisition of chemical weapons: North Korea. This facilitation is especially worrisome in light of the two nations’ previous cooperation on a nuclear reactor that was destroyed by the Israelis in 2007.

In March, the U.N. issued a report on North Korea’s active “prohibited military cooperation projects…stretching from Africa to the Asia-Pacific region, including ongoing ballistic missile cooperation with the Syrian Arab Republic and Myanmar, widespread conventional arms deals and cyberoperations to steal military secrets.”

The U.N. traced a number of visits by North Korean officials to Syrian soil, finding that “multiple groups of ballistic missile technicians” have been inside Syria. Citing intelligence received from a “Member State,” the U.N. explained that these “technicians … continued to operate at chemical weapons and missile facilities at Barzah, Adra and Hama.” The Assad regime tried to deflect this accusation by claiming the North Koreans were in town simply for “training athletics and gymnastics.”

But the U.N. documented additional suspicious details, including previously unknown illicit shipments and transfers. The U.N. investigative body’s “investigations into several cases of hitherto unreported arms shipments and cooperation with front companies of designated entities between 2010 and 2017 showed further evidence of arms embargo and other violations, including through the transfer of items with utility in ballistic missile and chemical weapons” programs.

In one such transfer, the North Koreans provided the Assad regime with “special resistance valves and thermometers known for use in chemical weapons” programs. U.N. member states also interdicted suspicious shipments, including bricks and tiles that may be used as part of a chemical weapons program. Although the U.N. found these specific materials weren’t banned, a member state noted that they “can be used to build bricks for the interior walls of [a] chemical factory.”

The U.N. found it especially suspicious that North Korean front companies were doing business with the Syrian government’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), which oversees Assad’s chemical weapons development.

The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned 271 SSRC staffers in the aftermath of the April 2017 Sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun. Treasury explained that the SSRC is “the Syrian government agency responsible for developing and producing non-conventional weapons and the means to deliver them.” And the sanctioned SSRC employees “have expertise in chemistry and related disciplines and/or have worked in support of SSRC’s chemical weapons program since at least 2012.”

Therefore, the U.N.’s conclusion that North Korea has been working with the SSRC is especially noteworthy.

The U.S. and its allies will continue to face daunting challenges when it comes to restraining rogue nations and their pursuit of banned weapons. As Syria’s ongoing work on chemical weapons shows, such proliferation concerns often involve multiple rogue states. Assad’s chemical weapons attacks inside Syria are principally his own doing, but not solely. He has friends outside of Syria who are willing to help.

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Also see:

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American Day of Reckoning for Muslim Brotherhood?

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (Photo: Reuters)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, March 22, 2018:

The Muslim Brotherhood’s sigh of relief after being rescued by Secretary of State Tillerson and National Security Adviser McMaster has been replaced by a sweaty panic.

With Tillerson out and Pompeo in and McMaster’s days numbered, it is now probable that the Muslim Brotherhood will finally be designated by the State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, paving the way for its infrastructure in America to begin being dismantled.

Groups associated with the Muslim Brotherhood network like the Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamaat ul-Fuqra are likely to see a similar fate. President Trump’s desire to pressure Pakistan and more closely ally with India adds to the likelihood that these Pakistani-led groups will be blacklisted.

The incoming secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, was one of the earliest cosponsors of the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act when he was a member of Congress. Now, as secretary of state, he has the authority to designate Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs).

The newest version of the legislation is backed by 75 members of the House of Representatives and the Senate version introduced by Senator Ted Cruz has 4 cosponsors.

Now, most of the Trump Administration’s top officials are staunch foes of the Brotherhood, including:

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was one of the few early cosponsors of the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act when he was a Senator.
  • Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who was forced to withdraw a senior appointment he desired who was a strong ally of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. However, he has articulately made the case for identifying the enemy as “political Islam” and described the negative impact of the Obama Administration’s friendly attitude towards the Brotherhood.
  • Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney, who was a cosponsor of the legislation when he was a congressman.
  • Senior adviser and chief speechwriter Stephen Miller
  • National Security Council’s Deputy Assistant to the President for Strategic Communications Michael Anton
  • Senior White House Adviser to the Department of Homeland Security Frank Wuco
  • Senior Department of Homeland Security Adviser Katharine Gorka (who is the wife of former Deputy Assistant to the President Dr. Sebastian Gorka)

It is almost universally reported that National Security Adviser McMaster is about to be replaced, despite Trump’s denials (just like his denials before Tillerson was fired).

The leading candidate for his job is former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, another known supporter of FTO designation for the Brotherhood.

Trump’s pick for CIA Director, Gina Haspel, is presumably on the same page because Pompeo recommended her. However, she is expected to have a fight ahead of her to get confirmed by the Senate.

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s position is not known. She previously struck a neutral tone when asked about designating the Brotherhood, stopping short of defending Tillerson and McMaster’s known positions at the time, saying, “That is not something that has been discussed within the administration.”

Outside of the White House, President Trump is back to consulting with his former Deputy Assistant Dr. Sebastian Gorka, a passionate voice for designating the Brotherhood as an FTO.

Pompeo’s appointment represents a stunning reversal of fortune for the Muslim Brotherhood, which previously succeeded in getting plans for such a designation shelved. One Brotherhood official said the Islamist group had spent $5 million to lobby officials and influence the media. Brotherhood apologists even succeeded in influencing CIA assessments that conveniently leaked to the media.

The Brotherhood also deployed its defenders to Washington, D.C. and Qatar went on a spending bingehiring lobbyists, particularly those with close ties to the Trump campaign and the ability to influence Jewish Americans.

Qatar even managed to seduce a former senior staffer to Senator Ted Cruz—the very man who introduced the Senate version of the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act—with a contract for $50,000 per month. Even President Trump reversed course on Qatar.

And now—the Muslim Brotherhood network is screaming.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), identified by the Justice Department as an “entity” of the Muslim Brotherhood, is fighting tooth and nail to stop Pompeo from getting confirmed by the Senate. One of the favorite tactics of the Brotherhood, especially CAIR, is deception.

CAIR has predictably labeled Pompeo as an “Islamophobe,” even though he empowered a convert to Sunni Islam at the CIA to fight Al-Qaeda and Iran. Its factsheet uses out-of-context quotes to paint Pompeo as an extremist, while CAIR paints the Brotherhood as “moderate.”

The evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist group is overwhelming, including terrorist activity in the U.S. Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist group, is the Brotherhood’s Palestinian wing. Al-Qaeda’s 9/11 plot had links to the Brotherhood’s network in America.

The terror-funding trial of the Holy Land Foundation proved, in detail, that the Brotherhood’s international leadership runs a Hamas support network on American soil.

The Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood has long been intertwined with Al-Qaeda, just like the Libyan and Syrian branches. The Jordanian branch is essentially a single unit with Hamas. The biggest resistance is in regards to the Egyptian wing, the birthplace of the Brotherhood.

Investigator Patrick Poole’s three-part interview with a former senior Egyptian counterterrorism official connects the dots between the Brotherhood and the terrorists it claims are “rogues” that it should not be held accountable for.

Failing a blanket designation of the Brotherhood, an alternative approach would be to designate several Brotherhood branches where the group’s connection to terrorism is clearer. This approach would meet less political resistance.

The changes within the Trump Administration indicate that the Muslim Brotherhood’s day of reckoning is finally near.

Also see:

American political conduct can be attributed to a syndrome whose features are the following: It starts with the belief that unalloyed evil does not exist, despite appearances, and that, by personal contact and engagement, all evil can be redeemed. This belief is baked into American popular culture, including television series for young and adult audiences alike. It is embedded in the media, the political culture and the educational system. The syndrome attributes almost magical powers to the moment of personal contact that neutralizes evil and renders it impotent to deceive. If and when evil cooperates with you, it cannot be a case of cold self-interest, but must necessarily be the fruit of outreach and engagement.

This syndrome, which stubbornly denies reality, compounds other cultural differences between democracies and dictatorships, and renders the West almost unable to contend with evil. Only a few days ago, when North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un invited the United States to “a heartfelt dialogue,” the Western media swallowed this whole and celebrated it with great fanfare. (See, for example, “Raising Hopes, North Korea Offers to Talk about Its Nuclear Arsenal,” NYTimes.com, March 6, 2017)

In 1988, an FBI source inside the Muslim Brotherhood revealed that the Islamist group’s proxies in America had a six-phase plan to “institute the Islamic Revolution in the United States.” [1]  Among these front groups was The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a think tank committed to the “Islamization of knowledge.”[2] This ideology, as Professor Vali Nasr writes, entails the subordination of scientific inquiry to “the mere implementation of the assorted teachings of the Shariʿa.”[3]

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10 Big Changes to Expect With Pompeo at State

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, March 21, 2018:

By replacing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, President Trump has hit the “restart” button on his foreign policy a little over a year into his term.

Trump referenced the Iran deal as the point of contention sparking Tillerson’s departure, as Tillerson and his State Department colleagues favored a policy of making additional demands with additional pressures instead of withdrawing from the deal.

Expect 10 big changes in foreign policy once Pompeo is officially the Secretary of State.

1.Unleashing the sleeping hounds upon on our enemies

Expect a “shadow war” against our enemies that will likely out-do the Obama Administration’s strong covert attacks on the Iranian-North Korean nuclear and missile programs.

As CIA Director, Pompeo reportedly ordered a dramatic increase in human intelligence-gathering, covert operations, cyber security and counterintelligence. He loosened restrictions on drone strikes and other measures to kill terrorists.

Pompeo’s top terrorist hunter was Michael D’Andrea, who married a Muslim woman overseas he met while serving undercover and subsequently converted to Sunni Islam. As the New York Times explained, “perhaps no single CIA official is more responsible for weakening Al-Qaeda.”

D’Andrea, also known as “The Dark Prince” and “Ayatollah Mike,” oversaw the successful search for Osama Bin Laden, as well as the impressive killing of the elusive Hezbollah terrorist Imad Mughniyah.

When Pompeo took over the CIA, he informed the “Dark Prince” he has a new focus: Iran.

In North Korea, Pompeo argued that the ultimate solution should be to “separate the regime from this system” that includes Kim Jong-Un departing from power. His comments contradicted Tillerson’s earlier statement that the U.S. does not seek the ultimate removal of the cultish dictatorship.

In pursuit of that objective, Pompeo has been hoping to support North Korean opposition forces that can destabilize the regime, threatening the only thing that Kim Jong-Un really cares about: himself.

Trump believes that strong pressure caused the potential breakthrough in diplomacy that was recently announced. He will be inclined towards embracing Pompeo’s approach while publicly giving North Korea a chance for a positive change in relations.

Pakistan should also be worried as President Trump has unequivocally stated that Pakistan will finally be held accountable for its role in sustaining the global jihadist insurgency, including killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Pompeo accurately stated that victory in Afghanistan and getting to some kind of ceasefire with the Taliban is wholly contingent upon the Taliban and interlinked jihadist groups losing their safe haven in Pakistan. To date, the U.S. has refrained from targeting most of Pakistan’s proxies with the infrastructure that sustains Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

To Tillerson’s credit, his State Department designated Hizbul Mujahideen, a jihadist group that is essentially an arm of Pakistani intelligence, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. The Trump Administration is likely to target the Al-Qaeda-linked groups who maintain a large infrastructure in Pakistan and Kashmir that reaches into the U.S.

2. Ending the Iran deal and a broader attack on Iranian influence

Pompeo’s position on the nuclear deal with Iran is quite clear: “roll it back.”

He believes Iran should not be allowed to have advanced nuclear enrichment capabilities or to the ability to quickly “break out” from a civilian nuclear program into a bomb-building program.

That’s almost the opposite of Tillerson (and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster), who criticized the deal but fought to preserve it.

Pompeo also desires to “push back” Iran, meaning forcing its militias, terrorist proxies and various regional influence operations into retreat. Iran’s efforts include murdering American troops in Afghanistan and creating a Hezbollah-like force in Yemen.

A big question remains about whether Trump will embrace regime change—albeit using more acceptable words, given his consistent opposition to overthrowing foreign governments.

President Trump rooted on the brave protestors in Iran with repeated public encouragement (though it should have continued right up to today), but never formally aligned U.S. policy with their ultimate goal.

Senior officials confirmed to me that the Trump Administration actually rejected overthrowing the Iranian regime as a strategy. This account is substantiated by others who got separate briefings from administration officials who denied trying to remove the theocracy from power.

Pompeo is likely to be more inclined towards this option—the best anti-war, pro-peace option available. As secretary of state, he’s also likely to embrace the Sunni Arab plan to destabilize Iran and its Qatari allies that Tillerson rejected.

3. Rejecting the Islamist lobby of the Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar, Iran and (possibly) Turkey

Tillerson could not have been more disappointing when it came to confronting the Sunni Islamist lobbies of the Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar and Turkey. The result has been the loss of a tremendous opportunity to pressure Qatar as the Arabs ganged up on the terror-sponsor following Trump’s positively-received speech in Riyadh.

Tillerson, more than any other Trump Administration official, bears responsibility for saving the Muslim Brotherhood from being designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization so its U.S. network could begin being dismantled. Tillerson praised Turkish dictator Erdogan and shilled for Qatar.

One cannot help but suspect that Tillerson’s business ties from leading Exxon-Mobil impacted his decision-making towards his former business partners. When Tillerson was widely reported to be on the edge of quitting, he was said to tell colleagues that, besides Iran, his biggest area of difference with Trump was Qatar.

Why was he so passionate about standing up for Qatar out of all the complicated foreign policy he had to deal with?

When the Arab world put its foot down on Qatar, Tillerson’s State Department contradicted the commander-in-chief, even casting doubt on our Arab partners’ allegations that Qatar sponsors Islamist terrorists—a widely known, indisputable fact.

Qatar also launched a well-funded lobbying campaign targeting former Trump campaign officials and seducing former adversaries, like a senior staffer to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who introduced the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act. The result was Trump flip-flopping on our terror-sponsoring “ally.”

The Tillerson State Department, like the Obama Administration before it, gave a platform to a radical cleric linked to the Muslim Brotherhood so he could win a fanbase as an admirable “moderate” against terrorism.

In August 2017, Clarion Project broke the story that a pro-Erdogan Muslim Brotherhood coalition known as the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations had visited the State Department to express their opinion on the Islamist-manufactured Temple Mount crisis facing Israel. The coalition didn’t say much about the meeting except that it was “encouraged by the constructive dialogue.”

The State Department defended the meeting and added an extra dose of madness to the situation. It turned out there were more meetings. The red carpet was rolled out for the council. They had “met a cross-section of working-level officials from different offices in the [State] Department,” it said.

Here’s another example:

As Dr. Daniel Pipes pointed out in August 2017, Tillerson’s State Department was even facilitating meetings between official Indonesian visitors (and presumably others) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group with a history of ties to Islamic terrorist and extremist groups. The Justice Department listed CAIR as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a terrorism-financing trial and identified it as an “entity” of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, a secret body established to covertly assist the Hamas terrorist group.

As a congressman, Pompeo was one of the earliest and staunchest supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act, knowing full well that put him in the crosshairs of the Islamist lobby backed by Qatar and Turkey.

However, the Trump Administration’s stance towards Erdogan has been disturbingly friendly, so it is unclear how much change will come in that direction. Pompeo gave a disappointing answer when asked whether the Kurds are America’s friend that could foreshadow a continuance of the Trump Administration’s frequent choosing of Turkey over the Kurds.

Yet, when it came to Iran, he was not swayed by local pressure from businesses eager to trade with the regime, such as by selling aircraft and associated equipment. In fact, he wrote an article titled, “Friends Don’t Let Friends Do Business With Iran.”

4.The Muslim Brotherhood and possibly Jamaat ul-Fuqra are likely to be designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations

When it comes to the Muslim Brotherhood, Pompeo gets it. He even went head-to-head with local Islamists when he was a congressman, bringing public pressure upon the Islamic Society of Wichita for having a terrorism-linked guest speaker. The mosque cancelled the event, blaming him for causing security costs to get too high.

The case for designating Jamaat ul-Fuqra, whose Muslims of the Americas (MOA) front is known for claiming to have 22 “Islamic villages” in America, is just as strong as it is for the Muslim Brotherhood—if not stronger. If Pompeo is made aware of it, he is likely to designate the group, especially due to its links to the recently-designated Hizbul Mujahideen.

5. Even stronger stance with Israel against Islamism and its associated hatreds.

If you thought the Trump Administration was favorable towards Israel now, just wait to see what happens with Pompeo in charge of foreign policy.

Pompeo sees Israel as a beachhead of secular democracy stemming the wave of Islamism headed towards the West. Even under President Trump, there were danger signs for Israel emerging.

6. Pressure on Islamic leadership

Pompeo understands that the jihadist threat is rooted in an ideological interpretation of Islam and that Muslim leaders who fail to unequivocally stand against terrorism and the pursuit of theocratic sharia law are part of the problem.

Critics of Pompeo are taking these comments out of context and conveniently ignoring his support for D’Andrea, the Sunni Muslim convert who led the covert operations against Al-Qaeda and now, due to Pompeo, is doing the same against Iran.

Pompeo’s observation about a lack of “Thomas Jeffersons” in the Middle East does not reflect anti-Muslim bigotry but a desire to help Muslim modernist reformers.

7. He understands the ideological war

A review of his statements and actions have a common denominator: He knows how to wage ideological warfare against America’s adversaries. The aforementioned example of how he pressured the mosque in Wichita proves this point.

As CIA Director, he released portions of Osama Bin Laden’s archive that the Obama Administration refused to—presumably because they showed far closer ties between Bin Laden/Al-Qaeda and Iran than it wished for the public to know.

He saw the value in releasing evidence to expose both enemies. This is a no-brainer that you’d assume would happen all the time but it does not. In the past, our government failed to embrace transparency and cautious release of information as a strategy, and more broadly, a moral imperative for our democracy.

8.Tougher on Russia, Venezuela and Cuba

It must be remembered that Russia is backing elements of the Islamist cause, particularly the Taliban, Iran, the Assad regime and Hezbollah. It also does not consider Hamas to be a terrorist group, and Putin’s puppets in Chechnya are promoting puritanical beliefs.

Expect Pompeo to hold Putin accountable as much as President Trump will let him.

Pompeo does not fall for the manipulations of Russia, Iran and Assad that are designed to present themselves as the “moderate” solutions to the threat of ISIS, Al-Qaeda and the like. He disagrees with Trump regarding the helpfulness of Russia’s role in Syria.

He is also not a “Russia denier.” He doesn’t continually dismiss any intelligence analysis concluding that Russia tried to influence the 2016 election and use our hyper-partisanship to rip apart American society and use our dysfunction to discredit the ideology of secular democracy.

Pompeo also sounds like he advocates a tougher line on the Venezuelan dictatorship that is allied with Iran and expressed concern about Cuban intelligence operations against the U.S.

9. Confronting the “non-state hostile intelligence services”

Pompeo is greatly concerned with how anti-American actors, including Islamists and obviously Russia, can use “non-state hostile intelligence services” like Wikileaks to wreak havoc on the West’s intelligence operations, military operations and international partnerships, as well as dominate media cycles to their preferred narrative.

As I wrote here, Julian Assange is dedicated to fanning the flames of anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism.Comedian Stephen Colbert, in a rare break from character and politeness, confronted Assange on behalf of U.S. troops in this 2010 interview before bashing Wikileaks became a left-wing pastime.

One of the most important people involved with Wikileaks, Israel Shamir, praised Iranian President Ahmadinejad and refers to Palestinian terrorists as “martyrs.”

He’s also a Holocaust denier and, since 2010, acts as the liaison between Assange and the Russian state-controlled media. The ties between the anti-Semitic Israel Shamir, Julian Assange and Russia are extensive and well-documented.

To give another famous example, a bipartisan U.S. House Intelligence Committee investigation into Edward Snowden concluded that he lied about numerous parts of his story and has close ties to Russian intelligence.

Pompeo is triggered when Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning are mentioned.

In one public discussion, he said Snowden “absconded to the comfortable clutches of Russian intelligence, his treachery directly harmed a wide range of U.S. intelligence and military operations … In fact, a colleague of ours at the National Security Agency recently explained that more than a thousand foreign targets, people, groups and organizations, more than a thousand of them, tried to change how they communicated as a direct result of Snowden’s disclosures. That’s a staggering number.”

Snowden claims to have no relationship with Assange’s Wikileaks. That further illustrates the fact that these “non-state hostile intelligence services” are a growing threat and, for Islamists and the governments sponsoring them, present an incredible opportunity.

As Pompeo points out, these “activists’” emphasis on disclosures that hurt the West is telling. He said, “Julian Assange and his kind are not the slightest bit interested in improving civil liberties or enhancing personal freedom.”

10. A Trump Administration more in unison and a better informed President Trump

The Trump Administration basically did not include the State Department. This divided was aggravated by the simple fact that Tillerson and Trump just didn’t get along and had too many differing opinions.

Unnamed officials were regularly quoting Trump as calling Tillerson too weak. Tillerson did not deny reports that he called Trump a “moron” at a meeting.

Unlike Tillerson, Pompeo has personal chemistry with Trump. He also upstaged Tillerson with his talent for educating Trump on foreign affairs using visuals that hold his attention.

Expect dramatic changes in the Trump Administration’s foreign policy and its approach towards Islamist extremism.

Conclusion

Of the most senior officials, only National Security Adviser McMaster stands in the way of an aggressive ideological war on Islamism. And it seems his days are numbered, with his likeliest replacement being former U.N. ambassador John Bolton.

The White House is denying that McMaster is on his way out the door, but we’ve heard those denials before. Trump needs to just do it.

We are over a year into the Trump presidency and, by the end of this year, we’ll probably be hearing about Democratic and possibly Republican candidates announcing their presidential candidacies.

There is no time to waste.

It’s time for Trump to get his team together and get his foreign policy moving.