Holton: Why I Don’t Have Much Faith in Robert Mueller

Terror Trends Bulletin, by Christopher Holton, May 18, 2017:

Robert Mueller has been appointed as a special prosecutor to investigate alleged Russian influence operations involving the 2016 US elections.

I don’t have a strong opinion on that investigation, but I do believe that all the fawning over Robert Mueller that I have seen the past 24 hours is…well…unwarranted.

That’s because I was thoroughly unimpressed by his tenure as FBI director. When selected by George W. Bush to head the FBI on 4 September 2001–one week before 9/11–the word on Mueller was that he was someone who was selected because he would not rock the boat or make too many sweeping changes.

If ever there was a wake up call to make sweeping changes, it came on 11 September 2001 and America was saddled with a guy leading the FBI who was chosen because he was a “safe” pick.

On Mueller’s watch the FBI bumbled some key counterjihad initiatives.

First of all, the FBI purged counterterrorism training materials that referred to terms like “Jihad” or “Islam” on Mueller’s watch. These decisions were arrived at because Mueller had a “stuck on stupid” habit of conducting outreach with Muslim Brotherhood operatives, some of whom winded up in jail.

Secondly, speaking of Russians, the Russians warned the FBI about the Tsarnaev brothers who then bombed the Boston Marathon and then went on a two-man jihad in the Boston area. The FBI did essentially zilch about them despite the warnings and even conducted outreach with the Boston area mosque co-founded by a man convicted on terrorism charges and described by the Justice Department as the primary Al Qaeda financier in America.

These are hardly indications of a competent guy.

Congressman Louis Gohmert was particularly tenacious in his periodic grilling of Mueller as FBI director. These videos are well worth a look to give you the details–as well as the general idea–of what I’m talking about…

Gohmert Challenges FBI Director About the Purging of Training Material:

FBI Director Unaware Boston Mosque Founded By al Qaeda Funder:

GOP’er Louie Gohmert And FBI’s Robert Mueller Explode Over Investigation Into Boston Bombers:

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U.S.-Saudi Arabia Ink ‘Largest Single Arms Deal in American History’

A Saudi air force display / Getty Images

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, May 19, 2017:

The United States and Saudi Arabia have inked a $110 billion arms deal, the largest in American history, according to senior Trump administration officials who described the agreement as part of a major effort to counter Iranian threats in the region.

The arms deal will see the U.S. providing Saudi Arabia with a “full spectrum of capabilities,” including tanks, artillery, helicopters, armored carriers, combat ships, and an assortment of other advanced weapons systems, according to senior Trump administration officials working on the agreement.

The massive arms package is part of a larger effort by the Trump administration to boost U.S. allies in the region amid a growing threat from Iran, which has invested heavily in its own military since the landmark nuclear agreement was inked with the former Obama administration.

A large portion of the cash assets and other financial resources granted to Iran under the deal have been used to purchase advanced weapons and invest in the country’s ballistic missile program, which violates international agreements.

Trump administration officials touted the agreement, which will be officially announced by President Donald Trump on Saturday as he travels across the Middle East on his first foreign trip, as a major step towards countering Iranian intransigence in the region, which has spooked U.S. allies.

The package of arms is specifically meant to address regional threats, officials said.

“This package of defense equipment and services support the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of Iranian threats while also bolstering the Kingdom’s ability to contribute to counterterrorism operations across the region, reducing the burden on the U.S. military to conduct those operations,” explained one senior administration official who was only authorized to speak about the agreement on background.

Trump administration officials also maintained that nothing in the mammoth arms package would negate Israel’s military edge in the region, which remains a cornerstone of the U.S.-Israel alliance.

“I also need to stress that there is nothing in this package of sales, taken individually or as a whole, that will undermine Israel’s qualitative military edge,” one senior official said. “As a matter of law and of longstanding policy, the United States is committed to ensuring Israel maintains a qualitative military edge in the region.”

When completed, the $110 billion agreement with Saudi Arabia will be “the largest single arms deal in American history,” according to officials.

The arms deal runs the gamut of offensive and defensive equipment that can be used by Saudi Arabia in a range of environments, including on the cybersecurity and counterterrorism fronts.

“This package is threat-based and provides full-spectrum capabilities, which fall broadly into five categories: border security and counterterrorism; maritime and coastal security; air force modernization; air and missile defense; and cybersecurity and communications upgrade,” Trump administration officials said. “Combined, it will significantly augment the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s capabilities to help deter regional threats and the Kingdom’s ability to protect its borders and contribute to coalition counterterrorism operations.”

On the counterterror front, the United States will provide aerostats, tanks, artillery, counter-mortar radars, armored personnel carriers, helicopters, and an array of training for Saudi forces battling terrorists and other foreign enemies.

The arms package also will focus on modernizing Saudi Arabia’s air force. The U.S. will train Saudi forces to conduct airborne surveillance and hone their precision targeting abilities. As part of the package, the Saudis will receive intelligence-gathering aircraft, officials said.

Missile defense also is a key part of the arms package. The United States will provide the Saudis with Patriot and THAAD missiles in order to help the country protect itself from airborne attacks, particularly those posed by Iran’s increasingly sophisticated ballistic missile program.

“So the purpose of this package is to contribute—number one, contribute to a regional security architecture that advances defense cooperation for both the United States of America and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” according to one senior administration official. “Two, provide our partners will full-spectrum capabilities. And, three, as part of providing full-spectrum capabilities, the use of other security cooperation programs, such as defense institution-building programs that address not only the material and related training, but also education and advising on strategy-planning doctrine and institutional support.”

The arms deal “demonstrates in the clearest terms possible the United States’ commitment to our partnership to Saudi Arabia and our Gulf partners while also expanding opportunities for American companies in the region and supporting tens of thousands of jobs in the U.S. defense industrial base,” one official said.

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On Mideast Policy, the Swamp Drains Trump

FILE — In this Tuesday, March 14, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump stands with Saudi Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman before lunch in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington. With an eye toward Washington, leaders of a fractured and conflict-ridden Arab world hold their annual summit Wednesday, March 29, 2017, seeking common ground as President Donald Trump weighs his approach toward the region. The stalled Palestinian quest for statehood, is an issue that host Jordan says will take center stage. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

PJ Media, by Robert Spencer, May 18, 2017:

Speaking Friday about President Trump’s trip to the Middle East, National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster said that Trump would:

… develop a strong, respectful message that the United States and the entire civilized world expects our Muslim allies to take a strong stance against radical Islamist ideology.

Those who are aware of how badly U.S. foreign policy has run off the rails over the last fifteen years should be deeply disturbed.

The world has been waiting in vain for that decade-and-a-half for “our Muslim allies to take a strong stance against radical Islamist ideology.” McMaster’s words were a disquieting indication that the foreign policy swamp, one in the most dire need of draining, has instead turned the tables on the president.

Trump now appears set to repeat all the mistakes his last two predecessors made in dealing with the global jihad threat.

McMaster added that jihad terrorists were operating according to “an ideology that uses a perverted interpretation of religion to justify crimes against all humanity.” But Trump, on the other hand, “will call for Muslim leaders to promote a peaceful vision of Islam.”

Here we go again.

How many times since 9/11 has one American spokesman or another declared that “the United States and the entire civilized world expects our Muslim allies to take a strong stance against radical Islamist ideology”? And what do we have to show for this expectation? How many years must we expect this before we realize that our “Muslim allies” have vastly different priorities than what mainstream counterterror analysts would wish to believe?

Pakistan’s government sheltered first bin Laden and now Zawahiri, was involved in the Mumbai jihad massacre and other jihad attacks, and has funneled much of the money the U.S. gave it to fight al-Qaeda and the Taliban to … al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Turkey has repeatedly refused to strike strongly against the Islamic State (ISIS). President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is much more concerned with hitting Assad and the Kurds.

How long do we keep waiting on these “Muslim allies” to do the right thing, and weakly and pusillanimously calling upon them to do so?

And Trump “will call for Muslim leaders to promote a peaceful vision of Islam”? Well, there’s something we’ve never seen tried before!

Where has McMaster been for the last decade-and-a-half? Buried deep in the foreign policy establishment swamp that has been serving up this nonsense all these years. And now he has apparently sold President “Drain The Swamp” on it.

Both Bush and Obama called for Muslim leaders to promote a peaceful vision of Islam; they also both claimed that the jihadis’ version of Islam “uses a perverted interpretation of religion.” Where did it get them? The same place comforting falsehoods always take you: into a maze of blind alleys and failed policies based on incorrect analysis.

Even worse, McMaster said:

[W]ith President Abbas, Trump will express his desire for dignity and self-determination for the Palestinians.

Does no one around Trump understand that a Palestinian state would immediately become a strengthened base for new and more virulent jihad attacks against a weakened Israel? When they met in Washington recently, Abbas lied brazenly to President Trump: he claimed that his government “educates for peace,” and that the Palestinian Authority is “raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace.” Meanwhile, on the same day, Abbas’ government honored 12 jihad mass murderers who are responsible for the deaths of 95 people.

The foreign policy establishment’s house organ, Foreign Policy, is worried that “in the White House ‘Game of Thrones for morons,’ Steve Bannon is trying to turn the president against his national security advisor.” We can only hope that Bannon succeeds. It’s ironic that Foreign Policy would dub the Trump team “morons” when it is the foremost exponent of the analyses and policies that have failed multiple times, and that McMaster is once again pushing.

Once again, because he has done this before. In February, according to CNN:

[A]t an all-hands meeting of the National Security Council, [McMaster] said jihadist terrorists aren’t true to their professed religion and that the use of the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” doesn’t help the US in working with allies to defeat terrorist groups.

A source who has asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals has informed me that he was present in August 2014 when McMaster was the featured speaker for the President’s Lecture Series at National Defense University in Washington. In his address, McMaster said flatly:

The Islamic State is not Islamic.

Now, this was during the Obama regime, when that was the official policy of the U.S. government, but President Trump has repeatedly criticized his predecessor (and his 2016 election opponent) for not being willing to call the problem of jihad terror by its right name. When he first became president, Trump repeatedlystated his determination to eradicate “radical Islamic terrorism.”

But what McMaster has announced represents a giant step backward in the effort to do that.

This represents a huge victory for the McCain/Graham Republican establishment, which subscribes no less than McMaster does to the “Islam is a religion of peace” line, and is also trying to neutralize Trump and keep the swamp from being drained.

Don’t break this promise, Mr. President.

John Guandolo Discusses The Muslim Brotherhood’s Network in America, Attacks the Media

AIM, by Alex Nitzberg, May 17, 2017:

The Muslim Brotherhood operates a nationwide network of Islamic organizations actively working to subvert America and establish an Islamic State governed by Sharia law, former FBI agent John Guandolo explained during an interview on “The Alex Nitzberg Show.” Guandolo, the founder of UnderstandingtheThreat.com, said:

“There are thousands of organizations whose stated objective, if they’re Muslim Brotherhood, is to wage civilization jihad in order to impose Islamic State here.”

He says that he conservatively estimates that “well over seventy percent” of the “over 3000 mosques, Islamic centers in the United States right now,” belong to “the Muslim Brotherhood’s network.” During the interview, Guandolo explained:

“…the 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial that was adjudicated in Dallas, Texas was the culmination of a 15-year FBI investigation—it was the largest terrorism financing and Hamas trial in American history ever successfully prosecuted—and it revealed that the prominent Islamic organizations in the United States are a part of a movement led by the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood to establish an Islamic state under Sharia, the same objective as ISIS and Al Qaeda.”

While the case yielded “hundreds of unindicted coconspirators” Guandolo said that plans to indict “the leader of the Council on American Islamic Relations, Omar Ahmad, and CAIR itself” never came to fruition because Eric Holder “shut that down and we have not prosecuted anyone else since HLF was convicted…”

Many other groups could be indicted based on existing evidence Guandolo said. In addition to CAIR, he specifically mentioned the Islamic Society of North America, the North American Islamic Trust, the Muslim Student Association, and the Muslim Youth of North America.

Guandolo sharply criticized the media’s failure to alert the public to the terror threat posed by the Muslim Brotherhood’s network. Asked why the media do not regularly report this information or even cover it at all, he replied:

“Well, because my experience is that the media is on the side of the socialists and the Marxists and they are not patriotic and they are not for the United States.”

He also said reporters’ laziness is a significant problem, noting that he has asked “At least a hundred journalists just in the last few years” whether they have ever researched Sharia or the Holy Land Foundation, and they have replied that they have never read about those issues.

Guandolo believes that journalists should face prosecution in some cases:

“If you can demonstrate that they have been provided the facts and they know and they continue to report and defend a terrorist group, yes, I would argue legally…that is material support of terrorism.”

Questioned about academia, Guandolo said that, “…most of our supposed great universities are havens for socialist thought…” He stated that, “the biggest problems in this war are academics who, in my personal opinion, seem to have lost the ability to reason and logically think through problems.”

The Muslim Students Association (MSA) founded in 1963 was “the very first national Islamic organization in America” according to Guandolo who explained that it “was created also by the Muslim Brotherhood cuz Hamas is an inherent part of the Muslim brotherhood.”

Currently the MSA has about 800 chapters on campuses across the country. Guandolo also said that, “Americans for Palestine, AFP, is a Hamas front now on college campuses and there are new ones popping up all the time. It’s a very pro-Hamas, pro-Sharia movement going on, on college campuses right now.”

Sharia requires Muslims to wage jihad, “until the entire world is under Islamic rule,” Guandolo stated. He said that according to Islamic teaching, “…Islam is a complete way of life: social, cultural, military, political and religious all governed by Islamic law, and all Islamic law, as I just said, obliges jihad and jihad is only legally defined in Islamic law as warfare against non-Muslims.”

Islamic doctrine teaches Muslims to lie when deception is deemed necessary to accomplish “obligatory” objectives and because jihad and the creation of a caliphate under Sharia are obligatory objectives, Guandolo explained:

“So what we need to understand is the way you know an Islamic leader is lying is when he’s talking to you, when his mouth is moving.”

This license to lie makes it very difficult for the U.S. government to implement effective vetting procedures and Guandolo said America should “…stop putting Muslims in positions of responsibility until we find a way to…vet them, and I’m not sure we’re gonna find it, but you cannot put people in the positions—especially given the now 15-year history since 9/11—where so many of these people put into sensitive positions have turned out to be bad guys.”

He said “It’s the majority of the people that our government is working with, the vast majority, are batting for the other team. I mean you’d have to work to find someone that’s not—that’s a problem.”

According to Guandolo, America fails to win the war on terror because the U.S. government takes advice from the enemy:

“When we can demonstrate that one hundred percent of the advisors—Islamic advisors at the Pentagon, the White House, the FBI, the CIA—are Muslim Brothers or…part of the Muslim sisterhood, but primarily Muslim Brothers, and those are the people that we’ve relied on to advise us on how to fight the war, both overseas and domestically our counterterrorism strategy, that would explain why we’re getting thrown all over the map and why we’ve been getting…the floor mopped up with us for the last 15 years.”

Guandolo believes the United States government should label the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization and pursue indictments based on information from the Holy Land Foundation trial.

You can listen to my entire interview with John Guandolo on “The Alex Nitzberg Show:”

Alex Nitzberg is a freelance conservative journalist and commentator and the host of “The Alex Nitzberg Show” podcast. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

A Disappointing Silence on Erdogan’s Excesses

IPT NewsMay 18, 2017:

The man with the bullhorn already had been knocked to the ground, repeatedly kicked and beaten. Then the man with a mustache, wearing a sharp suit and a handgun on his hip, raced up and launched a fierce kick, hitting the man with the bullhorn square in the face.

The man with the bullhorn was protesting visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The man with the mustache is an Erdogan bodyguard. This beat-down, captured on video by the Voice of America, took place Tuesday, just 1.4 miles from the White House, where Erdogan met with President Trump.

Nine people were injured, including two who required hospitalization. A similar, but smaller brawl broke out last year when Erdogan was greeted by protesters outside a speech at the Brookings Institution.

The State Department issued a statement Wednesday saying it would tell the Turkish government that it is “concerned by the violent incidents …. Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest.”

It’s difficult these days for stories outside the White House’s struggle to contain the Russia investigation to gain much traction.

But events in and near the White House Tuesday should not get lost in the shuffle. Even without the violence by Erdogan’s goon squad, his White House visit should concern those who expected the Trump administration to follow through on its tough talk about confronting radical Islam.

For all the talk about naming radical Islamic terrorism where it exists, there appears to have been no mention of Turkey’s ongoing support for the Muslim Brotherhood and its terrorist offshoot Hamas. Rather, President Trump publicly lauded Erdogan, saying it was an honor to host him and that he looked forward to working together to create Middle East peace.

Erdogan is a favorite of U.S.-based Islamists, especially those with Muslim Brotherhood links, like Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Executive Director Nihad Awad. That may be due, at least in part, to his view that Hamas is not a terrorist group, but a national liberation movement.

Erdogan provided a safe haven for Hamas operative Salah Arouri even after Arouri was implicated in the deadly kidnapping of three Israeli teens that led to the summer 2014 war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. In that conflict, Erdogan predicted that Israel would “drown in the blood that they shed,” and likened the Jewish state to Adolph Hitler: “Just like Hitler tried to create a pure Aryan race in Germany, the State of Israel is pursuing the same goals right now.”

Arouri was asked to leave Turkey only last year, as part of an effort to restore diplomatic relations between Israel and Turkey – relations Erdogan severed in 2010.

But that doesn’t mean Erdogan has turned a corner. In February, Turkey hosted a meeting of Hamas officials and affiliates. Last week, Erdogan repeated the baseless claim that Israel is an apartheid state, asking, “What’s the difference in Israel’s current practices from the racist and discriminatory policies implemented towards the blacks in America in the past, and in South Africa more recently?”

The ignorant talking point ignores the equal voting rights enjoyed by Israeli Arabs. The International Committee of the Red Cross rejected Erdogan’s rhetoric outright: “There isn’t a regime here that is based on the superiority of one race over another; there is no disenfranchisement of basic human rights based on so-called racial inferiority.”

In addition, Erdogan was slow to stem the tide of foreign fighters crossing his border in order to join ISIS in Syria. When he does act, he often targets U.S.-backed Kurdish forces fighting ISIS – a stateless minority Turkey oppresses.

While Erdogan and Trump praised each other publicly, ABC reports that “they made little progress to deal with their sharp differences on issues like terrorism and Syria.”

Erdogan, meanwhile, has purged tens of thousands of government employees, teachers and jailed scores of journalists in a clamp-down on any potential opposition. His crackdown is not limited to his own borders, as European critics have been targeted for arrest and surveillance.

Under his rule, Turkey’s secular education system has been weakened as religious training schools known as imam hatip grew more than 15 times in enrollment since 2003. His radical Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) wants Turkey to be governed by an Islamist authority that demands adherence to strict religious tenets.

The White House meeting lasted about 20 minutes, McClatchy reports. Beforehand, 81 members of Congress issued a statement urging the president to raise Erdogan’s human rights abuses in the meeting.

“Erdogan and his allies have mounted an assault on the rule of law, particularly using sweeping state of emergency authorities to stifle fundamental rights including free speech, undermine the independence of the judiciary, and quash any opposition to their undemocratic actions,” they wrote.

There is no indication whether that topic was discussed. After the meeting, Erdogan expressed appreciation for the president’s hospitality. That’s fine, but the failure to openly challenge Erdogan’s increasingly Islamist, authoritarian direction is disappointing. Turkey’s help is needed in the fight against ISIS. But if the United States intends to confront radical Islam, it missed a golden opportunity on Tuesday.

President Trump did ask that Turkey release jailed American pastor Andrew Brunson, the White House readout of the meeting said. The two leaders also plan to meet again next week during the president’s first official international trip.

Unless he challenges Erdogan then, the lasting images of this will be the unprovoked violence Erdogan’s armed bodyguards inflicted on peaceful demonstrators in the heart of the nation’s capital instead of a direct and honest challenge to Erdogan’s ongoing and egregious support for Islamist terrorists.

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Trump Continues Obama DHS Policy of Engaging CAIR

IPT, by John Rossomando  •  May 17, 2017:

Donald Trump might be the president of the United States, but the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to treat the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) as a credible outreach partner.

Its officials participated in DHS town hall discussions in Miami and Tampa, CAIR-Florida announced Thursday.

A discussion at Miami-Dade College included Veronica Venture, the outgoing DHS acting officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and Kareem Shora, section chief of the DHS Community Engagement Section.

Venture and Shora are both holdovers from the Obama administration.

Shora enjoys close relations with CAIR-FL, organizing multiple events with the group on DHS’s behalf. He helped organize a December training event for visiting French police officials with CAIR-FL in conjunction with the State Department.

This marks the latest example of DHS’s partnering with CAIR as a Muslim community liaison partner despite its well-documented connection to Hamas – a tie that caused the FBI to sever similar outreach in 2008. CAIR officials have worked to discourage Muslims from cooperating with the FBI.

Both Shora and CAIR oppose to President Trump’s vocal support for Israel and desire to counter Islamic terrorism.

Shora urged the U.S. to stop shipping weapons to Israel during its 2006 war with Hizballah because Lebanese civilians we “getting bombed.” As executive director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Shora claimed in 2009 that Muslim charities fell victim to “undue scrutiny” from law enforcement in the effort to cut off funding terrorist groups. He also called the portrayal of Muslims as more “vulnerable” to terrorist recruitment an “unfortunate reality.”

The two Florida DHS programs indicate that the Trump administration has yet to change course on the Obama administration’s controversial Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program. The government has no way of telling whether these outreach programs work, the General Accountability Office (GAO) noted in an April report.

In Tampa, DHS allowed CAIR-FL Executive Director Hassan Shibly to participate in a roundtable with local law enforcement. Shibly played a key role in the December outreach event with the French police along with Shora. He also has made his share of radical statements.

He accuses FBI agents of unjustly killing a Muslim suspect who attacked them after questioning. After independent investigations found no evidence of wrongdoing, Shibly repeated the accusation and is helping the family sue the FBI.

He also opposes FBI sting operations as an “entrapment program targeting the Muslim community” and a form of tyranny that strayed away from the “great ideals of liberty, equality and justice.”

Trump to Give ‘Inspiring’ Speech on Islam, ‘Agenda of Tolerance’ in Saudi Arabia

President Trump shakes hands with Saudi Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington on March 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, May 16, 2017:

WASHINGTON — President Trump will give a speech on his trip to Saudi Arabia this weekend to convey his “hopes for a peaceful vision of Islam,” National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said today.

Trump flies Friday to the Gulf kingdom as the first stop on his first overseas trip since inauguration. He’ll stay through Sunday before flying to Israel for a day, then will visit Pope Francis on Rome the next day before continuing on to a NATO summit in Brussels and then the G7 summit in Sicily.

Briefing reporters about Trump’s agenda today at the White House, McMaster lauded it as a “historic trip.”

The president will have coffee with King Salman after touching down in Riyadh followed by a royal banquet and bilateral meetings.

The day after he arrives, Trump “will meet and have lunch with leaders of more than 50 Muslim countries where he will deliver an inspiring, yet direct speech on the need to confront radical ideology and his hopes, the president’s hopes for a peaceful vision of Islam to dominate across the world,” McMaster said.

“The speech is intended to unite the broader Muslim world against common enemies of all civilization and to demonstrate America’s commitment to our Muslim partners,” he added.

Trump will “participate in the inauguration of a new center intended to fight radicalism and promote moderation.”

“By establishing and operating this center, our Muslim friends, including Saudi Arabia, are taking a firm stand against extremism and those who use a perverted interpretation of religion to advance their criminal and political agendas,” McMaster continued. “The president also looks forward to participating in a Twitter forum with young people who will be able to live tweet his remarks to people all over the world.”

In Jerusalem, Trump will lay a wreath at Yad Vashem and deliver remarks at the Israeli Museum before having a private dinner with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The next morning the president heads to Bethlehem to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whom he recently welcomed to the White House, to “convey his administration’s eagerness to facilitate an agreement that ends the conflict.”

Trump plans to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and say a prayer at the Western Wall, unaccompanied by any Israeli leaders.

“He’s going to the Western Wall mainly in connection with the theme to connect with three of the world’s great religions and to advance — to pay homage to each of these religious sites that he’s visiting, but also to highlight the theme that we all have to be united against what are really the enemies of all civilized people, and that we have to be joined together in — in a — with an agenda of tolerance and moderation,” McMaster explained.

Israeli Channel 2 reported that a U.S. diplomat planning the trip with Israeli officials said the Western Wall was in Palestinian territory, not Israel. Pressed twice during today’s briefing on whether the Western Wall is part of Israel, McMaster  said, “That sounds like a policy decision.”

“The president’s intention is to visit these religious sites, to highlight the need for unity among three of the world’s great religions: unity in confronting a very grave threat to all civilization, and unity in embracing an agenda of tolerance,” he added.

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