Special Ops Command to Pentagon: Stop Ignoring Jihad

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But the Pentagon’s orders are to ignore the jihad come from on high.

CounterJihad, Sept. 26, 2016:

Staff officers of United States Marine Corps General Joseph F. Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are stonewalling demands by the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to add Salafi Jihad to the description of our enemies.  The Washington Times reports:

U.S. Special Operations Command has privately pressed the staff of the nation’s highest-ranking military officer to include in his upcoming National Military Strategy a discussion of the Sunni Muslim ideology underpinning the brutality of the Islamic State group and al Qaeda…  The 2015 public version does not mention Islamic ideology. It lists terrorists under the ambiguous category of “violent extremist organizations” and singles out al Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

…Special Operations Command wants the National Military Strategy to specifically name Salafi jihadism as the doctrine that inspires violent Muslim extremists. Salafi jihadism is a branch within Sunni Islam. It is embraced by the Islamic State and used to justify its mass killings of nonbelievers, including Shiite Muslims, Sunnis and Kurds, as well as Christians.  People knowledgeable about the discussion toldThe Washington Times that SoCom has not been able to persuade Gen. Dunford’s staff to include Salafi jihadism in any strategy draft.

The National Military Strategy (NMS) will be a classified document that will spell out the nation’s strategic goals and means of attaining those goals.  It occupies a middle position in a cycle of obtaining the right means to the nation’s strategic ends.  The NMS follows the production of the National Security Strategy (NSS), which is issued by the President of the United States.  The NSS is more general, as the President occupies the higher position of Commander in Chief, and lays out what the President takes to be the important goals of the nation globally.  The NMS is then prepared by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and lays out in much greater specificity military means to supporting the ends identified by the President in the NSS.  The NMS then serves both as guidance for combatant commanders, such as the commander of USSOCOM, and also for helping Congress to identify military budget priorities.

It is a crucial document, in other words, but one over which the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has only limited control.  The NSS sets limits on what the NMS can say.  Combatant commands like USSOCOM are deeply interested in the content of the document, as the NMS will set similar limits on what they are allowed to direct subordinate units to say and do.  SOCOM is encountering resistance at the Pentagon because they are asking the NMS to push out into territory that the author of the NSS does not want to enter.  The Pentagon’s orders come from the highest levels on this matter, indeed from the President of the United States himself.

For that reason it is no surprise that SOCOM’s pushback has not yet created any effect on the forthcoming strategy.  Nevertheless, they are manifestly correct about the importance of recognizing that the Islamic State (ISIS) is in fact Islamic.  As the classic text on war by Sun Tzu counsels, a nation can only be confident at war if its leaders understand not only themselves but also their enemy.  Refusing to understand your enemy is a crippling defect.

However, the identification of the problem as Salafi theology is only a partial fix.  Certainly within the context of the question of ISIS and al Qaeda, whom SOCOM have been instructed to treat as enemies, Salafi and Wahhabi Islam are the correct subsets of Islam to consider.  Yet there is another “brand” of Islamic theology that is just as radical, which is the velayat-e faqih model of Shia Islam pushed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.  SOCOM has not been ordered to treat Iran as an enemy.  Rather, the US military has been ordered to avoid conflict with Iran, and to operate alongside Iranian-backed irregulars in Iraq as if they were allies instead.  The result has been that our fighting forces on the ground in Iraq and Syria, as well as our naval forces in the Persian Gulf, have been exposed to huge risks that they are forbidden to combat.

Meanwhile Iran continues to develop long-range nuclear-capable missiles for warheads it currently swears it will never produce.  Iran installs advanced new anti-aircraft missiles to help fortify its Fordow nuclear site, which President Obama’s deal supposedly put beyond use.  Why fortify it against air attack, then?  Why develop missiles if you never intend to have a payload that would make them a useful option?

It is clear that our military is being forbidden from even thinking clearly, or speaking clearly, about the threats we face and where they originate.  The next President will need to reverse course, and quickly, if we are to avoid a disaster that costs American lives, America’s position in the world, and America’s national strategic goals.

Pentagon’s top brass explores Islamic ideology’s ties to terror

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Washington Times, by Rowan Scarborough, September 25, 2016:

U.S. Special Operations Command has privately pressed the staff of the nation’s highest-ranking military officer to include in his upcoming National Military Strategy a discussion of the Sunni Muslim ideology underpinning the brutality of the Islamic State group and al Qaeda.

Thus, behind the scenes, the Pentagon’s top brass have entered a debate coursing through the presidential campaign: how to define an enemy the U.S. military has been fighting for 15 years.

The National Military Strategy, authored by the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, is one of the most important guidances issued to global combatant commanders. It prioritizes threats to the nation and how to blunt them.

The 2015 public version does not mention Islamic ideology. It lists terrorists under the ambiguous category of “violent extremist organizations” and singles out al Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford took the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff two months later and is now preparing his first National Military Strategy.

It is during this process that Special Operations Command, which plays a major role in hunting down terrorists, has provided its input to the Joint Staff, Gen. Dunford’s team of intelligence and operations officers at the Pentagon.

Special Operations Command wants the National Military Strategy to specifically name Salafi jihadism as the doctrine that inspires violent Muslim extremists. Salafi jihadism is a branch within Sunni Islam. It is embraced by the Islamic State and used to justify its mass killings of nonbelievers, including Shiite Muslims, Sunnis and Kurds, as well as Christians.

People knowledgeable about the discussion told The Washington Times that SoCom has not been able to persuade Gen. Dunford’s staff to include Salafi jihadism in any strategy draft. It is unclear whether Gen. Dunford has been briefed on the proposals.

Spokesmen for the Joint Staff and U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida, told The Times that they could not comment on a pending strategy. Gen. Dunford’s strategy will be classified in its entirety, meaning there will be no public version as was issued by his predecessor, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, in 2015.

Special Operations Command is headed by Army Gen. Raymond A. Thomas III, a veteran terrorist hunter who led Joint Special Operations Command, the unit that killed Osama bin Laden and many other extremists.

There does not appear to be an effort to include the words “radical Islamic terrorism” in the strategy. But including a discussion of Salafi jihadism would tie acts of terrorism to Islamic ideology.

President Obama has fiercely rejected any connection between Islam the faith and al Qaeda, the Islamic State or any other Muslim terrorist organizations. He argues that they have corrupted the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and the Koran. His administration refers to them as simply “extremists.”

The counterargument from many U.S. national security analysts and Muslim scholars is that mass killings are rooted in the Koran and other primary writings and preachings of credible Islamic scholars and imams. These teachings at some mosques and on social media encourage youths to become radical Islamists.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ruthless Islamic State founder, is a cleric who studied at a seminary in Iraq. Al-Baghdadi has a Ph.D. in Koranic studies from Iraq’s Saddam University.

‘War of ideas’

If the cycle of global jihadism is to be broken, they say, U.S. officials must accurately assess the nature of the threat and its doctrines. If not, Gen. Dunford’s National Military Strategy is, in essence, directing commanders to ignore threat doctrine and relinquish the information battlefield to the enemy.

“If you look at threat doctrine from that perspective, it’s a much bigger problem because it’s not just the violent jihadists; it’s the nonviolent jihadists who support them,” said one person knowledgeable about the National Military Strategy. “Pretending there is no relationship between the violent jihadists and Islam isn’t going to win. We’re completely ignoring the war of ideas. We’re still in denial. We’re pretending the enemy doesn’t exist.”

A joint counterterrorism report by the American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for the Study of War concluded:

“Salafi-jihadi military organizations, particularly ISIS and al Qaeda, are the greatest threat to the security and values of American and European citizens.”

The Islamic State is also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh.

Albert M. Fernandez, who was the State Department’s chief of strategic communication, said that on some level, if not the U.S. directly, people need to talk about the form of Salafi jihadism that promotes violence.

“Using the word ‘extremism’ is extraordinarily vague language,” he said.

Some voices in the Muslim hierarchy differ with Mr. Obama and say the encouragement of violence is a problem that Islam must confront.

One such leader is Hassen Chalghoumi, imam of the Drancy Mosque in Paris. France has Europe’s largest Muslim population and has been wracked by a series of brutal terrorist attacks planned and inspired by the Islamic State.

Mr. Chalghoumi spoke last year at a conference in Washington sponsored by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which tracks jihadi social media and promotes moderate Islamic leaders.

Mr. Chalghoumi said mosques are one “battlefront” in the war on extremism.

“The third battlefront is the mosques, in many of which there is incitement to anti-Semitism, hate and ultimately violence,” he said. “This is the most critical battlefront regarding the future of Islam and its relationship with other religions. But even this one is not solely internal. The government should have a role in prohibiting money from terrorist organizations from reaching mosques and guiding their activities. It should prevent extremist leaders from preaching in pulpits from which they can abuse their power and spew hate and violence. It should make sure that the people who preach religion to others are qualified and endorse human values.”

Teaching terrorism

Advocates of publicly discussing the influence of Salafi jihadism point to Sahih al-Burkhari. It is a nine-volume collection of Sunni Muslim dictates from historical figures that is held as only second in importance to the Koran.

Volume 4, Book 56, justifies the killings of non-Muslims. “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him,” says one apostle of the Prophet Muhammad.

Volume 9, Book 88, contains this: “During the last days there will appear some young foolish people who will say the best words but their faith will not go beyond their throats (i.e., they will have no faith) and will go out from (leave) their religion as an arrow goes out of the game. So, where-ever you find them, kill them, for who-ever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection.”

Robert Spencer is an author who runs Jihad Watch, a nonprofit that reports on Islamic extremism.

He explains that Salafi Jihadism is a vehicle for taking the teachings of the Koran and applying them to jihad.

“The Islamic State scrupulously follows the Koran and Sunnah in its public actions, including its pursuit of jihad, and provides in Dabiq its Islamic justification for even its most controversial actions,” he said. “Thus the Islamic State is essentially the apotheosis [highest form] of Salafi Jihadism.”

The Sunnah contains the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. Dabiq is a town in Syria where a final battle between Muslims and Christians supposedly will take place.

A 2008 strategy paper from Harvard University’s John M. Olin Institute said:
“Like all ideologies, Salafi-Jihadists present a program of action, namely jihad, which is understood in military terms. They assert that jihad will reverse the tide of history and redeem adherents and potential adherents of Salafi-Jihadist ideology from their misery. Martyrdom is extolled as the ultimate way in which jihad can be waged — hence the proliferation of suicide attacks among Salafi-Jihadist groups.”

Defining the enemy

How to define the Islamic State, which controls territory in Syria and Iraq and has franchises in over 20 countries, has been a hot topic in the U.S. presidential campaign.

Republican nominee Donald Trump criticizes Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for refusing to define the threat as “radical Islamic terrorism.”

He has surrounded himself with advisers who do see the threat that way. Former CIA Director James Woolsey, who has authored papers on the extremist Islamic threat, has joined the campaign as a foreign policy adviser.

Another Trump spokesman is retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who led the Defense Intelligence Agency under Mr. Obama. He has said he was fired by the White House for promoting the idea that there is a radical Islamic movement that must be confronted.

One of Mr. Trump’s most ubiquitous surrogates is former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who was on Fox News on Saturday morning again criticizing Mrs. Clinton for not defining the threat.

Mrs. Clinton at one point said “radical jihadists” is the proper description. After the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, by an Islamic State follower, she said “radical Islam” is permissible. She infrequently uses either term.

“Inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric and threatening to ban the families and friends of Muslim Americans as well as millions of Muslim businesspeople and tourists from entering our country hurts the vast majority of Muslims who love freedom and hate terror,” she said in June, taking a swipe at Mr. Trump. “So does saying that we have to start special surveillance on our fellow Americans because of their religion.”

The Defense Department on a few occasions has purged from its ranks those who advocate a discussion on how Islam the religion encourages violence.

In 2008, during the George W. Bush administration, the Pentagon ended a contract with Stephen Coughlin, an Army Reserve officer and lawyer. His consulting work centered on showing the links between Islamic law and violent extremism.

In 2012, in the Obama administration, Gen. Dempsey, then the Joint Chiefs chairman, publicly admonished Army Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley for linking the roots of Islamic teachings to the terrorism’s ideology today. Col. Dooley was removed as a teacher at Joint Forces College within the National Defense University and given a poor performance evaluation.

A student linked some of his training materials, and Muslims complained to the White House.

Gen. Dempsey called Col. Dooley’s training materials “academically irresponsible.”

The university’s teaching guidance says it permits outside-the-box instruction.

Muslim groups have petitioned the White House to end what they consider anti-Muslim training.

One set of complaints came in an October 2011 letter from 57 Islamic groups to Mr. Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, now the CIA director. Mr. Brennan refuses to use the words “Islamic extremists” or “radical Islamic terrorism.”

Some of the groups were unindicted co-conspirators in a federal terrorist financing prosecution in Texas. They also have ties to the global Muslim Brotherhood, whose goal is a world ruled by Islamic law.

Gen. Dempsey issued the Pentagon’s last National Military Strategy a little over a year ago.

It says the two leading terrorist organizations are al Qaeda and the Islamic State, which are defined as “violent extremist organizations.” That is the paper’s only use of the word “Islamic,” and there is no use of “Muslim” or “Salafi.”

Also see:

Obama’s Conflict Tanked the Clinton E-mail Investigation — As Predicted

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Hillary couldn’t be proven guilty without proving the president guilty as well.

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, Sept. 26, 2016:

‘How is this not classified?”

So exclaimed Hillary Clinton’s close aide and confidante, Huma Abedin. The FBI had just shown her an old e-mail exchange, over Clinton’s private account, between the then-secretary of state and a second person, whose name Abedin did not recognize. The FBI then did what the FBI is never supposed to do: The agents informed their interviewee (Abedin) of the identity of the second person. It was the president of the United States, Barack Obama, using a pseudonym to conduct communications over a non-secure e-mail system — something anyone with a high-level security clearance, such as Huma Abedin, would instantly realize was a major breach.

Abedin was sufficiently stunned that, for just a moment, the bottomless capacity of Clinton insiders to keep cool in a scandal was overcome. “How is this not classified?”

She recovered quickly enough, though. The FBI records that the next thing Abedin did, after “express[ing] her amazement at the president’s use of a pseudonym,” was to “ask if she could have a copy of the email.”

Abedin knew an insurance policy when she saw one. If Obama himself  had been e-mailing over a non-government, non-secure system, then everyone else who had been doing it had a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Thanks to Friday’s FBI document dump — 189 more pages of reports from the Bureau’s year-long foray (“investigation” would not be the right word) into the Clinton e-mail scandal — we now know for certain what I predicted some eight months ago here at NRO: Any possibility of prosecuting Hillary Clinton was tanked by President Obama’s conflict of interest.

As I explained in February, when it emerged that the White House was refusing to disclose at least 22 communications Obama had exchanged with then-secretary Clinton over the latter’s private e-mail account, we knew that Obama had knowingly engaged in the same misconduct that was the focus of the Clinton probe: the reckless mishandling of classified information.

To be sure, he did so on a smaller scale. Clinton’s recklessness was systematic: She intentionally set up a non-secure, non-government communications framework, making it inevitable that classified information would be mishandled, and that federal record-keeping laws would be flouted. Obama’s recklessness, at least as far as we know, was confined to communications with Clinton — although the revelation that the man presiding over the “most transparent administration in history” set up a pseudonym to conceal his communications obviously suggests that his recklessness may have been more widespread.

Still, the difference in scale is not a difference in kind. In terms of the federal laws that criminalize mishandling of classified information, Obama not only engaged in the same type of misconduct Clinton did; he engaged in it with Clinton. It would not have been possible for the Justice Department to prosecute Clinton for her offense without its becoming painfully apparent that 1) Obama, too, had done everything necessary to commit a violation of federal law, and 2) the communications between Obama and Clinton were highly relevant evidence.

Indeed, imagine what would have happened had Clinton been indicted. The White House would have attempted to maintain the secrecy of the Obama-Clinton e-mails (under Obama’s invocation of a bogus “presidential communications” privilege), but Clinton’s defense lawyers would have demanded the disclosure of the e-mails in order to show that Obama had engaged in the same misconduct, yet only she, not he, was being prosecuted. And as most experienced criminal-law lawyers understand (especially if they’ve read a little Supreme Court case known as United States v. Nixon), it is an argument that Clinton’s lawyers would have won.

In fact, in any other case — i.e., in a case that involved any other unindicted co-conspirator — it would be the Justice Department itself introducing the Obama-Clinton e-mails into evidence.

As noted above, the FBI told Huma Abedin that the name she did not recognize in the e-mail with Clinton was an Obama alias. For the agents to do this ran afoul of investigative protocols. The point of an FBI interview is for the interviewee to provide information to the investigators, not the other way around. If agents give information to potential witnesses, the government gets accused of trumping up the case.

But of course, that’s only a problem if there is actually going to be a case.

In this instance, it was never going to happen. The president’s involvement guaranteed that . . . so why worry about letting Abedin in on the president’s involvement?

Abedin was startled by this revelation. No wonder: People in her lofty position know that direct presidential communications with high-ranking officials who have national-security and foreign-policy responsibilities are presumptively classified.

To convey this, and thus convey the legal significance of Obama’s involvement, I can’t much improve on what I told you back in February. When the Obama Justice Department prosecuted retired general David Petraeus, the former CIA director, for mishandling classified information, government attorneys emphasized that this top-secret intelligence included notes of Petraeus’s “discussions with the president of the United States of America.”

Petraeus pled guilty because he knew the case against him was a slam-dunk. He grasped that trying to defend himself by sputtering, Clinton-style, that “the notes were not marked classified” would not pass the laugh test. As I elaborated in the February column, when you’re a national-security official engaging in and making a written record of policy and strategy conversations with the president, the lack of classified markings on the documents you’ve created

[does] not alter the obvious fact that the information they contain [is] classified — a fact well known to any high government official who routinely handles national-defense secrets, let alone one who directly advises the president.

Moreover, as is the case with Clinton’s e-mails, much of the information in Petraeus’s journals was “born classified” under the terms of President Obama’s own executive order — EO 13526. As I’ve previously noted, in section 1.1(d) of that order, Obama issued this directive: “The unauthorized disclosure of foreign government information is presumed to cause damage to the national security.” In addition, the order goes on (in section 1.4) to describe other categories of information that officials should deem classified based on the damage to national security that disclosure could cause. Included among these categories: foreign relations, foreign activities of the United States, military plans, and intelligence activities.

Abedin knew, as the FBI agents who were interviewing her surely knew, that at least some of Obama’s pseudonymous exchanges with Clinton had to have crossed into these categories. They were born classified. As I said in February, this fact would profoundly embarrass Obama if the e-mails were publicly disclosed.

Hundreds of times, despite Clinton’s indignant insistence that she never sent or received classified information, the State Department has had to concede that her e-mails must be redacted or withheld from public disclosure because they contain information that is patently classified. But this is not a concession the administration is willing to make regarding Obama’s e-mails.

That is why, as I argued in February, Obama is trying to get away with the vaporous claim that presidential communications must be kept confidential. He does not want to say “executive privilege” because that sounds too much like Nixon. More important, the only other alternative is to designate the e-mails as classified. That would be tantamount to an admission that Obama engaged in the same violation of law as Clinton.

Again, this is why the prosecution of Mrs. Clinton never had a chance of happening. It also explains why, in his public statements about the matter, Obama insisted that Clinton’s e-mailing of classified information did not harm national security. It is why Obama, in stark contrast to his aforementioned executive order, made public statements pooh-poohing the fact that federal law forbids the mishandling of any intelligence secret. (“There’s classified, and then there’s classified,” he said, so cavalierly.) He had to take this position because he had himself effectively endorsed the practice of high-level communications through non-secure channels.

This is also why the Justice Department and the FBI effectively rewrote the relevant criminal statute in order to avoid applying it to Clinton. In his public statements about Clinton, Obama has stressed that she is an exemplary public servant who would never intentionally harm the United States. In rationalizing their decision not to indict Clinton, Justice Department officials (in leaks to the Washington Post) and the FBI director (in his press conference and congressional testimony) similarly stressed the lack of proof that she intended to harm the United States.

As I’ve repeatedly pointed out, however, the operative criminal statute does not call for proof of intent to harm the United States. It merely requires proof of gross negligence. This is entirely lawful and appropriate, since we’re talking about a law that can apply only to government officials who have a special duty to preserve secrecy and who have been schooled in the proper handling of classified information. Yet the Justice Department frivolously suggested that applying the law exactly the way it is written — something the Justice Department routinely tells judges they must do — would, in Clinton’s case, potentially raise constitutional problems.

Alas, the Justice Department and the FBI have to take that indefensible position here. Otherwise, Clinton would not be the only one in legal jeopardy.

I will end with what I said eight months ago:

To summarize, we have a situation in which (a) Obama knowingly communicated with Clinton over a non-government, non-secure e-mail system; (b) Obama and Clinton almost certainly discussed matters that are automatically deemed classified under the president’s own guidelines; and (c) at least one high-ranking government official (Petraeus) has been prosecuted because he failed to maintain the security of highly sensitive intelligence that included policy-related conversations with Obama. From these facts and circumstances, we must deduce that it is possible, if not highly likely, that President Obama himself has been grossly negligent in handling classified information.

That is why the Clinton e-mail scandal never had a chance of leading to criminal charges.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

John Bolton on Obama’s Internet Handover: ‘Within Ten Years, the Internet as We Know It Will End’

icann-tim-halesassociated-press-640x480Breitbart, by John Hayward, Sept 22, 2016:

On Thursday’s Breitbart News Daily on SiriusXM, former U.N. ambassador John Bolton predicted that the impending transfer of Internet domain control from American supervision to an international body will mean the end of the Internet “as we know it.”

Speaking to Breitbart Editor-in-Chief and SiriusXM host Alex Marlow, Bolton explained that we should be “very concerned” about the transfer from “a national-security perspective.”

“What we’ve gotten out of the Internet, under the shelter of a private American organization that contracts with the Commerce Department, [is] one of the few cases that I can think of in our history where we’ve had that kind of government involvement without regulation and interference,” said Bolton.

He continued:

But because it’s entirely a U.S. government proposition with U.S. people involved, the Internet has been free and open. If, as the Administration wants to do, it’s transferred to an international body, I will predict right here: within 10 years it will come under the control of the United Nations, and the Internet as we know it will end because there are governments around the world that are already doing everything they can to prevent a free and open Internet in their countries, and it will extend to ours in due course.

Bolton called the Internet handover “a mistake of such colossal proportions that you would have thought we’d have a huge debate about it in this country.”

LISTEN:

“Ted Cruz has been leading the charge in the Senate to prevent this from happening,” he said. “There may be legislation passed in these last days of this Congress, as they try and wrap the budget up. But really, people need to wake up to this. This is something from Obama I have feared for eight years, his tendencies toward global governance. I’ve been surprised to have to say he hasn’t done more, but in his last days in office, we may see the full flowering of it, and this transfer of control of the Internet is perhaps the worst example right at the moment.”

Bolton elaborated on what he meant by the Internet as we know it dying within 10 years:

What they’re talking about is succumbing to the demands of foreign governments and foreign interests who say, in what is effectively a global means of communication, it’s just wrong to have the United States in charge of it.

But the fact is, under American control, it’s had remarkable growth. It’s been kept free. It’s been able to withstand a lot of pressure to try and set rules that favor one side or another. And in an international environment, I can tell you from my own experience, when you get all kinds of governments from all over the world setting standards and making decisions, it will be far less free than it is now.

And I don’t think the particular kind of transfer we’re talking about now is the end of the game. This is a black-and-white, binary choice: it’s either under American control, or it’s not. And once we let go of it, we are never getting it back.

Marlow turned the conversation to Barack Obama’s final speech to the U.N. General Assembly, describing it as a “toned-down Obama” with a few condescending lines, but not as much “fiery rhetoric” as he anticipated.

“I think he wanted this to be his swan song,” said Bolton. “It was a very pedestrian speech, so I think he certainly failed in that effort. A lot of was just domestic American politics, which personally I think is unseemly in a speech to the U.N. or an international forum. I think the President, especially a lame duck President, should be above that.”

“I think it shows that, really, Barack Obama is not a statesman. He is a political hack, when it comes right down to it,” Bolton judged. “He was unsparing in his criticism of many countries — criticism I agree with, in the case of Russia, North Korea, and so on — but he couldn’t withstand the temptation to criticize America. Thank God he’s the smartest man in the country, and he can tell us what we’re doing wrong.”

Bolton said he was “utterly struck” by “the reaction in the hall — which was essentially no reaction.” He noted there was “very perfunctory applause by the international community, after years where they’ve repeatedly interrupted him.”

“My sense was, they understand he’s a lame duck now. Maybe they’re just as tired as many Americans of being lectured by this morally superior being, and they’re happy to see the back of him.”

Marlow asked for Bolton’s take on the state of the United Nations and if there was still anything productive emerging from its meetings. Bolton replied that “things are happening, but not because it’s the U.N.”

He explained:

This week in September is just a very convenient point, where a lot of leaders come to New York. You can do a lot of business in a short period of time without having to travel all over the world, although traffic in New York makes it feel like it takes forever to get from one place to another. But it’s less about the U.N. than it is about other forms of diplomatic business.

That said, I believe that if Hillary Clinton wins, she will do what I expected Obama to do, which is try to transfer more and more American sovereignty into international organizations across the range of issues — whether it’s climate change or the conduct of international affairs. I think Obama didn’t do as much as I expected in that vein because he really just doesn’t care about international affairs as much as he cares about ‘fundamentally transforming’ our country.

I think Hillary does have even grander ambitions, and so that’s why what we started off, the end of ICANN or the effective control of ICANN over the Internet, is an excellent example of global governance replacing American sovereignty in effect. And I think she’ll be much more on that. I hope that’s something Trump emphasizes in the upcoming debate.

Turning to last weekend’s terrorist attacks, Bolton said they were “evidence that the terrorist threat continues to increase, as senior intelligence officials of the Obama Administration itself have testified in an open session of Congress.”

“It’s a demonstration of the diversity of the sources of terrorism and the kinds of terrorism that we see,” he continued, referencing the Chelsea bomber’s evident affinity for al-Qaeda, rather than ISIS, and the Somali origins of the Minnesota mall stabber. “It doesn’t all come from Syria or Iraq in the Middle East. It comes from as far away as Somali or Afghanistan.”

“And I think it’s also a measure of the kind of terrorism, that some people want to call it ‘lone wolf’ terrorism because they’re trying to downplay its significance. But it’s not lone wolf terrorism,” Bolton argued. “We’re seeing increasingly the networks, the connections of these two terrorists. ISIS has claimed credit for the one in Minnesota. We see how the terrorist arrested in New Jersey was in communication with terrorists in Afghanistan.”

“Terrorism doesn’t look like a corporate organization chart. That doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, or any easier to prevent,” he warned. “I think it’s one reason what that issue is so important in the 2016 campaign, and it should be.”

Marlow brought up the nuclear threat from North Korea, saying that “half the time, I feel like this is a joke, and half the time I feel like this is one of the scariest things happening on Planet Earth.”

“Unfortunately, it’s the latter,” Bolton said, explaining that the Communist dictatorship in Pyongyang presents a real danger to the United States and its allies:

The regime has always struck most Americans as a joke. Who can believe these people who talk and look the way the Kim family dictatorship has over the years?

But serious military officials, both American and South Korea, have repeatedly ramped up their judgment of what the North is capable of, and they’ve been saying for some time now that it’s only a very short period of time before North Korea is able to take their nuclear devices — and they’ve now tested five — and miniaturize them, and put them under the nose cone of their increasingly sophisticated ballistic missiles, and hit targets on the U.S. West Coast.

So the need for missile defense, at an absolute minimum — national missile defense for the United States, a program the Obama Administration gutted when they came into office, with the full support of Hillary Clinton. Dealing more effectively with North Korea, and I think trying to get more intelligence on whether and to what extent there is a connection between the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea — because these may seem like very different threats, but we know that for 20 years, if not more, they’ve cooperated on their missile programs, and I personally think there’s every reason to believe they’re cooperating on the nuclear programs as well.

We just don’t have enough information, and people don’t take this threat of the ‘Axis of Evil’ seriously enough. But if either or both of them get the capability to deliver nuclear by ballistic missile, we’ll take it seriously then.

Bolton concluded with his thoughts on the situation in Syria, where he sees the Russians and Iranians as having a “very distinct interest,” namely keeping Bashar Assad in power, while Obama’s goals and strategies remain vague and ineffective:

The ISIS threat is something that could have been dealt with a year, year and a half ago, if the Obama Administration had had a coherent foreign policy, but it doesn’t. And I think now we’re seeing continued chaos in Syria. ISIS may have lost some territory, but it’s still there, still recruiting terrorists. The Assad regime is still in place. Russian influence has increased, Iranian has increased, American influence has decreased. Really, how could it get much worse?

Muslim Brotherhood’s ties to the Obama Administration

obama-egypt-450x338-1Family Security Matters, by Slater Bakhtavar, Sept. 23, 2016:

“Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest aspiration.”

The above is the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood, and organization founded in Egypt in 1928 for the express purpose of rebuilding human civilization in a form consistent with the customs of Shariah (Islamic) law and instituting a global Muslim paradise. The group’s own original bylaws leave little for interpretation, declaring: “The Islamic nation must be fully prepared to fight the tyrants and the enemies of Allah as a prelude to establishing an Islamic state.” As can be expected, then, the Brotherhood has been an enemy of the free world since its inception, engaging in such malignant acts as aligning itself with the National Socialist (Nazi) party in Germany during World War II, openly committing terrorist acts on its own, and more recently, supporting other terrorist organizations such as Hamas.

By any reasonable measure, the Muslim Brotherhood should be an unambiguous enemy of any American, regardless of political stripe. That is why it’s profoundly disturbing to consider that the group has steadily risen in influence within the United States, most particularly within the Democratic party. We see this broadly in the findings of a 2014 analysis that shows Islamist campaign donations overwhelmingly favor Democratic candidates over Republicans by a ratio of 12 to 1 since 9/11, but a specific and disturbing example can be found in the person of Huma Abedin, Vice Chairwoman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and reportedly longtime personal friend of Mrs. Clinton. Through her family, Abedin has a number of troubling ties to extremist Islam in general and the Muslim Brotherhood in particular. Her father is known to have founded the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, an academic publication that has been called a “sharia newspaper” by some. Her mother currently runs it, and Huma herself has worked as an editor on it.

Her brother introduces further suspicions of extremist loyalties. Abedin’s shady connections to the Muslim Brotherhood – which the Democratic party never fails to frantically deny or simply ignore – run so deep that five members of Congress wrote a letter in 2012 to the State Department Inspector General, listing her suspicious associations and contending that her family affinity with Islamic extremism disqualifies her from the sort of high level security clearance that would grant her access to someone like Hillary Clinton – an important and powerful person, and possible future President of the United States.

Huma Abedin’s role in American politics first rose to prominence when she served as a top adviser to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (again, their friendship stretches back considerably). Since then, the Muslim Brotherhood has vastly strengthened its position within the US. Within that time period, the US government has reversed a standing policy against formal contact with the Brotherhood, went on channeling funds into Egypt despite the Brotherhood’s victory in post-Mubarak elections there, and hosted official Brotherhood delegations in the United States. Abedin’s level of involvement in these actions can be debated, but whether she is personally responsible or not, what is beyond question is that the Democratic party should not be coddling a known terrorist organization like this.

One would think the Democrats had learned their lesson when it comes to backing Muslim extremists. After all, that was their strategy in and immediately leading up to 1979, when they forsook the United States’ “stalwart ally” (as Ronald Reagan put it) in the Shah of Iran, effectively allowing the Islamic Revolution and the brutal, theocratic dictatorship that has followed ever since. Today Iran, once a generally friendly nation toward the United States and potential ally in the crucial Middle East, is a bitter enemy, its people strongly sympathetic to American ideals while its fundamentalist government denounces the US, and its absolute religious “Supreme Leader” works feverishly to acquire nuclear weapons.

In case it was not obvious, all of the above obviates the fact that it is in the best interests of the United States (and, ultimately, the people of the Middle East) to support secular leaders and causes. Especially in countries such as Iran and the northern part of the African continent, there are many younger and well educated people who are far less indoctrinated in the uncompromising religious dogma of the past than their elders. These are the people whom the West should be supporting, both abroad and at home – while being exquisitely careful to avoid allowing individuals like Huma Abedin to reach powerful positions within the United States.

The Muslim Brotherhood is an unambiguously dangerous organization with a shady and bloody past. It is imperative that the United States awake to the reality that this organization must be combated and avoided, not embraced, and that secular segments should be encouraged to flourish around the world – especially at home, and in the Middle East.

Slater Bakhtavar is an attorney, journalist, author and political commentator. He is author of “Iran: The Green Movement”. He has appeared on hundreds of network radio shows, including G Gordon Liddy, Crosstalk America, Les in the Morning, NPR,  Jim Bohannon Show and VOA.

Is Obama’s ‘Narrative Battle’ with ISIS or Reality?

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Front Page Magazine, by Raymond Ibrahim, Sept. 23, 2016:

According to White House press secretary Josh Earnest, “When it comes to ISIL, we are in a fight—a narrative fight with them. A narrative battle.”  Earnest said this the day after two separate bombings occurred in New York, and an ISIS-linked Muslim went on a stabbing spree in Minnesota.  Obama’ spokesman later elaborated:

What is important in the context of political debate is to remember ISIL is trying to assert a narrative, that they represent the religion of Islam in a war against the west and in a war against the United States. That is mythology. That is falsehood. That is not true. That is bankrupt ideology they are trying to wrap in the cloak of Islam.

This, of course, is a strawman argument: the real question isn’t whether ISIS “represents” Islam, but whether ISIS is a byproduct of Islam.  And this question can easily be answered by looking not to ISIS but Islam.  One can point to Islamic doctrines that unequivocally justify ISIS behavior; one can point to the whole of Islamic history, nearly 14 centuries of ISIS precedents.

Or, if these two options are deemed too abstract, one can simply point to the fact that everyday Muslims all around the world are behaving just like ISIS.

For example, Muslims—of all races, nationalities, languages, and socio-political and economic circumstances, in Arab, African, Central and East Asian nations—claim the lions’ share of Christian persecution; 41 of the 50 worst nations to be Christian in are Islamic.  In these countries, Muslim individuals, mobs, clerics, politicians, police, soldiers, judges, even family members—none of whom are affiliated with ISIS (other than by religion)—abuse and sometimes slaughter Christians, abduct, enslave and rape their women and children, ban or bomb churches, and kill blasphemers and apostates.

Anyone who doubts this can access my monthly “Muslim Persecution of Christians” reports and review the nonstop persecution and carnage committed by “everyday” Muslims—not ISIS—against Christians.  Each monthly report (there are currently 60, stretching back to July 2011) contains dozens of atrocities, most of which if committed by Christians against Muslims would receive nonstop media coverage in America.

Or consider a Pew poll which found that, in 11 countries alone, at least 63 million and as many as 287 million Muslims support ISIS.  Similarly, 81% of respondents to an Arabic language Al Jazeera poll supported the Islamic State.

Do all these hundreds of millions of Muslims support the Islamic State because they’ve been suckered into its “narrative”—or even more silly, because we have—or do they support ISIS because it reflects the same supremacist Islam that they know and practice, one that preaches hate and violence for all infidels, as America’s good friends and allies, the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar—not ISIS—are on record proclaiming?

It is this phenomenon, that Muslims the world over—and not just this or that terrorist group that “has nothing to do with Islam”—are exhibiting hostility for and terrorizing non-Muslims that the Obama administration and its mainstream media allies are committed to suppressing.  Otherwise the unthinkable could happen: people might connect the dots and understand that ISIS isn’t mangling Islam but rather Islam is mangling the minds of Muslims all over the world.

Hence why White House spokesman Josh Earnest can adamantly dismiss 14 centuries of Islamic history, doctrine, and behavior that mirrors ISIS: “That is mythology. That is falsehood. That is not true.” Hence why U.S. media coverage for one dead gorilla was six times greater than media coverage for 21 Christians whose heads were carved off for refusing to recant their faith.

The powers-that-be prefer that the debate—the “narrative”—be restricted to ISIS, so that the group appears as an aberration to Islam.  Acknowledging that untold millions of Muslims are engaged in similar behavior leads to a much more troubling narrative with vast implications.

Even so, until this ugly truth is accepted, countless more innocents—including born Muslims who seek to break free from Islam—will continue to suffer.

Malkin: Hey, UN corruptocrats: Spare us refugee sanctimony

Sadik Gulec | Shutterstock

Sadik Gulec | Shutterstock

Conservative Review, by Michelle Malkin, Sept. 21, 2016:

Another United Nations summit in New York. Another finger-wagging extravaganza. Another useless “historic declaration” (nonbinding, of course) to save the world (by holding another summit … in two years).

As America reels from the latest terrorist attacks by Muslim refugees and immigrants in New York, New Jersey and Minnesota, the world’s global do-gooders filled the Big Apple with their humanitarian hot air. U.N. officials convened in NYC this week to push for “collective action” to “protect the rights of refugees and migrants, to save lives and share responsibility for large movements on a global scale.”

Let me put this as politely as possible: Bug off, U.N. nitwits.

Islamic jihadists are lopping off infidels’ heads; kidnapping young African girls, Christian missionaries and Western tourists; incinerating Afghan schoolgirls; imposing mass genital mutilation on Muslim girls and marrying them off to lecherous brutes while they’re still in grade school; pushing gays off of rooftops; mob-raping European women; casting fatwas on cartoonists, filmmakers and authors; and stabbing, shooting and bombing Jews, Christians and ex-Muslim apostates all over the world.

For starters.

But the real problem, the U.N. elites tell us, is “rising xenophobia” in countries whose citizens are sick and tired of open borders. If only we uneducated heathens who oppose unfettered mass immigration to America from America-hating breeding grounds learned to appreciate “diversity” more, a Skittles-colored rainbow of peace and harmony would reign.

And yes, I know, “Skittles” is now a trigger word after Donald Trump Jr. used the treats in a completely innocuous homeland security meme on Twitter to illustrate America’s inability to separate murder-minded refujihadis from legitimate refugees escaping persecution.

To which I say: Suck it up, snowflakes. Terrorists are teaching their kids to slice throats and you’re whimpering over candy analogies? Talk about candy-asses.

Not to be outdone in the international sanctimony Olympics, President Obama used center stage at the U.N. General Assembly to rail against self-preservationism in favor of “global integration.” Instead of a full-frontal fusillade against al-Qaida, the Islamic State and all the other homicidal spreaders of Allahu Akbar-it is, Obama aimed his sharpest barbs at American supporters of Donald Trump and U.K. voters who voted to withdraw from the European Union.

“A nation ringed by walls would only imprison itself,” he lectured.

(Pay no attention to the brand-new fence at the White House now nearly 14-feet high to protect Obama from unwanted outside “integration.”)

This week’s U.N. production of Caring Theater is just the latest attempt by the world’s most feckless social engineers to compensate for their own abject, chronic failures.

The U.N. Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, bloviated against “race-baiting bigots, who seek to gain, or retain, power by wielding prejudice and deceit, at the expense of those most vulnerable.”

What he didn’t talk about: the decades-old corruption, fraud, and abuse perpetrated by the U.N. itself and its vast refugee bureaucracy.

In Malaysia, U.N. refugee officials have been implicated in black market schemes to sell United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees cards and false identity papers in order to get resettled in the United States, Australia and Canada.

In Lebanon, Arabic-language newspaper Al Monitor reported this year that “Aid organizations have become fountains of corruption, while ‘humanitarian mafias’ accrue massive sums” through U.N. funding.

Last year, fiscal watchdogs blew the whistle on systemic management of the U.N. refugee agency’s nearly billion-dollar budget over the last two years. An internal audit deemed every measure of financial controls over refugee relief funds “unsatisfactory.” The report came just two years after another internal assessment raised red flags over “the lack of adequate managerial control” by U.N. officials contracting with third parties purportedly helping refugees.

All that came in the wake of the latest U.N. rape epidemic earlier this spring involving peacekeepers in the Central African Republican who sexually abused civilians, including more than 100 girls in one prefecture.

That outbreak follows years of brutal exploitation by U.N. staff members in Nairobi who shook down African refugees seeking resettlement in North America, Europe and Australia while the U.N. looked the other way. And that scandal ran parallel to another widespread U.N. peacekeepers’ sexual predator ring involving refugees that stretched from the Congo to Bosnia and Eastern Europe.

U.N. brass downplayed the barbaric treatment of refugees in its care as the result of a few rogues. But rape rooms and internet pedophile video productions were run by senior U.N. officials and other civilian personnel, untold numbers of whom fathered babies with young girls and teens held as prostitutes and sex slaves. Nothing has changed.

Before the world’s policemen barge in on us again to denigrate our efforts to protect our home, they should spare us the refugee sanctimony and clean up their own.

Also see:

Why FBI Suspects Keep Attacking Americans

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The reason our authorities don’t take pre-emptive action against Islamic terror — even after solid intelligence warnings.

Front Page Magazine, by Matthew Vadum, Sept. 21, 2016:

Why does the Obama administration keep failing to thwart Muslim terrorist attacks in the U.S. after receiving apparently good intelligence warning of those attacks?

It turns out that Americans keep turning in budding Muslim terrorists to the Obama administration and the administration keeps on doing nothing. For example, the alleged mastermind of the weekend pressure-cooker bombing in New York City was turned in by his own father but the Federal Bureau of Investigation failed to do much of anything about him.

These intelligence failures have become a recurrent theme in the Obama era, with deadly results. Excluding the events of the last few days, there have been 89 Muslim terrorist plots and attacks in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001 and 25 of those have taken place since the beginning of 2015, according to David Inserra of the Heritage Foundation.

Counterterrorism expert Sebastian Gorka, vice president at the Institute of World Politics, blamed political correctness for the FBI’s inability to do something about Rahami before he acted.

“There are certain sensitivities,” Gorka said on the “O’Reilly Factor” last night.

“A certain political matrix is being forced upon our operators and investigators,” he said. Usually this kind of political pressure originates not from the FBI, but from the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, he said.

The FBI is also hindered by inadequate human resources, Gorka said. There are reportedly 900 active terrorist investigations in all 50 states and the bureau can only do so much, he said.

The FBI has indeed been handcuffed in terrorist investigations by President Obama whose administration has worked with terrorist front groups like the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The law enforcement agency has also become increasingly politicized in the Obama era.

The pressure-cooker terrorist was apprehended after he injured a score of New Yorkers on the weekend but not through brilliant police work. He was caught during a shootout with cops.

Ahmad Khan Rahami, a.k.a. Ahmad Rahimi, was charged yesterday with use of weapons of mass destruction and bombing a place of public use. Rahami was born in Afghanistan but became a U.S. citizen.

Prosecutors say Rahami planted a pipe bomb and triggering cellphone Saturday morning in Seaside Park, N.J., before a scheduled U.S. Marine Corps charity run. Later that day he placed a pressure cooker bomb in the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan that the complaint states caused injuries and “multiple-million dollars of property damage across a 650-foot crime scene.” Twenty-nine people were wounded. He was previously charged with multiple counts of attempted murder of police officers and other offenses arising from a gun battle when he was captured Monday.

Police also discovered and safely detonated a pipe bomb at a train station in Elizabeth, N.J. Although it is unclear if Rahami is connected to that bomb, his family did sue the city of Elizabeth in 2011 claiming harassment and religious discrimination related to their family restaurant, First American Fried Chicken.

Rahami came to the attention of the FBI two years ago when his father suspected his son was involved in terrorism. Mohammad Rahami told reporters he contacted federal authorities after Ahmad stabbed Nasser, another one of his sons, and attacked another family member, which led to a criminal investigation.

The FBI apparently performed a superficial examination of the case at the time.

 “In August 2014, the F.B.I. initiated an assessment of Ahmad Rahami based upon comments made by his father after a domestic dispute that were subsequently reported to authority,” the agency said in a press release. “The F.B.I. conducted internal database reviews, interagency checks, and multiple interviews, none of which revealed ties to terrorism.”

It would seem the fact that Rahami made a three-month trip to Quetta, Pakistan, in 2011, and visited Quetta again during an 11-month trip beginning in 2013, were ignored by the FBI. Quetta is a Taliban stronghold and a hotbed of Salafi jihadism.

About two miles from the Chelsea attack, President Obama gave a speech at the United Nations in which he said the U.S. should take more immigrants like Rahami and implicitly attacked GOP candidate Donald Trump. Obama blamed America for the world’s problems as he jabbed at Trump’s promise to secure the border, crack down on illegal aliens, and change our asylum policies.

“The world is too small for us to simply be able to build a wall,” Obama said. “We have to open our hearts and do more to help refugees who are desperate for a home,” he said. He added, “today a nation ringed by walls would only imprison itself.”

Obama also suggested that Americans and Europeans are racist for not wanting to be swamped by outsiders from hostile cultures. “And in Europe and the United States, you see people wrestle with concerns about immigration and changing demographics, and suggesting that somehow people who look different are corrupting the character of our countries,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rahami isn’t the first Islamic terrorist law enforcement agencies have failed to do anything about after receiving tips.

Omar Mir Siddique Mateen, who in June killed 49 innocent victims at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., was reported to the FBI in 2014. The massacre has been called the worst mass shooting in American history and the worst domestic terrorist attack since 9/11. Mateen, shot dead by police during the episode, had been under FBI investigation.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack after it took place. Mateen himself “claimed allegiance to the Islamic State and praised the Boston Marathon bombers,” before being killed by police on the scene, the New York Times reported at the time.

In December 2015, President Obama ignored FBI-procured evidence that the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif., was an Islamic terrorist operation and ordered federal officials to mislead the public about the true nature of the assault.

Although the FBI knew immediately that the mass-casualty event was a Muslim terrorist attack, Obama and FBI Director James Comey reportedly clashed over why Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, opened fire Farook’s municipal government workmates, leaving 14 dead. They left a trail of social media evidence that went unused before the attack.

Whistleblower Phil Haney, an investigator who helped to create the Department of Homeland Security, revealed the government shut down a database he created that might have helped to prevent the attack. Haney says he looked into groups that had ties to Farook and Malik as far back as 2012. But civil rights officials accused him of unfairly profiling Muslims, removed his security clearance, and destroyed the data he collected. (Haney tells his story in Trevor Loudon’s powerful new documentary film about leftist and jihadist influence in the U.S. government, The Enemies Within.)

And don’t forget the 2013 Boston Marathon bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev. The FBI had been investigating Tamerlan and Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) warned the Obama administration about his jihadist sympathies.

But Barack Obama doesn’t like reality intruding on his preferred narrative. Islam is a religion of peace, and Muslims have to be given the benefit of the doubt in his view.

Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, is an award-winning investigative reporter and author of the book, “Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers.”

Also see:

Obama’s Cash-for-Jihad Program

(Dreamstime image: Dmitry Rukhlenko)

(Dreamstime image: Dmitry Rukhlenko)

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, Sept. 17, 2016:

The Obama State Department is convinced that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and his regime’s cronies are financing terrorism. How come? Well, because they conduct business in cash.

In fact, in its most recent annual report on state sponsors of terrorism, State frets “that 60 percent of all business transactions [in Syria] are conducted in cash and that nearly 80 percent of all Syrians do not use formal banking services.” This has created a “vast black market,” the components of which are exploited by “some members of the Syrian government and the business elite . . . in terrorism finance schemes.”

Interesting thing about that: There are only three countries on the list of state sponsors of terrorism — Syria, Sudan, and Iran. That last one is worth highlighting. Iran, after all, is not just the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism; it is also the world’s leading state sponsor of . . . Syria — providing it with lots of that cash the State Department is so concerned about.

Oh, I nearly forgot: Iran also happens to be the jihadist regime that President Obama just gave $1.7 billion to . . . in cash.

Or should I say, at least $1.7 billion.

It is hard to decide what is the most appalling thing about Obama’s $1.7 billion payoff to the mullahs: the ransom for the release of American hostages, which has predictably induced Tehran to take more hostages; the pallets of untraceable currency loaded on multiple planes of the national airline regularly used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to arm Assad and facilitate terror; the withdrawals from a shadowy Treasury Department fund structured in a manner designed to conceal that money was being transferred to Iran. The transaction is so shocking, one can easily forget that it is just the latest in a long series of payoffs.

The payoffs were made in Obama’s pursuit of legacy adornment — the nuclear deal with Iran he coveted at any cost. Beginning in January 2014 and continuing for a year and a half — the period during which the president was quietly folding at the negotiation table on every bold campaign-trail vow to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons — the administration released $700 million per month in escrowed oil funds to the jihadist regime.

In congressional testimony last week, Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) did the math: That’s $11.9 billion. But that, literally, may not be the half of it. In July, U.S. government officials told the Associated Press that Iran had repatriated a sum approaching $20 billion in the half-year following implementation of the nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA).

Is that $20 billion from the JCPOA in addition to the pre-JCPOA $11.9 billion in oil revenues? Is it in addition to the $1.7 billion “settlement of a failed 1970s arms deal” (a.k.a. the ransom for American hostages)? The “most transparent administration in history” is not saying. But as Dubowitz runs the numbers, the “worst-case scenario” is that Iran has gotten its mitts on $33.6 billion — and “worst” assumes that we know about every shady backroom deal, which seems unlikely.

That staggering figure would amount to about 8 percent of Iran’s entire annual GDP. Whatever the true amount is, were the billions transferred in cash?

Remember, when the news first broke of the $400 million cash payment on the same day our hostages were released, the president looked us in the eye and told us he had to pay the mullahs that way — he couldn’t wire the funds or send a check because, owing to his professed respect for sanctions in American law, there is no banking relationship between the U.S. and Iran. As I explained at the time, this was simply false: The cash transfer violated the sanctions every bit as much as a check or wire transfer would have. Plus, the sanctions allow for presidential waivers, so Obama could easily have wired the money. He sent cash only because he chose to send cash.

So if the administration loaded up planes with $1.7 billion in foreign currency for the settlement/ransom, was a similar method used in connection with the $11.9 billion in escrowed oil funds? How about the $20 billion in JCPOA sanctions relief? Again, the administration won’t say — apparently relying on a nonexistent privilege of confidentiality in international relations to justify withholding such information from Congress and the public.

One sadly hilarious aspect of this spectacle is the administration’s tortured claims about Iran’s use of its Obama windfalls. The White House and State Department grudgingly admit that they cannot know for certain how much Iran has diverted to the terrorist activities that the administration even more grudgingly admits Iran continues to underwrite. But rest assured, Obama strongly suspects that very little money makes its way to the jihad, since Tehran must prioritize paying down crushing debt and repairing crumbling infrastructure.

How ridiculous. It is pointless to track how particular dollar streams are spent by a terrorist regime. Iran had crushing debt and crumbling infrastructure before Obama started lining its pockets; yet it was committed to exporting revolutionary jihad, so it spent its sparse resources on terrorism anyway. Consequently, if the new dollars Iran is reeling in are ostensibly spent on infrastructure or debt, the dollars that would otherwise have been spent on those activities are freed up for terrorist activity.

The logic is unassailable: Because money is fungible, not a thin dime can safely be given to an entity that supports terrorism. In the case of Iran, however, we need not rely on logical deduction; we know Iran is channeling funds to the jihad. As the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Saeed Ghasseminejad reports, the Iranian regime requires the transfer to its military of funds it receives from settling legal disputes with foreign countries and companies. That means, for example, that the $1.7 billion settlement that Obama paid when the hostages were released has gone to the IRGC.

That brings us back full-circle to the State Department’s annual report on state sponsors of terrorism. As the report explains, the IRGC, through its notorious Qods Force, “is Iran’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.”

To summarize: The Obama administration explains that when a terrorist regime like Syria prefers to conduct business in cash, that markedly increases the likelihood that its funds will be used to finance terrorism. Concurrently, Obama is providing exorbitant sums to Iran, the world’s worst terrorist regime, and going out of his way to transfer it in the form of cash. And under the Iranian regime’s dictates, a goodly portion of that cash is going directly to the component of the Iranian government that oversees its prodigious international terrorism operations.

Not to worry, though — it’s not like they’re threatening our naval vessels, humiliating our sailors, massing Hezbollah forces on Israel’s border, or chanting “Death to America,” right?

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

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Obama’s Fantasy Eid al-Adha

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Front Page Magazine, by Robert Spencer, Sept. 16, 2016:

Barack Obama’s fantasy Islam made a new appearance Monday, when he issued a statement congratulating and praising Muslims on the occasion of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha:

Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to Muslims across our country and around the world who are celebrating Eid al-Adha. This special holiday is a time to honor the sacrifice, resolve, and commitment to God demonstrated by Abraham.

In speaking of Abraham, it is important to remember that there is no parallel in the Qur’an to Genesis 22:15-18, in which Abraham is rewarded for his faith and told he will become a blessing to the nations: “by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.” The Muslim audiences Obama was addressing don’t read Genesis. They read the Qur’an.

In the Qur’an, Allah says that Abraham is an “excellent example” (uswa hasana, أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ, a term applied also to Muhammad in 33:21) for the believers when he tells his pagan family and people that “there has arisen, between us and you, enmity and hatred for ever, unless ye believe in Allah and Him alone” (60:4). The same verse goes on to say that Abraham is not an excellent example when he tells his father, “I will pray for forgiveness for you.” Hatred is held up as exemplary; forgiveness is explicitly declared to be not exemplary.

Obama was thus reinforcing a worldview that takes for granted the legitimacy of everlasting enmity and hatred between Muslims and non-Muslims — and was doing so precisely in the context of trying to build bridges between Muslims and non-Muslims.

…It is also a celebration of the ways faith can transcend any differences or boundaries and unite us under the banners of fellowship and love….

Yes, indeed. Just look at Fort Hood, and Boston, and Chattanooga, Garland, San Bernardino, Orlando, as well as Paris, Brussels, Nice, and all the rest united us under the banners of fellowship and love. Of course, Obama would insist that these had nothing to do with Islam: all the evidence that refutes his politically correct fantasies is waved away. The national conversation that needs to be had about how jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism is once again kicked down the road.

As we mark Eid al-Adha this year, we are reminded of the millions of refugees around the globe who are spending this sacred holiday separated from their families, unsure of their future, but still hoping for a brighter tomorrow. And as a Nation, we remain committed to welcoming the stranger with empathy and an open heart—from the refugee who flees war-torn lands to the immigrant who leaves home in search of a better life.

Ahmad al-Mohammed and one other of the jihadis who murdered 130 people in Paris in November 2015 had just entered Europe as refugees.

In February 2015, the Islamic State boasted it would soon flood Europe with as many as 500,000 refugees. And the Lebanese Education Minister said in September 2015 that there were 20,000 jihadis among the refugees in camps in his country. Meanwhile, 80% of migrants who have come to Europe claiming to be fleeing the war in Syria aren’t really from Syria at all.

An Islamic State operative boasted in September 2015, shortly after the migrant influx began, that among the flood of refugees, 4,000 Islamic State jihadis had already entered Europe. On May 10, 2016, Patrick Calvar, the head of France’s DGSI internal intelligence agency, said that the Islamic State was using migrant routes through the Balkans to get jihadis into Europe.

But none of this information has been allowed to interfere with Barack Obama’s fantasies. Meanwhile, back in the real world, the Islamic State celebrated Eid al-Adha by not only slaughtering animals, but by hanging men it had designated as U.S. spies upside down from meat hooks and slaughtering them “like sheep.”

It might have been illuminating for Obama to have taken a moment to explain how and why that was not a proper celebration of this feast of “fellowship and love,” and why Muslims must reject the understanding of Islam offered by the Islamic State. But while he has repeatedly asserted that the Islamic State is not Islamic, he has never bothered to explain exactly why it isn’t, or how this misunderstanding of Islam became so widespread. That’s how things work in fantasies: we don’t know how Mary Poppins can fly or Harry Potter can make things disappear with the wave of a wand – they just can. For Obama, Islam is a religion of peace. It just is. And no proliferation of infidels hanging from meat hooks will disturb his comforting fantasy.

Two More Guantanamo Detainees Return to Jihad, Says National Intelligence Report

(ISIS photo)

(ISIS photo)

PJ MEDIA, BY BRIDGET JOHNSON, SEPTEMBER 15, 2016:

A status report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence revealed two more former Guantanamo Bay detainees were confirmed returning to jihad in the first six months of this year.

The DNI report breaks down the number of released detainees — 693 — and under whose administration the transfers occurred (532 under George W. Bush, 161 under President Obama).

The confirmed recidivism rate is 17.6 percent, with 122 former detainees determined to be engaged in jihadist activity since their release.

The rate of those suspected but not confirmed of returning to jihad is 12.4 percent, or 86 of 693 cases.

Nine detainees total have been confirmed of returning to jihad since Obama took office, according to the report. Eleven former detainees are suspected of returning to jihad during that time period.

No detainees were named. The terror groups joined were also not detailed.

The DNI prepares the unclassified summary in coordination with the CIA and Defense Department, and has been required to do so every six months since 2012.

“Based on trends identified during the past eleven years, we assess that some detainees currently at GTMO will seek to reengage in terrorist or insurgent activities after they are transferred. Transfers to countries with ongoing conflicts and internal instability as well as recruitment by insurgent and terrorist organizations could pose problems,” the assessment states. “While enforcement of transfer conditions may deter reengagement by many former detainees and delay reengagement by others, some detainees who are determined to reengage will do so regardless of any transfer conditions, albeit probably at a lower rate than if they were transferred without conditions.”

“Former GTMO detainees routinely communicate with each other, families of other former detainees, and previous associates who are members of terrorist organizations. The reasons for communication span from the mundane (reminiscing about shared experiences) to the nefarious (planning terrorist operations). We assess that some GTMO detainees transferred in the future also will communicate with other former GTMO detainees and persons in terrorist organizations. We do not consider mere communication with individuals or organizations—including other former GTMO detainees—an indicator of reengagement. Rather, the motives, intentions, and purposes of each communication are taken into account when assessing whether the individual has reengaged.”

Sixty-one detainees remain as Obama works toward his goal of closing the prison facility by the end of his term. Only 20 of the remaining prisoners have been cleared for transfer to a suitable country.

The House today passed 244-174 a bill blocking funds for all transfers from Guantanamo Bay until new safeguards are put in place or Obama’s term ends. A dozen Democrats voted in favor of the bill, while four Republicans voted against it.

“After the latest report that two more former Guantanamo Bay detainees have returned to the fight, it is more critical than ever that we put the safety and security of the American people first,” said sponsor Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.). “The administration has made clear it intends to transfer as many terrorist detainees as possible from Gitmo before the president leaves office in order to fulfill a misguided campaign promise.”

“This is reckless, and it puts American lives at risk. Today a bipartisan majority put our national security ahead of politics, voting to pass my bill to pause Gitmo detainee transfers until new safeguards are in place or the president’s term ends.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said last month that “we still have to go and do some diplomatic work with other countries to determine who’s willing to assume responsibility for these individuals and who’s also willing to assist with the implementation of whatever restrictions may be necessary against them after they’re transferred.”

Asked how Obama could still be confident that Gitmo will be closed by the time he leaves office, Earnest replied, “What we will continue to do is to work to overcome the obstacles that Congress has erected to prevent the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay.”

“And that’s unfortunate, particularly when you consider that Democrats and Republicans, national security professionals in both parties, agree with the conclusion that President Obama has reached, which is that the American people are best served by closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay.”

All Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee subsequently warned Obama that he is releasing “increasingly dangerous terrorists” in his rush to fulfill his vow to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

Frank Gaffney: Obama Seeks to ‘Shred What Is Left of the Constitution’ by Nullifying Senate’s Role in Treaty-Making

AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Sept. 14, 2016:

“I think we are at a turning point nationally, where a choice is going to be made to reject the course that we’ve been on,” said Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, on Wednesday’s Breitbart News Daily.

“It’s not entirely clear to me that we know what the other choice is going to be,” he said, continuing:

But we’re going to see, I think, the American people saying, “You know, another Obama term – or perhaps more, and worse, than what we’ve been served up over the past eight years – is unacceptable to us. We can’t, perhaps, even survive it, as a nation.”

Gaffney said this gave him hope, and made him “feel better than I have about our country for some time, in that the public seems to be getting that choice, and it seems to me – this is maybe anecdotal or just entirely subjective – but I think they’re beginning to say, ‘Enough; we don’t want more of the same.’”

SiriusXM host Alex Marlow built on Gaffney’s comment about how Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy could be even worse than Obama’s, saying the Clintons think about “what the Clintons want, and not what’s best for the American people.”

“Again, you have an agenda, of which the Clintons have been a part for a long time, whether it’s a sort of trans-nationalism, whether it’s leftism,” said Gaffney. He added:

As you know, I’ve been particularly concerned about, with respect to Hillary most especially, has been her deep sympathy for Islamic supremacism. I don’t know how else to describe it. What we’ve seen her do, reflexively, throughout her time as secretary of state and in the period since, has been to espouse, and embrace, and empower, to fund, and in some cases, even to arm people who seek to impose this doctrine they call sharia on the rest of us.

“This is the sort of thing I think the American people are going to choose to say, ‘No more. We can’t afford that. We don’t want any part of it,’” he predicted, drawing further encouragement from news Marlow broke during the show about Donald Trump gaining five points in two days on the L.A. Times tracking poll. Gaffney called that “a trend in the right direction for our country.”

Marlow asked Gaffney about reports that President Obama would veto the bill allowing 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia for damages – a bill which passed the House unanimously last week.

Gaffney replied:

The argument is being made, of course, is that you’ve got considerations that will extend beyond the immediate question of whether the Saudis deserve to be sued, for what, I think, is unmistakably the participation of, not just their nationals in actually causing the attacks of 9/11, but in helping arrange those attacks. By the way, the Iranians are also implicated in a similar way, and should be subject to a similar suit.

But you’ve got people making the argument, “Oh, my gosh, we’re going to be ending up opening a true Pandora’s box to Americans being sued for a host of other reasons.” I come down on taking the Saudis to court, myself. I have to tell you, and I think the American people are there, and that’s why you see this overwhelming, probably veto-overriding, majority in the Congress.

He noted President Obama’s stated reason for vetoing the bill is that “we’re going to be subjecting our own people, our government, our personnel, to similar kinds of actions by other governments.”

However, Gaffney thought “at some level, at least, this is about protecting the Saudis.”

“Successive presidents, let’s be honest, Republican as well as Democrats, have been doing it for decades,” he pointed out. Elaborating, he said:

And it has enabled the double game that is – well, unfortunately, really, 9/11 is a prime example of it. They were able to lend, at the level of the Saudi ambassador to the United States – a deep personal friend of the George W. and George H.W. families – to engage in active material support for terrorism, as did his wife. And on and on. These are the sorts of things that, I think, would out, if there were a proper litigation that held them accountable.

“I think they should be held accountable, but I think the U.S. government doesn’t want to go there, quite apart from this other pretext that they’re concerned about being sued ourselves,” Gaffney said.

Marlow also asked for Gaffney’s take on the situation in North Korea, which just conducted its fifth illegal nuclear bomb test. Gaffney said there were “two critically important points” to be made:

One is that the North Koreans are a threat to the United States not just to our friends, and allies, and forces in their immediate area, but now increasingly to the continental United States itself. And that’s because they have been allowed, in part, enabled by a deal that Bill Clinton signed with them, back in 1994 – which was a fraud, not as great a fraud as the one Obama signed with the Iranians, but basically of a piece with it, and it set the stage for what we’re seeing now.

Nuclear weapons? Yes. Miniaturizing of those nuclear weapons? Yes. And placing them on longer and longer-range ballistic missiles, including, it appears, quite possibly, on missiles that are now sending into orbit satellites – which are circling, among other places, the United States, and could be platforms for delivering those nuclear weapons.

And perhaps the most dangerous so far imaginable, and that is an electro-magnetic pulse attack. These weapons seem to be optimized for that purpose. We’ve learned that they have a super EMP design that they got from old Soviet Union.

So these are very serious problems. That’s Point One. Point Two is, Alex, as you know, the President of the United States is in his last days, and determined to shred what is left of the Constitution of the United States. In the foreign policy area, where that is manifesting itself is in connection with doing things that eliminate, essentially, one of the most important checks and balances in our government, and that is the role that the United States Senate plays as a quality-control mechanism on treaty-making arrangements that the Executive Branch might engage in.

We’ve seen this flouted with the Iran deal, we’ve seen it flouted most recently with this so-called Paris climate change accord. Next up is a treaty the Comprehensive Test Ban treaty, that the president would like to get the United Nations Security Council to do some kind of blessing of, that would then supplant the rejection of that treaty by an actual majority of the United States Senate, back in 1999.

Gaffney concluded:

The reason all this matters is that you’ve got the North Koreans testing nuclear weapons at will. I believe the Russians and Chinese are doing the same, albeit in a less obvious way. Everybody on the planet, in other words, that threatens us is using this kind of capability to modernize the threat they pose to us. And it’s real, and it’s growing. And the President of the United States is hoping to bind his successor never to be able to modernize – or, I’m afraid, even maintain our nuclear deterrent.

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Breaking: State Department announces plan to bring in 110,000 refugees next fiscal year

Gerasimos Koilakos | AP Photo

Gerasimos Koilakos | AP Photo


Conservative Review, by Daniel Horowitz, Sept. 13, 2016:

Earlier today, pursuant to the Refugee Act of 1980, which requires the State Department to consult with Congress on the annual level of refugee intake, the Obama administration announced its plans to admit 110,000 refugees in FY 2017 beginning October 1. That is a 25,000 net increase from this current fiscal year level, and a 40,000 net increase from most recent years. It is also 10,000 more than the State Department projected for FY 2017 during last September’s consultation with Congress.

Are the people and their representatives powerless in stopping this forced transformation?

As I wrote in Stolen Sovereignty, Ted Kennedy promised that the 1980 refugee bill would limit the flow of refugees and increase Congressional input in the process. Refugee intake was to be capped at 50,000 a year. But in a sleight of hand that the public would have never approved had it been advertised in a transparent way, the president was granted de facto unilateral authority to increase the flow over and beyond the 50,000 cap beginning in 1983 — in consultation with Congress.

Initially, Congress took the annual consultations, usually occurring in September prior to the next fiscal years, quite seriously. They conducted hearings and spelled out the refugee needs and concerns. Now it has become nothing more than State Department officials briefing the House and Senate Judiciary Committee on how many refugees they will take in — with no recourse from Congress to say no. Thus, we are stuck with this massive social transformation and security risk, and no ability to stop it statutorily.

Just today, Germany arrested three Syrian refugees on suspicion that they have ties to the Islamic State. That Obama could unilaterally force a similar policy down the throats of American citizens and Congress sits back impotently — without learning the lessons of Europe — is horrific.

With two weeks remaining to the current fiscal year, we have already admitted 11,503 Syria refugees. According to the State Department refugee database, as of September 13, roughly 99.3 percent of the Syrian refugees are Muslim, despite the Christians taking the brunt of the ethnic persecution, which is the main determinant of refugee status based on statute.  8,436 refugees were brought in from Somalia, the 25th consecutive year of refugee intake from that country – a country of origin that has proven to pose one of the greatest security risks in terms of homegrown terror.  All but two were Muslim.  Overall, roughly half the 77,000 refugees admitted so far this year are Muslim and from volatile places such as Afghanistan, Burma, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, and Syria.

Also disturbing is the fact that Obama is seeding small communities with large numbers of refugees who are radically different from the local population, and he refusing to cooperate with state and local officials. The administration has declined to inform governors of refugee resettlement, even after refugees were resettled in their respective jurisdictions, despite the legal requirement of advanced consultation with states. And while courts grant illegal immigrants standing to sue for citizen rights, they block states from suing Obama for violating the refugee statutes.

Once again, the American people and state governments are crushed by a runaway executive who is abusing the letter and spirit of immigration law.  Congress sits idly and won’t use its power of the purse to stop such societal transformation.

Although Republicans lack the votes to overturn the refugee surge statutorily, it is simply unconscionable that they would fund the refugee increase in the upcoming budget bill, which takes effect on the very same day — October 1 — as Obama’s proposed refugee plan. If they are too cowardly to defund the entire program, they should at least defund the net increase for FY 2017.

In the long run, as I lay out in chapter eight of Stolen Sovereignty, Congress must reform the Refugee Act of 1980 to have it expire every fiscal year, or at least every other fiscal year. This would place the keys to our society back in the hands of the people through their elected representatives, requiring a new vote every fiscal year to bring in new refugees. The de facto outcome would be no new refugee resettlement unless Congress passes a new law. There is no way Obama’s plan would pass Congress at this juncture, but fortunately for him the social transformation is on auto-pilot.

Congress must also empower the states to reject refugee resettlement by requiring that any given resettlement win the approval of the local county government and the governor of the state.

There is so much involved in this issue — from national security concerns and sovereignty to cultural transformation and our broken system of governance. It would be a crying shame for conservatives not to harness this very potent issue and make the election a referendum on whether America will become like Europe or not. Hopefully, it’s not too late.

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Iran’s Terror Proxy Support Openly Defies Western Pressure

Getty Images

Getty Images

by IPT News  •  Sep 12, 2016

Several high profile Iranian officials recently boasted of the Islamic Republic’s steadfast support for terrorist organizations committed to opposing Western interests and the destruction of Israel, according to the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.

An adviser to Iran’s parliament speaker, Mansour Haqiqatpour, bragged that Iran would continue supporting the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) despite ongoing negotiations taking place with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that seek to curb Iranian hardline behavior. Haqiqatpour referred to Hizballah and Hamas as “freedom fighter” groups, citing Islam and Islamic revolutionary ideology as primary motivations for Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism.

Hardline Iranian factions and leaders accuse the Iranian government of preparing to offer significant concessions in return for the country’s removal from the FATF blacklist. Mohsen Kouhkan, an Iranian parliamentarian, referred to the Iran-FATF negotiations as a “Zionist–American plot.” In July 2015, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi insisted that ceasing support for Hizballah in return for an agreement was out of the question.

Since the July 2015 nuclear deal was signed, Iran has expanded its presence in regional conflicts, leading to mounting IRGC casualties. In the last two weeks, six additional IRGC fighters were killed in Syria, including a high-ranking officer. A leader of an Iraqi Shi’ite militia praised IRGC commander Qasem Soleimani’s support and confirmed that Shi’ite militias would continue their regional operations after Mosul is cleared of Islamic State fighters.

Moreover, on Sept. 1, an Iranian diplomatic delegation met with Ali Barakeh – a Hamas representative living in Beirut – to discuss Iran’s ongoing support for Hamas’ violent fight against Israel. Despite notable disagreements since the outbreak of civil war in Syria, predominately Shi’ite Iran continues to court the Sunni Palestinian terrorist organization. The relationship suggests that defeating the Jewish state remains a common objective that supersedes sectarian divisions.

Click here to read the full report outlining recent developments from the Meir Amit Center.

Proponents of the Iran nuclear deal, including many within the Obama administration, argued that the agreement would moderate Iran’s behavior. Earlier this year, senior adviser Ben Rhodes even admitted that the Obama administration misled the U.S. public to promote the nuclear deal by falsely alluding to the emergence of a more moderate Islamic Republic. On the contrary, Iran immediately enhanced its support for terrorist organizations, while extremist factions within Iran gained more ground. Though some may debate Iran’s long-run trajectory, post-nuclear deal Iran has proved to be even more emboldened to pursue its regional hegemonic ambitions, while more pragmatic Iranian leaders increasingly are silenced.

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US official: Navy aircraft threatened with shoot down by Iran

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Report: Obama Admin Provided Iranian Terror Orgs With $37.4 Million in Cash

John Kerry / AP

John Kerry / AP

Washington Free Beacon, Adam Kredo Sept. 14, 2016:

Iran is estimated to have spent at least $37.4 million in recent U.S. cash payments to fund its global terrorism operation, including organizations responsible for the murder of U.S. citizens, according to new research provided to the Washington Free Beacon by analysts.

The recent $1.7 billion cash payment to Iran—which is being described by many in Congress as a ransom payment to the Islamic Republic—will be used in part to fund Iran’s leading military organization, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is responsible for orchestrating terror attacks that have killed Americans.

The new research comes amid a growing scandal over the Obama administration’s decision to hand Iran billions in cash as part of an effort to secure the release of several U.S. hostages earlier this year.

Leading lawmakers now suspect that the IRGC played a key role in assuming control of this cash, which the White House has admitted to putting directly in Iranian hands, the Free Beacon disclosed Monday evening.

When viewed in light of Iran’s current spending levels, it is expected the Islamic Republic will use at least $37.4 million of this $1.7 billion to fund IRGC operations, which have led to bloody battles in Syria and terrorist attacks across the globe, according to the American Action Forum, a non-profit research organization headed by a former top congressional official.

“Applying the official spending levels to the U.S. payment to Iran, the $1.7 billion would mean $37.4 million for the IRGC,” according to research published by Rachel Hoff, AAF’s director of defense analysis. “Paying ransoms in exchange for Americans held abroad is one bad policy—indirectly funding terrorism is another.”

AAF has determined based on public reports by Iran that the country spends 3.4 percent of its total budget on defense needs, though some experts estimate the number is even higher.

At least “65 percent of that funding [goes] to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Iranian elite paramilitary force,” according to AAF. “That works out to 2.2 percent of Iran’s total budget for the IRGC, which actively supports terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East. It is unlikely that Iran accurately reports its military or paramilitary spending, but the reported budget figures are useful as a baseline.”

These latest estimates are likely to draw further outrage on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers have launched several investigations into the circumstances surrounding the $1.7 billion payment.

While the Obama administration has been forced to disclose some details about the cash payment, it withheld key information from Congress, including the names and affiliations of the Iranian officials who assumed control over the money when it was handed off earlier this year in Europe.

New admissions by the Obama administration that American officials physically handed some $1.7 billion in cash to the Iranian government are fueling a congressional investigation into still-hidden details surrounding the deal.

Lawmakers suspect the Obama administration may have dealt with members of the IRGC and officials from its intelligence ministry when carrying out the cash exchange, which coincided with the release by Iran of several U.S. hostages.

The Obama administration recently disclosed to Congress that U.S. officials participated in the handoff of at least $400 million to Iranian officials, but has withheld key details about which parts of the Iranian government assumed control of the cash, according to discussions with multiple sources familiar with the ongoing congressional investigation.

Sources familiar with the matter told the Free Beacon it is possible IRGC members participated in the exchange, raising new questions about the Obama administration’s dealings with an organization responsible for facilitating terrorism and killing U.S. citizens.

“On January 17, Treasury disbursed the payment to an official from the Central Bank of Iran, for transfer to Tehran,” the Treasury Department recently informed Congress in a communication obtained first by the Free Beacon. “The funds were under U.S. Government control until their disbursement pursuant to the settlement.”

The Obama administration “withdrew the funds from its account as Swiss franc banknotes and the U.S. Government physically transported them to Geneva” prior to the exchange with Iran, according to the letter, which was sent late last week by Treasury Department official Thomas Patrick Maloney in response to questions submitted by Rep. Sean Duffy (R., Wis.).

At least one leading lawmaker told the Free Beacon on Monday that there is little doubt the IRGC played a key role in this cash exchange.

“For the Obama administration to argue that the IRGC was somehow not involved in the U.S. transfer of $1.7 billion—or more—in cash to Iran is totally unconvincing,” Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told the Free Beacon on Monday. “Given the IRGC’s extensive control of the Iranian economy, and its vast influence with Iran’s regime, it was most likely influential in the set-up and execution of the payment. Like other malicious actors, the IRGC is eager to get its hands on cash to fund its terrorist activities.”

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