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

Ludovic Marin/AFP | Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Qatari Ambassador Plays Semantics With Definition of Terrorism

by John Rossomando
IPT News
April 23, 2018

Hamas is not a terrorist organization and his country has nothing to do with terrorism, Qatari counterterrorism envoy Ambassador Mutlaq Al-Qahtani told the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT). But it all depends on your definition of terrorism. Al-Qahtani spoke April 9 at the National Press Club at an event sponsored by the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) – a group that works to undermine the appeal of ISIS using counter-messaging videos.

“Qatar has not, does not, and will never support terrorism in any form,” Al-Qahtani said.

Terrorism is a subjective term, he said, and there is no globally-accepted definition. Qatar views Hamas as a “legitimate political force and governing party,” ICSVE founder Anne Speckhard wrote on her group’s website in January. Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in 2014 that Hamas was not a terrorist group because it is “a very important component of the Palestinian people.”

Qatar has been a stalwart supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood for decades and especially since the 2011 Arab Spring. This support alienated Qatar from its neighbors and led to the decision last June by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to impose a land, sea and air blockade of Qatar. They issued a list of 59 terror-linked people and 12 allegedly terror-linked groups that they claimed Qatar supported. The blockade would continue, the three Gulf states said, until Qatar took action against them. Many of the people listed are also blacklisted by the U.S. government and by the United Nations.

Ending support for the Muslim Brotherhood was among the 13 demands Qatar’s Gulf neighbors imposed on it, as was Qatar taking action against the people on the Gulf States’ terror list.

Al-Qahtani seemed to say the Brotherhood was being targeted solely because it is an opposition group. Opposition parties often are unfairly tarred with the terrorist label, Al-Qahtani said. He vigorously argued that the Muslim Brotherhood likewise faced unjust accusations of being connected with terrorism in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Mutlaq Al-Qahtani is Qatar’s foreign affairs special envoy for Combating Terrorism and Mediation in Dispute Resolution.

“I think the most important [thing] for anybody if you want to make a good argument against any country to classify this entity or that individual as a terrorist is try to make sure that the Security Council of the United Nations to sanction that individual or that entity…,” Al-Qahtani said. Since that has not happened, “Hamas is not a terrorist organization.”

Qatar’s “explanation for HAMAS not being a terrorist organization is distinctly unimpressive and inconsistent,” terrorism researcher Kyle Orton told the IPT.

Hamas became famous for sending suicide bombers to blow up Israeli civilians, the most recent being a 2016 attack on a bus in Jerusalem. It also encouraged stabbing attacks against Israelis in the fall of 2015. Rocket attacks by Hamas against Israeli civilian targets also have been commonplace. Additionally, Hamas has praised car-ramming attacks against Israelis.

Al-Qahtani questioned the Gulf States’ standing to accuse others of supporting terrorism, saying Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE have terrorism records “worse than ever.” He cited a connection between Bahrain’s royal family and ISIS’s late top religious scholar, Turki Binali, and Egypt’s blocking of the addition of ISIS affiliates in several countries to the U.N.’s terror list as examples. His list of examples also included findings by the Henry Jackson Society last year that Saudi interests funded Islamist extremists in the U.K.; however, he omitted that the report also pointed the finger at Qatar. The 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, he said, adding that some of their funding came through the UAE.

Al-Qahtani’s remarks connecting Saudi Arabia with 9/11 weren’t accurate, Orton said.

“One of al-Qaeda’s founding missions is to overthrow the House of Saud. That these people were originally Saudi citizens is really irrelevant,” Orton said via Twitter.

Al-Qahtani failed to mention Qatar’s own connection to 9/11.

Khaled Sheikh Mohammed took a Qatari government job at the suggestion of Qatar’s current Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalid bin Hamad al-Thani, the 9/11 Commission found. U.S. intelligence officials also said al-Thani helped Mohammed escape from Qatar in 1996 before American authorities could capture him. Osama bin Laden personally visited with al-Thani in Qatar several times between 1996 and 2000. Bin Laden’s declaration of war against the United States was issued in 1998.

Qatar’s interior ministry published a list of terror financiers that it sanctioned in March in response to pressure from its neighbors, but the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) noted that groups like Hizballah and al-Qaida were conspicuously absent. Two al-Qaida linked financiers with ties to Qatar’s government also were not included.

Not only does Qatar reject terrorism labels for Hamas, the country provided significant support to the group. Hamas’s top leaders lived in Doha until last June when “external pressures” forced their expulsion following the announcement of the blockade. As recently as 2015, Qatar’s foreign minister described then-Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal as a “dear guest.” But Qatar no longer funds Hamas, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley told Congress in December. It previously pumped millions of dollars to fund Hamas’ governmental infrastructure in Gaza. Qatar claimed that it routed its money through the United Nations, but Israeli press reports indicate that Qatar agreed to directly fund the construction of a new Palestinian government building in Gaza.

Even if Qatar has backed off funding Hamas, it remains a major source of anti-Israel terrorist incitement.

The ADL complained April 10 that Qatar remains a hotbed of anti-Semitic rhetoric. For example, the imam of Doha’s state-run main mosque in December called Jews “your deceitful, lying, treacherous, fornicating, intransigent enemy” in a sermon called the “Liberation of Al-Aqsa.”

Al-Qahtani rejected the charge of religious extremism.

“…[Extremist] religious doctrines pose an undeniable challenge to all of us. They exist in every culture and Islam has no monopoly on them. If actors continue to twist religious doctrines to poison the minds of desperate people in our region and beyond, it’s clear that we are obliged to fight the compact religious extremism,” Al-Qahtani said.

Yet for decades, Qatar’s royal family gave Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi a platform for his hate-filled, pro-terrorist ideas. Qaradawi considers non-violent definitions of jihad – those which cast it as primarily spiritual – as “unacceptable,” a belief he shares with Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna.

Jihad as a spiritual struggle diminishes “Jihad in the Way of Allah, and play[s] down its status and virtues in Islam, and its necessity in defending the being of the Ummah (Muslim nation) and its holy sites, if attacked by aggressors and affected by arrogant tyrants,” Qaradawi wrote in a 2016 article.

Qaradawi preached support for suicide bombings and hatred of Jews for years on Qatar’s state-owned Al-Jazeera network.

The Holocaust “was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers,” Qaradawi said in a 2009 Al-Jazeera broadcast.

He also sanctioned attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq. In 2014, Qaradawi expandedhis fatwa supporting suicide bombings to Syrians. He dialed back his support for Palestinian suicide bombings in 2016, saying Palestinians could use rockets to attack Israel instead.

“Suicide bombing has been normalised in a way it could not have been without the support of someone with Al-Qaradawi’s stature,” the UAE-based National newspaper said in November.

After President Trump announced the U.S. recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Qaradawi called for jihad and hurled anti-Semitic barbs.

“The Quran does not devote as much space to the Persians and Romans as it does to the Jews, whose crimes and depraved deeds it exposes. They are the greatest of liars when they speak, the greatest of villains when they quarrel, and the most treacherous of people when they make pacts,” Qaradawi wrote on Twitter, a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) shows.

Qaradawi’s International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) also issued a communiqué in October calling for the end of Qatar’s isolation and reaffirming the “importance of armed struggle and resistance in all its forms to liberate Palestine and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.” Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is an IUMS member.

Qatar reportedly used an associate of Qaradawi’s as a conduit to coordinate the flow of Qatari arms and money to al-Qaida linked rebels belonging to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG).

Qaradawi and IUMS Secretary General Ali Mohiuddin Qaradaghi have close ties with terror-linked charities connected with Qatar’s royal family. These include Qatar Charity and the Sheikh Eid al-Thani Charity. Qatar’s Gulf neighbors placed both on their list of terror-connected groups.

Qatar Charity, formerly the Qatar Charitable Society, belongs to Qaradawi’s Union of Good, a global alliance of Islamic charities in 21 countries, that facilitates financial transfers between its member charities. U.S. Treasury officials described the Union of Good as a “broker for Hamas” in 2008 when it blacklisted it.

U.S. court documents showed that Osama bin Laden used Qatar Charity as a terror funding source during the 1990s. Qatar Charitable Society helped finance the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, according to the U.S. government.

Reports suggest these connections persist. Maliweb reported that Qatar Charity funded terrorists belonging to the al-Qaida linked group Ansar Dine in 2013, a claim corroborated by French intelligence. The other Gulf States also accuse Qatar Charity of assisting AQAP in Yemen.

Al-Qahtani downplayed Qaradawi’s continued presence in Qatar and how it squares with its “soft-power approach to terrorism” – the subject of the conference. Qaradawi “is quite old. His health is not that good,” and his Al-Jazeera program went off the air years ago, he said.

All of these pieces of evidence show that Qatar’s approach to terrorism is confused at best. Standing with ICSVE against ISIS is one thing, but terrorism is more than just ISIS.

Al-Qaeda Recruitment Lectures Offered in Google Play Store App

Anwar al-Awlaki (Al-Qaeda video)

PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, April 16, 2018:

An app that has been dowloaded more than a thousand times on Google Play hooks up users with a selection of audio lectures and video addresses from American al-Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki.

Al-Awlaki, the New Mexico native who remains a powerful recruitment force spanning terrorist group loyalties, was killed in an airstrike in Yemen in 2011. ISIS fighters frequently quote the leading al-Qaeda member online. Lone jihadists are often found to have consumed al-Awlaki lectures, including 2016 Chelsea bomber Ahmad Khan Rahimi and Abdul Razak Ali Artan, the Ohio State student who rammed pedestrians on campus in 2016.

In a November anti-extremism crackdown, YouTube pulled tens of thousands of videos of al-Awlaki’s myriad sermons and Q&As that had been uploaded to the site. A search on the site now finds al-Awlaki videos that were posted 3 to 4 months ago, after the company’s purge.

The Google Play app titled “Anwar Al Awlaki Lectures” is filed under “entertainment” and rated E for everyone.

(Google Play screenshot)

The app’s audio selections include “Stop Police Terror,” which was a Friday sermon delivered by al-Awlaki at the East London Masjid on Dec. 26, 2003, “The Experiences and Ultimate End of Those Who Followed and Opposed the Prophet,” “The Quran – The Book Of Tolerance,” “Brutality Towards Muslims,” “Giving and Investing in the Hereafter,” and “It’s a War against Islam.”

It also includes segments from al-Awlaki’s six-hour “Constants on the Path of Jihad” lecture, which has been cited as the jihadist recruitment and incitement material in numerous terrorism cases including the 2007 plot to attack Fort Dix: “Jihad will continue until the Day of Judgment,” “Jihad does not depend on an individual or individuals,” “Jihad is not dependent on a particular land,” “Jihad is not dependent on a battle,” “Victory is not limited to military victory.” The app table of contents leaves out the sixth part of the “Constants” lecture: “Defeat in jihad does not necessarily mean military defeat.”

The al-Awlaki videos include the 2010 interview he gave to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s Al-Malahem Media, in which al-Awlaki praised the Fort Hood operation and called for more attacks on America. “The Americans do not want an Islam that defends the causes of the Islamic nation, or an Islam that calls for jihad, for the implementation of the shari’a… they want an Islam that is American, liberal, democratic, peaceful, and civilized,” he said. An ISIS video is also included in the play list.

The Google Play app was last updated on Dec. 28 though the reviews indicate the app was available dating back to at least January 2017. It has a user rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.

One reviewer states that he or she has “been waiting ever since Google too [sic] down the anwar al awlaki app, I loved it so much. Alhamdulilah you have this app!!!!”

“Greatest scholar of this generation,” added another.

In January, PJM discovered key propaganda texts from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula posted for free download on the Barnes & Noble website, including the inaugural issue of a magazine linked to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Reviews posted on the e-books indicated that they’ve remained on the bookseller’s website for years, despite clearly indicating in the titles that al-Qaeda materials were being offered. Barnes & Noble removed the e-books soon after the PJM report was published.

Also see:

Iranian-Backed ‘Sleeper Cell’ Militants Hibernating in U.S., Positioned for Attack

Members of Hezbollah / Getty Images

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, April 17, 2018:

Iranian-backed militants are operating across the United States mostly unfettered, raising concerns in Congress and among regional experts that these “sleeper cell” agents are poised to launch a large-scale attack on the American homeland, according to testimony before lawmakers.

Iranian agents tied to the terror group Hezbollah have already been discovered in the United States plotting attacks, giving rise to fears that Tehran could order a strike inside America should tensions between the Trump administration and Islamic Republic reach a boiling point.

Intelligence officials and former White House officials confirmed to Congress on Tuesday that such an attack is not only plausible, but relatively easy for Iran to carry out at a time when the Trump administration is considering abandoning the landmark nuclear deal and reapplying sanctions on Tehran.

There is mounting evidence that Iran poses “a direct threat to the homeland,” according to Rep. Peter King (R., N.Y.), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee and chair of its subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence.

A chief concern is “Iranian support for Hezbollah, which is active in the Middle East, Latin America, and here in the U.S., where Hezbollah operatives have been arrested for activities conducted in our own country,” King said, referring the recent arrest of two individuals plotting terror attacks in New York City and Michigan.

“Both individuals received significant weapons training from Hezbollah,” King said. “It is clear Hezbollah has the will and capability.”

After more than a decade of receiving intelligence briefs, King said he has concluded that “Hezbollah is probably the most experienced and professional terrorist organization in the world,” even more so than ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Asked if Iran could use Hezbollah to conduct strikes on the United States, a panel of experts including intelligence officials and former White House insiders responded in the affirmative.

“They are as good or better at explosive devices than ISIS, they are better at assassinations and developing assassination cells,” said Michael Pregent, a former intelligence officer who worked to counter Iranian influence in the region. “They’re better at targeting, better at looking at things,” and they can outsource attacks to Hezbollah.

“Hezbollah is smart,” Pregent said. “They’re very good at keeping their communications secure, keeping their operational security secure, and, again, from a high profile attack perspective, they’d be good at improvised explosive devices.”

Others testifying before Congress agreed with this assessment.

“The answer is absolutely. We do face a threat,” said Emanuele Ottolenghi, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who has long tracked Iran’s militant efforts. “Their networks are present in the Untied States.”

Iran is believed to have an auxiliary fighting force or around 200,000 militants spread across the Middle East, according to Nader Uskowi, a onetime policy adviser to U.S. Central Command and current visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

At least 50 to 60 thousand of these militants are “battle tested” in Syria and elsewhere.

“It doesn’t take many of them to penetrate this country and be a major threat,” Uskowi said. “They can pose a major threat to our homeland.”

While Iran is currently more motivated to use its proxies such as Hezbollah regionally for attacks against Israel or U.S. forces, “those sleeper cells” positioned in the United States could be used to orchestrate an attack, according to Brian Katulis, a former member of the White House National Security Council under President Bill Clinton.

“The potential is there, but the movement’s center of focus is in the region,” said Katulis, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

Among the most pressing threats to the U.S. homeland is Hezbollah’s deep penetration throughout Latin America, where it finances its terror activities by teaming up with drug cartels and crime syndicates.

“Iran’s proxy terror networks in Latin America are run by Tehran’s wholly owned Lebanese franchise Hezbollah,” according to Ottolenghi. “These networks are equal part crime and terror” and have the ability to provide funding and logistics to militant fighters.

“Their presence in Latin America must be viewed as a forward operating base against America’s interest in the region and the homeland itself,” he said.

These Hezbollah operatives exploit loopholes in the U.S. immigration system to enter America under the guise of legitimate business.

Operatives working for Hezbollah and Iran use the United States “as a staging ground for trade-based and real estate-based money laundering.” They “come in through the front door with a legitimate passport and a credible business cover story,” Ottolenghi said.

The matter is further complicated by Iran’s presence in Syria, where it has established not only operating bases, but also weapons factories that have fueled Hezbollah’s and Hamas’s war on Israel.

Iran’s development of advanced ballistic missile and rocket technology—which has continued virtually unimpeded since the nuclear deal was enacted—has benefitted terror groups such as Hezbollah.

“Iran is increasing Hezbollah’s capability to target Israel with more advanced and precision guided rockets and missiles,” according to Pregent. “These missiles are being developed in Syria under the protection of Syrian and Russian air defense networks.”

In Iraq, Iranian forces “have access to U.S. funds and equipment in the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and Iraq’s Ministry of Interior,” Pregent said.

The Trump administration has offered tough talk on Iran, but failed to take adequate action to dismantle its terror networks across the Middle East, as well as in Latin American and the United States itself, according to CAP’s Katulis.

“The Trump administration has talked a good game and has had strong rhetoric, but I would categorize its approach vis-à-vis Iran as one of passive appeasement,” said Katulis. “We simply have not shown up in a meaningful way.”

Also see:

Fox News Channel Airs Geraldo Rivera’s Anti-Israel Disinformation

Camera, by Myron Kaplan, April 21, 2018:

When Fox News Channel’s Geraldo Rivera (the G is pronounced like H) discusses Israel, typically he poses as a friend of Israel while adhering to his long-time theme that Israel is at fault in the conflict, victimizing the Palestinians. This is what happened March 30/31, 2018 on the network. Geraldo’s perception of the conflict may have been influenced by his long-time friend, Hanan Ashrawi, an articulate, persuasive Palestinian propagandist (more below).

The Five indulge Geraldo
On The Five broadcast of Friday March 30, Geraldo was provided a platform for an unchallenged, uninterrupted diatribe prompted by Greg Gutfeld’s question: “Did you ever regret a story that you did?” Geraldo replied, “… I regret in 2002 backing down from backing the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel, the Second Intifada …” Thus, he sides with murderous terrorists who committed numerous bombings and shooting attacks killing more than 1000 Israeli civilians and maiming thousands more. Furthermore, as has been documented, Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian Authority led the planning, funding and execution of that Intifada. None of this seems to concern Geraldo or any of his Five broadcast colleagues – Gutfeld, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Juan Williams, Jesse Watters or Dana Perino.
Geraldo continued, “I saw first hand what an awful life that they live under – constant occupation and oppression. And people keep saying, ‘Oh! they are terrorists’ and oh! this and oh! that… and we just had 14, 15 Palestinians killed in Gaza by the Israeli forces – [the people of the Gaza Strip are an] occupied people …”
 Occupied
However, Geraldo ignores the fact that Israel has not had any occupation personnel in the Strip since September, 2005 when shortly thereafter it came under frequent and continuous attack by Hamas by mortars and rockets and more recently, also by attempted infiltration by way of numerous terror tunnels. Meanwhile, Israel has continued to allow large quantities of food, medicine and other humanitarian aid into Gaza despite Hamas’ aggression. The Palestinian leadership of the Strip, however, has refused to abide by the first requirement of international law – non-aggression against neighbors.

Likewise, Geraldo ignores evidence that the “protest” was organized by Hamas in cooperation with other terror groups. Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Yehya Sinwar announced that this operation was a step in “liberating all of Palestine, from the river to the sea” meaning the elimination of the Jewish state.

Geraldo’s portrayal of an oppressive Israeli army mowing down peaceful civilian demonstrators at Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip – is at odds with the evidence. He failed to mention that it seems that at least 10 of the persons killed have been identified as known Islamist terrorists. He also ignored evidence that some protesters fired on troops and attempted to break through the border fence, This is further corroborated. Geraldo avoided such possibilities, preferring instead to vilify Israel.

The “occupation” and “oppression” myths

Geraldo’s phrasing, “constant occupation and oppression,” is disinformation. The “occupation” is a myth. Communities of Jews have continuously lived in their ancestral home in the Holy Land including the entirety of Jerusalem and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). Furthermore, scholars (Joan Peters in “From Time Immemorial,” among others) have shown that most of those who today identify as “Palestinians” descend from relatively recent migrations from surrounding territories. In fact, it’s likely that the Arab population began to blossom only well after the beginning of substantial Jewish immigration in the 19th century.

In 1948, the Jewish nation of Israel, as authorized by the United Nations in 1947 and by previous international rulings, was re-established with the capacity of caring for Jewish refugees form Nazi horrors. Israel had sought to accommodate the Arabs but was immediately rebuffed by Arab Armies that attempted to annihilate the Jewish state. And thereafter Arab forces attacked, or gathered to attack, Israel several times in order to destroy it.

The West Bank is disputed land. Israel is the obligatory and legal military authority of the West Bank, having taken the territory from Jordanian occupation in self-defense in the 1967 Six-Day War. The land is not “Palestinian.” It is disputed. Hence the need for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations according to U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian interim agreement.

But the Palestinian Authority insists on various conditions unlikely to be accepted by any Israeli government before peace negotiations can take place, including Israel abiding by Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state (evidently 22 Arab Muslim states is fine but one Jewish state is one too many) and Israel’s acceptance of a “right of return” (that does not exist in international law) for millions of Arabs (nearly all of whom have never lived in Israel), which would inevitably result in the Jewish state becoming unviable.

As to the alleged “oppression,” the Palestinian Authority (PA) governs the daily lives of the Palestinian population in the West Bank, while Israel controls the borders and polices the settlements, only entering Palestinian communities to pursue terrorists. Apparently this alleged “constant occupation and oppression” is unable to prevent PA encouragement of murderous attacks on Israeli citizens by generously rewarding the Palestinian terrorist perpetrators and their families. The United States has been providing financial aid to the PA but Congress passed legislation on March 23, 2018 (The Taylor Force Act) to prevent American tax dollars from being used to encourage Palestinian terrorism.

Meanwhile, while it’s true that the residents of the Gaza Strip are “oppressed,” that oppression is perpetrated by its Hamas dictatorial rulers who allow no opposition to their Islamist rule.
Fox & Friends

Geraldo’s next vilification of Israel occurred the next day, March 31, on Fox & Friends at 9:24 a.m. (Eastern) when he joined Abby Huntsman, Pete Hegseth, and Ed Henry. Only Hegseth challenged Geraldo. Hegseth responded appropriately, “The keepers of the concentration camp are Hamas not Israel,” to Geraldo’s description of the Gaza Strip as “the world’s largest concentration camp,” implying Israel was responsible for hardships suffered by residents of the Gaza Strip. Hegseth responded, “You can’t negotiate with Hamas. They’re a terrorist organization that says they want to wipe Israel off the map,” to Geraldo’s allegation that due to Israel, for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, “Their lives have been controlled since the 1967 war.”

Here, Geraldo repeats erroneous assertions, again ignoring the fact that Israel pulled all its troops and all Israeli residents out of the Gaza Strip in September 2005 while continuing since then to allow large quantities of food, medicine and other humanitarian aid into Gaza while blocking various dangerous incoming materials that could be used to attack Israel.

Hanan and Geraldo 

In his March 30/31 castigation of Israel, Geraldo revisited a familiar role. Among previous such Geraldo propaganda bursts are these: In 2012, he fawned over West Bank Palestinian Hanan Ashrawi in a “Geraldo at Large” Fox News Channel special, “Israel Caught in the Crossfire,” filmed in Israel and the Palestinian territories, that aired July 8, 2012 (10 PM Eastern). The hour-long documentary – with Geraldo reporting mainly from Israel and his brother Craig reporting from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank – dealt with several issues including the chances for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs leading to a “two-state solution.” Describing Ashrawi as “a friend I have known for decades,” Geraldo indulged her anti-Israel disinformation. This long-time Geraldo friend has been a long-time anti-Israel propagandist and continues as such.

Ashrawi has discredited herself a number of times – for example, as the only known professing Christian in the otherwise Muslim leadership of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, Ashrawi gave a press conference in 1991 in which she replied to a question in self-righteous indignation, “I find your reference to ‘Judea and Samaria’ a statement of extreme bias, and rather offensive. I am a Palestinian Christian, and I know what Christianity is. I am a descendant of the first Christians in the world, and Jesus Christ was born in my country, in my land. Bethlehem is a Palestinian town. So I will not accept this one-upmanship on Christianity. Nobody has the monopoly.” (Washington Post, “The Practiced Palestinian,” Caryle Murphy, Nov. 4, 1991)

But if Ashrawi is in fact a “descendant of the first Christians in the world,” as she describes herself, she would be a descendant of ancient Israeli Jews not the descendant of Arabs as she is presumably. Furthermore, although Ashrawi denies the existence of Judea and Samaria, Israel’s names for the West Bank, the names are mentioned in the Christian New Testament in well known passages Matt. 2:1 and Acts 1:8 in the context of land resided in by Israeli Jews (this was perhaps a thousand years before the establishment of the first Arab communities in the Holy Land which happened well after conquering Muslim Arab armies had swept across the continent from the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century C.E.). Evidently, Ashrawi is either ignorant or deceitful about all this. This is Geraldo’s long-time friend whose influence is likely to have led to his misperception of the conflict with the Palestinians.
Interestingly, Geraldo is not the only highly visible American newsman who was likely to have been influenced by Ashrawi  to mislead viewers about Israel. Former ABC News anchor Peter Jennings, when he was head of the ABC bureau in Beirut in the 1970s, had a serious relationship with Ashrawi in Beirut, Lebanon where she was a graduate student in literature at the American University. This relationship was reported by U.S. News & World Report in 1991, Washington Post of Sept. 17, 2001 and Daily Mail (London) of Sept. 20, 2001. Jennings frequently misreported and fabricated information about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict beginning in the 1970s and continuing through his career as an anchor for ABC’s World News Tonight.
In March 26, 2010, Geraldo launched verbal assaults on Israel in an appearance on Fox and Friends in which he accused an allegedly anti-peace, obstructionist Israel of focusing on the Iranian threat in order to divert attention from its own supposed intransigence. His tirade also included the baseless allegation that Israel is responsible for American difficulties vis-a-vis the entire Middle East and the Muslim world.

Conclusion

Geraldo Rivera is a persuasive speaker on issues he is passionate about and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is one of those issues. Therefore, in accord with the network’s mottos of “fair and balanced news” and “most watched, most trusted,” Geraldo’s on air statements about the issue should immediately be balanced on air with factual information. This is necessary because even one instance of his unchallenged disinformation is one too many in terms of planting seeds of antipathy toward Israel in the minds of vulnerable individuals among the potentially millions of FNC viewers.

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See also:

Michigan churches join Muslim prayers against ‘gun violence’, stage symbolic school ‘walkout’

Leo Hohmann.com, by Leo Hohmann, April 20, 2018:

Parents, pastors, politicians and educators will join a Muslim imam at a mosque Friday in Oakland County, Michigan, to pray and discuss how to make their schools and community safer in an era of mass school shootings.

The Muslim Unity Center, a mosque in the wealthy Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills, is hosting an “Interfaith Prayers and Symbolic Walkout Vigil” April 20 that feeds off of the anti-gun fervor created in the wake of the mass-shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that killed 17 students in February.

Imam Shaykh Mohamed Almasmari

The Muslim Unity Center, led by Shaykh Mohamed Almasmari, will host the event at 6 p.m., after its Friday afternoon Jummah or “call to prayer.”

Almasmari is heavily involved in the interfaith movement in Michigan. He has an outreach program, featured on the mosque’s website, called Building Bridges with our Neighbors.

A regular part of his presentations to Christian churches is a segment on “Islamophobia and its impact.”

“Islamophobia” is essentially a Western version of the Islamic blasphemy laws, where non-Muslims are not allowed to speak critically of Islam without incurring severe social penalties. Actual violence against Muslims is rare in the United States, and many such claims have turned out to be fake. [See Fake Hate Crimes, by Kevin Williamson, National Review, March 5, 2017]

In the wake of Donald Trump’s election as president, the Council on American-Islamic Relations has made a huge priority of promoting Muslim Americans as persecuted religious minorities struggling to survive as victims in the oppressive society of America.

Many Christian writers and thinkers, from journalist Rod Dreher all the way up to Pope Francis, seem to have bought into the oppressed Muslim theme.

Churches helping resettle Muslim refugees

Pastors of at least two Christian churches in Oakland County — First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham and Christ Cranbrook Episcopal Church — plan to join Shaykh Almasmari at his mosque Friday for interfaith prayers.

Christ Cranbrook works with Samaritas, a partnership of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services with Episcopal Migration Ministries, to help resettle refugees into southeastern Michigan, according to the church newsletter.

Michigan has been a popular destination for refugees making hijra, an Arabic term for migration, from the Islamic world with the help of government contractors like Samaritas. The state has received 32,401 refugees from Muslim-majority nations since 2002, resettled primarily by Catholic Charities and Samaritas, according to data at the U.S. Refugee Processing Center.

Rabbi Mark Miller from Temple Beth El in Bloomfield Hills, the oldest Reform [liberal] synagogue in Michigan, is also scheduled to participate in Friday’s interfaith prayers to Allah, as are the township supervisors of Bloomfield and West Bloomfield townships, and the superintendents of four public-school districts.

The prayer vigil, symbolic walkout, and panel discussion will be followed by a “Stand Up Against Bullying Lecture,” according to the official flyer [see below]. A discussion about bullying of Muslim students is likely to come up.

“These events typically like to attach themselves to the issue of the day, and then bring it back to Muslim oppression in some way,” said Philip Haney, a retired Homeland Security officer and co-author of the book “See Something Say Nothing.”

Haney was in Bloomfield Hills just last week giving a presentation at Bloomfield Hills Baptist Church on the deception of the interfaith movement.

Haney’s research includes details on the latest national push called the Alliance of Virtue for the Common Good, in which 400 Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith leaders met Feb. 7 in Washington D.C. to declare their mutual respect. The alliance, initiated by the Muslim Shaykh Abdullah bin-Bayyah in cooperation with the Dallas, Texas-based ministry of Rev. Bob Roberts, is modeled after the Islamic prophet Muhammad’s seventh-century outreach to his non-Muslim contemporaries. The Alliance of Virtue has the backing of the Parliament of World Religions and its February conference in Washington was reportedly attended by a surprising number of evangelicals.

Rabbi Mark Miller of Temple Beth El in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, with Imam Shaykh Mohamed Almasmari at an interfaith event in 2016. They will be participating in another interfaith prayer event on April 20, 2018 in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

President Trump’s newly appointed ambassador for international religious freedom, Sam Brownback, made his first public speech at the February conference and declared his support for their work, saying “this is the big one.”

“For pastors who sign onto these types of agreements, we are way past the point where they can claim ignorance as an excuse,” Haney said. He reminds them that Islam denies the Trinity, denies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, denies His death by crucifixion, denies his resurrection and denies his future second coming as the Christian Savior.

“If that were all you knew about Islam, it’s more than enough,” Haney said. “Why would you go into the mosques and pray with the imams [to Allah]?”

The “common word” that forms the basis of the three-faith alliance is that “we all worship Allah,” Haney said. He cautions Christians to take Islamic beliefs about Jesus into consideration before coming to the conclusion that Allah is the “same God” they worship.

Schools support interfaith event at mosque

Friday’s event at the Bloomfield Hills mosque has the support not only of several churches and at least one synagogue but also the local public schools.

Bloomfield Hills School District is promoting the event on its website, as is the nearby Birmingham school district website and the Walled Lake school district website. The school districts describe the event as including interfaith prayers with Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders as well as a “community conversation” designed to “educate” the public and “raise awareness and increase involvement around building safe schools and communities in the wake of the Parkland shooting and in light of remembering the many victims of gun violence across the country.”

This is just one of the many interfaith events sweeping the nation.

In Missoula, Montana, the First Presbyterian Church hosted a “Celebrate Islam Week” event the week of April 9-14.

The mission was to spread tolerance and understanding through the “aromas of shared food,” according to Imam Jamal Rahman, who has been organizing such events for years.

“These personal connections are critical. We can coexist with differences. People are starting to realize you simply have to honor and celebrate diversity,” Imam Rahman of Seattle told the Missoulian.

Last Monday’s feast was the second annual event organized by Missoula-based Standing Alongside America’s Muslims, or SALAM (which means “peace” in Arabic).

Teamed with a liberal Reformed rabbi and a pastor from the ultra-liberal United Church of Christ, Rahman has been giving talks wherever he can find a church or synagogue that wishes to learn about Islam [which means submission not peace].

At the April 20 event in Michigan, “interfaith leaders from across different religious communities will offer a prayer for the future,” according to the promotional media on the school-system websites.

Interestingly, I could find no mention of Friday’s interfaith event on the Unity mosque’s website, but I did find an anti-Trump video titled “Moses’ Mother vs. Pharoah; Trump vs. Muslims; Faith & Reliance on Allah.” In the video Imam Almasmari compares the Pharoah’s harsh treatment of Moses’ family to the “oppression” of Muslims today in America under Trump. He urges his congregants to “do whatever we can do, to speak out against injustice and speak out against oppression.”

Watch Almasmari preaching about the oppression of American Muslims under Trump in video below.

Dick Manasseri, an Oakland County resident and spokesman for Secure Michigan, said interfaith cooperation with mosques has broad support in Michigan, especially among left-leaning churches.

“Basically, part of what they are celebrating here is the death of people at the hands of the enemy which in their mind is the white American gun-owning Trump voter,” he said. “They are just masterful at this, taking current event news and putting it into the perspective of Muslim oppression. They are highlighting domestic terrorism. Domestic terror is a plus for them. Remembering Parkland and remembering Las Vegas works well in this regard. The targeting of conservative Christians as white supremacists, racists and Islamophobes is more aggressive than ever in Michigan. This notion that all the bad people are domestic terrorists is just another way of saying ‘Bible-believing Christians.’”

In January LeoHohmann.com reported that the FBI’s Detroit office hosted one of its quarterly BRIDGES outreach meetings at which the FBI emphasized domestic terrorism and Islamophobia as a bigger problem than Islamic terror.

“This is just them hopping on that same theme that the federal govt continues to give them,” Manasseri said of the interfaith event at Muslim Unity Center.

Republican Patrick Colbeck is the only gubernatorial candidate in the upcoming primaries from either party  who has gone on record in favor of protecting Michigan’s women and children against the spread of Sharia principles, such as honor violence and “women as property,” Manasseri said.

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Leo Hohmann is a veteran journalist and author of the 2017 book “Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest through Immigration and Resettlement Jihad.” If you appreciate this type of original, fact-based and independent reporting, please consider a donation of any size to this website. We accept no advertising and are beholden to no one.