Is Kurdistan Rising?

The State of the Kurds  WSJ 6-20-15

NER, by Jerry Gordon, June 21, 2015:

In the Wall Street Journal Weekend edition, June 20-21, 2015, Yaroslav Trofimov writes of the possible rise of an independent Kurdistan, “The State of The Kurds”.  An independent Kurdistan was promised by the WWI Allies in the Treaty of Sevres that ended the Ottoman Empire in 1920. That commitment was dashed by the rise of Turkish Republic under the secularist Kemal Atatürk confirmed in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne denying an independent Kurdistan in what is now Eastern Turkey. Combined a future Kurdistan encompassing eastern Turkey, Northern Syria, northwest Iran and northern Iraq might comprise a landlocked republic of 30 million with significant energy and agricultural resources.  The rise of Kurdistan is reflected in these comments in the Trofimov WSJ review article:

Selahattin Demirtas, Chairman of the HDP party in Turkey:

The Kurds’ existence was not recognized; they were hidden behind a veil. But now, after being invisible for a century, they are taking their place on the international stage. Today, international powers can no longer resolve any issue in the Middle East without taking into account the interests of the Kurds.

Tahir Elçi, a prominent Kurdish lawyer and chairman of the bar in Diyarbakir, Turkey:

In the past, when the Kurds sought self-rule, the Turks, the Persians and the Arabs were all united against it. Today that’s not true anymore—it’s not possible for the Shiite government in Iraq and Shiite Iran to work together against the Kurds with the Sunni Turkey and the Sunni ISIS. In this environment, the Kurds have become a political and a military power in the Middle East.

Elçi, amplifies a concern that Sherkoh Abbas, leader of the Kurdish National Syria Assembly (KURDNAS) has expressed in several NER interviews an articles with him:

The PKK has made important steps to adopt more democratic ways. But you cannot find the same climate of political diversity in [Kurdish] Syria as you find in [northern Iraq], and this is because of PKK’s authoritarian and Marxist background. This is a big problem.

As effective as the KRG government and peshmerga have been in pushing back at ISIS forces threatening the capital of Erbil, the real problem is the divisiveness in the political leadership. That is reflected in the comment of  Erbil province’s governor, Nawaf Hadi cited by Trofimov:

For 80 years, the Arab Sunni people led Iraq—and they destroyed Kurdistan. Now we’ve been for 10 years with the Shiite people [dominant in Baghdad], and they’ve cut the funding and the salaries—how can we count on them as our partner in Iraq?” All the facts on the ground encourage the Kurds to be independent.

That renewed prospect reflects the constellation of  events in Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

Supporters cheer Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, HDP, in Istanbul, Turkey, in May, 2015. Source: Emrah Gurel/AP

Supporters cheer Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, HDP, in Istanbul, Turkey, in May, 2015. Source: Emrah Gurel/AP

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Rouhani Trumpets P5+1 deal; while Senate Dems Back off New Sanctions Legislation

nuclear iran logo(3)By Jerry Gordon:

As if on cue, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani trumpets how the Islamic Regime won big time with the announced Joint Plan of Action (JPA) implementation last Sunday in Geneva.  As The Guardian noted in a report, “Iran nuclear deal means ‘surrender’ for Western Powers, says Rouhani”:

Speaking on Tuesday in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan, Rouhani said the “Geneva deal means the surrender of big powers before the great nation of Iran”.

Perhaps one of those victories is the ability of the Islamic regime to pursue what we would call the “nth” development of new, more efficient centrifuges to enrich uranium. Enrichment for only one purpose, to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons.  The Obama White House  confirmed that Iran has been allowed to pursue ‘centrifuge research’.     TheWashington Free Beacon noted this White House news conference call exchange in an article,” Iran permitted to continue advanced nuclear research”:

Asked by a reporter on a conference call if the deal stops “Iran from designing new types of centrifuges,” a senior administration official admitted that the deal does not prohibit this activity.

[…]

“So what’s the practical effect of this R&D [research and development] clarification that you labored over so hard? What does it preclude them from doing?” the reporter asked.

It—I mean, their commitment is to continue their current enrichment R&D practices, and those are the practices that are laid out in the November [IAEA} Director General’s report,” said one of two senior administration officials on the press briefing. “This—that’s been documented, and that’s what they were—that’s what they will continue to do.”

As we had reported  in an Iconoclast post on possible veto-proof  bi-partisan Iran sanctions  legislation in the US Senate (S1881) that  the centrifuge research issue had allegedly hit a snag.

Now in the wake of Rouhani’s speech yesterday in Iran comes word that the White House is soft peddling the Iranian President’s trumpeting of this alleged “victory”.    An AFP article,“White House plays down Rouhani crowing on Nuclear Deal” notes these comments by White House spokesperson Jay Carney at yesterday’s press conference:

It is not surprising to us and nor should it be surprising to you that the Iranians are describing the agreement in a certain way towards their domestic audience. It does not matter what they say, it matters what they do.

Problem is it could  thwart the Obama Administration’s campaign to stifle new bi-partisan sanctions legislation , the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act (NWFIA), S1881.

***************

Yesterday, an Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) conference call on Iran’s intentions over its nuclear program   featured former Israeli Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger and Dr. Michael Ledeen of the Washington, DC-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.  Dr. Ledeen is an impassioned advocate for both sanctions and support for regime change via what he argues could be a significant Iranian opposition.  Amb. Ettinger suggested that perhaps something more is required, when he commented:

Only one option to avoid facing an Iran which could become an uncontrollable strategic apocalyptic threat. That option is surgical, devastating, disproportional military preemption against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

 

 

Read more at New English Review

 

Expert Testimony: Global al-Qaeda, Affiliates, Objectives, and Future Challenges

map-2-al-qaedaSubcommittee Hearing: Global al-Qaeda: Affiliates, Objectives, and Future Challenges:  (Jul 18, 2013)

Witnesses

Seth Jones, Ph.D.
Associate Director
International Security and Defense Policy Center
RAND Corporation
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Frederick W. Kagan, Ph.D.
Christopher DeMuth Chair and Director
Critical Threats Project
American Enterprise Institute
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Thomas Joscelyn
Senior Editor
The Long War Journal
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Thomas Hegghammer, Ph.D.
Zuckerman Fellow
Center for International Security and Cooperation
Stanford University
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Also see:

AL QAEDA: THE REPORTS OF MY DEATH ARE GREATLY EXAGGERATED

Al Qaeda: Not Defeated Yet

Al Qaeda militants in the al-Jazeera region on the Iraqi side of the Syria-Iraq border. / AP

Al Qaeda militants in the al-Jazeera region on the Iraqi side of the Syria-Iraq border. / AP

BY: :

A remote conference between more than 20 senior al Qaeda leaders that prompted temporary closures of several U.S. embassies in the Middle East earlier this month indicates that the terrorist organization remains committed to expansion and threatening the West, national security experts said Tuesday.

Daily Beast senior national security correspondent Eli Lake and Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) senior fellow Thomas Joscelyn said at an FDD panel discussion that al Qaeda has retained central management as its affiliates spring up across the Middle East and Africa.

 

Lake and fellow Daily Beast correspondent Josh Rogin reported Tuesday that the electronic conference between leaders of al Qaeda’s regional branches featured advanced encryption methods with video, voice, and chat capabilities.

In a web recording of the seven-hour meeting, which was seized from an al Qaeda courier captured by U.S. and Yemeni intelligence officials, al Qaeda network leader Ayman Al-Zawahri compared the United States’ regional position in the Middle East to the Soviet Union on the eve of its collapse in 1989.

Additionally, he exhorted participants in the conference to capitalize on America’s declining influence in the region before announcing that Nasser al-Wuhayshi, leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), will be general manager of the group as it implements a new phase in al Qaeda’s war strategy.

President Barack Obama has repeatedly asserted that al Qaeda is “on the way to defeat” after drone strikes killed some of the group’s senior leaders.

“While there have been victories, the threat of al Qaeda is far from over at this point,” Lake said.

Joscelyn said the proliferation of al Qaeda affiliates in Syria, Yemen, Mali, Somalia, and other countries is not something the group “stumbled upon” but “has long been part of their strategy.”

However, the group’s various regional branches have shifted their strategy in recent years to increase their effectiveness, Joscelyn noted. Affiliates like AQAP have adopted the “Hamas model” of providing governance and services to disaffected residents of Yemen.

Meanwhile, AQAP has continued to attempt terrorist attacks on the United States by planting underwear bombers on U.S.-bound airliners.

“They’re able to walk and chew gum at the same time,” he said.

The Washington Free Beacon reported Tuesday that thousands of foreign jihadists—including Americans and Europeans—have flooded into civil war-torn Syria to join the al Qaeda-affiliated al Nusra Front, raising concerns among U.S. officials that these fighters will receive training for executing terrorist attacks upon return to their home countries.

Additionally, a report from the Long War Journal, a project of FDD, found that at least 15 Salafi jihadist groups—some affiliated with al Qaeda—have begun to occupy the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. The groups have reportedly attacked Israeli Defense Forces along Israel’s border and fired rockets into the country.

“It’s indisputable that [al Qaeda has] made more gains now than at any point in their history,” Joscelyn said.

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

Pro-Islamist Advocacy Campaign Hits the Wall Street Journal

20130818_egypt2013_violence_LARGE

by MAGDI KHALIL:

The Wall Street Journal is a respected newspaper, and many of its writers are reputable researchers. However, a piece titled “Egypt’s Islamists Will Rise Again” has been described by an observer as “a strike coming from a minority of intellectuals on the conservative side who do not understand the Middle East, though they claim they do, and produce more disorientation among the U.S. public than those apologists on the left,” and that “pieces that undermine the will of Egyptians to resist the Islamists and undermine the will of Americans to stand by them are, willingly or not, part of the Muslim Brotherhood effort to reach their strategic goals.”

The opinion piece authored by Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA analyst serving as a senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), suffers not only from wrong assumptions, but is also filled with factual mistakes.

Gerecht laments, “Egyptian liberals since the coup d’état against Mohammed Morsi, have an impression that the Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘moment’ in Egypt lasted 12 months-after a long prelude that began in the 1920s.” This impression is wrong if one would listen to the leaders of the liberal, secular, and democratic movement in Egypt. If Mr. Gerecht had listened carefully to Egypt’s vast Arabic language network on free TV and immersed himself in bloggers’ analyses, he would have avoided writing his piece in the prestigious Wall Street Journal. Most Egyptian analysts who were part of the revolution- not the coup, as the former CIA member keeps calling it- know all too well that the Islamists were not uprooted from Egypt, even though their regime was dismantled. Gerecht’s warnings are in vain, for most Egyptians are alert and are bracing for the counter revolution.

The FDD fellow claims: “Conventional wisdom says that the Brotherhood was founded in opposition to British imperialism and Westernizing secular dictators.” This is the wrong interpretation of history. The Ikhwan were launched after the Ottoman Caliphate was destroyed by secular Turks. British occupation of Egypt started circa 1888, and the Brotherhood was founded in the mid-1920s, forty years later, with the desire to bring back the Caliphate. Removing the British from Egypt was not just a goal of the Ikhwan, but of most Egyptians. The Wafd party was the first secular patriotic movement to demand an end to British colonialism, a la the American Revolution. Geretch espouses the argument of the Brotherhood to explain why popular discontent grew against the regime: “The Brotherhood immolated itself after just a year of grossly incompetent government.” However, most Egyptians rose against the Islamists because of the suppression of basic freedoms. Read the signs held by thirty million demonstrators on June 30 and July 26; it was not about bread and jobs, it was about fascism and oppression.

The author admits that “countless Egyptians who had voted for Brotherhood candidates and its constitution turned against the Islamist group in massive demonstrations” and that “there is also little doubt that many in the Muslim Brotherhood were shocked by the size of these rallies.” However, he denies that the Brotherhood “has been routed by marches that we now know were planned by the tamarrud (rebellion) movement and the military.” In his neo-Orientalist view of Egypt and the Arabic tradition in U.S. bureaucracies, he sees Egypt’s poor “in the vast slums of Cairo” as only able to find a sense of community under the mosques. Geretch and a whole generation of failed Middle East studies in the United States are unable to make the basic distinction that Islam and Islamism are two different concepts. The poor may go to the mosque, but everything depends on who is in the pulpit, a Salafist or a Sufi.

Gerecht slams Egypt’s young liberals as he slammed Iran’s youth in 2009. He writes, “This is not Facebook Cairo, where alienated, deplorably educated, unskilled youth express their anger online and show their own kind of community by staging street protests.” The former intelligence officer dismisses the online kids because he thinks that “local clerics, let alone the cultish, secretive godfathers of the Brotherhood” have more influence among the poor and the lower middle class. On June 30 and July 26, Gerecht and his intellectual companions were proven utterly wrong. The masses listened to their youth inasmuch as they listened to the preachers. Islamologues in the West missed the coach on this one.

Gerecht claims that:

“In these precincts the poor, the Egyptian army, the security services, and the police-all unreformed since the fall of Hosni Mubarak-are viewed suspiciously, if not with hostility. The newfound love affair between the army and Egypt’s secular liberals, who in a year’s time came to the conclusion that they needed the military to check Islamist power, will likely do nothing to diminish the skepticism that Egypt’s devout have for army officers and their associates.”

The analytical mistake goes deeper, as many researchers have parroted the assertions of the Edward Saids and John Espositos of America, in that by nature the poor  are drawn to religious figures and thus even more to the fundamentalist ones. In the mind of Western apologia, Arab and Egyptian poor have no judgment of their own, and perhaps no instincts. In the reality lived on the ground in Egypt, ordinary people make a clear distinction between regimes and armies. The poor are the army. Moreover, in his assessment, Gerecht, like most Western admirers of the Islamists, dismisses 30 million Egyptian citizens who protested the Ikhwan. The country’s liberals do not appear to outnumber the Islamists, but this silent majority of Egypt is the greatest of all forces in the nation. Once it moved against the Brotherhood, the latter shrunk to their real size.

More dangerously in his article, Gerecht accuses the army and security services of being the origin of Mohammed Morsi’s “problems.” He goes ballistic against the enemies of the Islamists: military, police, business elite, and Mubarak era remnants, the very “enemies” identified by the Muslim Brotherhood propaganda internationally. It is awkward that the former CIA analyst uses the exact narrative of the international Ikhwan network and their friends in Western media.

Read more: Family Security Matters

Magdi Khalil, Director of the Forum for Democracy, Cairo and Washington, D.C.

Muslim Brotherhood Blames U.S. for Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s Ouster

Mideast EgyptBY: :

A senior Muslim Brotherhood official claimed on Tuesday that America and the West “used foreign money, thugs, and criminals” to bring down ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and thwart his so-called statewide “Islamic project.”

America “gave the green light to the [Egyptian military] officers to undertake their coup; isolate, kidnap, and hide the first freely elected civilian president; and suspend the constitution and dissolve the Shura Council,” Muslim Brotherhood adviser and spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan wrote in a Tuesday article originally published in Arabic on Ikhwan Online.

Ghozlan promoted multiple anti-American conspiracy theories, claiming that the United States secretly opposed Morsi for failing to embrace “its subsidiary Israel,” as well as for enacting Islamic law in Egypt.

“America was keen to keep Egypt a weak country vis-à-vis Israel and protect it from any change in Arab policy towards it,” Ghozlan wrote, according to a translation of his article performed for the Washington Free Beacon by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

“America was not happy about the establishment of a regime that adopts the Islamic civilization project for the state at the expense of the secular Western model,” Ghozlan wrote. “[America] was keen on the continuation of Egypt as a weak country dependent on America for food, medicine, and weapons.”

Western opposition to Morsi ultimately led it to support “terrorist acts that reached the point of killing in mosques, after they blockaded, destroyed, and set on fire to the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice Party,” Ghozlan claimed.

The Brotherhood leader further alleges that the United States secretly “paid $105 million over several months to Egyptian and foreign organizations” to foment chaos in Egypt ahead of the January 2011 protests that brought down former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

The goal of this clandestine campaign was to prevent Morsi and the Brotherhood from rising to power in Egypt, Ghozlan claimed.

Egypt expert Eric Trager said that Ghozlan’s statement is proof that the Brotherhood was never a moderate group, as many in the West claimed when Morsi first came to power.

“The Brotherhood’s virulently anti-American, conspiracy-theory-laden statement shows just how badly Washington’s policy of friendly engagement with the Brotherhood failed,” said Trager, a Next Generation Fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“The expectation was that through friendly outreach, and by not criticizing the Brotherhood for all of its domestic abuses, we could build trust and a cooperative relationship with the organization,” Trager said. “Turns out the Brotherhood isn’t so sentimental.”

Read more at Free Beacon

 

Video: Sebastian Gorka Discusses Threat Denial in the Obama Administration

Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Military Affairs Fellow and Director, National Security Fellows Program, Foundation for Defense of Democracies discusses the Obama administration’s persistent denial of the threats from Jihad:

Dr. Sebastian Gorka is an internationally recognized authority on issues of national security, terrorism, and democratization, having worked in government and the private and NGO sectors in Europe and the United States. He was born in the U.K. to parents who escaped Communism during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.  A graduate of the University of London and Corvinus University, Budapest, he was a Kokkalis Fellow at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and holds a Ph.D. in political science. He is an associate fellow at the Joint Special Operations University (USSOCOM) and an assistant professor at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. –

Westminster Institute:

fighting-the-ideological-war-cover1-e1357841767476Islamism is a growing and powerful ideology that tolerates no dissent or rivalry. Yet in recent decades the United States has responded only to the violence that Islamism has generated, not to the beliefs and ideas that drive it. As a result of this failure, Islamist numbers and confidence have grown, and Islamist regimes have taken power in the Middle East and North Africa.  So the United States is less safe than it was before 9/11, as is everyone else outside the Islamist fold.

Until the United States understands and confronts Islamist ideology, it will not be able to slow the Islamist revolution and its destructive effects. This collection of essays proposes an effective strategy for countering and defeating the beliefs that motivate Islamists. It examines those beliefs in detail, considers their strengths and weaknesses, and draws on the lessons of past ideological conflicts. Thus it provides invaluable equipment for the war of ideas in which we must now engage.

What Went Wrong With American Policy?

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The worst lies are the ones we tell ourselves, and the most dangerous lies are the ones we tell ourselves about terrorism. The number one lie is that there no – is no Arab-Islamic terror. Lie number two is that Arab-Islamic terror has been defeated. And the third lie: Even though Arab-Islamic terror has been defeated, there was no way to foresee it because it never existed and it never posed a threat. Yes, I know it is not logical to hold all these three lies in your mind at the same time, but that is what has happened – Michael Widlanski

 

The Endowment For Middle East Truth

Sept. 10, 2012, 11 Years After 9/11:  What Went Wrong With American Policy?

Transcripts pdf

 

Sarah Stern, Founder and President, of EMET

 

Frank Gaffney, President & CEO, Center for Security Policy; former Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy

 

Michael Widlanski, Author of Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat, Former Strategic Affairs Advisor to the Israeli Ministry of Public Security

 

Patrick Poole, National Security and Terrorism Correspondent for PJMedia

 

Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Tx)

 

Sebastian Gorka, Miilitary Affairs Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies & Council for Emerging National Security Affairs

 

 

Sebastian Gorka: Counterterrorism and Threat Denial

AmericasIslamistThreat-viDr. Sebastian Gorka (Military Affairs Fellow and Director, National Security Fellows Program, Foundation for Defense of Democracies) addressed the Canter for Security Policy’s Stanton Group on Capitol Hill. The topic of his briefing was “Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence in the Second Obama Administration: Persistence of Threat Denial?”

U.S. Iran Lobby Rallies to Muslim Brotherhood

by: Clare Lopez

Should anyone still be laboring under the impression that sectarian differences invariably keep Sunni and Shi’ite jihadis from cooperating, notice what is happening, not in the Middle East, but right here at home.

When five courageous congressional representatives recently wrote letters to the Inspectors General of the Office of the Director of National Security (ODNI) and the Departments of Defense (DoD), Homeland Security (DHS), Justice (DoJ), and State (DoS), requesting an investigation into the extent of Muslim Brotherhood influence within the U.S. government, they were met with a barrage of criticism from expected quarters: Muslim Brotherhood affiliates and front groups, leftist liberals who support them and even conservative voices that mostly just failed to read the letters.

What might not have been expected was condemnation from figures more commonly associated in Washington policy circles with the Iran Lobby than the Muslim Brotherhood. An opinion piece published in the Huffington post on Aug.1 by an off-beat blogger named Robert Naiman seems to span the Sunni-Shi’ite divide in its call for Representative Michele Bachmann to be removed from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI).

Robert Naiman, Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy

Attached to Naiman’s hackneyed attempt to label the Congressional letters a “conspiracy theory” because they take seriously the Muslim Brotherhood’s own assertions about “destroying the Western civilization from within,” is a letter from a motley collection of “former U.S. officials, NGO leaders, and academics.”

While it comes as no surprise that a small clutch of former U.S. government officials greets the possibility of Muslim Brotherhood infiltration into American policy making circles with untroubled equanimity, that Iranian regime stalwarts Stephen Kinzer, Juan Cole, Ervand Abrahamian, and Gareth Porter have signed on together with the Sunni defense crowd deserves mention. While Naiman himself seems to have studied economics and mathematics at some point, his online nattering in defense of the Iranian regime’s right to do pretty much whatever it wants with its nuclear weapons program perhaps drew their attention. In any case, the presence of these four Iran Lobby types among the letters’ overall 18 signatories makes quite a respectable showing for the Shi’ite contingent.

Kinzer, a former New York Times reporter and author, was first noted for his Iran Lobby credentials in this writer’s 2009 Center for Security Policy paper, “Rise of the Iran Lobby.” Kinzer thinks Khomeinist Iran is just the sort of Middle East country the U.S. should partner with and, not much of an Islamic history buff, claims the U.S. is responsible for “producing a region that is a pit of violence and hatred and terror and war.”

Similarly, University of Michigan professor Juan Cole blogs often to advise against the most serious measures to bring Tehran into compliance with UN Security Council Resolutions and its own obligations as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This may have something to do with Cole’s antisemitic views about the State of Israel and something he calls “Zionofascism.”

Ervand Abrahamian is an Iranian-born Armenian scholar and author who keeps company with the likes of Iran Lobby founder, Trita Parsi, (president of the National Iranian American Council – NIAC) and fellow cast members of the 2011 anti-American film, “American Coup,” including Kinzer, Parsi, and Gary Sick, a regime defender and former National Security Council staffer now at Columbia University. Gareth Porter, another staunch supporter of the mullahs’ regime, told the Iranian media outlet, Press TV, that U.S. sanctions against Iran “were forced on it by the Israeli lobby.”

Michael Ledeen

So, what to make of these Muslim Brotherhood cheerleaders from the Shi’ite side of the great Islamic schism? Michael Ledeen, Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, provides a brilliant explanation in the Summer 2012 issue of the “Claremont Review of Books” with his essay entitled, “The New War Against America.”

Ledeen writes of a “global alliance” against America that includes all of the Dar al-Islam, both Sunni and Shi’a, in opportunistic collusion with “radical secular leftists.”

The visceral enmity of Iran is clearly visible: This is a regime that has been at war with the U.S. for over 33 yrs., leads the terror troika with al-Qa’eda and Hizballah that a U.S. Federal District judge found jointly responsible for the attacks of 9/11, continues to back Iraqi and Taliban fighters who kill Americans, forges partnerships with tyrants from North Korea and Syria to Venezuela, and develops nuclear weapons to threaten Israelis with genocide and the U.S. with blackmail.

Yet, successive U.S. administrations repeatedly give Iran a pass, seek its cooperation in endless negotiations and fail to defend our national security interests. Likewise, the Muslim Brotherhood that Representatives Bachman, Franks, Gohmert, Rooney and Westmoreland want investigated has been completely open about its intentions to replace secular governments everywhere with strict Islamic law (sharia) through the waging of jihad.

Read more at Radical Islam

Clare Lopez is a senior fellow at RadicalIslam.org and a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on the Middle East, national defense and counterterrorism. Lopez began her career as an operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Losing the moral war against terrorism

By Clifford D. May

Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, I expected there would soon be consensus across ideological, national and other lines that terrorism is wrong – that no political goal or grievance justifies intentionally murdering innocent men, women and children. I was wrong.

Last week, Pew released the results of a poll that found that Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, is viewed favourably by 76% of the population of Pakistan, ostensibly one of America’s closest allies among nations self-identifying as Islamic. Iran also is viewed favourably by 39% of Tunisians, generally regarded as among the most moderate of Arabs. In Egypt, 19% – a not insignificant minority – have a favourable view of al-Qaeda.

In America and Europe, fewer people smile on terrorists but many are determinedly non-judgmental. Recall Reuters’ global head of news, Stephen Jukes, just after 9/11, saying that in the view of his news organization, “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” George Jonas, with his customary verbal precision, called that “an adolescent sophistry.”

Now consider the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), created under the leadership of the Obama administration to “provide a unique platform for senior counterterrorismpolicy-makers and experts from around the world to work together to identify urgent needs, devise solutions and mobilize resources for addressing key counterterrorism challenges.” Twenty-nine countries have been admitted, but Israel, arguably targeted by more terrorists than any other nation, has been excluded. In remarks to a meeting of the GCTF in Madrid last week, U.S. under secretary of state Maria Otero failed even to include Israel in a list of victims of terrorism. Asked about this conspicuous omission, a State Department spokesman replied: “I don’t have the details of the undersecretary’s speech.” American tax dollars at work.

Also in recent days: A resolution introduced by U.S. senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Marco Rubio calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics on July 27, to observe a moment of silence in honour of the 11 Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists 40 years ago in Munich received unanimous senate support. But the members of the IOC adamantly refuse. Is that because they are not sure whether those who slaughtered the Olympians were terrorists? Or is it because they think it prudent not to offend any terrorists who may be summering in London? Could the fact that the victims were Israelis – or Jews – play a role?

If so, they would be expressing the prejudice most acceptable among certain fashionable elites. For example, Alice Walker has refused to permit a new translation of her novel, The Color Purple, into Hebrew. As Israeli author Daniel Gordis has pointed out, Hebrew “is the only language into which Walker has refused to permit translation.” She has no trouble with translations into Farsi, Dari, Pashto or Arabic.

In Denver last week, there was the grand reopening of the Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab, a unique museum intended to help teach the public about terrorism of all kinds (not just the Islamic variety), why it’s a threat to all civilizations (not just the West), and how it can be defeated (determination and vigilance will be key). Before an audience of nearly a thousand, Denver Post publisher Dean Singleton moderated a discussion between former secretary of homeland security Michael Chertoff and me. Among the issues with which we attempted to grapple: The destructive potential of cyber-terrorism; the possibility that terrorists will use germs and viruses as weapons; the role of failed states and what it will mean if the rulers of Iran, who have been killing Americans for decades and threatening Israelis with genocide, are not prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Planted throughout the audience were protesters from an organization that calls itself “We Are Change.” Every so often, a member would stand up and begin shouting. One yelled “Terrorism is not real!” Another proclaimed that “bees kill more people than terrorists!” Another angrily insisted that the FBI has no proof that Osama bin Laden was responsible for 9/11 – to which Chertoff replied that not only can we be certain that the al-Qaeda leader was behind the attacks, but also that there has been “a landing on the moon.” The protesters were escorted outside, where they joined demonstrators holding a banner that read, “9/11 was an inside job.”

Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism and Islamism.

Read more at Financial Post

Israel Still Ignored at Obama Administration’s Flagship Counterterror Initiative

Under Secretary of State Maria Otero / AP

By Patrick Goodenough

(Update: State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell on Tuesday had  no further information on Israel’s exclusion from the GCTF, but disputed  that opposition to Israel’s participation was coming from the  forum’s co-chairman, Turkey.)

(CNSNews.com) – As the Obama administration’s new international  counterterrorism initiative develops, the exclusion of Israel becomes  more glaring with each passing meeting — most recently on Monday, at  the beginning of a conference focusing on victims of terrorism.

Addressing the two-day Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) event in  Madrid, an administration official mentioned a dozen countries in the  context of victims of terrorism – but not Israel.

Launched last fall as a “signature initiative” in what the  administration calls its “smart power approach to counterterrorism,” the  GCTF comprises 29 countries, with the U.S. and Turkey serving as  co-chairs.

Israel’s exclusion provoked comment from the outset, given the country’s long experience both as a target of and fighter against terrorism.

The State Department says future Israeli participation is not ruled  out. Still, Turkey’s Islamist-leaning government – which disputes that  Hamas is a terrorist group – has worked actively to isolate Israel in  the international community.

Further, 11 of the 29 GCTF members are members of the Organization of  Islamic Cooperation (OIC), some of which are hostile towards Israel.  All subscribe to the OIC’s 1999 Convention on Combating Terrorism which  states that “armed struggle against foreign occupation, aggression,  colonialism, and hegemony, aimed at liberation and self-determination in  accordance with the principles of international law shall not be  considered a terrorist crime.”

According to the State Department, Monday’s opening of the GCTF  “High-Level Conference on Victims of Terrorism” in the Spanish capital   “brings together government officials, civil society leaders and other  stakeholders to discuss how countries can increase their support of  victims of terror while cooperating to counter extremist ideologies.”

Addressing the event, U.S. undersecretary for civilian security,  democracy and human rights Maria Otero noted that Spain, “like the  United States and so many countries around the world,” has had firsthand  experienced of terrorism and the pain it inflicts on society.

Later, she referred to a documentary that was shown at the GCTF  launch last September, recounting the stories of the victims of terror  attacks in Pakistan, Jordan, Northern Ireland, Uganda, Turkey,  Indonesia, India, Spain, Columbia and the United States.

Similarly, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed a GCTF event in Istanbul last month, she mentioned the challenge of  terrorism in Turkey, Mali, Somalia, Yemen, Nigeria, the Maghreb and  Europe, referred obliquely to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and commented on  terrorist kidnappings in Latin America and the Sahel.

Israel was not mentioned, either by Otero in Madrid on Monday or by Clinton in Istanbul on June 7.

According to the MIPT (Memorial Institute for the Prevention of  Terrorism) Terrorism Knowledge Base, which covers the period from  1968-2006, Israel suffered the fifth highest number of terror fatalities  of any country over those years.

Only Iraq, the United States, India and Pakistan had more terror fatalities.

Calculated per capita, however (using today’s population figures),  Israel moves into third place, having lost 19.2 lives per 100,000 people  to terrorism over that period. Iraq and Lebanon have higher rates per  100,000 – 37.6 and 30.8 respectively. Other rates per 100,000 include:  Colombia 3.09; Afghanistan 2.92; Algeria 2.77, the U.S. 1.03; Pakistan  0,82 and India 0.13.

After the State Department was pressed last month about Israel’s  exclusion from the GCTF it issued a statement saying that the  administration’s idea with the forum “was to bring together a limited  number of traditional donors, front line states, and emerging powers  develop a more robust, yet representative, counterterrorism  capacity-building platform.”

“A number of our close partners with considerable experience  countering and preventing terrorism are not included among the GCTF’s  founding members,” it said. “We have discussed the GCTF and ways to  involve Israel in its activities on a number of occasions, and are  committed to making this happen.”

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Obama Neuters War on Islamic Terrorists

by Cliff Kincaid, Accuracy in Media:

Dr. Sebastian L. v. Gorka, Military Affairs Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said on Tuesday that the Obama Administration is rapidly revising federal counter-terrorism training materials in order to eliminate references to Jihad and Islam.

Government bureaucracies usually take a long time in changing a policy. In this case, he said, “I have never, ever seen such a wide ranging review executed with such alacrity.”

Although he blamed Quintan Wiktorowicz, a member of Obama’s National Security Council, for implementing the Obama Administration’s new overall policy of accommodating radical Islam, including the pro-terrorist Muslim Brotherhood, Gorka said Spencer Ackerman of Wired Magazine had helped sparked the review of federal counter-terrorism training materials through a series of controversial articles. One of those articles ran under an inflammatory headline about “Islamophobia” supposedly characterizing the federal government’s response to global Islamic terrorism.

As a result of this kind of coverage and the new policy, Gorka said the Obama Administration today forbids the use of the word “Jihad” to describe the terrorists that target America for destruction, even though they are members of the Muslim religion and openly declare their Islamic aims. What is happening in terms of redefining the threat is “unprecedented” and dangerous, he said.

The battle against radical Islam has been transformed into a concern, under President Obama and his adviser Quintan Wiktorowicz, about “violent extremism,” not Islamic terrorists or Islamists, he said.

Gorka said that the administration believes there are “good” Islamists and “bad” Islamists and the former can be dealt with. He said this policy is apparent in the decision by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to have contact with the Muslim Brotherhood “Supreme Guide” Mohammed Badei.

While some Islamists are violent and others use democratic methods to achieve power, Gorka said the fact is that they share the same goal—a world-wide system based on Sharia, or Islamic law, resulting in the destruction of America’s constitutional system of government.

Gorka said the process of changing the U.S. approach to radical Islam has even become “un-American” in the sense that training materials, including his own, are being censored by federal authorities without the trainers being told who is ordering them altered or deleted and why. “I was one of the victims of that review,” he said, explaining that certain slides from one of his FBI presentations were ordered removed. There is no “recourse to appeal” in the unfair process, he said.

Ominously, he said that U.S.-based groups sympathetic or linked to the Muslim Brotherhood are reported to have had an influence on the federal committee set up to review the materials, a fact confirmed by Ryan Mauro, a national security analyst with the Clarion Fund. Mauro reported that Islamists are even exercising influence over what the FBI is telling its agents.

Mauro told Accuracy in Media that another factor behind the ongoing review, in addition to the inflammatory reporting of Wired blogger Ackerman, is the influence of the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress (CAP), which issued a “Fear, Inc.” report attacking critics of radical Islam as bigots involved in “Islamophobia.”

To understand the dramatic nature of the change that is taking place, Gorka noted that the 600-page bipartisan 9/11 commission report, released in 2004, mentioned Islam 322 times and Jihad as a form of “Holy War” against the West 126 times. But the Obama Administration’s 2009 National Intelligence Strategy, a presidential-level document, doesn’t mention Islam or Jihad once, he said.

“The enemy has achieved what Sun Tzu, the Asian master of strategy, defined as the ultimate form of victory—if you can win without fighting, you can do no better,” Gorka said. “If your enemy has successfully determined the limits of what you can say about him, he is already winning.”

He went on, “The fact that it is now forbidden to use the word Jihad in government counter-terrorism training means that the enemy is controlling what we are allowed to say about him. That makes it very difficult to defeat him.”

Demonstrating the sensitivity of his remarks, delivered during a conference sponsored by the Westminster Institute, Gorka said that his speech should not be construed as necessarily representing the views of the U.S. Government. He has worked for or with various government agencies for eight years.

The title of the Tuesday event was “Dangerous Embrace: The U.S. and the Islamist.”

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Cliff Kincaid Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at cliff.kincaid@aim.org

REILLY: Dangerous illusions about Islamism

By Robert R. Reilly, Washington Times:

Ideas have consequences, as Richard Weaver famously wrote. If one misconstrues the ideas of the Islamists who are coming to power in the Middle East, one inevitably will misjudge the consequences. Take Reuel Marc Gerecht’s recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “The Islamist Road to Democracy.” In it, Mr. Gerecht, a former CIA hand now at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, says the Islamists are winning but we shouldn’t worry. The West went through worse and came out democratic. In fact, he says, the Middle East has suffered from Western communist and socialist ideologies, which left Islam as the last refuge. So what did we expect? They will work it out on their own terms. This transition may not be pretty to watch, but in the long run, it will “evolve” organically to real democracy. In fact, Mr. Gerecht says, “[The Islamists] are the key to more democratic, liberal politics in the region.”

Come again? Mr. Gerecht admits his thinking is “counterintuitive,” but it comes closer to missing reality altogether. How do you miss a target this big? Mr. Gerecht’s misplaced optimism is based on two things: misconceptions about the West – particularly the historically unjustified view that upheaval ultimately and necessarily leads to improvement – and a profound misunderstanding of the Islamist Shariah agenda.

Mr. Gerecht thinks we in the West got so tired of killing one another in religious wars that we secularized ourselves and became democratic. The same can happen in Islam, even though “Islam hasn’t seen the sustained barbarism that plagued” Europe. This construction of history is faulty in two ways. This is not the way democracy developed in the West, and the history of Islam is not as sanitary as he implies.

As the outcome of religious wars in other civilizations has shown, alternative pathways to democracy were and are available. Secularism did not, as he suggests, bring forth liberal values – rather, liberal values produced secularism. The idea of freedom of conscience preceded secularism and was based on the very Christianity that he holds accountable for the killing. Also, the conception of a secular state is uniquely Christian.

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