PJ MEDIA EXCLUSIVE: Gen. McMaster Sparked a Row With the Israeli Delegation at a White House Meeting on Hezbollah

H.R. McMaster (Rex Features via AP Images)

PJ MEDIA, BY DAVID STEINBERG, SEPTEMBER 12, 2017:

During the week of August 27, an Israeli delegation met with members of the National Security Council (NSC) at the White House to discuss the current threat to Israel by the terror group Hezbollah.

Israel believes this threat is currently dire. This meeting preceded a two-week long Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) exercise to rehearse for possible war with Hezbollah. The Jerusalem Post described this exercise, which commenced on September 4 and is ongoing, as the IDF’s largest in 20 years.

Hezbollah has been a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization since 1997. However, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster reportedly brought NSC Senior Director on Counter-Terrorism Mustafa Javed Ali to the White House meeting with Israel. Ali, a McMaster appointee, is described by a senior administration source as being “opposed to Hezbollah’s designation as a terrorist organization.”

What then transpired at the meeting has been confirmed to PJ Media by several administration sources, by members of non-governmental organizations involved in national security, and by a source within the Israeli government.

The Israeli delegation demanded that Mustafa Javed Ali leave the room.

This demand was made despite the clear likelihood that Ali would later be privy to the meeting’s materials and discussion. As such, sources speculated that Israel intended the demand to serve as a message to President Trump that McMaster’s behavior has constituted a subversion of Trump’s stated Middle East policy.

Mustafa Javed Ali, second from right, attending West Point’s 2015 Senior Conference. The conference was described as having focused on “unconventional approaches to counterterrorism.”

None of the several sources were aware if Trump had been made aware of the incident.

As has been widely reported, Trump’s Chief of Staff General Kelly has instituted tight restrictions on information and contacts reaching the president. Additionally, Kelly has been said to be working closely with General McMaster on issues related to the flow of information within the administration.

Friction between General McMaster and the Israeli delegation did not end with Israel’s demand that Ali leave the room.

Sources reported that McMaster went on to explicitly dismiss the Israelis’ specific concerns about Hezbollah.

In particular, the Israelis expressed concern that the “safe zone” currently being established within Syria — an idea that had been vociferously supported by Hezbollah’s sponsor, Iran — would immediately become a safe zone for Hezbollah to operate.

McMaster was said to “blow off” this major Israeli concern, and to be “yelling at the Israelis” during the meeting.

———————————-

For months, General McMaster has been under fire regarding his personnel decisions from Trump voters and the large majority of Americans who support Israel. McMaster has fired or otherwise removed all NSC appointees who strongly supported President Trump’s Middle East campaign platform.

Trump had repeatedly promised that his administration would reject the Bush/Obama policy of denying the doctrinal Islamic roots of terror, most notably expressed by Trump’s willingness to declare jihadist attacks to be “radical Islamic terrorism.” Indeed, Trump honored this pledge early in his term via the many appointees to the NSC brought on by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and others.

Under McMaster, however, all of these voices have been removed from the NSC in what has been described as a “purge.”

In their stead, McMaster has astonishingly welcomed figures such as Kris Baumanand Robert Malley to his NSC. Bauman’s and Malley’s careers have been so objectively subversive to the Trump agenda on Israel that McMaster might as well have appointed Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter.

Mustafa Javed Ali in attendance at former President Obama’s 2010 White House Iftar Dinner. Ali worked within the FBI at the time. Per a source: “No Muslim reformers or liberals were welcome at those events.” (List of expected attendees available at link.)

Little information has previously been public about McMaster appointee Mustafa Javed Ali. Regarding Israel’s demand that he leave the meeting, a source claimed:

Israel possibly knows more about Javed Ali than [the Trump administration] does.

Earlier this year, Ali was rumored to have caused the cancellation of a scheduled talk to the NSC by Ayaan Hirsi Ali on account of her “Islamophobia.” Mrs. Ali, who escaped to the Netherlands from Kenya after fleeing a forced marriage, violence, and being a victim of female genital mutilation, is now an activist exposing Islamic doctrine. She has lived under 24/7 protection since 2004, when a Muslim murdered Dutch film director Theo van Gogh for making a film with Mrs. Ali that criticized Islam. A five-page note threatening the same fate for Ali was left pinned to van Gogh’s chest with a knife.

Sources within the Trump administration have confirmed to PJMedia that this rumor about Mustafa Javed Ali was correct: Mrs. Ali had been invited to speak to the NSC. She was later disinvited due to Javed Ali’s interference.

On August 11, Mrs. Ali published a Wall Street Journal op-ed criticizing Trump for “losing focus” on his terrorism campaign pledges. Within the op-ed, she chose to mention only the “most charitable” criticism being floated about General McMaster:

Some administration critics have blamed the loss of focus on Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who became White House national security adviser in February. The most charitable formulation of this criticism is that military men who slogged their way through wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have an aversion to the argument that we face an ideological opponent, as opposed to a series of military problems.

But I put the responsibility on Mr. Trump. With regard to radical Islam, he simply seems to have lost interest.

Yet senior administration sources are far less charitable about McMaster and his appointee Mustafa Javed Ali. As mentioned above, they described Ali as taking the breathtaking position that Hezbollah should not be a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization. They described Ali as holding the same view regarding the Muslim Brotherhood.

They claimed Ali’s work within the NSC essentially amounts to him attempting to prevent the Trump administration from using any of the means at its disposal to target Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood as organizations. They claimed Ali advocates only targeting such groups’ identifiably “violent” members, and ignoring all other elements of their activities that may be subversive of U.S. interests.

These are recognizable as Obama-era policies — the “smart set” foreign policy strategies behind the Obama administration’s disastrous “Countering Violent Extremism” programs. This is the thinking that marched the Middle East to bloody catastrophe: a half-million dead in Syria.

Yet General McMaster appointed Ali as NSC Senior Director on Counter-Terrorism, and purged the NSC of voices supporting President Trump’s Mideast agenda. Then McMaster reportedly sat Ali in front of an Israeli delegation visiting the White House to share its concerns about Hezbollah.

——————–

I have previously reported here at PJMedia of an extensive public relations push — coordinated by administration supporters of General McMaster — to encourage conservative outlets and think-tanks to reject claims that McMaster is antagonistic to Trump’s foreign policy and to the State of Israel in general. That push was remarkably successful: an online search for critical McMaster stories from the right will reveal such articles virtually halted in mid-August.

The broader questions of President Trump’s continued silence are more difficult to read. None of the sources contacted for this article believe the president has fundamentally shifted his thinking.

Trump likely understands he would not have defeated Hillary Clinton without stating “radical Islamic terrorism.” Yet sources could offer only speculation as to how Trump intends to win his Middle East agenda while saddled with a National Security Council subversive to those goals.

Are Mattis & McMaster embracing Obama’s do-nothing Iran strategy?

traffic_analyzer | Getty Images

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, Sept. 12, 2017:

National security adviser H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary James Mattis are known advocates for the nuclear deal with the terror state of Iran. But many also assumed that they at least sought a departure from the Obama-era strategy of allowing Iran to pursue its regional and global ambitions with full force.

McMaster purged the Iran hawks from his National Security Council. However, this effort was mostly written off as the national security adviser wanting to bring in his own people, rather than a clash of ideologies.

Mattis has publicly stated that Iran is the world’s “biggest state sponsor of terrorism,” leading analysts to infer that as Pentagon chief, he would attempt to quash Iranian efforts to take over half of the Middle East.

Since the election of Donald Trump as president, Iran has doubled down on its anti-U.S. posture.

Iran continues to assert dominance over Iraq. Its own fighters and proxy units have infiltrated much of Syria. Tehran resumed its aggressive funding and arming of Hezbollah and Hamas. In the Gulf, its warships continue to recklessly confront U.S. vessels. And Iran-backed fighters and armed drones are targeting U.S. soldiers on the battlefield.

So what are our respected cabinet officials doing about the increasing Iranian threat? Apparently, they’ve decided to ignore it.

An insightful report from Reuters Monday night specifically names Mattis and McMaster as the cabinet officials who oppose taking a tough stance against Iran’s regional ambitions.

“Mattis and McMaster, as well as the heads of the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Forces Command, have opposed allowing U.S. commanders in Syria and Iraq to react more forcefully to provocations by the IRGC, Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed Shiite militias,” the Reuters report said. “The advisers are concerned that more permissive rules of engagement would divert U.S. forces from defeating the remnants of Islamic State, they said.”

The Reuters report, however, leaves open the possibility that President Trump may overrule the restrictions recommended by Mattis and McMaster and allow our commanders in the field to target Iran’s proxies and its support for jihadi militias.

By singling out ISIS and ignoring the rest of America’s national security threats, Mattis and McMaster have apparently endorsed the Obama administration’s “balancing act” strategy that gives Tehran unchecked dominance over the land from its borders to the Mediterranean Sea.

Allowing Iran to conquer and hold territory and encroach further to the west puts our allies in Israel and in the Levant and the Gulf on high alert. By only focusing on ISIS, the U.S.-led coalition has shifted the balance of power in Iran’s favor. The “only ISIS” strategy has allowed Iran to station troops right across from Israel’s territory in the Golan Heights.

Defeating ISIS is a noble and worthy endeavor, but doing so without a grand strategy that holds Iran in check is hazardous and detrimental to U.S. national security interests. Iran is hell-bent on not only dominating the region, but also acquiring a nuclear weapon. By opposing action against Iran-backed forces, Mattis and McMaster are tying the hands of our commanders in the field, which was a primary complaint leveled against President Obama’s military strategy, one that President Trump campaigned on reversing.

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.

9/11/2017: Trump, Pence, Mattis, Sessions Fail to Name ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’

AP/Susan Walsh

Breitbart, by Aaron Klein, Sept. 11, 2017:

NEW YORK — On the sixteenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorist attacks, President Donald Trump did not once mention the terms “radical Islam” or “Islamic terrorism” during a commemoration ceremony at the Pentagon.

Those phrases were also not mentioned in speeches today by other Trump administration senior officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Instead of naming the enemy, Trump seemingly went out of his way to use other descriptors in his speech, including “terrorists who attacked us,” “barbaric forces of evil and destruction,” “horrible, horrible enemies,” “enemies of all civilized people,” and “enemies like we’ve never seen before.”

Similarly, Pence, speaking at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, referred to the scourge as “evil terrorists” and “global terrorism.” Pence did mention “the barbarians known as ISIS,” calling the global jihadist group by its acronym instead of the Islamic State.

Mattis, addressing the same Pentagon memorial as Trump, outwardly minimized the Islamic motivations of the terrorists by calling them “maniacs disguised in false religious garb.” He referred to “attackers perpetrating murder” on that fateful day, not even using the words “terrorist” or “terrorism.”

Sessions perhaps came closest to prescribing a religious ideology, calling out “extremists” who “seek to impose their speech codes, their religion, their theocracy.”

“For these extremists, it’s more than religion; it’s ideology,” he stated. “We have no choice but to defend against it.”

But Sessions did not mention a specific religion and did not expound upon which ideology the terrorists maintain.

When speaking of common threads among terrorists, Sessions also failed to mention the one major thread of Islam when he stated:

While the threats we face are diverse and evolving, terrorist ideologies have one thing in common: their disregard for the dignity of human life and they share an obsession with forcing everyone into their twisted ideology. And the terrorists know they can’t persuade people using reason, so they use coercion and intimidation. They seek acquiescence and inaction.

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke released a brief statement that referred to the 9/11 radical Islamic jihadist perpetrators as “terrorists.”

Trump’s reluctance to name the actual enemy contrasts with speeches he gave in the past, including during the 2016 presidential campaign, in which he repeatedly utilized the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.”

“America was under attack,” stated Trump at Monday’s Pentagon memorial, a passive tone that did not specify who the attackers were.

“Today, our entire nation grieves with you and with every family of those 2,977 innocent souls who were murdered by terrorists 16 years ago,” he stated.

“The terrorists who attacked us thought they could incite fear and weaken our spirit. But America cannot be intimidated, and those who try will soon join the long list of vanquished enemies who dared to test our mettle.”

Trump went on to use various other terms to describe the enemy:

In the years after September 11, more than five million young men and women have joined the ranks of our great military to defend our country against barbaric forces of evil and destruction. American forces are relentlessly pursuing and destroying the enemies of all civilized people, ensuring — and these are horrible, horrible enemies, enemies like we’ve never seen before — but we’re ensuring they never again have a safe haven to launch attacks against our country. We are making plain to these savage killers that there is no dark corner beyond our reach, no sanctuary beyond our grasp, and nowhere to hide anywhere on this very large earth.

So here at this memorial, with hearts both sad and determined, we honor every hero who keeps us safe and free, and we pledge to work together, to fight together, and to overcome together every enemy and obstacle that’s ever in our path.

Pence did quote a previous statement from Trump about terrorists’ “radical ideology” but, like the other administration officials speaking, did not say what that ideology was:

But under the leadership of President Donald Trump, as our commander-in-chief, our armed forces have ISIS on the run in Iraq and Syria, and we will not rest or relent until we hunt down and destroy them at their source. Some four weeks ago, President Trump expressed the full commitment of the United States to, in his words, “destroy terrorist organizations and the radical ideology that drives them.

The uniform lack of the mention of radical Islamic terrorism from the administration Monday comes after previous reports that H.R. McMaster, Trump’s embattled national security adviser, has petitioned against using the phrase.

In February, CNN cited a source inside a National Security Council meeting quoting McMaster as saying that use of the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” is unhelpful in working with allies to fight terrorism.

In May, McMaster spoke on ABC’s This Week about whether Trump would use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” in a speech that the president was about to give in Saudi Arabia. “The president will call it whatever he wants to call it,” McMaster said. “But I think it’s important that, whatever we call it, we recognize that [extremists] are not religious people. And, in fact, these enemies of all civilizations, what they want to do is to cloak their criminal behavior under this false idea of some kind of religious war.”

This reporter previously exposed numerous instances of McMaster’s minimizing the Islamic motivations of radical Muslim terrorists.

Breitbart News unearthed a 2014 speech on the Middle East in which McMaster claimed that Islamic terrorist organizations are “really un-Islamic” and are “really irreligious organizations” who cloak themselves in the “false legitimacy of Islam.”

Delivering the keynote address at last April’s Norwich University ROTC Centennial Symposium, McMaster criticized “modern day barbarians like Daesh and al-Qaeda who cynically use a perverted interpretation of religion to perpetuate ignorance, incite hatred, and commit the most heinous crimes against innocents.”

Breitbart News also reported that McMaster endorsed and touted a book that frames jihad as a largely peaceful “means to struggle or exert effort,” such as waking up early in the morning to recite prayers. It argues that groups like al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations have hijacked the concept of jihad to wage warfare using such tactics as suicide bombings.

That same book calls Hamas an “Islamist political group” while failing to categorize the deadly organization as a terrorist group and refers to al-Qaeda attacks and anti-Israel terrorism as “resistance.”

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, Aaron Klein Investigative Radio. Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

Administration Sources: Creepy Tweet Was a Coded Message to General McMaster About Leakers

National security adviser H.R. McMaster speaks during the news briefing at the White House, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

PJ Media, by David Steinburg, Sept. 6, 2017:

A story fantastically strange, dancing between lowbrow and stupid, and it matters: this masterwork of a news item belongs in a time capsule, one day making the case to our descendants that we were, at least, blessed to live in interesting times.

Because this sort of thing happens in 2017, an alt-right crank who hasn’t won anyone’s trust beyond that of his loyal travelers seems to have become the white-whale obsession of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.

Also, a multi-national public relations campaign which occupied much of August — a campaign seemingly intended to repair General McMaster’s reputation with the President of the United States, to sully the reputation of Trump loyalists whom McMaster had removed from the National Security Council, and to drive out Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, all in one shot — may have been unintentionally destroyed by said alt-Right crank tweeting the words …

“Spirit Animal” :

Mike Cernovich posted this tweet on August 11. To an objective observer, that’s inscrutable nonsense. And — also objectively — it’s creepy.

But when considered with its actual context, and pivotally, its timing, that rational observer should be driven to conclude that, ahem, the “McMaster what’s your spirit animal” tweet is a political thunderbolt with ramifications much beyond what Cernovich appears to have intended.

Here goes:

Sources within the Trump Administration claim that the “spirit animal” tweet is a reference to a small meeting that McMaster and select others within the National Security Council held in the days prior to August 11.

At that meeting, attendees reportedly joked about each other’s “spirit animals.” Indeed, as of this writing, I cannot neither confirm nor deny that a prominent member of the NSC is imbued with the soul of a platypus.

Since August 11, Cernovich has offered other information that also points to him having sourcing within the NSC. However, the “spirit animal” tweet reportedly represented a more concerning breach. Yet even so, the breach itself is of less evident concern to McMaster and his supporters than is the fact of its August 11 publication.

Why?

Because if Cernovich still had a source leaking to him on that date or in the days immediately prior, then the tweet necessarily deconstructs much of the past month’s administration-orchestrated media defense of General McMaster’s personnel decisions.

———————–

In early August, General McMaster came under enormous pressure — spearheaded by the Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick and the Zionist Organization of America’s Morton Klein — for having seemingly purged the NSC of all members who aligned with candidate Trump’s Mideast policy. “Radical Islamic terror” and the destruction of the Iran nuclear deal was out; the continuance of Obama-era policies behind the “Arab Spring” catastrophe had apparently returned.

Wrote Glick on August 2:

McMaster disagrees and actively undermines Trump’s agenda on just about every salient issue on his agenda. He fires all of Trump’s loyalists and replaces them with Trump’s opponents, like Kris Bauman, an Israel hater and Hamas supporter who McMaster hired to work on the Israel-Palestinian desk.

He allows anti-Israel, pro-Muslim Brotherhood, pro-Iran Obama people like Robert Malley to walk around the NSC and tell people what to do and think. He has left Ben (reporters know nothing about foreign policy and I lied to sell them the Iran deal) Rhodes’ and Valerie Jarrett’s people in place.

And he not only is remaining at his desk. He is given the freedom to fire Trump’s most loyal foreign policy advisers from the National Security Council.

On August 9, Morton Klein released a statement on behalf of the ZOA which included this passage:

The duties of the National Security Council (NSC) include “coordinat[ing] and direct[ing] the activities of the United States Government relating to combating transnational threats.” 50 U.S.C. § 3021(i). It is thus alarming that National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster purged from the NSC those officials who were carrying out President Trump’s policies of combating Iranian and radical Islamist transnational threats, and purged from the NSC those officials who support the U.S.-Israel alliance — an alliance that is vital to America’s ability to combat radical Islamist terrorism.

Instead, General McMaster has appointed officials who are holdovers from the Obama administration, who favor the Iran nuclear deal and are hostile to Israel — officials who are diametrically opposed to President Trump’s policies. Moreover, new revelations demonstrate that General McMaster’s ideology is antagonistic to the President’s policies on these vital issues.

Since then, McMaster and a large contingent of administration and media allies have chosen to defend his behavior primarily as the restoration of Executive Branch decorum and as the necessary removal of “alt-Right” thinkers. These defenses included implications that the purged members had been leaking to the disreputable Mike Cernovich.

With “spirit animal,” however, Cernovich managed the improbable feat of wiping out several weeks of PR crafted by some of the administration’s most powerful figures, because the fact of his tweet’s August 11 publication date establishes the following truth:

On the date of the “spirit animal” meeting, NO ONE with fealty to Trump’s aggressively pro-Israel, anti-Obama/Iran nuclear deal campaign platform — without which, he likely loses to Hillary — remained at the NSC.

Yet Cernovich’s source was still in the room.

So we now have a strong repudiation of the narrative component of the purge which — with the later resignation of Sebastian Gorka (who had long been unwelcome at the NSC) and his public resignation note confirming that such a purge had indeed been afoot — successfully removed every Trump Administration official aligned with Trump’s campaign promises regarding national security.

————

On August 11, I published a story at PJ Media identifying the National Security Council officials whom administration sources claim had been coordinating August’s public relations defense of McMaster. My concern at that time was the apparent dishonesty in how McMaster’s defenders have attacked both his critics and the members of NSC whom McMaster has fired or otherwise helped remove:

Deputy National Security Adviser Rick Waddell, Senior Director for Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Gulf States Joel Rayburn, and Yll Bajraktari, a former special assistant to the deputy secretary of defense during the Obama administration, have been coordinating an extensive public relations campaign in support of embattled National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, according to multiple sources.

Members of the national security community who spoke with PJ Media describe the talking points used during this effort to defend McMaster’s tenure as NSA as “absurd,” “dishonest,” and “comically inaccurate.” But sources primarily expressed anger regarding insinuations that NSC members fired by McMaster or otherwise no longer in their positions — such as K.T. McFarland, Rich Higgins, Adam Lovinger, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, and Derek Harvey — are gone for reasons other than ideology.

Over the past week, several media accounts have painted them as “conspiratorial” members of the “alt-right,” possibly leaking information to the controversial Mike Cernovich, and possibly working in tandem with Russian social media accounts. Such claims, which have been picked up by several outlets, are reportedly doing lasting damage to reputations and careers.

Further, multiple sources believe McMaster and his allies within the administration are using such “career-ending” “swamp” tactics with the knowledge that the fired members and supportive colleagues — due to the nature of their careers within the national security realm — do not necessarily have the option of defending themselves in the public sphere.

Yes, Mike Cernovich does indeed have sourcing within the administration. And apparently he has occasionally released accurate information regarding the workings of the NSC. However, I’m hard-pressed to find anyone who was aware of this situation prior to reading of it in this August 4 piece in The Atlantic. And that should lead our objective observer towards identifying cynical motives behind Cernovich receiving unwarranted attention from McMaster.

In that article, the Atlantic’s Rosie Gray revealed that — among the myriad leaks to various outlets that are assumed to have originated from the NSC, including the Washington Post’s atrocious decision to publish transcripts of President Trump’s phone calls with two foreign statesmen — McMaster had seemingly prioritized plugging the leak to the popular-within-the-alt-Right-but-otherwise-irrelevant Cernovich. Sources could only speculate as to why McMaster has been so concerned with the one voice that could be most simply dispatched as a purveyor of false information. Indeed, Cernovich — recall “Pizzagate”? — has otherwise carried out that mission on his own.

But it’s clear that, as August came, Cernovich was a useful foil for defending McMaster against charges of purging the NSC of conservatives.

Suddenly, America was being told that McMaster had not been systematically removing those who questioned his embrace of the Obama-era policy of discounting the Islamic roots of terror and jihad. Instead, as we were told, McMaster was indeed tough on Iran and Mahmoud Abbas, and had actually been doing Trump’s bidding by removing “alt-Right” liabilities suspected of leaking to a man with the reputation of a conspiracist kook.

Throughout August, elements of this narrative were spread by influential outlets and think tanks, by Sunday morning talk shows, by Senator John McCain, by the U.S. ambassador to Israel, and even by a friendly in the Netanyahu administration.

Perhaps Senator McCain’s contribution most shamelessly embraced the smear tactic. McCain released a statement declaring that the outside pressure to have General McMaster removed from the NSC — which, as all of D.C. knew at the timepresumably including McCain, had been spearheaded by former IDF captain Caroline Glick and Morton Klein, child of Holocaust survivors and president of the Zionist Organization of America — instead arose “from the same purveyors of hatred and ignorance who precipitated the recent violence in Charlottesville.”

Yes — Senator McCain employed shameless expediency to turn “Glick and Klein” into … the Klan.

And until now, that disingenuous campaign had been remarkably successful.

“McMaster is purging the alt-Right leakers” soon became “McMaster can’t work with alt-Right leaker Steve Bannon and alt-Right leaker Sebastian Gorka.” Both are out. Truly, everyone who had been brought on as complementary to Trump’s Mideast campaign promises is now out, as Sebastian Gorka summarized in his public resignation letter.

But Cernovich’s leaker is still there.

—————-

So America is now presented with two options to consider regarding what has transpired throughout 2017 at the NSC under National Security Adviser McMaster:

A. Either McMaster has chosen to restaff the NSC only with people loyal to Mideast policy he has embraced throughout his recent career, even though his policy preferences are in intractable opposition to those of the current Commander-in-Chief; or —

B. Several career intelligence officials of high regard, all of whom shared the distinction of having been selected for duty at the NSC because they were loyalists to Trump’s Mideast platform, somehow became Trump antagonists once McMaster, the real Trump loyalist, was appointed to lead them.

Then some of these officials, concerned about McMaster’s leadership, decided to risk their careers by leaking private, even confidential, information to the media.

Having made this decision, they then considered which outlet was the wisest choice for disseminating their concerns, and lo, they went with … Pizzagate guy.

So August’s narrative needs to end now, and wondrously, it’s all due to a creepy tweet from an apparent conspiracist who may or may not have realized what he was doing. While normal, everyday Americans hopefully get a kick out of that, the media needs to return to demanding McMaster answer everyone’s initial questions:

  1.  Why did you purge the NSC of every official loyal to Trump’s Middle East campaign platform?
  2. Why have you instead placed Obama administration holdovers in key positions?

McMaster brings top Obama admin officials into NSC, sources say

INFLUENTIAL OBAMA PENTAGON STAFF MEMBERS NOW HOLD SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL ROLES.

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, Aug. 31, 2017:

National security adviser H.R. McMaster has quietly pulled in high-ranking officials from the Obama administration into senior positions on his staff, current and former administration officials told Conservative Review.

In recent months, McMaster has hired influential members of the Obama Pentagon. One of these individuals was assigned to boost the Iran nuclear deal with Tehran, while the other became a trusted aide to former defense chief Ash Carter.

The recent hires are Ylli and Ylber Bajraktari, Albanian-Kosovan brothers who elevated to the top of government in the Obama administration.

A 2016 Medium profile of the brothers describes the major influence they have had in crafting policies for the previous administration.

“I have never heard of a story of two brothers playing such a critical behind-the-scenes role at the Pentagon,” Carl Woog, a senior Obama NSC adviser, commented to Partnership for Public Service.

“Ylber travels with [Sec. Carter] to international destinations and attends all his Pentagon meetings on foreign policy matters,” the article said.

At the time, Ylber (pronounced ill-BEAR) was deputy chief of staff to Secretary of Defense Carter, where he helped develop the Obama administration’s foreign policy, focusing on Iran and Iraq. Ylber also worked on the administration’s highly controversial nuclear deal with the Tehran regime.

Ylli (pronounced ill-lee) served as a special assistant to the Obama Pentagon’s deputy secretary, Robert Work, and his job was to “make sure” that the top Obama officials’ “visions are being completed,” Ylli told Medium.

Less than four months after their glowing profile on Medium, Ylber and Ylli witnessed the election of Donald J. Trump. Since the Democrats were no longer in power, their bosses lost their powerful jobs in government.

But H.R. McMaster has recently adopted a good many Ash Carter protégés, bringing Obama administration officials back into power. At the same time, McMaster got rid of much of President Trump’s initial wave of hires upon entering government.

Yll now serves as a close confidant to McMaster, in a position described by a current officialas a gatekeeper to the national security adviser (comparable to the role of a chief of staff). Ylli reviews all requests before they reach McMaster’s desk.

Meanwhile, Ylber is the National Security Council’s senior director for defense policy.

After initial reports surfaced on social media pertaining to the brothers’ role in the White House, figures from left-wing institutions and think tanks quickly emerged to defend them.

“Ylli’s story is what makes America great. It was an honor to serve with him,” said Carl Woog.

“Ylli is a patriot. He embodies the American dream & served the US in non-political DoD roles for years,” said Colin Kahl, the national security adviser to former Vice President Joe Biden.

“Ylli Bajraktari is a kind, honest & dedicated civil servant,” adds Jacqueline Ramos, a fellow at the left-wing Center for a New American Security.

Though the national security adviser continues to populate the NSC with individuals and influences from the past administration, not everyone is convinced that the White House is a lost cause for President Trump’s base.

“I know the president will very rapidly come to understand that people around him at the senior levels of government are not serving him properly and honorably with regard to the advice and options they’re giving him,” Dr. Sebastian Gorka, who recently stepped down as special assistant to the president, tells Conservative Review.

“The president doesn’t just rely upon the counsel of those inside the White House,” Gorka said, predicting that Trump will “make some personnel decisions in the short to medium term that will strengthen the base that actually got the president elected.”

The National Security Council has not responded to a request for comment on this story. Should that change, this story will be updated to include the comment.

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.

***

Also see:

25 Reasons to Reassign General H.R. McMaster

National Security Council head McMasters (R) with U.S. President Trump (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

CJR: Note to my readers – please look past Raheel Raza’s use of the word “radical” before Islam even as she asserts we need to stop being politically correct. We all know that Islamic doctrine is radical. This is an incredibly detailed list of everything McMaster has done to undermine Trump’s agenda. It is clear that the Generals Trump has surrounded himself with think it is their job to save us from him.

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, Aug. 27, 2017:

National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster is moving aggressively—and successfully—to maximize his power in the Trump Administration. President Trump is standing by his side as anti-Islamist writers and think-tanks like the Center for Security Policy call for his termination or reassignment.

McMaster’s ascent is a sudden change in the balance of power in the White House. President Trump was widely reported to be so disappointed with McMaster that Trump met with former U.N. ambassador John Bolton to discuss replacing him. Trump and Bolton concluded it was not the right move.

Then, Secretary of Homeland Security General John Kelly became the new chief of staff. He told McMaster that he wanted him to stay. McMaster’s chief rivals, Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and Deputy Assistant Dr. Sebastian Gorka, were then pressured into resigning.

The criticisms of McMaster are well-warranted and are not the fruits of overactive imaginations among bigoted “alt-right” smear-merchants, like Senator McCain characterizes them.

Here are 25 reasons that President Trump should fire National Security Adviser McMaster or, if he’s willing to, reassign him to a military position where he can excel on the battlefield as he did before.

1.He is not on board with Trump’s vision of waging an ideological war against radical Islam (or whatever terminology you prefer).

You simply cannot have a national security adviser who is at odds with the fundamental pillar of your national security strategy.

In 2014, McMaster said that the “Islamic State is not Islamic.” He went so far as to describe jihadists as “really irreligious organizations.”

In that speech, he rejected the notion that jihadists are motivated by a religion-based ideology. Instead, he claimed they are motivated by “fear,” a “sense of honor” and their “interests,” which he described as the roots of human conflict for thousands of years. He recommended that the U.S. must begin “understanding those human dimensions.”

In May, McMaster stated in an interview that the jihadists “are not religious people.”

A source close to National Security Council (NSC) personnel revealed that McMaster opposed President Trump’s summit in Riyadh, one of the high points of his presidency thus far. McMaster felt it was “too ambitious.”

In Trump’s speech announcing his strategy for Afghanistan, words like “radical Islamic terrorism” were missing. This is clearly the influence of McMaster. In his resignation letter to Trump, Dr. Gorka referencedthese omissions and said it “proves that a crucial element of your presidential campaign has been lost.”

Here’s the Clarion take:

2.Endorsed a book favorable towards “non-militant” Islamists

In 2010, McMaster endorsed a book that states, as one of its central arguments, “It is the Militant Islamists who are our adversary…They must not be confused with Islamists.”

The book contends that our policy should not be aimed at Islamism overall but only Islamist terrorist groups. That is the mindset of those who advocate working with the “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood and the “moderate” Taliban.

McMaster describes the book as “excellent” and “deserv[ing] a wide readership.” Raymond Ibrahim reviewed the book and found serious errors, ones that now have dangerous consequences with McMaster as national security adviser.

3.Opposes designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization

Based on the above two issues, it should be no surprise that McMaster reportedly opposes designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

4.Opposes a tough stance on Qatar’s support of terrorism and extremism

McMaster opposed President Trump’s tough stance on Qatar when our Arab allies confronted the tiny country, despite the sea of proof that our so-called “ally” is a major sponsor of Islamist terrorism and extremism, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Al-Qaeda.

McMaster, like Secretary of Defense Mattis, was concerned about the U.S. base in Qatar.

This means that McMaster essentially supports allowing the Qatari government to use our own base—which protects them—to decide U.S.policies.

The UAE has recommended that we move the base. There are no indications that McMaster is advocating that we do that so we can exert more pressure Qatar in the future.

5.The book endorsed by McMaster legitimizes Hamas

Aaron Klein, a senior Middle East reporter, read the book that McMaster endorsed as “excellent” and, shockingly, found that the author never characterizes Hamas as a terrorist group. Instead, the author refers to Hamas as an “Islamist political group” that is among Islamists “who do not fit into a neat category.”

“The question for Americans is whether Hamas is an Islamist or Militant Islamist group,” the author, Youssef H. Aboul-Enein, writes.

He’s as wrong as someone can possibly be wrong. Beside the fact that Hamas has been designated by the U.S. as a Foreign Terrorist Organization for 10 years, there is no question that Hamas is a terrorist group. In fact, there isn’t much of a substantive difference between Hamas and ISIS.

Aboul-Enein’s argument is that the U.S. should only target “Militant Islamists” and not more generic Islamists. By questioning whether Hamas qualifies as Militant Islamist, Aboul-Enein is questioning whether the U.S. should target Hamas.

The book also moves the reader away from understanding that Islamists’ preaching of armed jihad rests upon a strong theological foundation. Based on Klein’s description, the author makes it sound as if Islamists are motivated by reasonable grievances against policies and then sit down and conjure up a convoluted way to describe their violent response as “jihad.”

If we don’t acknowledge the deep theological basis of the Islamists’ worldview, we will not be able to effectively respond to the ideology and its related narratives.

There is an important side note as well: Klein points out that the author of the book is the chair of Islamic Studies at National Defense University (which is funded by the Department of Defense) and a senior adviser and analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Joint Intelligence Task Force for Combating Terrorism. This means that these views are being taught to very important students.

6.McMaster believes terrorism is caused by disenfranchisement and lack of education

In his endorsement of the book, McMaster said, “Terrorist organizations use a narrow and irreligious ideology to recruit undereducated and disenfranchised people to their cause.”

Remember when the Obama Administration’s State Department spokeswoman was mocked by the left and the right for suggesting that ISIS needs to be countered by reducing unemployment and poverty?

That same view is held by our current national security adviser.

7.Preserving the Iran deal

McMaster is in favor of keeping the nuclear deal with Iran. His position resulted in the U.S. certifying that Iran is in compliance with the terms of the agreement. By claiming that Iran has been obedient, it bolsters the regime’s credibility and makes America look worse if we leave the deal later.

Former CIA analyst Fred Fleitz was on a conference call with McMaster before it was certified and explained to McMaster how Iran is violating the deal. When Fleitz asked why the administration would certify Iranian compliance despite evidence of non-compliance, McMaster failed to give a direct answer.

8.Failure to understand the Israeli-Palestinian theater of the war with Islamism

The ideological war against Islamism requires us to debunk Islamist propaganda against our allies.

It is now known that McMaster declined to defend our best ally in the Middle East when questioned about Israel’s conduct in its 2014 war with Hamas.

Israel’s extraordinary efforts to limit civilian casualties in the war have been well-documented. When McMaster was asked whether he would agree that the Israeli military fought ethically, he gave an incoherent answer and then admitted, “that’s kind of a non-answer, sorry, to your first question.”

McMaster tried to stop Trump from visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem and, when he realized he couldn’t win that argument, pressured Trump not to go with any Israeli official. McMaster twice refused to answer whether the Western Wall is part of Israel, saying, “That’s a policy decision.”

The Conservative Review reported that McMaster refers to Israel as an “illegitimate,” “occupying power,” according to three current and former officials from Trump’s inner circle.

Senior Middle East Annalyst Caroline Glick substantiates the accounts with her own sources who describe McMaster as “deeply hostile” to Israel.

According to these reports, McMaster has characterized Israeli security measures as “excuses” to oppress Palestinians and Israeli-Arabs. These sources also claim that he is not supportive of U.S. support for Israeli counter-terrorism efforts and shut down a joint initiative aimed at Hezbollah.

The initiative was led by Derek Harvey, who McMaster fired (more on that later).

McMaster is a big reason why there are increasing danger signs for Israel from parts of the Trump Administration. This has been recognized by the Zionist Organization of America, which is asking for McMaster’s reassignment.

9.Appointing Kris Bauman as top National Security Council adviser on Israel.

Kris Bauman was chosen in May as the top adviser on Israel for the National Security Council. Journalist Daniel Greenfield reviewed Bauman’s 2009 dissertation and found highly disturbing content.

As Clarion reported earlier this month, Bauman blamed Israel and the West for failing to see “Hamas’s signals of willingness to moderate” and turning Gaza “into an open-air prison.” He advocated a policy that includes “Hamas in a solution,” dismissing Hamas’ oft-stated pledge to destroy Israel and kill Jews until the end of time.

In his dissertation, Bauman cites The Israel Lobby, a book that purports to disclose how Israel secretly manipulates the U.S. institutions of power from behind-the-scenes. He says the “Israel Lobby” “is a force that must be reckoned with, but it is a force that can be reckoned with.”

Bauman clearly depicts Israel as the aggressor in the Israel-Palestinian  conflict, and, as Greenfield points out, equates Jewish settlers in the West Bank with Palestinian terrorists.

“It is true that one could make an analogous argument regarding Palestinian terrorism, but there is one major difference between the two. Israeli government control over settlement expansion is far greater than Palestinian Authority control over terrorism,” Bauman writes.

As to the failure of the “peace process,” he blames Israel as well as the West for its “overwhelmingly favored Israeli interests.” Prime Minister Netanyahu is blamed for “inciting Palestinian violence” and deliberately undermining the prospects for peace.

A consistent theme appears in Bauman’s thesis: Israel is the instigator of terrorism. To defeat terrorism, stop Israel. And now he is in a strong position in the National Security Council to try to make that happen.

10.Insubordination and constant drama

McMaster goes beyond honestly expressing himself to the president and crosses into insubordination, undermining the president’s agenda and contributing to dysfunction.

A strong example of McMaster’s well-known temper and ego was published in May by a prominent author who recalled how McMaster “went a bit batshit” because of an article he wrote where 95% of the content celebrated McMaster’s remarkable success in Iraq.

The other five percent focused on his forces’ initial mistakes and “mediocre” performance before adapting to the situation. And that set McMaster off.  The author even quoted an expert who said McMaster’s success would become a “case study in classic counterinsurgency, the way it is supposed to be done.”

Even major supporters of McMaster who know him personally admit “he can be very intense.” The left-leaning Politico, which is more inclined to favor McMaster than his rivals, reports that his “temper is legendary” and he “frequently blows his top in high-level meetings.”

Politico described McMaster as an “increasingly volatile presence in the West Wing.” Three administration officials told the Daily Caller the same thing, with one describing the National Security Council as having a “poisonous environment.”

In addition to targeting Bannon and Gorka and anyone he sees as being in their camp, McMaster reportedly couldn’t even get along with Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who should be on his team. (The relationship is said to have improved, though.)

He also clashes with Secretary of Defense Mattis over military matters and Afghanistan. Mattis gave a dismissive response to these charges, however.

At his very first National Security Council meeting, McMaster immediately told those under him that President Trump is wrong to use the term “radical Islam” because the terrorists are “un-Islamic.”

Right away, he got to work building a coalition to wage internal battles.

When it came time for Trump’s Joint Address to Congress, McMaster fought tooth and nail to stop him from using the “radical Islam” terminology. He wrote and widely distributed throughout the government a memo criticizing the president.

Trump was very open that this would be his view. If McMaster couldn’t stand it, then he shouldn’t have accepted the appointment.

When President Trump and Chief Strategist Bannon asked McMaster for a list of holdovers from the Obama Administration that may be leaking inappropriate information to the press, he refused to cooperate and to fire them. He said hiring and firing was his prerogative and that most would be leaving anyway.

When President Trump said South Korea would have to help cover the cost of a missile defense system to defend them from North Korea, McMaster immediately told the South Koreans that Trump’s words weren’t actual policy. Trump was furious and screamed at him on the phone.

Trump is said to have confronted McMaster about the “general undermining of my policy.”

McMaster has worked hard to expand his fan club in the Trump Administration at the expense of those he disagrees with, particularly those closest to the president’s views.

The Washington Free Beacon reported earlier this month, “A White House official said McMaster appears to be trying to clear out anyone from the NSC staff who is outspokenly pro-Trump and has been slow-rolling the president’s directives that he disagrees with.”

In his resignation letter, Dr. Gorka wrote to Trump, “Regrettably, outside of yourself, the individuals who most embodied and represented the policies that will ‘Make America Great Again,’ have been internally countered, systematically removed, or undermined in recent months.”

As these internal battles have been waged, a steady stream of derogatory leaks have appeared in the media. Bannon has been blamed for anti-McMaster coverage at Breitbart, but McMaster somehow isn’t blamed for the leaks favorable to his side that appeared in the mainstream media. The pro-McMaster leaks substantiate why top generals saw him as a “publicity hound” in the military who advanced because of his closeness to General Petraeus.

11.Pushing out Chief Strategist Steve Bannon

On issues related to Islamism, Bannon was an important voice to have in the White House. He was a main proponent of designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and of waging an ideological war on Islamism.

Bannon understood the need to promote Muslim reform versus McMaster’s promotion of  “non-Militant” Islamists. Shortly before his resignation on August 18, Bannon met with Dr. Daniel Pipes and Gregg Roman of the Middle East Forum, one of the most effective anti-Islamist organizations and promoters of Muslim modernist reformers.

Bannon was McMaster’s top target. McMaster had forced out many officials that he felt were too close to Bannon, personally and politically, apparently attempting to monopolize power as much as possible. After resigning, Bannon said, “No administration in history has been so divided.”

Bannon disagreed with McMaster on the April 6 airstrike on a Syrian airbase and the new strategy for Afghanistan. Although there are serious merits to the airstrikes and the new strategy for Afghanistan, it is absolutely essential to have the views Bannon represents be a part of the decision-making process. A good teammate can disagree with a decision but still improve the option that is ultimately chosen.

12.Pressuring Dr. Sebastian Gorka to resign

Dr. Sebastian Gorka, the deputy assistant to the president and author of Defeating Jihadresigned reportedly due to pressure from McMaster and Chief of Staff Kelly.

Gorka and Bannon were the main proponents of designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

Gorka is best known as the man who flattens the media like a human bulldozer. These viral TV segments earned the adoration of President Trump, who personally intervened to stop plans by his senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to move Gorka out of the White House and to a federal agency.

Trump’s satisfaction with Gorka and his success in handling the media should be considered important assets for an administration that struggles with messaging and perception. His book shows he is focused on a long-term plan for victory over Islamism.

Unfortunately for him, Chief of Staff Kelly disagreed with Trump and was reportedly “displeased” with Gorka’s popular television segments and McMaster saw him as part of the Team Bannon that he sought to conquer.

Gorka was also probably seen as too much of a political liability, as he had become the victim of one of the most vicious and meritless smear campaigns in recent memory.

However, Gorka’s media appearances, input and the ridiculousness of his enemies made him a political asset.

13.Sidelining K.T. McFarland

Shortly after McMaster took his post, Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland was transferred out. McMaster had the leading role in making it happen.

She became the ambassador to Singapore; not exactly a position where her national security experience is being used to its full potential. Among her viewpoints is supporting designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

14.Firing Ezra Cohen-Watnick

McMaster wanted to fire Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director for intelligence programs at the National Security Council, right from the start. Watnick was initially saved by Bannon and Kushner.

Before joining the government, Cohen-Watnick organized an “Islamo-Fascism Awareness” event on his campus. He understands the issue of Islamist extremism and is passionate about it.

Watnick joined the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2010, became an intelligence officer and left in January 2017 for his senior National Security Council spot. He is believed to have entered the Defense Clandestine Service in 2012 and went to the CIA’s training facility known as “The Farm” in Virginia. He obviously had a strong background.

He was brought into the NSC by former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and, therefore, was seen as an ally of the Bannon-Gorka team inside the administration.

We don’t know much about what Watnick advocated while in the National Security Council aside from expanding U.S. operations against Iranian-backed militias in Syria.

Watnick was accused of improperly sharing intelligence with Rep. Devin Nunes, but there is disagreementover whether he did anything wrong. However, we know McMaster wanted to get rid of him right from the beginning, so this was probably just a good opportunity for a power play.

15.Trying to Hire Linda Weissgold

McMaster had already begun interviewing CIA official Linda Weissgold as Watnick’s replacement before Bannon and Kushner initially stopped him.

Under the Obama Administration, Weissgold was the director of the CIA’s Office of Terrorism Analysis. That means she was responsible for the false talking points about the terrorist attack in Benghazi in September 2012.

16.Firing Retired Col. Derek Harvey

Last month, McMaster fired President Trump’s top Middle East adviser from the National Security Council. The reason, as explained by one senior White House official, is that McMaster “wants his own guy.”

Harvey had an exemplary record and was thought to have a good relationship with McMaster, going back to when they served together under General Petraeus. He was described as one of Petraeus’ “most trusted intelligence advisors in Iraq” during the remarkably successful surge that turned the situation around.

Harvey was fired because of policy differences and McMaster’s desire to win the internal power struggle and cement his group over the National Security Council. McMaster and Harvey disagreed on “nearly every” area, particularly when it came to radical Islam and Iran. Harvey advocated working more closely with Israel, Egyptian President Sisi and Saudi Arabia.

Harvey had also put together a proposal for how the Trump Administration could scrap the nuclear deal with Iran. McMaster “blasted” his performance on Iran policy but according to a senior official who spoke to the left-wing Daily Beast, Harvey “was stuck in a Catch-22 situation” because lower-level staff dragged their feet in helping him.

According to the Weekly Standard—a publication that is certainly not in the Bannon/Trump camp—McMaster fired him because he didn’t like how close Harvey was to Bannon. Another detailed account said McMaster was also irked by his closeness to Kushner.

The most complete story says that McMaster directly told Harvey not to get too close to Bannon and Kushner. Shortly before he was fired, McMaster saw him leaving Bannon’s office. The sources say Harvey actually didn’t talk to Bannon too much, but McMaster had asked for information about Trump’s foreign policy priorities and that necessitated a meeting with Bannon.

McMaster saw Harvey at Bannon’s office on a Friday. When Monday came around, McMaster’s executive officer, Ylli Bajraktari (a Pentagon official from the Obama Administration) reminded Harvey it is not a “good idea” to talk to Bannon. He was fired four days later.

One other report states that Defense Secretary Mattis complained to McMaster about Harvey. The more exhaustive account based on sources close to Harvey dispute elements of that account.

17.Replacing Harvey with Michael Bell

McMaster replaced Harvey with Michael Bell, who was the National Security Council’s director for Persian Gulf affairs.

Not surprisingly, Bell is on record for harshly criticizing then-Deputy Assistant Dr. Sebastian Gorka to the Washington Post. Bell claimed that Gorka was too biased on Islam-related issues, stopping just a few steps shy of hitting him with the “Islamophobe” label.

Clearly, McMaster was picking a team to go to war with the White House. There’s no other way to interpret this decision.

18.Ousting Adam Lovinger and Robin Townley

In May, National Security Counil analyst Adam Lovinger had his security clearance revoked for unclear reasons that Lovinger described as “puzzling and baseless.” He was then fired.

Lovinger was at the council on loan from the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, where he had served as a strategic affairs analyst for 12 years. He was a known Trump supporter and was brought into the council by Flynn. Therefore, he would have been seen by McMaster as a Bannon ally.

Caroline Glick described Lovinger as a “seasoned strategic analyst” who clashed with McMaster because he favored India over Pakistan. He also opposed the nuclear deal with Iran and supported the use of terminology like “radical Islam.”

Lovinger confirmed that his conservative views on foreign policy had irked bureaucrats, and he believes his clearance was taken away for political reasons.

The Washington Free Beacon reported on May 1 that “security clearances granting access to state secrets have become increasingly politicized in a bid by opponents to block senior advisers to President Trump.”

Another example of this happening is Robin Townley, who held a top secret clearance and was picked by former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn as the council’s senior director for Africa. The CIA declined to grant him the necessary security clearance for Sensitive Compartmented Information. A source close to Townley said it was a politically-motivated “hit job.

19.Ousting Tera Dahl

Tera Dahl, the National Security Council’s deputy chief of staff, transferred out of the council in June. She will likely be working at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Dahl was a writer for Breitbart and therefore seen as belonging to Bannon’s camp. She also co-founded a foreign policy think tank with Katharine Gorka, wife of now-former Deputy Assistant Sebastian Gorka (Katharine Gorka is currently an official adviser to the Department of Homeland Security’s policy office.)

Dahl was especially interested in Egypt. She is supportive of Egyptian President el-Sisi, arguing that his actions are helping to transition the country towards democracy and stability. She visited Egypt and believes he is getting unfair treatment by some Western media outlets and think-tanks who want to demonize him and exonerate his Muslim Brotherhood enemies.

The left-wing Buzzfeed described the change as a result of warring factions inside the White House over foreign policy. It explained, “The move frees up National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster to install another staffer of his choosing in his drive to reshape the NSC to his liking.”

Dahl is said to have expressed interest in transferring because she was close to National Security Council Chief of Staff Keith Kellogg, whose tensions with McMaster have “created an uncomfortable working environment at the NSC.”

The council’s spokesperson Michael Anton claims “it was always her intent to move into a policy role once this task [at NSC] was completed.”

20.Firing Rich Higgins

McMaster and/or his deputy, Ricky Waddell, fired the NSC’s director of strategic planning, Rich Higgins, on July 21.

Higgins has an extensive background of national security service and has a deep understanding of the Islamist ideology, its associated doctrines and how it interacts with political movements that Islamists find common cause with.

Higgins had a deep understanding of the Muslim Brotherhood and how Islamists got political access and impacted policy under the Bush and Obama Administrations. He studied how political correctness had resulted in cleansing counter-terrorism training and national security policy documents from references to the ideological basis of the threat.

Higgins was pushing for the declassification of documents related to radical Islam and Iran and, more specifically, Presidential Study Directive 11. He had good reason to do so.

There were reports that the previous administration was not disclosing important documents, including ones from Bin Laden’s compounds that contradicted its narratives about the nature of the Al-Qaeda threat and the group’s relationship with Iran.

Presidential Study Directive 11 is reportedly an assessment of Islamist movements in 2010-2011 by the Obama Administration that resulted in a secret recommendation to align with “moderate” Islamists in handling the Arab Spring.

If this is indeed what happened, the directive’s declassification is of the utmost importance for understanding the Islamist threat, the fruits of this strategy and the dynamics of the region, not to mention historical documentation.

Alarmingly, according to a Gulf News report, the Presidential Study Directive 11 documents were obtained by the Al-Hewar Center in Washington, D.C. and show that the U.S. decided to back the “political Islamists” including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Daniel Greenfield reported that the Al-Hawre Center is linked to a Muslim Brotherhood front named the International Institute of Islamic Thought, which has come under counter-terrorism investigation.

McMaster reportedly “detonated” after coming across a seven-page memo that Higgins wrote which warned about a campaign by Islamists, Marxists, “bankers,” establishment Republicans and “globalists” to destroy the Trump presidency. The memo was given to Donald Trump Jr. and the president himself, who is said to have “gushed over it.”

Such a political memo would be inappropriate for the National Security Council. Its tone gives the impression of an author who sees all opposition to the Trump Administration as part of a seditious conspiracy. Its first reference is an interview between a member of the conspiratorial John Birch Society and a Soviet defector about “Jewish Marxist ideology.”

However, the memo was not intended for the NSC. It was a personal political analysis of how parties with various interests are trying to undermine the administration’s agenda.

According to Breitbart, Higgins used his personal computer to write the memo and did not use NSC time. He didn’t even use his NSC email to send it to anyone but himself. (He sent it from his personal email to his work email to print out.)

Another comprehensive Breitbart account says Higgins was fired on July 21 with several holdovers from the Obama Administration present and a Muslim woman with a hijab who worked as an equal employment officer. McMaster’s deputy, Ricky Waddell, told him it was his last day because “we’ve lost confidence in you.”

According to this account, McMaster was not responsible for the firing and hadn’t even read the memo. It was entirely the responsibility of Waddell. After the termination, parts of the memo were leaked to media outlets that would be most hostile to Higgins.

Regardless of whether Higgins’ firing was due to McMaster or Waddell, it was still done under McMaster’s leadership and was part of a broader push against perceived competitors.

President Trump was said to be “furious” at Higgins’ firing.

21.CAIR Comes to McMaster’s Defense

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a deceptive Islamist bulldog that tears into any opponent by falsely branding them as an Islamophobic bigot. The Justice Department identified the organization as a Muslim Brotherhood “entity” set up to support Hamas and designated it as an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism-financing trial.

CAIR slaps the “Islamophobe” label on practically everyone, obviously including almost every member of the Trump Administration. It has done so to Muslim adversaries, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Democratic supporters of gun control measures to stop terrorists from obtaining firearms and White House Chief of Staff Kelly whose name was referenced in a letter thanking CAIR’s Florida branch.

But not McMaster.

When McMaster came under heavy criticism for his stances on Islamism-related issues, CAIR came to his defense. It branded his opponents as “Islamophobes” and “white supremacists.”

22.Reports of a possible CAIR official on his staff

Ayaan Hirsi Ali from presenting a paper on Islamist extremism to the National Security Council. There are unconfirmed reports that it was one of McMaster’s appointees who blocked Hirsi Ali. One account of the incident says she was also blocked from seeing President Trump.

Hirsi Ali is one of the most prominent women’s rights activists and anti-Islamist voices in the world. She is executive producer of the Clarion Project’s Honor Diaries documentary about the oppression of women in the Muslim world. She is a strong advocate for secular-democratic Muslim reformers.

The person who is said to have blocked her is Mustafa Javed Ali, who protested that she is an “Islamophobe.” According to one of the reports, a source said that Mustafa said “that the only way she could present the paper would be to have someone from CAIR come in to refute her work.”

Mustafa Javed Ali is reportedly a former “diversity outreach coordinator” for CAIR. However, there is no public confirmation to confirm this as his name does not appear on CAIR’s website.

23.Holdovers

An analysis by the Daily Caller found that about 40 of the 250 National Security Council officials are holdovers from the Obama Administration. Presumably, these officials would be very hostile to the Trump Administration’s agenda. They should be the first suspects in the ongoing stream of leaks from the NSC.

National security expert Jed Babbin identified four NSC officials who previously reported directly to Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, the Obama Administration official who boasted of creating an “echo chamber” in the media to promote the nuclear deal with Iran using “compadres” in the media to influence reporters who “literally know nothing.”

(Rhodes also has the distinct honor of being the only person to be called an “asshole” in the headline of a Foreign Policy article.)

In July, McMaster told NSC staffers, “There’s no such thing as a holdover.” He was professing confidence that those who worked in the Obama Administration would loyally serve President Trump. Likewise, NSC spokesperson Michael Anton defended the holdovers as “stalwarts.”

As mentioned before, when Trump and Bannon asked McMaster for a list of holdovers that may be leaking to the press, he refused to cooperate and to fire them. He said hiring and firing was his prerogative and that most would be leaving anyway.

One former NSC staffer told the Daily Caller that McMaster has “protected and coddled them.”

Iran expert and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Ken Timmerman wrote a book titled Shadow Warriors in 2007 about how the Bush Administration was undermined by opponents within the governmental bureaucracies.

Timmerman’s observation should serve as a contemporary warning:

“George W. Bush never got the first rule of Washington: People are policy. He allowed his political enemies to run roughshod over his administration through a vast underground he never dismantled and never dominated.”

24.McMaster was an 11-Year Member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies

Breitbart discovered that McMaster was a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies from September 2006 until February 2017 when he became national security adviser. IISS was part of a campaign to promote the nuclear deal with Iran and gets funding from Islamist allies.

Its website shows that one of its top donors is the Open Society Foundation, formerly named the Open Society Institute, whose founder and chairman is left-wing partisan activist George Soros. The foundation donated between 100,000 and 500,000 euros (roughly $120,000-$600,000) to the IISS.

The Open Society Foundation is motivated by hyper-partisanship and works hard to defend American Islamists and slander opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood as bigots.

For example, it financed the Fear Inc. reports about the “Islamophobia Network” that is a powerful weapon in the Islamists’ and Regressive Left’s arsenal for character assassination and protecting groups like CAIR.

These reports were used to justify the removal of Islamism from counter-terrorism training.

IISS also has Ploughshares Fund as a major donor, giving between 25,000 and 100,000 euros (about $30,000-$119,000). The Plougshares Fund is also funded by Soros and his entities like Open Society.

When Ben Rhodes boasted about orchestrating the “echo chamber” to promote the nuclear deal with Iran, he specifically mentioned Ploughshares as his example of an outside group he utilized.

The president of Ploughshares, Joseph Cirincione, is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Plougshares specifically listed IISS, the group that McMaster belonged to, as the recipient of a grant for work on Iran issues in 2016.

Soros’ Open Society Foundation/Institute donated about $70,000 overall to selling the Iran deal, but other entities funded by Soros gave more. Ploughshares donated at least $800,000.

Ploughshares also donated over $400,000 to the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), which has long been accused of being a lobby for the Iranian regime. Ploughshares also awarded $70,000 to Princeton University to sponsor the work of former Iranian regime official Seyed Hossein Mousavian. The Heritage Foundation’s James Phillips writes, “This essentially amounted to subsidizing Iran’s propaganda efforts inside the United States.”

As Breitbart’s Aaron Klein shows, IISS was a loyal contributor to the Rhodes-Plougshares “echochamber.” It supported the deal and defended Iran against accusations of violations. It cast doubt on concerns that Iran and North Korea work on WMD together. And it criticized Trump’s attitude towards Iran.

IISS also receives funding from many companies that profited from the Iran deal like ExxonMobil. Its list of donors includes many governments, both allies and adversaries of the U.S.

Governmental donors of concern include Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Brunei, Kuwait, Russia and China.

25.President Trump is frequently unhappy with McMaster’s performance.

As mentioned before, President Trump has confronted McMaster about his “general undermining of my policy” and was furious at him for telling South Korea to basically ignore Trump’s words.

Trump complains that McMaster talks too much at meetings and has described him as a “pain.” There have been multiple articles indicating that Trump might be on the cusp of firing McMaster.

“I am at a pain to find an issue that H.R. actually aligns with the president, except for the desire to actually win and beat ISIS. That’s the only one,” said one administration official.

A former senior NSC official said, “I know that the president isn’t a big fan of what McMaster’s doing. I don’t understand why he’s allowing a guy who is subverting his foreign policy at every turn to remain in place.”

Trump has reportedly said in private that he regrets choosing McMaster as national security adviser and went so far as to meet with former U.N. ambassador John Bolton to float the possibility of him replacing McMaster. Bolton and Trump agreed that it was not the right move.

Conclusion

McMaster has put his life on the line for the country and ascended because of his impressive leadership during the worst days of the war in Iraq. He “basically was the first commander to get things right in Iraq.”

At the time, McMaster blasted the media for its downplaying of Iran’s role in murdering U.S. troops.

This led to many people’s (including this author’s) initial enthusiasm for him as national security adviser despite his statement in 2014 that the “Islamic State is not Islamic.”

Thinking it unfathomable that Trump would choose someone who is so fundamentally at odds with his national security vision, many chalked up the statement to a clumsy articulation of the U.S. position that ISIS shouldn’t be treated as the representative of the Muslim world.

But what was once unfathomable has become reality.

McMaster performed well as a military commander fighting an insurgency. If he is to continue serving the Trump Administration, then he should be reassigned to focus on taking his success in Iraq and repeating it in Afghanistan.

Tillerson’s Unconscionable And Immoral Goal In Afghanistan

Conservative Headquarters, by George Rassley, Aug. 24 2017:

What would Americans have thought if, back in 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt or his Secretary of State Cordell Hull had said after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, “I think the president was clear, this entire effort is intended to put pressure on the Japanese to have the Japanese understand you will not win a battlefield victory. We may not win one, but neither will you. So, at some point, we have to come to the negotiating table and find a way bring this to an end.”

They would have been outraged, as Americans should be now at Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s comments that, “I think the president was clear, this entire effort is intended to put pressure on the Taliban to have the

Taliban understand you will not win a battlefield victory. We may not win one, but neither will you. So, at some point, we have to come to the negotiating table and find a way bring this to an end.”

Tillerson’s comments prove that he and the generals who are advising President Trump have no idea of the enemy we are fighting in Afghanistan, and elsewhere across the globe, and have completely – and shamefully – lost hold of the moral foundation necessary to justify sending Americans into harm’s way.

More importantly, they have surrendered in advance, demonstrating that they have learned nothing from Vietnam or the 16 years-long war in Afghanistan.

What General Vo Nguyen Giap, commander of the North Vietnamese Army, wrote in his memoirs and said in post-war interviews is worth remembering now:

We were not strong enough to drive out a half million American troops, but that wasn’t our aim. Our intention was to break the will of the American government to continue the war. Westmoreland was wrong to expect that his superior firepower would grind us down. If we had focused on the balance of forces, we would have been defeated in two hours. We were waging a people’s war … America’s sophisticated arms, electronic devices and all the rest were to no avail in the end. In war there are the two factors — human beings and weapons. Ultimately though, human beings are the decisive factor.

The people in the White House believed that Americans would definitely win and there is no chance of defeat. There is a saying which goes, “If you know the enemy and you know yourself, you would win every single battle.” However, the Americans fought the Vietnamese, but they did not know much about Vietnam or anything at all about the Vietnamese people. Vietnam is an old nation founded in a long history before the birth of Christ. … The Americans knew nothing about our nation and her people. American generals knew little about our war theories, tactics and patterns of operation. …

And in a 1996 interview with CNN Giap said that the North Vietnamese Army’s victory came in large part due to American leaders’ lack of understanding of Vietnam, their underestimation of the North Vietnamese will to win, and miscalculations about the effectiveness of guerilla warfare:

During the war everyone in the country would fight and they [would] do so following the Vietnamese war theory. We have a theory that is different from that of the Russians and that of the Americans. The Americans did not understand that. They did not know or understand our nation; they did not know our war strategies. They could not win. How could they win? As our president said, there was nothing more precious than independence and freedom. We had the spirit that we would govern our own nation; we would rather sacrifice than be slaves.

A similar calculus applies today in Afghanistan.

Our enemy in Afghanistan is not interested in negotiating a cease fire, joining a coalition government and being part of the “family of nations” that foolish diplomats and those ignorant of Islam’s tenets imagine exists.

They are only interested in living in a Sharia compliant culture and eventually creating the worldwide Ummah, or community of Islam, that Mohammad commanded.

The notion that we can broker a peace and some sort of coalition with the Taliban is a folly born of desperation for generals to save political face, not win the war Islam has declared on the West.

From the failed efforts to implement a new Counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine in Afghanistan, to the false deadlines Obama established for withdrawal, nothing American leaders have done has achieved the goal of a stable regime in Afghanistan that is inhospitable to Muslim terrorist organizations with transnational aspirations and capabilities.

And the reason for this failure has nothing to do with the bravery and selflessness of the American military personnel deployed to accomplish the goal – it has everything to do with the unwillingness of American political level leaders to recognize what enemy we are fighting and to deploy the correct resources to defeat it.

The war in Afghanistan isn’t a regional or tribal conflict, it isn’t a war on “terrorism,” it isn’t a war on narco-warlords (even though 90% of the worlds illicit opium originates there); it is a war between the values of Islam and the values of the Western Enlightenment, and if you refuse to understand it and fight it on those terms the war in Afghanistan will never be over and certainly never be won.

What General McMaster and his new team of yes men at the NSC don’t seem to grasp is that the enemy in Afghanistan isn’t the Taliban insurgency; it is their underlying ideology of Islam and the allegiance of the majority of the Afghan people to a misogynistic 7th Century Sharia-based Muslim culture.

If you understand that the teachings of Islam are the fundamental motivators of the people who we are fighting in Afghanistan, then that should inform our entire strategy.

That means instead of sending a few thousand troops to Afghanistan we need to deploy all the means of our national power against the real enemy – the doctrines of Islam that motivate the Taliban.

It means we deploy psyops to attack the enemy’s belief system. It means we offer an alternative belief system to replace the one that is motivating the enemy. And it means we attack the centers and advocates of that belief system.

The United States is doing none of that in Afghanistan, because, as far as we can tell, McMaster and his new yes men believe that “Islam is a religion of peace” and not the real enemy.

While there is no doubt that, given unlimited operational freedom and resources, the United States military could defeat the Taliban, that wouldn’t defeat the enemy of Sharia supremacy.

Fanned by Iran, and other sources of Muslim culture, it would pop-up again unless Afghan society is completely remade through a multi-generational program of nation building that, under present circumstances, few, if any, Americans would be willing to support and even fewer Afghans would welcome.

President Trump’s initial lack of confidence in H.R. McMaster’s National Security Council work was well founded, because far from being a “new strategy” what McMaster, Secretary Mattis and Generals Nicholson and Votel are advocating is the same old strategy made new only by the new generation of brave Americans who will be sacrificed to their lack of vision and comprehension of exactly who and what the enemy is in Afghanistan.

This is something that Mike Flynn understood and sold the President on before he was ousted. And it is something that Rich Higgins understood, and worked diligently to make part of President Trump’s policy – and was canned by McMaster for so doing.

The strategy for Afghanistan H.R McMaster has sold to President Trump isn’t a strategy for victory, it is a strategy to save face for generals and politicians.

Until we fight the whole war in Afghanistan – not just the one on the kinetic battlefield – sending one more American to Afghanistan is an act every bit as immoral and unsupportable as sending thousands of brave Americans into the jungles of Vietnam, not to win the war, but so that American political leaders could declare victory and go home.

George Rasley is editor of Richard Viguerie’s ConservativeHQ.com. A veteran of over 300 political campaigns, he served on the staff of Vice President Dan Quayle, as Director of Policy and Communication for Congressman Adam Putnam (FL-12) then Vice Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, and as spokesman for Rep. Mac Thornberry now-Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

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