Why is Virginia a Haven for Would-be Jihadists?

jihad bby Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
July 18, 2016

What is it about Virginia?

Already this year, six men from the “Cavalier State” have been arrested on terror-related charges – two of them in July alone. Another man has joined the Islamic State in Syria. Two of those charged were stopped from making a similar trip.

These most recent arrests, one on July 3, the other on July 8, were based on charges of planning to provide material support to ISIS. Mohamed Bailor Jalloh, a former member of the National Guard who was arrested July 3, allegedly discussed planning an attack against U.S. military in the homeland inspired by fellow Virginian Nidal Hasan’s 2009 shooting at Fort Hood. According to court documents, Jalloh quit the Guard and later attempted to obtain funds and weapons for a domestic attack after being inspired by Anwar al Awlaki’s videos on YouTube.

Five days later, Virginia law enforcement arrested Haris Qamar, following an extended FBI sting operation. According to an FBI affidavit, Qamar made statements to an informant such as, “By-bye, DC, stupid a— kufar [infidels], kill ’em all,” and posted to his Twitter account a prayer for “strength to the mujahedeen to slaughter every single US military officer.”

Earlier arrests this year – two in June and one in January – involved men planning to join the jihad in Syria, rather than waging domestic battles. In one case, Mohamad Jamal Khweis, who had already joined the Islamic State, surrendered to Kurdish forcesin Iraq in an apparent effort to escape the hell of life in the new caliphate. Now awaiting sentencing in the United States, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Why does this keep happening in Virginia? What makes its young Muslims more susceptible to the radical messages from Awlaki and ISIS social media?

Virginia has proved to be an active center for radical Islamist activity over the years and has bred more than its share of terrorists since 9/11. It was at the Hamas-linkedDar al Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, for instance, that terrorist icon Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni-American whom counter-terrorism officials say inspired hundreds of other Muslims to take arms in violent jihad, once served as imam. Among his disciples: Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan; Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, convicted in 2005 of collaborating with al-Qaida and plotting to assassinate President George W. Bush; and several of the 9/11 hijackers.

And it was in Virginia that, in the still fragile and bewildered aftermath of 9/11, “Beltway snipers” John Allen Mohammed and Lee Boyd Malvo shot and killed more than 12 people, including an FBI analyst, in October 2002.

While internet and social media remain powerful weapons in the terrorist recruitment arsenal, personal connections remain the most potent tool. Honor student Ali Shukri Amin, charged with soliciting donations for ISIS, is also suspected of helping another Virginian, Reza Niknejad, travel to Syria.

While none of the recent cases implicate specific mosques, the influence of Dar al Hijrah and some of its imams appears to have been widespread.

To some extent, this could be thanks to its current imam, Shaker Elsayed. In 2002, hetold a conference hosted by the Muslim American Society and Islamic Circle for North America that deciding whether suicide bombers were martyrs was “an in house business” for Muslims.

In a dramatic speech available online since 2013, Elsayed rants against the West and calls for “the power of faith” and “the power of armament.” In the post-9/11 world, he observes, even world leaders have “bowed down” to the Western pressure. “We the Muslim masses should never bow down except to Allah!” he says, “and this will give us our dignity back.”

But other Virginia religious leaders have gone further. Ali al-Timimi, a cancer researcher, was the “spiritual leader” of a group of 11 men convicted of terrorism in 2003 and 2004, Al-Timimi is now serving a life sentence for recruiting Muslims to travel to Pakistan and train for holy war.

Shortly after 9/11, according to the New York Times’ coverage of his trial, al-Timimi invited a group of young Muslim men to dinner, where he told them they had a religious duty to fight with the Taliban against American forces. Prosecutors described that statement as “treason,” calling al-Timimi a “purveyor of hate and war.”

More than 10 years after his conviction, al-Timimi remains a figurehead among radical groups in Virginia and the Capitol district. The Peace and Justice Foundation, which defended al-Timimi and his followers, refers in online documents to a government conspiracy, while numerous web sites offer recordings of al-Timimi’s lectures. In addition, a Facebook page devoted to his appeal with more than 2,000 “likes,” has built a community in his support. (Followers even raised $12,000 for his mother’s medical care.)

The Saudi-sponsored Islamic Saudi Academy, which shut down abruptly last month,faced criticism for its textbooks that promote Wahhabism, an extreme version of Islam practiced by the Saudis. The textbooks contained passages “that extolled jihad and martyrdom, called for victory over one’s enemies, and said the killing of adulterers and apostates was ‘justified,'” the Washington Post reported. Those passages were found in school textbooks two years after U.S. officials, shocked by the texts in use in 2006, ordered they be revised. Pre-revision books included statements like, “It is said: the apes are the people of the Sabbath, the Jews. The swine are the unbelievers of Jesus’ table, the Christians.”

The school’s 1999 valedictorian, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, was convicted in 2005 for supporting al-Qaida and planning to assassinate the president. (Notably, he also taught Islamic Studies at Dar Al Hijrah.)

As Seamus Hughes of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University’s Center or Cyber & Homeland Security told Fox News, “Northern Virginia has a disproportionate number of people that are drawn to this.”

Ramy Zamzam is a poster child for this observation. He was among five young men who disappeared from their northern Virginia neighborhood in late 2009, only to be arrested by Pakistani authorities who caught them trying to cross into Afghanistan to join jihadists there.

“We are not terrorists,” he said outside a hearing. “We are jihadists, and jihad is not terrorism.”

Muslim groups expressed their horror over the incident and promised a program aimed at de-radicalization.

It’s not clear that any such plan ever emerged. If it did, it’s clearly not working.

Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands.

Prosecutors: ISIS Ebook Helped Inspire Aborted Attack on Pamela Geller

1(480)IPT, by John Rossomando  •  Apr 22, 2016

An Islamic State (ISIS) ebook, “How to Survive in the West: A Mujahid’s Guide,” may have contributed to a plot by two accused Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists from Boston to behead free-speech advocate Pamela Geller, federal prosecutors say. Boston policekilled a third conspirator on June 2 before they could carry out their attack against Geller.

David Dawoud Wright, Usaamah Abdullah Rahim and Nicholas Rovinski answered ISIS’s call to commit terrorist acts in Western countries beginning in January 2015, a superseding indictment issued Thursday said. The three were inspired by the terrorist organization’s online magazine Dabiq and also looked to “How to Survive in the West” for guidance in forming a sleeper cell after it appeared in March 2015.

Wright wrote organizational documents for a “Martyrdom Operations Cell” in April 2015. He also researched firearms, tranquilizer guns and law-enforcement capabilities. His search queries included: “what is the most flammable chemical;” “Which tranquilizer puts humans to sleep instantly;” and “how to start a secret militia in [the] US.”

Most of these topics are also found in “How to Survive in the West.”

Rahim communicated with several ISIS members abroad, including Junaid Hussain, also known as “Abu Hussain al-Britani.” Hussain was a British hacker who helped ISIS recruit jihadis and identify targets in the West prior to his death in a drone strike last August.

By May, the plotters wanted to behead Geller, who was organizing a draw Muhammad contest in Garland, Texas. Geller was targeted for murder in a May 6 ISIS fatwa. Hussain told Rahim to kill Geller because she had insulted Muhammad, and Rahim passed along Hussain’s instructions to Wright. He also told Rahim to carry a knife if the “feds” tried to arrest him.

The plot moved away from Geller and the group allegedly discussed attacking closer to home. Rahim was killed by police in June after intercepted conversations indicated he was about to attack police officers. Hussain hailed Rahim as a “martyr” on Twitter.

Independent of this plot, Geller was targeted by two other ISIS-inspired terrorists, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi. Both men were killed by a Garland traffic police officer during a shootout.

“How to Survive in the West” also includes instructions to kill anyone who depicts Muhammad in a manner Muslims find blasphemous.

“Allah is asking us; why don’t you fight a people who broke their covenant of peace (with the Muslims) first, then reviled our religion (by promoting insulting pictures of Prophet Muhammad) and started (Arabic: bada’*) the attack against you first?” a passage from How to Survive in the West said. [Emphasis original.],” “How to Survive in the West” says.

Disturbingly, Rovinski continued to support ISIS from behind bars after he was arrested. Prosecutors say Rovinski reaffirmed his support for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in August. He also tried to recruit other prisoners to commit terrorist acts.

The Terror Threat To Europe Is America’s, Too

1429by Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
March 25, 2016

Some weeks after the attacks of 9/11, a Dutch journalist spoke at a panel discussion in Amsterdam, describing his experience of the events. Faced with the task of writing up what had occurred in New York that day – the devastation, the terror, the unanswered questions that remained – he said he found himself completely overwhelmed. And then at a certain point, he recalled, clarity came. “I realized it was just about America,” he said. “It had nothing to do with me.”

I’ve told this story before, and likely will many times again, but it came to me as I read an op-ed by Daniel Benjamin in response to Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels. Benjamin served as the State Department’s counterterrorism coordinator from 2009-12. What happened in Brussels, he essentially declares, is really just about Europe. It has nothing to do with us. And it can’t happen here.

I respectfully, but emphatically, disagree.

To be sure, Benjamin makes some important points. The background and immigration history of most European Muslims is not the same as that of Americans. Europe’s Muslims largely arrived as guest workers in the 1960s and 70s from rural areas of the Middle East and North Africa (mostly Turkey, Algeria and Morocco). They were not educated; many were even illiterate. Because they were not expected to stay, their host countries did little to help them integrate, including teaching them the language.

But they did stay, and they brought family members from back home to live with them. They had children – many of them. And their children often suffered in school, where they were confronted with different values than their parents had, and with homework with which their parents could not help them. Many failed. Some had trouble getting jobs, and still do; Muslim unemployment all across Europe is significantly higher than the rate for non-Muslims.

By contrast, Benjamin notes American Muslim immigrants are largely well-off. Except for recent refugees, they come largely from the educated classes of their homelands, and have been therefore able to provide more support to their children.

Benjamin also correctly notes that significantly fewer American than European Muslims have made hijrah, or traveled to Syria to fight with ISIS and other jihadist groups. This is largely a consequence of geography. It is far easier to make the trip from Germany or Belgium to Turkey, and from there to Syria, than it is to make the same trip from, say, Michigan or New Jersey (both of which have large Muslim populations).

But those facts are not necessarily relevant to the threat of serious Islamic terrorism in America, or – as Benjamin would argue – the lack of one. Indeed, it is long past time to retire the old saw that says Muslims radicalize because of poverty, alienation, or disadvantage. American Muslims have, in fact, conducted plenty of terrorist attacks since 9/11 – among them, Nidal Hassan (of the Fort Hood shootings); Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook (of the San Bernardino massacre); and the Tsarnaev brothers, who committed the Boston Marathon attack. Not one of them was impoverished or socially alienated. In fact, all were relatively comfortable financially, and well-integrated within their communities.

Similarly, Fouad Belkacem, the leader of Sharia4Belgium, an organization responsible for helping radicalize many Belgian Muslims, even laughed at a journalist once for assuming he must have come from a struggling background. His father was a car salesman and he once planned to take over the business, but his father retired early. And Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged leader of the Paris attacks, reportedly attended a “posh” school, where, his former classmates recalled, “he was one of us.”

Moreover, the demographics of Muslims in Europe are pretty much the same across the board; so if poverty and discrimination are the issue, why have there been no mass deaths from attacks in the Netherlands, say, or Germany – both of which border Belgium?

All of which may be why the Wall Street Journal once referred to the notion of “poverty as cause of terrorism” a bad idea that refuses to die, confirming the position expressed by Harvard economist Robert J. Barro and others.

As for the argument about geography, this is precisely the genius of Islamic State leaders. It matters not that U.S. Muslims have a harder time traveling to Syria than do their European brothers and sisters. They are radicalized just the same way the Europeans are, on the Internet. In prisons. By recruiters already on the ground. Nor do they need military training in Raqqa; the instructions for bomb-making are online, freely available to anyone who wants them. Not to mention the easy availability of assault rifles.

But it is something else, deep at the core of Benjamin’s argument, that is so disturbing: that the fact that fewer people have died in post-9/11 attacks in the U.S. than in Europe somehow suggests that America is less at risk, that Americans should not fear an attack like the ones in Paris in November, or Brussels on Tuesday.

He is wrong. Americans should fear exactly that.

It is insulting, this argument that because fewer people died in Boston than in Paris, say, the effect or the threat of the Marathon bombings somehow wasn’t “quite so bad,” that somehow it’s okay, as if those killed and injured in America didn’t matter quite as much, or as if the number of dead and maimed was the issue, and not the effort at killing and maiming in itself. And if it were, we may as well include 9/11, in which case America is way ahead in the body count game.

What is true, and Benjamin calls this one right, is that American counter-intelligence and security actions have been far superior to Europe’s since 2001. American officials have foiled dozens of plots to date; but let’s not forget that James Elshafay and Shahawar Matin Sira nearly bombed the New York Subway system a day before the Republican National Convention in 2004; that Faisal Shahzad came frighteningly close to blowing up Times Square in 2010; and that Mohamed Osman Mohamud had been spotted by the FBI well before he attempted to detonate bombs during a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon one month later.

After all, if your neighbor’s husband beats her up twice a day, and your husband beats you only once, does that make the beatings any better? Does it take away the horror or the pain? Does it make you any safer?

So yes, terrorists have killed fewer Americans than Europeans since that bright September morning. But to suggest that Americans are somehow any safer is simply irresponsible.

Rep. McCaul: ‘Make No Mistake: We Are a Nation at War’

Michael McCaul / AP

Michael McCaul / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Dec. 7, 2015:

The chair of the House Homeland Security Committee warned the nation Monday during a wide-ranging address on national security matters, “We are a nation at war.”

Rep. Michael McCaul (R., Texas), in a State of Homeland Security address delivered at the National War College, flatly said: “Make no mistake: We are a nation at war.”

McCaul’s comments come on the heels of a major terror attack in San Bernardino, California that was allegedly committed by followers of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) terror group.

“Our own city streets are now the front lines,” McCaul said. “Indeed, San Bernardino was not an isolated event. Terrorists are on the offensive, working to deploy operatives to our shores and to radicalize our citizens to commit acts of violence.”

McCaul said that the U.S. homeland is experiencing the “highest threat environment since 9/11” and that the FBI is investigating “nearly 1,000 homegrown terror cases” across all 50 states, most of which are related to the Islamic State.

“Already, federal authorities have arrested over 70 ISIS supporters in our country,” he said.

In the wake of San Bernardino, Islamic State affiliates have been connected to 19 “terrorist plots or attacks here at home,” McCaul said. 

“These include plans to murder tourists on Florida beaches, to set off pipe bombs on Capitol Hill, to detonate explosives at New York City landmarks, and to live-stream an attack at an American college campus,” he said.

This year has been the “single most active year for homegrown terror we have ever tracked,” according to McCaul, who said “there were more homegrown terror cases in the first six months of 2015 than any full year since 9/11.”

McCaul went on to blast the Obama administration for failing to take concrete steps to battle the Islamic State and prevent further attacks on the United States.

“I was disappointed last night when the president failed to lay out any new steps to fight this menace,” he said. “Instead, he doubled down on a strategy of hesitancy and half-measures.”

He said the mass shooting in San Bernardino should serve as a “wake-up call” to Americans and U.S. lawmakers.

“This attack should not just be a wake-up call. It should be a call to action. For far too long, we have allowed extremists to reclaim their momentum, surging from terrorist cells into full-fledged terrorist armies,” McCaul said.

“As a result, I believe the state of our homeland is increasingly not secure, and I believe 2015 will be seen as a watershed year in this long war—the year when our enemies gained an upper hand and when the spread of terror once again awoke the West.”

McCaul lambasted some of his congressional colleagues for denying that the United States is under attack by terrorist forces.

“We are not acting early enough to keep terrorist groups from spreading, and there are some in Washington who are in denial about the threat we face,” he said.

The Obama administration has repeatedly said the United States is immune from attacks, despite a series of incidents fueled by extremist ideology.

“I have had enough,” McCaul said. “We cannot be blind to the threat before us. ISIS is not contained—it is expanding at great cost to the free world. In November, the group managed to conduct three major terrorist attacks on three separate continents in just three weeks.”

The Islamic State “is now more dangerous than al Qaeda ever was under Osama bin Laden,” McCaul said, adding that the terror group’s extremist ideology has “spread into the West, including into the United States.”

***

Also see:

Indictment Alleges Garland Cartoon Contest Shooters Had Help

by IPT News  •  Jun 16, 2015

An Arizona man has been indicted in connection with the May 3 attempted attack on a “Draw Muhammad” contest in Garland, Texas. Elton Francis Simpson and Nadir Hamid Soofi opened fire on security personal outside the contest in hopes of attacking participants inside. Both were shot and killed by police officers at the scene.

Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, also known as Decarus Thomas, is charged with transporting weapons and ammunition across state lines with the intent to commit crimes and then lying about his involvement.

Between Jan. 7 and May 3, Kareem hosted Simpson and Soofi (and possibly others) to plot their attack on the contest, the indictment alleges. He also supplied them with firearms and went with them to a remote desert to practice shooting. Between May 1 and May 3, Kareem allegedly transported the assault rifles from Arizona to Texas. He also is charged with lying to FBI agents about his involvement with the planned attack denying he even knew the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest was scheduled to take place.

The contest was in reaction to the massacre at the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo by radicalized Islamists who said they were avenging Islam’s prophet Muhammad after the magazine’s repeated caricatures of him. The winning entry shows an image of the Muslim prophet Muhammad brandishing a sword, commanding, “You can’t draw me!” The cartoonist’s hand responds, “That’s why I draw you.”

So far Kareem is the only suspect charged in relation to the foiled attack, but the indictment reveals the possibility of others involved in the planning of the attack.

The Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, or IS) claimed responsibility for the attacks on its official radio channel, referring to Soofi and Simpson as “brothers” and “Al Khilafa,” the name ISIS gives its soldiers. Minutes before the attack, Simpson expressed his allegiance to the group in a Twitter post.

The Garland shooting was not the first sign of Simpson’s radical leanings. In 2010 he was charged with lying to the FBI about his intentions to travel to Somalia to fight with the terrorist group Al Shabaab. He was convicted in 2011 and sentenced to three years probation.

Imam of the Gun and Sword

Imam addul faruqCSP, by Jim Hanson, June 3, 2015:

Boston Police and the FBI disrupted  a plot to behead police officers this week and lawmen managed to shoot down one of the jihadis planning it. But there was an interesting twist as our good friends at Americans for Peace and Tolerance let us know. The police brought some local leaders in to view the video of the shooting to stop some reckless speculation about the incident. One Muslim community leader was particularly interesting, in a bad way. Imam Abdul Faaruuq was standing right next to the Police Commissioner, but he has a history of preaching some very improper things.

A Boston Area Imam who once instructed worshippers to “Grab onto the gun and the sword” was given a leading role in the Police press conference following the death of Usaama Rahim, who was shot by police after he attacked members of the Boston Joint Terrorism Taskforce with a large knife.

In Boston Shooting, Islamists Damn First, Ignore Facts Later

1172 (1)IPT News
June 3, 2015

Virtually everything Islamist activists in the United States claimed about Tuesday’s fatal shooting of terror suspect Usaama Rahim in Boston appears to have been debunked within 24 hours.

Authorities say they shot Rahim, 26, after he repeatedly lunged at them with a military-style knife as they tried to question him. The skepticism was fueled by online posts by Rahim’s brother, Imam Ibrahim Rahim. His claims, which fueled the immediate and reflexive condemnation of the Boston police and FBI, turned out to be wrong. Usaama Rahim was not shot in the back. He was not on the telephone with his father when he was shot. Law enforcement did back up and give Rahim several opportunities to end the confrontation peacefully.

Officials showed the surveillance video proving this to a group of Boston community leaders Wednesday. “We’re very comfortable with what we saw,” said Urban League President Darnell Williams. While those who saw the video say it was too grainy to see the knife, a Boston Globe photograph shows a long knife being removed from the scene.

In a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday afternoon, FBI Special Agent J. Joseph Galietta wrote that Rahim bought an Ontario Spec Plus Marine Raider Bowie fighting knife and an SP6 Spec Plus Fighting Knife from Amazon in the past week.

In conversations recorded by the FBI, which had Rahim under constant surveillance for months, Rahim and a friend discussed beheading someone outside the state of Massachusetts. That changed in a 5 a.m. telephone call Rahim made to friend David Wright Tuesday morning. He said he no longer was interested in beheading the target previously discussed.

“I’m just going to ah go after them, those boys in blue,” Rahim allegedly said in the recorded conversation. “Cause, ah, it’s the easiest target and, ah, the most common is the easiest for me…”

Wright then advised Rahim to destroy his computer and smartphone “Because, at the scene, at the scene, CSI will be looking for that particular thing and so dump it, get rid of that. At the time you are going to do it, before you reach your destination you get rid of it.

That suggestion prompted the complaint against Wright charging him with conspiring to obstruct an investigation. Once arrested, Wright waived his Miranda rights and verified agents’ beliefs that cryptic conversations they heard between Wright and Rahim were about plots to kill people.

When Rahim pulled the knife Tuesday and officers told him to drop it, Rahim replied, “you drop yours,” Galietta wrote.

Thus far, none of the activists who jumped to an erroneous conclusion Tuesday, who unrealistically expected a full accounting of the incident within hours, have acknowledged their error.

Arab American Association of New York Executive Director Linda Sarsour minimized statements by Boston religious and political activists who reviewed the video of the Rahim shooting. “If you haven’t seen the video of killing of #UsaamaRahim, don’t talk to me about it,” she wrote on Twitter. “I don’t know what it shows or doesn’t show. Questions still remain,” she wrote in a separate post.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which routinely criticizes counter-terror investigations as unjust and rooted in prejudice, issued a news release seeking an “independent and thorough” investigation, saying it has a “duty to question every police-involved shooting to determine if the use of deadly force was necessary, particularly given the recent high profile shootings of African-American men.”

If history is a guide, CAIR won’t accept the findings no matter what. It sought, and obtained, an independent investigation into the 2009 shooting of Detroit imam Luqman Abdullah.

In 2010, CAIR asked for, then rejected, investigations by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the Dearborn Police Department and Michigan attorney general’s office after an imam was shot and killed after he fired on a K9 dog leading an FBI SWAT team.

Video from that investigation shows Imam Luqman Abdullah, who preached that followers should not go peacefully if police came for them, tried to run away as agents moved in to arrest him. He refused their orders to lie down, lurked behind a corner and kept his hand hidden despite repeated instructions to show them.

CAIR’s Michigan director dismissed the DOJ investigation as “superficial and incomplete” and continues to cite the incident as an example of FBI excessive force and mistreatment of Muslims.

It sought, and obtained, an independent investigation into the 2013 shooting in Orlando of Ibragim Todashev, a friend of Boston Marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Investigations by the Justice Department and an independent Florida state attorney conclude that Todashev, a “skilled mixed-martial arts fighter,” tried to attack agents shortly after acknowledging having “some involvement” in a 2011 triple homicide in Massachusetts also under investigation in connection with the Tsarnaevs. Todashev reportedly heaved a coffee table, striking an FBI agent in the head before grabbing a five-foot-long metal pole over his head “with the end of the pole pointed toward [the FBI agent] as if intended to be used to impale rather than strike.” The agent shot him three times, but Todashev again tried to charge, prompting the agent to fire three or four more shots, killing Todashev.

The Justice Department review reached the same conclusions. It noted that Todashev’s half-written confession was found at the scene. “The last sentence that Todashev wrote on the tablet of paper specifically related conduct by him that acknowledged complicity in the crime,” the DOJ report said.

“The only person who can contradict the government’s narrative is now dead and the investigation into his death relied on evidence gathered by agents of the same agency involved in his death,” CAIR-Florida official Hassan Shibly said. Shibly, an attorney, is now involved in filing a wrongful death claim against the FBI.

He did not comment on Tuesday’s shooting in Boston, and Shibly did post an acknowledgement that the video shows Rahim was not shot in the back as claimed.

CAIR Michigan chapter leader Dawud Walid, who posted comments skeptical about law enforcement, made no direct statement about the new disclosures Wednesday after the activists spoke about what the video showed. Earlier, he lumped Rahim in with Abdullah adn Todashev. San Francisco chapter official Zahra Billoo challenged someone who urged restraint in pre-judging the situation and dared to mention the rule of law.

So far, all the emerging information backs up law enforcement claims about Rahim and debunked the Islamist narrative. But the damage here may be immeasurable. The inaccurate information plays right into the hands of ISIS and other radical Islamist recruiters. The reckless, false narrative fuels the notion of the West’s alleged war on Islam, that Muslims must wage attack to protect the lives of their brethren.

That is the ideology that motivated the terrorists responsible for the Fort Hood shooting and the Boston Marathon bombing, among others.

CAIR and other Islamists say they are merely asking questions. Next time, perhaps they can at least wait for an autopsy before spreading false, inflammatory gossip.

Also see:

Jim Hanson Talking CounterJihad on FOX News

3365199294CSP, by Jim Hanson,

Our enemy is hard at work all over the world. ISIS is expanding the Caliphate as the US watches from the sidelines. They take city after city slaughtering innocents and destroying cultural history. They jihadists call for their followers to kill us here in the US and the message is received and acted on by homegrown Islamists.

We catch some of those trying to go and join the holy war overseas, but not all of them. And what about the ones who wreak havoc here at home, like the Boston Marathon killers? We have jihadists in our midst and we can no longer let the cries of Islamophobia stop us from calling them out. See something, say something.

***

Special Operators are speaking out asking to take the fight to ISIS. Will the President allow them and change our strategy?

Also see:

The Jihad At Home

284D2BE800000578-3066779-image-a-9_1430750082947ISIS strikes in Texas.

City Journal, by Judith Miller, May 6, 2015:

Fortunately, no innocent people died in the militant Islamic terror attack Sunday night in Garland, Texas, where an anti-Islamist organization was holding a Mohammed cartoon-drawing contest. The two wannabe Jihadists, armed with assault rifles and body armor, proved no match for an off-duty Texas traffic cop, who shot them dead with his pistol. But had the “homegrown” terrorists been more numerous, better trained, or better armed, the attack might have proved as deadly as that on Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine where 12 people were murdered in January. Mitchell Silber, the former director of counterterrorism research for the New York Police Department and now with K2 Intelligence, a consulting group, called the Garland strike the “first ISIS-inspired terror attack on U.S. soil.”

On Tuesday, ISIS embraced the assailants in a statement on its radio station for the Garland attack, calling them “soldiers of the caliphate,” and expressing hope that they would be granted “the highest rank of paradise” for their attack. “In another message posted on JustPasteit, an anonymous message board, the group claimed credit for the assault and warned Pamela Geller, the head of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which sponsored the cartoon contest, that it would not rest until she was dead. Boasting that it has “71 trained soldiers in 15 different states,” among them Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, Michigan, and California, “ready at our word to attack,” ISIS vowed to send “all our Lions to achieve her slaughter.” The attack in Garland, the message states, was “only the beginning of our efforts to establish a wiliyah (authority or governance) in the heart of our enemy.”

While the authenticity of this message has not been independently confirmed, ISIS has frequently used that message board to publish propaganda. And terrorism analysts and law enforcement officials alike take seriously its warning that the Garland attack is only the start of a sustained effort to create havoc and fear through such strikes. According to a report published in April by the New York-based Anti-Defamation League, which fights anti-Semitism and other forms of religious, racial, and ethnic discrimination, this year has seen a dramatic spike in such attacks and plots by individuals inspired by ISIS and other militant Islamic groups. Since the beginning of the year, the report notes, 31 people in 11 U.S. states have been linked to “plots, conspiracies and other activity on behalf of foreign terrorist groups motivated by Islamic extremist ideologies.” The pace of arrests—unprecedented, notes the ADL report—is a “stark reminder of the varied extremist threats we face in this country,” warned Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. While most of the attacks and more serious plots were hatched in other countries—most notably in Canada, France, and Denmark—“the U.S. is far from immune from the global reach of Islamic extremism,” he said.

Oren Segal, director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, said that the “alarming” number of mostly young people drawn to jihadist causes demonstrates the “impact foreign terrorist groups have on this generation of homegrown extremists,” mainly through terrorist propaganda or communication on social media. ISIS, the report says, is the largest inspirer, accounting for 29 of the 31 individuals. Terrorism may well be a family enterprise, the ADL report suggests. Nine of the 31 have family members who have also been implicated in militant Islamic activity. Just over half are believed to have traveled or planned to travel to join terror groups abroad. Eleven of the 31 were engaged in domestic terrorist plots. Five of those arrested were female, which brings the number of women linked to Islamic militancy since the start of last year to a total of 14. At least seven of those arrested were converts to Islam—a trend first identified in a controversial 2007 report coauthored by Silber and published by the NYPD.

Considerable debate is underway about what is prompting the dramatic rise in such plots and attacks. Silber says that greater decentralization is an important factor. ISIS has issued a standing order to attack Western targets, “as in Nike’s old tag line: ‘Just do it!’ ” he said. Unlike al-Qaida, whose chief of external operations had to approve a plot in advance, aspiring jihadis can interpret mere “contact with ISIS and its supporters through Twitter and other social media as an order to mobilize.” At least one of the attackers in Texas had a history with terrorist groups and causes: Elton Simpson, who lived in Arizona, was indicted in 2010 for lying to the FBI about having discussed travel to Somalia, which he denied. In 2011, he was found guilty and received three years of probation.

The explosion of social media concerns terrorism and law-enforcement terrorism experts alike. “If the current rate of arrests continues,” Segal said, “the number of Islamic-extremist-related terror arrests in 2015 will exceed that of any previous year.” The best defense against such radicalization, he and others say, is an informed community.

But educating Americans about the danger increasingly posed by homegrown radicals may not be easy. Some analysts have spent almost as much time denouncing the anti-Islamist group that sponsored the event in Texas as they have the two dead attackers. The Southern Poverty Law Center called Geller, a free-speech advocate who has been highly critical of Islam, an “anti-Muslim propagandist.” The ADL, too, has branded Geller’s group an organization that spreads “virulent anti-Muslim bigotry and conspiracy theories.” Many of the group’s critics have suggested that Geller’s event provoked the attack by offering $10,000 to the person who drew the best caricature of Mohammed, an offense to many pious Muslims who believe that the Koran forbids depictions of their prophet. While spokesmen for both the ADL and the Southern Poverty Law Center stress that such provocative action in no way justifies a resort to violence, both have criticized conduct by Geller as offensive to Muslims.

Geller is having none of it. Continuing to portray herself as an advocate for free speech, she denies that she is anti-Muslim, but rather “anti-jihadi” and “anti-Sharia,” a reference to Islamic law. She also defends her controversial contest in Garland, saying that it is precisely the kind of event protected by the First Amendment. “Inoffensive speech doesn’t require legal protection,” she says. “Offensive speech does.”

Free Speech Losing to Campus Thought Police

campus thought police

IPT News
April 17, 2015

Attention parents of college students across America. Apparently, your children may not be safe.

This isn’t a warning about real physical dangers on campus, from sexual assault to random shootings. Rather, some advocacy groups say college students are at risk – maybe you’d better sit down for this – of being exposed to ideas and opinions they may not like.

It’s getting so bad that this week, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) New York chapter demanded that Brooklyn College “take measures to ensure the safety of Muslim and Arab-American students” because of an upcoming speech by a harsh critic of Islam.

Pamela Geller, who has posted bus ads comparing Islamic terrorists to savages, is a polarizing figure. But her speech will be just that – a speech at a college campus. Not too long ago, such places encouraged students to “think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable.”

Now, they are increasingly being called on to sanitize debate to protect the delicate sensitivities of young adult minds.

Rather than encourage students to either skip the event entirely, or to attend and challenge Geller with questions, CAIR opted to scare students, and by extension, their parents, by darkly hinting the talk would lead to violence.

It is baseless. Yet, this is no isolated incident.

In Time magazine, journalist Asra Nomani described efforts to stop her from speaking last week at Duke University. She planned to “argue for a progressive, feminist interpretation of Islam in the world,” but that apparently was unacceptable to some on the prestigious college campus. The university initially cancelled the speech, she wrote, “after the president of the Duke chapter of the Muslim Students Association sent an email to Muslim students about my ‘views’ and me, alleging that I have a nefarious ‘alliance’ with ‘Islamophobic speakers.'”

We don’t like her. We don’t like people who might agree with her, the MSA, a group created by the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States, said. Ban her. Thankfully, Duke reversed its decision and promised it is “strongly committed to free expression and open discussion of controversial issues.” But the message to young Muslims was clear. Her words and ideas about modernizing her faith are a threat. Stay away.

Worse yet, the fuel for the students’ protest came from a Duke professor, Omid Safi, a leader of the University’s Islamic Center, who previously accused Nomani, a Muslim, of “enabling Islamophobia,” a contrived term used by radical Islamist groups, as Nomaninoted in a January Washington Post column, to intimidate people out of discussing or criticizing radical Islam.

Only nine people attended Nomani’s talk, a third of them were her immediate family members.

Writing more in disappointment than anger, Nomani said the incident exposes the need to have “a broader debate over how too many Muslims are responding to critical conversations on Islam with snubs, boycotts, and calls for censorship, exploiting feelings of conflict avoidance and political correctness to stifle debate. As a journalist for 30 years, I believe we must stand up for America’s principles of free speech and have critical conversations, especially if they make people feel uncomfortable.”

That’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

As Nomani wondered whether she would get to speak at Duke University, separate campaigns sought to cancel on-campus screenings of the film “American Sniper” atMichigan and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Michigan initially scrubbed the screening of the film profiling U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. But the university reversed itself in the face of a mounting campus backlash that grew national. The film will be re-scheduled to include a panel discussion.

“The urge to excise any sort of negative energy, thought, or feeling in and out of classrooms on campuses is widely and appallingly documented,” wrote Nick Gillespie, editor of the Libertarian-minded Reason website, before Michigan rescheduled the film. “But this latest petty capitulation on the part of feckless administrators to student demands for the ideological bubble-wrapping of education makes some of us remember when college was supposed to be a place to have conversations not stop them before they begin.”

These are all relatively small events – a speech in a campus hall, a film screening – that students can choose to attend or skip depending on their interests. There is no need for a heckler’s veto deciding for others what is an acceptable topic or who represents an acceptable speaker.

But student groups, often led by campus MSA chapters, take it upon themselves to decide what views others should be allowed to hear. In 2011, 10 people tied to the school’s Muslim Student Union (MSU) were convicted on two misdemeanor charges after orchestrating a plan to shut down a University of California, Irvine speech by then-Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren.

Emails obtained by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, and later admitted into evidence during the trial, show the MSU designed a “game plan” to shout down Oren’s speech.

“[O]ur goal should be that he knows that he cant (sic) just go to a campus and say whatever he wants,” one of the emails said. Members were advised to “push the envelope,” in order to “realize our role as the MSU of UCIrvine.”

The same student group at the same campus has repeatedly sponsored hate speech in outdoor centers of campus. Six months after the “Irvine 11” (one student was not brought to trial) were found guilty, the MSU presented a speech by Imam Abdul Malik Ali. In previous UC, Irvine speeches, Malik Ali said he supported Hamas, Hizballah and jihad and called Barack Obama a “deception” because several of his top advisers were Jews.

In 2012, he derided what he saw as an American imperialism that is driven by racist power brokers and “Zionists.”

http://www.investigativeproject.org/audio-video/embed_iframe.php?av_id=552

It’s a horrendous double standard.

The same groups trying to silence speeches by people they don’t like engage in aggressive, in-your-face demonstrations in the heart of many college campuses, making it impossible for people to choose whether they want to hear the message.

At the University of California, Berkeley, students were confronted by fake “checkpoints” during an annual “Israeli Apartheid Week” of protests. The checkpoints featured students carrying fake guns who hollered “Are you Jewish?” as they passed. One student was assaulted.

But when Berkeley invited atheist comedian/talk show host Bill Maher to speak at its winter commencement in December, more than 6,000 people signed petitions urging the invitation be rescinded. Again, the exposure to ideas they may not like was seen as a threat by some student activists.

“As the Student Regent for the University of California, I cannot stand for any action that makes our students feel unsafe, wrote Sahar Pirzada on the petition page. “Bill Maher should not be honored for his bigotry and sexism by being invited to be a speaker on our campus.”

“In a time where climate is a priority for all on campus, we cannot invite an individual who himself perpetuates a dangerous learning environment,” wrote Sadia Saifuddin. “Bill Maher’s public statements on various religions and cultures are offensive and his dangerous rhetoric has found its way into our campus communities. Too many students are marginalized by his remarks and if the University were to bring this individual as a commencement speaker they would not be supporting these historically marginalized communities.”

Dangerous rhetoric that will make students feel unsafe. Maher did speak. Plenty of people likely disagreed with some of his message, which focused on climate change and defended liberalism. No injuries were reported.

Berkeley deserves credit for sticking with its choice. Brandeis University, named for a Supreme Court justice who defended free speech, withdrew a similar invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Here is what her protesters feared hearing.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume every horrible thing critics say about speakers like Nomani, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Maher and others are absolutely right.

They have their own constituencies. They’re not going anywhere. How does it serve young people to shelter them from life’s realities – one of which is that people out there will not always, or even often, agree with you – at the very place that is supposed to prepare them for life? The better lesson would be one that protects and defends a founding American principle – the right and value of free speech.

BREAKING: New Islamic State Video Calls for Attacks on the American Homeland, Promises Another 9/11

CCRlvY0WYAA0WxP-2

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, April 11, 2015:

(video here)

At this juncture I would note the New York Times front page article on December 29th that described how America’s top war fighters, namely Special Operations Command, freely admit that they don’t understand the ideology driving ISIS and other Islamic terror groups:

WASHINGTON — Maj. Gen. Michael K. Nagata, commander of American Special Operations forces in the Middle East, sought help this summer in solving an urgent problem for the American military: What makes the Islamic State so dangerous?

Trying to decipher this complex enemy — a hybrid terrorist organization and a conventional army — is such a conundrum that General Nagata assembled an unofficial brain trust outside the traditional realms of expertise within the Pentagon, State Department and intelligence agencies, in search of fresh ideas and inspiration. Business professors, for example, are examining the Islamic State’s marketing and branding strategies.

“We do not understand the movement, and until we do, we are not going to defeat it,” he said, according to the confidential minutes of a conference call he held with the experts. “We have not defeated the idea. We do not even understand the idea.”

General Nagata’s frustration is shared by other American officials. Even as President Obama and his top civilian and military aides express growing confidence that Iraqi troops backed by allied airstrikes have blunted the Islamic State’s momentum on the ground in Iraq and undermined its base of support in Syria, other officials acknowledge they have barely made a dent in the larger, longer-term campaign to kill the ideology that animates the terrorist movement.

You can call in all the marketing executives and Harvard academics all you like, but when the Obama administration – meaning the entire U.S. government – as a matter of established policy refuses to acknowledge the ideology and intentions that our enemy publishes IN ENGLISH in the form of videos, audio recordings and magazines, and actively prohibits anyone in a government department or agency from discussing or speaking about said ideology, you really are beyond hope. And so is America.

CCQCIzkWgAAGbC9

Also see:

Would-Be Suicide Bomber Targeted Kansas Army Base

John T. Booker

John T. Booker

IPT, by Abha Shankar  •  Apr 10, 2015

A year ago, he wanted to join the U.S. Army to kill his fellow soldiers. When that didn’t work, 20-year-old John T. Booker repeatedly expressed his desire to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or commit a suicide attack in the United States on the terrorist group’s behalf.

Booker, a convert to Islam who changed his name to Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, said American soldiers are enemies to Muslims, and the Quran sanctions killing enemies anywhere.

FBI agents arrested Booker Friday morning just outside Fort Riley, a military base near Manhattan, Kan. He was driving a van loaded with what he thought was 1,000 pounds of explosives. In fact, the bomb was rendered inert by FBI agents and informants. He is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to blow up government property and providing material support to the Islamic State.

In conversations with an FBI informant, Booker repeatedly expressed his intent to kill. “I will kill any kuffar. I will follow any place … if I was with [the Islamic State] and they said look, we are going to the White House right now … I would go with them without any question,” he said in November.

He was rejected by the Army in March 2014, after someone alerted authorities to Facebook posts extolling violent jihad and expressing his desire to kill American soldiers. “I will soon be leaving you forever so goodbye! I’m going to wage jihad and hopes that I die.” In another post the same month, he said: “Getting ready to be killed in jihad is a HUGE adrenaline rush!!! I am so nervous. NOT because I’m scared to die but I am eager to meet my lord.”

Booker told FBI agents at that time he wanted to enlist “to commit an insider attack against American soldiers like Major Nidal Hassan had done at Fort Hood, Texas.”

For reasons that aren’t clear, Booker was left alone until October, when an informant started talking with him. Booker suggested several ideas for terrorist attacks, mentioning Fort Riley as an attractive target “because the post is famous and there are a lot of soldiers stationed there.”

He also said “he wanted to see the fear in the kuffar’s eyes as he pushed the button and they ran for their lives,” the criminal complaint filed Friday said.

Last month, Booker said he wanted to emulate a suicide truck bombing by an American known as “Jihadi Joe.” Booker bought supplies to make a car-bomb from a list the informants provided. He made two martyrdom videos, including one in which he gave his bayah [pledge of allegiance] to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi and urged Muslims to support them.

The other video, recorded Wednesday, shows Booker describing his 1,000-pound ammonium nitrate bomb. “Inshallah, this will kill many kuffar [nonbelievers]. This message is to you America. You sit in your homes and you think that this war is just over in Iraq . . . we today we will bring the Islamic State straight to your doorstep. You think this is just a game … when this bomb blows up and kills as many kuffar as possible, maybe then you’ll realize it.”

Agents arrested him just outside Fort Riley, at a little-used gate Booker thought would get him onto the base.

He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

Also see:

Assessment: Booker is the 21st person arrested this year in connection with terror plots on US soil on behalf of the Islamic State or having the desire to join the terrorist organization in Syria. We continue seeing the escalation of wannabe jihadists on US soil from being sympathetic to becoming actively involved. Law enforcement from the local through federal level was successful in monitoring Booker and preventing him from carrying out an actual attack. The greater issue at hand is those that are not known without any type of surveillance monitoring their activities.
For every individual that has been arrested in connection with wanting to join the Islamic State or Al Qaeda there are 5 to 10, possibly more, that are unknown and therefore the most dangerous threat to US security. The public and particularly family members need to pay close attention to what their friends or family are getting involved. Years ago we used to teach our kids to stay away from bad influences. Jihadist movements are about as bad of an influence as they can come in contact.
The US government needs to put out public service announcements that are actually effective in deterring people from being susceptible to or joining radical Islamic movements such as Islamic State. In multiple articles we have published we have pointed out the dangers of homegrown terrorist threats on US soil as well as in countries of origin of other wannabe jihadists. This threat continues to grow and will morph and become more problematic if steps are not taken to curtail it now. Each year since 2013 we’ve seen the numbers of jihadists from the US and other western nations growing.
The US government and local community leaders need to be more proactive in engaging the local mosques to get those leaders to engage in moderation of their messages and reach out to wayward youth that may be susceptible to jihadist recruitment methodology. Federal and local law enforcement and intelligence need to have close coordination with the military to ensure potential future attacks are also thwarted.Military personnel need to maintain a high level of vigilance in and around military facility entrances in particular.

As we have seen in numerous other incidents involving lone wolf style attacks or wannabe lone wolves they have been recent converts. These are people that have converted to Islam within the past three years. While this isn’t always the case it is a frequent indicator. Many of them have been at least somewhat vocal in their desire to join in jihad in Syria or Iraq or to conduct an attack on US soil. They either talk to others about it or have blatantly posted about it on social media like Facebook.

Another American Charged With Attempted Islamic State Support

Joshua Ray Van Haften

Joshua Ray Van Haften

IPT, Apr 9, 2015

A 34-year-old man from Madison, Wisc. was arrested Wednesday and charged with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Joshua Ray Van Haften‘s arrest at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport marks at least the 11th case of Americans charged with trying to join or help the Islamic State in 2015.

Van Haften has been in custody in Turkey since October, however, and his criminal complaint remained sealed until he was sent back to the United States.

According to an FBI affidavit, Van Haften wanted to travel to into Syria via Turkey to wage jihad with ISIL forces. Turkey’s 248-mile open border with Syria provides an attractive point of entry for several jihadi wannabes seeking to join the Islamic State.

Van Haften posted and “liked” radical comments on his Facebook page, the affidavit said. While in Turkey last October, he posted, “It’s calling, I can smell it’s [sic] perfume! Allah!!!” The post linked to a “Tour of Jannah Paradise video” by now-deceased radical Yemeni cleric Anwar al Awlaki. The video “describes what paradise looked like for worthy Muslims who went there in the afterlife.” Awlaki’s teachings have inspiredseveral Westerners to wage terrorist attacks.

Van Haften was also Facebook “friends” with extremists, including Adouw At-Taghout who lived in Raqqah, Syria, an ISIL stronghold. At-Taghout posted a photo showing the Islamic State’s beheading of American journalist James Foley. Haften commented on the post: “Yet, their cursed secular laws are worse than the laws of Islam, and they want to say Shari’ah is worse than their secular laws. A bunch of morons sucking on melons … If the goddam Americans and sons of satan, Israeil [sic] wanna mutilate the dead, s*** we get an eye for an eye fool. Grow a set of nuts! Climb that f***in tree and getcha some.”

Van Haften left for Turkey last August but ran out money and his jihadi handlers abandoned him before he could meet up with the Islamic State. He complained in a Facebook post: “And all the boys supposed to help me wanted money too! And I didn’t have anything left as the man who was supposed to help me cross for free as he supposedly help those on the path to mujahideen wanted my last lira. So when these young brothers took me into the country dropped me off telling me someone was gonna come & I waited 3 hours with no one showing up in the middle of nowhere.” Another man who was “totally against Dawlah” [a reference to the Islamic State], helped fund Haften’s way back into Turkey.

If convicted, Van Haften could face a maximum 15-year prison sentence.

2015: What Jihadists Will Try to Achieve in the Upcoming Year

At a Shiite election rally, a car bomb explodes in Iraq. (Photo: © Reuters)

At a Shiite election rally, a car bomb explodes in Iraq. (Photo: © Reuters)

From manufacturing an oil crisis to Iran’s nuclear aspirations and lone-wolf attacks, jihadists will be looking to exploit our weaknesses.

Clarion Project, By Ryan Mauro, Dec. 28, 2014:

5The Bergdahl-Sony Effect

The West will have to contend with two lessons it taught adversaries in 2014: The U.S. negotiates with terrorists and the U.S. government and private sector will cave to threats.

The U.S. negotiated a prisoner release with the Taliban where five high-level Taliban terrorists were released in exchange for a kidnapped U.S. soldier named Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl who deserted and may have even tried to join the enemy side. Taliban chief Mullah Omar hailed the deal as a “huge accomplishment” that “reassures us that our aspirations are on the verge of fulfillment.”

Watch Clarion’s Ryan Mauro speak on “Top Terror Threats of 2015”

 

Interview-Cancelled-350x175Hollywood reinforced the dangerous appeasement when movie theaters caved to threats from hackers linked to North Korea and refused to show The Interview, a comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. Sony then cancelled the film’s release.

In addition, showings of Team America, another comedy that pokes fun at North Korea, were shut down. A planned thriller film with a storyline related to North Korea was cancelled, even though the hackers never threatened a response to it or even mentioned it.

After public outrage reached a fever pitch and President Obama said Sony made a mistake, the decision was reversed. The Interview was released in limited theaters and online on Christmas as planned, but the damage was done.

In 2015, the West’s enemies will be implementing these lessons.

 

4 (1)Iran Outmaneuvers America

The International Atomic Energy Agency confirms that Iran is still not fully disclosing its nuclear program, yet the negotiations and sanctions relief has been extended for another six months. The U.S. even admits privately that Iran is breaking the interim nuclear deal, while the Secretary of State publicly praises Iran’s so-called “compliance.”

The Iranian regime is using negotiations as part of a long-term strategy to develop nuclear weapons capabilities, with the most incriminating work probably being outsourced to North Korea.

Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader

Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader

A senior adviser to Supreme Leader Khamenei even said the regime’s strategy is “elongation” and it doesn’t actually want a finalized deal.

In 2015, Iran will continue this strategy to advance its nuclear program and lead the West into missing an extremely important opportunity to pressure the regime financially. At the same time, Iran will win investments from European companies to assist the economy and shield Iran from effective sanctions in the future.

Iran will continue to sponsor terrorism, including Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and try to heal rifts with Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood.

 

3 (2)Oil Crisis

The decline of oil prices is boosting the American economy and technological advances will reduce U.S. energy dependence. These oil prices are very dangerous for Iran, the Syrian regime, Venezuela, Russia and other hostile regimes.

These governments need the price of oil to spike up to sustain their budgets. The Iranian regime is undoubtedly infuriated with the Saudis for refusing to decrease oil production and has threatened an oil price war previously.

Oil-Rig-Midland-Texas-IP-350x319Iran’s proxies have successfully captured the capital of Yemen, defeating Saudi Arabia’s allies. In 2012, Iran launched a major cyber attack on Saudi Aramco and a natural gas company in Qatar. The Saudis claim the hackers tried to halt oil and natural gas production. The Iranian hackers continue to attack U.S. businesses, energy firms, defense contractors and universities.

In 2015, the low price of oil will maximize the incentives for Iran and other hostile governments to instigate conflict or to even attack Middle Eastern and American energy infrastructure.

 

2 (1)The Expansion of Terror Safe Havens

Next year, Islamist terrorists will have growing opportunities to regain the safe havens they lost since 2001 and to expand their current bases.

The Islamic State announced in November that it had expanded from Iraq and Syria into Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. It killed eight Shiites in Saudi Arabia and shot a citizen of Denmark in Riyadh. At least 60 jihadist groups in 30 countries have expressed solidarity with the Islamic State.

Syria is the brightest prospect for the jihadists.

The Iran-backed Assad regime is winning on the battlefield but has severe weaknesses that will only get worse next year like the regime’s bankruptcy, collapsing infrastructure and lack of manpower. The regime cut subsidies that are essential for maintaining support from its constituencies.

The low oil price will drastically undermine support from Iran and Russia, as well. A Syrian trade official recently admitted that the regime would have fallen without Iranian financial aid.

The U.S.-backed rebels have been ripped to shreds by the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria. The country is being described as “a patchwork of warring fiefdoms” and “total chaos” is being predicted for 2015. The chances are high that the civil war will spread to Lebanon in a major way.

The often-overlooked civil war continues to rage in Libya where Islamist militias are making gains in eastern Libya against secular forces. The Islamic State conquered the city of Derna and has erected training camps with an estimated 200 terrorists.

The Libyan civil war could spread into neighboring Tunisia and Algeria. The Libyan secularists are scoring some victories in western Libya and Tunisia is sealing border crossings. The new anti-Islamist government of Tunisia is destined for a showdown with Islamist militias like Ansar al-Sharia.

Yemen is also a grand opportunity for jihadists. The Iranian-backed Houthis have captured the capital of Sanaa and is advancing in the central and southern parts of the country, battling Al-Qaeda and other Sunni fighters along the way. This could become a repeat of Syria very shortly.

In Egypt, the military is battling an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula. The Islamic State is expanding there and Al-Qaeda’s affiliate there could potentially bounce back from major losses. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas could join the fight as the Egyptian government tries to dismantle political Islam.

In Afghanistan, the U.S. has pledged to end the official combat mission at the end of this year and reduce U.S. troop levels down to 9,800. The remaining forces will leave by 2016. The Afghan Taliban is making gains in Helmand Province since the U.S. handed security over to the Afghan security forces, but the Afghan forces deserve credit for stopping the Taliban from seizing a single district there.

A secret group of dozens of students backing the Islamic State has arisen in Afghanistan and expressions of support for the Islamic State are being seen in neighboring Pakistan. The Islamic State could also win over hardline elements of the Afghan Taliban opposed to negotiated settlements with the elected government.

The Clarion Project has seen numerous online statements by Islamic State members and supporters enthusiastically talking about replicating in Afghanistan the success they have enjoyed in Iraq once U.S. forces depart Afghanistan.

Islamist terrorists could also become stronger in Central Asia due to jihadists returning from Syria, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and an apparent rise in support for Islamism, as evidenced by the rise of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Kyrgyzstan has thwarted attacks by terrorists who returned from Syria and sought to spark an insurgency there.

In December, a terrorist group called the Caucasus Emirate attacked the city of Grozny in Chechnya and killed 14 police officers. The Emirate’s Dagestan section then released a videotape declaring allegiance to the Islamic State, even though the emir of the overall group endorsed Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.

1Homegrown Terror

The unfortunate reality is that a homegrown terrorist attack on U.S. soil is all but certain in 2015.

There were at least six Islamism-inspired acts of terrorism on U.S. soil in 2014, with the murder of two New York Police Department officers being the latest. At least 14 Americans have been intercepted on their way to join the Islamic State, with the most recent cases being a mother in Virginia and a Chicago man with his two teenage siblings.

New-York-Two-Cops-Killed-IP-300x158It is believed that over 100 Americans have joined jihadist groups in Syria with otherestimates as high as 300. The FBI ismonitoring about 150 Americans who have returned from Syria for possible terrorist links.

The Islamic State has inspired a new generation of homegrown terrorists and a study found that the number of Salafist jihadists has doubled since 2010. The number of individual Salafist jihadist groups has doubled since 2001 and the number of attacks has tripled since 2010. The State Department likewise calculated a 40% rise in attacks in 2013 and a 60% rise in fatalities from terrorism.

Based on these trends, it is safe to say that Islamist terrorism will dominate the headlines throughout 2015 as it did for most of 2014.

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio.

The Terrorist Attack in Australia: Coming to a Theater Near You

by Steven Emerson
IPT News
December 15, 2014

1102This article originally was published by Foxnews.com.

The violent conclusion to the Australian hostage taking terrorist siege was inevitable. The terrorist  was killed as the Sydney police swat team stormed the café. Even though two hostages were killed, the Sydney police had no choice but to act. After a siege lasting nearly 17 hours, police had good reason to believe that the self-anointed “Sheik” Haron Monis was going to make good on his threat to detonate the bombs he claimed to have unless his demands were met.

There had been an open line between a police hostage negotiator with the terrorist for much of that time but with up to 10 hostages remaining captive, it was feared that the terrorist was going to become a suicide bomber and thus kill everyone in the café. The Sydney police are now involved in investigating and reconstructing the time line of entire incident. But there is no doubt that the Australian police saved the lives of many more hostages.

There should be no doubt that this was a pure act of Islamic terrorism despite ludicrous assertions by some commentators that his “motivations” were unknown. We will see all sorts of “explanations” that because his rap sheet included indictments for sexual assault and murder, he was not really an Islamic terrorist but someone who was simply mentally unstable. Well, the same rationale could be said for all terrorists. After all, who in their right mind would want to kill innocent civilians because of their religious beliefs?

Islamic extremists do. And to deny their radical Islamic motivation—as our own government has done repeatedly in refusing to classify Islamic terrorist attacks as such as in the case of the massacre carried out by Major Nidal Hassan—is a guarantee that such acts will continue to be perpetuated especially by lone wolf terrorists. Australian police are investigating to determine if Monis acted alone or whether he acted in concert with other Islamic extremists or even at the behest of ISIS itself.

Last month, Monis pledged his allegiance to ISIS and renounced his Shiite heritage in an online posting that since has been taken down. Our organization, the Investigative Project on Terrorism, retrieved the page and translated it. Monis wrote:

“Pledge of allegiance [to ISIS] of Sheikh Haron”

“Allegiance with Allah and His Messenger, and the Commander of the Faithful – I pledge allegiance to Allah and His Messenger and the Caliph of the Muslims”

“Praise be to Allah and prayers and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and all his companions, and those who follow them and peace be upon the Commander of the Faithful, the Caliph of the Muslims, the Imam of our current era, and praise be to Allah, who made for us a Caliph of the Earth and an imam who summons us to Islam and holds fast to the Rope of Allah Almighty and praise be to Allah that I have had the honor to pledge allegiance to the Imam of our time. Those who swear allegiance to the Caliph of the Muslims are just swearing allegiance to Allah and His Messenger….”

His website also contained rants against the Australian government for their involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Australian intelligence was aware of Monis early on and had an extensive file on him based on his prior radical Islamic activities in Australia and electronic surveillance of his communications with Islamic terrorists overseas.

The terrorist incident in Sydney certainly indicates parallels with the calls for individually driven terrorist attacks by Islamic radicals throughout the West. These calls grew in prominence with Inspire magazine, put out by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) led by Anwar Al-Awlaki until he was killed by a U.S. drone. In calling for Muslims living in western countries to carry out lone wolf terrorist attacks, ISIS has copied the same playbook as AQAP in calling for local attacks whenever and where ever possible. These attacks are happening all over the world now, especially fueled beyond the Internet by the rise of social media which has pushed the message of Islamic terrorism virtually as fast as the speed of light. In the past two years alone, there have been more than 100 attempted or successful ISIS inspired Islamic terrorist attacks in Europe and the United State From Belgium to France to Oklahoma City, no place is immune from Islamic terrorism, whether it be from returning ISIS veterans or just those radical Muslims living in the West who are motivated to carry out attacks.

Moreover, it is a lethal mistake for western leaders to differentiate ISIS from other Islamic terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hizballah, Boko Haram, or Al Shabaab. Those Islamic terrorist groups are motivated by the same underlying motivations behind ISIS: to kill as many of their infidel enemies as possible and impose Islamic supremacy. The only difference is that ISIS has declared itself to be a global caliphate; the other groups are focused on becoming regional caliphates. But their genocidal agenda and tactics are no different than those of ISIS. The only reason Hamas has not been as successful as ISIS in killing its infidel enemies is that Israel has been able to stop Hamas from carrying out acts of mass murder, even though Hamas tried this past summer when it launched more than 6,000 rockets and missiles at Israel in an effort to kill as many civilians as possible. Nigeria on the other hand has been unable to stop the horrific successful attacks by Boko Haram in which more than 300 Nigerians have been slaughtered in the past year alone.

Australian intelligence agencies probably had the best handle on the domestic threat by Islamic extremists as evidenced by their successful interruption of major plots in the past year. Those plots included a plan to behead Australian civilians and a conspiracy to bomb Australian targets. But those were plots planned by conspiracies of multiple extremists. Today’s incident, however, shows the difficulties of stopping lone wolf attacks. What we are witnessing is not the rise of radical Islam. It is only an extension of the rise of radical Islam unleashed by the 9/11 attacks. The difference is that this phase is not directed by centralized organizations. Islamic terrorism has now become decentralized, creating a new challenge for western intelligence agencies. It creates extraordinary pressure to come up with new methods to monitor internal threats which are also a technical challenge as it means monitoring meta data of social media. But the most dangerous and counterproductive act would be to deny that Islamic terrorist attacks are what they are: Islamic terrorist attacks.

Steven Emerson is executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism and the executive producer of a new documentary about the Muslim Brotherhood in America “Jihad in America: the Grand Deception.”