Stop ISIS by Sending in Comedians??

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The Gorka Briefing, by Dr. Sebastian Gorka, April, 13, 2016:

Bono was in Washington telling lawmakers to fight ISIS by sending in the clowns – comedians such as Amy Schumer, Borat and Chris Rock. I hope they’re going to have Delta Force and JSOP protecting them, or their comedy skit won’t last long. I was on Sirius XM Patriot Radio talking with Stephen Bannon about this and other issues.

MORE:

U2 singer Bono tells Congress comedy can help in fight against extremists (Los Angeles Times)

British rock star Bono showed up Tuesday on Capitol Hill to plead for more money for refugees — and to offer a novel suggestion on how to fight violent extremists.

Bono said comedy should be used to help defang extremists sowing chaos in the Middle East and driving millions of families from their homes.

“When you laugh at them when they are goose-stepping down the street, you take away their power,” he told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee.

To counter the propaganda of extremists and totalitarian regimes, Bono suggested the Senate “send in” Amy Schumer, Chris Rock and the actor behind the character Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen. . . . (read more)

Dr. Sebastian Gorka: ‘Lone Wolf,’ ‘Violent Extremism’ Are Vague Terms Designed to ‘Make the Average Voter Stupid’ About Threat of Jihad (Breitbart National Security)

Dr. Sebastian Gorka, National Security editor for Breitbart News and author of the new book Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, joined host Stephen K. Bannon on Wednesday’s edition of Breitbart News Daily to talk about the security challenges posed by the great Middle Eastern migration to the West.

Gorka did not think much of rock singer Bono’s suggestion to defeat ISIS by sending comedians Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, and Sacha Baron Cohen to “laugh at them while they are goose-stepping down the street” to “take away their power.”

“Well, I hope they’re gonna have Delta Force and JSOP protecting them, because they’re gonna get beheaded,” Gorka said of this bizarre proposal. “They put their foot on ISIS caliphate territory, and they’re dead, because they’re infidels.”

“I don’t think Bono understands: we are infidels, including him in his bulletproof little bubble,” Gorka continued. “He’s actually a worse kind of infidel, because he’s ‘infecting’ the Muslim world with his culture. He really doesn’t get it.”

He pointed out that the “bulletproof bubble” idea is important to understanding where the elites are coming from, because they’re literally out of touch with the effects of mass migration, while the common citizens of Western nations enjoy no such protection. “These people are the hard targets. They’ve got their armed security personnel, they’ve got their SUVs, they’ve got their private jets. Of course he’s gonna say, ‘Let’s have a concert, let’s have a comedian, and that’s gonna solve it all.’”

“If the people you’re talking to see you as people to be enslaved or killed, then you just don’t understand it. You’re in an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ fantasy world. The President and Bono included,” Gorka said.

He warned this willful blindness among Western political and cultural elites is causing us to lose the war against jihad, saying he couldn’t even see giving post-9/11 America an “F” grade on its response. “We get an incomplete,” he said. “We are not even on the battlefield. When you look at the ideology, you look at how they’re recruiting.”

He noted that 2015 saw “the highest incidence of jihadi plots on U.S. soil since September the 11th.”

“The day before San Bernardino, both the Commander-in-Chief and Secretary Kerry said, ‘We are winning, ISIS is contained,’” Gorka recalled. “Well, you know what? I guess the jihadis didn’t get the memo, because they are winning. They’re taking territory, they’re recruiting upwards of 80,000 jihadis, and look at Brussels, look at Paris.”

Gorka said President Obama’s occasional photo ops at locations like CIA headquarters could not conceal the fact that “he’s not into national security.”

“He just is not interested. You look at the body language, the verbiage he uses – it doesn’t excite him. He wants to be a celebrity on the golf course, or at the fundraisers for the DNC. That’s what excites this man,” Gorka continued.

He said the Administration’s preference for vague euphemisms for Islamist terrorism was part of a concerted effort to “keep you stupid.”

“Lone wolf, violent extremism – that’s designed to make the average voter stupid, so you don’t understand the threat, so that you disconnect the dots,” he charged. “These are people who will not talk truth to this enemy, because they do not believe in the existence of evil.”

“If you don’t believe in the existence of objective truth, you cannot believe in evil, and they will never call our enemies evil,” Gorka explained. “We don’t even use the word ‘enemy’ today. Think about that. We don’t use the word ‘enemy’ as a government.”

Having worked extensively with law enforcement and counter-terrorist officials, Gorka testified that “all of those guys get it,” describing them as angered by “institutional political correctness.”

“We need to change the leadership, but it’s the political appointees, it’s the brainwashed young Schedule C guys and girls in D.C.,” who present the major obstacle to winning the war against jihad, in Gorka’s estimation.

“We have operators that get it, and they’re angry, and they’re frustrated. We have to help them and enable them, because we will win this war,” he declared, recalling Ronald Reagan’s often-quoted strategy for handling Russia in the Cold War: We win, they lose.

Gorka said victory would require a commitment from every American, including civilians. “Your role starts with educating yourself, educating your loved ones, and educating your neighbors at the barbecue this weekend. You need to understand the enemy,” he urged, offering his book, and his Gorka Briefing website, as educational resources.

At TheGorkaBriefing.com, he said visitors will find free downloadable copies of “the enemy’s books, the books on jihad, from Qutb, Malik, Azzam, Ayman al-Zawahiri.” Gorka urged the audience to “listen to them, read them, understand the threat, and educate yourself so we can win this war.”

Looking back at the intense, coordinated political and strategic effort needed to contain communism, Gorka said he realized the “sad truth,” during his early days as a Defense Department employee, that “we cannot win this war with the current system we have.”

He warned that presently only “outsiders” to government power, like himself, are talking about the true nature of the jihadi threat, a situation he compared to Winston Churchill’s status as a lonely, easily-dismissed voice warning of the growing Axis menace before World War II.

Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00AM to 9:00AM EST.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka Recalls Homeland Security Official Citing 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing As Evidence of the ‘Real’ Terrorist Threat (Breitbart National Security)

During his Wednesday appearance on Breitbart News Daily with host Stephen K. Bannon, Dr. Sebastian Gorka recalled an incident that perfectly captures our government’s institutional blindness to the threat of jihad.

“I go out to a capital of one of our great states. I get given, by the local P.D., eight hours to explain the mind of jihadis, to state and local law enforcement,” he began. “And I do the data dump – the stuff I do at Bragg, the stuff I do for the Marines. Eight hours of ‘what does the enemy believe, and what’s it going to take to defeat him?’”
“After eight hours of delivering it, a young, pretty girl comes up to me. She’s clearly not a LEO, she’s not a law enforcement officer,” he continued. And she says, ‘Dr. Gorka, you’re clearly very clever, but I really disagree with most of your analysis. Because I am from the Department of Homeland Security’ – and she gives me her card, and she says, ‘You do know that the primary threat to these officers, and to America, is from right-wing extremists and militias.’”

Astounded that she could have retained this view after listening to eight hours of contrary information, Gorka asked, “Really? Could you give me one example of a threat, of a plot as significant as San Bernardino, or the Boston bombing?”

Her reply, after a bit of fidgeting and stammering, was to offer Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing – which, as Gorka noted, occurred twenty-one years ago.

“I’m an American now, and I believe in this nation, and although I’ve got Hungarian blood, I have to be optimistic,” Gorka told Bannon. “The guys I work with are not this woman. If you’re going to the Eighteen Alphas, to the Green Berets, to the special agents in the FBI, to the Marines who deploy to Iraq – if you look at our local, state law enforcement – all of those guys get it. They get it, and they’re angry at the institutional political correctness you discussed.”

***

Dr. Gorka was on Hannity last night with Bo Dietl – a must watch!

Many more interviews at thegorkabriefing.com 

Would Iraqis want help from a country they don’t trust?

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Constitution, by Joe Scudder, April 11, 2016:

Don’t the Iraqis want help in combating ISIS? Many probably do. But watch this news report and notice the anomalies.

Does this seem strange to you? ISIS has invaded Iraq, carved out a portion of its territory, and committed mass atrocities. Yet  has to make a sudden trip to make sure that are going to keep fighting. Why should a politician from thousands of miles away have to go make sure that the Iraqis are willing to fight such an immediate threat? Do they not understand what ISIS is?

No, according to a State Department report, they understand ISIS. ABC News reports,

The Iraqi public, the report says, is “keenly aware of [ISIS’s] true nature” and the polling showed that “nearly all Iraqis have unfavorable views of [ISIS] and oppose its goals and tactics, with no significant variation across religious sects and ethnic groups.”

So they hate ISIS as they should. The problem is that they don’t trust the United States.

Despite the United States spending billions of dollars and spilling American blood in the fight against ISIS, as many as one third of Iraqis believed as recently as last fall that the U.S. “supports terrorism in general or ISIL [ISIS] specifically,” according to a recent U.S. State Department report. Forty percent of the country said the U.S. is purposefully “working to destabilize Iraq and control its natural resources.”

The figures come from State Department polling cited in a State Inspector General report that was published online last week. The report, which used data from October to November 2015, focused on how well the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was implementing the sixth of nine directives from the Obama White House’s strategy to counter ISIS, namely, “Exposing [ISIS’s] True Nature.” While the report found that the embassy was working diligently to counter ISIS’s messaging, mostly with America’s own information about coalition military victories, the White House directive didn’t exactly apply as written.

I’ll leave the accusation about the U.S. wanting to control Iraq’s resources alone. I don’t know that it is true even though I think the Iraqis cannot be blamed for believing it, even if it is false.  What about the U.S. supporting terrorism?

That is exactly what we did in Libya under the leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The Iraqis aren’t being fools. They are simply reading the news.

Consider this recent post from the Ron Paul Institute: “US Delivers 3,000 Tons of Weapons And Ammo To Al-Qaeda & Co in Syria.”

It reads in part,

US and Turkey supported “rebels” took part in the recent attack on Tal al-Eis against Syrian government forces which was launched with three suicide bombs by al-Qaeda in Syria. This was an indisputable breaking of the ceasefire agreement between Russia and the US It is very likely that some of the weapons and ammunition the US delivered in December were used in this attack.

Millions of rifle, machine-gun and mortar shots, thousands of new light and heavy weapons and hundreds of new anti-tank missiles were delivered by the US. Neither Turkey nor Jordan use such weapons of Soviet providence. These weapons are going to Syria where, as has been reported for years by several independent sources, half of them go directly to al-Qaeda.

No wonder the Iraqis don’t want help from us. They think we’re a major source of their problem.

Do we really want the government increasing our taxes and debt to interfere in that part of the world? What has it purchased for us so far?

Joe Scudder is the “nom de plume” (or “nom de guerre”) of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

ISIS Genocide against ‘People of the Book’ — How Long Will Kerry Continue to Talk around It?

John Kerry

National Review, by Nina Shea, March 16, 2016:

For five months, the State Department has indicated that Iraq’s Yazidi community should be declared a target of ISIS genocide but meanwhile has been less sure about ISIS’s intentions toward Middle East Christians. Tomorrow is Secretary John Kerry’s congressional deadline for officially determining whether Christians, along with the Yazidis and possibly others, face genocide by ISIS. Insisting that department lawyers need a little more time to struggle with the evidence, Kerry promises his decision soon, if not this week.

This shouldn’t be a hard case. Few groups have publicized their brutality toward Christians in real time and in technicolor as ISIS has. Christians, among others, have been declared genocide victims by Pope Francis, the EU Parliament, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and the U.S. House of Representatives, in a bipartisan, unanimous vote on March 14, in the heat of election season.

All along, the State Department has demonstrated that it is not just being abundantly cautious and slow in ruling that the atrocities against Christians is genocide but that it is simply unwilling to use that designation specifically for Christians. Rather than carefully reviewing the evidence, as it claims, it has ignored it.

For months, State officials claimed they lacked facts about the Christians and then did nothing about it. Rather than follow the precedent of Secretary Colin Powell, who collected evidence for determining genocide in Darfur, Kerry refrained from dispatching fact finders in the case of the Middle Eastern Christians. When some 30 Christian leaders wrote on December 4 to request an opportunity to brief Kerry, he failed to answer. With only a month remaining until its March deadline, State Department officials asked the Knights of Columbus, which had been running TV spots on the Christian genocide, to prepare a written report of the facts. Before it was even completed, those same officials, meeting with Iraqi Chaldean Catholic leaders, told them that a genocide determination for Iraqi Christians was not in the offing. State suggested that terms such as “persecution,” “ethnic cleansing,” or “crimes against humanity” — terms that carry less moral and legal weight — be used instead.

The Knights on March 9 presented their weighty, 300-page report, based in part on a fact-finding mission that used the Darfur fact-finders’ questionnaire. The Knights list over a thousand instances of ISIS’s deliberately massacring, killing, torturing, enslaving, kidnapping, or raping Christians. This catalogue of horrors, however, may still not be enough.

Genocide is a crime of intent, and State Department officials, overlooking such ISIS declarations as “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women,” have had trouble determining whether ISIS aims to destroy all or part of the Christian communities in its territory and is thereby committing genocide as defined in the United Nations’ Genocide Convention. State’s troubles may be explained in part by its reliance on a 30-page trip report of the Holocaust Museum’s office of genocide prevention. That report finds that ISIS, far from intending to destroy Iraqi and Syrian Christian communities, respects them as “People of the Book,” and seeks to peacefully coexist them.

The report takes at face value ISIS’s claims of a jizya option, as does the State Department in its annual religious-freedom report for 2015. The museum report uncritically asserts that “IS specifically notes that its treatment of the Yezidis differs from its treatment of ahl al kitab, the ‘people of the book,’ Christians and Jews, who had the option of paying the jizya (tax) to avoid conversion or death.”

The museum report repeats such ISIS claims and lets them stand unchallenged. Purporting to quote ISIS fighters on why they reject a Mosul Christian’s attempt to stay and pay the jizya — “we wanted to meet with your priests and they said no” — the report neglects to give the Church’s side of the story. It gives the impression that ISIS gave Iraq’s Christians a reasonable deal but that Christian leaders refused it and therefore have themselves to blame.

That conclusion is reinforced in another passage in the museum report: “It is unknown whether Christians who were given the option to pay a jizya or leave, instead of convert or face death, would still be given this option should they return now.” This speculation, of course, is preposterous. ISIS doesn’t respect Christians. It beheads or enslaves them. The museum report is compromised by its failure ever to present the viewpoint of Christian leaders.

Also see:

Kerry Having ‘Additional Evaluation’ Done to Decide if Slaughter of Mideast Christians is Genocide

156021_0002By Terence P. Jeffrey | February 24, 2016:

(CNSNews.com) – Secretary of State John Kerry told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of State and Foreign Assistance today that he is having an “additional evaluation” done to help him determine whether the systematic murder of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East—at the hands of the Islamic State and others—should be declared “genocide.”

“I will make a decision on it as soon as I have that additional evaluation and we will proceed forward from there,” Kerry said.

Kerry was responding to a question put to him by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R.-Neb.), who is the sponsor of a resolution that would declare on behalf of Congress that it is in fact genocide.

The resolution expresses “the sense of Congress that those who commit or support atrocities against Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities, including Yezidis, Turkmen, Sabea-Mandeans, Kaka‘e, and Kurds, and who target them specifically for ethnic or religious reasons, are committing, and are hereby declared to be committing, ‘war crimes,’ ‘crimes against humanity,’ and ‘genocide.’”

As a preface to his question, Fortenberry told Kerry about a young Syrian man who had been murdered by jihadists after refusing to renounce his Christian faith.

“I had the extraordinary privilege of being in the room with Pope Francis when he, in a very powerful moment, was given a small cross, a Christian crucifix,” said Fortenberry. “That crucifix had belonged to a young Syrian man who had been captured by the jihadists, and he was told to choose: Convert or die. And he chose his ancient faith tradition. He chose Christ, and he was beheaded.”

“His mother was able to recover the body, recover this cross, and bury him,” said Fortenberry. “She fled to Austria, which set the stage for this moment which I witnessed.”

“Mr. Secretary, this is repeating itself over and over and over again against Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities in the region,” said Fortenberry.

“What I’m urging here today,” said Fortenberry, “is that you use the authority and power of your office to call this genocide, to help restore the rich tapestry of the ancient faith traditions in the Middle East, to stop this assault on human dignity and civilization itself.”

Kerry said he is now considering declaring the targeting of Middle East Christians and other religious minorities in the region a genocide.

But, Kerry said, he has asked for “further evalution” to be done before he makes a final decision.

“I share just a huge sense of revulsion over these acts, obviously,” Kerry said. “None of us have ever seen anything like it in our lifetimes. Although, obviously, if you go back to the Holocaust, the world has seen it.

“We are currently doing what I have to do, which is review very carefully the legal standards and precedents for whatever judgment is made,” he said.

“I can tell you we are doing that,” he said. “I have had some initial recommendations made to me. I have asked for some further evaluation. And I will make a decision on this. And I will make a decision on it as soon as I have that additional evaluation and we will proceed forward from there.”

Here is the transcript of the exchange between Fortenberry and Kerry:

Fortenberry: Mr. Secretary, I had the extraordinary privilege of being in the room with Pope Francis when he, in a very powerful moment, was given a small cross, a Christian crucifix. That crucifix had belonged to a young Syrian man who had been captured by the jihadists, and he was told to choose: Convert or die. And he chose his ancient faith tradition. He chose Christ, and he was beheaded.

His mother was able to recover the body, recover this cross, and bury him. And she fled to Austria, which set the stage for this moment which I witnessed.

Mr. Secretary, this is repeating itself over and over and over again against Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities in the region. In 2004, Colin Powell, when he was secretary of state, came before Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and I believe you served on that committee at that point, and declared what was happening in Darfur to be a genocide.

There are 200 members of Congress in a bi-partisan fashion, we’ve put our names on a resolution that is forthcoming that declares this genocide. There is a growing international consensus in this regard. The European Parliament has passed something similar. The U.S. Catholic Bishops, Pope Francis has spoken out, Hillary Clinton has called it such, Marco Rubio, the international association of genocide scholars.

I want a note as well a word of thanks to you and President Obama for the quick action on Mount Sinjar that actually saved the lives of women and children, countless persons who would have been wiped out and victimized.

So, what I’m urging here today is that you use the authority and power of your office to call this genocide, to help restore the rich tapestry of the ancient faith traditions in the Middle East, to stop this assault on human dignity and civilization itself. And to set potentially the conditions that we are all hoping and praying for that re-establishes stability and reintegration of these ancient faith traditions into the fabric of the communities in the Middle East entirely.

I think the stability, the future stability, of the entire region depends upon this.

Kerry: Well again Congressman thank you for a very moving and eloquent description of the problem. And I appreciate, you were lucky to be in that room to witness that, and I certainly appreciate your reactions to it. And I share just a huge sense of revulsion over these acts, obviously. None of us have ever seen anything like it in our lifetimes. Although, obviously, if you go back to the Holocaust, the world has seen it.

We are currently doing what I have to do, which is review very carefully the legal standards and precedents for whatever judgment is made. I can tell you we are doing that. I have had some initial recommendations made to me. I have asked for some further evaluation. And I will make a decision on this. And I will make a decision on it as soon as I have that additional evaluation and we will proceed forward from there.

I understand how compelling it is. Christians have been moved in many parts now of the Middle East, I might add. This is not just in Syria, but in other places there has been an increased forced evacuation and displacement, which is equally disturbing, though it’s not—you know, they aren’t killing them in that case, but it’s a removal, and a cleansing ethnically and religiously, which is deeply disturbing. So we are very much focused on this. And, as I say, I will make a judgement soon.

Fortenberry: They have taken the conditions for life as well as life away from Christians, Yazidis, and religious minorities. And I bring up the declaration by former Secretary of State Colin Powell to demonstrate the power that the declaration actually has, because in doing so he helped put a stop to that grim reality there in Darfur.

I know you share deep sympathies in this regard. I just urge you, and plead with you, partner with us. There is a growing consensus that this is not only true and real but I think, again, it sets the condition for whatever the future settlement we have to have.

***

Watch this powerful video put out by Center for Security Policy. And be sure to check out their new website counterJihad.com

The End of Christianity in the Middle East?

Obama’s Syria Non-Strategy is Imploding

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CSP, by Fred Fleitz, Feb. 16, 2016:

Secretary of State John Kerry got the headline he was looking for last week when the press reported that the United States and Russia agreed on a cease-fire in Syria that would allow the delivery of food and humanitarian aid.

Kerry actually said a “cessation of hostilities” had been agreed to, not a cease-fire.  Kerry also referred to this development as a “pause” in hostilities that would begin in one week “after consultations with Syrian parties.”

Kerry’s careful wording reflected the reality that the Syrian government and Syrian rebels have yet to accept this agreement.  Kerry also omitted another glaring problem with this so-called cessation of hostilities: it will not apply to Russian air strikes.

The reason for this is that the agreement excludes attacks on ISIS and the al Qaeda-backed al-Nusra Front because they are terrorist groups.  Russia is using this exception to justify continuing its bombing of other Syrian rebel groups by falsely claiming they are terrorists.

President Obama objected to Russia’s position by issuing a statement on Sunday calling on Moscow to cease “its air campaign against moderate opposition forces in Syria.”

The cease-fire agreement was the latest in a series of diplomatic initiatives by the Obama administration to make it appear that it is doing something about the Syria crisis.  The agreement was in response to the stalled peace process begun by Kerry last fall that produced a vague outline for peace talks.  This outline called for a peace process that would lead to “credible, inclusive, non-sectarian governance, followed by a new constitution and elections” to be administered under UN supervision.”  It also was agreed that formal peace talks under UN auspices would begin on January 1st.

The peace talks outline left several major issues unresolved.  There was no agreement on a cease-fire or the political future of Syrian President Assad.  There also were disagreements over which groups would be designated terrorists and disallowed from attending the talks.

Instead of moving toward a peaceful resolution after the November peace outline, Russia and Syria intensified hostilities.  Aided by Russian bombers and Iranian fighters, the Syrian army last month began an assault on the rebel stronghold of Aleppo, causing an exodus of 50,000 refugees.  The residents of several rebel towns are facing starvation because of a new Syrian army strategy called “surround and starve.”

The peace talks were delayed until February 1 because of stepped up attacks by the Russian and Syrian militaries and differences on who should participate in the talks.  There were indirect talks from February 1-3 that ended when the main Syrian opposition party withdrew due to the Syrian army’s siege of Aleppo.  The talks were then suspended until February 25.

In response to the worsening Syrian humanitarian crisis due to starvation in besieged rebel-held cities and towns, Secretary Kerry said last week he wanted an immediate cease-fire to allow the delivery of food and humanitarian aid.  Russia countered by proposing a cease-fire to begin on March 1, a proposal that was criticized by many observers who claimed such a delay probably was intended by Moscow to give Russian and Syrian forces time to take more rebel-held territory before ceasing hostilities.

Desperate to get his cease-fire, Kerry decided to accept an cease-fire compromise plan that (1) delayed a possible cease-fire for another week; (2) has not been agreed to by Syrian parties and (3) excludes Russian airstrikes.

According to the UK Daily Mail, “critics quickly dismissed the deal as ‘not worth the paper it’s printed on.’”  For many reasons, this agreement is very unlikely to succeed.  Syrian rebel forces will not back it for long – if at all – because it locks in the gains made by the Syrian army on the ground over the last few months.  I also doubt the Syrian rebels will go along with a cease-fire plan under which the Russians continue bombing them.

The Assad regime has never fully cooperated with any cease-fire agreement and probably will not abide by this deal if it materializes.  Syrian President Assad appeared to indicate his regime will not honor the cease-fire when he said on February 15 that no one is capable of organizing this agreement and ensuring that terrorists – the word Assad uses to refer to all armed groups that oppose him – adhere to it.

Meanwhile, America’s allies are openly criticizing the Obama administration’s Syria policy.  The outgoing foreign minister of France this week called the U.S. policy “ambiguous.”  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said American inaction is responsible for a “sea of blood” in Syria.

Obama’s Syria policy also has begun to be criticized by liberal foreign policy experts and groups, including Emile Hokayem, a senior fellow with the International Institute for Strategic Studies, who described it in a February 5, 2016 Foreign Policy article as “calculated dithering.”

So how could the Obama administration be a party to this ludicrous “cessation of hostilities” agreement?  I explained the reason in Fox News Opinion op-eds in May and September 2015: Mr. Obama’s Iraq-Syria strategy is a “non-strategy” to do as little about the crisis in these countries for the rest of his presidency so he can hand this mess to a future president.

This non-strategy has consisted of limited airstrikes and a handful of raids by U.S. special forces.  Strict U.S. rules of engagement for airstrikes in Syria have frustrated U.S. pilots who claim they have blocked 75% of them, according to the Washington Free Beacon.  This included avoiding bombing ISIS-controlled oil refineries in Syria because of possible environmental damage.  The U.S. changed this policy when France began bombing these refineries after the Paris terrorist attacks in November.

Russia and Iran have filled the power vacuum in Syria caused by President Obama’s non-policy.  This has allowed the Assad army to make major gains on the ground and Russia and Iran to significantly increase their influence in the region at the expense of the United States.

Making things worse, the Financial Times reported on February 12 that Syrian rebels are so frustrated with the gains by the Syrian army and the lack of support from the United States and the international community that they are mulling joining ISIS and the al-Nusra Front, the al-Qaeda franchise in Syria.  One Syrian rebel told the Financial Times:

“They said: are you doing this for America?  America left us to be killed by Russian warplanes night and day . . . there’s no reason to be a proxy for the foreign powers fighting ISIS.”

This is not the first report of moderate Syrian rebels joining jihadist groups out of frustration with the support they have received from the West.  But the Financial Times report may be significant because it may reflect how few moderate rebels are left, a development that raises serious questions as to whether there will be no one but jihadists left to run a post-Assad government if the Syrian leader ever steps down.

What we’re seeing in Syria is the implosion of President Obama’s Syria non-strategy.  Although this approach has worsened the Syrian crisis and is severely undermining America’s global credibility and security, Secretary Kerry’s new Syria cease-fire agreement is the latest indication that Mr Obama has no intention of changing course.  President Obama is stubbornly determined to be an ex-president who can claim he ended wars and did not get the United States into a new war – even if this means leaving a catastrophe in Syria that will require his successor to send a U.S. ground force.

World Powers Agree to ‘Cessation of Hostilities’ as Assad Vows to ‘Retake All of Syria’

Abdalrhman Ismail/Reuters

Abdalrhman Ismail/Reuters

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Feb. 12, 2016:

The Washington Post’s report on the big announcement immediately cast doubt upon just how much “cessation” we can expect. Secretary of State John Kerry said the declaration was “unanimous,” but hedged by saying it was merely unanimous “words on paper,” and “What we need to see in the next few days are actions on the ground.”

Those actions on the ground will apparently still involve Russian bombs detonating, just not quite as many of them:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the projected date for ending at least some of his country’s airstrikes in Syria is a week from Friday, but he emphasized that “terrorist” groups would continue to be targeted, including the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria that is involved in the fight against President Bashar al-Assad. The group in some instances fights alongside rebel forces supported by the United States and its allies.

The determination of eligible targets and geographic areas is to be left up to a task force of nations, headed by Russia and the United States, that will adjudicate differences of opinion. It is expected but by no means guaranteed that signatories to the agreement will be able to persuade their proxies and allies on the ground, including Assad and the hundreds of opposition groups fighting against him, to honor the terms.

Kerry and Lavrov emphasized that the agreement is not perfect and will require the goodwill and determination of all involved.

Not much “goodwill” could be detected in the interview with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad posted by AFP shortly after Kerry’s announcement. He vowed that his armed forces would “retake all of Syria,” acting against “terrorist” forces “without any hesitation.”

Assad then complained that due to the involvement of outside parties – i.e. the diplomats currently bubbling about a cessation of hostilities – his “solution” to the Syrian civil war “will take a long time, and incur a heavy price.”

The Syrian dictator also rejected United Nations allegations of war crimes perpetrated by his military and allied forces, and gave Europe a veiled warning that more refugees, with more terrorist mixed in, would be coming their way, if Western nations did not withdraw their support from opposition groups and let Assad finish them off.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov spoke of a “qualitative” change in U.S. policy, moving away from calls to ramp down Russian airstrikes to a process of active U.S.-Russian cooperation, which would mean the United States was helping Russia take out Assad’s opposition. Kerry, of course, acted like he had no idea what Lavrov was talking about.

The U.S. also seemed taken aback by Russian allegations that American planes were responsible for the recent bombing of two hospitals in Aleppo.

The best anyone seems to be realistically hoping for is reducing the bloodbath around the Syrian city of Aleppo, and making it safer for humanitarian aid to reach besieged civilians. The Washington Post speculates that if Assad’s patrons in Russia and Iran do consider a reduction of hostilities, or actual cease-fire, it will be because they have largely accomplished their objectives, making it possible for the Syrian military to recapture Aleppo.

With a little more bloodshed, Russia, Iran, and Syria can hope to break the back of Assad’s effective military opposition, bringing more amenable rebel factions to the table for a negotiated settlement that will fall well short of ejecting the Assad regime from power, and isolating the Islamic State as a final enemy, which the international coalition will destroy on Assad’s behalf.

While U.S. Secretary of State Kerry was talking about working toward a cease-fire and negotiated settlement of the Syrian civil war, Russia left no doubts about what it expects the ultimate resolution to look like.

“Just look at what happened in Afghanistan and many other countries,” said Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev. “The Americans and our Arab partners must think well: do they want a permanent war? It would be impossible to win such a war quickly, especially in the Arab world, where everybody is fighting against everybody. All sides must be compelled to sit at the negotiating table, instead of unleashing a new world war.”

“You have no one power that can act alone,” Medvedev added. “You have Assad and his troops on one side and some grouping, which is fighting against the government on the other side. It is all very complicated. It could last years or even decades. What’s the point of this?”

On Thursday, one U.N. diplomatic source told Reuters the Russians were “stringing Kerry along” with talk about cease-fires and humanitarian issues, while they finished the business of arranging a battlefield victory for Assad: “It’s clear to everyone now that Russia really doesn’t want a negotiated solution but for Assad to win.”

Another diplomatic source summed up the Syrian endgame by saying, “It’ll be easy to get a ceasefire soon, because the opposition will all be dead. That’s a very effective ceasefire.”

 

U.S. Conditions IS Libya Fight on Unity Government

US Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd L) and Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni (R) hold a bilateral meeting before a summit regarding Islamic State with the foreign ministers of 23 countries from Europe, the West and the region, as well as by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on February 2, 2016 in Rome. Reuters/Nicholas Kamm/Pool

US Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd L) and Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni (R) hold a bilateral meeting before a summit regarding Islamic State with the foreign ministers of 23 countries from Europe, the West and the region, as well as by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on February 2, 2016 in Rome. Reuters/Nicholas Kamm/Pool

CSP, by Kevin Samolsky, Feb. 2, 2016:

February 2, 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry met with officials from 23 nations in Rome to discuss combating IS. Secretary Kerry addressed his growing concerns of the Islamic State’s (IS) presence in Libya especially. The growing fear is that the terrorist organization will take advantage of the lack of stability to control oil fields to further finance its operations.

Libya has been in turmoil since the NATO-backed ousting of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi, in 2011. The Libyan government is currently split between an internationally recognized government in Tobruk, the General National Congress (GNC), and an unofficial government in Tripoli led by the Islamist Libya Dawn faction. Libya Dawn was able to force the GNC out of the Tripoli in 2014, and the international community has been working ever since to unite the two governments.

Libya Dawn and the GNC signed a UN-brokered agreement to unify the government last December. However, it is unclear what Libya Dawn hopes to get out of the agreement, as it was their decision to attempt to seize power following election losses that led to the current fissure.

While the Libya Dawn government may claim they want to end hostilities and unite the government, it’s likely just a play to regain power.

Libya Dawn is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, and the enemy of the El-Sisi government in Egypt. This had led to the decision by Cairo to fully back the GNC and openly opposed any agreement that would return the Islamists to legitimate political power. Egypt has been the driving force behind Gen. Khalifa Haftar’s anti-Islamist “Operation Dignity” campaign which has seen battlefield gains against the Islamist factions.

IS has become a growing concern to North African nations. The Free Fire Blog recently discussed the growing connections between the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and IS’s growing trade network with Hamas in Gaza. In Libya, IS has taken control of Sirte, a city that links east and west of Libya, and has launched numerous attacks around the country.

International Business Times reported last year of IS threatening to wage war on Libya Dawn, but those hostilities may subside while both sides are being targeted by Egyptian and UAE airstrikes.

Breitbart News reports on troubling news of possible cooperation  between IS, Al Qaeda (AQ), and the Muslim Brotherhood within Libya. This merger would threaten any chance Libya has at stability, and if the Brotherhood were to take over, it would further threaten the neighboring government of Egypt.

Libya’s hopes for stability are quickly fading, and the Obama Administration may be apart of the blame. The Obama Administration allowed for weapon shipments to be sent to armed rebel groups during the uprising against Qaddafi. Some of these weapons fell in the hands of jihadist groups which allowed them to fight for control of Libya once Qaddafi was killed.

While the U.S. initially armed rebel groups, it has taken a step back from Libya. Instead, the Obama Administration has harshly criticized those who take part in Libya’s issues through violence, especially the UAE and Egypt. It seems ironic for the Administration to criticize others for trying to stop terrorism when they were the ones who facilitated it.

Libya’s stability is crucial against the fight against terrorism. Terrorists have beensmuggling fighters through Libya to Europe and Syria. Libya is also an important connector between Islamic State’s home base in Syria and it’s efforts in West Africa. Without a stable government to prevent this, it will continue to threaten the stability of the region.

While Secretary Kerry may be worried about IS in Libya, there must be a greater focus on the wider Islamist threat to the country. The Muslim Brotherhood poses just as large a threat to Libyan stability as IS, and if they are given any political legitimacy it will only serve to expand jihadist activity in the country. Despite the Obama Administration’s insistence to the contrary, a GNC victory over Libyan Dawn would have a better impact on security than enforcing upon Libya a unity government that neither side really wants.

The Iran nuclear agreement is national security fraud

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Center for Security Policy, by Fred Fleitz,  Jan. 19, 2016:

As the Obama administration celebrates what it claims is a great victory for its nuclear diplomacy with Iran, many Americans are scratching their heads and wondering how we got to this point given the many examples of Iranian bad faith and belligerent behavior since the nuclear deal was announced last July. For example…

  • Because the IAEA declared that Iran met the requirements to roll back its nuclear program to what the nuclear deal calls “Implementation Day,” it will receive approximately $150 billion in sanctions relief even through Iran is still designated by the United States as a state sponsor of terror and was listed in a June 2015 State Department report as the world’s leading terrorist state.
  • Over the last six months, Iran increased its support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Hezbollah, its terrorist proxy.
  • Iran is threatening Saudi Arabia by backing a Shiite insurgency in Yemen.  Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states broke off diplomatic relations with Iran this month after the Saudi embassy and a consulate in Iran were ransacked.
  • Iran tested ballistic missiles in October and November even though President Obama and Secretary Kerry said last July that under the deal Tehran would abide by U.N. Security Council resolutions for eight years calling on it to halt its missile program.  (The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Iran for the missile tests yesterday but Foundation for Defense and Democracy Executive Director Mark Dubowitz called them “symbolic and ineffective.”)
  • Iran fired rockets last month near a U.S. aircraft carrier.  It also detained and humiliated 10 U.S. Navy sailors last week.
  • At the same time, few Americans understand that Iran keeps its nuclear infrastructure under the nuclear deal and will be allowed to expand it.
  • Iran will continue enriching uranium under the nuclear deal with 5,000 uranium centrifuges and will be developing more advanced centrifuges while the deal is in effect. This will occur even though when Barack Obama became president, his administration supported the Bush administration’s effort to stop the spread of uranium enrichment technology and strengthened a nuclear technology sharing agreement with the UAE which required it to not to pursue this technology.  
  • Although Iran agreed to remove the core of a plutonium-producing heavy water-reactor, it will be rebuilt and redesigned with Chinese assistance.  While the redesigned reactor will produce less plutonium, it also will help Iran to master this technology.
  • Although President Obama and Secretary Kerry said Iran sent all of its enriched uranium out of the country, they failed to mention that this was a swap for an equivalent amount of uranium ore that can be converted into enriched uranium in a few months.
  • President Obama said last July that the issue of Iran’s past nuclear weapons work would be addressed. The IAEA issued a report on this issue in December that said Iran failed to fully cooperate and provided some answers to investigators that were false. The report also said Iran engaged in nuclear weapons research until 2009.  Despite this report, the United States voted with other IAEA members last month to close the IAEA’s file on this issue.
  • Although nuclear deal has weak verification provisions, the Iranian parliament made them even weaker last October when it ratified an amended version of the deal containing new language on dismantling Israel’s nuclear weapons program, requiring that sanctions under the agreement be cancelled and not suspended, forbidding IAEA inspections of military installations, and barring IAEA interviews of Iranian military officers and scientists.

And then there is the issue of the “swap” of five American hostages for seven Iranian criminals held in U.S. prisons and the removal of 14 other Iranian criminal and terrorists from the INTERPOL wanted list.  As objectionable as this sounds, President Obama and Secretary Kerry failed to mention that Oman paid Iran $500,000 ransom each for the release of the Americans and that several were brutally mistreated while incarcerated.  At least two other innocent Americans plus a U.S. green card holder are still being by Iran.

Given these factors, how can the Obama administration claim Iran has complied with the nuclear agreement? 

How can it justify providing over $150 billion in sanctions relief that Tehran is likely to spend on terrorism and destabilizing the Middle East?  

How can the United States reward a state that used Americans as hostages to advance its policy goals?

How can Obama officials say this nuclear deal is a great diplomatic success?

The answer to these questions is this: because the Obama administration wanted a legacy nuclear agreement with Iran so badly they made any concession necessary to get one. 

When Iranian officials refused to give up their uranium enrichment program, the U.S. said they could keep it. 

When Iran balked on including restrictions on ballistic missile tests in the agreement, they were removed.  

To get around Tehran’s refusal to answer questions about its past nuclear weapons work, this issue was moved into a secret side deal between the IAEA and Iran.

The Obama administration also took Iran’s sponsorship of terror and its meddling in the Middle East off the table.  The deal drops U.N. and EU sanctions on Iranian terrorist individuals and entities.  Even worse, the U.S. encouraged Iran to play a more active role in Iraq which is driving tensions between the Shiite government and Iraqi Sunnis.

The Iran nuclear agreement is national security fraud. It will not stop or slow Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. 

The deal’s weak verification provision will not detect Iranian cheating. 

Seeing itself as the big winner in the nuclear deal, Iran probably will beemboldened to expand its efforts to destabilize its neighbors and sponsorship of terrorism using the estimated $150 billion in sanctions relief it won in the deal.

How did Iran reach the nuclear deal’s Implementation Day?  Because the Obama administration rigged the game by setting the bar so low that Iranian compliance was assured. 

That’s how desperate President Obama was to get his legacy nuclear deal with Iran. 

That’s what led to a disastrous agreement that will may do enormous damage to international security for decades to come.

Also see:

Cherry on Top: Iran to Get $1.7 Billion Settlement from U.S. in Addition to Sanctions Relief

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President Obama leaves the podium after speaking about the release of Americans by Iran on Jan. 17, 2016, in the Cabinet Room of the White House. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

PJ MEDIA, BY BRIDGET JOHNSON, JANUARY 17, 2016:

President Obama today declared at the White House that “Iran will not get its hands on a nuclear bomb” and that their “tireless” negotiations paid off with several American hostages coming home.

Obama’s Cabinet Room statement came a day after the administration announced the lifting of sanctions on Iran for Implementation Day of the nuclear deal as well as the prisoner swap: seven to Iran, five to the U.S. The administration is claiming the fifth American, student Matthew Trevithick, was released not as part of the swap but as a goodwill gesture by Iran.

Obama called the clemency granted to six Iranian–Americans and one Iranian serving sentences or awaiting trial “a reciprocal humanitarian gesture,” and asserted none of them were “charged with terrorism or any violent offenses.” They were, however, involved in networks procuring illegal components for Iran deemed damaging to national security by the Justice Department and in one case hacked a defense contractor to steal millions in proprietary software.

“And their release is a one-time gesture to Iran given the unique opportunity offered by this moment and the larger circumstances at play,” he said. “And it reflects our willingness to engage with Iran to advance our mutual interests, even as we ensure the national security of the United States.”

“So, nuclear deal implemented. American families reunited. The third piece of this work that we got done this weekend involved the United States and Iran resolving a financial dispute that dated back more than three decades. Since 1981, after our nations severed diplomatic relations, we’ve worked through a international tribunal to resolve various claims between our countries. The United States and Iran are now settling a longstanding Iranian government claim against the United States government. Iran will be returned its own funds, including appropriate interest, but much less than the amount Iran sought,” Obama said.

That payout to Iran from the United States? $1.7 billion.

Secretary of State John Kerry said today that the settlement is $400 million debt and $1.3 billion in interest dating back to the Islamic revolution. That’s separate from the sanctions windfall Iran will receive.

“For the United States, this settlement could save us billions of dollars that could have been pursued by Iran,” Obama claimed. “So there was no benefit to the United States in dragging this out. With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well.”

The president then acknowledged a bit of Iran’s other bad behavior, such as “a violation of its international obligations” with illegal ballistic missile tests.

“But today’s progress — Americans coming home, an Iran that has rolled back its nuclear program and accepted unprecedented monitoring of that program — these things are a reminder of what we can achieve when we lead with strength and with wisdom; with courage and resolve and patience,” Obama said. “America can do — and has done — big things when we work together. We can leave this world and make it safer and more secure for our children and our grandchildren for generations to come.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) called it “a huge relief that these Americans are finally coming home,” and noted that “all of them should have been unconditionally released a long time ago — period.”

“Instead, a disturbing pattern is emerging where the Obama administration is willing to negotiate the release of spies, terrorists and now criminals. I fail to see how this trend will improve the long-term security of the United States and its citizens,” Royce said.

“The Obama administration will need to answer why this policy won’t encourage terrorist groups and regimes to step up their efforts to target Americans. And the Iranians still need to answer for Robert Levinson, an American citizen who has been missing in Iran since 2007.”

The Levinson family was still on a heartbreaking tweetstorm Sunday using the haghtag #WhatAboutBob.

“Let me just say Bob Levinson is still missing,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said this morning on CBS’Face the Nation. “The Iranians know where he is or we believe they do. And they’re not being cooperative about that. We should not forget Mr. Levinson and his situation.”

Obama said what he’s said before: that Iran “has agreed to deepen our coordination as we work to locate Robert Levinson — missing from Iran for more than eight years.”

“Even as we rejoice in the safe return of others, we will never forget about Bob,” he said. “Each and every day, but especially today, our hearts are with the Levinson family, and we will not rest until their family is whole again.”

Iran is also holding on to a couple more hostages: Since the Iran nuclear deal was inked last year, one American citizen, businessman Siamak Namazi, and one permanent U.S. resident, IT expert Nizar Zakka, were arrested by Iran. Iran’s Fars News Agency said they kept Namazi out of the deal because his charges were “not political.”

Zakka, a Lebanese-American, works in Washington as secretary-general of the Dupont Circle-based Ijma3 group, which lobbies for the information and communications technology industry in the Middle East. He last tweeted on Sept. 9 about Internet freedom and free expression.

Zakka received an invitation on Sept. 11 from Iran’s vice president for Women and Family Affairs to attend the 2nd International Conference & Exhibition on Women in Sustainable Development, titled “Entrepreneurship & Employment.” After the conference, while he was trying to return home to D.C., he was seized.

“For decades, our differences with Iran meant that our governments almost never spoke to each other. Ultimately, that did not advance America’s interests. Over the years, Iran moved closer and closer to having the ability to build a nuclear weapon,” Obama declared today.

“But from Presidents Franklin Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan, the United States has never been afraid to pursue diplomacy with our adversaries. And as president, I decided that a strong, confident America could advance our national security by engaging directly with the Iranian government. We’ve seen the results.”

***

Also see:

Iran: U.S. ‘Extended Apology’ Over Captured Sailors

Iran state media

Iran state media

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Jan. 13, 2016:

The Obama administration is denying official Iranian reports claiming that U.S. officials “extended an apology” to the Islamic Republic following a Tuesday standoff over the capture of 10 U.S. sailors whose boats reportedly drifted into Iranian territorial waters.

The sailors were released by Iran early Wednesday morning after being arrested by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and being put in detention for the night.

The Revolutionary Guard Corps, which released pictures of the U.S. sailors on their knees with hands over their heads, said Wednesday that it had conducted an investigation into the incident.

Iran asserts the sailors were released after the United States apologized, prompting a flurry of denials from senior Obama administration officials.

“Following technical and operational investigations and in interaction with relevant political and national security bodies of the country and after it became clear that the U.S. combat vessels’ illegal entry into the Islamic Republic of Iran’s waters was the result of an unintentional action and a mistake and after they extended an apology, the decision was made to release them,” the IRGC said in a statement that was carried by Iran’s state-controlled media.

Ali Fadavi, commander of the IRGC Navy, said that Tehran had missiles locked on the United States at the time of the incident.

“They were in sight of our missiles,” Fadavi said in Persian, according to a statement carried by the IRGC’s official news outlet. “If this had happened, it would have led to their annihilation.

“We had high preparedness with coast-to-sea missiles, rocket-firing fast boats, and various capabilities,” he said. “We prevented their additional irresponsible movement with the statements we broadcasted internationally. It was proven to them that the IRGC Navy has the first and final word.”

The U.S. cannot stand up to Iran, according to Fadavi.

“The result of that battle is the annihilation and sinking of their battleships,” he said. “This is while in those 40 minutes [when the U.S. sailors were apprehended], it was clear that Americans were under psychological pressure, to the extent that they did not behave in a manner expected from a professional and responsible force.”

The Obama administration denied that an apology was offered to Iran.

Vice President Joe Biden told CBS that “there was no looking for any apology.”

“When you have a problem with the boat, [do] you apologize the boat had a problem? No,” Biden said. “And there was no looking for any apology. This was just standard nautical practice.”

Iran “realized [the sailors] were there in distress and said they would release them, and released them—like ordinary nations would do,” Biden said.

State Department Spokesman John Kirby also issued a denial on Twitter.

“Absolutely ZERO truth to rumors that @JohnKerry apologized to Iran over Sailors,” Kirby said. “Nothing to apologize for.”

kirby

Secretary of State John Kerry thanked the Iranian for the way they handled the situation.

Kerry offered his “gratitude to Iranian authorities for their cooperation in swiftly resolving this matter.”

“I want to personally thank Secretary of State John Kerry for his diplomatic engagement with Iran to secure our sailors’ swift return,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a statement Wednesday. “Around the world, the U.S. Navy routinely provides assistance to foreign sailors in distress, and we appreciate the timely way in which this situation was resolved.”

However, Iran adopted a confrontational tone, accusing the United States of aggressive behavior. The country also released scores of pictures showing the arrest and incarceration of the U.S. sailors.

The IRGC blamed the United States for its “unprofessional moves,” saying that it defused the situation.

Hassan Firouzabadi, the chief of Iran’s armed forces, said on Wednesday that the incident highlights just “how vulnerable” the United States is to Iran.

“The incident shows how vulnerable they are. Without the good faith and tact of our commanders, the Americans would have faced a new crisis,” Firouzabadi said in Persian language comments.

The military leader also lashed out at the U.S. Congress.

“It seems that those congressional representatives who come up with new plans against Iran every day do not have correct information and act against the interests of the American nation with their hands tied behind their back and far from reality,” Firouzabadi said.

“We hope that this incident in northern Persian Gulf—which probably won’t be the last mistake of U.S. forces in the region—will be a lesson for disrupters in Congress,” he said.

***

Also see:

Killing Over Cartoons Is Totally Rational, Says John Kerry

2015-11-17T141640Z_1_LYNXNPEBAG0S2_RTROPTP_3_FRANCE-SHOOTIN-KERRYTown Hall, by Adam Turner,  Nov 23, 2015:

“There’s something different about what happened [in the November 13, 2015 Paris terror attacks] from [the January 7, 2015 terror attack targeting the French magazine] Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they’re really angry because of this and that.”

Secretary of State John Kerry, November 17, 2015

Secretary of State John Kerry opened his mouth again, and as usual, inserted his foot (with a Kinsley gaffe).

But we should be thankful that Secretary Kerry is his usual foolish, undisciplined, and talkative self. Because it, once again, exposes what Kerry, and his boss, President Obama, really think about the right to free speech in the United States, if that speech focuses on Islam, Islamism, radical Islam, and related topics, including terrorism, terror fundraising, sharia, female genital mutilation in the Muslim world, and other issues relating to Islam. (Islam et al.)

Simply put, they do not like it.

Without a doubt, we know this to be true. Let’s not forget, President Obama hasdemanded, from the podium of the United Nations itself, that “(t)he future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” President Obama’s words (probably) inspired Secretary Kerry’s predecessor, Obama first term Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – who is also the likely 2016 Democratic nominee for U.S. President – to illustrate the methods the Administration planned to follow:

So we are focused on promoting interfaith education and collaboration, enforcing anti-discrimination laws, protecting the rights of all people to worship as they choose, and to use some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming, so that people don’t feel that they have the support to do what we abhor.

From this statement, it is clear that the Obama Administration is willing to utilize two of the three prongs of the strategy often used by opponents of free speech regarding Islam et al. The tripartite strategy to punish and silence all speech opponents disapprove of includes: 1) violence, or the threat of violence; 2) lawfare; and/or 3) political correctness pressure, e.g., smearing reputations by alleging “racism,” “Islamophobia,” or other epithets. In this situation, lawfare is specifically defined as malicious lawsuits, or other legal actions, in American courts, designed to punish and silence those who engage in public discourse about Islam et al, which are often predatory, filed without a serious expectation of winning, and undertaken as a means to intimidate, demoralize, and bankrupt defendants.

Obviously, violence is not a strategy that any U.S. Administration would follow. However, as shown by the Terry Jones affair (see below), this does not mean that the Obama Administration is unwilling to cite the threat of violence as a reason to object to the free speech of Americans regarding Islam et al.

Over the past seven years, the Obama Administration has followed through with its rhetoric by engaging in a number of disturbing anti-free speech actions:

· In 2011, at a summit meeting between Secretary of State Clinton and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary General, the U.S. committed to the “Istanbul Process” to implement the United Nations resolution 16/18, which calls for the domestic and international criminalization of language that defames religions, most especially Islam. The OIC is a bloc of 56 Muslim countries plus “Palestine.” The Administration has participated in subsequent meetings of the Istanbul Process, but little information has been released about these meetings.

· The Obama Administration named an Islamist, Salam al-Marayati, its official representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) premier conference on human rights. At the OSCE, Al-Marayati took part in the “intense lobbying campaign by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a bloc of 57 Muslim countries that are aggressively pressuring Western countries to make it an international crime to criticize Islam.”

· A U.S. Attorney appointed by President Obama, Bill Killian, of the Eastern District of Tennessee, has been quoted by the Tullahoma News suggesting that some inflammatory material on Islam might run afoul of federal civil rights laws. This is not legally correct, but seems to reflect Secretary Clinton’s earlier statement.

· The Obama Administration was responsible for the imprisonment of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the American Coptic filmmaker who was responsible for the film clip that President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and others initially and incorrectly blamed for inciting the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Nakoula was prosecuted and imprisoned by the federal authorities under suspicious circumstances that should lead an objective observer to believe that he was being punished for producing his anti-Islam clip.

· Also in response to Nakoula film clip, Obama administration officials admitted that they “asked YouTube to review the video and determine whether it violates the site’s terms of service.”

· The most comprehensive campaign against such speech was waged by the Obama Administration against a little known American gadfly named Terry Jones. Jones has burned, or threatened to burn, a Koran, numerous times. His threats prompted President Obama, then Secretary of State Clinton, then Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and then General David Petraeus, among others, to all plead with him to cease and desist. Jones has also been plagued by legal punishments and restrictions, although these are largely as a result of the actions of local, and not federal, authorities.

For the next year and a half, we can expect this Administration to continue its campaign against such free speech. Unfortunately, by a margin of 41% to 37%, Americans support criminalizing “hate speech,” and even more disturbingly, in the subset of Democrats, a 51% majority approve of criminalizing “hate speech,” with only 26% opposed. So President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and Hillary Clinton well represent their political party.

It used to be that all Americans were united in the belief that speech was sacred, and that religion – any religion – should not be able to restrict the speech rights of Americans. No longer. John Kerry’s statement clearly demonstrates that many Americans, including the Administration he represents, believe differently now. This is not good news. How long will the other half of America be willing to stand up for their right to free speech?

It is hard to defend your speech rights, when you know that others are willing to sue, pressure, or even kill you for doing so. Not everyone is a Molly Norris.

Adam Turner serves as general counsel to the Endowment for Middle East Truth. He is a former counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, where he focused on national security.

The high price the world could pay for Obama’s Syria, Iraq policy

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Center for Security Policy, by Fred Fleitz, Nov. 9, 2015:

As I’ve discussed on Fox News.com before, President Obama’s Syria/Iraq policy is not a policy.  It is a non-policy to do as little as possible about the chaos in these countries so he can hand this mess to the next president.

The Obama administration has announced two major policy shifts in two years to deal with the Iraq/Syria crisis and the threat from ISIS.  Neither exhibited the decisive leadership that the world expects from the United States.  Both were reactive and piecemeal moves to counter multiple humiliations of America.

This has created a growing global perception of American weakness and indecisiveness that will embolden America’s enemies for the remainder of the Obama presidency and possibly beyond.

The first policy shift, announced in a speech by President Obama on September 10, 2014 in response to a series of ISIS beheadings, was supposed to “degrade and ultimately defeat” ISIS.  The president said this effort would include “a systematic campaign of airstrikes” in Iraq and Syria, training and equipping of moderate Syrian rebels, increased support to the Iraqi army and stepped up humanitarian assistance.

The failure of the September 2014 policy shift was obvious soon after it began.  Pinprick airstrikes in Syria did not stop ISIS from making gains on the ground.  In Iraq, ISIS took the city of Ramadi last May despite being outnumbered 10-1 by the Iraqi army.  The Iraqi army and the Iraqi Kurds clamored for more arms while the Obama administration sat on its hands.

Obama’s 2014 policy shift suffered a spectacular collapse this fall when a failed $500 million program to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels was cancelled and Russia intervened in Syria and began conducting airstrikes against anti-Assad rebels, many backed by the United States.  Iran also stepped up its presence in Syria by sending troops who are fighting to prop up the Assad government.

This rapid collapse of President Obama’s Syria/Iraq policy over the last few weeks has caused serious damage to American credibility.  Russian President Putin mocked and ignored President Obama as he sent Russian forces into Syria.  An intelligence sharing agreement was signed between Russia, Syria, Iraq and Iran.  Iraqi lawmakers even called on Russia to conduct airstrikes against ISIS positions in their country.

The Obama administration responded to these setbacks with a new policy shift that looks even worse than the last one.

The president is sending “fewer than 50” special operations troops to help advise an alliance of Syrian Arab rebels.  Given the lack of a clear policy and confusing rules of engagement, such a small deployment will be scoffed at by America’s adversaries and may be at risk of being captured.  On Monday, President Obama made the preposterous claim that this deployment is consistent with his pledge of “no boots on the ground” in Syria and Iraq because these troops will not be on the front lines fighting ISIS.

The New York Times reported on November 2 the Syrian Arab rebel alliance that U.S. special operations troops are supposed to be advising doesn’t yet exist and is dominated by Syrian Kurds who mostly want to carve out their own state and have little interest in fighting to take back Arab territory from ISIS.  Moreover, American military support of the Syrian Kurds worries Turkey because of their close ties with the PKK, a Kurdish terrorist group in Turkey.

The U.S. dropped 50 tons of weapons for the Arab alliance in late September.  Although U.S. officials initially said Syrian Arabs and not Syrian Kurds were the recipients of the airdrop, according to the New York Times, Syrian Kurdish fighters had to retrieve these weapons because the Arab units for which they were intended did not have the logistical capability to move them.

The Obama administration’s latest Iraq/Syria policy shift includes a renewed call for Assad to leave office and a new round of Syrian peace talks.

New U.S. demands that Assad step down make little sense due to increased Russian and Iranian support.

The first round of U.S.-brokered Syrian peace talks were held last week in Vienna.  17 nations participated, including, for the first time, Iran.  The talks produced a vague communique endorsing a future cease-fire, a transitional government, a new constitution and elections in which Syrians would select a new government.  However, it seems unlikely the Assad regime – which was excluded from the talks – or its Russian and Iranian backers will ever support free and fair elections.

Russia and Iran rejected a timeline proposed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the peace talks under which Assad would step down in four to six months and national elections would be held in 18 months.  This puts a cease-fire out of reach since most Syrian rebels will not agree to a peace process that leaves Assad in power.

The Syria talks were overshadowed by the unwise decision by the Obama administration to include Iran because its presence legitimized its interference in Syria and Iraq.  This also made the talks tumultuous due to open feuding between Iranian and Saudi officials.  More talks are scheduled but Iranian officials have said they may not participate due to their differences with the Saudis.

So far, Mr. Obama has not agreed to Pentagon recommendations to back Iraqi forces with Apache helicopters or to allow U.S. military advisers to serve on the front lines with Iraqi forces.  These proposals are still reportedly under consideration.  Meanwhile, Republican congressmen continue to demand the Obama administration directly arm the Iraqi Kurds who are struggling to battle ISIS with inadequate and obsolete weapons.

America’s friends and allies know President Obama is pursuing a Syria/Iraq non-policy to run out the clock.  They know Mr. Obama’s initiatives are not serious policies but minor gestures that allow the president to be seen as doing something now while also enabling him to claim after he leaves office that he did not put U.S. boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria nor did he get America into another war.

Alliances in the Middle East are already shifting because of President Obama’s Syria/Iraq non-policy.  Russia is filling a power vacuum in the region and is building a new alliance with Iraq, Iran and Syria.  Russia has improved its relations with Egypt and Israel. Although the Saudis are working with the Obama administration to arm moderate Syrian rebel fighters, Riyadh is frustrated that the U.S. is considering compromise solutions which could leave Assad in power.  Saudi Arabia also reportedly is considering providing surface-to-air missiles to the Syrian rebels, a move the U.S. opposes since these missiles could fall into the hands of ISIS.

America’s enemies are certain to try to exploit the run-out-the-clock foreign policy that President Obama apparently plans to pursue for the remainder of his term in office.  This could mean a surge in global provocations, terrorism and violence from North Korea to the South China Sea to Afghanistan and to the Middle East due to the disappearance of American leadership over the next 15 months.

Remember that the weakness and incompetence of President Clinton’s foreign policy emboldened Al Qaeda to step up terrorist attacks against U.S troops and led Osama bin Laden to believe that the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks would drive the United States from the Middle East.  With Barack Obama dithering away America’s global credibility, a catastrophic terrorist attack like 9/11 could happen again.

Obama Beats ISIS at Word Games

obama-wc2

Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, Nov. 2, 2015:

“Ideologies are not defeated with guns, they are defeated by better ideas. We will never be at war with Islam,” Obama said.

Pelosi assured worried Americans on MSNBC that we were winning the war against ISIS on social media.

John Kerry took to calling ISIS by the derogatory Daesh epithet to prove it has nothing to do with Islam.

But winning the war of word games wasn’t enough to stop the bombings and beheadings. So American troops are back on the ground in Iraq and Syria to try and win the real non-Twitter war.

But we just can’t call it that.

While raids on ISIS targets are the core of the new strategy, they are referred to as “direct action on the ground” instead of “combat”. American soldiers aren’t “boots on the ground”, they’re just there providing “enhanced support”. The kind of enhanced support that only bullets can offer.

They’re fighting and dying as part of an “advise and assist” mission which is not to be confused with the traditional kind of “fighting and dying” mission.

When Obama announced his first withdrawal from Iraq, he left 50,000 American soldiers there who had been renamed the “advise and assist brigades”. During the election he had promised to have “all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months.” And he kept his word, by renaming them so that they were no longer combat brigades; instead they were now advise and assist brigades.

Mission accomplished.

“Operation Iraqi Freedom is over,” Obama told Americans in his very own Mission Accomplished speech, a speech that despite ongoing fighting is still bafflingly billed as, “The End of Combat Operations in Iraq.”

“Tonight, I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended…  This was my pledge to the American people as a candidate for this office,” he insisted.

Operation Iraqi Freedom, a tacky Bush name redolent of patriotism, was renamed Operation New Dawn, which might have been anything from a health resort to a brand of fabric softener. There certainly wasn’t anything military or patriotic about it. Freedom was over, but Dawn was here.

Americans went on dying in Iraq. But the war was over. Except it went on anyway.

Five years later, the war is undeniably back on and so are the word games. We’re back to advising and assisting with bombs and bullets. American soldiers are being shot at and dying in enhanced support.

But we won’t beat ISIS with word games.

Obama excels at renaming things. In his teleprompter, spending becomes investing, unilateral rule becomes bipartisanship and broad violations of the Constitution become common sense solutions.

It’s a form of fraud that is most successful with true believers living in a media bubble. Obama supporters who wanted to believe that he had kept his word by withdrawing within 16 months, could point to the renaming of the mission. Talking about beating ISIS on social media impresses the media types who live on Twitter anyway and credit it with the overthrow of Mubarak and the Arab Spring.

The fraud falls apart when it comes up against the hard realities of the territory that ISIS controls. Word games may fool a few million New York Times readers, but no amount of rebranding will shake ISIS loose. Rebranding is the province of failing companies trying to sell a bad product with a new image. Obama has been selling his image while hoping that no one looks at the product he’s pushing.

Obama’s entire foreign policy has depended on jumping from one lie to another and from one word game to another so that no one realizes the full scope of the disaster that he has caused.

Call it whatever you will, the current plan for defeating ISIS involves putting American soldiers on the ground in direct combat with the terror group. In plain language, Obama has been slowly forced to reverse his withdrawals from Iraq. These reversals have happened because his existing strategy failed.

Lackadaisically bombing ISIS didn’t work. The occasional raids won’t work either. And that means that a more serious and extended presence on the ground becomes the next stage. But Obama isn’t willing to tell Americans the truth. Instead he’s playing more word games with American lives.

Obama has managed to withdraw twice from Iraq, both times under false pretenses, and then return to Iraq, once again under false pretenses. Concealing the truth is a much higher priority for him than national security. Lying to Americans is much more important than actually winning wars.

His administration places a great deal of value on word games. Its grounding in the arcana of left-wing theorizing has led its members into the academic fallacy of confusing nomenclature with reality. Many of them really do believe that you can do anything if you find the right name for it.

But wars aren’t won with names. They’re not won with Marxist theorizing or Google Hangouts. The administration’s entire skillset is built for defeating Republicans and fooling Americans.

It’s completely useless in the face of an armed fanatical enemy with no interest in common ground.

In the Obama mindset, actually winning wars is outdated in the era of smart power. Winning word games is a more intellectual hobby than getting down in the dirt and seizing actual territory. The future belongs to the most agile rebranders, not to those who are willing to die for a cause.

“It is the Soldier, not the reporter who has given us freedom of the press. It is the Soldier, not the poet who has given us freedom of speech,” is a sentiment to be disdainfully dismissed by the White House.

The future isn’t supposed to belong to the best armies, but to community organizers who can convince people that it is in their best interests to do what they are told. Military solutions are in the realm of “horses and bayonets,” as Obama sneered at Romney to the glee of the community organizer media.

But when it comes to actually securing the territory in which there can be freedom of speech or the dominance of Islam, freedom of the press or Jihadist propaganda, the soldier is the final answer.

And it is an answer that Obama doesn’t like.

The refusal to even use the word “combat” is part political cynicism by an administration so thoroughly defined by its opposition to the Iraq War that it refuses to compromise what it considers its greatest achievement by admitting that its Iraq policy not only failed, but backfired so badly it has to be reversed. But it’s also part instinctual antipathy by the most anti-military administration in this country’s history.

General McChrystal was not wrong when he observed that Obama appeared “uncomfortable and intimidated” by military people. The general’s purging only provided further proof of his observations.

Obama doesn’t like military solutions and yet his attempts to solve military problems with non-military solutions and halfway military measures have failed miserably. But he would rather fail on his own ideological terms than succeed by setting aside his ideology and doing what works.

Thousands of Americans have died and were wounded because Obama refused to listen to reason in Afghanistan. ISIS is spreading because Obama has learned nothing from the disaster in Afghanistan.

Military operations have become only another way for Obama and his staffers to play word games, to rebrand their latest disaster and sell one more lie to an American people already swimming in deceit. Instead of accepting the role of the military on its own terms, Obama insists on forcing the military to conform to his botched ideological misinterpretation of international events and foreign relations.

But you can’t use the military to win word games. You can only use it to win wars.

Obama doesn’t want to defeat ISIS. He wants to prove that he was right all along about Iraq. He wants to show that the word game is mightier than the sword.

Each time he is forced to make a concession to reality, he cloaks it in more word games and lies that cloud the actual tactical objectivities. All the word games may make it seem like we’re winning in Washington D.C., but they don’t bring us any closer to victory in Iraq.

Obama is beating ISIS at word games, but losing on the battlefield.

***

National Security and Terrorism Correspondent for PJ Media, Patrick Poole, joins guest host Rep. Louie Gohmert to discuss the latest decision by the White House to send a small Special Operations force to Syria:

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Obama Admin Accuses Israel of ‘Terrorism’ As More Jews Murdered

A Palestinian tries to dodge rubber coated bullets during clashes with Israeli troops near Ramallah, West Bank, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015. A pair of Palestinian men boarded a bus in Jerusalem and began shooting and stabbing passengers, while another assailant rammed a car into a bus station before stabbing bystanders, in near-simultaneous attacks Tuesday that escalated a monthlong wave of violence. Three Israelis and two attackers were killed. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

A Palestinian tries to dodge rubber coated bullets during clashes with Israeli troops near Ramallah, West Bank, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015. A pair of Palestinian men boarded a bus in Jerusalem and began shooting and stabbing passengers, while another assailant rammed a car into a bus station before stabbing bystanders, in near-simultaneous attacks Tuesday that escalated a monthlong wave of violence. Three Israelis and two attackers were killed. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Oct. 14, 2015:

As Palestinians assailants continue to murder Jews across Israel, the Obama administration on Wednesday accused the Jewish state of committing acts of “terrorism,” drawing outrage from many observers.

As the number of Israelis murdered during a streak of Palestinian terrorism continues to rise, the Obama administration sought to equate the sides and told reporters that, in its view, Israel is guilty of terrorism.

“Individuals on both sides of this divide are—have proven capable of, and in our view, are guilty of acts of terrorism,” State Department Spokesman John Kirby told reporters following questions about the spike in violence.

Kirby also said the administration has obtained “credible reports” of Israelis using excessive force as it deals with a rash of terrorist murders carried out by Palestinians seeking to cause havoc and spark an intifada.

“We’re always concerned about credible reports of excessive use of force against civilians, and we routinely raise our concerns about that.”

At least three Israelis have been killed and another 20 wounded as a result of attacks by Palestinian terrorists in recent days.

The violence has prompted pushback from the Obama administration, much of it aimed at Israeli itself.

Secretary of State John Kerry, for instance, said he sympathized with Palestinian “frustration” in a statement that accused Israel of boosting the construction of so-called “settlements,” or Jewish homes in historically Jewish areas of the country.

“There’s been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years,” Kerry said. “Now you have this violence because there’s a frustration that is growing, and a frustration among Israelis who don’t see any movement.”

Settlement growth has not actually increased in Israel, according to former White House national security adviser Elliott Abrams, who recently criticized Kerry for promoting false views of the Jewish state amid the sharp rise in terrorism.

Other insiders who work closely with the Israeli government called the administration’s push to equate Palestinian terrorism with Israeli policing measures a “disgrace.”

“The administration’s position is a disgrace,” said one senior official with a prominent pro-Israel organization. “Our democratic Israeli allies are on the front lines in an actual war against terrorists stabbing Jews in the street, and the White House is making up stories about Israeli malfeasance and blaming terror victims.”

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill struck a different tone from the Obama administration when discussing the spike in violence.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) blamed the Palestinian government for glorifying terrorism and urging its citizens to strike out at Jewish people.

Palestinian religious figures and other prominent individuals have taken to social media and television outlets in recent days to celebrate the rash of stabbings and demand that more take place.

“These attacks have been incubated by the continued incitement and glorification of violence by the Palestinian leadership, most recently by President Mahmoud Abbas during his address at the United Nations General Assembly,” Cruz said in a statement.

“He still has yet to categorically condemn these attacks. It is long past time for the United States and the international community to hold the Palestinians accountable for their incitement and support for terrorism, including through the financial payment to Palestinian terrorists who are jailed in Israel for committing acts of terrorism.”

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.) said the violence proves the Palestinians are not a viable partner for peace.

“I condemn the recent violence and murders against Israeli citizens but it reaffirms once again how Israel’s supposed partner for peace, the Palestinian Authority, has been engaged in a vicious campaign of incitement to violence,” Ros-Lehtinen said.

Ros-Lehtinen and Rep. Ted Deutch (D., Fla.) has authored a House resolution expressing concern over the rise in anti-Semitic violence and calling on the Palestinian Authority to cease its incitement.

“In order to help restore some peace and stability within the region, the Obama administration needs to do more to support Israel,” Ros-Lehtinen said.

Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) praised Israeli leaders for showing resilience and “restraint” amid the terror attacks.

“It is critical that the Obama administration and Congress press Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who regrettably used his speech before the United Nations General Assembly to worsen tensions, to act decisively to end the growing wave of Palestinian violence and return to bilateral peace negotiations with Israel,” Kirk said.

Also see:

John Kerry’s Letter to Congress Is a ‘Guilty’ Plea to the Charge That Iran Deal Materially Supports Terrorism

john-kerry-just-gave-russia-a-final-warningPJ Media, by Andrew McCarthy, Sep. 9, 2015:

How could any member of Congress in good conscience support a deal that so blatantly empowers a brazen enemy of the United States — a regime that has killed thousands of Americans, a regime that daily continues to call for death to America and the annihilation of Israel — to the degree that even the Obama administration openly concedes that the deal materially supports terrorism?

No sooner did Obama lock up the Democratic support he needed in the Senate to ensure his deal cannot be defeated under the farcical Corker review process than did his Iran point-man, Secretary of State John Kerry, send a letter to members of Congress promising that more military aid would be given to Iran’s enemies, Israel and the Sunni Gulf states. Let’s put aside the absurdity of vowing, as Kerry does in the letter, that Obama’s deal will promote regional peace while simultaneously acknowledging that Iran’s enemies will need “increase[d] security assistance.” If the Obama administration were charged with committing material support to terrorism, a serious felony violation of federal law, Kerry’s letter would suffice as a “Guilty” plea.

The criminal statute that prohibits “providing material support to terrorists” (section 2339A of the federal penal code, Title 18) provides a jail sentence of up to 15 years — or up to life imprisonment if death results from the offense — for anyone who:

… provides material support or resources … knowing … that they are to be used in preparation for, or in carrying out, [an act of terrorism] … or in preparation for, or in carrying out, the concealment of an escape from the commission of any such violation, or attempts or conspires to do such an act[.]

The statute provides a sweeping definition of “material support or resources”:

The term “material support or resources” means any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel (1 or more individuals who may be or include oneself), and transportation, except medicine or religious materials[.]

With that background, let’s turn to Kerry’s letter to members of Congress. It explicitly admits to:

Iran’s continued support for terrorist and proxy groups throughout the region, its propping up of the Assad regime in Syria, its efforts to undermine the stability of its regional neighbors, and the threat it poses to Israel.

Note that the State Department expressly designates both Iran and Syria as state sponsors of terrorism.

But this admitted “support for terrorist and proxy groups” is going to stop now thanks to Obama’s deal, right? Wrong. Kerry flatly confesses (my emphasis):

We have no illusion that this behavior will change following implementation of the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action– i.e., Obama’s Iran deal.]

Obama’s Iran deal will provide Iran with over $100 billion, and opens the door to its acquisition of sophisticated weaponry (wholly apart from Iran’s nuclear development activities).

It is, in short, the most astronomical provision of material support and resources to terrorism — as that term is defined in federal law (see above) — in the history of the world.

Kerry’s letter to Congress goes on to concede that, after implementation of the deal, there will be a continuing need “to deter and combat regional threats, including terrorism and Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region.” Kerry elaborates that there will be continuing concerns about “arms transfers to Iranian backed Hizballah in Lebanon, Houthis in Yemen, and Shia militants in Iraq, as well as transfers involving North Korea.”

So, while the Obama administration ensures that money and materiel pour into Iran, Iran will continue to provide material support to terrorists, terrorist organizations, and terrorist regimes. In light of Kerry’s blatant acknowledgment of this fact, the State Department’s most recent report on Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism, from 2014, is worth quoting at length:

Designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1984, Iran continued its terrorist-related activity in 2014, including support for Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, Lebanese Hizballah, and various groups in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. This year, Iran increased its assistance to Iraqi Shia militias, one of which is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), in response to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) incursion into Iraq, and has continued to support other militia groups in the region. Iran also attempted to smuggle weapons to Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza. While its main effort focused on supporting goals in the Middle East, particularly in Syria, Iran and its proxies also continued subtle efforts at growing influence elsewhere including in Africa, Asia, and, to a lesser extent, Latin America. Iran used the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to implement foreign policy goals, provide cover for intelligence operations, and create instability in the Middle East. The IRGC-QF is the regime’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.

Iran views Syria as a crucial causeway in its weapons supply route to Lebanese Hizballah, its primary beneficiary, and as a key pillar in its “resistance” front. In 2014, Iran continued to provide arms, financing, training, and the facilitation of primarily Iraqi Shia and Afghan fighters to support the Asad regime’s brutal crackdown that has resulted in the deaths of at least 191,000 people in Syria, according to August UN estimates.

The IRGC-QF, in concert with Lebanese Hizballah, provided training outside of Iraq as well as advisors inside Iraq for Shia militants in the construction and use of sophisticated improvised explosive device (IED) technology and other advanced weaponry.

Iran has historically provided weapons, training, and funding to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups, including Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC). These Palestinian terrorist groups have been behind a number of deaths from attacks originating in Gaza and the West Bank.

[I]n a November 25 speech, Supreme Leader Khamenei highlighted Iran’s military support to “Palestinian brothers” in Gaza and called for the West Bank to be similarly armed. In December, Hamas Deputy Leader Moussa Abu Marzouk announced bilateral relations with Iran and Hamas were “back on track.”

In March, Israeli naval forces boarded the Klos C cargo ship in the Red Sea off the coast of Sudan. On board, they found 40 M-302 rockets, 180 mortars, and approximately 400,000 rounds of ammunition hidden within crates of cement labeled “Made in Iran” and believed to be destined to militants in the region.

Since the end of the 2006 Israeli-Hizballah conflict, Iran has also assisted in rearming Lebanese Hizballah, in direct violation of UNSCR 1701. General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the IRGC Aerospace Force stated in November that “The IRGC and Hezbollah are a single apparatus jointed together,” and Lebanese Hizballah Deputy Secretary General Naim Qassem boasted that Iran had provided his organization with missiles that had “pinpoint accuracy” in separate November public remarks. Iran has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in support of Lebanese Hizballah in Lebanon and has trained thousands of its fighters at camps in Iran. These trained fighters have used these skills in direct support of the Asad regime in Syria and, to a lesser extent, in support of operations against ISIL in Iraq. They have also continued to carry out attacks along the Lebanese border with Israel.

Hezbollah and Hamas have long been formally designated foreign terrorist organizations under federal law.

Obviously, there is no disputing the Obama administration’s patent knowledge that much of the material support its deal will provide to the terror-sponsoring regime in Tehran will be funneled to these and other designated foreign terrorist organizations. This means yet another criminal statute prohibiting material support to terrorism is implicated (Section 2339B of the federal penal code).

That law states:

Whoever knowingly provides material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and, if the death of any person results, shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life.

The statute goes on to require proof that an accused person knows:

 … that the organization is a designated terrorist organization[,] … that the organization has engaged or engages in terrorist activity[,] … or that the organization has engaged or engages in terrorism[.]

It is incontestable that President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and their subordinates know all three things about Hezbollah and Hamas, even though the statute requires knowledge of only one of them to establish guilt.

It bears emphasizing that for all their absurd claims about how the president’s Iran deal reins in Iran’s nuclear program, even Obama administration officials feel compelled to admit that Iran will step up its material support to terrorism while it is receiving the windfall from the deal.

That is not just unconscionable; it is criminal.

How can Obama’s Iran deal conceivably be supported by anyone who claims to oppose international terrorism or support Israel?

Also see: