Senior Lawmakers Urge U.S. Engagement in Libya

Libyans take part in a celebration with fireworks marking the sixth anniversary of the Libyan revolution / Getty Images

Washington Free Beacon, Natalie Johnson, April 25, 2017:

Senior lawmakers on Tuesday rejected President Donald Trump’s declaration that the United States has “no role” in Libya, citing the threat of regional instability to U.S. national security interests.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) and ranking Democrat Ben Cardin (D., Md.) said Libya’s ongoing battle over power and access to natural resources has created a permissive environment for extremist groups such as the Islamic State and al Qaeda.

Cardin, during opening remarks for a hearing assessing U.S. policy options in the war-torn nation, said it is vital to U.S. security interests that the Trump administration work with the international community and local forces to craft a political solution that creates a representative government.

“The United States must be engaged,” Cardin said. “When we don’t have representative governments … it creates a void and that void is filled by ISIS, as we’ve seen in northern Africa, and it’s filled by Russia, which we’re seeing Russia’s engagement now in Libya.”

“I think this hearing is an important indication by Congress that we do expect a role to be played,” he added.

Trump raised concerns Thursday when he rejected calls from Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni to maintain America’s “very critical” role in Libya. The United States currently is working to build political consensus around the fragile United Nations-backed government in Tripoli. Trump said during the joint press conference with Gentiloni that the U.S. priority in Libya is counterterrorism efforts to degrade ISIS.

Moscow in recent months has ramped up support for Libyan military commander Gen. Khalifa Haftar, who controls large swaths of eastern Libya, including Benghazi. Haftar’s forces do not recognize the UN-backed Government of National Accord, posing a significant challenge to international efforts to unify the country.

Frederic Wehrey, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told lawmakers Tuesday that U.S. disengagement from the embattled nation would widen the opening for Russian involvement and create conditions likely to perpetuate the spread of ISIS.

U.S. Africa Command released its 2017 posture statement in March, declaring instability in Libya and North Africa the “most significant near-term threat” to the United States and its allies in the region. The command warned that Libya’s precarious security situation has created spillover effects in Tunisia, Egypt, and most of western North Africa, enabling the flow of foreign fighters and migrants to Europe.

“The notion of the problems of Libya spilling over is really profound—we’re talking about a number of U.S. interests in the region. [It’s] really this epicenter that effects the surrounding region.” Wehrey testified.

The Truth Behind Media’s New Favorite Euphemism: ‘Muslim-Majority Countries’

Breitbart, by John Hayward, March 9, 2017:

Both versions of President Trump’s executive order have been caricatured as a “Muslim ban,” even though they applied to only six or seven specific countries, leaving 90 percent of the world’s population out of the mix.

The fallback euphemism is to say that Trump is “banning” immigration (they never say it is conditional and temporary) from several “Muslim-majority” countries. This is also misleading because those countries are not merely inhabited by a majority of Muslims. They are Muslim countries, period. They all have some form of Islamic law written into their legal codes.

With Iraq removed from the equation, the remaining nations affected by the order are Iran, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia. The original executive order did not list the affected nations; it merely referred to Obama-era legislation that named them as nations of particular concern. The revised version of the order does name the affected nations because it explains why each of them is on the list.

The first version of the order did not mention Islam at all. The revised version does, but only to explain why the first order did not because this is not a “Muslim ban”:

Executive Order 13769 did not provide a basis for discriminating for or against members of any particular religion. While that order allowed for prioritization of refugee claims from members of persecuted religious minority groups, that priority applied to refugees from every nation, including those in which Islam is a minority religion, and it applied to minority sects within a religion. That order was not motivated by animus toward any religion, but was instead intended to protect the ability of religious minorities — whoever they are and wherever they reside — to avail themselves of the USRAP in light of their particular challenges and circumstances.

Islam is not a “minority religion” in any of the six countries named by the order. In fact, all six of them officially incorporate Islamic sharia law into their legal codes.

Of the six, Iran is an outright Islamic theocracy. Its Supreme Leader is the Ayatollah, a top-ranking Muslim cleric. Iran’s legal code is explicitly based on sharia, with a smattering of civil ordinances thrown in. Iranian courts have been known to invoke sharia for such judgments as requiring a woman to be blinded in retribution for throwing acid in a victim’s face.

Iranian law nominally has some protections for religious minorities, but the absolute supremacy of Islam is not questioned. Observers have reported that religious freedom is growing steadily worse in the theocracy.

Libya is the most complex of the six nations to classify, because it does not have a functioning central government at all, following Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s disastrous intervention – a fact the mainstream media prefers not to dwell on. “Libya’s post-revolution legal system is in flux and driven by state and non-state entities,” as the CIA World Factbook tactfully puts it.

The capital city of Tripoli was seized by an Islamist coalition, with the Muslim Brotherhood a major player. Another is Ansar al-Sharia, a Salafist Islamic militia. The presence of “sharia” in its name is not a coincidence; they declared Libya an Islamic “caliphate” in 2014.

There has been success in the battle against Libyan ISIS, but al-Qaeda is still a major player. U.N.-backed unity governments tend to include a lot of people from the more extreme wings of Libyan politics. They have to because Islamists are a powerful political force in the country.

Another major force in chaotic Libya is widely described as a “secularist,” General Khalifa Haftar. Some observers wonder just how “secularist” he really is, especially if he gains control of the country and has to make deals with the powerful Islamist elements he is currently fighting.

Haftar is an old Qaddafi hand, and while the late dictator is remembered as a brutal and mercurial secularist loathed by hardline Islamists in Libya, he was sometimes given to Islamist sentiments of his own. For instance, Qaddafi once declared Islam was the only universal human religion and said, “all those believers who do not follow Islam are losers.” He named his son and once-presumed successor Saif al-Islam.

Libya’s future is a question mark, but it is highly disingenuous to describe even its present state as merely “Muslim-majority.” The interim Libyan constitution of 2011 begins with the invocation of “Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate,” states that Islam is the official religion of the country, and declares “sharia shall be the main source of legislation.” Until and unless a different constitution is put into effect by an internationally-recognized national government, Libya is a Muslim nation.

Somalia officially imposed sharia law through its Cabinet in 2009. “Islamic Sharia is the only option to get solutions for the problems in this country,” one minister declared. Less than 0.1% of the population follows a religion other than Islam.

The Somali government banned Christmas celebrations in December 2015, because “having Muslims celebrate Christmas is not the right thing,” as a top official put it. He likened Christmas celebrations to apostasy and said they are “not in any way related to Islam.” Foreigners were graciously allowed to celebrate Christmas in their homes, but even hotels were instructed to prevent guests from holding celebrations.

The al-Shabaab terrorist organization thinks the central government is not Islamist enough and imposes an even harsher sharia code on the sizable portions of the country it effectively controls. Many of the people living under al-Shabaab control have told interviewers they support its legal code.

Sudan is officially an Islamic state with a sharia legal code. Even the leaders of breakaway South Sudan, which want to return to a common-law system on the British model, have been struggling to purge sharia from the legal system.

Sudan, like Somalia, is not “majority Muslim” – it is about 96% Muslim, and the 3% Christian minority is brutally persecuted, despite some nominal legal protection for other religions. World Atlas notes that “some interpretations of the Muslim Law in the country fail to recognize or accept apostasy and marriages to non-Muslims,” and concludes that “Sudan leads the world as the most difficult country for Christians since freedom of religion or belief is systematically ignored.”

Syria is an uncomfortable case, as some religious minorities say they fared much better under the Assad dictatorship. Some Syrian Christians bluntly refer to Bashar Assad as their “protector” and have similar hopes for the intervening Russians. Of course, critics of the brutal Syrian regime argue that Assad’s alliance with Christians is purely cynical, and even accuse him of inflaming the Christian fear of Muslims for political gain.

Assad’s government is nominally secular, while even most of the “good guy” rebels supported by Western powers practice Islamic law through sharia courts. Syrians in contested areas complain that different sharia courts loyal to various factions, from “moderates” to hardcore al-Qaeda Islamists, issue conflicting verdicts.

At the height of the rebellion, many Syrians expressed a desire to replace the Syrian Arab Republic with an Islamic state. Then they found themselves saddled with the Islamic State, which may have led some of them to reconsider. However, there are still calls to impose sharia across Syria, portraying it as an instrument of peace and justice.

Having said that, the constitution of the “secular” Syrian Arab Republic explicitly requires the president to be a Muslim, and requires that “Islamic jurisprudence shall be a major source of legislation.” This was true of both the older constitution and the revised document prepared in 2012.

The same article declares “the State shall respect all religions, and ensure the freedom to perform all the rituals that do not prejudice public order,” but there is no question: Syria is a Muslim nation, not a “Muslim-majority nation.” Islam enjoys a privileged position in its legal code that Western liberals would not tolerate without comment from any other religion.

Yemen practices a mixture of sharia law and common law in what passes for its central government – which, of course, was overthrown by the Houthis, a Shiite Muslim insurgency supported by the Iranian theocracy. The internationally recognized Yemeni government has said the Houthis want to transform Yemen into a caliphate ruled by lineal descendants of Mohammed.

Even Houthi spokesmen who strongly disagree with that characterization have said they think “sharia should be one of the main sources of the law in Yemen, not the only source.”

The large portions of Yemen controlled by al-Qaeda are noted for the strict rule of Islamic law, including the oppression of women. Al-Qaeda regards the failure to strictly obey sharia as “debauchery.”

The Constitution of the Republic of Yemen explicitly declares it to be an Islamic state, and stipulates “sharia is the source of all legislation.” Islam is unambiguously named as the official state religion. Denouncing Islam is a crime punishable by death. Over 99% of the population is Muslim.

Iraq: Even though it is no longer listed in Trump’s executive order, it should be noted that Iraq is an explicitly Islamic nation, according to its 2005 constitution. “Islam is the official religion of the State and is a fundamental source of legislation,” Article 2 declares. “No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established.”

Religious freedom is nominally protected, as long as the supremacy of Islam is acknowledged by all: “This Constitution guarantees the Islamic identity of the majority of the Iraqi people and guarantees the full religious rights of all individuals to freedom of religious belief and practice such as Christians, Yazedis, and Mandi Sabeans.”

Some Iraqi clerics agitate for stricter adherence to sharia law, which introduces the dangerous question of whether Sunni or Shiite law should reign supreme.

The incorporation of Sharia law into the legal codes of these countries occurs to a degree that would revolt the American Left, if any religion except Islam was involved. Rest assured that no one in today’s mainstream media would describe, say, 15th-century Spain as a “majority Catholic” nation.

For that matter, they do not seem inclined to describe Israel as “majority Jewish”; they simply refer to it as a “Jewish state.” Israel is, in fact, only about 75% Jewish. A recent effort supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party to formally define Israel as a Jewish state failed, in part due to concerns that it could lead to discriminatory policies against the Arab population.

Its legal code includes extensive protection for religious minorities, and there are Muslim and Druze members of its parliament. Last November, one of them staged the Muslim call to prayer during a parliamentary session to protest a bill that would prevent all places of worship from using loudspeakers to summon their worshipers, because it was seen as unfairly targeting mosques.

Equivalent stunts are unwise for members of religious minorities in “Muslim-majority nations,” including the six listed in President Trump’s executive order.

In conclusion: all of the nations mentioned in both versions of President Trump’s executive order are Muslim countries, period. Every single one of them has Islam as the state religion and bases its legal code on sharia. Not a single one of these countries is a “Muslim-majority” nation that practices full and complete religious pluralism under a secular government.

Analysis: Islamic State claims historically high number of suicide attacks in 2016

17-01-01-is-claims-107-martyrdom-operations-in-iraq-and-syria-in-dec-2016-768x545Long War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn, January 3, 2017:

The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency claims that the so-called caliphate carried out at least 1,141 “martyrdom operations” (suicide attacks) in Iraq, Syria and Libya in 2016. The overwhelming majority of these, 1,112 in all, were launched in Iraq and Syria.

On Jan. 1, Amaq posted an infographic (seen on the right) summarizing 107 “martyrdom operations” in Iraq and Syria for the month of Dec. 2016. As The Long War Journal repeatedly documented last year, Amaq produces a similar image each month. The total for all twelve months of 2016 is 1,141 suicide bombings, including 29 in Libya.

If Amaq’s figures are accurate, then the Islamic State set a new record high for suicide attacks in 2016. Indeed, the scale of such operations is incredible, even by the standards of modern jihadist organizations. For example, the Taliban claims that its members were responsible for just 32 “martyrdom” attacks during the same time frame.

17-01-03-1112-martyrdom-operations-carried-out-by-fighters-of-the-islamic-state-of-iraq-and-syria-in-2016-768x432Earlier today, Amaq also published an infographic (seen on the right) summarizing the group’s 1,112 “martyrdom operations” in Iraq and Syria. The majority of these, 761 (or 68 percent), were aimed at Iraqi government forces or Kurdish Peshmerga fighters. The infographics do not separately list those bombings that targeted Iranian-backed Shiite militias that fight alongside the Iraqi government.

Kurdish fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), were the second most frequent target of the Islamic State’s “martyrs.” According to Amaq, 135 such operations targeted the PKK/YPG. Most of these took place in northern Syria, where the two sides have been engaged in heavy fighting. The PKK is a US-designated terrorist organization. The YPG has helped deliver some of the Islamic State’s biggest losses since 2014, including in Kobane.

Another 133 suicide bombers struck fighters loyal to Bashar al Assad’s regime in Syria. The two sides frequently clash in the Homs and Deir Ezzor provinces. The Islamic State also carried out high-profile “martyrdom” operations against the Syrian regime elsewhere in 2016 as well.

The remaining 83 “martyrs” were deployed against Turkey’s armed forces and allied rebel organizations in northern Syria. Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield in August and quickly claimed territory from the so-called caliphate along the border. Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s loyalists have been trying to stymie the Turkish-led offensive on Al Bab, a town in the northern part of Syria’s Aleppo province, and some of the bombings took place in the neighboring villages.

The Islamic State has become particularly adept at using vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs). According to Amaq, 797 of the 1,112 suicide attacks in Iraq and Syria in 2016 relied on VBIEDs. Another 18 were dual operations involving vehicles. Therefore, fully 73 percent of the bombings used VBIEDs. The remaining suicide operations used explosive belts (214), bomb vests (82), or a motor bike (1).

The Long War Journal has noticed a small discrepancy in Amaq’s reporting. The Islamic State’s propaganda arm listed suicide attacks in Libya on several of its monthly infographics in 2016, but stopped doing so in the latter third of the year. For instance, Amaq separately reported that tanks and various other vehicles belonging to General Khalifa Haftar’s men were destroyed in “a martyrdom operation in the customs zone west of Benghazi” on Dec. 18. However, this bombing is not listed on Amaq’s infographic for December (seen above). This means that some suicide attacks reported by Amaq in Libya, as well as elsewhere, are not included in the organization’s tallies. The infographic tallying 1,112 suicide attacks in 2016 excludes Libya entirely.

The battle for Mosul

In October, the US military, Iraqi government, Kurdish forces, Iranian-backed militias and others began an offensive to retake Mosul, which is located in Nineveh province. Mosul is one of the Islamic State’s two de facto capitals, so it is unsurprising that the group has dispatched an incredible number of suicide bombers in its defense of the city.

In fact, according to Amaq, 220 “martyrdom operations” were carried out during the first ten weeks of the battle for Mosul. The bombings during this ten week period, which began in mid-October and ended on Dec. 26, account for nearly 20 percent of the claimed suicide attacks in 2016 across Iraq and Syria combined.

The figure for the battle of Mosul is based on separate infographics produced by Amaq specifically for the fight in and around the city. The infographics for the first seven weeks of the battle for Mosul were previously reproduced by FDD’s Long War Journal. [See: “Islamic State defends Mosul with dozens of suicide bombers” and “Islamic State has claimed more than 1,000 suicide attacks thus far in 2016.”] The infographics for weeks eight through ten of the battle can be seen below.

Claiming suicide bombings at a historically high rate

As The Long War Journal has previously reported, the Islamic State claims to have carried out suicide bombings at a historically high rate in 2016.

Amaq’s infographics indicate that the group launched an average of 93 “martyrdom operations” in Iraq and Syria per month throughout the year. This figure does not include the suicide bombings in Libya and elsewhere, which would only make the average even higher.

According to open source data compiled by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), all terrorist organizations around the globe carried out 906 (76 per month) suicide attacks in 2015 and 739 (62 per month) in 2014. The year 2015 was the previous high water mark for suicide bombings. Many of those attacks in 2014 and 2015 were orchestrated by the Islamic State, but other organizations’ “martyrs” are included in the totals as well.

Therefore, the Islamic State’s figures suggest that the organization set a new record for suicide bombings in 2016 all by itself.

However, there are important caveats to keep in mind when assessing Amaq’s claims.

First, it is not possible to validate the total figures provided by Amaq. The Islamic State propaganda arm does post individual claims for many of the “martyrdom operations” tallied on its infographics. These statements indicate a location and target for each “martyr,” but this is not independent verification as it comes from the same source (Amaq). Furthermore, while open source reporting corroborates many such operations, it is unlikely that all of the suicide attacks are tracked in publicly-available sources. The fog of war often makes it difficult to document the precise details of bombings in chaotic war zones.

The identities of many of these attackers are not known. The Islamic State has used children or adolescents in at least some of its “martyrdom operations.” Such young people cannot be truly considered willing “martyrs.”

Some suicide bombers fail to reach their intended targets, but are probably included in Amaq’s totals anyway. Press reports have detailed how many Islamic State operatives fail to hit their mark prior to blowing themselves up. The US and its allies often destroy VBIEDs before they can do any damage.

It is also possible that Amaq exaggerates the efficacy of the group’s “martyrdom operations” by overstating the casualties caused and the total number of targets destroyed (including enemy vehicles) in the resulting explosions.

Most of the Islamic State’s suicide bombings are now defensive in nature, meaning that a large number of “martyrs” are being deployed as the caliphate’s grip on territory loosens. This can be seen in and around Mosul, north of Raqqa, Syria as well as in Sirte, Libya. All three cities are considered key to the Islamic State’s caliphate claim. As the group’s hold on Sirte began to slip during the summer of 2016, for example, the jihadists used a number of suicide bombers to slow their enemies’ approach. Eventually, Sirte fell to local Libyan forces backed by the US and its Western allies anyway. The same methods are being employed around Mosul and north of Raqqa.

It is also important to remember that suicide attacks are just one of the many tactics employed by the Islamic State.

Still, there is no question that Baghdadi’s men are relying on suicide bombers at a remarkable pace.

If Amaq’s data are accurate, the two months that witnessed the most suicide bombings by Baghdadi’s operation were October (120) and November (132). September saw the fewest suicide attacks with 53, according to Amaq.

Amaq News Agency’s infographics for weeks eight through ten of the battle for Mosul:

16-12-13-8b-eigth-week-of-the-battle-of-mosul-arabic-1-1024x576

16-12-21-9b-ninth-week-of-the-battle-of-mosul-1024x576

16-12-28-10b-the-tenth-week-of-the-battle-of-mosul-arabic-1024x576

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD’s Long War Journal.

Ohio man allegedly communicated with an Islamic State ‘external attack planner’

161107233626-aaron-travis-daniels-mugshot-exlarge-169Long War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn, November 8, 2016

Aaron Travis Daniels, also known as Harun Muhammad and Abu Yusef, was arrested at an airport in Columbus, Ohio yesterday before he could fly to Trinidad. Daniels’ final, intended destination was Libya, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). But instead of making his way to North Africa, Daniels was arrested and charged with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State.

Some of the DOJ’s allegations are noteworthy, especially those pointing to the Islamic State’s external attack network, which seeks to instigate and plot terrorism in both the US and Europe.

The DOJ does not allege that Daniels planned to commit an attack in Ohio or elsewhere inside the United States. Instead, the 20 year-old is charged with planning to join the Islamic State in Libya, after expressing “his interest in violent jihad and traveling overseas” via social media and “in various communications.” But he also communicated with at least one Islamic State external attack planner, according to the complaint.

The Islamic State has repeatedly told followers that they can migrate to any of the so-called caliphate’s lands to support jihad. In addition to Iraq and Syria, jihadi hotspots such as Libya are routinely advertised as acceptable destinations for serving the cause. This is consistent with the Islamic State’s establishment of “provinces” beginning in late 2014. The group tells believers that the caliphate is a truly global enterprise and that they need not make their way to the Levant or the Middle East to do their duty. In his latest audio message, for instance, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi heaped praise on his loyalists in Sirte, Libya, emphasizing that they were just like his “soldiers” elsewhere.

Daniels was allegedly in contact with an Islamic State operative known as Abu Isa Al Amriki, who acted as a “recruiter and external attack planner.” According to the DOJ, Daniels said at one point that it was al Amriki who “suggested” he go to Libya “to support jihad.”

Al Amriki and his wife, an Australian national known as Umm Isa Amriki, were killed in an airstrike near Al Bab, Syria on Apr. 22. Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook announced their deaths in early May, saying that Abu Isa al Amriki was a Sudanese national also known as Abu Sa’ad al Sudani. Al Amriki (Al Sudani) “was involved in planning attacks against the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom,” Cook said at the time. “Both al Sudani and his wife were active in recruiting foreign fighters in efforts to inspire attacks against Western interests.”

The death of the couple removes “influential ISIL [Islamic State] recruiters and extremists who actively sought to harm Western interests and further disrupts and degrades ISIL’s ability to plot external attacks,” Cook said. Cook also described al Amriki as an “external attack planner.” Press reporting indicates that Umm Isa Amriki was both active on social media and worked to attract women to the jihadis’ cause.

Federal authorities claim that Daniels “wired money to an intermediary for Abu Isa Al Amriki.” The DOJ’s announcement specifically mentions a sum of $250 that Daniels sent to an Islamic State “operative” in January 2016.

Therefore, if the DOJ’s allegations are proven, then Daniels’ case provides an additional example of how the Islamic State’s external attack network has been able to engage would-be followers online throughout the US and Europe.

In March, another Ohio man, Munir Abdulkader, pleaded guilty to various terrorist charges. Abdulkader communicated with a key Islamic State recruiter, Junaid Hussein, who was killed in an American airstrike in Raqqa, Syria on Aug. 24, 2015. Hussein was also one of the Islamic State’s external attack planners. “Through these communications,” the DOJ announced in July, “Hussein directed and encouraged Abdulkader to plan and execute a violent attack within the United States.” Hussein may have been in contact with the two gunmen who opened fire at an event dedicated to drawing images of the Prophet Mohammed in Garland, Texas in May 2015. British officials also accused Hussein and his comrades of plotting attacks inside the UK. [See LWJ report, Ohio man conspired with Islamic State recruiter, Justice Department says.]

The Islamic State’s external operations arm has planned large-scale attacks such as the assault on Paris in Nov. 2015. But the group’s online planners have also directed small-scale attacks in Europe. Officials have described these plots as being “remote-controlled.” [See LWJ report, Terror plots in Germany, France were ‘remote-controlled’ by Islamic State operatives.]

The US-led military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has repeatedly targeted operatives involved in plotting against the West. US officials have stressed that the external operations arm is integrated with the rest of the organization. Baghdadi’s lieutenants are tasked with defending their turf over there, while also planning terror over here.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for The Long War Journal.

Clinton Backed Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Regime

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2012 / AP

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2012 / AP

Talking points show Clinton called Morsi’s election ‘milestone’ for Egyptian democracy.

Washington Free Beacon, by Bill Gertz, October 13, 2016:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012 called the election of Egypt’s Islamist Muslim Brotherhood leader a “milestone” for Egyptian democracy and offered covert police and security help, according to declassified State Department documents.

A nine-page document, once-labeled “Secret,” listed talking points for Clinton’s meeting with newly-elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on July 14, 2012. The talking points said Morsi’s election was a key step toward popular democracy in the strategic North African state.

“We stand behind Egypt’s transition to democracy,” the heavily-redacted Clinton talking points state, adding that the only way to maintain a strong Egypt is “through a successful transition to democracy.”

The first key objective of the meeting was for Clinton to “offer our congratulations to Morsi and to the Egyptian people for this milestone in Egypt’s transition to democracy.”

Clinton then was meant to offer Morsi American technical expertise and assistance from both the U.S. government and private sector to support his economic and social programs.

Clinton’s talking points also included an offer of secret assistance to help Morsi “upgrade and reorient Egypt’s police force toward serving the needs of a democratic people.” The offer included sending a team of U.S. police and security experts to Egypt as part of a “framework of cooperation” that would be carried out “quite discretely.”

Also, the talking points reveal Clinton was ready to help launch an Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund, a private sector initiative of U.S. and Egyptian investors to help Egyptian businesses. The fund was to be launched with $60 million and would later involve Congress adding $300 million over five years.

The fund was created in September 2012.

Many pro-democracy Egyptians who had taken to the streets as part of the 2011 revolution that ousted long-time U.S. ally Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak viewed U.S. support for Morsi as a betrayal and part of a U.S. strategy of backing the Muslim Brotherhood in the region.

The meeting between Clinton and Morsi took place two months before terrorists in neighboring Libya attacked a U.S. diplomatic compound and CIA facility, killing four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stephens.

A second State Department document revealed that Deputy Secretary of State Thomas R. Nides wrote to Morsi on Sept. 24, 2012 seeking collaboration with the Egyptian leader on Syria and Iran.

“It was a honor to meet with you in Cairo,” Nides wrote in the letter. “We share the goal of growing our markets and increasing trade, as well as a desire for a stable, secure and peaceful region. As I said when we met, the United States also remains committed to helping Egypt address regional issues, including Syria and Iran.”

Both documents reveal that the State Department under Clinton had little understanding of the Islamist threat posed by the Muslim Brotherhood and its branches.

Andrew C. McCarthy, former assistant U.S. attorney in New York who prosecuted Islamist terrorism cases, said Clinton backed the Muslim Brotherhood over the Egyptian military, stating it was imperative that power be turned over to the winner of the election.

“The defining mission of the Muslim Brotherhood is the implementation of sharia,” McCarthy said. Sharia is Islamic law that critics say is antidemocratic and contrary to fundamental rights and freedoms

The documents were released under a Freedom of Information Act request seeking information on the Obama administration’s secret 2011 Presidential Study Directive-11, or PSD-11.

The directive, according to officials familiar with its contents, outlined how the administration would seek to support the Muslim Brotherhood around the world despite the Islamist supremacist organization providing the ideological underpinning for jihadist terrorism for both al Qaeda and its successor, the Islamic State.

U.S. backing for Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt was derailed by the Egyptian military a year after the meeting. Morsi, the first democratically elected head of state in Egyptian history, was ousted in a coup after he had sought to consolidate power by granting himself unlimited authority in what pro-democracy critics called an Islamist coup.

Egyptian military leaders arrested Morsi on July 3, 2013, after protesters took to the streets to oppose his rule. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi headed a military government and was later elected president.

The Muslim Brotherhood is an international organization founded in 1928 that adopted as its motto “Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our Leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the path of Allah is our highest hope.”

The leaders of the Brotherhood in September 2010 declared jihad, or holy war against the United States and Israel, six months before the Arab Spring uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East.

Clinton’s backing for Arab Spring states was guided by PSD-11 and produced ongoing disasters in the region, namely in Libya and Syria.

U.S. intervention in Libya ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi but left the oil-rich state in turmoil. It is now viewed as a failed state and safe haven for several Islamist terror groups.

Syria’s civil war helped spawn the emergence of the Islamic State in 2014.

In a section on Israel, Clinton’s talking points expressed appreciation to Morsi for assertions that Egypt would continue to abide by international treaties and obligations.

“Maintaining peace with Israel is a fundamental shared interest and critical for Egypt’s ability to address its economic challenges and enjoy international support as it consolidates its democracy,” the talking points stated. “We may not have a common view, but we do have a common interest.”

The CIA also covertly backed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, according to Egyptian news outlets. In December 2013, the news website Al Bashayer published audio recordings of a CIA delegation that met with Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Khayrat al Shatir and Brotherhood official Isam al Haddad at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Jan. 8, 2013.

The CIA asked the Muslim Brotherhood leaders to open a back channel to al Qaeda “to secure the safe exit of U.S. troops” from Afghanistan.

Additionally, another news outlet, Al-Marshad al Amni, reported that Maj. Gen. Abd-al-Hamid Khayrat, former deputy chief for Egyptian State Security Investigations said the CIA in January 2013 “asked for the help of the MB in Egypt to facilitate… the withdrawal from Afghanistan.” The Muslim Brotherhood agreed to become a “bridge” between the U.S. government and al Qaeda, Khayrat said.

The reports triggered widespread conspiracy theories in post-Morsi Egypt that the CIA was collaborating with Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood to destabilize Egypt.

The Clinton talking points about the transition to democracy were reflected in a briefing given by a State Department official to reporters the day before the 2012 meeting. The covert police assistance was not mentioned.

A day after the meeting, Clinton stated in remarks at the U.S. Consulate in Alexandria, Egypt, that she told Morsi the success of his presidency and Egypt’s success “depends upon building consensus across the Egyptian political spectrum and speaking to the needs and concerns of all Egyptians—all faiths, all communities, men and women alike.”

Retired Army Lt. Col. Joseph Myers, a former DIA official and specialist on terrorism, said the documents show the endorsement and support of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt was “a fools errand and shows a disastrous strategic naivety.”

“The whole policy initiative to support a Muslim Brotherhood government anywhere is another example of a total policy failure of Secretary Clinton,” Myers said.

“But it also raises deeper questions of who in our government is advising and influencing such reckless and dangerous policies that show no fundamental comprehension of the threat we face from radical Islamic jihad,” he added. “Or worse these advisers precisely understand what they are doing to U.S. policy and Secretary Clinton could not.”

Arms dealer says administration made him scapegoat on Libya operation to ‘protect’ Clinton

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Fox News, by Catherine Herridge, Pamela K. Browne, October 12, 2016:

EXCLUSIVE: American arms dealer Marc Turi, in his first television interview since criminal charges against him were dropped, told Fox News that the Obama administration — with the cooperation of Hillary Clinton’s State Department — tried and failed to make him the scapegoat for a 2011 covert weapons program to arm Libyan rebels that spun out of control.

“I would say, 100 percent, I was victimized…to somehow discredit me, to throw me under the bus, to do whatever it took to protect their next presidential candidate,” he told Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge.

The 48-year-old Arizona resident has been at the epicenter of a failed federal investigation led by the Justice Department spanning five years and costing the government an estimated $10 million or more, Turi says.

Turi says the Justice Department abruptly dropped the case to avoid public disclosure of the weapons program, that was designed to force the ouster of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi during the 2011 Arab Spring.

“Those transcripts from current as well as former CIA officers were classified,” Turi said of the evidence. “If any of these relationships [had] been revealed it would have opened up a can of worms. There wouldn’t have been any good answer for the U.S. government especially in this election year.” The Justice Department faced a deadline last week to produce records to the defense.

Turi says he was specifically “targeted by the Obama administration “and “lost everything–my family, my friends, my business, my reputation.”

As Fox News has reported extensively, in 2011, the Obama administration with support from some Republican and Democratic lawmakers explored options to arm the so-called “Libyan rebels” during the chaotic Arab Spring but United Nations sanctions prohibited direct sales.

Turi’s plan was to have the U.S. government supply conventional weapons to the Gulf nations Qatar and UAE, which would then in turn supply them to Libya. But Turi says he never sold any weapons, and he was cut out of the plan.  Working with CIA, Turi said Clinton’s State Department had the lead and used its own people, with weapons flowing to Libya and Syria.

“Some (weapons) may have went out under control that we had with our personnel over there and the others went to these militia. That’s how they lost control over it,” Turi said. “I can assure you that these operations did take place and those weapons did go in different directions.”

Asked by Fox News who got the weapons — Al Qaeda, Ansar al-Sharia, or ISIS — Turi said: “All of them, all of them, all of them.”

Turi exchanged emails in 2011 with then U.S. envoy to the Libyan opposition Chris Stevens. A day after the exchange about Turi’s State Department application to sell weapons, Clinton wrote on April 8, 2011 to aide Jake Sullivan, “fyi. the idea of using private security experts to arm the opposition should be considered.”

Asked if the email exchanges are connected or a coincidence, Turi said, “When you look at this timeline, none of it was a coincidence. It was all strategically managed and it had to come from her own internal circle.”

Turi also told Fox News that he believes emails sent about the weapons programs were deleted by Hillary Clinton and her team because that “it would have gone to an organization within the Bureau of Political Military affairs within the State Department known as PM/RSAT (Office of Regional Security and Arms Transfers.)  That’s where you would find Jake Sullivan, Andrew Shapiro and a number of political operatives that would have been intimately involved with this foreign policy.”

The four felony counts — which included two of arms dealing in violation of the Arms Export Control Act and two of lying on his State Department weapons application — were dismissed last week against Turi “with prejudice,” meaning the government cannot come after him again on this matter.

The Justice Department decision, weeks before the election, coupled with the now public emails, cast a new light on Clinton’s 2013 Benghazi testimony where she was asked about the movement of weapons by Sen. Rand Paul.

Paul: Were any of these weapons transferred to other countries. Any countries. Turkey included?

Clinton: Well, senator you’ll have to direct that question to the agency that ran the annex and I will see what information is available.

Paul: You’re saying you don’t know?

Clinton: I don’t know.

Turi first told his story to Fox News senior executive producer Pamela Browne in 2014, and since, Turi says he’s lost everything to fight the Justice Department, which had no further comment beyond the publicly available court records.

“With all the resources that they were throwing at me, I knew there would have to be some type of explanation of the operation that was going terribly wrong in Libya,” Turi said. “It is completely un-American…I was a contractor for the Central Intelligence Agency.”

Turi said he is grateful the case is over. “It really is ungodly, and unjust and unconscionable, that the entire force of the United States government came after me for a simple application. I was working for the U.S. government.”

Turi added, “I never shipped anything. I never even received the contract. So all I received was an approval for $534 million to support our interests overseas. And it would have been the United States government that facilitated that operation from Qatar and UAE by way of allowing those countries to land their planes and land their ships in Libya.”

Close friend and Turi adviser Robert Stryk described Turi this way to Fox News in a statement:

“Marc Turi is a true patriot who served his country in the fight against Islamofascist terrorists in the Middle East. His fraudulent prosecution by Hillary Clinton’s associates in the Justice Department is deplorable as is the fate of the American heroes murdered in Benghazi. Our most loyal citizens deserve better.”

And Turi hinted there is more to emerge on the 2012 Benghazi attacks which killed four Americans including Stevens.

“Now there’s a flip side to this. Some of the operations that I was involved in, in another country for the agency has a linkage and there’s a backstory to the actual buy-back program of the surface to air missiles that were shipped and mysteriously disappeared out of Benghazi,” Turi said. “So we can save that for another time, but the reality is a lot of this could have exposed a number of covert operations that I don’t think the American public would really want to know at this point in time.”

Fox News asked the State Department about Turi’s allegations, and whether no weapons reached extremists groups on Clinton’s watch.  A spokesperson said they would check.

Clinton Speech Wikileaks: Libya’s Institutions ‘Destroyed’, Benghazi ‘My Biggest Regret’

AFP/Getty

AFP/Getty


Breitbart, by John Hayward, October 11, 2016:

The WikiLeaks dump of those very expensive speeches Hillary Clinton fought to keep secret from the public for so long include some remarkable comments on Libya and Benghazi.

These comments offer a damning indictment of Clinton’s leadership, because it is clear that she and Barack Obama were completely wrong about what would happen to Libya after they toppled dictator Moammar Qaddafi.

For example, she told the Boston Consulting Group in 2013:

So what happened? Well, Khadafy is gone. They start to organize. They had one of the best elections that any of these new countries had. They did not elect extremists. They had a very good outcome of people representing the various factions, but they didn’t – they don’t have a military. They can’t provide security as we found much to, you know, our terrible experience in Benghazi, but we see it all over the country. So the jury is out but it is not for lack of trying by the people who have inherited the positions of responsibility.

The jury wasn’t “out” then, and it is not out today. Clinton and Obama caused a horrific global crisis with their Libyan adventure, and they were completely unprepared for what happened in Benghazi. It’s clear from Clinton’s remarks that she completely misunderstood the security situation.

In the same speech, she explained that now she understands how thoroughly Libya’s “institutions” were “destroyed” by Qaddafi’s rule, and violent overthrow, but sadly for Ambassador Chris Stevens and those who died with him, Clinton did not listen to anyone who tried to warn her about the danger prior to 9/11/2012:

You have a country that had been under the thumb of Khadafy and his henchmen for 42 years. All institutions were destroyed. There was not even a military because he didn’t trust anybody since he had been a Colonel who had done a coup, so he had mercenaries, there were African mercenaries and some European mercenaries that were in his direct pay. They had really just conducted themselves as if the entire Libyan oil fortune was personally theirs.

In a Cisco speech in August 2014, she called the Benghazi attack her “biggest regret,” and repeated her observations about how inadequate the security situation was, as if someone else had been Secretary of State at the time:

Of course it was just devastating that there was this attack on our post and on our CIA annex, which I can talk about now, because it’s all been made public. And that the kind of reliability that governments have to count on from the governments in which they operate, like we’re responsible for the security ultimately of every embassy in Washington.

Well, the Libyan government has no capacity to deliver and the people that we had contracted with were incapable or unwilling to do it.  So that was a deep regret.

And you learn from these events, just as we have over the last 30-plus years, where embassies have been attacked or taken over, or the terrible events in Beirut in 1983-84.  You learn from them, but it always comes down to this very hard choice, should American civilians be in dangerous places?

What’s especially galling about Clinton’s 20/20 hindsight is that Democrats have long made the same argument about Iraq, and Clinton claims to have accepted those arguments after mistakenly voting to authorize the invasion.

In the later years of the Bush presidency, Democrats claimed it was patently obvious, in retrospect, that Iraq wasn’t ready to deal with the savage post-Saddam era, because decades of brutal personality-cult dictatorship had destroyed the institutions upon which democracy depends. Supposedly everyone outside of the Bush Administration could plainly see that nation-building was a doomed enterprise.

But here’s Clinton asking us to pardon her while she learns the same horrible lesson from her own nation-building project. Why should anyone give President Obama and his Secretary of State a total pass for not understanding what would happen after Qaddafi was gone, when so many people outside the Administration were yelling those warnings from the rooftops? Who was responsible for understanding that security situation and taking appropriate precautions, if not the Secretary of State?

Clinton boasted about the wonderful Libyan elections in several of her speeches – “one of the best elections in the whole region after the fall of Qaddafi,” as she put it to Hamilton College in October 2013 – but such arguments cut no ice with Democrats after the liberation of Iraq. It wasn’t long before they were waving off those “purple finger” photos of Iraqi voters as irrelevant.

“You try to help, you try to create relationships, and, you know, the hard guys with the guns have a different idea. So if you don’t have overwhelming force, it’s difficult,” Clinton observed to General Electric’s Global Leadership Meeting in 2014.

How can anyone be surprised that “the hard guys with guns” have undue influence in the Middle East? How can anyone with even a cursory understanding of the Middle East in general, and Libya in particular, reinforced by the grim lessons of Iraq, have imagined anything less than “overwhelming force” would be required?

Clinton told the Global Business Travelers Association in 2013 that it was “just a terrible crime” Ambassador Stevens was killed “doing what was really in the best interests of both the United States and Libya.”

On that, we can all agree, but that’s not how Clinton talked during the crucial days after the Benghazi attack revealed she and Obama had no idea what they had done to Libya, and no contingency plan for coping with a terrorist strike on the anniversary of 9/11.

During those vital days of Obama’s re-election campaign, Clinton and Obama pretended Benghazi was a bolt from the blue, a stunning “video protest.” She blamed the man who created the video, not these militia groups and terrorist gangs she now claims to be a keen student of. There’s no way to honestly square what Clinton said in these speeches with the Obama Administration’s conduct in September and October 2012.

Clinton’s speeches in 2013 and 2014 are further evidence, if any were needed, that she and President Obama lied to the American people, and to the Benghazi families, about the attack. They were disastrously wrong about Libya, from the minute Clinton talked Obama into toppling Qaddafi.

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