Iran’s Secret War in Syria

iran-nuclear-deal.sized-770x415xtPJ MEDIA, BY P. DAVID HORNIK, SEPTEMBER 3, 2016

Since the signing of the nuclear deal on July 14, 2015—now, it turns out, with major secret exemptions for Iran—Iran’s brazenness has only grown. The Obama administration, in its ongoing efforts to coddle and appease, has gone so far as to offer to buy Iran’s heavy water and sell Iran Boeings.

But the reason appeasement doesn’t work is that Iran harbors an intense enmity toward the West and particularly its (still) reigning superpower, America, which it wants to destroy. Anyone still not convinced of that should watch this propaganda video of young Iranians sinking American aircraft carriers.

Lately, with the lame-duck President Obama headed for the finish line as he tightly clutches his “legacy”—the nuclear deal—Iran has further stepped up the brazenness. It has harassed U.S. ships in international waters of the Persian Gulf, forcing one of them to fire warning shots. It has deployed the Russian-made S-300 missile-defense system—one of the most advanced in the world—at its Fordo uranium-enrichment site. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in an address to Defense Ministry staff in Tehran, has said Iran must continue its offensive military buildup and “avoid negotiating with the U.S., [as] experience has proven that instead of understanding, the Americans are seeking to impose their will in negotiations.”

The Obama administration, for which the nuclear deal plays a role like the speed of light in Einsteinian relativity—an absolute, immutable principle—reacts to all this solely by expressing “concern.”

A major exposé in the Daily Mail now reveals that, for years, Iran’s military involvement in Syria has been much more extensive and dangerous than many believed.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an exiled opposition group, has passed information to MailOnline that was apparently leaked by senior figures in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. Among other things, the activists say Iran now commands about 60,000 Shiite troops in Syria—vastly more than the 16,000 that Western analysts had estimated.

The NCRI, which in 2002 exposed Iran’s then-secret nuclear facilities at Natanz and Arak, also says Iran operates a major headquarters near Damascus airport, nicknamed the Glasshouse. About a thousand people work there including Iran’s feared intelligence agencies, and there is also a basement for holding millions of dollars in cash.

The NCRI claims that the total amount Iran has spent on the Syrian war comes to an astounding $100 billion, much of it during years when Tehran was complaining loudly about the ravages of economic sanctions. Western analysts had gauged the sum at only $15 billion.

Most ominously, the activists say Iran is

putting down military roots in 18 locations from northern to southern Syria…, showing how it intends to control large swathes of the country even if Assad is defeated.

Iranian military planners…are said to have divided Syria into “five fronts,” comprising the Northern Front, Eastern Front, Southern Front, Central Command Front and Coastal Front, the NCRI claims.

Revolutionary Guard bases have been established in each of the sectors, which the NCRI says can accommodate up to 6,000 troops, as well as heavy weapons, air power and anti-aircraft missiles.

A situation where, even if the Assad regime falls, Iran would retain effective military control of the country, bristling with offensive and defensive capabilities, would be—as a security source told the Daily Mail—“exactly what many of the region are afraid of. It’s their biggest nightmare.”

All this does not mean Iran is having an easy time in Syria. Of the 60,000-strong Shiite force it is apparently deploying there, only about one-fourth seem to be Iranians. The rest are Shiite mercenaries from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Lebanon (in addition to about 10,000 Hizballah troops with a separate command structure).

One reason there are relatively few Iranians is “growing levels of public unease in Iran at the level of casualties sustained.” As historian Michael Burleigh comments, “[T]he Iranian public has had a bellyful of costly wars, with hundreds of thousands of dead from the 1980-88 war against Iraq.”

Throughout his tenure, however, President Obama has passed up opportunities—starting, most egregiously, with the 2009 Green Revolution that he adamantly refused to support—to leverage domestic discontent to put pressure on Tehran. Even his grudging imposition of sanctions led eventually to the nuclear deal—according to which Iran pockets concessions and cash, at most postpones some aspects of its nuclear development, and continues building a military dominion that could become Obama’s true “legacy,” namely, a 21st-century nightmare fostering conflict on a much more massive scale than what we already see.

Also see:

What if Chaos Were Our Middle East Policy?

isis-caliphate

Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, Aug. 31, 2016:

Sum up our failed Middle East policy in a nine-letter word starting with an S. Stability.

Stability is the heart and soul of nation-building. It’s the burden that responsible governments bear for the more irresponsible parts of the world. First you send experts to figure out what is destabilizing some hellhole whose prime exports are malaria, overpriced tourist knickknacks and beheadings. You teach the locals about democracy, tolerance and storing severed heads in Tupperware containers.

Then if that doesn’t work, you send in the military advisers to teach the local warlords-in-waiting how to better fight the local guerrillas and how to overthrow their own government in a military coup.

Finally, you send in the military. But this gets bloody, messy and expensive very fast.

So most of the time we dispatch sociologists to write reports to our diplomats explaining why people are killing each other in a region where they have been killing each other since time immemorial, and why it’s all our fault. Then we try to figure out how we can make them stop by being nicer to them.

The central assumption here is stability. We assume that stability is achievable and that it is good. The former is completely unproven and even the latter remains a somewhat shaky thesis.

The British wanted stability by replicating the monarchy across a series of Middle Eastern dependents. The vast majority of these survived for a shorter period than New Coke or skunk rock. Their last remnant is the King of Jordan, born to Princess Muna al-Hussein aka Antoinette Avril Gardiner of Suffolk, educated at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and currently trying to stave off a Muslim Brotherhood-Palestinian uprising by building a billion dollar Star Trek theme park.

The British experiment in stabilizing the Middle East failed miserably. Within a decade the British government was forced to switch from backing the Egyptian assault on Israel to allying with the Jewish State in a failed bid to stop the Egyptian seizure of the Suez Canal.

The American experiment in trying to export our own form of government to Muslims didn’t work any better. The Middle East still has monarchies. It has only one democracy with free and open elections.

Israel.

Even Obama and Hillary’s Arab Spring was a perverted attempted to make stability happen by replacing the old Socialist dictators and their cronies with the political Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood. They abandoned it once the chaos rolled in and stability was nowhere to be found among all the corpses.

It might be time to admit that barring the return of the Ottoman Empire, stability won’t be coming to the Middle East any time soon. Exporting democracy didn’t work. Giving the Saudis a free hand to control our foreign policy didn’t work. Trying to force Israel to make concessions to Islamic terrorists didn’t work. And the old tyrants we backed are sand castles along a stormy shore.

Even without the Arab Spring, their days were as numbered as old King Farouk dying in exile in an Italian restaurant.

If stability isn’t achievable, maybe we should stop trying to achieve it. And stability may not even be any good.

Our two most successful bids in the Muslim world, one intentionally and the other unintentionally, succeeded by sowing chaos instead of trying to foster stability. We helped break the Soviet Union on a cheap budget in Afghanistan by feeding the chaos. And then we bled Iran and its terrorist allies in Syria and Iraq for around the price of a single bombing raid. Both of these actions had messy consequences.

But we seem to do better at pushing Mohammed Dumpty off the wall than at putting him back together again. If we can’t find the center of stability, maybe it’s time for us to embrace the chaos.

Embracing the chaos forces us to rethink our role in the world. Stability is an outdated model. It assumes that the world is moving toward unity. Fix the trouble spots and humanity will be ready for world government. Make sure everyone follows international law and we can all hum Lennon’s “Imagine”.

Not only is this a horrible dystopian vision of the future, it’s also a silly fantasy.

The UN is nothing but a clearinghouse for dictators. International law is meaningless outside of commercial disputes. The world isn’t moving toward unity, but to disunity. If even the EU can’t hold together, the notion of the Middle East becoming the good citizens of some global government is a fairy tale told by diplomats while tucking each other into bed in five-star hotels at international conferences.

It’s time to deal with the world as it is. And to ask what our objectives are.

Take stability off the table. Put it in a little box and bury it in an unmarked grave at Foggy Bottom. Forget about oil. If we can’t meet our own energy needs, we’ll be spending ten times as much on protecting the Saudis from everyone else and protecting everyone else from the Saudis.

Then we should ask what we really want to achieve in the Middle East.

We want to stop Islamic terrorists and governments from harming us. Trying to stabilize failed states and prop up or appease Islamic governments hasn’t worked. Maybe we ought to try destabilizing them.

There have been worse ideas. We’re still recovering from the last bunch.

To embrace chaos, we have to stop thinking defensively about stability and start thinking offensively about cultivating instability. A Muslim government that sponsors terrorism against us ought to know that it will get its own back in spades. Every Muslim terror group has its rivals and enemies waiting to pounce. The leverage is there. We just need to use it.

When the British and the French tried to shut down Nasser, Eisenhower protected him by threatening to collapse the British pound. What if we were willing to treat our Muslim “allies” who fill the treasuries of terror groups the way that we treat our non-Muslim allies who don’t even fly planes into the Pentagon?

We have spent the past few decades pressuring Israel to make deals with terrorists. What if we started pressuring Muslim countries in the same way to deal with their independence movements?

The counterarguments are obvious. Supply weapons and they end up in the hands of terror groups. But the Muslim world is already an open-air weapons market. If we don’t supply anything too high end, then all we’re doing is pouring gasoline on a forest fire. And buying the deaths of terrorists at bargain prices.

Terrorism does thrive in failed states. But the key point is that it thrives best when it is backed by successful ones. Would the chaos in Syria, Nigeria or Yemen be possible without the wealth and power of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran? Should we really fear unstable Muslim states or stable ones?

That is really the fundamental question that we must answer because it goes to the heart of the moderate Muslim paradox. Is it really the Jihadist who is most dangerous or his mainstream ally?

If we believe that the Saudis and Qataris are our allies and that political Islamists are moderates who can fuse Islam and democracy together, then the stability model makes sense. But when we recognize that there is no such thing as a moderate civilizational Jihad, then we are confronted with the fact that the real threat does not come from failed states or fractured terror groups, but from Islamic unity.

Once we accept that there is a clash of civilizations, chaos becomes a useful civilizational weapon.

Islamists have very effectively divided and conquered us, exploiting our rivalries and political quarrels, for their own gain. They have used our own political chaos, our freedoms and our differences, against us. It is time that we moved beyond a failed model of trying to unify the Muslim world under international law and started trying to divide it instead.

Chaos is the enemy of civilization. But we cannot bring our form of order, one based on cooperation and individual rights, to the Muslim world. And the only other order that can come is that of the Caliphate.

And chaos may be our best defense against the Caliphate.

How Donald Trump could fix Middle East

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks onstage during a campaign rally in Akron, Ohio, U.S., August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks onstage during a campaign rally in Akron, Ohio, U.S., August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Asia Times, by  David P. Goldman, Aug. 22, 2016:

The first step to finding a solution is to know that there’s a problem. Donald Trump understands that the Washington foreign-policy establishment caused the whole Middle Eastern mess. I will review the problem and speculate about what a Trump administration might do about it.

For the thousand years before 2007, when the Bush administration hand-picked Nouri al-Maliki to head Iraq’s first Shia-dominated government, Sunni Muslims had ruled Iraq. Maliki was vetted both by the CIA and by the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

With Iraq in the hands of an Iranian ally, the Sunnis–disarmed and marginalized by the dismissal of the Iraqi army–were caught between pro-Iranian regimes in both Iraq and Syria. Maliki, as Ken Silverstein reports in the New Republic, ran one of history’s most corrupt regimes, demanding among other things a 45% cut in foreign investment in Iraq. The Sunnis had no state to protect them, and it was a matter of simple logic that a Sunni leader eventually would propose a new state including the Sunni regions of Syria as well as Iraq. Sadly, the mantle of Sunni statehood fell on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who projected not only an Islamic State but a new Caliphate as well. America had a dozen opportunities to preempt this but failed to do so.

From a fascinating defector’s account in the Foreign Policy website, we learn that the region’s jihadists debated the merits of remaining non-state actors on the al-Qaeda model versus attempting to form a state prior to the launch of ISIS. The defector reports a 2013 meeting in which al-Baghdadi demanded the allegiance of al-Qaeda (that is, al-Nusra Front) fighters in Syria:

Baghdadi also spoke about the creation of an Islamic state in Syria. It was important, he said, because Muslims needed to have a dawla, or state. Baghdadi wanted Muslims to have their own territory, from where they could work and eventually conquer the world….The participants differed greatly about the idea of creating a state in Syria. Throughout its existence, al-Qaeda had worked in the shadows as a non-state actor. It did not openly control any territory, instead committed acts of violence from undisclosed locations. Remaining a clandestine organization had a huge advantage: It was very difficult for the enemy to find, attack, or destroy them. But by creating a state, the jihadi leaders argued during the meeting, it would be extremely easy for the enemy to find and attack them….

Despite the hesitation of many, Baghdadi persisted. Creating and running a state was of paramount importance to him. Up to this point, jihadis ran around without controlling their own territory. Baghdadi argued for borders, a citizenry, institutions, and a functioning bureaucracy. Abu Ahmad summed up Baghdadi’s pitch: “If such an Islamic state could survive its initial phase, it was there to stay forever.”

Baghdadi prevailed, however, not only because he persuaded the al-Qaeda ragtag of his project, but because he won over a large number of officers from Saddam Hussein’s disbanded army. America had the opportunity to “de-Ba’athify” the Sunni-dominated Iraqi Army after the 2003 invasion, the way it de-Nazified the German Army after World War II. Instead, it hung them out to dry. Gen. Petraeus’ “surge” policy of 2007-2008 bought the Sunni’s temporary forbearance with hundreds of millions of dollars in handouts, but set the stage for a future Sunni insurgency, as I warned in 2010.

Trump is right to accuse the Bush administration of creating the mess, and also right to blame Obama for withdrawing American forces in 2011. Once the mess was made, the worst possible response was to do nothing about it (except, of course, to covertly arm “moderate Syrian rebels” with weapons from Libyan stockpiles, most of which found their way to al-Qaeda or ISIS).

Now the region is a self-perpetuating war of each against all. Iraq’s Shia militias, which replaced the feckless Iraqi army in fighting ISIS, are in reorganization under Iranian command on the model of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. The Kurds are fighting both ISIS and the Syrian government. ISIS is attacking both the Kurds, who field the most effective force opposing them in Syria, as well as the Turks, who are trying to limit the power of the Kurds. Saudi Arabia and Qatar continue to support the Sunnis of Iraq and Syria, which means in effect funding either ISIS or the al-Nusra Front.

Russia, meanwhile, is flying bombing missions in Syria from Iranian air bases. Apart from its inclination to bedevil the floundering United States, Russia has a dog in the fight: as a number of foreign officials who have spoken with the Russian president have told me, Putin has told anyone who asks that he backs the Iranian Shi’ites because all of Russia’s Muslims are Sunni. Russia fears that a jihadist regime in Iraq or Syria would metastasize into a strategic threat to Russia. That is just what al-Baghdadi had in mind, as the Foreign Policy defector story made clear:

Baghdadi had another persuasive argument: A state would offer a home to Muslims from all over the world. Because al-Qaeda had always lurked in the shadows, it was difficult for ordinary Muslims to sign up. But an Islamic state, Baghdadi argued, could attract thousands, even millions, of like-minded jihadis. It would be a magnet.

What Trump might do

What’s needed is a deal, and a deal-maker. I have no information about Trump’s thinking other than news reports, but here is a rough sketch of what he might do:

Read the rest

Also see:

What’s the Plan for Winning the War?

iranian-nuclear-weaponDoes anyone in the administration recognize that we’re in one?

CounterJihad, Aug. 25, 2016:

Michael Ledeen makes a clever observation:

Everyone’s talking about “ransom,” but it’s virtually impossible to find anyone who’s trying to figure out how to win the world war we’re facing.  The two keystones of the enemy alliance are Iran and Russia, and the Obama administration, as always, has no will to resist their sorties, whether the Russians’ menacing moves against Ukraine, or the Iranians’ moves against us.

The moves are on the chessboard, sometimes kinetic and sometimes psychological warfare.  Like a chess game, we are in the early stages in which maneuver establishes the array of forces that will govern the rest of the game.  Russia’s deployment of air and naval forces to Syria stole a march on the Obama administration.  Its swaying of Turkey, which last year was downing Russian aircraft, is stealing another.  Its deployment of bombers and advanced strike aircraft to Iran is another.  That last appears to be in a state of renegotiation, as Ledeen notes, but that too is probably for show.  The Iranians have too much to gain in terms of security for their nuclear program, at least until they’ve had time to build their own air force.

Iran is making strategic moves as well.  Ledeen notes the “Shi’ite Freedom Army,” a kind of Iranian Foreign Legion that intends to field five divisions of between twenty and twenty-five thousand men each.  Overall command will belong to Quds Force commander Qassem Suliemani, currently a major figure in the assault on Mosul, having recovered from his injury in Syria commanding Iranian-backed militia in the war there.  The fact of his freedom of movement is itself a Russian-Iranian demonstration that they will not be governed by international law:  Suliemani is under international travel bans for his assassination plot against world diplomats, but was received in Moscow and now travels freely throughout the northern Middle East.

Turkey, meanwhile, has been effectively cut off by Iran’s and Russia’s success in the opening game of this global chess match.  As late as the Ottoman Empire, the Turks looked south through Iran and Iraq to power bases as far away as Arabia.  Now the Ayatollahs are going to control a crescent of territory from Afghanistan’s borders to the Levant, leaving the Turks locked out.  One might have expected the Turks to respond by doubling their sense of connection to Europe and NATO.  Instead, the purge following the alleged coup attempt is cementing an Islamist control that leaves the Turks looking toward a world from which they are largely separated by the power of this new Russian-Iranian alliance.  The Turks seem to be drifting toward joining that alliance because being a part of that alliance will preserve their ties to the Islamic world.

For now, the Obama administration seems blind to the fact that these moves are closing off America’s position in the Middle East.  This is not a new policy.  Eli Lake reports that the Obama administration told the CIA to sever its ties to Iranian opposition groups in order to avoid giving aid to the Green revolution.  Their negotiation of last year’s disastrous “Iran deal” has led to Iran testing new ballistic missiles and receiving major arms shipments from Russia.  Yet while all these moves keep being made around them, the Obama administration proceeds as if this were still just an attempt to crush the Islamic State (ISIS).  The commander of the XVIIIth Airborne Corps has been given a task that amounts to helping the Iranians win.  Our incoherent policy has left us on both sides in Syria.  Our only real ally in the conflict, the Kurds, stand abandoned by America.

Who is even thinking about how to win the war?  Will the legacy of the Obama administration be a shattered NATO, a Turkey drawn into Russia’s orbit, an Iranian hegemony over the northern Middle East, and a resurgent Russia?  It certainly looks to be shaping up that way.  Russia is playing chess while the US is playing whack-a-mole.  The absence of a coherent governing strategy is glaring.

Trump Counter-Terror Speech: What’s Right; What Needs Work

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (Photo: video screenshot)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (Photo: video screenshot)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, Aug. 16, 2016:

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump outlined his proposed counter-terrorism strategy yesterday. He laid out an impressive ideology-based strategy that includes uplifting Muslim reformers; however, he also vindicated decades of Islamist propaganda by emphasizing his opinion that the U.S. should have taken Iraq’s oil from its people, which would have required a long-term military occupation to protect it.

What Was Right

The parts of the speech about waging an ideological war on radical Islam were a breath of fresh air.

Criticizing of the past two administrations for not identifying the enemy is not an inconsequential squabbling over semantics. It’s an organizing principle. It is necessary for distinguishing friend from foe and waging the war of ideas. Confronting this ideology should be enthusiastically received by liberals/progressives and conservatives alike.

Trump explained, “Just as we won the Cold War, in part, by exposing the evils of communism and the virtues of free markets, so too must we take on the ideology of Radical Islam.”

“My administration will speak out against the oppression of women, gays and people of different faith. Our administration will be a friend to all moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East and will amplify their voices. This includes speaking out against the horrible practice of honor killings…” he continued.

When it comes to outlining the radical Islamic beliefs that we must confront, Trump knocked it out of the park, saying:

“A Trump Administration will establish a clear principle that will govern all decisions pertaining to immigration: We should only admit into this country those who share our values and respect our people. In the Cold War, we had an ideological screening test. The time is overdue to develop a new screening test of the threats we face today.

“In addition to screening out all members of sympathizers of terrorist groups, we must also screen out any who have hostile attitudes towards our country or its principles—or who believe that sharia law should supplant American law.

“Those who do not believe in our Constitution or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted for immigration into the country.”

He also called for deporting non-citizens who preach hatred, teaching our values and patriotism to newcomers and wisely talked about why assimilation is an “expression of compassion,” rather than “an act of hostility.”

Casting aside his ridiculous and offensive idea of a ban on all Muslims from entering the U.S., he instead advocated “extreme” ideological vetting based around American values.

Dr. Daniel Pipes has some recommendations on a vetting process can separate Islamists from Muslims we should embrace showing that this process is possible by using background checks, link analysis of what groups potential immigrants have associated with and questioning.

What Needs Work

Although this may be coming at a later date, Trump did not provide details of his counter-terrorism strategy except for his plan to halt inappropriate immigration. Trump pledged to uplift moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East, something that is extremely necessary, yet did not mention embracing the Iranian opposition.

If Trump wants to be an ally with Muslim reformers and pro-human rights, his plan for a temporary ban on immigration from unstable countries known for exporting terrorism has to be amended to account for persecuted minorities or reformist Muslims fleeing those countries. For example, immigration for persecuted Coptic Christian from Egypt or a Muslim who is swarmed with death threats for challenging honor killings in Pakistan must fall into a special category.

Interestingly, Trump sees “secular” dictators like Saddam Hussein, Bashar Assad, Muammar Qaddafi and Hosni Mubarak as net pluses. In other speeches, he has blasted the pursuit of regime changes and undermining of governments.

Isn’t this a contradiction to promoting Muslim reformers?

Playing Into the Hands of Islamists

In the speech Trump firmly stated his opinion that the United States should have seized Iraqi’s oil production capabilites, which have required an indefinite occupation of the country.

“I was saying this constantly and to whoever would listen: Keep the oil, keep the oil, keep the oil. I said, ‘don’t let someone else get it.’…In the old days, when we won a war, to the victor belonged the spoils,” he said.

For decades, one of the main—and most fruitful—Islamist talking points is that the West, particularly the U.S., is scheming to steal oil from the Muslims and is happy to lie and slaughter hundreds of thousands of innocents to get it.

This breeds relentless hostility to American and the West and favorability towards Islamism. If that propaganda is seen as an undeniable fact (though statements such as these), then it becomes almost impossible for moderate Muslim reformers to succeed.

Those who argue that violent jihad against America is permissible use this very argument.

Until now, when speaking to the masses, Islamists had to block statement after statement from American politicians that America is not after the oil of the Muslims.

Now, jihadis have clips of an American presidential candidate supported by about 41% of the country advocating what they’ve claimed all along—that the U.S. wants to militarily conquer their land and take their resources.

***

Prof. Ryan Mauro, Clarion Project’s national security analyst, appears on “The Thom Hartmann Show,” the #1 progressive radio show, to discuss Donald Trump’s counter-terrorism speech on August 15.

What Do American Schools Teach About Islam? PC Or Nothing

Photo amrufm / Flickr

Photo amrufm / Flickr

The Federalist, by Joy Pullmann, Aug. 16, 2016:

Jenny McKeigue’s youngest child enters seventh grade this fall, and she plans to excuse him from a world history class requirement to recite a Muslim conversion prayer called the shahada. McKeigue spent four years attempting to convince her school board in Olmsted Falls, Ohio, to alter some lessons and replace history textbooks after her oldest son in 2012 showed her a reality TV episode his teacher had played in class.

In “30 Days: Muslims and America,” an imam tells a Christian man attempting to live as a Muslim for 30 days that Muslims and Christians worship the same god. The Christian struggles with that idea but ultimately accepts it.

Independent reviewers McKeigue requested also found errors in the district’s textbooks such as listing eleven biblical commandments and stating Muslims historically “practiced religious tolerance” by requiring Christians and Jews to pay extra taxes—not mentioning the alternative was often death. McKeigue said comparative class time and materials were not devoted to other major world religions such as Judaism and Christianity.

The district recently did buy new textbooks—a newer version of the one McKeigue had objected to, which contains many of the same errors.

Take and Read

Textbook errors are so common that several independent organizations review textbooks full-time. The Florida-based Citizens for National Security has issued the most comprehensive reviews about how textbooks treat Islam, and Chairman William Saxton says he fields about six related inquiries per day.

CFNS reports chronicle sins of omission and commission—such as saying “war broke out” between Palestinians and Israelis although one side was the aggressor, glossing over historical realities such as Muslims holding slaves and proselytizing by the sword, and inaccuracies such as stating Jesus was a Palestinian when Palestine did not exist until more than 100 years after his crucifixion.

One of CFNS’s YouTube videos points out that the high school history textbook used in the Boston bombers’ public school, Cambridge Latin School, makes straightforward religious claims about Islam no textbook would mimic in a description of any other religion: “Muhammad’s teachings, which are the revealed word of God…” An unbiased textbook would say something like “Muslims believe Muhammad’s teachings are the revealed word of God.”

Saxton is a retired U.S. intelligence officer with a Harvard University doctorate who volunteers for CFNS. He won’t say which agencies he’s worked for besides the Department of Defense, but will say he has investigated jihadist propaganda professionally. He began going through all the textbooks he could find after visiting a grandson in California in 2009 and looking up the sections on Middle Eastern history.

“That’s when the light lit,” he said. “I said ‘Whoa, we have a problem.’ This is a cultural jihad. It’s a dangerous form because no one is going to know about this.”

He quotes Shabir Mansuri, the founder of the Muslim-Brotherhood-connected Council on Islamic Education, who said their work reviewing textbooks for major publishers is intended to produce a “bloodless” cultural revolution. Reaction to such statements prompted CIE to change its name to the Institute for Religion and Civic Values, where Mansuri continues to review history textbooks for major publishers, write lesson plans, and give seminars to teachers.

Follow the Money

Taxpayers often fund these activities through government grants and contracts, and IRCV claims a “significant working partnership” with the U.S. State Department. It reviewed the textbook McKeigue objected to in her kids’ schools (Holt 2006).

Former CIE senior researcher Susan Douglass now runs a education outreach program for an influential Georgetown University center endowed in 2005 by a $20 million gift from Saudi prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. Recently declassified documents suggest links between the Saudi Arabian government, al-Qaeda, and the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks.

Talal, one of the world’s richest men, has suggested America’s foreign policy deserved some blame for 9/11 and donated to the terrorist-linked Council for American-Islamic Relations. John Esposito, the founding director of Talal’s Georgetown center, has raised money for CAIR and publicly promoted organizations the U.S. government later designated terrorist organizations.

The center also receives federal Title VI funds for developing K-12 curriculum materials. Like Mansuri, Douglass travels the country giving seminars at museums, school districts, and conferences. Teacher resources she has written read like Muslim apologetics, including claims such as: “Customs such as honor killing are not part of Islam”; “Of the many current misperceptions about Islam, perhaps the most widespread is that women in Islamic law and Muslim society are oppressed and lack rights”; and “Jihad may not be conducted either to force people to convert or to annihilate or subdue people of other faiths.”

Talal also gave $20 million in 2005 to Harvard University for a similar, federally funded center of resources for K-12 teachers. Many U.S. campuses host such centers, whose employees present themselves as experts to textbook publishers, school teachers, and the media, said Winfield Myers, the director of academic affairs at the Middle Eastern Forum.

“You can see the actual genocide carried against the Christians in the Middle East with very little protest from these departments, because of so many years of Arab supremacism,” Myers said. “In the main, the Middle East studies departments are anti-Western and anti-Israel.”

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

The prevalence of Saudi money in American higher education “gives incentives for not asking critical questions,” Myers said. Exacerbating this tendency is that asking questions about Islam quickly sparks accusations of racism, said Shireen Qudosi, an American Sufi Muslim who lives in California.

“Because we’re limited our ability to have these conversations it leads to this entitled attitude of ‘Because I’m Muslim I deserve something extra,’” she said from her cell phone in the car as her five-year-old son, Reagan, fussed in the back seat. She excused herself to hand him a snack.

Her frustrations with Islam in American schools are largely social: “Arabs see themselves as superior and their culture as the only authentic Islamic culture. And since they’re the ones with the money, what they say gets put into play.” Since they fear losing jobs and reputation if accused of racism, school administrators and social workers often sideline Muslim-related conflicts, leaving families to fend for themselves.

This also affects curriculum, because it motivates curriculum companies to similarly downplay religious and racial conflict, at the expense of accuracy and substance. High school teacher Elizabeth Altman, for example, spent eight weeks last summer with materials all over her dining room table, “tearing my hair out” to rewrite her Advanced Placement European history class to fit new guidelines: “I tried to take Sundays off. Tried.”

College Board’s AP tests can earn students college credit in high school. In 2015, 110,000 students took the AP European history exam, and for most it will be their last world history class.

“I was thinking ‘I hope I die before graduation so I don’t have to do this’” because the new material is so tedious and vague, said Altman, who is also the assistant principal at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Academy in Rockford, Illinois, before diving into a detailed explanation of what the College Board left out of its new, 237-page course description.

Goodbye, Religion

Islam is almost completely absent, but it’s not just Islam. Religion, period, has been relegated to a few glancing mentions, notes an extensive review of the curriculum changes from the National Association of Scholars. For example, it treats the Holocaust as a political and racial episode, leaving aside the religious elements.

“To leave religion out as a motivation for war or for domestic policy decisions is to leave out half of the human character,” Altham said. “To treat religious belief as simply a convenient belief of the ruling class is to ignore that the ruling class generally has genuine belief.”

So while ISIS is destroying Roman ruins in Syria because they consider them pagan works of infidels not worth preserving, Western intellectuals are performing an analogous intellectual exercise by erasing major human motivations and pivotal historic events in ways that hamper young Americans’ ability to understand historic and current world affairs, said David Randall, the author of the NAS report.

“Islam is the great inheritor and great rival” to Christian civilization throughout European history, Randall said. “You need to know that.” Since “the war-torn edges between Islam and Christianity depend on the rivalry of religious claims,” it’s impossible to understand European history without understanding exactly what motivated people then—and today.

Joy Pullmann is managing editor of The Federalist and author of the forthcoming “The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids,” from Encounter Books.

Jihadi jumble: Syria’s endless war begins on the Turkish border

The rubble following an airstrike on the rebel-held neighbourhood of al-Kalasa in Aleppo. Picture: Yasser Ibrahim

The rubble following an airstrike on the rebel-held neighbourhood of al-Kalasa in Aleppo. Picture: Yasser Ibrahim

So where is all this heading? Bassam Haji Mustafa, an ethnic Kurd and a senior member of the Islamist Nour al-Din al-Zenki militia group in Aleppo, in conversation with Inquirer, accurately notes the presence of four “projects” in fragmented Syria today — “the Assad regime and its allies; the (Kurdish-led, US-supported) Syrian Democratic Forces; Islamic State; and the rebellion”.

The Australian, by Jonathan Spyer, August 13, 2016:

The town of Gaziantep is located 30km from Turkey’s border with Syria. Over the past five years it has become an epicentre for the unfinished business of the Syrian civil war.

When the history of this most savage of wars is written, there will be a chapter on these dusty border towns and how they came to form way stations for so much of the traffic travelling to or escaping from the killing zones.

I recently visited Gaziantep and the town of Kilis on the border. My purpose was to try to ascertain the current state of the Syrian rebellion against the Assad regime.

Gaziantep in high summer is shimmering in the heat, its many minarets pouring forth the call to prayer. Syrian refugees gather in the evenings to smoke nargileh (hookah) and talk and argue about where things are heading. Deeper down, outside of unaided vision, the complicated politics and logistics of the Syrian war are playing out all around.

Kilis, a short drive south, is the last stop before the war. It feels more Syrian than Turkish. Arabic is spoken everywhere. The apartment blocks with their stone stairs and peeling paint and the tiny shops make it look like a northern Syrian town. The offices of the rebel groups are to be found among them. The shooting begins 5km to the south.

At the beginning of the Syrian war, Gaziantep’s small international airport was one of the main entry points for jihadis from all over the world looking to cross the border to join the fight against Bashar al-Assad. They would arrive in the town, put up in one if its many shabby hotels and await the call from this or that organisation to take the road to Kilis and then across the border. Now the Turkish authorities, pressured by the West, have cracked down on this particular traffic. The airport attack in Istanbul in June cemented the process whereby Islamic State went from tolerated presence in Turkey to deadly enemy.

Islamic State, in invisible form, is in Gaziantep too. Every so often, its presence becomes manifest. In late December, it murdered Naji Jerf, a prominent journalist and critic of the movement, in downtown Gaziantep. Two more people were killed in a suicide bombing in May. “You should be careful here. Its less normal than it feels,” the receptionist tells me with a smile.

Five years since the start of the uprising against the Assad regime, the world’s attention has largely moved on. The war against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has sidelined the fight against Assad. What remains of the rebellion is boxed up, frustrated and exhausted, deployed in northwest and southwest Syria, or waiting in these towns across the border in Turkey.

“Of course, if we thought logically, we’d never have begun the revolution,” Yasser Ibrahim of Nour al-Din al-Zenki, one of the Islamist rebel militias, tells Inquirer. “We went out bare-chested in front of the regime. We lost a lot — but we’re continuing.”

They surely are. The Syrian rebels have in recent days broken a government siege on rebel-controlled eastern Aleppo. The rebellion’s entry into Syria’s second city in late 2012 represented perhaps its single most significant advance. The government strangle­hold on the city threatened to reverse this. It lasted a week. So the rebellion is far from broken and remains, despite it all, a potent force.

Where all this is heading, however, is far less clear.

Tangled lines of support
The first and most immediately noticeable element of the Syrian rebellion in northwest Syria is its bewildering variety. An enormous number of rebel groups, all with ringing and grandiose names in Arabic but varying greatly in size and orientation, are engaged. Unity has remained elusive.

The networks of foreign support for the rebels — from the US, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia — are equally confused and confusing. The US maintains a Military Operations Command centre in southern Turkey through which weaponry is supplied to certain vetted rebel militias. There are about 40 such groups. Representatives of Arab and other western countries are also present in the MOC centre.

In a covert operation headed by the CIA, these vetted groups are the beneficiaries of the BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles that have exacted a heavy toll on regime armour in Latakia, Idlib and Aleppo provinces. There are additional lines of support from Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to the powerful Salafi jihadist forces that Washington does not support. ­Finally, there are groups that receive support from the US as well as one or another of these regional players.

But there is no tidy distinction between US-supported and non-US-supported groups, as one might expect. There is a continuum. The groups have the same hierarchy of enemies (Assad at the top, then Islamic State). And they co-operate at ground level. Weaponry finds its way into the hands of the strongest.

The guns and assistance provided by the US and the regional backers have been sufficient to prevent the rebellion from facing defeat at the hands of Assad. But since the Russian intervention, which began in September last year, an outright rebel military victory appears beyond reach.

In the meantime, people on the ground are dying. “The MOC supports us, but the world isn’t seeing the shelling of the schools and children and public buildings by the Russian planes,” says Ezadin al-Salem of the Jabhat al-Shamiya rebel alliance as we sit in his office in Gaziantep.

The rebels, in all their multifarious and confusing variety, are at present locked into two grinding wars of attrition — against Assad and against Islamic State — with no apparent light at the end of the tunnel.

Read more

Jonathan Spyer is a journalist, author and Middle East analyst. Based in Jerusalem, he is director of the Rubin Centre for Research in International Affairs and a fellow at the Middle East Forum

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BOOK RELEASE: Obamabomb: A Dangerous and Growing National Security Threat

Center for Security Policy, July 25, 2016:

(Washington, D.C.): July 14, 2016 was the one-year anniversary of the nuclear agreement with Iran, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA.

In his new book, Obamabomb: A Dangerous and Growing National Security Threat, Center for Security Policy Senior Vice President Fred Fleitz provides a detailed analysis of the dangers this agreement continues to pose to U.S. and international security, including:

  • Why the threat from Iran’s nuclear weapons program is growing despite the JCPOA;
  • How the nuclear agreement gave Iran a pass on its nuclear weapons work and led the IAEA to dumb down its reports on the Iranian nuclear
    program;
  • How the agreement has made Iran a greater regional and international threat;
  • The Obama administration’s deceptive campaign to implement the agreement; and
  • How the Obama administration is trying to grant further concessions to Iran.

Fleitz speaks on the anniversary of the adoption of the agreement at the Heritage Foundation

Although Fleitz argues that the nuclear deal is so dangerous that the next president should tear it up and start over, Obamabomb also includes recommendations for new sanctions against Iran and these principles that should guide any effort by a future president to re-negotiate the nuclear pact:

  1. Iran must cease all uranium enrichment and uranium enrichment research.
  2. Iran not have a heavy-water reactor or a plant to produce heavy-water.
  3. Robust verification, including allowing anytime, anywhere inspections by IAEA inspectors to all declared and suspect nuclear sites, including military facilities.
  4. Iran must fully and truthfully answer all questions about its prior nuclear weapons-related work.
  5. Iran must curtail and agree to limitations on its ballistic missile program.
  6. Lift sanctions in stages in response to Iranian compliance.
  7. Iran must agree to end its meddling in regional conflicts and sponsorship of terror.
  8. Threats by Iran to ships in the Persian Gulf, U.S. naval vessels and American servicemen and servicewomen must cease.
  9. Iran must cease its hostility toward Israel.
  10. Iran must release all US prisoners.

Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney said about Obamabomb:

“Fred Fleitz’s new book Obamabomb: A Dangerous and Growing National Security Fraud could not be more timely. Fleitz’s detailed analysis of this agreement not only proves the growing danger that the agreement poses to U.S. national security, he explains how the deal is making a U.S. enemy and leading actor in the Global Jihad Movement into a regional hegemon in the Middle East. Fleitz also discusses the dishonest Obama administration campaign to implement this agreement over bipartisan majorities in Congress and the dangerous precedent this set for future presidents.”

Fred Fleitz is Senior Vice President for Policy and Programs with the Center for Security Policy.  He served in U.S. national security positions for 25 years with the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Department of State and the House Intelligence Committee staff.  During the administration of President George W. Bush, Fleitz was chief of staff to John Bolton, then Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.  In his five years with the House Intelligence Committee staff, Fleitz was a senior aide to Chairman Peter Hoekstra and the committee’s expert on the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs.

Obamabomb can be viewed for free below or purchased at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats.

ObamaBomb_FINAL_07-12-16

Obamabomb-

Al Qaeda in Iran

(Credit: Newscom)

(Credit: Newscom)

Weekly Standard, by Stephan F. Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn, THE MAGAZINE: From the August 1 Issue:

Last week, President Barack Obama’s administration dismissed reports of Iranian support for al Qaeda as the product of fevered minds. Claims of collaboration between the Islamic regime and the terrorist organization are little more than “baseless conspiracy theories,” an Obama administration official told The Weekly Standard. “Anyone who thinks Iran was or is in bed with al Qaeda doesn’t know much about either.”

That group of ignoramuses apparently includes the Obama administration’s top official on terror financing. Adam J. Szubin, the Treasury Department’s acting undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, this week designated three senior al Qaeda officials operating in Iran. A statement explaining the designations says Treasury “took action to disrupt the operations, fundraising, and support networks that help al-Qaida move money and operatives from South Asia and across the Middle East by imposing sanctions on three al-Qaida senior members located in Iran.”

One of the three operatives is part of a “new generation” of al Qaeda leaders, replenishing the ranks of those who have been killed by the United States and its allies. Treasury identifies that man, Faisal Jassim Mohammed al-Amri al-Khalidi, as the chief of al Qaeda’s Military Commission and a key operative in al Qaeda’s global network, responsible for weapons acquisition and a liaison between al Qaeda leaders and associated groups.

This is not the first time the Obama administration has targeted the Iran-al Qaeda relationship. The Treasury and State Departments publicly accused the Iranian regime of allowing al Qaeda to operate inside Iran at least 10 times between July 2011 and August 2014. Testifying before Congress in February 2012, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described the relationship as a “marriage of convenience.”

There is considerably more evidence of Iran’s support for al Qaeda in the collection of documents captured during the raid of Osama bin Laden’s compound on Abbottabad, Pakistan, in 2011. Senior U.S. intelligence officials have told The Weekly Standard that the document collection includes letters describing the nature of the relationship between Iran and al Qaeda and specific ways in which Iran has aided al Qaeda’s network and operations. The Obama administration has refused to release the documents to the public and fought to keep them hidden during the negotiations over the Iran nuclear deal.

The Weekly Standard contacted the Obama administration official who last week dismissed Iran-al Qaeda cooperation to see if the new designations changed his view that claims of Iranian support for al Qaeda are “baseless conspiracy theories.” He replied: “Al Qaeda has long used Iran as a transit and facilitation point between South Asia and the Middle East, sometimes with the knowledge of some Iranian authorities. At the same time, the Iranian government has imprisoned some al Qaeda operatives, and we believe today’s action provides another opportunity for Iran to take action against al Qaeda.”

Think about that for a moment. The Obama administration accuses Iran of harboring senior al Qaeda operatives and sanctions those operatives in an effort to prevent them from hurting America and its interests. But rather than scold Iran for continuing to provide safe haven to terrorists devoted to killing Americans, the administration spins the move as an “opportunity” for Iran.

An opportunity? Why would the Iranian regime need the U.S. government to provide an “opportunity” to take action against the very terrorists it has been supporting for more than a decade? This is illogical, insulting, and dangerous. But it is consistent with the kind of irresponsible whitewashing of the radical regime that has become a trademark of the Obama administration’s approach to Iran.

The Obama administration provided Iran with billions of dollars through the nuclear deal despite having evidence in its possession that the country was providing safe haven to senior al Qaeda terrorists and despite acknowledging, publicly, that some of those funds would be used for terror. The administration kept secret crucial details of the agreement from Congress, concessions that the Iranians are now citing, convincingly, as evidence that they fleeced the United States and its partners. The administration withheld from the public and from Congress documents from the bin Laden raid that make clear the extent of the support Iran has provided al Qaeda over the years.

And now the Obama administration pretends that another public accusation of Iran’s complicity in al Qaeda’s terror is just an “opportunity” for the terror-sponsoring regime to stop doing what it is committed to doing?

Iran’s support for al Qaeda is not a “baseless conspiracy theory.” It’s a dangerous reality.

Louie Gohmert and Darrell Issa Renew Push to Designate Muslim Brotherhood as Terrorist Organization

meeting-by-Dustin-640x480Breitbart, by Dustin Stockton, July 13, 2016:

Congressmen Darrell Issa (R, CA) and Louis Gohmert (R, TX) pushed a bill, H.R. 3892, that would officially designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization at a meeting organized by the London Center for Policy research in the Russell Senate building on Wednesday.

The panel included several distinguished American and Egyptian speakers. Egypt has already designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization and H.R. 3892 would apply the terror designation to the Muslim Brotherhood for the U.S. government.

After the London Center’s Vice President Eli Gold started the meeting, Congressman Gohmert spoke first by outlining the case against the Muslim Brotherhood and countering arguments made by detractors of the legislation. The outspoken Texas Congressman addressed accusations of racism over his opposition to radical Islam by saying Radical Islam isn’t a race, it’s a violent ideology. Gohmert also hammered the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) as an unindicted co-conspirator in the conviction of the Holyland Foundation for providing material support to terrorists. Gohmert used the words of several prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood to illustrate that the Muslim Brotherhood considers itself an enemy of the United States and that we should take them at their word.

Congressman Issa spoke next,  saying that the Muslim Brotherhood drives hatred of Christians and Jews. Congressman Issa eviscerated arguments from opponents of the legislation that claim the Muslim Brotherhood is just a political organization. “The Muslim Brotherhood should change their name if they want to call themselves a political organization,” Issa said. “They can’t use the same monikers, slogans, and rhetoric and claim they’ve changed their spots.”

After the Congressmen left to attend a vote in the House, President of the London Center for Policy Research, Herb London, talked about the Muslim Brotherhood providing seed money to Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. He talked about the revolution in Egypt that initially installed the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi as President. Shortly after Morsi was installed nearly a third of Egyptians again took to the streets, this time to remove Morsi. Morsi called on the military to fire on the protesters and General El-Sisi refused, making him a hero and eventually Morsi’s replacement as President, London explained.

London also brought up a speech Egyptian President El-Sisi made denouncing violence and extremism in his own religion and commented that it was unfortunate that it was mostly ignored by the media.

Egyptian actor Mahmoud Kabil also spoke about his experience in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood. Kabil talked about heading “veterans against Morsi” and tied the Muslim Brotherhood to an organization that the United States has already designated as a terrorist organization, Hamas.

London Center Senior Military Fellow Major General Bob Newman talked about the Muslim Brotherhood’s potential for non-kinetic attacks including cyber attacks and an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) attack on American infrastructure.

Egyptian TV host Michael Morgan warned that the Muslim Brotherhood will lie and say anything to get what they want, which is a foothold to attack from within.

Breitbart News asked another panelist, Senator Ted Cruz’s Legislative Assistant Samantha Leahy, what impact the terror designation would have on the Muslim Brotherhood. She answered by saying that it would give the State Department more leeway to open investigations and follow Muslim Brotherhood finances. A member of the audience asked in a follow-up question if the terror designation would compel the government to take action because the current administration isn’t likely to do anything against the Muslim Brotherhood voluntarily. Leahy answered that terror designation would prevent members of the Muslim Brotherhood from entering the country and compel the monitoring of their finances.

Dustin Stockton is a political reporter for Breitbart News, a community liaison for Gun Owners of America, and a political strategist. Follow him on Twitter @DustinStockton or  Facebook.

Fueling Both Sides of an Arms Race

ISAUDThe US administration’s policy is funding vast increases in the stockpiles of both Sunni and Shia powers.

CounterJihad, June 15, 2016

Eli Lake of Bloomberg has an important piece on the recklessness of American policy in the Middle East under President Barack Obama.

One of the unexpected results of President Barack Obama’s new opening to Iran is that U.S. taxpayers are now funding both sides of the Middle East’s arms race. The U.S. is deliberately subsidizing defense spending for allies like Egypt and Israel. Now the U.S. is… paying for some of Iran’s military expenditures as well.

It all starts with $1.7 billion the U.S. Treasury transferred to Iran’s Central Bank in January, during a delicate prisoner swap and the implementation of last summer’s nuclear deal… For months it was unclear what Iran’s government would do with this money. But last month the mystery was solved when Iran’s Guardian Council approved the government’s 2017 budget that instructed Iran’s Central Bank to transfer the $1.7 billion to the military.

Emphasis added.

The article, if anything, understates the importance of Obama’s so-called “Iran deal” to the flourishing arms race in the Middle East.  In fact, a great deal of the Sunni side of the arms race resulted from bribes the US administration provided them to make them less vehemently opposed to the deal.  The US offered Sunni states billions in arms deals in order to calm their fears of an increasingly aggressive, unbound Iran.

The US is also funding Iran by funding Iraq.  The Iraqi government has been receiving American military assistance since its liberation in 2003.  Reuters has reported that it has seen contracts for $195 million from the Iraqi government for Iranian arms. Doubtless that money is coming out of the “train and equip” funds that the US Department of State has been providing to Baghdad.  In 2014 the US provided nearly as much money to the Iraqi government, which is effectively fighting as an ally of Iran, as the $1.7 billion it provided to Iran directly last year.

Meanwhile, the Russians have been profiting off of all of this American money.  Russia has been transferring its advanced S-300 missile systems to Iran in return for cash payments.  These missile systems are considered by defense experts to be capable of taking down up to fourth generation fighter aircraft, to include American F-15s, F-16s, and F-18s, which jointly make up the major bulk of America’s fighter fleet (71% as of 2012, with an additional 15% being A-10 attack aircraft).  Such fighters would also encompass the entire fighter fleet of Israel’s air force, as well as the Sunni air forces that are arming up right now.

Iran, conversely, has adopted a strategy chiefly of preferring unmanned missiles as a counterbalance to regional air or American air forces.  They have had success in both extending the umbrella of their missiles’ reach, and in improving their accuracy.  As Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei recently said, “Those who say the future is in negotiations, not in missiles, are either ignorant or traitors.”

In addition to these big-ticket items, small arms sales to the Middle East have doubled.  Though ‘small arms’ sounds as if it were less important than big-ticket items like missiles and bombs, in fact small arms typically cause the majority of fatalities in any conflict.

For now the race to arm the Middle East for an upcoming war is an exciting business venture:  even Canada has greatly increased its participation in making money off the Middle East’s hunger for weapons.  As Willy Stern recently pointed out in his analysis of Hezbollah arms stockpiles in Lebanon, however, it points to an incredibly bloody future war.  The US government has, either recklessly or for reasons they have not disclosed, decided to pour money and arms into both sides of this upcoming conflict.

Also see:

Iran’s Chess Board

official_photo_of_hassan_rouhani_7th_president_of_iran_august_2013

How the Islamic Republic is strategically dominating the Middle East — and the U.S. is assisting.

Front Page Magazine, by Caroline Glick, June 3, 2016

Reprinted from jpost.com.

Strategic thinking has always been Israel’s Achilles’ heel. As a small state bereft of regional ambitions, so long as regional realities remained more or less static, Israel had little reason to be concerned about the great game of the Middle East.

But the ground is shifting in the lands around us. The Arab state system, which ensured the strategic status quo for decades, has collapsed.

So for the first time in four generations, strategy is again the dominant force shaping events that will impact Israel for generations to come.

To understand why, consider two events of the past week.

Early this week it was reported that after a two-year hiatus, Iran is restoring its financial support for Islamic Jihad. Iran will give the group, which is largely a creation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, $70 million.

On Wednesday Iranian media were the first to report on the arrest of a “reporter” for Iran’s Al-Alam news service. Bassam Safadi was arrested by Israel police in his home in Majdal Shams, the Druse village closest to the border with Syria on the Golan Heights. Safadi is suspected of inciting terrorism.

That is, he is suspected of being an Iranian agent.

There is nothing new about Iranian efforts to raise and run fronts against Israel within its territory and along its borders. Iran poses a strategic threat to Israel through its Hezbollah surrogate in Lebanon, which now reportedly controls the Lebanese Armed Forces.

In Gaza, Iran controls a vast assortment of terrorist groups, including Hamas.

In Judea and Samaria, seemingly on a weekly basis we hear about another Iranian cell whose members were arrested by the Shin Bet or the IDF.

But while we are well aware of the efforts Iran is making along our borders and even within them to threaten Israel, we have not connected these efforts to Iran’s actions in Iraq and Syria. Only when we connect Iran’s actions here with its actions in those theaters do we understand what is now happening, and how it will influence Israel’s long-term strategic environment.

The big question today is what will replace the Arab state system.

Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Libya no longer exist. On their detritus we see the fight whose results will likely determine the fates of the surviving Arab states, as well as of much of Europe and the rest of the world.

Israel’s strategic environment will be determined in great part by the results of Iran’s actions in Iraq and Syria. While Israel can do little to affect the shape of events in these areas, it must understand what they mean for us. Only by doing so, will we be able to develop the tools to secure our future in this new strategic arena.

Until 2003, Saddam Hussein was the chief obstacle to Iran’s rise as the regional hegemon.

US forces in Iraq replaced Hussein until they left the country in 2011. In the meantime, by installing a Shi’ite government in Baghdad, the US set the conditions for the rise of Islamic State in the Sunni heartland of Anbar province on the one hand, and for Iran’s control over Iraq’s Shi’ite-controlled government and armed forces on the other.

Today, ISIS is the only thing checking Iran’s westward advance. Ironically, the monstrous group also facilitates it. ISIS is so demonic that for Americans and other Westerners, empowering Iranian-controlled forces that fight ISIS seems a small price to pay to rid the world of the fanatical scourge.

As former US naval intelligence analyst J.E. Dyer explained this week in an alarming analysis of Iran’s recent moves in Iraq published on the Liberty Unyielding website, once Iranian- controlled forces defeat ISIS in Anbar province, they will be well placed to threaten Jordan and Israel from the east. This is particularly the case given that ISIS is serving inadvertently as an advance guard for Iran.

In Syria, Iran already controls wide swaths of the country directly and through its surrogates, the Syrian army, Hezbollah and Shi’ite militias it has fielded in the country.

Since the start of the war in Syria, Israel has repeatedly taken action to block those forces from gaining and holding control over the border zone on the Golan Heights.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s surprising recent announcement that Israel will never relinquish control over the Golan came in response to his concern that in exchange for a cease-fire in Syria, the US would place that control on the international diplomatic chopping block.

A week and a half ago, Iran began its move on Anbar province.

On May 22, Iraqi forces trained by the US military led Iraq’s offensive to wrest control over Fallujah and Mosul from ISIS, which has controlled the Sunni cities since 2014. Despite the fact that the lead forces are US-trained, the main forces involved in the offensive are trained, equipped and directed by Iran.

As Iraqi forces surrounded Fallujah in the weeks before the offensive began, Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds forces, paid a public visit to the troops to demonstrate Iran’s dominant role.

The battle for Fallujah is a clear indication that Iran, rather than the US, is calling the shots in Iraq. According to media reports, the Pentagon wanted and expected for the forces to be concentrated in Mosul. But at the last minute, due to Soleimani’s intervention, the Iraqi government decided to make Fallujah the offensive’s center of gravity.

Read more

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Frank Gaffney: Obama, Bono, Other Migration Advocates ‘Truly Blind to the Nature of the Enemy We’re Facing’

Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

Breitbart, by John Hayward, April 13, 2016:

Frank Gaffney, founder of the Center for Security Policy and a senior policy adviser to presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz, tells Breitbart News Daily host Stephen K. Bannon his view on rock singer Bono’s call for a new, America-funded “Marshall Plan” to prop up nations in the Middle East and Africa, along with bringing even more migrants into Europe.

“A Marshall Plan for what?” Gaffney asked. “Are we talking about essentially enabling Europe to be repopulated by non-Europeans, who will transform it from a part of the free world, Western civilization, into something that is almost certainly hostile to the free world?”

Gaffney doubted Bono, or most current Western leaders, understood the Islamist theory of “civilizational jihad,” which calls for the transformation of soft Western states into Islamic states through mass migration and the subversion of institutions such as the court system.  “He’s off to the CIA today, to talk about defeating ISIS, but it’s as though that’s happening in isolation from the global jihad movement,” Gaffney said of the rock star.

One aspect of civilizational jihad involves using more respectable organizations to establish networks of support for violent extremists.  “The network that these jihadis have been able to use – in Europe most especially, but also here – to wield their violent kind of jihad is one that’s been put into place by the Muslim Brotherhood,” Gaffney charged.  “That’s in mosques, that’s in Islamic societies and cultural centers, front groups of various kinds, influence operations.  Those are the things I think we’ve got to attend to before we start throwing money at Europe.”

Gaffney compared Bono, a man of the Left, to the “useful idiots” of the Cold War – those whose ideology made them unwittingly useful to the cause of global totalitarian communism.  He said the new useful idiots were self-declared humanitarians “in the service, whether they know it or not, of Islamists, and frankly other enemies of freedom.”

“Whether he has a grip on the service that he’s rendering with these kinds of comments, I have no idea, but my guess is that he’s so imbued himself with this idea of, ‘what’s the humanitarian, what’s the social justice driven agenda?’ that he doesn’t have to bother himself with the facts, or worse, with the implications of his recommendations,” Gaffney said.

He found it troubling that the U.S. Congress would give a platform to “someone who’s espousing – intentionally or otherwise – programs, and plans, and initiatives that will cause us grief.  Not just a waste of money, but I’m sure, intensify in this country the same kinds of pressures and phenomena that we’re now watching undo Europe.”

Based on what he has seen of Barack Obama’s security policy so far, Gaffney judged the President is “truly blind to the nature of the enemy we’re facing.”

“His periodic public manifestations of concern about the Islamic State – to give him somecredit, he’s moved away from thinking it’s the ‘jayvee team,’ but that’s partly because that kind of policy approach has enabled this danger to metastasize,” Gaffney said.  “But it’s still a symptom of a larger problem he refuses to address, let alone do anything about.”

For that reason, he thought Obama’s impending visit to CIA headquarters would be “at most, a photo opportunity; at worst, it will be doubling down on a failed policy that is going to get Americans killed.”

“I hope I’m wrong.  I pray I’m wrong,” Gaffney added.  “But I fear that’s the inevitable result of a policy that says, ‘this has nothing to do with Islam.’  It certainly doesn’t have to do with all Muslims, but it has to do with the sharia-adherent ones, who – whether they’re involved in violent jihad of the Islamic State stripe, or the al-Qaeda stripe, or the  Boko Haram stripe, or al-Shabaab – or that civilization jihad of the Muslim Brotherhood mode.  They are our determined – absolutely, I’m afraid, lethal – enemies, and will remain so until, and unless, they’re defeated.”

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

You can listen to the full interview with Frank Gaffney below:

Inconvenient Genocide

1789

Frontpage, Caroline Glick, April 8, 2016:

The Christian communities of Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon are well on the way to joining their Jewish cousins. The Jewish communities of these states predated Islam by a millennium, and were vibrant until the 20th century. But the Arab world’s war on the Jewish state, and more generally on Jews, wiped out the Jewish populations several decades ago.

And now the Christian communities, which like the Jews, predate Islam, are being targeted for eradication.

The ongoing genocide of Middle Eastern Christians at the hands of Sunni jihadists is a moral outrage. Does it also affect Israeli national interests? What do we learn from the indifference of Western governments – led by the Obama administration – to their annihilation? True, after years of deliberately playing down the issue and denying the problem, the Obama administration is finally admitting it exists.

Embarrassed by the US House of Representatives’ unanimous adoption of a resolution last month recognizing that Middle Eastern Christians are being targeted for genocide, the State Department finally acknowledged the obvious on March 25, when Secretary of State John Kerry stated that Islamic State is conducting a “genocide of Christians, Yazidis and Shi’ites.”

Kerry’s belated move, which State Department lawyers were quick to insist has no operational significance, raises two questions.

First, what took the Obama administration so long? Persecution of Christians in Iraq began immediately after the US-led coalition brought down Saddam Hussein in 2003. With the rise of Islamic State in 2012, the process of destroying the Christian community went into high gear. And now these ancient communities are on the brink of extinction.

In Iraq, Christians comprised 8 percent of the population in 2003. Today less than 1% of Iraqis are Christians. In Syria, the Christian community has lost between half and two-thirds of its members in the past five years.

One of the appalling aspects of ISIS’s deliberate, open targeting of Christians for destruction is how little resistance it has received from local Sunni populations. As Raymond Ibrahim from the David Horowitz Freedom Center has scrupulously documented, the local Sunnis have not stood up for their Christian neighbors, who have lived side-by-side with them for hundreds of years. Rather, in areas that have been conquered by ISIS, the local Sunnis have collaborated with their genocidal masters in raping and murdering Christian neighbors, plundering their property, destroying their churches, and driving them from their ancestral homes.

Although precise data is hard to come by, it is clear that thousands of Christians have been slaughtered. Thousands of Christian women and girls have been sold as sex slaves in ISIS slave markets, subjected to continuous, violent rape and beatings. Nuns and priests have been enslaved, crucified, mutilated, kidnapped and held for ransom, as have lay members of Christian communities. Christians have been burned alive.

For years, the administration said that the persecution doesn’t amount to genocide because according to ISIS’s propaganda, Christians are allowed to remain in their homes if they agree to live as dhimmis – that is, without any human rights, and subjected to confiscatory taxation.

But as Nina Shea from the Hudson Institute has reported, these claims were shown to be false in Mosul, Nineveh and other places where ISIS has claimed that such practices were instituted.

The jihadist genocide of Christians isn’t limited to Iraq and Syria. Boko Haram – ISIS’s affiliate in Nigeria – is undertaking a systematic campaign to annihilate Christianity in Africa. ISIS’s affiliates in Sinai and Libya have similarly targeted Christians, staging mass beheadings and other monstrous acts.

And of course, a region needn’t be under direct ISIS control for Christians to be targeted for destruction. The Easter massacre in Pakistan was further evidence that wherever radical Islamists gain power, they use it to murder Christians.

And as Larry Franklin from the Gatestone Institute noted in a recent article, the exodus of Christians from the Palestinian Authority is the direct consequence of deliberate persecution of Christians by the PA.

Given the prevalence of Christian persecution, why is the West – which is overwhelmingly Christian – so reticent about mentioning it? And why are Western leaders loathe to do anything to stop it? There are two ways to end genocide. First, you can defeat those conducting it on the battlefield.

If you destroy the forces conducting the genocide, then the genocide ends.

The second way you can stop genocide is by evacuating the targeted population and providing its members with refuge.

After stipulating that ISIS is carrying out a genocide, Kerry made clear that the US will not defeat ISIS to end it. Instead, Kerry said, “We must bear in mind… that the best response to genocide is a reaffirmation of the fundamental right to survive of every group targeted for destruction. What Daesh [ISIS] wants to erase, we must preserve. That requires defeating Daesh, but it also requires the rejection of discrimination and bigotry.”

Kerry then explained that the US’s plan is to cultivate the formation of a multicultural society in Syria. Given the brutal nature of the war, Kerry’s plan is tantamount to saying the US intends to defeat ISIS and rescue those it is currently exterminating by bringing unicorns and leprechauns to the slave markets of Raqqa. Substantively, Kerry’s plan is to deny Christians refuge, and to abandon them to the mercy of their murderers.

While delusional, Kerry’s statement was in line with the Obama administration’s timid, feckless military campaign against ISIS. Everyone knows that the US military could take down ISIS in a matter of weeks if Obama ordered it to do so.

But rather than act decisively, the US has limited its operations to timorous aerial bombing.

By conducting a barely there campaign, Obama tells the world that although he will be happy to take credit for any defeat ISIS suffers, he will not allow the US to lead the fight against the jihadist death machine.

As for providing refuge to the populations targeted with genocide, the raw data make clear that Obama does just the opposite. He is providing refuge for Sunni Muslims, who are not being targeted for genocide, which is being conducted by Sunni Muslims.

As Ibrahim has documented, although Christians made up 10% of the Syrian population in 2011, they comprise a mere 2.7% of the Syrian refugees the Obama administration has allowed into the US. And when presidential hopeful Senator Ted Cruz called for the US to provide refuge to Christians, who pose no security threat and are targeted with genocide and persecution while banning Muslim immigration, Obama accused him of bigotry.

Despite the fact that FBI Director James Comey told Congress that the US lacked the capacity to effectively screen Muslims from Syria for ties to jihadist groups, Obama said that a policy of saving those marked for extinction over those who come from the population conducting the genocide is “shameful,” and “not American.”

Beyond refusing to take the necessary steps to ensure that persecuted Christians are rescued from annihilation, the State Department has been rejecting visa requests from Christian activists and leaders from persecuted communities to visit the US to share information about their suffering with the American public. This, at the same time that the administration has welcomed Muslim jihad sympathizers, including Muslim Brotherhood members, to Washington.

For instance, last May, the State Department denied a visa to Sister Diana Momeka, an Iraqi nun and ISIS survivor. Momeka was the only Christian member of a delegation of persecuted minorities. Representatives of every other group received visas. It took a public outcry to force the State Department to reverse its decision.

Also last year, the State Department gave visas to all Muslim regional governors in northern Nigeria to participate in a conference sponsored by the US Institute of Peace. They denied a visa to the region’s only Christian governor, Jonah David Jang. Christian activists alleged that Jang was denied a visa because he spoke up to US officials about anti-Christian persecution in 12 states in northern Nigeria that have instituted Sharia law.

What accounts for this behavior? The answer is not ignorance, but ideologically- motivated bigotry. The Aid to the Church in Need organization explained in its 2015 report on Christian persecution, “Christians have been targeted [because]… Christianity [is seen] as a foreign ‘colonial’ import. Christians are seen as linked to the West, which is perceived as corrupt and exploitative.”

In another report, the group explained that the Western media has avoided covering the story of the Islamic genocide of Middle East Christians because of “misplaced embarrassment about the 19th-century colonial powers evangelizing ‘the natives’ in far flung places.”

In other words, Middle Eastern Christians, whose communities predate Islam, are targeted because they are perceived as Western implants.

And the West ignores their suffering, because the Left in the West perceives them as Western implants.

In both cases, prejudices, rooted on the one hand in jihadist Islam, and on the other hand in Western self-hatred and post-colonialism, reach the same bigoted conclusion: the only “authentic” people in the Middle East are Muslims.

Everybody else is a colonial implant. And as such, they deserve what they get.

This then brings us back to Israel, and the Jews.

The same ideological prejudice that refuses to recognize that the Islamic State is Islamic, refuses to recognize that jihad is unique to Islam, refuses to recognize that Christians as religious minorities are being targeted for annihilation, and refuses to recognize that the Christians of the Middle East are ancient peoples who have lived in their communities since the dawn of Christianity, also refuse to recognize the rights of the Jewish people as the indigenous people of the land of Israel.

This is the reason that Western governments, led by the Obama administration, are unwilling to defeat ISIS. This is why they are giving preference to Muslim asylum-seekers, who they are incapable of screening, over Christians, who it is unnecessary to screen.

This is the reason that the same governments are far more willing to attack Jews for living beyond the 1949 armistice lines, in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria – the cradle of Jewish civilization and the heartland of the land of Israel, than they are willing to end their support for the PA which sponsors and celebrates terrorism. This is why the same governments eagerly embrace every allegation of Israeli racism, real or imagined, while they ignore, or even fund racist Palestinian efforts to deny Jewish history, a history which leads to the inevitable conclusion that the Jews are the indigenous people of the land of Israel.

The reason Obama refuses to protect Middle East Christians from extinction is because he cannot rescue them – either on the ground or by ensuring they can flee to safety – without abandoning his ideological faith that the only “natives” of the Middle East are the Muslims.

Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick’s work, visit carolineglick.com

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Iran Missile Tests Possible Violation of U.S. Sanctions, U.N. Resolutions

REUTERS/FARSNEWS.COM/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS

REUTERS/FARSNEWS.COM/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS

Breitbart, by John  Hayward,  March 9, 2016:

Iran conducted another round of illegal ballistic missile tests on Tuesday, and they may prove to be an even more egregious violation of sanctions than the launch in October. Iran openly defied the United Nations and United States — which an Iranian general described as “our main enemy” — and threatened to walk away from President Obama’s nuclear deal.

“State media announced that short-, medium- and long-range precision guided missiles were fired from several sites to show the country’s ‘all-out readiness to confront threats’ against its territorial integrity,” AFP reported. The Iranian broadcasts included pictures of the launches, which included ballistic missiles with ranges of up to 2,000 kilometers.

AFP notes these missile exercises were dubbed “The Power of Velayat” by Iran, a “reference to the religious doctrine of the Islamic republic’s leadership.” More specifically, it apparently refers to a book by the revolutionary Ayatollah Khomeini, in which he argued that Islamic sharia law should rule over secular government, administered by clerical “guardians” — the essence of “hardline” political thought in Iran.

The launches were conducted by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, which is under the command of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not President Hassan Rouhani. This leads to suspicions the missile tests were a demonstration of internal power and international defiance by the Iranian “hardliners,” after big “moderate” victories in the recent Iranian parliamentary elections.

“Our main enemies, the Americans, who mutter about plans, have activated new missile sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran and are seeking to weaken the country’s missile capability,” said IRGC Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh in a TV interview. “The Guards and other armed forces are defenders of the revolution and the country will not pay a toll to anyone… and will stand against their excessive demands.”

For all his alleged “moderation,” AFP notes that President Rouhani said in response to the prospect of fresh sanctions against Iran over missile violations: “Any action will be met by a reaction.”

Those reactions include a threat to walk away from Obama’s nuclear deal, if the U.S. insists on holding Iran to parts of the deal it doesn’t like.

“If our interests are not met under the nuclear deal, there will be no reason for us to continue. What makes us remain committed to the deal is our national interests,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi said on Tuesday, during an address to an Iranian legal council. He implied that it would be America that nullified the deal, by imposing any further sanctions against Iran.

CNN quotes U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner saying on Tuesday that if the Iranian missile launches were confirmed as violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions, the U.S. would ask the United Nations to take an “appropriate response,” without specifying what that response might be.

“There are strong indications (this) test is inconsistent with U.N. Security Council 2231,” said Toner, referring to the relevant United Nations resolution. “If confirmed, we intend to raise the matter in the U.N. Security Council. We will also encourage a serious review of the incident and press for an appropriate response.”

There is some question about precisely what Iran launched last night, as Reuters notes images broadcast on Iranian TV of the most advanced missile Iran claimed to test, the Emad, appeared to come from the October test. The administration will want to confirm illegal missile tests before taking any further action.

In addition to the belligerent statements of defiance quoted above, the Iranian government argues that these missile tests were not violations of the Security Council resolution Toner cited, because the missiles cannot carry nuclear warheads.

On Tuesday afternoon, the White House said the Iranian missile launch was not a violation of the nuclear agreement, although the question of whether they violated U.N. Security Council resolutions remains:

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Iranian State Television Flaunts Anti-Israel Ballistic Missile Launches

For the second day in a row, Iranian state television has broadcast propaganda videos that show the launch of several ballistic missiles with anti-Israel intent.

A video released Tuesday shows the inside of an underground tunnel used for launching the missiles. It features an Israeli flag painted on the ground which Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, members are meant to walk over on their way to launch.

Wednesday’s video shows another two missiles labeled with “Israel must be wiped off the Earth” in Hebrew. Persian-language media headlines included the Hebrew message in order to emphasize the IRGC’s anti-Israel intentions. The missiles were reportedly precision-guided Qadr missiles that put Israel within striking range.

Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC aerospace division, said that the tests were meant to intimidate Israel.

“The reason we designed our missiles with a range of 2,000 km (1,200 miles) is to be able to hit our enemy the Zionist regime from a safe distance,” Hajizadeh said. “Israel is surrounded by Islamic countries and it will not last long in a war. It will collapse even before being hit by these missiles.”

Iranian officials have brushed off the launches as part of their national defense capabilities, arguing that they are not in violation of the nuclear agreement implemented in January. The nuclear deal will free Iran from ballistic missile restrictions in eight years.

However, the tests do stand in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which states that Iran should not partake in “any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”

Speaking in Jerusalem Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden said that the U.S. would “act” if Iran violated the nuclear deal and would keep an eye on threatening conventional military activity.

“There is no need to doubt that the United States has Israel’s back,” Biden said.

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