Why are we funneling weapons to Hezbollah?

Bilal Hussein | AP Photo

Conservative Review, by Daniel Horowitz, Aug. 16, 2017:

What if I told you we were sending military hardware to ISIS? Would you march on Washington with an outpouring of righteous indignation?

Well, we are now arming Hezbollah, which is worse than arming ISIS, given that the caliphate is on the decline and Hezbollah and Iran are gaining more power by the day. Oh, and by the way, the last time I checked, we have a Republican in the White House.

On Monday, the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon announced the planned shipment of 32 M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles from America to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), at an “investment” of $100 million.

Meanwhile, our soldiers have been working with them and training them on how to use a number of other weapons systems that have been transferred to the Lebanese army over the past year. They include howitzers, grenade launchers, machine guns, mortars, hellfire missiles, night vision devices, and thermal sights technology.

At this point, any thinking person should be asking that, given that Lebanon is controlled by Hezbollah, and is a client state of Iran, doesn’t this mean that we are essentially arming Hezbollah?

Everyone knows that the Lebanese government is completely at the mercy of Hezbollah and Iran. Given that Hezbollah is much stronger than the LAF, is comprised of many Shiites, and is subject to the direction and veto power of its Iranian masters, it defies logic to think that they could possibly maintain control over U.S. aid without Hezbollah confiscating it.

As Tony Badran of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies observes, “Hezbollah, of course, controls the Lebanese government and dictates the operations of its armed forces. Indeed, it was Hezbollah that laid out the battle plans for the current operation in northeastern Lebanon, including what role the LAF would play in it.” This is why Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned that “the Lebanese army is a subsidiary unit of Hezbollah” and that Lebanon’s president, Michel Aoun, “is another Nasrallah operative.”

Yet, Trump embraced Lebanon’s prime minister, Saad Hariri, in a recent visit to the White House and praised him as a partner in the war against terrorists. It’s yet another example of where the nuances of alliances and policy are lost on the president, which prompts him to support action that repudiates his campaign promises and stated objectives on Iran.

We were told by apologists of the Saudi arms deal that a complete embrace of Saudi Arabia was needed to combat Iran. Yet, here we are helping their strongest proxy that is directly controlled by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) figures on the ground.

This is a symptom of a broader disease inherent in our Middle East strategy over the past decade, whereby we arm multiple sides of Islamic civil wars, and often, fight ourselves and our own weapons by proxy. Aside from the immorality of ensuring that arms fall into the hands of Hezbollah, such a move has two distinct policy outcomes: It further muddles our involvement in Syria, and strengthens Hezbollah’s desire to open a second front against Israel on its eastern border.

According to the State Department, there are approximately 7,000 Hezbollah fighters in Syria. They are fighting alongside the IRGC and the Assad regime against other Islamic insurgents including ISIS. The irony is that our own military is fighting ISIS as well.

Yet, at the same time, we are launching air strikes against Shiite militias allied with Hezbollah, but now we are also almost directly arming Hezbollah. Oh, and we happen to be assisting some of the very same Shiite militias in Iraq! The Hezbollah Brigades, along with fellow Shiite militias, such as the Sayyid al Shuhada Brigades and the Imam Ali Brigades, are benefiting from our support in Iraq, even though they are controlled by the Iranian Quds Force.

Is your head spinning yet? Rather than enable our enemies to fight with each other to the benefit of our security interests, we have them play ourselves against our own interests by supporting the worst elements of all sides by placing our weapons and special forces into the hands of our enemies. Two more soldiers died earlier this week in Iraq, very likely engaged in a mission that at least indirectly buttresses Iranian hegemony.

Welcome to the world of Islamic civil wars and our wrongheaded involvement on multiple and conflicting sides in each given theater, where there is no discernable strategic objective that places our interests first.

Instead, the sum of our actions is that we are directly aiding Iran in most theaters. Unlike Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, Iran is the one country in the Middle East that poses a direct threat to our interests. And if the Iranians are allowed to continue expanding their wealth and reach, they will succeed in threatening our homeland, just like North Korea.

More worrisome is that fact that Hezbollah, in its own right, poses a greater homeland security threat than the major Sunni terror groups, because it has a vast network inside our country and in Latin America. Several operatives have been arrested in recent months. Why in the world would we help them in the Middle East on numerous fronts, arm them … and then fight against them on other fronts?

Analysis: Following the Qatar “Deal”

In this July 11, 2017, photo, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani sign a memorandum of understanding in Doha, Qatar. (Alexander W. Riedel/U.S. State Department via AP)

Security Studies Group, by Dr. Brad Patty, July 13, 2017:

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt imposed a blockade on the nation of Qatar recently because of Qatar’s relationship with a number of terrorist and terror-supporting entities.  These nations demanded that Qatar adhere to a 13-point plan if the blockade was to be lifted.  The 13 points include some very important steps, but also some steps that no sovereign nation could ever agree to, as they would effectively make Qatar subordinate to the other nations.

The matter is important to the United States because we have major military installations in Qatar, as well as treaties that could shatter our alliance with the Gulf states if Qatar should end up at war with those states.  That would profit Iran, chief of all, as it would disrupt the alliance opposing Iranian attempts at regional hegemony.  (For a fuller background, see SSG’s earlier posts here and also here.)

This week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson flew to both Qatar and Saudi Arabia to try to resolve the crisis.  He was not successful.  He did obtain a “Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU) with Qatar that the Saudis apparently rejected.  (Here is Qatar’s own Al Jazeera on the topic.)  This MOU is not a treaty or a deal, but it is a commitment to terms that Qatar would accept if others accepted them.  The Saudis apparently didn’t find the terms acceptable, but since the United States signed the MOU as well as Qatar, the Saudis will likely propose new terms that incorporate the MOU but ask for a bit more.  This is diplomacy as deal-making, very much the way the Trump administration views diplomacy.

So, how to know if the final deal is a good one from the perspective of the United States?  Resolving the crisis on any terms defuses the bomb threatening to blow up our regional alliances, but not every such deal is going to address America’s core interests.  Our interests are not the same as those of any of the Arab nations, though some of them overlap.  Thus, it is not necessary to obtain a deal that forces Qatar to submit to the whole 13 point proposal.  A deal that compromises by allowing Qatar to retain its sovereignty, while obtaining the parts of the 13 points that are American interests, is acceptable.

There are really only two things that America needs to insist upon.

  1. A complete end to support for terrorism.  The MOU is supposed to have obtained some Qatari commitments on this score, but the exact terms are not known.  It is easy to say what acceptable terms would be, however.  The terms are acceptable if and only if they commit Qatar to opposing all terrorism, rather than allowing Qatar to retain certain favored terrorists.  Some of the groups are favorites of Iran, like Hezbollah.  The Qataris might wish to keep up good relations with Iran by allowing Hezbollah to continue to operate.  There may be other groups whose terrorist activities Qatar would like to overlook in order to maintain what it considers to be a useful relationship.

    That won’t do.  All terrorist groups must be included.  The 13 points contains a list of groups Qatar has worked with that should serve as a minimum rather than a maximum.  No terror support of any kind is tolerable.  We won’t know how good the deal is on this point until its terms are known.  Secretary Tillerson at least sounds like he knows that this is important in his public statements.  “The US has one goal: to drive terrorism off the face of the Earth,” Tillerson said, adding: “The president said every country has an absolute duty to make sure that terrorists find no sanctuary on their soil.”  We as citizens can judge whether he truly understands based on whether he allowed Qatar to carve out exceptions for some of the groups it has been hosting and financing.

  2. The second thing we must obtain is victory on breaking Qatari relations with Iran.  Iran has been making a major play to become the dominant power in the region since obtaining a de facto alliance with Russia in 2015.  This occurred immediately after the agreement to the “Iran Deal” on nuclear weapons, which gave Russia renewed confidence that Iran could be a major player on the world stage.  Russia subsequently deployed military forces to Syria alongside Iran following meetings in Moscow between Russia’s military leadership and Iran’s top unconventional warfare leader, Qassem Suleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force.

    This Russian-Iranian axis is seeking to peel Qatar off from the alliance represented by the blockading nations.  Iran has been providing aid and support to Qatar during the blockade, as has Turkey.  Turkey is a US NATO ally, but that nation has been trending toward the Russian axis as its leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has slipped towards dictatorial rule.  The moves accelerated following the abortive coup attempt against Erdoğan, which he blamed on an opposition movement hosted by the United States.  Turkey’s role in supporting Qatar thus has to be read as a play at least friendly to the Russian/Iranian axis in the Middle East.  If Qatar can be pulled the rest of the way in, so that it becomes aligned with Iran rather than the Gulf Cooperation Council, Iran will have won a major strategic victory in its efforts to become the local hegemony.

    Those are really the only two things that the United States needs from Qatar.  If an American-backed deal obtains those two things, while also resolving the crisis with the blockading nations, it is a big win for the United States.  Anything less than that is going to be harmful to American interests in small ways or large.

Dr. Patty advised US Army units in Iraq on information operations as part of more than a decade’s involvements in America’s wars. His work has received formal commendations from the 30th Heavy Brigade, the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, the 3rd Infantry Division and the 1st Cavalry Division. Dr. Patty holds his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Georgia.

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Iranian missile factories in Lebanon

Photo: Tasnim News

Center for Security Policy, by Alex VanNess, July 11, 2017:

Reports show that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is building underground facilities for Hezbollah.  These facilities, which have been reported on as far back as March, are said to be 50 meters below ground to protect from potential Israeli airstrikes.

The factory located in northern Lebanon is said to be manufacturing Fateh 110 missile’s, a short-range surface-to-surface missile with a range of approximately 190 miles.  That range can threaten most of Israel.  The second factory is supposedly manufacturing small arms.

Center adjunct-fellow, Caroline Glick highlights Hezbollah’s growing belligerence her recent column:

Not only is Hezbollah building a missile industry. It is deploying its forces directly across the border with Israel – in material breach of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 from 2006, which set the terms of the cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah at the end of the Second Lebanon War.

The missile facility is a marked upgrade in Hezbollah’s weapons manufacturing abilities.  Additionally, Hezbollah’s has also been battle hardened, having fought in Syria for the past several years.

Last month, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah raised the bar on his rhetoric, calling for fighters from different regions to join forces, saying the next war with Israel could “open the way for thousands, even hundreds of thousands of fighters from all over the Arab and Islamic world to participate – from Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan,”

Intentional or not, this situation will only escalate.  Israel would do well to take decisive action to neutralize this growing threat.

Also see:

Confronting the current Middle East alignment

Illustration on a coming Middle East alignment by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Washington Times by James A. Middle EastLyons, July 2, 2017:

With the imminent defeat of the Islamic State in Mosul, Iraq and in Raqqa, its declared capital in Syria, one of the Trump administration’s key objectives is about to be achieved.

With the collapse of the Islamic State as a functioning entity, however, there are clearly new dynamics coming into play which will complicate the post-Islamic State period. What is actually taking place is a realignment of the regional balance of power between Shiite and Sunni power brokers. How it eventually evolves will have a major impact on U.S. security interests, and those of our allies, Israel in particular. The problem is that we have no clear strategy to deal with the evolving dynamic situation or its long term impact.

Clearly, an immediate problem is that Iran, backed by Russia, seeks to further expand its influence by solidifying a land bridge from Iran through Iraq and Syria to the eastern Mediterranean. Such a move would put a jihadi Shiite regime on the southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Iran’s domination of regimes in Baghdad, Beirut and Damascus along with its play for Yemen puts it in position to surround the Arabian Peninsula and threaten strategic waterways, including the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab al-Mandab. Backed by Iran and Russia, Bashar Assad’s control of Aleppo and the anticipated fall of Raqqa will likely embolden him to retake eastern Syria, too.

Preventing expansion of the Shiite Crescent must be a top U.S. objective, fundamental to restoring not only credibility with our key allies, but critical to restoring stability to the region as well. Key to achieving this objective without a massive influx of U.S. ground forces is maintaining the viability of pro-Western Kurdish and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). It is also possible that elements of the Syrian Free Army (SFA) can be reconstituted.

The recent downing by a U.S. Navy F-18 fighter aircraft of a Syrian bomber that had been attacking a pro-Western Kurdish force and an SDF unit highlighted Mr. Assad’s recognition of the importance of these forces in preventing reassertion of his control in eastern Syria. Perhaps just as important was Russian President Vladimir Putin likely using Syrian resources to test the Trump administration to see if it would support our allies on the ground if attacked. Fortunately, we did, which sent a clear message to both Russia and Syria as well as our allies that there are lines that cannot be crossed. The “strong horse” is back.

The Russian threat to target with surface-to-air missiles any U.S. aircraft flying west of the Euphrates is a further test of the Trump administration. While both Russia and the U.S. want to avoid a direct confrontation, we need to make it very clear we will not be intimidated.

Developing a strategy to address the current regional realignment should be based on U.S. core vital strategic interests. Further, the strategy should be based on the underlying principle that it makes no sense for the United States to inject itself into a 1,300+-year old Shi’ite-Sunni sectarian war. It is actually what the current realignment is all about.

The al Qaeda/Muslim Brotherhood militias rose up against Syria’s Bashar Assad, who was then defended by Iran, Hezbollah plus assorted Shiite militias and now Russia. Turkey is also an increasing problem: President Erdogan and his AK Party are jihadis trying to reestablish some form of the power and glory of the old Ottoman Empire. Dead set against any sort of autonomous Kurdish entity, they are aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas — and now also with Iran and Qatar. At this point, Turkey must be viewed as a questionable Western ally.

Fundamental U.S. strategy must be based on preventing Iran from establishing a Shiite land bridge from Tehran to Lebanon. Therefore, a key element of our strategy should be to support the binding independence referendum for Iraqi Kurdistan to be held on Sept. 25, 2017. U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, officially opposes it because of a misguided objective to keep Iraq intact. But Iraq is already fractured as is Syria, and neither one will be reconstituted in its pre-WWI artificial geographic boundaries. Clearly, the 1916 Sykes-Picot nation-state arrangement has collapsed.

Our strategy should also support Syrian Kurds carving out their own sphere of influence (Rojava) which could eventually unite with Iraqi Kurdistan. Control of the vast Syrian Sunni interior that spans the border into the former Iraq remains unresolved. Damascus cannot control a federalized Syria even with Iranian and Russian support. Therefore, our strategic plan must back Sunni forces that have shown themselves to be both anti-Damascus and non-jihadist. The only group that falls into that category is the Free Syrian Army, which will need to be reinforced. U.S. policy should concede that Damascus will hold the Alawite heartland that includes the Russian bases at Latakia and Tartus.

With the 8 years the Obama administration squandered plus the transfer of over one hundred billion dollars to Iran (which it is now using to finance Shiite militias fighting to secure a land bridge across the IraqSyria border), we must shift from a reactive defensive strategy to a pro-active one.

Accordingly, the Trump team must first define a national security strategy for the region. Such a strategy must be predicated on reconstitution of U.S. military capability and demonstration of the will to project power and influence, specifically by supporting Kurdish-FSA-SDF forces and, together with our allies, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the GCC, block further Iranian expansionism. Elimination of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure will also be an imperative at some point.

Bottom line: there is no substitute for American leadership.

• James A. Lyons, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.

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Updated Ramadan Rage 2017 Final Death Count: 1,639 in About 30 Countries

REUTERS/Mohammad Shoib

Breitbart, by Edwin Mora, July 1, 2017:

The final fatality tally for jihadi attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan increased to 1,639, primarily fueled by victims who succumbed to their injuries, reveals an updated Breitbart News count of terror incidents during the period.

With a total of 3,343 casualties, including 1,704 injuries, Ramadan 2017 is one of the bloodiest holy months in recent history. The number of deaths this year marked a nearly four-fold increase from the estimated 421 people killed by Islamic extremists last year.

There were nearly 160 terror incidents in about 30 predominantly Muslim countries this year, including one jihadi attack in the United States.

Soon after the holiest month for Muslims ended last Saturday, Breitbart News reported that jihadist organizations had killed 1,627 people during Ramadan.

However, after taking into account people who succumbed to their injuries throughout the month and government entities changing the casualty count after Breitbart News initially documented the attacks, this news outlet has determined the final updated tally to be 3,343 casualties (1,639 killed, 1,704 injured).

The Afghan government updating the casualty tally for the May 31 terror attack that killed at least 150 people and injured more than 300 others had the most significant impact on changing the final count.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani changed the number of people wounded from at least 460to more than 300, driving the total number of deaths up and injuries down. The May 31 incident, allegedly carried out by the Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network, is the deadliest attack of Ramadan 2017.

The Pentagon has deemed the Haqqani Network to pose the “greatest threat” to the United States military and its allies in Afghanistan. U.S. officials have accused jihadi sanctuaryPakistan of sheltering the group.

Breitbart News’ primarily gleaned its count from the Religion of Peace website in coordination with news reports.

After analyzing every documented Ramadan terror incident, Breitbart News removed two events mentioned by Religion on Peace — May 31 assault in Sinjar and June 6 attack in Mosul, Iraq — because there were no credible news reports to back them.

Moreover, two attacks that occurred on the last day of Ramadan were added to the tally after Breitbart News published the article noting that Islamic terrorists had killed 1,627 people.

Breitbart News’ count excludes casualties directly linked to battles between U.S.-led coalition and Iranian- and Russian-backed troops loyal to dictator Bashar al-Assad.

Furthermore, it only includes some of the attacks in Iraq and Syria that involved the death of civilians, mainly women, and children, at the hands of jihadi groups.

News outlets and government officials may update some death tallies from individual attacks that occurred over the last few days of Ramadan as some of the injured victims succumb to their injuries after Breitbart News publishes this report.

The final Ramadan death toll could be higher. Most “Ramadan Rage 2017” victims are Muslims. As in previous years, the fatalities have included women, children, and members of the Christian minority.

In addition to Muslims, there are members of a wide variety of ethnic and religious groups among the victims: Westerners of all ethnicities, Christians, Asians, Sunnis, Shiites, and Arabs, among others.

The West, particularly London, has not been immune to the Ramadan carnage this year.

Most Muslims follow the Ramadan tradition of abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking, having sex, and other physical needs each day, starting from before the break of dawn until sunset.

However, Islamic extremists perceive Ramadan as a time when martyrdom and jihad are doubly rewarded in paradise, prompting a spike in the terrorist attacks during the period every year.

All the terrorist attacks during Ramadan 2017, as documented by Breitbart News, include:

May 27 — Uruzgan, Afghanistan — Suspected Taliban terrorists ambush checkpoint in the Charchino district, killing 11.
May 27 — Badghis, Afghanistan — Taliban kills 14, including eight civilians, injures 17 in Qadis district.
May 27 — Khost, Afghanistan — Taliban suicide bomber targets National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), killing 18, wounding six others, including children.
May 27 — Punjab, Pakistan — “Honor Killing” — Brother hacks his 18-year-old sister to death in the Khanewal district for denying to abide by pre-arrange marriage.
May 27 — Marawi, Philippines — Jihadists kill 19 including women and a child for “having betrayed their faith.”
May 28 — Bay, Somalia — Al-Shabaab jihadists bury man to his neck, stone to death for adultery in Ramo Adey village.
May 28 — Mosul, Iraq — ISIS sets hospital ablaze and kills a dozen people inside, including young people.
May 28 —Salahuddin, Iraq — ISIS rocket attack kills child and her parents in Shirqat district.
May 28 — Borno, Nigeria — Boko Haram kills at least seven villagers before returning the the next village two days later to kill 14 more.
May 28 — Paktika, Afghanistan — Suspected Taliban kill Shakhil Abad district governor and his son inside their home.
May 28 — Diyala, Iraq — Suicide bomber kills three, injures up to 16 others outside court in city of Baqubah.
May 28 — Borno, Nigeria — Boko Haram beheads five people in Nguro village.
May 29 — Ghat, Libya — Suspected Islamic terrorists kill one, injure four.
May 29 — Salahuddin, Iraq — Islamic shrapnel dismembers a child, injures seven in Shirqat district.
May 29 — Baghdad, Iraq — ISIS launches suicide attack against families breaking their Ramadan fast at ice cream parlor, killing at least 17, wounding 32.
May 29 — Baghdad, Iraq — Sunni ISIS attack targeting Shiites kills 14 killed, 37 injured. ISIS attacked Shiites.
May 30 — Peshawar, Pakistan — Suspected Islamists gun down four peace committee members in Mattani village.
May 30 — Peshawar, Pakistan — Suspected jihadist shoots senior member of Hezb-i-Islami terrorist group while he was leaving a mosque.
May 30 — Mosul, Iraq — ISIS shoots 60 civilians in the head, including women, elderly, buries them in mass grave in al-Shifa district.
May 30 — Deir Ezzor, Syria — ISIS mortar kills 14, wounds over 40, including woman and children, in government controlled  al-Joura district.
May 30 — Kirkuk, Iraq — ISIS kills two Iraqi guards, wounds one other at the Bai Hassan oil field.
May 30 — Baghdad, Iraq — Suspected ISIS jihadists kill seven, injure 19 in a blast.
May 30 — Diyala, Iraq — A bomb explosion at mosque kills seven, wounds six in the cit of Baqubah.
May 30 — Anbar, Iraq — Suspected ISIS suicide bomber kills 15, injures 23 in the town of Hit.
May 31 — Borno, Nigeria —Boko Haram kills 14 after killing seven in a nearby village two days earlier.
May 31 — Garissa, Kenya — Suspected al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab burns down school, kills one teacher, wounds three police officers in Fafi village.
May 31 — Mosul, Iraq — Suicide bombers kill seven members of the same family in Mashahda region.
May 31 — Mangai, Kenya — Al-Shabaab suspected on planting IED that killed eight, including seven police officers.
May 31 — Kabul, Afghanistan — Suspected Haqqani Network, linked to Taliban and al-Qaeda, kills at least 150, wounds more than 300, including 11 Americans .
June 01 — Abala, Niger — Suspected jihadists kill six guards.
June 01 — Al-Jaws Yemen — Islamic terrorists kill 10, wound 15 in al-Hazm.
June 01 — Nangarhar, Afghanistan — Suicide bomber kills one, wounds another near airport in Jalalabad.
June 01 — Nangarhar Afghanistan — Suicide bomber kills one, wounds five, including a security guard near the airbase in Behsud district.
June 01 — Oldenburg, Germany — Muslim kills one for smoking during Ramadan and refusing to fast.
June 01 — Mosul, Iraq — ISIS kills seven, wounds 23 in the Zanjili district for trying to flee caliphate.
June 02 — Kolofota, Cameroon — Islamist use two girls as suicide bombers: 11 killed, including two children, and 30 wounded.
June 02 — Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia — Jihadist beheads one man.
June 03 — Marawi, Philippines — Islamic sniper kills elderly woman.
June 03 — Baghdad, Iraq — Four suicide members kill one, injure three in al-Halabsah district.
June 03 —London, England — ISIS-linked jihadists plow into pedestrians, then stab people, killing seven, injuring 48.
June 03 — Mosul, Iraq — ISIS kills 50 in  Zanjili district for trying to flee caliphate.
June 03 — Kashmir, India — Hizb-ul-Mujahideen kill two security troops, injure four.
June 03 — Sindh, Pakistan — “Honor Killing:” Man kills sister-in-law and lover for alleged adultery in Nawabshah.
June 03 — Kabul, Afghanistan — Jihadi suicide bomber kills 20, injures 87.
June 03 — Ferkane, Algeria — Muslim extremists kill two local soldiers, injure four.
June 03 — Burkina Faso, Soum — Suspected jihadists kill five.
June 03 — Mosul, Iraq — United Nations reports ISIS killed 231 civilians between May 26 and June 3 in al-Shifa district alone, as they tried to escape the city.
June 04 — Bijapur, India — “Honor Killing” — pregnant Muslim woman burnt alive by her family for marrying Hindu man.
June 04 — Kandahar, Afghanistan — Afghan police insider attack leaves six dead, one injured.
June 04 — Balochistan, Pakistan — Two Shiites from Hazara minority group killed in Quetta.
June 04 — Singh, Pakistan — “Honor Killing” — Father kills 18-year-old daughter for allegedly “having an affair” in Tando Allahyar district.
June 04 — Mosul, Iraq — Suicide bombers kill 32, injure four in Zanjili district and  al-Shifa district.
June 04 — Punjab, Pakistan — Suspected Sunni terrorist kills one Shiite Hazara barber in Quaidabad.
June 05 — Melbourne, Australia — ISIS-linked migrant from Somalia kills man, takes woman hostage, an injures three.
June 05 — Baghdad, Iraq — Suspected ISIS terrorists fire mortar into family home, killing 10-year-old boy, injuring four of the same family.
June 05 — Kismayo, Somalia — al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab detonates bomb, killingthree, injuring 20.
June 06 — Sinai, Egypt — Suspected Islamic extremists kill two police officers.
June 06 — Paris, France — Jihadist wounds one cop with a hammer outside Notre Dame cathedral.
June 06 — Herat, Afghanistan — Terrorist kill seven, injure another 16 near the northern gate of the Great Mosque of Herat.
June 06 — Garissa, Kenya — Suspected al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab jihadists kill four aid workers with land mine.
June 06 — Mandera, Kenya — Unknown jihadist kill one woman, injure one.
June 06 — Kandahar, Afghanistan — Terrorists attacked refugee camp in Kandahar province, killing three, including two children and wounding eight, including women.
June 07 — Tehran, Iran — ISIS claims responsibility for attacking parliament, shrine of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini , killing  12, injuring  up to 46, marking first time the Sunni extremist group carries out attack in Islamic Republic.
June 07 —Borno, Nigeria — Boko Haram kills 14, wounds 24 in Maiduguri.
June 08 — Puntland, Somalia — al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab kills 70, including some women who were decapitated, and wounds up to 20.
June 08 — Diyala, Iraq — ISIS, kills 13 civilians, wounds 4, including two Iraqi soldiers.
June 08 — Mosul, Iraq — ISIS fires chlorine-filled bombs at civilians, killing 13, mostly women and children.
June 08 — Baluchistan, Pakistan — ISIS claims to have killed two Chinese nationals kidnapped on May 24.
June 09 — Kerbala, Iraq — ISIS kills at least 30, wounds 35 in Shiite holy city.
June 09 — Kerbala, Iraq — ISIS attacks main bus station in Shiite city, killing three, wounding 15.
June 09 — Adamawa, Nigeria — Suspected Boko Haram jihadists kill two children, wound three others.
June 09 — Hambagda, Cameroon — Boko Haram slits throat of four villagers, kidnaps six.
June 09 — Paktia, Afghanistan — Suspected Taliban/Haqqani Network jihadists killthree civilians, wound nine others while praying in mosque.
June 10 — Salahuddin, Iraq — ISIS kills 38 civilians, Iraqi troops, wounds 40 others in Shirqat district.
June 10 — Mosul, Iraq — ISIS kills eight civilians, wounds five others.
June 10 — Kobane, Syria — ISIS landmine kills two children, wounds three other civilians.
June 10 — Far North Region, Cameroon — Three Boko Haram-recruited girls, between ages 11 and 15, killed as suicide bombers in Mayo-Sava border region.
June 10 — Nangarhar, Afghanistan — Taliban claims insider attack against U.S. troops, killing three, wounding one other.
June 11 — Baluchistan, Pakistan — Lashker-e-Jhangv jihadists kill three police officers, wound one civilian in “hit-and-run attack.”
June 11 — Borno, Nigeria — Boko Haram kills eight members of civilian militia in the Kayamla village.
June 11 —  Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan — Suspected jihadists kill one journalist in Haripur district.
June 11 — Diyala, Iraq — Suspected ISIS suicide attacker kills two, wounds five others.
June 12 — Baddah, Yemen — Al-Qaeda kills two local soldiers.
June 14 — Far North Region, Cameroon — Suspected Boko Haram suicide attack killsone, injures nine in locality of Sandawadjiri.
June 14 — Far North Region, Cameroon — Suspected Boko Haram suicide bomber kills himself, but no one else in locality of Amchide.
June 14 — Mogadishu, Somalia — Al-Shabaab kills at least 31 people, including women, at the Posh Hotel and wounds 40 others.
June 14 — Borno State, Nigeria — Boko Haram kills five civilians, six others missing.
June 14 — Helmand, Afghanistan — Suspected Taliban kills five, wounds four from breakaway faction.
June 14 — Ghazni, Afghanistan — Taliban kills one civilian, wounds three others, including police officer.
June 14 — Paktika, Afghanistan — Jihadists kill five civilians, including women and children, wound seven others.
June 14 — Mosul, Iraq — ISIS launches wave of suicide attacks in Mosul, killing  at least 15, including 11 police officers and four civilians.
June 15 — Kabul, Afghanistan — Suspected jihadists kill four, wound eight in mosque suicide attack.
June 15 — Wardak, Afghanistan — Clash between Taliban and security forces leaves three children dead, one woman wounded.
June 15 — Kashmir, India — Jihadists kill Indian police officer.
June 15 — Kashmir, India — Islamic militants kill one police officer, wound another in Srinagar.
June 15 — Limani, Cameroon — Boko Haram female suicide bomber kills three, including three-year-old child wounds at least seven others.
June 15 — Yarang, Thailand — Suspected Islamic insurgents shoot 52-year-old Buddhist in the head.
June 15 — Balcad, Somalia — Al-Shabaab kills three soldiers, wounds seven others.
June 16 — Marawi, Philippines — Clashes between ISIS-linked Abu Sayyaf jihadists leaves an estimated 100 people dead.
June 16 — Kirkuk, Iraq — ISIS-linked female jihadi and her two sons, ages six and nine, found dead.
June 16 — Baghdad, Iraq — Jihadi detonated explosive device wounds  four people.
June 16 — Kurdistan, Iraq — Suspected ISIS jihadists wound five civilians at a mosque.
June 16 — Diyala, Iraq — Suspected jihadist shoots civilian in the head in Baquba.
June 16 — Baghdad, Iraq — Suspected terrorists kill one civilian, wound three others.
June 16 — Diyala, Iraq — Jihadi killed when bomb he was trying to plant exploded.
June 16 — Mandera, Kenya — Al-Shabaab kills four civilians, injures 11 others.
June 16 — Kashmir, India — Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) kills, mutilate faces of six Indian police officers with bullets. Two civilians caught in crossfire.
June 16 — Jerusalem, Israel — Palestinian jihadists, linked to ISIS, kill one policewoman, injure four others before security forces took them down.
June 16 — Laghman, Afghanistan — Suspected Taliban terrorists kill four civilian workers in explosion.
June 17 — Bakol, Somalia — Clashes between al-Shabaab and Somali army leaves at least five dead, 12 others injured.
June 17 — Kashmir, India — Jihadists kill civilian in Pulwama.
June 17 — Kashmir, India — Clashes between Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Indian security forces leave two civilians and three jihadists dead.
June 17 — Mosul, Iraq — Suspected ISIS suicide bomber kills seven local police officers.
June 17 — Bintagoungou, Mali — Jihadists kill five, injure eight others.
June 17 — Mosul, Iraq — Iran-backed Shiite militias kill family of five.
June 17 — Mudug, Somalia — Al-Shabaab kills cleric inside mosque in  Towfiq village.
June 17 — Cairo, Egypt — Suspected ISIS jihadists kill one, wound four in roadside bomb attack.
June 17 — Borno, Nigeria — Boko Haram kill five civilians in Gumsuri village.
June 18 — Paktia, Afghanistan — Taliban attacks police headquarters, killing six police officers, wounding 30 others, including 21 civilians.
June 18 — Bamako, Mali — Jihadists kill two, wound 14 at resort.
June 18 — Mosul, Iraq — Two ISIS suicide bombers killed.
June 18 — Mosul, Iraq — Five ISIS-linked suicide bombers, including killed in al-Farouk area.
June 18 — Diyala, Iraq — Police kill suspected ISIS suicide bomber in  Baqubah.
June 18 — Salahuddin, Iraq — Suspected ISIS jihadists fire rocket, killing one civilian, injuring another.
June 18 — Daraa, Syria — ISIS-linked militia kills five of its own fighters on charges of apostasy.
June 18 — Borno, Nigeria — Female suicide bombers, likely linked to Boko Haram, kill12 people, injure 11 others in the terrorist group’s birthplace.
June 18 — Kirkuk, Iraq — ISIS kills 34 civilians.
June 19 — Mosul, Iraq — ISIS IED kills three journalists, wounds one other.
June 19 — Baghdad, Iraq — Suspected ISIS terrorists kills one Sunni tribal fighter, wounds two others.
June 19 — Pattani, Thailand — Jihadists kill six soldiers, wound four others.
June 19 — Paris, France — Authorities take down “known extremist” who attempted to carry out terrorist attack at the Champs-Élysées.
June 19 — Parwan, Afghanistan — Taliban kills eight border guards near largest U.S. military base in Bagram, wounds two others.
June 19 — Adamawa State, Nigeria — Two female suicide bombers, likely linked to Boko Haram, blow themselves up, resulting in their death. No other casualties.
June 20 — Mogadishu, Somalia — Al-Shabaab kills at least 15 civilians, injures 18 others in suicide car bomb.
June 20 — Brussels, Belgium — Authorities kill ISIS-linked suicide bomber at train station.
June 20 — Nangarhar, Afghanistan — Terrorists kill judge, wound three other civilians.
June 21 — Michigan, United States — Canadian terrorist Amor Ftouhi, 49, stabs and wounds police officer in the neck while yelling praises to Allah.
June 21 — Deir Ezzor, Syria — ISIS kills two civilians, wounds eight others.
June 21 — Borno State, Nigeria — Suspected Boko Haram jihadists kill two civilians, wounds six others.
June 21 — Far North Region, Cameroon — Two suspected Boko Haram suicide bombers kill six civilians in Kolofata.
June 22 — Helmand, Afghanistan — Taliban kills an estimated 30, including soldiers and civilians, and wounds at least 60 others.
June 22 — Kashmir, India — Pakistani terrorists kill two Indian soldiers.
June 22 — Baghdad, Iraq — Suspected ISIS jihadists kill two, wound four others in car bomb attack.
June 23 — Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Pakistan — Lashkar-e-Jhangvi jihadists kill up to 67 and wound more than 261 in double bombing in the jihadi stronghold along the Afghanistan border.
June 23 — Mosul, Iraq — Suspected ISIS suicide bomber kills at least a dozen civilians, including women and children, and wounds 20 other civilians trying to flee the city.
June 23 — Baluchistan, Pakistan — ISIS and Pakistani Taliban linked jihadists from Jamaat ur Ahrar kill 13 people, including seven police officers, wound 19 others, including nine security guards, in car bomb attack.
June 23 — Mosul, Iraq — Suspected ISIS suicide bombers kill three people, including a police officer, and wound at least nine others.
June 23 — Anbar, Iraq — Suspected ISIS suicide bombers kill eight civilians, one soldier, wound 11 others.
June 23 — Mandera, Kenya — Suspected al-Shabaab jihadists kill five people, including two police others, wound an unknown number of others.
June 23 — Karachi, Pakistan — Jihadists kill four off-duty police officers, wound two others in drive by shooting.
June 23 — Mosul, Iraq — Suspected ISIS jihadists fire rocket into marketplace, killing10, wounding 40.
June 23 — Mosul, Iraq — Suspected ISIS suicide bombers blew themselves up inside mosque, killing four, injuring others.
June 24 — Aleppo, Syria — Suspected Sunni militants kill 12, including three children and four women, and wound dozens.
June 24 — Mecca, Saudi Arabia — Suicide bomber planning to attack Grand Mosque blows himself up, injuring six foreigners and five security force members.
June 24 — Kashmir, India —Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) jihadists kill one security officer, wounds another one and a civilian.
June 24 — Kirkuk, Iraq — Suspected ISIS jihadists kill ten civilians trying to flee homes, wound six others, including women and children.
June 24 — Herat, Afghanistan — Taliban jihadists kill 10 Afghan soldiers, wound four at Salma Dam ahead of Afghan president’s address holiday marking end of Ramadan.

***

BREAKING: Gulf States Give Qatar List of Demands To Restore Diplomatic Relationships – All Demands Target The Muslim Brotherhood…

 The Last Refuge, by Sundance, June 22, 2017:

The latest development, in the ongoing Arab state GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) initiative to stem the destabilizing behavior of Qatar, is a list of demands presented to Qatar. If you have followed the regional issues for the past few years you’ll quickly identify how each of the demands cuts to the core of the destabilizing issues.

Included in the demands:  ♦Shut down al-Jazeera, ♦stop cooperating with Iran and ♦expel Turkish military provocateurs (Erdogan).  The binding thread that connects each of these demands is the effort to stop Qatar from supporting/assisting the Muslim Brotherhood.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kuwait has given Qatar a list of demands from Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations that includes shutting down Al-Jazeera and cutting diplomatic ties to Iran.

That’s according to a list obtained by The Associated Press from one of the countries involved in the dispute. The document says Qatar has 10 days to comply with all demands.

The list says Qatar must immediately close Turkey’s military base in Qatar and end military cooperation with the NATO member. It also demands an unspecified sum of compensation from Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut ties to Qatar this month over accusations the Persian Gulf country funds terrorism. The U.S. has been urging them to produce a list of demands. Kuwait is helping mediate. (link)

Additionally, a reputable and reliable source for news and information within the region, specifically well-connected to the MB issues, provides the following:

This list of demands could have been personally written by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi because it is exactly what he needed to do when he expelled the Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt and restored stability in the aftermath of Mohammed Morsi’s chaos.

U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 3, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

U.S.: Strategic Objectives in the Middle East

Gatestone Institute, by Peter Huessy, June 22, 2017:

  • The new “test” of our alliance will be whether the assembled nations will join in removing the hateful parts of such a doctrine from their communities.
  • What still has to be considered is the U.S. approach to stopping Iran from filling the vacuum created by ridding the region of the Islamic State (ISIS), as well as Iran’s push for extending its path straight through to the Mediterranean.

The tectonic plates in the Middle East have shifted markedly with President Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel, and his announced new regional policy.

The trip represented the beginning of a major but necessary shift in US security policy.

For much of the last nearly half-century, American Middle East policy has been centered on the “peace process” and how to bring Israel and the Palestinians to agreement on a “two-state” solution for two peoples — a phrase that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refuses to say.

First was shuttle diplomacy during 1973-74 in the Nixon administration; then second, in 1978, the Camp David agreement and the recognition of Israel by Egypt, made palatable by $7 billion in new annual US assistance to the two nations; third, the anti-Hizballah doctrine, recently accurately described by National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster, as Iran, since 1983, started spreading its terror to Lebanon and elsewhere in the region. This last effort was often excused by many American and European analysts as a result somehow, of supposed American bad faith. Fourth, came the birth, in 1992, of the “Oslo Accords” where some Israelis and Palestinians imagined that a two-state solution was just another round of negotiations away.

Ironically, during the decade after Oslo, little peace was achieved; instead, terror expanded dramatically. The Palestinians launched three wars, “Intifadas,” against Israel; Al Qaeda launched its terror attacks on U.S. Embassies in Africa; and Iran, Hizballah, and Al Qaeda together carried out the forerunner attacks against America of 9/11/2001.

Since 9/11, despite wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, terrorism has not only failed to recede; on the contrary, it has expanded. Iran has become the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism, and the Islamic State (ISIS) has tried to establish a transnational “Islamic caliphate.” Literally tens of thousands of terror attacks have been carried out since 9/11 by those claiming an Islamic duty to do so. These assaults on Western civilization have taken place on bridges, cafes, night clubs, offices, military recruitment centers, theaters, markets, and sporting events — not only across the West but also in countries where Muslims have often been the primary victims.

Particularly condemnable have been the improvised explosive device (IED) attacks against U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, perpetrated to a great extent by Iran, according to U.S. military testimony before Congress.

All the while, we in the West keep trying to convince ourselves that, as a former American president thought, if there were a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, most of the terrorist attacks we see in Europe and the United States “would disappear.”

No matter how hard we may rhetorically push the “peace process”, there is no arc of history that bends naturally in that direction. Rather, nations such as the United States together with its allies must create those alliances best able to meet the challenges to peace and especially defeat the totalitarian elements at the core of Islamist ideology.

If anything, the so-called Middle East “peace process” has undercut chances of achieving a sound U.S. security policy. While the search for a solution to the Israel-Palestinian “problem” dominated American thinking about Middle East peace for so many decades, other far more serious threats materialized but were often ignored, not the least of which was the rise of Iran as the world’s most aggressive terrorist.

The United States has now moved in a markedly more promising and thoughtful direction.

The new American administration has put together an emerging coalition of nations led by the United States that seeks five objectives:

(1) the defeat of Islamic State;

(2) the formation of a coalition of the major Arab nations, especially Egypt and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to clean up in their own back yards financing terrorism and providing terrorists with sanctuary. As Elliott Abrams, an adviser to former U.S. President George W. Bush, cautions us, however, this will not be an easy effort: “Partnerships with repressive regimes may in some cases exacerbate rather than solve the problem for us” but, Abrams says, “gradual reform is exactly the right approach…”;

3) “driving out” sharia-inspired violence and human rights abuses from the region’s mosques and madrassas;

(4) a joint partnership with Israel as part of an emerging anti-Iran coalition — without letting relations with the Palestinian authority derail United States and Israeli security interests; and

(5) the adoption of a strategy directly to challenge Iran’s quest for regional and Islamic hegemony, while ending its role in terrorism.

Defeating Islamic State

Defeating ISIS began with an accelerated military campaign and a new American-led strategy to destroy the organization rather than to seek its containment. According to the new U.S. Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, “Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to North Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia. We’re going to stop them there and take apart the caliphate.”

Secretary of Defense James Mattis. (Dept. of Defense/Brigitte N. Brantley)

So far, the United States coalition has driven ISIS from 55,000 square kilometers of territory in Iraq and Syria.

A New Coalition

Apart from a strategy to counter ISIS, the Trump administration also called on our allies in the Middle East to put together a new joint multi-state effort to stop financing terrorism. Leading the multi-state effort will be the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States, which together will supposedly open a new center dedicated to the elimination of terrorist financing. Positive results are not guaranteed, but it is a step in the right direction.

According to Abdul Hadi Habtoor, the center will exchange information about financing networks, adopt means to cut off funding from terrorist groups, and hopefully blacklist Iran’s jihadist army, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). These measures in turn will help eliminate the sanctuaries from which terrorists plot and plan.

This move also places emphasis on the responsibility of states to eliminate terrorism. As President Trump said, each country — where it is sovereign — has to “carry the weight of their own self-defense“, be “pro-active” and responsible for “eradicating terrorism”, and “to deny all territory to the foot soldiers of evil”.

This determination was underscored by many Arab countries breaking diplomatic relations with Qatar for its support of Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS. Most of Qatar’s Arab neighbors, including the Saudis, Egypt, and the UAE did so, while the US, although denouncing Qatar’s support of terrorism, continues to maintain access to, and use of, its critical military base there.

In short, the U.S. is playing good-cop, bad-cop in the region, while U.S. allies are putting together what Josh Rogin of the Washington Post described as “a regional security architecture encompassing countries on the periphery of Iran.”

Such an approach is not without risk: Turkey, allied with Iran and Qatar, has already has pledged to help Qatar defy the Gulf States’ trade cut-off. If Turkey, for example, seeks to move its promised aid shipments to Qatar through the Suez Canal, the ships could possibly be blocked by Egypt or attacked on the high seas. Does the U.S. then come to the assistance of a NATO member — Turkey — against an ally in the strategic coalition?

Drive Hateful Ideology Out

A companion challenge by the new American President underscored this new security effort. President Trump said to the assembled nations of the Islamic conference that they have to expel the ugly Islamist ideology from the mosques and madrassas that recruit terrorists and justify their actions.

Trump said: “Drive them out of your places of worship”. Such words had never been spoken so clearly by an American president, especially to the collection of nearly all the Islamic-majority countries (minus the Shi’ite bloc) gathered together.

The president’s audience doubtless understood that he was speaking of the doctrine of sharia (Islamic law). The new “test” of our alliance will be whether the assembled nations will join in removing the hateful parts of the doctrine from their communities. It was a sharp but critical departure from the previous American administration’s message in Cairo in 2009, and placed the Islamic doctrine that seeks to establish the sharia throughout the world in a contained context.

New Israeli Partnership

With Israel, the administration has cemented the next part of its strategy. Here the Trump administration successfully improved our political and military relations with Israel. Markedly so. One part of that effort was enhanced missile-defense cooperation called for in the FY18 United States defense budget, specifically to deal with Iranian and Iranian-allied missile threats.

On relations with the Palestinian Authority, the administration has moved to improve matters but has not moved to advocate a two-state solution — for which there is no contemplated security framework sufficient to protect Israel.

Challenge and Roll Back Iran

The final part of the administration’s strategy starts with a thorough review of our Iran strategy and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or “nuclear deal”, with Iran. As Max Singer recently wrote, even if we discount what secretive nuclear capability Iran may now have, the Iranian regime will at the very least be much closer to producing nuclear weapons down the road than when the JCPOA was agreed to.

As Ambassador John Bolton has warned the nuclear deal with Iran did nothing to restrain Iranian harmful behavior: “Defiant missile launches… support for the genocidal Assad regime… backing of then Houthi insurgency in Yemen… worldwide support for terrorism… and commitment to the annihilation of Israel” continue.

In addition, uranium enrichment, heavy water production, the concealed military dimensions of warhead development and joint missile and nuclear work with North Korea all lend a critical urgency to countering Iran’s lethal efforts. The United States did not make these counter-efforts any easier by providing to Tehran $100 billion in escrowed Iranian funds, equivalent to nearly one quarter of the Islamic Republic’s annual GDP.

The United States’ and Europe’s easing of sanctions on Iran has helped reintegrate Iran into global markets via mechanisms such as the electronic payment system run by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT). That, in turn, has helped Iran expand dramatically its military modernization budget by 33%, including deals worth tens of billions of dollars in military hardware with China and Russia.

Added to that is Iranian financial- and weapons-support for foreign fighters in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Afghanistan. Iran’s significant support to the Houthi rebels in Yemen includes weaponry, financing and logistical support, including advanced offensive missiles. The Houthis regularly attempt to carry out missile attacks against Saudi oil facilities.

Such Iran activity is described by the Commander of U.S. Central Command, General Joseph Votel, as “the most significant threat to the Central Region and to our national interests and the interest of our partners and allies”.

As such, it can only be challenged through exactly the kind of military, political, and economic coalition the Trump administration is seeking to band together, which would include the Gulf Arab nations, especially Saudi Arabia, as well as Egypt, Jordan, and Israel.

The administration’s five-step strategy has a chance to work. It creates a policy to destroy ISIS; oppose Islamic terrorism and specifically the imposition of sharia; adopt measures to go after the financing of such terrorism; implement improvements in Gulf allies’ military capabilities — including missile defenses — parallel with pushing NATO members to meet their military spending obligations; put back into place a sound and cooperative relationship with Israel; and specifically contain and roll back Iranian hegemonic ambitions and its terror-master ways.

What still has to be considered, however, is the U.S. approach to stopping Iran from filling the vacuum created by ridding the region of ISIS, as well as Iran’s push for extending its path straight through to the Mediterranean.

If successful, some modicum of peace may be brought to the Middle East. And the arc of history will have finally been shaped toward America’s interests and those of its allies, rather than — however inadvertently — toward its mortal enemies.

Dr. Peter Huessy is President of GeoStrategic Analysis, a defense consulting firm he founded in 1981, and was the senior defense consultant at the National Defense University Foundation for more than 20 years.