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

Also see:

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

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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

Also see:

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:

***

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.

Also see:

Report: 31,000 Islamic State Women Pregnant with Jihadi Babies

Reuters

Reuters

Breitbart, by MARY CHASTAIN, March, 7, 2016:

A report claims that Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) terrorists have impregnated 31,000 women and girls inside their Caliphate.

The Quilliam Foundation, a UK think tank, released its Children of Islamic State report on Monday.

“That 31,000 women are pregnant in the ‘caliphate’ is very worrying indeed,” stated senior researcher Nikita Malik. “It is imperative that the international community takes a proactive rather than a reactive approach when focusing on these children.”

The Islamic State has used social media to recruit women to help it populate its Caliphate since invading Syria and Iraq in the summer of 2014. Many of the women come from the UK, Australia, and the United States.

“ISIS is recruiting these women in order to be baby factories,” Mia Bloom of the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell said in September 2014. “They are seeing the establishment of an Islamic state and now they need to populate the state.”

Other women openly volunteer to engage in jihad al-nikah, or sexual jihad, with the ISIS fighters. The terrorists assure the women that premarital sex is acceptable because sexual jihad is a legitimate form of holy war. Malaysian authorities believe more than 50 Malaysians are with ISIS, many women.

“These women are believed to have offered themselves in sexual comfort roles to Isis fighters who are attempting to establish Islamic rule in the Middle East,” said one source in Malaysia, adding, “This concept may seem controversial but it has arisen as certain Muslim women here are showing sympathy for the Isis struggle.”

In Raqqa, Syria, the terrorists created a marriage center where women register to become a wife for a jihadist. The jihadists also force women in the conquered towns into these positions against their will. Jihadists kidnap married and unmarried women and force them into sex slavery.

The terrorists then use the resulting children in their efforts to spread terror and murder. They place the children in front during public executions, including stonings, crucifixions, and beheadings.

“Children not only get desensitised to violence, but they also deem these practices as normal, and eventually defend them,” continues the report. “Children have been seen accompanying prisoners to their death and, in one example, distributing knives to adults before a mass beheading.”

ISIS terrorists have released pictures of their children in the past. One image published online showed a baby surrounded by grenades and Kalashnikov rifles. Another displayed a one-year-old with a Kalashnikov rifle in his lap.

“Firstly, children are a completely blank slate and so don’t have the cognitive abilities or the adult decision-making processes, so they can be manipulated because they are vulnerable to do all kinds of things,” said Malik. “The families play a key role in doing this as well. Mothers play a key role: they read story books on martyrdom to their children at night. The families are teaching them what is right and wrong. This purity angle is very interesting.”

The Islamic State then enrolls these children, some as young as six, into training camps. One video, titled “School of Jihad,” shows children learning how to behead and torture “infidels” and handle weapons.

The group also released a video in August 2014 with Omar al-Shishani, a prominent Chechen leader in the Islamic State. One of the oldest kids shows his ability to quickly take apart the gun, reattach it, and load the ammunition. After that, the kids hide behind a wall and perform a mock military exercise for al-Shishani.

Also see:

Bin Laden Willed His Fortune to Jihad, Worried His Wife’s Teeth Were Bugged

AP

AP

Breitbart, by John Hayward, March, 1, 2016:

Over a hundred documents seized in the 2011 special-forces raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan were released to the public on Tuesday, including a handwritten will. The al-Qaeda mastermind made some provisions for his family but wanted most of his $29 million fortune devoted to “jihad, for the sake of Allah.”

Canada’s Globe and Mail reports this document appears to have been composed in the late 1990s and covered money bin Laden had stashed in Sudan.

Two of bin Laden’s top al-Qaeda associates were to be rewarded with one percent of the $29 million apiece. He also “set down specific amounts in Saudi riyals and gold that should be apportioned between his mother, a son, a daughter, an uncle, and his uncle’s children and maternal aunts.”

He encouraged his family to spend his money on holy war.

“I hope for my brothers, sisters and maternal aunts to obey my will and to spend all the money that I have left in Sudan on jihad, for the sake of Allah,” bin Laden wrote.

The Globe and Mail notes another, much more recent, letter in which Osama bin Laden asked his “precious father” to care for his wife and children if he died.

“I entrust you well for my wife and children, and that you will always ask about them and follow up on their whereabouts and help them in their marriages and needs,” he wrote to his father in 2008, adding a plea for forgiveness “if I have done what you did not like.”

“If I am to be killed, pray for me a lot and give continuous charities in my name, as I will be in great need for support to reach the permanent home,” he wrote to his father in the same letter, according to the Associated Press.

The AP quotes another letter from bin Laden, addressed to “the Islamic community in general,” in which he praised jihad as a success following the 9/11 attack.

“Here we are in the tenth year of the war, and America and its allies are still chasing a mirage, lost at sea without a beach,” he wrote, evidently about a year before U.S. special forces raided his compound, shot him, and dumped his body at sea, far away from any beaches.

“They thought that the war would be easy and that they would accomplish their objectives in a few days or a few weeks, and they did not prepare for it financially, and there is no popular support that would enable it to carry on a war for a decade or more. The sons of Islam have opposed them and stood between them and their plans and objectives,” bin Laden continued.

In other letters, bin Laden said the U.S. was stuck in a quagmire in Afghanistan, much like the Soviet Union before it, and viewed the overthrow of dictator Moammar Qaddafi as a great opportunity for jihad in Libya.

In fact, he credited al-Qaeda with defeating Qaddafi, who bin Laden described as a “truly vile hallucinating individual who troubles us in front of the world.” As it turned out, bin Laden was right about post-Qaddafi Libya presenting great opportunities for jihad, thanks to Obama foreign policy, but it would be ISIS that exploited those opportunities, not their progenitors in al-Qaeda.

Despite the sunny outlook for jihad offered by bin Laden in many of these letters, Reutersnotes that other correspondence painted al-Qaeda’s fugitive leader as paranoid and under intense pressure.

He warned his lieutenants to look for tracking devices in everything from ransom payments to his wife’s teeth. He advised al-Qaeda operatives to remain indoors “except on a cloudy, overcast day” to evade U.S. surveillance satellites.

He also exhorted his subordinates to carry out massive terror attacks on American soil to follow up on 9/11, ignoring their protests that al-Qaeda lacked the capability to execute such missions. As one U.S. official put it, bin Laden was “somewhat out of touch with the actual capabilities of his organization.”

Long War Journal has more:

Ted Cruz Unveils Military Plan Aboard Aircraft Carrier: ‘Islamism Will Join Other Discredited Ideologies … on the Ash Heap of History’

Reuters

Reuters

Breitbart, by Jordan Schachtel, Feb. 16, 2016:

MOUNT PLEASANT, SOUTH CAROLINA— Hundreds came to see Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican candidate for President of the United States, as he unveiled his national defense strategy aboard the USS Yorktown Tuesday morning.

He was joined on the aircraft carrier by former Texas Governor and U.S. Air Force veteran Rick Perry, who said Cruz had a “Deep and heartfelt commitment to the men and women” in the United States military. Cruz was also joined by South Carolina Congressman Rep. Mark Sanford , a 10-year air force veteran and former governor of the state.

“Unfortunately, President Obama’s global agenda” has not worked out, Cruz said in his remarks. In fact, his agenda has “encouraged” the “aggressive behavior” of our enemies, he said.

“We now know what a world without America would look like. Far more dangerous, and beholden to terrorist and criminal regimes,” the Texas Senator said.

Cruz made clear that he rejected the current of isolationsim that is making its way through United States politics.

We are told “If we mind our own business, the outside world will leave us alone,” he said, adding, “Isolationism does not work.”

“Hostile actors … will not hesitate to strike us here at home if they believe they can get away with it,” Cruz reminded the audience aboard the USS Yorktown.

But this doesn’t mean a Republican administration should just  dump money into the Defense Department, he said, noting the “bloated bureacracy” at the Pentagon. Additionally, he called for the auditing of the Pentagon, so as to control waste there.

The Texas Senator laid out statistics in support of his argument that the U.S. military needs to be revamped.

“Rebuild our military so it will be feared by our enemies and trusted by our allies,” he said.

He highlighted Ronald Reagan’s philosophy of peace through strength.  “When your adversaries understand your strength, suddenly their appetite for conflict diminishes markedly,” Cruz stated.

And The U.S. must also develop a cohesive strategy for its Mid East affairs, he said.

“We should focus on utterly defeating ISIS using our overwhelming airpower,” Cruz stated.

In addition to partnering on counter-terrorism operations with the Israelis, Egyptians, and Jordanians, the United States “should work with our long time allies the Kurds,” he said. And members of this Middle East coalition should be supporting each other in operations to go after Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, Al Nusra, and other terror entities, Cruz stressed. Hopefully, “Islamism will join other discredited ideologies … on the ash heap of history,” he said.

The Republican candidate for President targeted “a total active duty” force  “of at least 1.4 million soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines.”

The “nation must be prepared for multiple, near simultaneous conflicts,” he said.

Sen. Cruz’s full military proposal is available here

 

Donald Trump: Saddam Hussein Was A ‘Bad Guy … But He Killed Terrorists’

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Breitbart, by Jordan Schachtel, Feb. 15,2016:

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA— Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump praised Saddam Hussein Monday afternoon in a press conference, calling the late Iraqi dictator a “bad guy, but the one thing about him: he killed terrorists.”

Hussein committed two separate genocides against his own countrymen, creating 6-digit casualty figures against men, women, and children in northern and southern Iraq.

“Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, but the one thing about him: he killed terrorists,” Trump said Monday.

“Now Iraq is Harvard for terrorism. You want to become a terrorist? You go to Iraq,” he added.

“Saddam Hussein understood and he killed terrorists,” Trump said.

He continued:

Bad guy, but if the president and other people, and frankly, Obama is no better, because the way he got us out is a disaster. Look what’s happened since then. A disaster. Shouldn’t have been there. Shouldn’t have gotten out the way we got out. But if the president [George W. Bush] went to the beach, we would have been better off, believe me.

Human rights groups report that Saddam Hussein butchered between 250,000-500,000 people, mostly Kurds and Shias.

And the Iraqi dictator did not discriminate between men, women, and young children.

In his 1988 slaughter campaign against the Kurds of Northern Iraq, Hussein killed thousands through the use of chemical weapons and nerve agents. His forces then proceeded to demolish the Kurds’ infrastructure and starve the people living in the region.

In 1991, after failing to take over Kuwait, his forces committed massacres against Kurds in the country’s north, and Shiites in the south of Iraq. Human rights groups estimate that between 80,000-230,000 were killed by Saddam’s forces during a one-year time period.

Under Hussein, Ba’athist Iraq was one of the worst state-sponsors of terrorism in the world. The September 11 Commission Report found that Saddam Hussein provided a safe-haven and training ground for radical jihadi groups, and “used foreign terrorist groups as an instrument of foreign policy.”

***

MUST-SEE: Vets Clash Over Trump’s Comments About Bush & Iraq

Also see:

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

Abdalrhman Ismail/Reuters

Abdalrhman Ismail/Reuters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Middle East Strategic Outlook, February

Gatestone Institute, by Shmuel Bar, February 7, 2016

  • The EU-Turkey agreement of 25 November, which provided Turkey with 3 billion euros over two years in order to stop the flow of refugees to Europe, has not achieved that goal. Speaking privately, EU officials complain that Turkey has not taken any concrete measures to reduce the flow of refugees. In our assessment, Turkey will continue to prevaricate on steps to stem the flow of refugees as pressure on the EU to give more concessions.
  • During the coming year there will certainly be further terrorist attacks that will push European public opinion further to the right.
  • We assess that Iran will continue in indirect channels with a parallel nuclear program, realized long before the 10-year target of the JCPOA.
  • The demand for unification of Kurdistan — Iraqi and Syrian — will also begin to be heard. It is highly likely that Russia will take advantage of the trend and support the Kurds, effectively turning an American ally into a Russian one.

The announcement by the IAEA that Iran has fulfilled its obligations according to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has triggered “Implementation Day” and the removal of the nuclear-related sanctions on Iran. The JCPOA, however, did not deal with Iran’s ballistic missile program, and the sanctions related to it are still nominally in force. These sanctions are minor and will not have any real effect on the Iranian missile program. The missile program will mature during this period and will include Ghadr missiles with ranges of 1,650-1,950 km, which may be capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

The question now is: whither the Iranian nuclear program? After the lifting of sanctions, and taking into account the impracticality of “snap-back” of sanctions, we assess that Iran will now initiate a parallel nuclear program. This will, of course, be far slower than the program that was dismantled by the JCPOA, but it will be realized long before the 10-year target of the JCPOA. One possibility for Iran to continue its nuclear program is through North Korea. The wording of the JCPOA is ambiguous on nuclear Iranian nuclear cooperation with other countries that are not a party to the agreement. North Korea could produce the whole chain of nuclear weapons and put it at Iran’s disposal in return for Iranian funding. North Korea would certainly profit economically from such collaboration and would not risk further sanctions. Such cooperation would be difficult to detect, and even if detected, may not reach the threshold of a material breach of the JCPOA.

The most immediate reward that Iran will receive is the release of frozen Iranian funds ($100-$150 billion). In addition, Iran may now market oil stored offshore in tankers (about 50 billion barrels) and is preparing to increase its production by 500 thousand bpd (from 2.8 million bpd). It is doubtful that Iran can truly increase its production as planned. Even if it does, the addition of Iranian oil is likely to drive prices down even further, counter-balancing much of the potential profit. Sanctions relief also is not a quick fix for the Iranian economy. While it removes legal impediments for investment and business in Iran, the risks that Western companies will face due to residual non-nuclear sanctions (that may be enhanced and enforced by a future American administration), lack of government protection, corruption, and the weakness of the Iranian market cannot be removed by decree. Therefore, European banks and investors may not hurry to invest in Iran at the levels needed to jump-start the Iranian economy after years of sanctions.

The Iranian regime’s goal is not only to block the path to the reformists or reformist-minded, but also to the extremists on the right to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Such a balance could help the Iranian system maintain its “centrist” orientation and guarantee the continuity in the event of Khamenei’s death and the appointment of a new successor (or a triumvirate of several potential leaders). It will also facilitate the eventual takeover of the regime by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) after the demise of Khamenei. The backing that the Guardian Council received from the Supreme Leader for the results of its vetting process, in the face of Rouhani’s condemnation of the disapproval of almost all reformists, is also indicative of the balance of power in the regime.

The Iranian seizure of two US Navy patrol boats on January 12 and the publication of drone pictures of a US Navy aircraft carrier underlined the sense of immunity that Iran has achieved. These actions should be seen in the context of Iran’s attempt to change the rules of the game in the Persian Gulf, while testing the waters of American tolerance and sending to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States an indirect message that Iran is ready and willing to risk conflict with the US and that the US is a paper tiger that cannot be relied upon in a confrontation between the Gulf States and Iran. In our assessment, Iran will continue with shows of force such as seizing of naval vessels of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, stop and search operations of commercial vessels en route to the Gulf States, naval exercises — including missile tests close to Gulf sea-lanes and to the territorial waters of the Gulf States — in international waterways that implicitly interrupt and threaten shipping in the Gulf, “spooking” of Gulf aircraft and even false flag operations of mining, piracy or attacks by proxies in the Gulf and the Red Sea along the Yemeni coast. We may expect as a result possible frontier skirmishes on the shared littoral borders of Iran and Saudi Arabia, gas fields and disputed islands and in the international waters of the Gulf.

The Iranian seizure of two US Navy patrol boats on January 12 underlined the sense of immunity that Iran has achieved.

Saudi Arabia is drawing up its own map of interests and areas of influence that it is projecting as “no-go zones” for Iran — a Saudi “Monroe Doctrine” for the region. The most critical of these are: Yemen (due to the potential for threatening the Bab al-Mandeb Straits), subversion in the Gulf States (primarily Bahrain), the Strait of Hormuz and the international waters of the Gulf. To this list one must add the obvious: any Iranian-inspired or -planned attack on the Saudi homeland itself — government facilities, oil installations etc. — would be perceived as crossing a red line. While neither Saudi Arabia nor Iran is interested in direct conflict, and both would prefer to continue to work through proxies and in areas outside their respective sovereign territories, the dynamic nature of the situation can easily lend itself to misreading of such red lines and such miscalculation may lead to direct confrontation between them. While all-out direct war between Iran and Saudi Arabia remains a low probability, this assessment should be revisited again in the near future.

In Syria, American positions have undergone a strategic shift that reflects the new balance of power created by the Russian intervention. On the military side, the Russian presence imposes a heavy constraint on the American activities, and U.S. officials caution that the success of the Ramadi operation will not be followed by a concerted effort to roll back the “Islamic State” in the Syrian theater. In regards to a political solution, the US has accepted the Russian-Iranian four-point-plan that envisages Bashar al-Assad remaining in office during a transition period and being allowed to run for President in “internationally supervised elections”. In our assessment, the Syrian opposition and their Arab supporters cannot accept any blueprint that would leave any doubt regarding Bashar al-Assad relinquishing power before any process begins. These developments will only feed the sense of the Sunni Arabs that the United States has turned its back on them and is supporting Iranian-Russian hegemony in the region. On this background, the prospects that the Syrian “peace talks” in Geneva will achieve any progress towards resolution or even mitigation of the civil war are close to nil.

Last month’s visit by Chinese President Xi Jin Ping to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran was the first such visit of a Chinese President in the region since 2002, and the first foreign head of state to visit Iran since the announcement of “Implementation Day” of the JCPOA. The Chinese emphasis in all the visits was on economic cooperation, development and stability, but above all — in an implicit stab at the US and Russia — emphasizing that China does not seek proxies, to fill a power vacuum or hegemony in the region. The leitmotif of the visit was the integration of the Middle Eastern partners (i.e. the Arabs in general and Iran) into China’s “Belt and Road Initiative.” In spite of the inclusion of Iran in the visit, President Xi took care not to offend the Arabs. The agreements with Saudi Arabia included nuclear cooperation in a scope far greater than that which was offered to Iran, and the joint statement reflected the Saudi position on Yemen, stating, “both sides stressed support for the legitimate regime of Yemen.”

The “Arab Policy Paper” published on the eve of the visit stresses China’s commitment to “non-intervention and opposition to interference in the affairs of other countries”. This is seen by the Arab policy communities as a sign of implicit Chinese support for their position vis-à-vis Iran’s activities in the region, though they would have welcomed more explicit statements of support. There is no expectation in the region that China is going to play the “Big Power” card in the region. Taking sides in this conflict would be out of character for China. Saudi Arabia and the other Arab states will attempt to convince China to refrain from demonstrations of rapprochement with Iran and to support the Arab positions vis-à-vis Iranian provocations in the Gulf, Syria and Yemen. While China may show a slight implicit leaning towards the Arab position on these issues, it is not likely to take a clear anti-Iranian/pro-Arab position in the near future.

The European Union-Turkey agreement of 25 November, which provided Turkey with 3 billion euros over two years in order to stop the flow of refugees to Europe, has not achieved that goal. Speaking privately, EU officials complain that Turkey has not taken any concrete measures to reduce the flow of refugees. In our assessment, Turkey will continue to prevaricate on steps to stem the flow of refugees as pressure on the EU to give more concessions. Turkey has already signaled that the sum will not suffice for the task of maintaining the refugees inside Turkey alone, and certainly not for other security measures such as blocking the border with Turkey to prevent passage to and fro of “Islamic State” foreign fighters.

Aside from the 3 billion euros, the EU commitments will also not be easily implemented; visa waivers for Turkish citizens in general will encounter massive opposition within the EU. The road to Turkish accession to the EU must also go through complex negotiations on various aspects of compatibility of Turkey to the standards of the EU. All these discussions will encounter a veto by Cyprus, pending a peace deal with Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus. This veto may be resolved if a referendum on unification of Cyprus takes place and supports re-unification later this year. However, the real obstacle towards Turkish accession is not technical or due to the Cyprus question; it revolves around the shift in European public opinion towards absorption of immigrants from Muslim countries. During the coming year, there will certainly be further terrorist attacks that will push European public opinion further to the right. Under these circumstances, Turkish accession or even visa waiver will be very unlikely.

In our assessment, the trend towards Kurdish independence will eventually lead to an independent Iraqi Kurdistan. The events in Syrian Kurdistan will also affect the pace and direction of the independence movement in Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Unification of the parts of Syrian Kurdistan in the face of Turkish opposition and under Russian protection will give impetus to the demand to create a political fait accompli of independence in Iraqi Kurdistan. As the principle of Kurdish independence in Iraq gains more and more support and becomes a reality, the irredentist demand for unification of Kurdistan — Iraqi and Syrian — will also begin to be heard. This is the fulfillment of the Kurdish nightmare that Turkey has always feared. With the deterioration of relations between the AKP government and the Turkish Kurds inside Turkey, such a political reality of independent Kurdistan will add fire to the flames of the Kurdish rebellion in southern Turkey. It is highly likely that Russia will take advantage of the trend and support the Kurds, effectively turning an American ally into a Russian one. If this happens, the US will have lost an important potential ally in the new map of the Middle East.

The large number of players on the ground that may take a part in the campaign for Mosul will only complicate the campaign further and — if the city or part of it is retaken, will increase the chances of internal fighting between the components of the ad-hoc alliance of Iraqi government forces, Shiite militias, Sunni militias, Kurdish Peshmarga, Turks and American forces.

On this background, the Syrian “Peace Talks” in Geneva started (29 January) as “proximity talks” in which the UN representatives shuttle between the rooms of the opposing parties. The Saudi supported High Negotiations Committee (HNC) of the Syrian opposition ceded their original conditions — cessation of the attacks on civilians — though they refuse to meet with the regime representatives while the latter refuse to meet with “terrorists”. The Syrian regime representation is low-level as an indication that there is no intention to hold real negotiations. Furthermore, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), whose military wing, the YPG, is the most effective fighting force on the ground against the “Islamic State,” were not included in the opposition delegation because of the Turkish threat to boycott the Geneva negotiations if it participates. Under these conditions, the prospects that the talks will achieve any progress towards resolution or even mitigation of the civil war are close to nil.

Dr. Shmuel Bar is a senior research fellow at the Samuel Neaman Institute for National Policy Studies at the Technion in Haifa, Israel, and a veteran of Israel’s intelligence community.

Ted Cruz Doesn’t Have Time for Failed ‘Conventional Wisdom’ on Foreign Policy

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Here’s How He Would Defend America Against Threats from the Middle East, Russia and China, According to His Chief National Security Advisor Dr. Victoria Coates

 

Medium.com, by Ben Weingarten for Encounter, Jan. 27, 2016:

 

You might not think that the national security and foreign policy advisor for one of the leading 2016 presidential candidates would have the pedigree of a University of Pennsylvania art history Ph.D. specializing in Italian renaissance studies, and a former consulting curator title at the Cleveland Museum of Art. But then you haven’t met Dr. Victoria Coates, the self-described Renaissance woman and the chief articulator and defender of Cruz’s Jeane Kirkpatrick-inspired philosophy that has vexed many across the Republican political spectrum to date.

During an in-depth interview with Dr. Coates on her new book, David’s Sling: A History of Democracy in Ten Works of Art, we had the chance to pick the brain of Cruz’s national security consigliere on topics including:

You can read — or listen to — this portion of our interview below (and click here for Part I of our conversation.) Note that the transcript has been edited slightly for clarity.

 

TRANSCRIPT

Click here for more on David’s Sling: A History of Democracy in Ten Works of Art.

And listen to our full interview with Victoria Coates here.

Ben Weingarten is a writer, podcaster, and Founder & CEO of ChangeUp Media LLC, a media consulting and publication services firm. He regularly contributes to publications such as City Journal,The Federalist, Newsmax and PJ Media on national security/defense, economics and politics. You can find his work at benweingarten.com, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.