EXCLUSIVE – Egypt Dispatch: Top General Killed in Joint Muslim Brotherhood-Hamas Assassination Plot

muslim-brotherhood-terrorism-sized-770x415xt-1PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, October 23, 2016:

The killing of a top general responsible for anti-terrorism operations in the restive Sinai province killed outside his home in Cairo yesterday was part of an assassination plot involving Muslim Brotherhood splinter groups and top terror operatives from Hamas in Gaza, Egyptian security sources told PJ Media last night.

The murdered general was responsible for shutting down the smuggling tunnels between Hamas-controlled Gaza and Egypt, and the joint operation is believed to be intended to relieve some pressure from the Egyptian army’s operation that had placed a stranglehold one of Hamas’ main sources of income and slowed the movement of weapons and fighters from Gaza into Sinai fighting against the Egyptian government, including the Islamic State’s group in Sinai.

A statement published after the assassination also invoked the death of a senior Muslim Brotherhood operative killed in a shootout with police earlier this month.

The New York Times reports:

Gunmen suspected of being Islamist militants killed a senior Egyptian Army officer on Saturday in a brazen daylight shooting outside the man’s home in a Cairo suburb.The state media identified the officer as Brig. Gen. Adel Ragai, commander of the army’s Ninth Armored Division.

General Ragai, according to multiple pro-state papers, had previously been deployed to Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula, where the military is fighting Islamic State militants.

The military did not issue a statement.

“I heard the gunshots and saw him die before my eyes,” Sumaya Zein el-Abedeen, the general’s wife, told the state media. She said neighbors had told her that they saw three gunmen with assault rifles in a vehicle outside the couple’s home. The men fired on General Ragai and his driver. Both men were taken to a hospital, where they were declared dead.

A group called Liwa al-Thawra, the Revolution Brigade, claimed responsibility on Twitter for the attack. The group’s account was then suspended.

General Ragai was also responsible for an armored division in Sinai:

The Liwa al-Thawra statement claiming responsibility also invoked the killing of Mohamed Kamal, one of the top Muslim Brotherhood leaders leading the group’s more violent factions.

After the killing of Kamal, LIaw al-Thawra issued a statement vowing retribution.

As I reported here at PJ Media on the death of Kamal, he was responsible for the Muslim Brotherhood’s violent factions, including the most recent incarnation of the group’s military wing, Hassm that has been involved in assassinations of Egyptian military officials.

Coincidentally, Hassm released a video yesterday showing fighters engaged in military training:

The possible involvement of Hamas operatives in the assassination operation yesterday may demonstrate an even increased role in terrorism in Egypt, including their ties to the Islamic State group’s activity in Sinai.

The roots of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “special committee” terror units go back to a split within the group’s leadership, with the old guard looking for compromise with the Egyptian state and the youth wing led by Kamal that sought a more violent “creative revolutionary path.”

A series of statements during 2015 endorsed the group’s campaign of violence:

  • A group called the “Revolutionary Punishment Movement” closely tied with the Brotherhood issued a statement in early February warning all foreigners and diplomats to leave the country by February 28, 2015, or possibly be faced with becoming targets in their attacks.

I reported here at PJ Media in June 2015 about the escalation of violence by the Muslim Brotherhood youth cadres during 2015, beginning with the published call for a “long, uncompromising jihad” in January 2015.

This past June, I reported on the arrest of an IED terrorist cell composed of Muslim Brotherhood members operating out of Alexandria that attacked military, police, diplomatic and business targets.

Meanwhile, bills calling for the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization have stalled in Congress.

In the House, H.R. 3892, the “Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2015,” a bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and currently with 68 cosponsors, passed the House Judiciary Committee in February on a 17-10 vote.

But House Speaker Paul Ryan has not brought the bill up for a full House vote.

The Senate companion bill, S. 2230, introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and currently with 7 cosponsors, including Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, is bottled up in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Foreign Relations chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) has yet to bring the bill up for a committee vote — or even to hold hearings on the matter.

Bill cosponsors have expressed frustration with the Obama administration’s inaction on the Muslim Brotherhood even as terror attacks by the group continue. The group has targeted Egypt’s Coptic Christian community, which I reported on here just a few weeks ago based on my April 2014 survey in Upper Egypt of sectarian attacks by the Muslim Brotherhood.

With Congress in recess until after the November 8 election, the only opportunity for these bills to be considered in either the House or Senate would be in the lame duck session.

Syrian Rebel U.S ‘Vetted Moderate’ Brigade Defects to Rebranded Al-Qaeda Affiliate

war-on-terror-jihad1-sized-770x415xtPJ Media, by Patrick Poole, October 20, 2016:

Reports are emerging this morning that a battalion of Faylaq al-Sham fighters that had previously been vetted as “moderates” by the U.S. has defected to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, the recently re-branded Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria.

This is yet one more episode of U.S.-vetted Syrian rebel groups defecting to U.S.-designated terrorist groups in recent years. Just a few weeks ago I reported here at PJ Media on U.S.-supported Free Syrian Army troops that were openly allied with a group that the State Department had designated a terrorist organization just the week before.

News of the defection of the Muhammad Rasoolullah Brigade of Faylaq al-Sham operating around Idlib initially appeared on Twitter:

Faylaq al-Sham, backed by Turkey, is currently involved in the push against the Islamic State.

Faylaq al-Sham has its roots in the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, and have been branded “Syria’s Moderate Islamists,” so undoubtedly the “experts” will lament this defection as a shock brought about by military necessities on the ground.

But if the so-called “vetted moderate” groups that receive U.S. weapons later turn terrorist, what is the point of the so-called U.S. “vetting” anyway?

The “experts” may also downplay this defection claiming that Jabhat Fateh al-Sham cut ties with Al-Qaeda; but nothing could be further from the truth. All the group did was rebrand, with permission from Al-Qaeda.

In fact, one of the top Jabhat Fateh al-Sham leaders present at the rebranding announcement was Abu Faraj al-Masri, a longtime lieutenant of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Al-Masri was killed in a U.S. drone strike earlier this month.

But the myth of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham’s separation from Al-Qaeda continues to circulate.

Read more

Closing Out 2016’s ‘Summer of Terror’: Over the Past 90 Days, 20 Terror Attacks in Western Countries

nice-terror-attack-victim-sized-770x415xcPJ Media, by Patrick Poole, October 12, 2016:

On the evening July 14, citizens and tourists gathered on the promenade in Nice, France, to celebrate Bastille Day, but the night would end in horror as the celebrations turned into the largest terrorist attack during 2016’s ‘Summer of Terror.’

The Nice attack, which took place just 90 days ago, would mark the midpoint of a near-constant stream of terror attacks in the West that began with the June 12 mass shooting at The Pulse night club in Orlando by Omar Mateen.

Since the Nice attack at least 20 terror attacks in Western countries have been committed—one nearly every 100 hours.

That pace is just slightly off from how this year’s “Summer of Terror” began. Two weeks after the Nice attack I noted that the pace was nearly one every 84 hours:

That statistic ended up widely circulated in the media, and the attacks would continue up through this past weekend, with this year’s recently concluded summer earning its moniker.

Below I chronicle the 20 terror attacks in Western countries over the past 90 days. I’ve excluded events of unknown or disputed motive, including those in Vincennes, France; Reutlingen, Germany; Uccle, Belgium; Munich, Germany; Queensland, Australia; a French Alps resort; a nightclub bombing this past weekend in Malmo, Sweden; and a stabbing in Rome by a Moroccan immigrant.

July 14 – Nice, France: During Bastille Day celebrations in the French coastal town of Nice, a Tunisian immigrant, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, drove an 18-ton cargo truck through the crowd, killing 84 and injuring 434 people. Two days later the attack was claimed by the Islamic State, calling Lahouaiej-Bouhlel “a soldier of the Islamic State.” The killer and his accomplices had been planning the attack for nearly a year.

July 19 – Wurzburg, Germany: 17-year-old Afghan refugee, Riyaz Khan, attacked passengers on a train with an axe and a knife while shouting “Allah Akhbar,” injuring five people. Khan reportedly was “seeking revenge on the infidels.” ISIS later released a video of Khan pledging allegiance to the Islamic State.

July 26 – Rouen, France: Two ISIS terrorists stormed a Roman Catholic church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during morning mass, slitting the throat of 86-year-old Father Jacques Hamel as they they forced a parishioner to video the killing. They shouted “Allahu Akhbar” as they stabbed and critically injured him. The two killers, Adel Kermiche and Abdel Malik Petitjean, had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, which released their video the following day. Kermiche had twice attempted to travel to Syria to join ISIS and was wearing an electronic ankle monitoring bracelet, and Petitjean had also attempted to travel to Syria and was known to French authorities. They were both killed while leaving the church and charging police.

July 24 – Ansbach, Germany: Suicide bomber Mohammad Daleel attempted to enter a well-attended music festival, but was denied entry. He then detonated his backpack bomb outside a nearby wine bar, injuring 15 people. A 27-year-old refugee from Aleppo, Syria, Daleel had claimed asylum but was scheduled for deportation. The bomb was built in the refugee center. He was in direct communication with ISIS operatives just minutes before the attack, and ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack the following day.

August 3 – London, England: An American woman was murdered and five others injured in a stabbing attack near Russell Square in the heart of London. The suspect, 19-year-old Zakaria Bulhan, was a Somali who had moved to England from Norway.

August 6 – Charleroi, Belgium: Two female police officers stationed outside their police station were attacked by a 33-year-old Algerian, Khaled Babbouri, who swung a machete at their heads shouting “Allahu Akhbar.” Babbouri was shot dead by another police officer. He had been living illegally in Belgium since 2012 andattended a mosque in Farciennes. The Islamic State later claimed credit for the attack.

August 9 – Ontario, Canada: A terror suspect and known ISIS supporter already out on a peace bond was stopped by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and was shot and killed during a standoff with police after he had detonated an explosive device inside a cab, injuring himself and the driver. Aaron Driver, aka Harun Abdurahman, had planned an imminent suicide attack on a major Canadian city and had several explosive devices with him at the time of the confrontation.

August 18 – Strasbourg, France: An Orthodox Jewish rabbi was stabbed by a man shouting “Allahu Akhbar” as he was on his way to synagogue. The suspect, who has not been publicly named by police, had previously attacked another Jewish man in 2010 with an iron bar.

August 20 – Roanoke, Virginia: A couple entering their apartment were attacked by knife-wielding 20-year-old Wasil Rafat Farooqui shouting “Allahu Akhbar” before fighting him off. He was arrested by police when he showed up at the same hospital as his victims. Farooqui was already on the FBI’s radar, having already traveled to Germany and Turkey in an attempt to reach Syria, but he was never charged with the attempt.

August 27 – Oberhausen, Germany: A 26-year-old man shouting “Allahu Akhbar”attacked and repeatedly stabbed an older couple picnicking at a local music festival. Authorities have not publicly named the suspect.

August 30 – Toulouse, France: 31-year-old Algerian, Abderrahmane Amara, entered the Rempart Saint-Etienne police station claiming he wanted to lodge a complaint, but then stabbed a police officer in the neck while shouting he was “sick of France.” Despite claims by the prosecutor that Amara was mentally ill, he waspreviously known to authorities for throwing a Molotov cocktail at police and a synagogue during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in 2014.

August 31 – Copenhagen, Denmark: A 25-year-old Bosnia-born Danish citizen, Mesa Hodzic, linked to the militant Islamic group Millatu Ibrahim and a sympathizer of ISIS, shot two police officers and a civilian in the Christiania neighborhood known for drug trafficking. Hodzic died two days later due to injuries from the shootout with police. Two days later, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

Next page: September and October attacks

September 4 – Val-d’Oise, France: A 24-year-old inmate at the Osny prison, Bilal Taghi, serving a five year sentence for attempting to join ISIS in Syria, stabbed two prison guards in what investigators suspect was an act of terror. After the stabbing he drew a heart on the wall with his victims’ blood before beginning to pray. Remarkably, Taghi was part of France’s deradicalization program at the prison.

September 4 – Paris, France: Three women were arrested after a car filled with gas cylinders was discovered near Notre Dame Cathedral. The trio had planned to bomb the Gare de Lyon train station in central Paris. One of the women had written a pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State. Another stabbed a police officer as she was being arrested. The third had previously been engaged to one of the ISIS operatives who murdered Father Jacques Hamel in Rouen in late July.

September 10 – Minto, Australia: 22-year-old Ihsas Khan stabbed a 59-year-old man who was walking through a park in suburban Sydney. Khan was charged with a terrorist act that authorities described as “inspired by ISIS.”

September 17 – Seaside, New Jersey: A pipe bomb detonated inside a trash can alongside the route of the Seaside Semper Five Marine Corps charity race. Other explosive devices were tied to the bomb that went off. No one was injured and the suspect, Ahmad Khan Rahami, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Afghanistan, was captured several days later.

September 17 – New York City, New York: Just hours after the bombing in Seaside, New Jersey, Ahmad Khan Rahami placed a pressure cooker bomb on a busy street in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. The explosion injured 29 people. Another backpack with explosives was found two days later in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Rahami was captured after a shootout with police, where they discovered he had a notebook that made reference to an ISIS leader who had been killed in a U.S. drone strike several weeks before.

September 17 – St. Cloud, Minnesota: The Crossroads Shopping Mall wastargeted in a stabbing attack by 20-year-old Somali refugee, Dahir Adan. Ten people were injured as Adan stabbed shoppers and mall workers shouting “Allahu Akhbar” and asking victims whether they were Muslim. The attack was only stopped by an off-duty police officer who shot and killed Adan. The following day the Islamic State claimed credit for the attack, and FBI Director James Comey testified before Congress that Adan was inspired by “extremist ideology.”

October 5 – Brussels, Belgium: One police officer was stabbed in the neck and another stabbed in the stomach by a 43-year-old Belgian national, Hicham Diop in the Schaerbeek district of Brussels. The suspect had links to jihadists who had traveled to Syria. An eyewitness claimed that he was shouting in Arabic during the attack.

October 8 – Chemnitz, Germany: A botched police raid acting on a tip of an impending Islamic State attack led to the escape of 22-year-old Syrian refugee Jaber Albakr, who was planning an imminent attack on an airport in Berlin. Police confiscated more than 3 pounds of explosives from his apartment. Albakr was captured in Leipzig after a two-day manhunt and several of his associates have also been arrested.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State has called for more attacks in the West, including replicating the Nice attack, using baseball bats and power drills and calling for knife attacks in alleys, forests, beaches, and quiet neighborhoods.

2016’s “Summer of Terror” may be over, but with three more months left this year, the attacks this year most likely won’t be.

Associated Press Botches Trump Debate Fact Check on Assad and the Islamic State, Then Botches It Again

cux0x1fweaa39lh-sized-770x415xtPJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, OCTOBER 10, 2016:

The Associated Press (AP) botched a presidential debate “fact check” last night when it rated false Trump’s claim that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian army were fighting the Islamic State.

But after it was noted by some experts that recent AP reporting documented fighting between the Syrian regime and ISIS, the news organization backtracked on the “fact check” — but in fact made it worse.

The AP’s initial “fact check” flat out rated Trump’s claim false in a now-deleted tweet:

ap-trump-assad-isis-fact-check

Even this month the Assad regime has been striking ISIS positions in their ongoing confrontation with the terror group around Deir ez Zor:

The Assad regime is also fighting against ISIS near Aleppo and several other locations around Syria:

This morning, that earlier tweet was removed and replaced by one claiming that it was only “partially true”:

The correction, however, didn’t improve the quality of the AP’s “fact check.” It actually made it worse.

Read more

Also see:

FBI Releases Video, New Details in Minnesota Mall Terror Attack by Somali Refugee Dahir Adan

11866454_gPJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, OCTOBER 6, 2016

The FBI held an unusual press conference today in the case of last month’s terror attack at a shopping mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The attacker, 20-year old Somali refugee Dahir Adan, was shot and killed on the scene by an off-duty police officer after stabbing ten mall workers and shoppers.

The press conference was unusual in that the investigation into the matter is still ongoing, but the FBI and local law enforcement felt the need to release graphic video of the attacks in order to shoot down various conspiracy theories circulating in the Minnesota Somali community and perpetuated by Black Lives Matter groups.

One of the early conspiracy theories floated by Adan’s family was the claim that he was an innocent bystander who was in the mall to pick up his new iPhone at the mall:

Those false rumors led some in the Somali community to use the incident to circulate claims that the shooting of Adan was unjustified:

Others claimed that Adan was mentally ill, which the family denied:

Just last week FBI Director James Comey testified that Adan appeared to be inspired by “extremist ideology”:

The FBI released further details on his possible motivation during their press conference today.

CBS News reports:

The stabbings at a central Minnesota mall last month that wounded 10 likely was premeditated by the attacker, who may have become radicalized recently, federal authorities said Thursday.Dahir Ahmed Adan became interested in Islam in the last several months, withdrew from his friends and encouraged his sisters to be more religious, FBI Special Agent Rick Thornton said at a news conference.

Witnesses told investigators that 20-year-old Adan yelled “Islam, Islam” and “Allahu akbar,” as well as asking several people whether they were Muslim before stabbing them during the Sept. 17 attack, which started outside Crossroads Center mall before moving inside.

“We were told Adan had not previously shown an interest in religion. Adan also encouraged some female relatives to become more religiously observant,” Thornton said, adding that investigators continue to analyze Adan’s digital footprint, including his social media and online activity, and are trying to obtain permission to unlock his smartphone.

FBI Director James Comey said last week it appeared Adan was at least partly inspired by extremist ideology. Thornton also said that Adan went from being a high academic performer to failing out of college “almost overnight” after taking an increased interest in Islam.

Read more

Two Senior Leaders of Muslim Brotherhood ‘Terror Wing’ Killed in Egypt

muslim-brotherhood-terrorism-sized-770x415xtPJ Media, by Patrick Poole, Oct. 4, 2016:

Two senior leaders of Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood were reportedly killed in a shootout with government forces, the Ministry of Interior announced late yesterday:

Reuters reports:

Egypt’s Interior Ministry said early on Tuesday that it killed a senior Muslim Brotherhood leader it said was responsible for the group’s “armed wing” and another member of the group in a shootout on Monday.Mohamed Kamal, 61, a member of the group’s top leadership, and Yasser Shehata, another leader, were killed. The ministry said it raided an apartment in Cairo’s Bassateen neighborhood after learning it was used by the leaders as a headquarters.

Both Kamal and Sehata were wanted by Egyptian authorities since the dissolution of Mohamed Morsi’s government in August 2013:

Shehata was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison for “assaulting a citizen and forcibly detaining the person in the headquarters of the freedom and Justice party,” the political wing of the origination, the ministry said in its statement.Kamal had been sentenced to life in prison on two counts in absentia, added the statement.

Kamal is one of the most prominent leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and a member of the Guidance Bureau. He was in charge of the supreme Administrative Committee, known as the youth committee. He resigned from the committee in May 2016, because the committee was opposed by other top leaders in the organization.

It is precisely Kamal’s role in inciting violence through the Muslim Brotherhood’s youth committee that brought him into conflict with other leaders of the group. He was directly responsible for the creation of the youth cadres that continue to wage a widespread terror campaign targeting army, police and other Egyptian government officials.

In June, Mohamed Hamama explained Kamal’s role in establishing the Muslim Brotherhood’s current terror wing:

The roots of dissent grew out of this crisis management committee, with Kamal and [Ali] Bateekh among its members. They were elected by the group’s Shura Council in 2013, following the end of the mandate of the Guidance Bureau, the group’s leadership body. In the committee’s view, Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie still retains his position despite his imprisonment, while the committee takes on the Guidance Bureau’s responsibilities given the absence of most of its leaders.By June 2014, divisions in opinion on major issues, such as the group’s position on violence, began to fester. According to a former Brotherhood leader from the Delta who preferred not to be named, Kamal, Bateekh and others called for a meeting in January 2015 to discuss the revolution’s anniversary. At that meeting, they spoke of violence as an inevitable path. The meeting culminated in the formation of two new committees to adopt a violence-oriented strategy: the Revolutionary Punishment Committee and the Popular Resistance Committee.

The constituencies affiliated with Kamal, Bateekh and other dissenters live in the areas where the greatest violence against the state has been waged in the last two years: Cairo, Alexandria, Qalyubiya, Monufiya and the northern part of Upper Egypt.

Coincidentally, prior to the announcement of Kamal’s death, research Moktar Awad published an assessment of the “Islamist insurgency” in Egypt, noting Kamal’s role in the Muslim Brotherhood’s terror wing, including its most recent incarnation, Hassm, which has assassinated several top officials responsible for local crackdowns on the Muslim Brotherhood:

Immediately after Kamal began leading a faction of the Muslim Brotherhood towards a “creative revolutionary path,” a series of statements during 2015 endorsed the group’s campaign of violence:

  • A group called the “Revolutionary Punishment Movement” closely tied with the Brotherhood issued a statement in early February warning all foreigners and diplomats to leave the country by February 28, 2015 or possibly be faced with becoming targets in their attacks.

I reported here at PJ Media in June 2015 about the escalation of violence by the Muslim Brotherhood youth cadres during 2015, beginning with the published call for a “long, uncompromising jihad” in January 2015.

This past June, I reported on the arrest of an IED terrorist cell composed of Muslim Brotherhood members operating out of Alexandria that attacked military, police, diplomatic and business targets.

Meanwhile, bills calling for the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization have stalled in Congress.

In the House, H.R. 3892, the “Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2015,” a bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and currently with 68 cosponsors, passed the House Judiciary Committee in February on a 17-10 vote.

But House Speaker Paul Ryan has not brought the bill up for a full House vote.

The Senate companion bill, S. 2230, introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and currently with 7 cosponsors, including Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, is bottled up in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Foreign Relations chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) has yet to bring the bill up for a committee vote — or even to hold hearings on the matter.

Bill cosponsors have expressed frustration with the Obama administration’s inaction on the Muslim Brotherhood even as terror attacks by the group continue. The group has targeted Egypt’s Coptic Christian community, which I reported on here just a few weeks ago based on my April 2014 survey in Upper Egypt of sectarian attacks by the Muslim Brotherhood.

With Congress in recess until after the November 8 election, the only opportunity for these bills to be considered in either the House or Senate would be in the lame duck session.

Syrian Refugee U.S. Arrivals in September: 1825 Muslims, 22 Non-Muslims (1.1 Percent)

refugee-column-marching-sized-770x415xt-2

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, Sept. 30, 206:

The State Department admissions for all of September of non-Muslim Syrian refugees represented only 1.1 percent of the total, with 1,825 Muslim refugees admitted, and only 22 from Yazidi and various Christian sects who are being targeted for genocide by the Islamic State in Syria.

Admissions for the month of August were 3,159 Muslim and 30 non-Muslim refugeesfewer than one percent.

Year-to-date, non-Muslim Syrian refugee admissions account for less than one percent (0.8) overall, with 11,818 Muslims and only 95 non-Muslims of all groups.

Those were the numbers as of today from the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center.

These numbers are highly skewed when compared with Syria’s religious demographics.

According to The Gulf/2000 Project at Columbia University, the religious breakdown of the Syrian population from 2008-2009 shows that 15.98 million are Sunnis (73 percent of the population) while 3.29 million are Shiites (14.7 percent of the population). Christians account for 2.04 million people, or 9.3 percent of the population, while other religions account for 590,000 people, or 2.7 percent of the population.

I noted a few weeks ago that as hundreds of Muslim Syrian refugees were pouring in during early September, only two Christians had been admitted by September 10.

As I’ve noted, the issue of Syrian immigration has become a hot topic in the presidential campaign, with GOP nominee Donald Trump calling for a moratorium on Syrian immigration until a proper vetting system can be established—a position attacked by both Hillary Clinton and the establishment media as religious discrimination. The actual refugee admissions as seen from the State Department’s own numbers shows systematic religious discrimination against non-Muslim Syrians.

The question of refugee vetting grew even more controversial this week when a senior Department of Homeland Security official remarkably admitted that some refugees are being vetted solely on their word alone. This came during questioning from Senator Ted Cruz during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee.

Sen. Cruz: Is it true or false that the testimony of the applicant alone can be sufficient for approval? Director Rodríguez: There are cases where the testimony is not necessarily corroborated by documents…I am acknowledging that, yes, testimony can be the basis for the grant of a refugee…

And just over a month ago, admissions for Syrian refugees grew to 10,000—the number established by President Obama—with that number continuing to grow by the day.

In August the State Department released its annual international religious freedom report, which said that genocide was being carried out by the Islamic State against Christians, Shia and Yezidis.

This echoes statements by Obama administration officials this year, including the assessment by Secretary of State John Kerry back in March, where he said the attacks by the Islamic State against religious minorities constituted genocide.

But looking at the State Department’s own data, they have yet to match those admissions of genocide with actual admissions to the U.S. of its victims.

Also see:

U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Allies With Terror Group That State Dept. Designated LAST WEEK

moderate-syrian-rebels-threaten-to-kill-us-special-forces-sized-770x415xtPJ Media, by Patrick Poole, Sept. 29, 2016:

U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups are coordinating with al-Qaeda fronts in defending Aleppo, and other FSA groups — armed with CIA-provided TOW anti-tank missiles — are working together with a terror group designated by the State Department just last week.

That’s from a report filed today by Reuters about the rapidly changing situation in Syria:

In Aleppo, rebels in the Free Syrian Army are sharing operational planning with Jaish al-Fatah, an alliance of Islamist groups that includes the former Syrian wing of al-Qaeda.Meanwhile, in nearby Hama province, FSA groups armed with U.S.-made anti-tank missiles are taking part in a major offensive with the al-Qaeda-inspired Jund al-Aqsa group.

The FSA rebels have deep ideological differences with the jihadists, and have even fought them at times, but say survival is the main consideration.

“At a time when we are dying, it is not logical to first check if a group is classified as terrorist or not before cooperating with it,” said a senior official in one of the Aleppo-based rebel factions. “The only option you have is to go in this direction.”

A top jihadist leader killed in an airstrike on a Jaish al-Fatah meeting earlier this month was Abu Omar Saraqeb, who played an active role in al-Qaeda in Iraq’s campaign against the U.S. in Iraq. Presumably, U.S.-backed FSA leaders were also present at the Jaish al-Fatah meeting.

The alliance between the FSA and Jund al-Aqsa in Hama is particularly noteworthy, since the State Department designated Jund al-Aqsa a terrorist organization just last week.

In its September 20 designation, the State Department identified Jund al-Aqsa as a direct threat to U.S. national security:

The Department of State has designated Jund al-Aqsa (JAA) as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) entity under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign persons determined to have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.As a result of this designation, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which JAA has any interest is blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with JAA.Jund al-Aqsa is a terrorist group in Northern Syria that primarily operates in Idlib and Hama provinces. Formed in 2012 as a subunit of al-Qa’ida’s affiliate in Syria, al-Nusrah Front (ANF) – a State Department designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) group – JAA has since split and now carries out operations independently. However, despite the split it is still openly aligned with ANF. In March 2015, JAA launched two suicide bombings at checkpoints on the outskirts of Idlib. JAA also carried out the February 2014 massacre in the village of Maan in central Hama province, killing 40 civilians.

Two weeks ago I reported here at PJ Media about FSA units threatening to kill U.S. Special Forces operating in northern Syria, eventually chasing them out of the town of Al-Rai near Aleppo.

Interestingly, President Obama said — at least sixteen times — that there would be no U.S. boots on the ground in Syria.

What exactly is the point of supporting “vetted moderates” if they have no problem with working with al-Qaeda — or even, in some cases, the Islamic State — whenever they feel its in their interest to do so?

We provide these “vetted moderate” FSA groups with U.S. heavy weaponry when FSA units themselves are threatening to use those weapons against American troops.

Now there is a very real possibility of those weapons being shared with designated terror groups.

For more than two years I’ve been reporting here at PJ Media on the escalating catastrophe of the Obama administration’s Syria policy:

July 7, 2014: U.S. ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Brigades Surrender Weapons, Pledge Allegiance to Islamic StateSept. 3, 2014: U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Operating Openly with ISIS, Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra

Sept. 9, 2014: Fighter With ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Tells L.A. Times They Fight Alongside Al-Qaeda

Sept. 10, 2014: ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Commander Admits Alliance with ISIS, Confirms PJ Media Reporting

Sept. 13, 2014: Yet Another U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Makes Peace with ISIS

Sept. 24, 2014: U.S.-Backed Syrian Group Harakat al-Hazm Condemns U.S. Strikes on ISIS as ‘Attack on the Revolution’

Nov. 2, 2014: U.S.-Armed ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Groups Surrender, Defect to Al-Qaeda

Nov. 3, 2014: How Obama Walked Boehner and GOP Leadership Off the Syrian Rebel Cliff

Nov. 24, 2014: More Defections of ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Rebels to ISIS

Dec. 2, 2014: US-Backed Syrian Rebels Ally with al-Qaeda in South, Surrender CIA-Supplied Weapons in the North

Dec. 14, 2014: Report: Al-Qaeda Using CIA-Supplied TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Northern Syria

Dec. 28, 2014: NY Times Admits: U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Under Effective al-Qaeda Control

March 3, 2015: U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Collapses, U.S.-Supplied Weapons End Up in Al-Qaeda Hands

March 24, 2015: Video Shows Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra Using U.S.-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Syria

April 16, 2015: U.S. Analyst Admits ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Have Been Working with Al-Qaeda All Along

May 8, 2015: CIA-Backed, “Vetted Moderate” Rebels Now Working Openly With Al-Qaeda

June 27, 2015: ISIS Using U.S. TOW Antitank Missiles In Latest Syrian Offensive

July 9, 2015: Report: ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Fighting Alongside Al-Qaeda, Islamic State Against Assad Regime

July 23, 2015: U.S.-Funded Free Syrian Army Unit Shows Off Its Kidnapping Skills in New Training Video

July 27, 2015: #BringBackOurRebels: Obama’s 50-Man ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Army Vanishes After Training in Turkey

July 29, 2015: #BringBackOurRebels Part 2: Al-Qaeda Arrests 18 U.S.-Trained Rebels On Their First Day in Syria

July 30, 2015: #BringBackOurRebels: Despite Pentagon Denial, Reports Confirm That U.S.-Trained Syrian Rebels Were Kidnapped By Al-Qaeda Almost Immediately

July 31, 2015: Report: Al-Qaeda Kills Five Members of Obama’s 54-Man Syrian Rebel Army

July 31, 2015: Chechen Terrorists In Syria Have Obtained U.S.-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missiles

Sept. 22, 2015: Report: U.S.-Trained, ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Leader Defects to Al-Qaeda, Turns Weapons Over to Terror Group

Oct. 27, 2016: New Video Shows Al-Qaeda Using Weapons U.S. Gave to ‘Vetted Moderates’

Nov. 24, 2015: U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebels Destroy Russian Helicopter with CIA-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missile

July 20, 2016: CIA-Vetted, “Moderate” Syrian Rebels Behead Child Soldier

Sept. 3, 2016: British Journo: Syrian Kidnapper Who Shot Me Twice is Now a CIA-vetted ‘Moderate’

Sept. 6, 2016: New ISIS Commander Was Trained by State Department as Recently as 2014

Sept. 16, 2016: SHOCK VIDEO: U.S.-Backed, “Moderate” Free Syrian Army Threatens to Kill U.S. Special Forces

The ability to affect any positive change in Syria is compromised by the fact that we have no reliable partner in the country — notwithstanding the so-called “vetted moderates” — and a growing likelihood that American troops may be killed without any national strategic purpose.

***

An Al Qaeda terrorist tells a reporter, “The Americans are on our side.”

Washington State Mall Shooter Captured: 20-Year Old Arcan Cetin; Authorities Begin Identifying Victims

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PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, Sept. 24, 2016:

Last night I reported on a mall shooting in Burlington, Washington, about 65 miles north of Seattle. Washington State Patrol said at a 2:30am ET press conference that four female victims were killed inside the Macy’s at Cascade Mall. Earlier today they announced that a fifth victim had also died while the killer was still at large.

Then earlier this evening reports began to trickle out that the unknown suspect had been apprehended in Oak Harbor, Washington, about 30 miles away from Burlington.

Police have confirmed that the suspected killer is 20-year-old Arcan Cetin.

Read more

DEADLIEST LIE: Without ‘Lone Wolf’ Lie, U.S. Could Have Stopped Nearly EVERY ATTACK

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PJ Media, by Andrew C. McCarthy, Sept. 21, 2016:

Some time ago, the invaluable Patrick Poole coined the term “known wolf,” sharply shredding the conventional Washington wisdom that “lone wolf” terrorism is a major domestic threat.

Pat has tracked the phenomenon for years, right up to the jihadist attacks this weekend in both the New York metropolitan area and St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Virtually every time a terror attack has occurred, the actor initially portrayed as a solo plotter lurking under the government’s radar turns out to be — after not much digging – an already known (sometimes even, notorious) Islamic extremist.

As amply demonstrated by Poole’s reporting, catalogued here by PJ Media, “lone wolves” –virtually every single one — end up having actually had extensive connections to other Islamic extremists, radical mosques, and (on not rare occasions) jihadist training facilities.

The overarching point I have been trying to make is fortified by Pat’s factual reporting. It is this: There are, and can be, no lone wolves.

The very concept is inane, and only stems from a willfully blind aversion to the ideological foundation of jihadist terror: Islamic supremacism.

The global, scripturally rooted movement to impose sharia — in the West, to incrementally supersede our culture of reason, liberty, and equality with the repressive, discriminatory norms of classical Islamic law — is a pack. The wolves are members of the pack, and that’s why they are the antithesis of “lone” actors. And, indeed, they always turn out to be “known” precisely because their association with the pack, with components of the global movement, is what ought to have alerted us to the danger they portended before they struck.

This is willful blindness, because of the restrictions we have gratuitously imposed on ourselves.

The U.S. government refuses to acknowledge the ideology that drives the movement until after some violent action is either too imminent to be ignored or, sadly more often, until after the Islamic supremacist has acted out the savagery his ideology commands.

The U.S. government consciously avoids the ideology because it is rooted in a fundamentalist, literalist interpretation of Islam. Though it is but one of many ways to construe that religion, the remorseless fact is that it is a mainstream construction, adhered to by tens of millions of Muslims and supported by centuries of scholarship.

I say “the U.S. government” is at fault here because, contrary to Republican campaign rhetoric that is apparently seized by amnesia, this is not merely an Obama administration dereliction — however much the president and his former secretary of State (and would-be successor) Hillary Clinton have exacerbated the problem.

Since the World Trade Center was bombed in 1993, the bipartisan Beltway cognoscenti have “reasoned” (a euphemism for “reckless self-delusion”) that conceding the Islamic doctrinal roots of jihadist terror — which would implicitly concede the vast Islamist (sharia-supremacist) support system without which the global jihadist onslaught would be impossible — is impractical.

But how could acknowledging the truth be impractical?

Especially given that national security hinges on an accurate assessment of threats?

Bipartisan Washington “reasons” that telling the truth would portray the United States as “at war with Islam.” To be blunt, this conventional wisdom can only be described as sheer idiocy.

We know that tens of millions of Muslims worldwide, and what appears to be a preponderance (though perhaps a diminishing one) of Muslims in the West, reject Islamic supremacism and its sharia-encroachment agenda. We know that, by a large percentage, Muslims are the most common victims of jihadist terror. We know that Muslim reformers are courageously working to undermine and reinterpret the scriptural roots of Islamic supremacism — a crucial battle our default from makes far more difficult for them to win. We know that Muslims, particularly those assimilated into the West, have been working with our law enforcement, military, and intelligence agencies for decades to gather intelligence, infiltrate jihadist cells, thwart jihadist attacks, and fight jihadist militias.

None of those Muslims — who are not only our allies, but are in fact us — believes that America is at war with Islam.

So why does Washington base crucial, life-and-death policy on nonsense?

Because it is in the thrall of the enemy. The “war on Islam” propaganda is manufactured by Islamist groups, particularly those tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.

While we resist study of our enemies’ ideology, they go to school on us. They thus grasp three key things:

(1) Washington is so bloated and dysfunctional, it will leap on any excuse to refrain from strong action;(2) the American tradition of religious liberty can be exploited to paralyze our government if national defense against a totalitarian political ideology can be framed as hostility and persecution against an entire religious faith; and

(3) because Washington has so much difficulty taking action, it welcomes claims (or, to be faddish, “narratives”) that minimize the scope and depth of the threat. Topping the “narrative” list is the fantasy that the Islamist ideological support system that nurtures jihadism (e.g., the Muslim Brotherhood and its tentacles) is better seen as a “moderate,” “non-violent” partner with whom we can work, than as what it actually is: the enemy’s most effective agent. The stealth operative that exploits the atmosphere of intimidation created by the jihadists.

In other words, in proceeding from the premise that we must do nothing to convey the notion that we are “at war with Islam” — or, in Obama-Clinton parlance, in proceeding from the premise that we need a good “narrative” rather than a truth-based strategy — we have internalized the enemy’s worldview, a view that is actually rejected by our actual Islamic allies and the vast majority of Americans.

The delusion comes into sharp relief if one listens to Hillary Clinton’s campaign bombast. Robert Spencer incisively quoted it earlier this week:

[W]e know that a lot of the rhetoric we’ve heard from Donald Trump has been seized on by terrorists, in particular ISIS, because they are looking to make this into a war against Islam, rather than a war against jihadists, violent terrorists, people who number maybe in the maybe tens of thousands, not the tens of millions, they want to use that to recruit more fighters to their cause, by turning it into a religious conflict. That’s why I’ve been very clear. We’re going after the bad guys and we’re going to get them, but we’re not going to go after an entire religion and give ISIS exactly what it’s wanting in order for them to enhance their position.

Sheer idiocy.

Our enemy is not the mere “tens of thousands” of jihadists. (She’s probably low-balling the number of jihadists worldwide, but let’s indulge her.) It is not merely ISIS, nor merely ISIS and al-Qaeda — an organization Mrs. Clinton conveniently omits mentioning, since it has replenished, thanks to Obama-Clinton governance and despite Obama-Clinton claims to have defeated it, to the point that it is now at least as much a threat as it was on the eve of 9/11.

ISIS and al-Qaeda are not the sources of the threat against us. They are theinevitable results of that threat.

The actual threat, the source, is Islamic supremacism and its sharia imposition agenda.

The support system, which the threat needs to thrive, does indeed include tens of millions of Islamists, some small percentage of whom will inexorably become violent jihadists, but the rest of whom will nurture the ideological aggression and push the radical sharia agenda — in the media, on the campus, in the courts, and in the policy councils of government that they have so successfully influenced and infiltrated.

Obviously, to acknowledge that we are at war with this movement, at war with Islamic supremacism, is not remotely to be “at war with Islam.” After all, Islamic supremacism seeks conquest over all of Islam, too, and on a much more rapid schedule than its long-term pursuit of conquest over the West. Islamic supremacism is not a fringe movement; it is large and, at the moment, a juggernaut. But too much of Islam opposes Islamic supremacism to be confused with it.

Moreover, even if being at war with Islamic supremacists could be persuasivelyspun as being “at war with Islam” — i.e., even if we were too incompetent to refute our enemies’ propaganda convincingly — it would make no difference.

The war would still be being prosecuted against us. We have to fight it against the actual enemy, and we lose if we allow enemies to dupe us into thinking they are allies. We have to act on reality, even if Washington is too tongue-tied to find the right words for describing reality.

The enemy is in our heads and has shaped our perception of the conflict, to the enemy’s great advantage. That’s how you end up with inanities like “lone wolf.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune Blames ‘Anti-Muslim Tensions’ for St. Cloud Mass Stabbing by ‘Soldier of the Islamic State’

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PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, Sept. 18, 2016:

Just hours after a young Somali immigrant stabbed nine people at a shopping mall in St. Cloud, a mid-sized town in central Minnesota, the far-Left Minneapolis Star Tribune published an article hinting that the suspect may have been inspired by “anti-Muslim tensions.” The article was later scrubbed and replaced with a new article that directly raised the question of whether the attack by Dahir Adan was motivated by previous anti-Muslim incidents in the city.

Last night I reported here at PJ Media on the stabbing attack and the reports from local St. Cloud police that the suspect, who at that time hadn’t been named, had made references to “Allah” and asked at least one victim whether they were Muslim.

Earlier today, family members named Dahir Adan, a local Somali man who came to the United States 15 years ago and was a junior at St. Cloud State University, as the attacker.

But at 2:42 p.m. today, Pat Pheifer of the Star Tribune published an article, now removed and replaced on the newspaper’s website, titled “Anti-Muslim Tension Isn’t New in St. Cloud.”

I screen captured the article before it was scrubbed and replaced.

In the opening paragraphs, Pheifer writes so ambiguously that one could easily conclude that someone motivated by anti-Muslim beliefs was responsible for the attack:

A cloud of anti-Muslim sentiment and tension has hung over St. Cloud for the past seven years, with incidents ranging from bullying Somali and other East African immigrants at St. Cloud Technical High School, to women being screamed at in grocery stores, pig intestines wrapped around the door handles of a halal grocery store, and offensive billboards and license plates.The most physically injurious incident came Saturday evening when a man stabbed nine people at the city’s Crossroads Centerbefore the attacker was killed inside the mall by an off-duty police officer. No one but the attacker was killed.

Authorities said the man reportedly asked at least one victim whether they were Muslim before assaulting them and referred to Allah during the attacks.

So after  a recitation of previous anti-Muslim incidents, Pheifer introduces “the most physically injurious incident” — the mass stabbing at Crossroads Center. A reader could understandably think that this new incident was similar in nature to those just recounted.

And the ambiguous description of the incident might lead one to conclude that it was anti-Muslim in nature.

Only at this point is there any mention that the attack might have been motivated by radical Islamic ideology.

ISIL, on Twitter, claimed credit for the mall violence and called the attacked “a soldier of the Islamic State.”

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Nowhere else in the original article, which continues with more recitation of alleged “anti-Muslim” activity in St. Cloud, is there any indication that the attacker was Muslim and the victims targeted in the attack non-Muslim.

And despite the fact that the attacker’s name was already circulating in the media,Dahir Adan’s name never appears.

I wasn’t the only one to spot this problematic wording. Journalist Asra Nomani took issue with the article too:

Someone at the Star Tribune must have noted it as well, or been aware of some of the criticisms of how the article was framed, because without any notice the article was scrubbed and replaced with a different version posted at 8:21pm.

But now the new version of the article directly asks whether Dahir Adan may have been acting in response to the supposed anti-Muslim atmosphere in St. Cloud:

St. Cloud has dealt with tensions between Muslims and some non-Muslims for the past seven years, with incidents including bullying of Somali and other East African immigrants at St. Cloud Technical High School, women being screamed at in grocery stores, pig intestines draped on the entry of a halal grocery store, and offensive billboards and license plates.

Whether those incidents motivated a 22-year-old Somali man who stabbed nine people at the Crossroads Center on Saturday evening isn’t known and may never be known. The attacker was killed inside the mall by an off-duty police officer 5 minutes after the first 911 call was made. All of his victims survived.

Authorities said the man reportedly asked at least one victim whether they were Muslim before assaulting them and referred to Allah during the attacks. On Twitter, ISIL called the attacker “a soldier of the Islamic state.”

Such reporting, blaming non-Muslims for what is now clearly an attack inspired by a suspect inspired by radical Islam, in the absence of any evidence to support the claim, is itself inflammatory.

One could even claim that such unsupported assertions by the American media actually aid and justify the Islamic State’s “persecuted-Muslims” narrative.

As the presidential election enters its final phase, we can expect more, not less, of this yellow journalism. And when the election is over, the establishment media will emerge even more tarnished and distrusted by the public than ever before.

SHOCK VIDEO: U.S.-Backed, ‘Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Threatens To Kill U.S. Special Forces

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PJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, SEPTEMBER 16, 2016:

Disturbing video emerged today of U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels threatening to kill arriving U.S. special operations forces in the town of Al-Rai near Aleppo. The city was just seized weeks ago from the Islamic State after a push by Turkish troops aided by U.S. air power.

Here is some video from the incident from BBC producer Riam Dalati:

Others shout in Turkish, “Death to America! We will behead you!”

Here is some of the video with translated subtitles:

The Telegraph reports:

The fighters scream anti-American chants as a column of pick-up trucks carrying US commandos drives away from them.“Christians and Americans have no place among us,” shouts one man in the video. “They want to wage a crusader war to occupy Syria.”

Another man calls out: “The collaborators of America are dogs and pigs. They wage a crusader war against Syria and Islam. ”

The US troops are not wearing traditional uniform but they carry American weapons and are wearing the distinctive round helmets favoured by US special forces.

Other video shows the U.S. troops leaving the city as the “moderate” rebels shout threats to “slaughter” them:

The Pentagon just announced that the U.S. troops were entering the area to assist our Turkish NATO allies:

But just yesterday, the U.S. troops came under fire reportedly by our Turkish NATO allies in Tal Abyad:

According to Barbara Starr at CNN, the problem grew so bad that that U.S. fighters had to put up American flags to show they were friendlies:

One problem in Al-Rai, where the U.S. troops were threatened, is the presence of “al-Qaeda-lite” Ahrar al-Sham fighters — the darlings of the Washington, D.C. think tanks:

Those who have been critical of the U.S. misadventure in Syria took time to note the obvious:

But Charles Lister, senior fellow at the Middle East Institute and one of the chief think tank cheerleaders of the Syrian “rebels,” assures us that all is well after the incident in Al-Rai:

Perhaps some clarification from Lister on what “discharged” actually means is in order.

The incidents in Al-Rai and Tal Abyad demonstrate the ongoing collapse of the Obama administration’s Syria policy (though GOP congressional leaders have embraced the administration’s slow-motion disaster).

For more than two years I’ve been reporting here at PJ Media on the ongoing follies of the so-called “moderates” in Syria:

July 7, 2014: U.S. ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Brigades Surrender Weapons, Pledge Allegiance to Islamic StateSept. 3, 2014: U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Operating Openly with ISIS, Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra

Sept. 9, 2014: Fighter With ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Tells L.A. Times They Fight Alongside Al-Qaeda

Sept. 10, 2014: ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Commander Admits Alliance with ISIS, Confirms PJ Media Reporting

Sept. 13, 2014: Yet Another U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Makes Peace with ISIS

Sept. 24, 2014: U.S.-Backed Syrian Group Harakat al-Hazm Condemns U.S. Strikes on ISIS as ‘Attack on the Revolution’

Nov. 2, 2014: U.S.-Armed ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Groups Surrender, Defect to Al-Qaeda

Nov. 3, 2014: How Obama Walked Boehner and GOP Leadership Off the Syrian Rebel Cliff

Nov. 24, 2014: More Defections of ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Rebels to ISIS

Dec. 2, 2014: US-Backed Syrian Rebels Ally with al-Qaeda in South, Surrender CIA-Supplied Weapons in the North

Dec. 14, 2014: Report: Al-Qaeda Using CIA-Supplied TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Northern Syria

Dec. 28, 2014: NY Times Admits: U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Under Effective al-Qaeda Control

March 3, 2015: U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Collapses, U.S.-Supplied Weapons End Up in Al-Qaeda Hands

March 24, 2015: Video Shows Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra Using U.S.-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Syria

April 16, 2015: U.S. Analyst Admits ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Have Been Working with Al-Qaeda All Along

May 8, 2015: CIA-Backed, “Vetted Moderate” Rebels Now Working Openly With Al-Qaeda

June 27, 2015: ISIS Using U.S. TOW Antitank Missiles In Latest Syrian Offensive

July 9, 2015: Report: ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Fighting Alongside Al-Qaeda, Islamic State Against Assad Regime

July 23, 2015:U.S.-Funded Free Syrian Army Unit Shows Off Its Kidnapping Skills in New Training Video

July 27, 2015: #BringBackOurRebels: Obama’s 50-Man ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Army Vanishes After Training in Turkey

July 29, 2015: #BringBackOurRebels Part 2: Al-Qaeda Arrests 18 U.S.-Trained Rebels On Their First Day in Syria

July 30, 2015: #BringBackOurRebels: Despite Pentagon Denial, Reports Confirm That U.S.-Trained Syrian Rebels Were Kidnapped By Al-Qaeda Almost Immediately

July 31, 2015: Report: Al-Qaeda Kills Five Members of Obama’s 54-Man Syrian Rebel Army

July 31, 2015: Chechen Terrorists In Syria Have Obtained U.S.-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missiles

Sept. 22, 2015: Report: U.S.-Trained, ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Leader Defects to Al-Qaeda, Turns Weapons Over to Terror Group

Oct. 27, 2016: New Video Shows Al-Qaeda Using Weapons U.S. Gave to ‘Vetted Moderates’

Nov. 24, 2015:U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebels Destroy Russian Helicopter with CIA-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missile

July 20, 2016:CIA-Vetted, “Moderate” Syrian Rebels Behead Child Soldier

September 3, 2016:British Journo: Syrian Kidnapper Who Shot Me Twice is Now a CIA-vetted ‘Moderate’

September 6, 2016: New ISIS Commander Was Trained by State Department as Recently as 2014

If only there had been some warning that things were going badly in Syria?

Syrian Refugee US Arrivals in September To Date: 749 Muslims, 2 Christians

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PJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, SEPTEMBER 10, 2016:

On August 1st I reported here at PJ Media about the ongoing Obama administration discrimination against non-Muslim Syrian refugees, noting that at that time, less than one percent (43 of 6,877, or 0.7 percent of the total) of refugees admitted to the U.S. as of July 31st were Christians, Yezidis, and other Syrian religious minorities.

For the month of August, 3,159 Muslim and 30 non-Muslim refugees were admitted to the U.S. – again, less than one percent.

And so far for September (as of today, 9/10), the numbers are even more depressing: 749 Muslim and just 2 Christian refugees, with non-Muslim admittance representing just 0.2 percent of the current monthly total.

So year-to-date, of 10,817 Syrian refugees admitted 10,742 were Muslim, and just 75 were non-Muslim (0.7 percent), while non-Muslim minorities in Syria make up at least 12 percent of the population.

During media conference call just days after my August report sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), both the Obama administration officials and the media were incurious and apparently unconcerned about the ongoing discrimination of non-Muslim minorities.

In fact, only one media outlet asked about the problem.

Coordinator:   Absolutely and as a reminder if you would like to ask a question you can press Star 1 on your phone and record your name when prompted. Our next question comes from Lauren Ashburn with EWTN. Your line is open.

Lauren Ashburn:   

Thank you very much and thank you for taking my call. The percentage of those Syrian refugees who have been let into the country – what percent are Muslims? Do you have that breakdown?

Anne Richard:     

Yes, most are Muslims over 99% are Muslims.

Lauren Ashburn:  

And then what percent are of religious (execution) are fleeing (because they) say religious persecution?

Anne Richard:   

I don’t have that breakdown for you.

And that was the entire substance of the discussion about why so few non-Muslim refugees were being admitted.

The USCIS-sponsored conference call was just days before the State Department released its annual international religious freedom report, which said that genocide was being carried out by the Islamic State against Christians, Shia and Yezidis.

This echoes statements by Obama administration officials this year, including the assessment by Secretary of State John Kerry back in March, where he said the attacks by the Islamic State against religious minorities constituted genocide:

“My purpose here today is to assert in my judgment, (ISIS) is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians and Shiite Muslims,” he said, during a news conference at the State Department.Kerry said that in 2014, ISIS trapped Yazidis, killed them, enslaved thousands of Yazidi women and girls, “selling them at auction, raping them at will and destroying the communities in which they had lived for countless generations,” executed Christians “solely for their faith” and also “forced Christian women and girls into slavery.”

“Without our intervention, it is clear that those people would have been slaughtered,” he said.

And yet Kerry’s statement was only made AFTER the House of Representatives unanimously passed House Concurrent Resolution 75 declaring that the Islamic State was engaged in genocide.

Despite these genocide pronouncements – the first officially made by the U.S. since the Darfur genocide in 2004 – the State Department has taken no apparent measures to address the discrimination against non-Muslims in their Syrian refugee program.

In fact, during last month’s USCIS conference call Assistant Secretary of State of the Bureau of Population Refugees and Migration Anne Richard admitted she didn’t even have a breakdown on the number of admitted Syrian refugees escaping religious persecution.

Apologists for the Obama administration claim that the problem is with the U.N. who selects the refugees, and not the State Department.

And yet there is no indication that the State Department even finds the discrimination against Christians and other non-Muslim minorities in their Syrian refugee resettlement program a concern, let alone taking measures to correct the problem.

GOP congressional leadership has been absent on this issue as well. When H.Con.Res. 75 was passed in March, House Speaker Paul Ryan touted the House’s leadership on the issue.

Speaker Ryan also says that a religious test for entering the country is contrary to American values:

But Speaker Ryan has remained silent as non-Muslim Syrian refugees are discriminated against in the State Department’s refugee resettlement program.

The implications from the data are unmistakable. And those numbers show that so far this month, the problem is only getting worse with 0.2 percent of all Syrian refugees admitted from the religious minorities the State Department says are subject to genocide by the Islamic State.

New ISIS Military Commander Was Trained by State Department as Recently as 2014

new-isis-commander-gulmorad-halimov-trained-by-state-department-sized-770x415xtPJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, SEPTEMBER 6, 2016:

Gulmurod Khalimov, the new ISIS military commander whom the U.S. just days ago announced a $3 million bounty for, was trained by the State Department in an anti-terror program as recently as 2014 while serving in the security service of Tajikistan.

He replaces former ISIS commander Tarkhan Batirashvili, aka Umar al-Shishani, who was also trained by the United States as part of the Georgian army and who ISIS claimed was killed fighting in Iraq this past July.

The State Department confirmed Khalimov’s U.S.-provided training to CNN in May 2015:

“From 2003-2014 Colonel Khalimov participated in five counterterrorism training courses in the United States and in Tajikistan, through the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security/Anti-Terrorism Assistance program,” said spokeswoman Pooja Jhunjhunwala.The program is intended to train candidates from participating countries in the latest counterterrorism tactics, so they can fight the very kind of militants that Khalimov has now joined.

A State Department official said Khalimov was trained in crisis response, tactical management of special events, tactical leadership training and related issues.

Unironically, the State Department spokeswoman said that Khalimov had been appropriately vetted:

“All appropriate Leahy vetting was undertaken in advance of this training,” said spokeswoman Jhunjhunwala.

At that time, Khalimov appeared in a video threatening the United States:

“Listen, you American pigs: I’ve been to America three times. I saw how you train soldiers to kill Muslims,” he says.Then, he threatens, “we will find your towns, we will come to your homes, and we will kill you.”

Khalimov and Batirashvili are hardly the first terrorist leaders operating in Syria to have been trained by the United States.

In August 2014, the Washington Post reported that fighters who had been trained by Western forces, including the U.S., in Libya had found their way to terror groups at the beginning of the Syrian conflict:

Some European and Arab intelligence officials also voiced their worries and frustration about what they call the mistakes the United States has made in handling the uprisings in Arab states. “We had, in the early stages, information that radical groups had used the vacuum of the Arab Spring, and that some of the people the U.S. and their allies had trained to fight for ‘democracy’ in Libya and Syria had a jihadist agenda — already or later, [when they] joined al Nusra or the Islamic State,” a senior Arab intelligence official said in a recent interview. He said that often his U.S. counterparts would say things like, “We know you are right, but our president in Washington and his advisers don’t believe that.” Those groups, say Western security officials, are threats not only in the Middle East, but also in the United States and Europe, where they have members and sympathizers.The official’s account has been corroborated by members of the Islamic State in and outside the Middle East, including Abu Yusaf, the military commander. In several interviews conducted in the last two months, they described how the collapse of security during Arab Spring uprisings helped them recruit, regroup and use the Western strategy — to support and train groups that fight dictators — for their own benefits. “There had [also] been … some British and Americans who had trained us during the Arab Spring times in Libya,” said a man who calls himself Abu Saleh and who only agreed to be interviewed if his real identity remained secret.

Abu Saleh, who is originally from a town close to Benghazi, said he and a group of other Libyans received training and support in their country from French, British, and American military and intelligence personnel — before they joined the Al Nusra Front or the Islamic State. Western and Arab military sources interviewed for this article, confirmed Abu Saleh’s account that “training” and “equipment” were given to rebels in Libya during the fight against the Gadhafi regime.

Abu Saleh left Libya in 2012 for Turkey and then crossed into Syria. “First I fought under what people call the ‘Free Syrian Army’ but then switched to Al Nusra. And I have already decided I will join the Islamic State when my wounds are healed,” the 28-year-old said from a hospital in Turkey, where he is receiving medical treatment. He had been injured during a battle with the Syrian Army, he said, and was brought to Turkey with false documents.  “Some of the Syrian people who they trained have joined the Islamic State and others jabhat al Nusra,” he said, smiling. He added, “Sometimes I joke around and say that I am a fighter made by America.”

This problem of a terror “boomerang” also goes back to the Bush administration, as seen when Islamist rebels took over a large portion of Mali in 2013.

As the Financial Times reported:

To the dismay of the US, junior Malian officers trained as part of $620m pan-Sahelian counter-terrorism initiative launched in 2002 to help four semi-desert states resist Islamic militancy took part in a coup in March last year. Others among them defected to the Tuareg revolt that eventually led to a coalition of Islamist militias, allied with Algerian militants from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, capturing the northern two-thirds of Mali.Potentially, these US-trained officers are now using US counter-insurgency know-how against France’s intervention force.

“It is a great failure,” says Dr Berny Sèbe, an expert in Franco-African relations at the University of Birmingham. “Some of them defected. Others organised a coup.”

In two of the three other Sahelian states involved in the Pentagon’s pan-Sahelian initiative, Mauritania and Niger, armies trained by the US, have also taken power in the past eight years. In the third, Chad, they came close in a 2006 attempt.

And back in Syria, as I’m chronicled repeatedly here at PJ Media, “vetted moderate” forces armed and trained by the U.S. have defected to ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

July 7, 2014: U.S. ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Brigades Surrender Weapons, Pledge Allegiance to Islamic StateNov. 2, 2014: U.S.-Armed ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Groups Surrender, Defect to Al-Qaeda

Nov. 24, 2014: More Defections of ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Rebels to ISIS

Dec. 2, 2014: US-Backed Syrian Rebels Ally with al-Qaeda in South, Surrender CIA-Supplied Weapons in the North

Sept. 22, 2015: Report: U.S.-Trained, ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Leader Defects to Al-Qaeda, Turns Weapons Over to Terror Group

Given these repeated instances, one might begin to question the quality of the U.S. government’s vetting capabilities.

British Journo: Syrian Kidnapper Who Shot Me Twice Is Now a CIA-Vetted ‘Moderate’

CIA-kidnapper-turned-CIA-moderate.sized-770x415xtPJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, SEPTEMBER 3, 2016:

British reporter Anthony Loyd recounts in The Times (UK) today his reaction when he saw his former Syrian “rebel” kidnapper Hakim Abu Jamal, aka Abdel Hakim al-Yaseen and Hakim Anza, celebrating a victory in northern Syria two weeks ago as part of a supposedly CIA-vetted “moderate” rebel group.

Loyd reports (The Times article is behind a paywall; link is to same article in The Australian):

It was with some surprise watching a video of a victorious band of western-backed rebels that I noticed the face of America’s newest ally in the war against Isis in Syria.

It was the face of a man I last saw in May 2014 when he leant forward to shoot me twice in the left ankle at almost point-blank range while my hands were tied. It was punishment for having attempted to escape his gang of kidnappers in northern Syria who had hoped to sell me on.He shot me in the middle of a crowd of onlookers, after a savage preliminary beating, denouncing me as “a CIA spy”. Now, it seems, he works with them.

The grainy footage of the video – posted last month on Facebook – showed Hakim Abu Jamal waving his Kalashnikov in the air to proclaim a small victory, courtesy of US air power, on a dusty street in the border town of al-Rai.

I remember him well from across the years. Now, Hakim, forage cap on his head, was standing in the middle of a group of ten other Syrian rebel fighters all belonging to a CIA-vetted group.

The group was backed by Turkish artillery and US airstrikes to oust Isis fighters from a key stretch of road before the capture of the town of Jarabulus last month. Hakim Abu Jamal, who also goes by the names Abdel Hakim al-Yaseen and Hakim Anza, was among the hundreds of other Syrian rebels who crossed from Turkey into Syria two weeks ago to purge ISIS.

And it seems that U.S. authorities aren’t eager to respond to questions about their newly minted “moderate” rebels:

Last month, however, video surfaced of Hakim Anza proving that he was not only free, but was also serving in a CIA-vetted Syrian rebel group, First Regiment (al-Fawj al-Awwal), which was receiving US weaponry, including Tow missiles, as well as air strikes in support of their operations. In between times he appears to be based in southern Turkey, where he takes orders from the Hawar Kilis Operations room.Four US hostages were murdered in Syria in 2014. Two British hostages were also beheaded there. The memories of Britain and America must be short, for on Friday sources in the Free Syrian Army and US confirmed Hakim Anza’s membership of the CIA-backed group, in which he is sub-commander.

Centcom, the US Central Command, did not respond to Times requests over three days this week to explain how such a well-known hostage taker with family connections to extremists could have passed US vetting procedures.

However, a Pentagon official, who preferred not to be named, described repeated US air support for a recent mission conducted by vetted Syrian rebel groups, where Hakim Anza was filmed with his men on August 17. He has apparently transformed effortlessly from criminal pariah to a worthy foot soldier allied to Operation Inherent Resolve, the 60-nation coalition, motto “One Mission, Many Nations”, in the Middle East to fight ISIS.

Remarkably, the New York Times reported four years ago from Hakim’s camp, where he was observed engaging in war crimes, namely, sending a Syrian regime prisoner to a Syrian Army checkpoint under the ruse of a prisoner exchange, but wiring the vehicle to remotely explode once it arrived at the checkpoint. In a video accompanying the NYT article, Hakim appears dejected when informed the bomb did not detonate.

This is hardly the first time that U.S.-backed “rebels” have been responsible for kidnapping Western journalists.

As I reported here at PJ Media more than a year ago, several U.S. reporters taken captive by U.S.-backed “moderate” rebel groups have ended up in the hands of Al-Qaeda, and even ISIS.

That would include American journalist James Foley, beheaded by the Islamic State in its first such grisly video, who reportedly came into ISIS custody when the Free Syrian Army (FSA)-aligned Dawud Brigade that kidnapped and held Foley pledged allegiance to ISIS and delivered him to ISIS as a token of their submission.

In October 2014, American journalist Theo Padnos — who was captured by the U.S.-backed FSA and then given over to — told the story of his two-year captivity in the New York Times Magazine.

At one point, Padnos says he escaped from his Al-Qaeda captors and found himself back in the hands of the FSA, who then, again, promptly turned him back over to the terror group.

An NBC News crew taken captive in Syria in December 2012, and who later repeatedly claimed they had been held by an Assad regime militia, later admitted – following a New York Times investigation – that they were in fact held by an FSA criminal network.

Also, there is evidence that NBC News executives knew from the time of the crew’s capture that they were held by U.S. allies, but allowed the blame to fall on Assad since that didn’t conflict with the Obama administration’s position at the time.

For more than two years I’ve reported extensively on the extensive vetting failures related to the U.S. support of the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels:

July 7, 2014: U.S. ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Brigades Surrender Weapons, Pledge Allegiance to Islamic StateSept. 3, 2014: U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Operating Openly with ISIS, Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra

Sept. 9, 2014: Fighter With ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Tells L.A. Times They Fight Alongside Al-Qaeda

Sept. 10, 2014: ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Commander Admits Alliance with ISIS, Confirms PJ Media Reporting

Sept. 13, 2014: Yet Another U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Makes Peace with ISIS

Sept. 24, 2014: U.S.-Backed Syrian Group Harakat al-Hazm Condemns U.S. Strikes on ISIS as ‘Attack on the Revolution’

Nov. 2, 2014: U.S.-Armed ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Groups Surrender, Defect to Al-Qaeda

Nov. 3, 2014: How Obama Walked Boehner and GOP Leadership Off the Syrian Rebel Cliff

Nov. 24, 2014: More Defections of ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Rebels to ISIS

Dec. 2, 2014: US-Backed Syrian Rebels Ally with al-Qaeda in South, Surrender CIA-Supplied Weapons in the North

Dec. 14, 2014: Report: Al-Qaeda Using CIA-Supplied TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Northern Syria

Dec. 28, 2014: NY Times Admits: U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Under Effective al-Qaeda Control

March 3, 2015: U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Collapses, U.S.-Supplied Weapons End Up in Al-Qaeda Hands

March 24, 2015: Video Shows Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra Using U.S.-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Syria

April 16, 2015: U.S. Analyst Admits ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Have Been Working with Al-Qaeda All Along

May 8, 2015: CIA-Backed, “Vetted Moderate” Rebels Now Working Openly With Al-Qaeda

June 27, 2015: ISIS Using U.S. TOW Antitank Missiles In Latest Syrian Offensive

July 9, 2015: Report: ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Fighting Alongside Al-Qaeda, Islamic State Against Assad Regime

July 23, 2015:U.S.-Funded Free Syrian Army Unit Shows Off Its Kidnapping Skills in New Training Video

July 27, 2015: #BringBackOurRebels: Obama’s 50-Man ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Army Vanishes After Training in Turkey

July 29, 2015: #BringBackOurRebels Part 2: Al-Qaeda Arrests 18 U.S.-Trained Rebels On Their First Day in Syria

July 30, 2015: #BringBackOurRebels: Despite Pentagon Denial, Reports Confirm That U.S.-Trained Syrian Rebels Were Kidnapped By Al-Qaeda Almost Immediately

July 31, 2015: Report: Al-Qaeda Kills Five Members of Obama’s 54-Man Syrian Rebel Army

July 31, 2015: Chechen Terrorists In Syria Have Obtained U.S.-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missiles

Sept. 22, 2015: Report: U.S.-Trained, ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Leader Defects to Al-Qaeda, Turns Weapons Over to Terror Group

Oct. 27, 2016: New Video Shows Al-Qaeda Using Weapons U.S. Gave to ‘Vetted Moderates’

Nov. 24, 2015:U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebels Destroy Russian Helicopter with CIA-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missile

July 20, 2016: CIA-Vetted, “Moderate” Syrian Rebels Behead Child Soldier

And yet the Obama administration continues on a reckless course of backing these rebels well knowing that any actual moderates have become few and far between in Syria, and that some of these CIA-“vetted” groups have been directly involved in the abduction and killing of U.S. citizens.

And a larger question looms: as the mountain of evidence continues to grow about the extremism of U.S.-backed rebel groups, at what point does the U.S. become complicit in their crimes?