UTT Throwback Thursday: Flynn, The Shadow Government & America’s Second Civil War

Understanding the Threat, Feb. 16, 2017:

Today’s UTT Throwback Thursday looks all the way back to…Monday, when UTT identified the threat of the Shadow Government and the penetration of America’s national security and governmental decision-making apparatus by jihadi, hard-left/Marxist, and other enemies.

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The resignation of General Michael Flynn is another salvo in America’s Second Civil War, which is now underway in earnest.  This was a victory for our enemies and, if harsh action is not taken immediately, our enemies will be emboldened to be more aggressive.

The battle lines in America’s Second Civil War have been drawn between the enemies of liberty and principles upon which our fore-fathers built this nation, against those willing to stand and defend all that is right and just about the original ideals of this land we call America as detailed in the Declaration of Independence.

Those involved in General Flynn’s resignation, especially the media and individuals in the intelligence community who illegally leaked highly classified material, lied and are continuing to lie about the contacts between General Flynn and the Russians, among other details.  They did this and are continuing their efforts to intentionally thwart the orders of the President of the United States, as did the judges ruling against the law on President Trump’s Executive Order regarding closing immigration from seven hostile nations.

The hard-left/Marxists and Jihadis are working together to destroy the American government and society and both have overtly stated so.  They are being directly aided by many media outlets and reporters as well as by establishment Republicans who seem to want to maintain status quo rather than defend the Republic and adhere to their sworn oaths to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Those involved and supporting such subversive activities should be identified and fired and, where possible, prosecuted.  Judges ruling against U.S. law and the Constitution, including those on the Supreme Court, should be impeached.

President Trump faces a true and imminently dangerous threat to the Republic, and comparisons to Lincoln’s leadership burdens during America’s first Civil War are not unfounded.

For several years, UTT has been briefing and teaching leaders in law enforcement and government about the flourishing operational and strategic relationship between the international hard-left/Marxist movement and the Jihadi Movement.

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From the ground level in Ferguson and Dallas to the hundreds of George Soros funded organizations internationally seeking to financially bring down the United States, to the Global Islamic Movement using these organizations and individuals as tools to build their caliphate under sharia, the Flynn resignation is a major pivot point for the enemy.  It shows them they can defeat the United States from the inside out.

Now we have a likely prospect for the President’s new National Security Advisor in Admiral Harward. Does he strategically understand the magnitude of the threats facing the Republic, and does he have the stomach for what must be done to achieve victory?

UTT reaffirms this war will be won or lost at the local level.  Courageous sheriffs and pastors who will speak the truth, prepare their communities, and root out the threats facing our Constitutional Republic county by county is the second major step towards victory.

The first is training and education.  UTT stands ready to help your community.

Skirt-Wearing Jihadi Sherifa Zuhur Exemplifies the Battle Ahead for America

Understanding the Threat, by John  Guandolo, January 30, 2017:

UTT had an interesting exchange on twitter this weekend with Sherifa Zuhur, an apologist for America’s enemies – specifically, terrorist organizations.

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Amid the social upheaval in response to President Trump’s travel ban from seven Islamic countries, fomented by the hard left Marxist/socialist groups and their anti-American counterparts – jihadi groups like Hamas (doing business as CAIR), ISNA, and others – UTT feels it is important to share this experience publicly because Americans need to know what they are up against and what to expect as this war in America goes forward.

The exchange began in response to UTT’s (@UTT_USA) tweet:  “No surprise – SecState Madeleine Albright sides w/ our enemy & not America…”  Albright publicly stated she is ready to register as a Muslim in response to President Trump’s call to ban Muslim immigration into the United States from certain nations.

UTT’s Vice President Chris Gaubatz received a response from Zuhur (@SherifaZuhur) which read:  “Chris, Muslims aren’t your enemy,” to whit Mr. Gaubatz (@CAIRvGaubatz) responded with: “Agreed; only Muslims that adhere to Quran & Sunnah as embodied in the shariah.”

Zuhur then responded with: “Then that’s all of us.”

Your words not ours Ms. Zuhur, but thanks for making UTT’s point that it is a requirement for all Muslims to adhere to sharia which calls for jihad until the entire world is under Islamic rule.

UTT does not teach all Muslims are the enemy of the United States.  However, 100% of our enemy in the Global Islamic Movement state they are Muslims waging jihad to establish a global Islamic state (caliphate) under sharia.  The delineating factor is sharia.  Not every person who self-identifies as a Muslim wants to live under sharia or follow sharia, but 100% of our enemy in this war does.  100% of authoritative sharia obliges jihad, and defines jihad as “warfare against non-muslims.”  The problem is two-fold: (1) Any Muslim who does not want to follow sharia can decide to follow sharia at any time – especially when threatened with violence from other Muslims;  (2)  Sharia obliges Muslims to lie if the goal is obligatory, and jihad is obligatory.

Therein lies the problem – there is simply no way to determine which Muslims are our friends and which are not.  In fact, the only Muslims who are potential friends of the United States are those who do not follow the Quran and Sunnah, as embodied in the sharia, which makes Ms. Zuhur’s reply all the more telling. 

UTT would not waste your time in sharing this exchange if that were the end of the story.

Dr. Sherifa Zuhur is not just some random Muslim on twitter who defends sharia and designated terrorist groups.  Zuhur is a former professor (2006-2009) at the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute who continues to be accepted in academic circles and was recently at the University of California at Berkley.

In April of 2008, Zuhur published a monograph called, “Precision in the Global War on Terror: Inciting Muslims through the War of Ideas.”  In this publication, Zuhur warns against attacking the ideology of groups like Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Salafists, and the Muslim Brotherhood because that would necessarily be attacking Islamic ideology.

Exactly.  In this regard, UTT agrees because Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram, ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, and all jihadi organizations on the planet draw their doctrine from sharia.  It is the basis for why they act – and they tell us so.  And so does Dr. Zuhur.

Sharia does not exist in a vacuum.  Sharia comes from the Quran and the Sunnah, and last time UTT checked, the Quran and Sunnah are wholly Islamic.  As we say at UTT – it’s all about sharia.

The following are direct quotes (in bold) from Dr. Zuhur’s monograph followed by UTT’s comments:

“To restore justice, Muslims want the shari`ah, Islamic law, to be implemented and that, in turn, must be utilized with justice. This contrasts with radicals who think that violence is the only means to secure real social and political change, even if they also are motivated to implement shari`ah.”

The Global Islamic Movement has many lines of operations including suit/skirt wearing jihadis like ISNA, CAIR, ICNA, MAS, MSA, Dr. Zuhur and others who point to the violent jihadis and say something to the effect of “Well, at least we are not Al Qaeda or ISIS. We’re moderates.”  The violent jihadis use their attacks and threats to drive weak Western leaders/nations into the arms of the suit/skirt-wearing jihadis.

“Bin Ladin and Zawahiri generally refer to bona fide religious concepts. But, my point is that Sayyid Qutb possessed religious and philosophical credentials that should not be ignored. To blame him for global jihad is a convenient way of discounting the impact of other salafists (from the Wahhabist sect), and further implying that the violent radical leaders who followed him read or understood his earlier proposal that an Islamic society could be created through a “social revolution” and education. It is also a significant way of discrediting the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Not much comment needed here.  Dr. Zuhur admits the leaders of Al Qaeda are correctly sighting sharia in furtherance of what they are doing.  In addition, neither Al Qaeda nor ISIS have misquoted sharia in furtherance of their actions.

“To bin Ladin, the Muslim-only policy at Mecca and Medina extends to the entire country of Saudi Arabia, indeed to the entire Arabian peninsula. What policymakers should understand is that quite a number of other Muslims agree with bin Ladin’s views.”

Many muslims do agree with the views and objectives of Osama bin Laden as well as ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic organizations/groups, because these are commands from allah repeated by their prophet Mohammad as “perfect” behavior for all Muslims to follow.  Did we mention Al Qaeda is a terrorist organization?

“U.S. Government agencies, the defense community, and security research centers have made far too much of the Caliphate. By denouncing it, they are trouncing on Muslims’ idealized history and institutions.”

Muslims who want a caliphate here in the United States – which according to Dr. Zuhur is all Muslims – are enemies of the United States.  America is a Constitutional Republic and Americans will keep it using all means necessary.  Muslims who want to live under a caliphate can go to sharia-governed lands in ISIS-held territory.  Working to establish one here is a violation of federal law, and an act that constitutes war against our Constitution and way of life.

“Those media spokespersons most often vilifying terrorists with the label “Islamofascist” often go on to identify this phenomenon with those who wish to follow shari`ah (Islamic law) and live within a Caliphate, as if these two very important Islamic institutions are proof of poisonous terror and fascism. The overwhelming majority of Muslims would disagree with this vilification of their holy law and historic form of government.”

Since ALL jihadi organizations (Al Qaeda, ISIS, the MB, et al) continue to state publicly and in their internal documents their end goal is a global caliphate under sharia law and that it must be achieved via any means possible including political warfare and violence, and since Dr. Zuhur is defending that position, how are rational readers able to discern between Dr. Zuhur’s position and ISIS’s position?

“Apostasy is a crime pertaining only to Muslims. It should not—according to classical interpretations of Islamic law—be prosecuted unless the apostate admits his denial of faith. In other words, accusations of apostasy are not supposed to discourage Muslim opinion and expression.”

Sharia states the punishment for apostasy is death and the former professor at the U.S. Army War College agrees it should be prosecuted as such.

“The actions of the American organization, the Council on American- Islamic Relations, which seeks to protect Muslims from discrimination or violence, have been labeled “a cover for terrorism,” and so on. This allows for conflation of anti-Americanism, and Arab non-salafi groups with Islamist, and violent Islamist groups.”

This is utter nonsense.  CAIR is Hamas.  Hamas is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States Government. 

Dr. Zuhur is one of a long line of jihadis and jihadi apologists in the military university system and on U.S. campuses teaching “Middle East Studies” and related topic.

Is it any wonder that, with professors like Dr. Zuhur, the U.S. national security apparatus, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff under the Bush and Obama administration never identified our enemy, or even took the time to study the enemy threat doctrine –  sharia?

Should we be surprised that Dr. Zuhur has sided with the Al Qaeda, ISIS, or the Muslim Brotherhood – specifically Hamas (dba CAIR) – in opposing President Trump’s ban on immigration from seven Islamic countries?

We at UTT are not surprised, and you should not be either.  It is important for Americans to understand that as President Trump, his cabinet, and the U.S. national security apparatus begin to dismantle the jihadi network here in the US, they will be opposed by the hard left Marxist/socialist groups, their allies in the media, and by the jihadis themselves.

There will be more crying Senators on television, hard-left/jihadi marches in the street funded by our enemies, and demonstrations allegedly about equal rights and equal treatment but actually excuses for violence, upheaval and revolution.

DULLES, VA - JANUARY 28: J.D. People protest and welcome arriving passengers at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, January 28, 2017. The protest follows the executive order of President Donald Trump to bar all refugees coming to the US and Muslims from seven countries. (Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

DULLES, VA – JANUARY 28: J.D. People protest and welcome arriving passengers at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, January 28, 2017. The protest follows the executive order of President Donald Trump to bar all refugees coming to the US and Muslims from seven countries. (Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Americans must know this is coming, get educated and get prepared.  Support the bold leaders in the new administration and beware of the establishment types who are already coming to the defense of our enemies.

This war will be won at the local level.  Educate your elected officials and hold them accountable.  Ensure your pastors speak truthfully about this threat and begin educating their flocks.  Encourage your law enforcement leaders to get trained by UTT so they can map out the jihadi networks in their area and dismantle them, proactively find jihadis in your neighborhood, and defeat this enemy from the ground up.

Justice Against State Sponsors of Terror—But Not Iran?

2016-07-18t111421z_2_lynxnpec6h0qu_rtroptp_4_iran-politics-backlash-e1469297327697Daily Caller, by Clare Lopez, Sept. 6, 2016:

When the House of Representatives returns from summer recess on 6 September, among the urgent things it must consider is the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism (JASTA) bill. It passed the Senate in May and is now before the House Judiciary Committee. In lining up support for the bill, JASTA sponsor Sen. John R. Cornyn (R-TX) and backers like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) appealed to the understandable angst of New Yorkers and others who suffered through the horror of the 9/11 attacks. JASTA aims to limit sovereign immunity for nations and officials accused of being responsible for terrorism inside the United States.

The Iran Lobby, which went into hyperdrive to support the Obama-Kerry nuclear deal with Iran, is now gleefully ramping up support for JASTA as a measure to hold Saudi Arabia to blame for 9/11, hoping it will allow Tehran to continue to evade responsibility for its own documented role in the devastating attacks 15 years ago. The bill’s sponsors also ignore the fallout of JASTA’s curtailing of sovereign immunity: Saudi Arabia may be sued, but the United States will be also sued for claims of terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and a host of other battlefields.

Admittedly, the House of Saud has come late to the counterterrorism battle—and only after its own rule was threatened. There is no doubt that the Saudi government and individuals used their oil billions to fund the Global Islamic Movement by constructing mosques, publishing textbooks, and supporting orthodox Al-Azhar and other top graduates as imams in Islamic Centers across the United States and elsewhere. Riyadh also backs the jihadist Muslim Brotherhood and its swarm of front groups. But when jihad terror took aim at the Saudi royals themselves—with the 2003 bombings, al-Qa’eda attacks, Iranian instigation of unrest in the Shi’ite eastern provinces, and strikes by the Islamic State—their minds concentrated rather wonderfully.

The feared Saudi Mukhabarat security service cracked down hard on internal jihadis, instituted close surveillance of domestic mosques, and arrested imams preaching sedition and violence. Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, a prominent Shi’ite cleric, was executed in January along with 46 others convicted of sedition and promoting terrorism. In 2014, Saudi Arabia even designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.

Clearly shaken by surging aggression from Iran and the Islamic State, Saudi Arabia formed a coalition of 34 Muslim states, declared support of President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi’s Egyptian regime, announced its support for the National Council of Resistance of Iran (a democratic opposition group), and are now in talks with Israel. Their U.S.-educated Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is also shaking things up internally and abroad.

So much for Saudi Arabia’s transformation. It is Iran that continues a nuclear weapons program at a breakneck pace that was supposed to have been halted in its tracks. It is the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps/Qods Force with thousands of foreign Shi’ite mercenaries who fight as a Shi’a ‘Liberation Army’ to defend Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus and Yemen proxies. It is Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah who boasts about funds he gets from a topped-off Iranian treasury. And it is IRGC motorboats that harass U.S. Navy vessels in the Persian Gulf and dare to seize and film U.S. Navy personnel.

Recently, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, fresh from diplomatic successes that saved his country’s nuclear program, took a victory lap around a clutch of Latin American countries. They included Cuba and Venezuela, known for their hostility to the U.S. and for helping to expand the Hizballah footprint. Even the schizoid Department of State belatedly recognized Iran’s hostility, and in mid-August issued a warning to Americans traveling to Iran because of the risk the mullahs might kidnap them for more ransom.

Under the nuclear deal umbrella, egged on by the Iran Lobby, and given carte blanche by a slavish media, the Obama administration is racing to complete its blueprint for a Middle East subordinated to Iran’s nuclear-powered hegemony. Even former senior U.S. military commanders are becoming uneasy with the chaos, compounded by the possibility of a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region on earth.

While the Saudis remain adversaries in the global jihad, that should not inhibit a necessary partnership with the Riyadh government. We and they continue to face the menace of a nuclear-capable Iranian regime whose apocalyptic beliefs include accelerating the return of the 12th Imam to usher in Armageddon and the End Times.

Obama’s desire to burnish his legacy must not be allowed to complete the withdrawal of all American influence and power in a region so desperately in need of sober leadership.

Clare M. Lopez is Vice President for Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy.

Report: US Spends One Trillion Dollars, Gets Terrorist Safe Haven In Return

August-28-AFG-Partial-Threat-Assessment_4-1Daily Caller, by Saagar Enjeti, Aug. 29, 2016:

After spending a trillion dollars and deploying hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops, Jihadi groups are likely to find safe haven in Afghanistan, a new report from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) warns.

The entire purpose of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, was to topple the Taliban government and destroy the safe havens al-Qaida used to attack the U.S. on 9/11. Since President Barack Obama ended the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan in 2014, the Taliban have made historic battlefield gains throughout the country. The U.S. backed Afghan government has shown itself rife with corruption, and faces a pending political leadership crisis in September.

Noting these facts, ISW warns, “If Afghanistan remains on this course, global extremist organizations will reconstitute their sanctuaries in Afghanistan’s ungoverned spaces and pose enduring threats to U.S. national security.”

Taliban affiliated terrorists from the Haqqani Network seized Saturday a town on the Pakistani border. A local Afghan official told The New York Times the Haqqani Network had hundreds of fighters, and managed to seize dozens of vehicles and weapons. The vehicles and weapons are almost certainly provided or paid for by the U.S. government.

The Haqqani Network is responsible for a large share of U.S. casualties in Afghanistan, and provides the infrastructure for massive suicide attacks throughout the country. The group maintains a tacit alliance with al-Qaida, and has deep roots in the tribal territories in Pakistan.

The U.S. also dispatched 100 soldiers to the capital city of Helmand province on Tuesday. Helmand province is important strategic territory for the Taliban, and reports indicate they now control almost every major city in the province except for the capital. The Afghan defense forces have proven inept at battling back the Taliban in Helmand, despite dedicating almost their entire military arsenal to the effort.

The Taliban has also surrounded the major city of Kunduz, which it briefly seized in September 2015. Kunduz’s seizure in 2015, marked the first time the Taliban controlled a major city since 2001. ISW notes that the Taliban controls 98% of four key districts that surround Kunduz, which it used to launch its first offensive on the city a year ago.

Al-Qaida has capitalized on Taliban gains throughout Afghanistan, by reestablishing major training camps for the first time since before 9/11. In October 2015, the U.S. launched an operation against a massive al-Qaida training camp in Kandahar province on the Pakistani border. The commanding U.S> general at the time called it “probably the largest” al-Qaida camp the U.S. had seen in its 14 year tenure in Afghanistan.

al-Qaida’s affiliates, and leaders remain committed to launching major operations against U.S. allies and the U.S. homeland.

Follow Saagar Enjeti on Twitter

Also see:

Obama Eid Celebration Again Empowers Islamists Over Reformers

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

IPT NewsJuly 21, 2016

The White House held a celebration Thursday afternoon to honor Eid al Fitr, the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. While no guest list has been made public, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has learned that it includes a number of Islamist activists who have espoused views in direct contrast with American policy.

Among them were several officials from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and a former official who remains close to the organization. In contrast, Muslim Americans who believe CAIR and other Islamist groups are not representative of the community’s diverse viewpoints were not invited.

The White House declined to comment to the IPT or release a complete list of invitees.

The inclusion of so many CAIR officials shows that the United States government has wildly different views about the organization.

FBI policy since 2008 prohibits engagement with CAIR, which touts itself as “a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group” and the country’s “largest Muslim civil liberties organization.”

But the FBI cut off CAIR’s access after its agents uncovered CAIR’s darker history.Internal documents and eyewitness accounts prove that CAIR was born into a network of Muslim Brotherhood-created support groups in the United States. Each branch of that network, known as the “Palestine Committee,” shared a mission of boosting the Islamist movement in general and Hamas in particular.

Until it determines “whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner,” a senior official explained in writing in 2009. [Emphasis added]

Here’s what federal prosecutors privy to the same evidence wrote in 2007:

CAIR has tried to ignore or minimize these statements. But it has never acknowledged the connections to the Hamas support network or ever tried to claim that it has evolved since then and no longer pursues its original secret agenda. It has had only one executive director in its history, and he was listed in a roster of the network’s members (see No. 25, Nihad Awad).

Despite this wealth of evidence, Thursday’s Eid celebration shows that the message to CAIR is a little different at the Obama White House: Come on in!

At least four CAIR officials were invited. Among them, a man who called the 2008 war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza a “genocide” and who likens the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to ISIS, and a man who accuses the FBI of setting up innocent Muslims and of cold-blooded murder.

In addition, Ahmed Bedier, a former CAIR official in Florida who continued to raise money for the organization as recently as 2014, posted links to videos from the event on Twitter Thursday afternoon.

Honoring a holiday celebrated by several million Americans is fine. But the Obama administration’s insistence on inviting – thereby empowering – radical Islamist voices like the CAIR officials included Thursday overlooks the work and conclusions of its own career agents and prosecutors.

Once again, the White House guest list omits any members of the fledgling Muslim Reform Movement. That movement, representing more diverse opinions and arguably a more representative face of American Muslims, published a declaration that should be embraced by people of all stripes. It is worth reading in its entirety, but its preamble says they are fighting for “a respectful, merciful and inclusive interpretation of Islam” and clearly rejects “interpretations of Islam that call for any violence, social injustice and politicized Islam.”

In addition to explaining what they reject, the reformists articulate what they stand for. “We are for secular governance, democracy and liberty. We are against political movements in the name of religion. We separate mosque and state. We are loyal to the nations in which we live.”

Someone needs to explain why that message can’t get a seat at the table.

“The saddest thing is not only the complete monopoly and dominance of American Islamist groups in the [White House] Eid celebration invitation,” Reform Movement member Zuhdi Jasser told the Investigative Project on Terrorism, “… but imagine how insulting it is that the [White House] also includes representatives of all the ‘petro-Islam’ and [Organization of Islamic Cooperation]’s ‘neo-caliphate’ tyrannies from Embassy Row. So the nations like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Pakistan who imprison, torture, and assassinate Muslim reformers like us are honored and invited down the red carpet along with their choir of American Islamist lobbyists (as Asra Nomani calls them: the #HonorBrigade) and yet genuine, honest free-thinking American Muslim reformers are completely ignored and blackballed. This has been the SOP for the Obama administration for now over 7 years. Their ‘Muslim’ related policies are dominated by the Islamist mafia at home and abroad. The Obama administration and their friends on the Left claim to be about diversity yet when it comes to diversity it’s all about racial and ethnic diversity and no ideological diversity within the House of Islam.”

The ideology two CAIR officials brought to the White House is inherently hostile toward U.S. policy.

In addition to comparing the IDF to ISIS, CAIR Los Angeles Executive Director Hussam Ayloush repeatedly accused Israel of committing genocide and a holocaust against Palestinians in Gaza. These accusations seem to redefine what constitutes a genocide or holocaust, since Gaza’s population is increasing steadily.

Ayloush also reacts similarly to most CAIR officials when asked about Hamas, the beneficiary of support from the American “Palestine Committee” to which CAIR was born. He refuses to acknowledge Hamas as a terrorist organization and quickly grows angrily defensive.

Hasan Shibly, Ayloush’s Florida counterpart, returns to the White House for at least the second time since December, when he was included in a discussion on religious discrimination. Like Bedier, he posted video from the event on his Facebook page Thursday afternoon, also showing Ayloush with him.

In the video, Shibly says the White House event triggered debate, since U.S. military strikes in Syria killed civilians. Ayloush, Shibly said, planned to deliver a letter “about the atrocities in Syria” to Obama. “Right now U.S. drone strikes – they’re the biggest creators of terrorism in the Middle East,” Shibly said.

That, presumably, means Shibly thinks drone strikes create more terrorism than ISIS.

Shibly said he and his colleagues also planned to criticize “consistent abuse by the FBI” and Customs and Border Protection “against the American Muslim community,” saying Muslim activists are harassed and accusing the FBI of “brainwash[ing] mentally disturbed youth to plan terrorist plots so they can justify the continued surveillance of the community.”

The White House embrace comes despite the fact that Shibly is helping a family sue the FBI, for allegedly shooting a Muslim without cause. Agents shot and killed Ibragim Todashev, a “skilled mixed-martial arts fighter,” after hours of questioning in 2013 tied to an unsolved triple murder. Todashev also was a friend of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. After reportedly acknowledging some involvement in the murder case, agents say Todashev attacked.

CAIR asked for independent investigations. But after two reviews found no wrongdoing, Shibly refused to accept the outcome. He also accused FBI agents of shooting a Detroit imam in 2010 after he had been “tied and bound.” Separate independent investigations and an actual video of the shooting showed this was not remotely true, but Shibly repeated the smear anyway.

He also defended a terror suspect who was arrested after loading what he thought was a bomb into his car. Sami Osmakac repeatedly expressed interest in violent jihad and dreamed of carrying out a “second 9/11.”

“I want to do something,” he said. “Something terrifying.” Before his arrest, he made a martyrdom video in which he called his attack “payback for Sheikh Osama Bin Laden.”

Still, Shibly cast Osmakac as a man who posed no threat to the public and blamed the FBI for setting him up.

He gets the White House invitation – again, at least his second – but Jasser and his fellow reformists are shut out. The imprimatur that accompanies an audience with the president of the United States can be used for tremendous good. It can raise new voices to prominence, and it can stimulate much-needed debate. The Reform Movement declaration, for example, specifically emphasizes the rights of women to equal treatment.

Instead, President Obama and his staffers continue to tip the scales to favor the most monolithic, pro-Islamist voices and protect the monopoly they enjoy on public debate.

It is beyond shameful.

Also see:

Islam, Revolution, and Black Lives Matter

CiJnews

CiJnews

Crisis Magazine, by William Kirkpatrick, July 14, 2016: (h/t Christine Williams at Jihad Watch)

In a speech delivered to the Annual MAS-ICNA (Muslim American Society and Islamic Circle of North America) Convention in December 2015, Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), urged Muslim Americans to take up the cause of Black Lives Matter. “Black Lives Matter is our matter,” he said; “Black Lives Matter is our campaign.”

At the same conference, Khalilah Sabra, another activist, told the Muslim audience, “Basically you are the new black people of America… We are the “community that staged a revolution across the world. If we could do that, why can’t we have that revolution in America?” “That revolution” is apparently a reference to the “Arab Spring” revolutions which were inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood and which brought death and destruction to wide swaths of the Middle East and North Africa.

Do CAIR and other activist groups merely want to support Black Lives Matter, or do they hope to recruit blacks to their own cause? In 2014, ISIS used the protests and clashes in Ferguson, Missouri as an opportunity to attempt to recruit blacks to radical Islam. But ISIS is a known terrorist organization while CAIR, despite its shady history, is considered by many to be a moderate, mainstream Muslim organization. Thus, if it wanted to convert blacks, it would presumably want to convert them to a moderate version of Islam.

Or would it? According to Paul Sperry and David Gaubatz, the authors of Muslim Mafia, the supposedly moderate CAIR acts like an underworld cospiracy. In fact, it (along with numerous other prominent Muslim groups) was named by a U.S. court as an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorist funding case. In addition, CAIR has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates. Moreover, CAIR is a direct outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is also listed as a terrorist group by the UAE, as well as by Egypt and Saudi Arabia. That’s the same Muslim Brotherhood that fomented the “Arab Spring” revolutions, the likes of which Khalilah Sabra wants to bring to America.

The move to bring black Americans into the Islamic fold actually predates CAIR and ISIS by quite a few generations. Black Muslim organizations such as Louis Farrakhan’s The Nation of Islam have been recruiting blacks to their unorthodox brand of Islam for decades. The vast majority of blacks have resisted the temptation to join, perhaps because of NOI’s overt racism, its anti-Semitism, and its criticism of Christianity. In any event, it seems that the Black Muslim movement is being gradually displaced by traditional Sunni Islam. That’s because Sunni Islam has a much better claim to legitimacy—it being a worldwide religion that traces its roots back not to a 1930s Detroit preacher named Wallace Fard Muhammad, but to a seventh century prophet named Muhammad.

Will Islam catch on with black Americans? A great many blacks in America have a strong commitment to Christianity, which serves to act as a buffer against conversion to Islam. Still, it’s likely that Islam will make more inroads into the black community than it has in the past. For one thing, traditional Islam doesn’t have the “kook” factor which keeps most blacks at a distance from The Nation of Islam. The NOI belief system includes giant space ships, an evil scientist who created a race of “white devils,” and, most recently, an embrace of Dianetics.

By contrast, traditional Islam looks much more like … well, like a traditional religion. Indeed, when approaching Christians, Islamic apologists like to play up the similarities between the two religions. Each year around Christmastime, Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s Public Relations Director, sends out a Christmas letter with the message, “We have more in common than you think.”

One of the common elements is Jesus, who is honored as a great prophet in Islam. The self-proclaimed leader of the Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas on July 7, 2016 once wrote of feeling called to follow Jesus into Islam. In November 2015, the Reverend Jeff Hood, a white leftist pastor, wrote:

I have no question that Jesus is so intimately incarnated with and connected to our Muslim friends that he has become one. If we want to walk with Jesus in this moment of extreme oppression and marginalization, we will too.

Islam is an equal-opportunity recruiter. It is open to white leftists and black boxers alike. But Islamic proselytizers may see the present moment as an opportune time to concentrate on blacks. Why is that? Perhaps mainly because our educational system has managed to convince both black and white students that America is a racist society that was built on the back of slavery. Almost all students have been indoctrinated in the narrative that America has a shameful history and heritage. For blacks, however, this version of American history is more plausible because their ancestors actually did suffer from the ravages of slavery and the humiliation of Jim Crow laws. Nevertheless, during the Civil Rights era and afterwards, both blacks and whites worked hard to heal racial divisions. Racism—both black and white—seemed to be dying a natural death until leftists, with the aid of the media and the Obama administration, managed to resuscitate it. Despite the two-time election of a black president and the appointment or election of black Attorney Generals, black Secretaries of State, black Supreme Court justices, a black chief of Homeland Security, black mayors, and black police chiefs, a number of blacks seem convinced that white racism is the number one factor that is keeping them down.

Enter CAIR and other Muslim “civil rights” groups that are only too happy to reinforce this narrative. They profess to understand the plight of American blacks because they claim to be victims of a similar oppression—victims of colonialism, racism, and Islamophobia. Part of their pitch is that there is no discrimination in Islam. That might seem a hard sell if you’re familiar with the history of the Arab slave trade or with Islam’s own version of Jim Crow, the dhimmi system. The trouble is, those items have been dropped down the memory hole. The same teachers and textbooks that excoriate the Christian West tend to present Islam as though it were the font of all science and learning.

It might be hoped that blacks who convert will choose some milder form of Islam—something like the Sufi version practiced by Muhammad Ali after he left The Nation of Islam. Unfortunately, that’s not likely because CAIR, ISNA, and similar Islamist groups are practically the only game in town. They have successfully managed to present themselves as the official face of Islam in America, and ISNA, along with the Muslim Brotherhood-linked North American Islamic Trust, controls a majority of the major mosques.

In backing Black Lives Matter, CAIR and company run the risk that their own radicalism will be revealed. Apparently, they don’t consider that to be much of a risk. They know that the court eunuchs in the media will do their best to mainstream Black Lives Matter as a peaceful movement, just as the media has accepted the premise that CAIR itself is a mainstream, moderate organization.

CAIR can also count on President Obama to take the side of Black Lives Matter. Recently, he went so far as to compare it to the Abolitionist Movement against slavery. CAIR is no doubt confident that Obama has its back too. After all, the president made it clear from the start of his administration that he supported the Muslim Brotherhood—the “Mothership” (to borrow an NOI term) out of which CAIR sprang.

At the MSA-ICNA Convention, CAIR and associates felt safe to reveal their revolutionary side. They understand that Obama has a penchant for revolutionary causes—provided that they are leftist (the Castro brothers in Cuba) or Islamist (the “Arab Spring” revolutions) in nature. Before his first election, Obama promised a fundamental transformation of American society. CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood are also interested in a fundamental transformation. Indeed, the chief theorists of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb, were heavily influenced by Lenin and by communist revolutionary thought. So was Maulana Maududi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami, the Asian equivalent of the Muslim Brotherhood. “Islam,” wrote Maududi, “is a revolutionary ideology and programme which seeks to alter the social order of the whole world and rebuild it in conformity with its own tenets and ideals.” He added, “‘Muslim’ is the title of that International Revolutionary Party organized by Islam to carry into effect its revolutionary program.”

That statement has to rank fairly high on the fundamental-transformation scale, and it bears a striking resemblance to the tear-it-down-to-build-it-up leftist school of thought to which Obama belongs. Whether or not the fundamental transformation that Obama desires is the same as that sought by Islamists, he does seem anxious to effect one before his term in office runs out.

The emerging confluence of interests between radical Muslim groups, radical black groups, and a leftist president bent on a radical transformation of America should give us more than pause; it should alarm us. Does Obama intend to speed up the leftward movement of American society during his remaining months in office? Does he hope to accelerate the Islamization of America through a coalition of radical black, leftist, and Islamist groups? Or does he even care what the change is, as long as it’s revolutionary in nature?

Most Americans tend to assume that we are still operating under the same rules that have governed our society since its founding. They have not come to terms with the possibility that some of our leaders are operating under a completely different set of rules—what leftist activist Saul Alinsky called “rules for radicals.”

William Kilpatrick taught for many years at Boston College. He is the author of several books about cultural and religious issues, includingPsychological Seduction; Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right From Wrong; and Christianity, Islam and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West and the forthcoming The Politically Incorrect Guide to Jihad. His articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Catholic World Report, National Catholic Register, Aleteia, Saint Austin Review, Investor’s Business Daily, and First Things. His work is supported in part by the Shillman Foundation. For more on his work and writings, visit his website, turningpointproject.com

Also see:

Police gun battle at Paris apartment ‘where ISIS mastermind was holed up’ ends with his ‘wife’ blowing herself up with a suicide vest, one jihadi shot dead and seven arrested

 

In their sights: Police move in on the apartment where the female suicide bomber blew herself up after firing an AK-47 machine at officers. At least one other jihadi is also dead

In their sights: Police move in on the apartment where the female suicide bomber blew herself up after firing an AK-47 machine at officers. At least one other jihadi is also dead

  • French police and special forces launch operation to storm Saint-Denis flat containing seven Paris terrorists 
  • Mastermind behind Friday’s massacres, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 27, was believed to be inside Saint-Denis apartment
  • Female suicide bomber who fired AK-47 at police believed to be his wife or cousin. Other suspect killed by grenade
  • Five people taken alive from flat and arrested as well as two others ‘nearby’ as stand-off ended after six hours 
  • Two of arrested plotters were both shot in the arm and are being operated on at a secure hospital in Bobigny, Paris
  • Paris prosecutor refuses to confirm if Abaaoud was in the safehouse and if he was captured or died in the siege
  • At least five police have been injured in the ferocious gunfight and the terrorists also shot and killed a police dog 
  • Witnesses told MailOnline there were periods of intense machine gun fire and at least seven large explosions
  • Man who rented flat to ‘two Belgians’ is arrested and claims: ‘I didn’t know they were terrorists. It was a favour’

Daily Mail, Nov. 18, 2015:

A female terrorist wearing a suicide vest has blown herself up and another jihadi was killed by a grenade during a six-hour siege on a flat where police believe the mastermind behind the Paris massacres was hiding with six other ISIS terrorists.

The stand-off between 110 armed officers and the terror cell ended as a bloodied and half-naked suspect was dragged out of an apartment block in Saint-Denis – close to the Stade de France.

The gunfight started at 4.25am when SWAT teams and special forces surrounded the building believing it contained Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 27, the architect of the plots that killed 129 people on Friday. The French authorities will not say if he was there or if he is dead or alive.

A woman ‘with long blonde hair’ who may be Abaaoud’s jihadi bride or cousin is said to have fired her AK-47 at police before blowing herself up as an assault squad stormed their hideout. As she tried to murder the police another terror suspect was killed by a grenade blast.

Police said that five people in the flat and apartment block were taken alive and arrested while two others including the flat’s owner were held ‘nearby’.

At least five police were injured in the ferocious gunfight including one shot in the foot seen being carried from the scene. The terrorists also gunned down a seven-year-old sniffer dog called Diesel, sent into the block to look for booby traps.

Security services hunting for Abaaoud had been watching flats and tapping phones in Saint-Denis before they swooped this morning believing the world’s most wanted man and other terrorists were inside. Police also feared the group were about to attack Paris’ business district, La Defense.

Witnesses told MailOnline their street was ‘turned into a warzone’ after long periods of intense machine gun fire and at least seven large explosions, caused by the suicide bomber and hand grenades. There were no hostages involved.

Read more

***

St. Denis Siege Over: 2 killed, 7 arrested in plot to attack La Defense Paris Business District (newenglishreview.org) – Jerry Gordan reports:

In another development, there were reports that eight Syrian passports were found on migrants in Europe with the name of the suicide bomber at the French Soccer stadium last Friday. One man was arrested in Serbia who carried one of the forged documents.The Daily Mail reported:

The full scale of the trade in false passports that allows terrorists to slip into Europe was exposed last night.

It lets Islamic State fanatics who are bent on murder pose as refugees fleeing war and persecution.

Eight migrants have reached Europe using documents almost identical to those carried by one of the Paris suicide bombers.

He claimed asylum on the Greek island of Leros last month with a fake Syrian passport in the name of 25-year-old Ahmad Almohammad.

In a shocking indictment of the EU’s porous borders, yesterday Serbian police revealed they had arrested a man carrying a Syrian passport which was almost a carbon copy of the one found on the IS bomber’s corpse on Friday.

It had the same name, date of birth and place of birth. The only difference was the photograph. Serbian officials said as many as six other men this year had entered the EU with virtually identical passports.

The passport is in the name of Ahmad Almohammad, born September 10, 1990 in the Syrian city of Idlib. Sources said it was either taken or fabricated based on a real identity

The discovery has heightened fears that all the documents are fakes made by the same forger in the Middle East to dupe authorities into believing the holders are asylum seekers.

And worse, it has sparked concerns that the bogus papers could be in the possession of jihadists now lurking undetected in the EU’s passport-free Schengen travel zone.

This will bolster efforts by more than 30 US Governors, US House Speaker Ryan, US Senate Majority leader McConnell requesting a  Congressional  vote  on a “pause” in President Obama’s announced intent to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees to the US.  As we posted yesterday, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes and representatives of Voluntary agencies and refugee resettlement NGOs on a press conference suggested that vetting of refugees admitted to the US was ‘thorough” denying that terrorists could infiltrate here.

Those representations were dismissed by former Reagan era Defense official Stephen Bryen on a post on this writer’s Facebook page:

The real truth is we have zero capability to vet anybody. It is a lie of the first order perpetrated by people who are intent on their political agendas and don’t care at all about the security of the American people. You can be sure of gross incompetence and total failure that lies ahead.

Meanwhile, President Obama was briefed on these overnight developments in Paris at the Manila APEC conference, while being sharply criticized over his dismissive comments about the evident comments about his failed strategy in the war against ISIS.  He criticized Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for suggesting that Syrian Christians be given preference for admission of refugees under the US program and that Muslims be diverted to majority Muslim countries.  Meanwhile, Arkansas US Sen. Tom Cotton said that the US Refugee Admissions Program “inadvertently” discriminates against Christians and other non Muslim religious minorities, as they don’t enter UN refugee camps for fear of retaliation by Muslim residents.

AP reported the resolve of French President Hollande  to pursue a war against the Islamic State in a televised address today:

French President Francois Hollande says France is ‘at war’ against terrorism by the Islamic State group.

Hollande says he wants “large coalition” working together against IS militants to destroy a group that threatens the whole world and “commits massacres” in the Mideast.

Hollande says “we are at war.” He was speaking in a televised address Wednesday after a seven-hour police siege on an apartment north of Paris where police suspected the mastermind of the deadly Paris attacks might have been.

He says the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle just left to help French military operations in Syria against IS.

Russia and France have formed a temporary alliance engaged in using US target intelligence information to aggressively attack targets in Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State raising questions about the efficacy of the US bombing campaign micromanaged from the Obama White House.  The US led air assault is just now attacking oil tanker trucks and production facilities captured by ISIS, the source of significant smuggled oil revenues for the self declared Caliphate. A Caliphate attracting tens of thousands of foreign fighters including those from Belgium and France, some of whom may have leaded the Paris massacre and last night’s siege in St. Denis.

Also see:

STEYN: LEADERS MUST ASK IF ADMITTING ‘MILLIONS AND OF PEOPLE’ IS SMART, SOME ‘PROVIDE COMFORT ZONE’ FOR ISLAMIC EXTREMISM

steyn

Breitbart, by Ian Hanchett, Nov. 14, 2015:

Columnist and author Mark Steyn argued that a “large pool of people” who “provide a comfort zone within which this virus incubates” and that Western leaders are going to have to ask themselves “is it really a good idea to admit millions and millions of people to European countries?” on Saturday’s “Fox & Friends” on the Fox News Channel.

Steyn said, “nobody wants to say they were right about this, but I wrote a book almost ten years ago, and people said it was a alarmist. I’ve been listening to you guys all morning, and it’s striking to me, every interview you’ve had, Tucker has said, at one point, well, is it — some variation of is it really a good idea to admit millions and of millions of people to European countries? And people then start to tap dance around that issue, but when you get to it, that’s at the heart of it. That there is a large pool of people who, they don’t want to kill people, they don’t want bomb people, they don’t want to blow people up, but they provide a comfort zone within which this virus incubates. And at some point, if Mr. Hollande, and Mr. Cameron, and all these people talking about our values this morning are serious about that, they will have to do as Tucker did and ask themselves that question, and come up with an answer to it.”

When asked if the president realized “we have different values from the people who did this,” Steyn answered, “No, he doesn’t, and he wants to preserve that myth. If you look at the two big French attacks this year, for example, this attack was on people who just going to concerts, just going to restaurants, just going to soccer games, people find that well, easy to say, well you shouldn’t be blown up if you just go to a restaurant, or you just go to a soccer game. But when you get to the free speech thing, when you get to Charlie Hebdo in January, the majority of Muslims, in France, and in other western European nations, do not accept the concept of free speech. Free speech is not a universal value. It arises from a very narrow, particular tradition on this planet, and when you country becomes ten percent, 15 percent, 20 percent Muslim, there’s less and less of market for a free speech. So, despite what Obama, and Cameron, and Mr. Hollande say, that value of free speech will die, because there will be people who do not share that value.”

Steyn added that the war against terror can’t be fought on an “intelligence basis. I mean, we’ve been talking about whether you can vet people before — as they come in. A lot of these people, for example the Boston Marathon bomber, the guy who did the stabbings in Colorado just last week, they come in, and they’re perfectly normal little kids, and then they get radicalized as they live in Western societies. A quarter million people entered one German state, Bavaria, in September and October, a quarter million people. The German police estimate that it takes 60 people working on just tracking one known person on these watch lists. So, you cannot solve it by intelligence. You have to actually talk about things like a moratorium on Muslim immigration, and waging the battle ideologically. You have to be prepared — you have to, not just talk about our values, as Cameron did. You have to identify what those values are, and be prepared to defend and advance them in the world. Don’t just say that they’re universal. Because the guy in Yemen, and the goat herd, the Pashtun goat herd, and the fellow who thinks that his daughter got raped, so she deserves to die, these people don’t think they’re universal values. And Obama is useless if that’s all that he’s got to say about it.”

He added, “I think it has to be a two prong thing. I mean, this is a domestic battle, as much as an overseas war. In that these are people who nominally are citizens of Western nations, yet feel no allegiance to those nations. I mean, we pretend, we talk about the fellow in Colorado for example. The ABC News headline was a Santa Clara teenager had perpetrated the attacks. So, we present these people as normal residents of Santa Clara, of the United States, of France, Canada, Australia, but they bare, they — in the end, their sense of identity is not French, or Canadian, or Australian, or American. It’s with a pan-national identity, that actually doesn’t think in terms of nation-states. It’s bigger than that. The caliphate isn’t interested in the borders of France, or Belgium, or Germany. it’s actually making the very concept of national identity irrelevant, and replacing it with something bigger.”

IS Targets Kurdish Civilians in Ankara Bombing-Turkey Drags its Feet into Action

The ISIS Study Group, Oct. 13, 2015:

This past weekend had a lot going on, didn’t it? Aside from Iran’s conviction of an American journalist, testing of new ballistic missile technology and death of a senior IRGC officer in Syria, we had a suicide attack in Ankara, Turkey targeting Kurdish civilians. Just a little while ago the Erdogan government finally broke down and admitted that it was the work of the Islamic State (IS) – although we strongly suspect they did it kicking and screaming. They really wanted to pin that rose on the PKK – but that didn’t make any logical sense as the PKK doesn’t operate like that. Especially when they get a bigger bang for their buck by targeting hapless Turkish conscripts – which they do extremely well.

Turkish PM blames Ankara bombing on Islamic State
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34505030

At least 86 killed in twin bombings near train station in Turkey’s capital
http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/10/middleeast/turkey-ankara-bomb-blast/

At least 86 killed in Turkey’s deadliest attack
http://www.globalpost.com/article/6666119/2015/10/10/least-30-dead-terrorist-attack-ankara-peace-rally

The aftermath of the attack Source: The ISIS Study Group

The aftermath of the attack
Source: The ISIS Study Group

Reporting indicates two suicide bombers detonated themselves on Saturday. The target? a peace rally held by the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party or “HDP.” The demonstration’s participants had gathered to call for an end to the renewed conflict between the PKK and the Erdogan government and for the two sides to go after the real enemy – IS. Reporting on the casualties continue to fluctuate, but the numbers have consistently been between 86-90 people killed and another 186 wounded. This attack represents the worst attack Ankara has seen in a while.

First responders finally arrive to secure the scene Source: Defne Karadeniz (Getty Images)

First responders finally arrive to secure the scene
Source: Defne Karadeniz (Getty Images)

Of course the Kurdish community knew it was IS. They also knew that Erdogan will do the minimum amount of work required to demonstrate he’s “doing something” about a jihadist organization that he’s perfectly fine with operating inside his country – provided that they only target Kurds inside Turkey. Rallies were held in Istanbul as well as select locations in Germany and France slamming the Erdogan government for their slow reaction and failure to crackdown on IS as hard as they have the PKK. The protestors have a point, you know. In last year’s “The Real Turkish Agenda,” we discussed how in light of IS attacks against Kurdish refugees in Southern Turkey Erdogan decided to launch airstrikes against PKK positions – while the Kurdish group was actively fighting IS.

Turkey hit by protests over government response to suicide bombings
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/10/turkey-hit-by-protests-over-government-response-to-suicide-bombs

Pro-Kurdish ralliers slam Ankara twin blasts in Germany, France
http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/10/12/433041/ProKurdish-rally-Germany-Dresden-Leipzig-France-Paris-Turkey-Ankara-twin-blasts

The Real Turkish Agenda…
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2941

One of the many demonstrations that emerged in protest to the Erdogan government’s slow response to the Ankara attack Source: Sedat Suna (EPA)

One of the many demonstrations that emerged in protest to the Erdogan government’s slow response to the Ankara attack
Source: Sedat Suna (EPA)

Our 26 JUL 15 piece “The Curious Case of Turkey’s Military Action Against IS” covered a similar incident where IS executed a suicide bombing that killed 31 Kurdish activists trying to get humanitarian aid into Kobane. Erdogan’s response? He launched a “anti-IS campaign,” only the targets were predominately PKK and YPG personnel fighting IS in Northern Syria. That’s why the Kurdish community has so much anxiety right now. On one side they’re on the forefront of the battle of good vs. evil, civilization vs. anarchy. On the other side, they have an opportunistic Turkish head of state who desires to rid himself of his “Kurdish problem” and obtain supremacy of the Middle East region over Iran and Saudi Arabia. Erdogan’s refusing to lift a finger to help the besieged Peshmerga forces in the battle of Kobane was bad enough – but what he did last NOV and earlier this summer is something that makes the US government complicit in those actions whether President Obama likes it or not.

The Curious Case of Turkey’s Military Action Against IS
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=7856

Situation in Kobane Bleak; Missed Opportunity for Coalition Forces
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2468

Source: Hachfeld (cagle.com)

Source: Hachfeld (cagle.com)

Erdogan is willing to “look the other way” as long as IS only targets the Kurds. That could change should IS decide to start targeting Westerners and Turkish citizens, but right now their arrangement with Erdogan appears to remain intact. Our loyal readers are fully aware of the arrangement made between Erdogan and the IS leadership where Turkey allows the easy passage of fighters and weapons into Syria with access to medical and Turkish financial institutions in exchange for limiting the violence inside Turkey to the Kurds (If this is your first time here, check out “The Emperor Has no Clothes – Erdogan Thinks he “Controls” IS”). Turkey apologists in the American IC will point to the “great things Erdogan did” to combat IS. Our counter to that is at what time were Erdogan’s security forces ever proactive in targeting IS cells operating inside the country? You see, the dirty little secret is the Turks will only go after IS when another country tells them about a specific threat or personality – otherwise they act like they don’t know what’s going on which is inaccurate. The Turkish security forces know a great deal what goes on in their country, especially when it comes to the PKK, IRGC-Qods Force and Hezbollah, yet we’re made to believe they’re “not aware” of the heavy IS presence in their own country. This is no different than the Pakistani government’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) relationship with the Haqqani Network. They claim to be “reliable allies” in the fight against IS, but all the evidence points to the contrary – just as it did for Pakistan during the OEF years. We don’t trust a thing Erdogan or his flunkies say regarding IS – and neither should the US government. Its time that the Obama administration reevaluate our relationship with Erdogan.

The Emperor Has no Clothes – Erdogan Thinks he “Controls” IS
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=7919

Screen-Shot-2015-10-12-at-11.46.14-AMYeah we know trying to figure out how we could possibly trust Turkey is quite the head-scratcher; we’re just going to have to trust the likes of Marie Harf (a potential advisor for VP Biden should he run in the 2016 election) because she wears glasses and a “Masters Degree” – because, you know, this administration “knows more” than we do
Source: The ISIS Study Group

Other Related Articles:

Why Do We Still Consider Turkey an “Ally?”
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=7282

Is Turkey a Reliable Partner In The Fight Against ISIS?
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1916

Turkey Evacuates the Tomb of Suleiman Shah
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5051

Reports are Credible that Turkey Swapped 180 Islamic State Prisoners for its 46 Diplomats
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2461

Biden Turkey Visit Highlights the Failure of US Foreign Policy
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=3006

VP Biden Makes Apology to US Coalition Partners Turkey and UAE
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2446

Turks increasingly sympathetic to Islamic State – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2607

Update on the Baghdad and Kobane Fronts
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2516

Kurdish Fighters Help Islamic State Group Militants in Battle for Key Syrian Town of Kobani
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2544

Also see:

Is Kurdistan Rising?

The State of the Kurds  WSJ 6-20-15

NER, by Jerry Gordon, June 21, 2015:

In the Wall Street Journal Weekend edition, June 20-21, 2015, Yaroslav Trofimov writes of the possible rise of an independent Kurdistan, “The State of The Kurds”.  An independent Kurdistan was promised by the WWI Allies in the Treaty of Sevres that ended the Ottoman Empire in 1920. That commitment was dashed by the rise of Turkish Republic under the secularist Kemal Atatürk confirmed in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne denying an independent Kurdistan in what is now Eastern Turkey. Combined a future Kurdistan encompassing eastern Turkey, Northern Syria, northwest Iran and northern Iraq might comprise a landlocked republic of 30 million with significant energy and agricultural resources.  The rise of Kurdistan is reflected in these comments in the Trofimov WSJ review article:

Selahattin Demirtas, Chairman of the HDP party in Turkey:

The Kurds’ existence was not recognized; they were hidden behind a veil. But now, after being invisible for a century, they are taking their place on the international stage. Today, international powers can no longer resolve any issue in the Middle East without taking into account the interests of the Kurds.

Tahir Elçi, a prominent Kurdish lawyer and chairman of the bar in Diyarbakir, Turkey:

In the past, when the Kurds sought self-rule, the Turks, the Persians and the Arabs were all united against it. Today that’s not true anymore—it’s not possible for the Shiite government in Iraq and Shiite Iran to work together against the Kurds with the Sunni Turkey and the Sunni ISIS. In this environment, the Kurds have become a political and a military power in the Middle East.

Elçi, amplifies a concern that Sherkoh Abbas, leader of the Kurdish National Syria Assembly (KURDNAS) has expressed in several NER interviews an articles with him:

The PKK has made important steps to adopt more democratic ways. But you cannot find the same climate of political diversity in [Kurdish] Syria as you find in [northern Iraq], and this is because of PKK’s authoritarian and Marxist background. This is a big problem.

As effective as the KRG government and peshmerga have been in pushing back at ISIS forces threatening the capital of Erbil, the real problem is the divisiveness in the political leadership. That is reflected in the comment of  Erbil province’s governor, Nawaf Hadi cited by Trofimov:

For 80 years, the Arab Sunni people led Iraq—and they destroyed Kurdistan. Now we’ve been for 10 years with the Shiite people [dominant in Baghdad], and they’ve cut the funding and the salaries—how can we count on them as our partner in Iraq?” All the facts on the ground encourage the Kurds to be independent.

That renewed prospect reflects the constellation of  events in Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

Supporters cheer Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, HDP, in Istanbul, Turkey, in May, 2015. Source: Emrah Gurel/AP

Supporters cheer Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, HDP, in Istanbul, Turkey, in May, 2015. Source: Emrah Gurel/AP

Read more

Also see:

President Obama’s Failed ISIS Strategy in Iraq

ISIS Controlled Areas in Syria and Iraq and US Force Concentrations Source: Institute for the Study of War

ISIS Controlled Areas in Syria and Iraq and US Force Concentrations
Source: Institute for the Study of War

NER, by Jerry Gordon, June 11, 2015:

No “completed Strategy against ISIS”. 

At a press conference  during   the recent  G-7 Summit in Germany,  the President was queried about whether he had a strategy for “degrading and defeating” the forces of the Islamic State or ISIS that has  conquered   huge swaths of both Syria and Iraq. He said  “we don’t yet have a completed strategy”.  He had been given options by an increasingly frustrated Pentagon.  On July 9, 2015, the White House announced an expansion of 3,100 advisers currently training Iraqi National forces in Iraq, a new complement of 500 trainers would be added to be based at the Al-Asad military complex in the remaining portion of predominately Sunni Anbar Province not yet conquered by ISIS.

The White House may have desperately realized that it needed to spare the Sunnis in Anbar sectarian bloody clashes with Iranian-trained Shia militia ranging about the perimeter of ISIS-occupied Ramadi. This is a throwback to the  successful US troop surge  and Sunni Awakening  in Iraq in  2006 to 2007 that vanquished ISI predecessor Al Qaeda in Iraq at the cost of S20 billion.  But, this time to do the impossible to be accomplished with a ‘surge’ of less than 500 trainers this time.  The skepticism of any effective action by the US against ISIS ,that routed Iraqi national forces at Ramadi receiving   another ‘inadvertent’ complement of US vehicles and weapons left behind by fleeing Iraqi troops , is dim at best.  ISIS used captured  US MRAP vehicles as  suicide  Vehicular  Borne  Improvised  Explosive  Devices (VBIEDs) to shatter whole sections  of the front lines sending Iraqi forces fleeing.  Witness the  statement on the fall of Ramadi to ISIS by outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, “Setbacks are regrettable but not uncommon in warfare. Much effort will now be required to reclaim the city.” Adding to this debacle is the US complicit recognition of Iran’s role in the conflict reported sending 11,000 troops to bolster the defense of the Baghdad capital area and predominately Shia southeastern region of the fractured country.   Iran’s Quds Force Commander Suleymani boasted he knows how to defeat ISIS, saying “Obama hasn’t done a damn thing to fight ISIS”. That was reflected in comments by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) who commented on the President’s announcement:

One has to wonder whether this President just wants to wait out the next year and a half and basically do nothing to stop this genocide, bloodletting, horrible things that are happening throughout the Middle East.

Kurdish Peshmerga with captured ISUS Flag, May 2015 Source:  CNN

Kurdish Peshmerga with captured ISUS Flag, May 2015
Source: CNN

Depriving the Iraqi Kurds of Resources for the only effective fighting force, the Peshmerga.

There was an embarrassing moment at the G-7 Summit depicting Obama turning his back on Iraqi Premier Al-Abadi seated on the same garden bench, patiently waiting his turn to speak with the President.  Watch this YouTube video clip.

That “inadvertently’ communicated a message about the President’s intent to evade any commitment of US boots on the ground to shore up the sectarian riven Iraq.  Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter in late May 2015 said the fall of Ramadi to ISIS “demonstrated   no will to fight by Iraqi Shia national forces”.  Their flight and abandonment of more US supplied equipment and vehicles forced tens of thousands of the city’s Sunni population to flee across a rickety bridge to the Baghdad capital region.

Ironically, the only effective fighting force holding the line against ISIS has been the 160,000 Kurdish Peshmerga.  The US has yet to force Al-Abadi’s regime to allocate critically required weapons, ammunition, anti-tank missiles and mobile artillery for the Peshmerga, that his national security forces have left behind on both Mosul and Ramadi to supply ISIS.   Peshmerga forces with limited US assistance have disrupted an ISIS supply line from Syria and surrounded the fallen City of Mosul   on three sides with over 1 million virtually imprisoned inhabitants. Yet, with ISIS digging a deep trench around the circumference of Mosul any ability to recapture Iraq’s second largest city will be virtually impossible. The Peshmerga have relied on limited supplies of weapons purchased from the U.K., French and the Germans. The German have supplied the highly effective anti-tank missile, the Milan.  But without direct supply of weapons and ammunition, Kurds are getting panicky.

The problem for the Kurdish regional Government is compounded  by  the Al-Abadi central government in Baghdad reneged  on an agreement made last December allowing the Kurds to export 550,000 barrels of oil a day in exchange for a 17% share of the budget.  Ashti Hawrami, the Kurdish oil minister at a conference in London June 9, 2015 was cited by the Wall Street Journal saying , “The fight against ISIS across several thousand kilometers of front line cannot happen if you don’t have the economic means to do it. When we have three months of Peshmerga fighters not being paid, it’s very difficult to see how this can be sustained”.  The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) has been paid less than $2 billion of the approximate $5.7 Billion due from the central Iraqi government. On top of that foreign oil operators in the KRG controlled   oil fields are owed another $3 billion.

Looks like the President and his National Security advisers lost out on an opportunity at the G-7 Summit to force the Al-Abadi government to release funds to the Kurds to pay for Peshmerga operations and provide for much needed weapons.  We argued in an August 2014 Iconoclast post  that a possible source of US weapons and munitions lies 630 miles away from the KRG capital of Erbil in Israel.  It is the US War Reserve Stockmaintained in the Jewish state for use by American forces. The Israelis had a historic role in the 1960’s and 1970’s training Kurdish irredentist forces in Iraq until Henry Kissinger kyboshed it when the late Shah of Iran signed a treaty with the late Saddam Hussein.  The US allied with the late dictator during the Iran Iraq War of the 1980’s that witnessed thousands of Kurds massacred in heinous chemical warfare attacks, as they had opted to support the Islamic Regime.  That reflects the perils of the Kurds not choosing the right strong horse during that conflict in the great game of the Middle East.

Given the Kurdish –led upset in the June 7, 2015 Turkish parliamentary elections, thwarting Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ambitions seeking broad authoritarian executive powers for his ceremonial Presidential post, the Kurds became geo-political players. Recognition of that should be reflected in the Iraqi KRG being granted full autonomy and recognition by the US coupled with designation as an important non-NATO ally thus returning it as a friend of Israel in the troubled region. That is unlikely to occur in the remaining 18 months of President Obama’s second and final term in office. Hopefully, a more trustworthy successor might achieve that. Until that occurs pressure has to be built by Congress to break the logjam to provide the KRG and Peshmerga with their rightful share of both funds and weapons to thwart the Islamic State ambitions.

A Game of Chicken in the Gulf of Aden

shipsNER, by Jerry Gordon and Ilana Freedman, April 24, 2015:

On the morning of April 21, 2015,   newspapers and media reporters trumpeted a headline that the Saudis were ending their month long air campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen.  The halt reflected concerns of the Obama Administration over the deteriorating situation in Yemen and the increasing role of Iran. The operation, named “Decisive Resolve”, allegedly led by the Saudi coalition with US administration backing, had destroyed a missile base, armored vehicles, and planes held by Houthi forces. The Houthi militias were allegedly allied with Yemeni strongman and former president of Yemen for over thirty years, 73-year old Ali Abdullah Saleh.  Saleh, who has survived political isolation, sanctions, civil war, and assassin attempts, created an alliance with the Houthis, his former enemies, in a bid to return to power in Yemen. Latest reports indicate that Saleh has left Yemen, perhaps to join party members in discussions with Saudi Arabia and coalition members of the Gulf Cooperation Council about resolving the conflict.

Saudi Air Strikes in Yemen WSJ 4-22-15

Since the Saudi air strikes began on March 26, more than 1,000 civilians have been killed. The Saudis were seeking to restore the internationally-recognized and US-backed President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who served as president of Yemen from February 2012 until January 2015, when he was forced to resign after Houthi rebels raided his home and put him under house arrest. He subsequently escaped and fled to Saudi Arabia just as the Kingdom-led coalition began an air campaign against Houthi rebels on March 26, 2015.

Only hours after the first announcement of the cessation of Saudi air strikes, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Washington Adel al-Jubeir appeared at an Embassy press conference to announce the resumption of limited air attacks.  The Ambassador told reporters:

The Houthis should be under no illusion that we will continue to use force in order to stop them from taking Yemen over by aggressive action. We are determined to protect the Yemeni people and counter any aggressive moves that the Houthis may undertake. When the Houthis or their allies make aggressive moves there will be a response. The decision to calm matters now rests entirely with them.

In view of continued Houthi fighting in the central city of Taiz and against secessionist forces in Aden on the southern coast. This phase of the Saudi operation in Yemen was named “Renewal of Hope”, and was launched amid reports that the Houthis have surrounded the city of Aden on three sides.  In a later press conference on April 22nd, al-Jubeir said, “We will not allow them to take Yemen by force.”

The Houthis quickly put out a statement seeking the lifting of Saudi air and naval operations, and offering to hold political talks under UN auspices.  The defiant Houthi threatened to invade Saudi Arabia if the bombing continues.

A flotilla of nine Iranian vessels, seven commercial vessels escorted by two Iranian frigates, exited the Persian Gulf slow steaming down the Sea of Arabia towards a rendezvous in the Gulf of Aden. Nine US vessels were already positioned there. Nevertheless, that group has been joined by the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), an aircraft carrier capable of carrying 90 F/A-18 fighter jets and helicopters. The Roosevelt was accompanied by the USS Normandy (CG-60), a guided-missile escort ship. They came from the Fifth Fleet base in Bahrain in the Gulf, presumably to shadow the Iranian flotilla.

The Saudis, with the aid of Egyptian naval vessels, have established a virtual blockade of Yemen preventing deliveries of food, civilian goods, and weapons from Houthi ally, Iran.   The UN Security Council passed a resolution barring the supply of advanced missiles to Yemen.

Pentagon Chief Ashton Carter made his first comments on the dispatch of the US carrier and guided missile cruiser to the Arabian Sea while on a trip to California.  Carter told them that “he was not prepared to say whether the U.S. would be willing to forcibly stop and board one of the Iranian ships if it tries to cross into Yemen.”  Further, he said:

We have options. We’re not at that point. We’re at the point of trying to get the parties back to the table.

Still, he said the U.S. is making it clear to Iran that “obviously fanning the flames or contributing to it by any party is not welcome to us.”

President Obama in an MSNBC interview said:

Right now, their ships are in international waters. What we’ve said to them is that if there are weapons delivered to factions within Yemen that could threaten navigation, that’s a problem. And we’re not sending them obscure messages — we send them very direct messages about it.

On the other hand, senior defense and military officials told NBC News that American warships were prepared to intercept the convoy of Iranian ships, because they were suspected of carrying weapons to Houthi rebel forces in Yemen.

Several versions of their mission have already been floated by various government offices. The White House, Pentagon and State Department have issued statements to the effect the US carrier battle group is there to monitoring sea lanes. White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said, “the principle goal is to maintain freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce in the Gulf of Aden and in the Red Sea”.

On the other hand, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren suggested that there could be a flight of refugees across the narrow Bab al Mandab that separates Yemen from the horn of Africa. The US naval vessels might be conveniently positioned to prevent a disaster similar to the one last weekend in the Mediterranean that witnessed over 700 people attempting to flee from war-torn Libya, drowned when the overloaded fishing boat capsized.

The stories may be inconsistent, but one thing is clear. If history is any measure, the Iranian flotilla is certain to be carrying weapons and supplies to aid the Houthi forces, not the humanitarian assistance they claim is to alleviate the Saudi and Egyptian blockade of Yemeni ports.  The US administration has been clear that the shadowing US naval forces have not been given orders to enable them to hail and board Iranian vessels. They are concerned that boarding the Iranian ships might create an incident that could threaten a successful outcome in the ongoing nuclear in which President Obama and  Secretary of State Kerry have invested so much effort. The negotiations the Administration appears committed to closing a deal offering so-called signing bonuses of $30 to 50 billion in release of oil revenues.

These statements by Pentagon and Administration spokespersons reflect the quandary in which the Administration now finds itself, and they can’t seem to get their story straight.  In the midst of problematic negotiations on a possible nuclear agreement with Iran, which the Administration appears to want to complete at all costs, the US is also allegedly backing Saudi Arabia with both intelligence and weapons in the fight against the Iran-backed Houthi.  The American position in this conflict is far from clear.

One possibility not mentioned in any of the media is the possibility that the American presence is neither to stop the Iranian ships, nor to board them, but to keep the other countries’ naval officers from boarding them. The purpose of this mission would be to maintain our nuclear negotiations with Iran moving forward without the suggestion of our threatening them in another theater.

The situation in the region is extremely complicated and America’s mission there is uncertain. While appearing to support the Saudi position, the US has also provided intelligence to the Houthi, ostensibly to ward off threat of a resurgent AQAP. And while appearing to be a deterrent to Iranian arms delivery to the Houthis, the massive American presence on the scene may be, in fact, a deterrent to other ships whose mission is to board the Iranian cargo ships should they approach the port in Aden.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is existentially concerned about Iranian expansion of its hegemony into Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, where Iranian Quds Force and Revolutionary Guard “consultants’ have been active in expanding their control. In Iraq, they have been training Shia militia in the war against the Islamic State.

In response to the Iranian threat, Saudi Arabia has undertaken action to subjugate the restive Shia majority in Bahrain, home port for the US Fifth Fleet, and in the oil rich Eastern Province with a large Shia population.  The Saudis are spending billions to complete security fences on its northern and Southern borders, and the Kingdom has reportedly mobilized 150,000 troops for possible action in Yemen.

The situation is the Arabian Sea is fluid. The latest reports indicate that despite the strong words from Iran, their ships have now turned around and are heading back toward the Strait of Hormuz. At this writing, they are reported to be heading east in the Arabian Sea, south of Salalah, Oman.

Failed US Policy    Less than a year ago, President Obama hailed Yemen as a foreign policy ‘success’ story in its drone campaign against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. But with the fall of Yemen’s capital Sana’a to Houthi forces and the flight of ousted President Hadi to Saudi Arabia, the vacuum in the country has been filled by open conflict between Sunni tribes loyal to AQAP, those units loyal to Hadi, and secessionist forces in Aden. America’s precipitous and humiliating departure from Yemen was more than proof that our policy had been anything but successful.

Effectively Yemen is a failed state.  When the mobs attacked it, the US Embassy closed in panic, leaving 4,000 American citizens stranded in a country that was rapidly falling into chaos and bloody fighting. The US special operations contingent decamped to Camp Lemonnier across the Bab al Mandab at AFRICOM headquarters in Djibouti.  The former US special ops Yemen bases were overrun and destroyed. Without local intelligence from within Yemen, the counterterrorism drone campaign against the AQAP was effectively been shut down.

The current game of chicken on the high seas in the Gulf of Aden is a dangerous one, not the least because it is difficult to understand what the end game is supposed to be. The problem now is that the Iranian Ayatollah and his Revolutionary Guards commanders may relish such a confrontation with the US, Saudi and Egyptian naval contingents to see who would blink first in the game of chicken.  Some might consider the Iranian flotilla as a possible causus belli. After all the UN Security Council adopted a resolution barring the shipment of missiles into Yemen.

The dangerous confrontation seems, for the moment, to be averted. Iran’s ships have turned back, perhaps temporarily. We don’t know why, or what their long range game plan may bring.

The irony the Administration found itself in over the looming confrontation in the Gulf of Aden was that the US might have had to rely on the Saudis and the Egyptians, both of whom America had supplied weapons to, but over whom the US now has little to no control.  The looming question is whether a satisfactory denouement with Iran would even be possible were Iran already a nuclear state.

That Iran is on the brink of acquiring nuclear weapons is no longer the question. All evidence points to this being the case, ongoing talks with P5+1 and the so-called 13 year ‘deal’ notwithstanding.  Latest reports say that Iran is on the ‘nuclear threshold’ with less than three months before it has full nuclear weapons capability. The Iranian nuclear threshold concerns the Saudis, Gulf Emirates, Egypt, and Israel. Israel has not been diffident in the past about intercepting and boarding commercial vessels carrying illicit cargoes of missiles from Iran supplying proxies Hamas and Hezbollah.

In the game of chicken still being played out in the Arabian Sea, it remains to be seen whether the Obama Administration has the resolve to stare down this latest move by Iran, or is the President more than likely blink first?

Ilana Freedman is a veteran intelligence analyst, specializing in Islamic and related sources of terrorism and their impact on the Western world. Jerry Gordon is a Senior Editor at the New English Review

***

Also see:

Brookings Study of ISIS Twitter Accounts Reveals US among Top Locations

Forbes _ISIS_Twitter_ statista  graphicNER, by Jerry Gordon, March 9, 2015:

A Brookings Institution examination of a complete data set of 20,000 ISIS Twitter accounts ranked Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria and US as the top four locations of twitter users, The ISIS Twitter Census: Defining and Describing the population of ISIS supporters on Twitter.   The authors of the ISIS Twitter census are J.M. Berger and Jonathan Morgan.  Berger “is a non-resident fellow with the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at Brookings and the author of Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam (Potomac Books, 2011) and ISIS: The State of Terror (Ecco, 2015).”  Morgan “is a technologist, data scientist, and startup veteran. He runs technology and product development at CrisisNET, Ushahidi’s streaming crisis data platform, and consults on machine learning and network analysis. Morgan is also co-host of Partially Derivative, a popular data science podcast.”  The Brookings ISIS Twitter project was “commissioned by Google Ideas and published by Brookings”.  The Brookings Saban Middle East Center think tank has had a close relationship with the Obama National Security Council. Use of social media by Islamic extremist groups like ISIS figured prominently in President Obama’s recent, Summit to Counter Violent Extremism. See our March 2015 NER article; Did President Obama’s Violent Extremism Conference Fail?

Notwithstanding the provenance of the Brookings Twitter Census report, the data and methodology are credible and revealing of  how ISIS and supporters use social media.  The authors noted three classes of Twitter users as a precaution interpreting the study results:

Covert supporters of ISIS:

Users who took medium to strong steps to conceal their support due to fear of prosecution or suspension by Twitter. Users who took only casual steps to disguise their support were generally detectable.

Pro-ISIS intelligence operatives:

Some users who follow accounts related to the enemies of ISIS, such as rival jihadists, would be coded as non-supporters under the conservative criteria we employed.

Anti-ISIS intelligence operatives:

These are accounts created to appear as ISIS supporters in order to allow ISIS’s enemies to monitor its activities, which would be coded as supporters (if done effectively).

twitter_location2

Locations of ISIS Twitter Accounts

Source: The ISIS Twitter Census, Brookings Institution, 2015

 

Here is the  Twitter Census Data Snapshot drawn from the Brookings study:

Best estimate of total number of overt ISIS supporter accounts on Twitter:

46,000

Maximum estimate of ISIS supporter accounts on Twitter:

90,000

Number of accounts analyzed for demographics information:

20,000

Estimated percentage of overt ISIS supporters in demographics data set:

93.2 percent (+/- 2.54 percent)

Period over which data was collected:

October 4 through November

27, 2014, with some seed data collected in late September 2014

Top Locations of Accounts:

“Islamic State,” Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, US

Most common year accounts were created:

2014

Most common month accounts were created:

September 2014

Number of accounts detected using bots and deceptive spam tactics:

6,216 using bot or spam technology for some tweets; 3,301 accounts were excluded from the Demographics Dataset for primarily sending bot or spam content

Average number of tweets per day per user:

7.3 over lifetime of account, 15.5 over last 200 tweets by user

Average number of tweets per user (Over lifetime of the Account):

2,219

Average number of followers:

1,004

Smartphone usage:

69 percent Android, 30 percent iPhone,

1 percent Blackberry

Among the principal findings from the Brookings Twitter Census were:

  • From September through December 2014, the authors estimate that at least 46,000 Twitter accounts were used by ISIS supporters, although not all of them were active at the same time.
  • Typical ISIS supporters were located within the organization’s territories in Syria and Iraq, as well as in regions contested by ISIS. Hundreds of ISIS-supporting accounts sent tweets with location metadata embedded.
  • Almost one in five ISIS supporters selected English as their primary language when using Twitter. Three quarters selected Arabic.
  • ISIS-supporting accounts had an average of about 1,000 followers each, considerably higher than an ordinary Twitter user. ISIS-supporting accounts were also considerably more active than non-supporting users.
  • A minimum of 1,000 ISIS-supporting accounts were suspended by Twitter between September and December 2014. Accounts that tweeted most often and had the most followers were most likely to be suspended.
  • Much of ISIS’s social media success can be attributed to a relatively small group of hyperactive users, numbering between 500 and 2,000 accounts, which tweet in concentrated bursts of high volume.

Based on their analysis, the authors concluded:

Recommend social media companies and the U.S government work together to devise appropriate responses to extremism on social media. Approaches to the problem of extremist use of social media, Berger and Morgan contend, are most likely to succeed when they are mainstreamed into wider dialogues among the broad range of community, private, and public stakeholders.

Our assessment is that given the close Brookings Middle East Center liaison with the Obama National Security Council and Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, Richard Stengel, the latter tasked with social media counter messaging,  that little follow will occur. That is reflected in Google sponsorship of this Brookings Twitter Census report and overarching concerns of social media like Facebook, Google YouTube, Twitter and  Instagram about maintaining Constitutional guarantees of free speech.  These social media would prefer to establish their own criteria for suspending terrorists and supporters accounts.  Monitoring and development of metadata from  ISIS Twitter supporters in the West, especially in the US and the UK, should be left to counter terrorism intelligence echelons or private groups like SITE Intelligence Group and effective individuals like our colleague Joseph Shahda. Congressional Homeland Security and Select Intelligence Committees should hold hearings and investigations into current terrorist social media surveillance, especially for those US ISIS accounts identified in the Brookings ISIS Twitter Census.

Also see:

Betting National Security on a Theory

IPT News
February 24, 2015

1137The debate over whether it’s a good idea to use phrases like “Islamic extremism” in fighting global terrorism took center stage last week as the White House hosted a summit to discuss what it generically calls “violent extremism.”

In a speech last Thursday at the summit, President Obama explained his rationale for eschewing references to terrorist groups’ Islamist ideology.

“Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy,” he said. “They try to portray themselves as religious leaders — holy warriors in defense of Islam. That’s why ISIL presumes to declare itself the ‘Islamic State.’ And they propagate the notion that America — and the West, generally — is at war with Islam. That’s how they recruit. That’s how they try to radicalize young people. We must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie. Nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek. They are not religious leaders — they’re terrorists.”

So accurately describing their ideology, or calling the terrorists “jihadists” grants them undo legitimacy as true representatives of the faith, the argument goes. The current policy aims to deny them that mantle.

That’s a theory. But there’s a key question no one seems to be asking: Does it work?

This is a continuation of a policy instituted during President George W. Bush’s second term, meaning it has been in place for more than seven years. If it is indeed the right, best policy, advocates should be able to point to tangible evidence to show its value.

Arguably, the Islamist ideology has never been more popular, given the flood of foreign fighters making their way to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State, or Boko Haram’s endless reign of terror in Nigeria. Hamas still enjoys strong support despite following policies which bring devastation to the people of Gaza.

And there is no mistaking the religious motivation driving these groups. Hamas is an acronym for the “Islamic Resistance Movement.” Boko Haram translates roughly to “Western education is sinful.” And the Islamic State has a whiff of religious affinity.

The Atlantic this month devoted 10,000 words to explaining the core Quranic ideology, with an emphasis on an apocalyptic prophecy, which drives the Islamic State’s brutality. It “follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior,” Graeme Wood explains.

That’s more challenging when that belief system is deliberately kept out of deliberations.

Jeffrey Bale, an associate professor who studies political and religious extremism at the Monterey Institute of International Studies’ Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies Program, called the continued emphasis on avoiding references to Islamic doctrine by Western leaders and pundits “absurd.”

The policy has “not had any discernably positive impact on dealing with the threats that such groups pose,” he said in an email to the Investigative Project on Terrorism. “On the contrary. The simple fact is that it is the Islamists, not Muslim moderates, who are winning the struggle for ideological hegemony throughout much of the Muslim world, and that Obama’s efforts to positively ‘re-set’ relations with the Islamic world have completely failed … In short, there is no evidence that this constant pandering to Islamist activists, these embarrassing efforts to whitewash Islamic history and doctrines, and the foolish insistence that jihadist groups have ‘nothing to do with Islam’ have had any beneficial effects. They have mainly served to confuse Western citizens about the extent and nature of the Islamist threat.”

Maajid Nawaz, a former radical who now tries to combat the narrative which fuels Islamist terrorism, argues the avoidance policy could be making things worse for everyone, including Muslims. In recent social media and television appearances, Nawaz, a co-founder of the London-based Quilliam Institute, calls it the “Voldemort Effect.”

Islam is a religion, he writes. Islamism is the attempt to make the laws of the religion supreme over a society. That’s the ideology that must be defeated, but that “cannot happen if you refuse to recognise it exists,” he wrote in a social media post addressed to Obama that he signed “a constantly betrayed liberal Muslim.”

If we dare not say its name, in other words, it can become more frightening to its foes and more alluring to prospective recruits.

In a recent appearance on Fox News, Nawaz expressed concern that this self-censorship actually makes life more difficult for the overwhelming majority of Muslims who reject terrorist brutality displayed by the Islamic State, Boko Haram, al-Qaida and others.

Non-Muslims in the West “they’re just petrified,” he said, “and that can lead to even more anti-Muslim hate crime. Because if they are unable to pinpoint specifically that we’re dealing with the Islamist ideology, in their ignorance they blame all Muslims. And of course then all Muslims face a backlash. So I think it’s better if we wish to protect mainstream Muslims from anti-Muslim hate crime to name the very specific ideology that we’re talking about, which is Islamism, and distinguish that from Islam the faith.

Nawaz is offering a theory, just like the people who advocate the policy embraced by the Obama administration. There’s a key distinction, however. As he describes in his autobiography, Nawaz helped recruit followers to Hizb ut-Tahrir, a group which dreams of a global caliphate and has been called a “conveyor belt” for jihadist terror. He knows which messages worked and which did not.

Some American Islamists showed last week that the Obama message is not working. They have criticized the White House summit as hostile toward Muslims despite the verbal contortions invoked to avoid that very reaction.

If we’re going to focus on extremist violence, they argue, the bigger threat to America is from right-wing, anti-government movements. It turns out the Department of Homeland Security is concerned about violence from “sovereign citizen” movements who believe they are exempt from state and federal laws.

But it would be wrong to talk about that, Linda Sarsour and Deepa Iyak wrote Feb. 17 in The Guardian.

“One thing is clear: the federal government’s one-note approach to countering violent extremism fosters distrust and hostility towards Muslim communities while disregarding threats to Americans’ safety from racist hate groups in the country.”

There is a key distinction, however. For the most part, sovereign citizen attacks are smaller scale, often erupting in what should be routine encounters with law enforcement officers. CNN cites a 2012 example involving a Louisiana traffic stop that led to a shootout between police and a father and his son.

What Islamist terrorists want, what they urge followers to carry out, are mass casualty attacks that can target specific groups deemed to have offended Islam or simply any place where many people gather.

The United States has rigidly followed a policy, going at times to uncomfortable lengths, to avoid putting a religious label on terrorism clearly driven by a rabid adherence to centuries-old Islamic theology. The uninterrupted flow of new recruits to the Islamic State indicates that the policy has not had the desired effect.

“American policymakers do not yet understand Islamism or what persuades young Muslims to join Jihad: sincere religious devotion based on the core texts of Islam, in particular early Islam’s politicized and aggressive period in Medina (compared to Islam’s spiritual and ascetic period in Mecca),” Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim, writesin Time magazine.

“How does one tackle misguided religious devotion of young Muslims? The answer lies in reforming Islam profoundly—not radical Islam, but mainstream Islam; its willingness to merge Mosque and State, religion, and politics; and its insistence that its elaborate system of Shariah law supersedes civil laws created by human legislators.”

For the West, the sanitized language and tap-dancing around the issue makes it impossible to fully understand the enemy’s motivation, writes Robert R. Reilly, a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council.

“You cannot go into a war of ideas without understanding the ideas you are at war with. Yet, throughout the two speeches, [Obama] never mentions the substance of the enemy’s ideas once,” Reilly writes. “…This is like saying, in World War II, that we were fighting the Nazi ideology, but never mentioning the thoughts of Friedrich Nietzsche, Alfred Rosenberg or Adolph Hitler. Or, during the Cold War, saying we are fighting the ideology of Communism, but never mentioning the ideas of Karl Marx, Lenin, or Stalin.”

Rather than continuing to do the same thing and hope for a better outcome, perhaps it is time to listen to the Muslim reformers asking for a more honest, tough love approach. Terrorists are committing acts of barbarism daily in the name of Islam. That doesn’t mean all, or even most, Muslim see the same commands in their faith.

It might delegitimize terrorists more to emphasize how most of their victims are fellow Muslims, and to clearly draw the lines between the terrorists and the hundreds of millions of Muslims who reject their savagery.

It’s a theory, anyhow.

President Obama: “We are not at war with Islam” – but is Radical Islam at War with Us?

ISIS Foreign Fighters Source: ADL

ISIS Foreign Fighters Source: ADL

NER, by Jerry Gordon, Feb. 19, 2015:

On Wednesday, February 18, 2014 at a White House Summit, President Obama presented his views on countering “violent extremism”.  He suggested that Islamic terrorists misappropriate Islamic doctrine, exploit disaffected youths in communities across the US and globally throughout the Ummah- the community of Muslim believers. He suggested that youths prone to radicalization outside the US may be victimized by poverty, without job opportunities and oppressed by corrupt regimes. Countering violent extremism he suggests is a multi-pronged approach involving economic programs, political reform and community involvement to halt radicalization. His focus in the US was on creating community partnerships and pilot projects in several American cities, endeavoring to integrate Muslims in America, preserving and protecting their civil rights under our constitution against untoward surveillance. The President gathered Muslim and other religious clerics from the US and abroad, community leaders, law enforcement, homeland security officials, and high tech entrepreneurs seeking means of stopping radicalization of youths. Youths  attracted by the ‘successes’ of  the Islamic State blasted around the world via the internet,  tens of thousands of tweets, high production videos and on-line webzines in a number of languages including English.

Watch this C-Span video excerpt of the President’s remarks at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism:

Nowhere in his remarks , did  the President explain what the Islamic doctrine is that has attracted tens of thousands of foreign fighters, Americans  among them,  to be recruited to the cause of this self-styled Caliphate, the Islamic State (IS).  What he has called ISIL, the Islam State in the Levant (ISIL) is a reference to the broad geographic area that stretches from the Mediterranean coast of Israel to the shore of the Persian Gulf encompassing the Arabian Peninsula.   Those ‘successes’ include videos of the savagery perpetrated against the hated Kuffars, Infidels, including Christians, Jews, ancient religious minorities and apostate Muslims.  Those videos show barbaric beheadings, burnings, crucifixions, mass shootings and enslavement.   The President mentioned recent incidents in Paris, Copenhagen, Ottawa and Sydney of attacks on victims without naming the victims; leftists, free thinkers, Christians and Jews. Neither did he identify the perpetrators.  He used the unfortunate murder of three Muslims in North Carolina by an alleged atheist insinuating that it may have been a hate crime equivalent to Antisemitism.  Interestingly, 60 percent of FBI hate crimes reported involve Antisemitic acts, such as vandalism spray painted on garage doors in Madison, Wisconsin last weekend.  Less than 12 percent of such FBI reports involve hate crimes against Muslims.   Coincidentally, the ADL, which the White House invited to the Summit, released a report,   Homegrown Islamic Extremism in 2014, identifying American Muslims involved in perpetrating violent hate crimes and others arrested in the process of leaving to join IS.

February 18th coincided with Ash Wednesday in the Christian calendar signifying the onset of the 40 days of Lent.  The ashes of burned palm fronds dobbed on the foreheads of professing Christians as an emblem of penitence reflects the biblical injunction about the fragility of life   as stated in   Genesis: 3:19: “For dust you are and to dust you shall return.”   Notice of recent atrocities committed against Christians by IS was reflected in remarks of Pope Francis in Rome and Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington.  Pope Francis remarked   about the by masked IS followers on the shores  of Libya beheading of 21 Coptic Christians communicating a message to all Nations of the Cross that conquest of Rome could follow, “ they are Christians, the  blood of our brothers and sisters cries out.” Following the slaughter of Christians in Libya IS perpetrated in Iraq, a barbaric burning alive of 45 Kurdish captives held in cages.

Just prior to the mid-February White House Summit, The Atlantic Magazine published an article by Graeme Wood, What ISIS Really Wants.  The subtext capsules the arguments propounded   by Wood:

The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.

Bill Warner of the Center for the Study of Political Islam in an email exchange with this writer after reading the Wood Atlantic article commented, “This is a jump in level. First, [Bill] Mahr and now this. The lib/progressive clue phone is ringing.”  Russian historian at Connecticut Central State University, Professor Jay Bergman, wrote, “I read it.  Superb.  The [President] should read it.  But of course…he won’t.”

According to Wood, IS bases all of its power and authority on a strict adherence to a Salafi literal interpretation of Islam and Sharia law, with almost a total focus on the doctrine of Tawhid.  Tawhid calls for strict adherence to the laws of Allah as revealed by the Prophet Mohammed. Further that  all man-made laws and systems must be rejected.  IS considers, any Muslim who  doesn’t adhere  to the doctrine of  Tawhid , an infidel, including “core Al Qaeda” and other Salafists who object to IS public displays  of savagery.

Wood reveals the Tawhid doctrine of IS citing spokesman Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani and   Western experts like Professor Bernard Heykal at Princeton.  Wood interviewed proponents of these same Salafist Jihadist views exemplified by “prophetic methodology” of the exemplar Mohammed, Allah’s messenger.  Among  leading Salafists in the west  interviewed  by  Wood  is Sheik Anjem Choudary in the UK, a subject of monitoring by Mi-5 for his radical views.  Wood’s interview with Australian radical Muslim preacher and IS recruiter Musa Cerantonio, reveals the apocalyptic end time vision espoused by Salafists.   Wood explains how doctrine IS is faithful  to foundational  Islam anchored in Sharia and Islamic legal rulings, frequently citing them in conduct of its feats of savage barbarity. He also notes how  the leaders of the Islamic State, considers the leaders of  the Muslim Brotherhood , Al Qaeda and even other Salafists  as takfir, apostates, subject to death  fatwas.

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