Congress Considers Bill to “Stop Arming Terrorists”

The New American, by Alex Newman, March 14, 2017:

A bipartisan bill to prohibit U.S. taxpayer funding and arming of terrorist groups and their associates is making progress in Congress, most recently having a companion bill introduced in the Senate by popular liberty-minded U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.). The legislation, originally sponsored in the House by Democrat Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, takes aim at lawless U.S. government “regime change” schemes overseas that often involve providing money, weapons, training, and other support to savage terror organizations. High-profile voices on both sides of the aisle have joined forces to get the bill passed into law. Of course, aiding designated terror groups is already a serious crime, but for whatever reasons, the laws have not been enforced against federal officials.

In particular, the new legislation, known as H.R. 608 in the House, bans the provision of any assistance by the federal government to al-Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, and the Islamic State, sometimes known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh. The “Stop Arming Terrorists Act,” as it is being dubbed, would also prohibit official U.S. aid to any individual or group affiliated with, associated with, or cooperating with any of the proscribed terror organizations. Finally, the legislation bans any funds to state sponsors of those groups, which would ensnare a number of ostensible U.S. government “allies.” The director of national intelligence would be in charge of making the determinations, in consultation with the appropriate congressional committees. Providing anything from cash and weapons to training and intelligence would be prohibited under the bill.

Senator Paul, a leading constitutionalist and non-interventionist in Congress, introduced the “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” last week in the Senate as S. 532. “One of the unintended consequences of nation-building and open-ended intervention is American funds and weapons benefiting those who hate us,” Senator Paul said in a statement announcing that the companion legislation to the House measure had been filed. “This legislation will strengthen our foreign policy, enhance our national security, and safeguard our resources.” Like his father, retired Congressman and GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, Senator Paul has been a longtime critic of the U.S. government’s illegal policies arming terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda.

At this point the evidence of U.S. government support for terrorists is overwhelming, with President Trump going so far as to call Obama and Hillary Clinton co-founders of ISIS. As The New American has documented extensively, official U.S. intelligence documents show that multiple Western and Islamic governments allied with Washington, D.C., have also supported ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other terror groups in Syria. In fact, the Obama administration was exposed in Pentagon documents supporting jihadist terrorists in Syria from the beginning. A 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report revealed that the Obama administration knew al-Qaeda was leading the rebellion in Syria, supported it anyway, and that one of the goals of supporting the terrorist-led “revolution” was to create a “salafist principality,” today known as the Islamic State, in Eastern Syria.

“The West, Gulf countries [the Islamic regimes ruling Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, etc.], and Turkey support the Syrian opposition,” explains the Pentagon report, adding that “al-Qaeda” and other terrorists are the “major forces driving the insurgency” against Syrian despot Bashar al-Assad. “There is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist [fundamentalist Islam] principality in Eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime.” Of course, that is exactly what happened when ISIS declared the establishment of its “caliphate” in Eastern Syria and parts of Iraq.

Top U.S. intelligence officials later confirmed publicly that, despite being advised not to by military officials, Obama deliberately aided terrorists under the guise of helping “moderate” jihadists overthrow Assad. Former DIA chief Michael Flynn, who led the military-intelligence agency at the time, told Al Jazeera that Obama and other top officials knew exactly what they were doing. “I don’t know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision,” said Flynn, who went on to serve for a short period as Trump’s national security advisor. “I think it was a willful decision.” The interviewer, Mehdi Hasan, sounded shocked at the frankness and the enormity of the revelation that Obama was willfully aiding terrorists. But Flynn stood firm.

The Republican and Democrat lawmakers behind the bill stop arming terrorists seem to recognize those facts, too. “For years, the U.S. government has been supporting armed militant groups working directly with and often under the command of terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government,” Representative Gabbard, the chief sponsor of the bill, said in a statement. “Rather than spending trillions of dollars on regime change wars in the Middle East, we should be focused on defeating terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, and using our resources to invest in rebuilding our communities here at home.”

Gabbard, who traveled to Syria on a fact-finding mission this year and met with government, religious, and opposition leaders, has been very outspoken about the the U.S. government’s lawless and disastrous intervention in that conflict on behalf of terror groups. “Their message to the American people was powerful and consistent: There is no difference between ‘moderate’ rebels and al-Qaeda (al-Nusra) or ISIS  —  they are all the same,” Gabbard said, adding that the conflict in Syria is basically “a war between terrorists under the command of groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda and the Syrian government.”

Ironically, then-Vice President Joe Biden and other top U.S. officials admitted the same thing, even while their boss was sending weapons and money to designated terror groups. When asked in Senate testimony whether any “major” U.S. allies supported ISIS, for example, then-U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey noted that it is even worse than that. “I know major Arab allies who fund them,” he said. Under the proposed legislation, any of those “Arab allies,” mostly Sunni Islamic dictatorships, would be cut off from U.S. taxpayer assistance, and especially military assistance.

Speaking at Harvard, meanwhile, Biden admitted that “there was no moderate middle” among the Syrian “rebels,” flatly contradicting Obama. Biden also explained that the “anti-ISIS” coalition armed and created ISIS. “What my constant cry was that our biggest problem was our allies…. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands, of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight,” Biden said. “Except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.” Those terrorists went on to become ISIS, Biden said.

For Representative Gabbard and the group of bipartisan lawmakers joining her effort to end U.S. taxpayer support for terror groups, it is time to ensure that no more American wealth goes to support the savagery of terrorists wreaking havoc across the Middle East. “The fact that American taxpayer dollars are being used to strengthen the very terrorist groups we should be focused on defeating should alarm every Member of Congress and every American,” she said. “We call on our colleagues and the Administration to join us in passing this legislation.” So far, a solid group of lawmakers including constitutionalists such as Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Ted Yoho of Florida, along with a number of progressives, have joined forces with Gabbard to support the legislation.

The aunt of dead Syrian boy who washed up on a beach and whose picture was circulated worldwide has also announced her support for the legislation. Speaking at a press conference alongside Gabbard, she said arming terrorists was only making matters worse. “[Representative] Tulsi understands that arming the so-called rebels in Syria has only led to more bloodshed, more suffering, and created more refugees,” Tima Kurdi, the aunt, said in a widely quoted statement. “A military solution in Syria is not the answer. I hope that President Trump will stop arming terrorists and commit to a political solution in Syria — it is the only way to restore peace.”

While the legislation is admirable, it should be common sense that American tax money should not be flowing to savage terrorist groups, dictatorships, or terror affiliates. In fact, providing material support to designated terror organizations is already a serious crime under federal law, and there are no exceptions provided in the relevant statutes for government officials. That means a significant number of senior officials across multiple U.S. administrations could be subject to prosecution, if existing law were to be enforced. The American people must demand that Congress and the entire U.S. government obey the Constitution and follow the noninterventionist advice of America’s Founders.

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter@ALEXNEWMAN_JOU. He can be reached at anewman@thenewamerican.com.

Known Wolf Terrorism: A Dozen Cases of FBI Failure on Obama’s Watch

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PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, Sept. 28, 2016:

FBI Director James Comey was called-out by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) this week on the growing problem of what I have termed “Known Wolf” terrorism – an act of terror committed by someone already known to law enforcement.

During a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on Tuesday, Comey said the FBI is reviewing the missed opportunities in both the recent NY-NJ bombing and the mass killing in Orlando in June.

But as seen in the video of the exchange between Comey and Sen. Paul, the FBI director seemed unconcerned about the problem.

Sadly, “Known Wolf” terrorism is rising rapidly, with four such incidents already this year and a dozen incidents during the Obama administration.

In fact, virtually every Islamic terror attack under President Obama’s watch has been by a “Known Wolf” suspect.

As my friend and PJ Media colleague, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, noted here last week for years the Obama administration has pushed a narrative that Islamic terrorists operating in the U.S. were “lone wolves” – striking out of nowhere and without warning.

But in virtually every case these “lone wolves” were already on law enforcement’s radar, and in some cases, had been placed on the terror watch lists.

As I’ve noted here at PJ Media going back to October 2014, the “lone wolf” canard was spun by the Obama administration to exonerate themselves whenever one of these terror attacks occurred.

However the “Known Wolf” terrorism problem is finally being addressed. Senator Jim Lankford (R-OK) is in the process of conducting a six-month investigation into the break down in these cases.

And this past Saturday, a New York Post board editorial noted my identification and two year documentation the “Known Wolf” problem in the West:

FBI Director James Comey notes that searching for lone wolves is like “looking for needles in a national haystack.” But Rahami was less a lone wolf than what Pat Poole at PJ Media calls a “known wolf” — i.e., someone who had been flagged by authorities but then forgotten.Poole cites at least eight other such “known wolves” — including the Underwear Bomber, the Fort Hood shooter and perps in the Orlando nightclub massacre and Boston Marathon bombing as well as jihadis in Garland, Texas; Little Rock, Ark.; Seattle; West Orange, NJ; and Columbus, Ohio.

In fact, there have been a dozen “Known Wolf” terrorism cases on the Obama administration’s watch:

New York-New Jersey: After stabbing a family member in 2014, September 2016 NY-NJ bomber Ahmad Rahami‘s father told New Jersey police that his son was a terrorist, which prompted the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force to open an assessment and Rahami was flagged in the FBI’s Guardian system. The arresting officer told the court that Rahami was likely “a danger to himself and to others,” but no charges were filed. At some point a neighbor contacted authorities concerned that associates of Rahami were trying to procure explosives.

Roanoke, VA: In August 2016, Wasil Farooqi attacked a couple outside their apartment complex shouting “Allah Akhbar” and repeatedly stabbing the couple. He was caught when he arrived at the hospital to have his own injuries treated. While the media has played up his claims to have been “hearing voices” leading up to the attack, he had been on the FBI’s radar after he had traveled to Germany and Turkey, and had attempted to enter Syria, possibly to join ISIS there, but was never charged for the attempt.

Orlando: The mass killer who attacked at The Pulse nightclub in June 2016, Omar Mateen had been interviewed by the FBI on three separate occasions, including an open preliminary investigation in 2013 lasting 10 months, after telling others about mutual acquaintances shared with the Boston bombers and making extremist statements. He was investigated again in 2014 for his contacts with a suicide bomber who attended the same mosque. At one point Mateen was placed on two separate terrorism databases but was later removed.Columbus, OH: In February 2016 when Mohamed Barry attacked patrons with a machete at an Israeli-owned deli and later charged police shouting “Allahu Akhbar,” at which time he was shot and killed, he hadalready been investigated by the FBI for making extremist statements. Barry had been entered on a federal watch list and it appears remained on it until the time of the attack as his car had been flagged by authorities, but no further investigation was made.

Garland, TX: In May 2015, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi were killed in a shootout with law enforcement outside a convention center where they had planned to attack a Muhammad cartoon drawing contest. But Simpson had been known to the FBI for years before going back to his involvement in a terror cell in Phoenix. He was even prosecuted for his involvement, and while a judge found that the had lied to the FBI about his plans overseas, he ruled that there was not sufficient evidence to prove Simpson intended to commit terrorism. He was subsequentlyplaced on the no-fly list, and the FBI opened up another investigation after he had made statements online in support of the Islamic State. Remarkably, evidence in a related terrorism trial revealed that the FBI not only had a paid informant inside the cell, the informant was aware of the attack plans and was reportedly on the scene at the time of the attack.

Columbus, OH: In May 2014, Zakia Nasrin, her husband Jaffrey Khan, and Zakia’s younger brother Rasel Raihan traveled to the capital city of the Islamic State, Raqqa, Syria, to join the terror group. According to U.S. intelligence officials, Rasel was killed there. Jaffrey and Rasel werealready known as extremists by the FBI after an informant’s tip. Suspicions were further raised when Jaffrey and Zakia claimed to have “lost” their passports while in Kenya. Rasel admitted to friends that he had been interviewed by the FBI. The report also claims that they were indeed on the terror watch list. And at the height of ISIS recruitment of Muslim-Americans, the FBI took no measures to prevent their travel to Syria.

Seattle, Newark: From April-June 2014, Ali Muhammad Brown went on a cross-country killing spree murdering 3 victims in Washington and another in New Jersey claiming that they were “vengeance” for U.S. actions in the Middle East. As a teenager Brown had reportedly trained at one of the first known U.S. terror training camps, and was later arrested in 2004 as part of a Seattle terror cell. At the time of his killing spree, prosecutors said he was on the terror watch list.

Boston: Prior to the bombing of the Boston Marathon by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in April 2013 that killed three people and injured 264 others, the FBI had been tipped off, twice, by Russian intelligence warning that Tamerlan was “a follower of radical Islam.” Initially, the FBI denied ever meeting with Tamerlan, but they later claimed that they followed up on the lead, couldn’t find anything in their databases linking him to terrorism, and quickly closed the case. After the second Russian warning, Tamerlan’s file was flagged by federal authorities demanding “mandatory” detention if he attempted to leave or re-enter the U.S. — but his name was misspelled when it was entered. An internal report of the handling of the Tsarnaev’s case unsurprisingly exonerated the FBI.

Underwear Bomber: When Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded Detroit-bound Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day 2009 with 289 other passengers wearing a bomb intended to bring down the plane, he was already well-known to U.S. intelligence officials. The month before the attempted bombing, Abdulmutallab’s father had gone to the U.S. embassy in Nigeria and met with two CIA officers telling them he wasconcerned about his son’s extremism. His name was added to the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) database, but not the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database or the no-fly list. When asked about the near-takedown of the flight and the missteps, then-Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano remarkably told CNN that “the system worked.”

Fort Hood: Within days of Major Nidal Hasan’s November 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, killing 13, news reports indicated that the FBI was aware of his email correspondence with al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki nearly a year before he launched his terror attack. The FBI was quick to issue a press release absolving themselves of responsibility, claiming that the email exchange was innocuous and consistent with Major Hasan’s religious research. But after the emails intercepted by the FBI were made public in 2012, there were clear indications of Major Hasan’s terrorist intent. Hasan had also repeatedly given PowerPoint briefings that proved to be highly controversial to his fellow Army colleagues because they threatened insider attacks by Muslims if they weren’t released as “conscientious objectors.”

New York City: On September 10, 2009, Najibullah Zazi drove his car into Manhattan loaded with backpack bombs intending to bomb the New York City Subway during rush hour. Zazi had received training from al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in 2008 and orders to conduct a domestic terror attack. British intelligence subsequently intercepted an emailbetween a senior al-Qaeda leader and Zazi inquiring about when he was going to conduct the attack and alerted American officials. The FBI then began conducting surveillance on Zazi, and followed him as he drove from Colorado to New York, during which time he lost the FBI tail (requiring FBI agents to fly to St. Louis to catch up with him), was stopped twice by police along the way, and then had his car searched on the George Washington Bridge by New York and New Jersey Port Authority police at the request of the FBI. The explosive device in the trunk was not discovered in the trunk because the trunk was never searched, most likely because the FBI had failed to obtain a search warrant. As Mitch Silber noted in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, the FBI allowed Zazi to drive into New York City with the bomb. Spooked by the stops and the search, and then by a tip from an imam who told Zazi that authorities were asking about him, Zazi disposed of the bomb materials in a toilet at a local mosque and flew back to Colorado, where he was arrested several days later. Despite the FBI’s repeated bungling of the case, the bureau publicly tried to pin the blame on the NYPD.

Little Rock: When Carlos Leon Bledsoe gunned down two U.S. Army soldiers in front of a Little Rock recruiting center in June 2009, killing Pvt. William Long, it was not his first contact with the FBI. Bureau agents had interviewed Bledsoe in Yemen and after his return to the U.S. in 2008, but had failed to follow up. After the Little Rock shooting, FBI officials said that he was motivated by “political and religious motives,” but refused to identify the incident as a terrorist attack.

In virtually every single Islamic terror attack inside the U.S. since Obama took office, excepting Chattanooga and San Bernardino both last year, the suspects were extremists already known to the FBI. And in the case of San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik, she had been vetted by the U.S. government in June 2014and given a K-1 visa, though the FBI believes she had already been radicalized by then.

So after two years of reporting here at PJ Media on the ongoing “Known Wolf” terrorism problem, it seems that some members of Congress are beginning to begin to acknowledge problem.

Oct. 24, 2014: ‘Lone Wolf’ or ‘Known Wolf’: The Ongoing Counter-Terrorism Failure

Dec. 15, 2014: Sydney Hostage Taker Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ SyndromeJan. 7, 2015: Paris Terror Attack Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Feb. 3, 2015: French Police Terror Attacker Yesterday Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Feb. 15, 2015: Copenhagen Killer Was yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Feb. 26, 2015: Islamic State Beheader ‘Jihadi John’ Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Apr. 22, 2015: Botched Attack on Paris Churches Another Case of “Known Wolf” Terrorism

May 4, 2015: Texas Attack Is Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

June 26, 2015: France’s Beheading Terrorist Was Well-Known By Authorities

July 16, 2015: Report: Chattanooga Jihadist Was Yet Another ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorist, Anonymous Feds Dispute

Aug. 22, 2015: European Train Attacker Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Oct 14, 2015: Yet Again: Turkey, Israel Terror Attacks Committed by “Known Wolves”

Nov 14, 2015: One Paris Attacker Was Previously Known to Authorities, Marks Fifth ‘Known Wolf” Attack in France This Year

Feb 16, 2016: Machete Attack in Ohio Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

May 16, 2016: News Reports Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ U.S. Terrorists

June 12, 2016: Orlando Night Club Attack by “Known Wolf” Terrorist Previously Investigated by FBI

July 14, 2016: Senate Intelligence Committee to Investigate “Known Wolf” Terrorism Problem

July 26, 2016: ISIS Suspect in Normandy Priest’s Killing Already Known to French Authorities

August 10, 2016: Canadian ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorist Planned Suicide Bombing of Major City, Killed in Overnight Police Operation

August 19, 2016: Man Who Stabbed Rabbi Thursday in Strasbourg, France Involved in Prior Attack

Sept. 20, 2016: NY-NJ Bomber Ahmad Khan Rahami Already Known to Law Enforcement Authorities

Will there be adequate changes made inside the FBI to prevent future attacks by known suspects? It seems unlikely until there are consequences for the long catalogue of failure by FBI leadership.

But as I’ve documented here, the “Known Wolf” terrorism problem is the rule under the Obama administration, not the exception.

The Five Worst Foreign Policy Statements at Last Night’s GOP Debates

AP_153485696464-640x427Breitbart, by Frances Martel, Aug. 7, 2015:

As Republicans wake up from their first taste of a crowded and extremely accomplished field of 2016 candidates, many will praise the candidates for what will likely be remembered as one of the more substantive and combative debates in recent memory.

As foreign policy tends to be one of the issues on which Republicans agree the most– Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) notwithstanding– it serves as one of the best metrics for which to judge aspiring presidential candidates. After all, they will mostly be saying the same thing, so judging them on how they say it results much easier. While the candidates were much more eager to discuss immigration and the economy last night, viewers did get a taste of the urgency of the Republican Party to tackle radical Islamist terrorism. Some, like former Hewlett Packard executive Carly Fiorina, excelled by virtue of proposing real initiatives to combat both conventional and cyber-terrorism. Others, mostly thanks to a frustrating lack of specificity, floundered.

Below, the five most disappointing comments in both of Fox News’ Republican debates last night.

5. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX):

What we need is a commander in chief that makes — clear, if you join ISIS, if you wage jihad on America, then you are signing your death warrant… We need a president that shows the courage that Egypt’s President al-Sisi, a Muslim, when he called out the radical Islamic terrorists who are threatening the world.

Left to its own devices, this is a great soundbite for the campaign trail. We will kill the terrorists! We will be like Egyptian military strongman Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who ousted his Muslim Brotherhood predecessor before his country became another Libya! But what does any of this mean? Sen. Cruz did offer one bit of concrete policy: he would revoke the citizenship of any Americans fighting with the Islamic State. This is a necessary move and a welcome suggestion from Cruz but, the truth is, most ISIS terrorists aren’t American citizens, and the ones who attempt acts of terror on American soil have mostly been killedbefore revoking their citizenship would make a difference.

Calling radical Islamist terror what it is is a necessary first step that the White House has routinely refused to take, and it is reassuring that Sen. Cruz has no qualms about it. But then what?

4. Sen. Rand Paul:

I’ve been fighting amidst a lot of opposition from both Hillary Clinton, as well as some Republicans who wanted to send arms to the allies of ISIS. ISIS rides around in a billion dollars worth of U.S. Humvees. It’s a disgrace. We’ve got to stop — we shouldn’t fund our enemies, for goodness sakes.

This was, bafflingly, a major applause line at last night’s primetime debate, likely because the situation in which ISIS was born is so complicated many in the audience believed the American military was simply buying the Islamic State Humvees on the taxpayers’ dime.

Yes, the United States gave arms to Syrian rebels opposing President Bashar al-Assad, and destabilizing Syria further allowed for the expansion of the Islamic State. But much of the bulk of U.S. weaponry that has fallen into their hands has been captured from the Shiite Iraqi army operating out of Baghdad– that’s where the Humvees came from. The Shiites are not ISIS’s allies; they are “rafidi infidels.” The Iraqi army is largely a failure, yet, largely out of a desire to see the state of Iraq continue existing, America continues to fund Baghdad.

Solving the ISIS problem would be much easier if all we had to do was stop giving ISIS money.

3. Gov. Mike Huckabee:

The purpose of the military is kill people and break things.

This comment, especially provocative when out of context, was an attempt to reject the idea of allowing servicemen and women to receive sex change treatments on the taxpayers’ dime while in active service. Not spending more money on sex changes may resonate with Republican voters, but reducing the vital and extremely complex services our troops provide the world over to killing people and breaking things?

The Army Corps of Engineers employs 37,000 servicemen dedicated to constructing facilities for both military and emergency purposes, to protect from natural disasters and protecting the nation’s nature areas. Military medical professionals specialize in a wide variety of fields and work to keep our troops healthy as they serve. American soldiers have been pivotal in aiding those harmed by the southeast Asian tsunami in 2004, fighting the Ebola outbreak in west Africa, and cleaning up after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Our troops are not the hordes of Genghis Khan. They do much more than kill people and break things.

2. Gov. Bobby Jindal:

We’re going to take the political handcuffs off the military. We will arm and train the Kurds. We will work with our Sunni allies. They know we will be committed to victory.

“Arming the Kurds” has become a popular shorthand for many conservatives who want to show they are serious about fighting ISIS, despite the fact that Kurdish groups have not had much success outside of Kurdish areas, and the odds of a successful mission in an Arab Sunni territory is very low. Kurdish forces have been without a doubt the most successful ground troops in fighting the Islamic State, particularly given that the most the Iraqi army has done to fight them is run away and hand them our Humvees. The problem with Gov. Jindal’s statement, particularly in light of the NATO member Turkey’s air campaign against multiple Kurdish factions, is that it is too vague. Which Kurds?

There’s the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a US-designated terrorist group of Marxist stripes that Turkey considers its arch nemesis. There are the People’s Protection Units of Syria– the YPG and YPJ– which have been among the most successful troops against ISIS. And there are the Peshmerga of Iraq, which have also conducted successful operations and made of Erbil the largest Iraqi city safe for Christians and Yazidis.

The YPG/YPJ wear the red star proudly and support the PPK; the Peshmerga under President Masoud Barzani do not.

Without specifying, Jindal may have just committed to arming a group whose propaganda looks like this:

 1. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC):

According to the generals that I know and trust, this air campaign will not destroy ISIL. We need a ground force in Iraq and Syria, and America has to be part of that ground force. According to the FBI and the director of national intelligence, Syria’s becoming a perfect platform to strike our nation. I’ve got a very simple strategy as your president against ISIL. Whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to defeat them.

It is perhaps the greatest failure of last night’s debate moderators that this comment went unchallenged. Graham got away with casually proposing a ground invasion of Syria using American troops that would last “as long as it takes.”

When the United States began its military actions in Iraq, there was a clear villain in power: Saddam Hussein. That nation’s leader was our enemy and an ally of our enemies, and we went in to take him out. Syria has a nominal leader, Bashar al-Assad, who is a mortal enemy of the Islamic State and is embroiled in a bitter, years-long civil war. Many of Syria’s religious minorities, the Christian Assyrians and Alawites, view Assad as the last line of defense against ISIS. An American ground invasion of Syria may very well force us into an alliance with Assad, a mass murderer who has used chemical weapons against civilians– and, by proxy, an alliance with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei. How does Sen. Graham square his opposition to the Iran deal with a plan to keep the Ayatollah’s favorite puppet dictator in power?

And if he wants to take down ISIS and Assad simultaneously– how, specifically, would we do that? And what is going to fill the resulting power vacuum? For all we know, Sen. Graham may have a strong answer to this; unfortunately, no one at Fox News cared to ask.

Also see:

Rand Paul Has a Point about Republicans and ISIS

pic_giant_053015_SM_Surge-Troops-GNRO by Andrew C. McCarthy, May 30, 2015:

Seems like Rand Paul always goes too far.

He could have made a perfectly respectable argument that the NSA’s metadata program is illegal because it exceeds the Patriot Act’s authority. Instead he speciously insists that the Patriot Act shreds the Fourth Amendment and the program is akin to Nixon-era “domestic spying.”

He could also have made a perfectly respectable — I would say, irrefutable — argument that there was strong bipartisan support for some reckless policies that significantly contributed to the rise of the Islamic State — the jihadist organization that now controls much of Iraq and Syria. Instead, the Kentucky Republican speciously claims that “hawks” in his own party “created” ISIS.

ISIS is a creation of Islamic-supremacist ideology, which is drawn directly from Muslim scripture. Part of the reason that Senator Paul is no improvement over the Republicans he often derides is that he is just as wrong as they are about the threat we face.

In their infatuation with Muslim engagement, Beltway Republicans imagine a monolithic, smiley-face Islam — a “religion of peace” that seamlessly accommodates Western liberalism . . . except where it has been “hijacked” by “violent extremists.” Indeed, long before President Obama came along, it was the Bush administration that endeavored to purge terms like “jihadism” from our lexicon, even assuring us: “The fact is that Islam and secular democracy are fully compatible — in fact, they can make each other stronger.”

Thankfully, Senator Paul does not seem to have gulped that Kool-Aid. Yet, his anti-government populism leads him to maintain — just as his father did in less guarded rhetoric — that it is American policy, not Islamic-supremacist ideology, that induces jihadists to attack the United States.

It’s undeniable that Republican policy contributed to the Islamist bedlam now exploding across the Middle East.

Paul appears to grasp that jihadism is evil, rooted in Islamic doctrine, and anti-American. The conclusion he draws from this premise, however, is that it should be given a wide berth rather than confronted and defeated. This is not materially different from the “blame America first” cast of mind that Jeanne Kirkpatrick diagnosed and Barack Obama instantiates. Nor is it far from the mindset that blames Pamela Geller or Charlie Hebdowhen Islamists respond to mere taunts with lethal violence — as if sharia gives Muslims a special mayhem dispensation that American law must accommodate.

All that said, if Paul’s point was that Republican policy contributed to the Islamist bedlam now exploding across the Middle East and northern Africa, that ought to be undeniable.

Because the senator hyperbolically claimed that the GOP “created” ISIS, the indignant rebukes raining down on him from Republican leaders and sympathizers focus on Iraq. It was there that the organization was born as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), eventually rebranding as ISIS upon breaking away from the mother ship and declaring its caliphate.

Selectively mining facts, the Republican establishment claims that, thanks to the 2007 troop surge, President Bush annihilated AQI before there ever was an ISIS. The latter arose, so the story goes, because Obama reversed Bush’s policies and refused to keep a residual force in Iraq after 2011. In point of fact, the GOP fingerprints on the sweeping Middle East disaster transcend Iraq. But even if we just stick to Iraq, the Republican story is woefully incomplete.

Having been created by Islamic supremacism, AQI/ISIS was nurtured by Iran. Notwithstanding the internecine bloodletting that now pits Sunnis against Shiites across the region, Shiite Iran has been the key supporter of both Shiite and Sunni jihadist groups since its revolutionary incarnation as “the Islamic Republic” in 1979. It has backed Sunni al-Qaeda and Hamas, as well as Shiite Hezbollah and a network of Shiite terror cells in Iraq. Its only requirement has been that jihadists of whatever stripe advance Iran’s interests by taking the fight to the U.S. and Israel.

In that vein, Iran harbored al-Qaeda operatives after the 9/11 attacks and facilitated the anti-American insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq. This involved collaboration with Abu Musab Zarqawi, the formative figure of AQI who was eventually killed by U.S. forces in Iraq after he had fomented civil war there.

Iran helped Zarqawi even though AQI’s strategy involved killing Shiites. Of course, the regime in Tehran kills plenty of Iranians, so it has no qualms about killing Shiites. It helped Zarqawi kill them in Iraq because its interests were advanced by chaos in Iraq, which enabled the mullahs to spread their influence and their Shiite terror network.

Although this was obvious, as was the fact that Iran was behind the killing of thousands of American troops, the Bush administration treated Iran as if it had an interest in Iraqi stability. The Republican administration ignored Iran’s fueling of the jihad; negotiated with Iran (ostensibly through intermediaries) on its nuclear-weapons program; and disaggregated the nuke negotiations from Iran’s terror promotion — just as Obama has done — despite the fact that the United States was Iran’s top terror target. Bush even backed as Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, a pro-Iranian Shiite Islamist who, predictably, drew Baghdad ever closer to Tehran while exacerbating the rift with Iraqi Sunnis. This increased an already teeming recruiting pool for AQI and, later, ISIS.

It is a gross exaggeration to claim, as Republicans do, that the surge “won” the war in Iraq.

The surge did indeed tamp down on the violence and inflict withering losses on AQI. Still, it is a gross exaggeration to claim, as Republicans do, that the surge “won” the war in Iraq. If we judge matters by Bush’s stated objective — a stable, democratic Iraq that would be a reliable Americancounterterrorism ally — Iraq was already a failure by 2007. The surge killed many jihadists and gave the warring Iraqi factions yet another opportunity to reconcile. But it was always known that (a) our jihadist enemies backed by Iran were a regional (in fact, a global) threat, so the war could not be won in Iraq alone; and (b) the surge was a temporary measure, not a permanent solution.

The latter problem was exacerbated by the status-of-forces agreement (SOFA) to which Bush reluctantly agreed. In lashing out against Paul, Republicans and their apologists emphasize that Obama changed Bush’s policies. This is true, but it conveniently omits mentioning that Bush’s policies were first changed by . . . Bush.

For years, President Bush envisioned that all our sacrifice on Iraq’s behalf would yield a permanent working alliance with a sizable post-war American presence that would help us project power and protect our interests in the region. But, despite the administration’s smiley-face-Islam depiction of the Iraqis, they in fact despise infidel Americans and wanted our forces out of their country — to the point that the free Iraqi elections our government liked to brag about became contests over which candidate could spew the most venom about the United States. With the clock running out on the U.N. use-of-force mandate, Bush agreed with the Iranian-controlled Maliki to a SOFA that called for all American troops to leave the country by the end of 2011.

By that point, it was already clear that Barack Obama would be the next president. There is no doubt that, in driving a hard bargain with Bush, Maliki leveraged Obama’s strident opposition to the Iraq war and his vow to pull Americans out. Bush may have hoped that Obama would grow into the job, be guided by America’s interests instead of his ideological leanings, and strike a new deal with the Iraqis before the 2011 deadline based on whatever conditions on the ground were at the time. But hope is not a strategy.

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Republicans are now claiming that it was blindingly obvious in 2011 that pulling out troops was a blunder that guaranteed the resurgence of jihadists in Iraq. If that is the case — and it surely is the case — then it was also blindingly obvious in late 2008 that the terms of the SOFA to which Bush agreed would, if complied with, guarantee the resurgence of jihadists in Iraq.

This is not to excuse the unmitigated mess Obama made of things. So determined was he to be done with Iraq, so dismissive was he of all America had sacrificed to drive our Sunni enemies from Iraq, that he was heedless of conditions on the ground as he drew our forces down. By 2011, after a steady draw-down, things were so much worse that Obama could have pressured Maliki to renegotiate the withdrawal deadline; a sizable presence of American forces would likely have prevented the advance of ISIS. Obama resisted this because he was determined to pull out at any cost, and because he calculated that abandoning Iraq would appease Iran, with which he was (and remains) desperate to negotiate a nuclear deal.

Nevertheless, the road was paved for Obama because of Bush’s withdrawal agreement. It is disingenuous for Republicans to contend that remaining in Iraq was the “Bush policy” when the president assented to a SOFA that unambiguously reads: “All United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011.”

As already noted above, Iraq is not the half of the problem for the GOP. Why is it, do you suppose, that we do not know by now why our government had personnel stationed in Benghazi, Libya, one of the most dangerous places in the world for Americans, when four of them — including the U.S. ambassador — were massacred on September 11, 2012? After all, the Obama policy of empowering Islamists to overthrow the Qaddafi regime was spearheaded by Hillary Clinton, the then–secretary of state who is the Democrats’ presumptive 2016 presidential nominee. The Republicans presumably want to beat Mrs. Clinton, so why isn’t the Congress they control exploiting what, on the surface, seems like a powerful political argument against her competence?

Because influential Beltway Republicans were enthusiastic proponents of this disastrous policy from the start. On Libya, they are joined at the hip with Clinton and Obama.

Beltway Republicans were enthusiastic proponents of our disastrous Libya policy from the start.

The State Department had observed in 2009, when GOP senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham were about to lead a congressional delegation to Tripoli for meetings with Qaddafi, that “Libya has acted as a critical ally in U.S. counterterrorism efforts, and Libya is considered one of our primary partners in combating the flow of foreign fighters.” Yet no one was more ardent than McCain and Graham in calling for Qaddafi’s overthrow and for accomplishing that end by arming “rebels” who were known to be rife with top al-Qaeda figures.

The policy has rendered Libya a failed state in which jihadists control swaths of territory, a situation ISIS has now exploited, building a growing presence. The policy also led to an arms windfall for Libyan jihadists. It is now clear that some of those arms made their way to jihadists in Syria. What remains murky is whether the United States government facilitated that arms traffic. The State Department, the CIA, and administration spokesmen have been cagey about what our government did, and senior Republican lawmakers have thwarted efforts to probe the issue at at least one public hearing. But at the very least, American officials knew about arms transfers from Libyan jihadists to Syrian jihadists.

Of course, back in the first Obama term, before ISIS became a juggernaut, senior Republicans were keen to arm the Syrian “rebels” in order to overthrow the Assad regime. In essence, they wanted a redux of the Libya strategy that they and Hillary Clinton were proud to take credit for . . . right up until the Benghazi massacre and the disintegration of Libya into a failed state. But you don’t hear them speak much about overthrowing Assad anymore, just like you no longer hear much bragging about Qaddafi’s ouster. That is because it is now clear that the Syrian “rebels,” like the Libyan “rebels,” prominently included jihadists from al-Qaeda, ISIS, and the Muslim Brotherhood. When Republicans were calling for these anti-Assad “rebels” to be armed and trained (mainly through Islamist governments), that is where much of the arming and training was going.

It was no surprise. After all, when the rabidly anti-American Muslim Brotherhood took over the Egyptian government, Republicans supportedObama in providing arms and aid for them, too — an initiative that Senator Paul vigorously but unsuccessfully opposed.

Toward the conclusion of the 2012 presidential campaign, there was a candidate debate on foreign policy. It was Mitt Romney’s chance, in the wake of the Benghazi terrorist attack, to separate himself from the catastrophic, pro-Islamist policies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Instead, Romney permitted little or no daylight between himself and the president — to the point that it sometimes seemed he was poised to endorse Obama.

It is fair to say that Romney was simply following a flawed strategy to narrow the election to a referendum on the economy, on which he figured Obama was most vulnerable. But Romney was able to follow the strategy with ease because, on foreign policy, there really wasn’t much daylight between Beltway Republicans and a president who makes Jimmy Carter look like Winston Churchill.

If that was what Rand Paul was trying to say, he has a point.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment. 

Jindal’s Message To Rand Paul Was Incompetently Delivered, But He Was Correct In His Assessment

Rand Paul2The Hayride, by MacAoidh, May 28, 2015:

It brings me no pleasure to make the assertion in the headline, because I like much of what Paul says about domestic policy and he’s correct in his view that the George W. Bush vision of the Middle East as a collection of millions of would-be Americans was dangerously naive. There is some truth in Paul’s assessment that the John McCains and Lindsey Grahams of the world, who couldn’t love Hillary Clinton’s plan to bomb Muammar Qaddafi out of existence enough while finding just the right bunch of Syrian jihadist rebels to slather with weapons, were wrong.

There are points to be made in those arguments. The GOP needs to present a different view of what an engaged foreign policy looks like from that of McCain and Graham – who perfectly represent The Stupid Party in all its glory. For example, sending in troops to rout ISIS out of Iraq and Syria and then coming home, even if the aftermath results in turning the areas retaken from them over to local warlords, is a perfectly acceptable use of American troops. It’s time to start thinking along those lines.

But had Paul articulated that and gone no further, he might have made a case for himself as a potential president. That isn’t what he said, though.

What Paul said was that the neocons and the hawks created ISIS.

Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul is blaming his own party for the rise of the Islamic State group.

The freshman senator from Kentucky said Wednesday that the GOP’s foreign policy hawks “created these people.” That assertion led potential 2016 rival Bobby Jindal, Louisiana’s governor, to say Paul was unqualified to be president.

The Islamic State group, commonly referred to as ISIS, has seized one-third of Iraq and Syria and in recent days made gains in central Iraq.

“ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately,” Paul said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” He continued: “They created these people. ISIS is all over Libya because these same hawks in my party loved – they loved Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya. They just wanted more of it.”

There is a great deal wrong with such a statement, and when Jindal attacked it as “taking the most liberal Democrat position” on the question of jihadist Islam in the Middle East he’s correct. He just violated the Louisiana constitution in saying so on his official Louisiana government letterhead and with his official, rather than proto-campaign, staff issuing the release.

First of all, ISIS and Al Qaeda spring from the same ideological source, but they are not the same. In fact, they are rivals. And it’s Al Qaeda who’s all over Libya; ISIS has a presence there but they’re not running anything. And it wasn’t ISIS who massacred our people in Benghazi, it was Al Qaeda.

Second of all, ISIS is what became of the former Al Qaeda in Iraq. That group, which was kicked out of Al Qaeda because of the way it treated Sunni Muslims in that country, was also kicked out of the Sunni areas of Iraq during the surge in 2007 and 2008. The surge – which was an idea brought forth from George W. Bush and his neocons (along with our military on the ground) and supported by the McCains and Grahams of the world – created an opening for the Sunni Awakening, in which the regular people in Anbar Province who were being abused by AQI (in a similar manner to the way ISIS abuses people living in areas they control now) rose up against them and, in concert with the American military presence there, drove AQI out of Anbar.

AQI was thus forced into exile in Syria, where they ultimately wrested territory away from the Assad regime as part of the civil war there.

The flow of weapons to AQI as a result of what the U.S. government did after the fall of Libya helped it grow into ISIS. But it is naive in the extreme to believe that ISIS couldn’t have gotten its hands on weaponry any other way. ISIS was supported from the beginning by oil sheikhs in the Arab gulf states and in Saudi Arabia; they could easily have bought weapons elsewhere. Understand that most of ISIS’ army is made up of “technicals” – pickup trucks with machine guns mounted on them – and infantry with small arms. What heavy weaponry they have they looted from vanquished enemies. Machine guns and small arms are readily available on the world market.

Even if you agree that U.S. government policy aided the rise of ISIS, which is a tenuous case but one with valid arguments to support it, it’s not John McCain and Lindsey Graham who set that policy. It was the Obama administration who set it, not Republicans. It was Obama who pulled American troops out of Iraq and allowed the Shiite Maliki government to persecute Sunnis, thus creating a power vacuum ISIS could re-fill in Anbar. It was the Obama administration which started the war in Libya which led to Qaddafi’s stockpiles being transferred to Syrian rebels ultimately aligning with ISIS. It was the Obama administration which refused to directly arm the Kurds who could have routed ISIS before they took Mosul. It was the Obama administration who decided not to engage in a robust campaign of airstrikes to keep ISIS out of Ramadi and Tikrit. McCain and Graham and the other GOP hawks might have supported some of those early mistakes but the inaction creating the power vacuum ISIS has grown to fill is owned by Obama, not the party Paul belongs to.

And we should also back this analysis out to 30,000 feet and recognize, as PJ Media’s Roger L. Simon does, that events in places like Iraq and Syria do not depend on decisions made in Washington. ISIS exists because there are lots of jihadist Muslims in the world who want a caliphate and are willing to kill and die to create one as a vehicle for Islamic world supremacy as laid out in the Quran and the hadith. There is nothing we can do about that; it is a reality which has persisted for 1400 years and it will not go away. Rand Paul, like his father, refuses to recognize that this evil predates America and will threaten us regardless of what foreign aid we give or don’t give and what military actions we take or don’t take.

To understand the history of ISIS and to say it was created by the Bushies and/or John McCain and Lindsey Graham is to lie. Paul has a perfectly legitimate argument in saying that Bush was wrong to engage us in Iraq, and that McCain is wrong in wanting to bomb and invade a country like Libya where we had established normal relations with Qaddafi. He went far further, and irresponsibly so. And in doing that, he demonstrated that he’s either fundamentally ignorant of how the world works or he’s not moored to the truth.

Or both.

That means Paul can’t say he’d be any different or any better than what we currently have in the White House where foreign policy is concerned, or that he’s a fundamental improvement over Hillary Clinton.

And Jindal was correct in saying Paul isn’t qualified to make American foreign policy as a result of his statements. He simply should have said so on his campaign letterhead rather than that of his current elected position.

Presidential Race 2016 Candidate Profile – Rand Paul, Republican

Presidential-Profile-Rand-Paul-HPClarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, April 8, 2015:

The Presidential race for 2016 is gearing up and candidates are preparing themselves for the upcoming campaign. On April 7, 2015, Senator Rand Paul became the second candidate to announce his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. He follows Ted Cruz, whose profile by Clarion Project can be viewed by clicking here.

As each candidate announces their intention to run, Clarion Project will provide a summary of each candidate’s positions on issues relating to Islamic extremism, in order to help our readers make the most informed possible choice come voting day. Should there be any significant changes, we intend to update our readers on the positions of any given candidate.

As Clarion is a bipartisan organization, we will not be endorsing any party or any candidate. All information provided is intended as informative only and should not be taken as evidence of Clarion’s preference for any given candidate.

Relevant Experience

Single-term Republican Senator from Kentucky (2011-Current). Serves on Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Homeland Security Committee

 Son of Rep. Ron Paul, who ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008 and 2012. (Ron Paul was known for characterizing Islamic extremism as a response to U.S. foreign policy and hostility towards Israel. He opposed the raid in Pakistan that killed Osama Bin Laden. He recently suggested that the U.S. government knew Bin Laden’s location and did not take action because it needed an “excuse” for “invading various countries.”)

Record on Islamic Extremism

 There is a “worldwide war on Christianity” by a “fanatical element of Islam.”

 “Radical Islam will only end when Islam begins to police Islam” and an Islamic enlightenment happens.

 Islamic extremism is a product of  both anger over U.S. foreign policy and radical ideology.

 “We must understand that a hatred of our values exists,and acknowledge that interventions in foreign countries may well exacerbate this hatred,” he says.

 “Some anger is blowback, but some anger originates in an aberrant and intolerant distortion of religion that wages war against all infidels. We can’t be sentimental about neutralizing that threat, but we also can’t be blind to the fact that drone strikes that inadvertently kill civilians may create more jihadists than we eliminate.”

Iran

 Stated in a 2007 interview on the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones Show that, “it’s ridiculous to think they [the Iranian regime] are a threat to our national security” or to Israel’s. He urged activism to stop military action against Iran.

 Blocked bipartisan legislation to sanction Iran in 2012 because he wanted an amendment that spelled out that it shall not be interpreted as authority for using military force. He later voted for sanctions on Iran.

 Voted against a Senate resolution ruling out a policy of containment towards a nuclear-armed Iran. However, he said the U.S. should have a plan to contain a nuclear Iran, but it should remain private:

“I think it’s not a good idea to announce that in advance. Should I announce to Iran, well, we don’t want you to, but we’ll live with it? No that’s a dumb idea to say that you’re going to live with it. However, the opposite’s a dumb idea, too.”

He later clarified that he opposes a containment policy, but that the option should not be ruled out.

 Opposes implementing new sanctions on Iran during nuclear negotiations. He said he’d support new sanctions if a deal is not reached.

 It is “imperative” that the U.S. and Iran engage diplomatically to reach a deal for “limiting” its uranium enrichment.

 Favors cultural engagement with Iran as an alternative to military action.

“Iran has a large undercurrent of people who like the West. They like our music, our culture, out literature, and so I think we can influence people in those ways. I’d rather do that than go to war with Iran.”

Iraq and ISIS

 Opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq and toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime, which he blames for the rise of the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS).

 In 2008, accused the U.S. government of dishonestly invading Iraq in order to enrich the multinational corporation Halliburton. He said that “9/11 became an excuse for a war they already wanted in Iraq.” The depiction of the U.S. government as waging war for money is a common Islamist theme.

 Supports U.S.-led military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He supports a limited role for U.S. ground troops in Iraq for securing diplomatic facilities, advising, intelligence-gathering and operations against high-value targets. However, says direct combat with the Islamic State should be done by Arabs and not American soldiers.

 U.S. should involve Turkey and the Syrian and Iranian regimes in fighting the Islamic State.

 U.S. should create an independent Kurdistan to encourage them to “fight like hell” against the Islamic State. Paul explicitly said, “I would go one step further: I would draw new lines for Kurdistan [in Iraq], and I would promise them a country.”

Muslim Brotherhood & Egypt

 Opposed U.S. military aid to the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt and tried to stop the sale of F-16s.

 Advocated the complete severing of U.S. aid to Egypt in response to the popularly-supported overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood. He criticized the Obama Administration for not calling it a “coup,” which would require the stopping of aid. Paul described the new Egyptian government as a “military junta.”

Afghanistan

 In a 2011 op-ed, he criticized President Obama for not withdrawing from Afghanistan quickly enough. He said that combat troops should be removed by 2013, not 2014.

Syria

 Opposed U.S. support for Syrian rebels and favors neutrality in the Syrian civil war because “there is no clear U.S. national interest in Syria.”

 U.S. policy should be to pursue a negotiated settlement that involves the removal of Syrian President Bashar Assad but retaining parts of the regime so Islamist rebels cannot threaten the Christian minority.

 Opposed potential U.S. airstrikes on the Syrian regime in retaliation for using chemical weapons.

Libya

 Opposed the U.S.-led military intervention in Libya that led to the overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi, saying that it created a safe haven for Islamist terrorists.

Saudi Arabia

 Wants Americans to boycott Saudi Arabia, but not the U.S. government. He said the country should be treated like apartheid South Africa.

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking engagement.

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