Iranian Proxy Hezbollah Says Saudi’s Islam “More Evil than Israel”!

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Consider a world in which theology is even more important than oil.

CounterJihad, Sept. 28, 2016:

The head of Iran’s greatest proxy force in the Middle East, Hezbollah, has joined Iranian calls to view Saudi-backed Wahhabi Islam as a perversion and an enemy of true Islam.  Guerrilla leader Hassan Nasrallah said that the form of Islam promulgated by Saudi Arabia is “more evil than Israel,” and that Wahhabi Islam seeks to “eliminate whatever thing that has to do with Islam and its history.”

It is clear that these remarks are no accident.  They follow a declaration from Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei that Saudi Arabia was not fit to serve as a guardian for the Islamic cities of Mecca and Medina. Likewise, Iran’s Foreign Minister, M. Javad Zarif, published an op-ed in no less than the New York Times calling for a unified global effort to destroy the Wahhabi form of Islam.  Zarif pointedly referred to it not as “the Wahhabi form of Islam,” but as “Wahhabism,” implicitly denying that it represents a legitimate form of Islam.

The Saudis have responded in kind, with their top religious figure declaring that Iranian Shia Islam is not really a form of Islam at all.

Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh said[,]  “We have to understand that they are not Muslims. … Their main enemies are the followers of Sunnah (Sunnis)[.]”… He described Iranian leaders as sons of “magus”, a reference to Zoroastrianism, the dominant belief in Persia until the Muslim Arab invasion of the region that is now Iran 13 centuries ago.

The feud over who represents real Islam occurs alongside two more physical disputes between these nations.  The first is the set of proxy wars that they are fighting in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.  The second is a major dispute over oil production.  The elimination of the sanctions against Iranian oil occasioned by US President Barack Obama’s “Iran deal” has opened the floodgates to Iranian gluts.  The result is a driving down of oil prices for crude, crippling nations across the globe who rely on crude oil exports for their budgets.  Iran and Saudi Arabia walked away from a deal in the last week, leaving no hope but for oil prices to continue to freefall through November at least (when OPEC has its next meeting).

Given the existence of both proxy wars and oil disputes, the theological argument takes on potentially serious ramifications.  From the West, it looks like the gathering of stormclouds over a Middle East already at war.  Yet consider these writings from Malaysian security analyst Mathew Maavak, who is describing how it looks from the Islamic world’s Pacific theater.  He scans as someone whose analysis has a marked preference for Iran, but this is the future he sees:

The US has lost credibility on all fronts. Even its vacuous boast of being a “Christian nation” is belied by omnipresent national symbols such as the Eye of Horus on the dollar note, Ishtar masquerading as the Statue of Liberty and Jezebel reincarnated as Hillary Clinton….  Many are however taking belated note of this devil’s pact between the United States and the Saudi-led Gulf Arab world. Winning hearts and minds and attempting geostrategic pacts like the “Asian pivot” is impossible under current status quo. The Wahhabi and his ilk stand in the way of a reinvigorated US global outreach. The obscurantists need to go. Redacted portions of the official 9/11 report must be released to implicate the Saudis; legislation allowing families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia must be allowed to gain momentum; and former ally Pakistan needs to be declared as a terrorist state….

Iran naturally has been tinkering with age-old plans to break this monopoly and replace Mecca with Karbala as the centre of (Shia) Muslim pilgrimage. Either way, once the Middle East turns into an inferno, the Sunni world may not have the WMDs and military backing of a Pakistan preoccupied with battling India. This scenario is not a chimera, for there is no shortage of spoilers and usurpers in the region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin himself had notably warned of ISIS’ designs on Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. While Jerusalem poses an almost insurmountable obstacle, ISIS may yet be able to level the Saudi cities under the patronage of a new, non-Wahhabi master.

That is an even more apocalyptic vision of the future than Western analysts proffer.  The United States’ moral authority is dismissed as paganism pretending to false Christianity — it is interesting that he feels it important to say this, as it implies that a true Christianity would enjoy some moral force.  All of America’s allies, both the Wahhabi Saudis and the Pakistanis, are likewise false Muslims.  The inferno to come may “level” the traditional holy cities of Islam.  Out of the fire, he expects perhaps Iran, perhaps the Islamic State (ISIS) to emerge as the new face of Islam.

While this vision is in many ways implausible, it is important as a demonstration of what serious thinkers in the eastern Islamic world are considering as possible futures.  In the West we think of theological disputes as merely rhetorical:  what is real, we would tend to say, is the dispute over the price of oil.  That is not the case here.  For these actors, the theological dispute is the really important thing.  That is why it is important to dismiss not only Saudi Arabia’s standing as a Muslim power, but America’s standing as a Christian power.

If Western diplomats and security professionals fail to understand this central place of theology, they will act as if oil were the center of gravity for this dispute.  In doing that, they will lose any capacity to prevent what increasingly looks like a terrible regional war.

Meet the New Authoritarian Masters of the Internet

Getty Images

Getty Images

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Sept. 29, 2016:

President Barack Obama’s drive to hand off control of Internet domains to a foreign multi-national operation will give some very unpleasant regimes equal say over the future of online speech and commerce.

In fact, they are likely to have much more influence than America, because they will collectively push hard for a more tightly controlled Internet, and they are known for aggressively using political and economic pressure to get what they want.

Here’s a look at some of the regimes that will begin shaping the future of the Internet in just a few days, if President Obama gets his way.

China

China wrote the book on authoritarian control of online speech. The legendary “Great Firewall of China” prevents citizens of the communist state from accessing global content the Politburo disapproves of. Chinese technology companies are required by law to provide the regime with backdoor access to just about everything.

The Chinese government outright banned online news reporting in July, granting the government even tighter control over the spread of information. Websites are only permitted to post news from official government sources. Chinese online news wasn’t exactly a bastion of freedom before that, of course, but at least the government censors had to track down news stories they disliked and demand the site administrators take them down.

Unsurprisingly, the Chinese Communists aren’t big fans of independent news analysis or blogging, either. Bloggers who criticize the government are liable to be charged with “inciting subversion,” even when the writer in question is a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Chinese citizens know better than to get cheeky on social media accounts, as well. Before online news websites were totally banned, they were forbidden from reporting news gathered from social media, without government approval. Spreading anything the government decides is “fake news” is a crime.

In a report labeling China one of the worst countries for Internet freedom in the world, Freedom House noted they’ve already been playing games with Internet registration and security verification:

The China Internet Network Information Center was found to be issuing false digital security certificates for a number of websites, including Google, exposing the sites’ users to “man in the middle” attacks.

The government strengthened its real-name registration laws for blogs, instant-messaging services, discussion forums, and comment sections of websites.

A key feature of China’s online censorship is that frightened citizens are not entirely certain what the rules are. Huge ministries work tirelessly to pump out content regulations and punish infractions. Not all of the rules are actually written down. As Foreign Policy explained:

Before posting, a Chinese web user is likely to consider basic questions about how likely a post is to travel, whether it runs counter to government priorities, and whether it calls for action or is likely to engender it. Those answers help determine whether a post can be published without incident — as it is somewhere around 84 percent or 87 percent of the time — or is instead likely to lead to a spectrum of negative consequences varying from censorship, to the deletion of a user’s account, to his or her detention, even arrest and conviction.

This was accompanied by a flowchart demonstrating “what gets you censored on the Chinese Internet.” It is not a simple flowchart.

Beijing is not even slightly self-conscious about its authoritarian control of the Internet. On the contrary, their censorship policies are trumpeted as “Internet sovereignty,” and they aggressively believe the entire world should follow their model, as the Washington Post reported in a May 2016 article entitled “China’s Scary Lesson to the World: Censoring the Internet Works.”

China already has a quarter of the planet’s Internet users locked up behind the Great Firewall. How can anyone doubt they won’t use the opportunity Obama is giving them, to pursue their openly stated desire to lock down the rest of the world?

Russia

Russia and China are already working together for a more heavily-censored Internet.Foreign Policy reported one of Russia’s main goals at an April forum was to “harness Chinese expertise in Internet management to gain further control over Russia’s internet, including foreign sites accessible there.”

Russia’s “top cop,” Alexander Bastrykin, explicitly stated Russia needs to stop “playing false democracy” and abandon “pseudo-liberal values” by following China’s lead on Internet censorship, instead of emulating the U.S. example. Like China’s censors, Russian authoritarians think “Internet freedom” is just coded language for the West imposing “cultural hegemony” on the rest of the world.

Just think what Russia and China will be able to do about troublesome foreign websites, once Obama surrenders American control of Internet domains!

Russian President Vladimir Putin has “chipped away at Internet freedom in Russia since he returned to the Kremlin in 2012,” as International Business Times put it in a 2014 article.

One of Putin’s new laws requires bloggers with over 3,000 readers to register with the government, providing their names and home addresses. As with China, Russia punishes online writers for “spreading false information,” and once the charge is leveled, it’s basically guilty-until-proven-innocent. For example, one of the “crimes” that can get a blogger prosecuted in Russia is alleging the corruption of a public official, without ironclad proof.

Human-rights group Agora estimates that Russian Internet censorship grew by 900% in 2015 alone, including both court orders and edicts from government agencies that don’t require court approval. Censorship was expected to intensify even further throughout 2016. Penalties include prison time, even for the crime of liking or sharing banned content on social media.

Putin, incidentally, has described the entire Internet as a CIA plot designed to subvert regimes like his. There will be quite a few people involved in the new multi-national Internet control agency who think purging the Web of American influence is a top priority.

The Russian government has prevailed upon Internet Service Providers to block opposition websites during times of political unrest, in addition to thousands of bans ostensibly issued for security, crime-fighting, and anti-pornography purposes.

Many governments follow the lead of Russia and China in asserting the right to shut down “extremist” or “subversive” websites. In the United States, we worry about law enforcement abusing its authority while battling outright terrorism online, arguing that privacy and freedom of speech must always be measured against security, no matter how dire the threat. In Russia, a rough majority of the population has no problem with the notion of censoring the Internet in the name of political stability, and will countenance absolutely draconian controls against perceived national security threats. This is a distressingly common view in other nations as well: stability justifies censorship and monitoring, not just physical security.

Turkey

Turkey’s crackdown on the Internet was alarming even before the aborted July coup attempt against authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey has banned social media sites, including temporary bans against even giants like Facebook and YouTube, for political reasons. Turkish dissidents are accustomed to such bans coming down on the eve of elections. The Turkish telecom authority can impose such bans without a court order, or a warning to offending websites.

Turkey is often seen as the world leader in blocking Twitter accounts, in addition to occasionally shutting the social media service down completely, and has over a 100,000 websites blacklisted. Criticizing the government online can result in anything from lost employment to criminal charges. And if you think social-media harassment from loyal supporters of the government in power can get pretty bad in the U.S., Turks sometimes discover that hassles from pro-regime trolls online are followed by visits from the police.

Turkish law infamously makes it a crime to insult the president, a law Erdogan has already attempted to impose beyond Turkey’s borders. One offender found himself hauled into court for creating a viral meme – the sort of thing manufactured by the thousands every hour in America – that noted Erdogan bore a certain resemblance to Gollum from Lord of the Rings. The judge in his case ordered expert testimony on whether Gollum was evil to conclusively determine whether the meme was an illegal insult to the president.

The Turkish example introduces another idea common to far too many of the countries Obama wants to give equal say over the future of the Internet: intimidation is a valid purpose for law enforcement. Many of Turkey’s censorship laws are understood to be mechanisms for intimidating dissidents, raising the cost of free speech enough to make people watch their words very carefully. “Think twice before you Tweet” might be good advice for some users, but regimes like Erdogan’s seek to impose that philosophy on everyone. This runs strongly contrary to the American understanding of the Internet as a powerful instrument that lowers the cost of speech to near-zero, the biggest quantum leap for free expression in human history. Zero-cost speech is seen as a big problem by many of the governments that will now place strong hands upon the global Internet rudder.

Turkey is very worried about “back doors” that allow citizens to circumvent official censorship, a concern they will likely bring to Internet control, along with like-minded authoritarian regimes. These governments will make the case that a free and open Internet is a direct threat to their “sovereign right” to control what their citizens read. As long as any part of the Internet remains completely free, no sector can be completely controlled.

Saudi Arabia

The Saudis aren’t too far behind China in the Internet rankings by Freedom House. Dissident online activity can bring jail sentences, plus the occasional public flogging.

This is particularly lamentable because Saudi Arabia is keenly interested in modernization, and sees the Internet as a valuable economic resource, along with a thriving social media presence. Freedom House notes the Internet “remains the least repressive space for expression in the country,” but “it is by no means free.”

“While the state focuses on combatting violent extremism and disrupting terrorist networks, it has clamped down on nonviolent liberal activists and human rights defenders with the same zeal, branding them a threat to the national order and prosecuting them in special terrorism tribunals,” Freedom House notes.

USA Today noted that as of 2014, Saudi Arabia had about 400,000 websites blocked, “including any that discuss political, social or religious topics incompatible with the Islamic beliefs of the monarchy.”

At one point the blacklist included the Huffington Post, which was banned for having the temerity to run an article suggesting the Saudi system might “implode” because of oil dependency and political repression. The best response to criticism that your government is too repressive is a blacklist!

The Saudis have a penchant for blocking messaging apps and voice-over-IP services, like Skype and Facetime. App blocking got so bad that Saudi users have been known to ask, “What’s the point of having the Internet?”

While some Saudis grumble about censorship, many others are active, enthusiastic participants in enforcement, filing hundreds of requests each day to have websites blocked. Religious figures supply many of these requests, and the government defends much of its censorship as the defense of Islamic values.

As with other censorious regimes, the Saudi monarchy worries about citizens using web services beyond its control to evade censorship, a concern that will surely be expressed loudly once America surrenders its command of Internet domains.

For the record, the Saudis’ rivals in Iran are heavy Internet censors too, with Stratfor listing them as one of the countries seeking Chinese assistance for “solutions on how best to monitor the Iranian population.”

North Korea

You can’t make a list of authoritarian nightmares without including the psychotic regime in Pyongyang, the most secretive government in the world.

North Korea is so repressive the BBC justly puts the word “Internet” in scare quotes, to describe the online environment. It doesn’t really interconnect with anything, except government propaganda and surveillance. Computers in the lone Internet cafe in Pyongyang actually boot up to a customized Linux operating system called “Red Star,” instead of Windows or Mac OS. The calendar software in Red Star measures the date from the birth of Communist founder Kim Il-sung, rather than the birth of Christ.

The “Internet” itself is a closed system called Kwangmyong, and citizens can only access it through a single state-run provider, with the exception of a few dozen privileged families that can punch into the real Internet.

Kwangmyong is often compared to the closed “intranet” system in a corporate office, with perhaps 5,000 websites available at most. Unsurprisingly, the content is mostly State-monitored messaging and State-supplied media. Contributors to these online services have reportedly been sent to re-education camps for typos. The North Koreans are so worried about outside contamination of their closed network that they banned wi-fi hotspots at foreign embassies, having noticed information-starved North Korean citizens clustering within range of those beautiful, uncensored wireless networks.

This doesn’t stop South Koreans from attempting cultural penetration of their squalid neighbor’s dismal little online network. Lately they’ve been doing it by loading banned information onto cheap memory sticks, tying them to balloons, and floating them across the border.

Sure, North Korea is the ultimate totalitarian nightmare, and since they have less than two thousand IP addresses registered in the entire country, the outlaw regime won’t be a big influence on Obama’s multi-national Internet authority, right?

Not so fast. As North Korea expert Scott Thomas Bruce told the BBC, authoritarian governments who are “looking at what is happening in the Middle East” see North Korea as a model to be emulated.

“They’re saying rather than let in Facebook, and rather than let in Twitter, what if the government created a Facebook that we could monitor and control?” Bruce explained.

Also, North Korea has expressed some interest in using the Internet as a tool for economic development, which means there would be more penetration of the actual global network into their society. They’ll be very interested in censoring and controlling that access, and they’ll need a lot more registered domains and IP addresses… the very resource Obama wants America to surrender control over.

Bottom line: contrary to left-wing cant, there is such a thing as American exceptionalism – areas in which the United States is demonstrably superior to every other nation, a leader to which the entire world should look for examples. Sadly, our society is losing its fervor for free expression, and growing more comfortable with suppressing “unacceptable” speech, but we’re still far better than anyone else in this regard.

The rest of the world, taken in total, is very interested in suppressing various forms of expression, for reasons ranging from security to political stability and religion. Those governments will never be comfortable, so long as parts of the Internet remain outside of their control. They have censorship demands they consider very reasonable, and absolutely vital. The website you are reading right now violates every single one of them, on a regular basis.

There may come a day we can safely remand control of Internet domains to an international body, but that day is most certainly not October 1, 2016.

***

Technology CEOs Shamefully Lubricate Internet’s Surrender by Frank Gaffney

Congress has just showed why so many Americans are sick of their politicians and ready to throw the bums out. The Senate and House leadership have agreed to President Obama’s surrender of your Internet to freedom’s enemies.

The deed was done yesterday when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed through the Senate a funding bill without a prohibition on the Internet give-away.  The House is expected to rubber stamp it today.

Political cover came from something called the Technology CEO Council.  This group of interested parties, whose lobbyists give generously to politicians’ campaigns, blithely assured Congress: “Placing stewardship of these technical but important functions beyond the control of any one government or group of governments will best secure the principles of Internet freedom and de-politicization of technology.”

Shame on the CEOs for disseminating such transnational rubbish – and the Congress for swallowing it.

***

Congress rejects Obama veto of 9/11 bill, in first override of presidency

694940094001_5145353620001_senate-votes-to-override-president-obama-s-veto-of-911-billFox News, Sept. 28, 2016:

Congress on Wednesday overwhelmingly rejected President Obama’s veto of a bipartisan bill letting families of Sept. 11 victims sue the Saudi Arabian government, in the first successful veto override of Obama’s presidency.

Marking a significant defeat for the White House, the House ensured the bill will become law after voting 348-77 to override Wednesday afternoon. This followed a 97-1 vote hours earlier in the Senate.

Despite last-ditch warnings from the Obama administration that the legislation could hurt national security and was “badly misguided,” lawmakers dismissed the concerns.

“This bill is about respecting the voices and rights of American victims,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., speaking on the Senate floor moments before Wednesday’s vote in that chamber, pushed back hard on Saudi government objections to the legislation.

“It’s very simple. If the Saudis were culpable, they should be held accountable. If they had nothing to do with 9/11, they have nothing to fear,” Schumer said.

Lawmakers in both chambers needed to muster a two-thirds majority to override, and did so easily. The lone “no” vote in the Senate was Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

With elections just over a month away, many lawmakers were reluctant to oppose a measure backed by 9/11 families who say they are still seeking justice 15 years after the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. A group of senators pledged to find ways to improve the measure during a post-election, lame-duck session of Congress.

Despite an expectation that Congress would override, the White House made a last-ditch attempt to fight it. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Reid, Obama warned the bill could cause chaos in U.S. foreign affairs, as other countries would use the measure to justify the creation of ways to target “U.S. policies and activities that they oppose.”

“As a result, our nation and its armed forces, State Department, intelligence officials and others may find themselves subject to lawsuits in foreign courts.” Obama wrote in a letter delivered Tuesday.

But Cornyn, one of the bill’s leading proponents, dismissed Obama’s concerns as “unpersuasive.” Cornyn, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, and other supporters said the bill is narrowly tailored and applies only to acts of terrorism that occur on U.S. soil.

The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA, moved to the floor of the Senate in May and passed by voice vote. The bill cleared the House earlier this month, also by voice vote.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a letter Monday to a senior member of Congress, said he’s sympathetic to the intent of the measure. But the legislation could lead to the public disclosure of American secrets and even undercut counterterrorism efforts by sowing mistrust among U.S. partners and allies, according to Carter.

With the override, the bill will now become law. During his nearly two full terms in office, Obama had never had a veto overridden by Congress.

The legislation gives victims’ families the right to sue in U.S. court for any role that elements of the Saudi government may have played in the 2001 attacks. Fifteen of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.

Courts would be permitted to waive a claim of foreign sovereign immunity when an act of terrorism occurs inside U.S. borders, according to the terms of the bill. Saudi Arabia has objected vehemently to the legislation.

Obama vetoed the measure last week, telling lawmakers the bill would make the U.S. vulnerable to retaliatory litigation in foreign courts that could put U.S. troops in legal jeopardy.

But the bill’s proponents have disputed Obama’s rationale as “unconvincing and unsupportable,” saying the measure is narrowly tailored and applies only to acts of terrorism that occur on U.S. soil.

Kristen Breitweiser, a 9/11 widow and co-chair of September 11th Advocates, criticized Carter’s assessment, saying that the defense secretary had testified before Congress last week that he wasn’t an expert on the bill.

***

Also see:

CAIR’s Awad: Anti-Terror JASTA Bill Part of “War on Islam”

nihad1by IPT News  •  Sep 26, 2016

It might be one of the few things on which Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton agree: President Obama was wrong Friday when he vetoed the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.”

The bill, which passed the U.S. House Sept. 9 after passing the Senate May 17, would allow Americans victimized by foreign terrorist attacks to sue countries responsible. Specifically, 9/11 victims could sue Saudi Arabia, which generated 15 of the 19 hijackers who struck the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Flight 93, which crashed in a Pennsylvania field after passengers fought back.

But in an interview with the Arabic-language Al Sharq Al Awsat, Council on American-Islamic Relations Executive Director Nihad Awad cast the legislation as an anti-Muslim attack.

The bill “is a continuation of the series of [actions] attaching terrorism to Islamic societies, the Islamic world and Islamic countries, as well as Islamic personalities, since it aims to demonize Islam,” an Investigative Project on Terrorism translation of Awad’s remarks said. “… so that things have reached the point of attaching the accusation of terrorism against Saudi Arabia, which is the heart of the Muslim world, and accusing it is an accusation of Muslims all over the world.”

He compared the bill to campaigns against mosque construction in the United States and said it is pushed by the same ideology that “supports the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, saying that those who voted for the resolution in the Congress are those waging war on Islam and they always vote for wars and conflicts, and are exploiting the families of the victims in this crisis.”

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., co-sponsored and advocated for the bill, which enjoyed bipartisan support. In a statement, he pledged to make this President Obama’s first veto to be over-ridden by Congress.

More importantly, Awad’s description that the bill’s supporters “are those waging war on Islam” is especially dangerous and reckless. That message, that the West is at war against Islam, is considered the most effective at radicalizing Muslims.

CAIR officials used to repeatedly invoke that message, but seemed to have backed away from it in recent years. Awad’s revival was directed at an Arabic-speaking audience.

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, who served as co-chairman of a congressional 9/11 inquiry, has long advocated for the release of 28 pages of his committee’s report focusing on the hijackers’ connections to Saudi government officials. Those pages were released in July. In a New York Times oped earlier this month, Graham said they raise more questions and advocated for the release of more investigative material still deemed classified.

His motivation for this campaign, and for supporting JASTA, had nothing to do with Muslims, he explained.

“It can mean justice for the families that have suffered so grievously. It can also mean improving our national security, which has been compromised by the extreme form of Islam that has been promoted by Saudi Arabia,” Graham wrote.

President Obama claims he vetoed the bill out of concern for unintended consequences, that it might open the door to similar litigation against U.S. military and government officials in other countries and “would neither protect Americans from terrorist attacks nor improve the effectiveness of our response to such attacks.”

Both Trump and Clinton said they would sign the bill if elected president, CNN reported.

Frank Gaffney: Obama Seeks to ‘Shred What Is Left of the Constitution’ by Nullifying Senate’s Role in Treaty-Making

AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Sept. 14, 2016:

“I think we are at a turning point nationally, where a choice is going to be made to reject the course that we’ve been on,” said Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, on Wednesday’s Breitbart News Daily.

“It’s not entirely clear to me that we know what the other choice is going to be,” he said, continuing:

But we’re going to see, I think, the American people saying, “You know, another Obama term – or perhaps more, and worse, than what we’ve been served up over the past eight years – is unacceptable to us. We can’t, perhaps, even survive it, as a nation.”

Gaffney said this gave him hope, and made him “feel better than I have about our country for some time, in that the public seems to be getting that choice, and it seems to me – this is maybe anecdotal or just entirely subjective – but I think they’re beginning to say, ‘Enough; we don’t want more of the same.’”

SiriusXM host Alex Marlow built on Gaffney’s comment about how Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy could be even worse than Obama’s, saying the Clintons think about “what the Clintons want, and not what’s best for the American people.”

“Again, you have an agenda, of which the Clintons have been a part for a long time, whether it’s a sort of trans-nationalism, whether it’s leftism,” said Gaffney. He added:

As you know, I’ve been particularly concerned about, with respect to Hillary most especially, has been her deep sympathy for Islamic supremacism. I don’t know how else to describe it. What we’ve seen her do, reflexively, throughout her time as secretary of state and in the period since, has been to espouse, and embrace, and empower, to fund, and in some cases, even to arm people who seek to impose this doctrine they call sharia on the rest of us.

“This is the sort of thing I think the American people are going to choose to say, ‘No more. We can’t afford that. We don’t want any part of it,’” he predicted, drawing further encouragement from news Marlow broke during the show about Donald Trump gaining five points in two days on the L.A. Times tracking poll. Gaffney called that “a trend in the right direction for our country.”

Marlow asked Gaffney about reports that President Obama would veto the bill allowing 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia for damages – a bill which passed the House unanimously last week.

Gaffney replied:

The argument is being made, of course, is that you’ve got considerations that will extend beyond the immediate question of whether the Saudis deserve to be sued, for what, I think, is unmistakably the participation of, not just their nationals in actually causing the attacks of 9/11, but in helping arrange those attacks. By the way, the Iranians are also implicated in a similar way, and should be subject to a similar suit.

But you’ve got people making the argument, “Oh, my gosh, we’re going to be ending up opening a true Pandora’s box to Americans being sued for a host of other reasons.” I come down on taking the Saudis to court, myself. I have to tell you, and I think the American people are there, and that’s why you see this overwhelming, probably veto-overriding, majority in the Congress.

He noted President Obama’s stated reason for vetoing the bill is that “we’re going to be subjecting our own people, our government, our personnel, to similar kinds of actions by other governments.”

However, Gaffney thought “at some level, at least, this is about protecting the Saudis.”

“Successive presidents, let’s be honest, Republican as well as Democrats, have been doing it for decades,” he pointed out. Elaborating, he said:

And it has enabled the double game that is – well, unfortunately, really, 9/11 is a prime example of it. They were able to lend, at the level of the Saudi ambassador to the United States – a deep personal friend of the George W. and George H.W. families – to engage in active material support for terrorism, as did his wife. And on and on. These are the sorts of things that, I think, would out, if there were a proper litigation that held them accountable.

“I think they should be held accountable, but I think the U.S. government doesn’t want to go there, quite apart from this other pretext that they’re concerned about being sued ourselves,” Gaffney said.

Marlow also asked for Gaffney’s take on the situation in North Korea, which just conducted its fifth illegal nuclear bomb test. Gaffney said there were “two critically important points” to be made:

One is that the North Koreans are a threat to the United States not just to our friends, and allies, and forces in their immediate area, but now increasingly to the continental United States itself. And that’s because they have been allowed, in part, enabled by a deal that Bill Clinton signed with them, back in 1994 – which was a fraud, not as great a fraud as the one Obama signed with the Iranians, but basically of a piece with it, and it set the stage for what we’re seeing now.

Nuclear weapons? Yes. Miniaturizing of those nuclear weapons? Yes. And placing them on longer and longer-range ballistic missiles, including, it appears, quite possibly, on missiles that are now sending into orbit satellites – which are circling, among other places, the United States, and could be platforms for delivering those nuclear weapons.

And perhaps the most dangerous so far imaginable, and that is an electro-magnetic pulse attack. These weapons seem to be optimized for that purpose. We’ve learned that they have a super EMP design that they got from old Soviet Union.

So these are very serious problems. That’s Point One. Point Two is, Alex, as you know, the President of the United States is in his last days, and determined to shred what is left of the Constitution of the United States. In the foreign policy area, where that is manifesting itself is in connection with doing things that eliminate, essentially, one of the most important checks and balances in our government, and that is the role that the United States Senate plays as a quality-control mechanism on treaty-making arrangements that the Executive Branch might engage in.

We’ve seen this flouted with the Iran deal, we’ve seen it flouted most recently with this so-called Paris climate change accord. Next up is a treaty the Comprehensive Test Ban treaty, that the president would like to get the United Nations Security Council to do some kind of blessing of, that would then supplant the rejection of that treaty by an actual majority of the United States Senate, back in 1999.

Gaffney concluded:

The reason all this matters is that you’ve got the North Koreans testing nuclear weapons at will. I believe the Russians and Chinese are doing the same, albeit in a less obvious way. Everybody on the planet, in other words, that threatens us is using this kind of capability to modernize the threat they pose to us. And it’s real, and it’s growing. And the President of the United States is hoping to bind his successor never to be able to modernize – or, I’m afraid, even maintain our nuclear deterrent.

LISTEN:

‘We Misled You’: How the Saudis Are Coming Clean on Funding Terrorism

download-12On his latest trip, a former senior U.S. official finds a new attitude in Riyadh. But will it stick?

On my most recent trip to Saudi Arabia, I was greeted with a startling confession. In the past, when we raised the issue of funding Islamic extremists with the Saudis, all we got were denials. This time, in the course of meetings with King Salman, Crown Prince Nayef, Deputy Crown Mohammad Bin Salman and several ministers, one top Saudi official admitted to me, “We misled you.” He explained that Saudi support for Islamic extremism started in the early 1960s as a counter to Nasserism—the socialist political ideology that came out of the thinking of Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser—which threatened Saudi Arabia and led to war between the two countries along the Yemen border. This tactic allowed them to successfully contain Nasserism, and the Saudis concluded that Islamism could be a powerful tool with broader utility.

Under their new and unprecedented policy of honesty, the Saudi leadership also explained to me that their support for extremism was a way of resisting the Soviet Union, often in cooperation with the United States, in places like Afghanistan in the 1980s. In this application too, they argued, it proved successful. Later it was deployed against Iranian-supported Shiite movements in the geopolitical competition between the two countries.

But over time, the Saudis say, their support for extremism turned on them, metastasizing into a serious threat to the Kingdom and to the West. They had created a monster that had begun to devour them. “We did not own up to it after 9/11 because we feared you would abandon or treat us as the enemy,” the Saudi senior official conceded. “And we were in denial.”

Why this new frankness? First, it’s fair to ask how far the new policy really goes. Clearly, there are some questions about whether some extremist Sunni groups, such as al-Nusra in Syria, are still getting Saudi money. But as the Saudis described it to me, this new approach to grappling with their past is part of the leadership’s effort to make a new future for their country, including a broad-based economic reform program.

In their current thinking, the Saudis see Islamic extremism as one of the two major threats facing the kingdom—the other threat being Iran. On Iran, there is continuity. I remember when King Abdullah asked me to pass on to President George W. Bush in 2006 that he needed to cut the “serpent’s head” and attack Iran and overthrow the regime. The new leadership, like their predecessors, blames Iran for regional instability and the many conflicts going on.

The new Saudi leadership, in other words, appears to be downgrading ideology in favor of modernization. In fact, one senior Saudi official explicitly said that the Kingdom was pursuing a “revolution under the cover of modernization”—meaning that modernization was now the driver of Saudi policy.

Can it succeed, when so little has changed politically in a country still run autocratically by the House of Saud? The biggest unknowns are the temptations of the past—whether the Saudi leadership is united behind the new program and whether those who benefited from the old order will attempt to derail the reform agenda and thus destabilize the country. The opposition could come from the powerful religious establishment, which might oppose the opening of entertainment centers, the reform of religious institutions, even limited co-education and increased female participation in the workforce.

There have been many reform programs announced before in Saudi Arabia, only to fade into insignificance. Also, modernization undermines two pillars of Saudi political legitimacy, the endorsement of the Wahhabi clerical establishment and the traditionalism that undergirds any monarchical government. As modernization creates economic uncertainty for those benefiting from the present inefficient order, the result could be political turmoil. And it is an open question as to whether the Saudi people have been sufficiently prepared at all relevant levels in terms of education and skills to compete in the world economy, as they will need to do in a modernized economy.

If not, social tensions and unrest may arise among those who are not prepared to compete.

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Obama Is Right to Veto Bill Enabling Suits against the Saudis

President Obama with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh, April 20, 2016. (Reuters photo: Kevin Lamarque)

President Obama with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh, April 20, 2016. (Reuters photo: Kevin Lamarque)

Relations between governments are best handled through diplomacy, not legal proceedings.

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, September 14, 2016

Why, when the Republican-controlled Congress is finally willing to fight President Obama to the point of forcing and potentially overriding a veto, do they pick an issue on which Obama is right?

In a grandstanding exhibition, Congress has enacted legislation that would enable private litigants — the most sympathetic imaginable, the families of 9/11 victims — to sue the government of Saudi Arabia. Obviously, even if it is sued successfully, the Saudi government is never actually going to pay any judgments. More to the point, legislation of this kind will spur other countries to enact laws allowing their citizens to sue the United States — and maybe even criminal laws allowing the arrest of current and former American government officials (including military personnel) — for actions taken in defense of our country and pursuit of our interests.

Since we have interests throughout the world and a military that acts globally (and lethally), our nation has far more to lose than most nations by playing this game. Consequently, while I get the populist zeitgeist, it is disappointing to see people who ought to know better claiming that a veto would represent Obama’s prioritizing of Saudi interests over American interests. It would do nothing of the sort.

Moreover, the fervor for this legislation is indeed ironic for Republicans who complain — quite justifiably — that Obama regards international terrorism as a law-enforcement matter to be pursued in the courts. The judiciary is no more proper a forum for conducting diplomacy than it is for dealing with a national-security challenge.

Relations between the United States and any other sovereign, including the Saudi regime, ought to be managed by the political branches — in particular, the executive — in whom the Constitution vests responsibility. They should not be subject to litigation overseen by politically unaccountable courts. Legal cases can be unpredictable due to the differences in the predispositions and skill levels of the individual judges and litigators. That is not a problem in the vast run of private lawsuits, since the appellate process sorts out most errors. But it can be a huge problem in international relations, on which hinge alliances and intelligence-gathering arrangements on which our security depends.

That, of course, is why countries mutually grant their officials diplomatic immunity, which bars prosecution of even serious crimes committed by diplomatic personnel. It is why a country’s diplomatic installations are considered its sovereign territory even on foreign soil — such that violating them — as, for example, Iran did to our embassy in 1979 — is an act of war. These norms often work injustices in individual cases, but it is imperative that we preserve them.

To be clear, I have no sympathy for the Obama administration’s concerns about enraging the Saudi regime. We should be enraging them. I doubt if anyone was more vigorous than I in arguing that there should be full disclosure of the Saudi role in the 9/11 attacks — including the publication of previously sealed pages from a congressional report. The United States should stop pretending that the Saudis are a reliable counterterrorism ally. We should be exposing and condemning the regime’s enforcement of barbaric sharia corporal penalties, as well as sharia’s systematic discrimination against women, apostates, non-Muslims, Muslim minorities, and homosexuals.

As I’ve previously argued, there is also no reason why the Obama administration could not negotiate with the Saudis in an effort to create a fund to compensate 9/11 victims. The Saudis would of course be resistant, but we have cards to play in such a negotiation. Plus, the Saudis might well prefer to appear magnanimous in contributing to a fund than suffer the indignity of being found culpable for 9/11 in legal proceedings. It may not work, but it is worth trying.

Furthermore, there is no restriction, and should be none, on civil lawsuits against individual Saudi citizens and entities that are complicit in terrorism, including the 9/11 attacks. We should be more aggressive in prosecuting Saudi entities, including “charities,” that provide material support to terrorism — an imperative President Obama has slackened on in the name of appeasing Islamists.

Nevertheless, a foreign government is not like a private litigant, and has historically not been treated as such. Real security depends on maintaining the international system of sovereign states that respect each other’s sovereignty. It is the transnational progressives who envision a post-sovereign world in which unelected judges and international organizations call the tune, undermining the prerogatives of nationhood and democratic self-determination. (See, e.g., my review in The New Criterion of Justice Stephen Breyer’s The Court and the World.) Why would Republicans want to contribute to that effort?

Obviously, the bipartisan legislation is popular: We would all like to see the 9/11 families made as whole as possible (though their losses can never really be fully compensated). And we’d like to see the Saudis get their well-deserved comeuppance as a leading sponsor of jihadist terror.

A great deal of long-term damage, though, can be done by something that, however fleetingly popular, sets a terrible precedent. This is a wrong-headed bill, and President Obama is right to veto it.

 Andrew CMcCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Despite ‘28 pages’ release, Saudi’s 9/11 involvement still buried

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

New York Post, by Paul Sperry, Sept. 10, 2016:

The White House thinks releasing the “28 pages” summarizing Saudi involvement in 9/11 satisfied the public’s need to know. But don’t be fooled. The full story remains buried under more than 100,000 pages of other, still-secret documents.

The public didn’t even get to see everything that was in those long-classified 28 (actually 29) pages from the congressional inquiry, which narrowly focus on Saudi government officials’ contacts with just two of the 15 Saudi hijackers during their stay in San Diego. The Obama administration blacked-out critical information throughout the document.

In all, there are nearly 100 separate redactions, ranging from single words, such as names of Saudi suspects, to paragraphs and entire sections of text. Obama’s censors offered no reason why any of that information had to be kept secret 15 years after the attacks, even though such explanations are required as part of declassification reviews.

The 29 pages reveal numerous, reinforcing connections between Saudi officials and the 9/11 hijackers. As convincing as they are in tying them together as co-conspirators, they’re merely a summary of the FBI and CIA case files that detail the supporting evidence, including Saudi phone and financial records and statements from material witnesses and informants. The FBI files on alleged Saudi intelligence agent and hijacker handler Omar al-Bayoumi alone are said to run more than 4,000 pages. They are said to include interviews with Saudi government officials who had contact with Bayoumi.

Lawyers for 9/11 families suing the Saudi kingdom, who Friday won congressional passage of a bill removing Saudi’s sovereign immunity, want to get their hands on those documents, along with:

  • More than 80,000 pages of unreleased documents related to the FBI’s investigation of a wealthy, well-connected Saudi family in Sarasota, Fla., who had “many connections” to “individuals associated with the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001,” according to a 2002 FBI report.
  • Still-classified FBI case files from the investigations of hijackers based in Virginia and New Jersey, as well as Arizona and Oklahoma.
  • Still-secret material from the 9/11 Commission, including investigators’ 2003 interview with Saudi Prince Bandar, the transcript of which remains under lock and key at the National Archives. (The interview could shed light on why, according to the 29 pages, Bandar personally wrote checks to one of the hijackers’ alleged handlers and why a top al Qaeda operative captured in Pakistan possessed an unlisted phone number tied to Bandar’s Aspen mansion, as well as the phone number for one of Bandar’s bodyguards at the Saudi embassy in Washington.)
  • An entire section on the Saudi’s role in 9/11 that was blanked-out from the 2015 report of the 9/11 Review Commission, set up to assess the FBI’s and CIA’s performance in implementing the original commission’s recommendations and to evaluate new evidence.
  • The 2005 “joint FBI-CIA intelligence report assessing the nature and extent of Saudi government support of terrorism,” which remains classified.
  • Some 632 pages withheld by the Treasury Department explaining why a Saudi charity tied to al Qaeda was formally designated a foreign terrorist organization.
  • Documents and other materials recovered from the raid of Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad,Pakistan compound in 2011 that still remain sealed.
  • Redacted pages from a 2002 CIA report titled “Saudi-Based Financial Support for Terrorist Organizations.”
  • Federal documents related to the investigations of as many as 70 Saudi nationals with Saudi diplomatic credentials who were kicked out of the country and sent back to their country after 9/11, most of whom worked in the Islamic Affairs offices of the Saudi Embassy in DC.
  • FBI reports and State Department memos detailing the decision to deny re-entry into the US in 2003 of Fahad al-Thumairy, a Saudi cleric who worked at the Saudi consulate in LA and is said to have acted as the advance man for two of the Saudi hijackers and, in fact, may have been at the center of the US support network for them.

The White House and Riyadh hoped the public would move on after the partial release of the 29 pages.

“Now that the declassification is complete,” said Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, “we hope to continue our close cooperation with the US.” Not so fast. With so much still hidden from public view, the release of the 29 pages should be just the start of 9/11 transparency, not the end of it.

Paul Sperry is author of “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.”

Iran / Saudi Feud Intensifies Over Takfiri Claims

isaud-1Saudi Arabia’s highest cleric declares Iran’s Shi’ite Islam to be non-Muslim. Iranian leaders including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei claim it’s Saudi Wahhabis who are not Muslims, and say they’re unfit to guard Mecca.

CounterJihad, Sept. 8, 2016:

The highest ranked cleric in Saudi Arabia has declared that Iran’s Shi’ite Islam is not a true form of the faith.  The two states are already fighting enthusiastically through proxies in Yemen and elsewhere.  The undiplomatic language can only escalate tensions between the countries.

Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh said[,]  “We have to understand that they are not Muslims. … Their main enemies are the followers of Sunnah (Sunnis)[.]”… He described Iranian leaders as sons of “magus”, a reference to Zoroastrianism, the dominant belief in Persia until the Muslim Arab invasion of the region that is now Iran 13 centuries ago.

Following the statements by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called into question Saudi Arabia’s right to continue to control the territory containing the cities of Mecca and Medina.  Each are considered holy cities by Muslims, indeed the two holiest places on earth.

“The evil family tree of the Saudi dynasty does not have the competence to manage the holy shrines,” Khamenei said.

Al al-Sheikh’s remarks drew an acerbic retort from Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who said they were evidence of bigotry among Saudi leaders.  “Indeed; no resemblance between Islam of Iranians & most Muslims & bigoted extremism that Wahhabi top cleric & Saudi terror masters preach,” Zarif wrote on his Twitter account.

Ironically, these accusations that the other does not practice a true form of Islam only underlines the degree to which these are both Muslim countries.  As we at CounterJihad pointed out when the Islamic State attacked Medina, the accusations of not being a Muslim — a practice called takfiri — is a classic gambit in radical Muslim movements.  Our resident Islamic scholar explained the history of the practice at greater length on another occasion:

ISIS certainly represents a train of thought in the 1,400 year old Islamic tradition, even if it is an extremist train of thought that has not enjoyed prominence in Islamic history.  As a matter of fact, the takfiri mentality is not a novelty in the 1,400 year old Islamic tradition.  One need only look back to the last century to see this takfiri mentality in the likes of influential thinkers as Abul ‘Ala Maududi (1903 – 1979 A.D.), and his protégé Sayyid Qutb (1906 – 1966 A.D.), the main theologian of the Muslim Brotherhood.  One could look two centuries back and arrive at the takfiri attitude of Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab (1703 – 1792 A.D.). One could go even further back—centuries ago—to the likes of Ibn Taymiyyah (1263 – 1328 A.D.), a darling of Islamists the world over, to see the same attitude.

So the takfiri mentality of ISIS is not a novelty in Islamic history. It should be noted that although it is true that Muslims generally shied away from declaring apparent Muslims as non-Muslims (which is why al-Azhar shies away from declaring ISIS members as non-Muslims),  it is nonetheless true that the takfiri mentality follows a centuries-old strain of thought. And it is not just maverick Islamic jurisprudents who theorized and applied this takfiri attitude; whole Muslim states did as well. As Rudoph Peters, a Dutch scholar of Islam who has written multiple treatises on Jihad, states,

Due to the collapse of Islamic political unity, often two Muslim states would be at war with one another.  In such situations muftis would usually find cause to label the enemies either as rebels or as heretics, thus justifying the struggle against them.

Throughout Islamic history, governments and opposition movements have declared their Muslim adversaries to be heretics or unbelievers (takfir, declaring someone to be a kafir, unbeliever) in order to justify their struggle against them.[21]

Thus, the dispute over who is a ‘real’ Muslim is itself a marker of the fact that both aspirants are indeed part of the Islamic political and theological tradition.  And it is a unified, theological and political tradition.  That fact makes it difficult for opponents of the political tradition, which contains many oppressive elements especially for women, as well as religious and sexual minorities.  The unity of the politics with the theology makes it easy to paint such opponents as if they were objecting to the religion rather than to the politics.  This defensive mechanism often insulates even brutal states like Iran and Saudi Arabia from the full scale of criticism that their oppressive practices deserve.

What in fact is happening is that two nation states are fighting for primacy in the Islamic world.  They are likely to divide it between them, and then to suffer friction all along the borders of their zones of influence.  The takfiri language only marks this out as a conflict within Islam, although one likely to have consequences for anyone involved in the region.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Urges Muslim Nations to Take Hajj Away from Saudi Arabia

AFP

AFP

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Sept. 5, 2016:

In a message relayed by Iranian state media, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called on Muslim nations to “fundamentally reconsider the management of the two holy places and the issue of hajj.”

The “two holy places” are the cities of Mecca and Medina, while the hajj is the pilgrimage to visit them, which devout Muslims are supposed to make at least once during their lives. The hajj season begins on September 11.

Reuters notes that Iranian pilgrims will not attend the hajj this year, because talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia broke down in May. The immediate reason for these talks, and Iran’s criticism of the Saudis, was the horrifying stampede that occurred during the 2015 hajj, which killed 769 pilgrims by Saudi Arabia’s count, 131 of them Iranians. (Other sources believe the actual death toll was two or three times higher than Riyadh’s official numbers.)

“Among the suggested causes: pilgrims rushing to complete the rituals, heat, masses of faithful pushing against each other in opposite directions, even confusion among the many first-timers on the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca and Mina,” CNN wrote in September 2015, while the bodies were still being counted.

This was not the first deadly incident to occur during the incredibly crowded pilgrimage, which brings over 2 million visitors to the Muslim holy cities. Critics of Saudi Arabia’s management have long complained about inadequate accommodations, insufficient food and shelter for the throngs of pilgrims, and poor crowd control.

The UK Guardian reports that the Saudis are attempting to address some of these complaints, including increased use of surveillance cameras, more staff with better training, better coordination with hajj missions from other countries, and electronic wristbands for visitors, which will help the authorities monitor crowd movements and detect dangerous buildups.

There is, of course, a political dimension to the dispute between Iran and Saudi Arabia as well, with the two nations conducting a sort of Middle East Cold War that isn’t all that cold, in proxy conflicts like Yemen. The Saudis believe Iran planned to use its hajj pilgrims to stage anti-Saudi demonstrations in Mecca and Medina. Iran has suggested Saudi Arabia deliberately sabotaged the 2015 pilgrimage, or is at best indifferent to the safety of non-Saudi (or non-Sunni Muslim) visitors.

“Riyadh accuses Tehran of destabilizing Arab states and spreading sectarianism by backing militias in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen and fomenting unrest in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Iran denies those charges,” Reuters writes.

Khamenei brought Iran’s broader conflict with Saudi Arabia into his hajj remarks, urging the Muslim world not to “let those rulers escape responsibility for the crimes they have caused throughout the world of Islam.”

He threw in a dash of anti-Americanism, too, as quoted by the Trend news agency: “Those who have reduced hajj to a religious-tourist trip and have hidden their enmity and malevolence towards the faithful and revolutionary people of Iran under the name of ‘politicizing hajj,’ are themselves small and puny devils who tremble for fear of jeopardizing the interests of the Great Satan, the US.”

“The heartless and murderous Saudis locked up the injured with the dead in containers- instead of providing medical treatment and helping them or at least quenching their thirst. They murdered them,” Khamenei thundered. “Because of these rulers’ oppressive behavior towards God’s guests, the world of Islam must fundamentally reconsider the management of the two holy places and the issue of hajj. Negligence in this regard will confront the Islamic Ummah with more serious problems in the future.”

The BBC adds Khamenei referring to Saudi Arabia’s rulers as “disgraced and misguided people” who have “blocked the proud and faithful Iranian pilgrims’ path to the Beloveds’ House.”

Serving Muslim Interests With American Foreign Policy

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Front Page Magazine, by Joseph Klein, Sept. 2, 2016:

A Hillary Clinton presidency would likely continue along the pro-Islamist foreign policy arc that both her husband’s administration and the Obama administration have developed.

President Bill Clinton committed U.S. military resources to help Muslims during the so-called “humanitarian” intervention in Bosnia. However, he chose to turn a blind eye to the genocide that swamped Rwanda during his administration. As G. Murphy Donovan wrote in his American Thinker article “How the Clintons Gave American Foreign Policy its Muslim Tilt,” “Muslim lives matter, Black Africans, not so much.” Noting that “it was Muslim unrest that precipitated Serb pushback, civil war, and the eventual collapse of Yugoslavia,” Donovan added, “Bosnians are, for the most part, Muslims with a bloody fascist pedigree.” Nevertheless, with no strategic U.S. national interest at stake, Bill Clinton tilted American foreign policy in favor of the Muslim side in the Bosnia conflict. We are now reaping the lethal consequences of that tilt. Donovan points out in his article that, on a per capita basis, Bosnia Herzegovina is the leading source of ISIS volunteers in all of Europe.

President Obama, along with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, took the side of Islamist “rebels” against the secular authoritarian regimes in Egypt, Libya and Syria that had managed to keep the lid on jihadist terrorism for many years. These Islamists included members of al Qaeda as well as the Muslim Brotherhood.

In Libya, Hillary Clinton was the leading voice pressing for military intervention against Col. Muammar el- Qaddafi’s regime. She did so, even though, according to sources cited in a State Department memo passed on to Hillary by her deputy at the time, Jake Sullivan, in an e-mail dated April 1, 2011, “we just don’t know enough about the make-up or leadership of the rebel forces.”  In fact, as subsequently reported by the New York Times, the only organized opposition to the Qaddafi regime that had developed underground during Qaddafi’s rule were the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a terrorist group, and the Muslim Brotherhood.  The author of the State Department memo had acknowledged the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group’s terrorist past but said they “express a newfound keenness for peaceful politics.” Was Hillary Clinton relying on such assurances of a reformed “peaceful” Islamic group fighting against Qaddafi, even though it had been on the State Department’s terrorist list since 2004 and one of its leaders, Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi,  praised al Qaeda members as “good Muslims” in a March 2011 interview?  If so, that is just another indication of her bad judgment.

As for Egypt, Hillary was informed by her outside adviser and confidante Sid Blumenthal, in an e-mail dated December 16, 2011, that the Muslim Brotherhood’s intention was to create an Islamic state. Moreover, the relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda and other radical groups was “complicated,” Blumenthal quoted a source “with access to the highest levels of the MB” as saying. Blumenthal also reported, based on a confidential source, that Mohamed Morsi, who was then leader of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, believed that “it will be difficult for this new, Islamic government to control the rise of al Qa’ida and other radical/terrorist groups.”

Nevertheless, the Obama administration supported the Muslim Brotherhood in its bid to seek power in Egypt through a shaky electoral process. After Morsi’s election to the presidency, Hillary visited Egypt where Morsi warmly welcomed her and she expressed strong support for Egypt’s “democratic transition.” However, the only real transition Morsi had in mind was to impose sharia law on the Egyptian people, the very antithesis of true democratic pluralism. Yet the Obama–Clinton gravy train of military aid to the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Islamist regime continued without any preconditions. Hillary Clinton herself and her State Department referred to the importance of the U.S.’s “partnership” with the Muslim Brotherhood-backed regime.

When Morsi was removed from power, after millions of Egyptians had taken to the streets to protest the increasingly theocratic regime, the Obama administration decided to suspend aid to the more secular successor military regime. The “partnership” was no more once the Islamists were swept out of office.

While Morsi was still president, the Clinton Foundation, which has taken millions of dollars in donations from Muslim majority governments and affiliated groups and individuals, invited Morsi to deliver a major address at the Clinton Global Initiative. This invitation was extended just a month after an individual named Gehad el-Haddad, who was working simultaneously for the Muslim Brotherhood and the Clinton Foundation in Cairo, left his Clinton Foundation job to work for Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood full time. Fortunes changed for this individual, however, when, after Morsi was overthrown, Haddad was arrested for inciting violence and given a life sentence.

The Obama administration, while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, also cooperated with the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to pass and implement a United Nations resolution that was intended to curb speech considered Islamophobic. Clinton, in full spin mode, insisted that the new UN resolution was totally consistent with the free speech protections of the First Amendment, as opposed to the “defamation of religions” resolutions that the OIC had sponsored in the past but was willing to have replaced. The truth, however, is that all we were seeing was old wine in new bottles. To make sure that the OIC was comfortable regarding the Obama administration’s intentions, Clinton assured the OIC that she was perfectly on board with using “some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming, so that people don’t feel that they have the support to do what we abhor.” She was trying to publicly assure American citizens that their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and press were safe, while working behind the scenes with her OIC partners to find acceptable ways to stifle speech offensive to Muslims.

The signs of Hillary Clinton’s Islamist tilt as she runs for president include the sweepingly general and demonstrably false assertion in her tweet last November that Muslims “have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”  She has obviously learned nothing from her disastrous tenure as Secretary of State. Neither is she willing to acknowledge that the terrorists whom she has called a “determined enemy” are jihadists animated by an ideology rooted in core Muslim teachings of the Koran and the Hadith (Prophet Muhammad’s sayings and actions).  Is there something about the word “Muslim” in the Muslim Brotherhood and “Islamic” in the Islamic State that she is having problems understanding?

Perhaps, it is Hillary’s close association with Huma Abedin, her top campaign aide and confidante, who has had questionable links to Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organizations, which explains Hillary’s denial of the truth. If someone as close to Hillary as Huma Abedin, whom she apparently trusts with her life, is a Muslim, then how could any Muslim possibly have anything to do with terrorism?

Then again, perhaps Hillary’s willingness to give Islamists the benefit of the doubt is all the money that the Clintons have received over the years from foreign donors in Muslim majority countries, including the Saudi government and affiliated groups and individuals. Hillary Clinton has also reached out for campaign donations from a pro-Iranian lobby group, the National Iranian American Council. Whatever human rights abuses are inflicted on people in these countries, it would be counterproductive to bite the hand that feeds you, in the Clintons’ way of thinking.

Finally, the Democratic Party itself has moved much further to the Left since the days of Bill Clinton’s presidency, which has led to the broadening out of the pro-Islamist bias that began to take shape with Bill Clinton’s intervention in Bosnia. As David Horowitz wrote in a January 8, 2016 article published by National Review:

“Leftists and Democrats have also joined the Islamist propaganda campaign to represent Muslims — whose co-religionists have killed hundreds of thousands of innocents since 9/11 in the name of their religion — as victims of anti-Muslim prejudice, denouncing critics of Islamist terror and proponents of security measures as ‘Islamophobes’ and bigots. Led by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Democrats have enabled the Islamist assault on free speech, which is a central component of the Islamist campaign to create a worldwide religious theocracy.”

For a variety of reasons, Hillary Clinton as president can be expected to move the United States towards an even more accommodative stance than her predecessors with Islamists who mean to do us harm.

With The Terror Threat Growing, Europe Changes Course

Europe mapby Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
August 31, 2016

Sixteen years ago, when Dutch commentator Paul Scheffer published his “Multicultural Drama” declaring that multiculturalism in the Netherlands had failed, the response was swift and angry. Critics across Europe called him racist, bigoted, nationalistic. Others dismissed his views as mere rants and ramblings of a Leftist in search of a cause.

Not anymore.

With over 275 people killed in 10 Islamic terrorist attacks since January 2015, Europeans harbor no more illusions about the multiculturalist vision: where immigrants from Muslim countries are concerned, that idealist vision has more than just failed. It has produced a culture of hatred, fear, and unrelenting danger. Now, with European Muslim youth radicalizing at an unprecedented rate and the threat of new terrorist attacks, Europe is reassessing its handling of Muslim communities and its counterterrorism strategies and laws.

Among the changes being considered are a reversal of laws that allow radical Muslims to receive handouts from the very governments they seek to destroy; restricting foreign funding of mosques; and stronger surveillance on private citizens.

Chief among the new counterterrorism approaches is a program to coordinate intelligence data among European Union countries – a tactic that has not been pursued with any regularity or such depth before now. But following the November attacks in Paris, the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD initiated weekly meetings among intel agencies from all EU countries, Switzerland, and Norway, with the objective of sharing information, exchanging new clues, insights, and suspect alerts, and discussing improvements to a Europe-wide system of counterterrorism and intelligence.

Through these meetings and the improved shared database, it is now possible for each country to contextualize its intelligence and understand links between individuals and various groups from one city to another – and so, between radicals and radical groups as they pass through a borderless EU.

Concurrently, EU members are now beginning to share information about web sites and even details about private citizens where needed. Most countries had been reluctant to make such exchanges, citing both privacy concerns and the need to protect their sources. Other cooperative efforts include an EU initiative begun in February 2015 to counteract Islamic extremist propaganda. The project received a major €400 million boost in June, indicating the high priority Europe now places on fighting recruitment.

Earlier this month, Europol began a new effort to screen refugees still awaiting placement in Greek asylum centers. According to a report from Europa Nu, an initiative between the European parliament and the University of Leiden, Europol agents “specifically trained to unmask and dismantle terrorists and terror networks” will be dispatched to the camps to try to prevent terrorists from infiltrating the flood of refugees to Europe.

Some EU measures, however, have been based more in politics than counterterrorism, including efforts to crack down on the ability of radical Muslims to benefit from welfare programs. British citizens, for instance, reacted with outrage when it was discovered that the family of “Jihadi John” had received over £400,000 in taxpayer support over the course of 20 years. In Belgium, Salah Abdeslam, the terrorist accused of participating in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, pulled in nearly €19,000 in welfare benefits from January 2014 and October 2015, according to Elsevier. And Gatestone reports that more than 30 Danish jihadists received a total of €51,000 in unemployment benefits all while battling alongside the Islamic State in Syria.

Such concerns have also spread to the United States. Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, introduced the “No Welfare For Terrorists Act.”

“Terrorist victims and their families should never be forced to fund those who harmed them,” he said in a statement. “This bill guarantees this will never happen.”

But not all of Europe’s new approaches to the terror threat are being coordinated out of Brussels. Many more, in fact, are country-specific, such as England’s decision to follow an example set earlier by the Netherlands and Spain, separating jailed terrorists and terror suspects from other prisoners. The measures follow others the country adopted after the July 7, 2005 bombings of a London underground and buses, to criminalize “those who glorify terrorism, those involved in acts preparatory to terrorism, and those who advocate it without being directly involved,” the New York Times reported.

In fact, prisons worldwide, including in the U.S., have long been viewed as warm breeding grounds for radicals and potential terrorists. Ahmed Coulibaly, the gunman at the Porte de Vincennes siege in January 2015, was serving time for a bank robbery, for instance, when he met Cherif Koauachi, one of the Charlie Hebdo attackers. Both converted to Islam there. It was in that same prison that the two encountered Djamel Beghal, an al-Qaida operative who attempted to blow up the American Embassy in Paris in 2001.

Hence many experts now argue in favor of isolating those held on terrorism-related charges as a way to stop them from radicalizing their fellow inmates.

Yet British officials have until now resisted creating separate wings for terror suspects, arguing that doing so gives them “credibility” and makes it harder to rehabilitate them. But a recent government report on Islamist extremism in British prisons forced a change in thinking, in part by noting that “other prisoners – both Muslim and non-Muslim – serving sentences for crimes unrelated to terrorism are nonetheless vulnerable to radicalization by Islamist Extremists [sic].”

Similarly, France, the site of the worst attacks of the past two years, also balked at first at the idea of separating terrorists from other prisoners, arguing that doing so “forms a terrorist cell within a prison.” But the Charlie Hebdo attacks of January 2015 changed all that. Now, officials are even going further, looking at other potential sources of radicalization: the mosques.

Shortly after the Bastille Day attack in Nice, Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced plans to ban foreign financing for French mosques as part of an effort to establish a “French Islam,” led by imams trained only in France. France hosts dozens of foreign-financed mosques – many sponsored by Saudi Arabia and Morocco – which preach Salafism, an extreme version of Islam practiced in the Saudi Kingdom and the root of much radical Islamist ideology. And according to a new report on counter-radicalization, about 300 imams come from outside France.

That same report also calls for “regular surveys” of France’s 4-5 million Muslims, according to France 24, in order “to acquire a better understanding of this population in a country where statistics based on religious, ethnic, or racial criteria are banned.”

Both proposed measures have been met with resistance. The “surveys,” as even the report itself notes, are a means of circumventing laws against gathering information on the basis of religious criteria – and so, go against democratic principles. And many French officials also oppose the ban on foreign funding for mosques, arguing that French government intervention in places of worship contradicts separation between church and state. Besides, they claim, radicalization doesn’t take place there anyway.

But Dutch authorities and counter-extremism experts are not so sure. The announcement earlier this month that Qatar would finance an Islamic center in Rotterdam, for instance, set off alarms even among Muslim moderates, including Rotterdam’s Moroccan-born mayor Ahmed Marcouch. There are good reasons for this. The Salafist Eid Charity, which sponsors the project, has been on Israel’s terror list since 2008, according to Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad. Moreover, in 2013 the U.S. Treasury Department accused the charity’s founder, Abd al-Rahman al-Nu’aymi, of providing funding for al-Qaida and its affiliates, and named him a “specially designated global terrorist.”

Plans for the center sound much like those of the now-abandoned plans for New York’s “Ground Zero mosque,” with sports facilities, prayer space, tutoring for students, Islamic child care, and, reports Dutch newspaper Volkskrant, imam training.

Yet the center’s prospective director, Arnoud van Doorn, a convert to Islam and former member of the far-right, anti-Islam political party PVV, insists that any fears about the project are unfounded. “Our organization has nothing to do with extremism,” he told the NRC. “We want only to provide a positive contribution to Dutch society.”

Notably, though, France’s proposal to ban foreign mosque funding and the Qatari backing of the Rotterdam center point to some of the deepest roots of Europe’s radical Islam problem, and, despite all the new initiatives now underway, the greatest challenges to ending it. When Muslim immigrants came to Europe in the 1970s, they carved prayer spaces wherever they could: the backs of community grocery stores, in restaurants and tea rooms. But these soon became too small to handle the growing Muslim population. Mosques – real mosques – would have to be built.

But by whom? The Muslim communities themselves were too poor. Western governments, wedded to the separation of church and state, could not subsidize them with taxpayer funds. And so the door was opened to foreign – mostly Saudi – investment, and the placement of Saudi-trained and Saudi-backed imams in European mosques. Europe had, in essence, rolled out the welcome mat for Salafism.

Now they want to roll it in again. But is it too late? Even as Western intelligence is now uniting to fight radical Islam, Islamic countries are pooling together in Europe to expand it. The result, as Manuel Valls told French daily Le Monde, is that, “What’s at stake is the republic. And our shield is democracy.”

Hence as the number attacks against Western targets increase, many Europeans are coming to understand that preserving the core of that democracy may mean disrupting some of the tenets on which it’s built, like certain elements of privacy, for instance, and religious principles that violate the freedom that we stand for . It is, as it were, a matter of destroying even healthy trees to save the forest. But in this tug-of-war between the Islamic world’s efforts to shape the West, and Western efforts to save itself, only our commitment to the very heart of our ideals will define who wins this fight.

Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands.

Hillary First Broached Saudi Visa Deal During Visit to Huma Abedin’s Mom’s Saudi Madrassa

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The annual number of nonimmigrant visas issued to Saudis soared 93% during Clinton’s tenure, hitting a record 108,578 per year in 2013.

CounterJihad, by Paul Sperry, Aug. 31, 2016:

Earlier this month, CounterJihad.com broke the story that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was instrumental in cutting a special deal with the Saudi government to reverse post-9/11 restrictions on Saudi visas, triggering an unprecedented explosion in Saudi students entering the US. CJ has since learned that the seeds of this major change in immigration policy — one with serious national security implications — were planted during a 2010 visit by Clinton to a Saudi college founded by her top aide’s radical Muslim mother — a college that turns out to have direct ties to terrorists.

Clinton’s then-deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin arranged the trip to the radical Saudi school, overruling concerns by diplomatic security, in what was yet another example of Abedin, a self-described “devout Muslim” whose family has direct ties to the radical Muslim Brotherhood, playing an outsize role in influencing US policy when it comes to the Middle East and Muslim empowerment.

The policy reversal appears to have had its roots in a speech Clinton gave at the Dar al-Hekma girls college in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, at the behest of Abedin, whose mother, Saleha Abedin, helped found the school and currently serves as its dean. Abedin also runs the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, which seeks to boost Muslim immigration rates in the the U.S. and other Western countries, while also propagating Sharia law in those nations.

“You know that after 9/11, the United States closed its borders to students from around the world, and the number of Saudi students studying in our country fell dramatically,” Clinton lamented in her talk before the elder Abedin and her students. “Well, I am very pleased that we are now back to the levels that we had before 9/11.”

“But I am not satisfied,” Clinton quickly added. “I would like to see more exchanges, and more of them being two-way exchanges, where American students and American faculty come here, to Saudi Arabia, as well as going from here to there.”

Clinton delivered on her promise, big-time.

Despite evidence Saudi terrorists exploit the U.S. visa program, Clinton doubled the number of visas for Saudi visitors to the U.S., while helping broker a deal with the Kingdom to waive security procedures for Saudi nationals upon their arrival in the U.S.

The annual number of nonimmigrant visas issued to Saudi nationals soared 93% during Clinton’s tenure as secretary from 2009 to 2013, federal data show, hitting a record 108,578 in fiscal 2013 and reversing a post-9/11 pause in Saudi visa approvals.

Before leaving office, Clinton helped negotiate a little-noticed January 2013 administration deal with Riyadh to allow Saudi visa-holders to enter the U.S. as “trusted travelers” and bypass the normal border security process. The next year, the State Department issued an all-time-high 142,180 Saudi visas, consular data show.

All told, the Obama administration has opened the floodgates to more than 709,000 Saudi nationals, most of whom applied for student or business visas, records show.

It’s as if 9/11 never happened and 15 Saudi terrorists never infiltrated the country on rubber-stamped visas. The surge represents a major shift from changes in immigration policy made in the wake of 9/11, when the number of visas issued to Saudi Arabians plummeted 69.7%. In fiscal 2002, Saudi visas slowed to a relative trickle of just 14,126.

Nonimmigrant Visa Issuances, Saudi Arabia, FY1997-2014

Nonimmigrant Visa Issuances, Saudi Arabia, FY1997-2014

Saudi immigration was tightened after it was revealed that the State Department’s Visa Express program benefited some of the Saudi hijackers on 9/11. Less known is that two other al-Qaida-tied Saudi nationals visiting America on student visas also took advantage of the lax policy. It turns out that, according to the recently released 29 pages detailing Saudi involvement in 9/11, these other young Saudi men made a “dry run” to test airline security ahead of the 9/11 hijackings.

Dar al-Hekma, which is Arabic for House of Infinite Islamic Wisdom, was co-founded and funded by a federal designated terrorist — Yaseen Kadi — and by key Saudi bankers named as defendants in the 9/11 lawsuit, as well as members of the bin Laden family, according to a list of “establishers” and “trustees” the school published on its website after it first opened in 1999.

It turns out that the burka-clad girls who gathered at the Saudi women’s college to hear Clinton speak heckled her in Arabic, as Huma and her mother stood by, according to accounts reported at the time in the Arabic press.

Also see:

8 Things to Know About Huma Abedin’s Involvement with an Islamist Journal

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At the very least, these connections should raise some red flags.

CounterJihad, by Kyle Shideler, Aug. 26, 2016:

Following a New York Post article, which released new and revealing snippets from the pages of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, a 2012 controversy about the nature of Huma Abedin’s associations, has again kicked into high gear. While some in the media have attempted to defend Abedin, and the journal, they’ve played fast and loose with the facts.

At the heart of the matter is Abedin’s involvement with an organization founded by a man named Abdullah Omar Naseef, a Saudi official who spent decades involved with organizations which would go on to be designated for engaging in terror finance.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Huma Abedin and terror-funder Abdullah Omar Naseef are directly connected.

This isn’t six degrees of Kevin Bacon. Huma Abedin served as the associate editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs for 12 years from 1996-2008, and appeared on the masthead of the organization’s journal right up until the time she began to work at the State Department for Hillary Clinton. This included the time she was working as an intern for Hillary Clinton at the White House.  Nassef held the position of Chairman of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs. Huma Abedin and Naseef overlapped at IMMA for a period of seven years. As former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy noted, “the journal was the IMMA’s raison d’etre.”

2. The Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs was the Abedin family business.

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Syed Abedin, Huma’s father, founded the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs with Abdullah Omar Naseef in the 1970s. The Abedin patriarch was the editor, until passing away after which time Huma’s mother, Saleha Abedin took over the journal and held the same position, and still does to this day. Abedin’s brother and sister have also all held positions with the IMMA.

3. The Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs promotes views on Sharia, Islam and a Muslim’s role in the West popularized by the Muslim Brotherhood.

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Editions of the journal openly endorsed the positions of known Muslim Brotherhood theoreticians, including Sayyid Qutb, and called for the imposition of sharia law among Muslim minorities residing in the West. “Muslim minority affairs” primarily refers to questions of the Fiqh (jurisprudence) of Minorities, the area of Sharia law jurisprudence concerned with the role and status of Muslims who have immigrated to non-Muslim states, popularized by Muslim Brotherhood thinker Yusuf Al Qaradawi. Qaradawi is best known for his fatwas supporting Hamas suicide bombing and attacks on Americans in Iraq during the 2003 Iraq War.

4. The Journal’s benefactor, Abdullah Omar Naseef, served as Secretary General of the World Muslim League.

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The controversy about Naseef stems from his role with the Muslim World League. Naseef held the position of Secretary General of MWL for a decade, from 1983-1993. The purpose of the Muslim World was to support efforts to proselytize Islam in the West. The organization combined Saudi funds with the intellectual efforts of Muslim Brotherhood thinkers including Said Ramadan and Taha Jaber Alwani who served as founding members.

5. The Muslim World League was specifically mentioned as a funding source by Osama Bin Laden.

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The Muslim World League was specifically mentioned by Osama bin Laden as a source of funding and after 9/11 the Muslim World League offices in Herdon, VA were raided by law enforcement.  A Muslim World League subsidiary, the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), would have two of its branches named as specially designated global terrorist entities.

6. Abdullah Omar Naseef created another organization, the Rabita Trust, which was also shut down for terrorism.

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Another WML subsidiary founded by Nassef, the Rabita Trust, is also a specially designated global terrorist entity according to the U.S. Treasury Department. Nassef also appointed Rabita Trust Director General Wael Hamza Julaidan, a close associate of Osama Bin Laden. The U.S. Treasury department would eventually designate Julaidan as a specially designated global terrorist.

7. In addition to Al Qaeda finance connections, Naseef also worked for a group of Hamas financiers. So did Huma’s mom.

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In addition to his Muslim World League ties, Naseef also held a position as an officer with the International Islamic Council for Daw’a and Relief, a position he shared with Abedin’s mother Saleha. The IICDR is a member of the Hamas finance coalition known as the Union of the Good, which the U.S. government considers a specially designated global terrorist entity.  Yusuf al Qaradawi, a preeminent Muslim Brotherhood jurist, runs the Union of the Good.

8. Huma’s mom ran a women’s organization dedicated to supporting Sharia law in place of women’s rights.

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Saleha Abedin’s position at the International Islamic Council for Daw’a and Relief was to run the International Islamic Committee for Woman and Child (IICWC). The IICWC is a group which advocates for sharia law provisions of family law and seeks the repeal of Egypt’s Mubarak-era prohibitions on female genital mutilation, child marriage, and marital rape. For the IICWC’s positions on matters of sharia jurisprudence the Committee turned to Hamas supporting Muslim Brotherhood cleric Yusuf Al Qaradawi.

WaPo Fact Checker Misleads on Huma Abedin & the Muslim Brotherhood: What’s the Truth?

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The Journal openly endorsed the positions of Brotherhood theoreticians and called for the imposition of sharia law among Muslim minorities in the West.

CounterJihad, by Kyle Shideler, Aug. 25, 2016:

Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post conducted a particularly inept attempt at “fact checking” reports that Clinton chief of Staff Huma Abedin has “ties” to the Muslim Brotherhood. Kessler’s attempt rests on essentially four claims:

1. That Huma Abedin held a position as Associate Editor for the Journal for Muslim Minority Affairs for twelve years, but never did any actual work.

2. The Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs is not regarded as “radical” by its own board of advisors and selected “experts.”

3. That the Journal’s founder Abdullah Omar Naseef’s ties to World Muslim League is irrelevant.

4. That the World Muslim League could not have been a Saudi-funded operation and a Muslim Brotherhood-led organization at the same time.

To take Kessler’s objections in order:

Point 1 is simply a restatement of the Clinton campaign’s position, and Kessler does nothing to examine it critically. It is an undisputed fact that Huma Abedin was an employee of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA) for 12 years, and appeared on the masthead of the organization’s journal, the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs (JMMA) right up until the time she began to work at the State Department for Secretary Clinton.

As noted by former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy:

The journal was the IMMA’s raison d’etre. Abedin held the position of assistant editor from 1996 through 2008 — from when she began working as an intern in the Clinton White House until shortly before she took her current position as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff.

Whether one finds it plausible that an individual might be listed as an “associate editor” for a period of 12 years, yet never be called upon to perform the task which their position suggests (i.e. editing) is not a question of fact. The readers, (Kessler’s and ours) will need to determine for themselves whether such an excuse holds water, but a reasonable person might look upon their own life’s experience and wonder whether they ever approached a decade or longer in a position without even having seen the work ostensibly produced there during their tenure.

Kessler’s Point 2 is that the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs was not “radical” as defined by certain hand-picked academics who agreed with Kessler’s position and members of the journal’s own advisory board (who can safely be said to have a dog in the fight.)

To begin with, one should understand what is meant by “Muslim Minority” affairs. Kessler infantilizes this fascinating and complex area of Islamic studies, noting only that the journal’s interest in minority affairs, “continues to be demonstrated in the recent issue, with five articles on Muslim life in Australia.”

In fact “Muslim minority affairs” is principally concerned with questions of the Fiqh (jurisprudence) of Minorities, the area of Sharia law jurisprudence concerned with the role and status of Muslims who have immigrated to non-Muslim states. As Uriya Shavit notes in his work, Islamism and the West: From “Cultural Attack” to “Missionary Migrant”, this form of jurisprudence was created by prominent Muslim Brotherhood associated scholars, notably Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, and Taha Jaber Alwani, who were principally concerned with how to transform Muslim migrants living in the West into “missionaries” for the cause of Islam in order to overcome a perceived civilizational/cultural conflict between the West and the Islamic world.

As a result it is entirely unsurprising to find that the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs contains repeated, and approving citations to prominent Muslim Brotherhood thinkers, including Qaradawi, and Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb. Far from being “cherry-picked”, as Kessler asserts, one should be surprised if there were NOT Islamist thinkers approvingly cited in a journal dedicated to an area of modern Islamist thought.

Understood in this way, it is impossible to understand the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs as anything other than a journal concerned with Sharia, particularly jurisprudence on Sharia as it relates to Muslim Minority Affairs. Kessler’s attempt to claim otherwise only serves to confirm that he is ignorant of Sharia or the scholarship and jurisprudence surrounding it.

The question than is only whether such Islamist thinkers are rightly deserving of the pejorative “radical.” Kessler’s academics say no, but who can blame the New York Post for thinking that approving citations to Qaradawi, who issued the fatwas permitting Hamas suicide bombings, or Sayyid Qutb, whom the 9/11 Commission described as inspiration for Osama Bin Laden, ought to earn the moniker.

Indeed can’t readers decide for themselves whether it was “radical” for Huma Abedin’s mother, JMMA Editor Saleha Abedin to blame 9/11 on U.S. perpetrated “injustices and sanctions” as she did in a 2002 issue of the journal?

This is a subjective question, which can not be fact-checked. It can however be quoted, and individuals can make the decision for themselves. Abedin the elder wrote:

“The spiral of violence having continued unabated worldwide, and widely seen to be allowed to continue, was building up intense anger and hostility within the pressure cooker that was kept on a vigorous flame while the lid was weighted down with various kinds of injustices and sanctions . . . It was a time bomb that had to explode and explode it did on September 11, changing in its wake the life and times of the very community and the people it aimed to serve.”

Rather than allowing readers to make up their own minds as to how much support for terrorism might be considered “radical,” Kessler chooses to rely only upon those who would be predisposed to defend the journal’s contents anyway, most notably Harvard scholar Noah Feldman, who is after all on record describing the Hamas-supporting Qaradawi as an “Islamic democrat.”

That’s good enough for Kessler. Move along folks, nothing to see here.

Point #3 for Kessler’s apologetic is poo-pooing the fact IMMA was founded by Abdullah Omar Naseef, an influential Saudi leader, with the help of Abedin’s father Syed Abedin in the late 1970s. While Kessler attempts to paint Naseef’s position as having been essentially too long ago to be worth examining, the reality is that Nassef and Huma Abedin overlapped at IMMA for a period of seven years.

The heart of the controversy is Naseef’s ties to the Muslim World League. Kessler attempts to distance Naseef by reflecting that the Saudi leader held the position of Secretary General of MWL for a decade, from 1983-1993, while the Muslim World League offices in Herdon, VA weren’t raided by Law enforcement until after 9/11.

Never mind that The Muslim World League was specifically mentioned by Osama bin Laden as a source of funding or that MWL’s subsidiary, the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) had two of its branches named as specially designated global terrorist entities, Kessler does not see fit to mention these facts.

Another WML subsidiary founded by Nassef, the Rabita Trust, is also a specially designated global terrorist entity according to the U.S. Treasury Department. While Kessler acknowledges the Rabita Trust connection, he attempts to downplay it by noting that it wasn’t until years later that the United States would get around to designating the Rabita Trust for supporting AL Qaeda.

But what Kessler choose not to tell you, is that when the U.S. Treasury Department did so, they designated Rabita Trust’s Director General Wael Hamza Julaidan, a close associate of Osama Bin Laden. Who appointed Julaidan to the post?

None other than Abdullah Omar Nassef.

As National security analyst David Reaboi put this all in context when the allegations first surfaced in 2012:

In other words, many of the people and groups with whom a man like Naseef surrounds himself (at minimum) tend to be what you’d call “problematic,” and a locus of these links should (again, at the very minimum) give a background investigator pause–or, more sensibly, ring the alarm bells–if he finds not one but several links to Naseef or people like him.

The last, and perhaps most inept arrow in Kessler’s quiver is his pointing out that the Saudi government, for which Naseef worked and which funded the World Muslim League, designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group in 2014. Ipso facto, he suggests, they could not possibly have coordinated to stand up a journal of Islamist thought.

Of course every student of the history of Islamist movements knows full well that the Saudi government cooperated with the Muslim Brotherhood in standing up the Muslim World League, and in many other projects besides. This is why the Muslim World League’s founding intellectuals included Said Ramadan (son-in-law of Brotherhood founder Hassan Al-Banna) and the aforementioned Taha Jaber Alwani.

As Shavit notes in his previously mentioned work, “while Islamists provided expertise in theorizing and proselytizing, Saudi Arabia provided generous funding that promoted publications, conventions and missions dedicate to da’wa around the world.”

In other words, the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs discusses the very kinds of issues that Muslim Brotherhood thinkers were working on at the time of its founding, supported by an organization founded by the Muslim Brotherhood intellectuals who were examining these issues, and was established, funded and supported by the Saudi government,including Abdullah Omar Naseef, in exactly the manner one would expect, if one had any serious inclination to the study the issue at all.

Kessler could have openly made the argument that these ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi proselytizing organs exist, that there is nothing wrong with them, and that Huma Abedin should not be held to account for these associations. That would be a weak argument but would accept all of the known facts. Still Kessler cannot quite bring himself to do that. Instead he stakes out the more expansive, and ultimately indefensible position, that none of these organizations have any Muslim Brotherhood connections whatsoever.

As a result Kessler’s fact-check goes from not just subjective to aggressively counter-factual.